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  • Peloton, the maker of expensive in-home exercise equipment, faced backlash and a slight stock price drop after online criticism for the company’s latest holiday commercial boiled over earlier this week. >> Read more trending news  A woman opens her eyes as she receives a Peloton stationary bike as a Christmas present from her husband. The 30-second ad then highlights her documenting using the bike. “A year ago, I didn’t realize how much this would change me,” she says. The ad, which was released Nov. 21, did not raise eyebrows, or stoke ire in social media users, until December when it inspired parodies, criticism and comparisons to “Black Mirror.” After seeing a jump of 4.6% on Monday after the start of the holiday shopping season, Peloton stock fell 9% on Tuesday, CNBC reported. Stocks overall dropped by about 1%. Peloton does not believe the ad has anything to do with the drop. The company stands by the commercial. “We constantly hear from our members how their lives have been meaningfully and positively impacted after purchasing or being gifted a Peloton Bike or Tread, often in ways that surprise them,” a company spokesperson told The New York Times. “Our holiday spot was created to celebrate that fitness and wellness journey. While we’re disappointed in how some have misinterpreted this commercial, we are encouraged by — and grateful for — the outpouring of support we’ve received from those who understand what we were trying to communicate.” However, the online outrage boiled over to the point that Sean Hunter, the “Peloton husband” from the ad, spoke out. Hunter is an actor and elementary school teacher in Vancouver, Psychology Today reported. “My 5 seconds of air time created an array of malicious feedback that is all associated with my face. My friend texted me today declaring that I’m ‘a symbol of the patriarchy.’ As my face continues to be screen shot online, I wonder what repercussions will come back to me,” Hunter told Psychology Today. “As I continue to reflect on the commercial, I consider these thoughts: Why are people creating so many additional narratives to the story? Am I allowed to view the commercial positively after receiving such negative feedback? If recognized on the street, what will people’s first opinions be of me? The aftermath of the commercial has left me with more questions than answers, and this is only half the story. I reflect on what my co-actor must be dealing with, as she’s the other 25 seconds of the story.” This is not the first time Peloton stationary bikes have been ridiculed. Earlier this year, memes circulated on social media criticizing the lifestyle necessary to afford the $2,200 fitness bike and $39 monthly membership fee. Ample free space for the bike is also needed.
  • The developers behind a proposed 62-acre Alpharetta mixed-use project have asked to add apartments to their plan years after getting the city’s blessing.  Fuqua Development Co. and the TPA Group in 2015 were approved for a mix of luxury office space, retail/restaurant, greenspace and a 211-room hotel. Now developers want the hotel and some of the retail space to become 255 apartments — a plan they believe will better position them to compete with existing developments like Avalon.  The Alpharetta Planning Commission unanimously voted Thursday night to recommend letting the developers have their change. The alteration will be considered by the Alpharetta City Council in two weeks. READ | Roswell OKs hotel near mixed-use project at old Southern Skillet site The project, 360 Tech Village, would be located on Haynes Bridge Road off Ga. 400 at an exit between North Point Mall and Avalon. Avalon opened in 2014 and now has half-a-million square feet of tony retail, 250 apartments and a luxury hotel. The City Council said in February  that North Point Mall could build its own 24,000-square-foot mixed-use project with 300 apartments. Crawford Arnold, the TPA representative leading the 360 Tech effort, told commission members that the project would be in jeopardy without the apartments because his project wouldn’t be able to compete with Avalon, North Point and City Center downtown. There was no discussion Thursday about how much additional tax revenue the project was expected to bring to the city coffers. Arnold said he is negotiating with a Fortune 500 company that wants to rent 120,000 square feet of office space and another company, allegedly worth $40 billion, to rent another 100,000 square feet. IN OTHER NEWS | NFL’s LeSean McCoy settles lawsuit with ex over Milton home invasion He said that offering one residential unit for every 10 jobs is what his corporate tenants are demanding to house their workforce.  When The Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked for comment, Arnold declined to say who the corporate clients were and said he couldn’t talk more about the project. From information presented in the meeting, developers expect one-bedroom units would start at $1,400 a month and two-bedroom units would begin at $1,900 a month. The idea of a dense apartment cluster rubs some North Fulton residents the wrong way, raising complaints they bring traffic and other issues. This was on display in June as Roswell considered putting more than 400 apartments and townhomes on the site of an old Super Target. Like North Fulton County News Now on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter Residents in Roswell said students in apartments are often transient residents, who make the job of teachers more difficult. For comparison, staff in Alpharetta said 360 Tech Village could bring between 22 and 170 students into the Fulton County Schools system. No one spoke in opposition of the project at the commission meeting Thursday. The Alpharetta City Council will consider the project at its Dec. 16 meeting at city hall, 2 Park Plaza. Wouldn’t you like to support our strong journalism? Your subscription helps us cover your communities in a way that no one else can. Visit https://subscribe.ajc.com/hyperlocal or call 404-526-7988 to begin or renew your subscription. In other news...
