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FNN Good News and Reviews: ICON Park’s Latest Häagen-Dazs® Shop Offers Irresistible City Sweets Collection

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Sofia, the senior staff member at the new Häagen-Dazs® shop at ICON Park on International Drive in Orlando, holds a platter of sweet and savory ice cream and sorbet offerings: a bowl of the new black and white cookie, one of the two new options in the City Sweets Collection, the peanut butter pretzel milkshake, the second City Sweets Collection option, as well as a mango sorbet bowl, a strawberry sorbet bowl, and a banana split. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Dining at ICON Park on International Drive has gotten sweeter in the last two months, thanks to the opening of a second Häagen-Dazs® shop, located right under the big wheel, nestled between Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips, the Orlando Sea Aquarium, and Ole Red. It’s so new, it’s not even on Google Maps yet!

Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

Thanks to its location in the heart of ICON Park, the still-new shop has enjoyed a positive response from tourists in the area. “It’s been great,” said store manager Art Nitikin of the customer traffic they’ve seen so far. “We opened close to the end of Spring Break [in April], so we caught that crowd, and now with summer coming, we hope to have even more people here.”

An eager customer comes in for a milkshake just minutes after the Häagen-Dazs® shop opens at 12pm. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

An eager customer comes in for a milkshake just minutes after the Häagen-Dazs® shop opens at 12pm. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

Haagen-Dazs manager Art Nitikin (center) and the shop staff prep an exquisite banana split for a customer. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

Haagen-Dazs manager Art Nitikin (center) and the shop staff prep a banana split for a customer. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

 

The New City Sweets Collection

Well, if Florida’s already 90-plus degree temperatures don’t bring the masses in for the summer, Häagen-Dazs’® latest sweet treats will. Their new City Sweets Collection introduces two fun and insanely flavorful combinations: the black and white cookie dazzler, a treat so packed you’ll likely end up sharing it with someone, and the chocolate peanut butter pretzel milkshake, a cool and addictive take on the tried and true sweet-salty combination.

FNN Good News & Reviews co-host Kathleen Michelle tries the chocolate peanut butter pretzel milkshake. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

FNN Good News & Reviews co-host Kathleen Michelle tries the chocolate peanut butter pretzel milkshake. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

In fact, the milkshake’s so yummy, it won Nitikin over. “My favorite flavor was always the cookies and cream, but I really like the chocolate peanut butter pretzel milkshake,” he confessed on the show. “But that’s ’cause I love peanut butter.”

FNN Good News & Reviews co-host Mellissa Thomas tries the piled-high black and white cookie dazzler. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

FNN Good News & Reviews co-host Mellissa Thomas tries the piled-high black and white cookie dazzler. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

The black and white cookie dazzler comes packed high in a cup with caramel, cookie chunks, ice cream, whipped cream, and two Lorna Doone shortbread cookies standing in the whipped cream for good measure. The best way to eat it is in a bowl, so that you can see and easily get to all of the layers and ingredients.

 

Non-Dairy? They’ve Got You Covered.

While the new location has 30 ice cream flavors to offer, they also have four exquisite fruit sorbet flavors for non-dairy customers to choose from: lemonade, strawberry, raspberry, and mango.

FNN Good News & Reviews co-host Kathleen Michelle tries the strawberry sorbet. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

FNN Good News & Reviews co-host Kathleen Michelle tries the strawberry sorbet. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

The sorbets offer immediate refreshment for heat-worn visitors and excited kids, flooding the tastebuds with frozen fresh fruit puree, not just pounds of fruit-flavored syrup.

The mango sorbet, like its strawberry counterpart, packs on the flavor of true mango puree. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

The mango sorbet, like its strawberry counterpart, packs on the flavor of true mango puree. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

 

Whether you’re a local bringing the kids to ICON Park for fun during summer break or a visitor to beautiful Orlando, stop in to the new Häagen-Dazs® and try their new (or tried and true) treats.

