The US Department of Education has partially approved a proposal by Texas education officials to overhaul its special-education system, but said the state must do much more to improve conditions for students. Federal officials say they will review changes and schedule in-person visits early next year to ensure compliance.
A growing number of quickserve chains including Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Rubio's, Del Taco, Carl's Jr. and Hardee's are revamping their value menus and raising the price point from $4 to $5. In addition to boosting margins, the new deals are designed to entice consumers with something new, said Blayne Howser, a restaurant analyst at Sandelman & Associates.
Virginia-based pizza concept Pupatella has raised $3.75 million in a new financing round, to fund expansion plans in the Washington, D.C., market. Pupatella launched in 2007 as a food truck and has since opened two brick-and-mortar units, with plans for up to eight more in the next three years.
Raley's has put more of a focus on the customer experience with a new website that emphasizes personalization and the retailer's vision for health and wellness. "Our goal is to make it easier and more compelling for customers to interact with online shopping and our savings program, Something Extra," said Mike Molitor, Raley's vice president of e-commerce and loyalty.
As concerns about food and packaging waste continue to grow, businesses from entrepreneurs to established retailers are rethinking the grocery shopping experience to move close to zero-waste and encourage consumers to move away from plastic bags. New York-based retailer The Filling Station sells food items that shoppers buy in refillable containers, and last year Kroger said it would eliminate food waste across its operations by 2025.
Peet's Coffee is updating its look and experimenting with new menu items like cold brew to win over millennials in the highly competitive coffee arena. The coffee chain worked with branding firm Character to redesign everything from point-of-sale materials to coffee cups to retail packaging.
Farmers have until Nov. 15 to sign up for Pasture, Rangeland and Forage Rainfall Index crop insurance, which compensates farmers based on the rainfall in their area, said speakers at a webinar funded by the Department of Agriculture. "We encourage folks to contact a crop insurance agent sooner than later," said Erin Roche of University of Maine Cooperative Extension, who moderated the event.
Crop insurance is the best protection Montana farmers have against volatile weather and the high costs of planting every year, farmer Michael Ladenburg said. "There's a lot of money that gets spent to put these crops in the ground, and crop insurance is the only way to guarantee that we will make it through the next year," he said.
Driven by the high distress level among farmers struggling with low commodity prices and trade issues, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, is resolute about getting the farm bill passed this year. Negotiators continue to work out commodity and other bill titles, he said.
Corn and soybean farmers in Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota could qualify for crop insurance payments, despite Department of Agriculture predictions of record yields. Planting delays, heavy rainfall and lowered trade costs are contributing factors.