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Bengals QB Joe Burrow, Lordstown Motors working to help Ohioans after years of misfortune

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow's foundation assists Ohio residents who are in danger of going hungry.

Photo courtesy of Lordstown Motors

Cleveland, Ohio has been through a lot. The city, on the shores of Lake Erie, was founded 20 years after the American Revolution, served as a crucial hub for the Underground Railroad, became a booming metropolis filled with immigrants from across Europe, and thrived post-World War II as Americans got to work.

Along with economic prosperity came the rise of Cleveland as one of the biggest cities in the U.S. As such, it became a perfect fit to be home to a new club. In 1945, the Cleveland Browns football team became a member of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC), a rival to the National Football League (NFL). When the AAFC folded in 1949, the Browns, along with the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Colts, were added to the NFL team roster.

Coach Paul Brown Cleveland Browns 1955 Circa 1955, Portrait of American football coach Paul Brown holding a Lfootball while sitting on a table, 1950s. Brown coached the Cleveland Browns, which were named for him, and the Cincinnati Bengals. Photo by Getty Images

The blue-collar city of Cleveland showed up to watch the Browns, taking pride in the team much in the same way their rival Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers were embraced by their working class communities.

In 1961, New York City ad man Art Modell purchased the team. In 1995 he announced plans to move it to Baltimore. This did not go over well with the City of Cleveland nor the fan base. A November 12, 1995 article in the New York Times described the situation: "To the thousands of angry, depressed, bewildered, and determined Browns fans in this city irate about the planned move of their team to Baltimore next season, the owner Art Modell is now Walter O'Malley's peer in franchise-removal infamy."

O'Malley, a layer turned baseball executive, is best remembered for moving the Dodgers out of Brooklyn to Los Angeles and the New York Giants to San Francisco. In a roundabout way, he's also at least partially responsible for the rise of free agency.

A few years before Modell purchased the Browns, General Motors purchased a swath of farmland along the newly constructed Ohio Turnnpike. It was to be home to the Chevrolet brand with most every Chevy designed by the Detroit-based team to be built there except the Chevrolet Task Force and military vehicles. Construction got underway in 1964 and in 1966 the first Impala rolled off the line.

A strike in 1972 lasted 22 days and cost GM $150 million and resulted in many Chevys coming off the line with defective parts. Similar tactics were later used in other strikes earning the technique the nickname "Lordstown Syndrome".

John Kerry Youngstown Ohio 2004 U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) (L) shakes hands with steelworkers outside of the abandoned Youngstown Sheet and Tube Struthers Works factory February 24, 2004 in Youngstown, Ohio. Senator Kerry is touring areas of industrial decay and economic downturn in Youngstown. Photo by Getty Images

The collapse of the steel industry in the late 1970s and early 1980s was tough on the Mahoning Valley. In 1977, one of the area's top employers, Youngstown Sheet and Tube, abruptly closed its doors after 77 years in business and furloughed 5,000 workers.

Lordstown Assembly became the area's largest employer by the early 2000s, the same time that Modell was finally getting his wish and was able to begin a franchise anew. The Baltimore Ravens began playing in 1996 leaving the City of Cleveland without a team for three years until MBNA executive Al Lerner started the team back up, paying $530 million for the rights.

Inn 2006 as the economy contracted and the company began to see the full impact of decades of pension expenditure negotiations come to fruition, GM began scaling back operations. By 2008, they were in need of a bailout and cut two shifts of work at Lordstown. Over the next two years all of those workers were eventually invited to return to work. Just eight years later the plant was listed by GM in plans to go unallocated.

GM Lordstown Assembly Play 2018 An exterior view of the GM Lordstown Plant on November 26, 2018 in Lordstown, Ohio. GM said it would end production at five North American plants including Lordstown, and cut 15 percent of its salaried workforce. The GM Lordstown Plant assembles the Chevy Cruz. Photo by by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Like Lordstown, the Browns have struggled over the last decade to find the right formula for success. A few hours away from the home of the Browns, the City of Cincinnati and its Bengals have weathered the economic and football storm of the last century slightly better.

