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Saturday
Jul042015

Kids Construct Largest American Flag Made of LEGOs

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Oh, say can you see ... a giant American flag made from LEGOs?

It’s the largest of its kind, constructed from over 100,000 LEGO bricks.

Earlier this week in Washington, D.C., children and their families lined up to help build the flag at the National Museum of American History. The Smithsonian Institution, which includes the museum, and LEGO partnered to set a record ahead of Independence Day.

The thousands of bricks were stacked together to build the giant stars and stripes. The father-son team of Dan and Chris Steininger, who are LEGO “master builders,” designed the flag back at LEGO headquarters.

“This is massive but it’s a pretty simple pattern to follow,” Dan Steininger said. They brought their plan to life with the help of kids who put together bricks that were used for the final product. 

A total of six master builder teams travel around the world to put together projects for LEGO. Dan and Chris are the only father-son duo. Dan said he began to build LEGO projects when he would bring home LEGOs for his son for the holidays. He has a background in sculpting and said he realized “what a sweet medium LEGOs are.” This hobby morphed into a 26-year career that he now shares with his son.

The record-breaking flag project was also meant to highlight the opening of the museum’s new innovation wing, a 45,000-square-foot interactive learning space. The wing features exhibitions on the history of American business, “hot spots” of invention and the National Numismatics Collection -- a showcase of coins and currency.


ABC US News | World News

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jul032015

JetBlue Operates First Flights from New York to Havana

rypson/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- JetBlue is taking advantage of the thawing tensions between the U.S. and Cuba.

In a press release out Friday, JetBlue announced they had operated their first charter flights between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport.

The flights make JetBlue the first major airline to operate between the U.S. and Cuba since travel restrictions started easing months ago.

 “As interest in Cuban markets grows, JetBlue is positioning itself as a leading carrier to the island nation by operating more convenient flight options than ever," said Scott Laurence, senior vice president airline planning at JetBlue, in the release.

In May, JetBlue announced they would be offering the charter service shortly after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, JetBlue Chief Executive Officer Robin Hayes, and other New York business leaders went on a trade mission trip to Cuba to discuss connecting New York businesses with Cuba.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jul032015

TripAdvisor Members Name the Nation's Best Burgers 

ehaurylik/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When it comes to burgers, everybody's got one. An opinion that is.

But some voices are louder than others and TripAdvisor, which bills itself as the world's largest travel site, has announced the nation's 10 best burger restaurants, based on millions of reviews.

Featured restaurants have a minimum of 100 reviews and 10 or fewer locations.

And if your summer road trips take you anywhere within 100 miles of Greensboro, North Carolina, you'll want to factor in a bite at Hops Burger Bar, named the No. 1 burger restaurant in the nation.

1. Hops Burger Bar -- Greensboro, North Carolina

"Serving premium Angus burgers on buttery brioche buns, this popular eatery pairs each patty with a side of crispy fries salted to perfection. Guests can choose from a variety of burger options including the Hops Classic, or the Hawaiian topped with sweet and spicy chili sauce, blue cheese and grilled pineapple," TripAdvisor said. One comment reads: "Best burgers in Greensboro and beyond! If you like a thick and juicy burger, then this is the place for you."

2. Black Hills Burger and Bun Co. -- Custer, South Dakota

"This small, family-run establishment serves up big taste with its homemade burgers and buns," TripAdvisor said. "Guests rave about the 'Fat Smitty,' a premium cut patty piled high with delectable toppings including a fried egg, bacon, and tangy garlic aioli." A TripAdvisor reviewer noted, “Possibly the best burger restaurant I’ve been to. The food is always freshly cooked, tasty, satisfying and they have lots of options.”

3. Nic’s Grill -- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

"Known for its piquant patties smothered with flavorful accouterments, this burger haven frequently has a line that extends out the door," the site said. "Reviewers rave about the famed Onion Burger that is perfectly grilled and served with fresh and savory curly fries." Reads one review, “One of Oklahoma's iconic meal experiences. The food, the smell and the ambiance grab you by your taste buds!”

