Fox News 2024-04-05 01:06:06


Broker who found squatters in home says city allowing ‘culture of lawlessness’

A “culture of lawlessness” has allowed squatters to take control of properties and haul homeowners through costly, lengthy legal battles, a real estate broker facing alleged squatters of her own told Fox News.

“Squatters are a major problem not only in the area, but all over New York,” Top Nest Properties broker Ejona Bardhi Shyti told Fox News while standing in Queens.

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Shyti said she discovered in March that two squatters moved into a Queens property she manages, changed the locks and refused to leave, the Daily Mail reported. The alleged squatters claimed they could legally occupy the property and sued Shyti and the firm that owns it.

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“Right now, we have real leases signed with real tenants who are waiting to get into the units at Lakewood Avenue,” Shyti said. “However, they’re unable to do so because of this squatter situation.”

The two alleged squatters, Lance Hunt Jr. and Rondie L. Francis, submitted to the court a residential lease agreement, utility bills, rent checks and mail addressed to them at the duplex, along with a $25.27 Shake Shack receipt delivered through Uber Eats on Jan. 15, 2024, as proof of legal residency. They also claimed Shyti, alongside police, “illegally and unlawfully forced” them out of the unit and changed the locks. 

The property, located in the Jamaica neighborhood, is listed for nearly $930,000, according to Zillow

DHS ARRESTS 3 AT SUSPECTED NYC MIGRANT SQUATTER HOUSE LIVE ON CAMERA

“There’s a general culture of lawlessness that’s taken over New York City right now, as evidenced by the migrant influencer who was brazen enough to encourage people to go into people’s homes and become squatters,” Shyti said. 

A Venezuelan migrant went viral last month on TikTok after posting a video encouraging illegal immigrants to take advantage of squatting laws. New York police encountered eight Venezuelan migrants on March 27 squatting in a Bronx home, according to officers who spoke to the New York Post

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Tenants’ rights laws vary nationwide, but in some states like New York, police are seldom able to intervene, leaving homeowners and landlords with few options to reclaim their property once squatters have taken over. Under New York law, squatters can claim rights on a property if they have lived there at least 30 days, forcing victims to submit to long and expensive civil processes.

Queens homeowner Adele Andaloro, for example, was arrested last month for unlawful eviction after changing the locks to oust three alleged squatters from her $1 million dollar home. She inherited the property from her parents after they died and was trying to sell it, ABC 7 reported.

Shyti offered advice on how to take precautions against illegal residents.

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“Squatters are clearly targeting vacant homes, so as a homeowner you have to take every step possible to protect the home and not leave it vulnerable to them,” Shyti said. “If you do have a vacant property, do not leave any lock boxes visible. Put up curtains or blinds over the windows to not make it look empty. Set up cameras, alarm systems.” 

She also said it’s important to hire a realtor to routinely maintain and check on the property if the house is on the market, so they can keep detailed accounts of what they encounter and when.

“This comes in very handy if you do encounter a squatter situation, because that’s the information you’re going to need to show police in order to be able to do what you gotta do and get back in your home,” Shyti said.

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She said New York needs to step up to protect homeowners and landlords’ rights. She commended Florida for a new law that allows police to remove squatters and adds criminal penalties.

“I think New York City should definitely follow Florida’s lead,” Shyti said.

New York Assemblyman Jake Blumencranz, a Republican, introduced a bill last May that would clarify the definition of tenant to exclude squatters and up the 30-day threshold to claim squatters’ rights to 45 days. It’s been referred twice to the Assembly Housing Committee, but it hasn’t received a hearing or vote.

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“Squatters are not tenants and do not deserve tenants’ rights,” Shyti said. “I think that this new bill is going to allow police officers to do their jobs and to get these trespassers and these criminals out of these homes.”

The next court date in Shyti’s case is scheduled for Friday, the Daily Mail reported.

