Recent research has tried to understand the role abortion access plays in women’s employment. Most notable is the Turnaway Study, conducted at the University of California, San Francisco. Researchers followed two groups of women — a group that wanted and got abortions, and another that wanted abortions and were unable to obtain them — for five years and found that those unable to get abortions had worse economic outcomes. Almost two-thirds of those who did not have an abortion they had sought out were living in poverty six months later, compared with 45 percent of those who got the procedure.

patchwork of state laws on abortion access, with 13 states set to ban abortion immediately or very quickly after the court’s ruling. There is likely a correlation between the regions of the country where it is most difficult to get an abortion, and those with the fewest child care and parental leave options, according to an analysis of research findings from the financial site WalletHub.

For older women who felt they were able to attain financial stability because of the decision to have an abortion, there is resonance in sharing their stories with the younger women they meet at clinics today.

“The older folks I work with can remember that dread of, ‘My God, what if it happens to me?’” said Ms. Deiermann, who spent most of her career working in reproductive health advocacy.

Many clinic volunteers, like Ms. Deiermann, remember when their classmates and friends got illegal abortions. Telling those stories feels more urgent than ever.

Karen Kelley, 67, a retired labor and delivery nurse in Idaho, who volunteers at an abortion clinic there, spent her childhood aligned with her Roman Catholic family’s anti-abortion views. Then she found herself pregnant in her early 20s, without an income to support a baby. Realizing that motherhood could “derail all her hopes,” she chose to terminate that pregnancy, about six years after Roe.

That’s a memory Ms. Kelley conveys to the women she escorts to the clinic’s steps. “If I’m asked, I’m always honest that I understand how they’re feeling because I had an abortion and they have every right to make the decision,” she said.

And some older women said that the position they’re in now — retired, with savings and stability — is something they trace back to Roe.

“It gave us a chance to decide to marry and have a family later,” said Eileen Ehlers, 74, a retired high school English teacher and a mother.

What Roe gave her, she said, is something she can now pour back into volunteering: “We have time.”

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Independence Realty Trust Announces First Quarter 2022 Dividend

PHILADELPHIA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Independence Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: IRT) (“IRT”) announced that today IRT’s board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.12 per share of IRT common stock, payable on April 22, 2022 to stockholders of record at the close of business on April 1, 2022.

Upon the completion of our merger with STAR, we are in a unique position of strength,” said Scott Schaeffer, Chairman and CEO of IRT. “We plan to invest our excess cash flow into several investment opportunities that will deliver strong returns, namely our value add renovations and development projects. The Board will continue to evaluate IRT’s capital allocation strategy to ensure it is maximizing value for our shareholders.”

About Independence Realty Trust, Inc.