4. Billy Bob Dairyland -- Branson, Missouri

"Decorated in 1950s décor, this retro American diner prides itself on its half-pound juicy burgers and creamy malt milkshakes," according to TripAdvisor. "Guests can devour a succulent single or double stack while enjoying classic tunes from the jukebox."

A TripAdvisor reviewer wrote, “The best ‘mom and pop’ place in town. Fresh large homemade burgers and shakes with lots of sides to choose from.”

5. Stock and Barrel -- Knoxville, Tennessee

"The Stock and Barrel is lauded for its fresh, locally-sourced ingredients used to create its mouthwatering meals," the site said. "Travelers can choose from traditional beef patties, or opt for a smoked salmon, turkey or black bean quinoa burger." A TripAdvisor reviewer noted, “The burger was cooked perfectly with high-quality meat. The toppings and seasonings were delicious and not so overpowering that you lose the taste of the hamburger.”

6. Coyote Bluff Café -- Amarillo, Texas


"This quaint saloon-style hotspot boasts a menu of hearty 'Prairie Patties' made with lean ground beef and a variety of buns," according to the site. "Spicy food fans can test their taste buds with the “Burger from Hell,” smothered with sautéed jalapeños, Coyote Hell Sauce, and Tabasco." One review noted, “They have the most delicious burgers you could ever taste. The portions are large and the atmosphere is wonderful -- everyone is so friendly. It may be small, but leaves a big impression.”

7. MELT Gourmet Cheeseburgers -- Leesburg, Virginia

"This distinguished burger bistro crafts its own patties using all natural Angus beef," said TripAdvisor. "Diners also recommend the golden French fries, sea-salted onion rings and stout beer milkshakes." A TripAdvisor reviewer wrote, “They have traditional and gourmet burgers. I had a lamb burger which was absolutely amazing! The hamburgers are humongous. And the taste, well let's just say you need to try one.”

8. Village Burger -- Waimea, Hawaii

"Using local sourced ingredients, this island gem embodies the spirit of aloha by proudly supporting its community," according to TripAdvisor. "Their signature patties are made with select cuts of fresh chuck and brisket and can be topped with a variety of fixings including fresh avocado and Ahualoa chipotle goat cheese." One review noted, “Everything is grown right here on the island. Their beef is amazingly fresh and absolutely delicious. I recommend you try this place – you won't be disappointed!”

9. Brook’s Gourmet Burgers and Dogs -- Naples, Florida


"Offering more than 15 gourmet creations including the “Fig and F.I.N.E” burger paired with buttered onions, fig jam and goat cheese, and the 'Donut,' a patty served between two sweet glazed rings, this Sunshine State eatery is anything but ordinary," said the site. A TripAdvisor reviewer commented, “One of the best kept secrets in Naples. No question they offer an amazing choice of delicious and juicy burgers. The staff is as wonderful as their food.”

10. MacPhail’s Burgers -- Jackson, Wyoming

"Set against the majestic Teton mountain range, this rustic restaurant serves authentic tastes of the Old West," said TripAdvisor. "Travelers are invited to dine upon a grass-fed Angus burger or a succulent buffalo patty; each made daily to ensure savory satisfaction. One review stated: “We ordered the Buffalo Meal and it was wonderful; an excellent value. Everything was fresh and the sweet potatoes fries were outstanding."

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jul032015

Reddit Revolts After Employee Dismissal

Photo by Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images(NEW YORK) – If you’re looking for cat pictures, trying to find the latest movie news, or if you’re just avoiding your family this weekend by browsing Reddit, you may have a hard time.

Social media website Reddit is on a virtual lockdown after the sudden firing of an employee.

Victoria Taylor was the former director of talent who oversaw celebrity interviews on the popular “Ask Me Anything” sub-reddit. Taylor helped facilitate many successful interviews on the site and was a favorite administrator for many of the users.

