National News

Streit's bakes last passover matzos in Manhattan

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-04-07 02:00

After nearly a century in New York's Lower East Side, Streit’s matzo factory plans to relocate this summer. The family-run business that holds almost 40 percent of the domestic matzo market is confident it’s a good business move and will allow the business to survive for generations to come.       

“Just being part of the neighborhood is amazing, and it’s fun, and it gives a little bit of a different feel to our plant. And it’s something I’ll miss emotionally. But, business wise, it’s just not the right way to do it,” says Aaron Gross, a fifth generation family member in the business. Gross and two cousins run the day-to-day operations at Streit’s. 

Gross runs the day to say operations of Streit's along with two cousins.

Caroline Losneck

Inside the Streit’s factory, you’re almost instantly struck — in both senses of the word — by baskets of matzo flying through the air as they move from the oven to the packing floor.

“We have two ovens on multiple floors," says Gross. "We bring the flour in the basement, we blow it up to the fifth floor, it goes down to the fourth and second floor to the mixing rooms, where it goes down to the third and first floor for the ovens. And then everything meets on the second floor to get packed. And then everything goes down the elevator to the shipping room to get shipped over to our warehouse.”

Matzo dough before it enters the oven. 

Caroline Losneck

Streit’s has been been cranking out 1800 pounds of the crispy cracker per hour in its Manhattan factory for 90 years. The plant was state of the art back in the 20's and 30's. But Gross says manufacturing in an antiquated factory is like trying to "fight with one hand tied behind your back."  

“We know how to work in four tenement buildings. We know how to load on the street. We know how to do all this stuff. But, the fact that our competitors don’t have to do it, puts us at...a disadvantage,” he says. 

Sales of Streit’s unleavened bread have been anything but flat. The company earns over $20 million annually. Rabbi Mayer Kirshner is the head supervising Rabbi at Streit's. He makes sure Streit’s production meets strict kosher standards. Even though it’s an emotional decision, he knows it’s time to move on. 

“We should have been out of this factory years ago, “ he says. 

Rabbi Mayer Kirshner, supervising the matzo dough before it goes into the oven.

Caroline Losneck

In the new factory, Aaron Gross says they will  be able to make about 3000 pounds of matzo an hour, almost double what they do now. And, they stand to make some money. Seven years ago, they nearly sold the property for $25 million. 

What would Streit’s founder, Aaron Gross’s great-great-grandfather Aron Streit, say about the move? 

“I think Aron Streit would be proud of us for making this decision, and he would realize that it’s necessary," says Gross. "There’s no need for us to be here and to put us at a competitive disadvantage. He’d be the first to move, I believe. He was very smart businessman.” 

The new location has not been revealed yet, but it will likely be in New York or New Jersey. The authenticity that comes from being an anchor of the Jewish Lower East Side is something Gross hopes to keep. “The Lower East Side will always be in our DNA,” he says. 

One worry about the move? Finding good New York City water, the not-so-secret ingredient that some say makes the matzo so superb.

Matzo on cooling racks in the Streit's factory.

Caroline Losneck

Stormy weather ahead for the Weather Channel

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-04-07 01:47
$4.8 billion

That's the worth of the deal in which FedEx Corporation will pay to acquire TNT Express, a Dutch shipping company. As reported by the NY Times, the move will greatly expand FedEx's presence throughout Europe.

5.6

The number of households the Weather Channel lost when Verizon dropped them from its FiOS cable service, and its bracing to lose 14 million more from Dish Network. The network's future isn't sunny, the Wall Street Journal reported, as its parent company tries to expand its digital and business-to-business arms to make up the gap in revenue.

40 percent

That's the percent of the domestic motza market held by Streit's motza factory, which has been operating out of the Lower East Side of Manhattan for nearly a century. But this summer, the business will find a new location. Aaron Gross, a fifth generation family member in the business, says it doesn't make sense to run the company with such an antiquated set-up. A new location would allow Streit's to produce double their current output, as well as bring in revenue from what is sure to be a lucrative sale of the current property.

50 percent

The discount Apple employees will get on the company's Watch when it launches next month, though the Verge notes the $10,000+ Apple Watch Edition is an exception. Still can't decide which Watch to buy? Take our quiz.

$20

The typical price to get in a kids' party in a New York night club hosted by Cirkiz. The company has built a business on organizing parties when clubs would usually be closed. They routinely sell out, and Cirkiz is looking to expand.

11 educators

In what is being called the largest cheating scandal in American history, 11 educators were convicted of erasing incorrect answers and replacing them with corrections on standardized tests. The cheating was discovered through an unrelated data analysis by state officials in 2009.

Obama Compares Iran Deal To A House Under Contract, Awaiting Appraisal

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-07 01:11

The president tells NPR's Steve Inskeep the U.S. and other countries have have a solid plan to keep Iran's nuclear program under control.

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Breast Milk Sold Online Contaminated With Cow's Milk

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-07 01:03

We're not talking about just a smidge. Roughly 10 percent of samples tested contained at least 10 percent cow's milk. Doctors say the diluted milk could be dangerous for babies for several reasons.

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Obama To Scott Walker: 'Bone Up On Foreign Policy'

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-07 01:03

The president weighed in on the 2016 presidential race in an interview with NPR, taking aim at GOP upstart Scott Walker for saying he would revoke any Iran deal on Day 1 of his presidency.

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