Independence Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: IRT) is a real estate investment trust that owns and operates multifamily apartment properties in 119 communities, across non-gateway U.S. markets including Atlanta, GA, Dallas, TX, Denver, CO, Columbus, OH, Indianapolis, IN, Oklahoma City, OK, Raleigh-Durham, NC, Houston, TX, Nashville, TN, and Memphis, TN. IRT’s investment strategy is focused on gaining scale within key amenity rich submarkets that offer good school districts, high-quality retail and major employment centers. IRT aims to provide stockholders attractive risk-adjusted returns through diligent portfolio management, strong operational performance, and a consistent return on capital through distributions and capital appreciation. More information may be found on the Company’s website www.irtliving.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Such forward-looking statements can generally be identified by our use of forward-looking terminology such as “will,” “strategy,” “expects,” “seeks,” “believes,” “potential,” or other similar words. These forward-looking statements include, without limitation, our expectations as to the timing and amount of future dividends and anticipated benefits of our merger transaction with STAR. Such forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties, estimates and assumptions and our actual results may differ materially from the expectations, intentions, beliefs, plans or predictions of the future expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of our management and are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are difficult to predict and not within our control. In addition, these forward-looking statements are subject to assumptions with respect to future business strategies and decisions that are subject to change. Risks and uncertainties that might cause our future actual results and/or future dividends to differ materially from those expressed or implied by forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: risks related to the impact of COVID-19 and other potential future outbreaks of infectious diseases on our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and performance and those of our residents as well as on the economy and real estate and financial markets; changes in market demand for rental apartment homes and pricing pressures, including from competitors, that could limit our ability to lease units or increase rents or that could lead to declines in occupancy and rent levels; uncertainty and volatility in capital and credit markets, including changes that reduce availability, and increase costs, of capital; inability of tenants to meet their rent and other lease obligations and charge-offs in excess of our allowance for bad debt; legislative restrictions that may delay or limit collections of past due rents; risks endemic to real estate and the real estate industry generally; impairment charges; the effects of natural and other disasters; delays in completing, and cost overruns incurred in connection with, our value add initiatives and failure to achieve projected rent increases and occupancy levels on account of the initiatives; the structure, timing and completion of our merger transaction with STAR and any effects of the announcement, completion of the merger, including failure to realize the cost savings, synergies and other benefits expected to result from the merger; the ability to successfully integrate the IRT and STAR businesses; the occurrence of any event, change or other circumstances that could give rise to the termination of the merger agreement, including failure to receive required stockholder approvals; the risk that the parties may not be able to satisfy the conditions to the merger in a timely manner or at all; risks related to disruption of management time from ongoing business operations due to the announced merger transaction; the risk that the merger and its announcement could have an adverse effect on our ability to retain and hire key personnel and maintain relationships with our customers and suppliers, and on our operating results and businesses generally; unexpected costs of REIT qualification compliance; unexpected changes in our intention or ability to repay certain debt prior to maturity; inability to sell certain assets within the time frames or at the pricing levels expected; costs and disruptions as the result of a cybersecurity incident or other technology disruption; and share price fluctuations. Please refer to the documents filed by us with the SEC, including specifically the “Risk Factors” sections of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021 and our other filings with the SEC, which identify additional factors that could cause actual results to differ from those contained in forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as may be required by law. In addition, the declaration of dividends on our common stock is subject to the discretion of our Board of Directors and depends upon a broad range of factors, including our results of operations, financial condition, capital requirements, the annual distribution requirements under the REIT provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, applicable legal requirements and such other factors as our Board of Directors may from time to time deem relevant. For these reasons, as well as others, there can be no assurance that dividends in the future will be equal or similar to the amount of the dividend described in this press release.

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Patented Diamond-Shaped Asphalt Shingle from PABCO Roofing Products Perfect for Historic Homes

TACOMA, Wash.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The majestic designs of historic homes require roofing solutions that combine exceptional performance with an aesthetic that complements the overall look of the structure. To meet this unique need, PABCO® Roofing Products manufactures patented Cascade™ Signature Cut Shingles. This distinctive line of asphalt shingles features a diamond-shaped design that’s a perfect choice for historical homes.

Inspired by the slate shingles that crowned the roofs of many historic residences, the Cascade line is designed for roof renovation projects that honor the classic style of heritage buildings. The distinctive design of Cascade shingles features a unique diamond shape ideal for grand gables, dramatic steep pitches, tasteful dormers, and other architectural elements found in the roof designs of historic-style homes.

Patented Cascade shingles are the only diamond-shaped asphalt roofing product on the market. Cascade shingles are available from building-product retailers throughout the Western U.S., and in Oklahoma and Texas. Contractors and homeowners in other U.S. regions can contact PABCO Roofing Products at 1-800-426-9762.

“We believe every roof deserves a high-quality shingle that’s engineered to last and look great while protecting our homes,” said Gerry Kilian, Director, Sales and Marketing, PABCO Roofing Products. “We also recognize there are historic structures that simply must have a classic look for its roof to complement the overall design. This acute need led to our creation of the unique Cascade shingle.”

The diamond-shaped look of Cascade shingles is particularly suited for projects requiring precise lines and the addition of complementary visual elements to historic structures. With precision installation, these shingles result in a flowing effect from roof ridge to eave. Cascade shingles are available in four classic colors – Antique Black, Cambrian Slate, Oakwood, and Pewter Gray.

In addition to the Cascade line, PABCO Roofing Products manufactures an extensive family of asphalt shingles to meet the specific roofing requirements of homeowners in climates ranging from scorching and dry, to wet and rainy, to extremely windy. PABCO Roofing Products’ warranty policy leads the industry at 15 years non-prorated, a full five years longer than the industry standard. The company’s warranty is also transferable, providing ongoing protection to homeowners purchasing a house with a PABCO Roofing Products shingles that are less than 15 years old.