In protest of the firing, many moderators of sub-reddits set their pages to “private” so users would not be able to see any content. The “Ask Me Anything” subreddit was also set to private for a period of time.

“We all had the rug ripped out from under us and feel betrayed,” said one moderator on Reddit.

Reddit hasn't said much about the dismissal except they do not talk about “individual employee matters.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jul032015

Expert Advice on How to Avoid the Top Three Grilling Gaffes

hd3dsh/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Let’s face it -- grilling ain’t no picnic.

Cooking anything over high heat in front of all your family and friends is stressful, and the inexperienced are prone to make mistakes.

In fact, you’re probably bound to make one of these three most common blunders, according to the Kansas City Barbeque Society’s survey of more than 4,000 of its members of their most made mistakes.

If even the experts are screwing up, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed if it happens to you. What would help, though, is being armed with info on how to fix the fallout.

ABC News spoke with Mike Peters, president of the Kansas City Barbeque Society and award-winning barbecue champion about his best advice for battling the top three grilling gaffes. With these tips you can go forth and grill with confidence.

Mistake #1: Forgetting to Season or Marinade the Meat

“Life is too busy and we tend to forget things. McCormick’s five-minute marinade [technique] is fantastic,” Peters told ABC News. “Just throw some chicken breasts or whatever in a plastic bag, add marinade, squeeze out the air and massage for five minutes. You can see that marinade and flavor going right into that piece of meat. It works out really nice.”

Mistake #2: Mishandling the Meat

“Don’t overpress your burger patties. You don’t have to do that. It doesn’t have to be a rock going onto the grill -- that’s what frozen burgers are for,” Peters said. “Gently mix a wet or dry rub in with the meat; that way you get flavor on every bite.”

Mistake #3: Grilling on Too High of Heat

“As the Kansas City Barbeque Society, we like doing thing slow and slow. We use the reverse sear method. Grilling over high heat cooks it hot from the outside in and it overcooks the outside,” Peters explained. “Instead, slowly cook the inside over indirect heat, get it up to temp and then turn up the heat and char the outside. You save more flavor and natural juiciness of meat that way.”

“Especially with pork and chicken that are low fat, you don’t want to put it on high heat because you’ll ruin a nice piece of meat that could be a nice flavorful dinner,” he said. “Chicken breasts typically take 20 to 25 minutes at 250 to 275 degrees over indirect heat. The last five minutes or so, crank it up to high heat for about three to four minutes per side for a nice char on the outside. It does take a little longer but that gives you plenty of time to enjoy company with friends and family.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jul032015

Greece 'No' Vote May Mean No More Cash Monday

iStock/Thinkstock(ATHENS, Greece) – Greece is running out of cash, fast.

Banks are shut down in Greece, limits have been imposed on ATMs, and according to the head of the Greek Banks Union, there may be no money in ATMs on Monday morning.

Greeks will vote on Sunday whether or not they support more international loans from creditors. A “yes” vote for the referendum could mean the extension of additional credit from the European Central Bank. A “no” vote could mean no more cash for Greece.

Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras said in a TV address that a “no” vote would make creditors come up with a better deal, but according to The Wall Street Journal, an opinion poll for Ethnos shows a nearly even split with a slight favor towards the “yes.” 

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jul032015

Aetna to Acquire Competitor Humana in $37B Deal

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Aetna announced on Friday that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Humana to buy the health insurance competitor for $37 billion.

If it goes through, the deal would create the nation's second largest insurer, behind United Health.  

“The acquisition of Humana aligns two great companies and will significantly advance our strategy of more effectively serving members in a rapidly changing health care industry,” Aetna chairman and CEO Mark Bertolini said in a statement. “This combination will allow us to continue to invest in excellent service for our members and strengthen our partnerships with providers to deliver high quality care at an affordable price."