Jimmy Kimmel says that Trump leading in new polls ‘just gives me a headache’

Liberal late night host Jimmy Kimmel expressed shock and dismay at recent poll numbers showing former President Trump leading President Biden in multiple key states.

Kimmel’s Wednesday night monologue on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” addressed how “There were presidential primaries in four states yesterday. Biden and Trump won them all,” nonetheless, “somehow the ghost of Nikki Haley continues to plague Trump like an undigested chalupa. Haley got 13% of the Republican vote in New York, more than 20% of Republicans in Wisconsin didn’t vote for Trump.”

However, one key fact had the late night host in disbelief.

“Not only is he still the front-runner, according to a new Wall Street Journal poll, Trump leads Biden in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, all important states, which just gives me a headache,” Kimmel said. “How could this be?” 

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He joked Trump “doesn’t even lead in a poll of people who worked for him.”

On Tuesday, the WSJ released a poll showing that Trump leads Biden in 6 of 7 swing states.

WSJ explained that its polling “shows Trump holding leads of between 2 and 8 percentage points in six states—Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and North Carolina—on a test ballot that includes third-party and independent candidates” and that “Trump holds similar leads when voters are asked to choose only between him and Biden.”

Wisconsin was described as the “outlier,” where Biden reportedly leads by 3 points on the multiple-candidate ballot. However, “the two candidates are tied in a head-to-head matchup.”

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The report also noted, “Both candidates carry a tarnished image into the race, but voters view Biden more unfavorably.” 

It elaborated, “Asked to choose which candidate has the better physical and mental fitness to handle the White House, 48% pick Trump and 28% say Biden. One result is that Biden is having a harder time holding together his 2020 coalition, with declining support among Black, Hispanic and young voters.”

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Woman turns to unique dating strategy after being fed up with looking for eligible man

A woman has decided to kick her dating efforts up a notch by making custom “stamps” to use to her advantage. 

Michelle Arshad, 24, is from Toronto — and is apparently fed up with dating and looking for an eligible man. 

Arshad said she works in finance and can tend to be introverted — but wanted to make more of an effort to find “Mr. Right,” she told SWNS, the British news service.

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She and a few friends came up with the idea of getting personalized stamps that say, “You’re cute, and I’m cute. You should hit me up if you’re single.” 

The idea is that when Arshad is out and about and sees someone she’s attracted to, she can go over to the person and stamp the individual’s hand — sort of like a pickup line but without speaking. 

“It’s easier than making eye contact [and] is a nice little icebreaker,” Arshad told SWNS.

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Arshad also included her Instagram handle so that the next day, the potential suitor could find her on social media, too. 

The personalized stamps cost roughly $20 and were ordered online — then Arshad and her friends put their idea to the test. 

Arshad recalled a time that she used the stamp on a guy while she was out.  

“We’d ask a guy, ‘Can you give us your hand?’ [and] they’d say, ‘What are you going to do to us?’ [and] we’d stamp him,” she recalled. 

The guys, she said, would typically clue in after the stamp was printed on their skin. 

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Although Arshad ended up meeting her boyfriend at the gym, she told SWNS that one of her friends did get a free drink out of the stamp saga. 

After sharing the idea on TikTok, which now has over 2.4 million views, Arshad received interesting responses from other users who questioned the backlash that might come about if the guy she’d chosen to stamp was in a relationship. 

Arshad’s response was simple: “If he doesn’t do anything, what’s the problem?”

The original idea for the stamps came when Arshad and her friends witnessed other young women giving out friendship bracelets with their phone numbers to men in public. 

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“It’s hard going up to someone [randomly and] it’s an easier way of talking to people and approaching people,” she told SWNS. 

Arshad noted that if she was single, she would 100% pull the stamp out again. 

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Fox News Digital reached Arshad for further comment about her story.