About PABCO Roofing Products

Since 1984, PABCO Roofing Products has been creating best-in-class roofing materials for its customers. The company stands apart by offering its clients a full range of premium products with the personalized service of a trusted local business. PABCO Roofing Products is a family-focused company that truly values its relationships and delivers a quality product and exceptional service each and every time. PABCO Roofing Products is a division of PABCO Building Products which services the building industry in the western United States and Canada. For more information, please visit www.pabcoroofing.com, Facebook, Houzz, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube.

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Inflation Hits the Fast Food Counter

On a chilly Tuesday afternoon this month, James Marsh stopped by a Chipotle near his suburban Chicago home to grab something to eat.

It had been a while since Mr. Marsh had been to Chipotle — he estimated he goes five times a year — and he stopped cold when he saw the prices.

“I had been getting my usual, a steak burrito, which had been maybe in the mid-$8 range,” said Mr. Marsh, who trades stock options at his home in Hinsdale, Ill. “Now it was more than $9.”

He walked out.

“I figured I’d find something at home,” he said.

The pandemic has led to price spikes in everything from pizza slices in Manhattan to sides of beef in Colorado. And it has led to more expensive items on the menus at fast-food chains, traditionally establishments where people are used to grabbing a quick bite that doesn’t hurt their wallet.

government data. And, in some cases, portions have shrunk.

“In recent years, most fast-food restaurants had, maybe, raised prices in the low single digits each year,” said Matthew Goodman, an analyst at M Science, an alternative data research and analytics firm. “What we’ve seen over the last six-plus months are restaurants being aggressive in pushing through prices.”

This comes at a time when the hypercompetitive fast-food market is booming.

Chains like McDonald’s, Chipotle and Wingstop were big winners of the pandemic as consumers, stuck at home working and tired of cooking multiple meals for their families, increasingly turned to them for convenient solutions. But in the past year, as the cost of ingredients rose and the average hourly wage increased 16 percent to $16.10 in November from a year earlier, according to government data, restaurants began to quietly bump up prices.

But making customers pay more for a burger or a burrito is a tricky art. For many restaurants, it involves complex algorithms and test markets. They need to walk a fine line between raising prices enough to cover expenses while not scaring away customers. Moreover, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Chains that are operated by franchisees typically allow individual owners to decide pricing. And national chains, like Chipotle and Shake Shack, charge different prices in various parts of the country.

When Carrols Restaurant Group, which operates more than 1,000 Burger Kings, raised prices in the second half of last year, the number of customers actually improved from the third to the fourth quarter. “Over time, we generally have not seen a whole lot of pushback from consumers” on the higher prices, Carrols’ chief executive, Daniel T. Accordino, told analysts at a conference in early January.

Menu prices are likely to continue to climb this year. Many restaurants say they are still paying higher wages to attract employees and expect food prices to rise.

“We expect unprecedented increases in our food basket costs versus 2021,” Ritch Allison, the chief executive of Domino’s Pizza, told Wall Street analysts at a conference this month. While Domino’s hasn’t raised prices, it is altering its promotions — offering the $7.99 pizza deal only to customers ordering online and shrinking the number of chicken wings in certain promotions to eight from 10 — in an effort to maintain profit margins.

Despite the higher food and labor costs, some restaurants are seeing sales and profits rebound past prepandemic levels.

When McDonald’s reports earnings this month, Wall Street analysts expect that its revenues will have hit a five-year high of more than $23 billion, a $2 billion increase from 2019. Net income is predicted to top $7 billion, up from $6 billion in 2019. Other chains like Cracker Barrel and Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse, have resumed dividend payments or cash buybacks of stock after suspending those activities early in the pandemic to conserve cash.

And next month, when Chipotle reports results for 2021, analysts expect revenues to top $7.5 billion, a 34 percent jump from 2019. Net income is expected to almost double from prepandemic levels. In the third quarter, the company repurchased nearly $100 million of its stock. Chipotle declined to make an executive available for an interview, citing the quiet period ahead of its earnings release.

While Chipotle executives blamed higher labor costs for a 4 percent price increase in menu items this summer, the company has been looking for ways to boost its profitability.

