Home Depot will pay millions of dollars to settle a lawsuit by consumers whose credit card and email information was stolen by hackers from poorly secured computer systems. Reuters has this report (see: "Home Depot settles consumer lawsuit over big 2014 data breach"). "The home improvement retailer will set up a $13 million fund to reimburse shoppers for out-of-pocket losses, and spend at least $6.5 million to fund 1-1/2 years of cardholder identity protection services," Reuters reported. "The accord covers about 40 million people who had payment card data stolen, and 52 million to 53 million people who had email addresses stolen, with some overlap between the groups."
Lumber dealers see a hot market ahead this year, according to lumber market newsletter Random Lengths. "A strong rally in prices of framing lumber and structural panels in February has the full attention of the nation’s retailers. According to a monthly survey conducted late in the month, retailers adjusted their sales expectations and inventory levels sharply higher," Random Lengths reported. The inventory buildup came even as lumber prices softened in early March.
Home prices surged 5.8 percent in 2016, according to the latest CoreLogic Home Price Insights report. When distressed sales are included, prices rose 6.9%, according to the report. "Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have reached new highs this month: Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Tennessee," CoreLogic said. Only one state (Maine) saw a drop in home prices.
Unseasonably warm weather is complicating life across the United States, even as record-setting Pacific storms drench California and bury the Western mountains in deep snowpack. While Chicago's snow-free winter is arguably a good thing, wildfires plaguing the plains states are serious trouble. Here's a roundup of coverage from around the nation related to the season's extreme weather:
- "Hawaii might get more snow than Chicago this year," by Gabrielle Fonrouge (New York Post);
- "Chicago records no snow on ground in January, February for 1st time in 146 years," by Grace Wong (Chicago Tribune);
- "Antarctica hits record high temperature at balmy 63.5°F," by Alister Doyle (Reuters);
- "February record warm for 16 states, 145M Americans," by Doyle Rice (USA Today)
- "Just HOW EARLY is spring arriving in your neighborhood? Find out . . ." (US Geological Survey)
- "The Miami Heat: Record-Breaking Winter," by John Morales (NBC 6)
- "Kansas Wildfire Largest in State History: Multiple Blazes Leave Six Dead, Thousands Evacuated Across Plains" (Associated Press via The Weather Channel)
- "An early start to tornado season?" by Stan Finger (Wichita Eagle)
- "Out West, the snow is so deep that scientists don't have any tools to measure it," by Benjamin Spillman (Reno Gazette-Journal via USA Today)
STATE BY STATE
Maine: The plot is thickening in a legal battle over tiny houses in Portland, the Press-Herald reports (see: "Big fight over tiny houses placed on Portland lot is headed to court," by Randy Billings). Tiny house owner Brent Adler argues that his units are vehicles, not dwellings, and thus not covered by zoning or building codes.
Texas: A trench collapse killed one worker in San Antonio this week, local sources report. See:
- "Trench rescue operation turns into recovery effort on far West Side," by Jacob Beltran (San Antonio Express);
- "UPDATE: Construction worker killed in trench collapse identified" (KENS 5 Eyewitness News)
Virginia: A changing climate puts investments at risk in Hampton Roads, experts warned at a March 7 discussion meeting. The Hampton Roads Business Journal has a report (see: "Sea level rise, climate change and resiliency concern Hampton Roads panelists," by Nate Delesline III).
California: Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in California following widespread damage from flooding this winter. The San Francisco Chronicle has a report (see: "Governor declares state of emergency for storm-wrenched California," by Kurtis Alexander).