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Wife of rancher accused of killing illegal immigrant found dead on his property testifies

Arizona rancher George Alan Kelly’s wife was called to testify on behalf of the prosecution on Wednesday, as the high-stakes murder trial with broad implications about the borderlands continues. 

Wanda Kelly, who has been married to the defendant for nearly 54 years, told the Santa Cruz County courtroom that she had spotted two men armed with rifles and carrying backpacks walking near the couple’s home on their 170-acre cattle ranch near Keno Springs outside Nogales on Jan. 30, 2023. 

Describing how her husband had gone out onto their patio with a rifle while on the phone with the Border Patrol, the woman recalled hearing several shots outside and fearing the worst. 

“When the shots stop, I just stand there. I’m afraid to look,” Wanda said. “I walked to the left window. …  I looked and he wasn’t lying on the ground, so I said, ‘Thank you, Lord.’” 

ARIZONA RANCHER GEORGE ALAN KELLY TRIAL WITNESS ADMITS TO DRUG SMUGGLING

Prosecutors argued that Kelly shot and killed an “unarmed migrant” identified as Mexican national Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea, but the defense has challenged whether forensics evidence and the autopsy report can definitively support that Buitimea was even killed by Kelly’s gun. Testimony revealed that the deadly bullet was never recovered from the scene where Buitimea’s body was found. 

Kelly’s defense has maintained that he spotted what he categorized as drug smugglers trespassing near the home he shares with his elderly wife and fired warning shots into the air.

Law enforcement testified how Kelly himself pleaded for the Border Patrol to respond that day, and deputies did arrive at the scene, searched the area and left. Kelly again called their Border Patrol ranch liaison later that evening when he went to check on his horse and instead found Buitimea’s body on his property. 

The prosecution’s key witness, a Honduran man who claims to have been with Buitimea when he was shot, also admitted on the stand that he had carried drugs across the border in the past and had been deported several times before. The man said on the day of the shooting, though, he was not smuggling.

During the line of questioning by Santa Cruz County Chief Deputy Attorney Kimberly Hunley on Wednesday, Wanda described “normal things” she did that day, including cleaning up breakfast, putting dishes in the washer and doing laundry — hours before Buitimea’s body was found on their ranch.

Earlier that afternoon, as Wanda recalled, her husband came inside to eat his lunch at their kitchen counter when he suddenly exclaimed, “Be quiet,” and “I just heard a shot.” Wanda testified that she had then looked out their living room window and saw two men, dressed in camouflage, walking parallel to their residence and “what stood out is that they had big brown backpacks on them, and they were carrying rifles.” 

READ MORE OF FOX NEWS’ COVERAGE OF THE BORDER CRISIS

Hunley, using a marker board to jot down what Wanda had stated on the stand, asked, “You never saw them point a gun at anyone or anything to that nature, correct?” Wanda answered, “Correct.” 

Asked about how far the two men were from their home, Wanda admitted that she initially said “about the length of a football field” during her deposition but stated, “That’s incorrect, because I haven’t been on a football field in over 30 years.” After measuring the distance, she testified that she now knows that the two men had been only about 100 feet from their home when she saw them that day. 

Wanda said she used her iPhone to call U.S. Border Patrol Ranch Liaison Jeremy Morsell, who testified earlier in the trial last week that he had answered several calls for help from Kelly as the day progressed. 

“Alan said, ‘Call Border Patrol.’ So I had my phone in my hip pocket, I took it out, walked to the refrigerator where I have the Border Patrol’s number, dialed it in, started walking over to where Alan was, while the phone was dialing and ringing,” Wanda testified Wednesday about the initial call. 

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Wanda said she handed the phone to her husband inside near the patio door before he went outside carrying his rifle. She then said she stood in the living room, and although she could not see outside the windows from that vantage point, she heard gunshots that sounded “very close.”  

“Did you believe that was Alan’s gunshots?” Hunley asked. “Yes,” Wanda responded, explaining that maybe she had heard five or six loud shots ring out, though counting exactly “was not a priority.” 