One way was to charge higher prices for delivery. Delivery orders through vendors like DoorDash and Uber Eats exploded for Chipotle and other fast-food chains during the pandemic. But so did the commission fees that Chipotle paid the vendors. So in the fall of 2020, it began running tests to see what would happen if it raised the prices of burritos and guacamole and chips that customers ordered for delivery, executives told Wall Street analysts in an earnings call. It essentially meant the customer covered Chipotle’s side of the delivery costs.

The company discovered customers were willing to pay for the convenience of delivery. Now, customers ordering Chipotle for delivery pay about 21 percent more than if they had ordered and picked the food up in the stores, according to an analysis by Jeff Farmer, an analyst at Gordon Haskett Research Advisors.

“I would say that our ultimate goal, so this would be over the long term, maybe the medium term, is to fully protect our margins,” said Jack Hartung, the chief financial officer of Chipotle, on a call with Wall Street analysts last fall. “When you look at our pricing versus other restaurant companies’ for the quality of the food, the quantity of the food, and the quality and convenience of the experience, we offer great value. So we believe we have room to fully protect the margin.”

That doesn’t mean customers are thrilled about the extra costs.

This month, Jacob Herlin, a data scientist in Lakewood, Colo., placed an order: a steak-and-guacamole burrito for $11.95, a Coca-Cola for $3, and chips and guacamole, which were free with a birthday coupon. The total was $14.95, before tax.

But when he clicked to have the food delivered, the price for the burrito jumped to $14.45 and the soda climbed to $3.65, bringing the total to $18.10 before tax, 21 percent more than if he had picked the food up himself.

There was more. Mr. Herlin was charged a delivery fee of $1 and another “service fee” of $2.32, bringing the total for the delivered meal to $23.20. He tipped the driver an additional $3.

Mr. Herlin said he did not mind paying for delivery and wanted drivers to be paid a decent wage. But he felt that Chipotle wasn’t being upfront with customers about the added costs.

“They’re basically hiding the fees two different ways, through that base price increase and through the hidden ‘service fee,’” Mr. Herlin said in an email. “I would very much prefer if they had the same pricing and were just honest about a $5 delivery fee.”

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Gateway Ends 2021 With Continued Growth in Mortgage Operations

TULSA, Okla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Gateway Mortgage, a division of Gateway First Bank, ended 2021 with impressive growth. The company funded approximately $10.1 billion in residential mortgage loans, assisting nearly 45,000 families with their home financing needs.

In addition to high loan production, Gateway grew the reach of its mortgage operations across the United States to meet increased demand from local communities for home financing. Gateway opened 15 new mortgage centers in 2021 across 13 different states, bringing the total number of locations to 171. New mortgage centers include:

 
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Casper, WY
  • Celina, TX
  • Colorado Springs, CO
  • Eagle, ID
  • Fishers, IN
  • Lewisburg, WV
  • Longmont, CO
  • Pierre, SD
  • Portland, OR
  • Sheridan, WY
  • Spokane, WA
  • St. George, UT
  • Tucson, AZ
 

Gateway plans to open additional mortgage and banking centers in 2022.

“Through all the growth and transition of the past few years, the Gateway team remains committed to the mission of strengthening families and communities,” said Scott Gesell, CEO of Gateway. “By putting people first, Gateway’s culture is strong and will be the driving force behind future success.”

“I am extremely proud of how the team repeatedly demonstrates a strong dedication to excellence by closing loans on time,” said Steven Plaisance, President of Mortgage Banking. “This commitment to exceeding customer expectations means families can start living the American dream of homeownership in a quicker and less stressful environment.”

Gateway is one of the larger banks based in Oklahoma and one of the largest mortgage bank operations in the United States.

About Gateway First Bank

Gateway First Bank is a leading financial institution that provides banking and mortgage services for consumers and commercial customers. Headquartered in Jenks, Oklahoma, Gateway is a $1.9 billion asset sized bank with a strong mortgage operation. Gateway is one of the largest banking operations in Oklahoma and mortgage operations in the United States, with eight bank centers in Oklahoma, over 170 mortgage centers in 43 states, and over 1,600 employees. Learn more at www.GatewayFirst.com. Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender (NMLS 7233).