Sofia, the senior staff member at the new Häagen-Dazs® shop at ICON Park on International Drive in Orlando, holds a platter of sweet and savory ice cream and sorbet offerings: a bowl of the new black and white cookie, one of the two new options in the City Sweets Collection, the peanut butter pretzel milkshake, the second City Sweets Collection option, as well as a mango sorbet bowl, a strawberry sorbet bowl, and a banana split. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

Sofia, the senior staff member at the new Häagen-Dazs® shop at ICON Park on International Drive in Orlando, holds a platter of sweet and savory ice cream and sorbet offerings: a bowl of the new black and white cookie, one of the two new options in the City Sweets Collection, the peanut butter pretzel milkshake, the second City Sweets Collection option, as well as a mango sorbet bowl, a strawberry sorbet bowl, and a banana split. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

We give the new Häagen-Dazs® at ICON Park a 4.5 out of 5 for tastiness, cleanliness, and positive and helpful staff.

Watch the full interview above and new episodes of FNN Good News & Reviews every Thursday at 12pm ET on Facebook and YouTube @FNN News TV.

_________________________________________________________

Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | mellissa.thomas@floridanationalnews.com

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Secret Service Recovers $286M in Stolen Pandemic Loans

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FILE - Attorney General Merrick Garland, looks at federal prosecutor Kevin Chambers, right, after appointing him to be the Justice Department's chief pandemic fraud prosecutor, during a meeting of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Fraud Enforcement Task Force at the Justice Department, March 10, 2022 in Washington. The U.S. Secret Service recovered $286 million in fraudulently obtained pandemic funds to the Small Business Administration, Friday, Aug. 26. (Kevin Lamarque/Pool Photo via AP, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Secret Service said Friday that it has recovered $286 million in fraudulently obtained pandemic loans and is returning the money to the Small Business Administration.

The Secret Service said an investigation initiated by its Orlando office found that alleged conspirators submitted Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications by using fake or stolen employment and personal information and used an online bank, Green Dot, to conceal and move their criminal proceeds.

The agency worked with Green Dot to identify roughly 15,000 accounts and seize $286 million connected to the accounts.

“This forfeiture effort and those to come are a direct and necessary response to the unprecedented size and scope of pandemic relief fraud,” said Kevin Chambers, director for COVID-19 fraud enforcement at the Justice Department.

Billions have been fraudulently claimed through various pandemic relief programs — including Paycheck Protection Program loans, unemployment insurance and others that were rolled out in the midst of the worldwide pandemic that shutdown global economies for months.

In March, the Government Accountability Office reported that while agencies were able to distribute COVID-19 relief funds quickly, “the tradeoff was that they did not have systems in place to prevent and identify payment errors and fraud” due in part to “financial management weaknesses.”

As a result, the GAO has recommended several measures for agencies to prevent pandemic program fraud in the future, including better reporting on their fraud risk management efforts.

Since 2020, the Secret Service initiated more than 3,850 pandemic related fraud investigations, seized over $1.4 billion in fraudulently obtained funds and helped to return $2.3 billion to state unemployment insurance programs.

The latest seizure included a collaboration of efforts between Secret Service, the SBA’s Inspector General, DOJ and other offices.

Hannibal “Mike” Ware, the Small Business Administration’s inspector general, said the joint investigations will continue “to ensure that taxpayer dollars obtained through fraudulent means will be returned to taxpayers and fraudsters involved face justice.”

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Addition Financial, UCF Extend Naming Rights Agreement for Arena

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Addition Financial Arena on UCF's main campus. Photo via Trip Advisor.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – UCF has extended its naming rights partnership with Addition Financial Credit Union for an additional dozen years—in the process continuing to identify Addition Financial Arena on the UCF campus as the Knights’ home for men’s and women’s basketball games and a variety of other events.

 

The new agreement is a 12-year, $20 million partnership that follows up the original naming rights pact signed by UCF and Additional Financial in 2013. The new deal takes effect Jan. 1, 2023.

 

The UCF Board of Trustees approved the name at its meeting this morning, and the full deal is expected to be approved Aug. 25 by the UCF Athletics Association.

 

“We’ve had a partnership with Addition Financial for nearly a decade, and we’re excited that Kevin Miller and the Addition Financial Board have agreed to extend our relationship for an additional 12 years,” says UCF vice president and athletics director Terry Mohajir. “This is a great new venture with outstanding community partners.