“I just stood there frozen,” she said. “I assumed they were Alan shooting up in the air … because that’s what he does when he knows that there are trespassers close. He shoots up into the air as a warning, ‘You’re close enough, go home.’” 

Kelly’s case ignited a powder keg last year when the rancher was initially charged with first-degree premeditated murder and was held for weeks under a $1 million cash bond. 

GoFundMe booted a fundraiser for his bail, but the Christian crowd-sourcing alternative GiveSendGo picked up the campaign, allowing Kelly to be released from custody while awaiting trial after a judge converted the bond from cash to surety. The most serious charge against Kelly was later downgraded to second-degree murder. 

Earlier this year, Kelly rejected a deal offered by prosecutors that would have reduced the charge to one count of negligent homicide if he would agree to plead guilty. The defense has argued that the prosecution rushed to judgment in charging Kelly with first-degree murder without conducting a thorough investigation including forensics, ballistics, autopsy results, cellphone forensics, fingerprints and DNA. 

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Kelly’s defense attorney, Brenna Larkin, told the courtroom then, “Testimony is something that is bought and sold by drug traffickers the same way that drugs and people are bought and sold.” 

The jury trial in Santa Cruz County Superior Court began March 22 and is expected to last for up to a month until around April 19. Proceedings are happening four days a week, with Mondays off.

Hospital plans to scale back on child abuse reports, citing ‘structural racism’

A Boston, Massachusetts, hospital announced Tuesday that after finding Black mothers were more likely to be reported for child abuse and neglect if a toxicology report came back positive, it would be taking steps to reevaluate the process in order to avoid perpetuating “structural racism.” 

“Black pregnant people are more likely to be drug tested and to be reported to child welfare systems than white pregnant people,” said Mass General Brigham, a nonprofit health care system. 

“As a part of our United Against Racism effort to achieve health equity for patients and communities across our system, we… are addressing policies that may unwittingly perpetuate structural racism,” Mass General stated.

The announcement pertained to pregnant women who are using drugs, which may show up in fetal testing. 

Substance use disorder (SUD) is a condition with significant racial and ethnic inequities, especially in the context of pregnancy, when more punitive approaches to substance use disproportionately affect Black individuals,” the announcement said.

In order to alleviate the inequity, as the hospital sees it, Mass General will “update policies that automatically trigger mandatory filings with child welfare agencies when a pregnant individual is engaged in treatment for substance use disorder, absent any other concerns for potential abuse or neglect.”

The automatic trigger policy for drug-using mothers “disproportionately impact patients from historically marginalized populations,” the hospital stated. 

The new policy says reports “after delivery should be filed only if there is reasonable cause to believe that the infant is suffering or at imminent risk of suffering physical or emotional injury and that ‘substance exposure’ alone, including treatment with methadone or buprenorphine for opioid use disorder, does not require a report of abuse or neglect in the absence of protective concerns for the infant.”

“The updated policy reflects our focus on providing safe and equitable care for all patients. The process allowed us to turn our lens inward to understand our own contributions to stigma and inequity and strive to fix them,” said Allison Bryant, MD, MPH, the associate chief health equity officer at Mass General Brigham.

The hospital said its new policy is in line with medical recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which opposes drug testing of individuals or infants without consent and discourages “the separation of parents from their children solely based on substance use disorder, either suspected or confirmed.”

Another doctor at the institution said the new policies are based on “sound science.” 

“It takes a multi-pronged approach to eliminate racial inequities and drop barriers to treatment, and we will continue to enhance access through our comprehensive SUD programming throughout our organization,” said Dr. Sarah Wakeman, a senior medical director for Substance Use Disorder at Mass General Brigham.

“This policy reflects an emerging consensus, based on sound science, that is being embraced by our peer institutions and was developed in coordination with a wide range of partners,” Wakeman added.