  • A suspect died Friday morning after opening fire at Florida’s Naval Air Station Pensacola, killing at least three people and injuring seven others. >> Read more trending news  Authorities said the shooting was reported just before 7 a.m. local time in a classroom building at NAS Pensacola. Responding deputies with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office exchanged gunfire with the suspected shooter, killing him, officials said. Update 11:05 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Authorities said a total of 11 people were injured or killed in Friday morning’s shooting, including the suspected shooter. The injured included two responding deputies with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff David Morgan said Friday at a news conference. One deputy was shot in the arm and the other was shot in the knee, Morgan said. They were both expected to survive. Morgan described walking through the scene left by Friday’s attack as being similar to “being in a movie.” “You just don’t expect this to happen here at home,” he said. Authorities continue to investigate. Update 10:45 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials are holding a news conference to update the public on Friday morning’s deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola. Update 10:25 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Vice President Mike Pence said he’s monitoring the situation in Florida after a shooting left two victims and a suspect dead at Naval Air Station Pensacola. “Praying for the victims & their families,” Pence wrote Friday morning in a Twitter post. “We commend the first responders for their swift action in taking down the shooter & getting those on base to safety.”  Update 10:20 a.m. EST Dec. 6: White House officials said President Donald Trump has been briefed on the deadly shooting reported Friday morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola.  Update 10:15 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials with Naval Air Station Pensacola said the base will closed for the day Friday after a shooting left three people dead earlier in the day. Authorities said at least three people, including the suspected shooter, were killed in the incident. Reports indicated at least eight other people were wounded in the shooting. The incident happened two days after authorities said a U.S. sailor shot and killed two civilian employees before turning the gun on himself at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. One other person was injured in that shooting. Naval Air Station Pensacola employs more than 16,000 military and 7,400 civilian personnel, according to officials. Update 10:10 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, said his office has been in “close contact with all the relevant officials & closely monitoring events” after a shooter opened fire at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday morning, killing two people. Authorities said the shooter also died. “Please pray for everyone impacted by this horrible situation,” Rubio said in a Twitter post. Update 10 a.m. EST Dec. 6: A spokesman at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital told CNN that hospital officials expected to get three patients who had been injured in Friday morning’s shooting, down from the six expected earlier in the day. Hospital spokesman Mike Burke told the news network most victims were taken to Baptist Hospital because of its proximity to the base. Kathy Bowers, a spokeswoman for Baptist Hospital, earlier told the Pensacola News Journal that the hospital had received five patients wounded in Friday’s shooting. Update 9:45 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials with the U.S. Navy have confirmed that a second person has died after a shooter opened fire Friday morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola.  Update 9:35 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials told the Pensacola News Journal two people were confirmed dead after Friday morning’s shooting, in addition to the shooter. Naval officials previously said at least one person had been killed. Update 9:20 a.m. EST Dec. 6: At least 11 people were hospitalized in the immediate aftermath of Friday’s deadly shooting, according to The Associated Press. Ascension Sacred Heart spokesman Mike Burke told the AP six people were taken to the hospital after a shooter opened fire at Naval Air Station Pensacola early Friday. The Pensacola News Journal previously reported five other people were taken to Baptist Hospital with injuries. Naval officials said at least one victim was killed in Friday’s shooting. Authorities continue to investigate. Update 9:10 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials with the U.S. Navy said at least one person died Friday morning in a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida. Authorities said the suspected shooter was also dead Friday morning. Update 9 a.m. EST Dec. 6: An official with Baptist Hospital told the Pensacola News Journal five patients were taken to the hospital after Friday morning’s reported shooting. Authorities continue to investigate. Update 8:55 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Authorities with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said a suspected shooter was dead Friday morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola. Original report: Authorities are responding Friday morning to reports of shots fired at Naval Air Station Pensacola, according to base officials. Authorities at NAS Pensacola said both gates to the base were closed Friday morning as authorities investigated. Officials with the U.S. Navy said the base was on lockdown around 7:45 a.m. local time. A spokeswoman for ECSO told the Pensacola News Journal deputies were working to “take down” what was described as an active shooter around 7:30 a.m. local time. Officials with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office told WEAR-TV injuries were reported. Details on the number of people wounded and the extent of their injuries was not immediately available. Check back for updates to this developing story.