Follow Gateway First on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/GatewayFirstBank/)

Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/gatewayfirstbank/)

LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/gatewayfirst/)

Twitter (https://twitter.com/Gateway1st)

Follow Gateway Mortgage on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/GatewayMortgage/)

Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/gatewaymortgage/)

LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/gateway-mortgage-group/)

Twitter (https://twitter.com/gatewayloan)

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The End of a Return-to-Office Date

“We decided as a leadership team, ‘what was magical about these dates?’” Ms. Anas said. “It was extremely liberating saying, ‘We’re going to see how this nets out and we’re not solving for a date.’”

She is unsettled by the possibility that they will still be working from home in March, two years since they first packed up their desks. But with coronavirus infections spiking, Ms. Anas is relieved that the company doesn’t have to weigh the merits of an early 2022 return, leaving workers to wait worriedly for updates.

“If we had kicked the can to January, they’d be fixated on that,” she said. “We keep focused on the work. This is just a distraction.”

For many organizational leaders, addressing the anxieties of their work force has been the only constant in the R.T.O. process.

With the spread of Delta, Jessica Saranich, who runs U.S. operations at the productivity software company Monday.com, got a flurry of notes from colleagues: Will we really go back to the office in August? Last month brought the news of Omicron, with a fresh set of questions: What does this mean for the January off-site gathering, with its promise of free food, partying and a Miami D.J.? Ms. Saranich’s team has delayed its return to office date three times, which has left some employees pleading for more permanence in the company’s policies.

“Sometimes our team will say please just make a decision, pick something, make us come back to the office or make us be remote,” Ms. Saranich said. “But it’s not something that we want to rush. To be able to lean into the discomfort and say we don’t know is a great gift that we can give to our team.”

Still, plenty of organizations aiming for an early 2022 return haven’t budged.

Express Employment Professionals, a staffing provider in Oklahoma City, aims to bring half of its 300 workers back to their newly remodeled headquarters on Jan. 15. The company had originally reopened its office in July in a phased re-entry plan, which was temporarily scaled back in September. Keith McFall, chief operating officer, feels that clear R.T.O. dates serve as a force of stability for workers navigating months of tumult.

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Florida, in a First, to Fine Social Media Companies That Ban Candidates

WASHINGTON — Florida on Monday became the first state to regulate how companies like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter moderate speech online, by imposing fines on social media companies that permanently ban political candidates for statewide office.

The new law, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, is a direct response to Facebook and Twitter’s ban of former President Donald J. Trump in January. In addition to the fines for banning candidates, it also makes it illegal to prevent some news outlets from posting to their platforms in response to the contents of their stories.

Mr. DeSantis said that signing the bill meant that Floridians would be “guaranteed protection against the Silicon Valley elites.”

“If Big Tech censors enforce rules inconsistently, to discriminate in favor of the dominant Silicon Valley ideology, they will now be held accountable,” he said in a statement.

limiting the right to protest and providing immunity to drivers who strike protesters in public streets.

And the Republican push to make voting harder continues unabated after Mr. Trump’s relentless lying about the results of the 2020 election. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law new restrictions on voting, as did Mr. DeSantis in Florida, and Texas Republicans are poised to soon pass the nation’s biggest rollback of voting rights.

The party-wide, nationwide push stems from Mr. Trump’s repeated grievances. During his failed re-election campaign, Mr. Trump repeatedly pushed to repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides immunity to certain tech firms from liability for user-generated content, even as he used their platforms to spread misinformation. Twitter and Facebook eventually banned Mr. Trump after he inspired his supporters, using their platforms, to attack the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Republican lawmakers in Florida have echoed Mr. Trump’s rhetoric.

“I have had numerous constituents come to me saying that they were banned or de-platformed on social media sites,” said Representative Blaise Ingoglia during the debate over the bill.

But Democrats, libertarian groups and tech companies all say that the law violates the tech companies’ First Amendment rights to decide how to handle content on their own platforms. It also may prove impossible to bring complaints under the law because of Section 230, the legal protections for web platforms that Mr. Trump has attacked.

“It is the government telling private entities how to speak,” said Carl Szabo, the vice president at NetChoice, a trade association that includes Facebook, Google and Twitter as members. “In general, it’s a gross misreading of the First Amendment.” He said the First Amendment was designed to protect sites like Reddit from government intervention, not protect “politicians from Reddit.”

The Florida measure will likely be challenged in court, said Jeff Kosseff, a professor of cybersecurity law at the United States Naval Academy.

“I think this is the beginning of testing judges’ limits on these sorts of restrictions for social media,” he said.

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