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A spokesperson for the hospital told Fox News Digital, “Mass General Brigham bases its policies on the latest science and established medical practice. To be clear, our policy states that if there is reasonable cause to believe that an infant is suffering or at imminent risk of suffering physical or emotional injury, we will continue to report those cases as we always have.

“Our policy now requires written consent for toxicology testing of any expecting mother or infant in most cases. This change is aligned with the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) public policy statement here. A number of health care systems throughout the United States have already adopted this policy update to ensure that all families have access to safe, effective, evidence-based, and equitable care.”

TV star reveals horrible conditions that models face: ‘Sexual abuse was the goal’

Well before he found success as an actor on various TV shows and films, Alan Ritchson got his start in modeling, something he said left him with “scars” due to the “horrific environments” he faced. 

In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the “Reacher” star opened up about his experience working in an industry in which, he claimed, “sexual abuse was the goal,” and how it impacted his mental health moving forward. 

“There are very few redeeming qualities to working in [the modeling] industry. Let’s be honest, it’s like legalized sex trafficking,” said Ritchson, who modeled for Abercrombie & Fitch and various catalog projects. “The industry is not regulated, and it’s a widely known secret that if you’re hired on a job, you’re basically being passed off to a photographer to be trafficked. The number of times and situations where I was put in horrific environments where sexual abuse was the goal, and the paycheck that you were desperate for in order to survive was the carrot, I can’t count on two hands. It was quite often.”

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While the “Blue Mountain State” alum said he often found himself in uncomfortable positions, he acknowledged that it was even worse for women.

“You’re always dancing around this very terrible line of, ‘How do I keep the job and not completely offend this photographer or this agent or whoever set this thing up, and how do I not get raped?’” he said. “I completely empathize with women who deal with dynamic power struggles with predatory people in the workplace. It’s still unfair, but if I really had to, I could get myself out of whatever room I was in through a physical altercation. Most women don’t have that option. Imagine how terrifying it must be.”

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After Ritchson was allegedly sexually assaulted by a “very famous photographer,” he abruptly quit modeling and never returned. 

“I was sent into a hotel room to do nudes with the promise that if I did the shoot, he would offer me a very lucrative campaign for a magazine and a clothing line. I was sexually assaulted by this guy,” he claimed. “I left and drove straight to the agency that I was at in L.A. I stormed in and said, ‘F— you for sending me there. You knew what was going to happen, and you did it anyway.’ There was a coy smile [on this agent’s face], knowing he got caught. ‘It’s OK,’ he said. ‘Not a big deal, calm down. I won’t send you back there. I know he’s a little aggressive.’”

He continued, “I said, ‘No! F— you!’ I told them to never call me again. I quit the industry and it was the last photo shoot I’ve ever had. Those pictures were never seen or published. That was it. I swore it off, and thank God, acting found me at the exact same time so I was able to make a switch to a new career, but it left some scars.”

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Years later, after establishing himself as a successful actor, Ritchson claimed he had found himself in a similar situation while sitting next to well-known industry photographer Mario Testino at the Atelier Versace runway presentation during Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture in January 2014. 

“He wouldn’t keep his hands off me,” Ritchson alleged. “The entire time we were sitting at dinner, he was trying to rub my crotch under the table. I was like, ‘Get your hands off me, dude. I lived that life with people like you where you feel like you can just have anybody. I’m not an object to you. I’m way past that now, dude.’ But he was entertained by it. He thought it was the funniest thing.”

He continued, “I’m trying to enjoy conversations with the playmakers in the industry, and the whole time, he wouldn’t leave me alone. I ended up leaving early, but he called my hotel room later that night and begged me to come over. He said, ‘I’ve never googled someone right after meeting them. What have you done to me? My car is out front.’ Then he said he loved manly men ‘because they kick harder.’ He was disappointed that I wouldn’t come to his place.”

Ritchson claimed that Testino had offered him a cover of Vogue if he would sleep with him that night.