The deal would give Aetna Humana's big Medicare Advantage business, which is getting more lucrative as the U.S. population ages. Bigger health care companies also have more leverage setting rates, now that all Americans are required to have health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

The transaction is still subject to approval by shareholders and regulators. Once completed, Bertolini will serve as the CEO of the combined company.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jul032015

L.A.'s Giga-Mansions Spark Feuds Between Developers, Residents

ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- Some high-end developers are giving up on the McMansions for the new “giga-mansions” in the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Beverly Hills and Bel Air, but many residents are upset over the construction of these enormous, extravagant homes.

Luxury mansions soaring above 20,000 square feet are popping up on street after street in these areas, some reaching a staggering 90,000 square feet -- bigger than the Taj Mahal and the White House combined. Nearby residents, including Jennifer Aniston, whose house is roughly 8,500 square feet, have been voicing outrage to city officials over these giant homes, claiming they are ruining their neighborhoods.

Mega real estate developer Mohamed Hadid, who is the ex-husband of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' Yolanda Foster and father to model Gigi Hadid, has made a career building luxury hotels and homes for the uber-rich. He lives in a 50,000-square-foot mansion in Beverly Hills that has a 300-seat ballroom, a Turkish bath, a large infinity pool, a wine cellar, a home theater and a 5,000-square-foot guest suite.

Mohamed Hadid said there is a new generation of global billionaires driving this construction boom.

“There is a need for it,” Hadid said. “And there are customers asking for it… they want to have a splash, to have 200-300 people at a party, they need to have several bar areas, an outdoor area, something specific about the house that is different than anyone else.”

But to some, this giga-construction feels more like a giga-invasion. Just yards from entertainment attorney Joe Horacek’s front door, Hadid is developing a 30,000-square-foot home made of glass, steel and cement.

“I feel the privacy is completely and totally gone,” Horacek said.

Horacek said for 15 years he lived a quiet life tucked away in the hills until Hadid bought the house above him, tore it down, and began excavating thousands of cubic yards of soil from the hillside. Once finished, the home will have two wine sellers, a movable bar and a wrap-around infinity pool.

“Personally I see the Starship Enterprise,” Horacek said. “I get very angry.”

Horacek is worried the mansion above him could crumble on top of his house.

“[My] biggest concern is a combination of the total invasion of privacy, the total disregard which I believe Mohamed Hadid has for the building code… and for the safety of living beneath it,” he said.

The city of Los Angeles investigated and issued a stop work order after building inspectors found that Hadid added several unapproved features to the home. Since then, Hadid went back to the approved building plans. His attorney Benjamin Reznik told ABC News' Nightline that “it’s going to be simpler to remove those add-ons now and have the house comply with the original set of plans so that our client can finish the project.”

Hadid said the order came “because neighbors had complained to the city and they decided to look into [the permits].”

“We had our permits correctly,” he added.

Real estate expert David Kramer said this high-end real estate boom started with the sale of famed TV producer Aaron Spelling’s 56,000-square-foot home.

“People saw the reality of, we have buyers here,” he said.

Kramer sold the Spelling home for $85 million, and says it opened the flood gates for larger, luxurious homes.

“Everyone thinks it’s foreign buyers, it’s everybody,” Kramer said. “It’s local, it’s entertainment, it’s hedge fund, banking, computer, definitely, technology people, and then a lot of foreign buyers. Probably 30-40 percent are foreign buyers.”

Fred Rosen, who created Ticketmaster, recently started the Bel-Air Homeowners Alliance. He cringes at every large construction truck that drives through his neighborhood. Rosen says over one million cubic yards of dirt has been dug out of the hills around Bel-Air for new mansion construction and the City of Los Angeles is letting it happen.

"You have 1980s rules for 2015 technology,” Rosen said. “There’s always somebody with more, so that’s not the issue, we just want them building safely."

Maureen Levinson, a Bel-Air mother of two, is a member of the alliance who lives down the road from a 90,000-square-foot home under construction. She claims she often videotapes workers from around the neighborhood when cement trucks block streets or when their work starts earlier than the permits allow.

“There’s wildlife here, and that’s the way Bel Air used to be, very peaceful and quiet,” Levinson said. “[Now, the construction trucks] would come down in conveys, they were like a freight train.”