 

“Resources will be paramount as we transition into the Big 12 Conference a year from now, and Addition Financial will play a key role for us as we invest more resources to enhance our education and athletics missions!”

In 2013, Addition Financial was named the Official Financial Institution of the UCF Knights and is the exclusive credit union for UCF Athletics. Since that time, Addition Financial has partnered with UCF Athletics to provide scholarships, financial education workshops and other sponsorship support. Addition Financial is also the home of the official UCF Knights debit cards, with designs featuring the new Knight head and the Citronaut.

 

“Addition Financial is proud to continue our longstanding partnership with UCF Athletics and to align with Orlando’s hometown teams. Knight Nation has truly inspired us along their journey to the Big 12, and we look forward to embarking on that journey alongside them as we extend our partnership,” said Kevin Miller, Addition Financial president and CEO.

The 10,000-seat Addition Financial Arena has been home to the UCF men’s and women’s basketball programs since the start of their 2007-08 seasons. Located in the heart of Knights Plaza on the north side of campus, the state-of-the-art facility opened in the fall of 2007 and also hosts premiere concerts along with UCF commencement ceremonies.

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JetBlue Agrees to Buy Spirit for $3.8 Billion

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FILE - A Spirit Airlines jet approaches Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, Pa., on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. Spirit announced on Thursday, July 7, 2022, that it would again postpone a vote on the proposed merger with Frontier, a sign that it lacks shareholder support for the merger in the face of a rival bid by JetBlue Airways. Spirit delayed the vote by a week, until July 15. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

NEW YORK, N.Y. (AP) — JetBlue has agreed to buy Spirit Airlines for $3.8 billion in a deal that would create the nation’s fifth largest airline if approved by U.S. regulators.

The agreement Thursday comes a day after Spirit’s attempt to merge with Frontier Airlines fell apart. Spirit had recommended its shareholders approve a lower offer from Frontier, saying that antitrust regulators are more likely to reject the bid from JetBlue.

“This combination is an exciting opportunity to diversify and expand our network, add jobs and new possibilities for crewmembers, and expand our platform for profitable growth.” JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said in a statement.

The combined airline, which will be based in New York and led by Hayes, would have a fleet of 458 aircraft. The airlines will continue to operate independently until after the transaction closes.

JetBlue said Thursday that it would pay $33.50 per share in cash for Spirit, including a prepayment of $2.50 per share in cash payable once Spirit stockholders approve the transaction. There’s also a ticking fee of 10 cents per month starting in January 2023 through closing.

If the transaction is completed before December 2023, the deal will be for $33.50 per share, increasing over time to up to $34.15 per share, in the event the transaction closes at the outside date in July 2024.

If the deal doesn’t close due to antitrust reasons, JetBlue will pay Spirit a reverse break-up fee of $70 million and stockholders of Spirit a reverse break-up fee of $400 million less any amounts paid to stockholders of Spirit prior to termination.

News of the JetBlue and Spirit combination comes after weeks of Frontier and JetBlue tussling over who would ultimately get to add the budget airline to its arsenal. While Spirit initially struck a deal with Frontier and had stood by that proposed agreement, its shareholders were not on board. The decision by Spirit and Frontier to terminate their deal was announced Wednesday while Spirit shareholders were still voting on the proposal. It was apparent that despite the support of Spirit’s board, shareholders were prepared to reject the deal and seek a richer one from JetBlue.

JetBlue anticipates $600 million to $700 million in annual savings once the transaction is complete. Annual revenue for the combined company is anticipated to be about $11.9 billion, based on 2019 revenues.

JetBlue and Spirit will continue to operate independently until after the transaction closes. Their respective loyalty programs remain unchanged and customer accounts will not be affected in any way.

The deal still needs the required regulatory approvals and approval from Spirit’s stockholders. The companies expect to conclude the regulatory process and close the transaction no later than the first half of 2024.

Spirit’s stock rose more than 4% before the market open, while shares of JetBlue were up slightly.

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