  • Tennessee executed a blind man Thursday night convicted in the 1991 murder of his estranged girlfriend, multiple news outlets reported. According to the Tennessean, death row inmate Lee Hall became the state’s fourth prisoner executed in the electric chair since 2018. Hall, 53, was pronounced dead at 7:26 p.m., according to the Tennessee Department of Corrections. >> Read more trending news  Hall, also known as Leroy Hall Jr., was found guilty in 1992 of first-degree murder and aggravated arson in the 1991 death of his former girlfriend Traci Crozier, the newspaper reported. According to CBS News, electrocution is an execution option available to Tennessee inmates convicted of crimes prior to January 1999. A witness to the execution said that Hall’s final words were that 'people need to learn forgiveness and love and make the world a better place,” the network reported. According to the Tennessean, Crozier’s sister, Staci Wooten, read a prepared statement following the execution, stating 28 years of pain for her family has finally ended. “Our family’s peace can begin, but another family’s hell has to begin. We all fought this battle for you, Traci, and today we won,” Wooten said. The paper also noted Hall released his own statement – read by his attorney John Spragens following the execution – apologizing to the Crozier family. “I’m sorry for the pain I caused,' Hall's statement read. “I ask for your forgiveness, and I hope and pray that someday you can find it in your heart to forgive me.' Read more here and here.
  • A Welsh hardware store’s low-budget Christmas advertisement has plucked the heartstrings of consumers worldwide. Hafod Hardware, a family-owned store in the Welsh town of Rhayader, debuted its 2019 Christmas spot Sunday, and the Internet simply cannot get enough, Time magazine reported. >> Read more trending news  The spot, which cost only $130 to produce, features owner Tom Jones’ 2-year-old son Arthur while he helps out around the store and encourages viewers to “Be a kid this Christmas,” Time reported. Jones, 30, told the Evening Standard he runs the store with his wife Laura and his parents. “We just make it for fun, really. We try and put a bit of a spotlight on small independent businesses that you get in rural areas where we are, and we try and show that we can offer just as much as your high street chains,” Jones told CNN, noting this is the third year he has produced a commercial specifically for the holidays. >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news According to the Evening Standard, the homemade two-minute spot features not only Arthur serving customers, cleaning the shop and even wrapping presents but cameo appearances from his dad, grandparents and great-grandparents as well, making it a full-on family affair. Read more here and here.
  • Four people are dead following a dramatic south Florida police chase – involving a hijacked UPS truck – that ended in gunfire, authorities confirmed late Thursday. >> Read more trending news  The incident began shortly after 4 p.m. when Coral Gables police responded to a robbery at a Regent Jewelers store. Coral Gables Police Chief Ed Hudak told USA Today responding officers were met with gunfire from two suspects upon arrival. About 20 minutes after fleeing the scene in a truck, the suspected robbers then hijacked a UPS delivery truck and took its driver hostage, FBI Special Agent in Charge George Piro, the head of the Miami field office, said during a news conference. Pursuing officers chased the stolen vehicle until traffic forced it to stop near a busy intersection during rush hour, USA Today reported. The hail of gunfire that erupted killed four people, including the two suspected robbers, the UPS driver and a bystander who was inside an idle car at the intersection, the Miami Herald reported. Piro said during the news conference it is unclear if bullets fired by police or the hijackers are responsible for the deaths of the UPS driver and the bystander. “It is very, very early on in the investigation and it would be completely inappropriate to discuss that,” Piro said. “We have just began to process the crime scene. As you can imagine, this is going to be a very complicated crime scene.” UPS spokesman David Graves told USA Today the company will cooperate with authorities. “We are deeply saddened to learn a UPS service provider was a victim of this senseless act of violence,” Graves said in a statement, adding, “We extend our condolences to the family and friends of our employee and the other innocent victims involved in this incident.” Read more here or here.