Levinson’s neighbors’ 8,000 and 10,000 square-foot homes are considered “tear downs” when there’s a multi-million dollar view to be had in a new giga-mansion. Now, some are just waiting for this ultra-rich real estate bubble to burst.

Levinson said she believes there won’t be peace and quiet again for “many, many, many years.”

Watch the full story Friday night on ABC News' Nightline at 12:35 a.m. ET.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Jul022015

This $16 Hot Dog Is No Ballpark Frank

The "Humm Dog" is a bacon wrapped hot dog with truffle mayonnaise, Gruyere, truffle celery relish and celery leaves. (Angel Canales)(NEW YORK) -- The hot dog is a staple of American summer. As the country celebrates the Fourth of July this weekend, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council estimates Americans will eat approximately 150 million hot dogs.

Most people are used to having a hot dog served with mustard or ketchup. But one New York City restaurant is taking hot dogs to the next level. At $16 apiece, The NoMad Bar is giving this American classic a high-end twist.

“Our idea here was kind of to take a riff off traditional American bar food and really make it our own,” said Executive Chef of The NoMad, James Kent.

The hot dog is named the “Humm Dog” after its creator, chef/co-owner of The NoMad, Daniel Humm. The award-winning chef is a restaurateur whose first eatery, Eleven Madison Park, earned him numerous accolades, including three Michelin stars.

Since its opening, The NoMad has received three stars from the New York Times, one Michelin Star and a James Beard Foundation Award.

“We have been open at The NoMad Bar for a year and we have sold over 18,000 Humm Dogs," Kent said.

He explained that the challenge to serving classic food on the menu is the customer already has an expectation of what the dish should taste like.

“I think our goal is to really exceed that and show them why this is special and elegant and delicious," he said.

So what makes The NoMad’s dog so unique?

Kent starts by wrapping a kosher beef hot dog in bacon and lets it crisp up in the deep fryer. The hot dog is then tucked into a buttery, toasted brioche bun that has been filled with truffle mayonnaise. A layer of Gruyere cheese is added to the top and it is popped in the oven to toast. The dog emerges with a layer of melted Gruyere and the dish is topped with truffle celery relish and a sprinkle of celery leaves.

This extreme attention to detail is what separates ‘The Humm Dog’ apart from your average ballpark frank.

And, Kent said, that’s the point -- to give the customer food that makes them nostalgic, but give it to them in a whole new way.

“It’s really what we do often with our food. We try to find unique ways to bring you back," he said.


ABC US News | World News

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Jul022015

Fourth of July: Let These Five Apps Help With Fun, Food, Travel Plans

StephanieFrey/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Happy Fourth of July!

Whether you're hitting the road, planning an all-American cookout or looking for some fun in the sun, these five apps can help you enjoy the holiday weekend to its fullest.

The Revolution: Interactive Guide


First things first, let's not forget why we're celebrating the Fourth of July. This free app for the iPad highlights all of the key moments in American history and makes for some great patriotic beach reading.

GrillTime

Even masters of the grill will love this app, which evaluates your meat on a variety of factors and then recommends the ideal time it should stay on the grill. Think of it as a grilling sidekick, allowing the chef to step away from the grill without a worry.

GrillTime is $1.99 for iOS users.

Musical Fireworks 2


Who says you have to be outside to enjoy the fireworks? Musical Fireworks 2 is a fun, free, festive game perfect for passing the time on a Fourth of July road trip. Tap along to the music and create vibrant digital fireworks displays.

Waze


Waze can help make sure your road trip goes as smooth as possible. The app, which relies on community input, lets users outsmart traffic by providing information about construction, accidents and other hindrances.

Waze is free and available for iOS, Android and Windows devices.

EPA's SunWise UV Index

Don't get burned this Independence Day.

This handy free app from the Environmental Protection Agency provides hourly and daily forecasts of the ultraviolet radiation levels in your area to help make sure you aren't overexposed.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.







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