“I was like, ‘I don’t give a s— about the cover of Vogue. I don’t give a s— about whatever opportunity you want to dangle in front of me,'” he added. 

Testino did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment. 

Ritchson said his past eventually put him in a dark place, causing him to attempt suicide in 2019. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder shortly thereafter.

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“I came out of that whole thing asking myself, ‘OK, if I am going to choose to be alive here – a decision we all make, some to a greater degree than others – what am I doing? Why am I here?’ What I kept falling back on was the meaning and purpose of life as someone who believes that there is a creator, and we are created beings, our purpose in life is, without qualification, to make the world a better place and serve others,” he said. “That is what life is all about.”

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Effort to restrict transgender players in women’s sports blocked by federal judge

A request by New York’s Nassau County to prevent women’s and girls’ teams with transgender players from using county-run parks and sports facilities without legal consequences was denied by a federal judge on Thursday, per Reuters. 

Judge Nusrat Choudhury said Thursday that the Constitution’s 11th Amendment prevents a local government from suing a state government in federal courts. Choudhury also ruled that the county has no legal standing. 

“There are no facts in the record showing that any specific cisgender woman or girl in Nassau County will face imminent injury in an athletic event involving a transgender woman or girl on Nassau County Parks property if the Executive Order is invalidated,” Choudhury wrote, per Reuters. 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPORTS COVERAGE ON FOXNEWS.COM

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman issued the executive order, which would’ve denied permits to the county-run parks and sports facilities if the girls’ and women’s sports teams couldn’t say all members on the teams were biological females. 

Blakeman’s reasoning for the executive order stems from his effort to ensure female athletes can compete in their respective sports fairly. Blakeman held a news conference with Caitlyn Jenner, the Olympic gold medalist for the men’s decathlon in 1976 prior to a gender transition, who endorsed the ban.

The order wouldn’t have affected men’s or mixed teams.

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It received immediate backlash, including from Democrat state Attorney General Letitia James, who called for Nassau County to rescind it. She sent a letter to Blakeman, calling the order “transphobic and blatantly illegal” under New York’s human rights laws. 

Blakeman proceeded to sue James in U.S. District Court on Long Island, arguing that New York’s anti-discrimination laws violate the U.S. Constitution. Blakeman asked the judge to order James not to pursue legal action against the county.

Meanwhile, a Long Island roller derby league – the Long Island Roller Rebels – sued Blakeman over the executive order. 

The league was preparing for its upcoming season but didn’t expect to get a permit to use the roller rink that is run by the county because it allows anyone who identifies as a woman, and one transgender player is already on a roster. 

The league’s lawsuit was being backed by the New York Civil Liberties Union. 

“The whole point of derby has been to be this thing where people feel welcome,” league vice president Amanda Urena, who competes as “Curly Fry” and identifies as queer, said at a recent practice at United Skates of America in Seaford, per the Associated Press. “We want trans women to know that we want you to come play with us, and we’ll do our very best to keep fighting and making sure that this is a safe space for you to play.”

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Choudhury noted that she would rule in favor of James’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit entirely later in April.

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Woman in disbelief after scanning price tag of fruit and vegetable platter

A woman was shocked to find vegetable and fruit platters at the local grocery store with hefty price tags. 

Nikita Cekay was shopping at a supermarket in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, when she came across a pre-cut vegetable platter. 

The “celebration vegetable tray included tomatoes, cucumber, celery, carrots and cauliflower pieces and had a $45 CAD – or roughly $33 in U.S. dollars – price tag.

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The fruit platter contained pre-cut strawberries, pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew — and was priced at about the same.

The 24-year-old art director took to TikTok to share her disbelief.

The video, which currently has some 900,000 views on the social media platform, shows Cekay expressing her shock at the expensive platter. 

FOOD INSECURITY ON THE RISE AS COST OF LIVING PINCHES WALLETS

“Am I crazy to think that this is literally so expensive?” she questions in the video. 

Cekay told SWNS that she understands pre-packaged and pre-cut veggie and fruit platters are priced higher due to the manual labor involved before putting them out on the shelf. 

ARE HIGHER FOOD COSTS CHANGING OUR EATING HABITS?

“I get with these kind[s] of things, they are paying a prep employee to package these, so there should be an upcharge,” she noted. 

“I need to know WHO IS BUYING THIS??” 

She added, “I‘ve always known grocery stores will sell prepared food at a higher price tag, but it just wasn’t even close to being on the higher end of pricey-but-still-doable.” 

The Canadian said that she’d noticed a gradual price increase, but told SWNS that it’s a “whole political conversation to be had that I won’t get into.”

The video on TikTok has over 5,000 comments, with others saying they’re also confused by the high price. 

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One user wrote, “I need to know WHO IS BUYING THIS??” 

Another commented, “That has to be a misprint.”

Cekay said she hopes the employees at the grocery store are being compensated well — “because they deserve it.”

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FOX Business reached out to Cekay for further comment.

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Dozens of skydivers will enjoy the solar eclipse by taking a plunge during totality

A group of 30 skydivers are coming together to get the best possible view of the solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 — literally in the sky.

Jason Berger, co-owner of Skydive the Falls located nine miles north of Niagara Falls in Youngstown, New York, decided to take on this celestial-sized challenge after one of his friends, Stephen Hatz, did an eclipse jump in Oregon several years ago and then wanted to do it again for the next eclipse, Berger told Fox News Digital.

When Berger realized this year’s April 8th eclipse would be reaching totality directly over his skydiving center, he started to come up with ways to make this dream a reality.

SOLAR ECLIPSE 2024: WHERE AND HOW TO VIEW THE RARE ORBIT HITTING THE US

About nine months ago, the co-founder and his team started to plan out their solar eclipse event that would literally reach new heights.

“Nature’s giving us the special event, which is the eclipse … How do we go ahead and make it extreme and make it one step better than the rest? Make it a little bit cooler?” Berger told Fox Television stations.

There will be three airplanes and only a select few skydivers — traveling from all over the U.S., including Texas and even California to be there — joining in on the celestial jump on April 8, he shared.

For the skydivers, it’s all about the timing of the jump — and it has to be perfect, they said.

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“We’re going to jump one minute prior to totality, so we can enjoy totality in full under our parachutes,” Berger said.

To avoid any congestion in the sky, the planes will be arranged so that they’re not on top of each other.  

The skydivers will freefall while wearing their eclipse glasses.

“We also have different sized parachutes that will open at different altitudes as well, to keep the separation for safety as well,” he continued.

SOLAR ECLIPSE 2024: FORMER NASA ASTRONAUT SHARES WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE FROM SPACE, HOW TO SAFELY VIEW IT YOURSELF

The skydivers will then freefall while wearing their eclipse glasses. After that, they will deploy their parachutes and land on the ground, Fox 35 reported.  

“We will have our glasses on us, so when the parachute opens, it’s much quieter, it’s much safer.”

Tickets for the epic plunge went live in January — and sold out in seven minutes.

Most lucky individuals who grabbed a spot are licensed skydivers who have done thousands of jumps.

“We did open up a few select, first-timer slots and those first timers will be in tandem with — for example, one of them will be with me, as well as a couple of our other 10 instructors who are highly, highly skilled,” Berger noted.

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“This is something that we do every day, and it’ll be really great to share it with somebody for the first time as well.”

Those taking part in the jump won’t forget a solar eclipse viewing party like this — thousands of feet up in the air.

Berger has had his fair share of skydiving stories, he said, but this will be a new experience even for him.

“There’s not much left in the skydiving world that I have not done, and this is one of them,” he said. 

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“For me, it keeps everything exciting and keeps everything alive … So for me, it’s just another check-off of the logbook.”

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