Though its history in the later half of the 20th Century is marked by a series of major natural and manmade disasters (Blizzard of '78, The Who concert disaster, Air Canada Flight 797 accident, and a tornado in 1993), Cincinnati has come out strong on the other side. the city supported a major push to modernize its sports facilities and roster of teams in the first two decades of the 21st Century with new stadiums built and fresh franchises established.

Ohio, from Toledo to Cincinnati to Columbus to Cleveland, and its residents have been busy during that time too, transitioning out of the traditional maunfacturing jobs that had a hold on the state and working to adapt to a rapidly evolving work

Despite the success of reaching Super Bowls in the 1980s, by the 90s and into the 2000s, the Cincinnati Bengals were not able to find positive results. They joined the unsuccessful cum extinct Browns in making Ohio the laughing stock of the NFL.

1988 Bengals Browns fight The referee breaks up a fight during a game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1988. The Browns won the game, 23-16. Photo by Getty Images

For much of the last decade, as the Browns have floundered, Cincinnati rose up quickly then fell just as fast. From 2010 to 2014 the organization made four consecutive playoff appearances but that success was short-lived. The following five seasons spiraled into win-loss column disaster culminating in the 2-14 season in 2019. Those 14 loses were Ohio's gain.

In April 2020, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow was selected by the Bengals as the top pick in the NFL Draft. Six months prior, Lordstown Motors, a new electric vehicle company, struck a deal with General Motors to purchase a part of the Lordstown Assembly site to serve as its headquarters and future production facility.

Now, Burrows and Lordstown Motors are teaming up to launch "Work for it", a new campaign designed to assist the Joe Burrow Hunger Relief Fund, which is dedicated to providing supplemental and emergency food aid to residents of Athens County, Ohio. The Fund supports the Athens County Food Pantry. The 2010 census documented that over 30 percent of Athens County residents lived below the poverty line - the highest of any county in Ohio.

Joe Burrow Lordstown Motors Endurance Burrow checks out the Lordstown Endurance pickup truck.Photo courtesy of Lordstown Motors

The partnership is a natural fit according to Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns. "Even before the first machines are turned on, there is a energy that flows throughout every corner of the factory," Burns said. "This isn't just hard work for hard work's sake ... This is work with a dream, a mission, and a goal in mind. An understanding that each of us is part of something bigger than ourselves. Joe Burrow embodies this mindset both on and off the field, and is the perfect representation for when you want something you work for it."

"I am proud to partner with a innovative company like Lordstown Motors," said Burrow. "Their team is putting in a tremendous amount of hard work to achieve some very lofty goals, and that certainly resonated with me and how I approach my job every day."

Lordstown Motors Endurance Joe Burrow Burrow recently spent time with the Lordstown Endurance.Photo courtesy of Lordstown Motors

The partnership represents an ongoing commitment by Lordstown Motors to work to revitalize the Mahoning Valley.

The Lordstown Endurance, the company's all-electric pickup truck is creeping toward production. The company recently launched its first ad campaign for the fleet vehicle and announced 40,000 model pre-orders.

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The 2022 Acura TLX has the technology enabled.

Photo courtesy of Acura

Toyota and Lexus announced that the WarnerMedia RIDE app would be coming to their models earlier this year. Now, Honda and Acura will be offering the same.

On certain Wi-Fi enabled Honda and Acura vehicles, AT&T unlimited in-car Wi-Fi users will have access to the WarnerMedia RIDE app. The app allows users to connect multiple devices in their vehicles to browse, stream and share premium content from the WarnerMedia library while on the road.

Honda and Acura vehicle owners have been able to use their on-board modem as a hot spot for connecting up to seven devices since 2017. Models compatible for the new tech include the Acura RDX (2019-present), Acura TLX (2021), and Acura MDX (2022) across all trim levels. Honda vehicles with the tech include Accord (2018-present, Touring), Odyssey (2018-present; Touring, Elite), Insight (2019-present, Touring)., Passport (2019-present; Touring, Elite)., and Pilot (2019-present; Touring, Elite, Black Edition).

The WarnerMedia RIDE App allows passengers to access 1,000+ hours of live and on-demand entertainment. The app includes hit TV shows and movies from top brands such as Cartoon Network, CNN, HBO Max, TBS, TNT and TruTV, spanning animation, entertainment, news, sports and more.

WarnerMedia RIDE app The WarnerMedia RIDE app allows users to choose their own avatar.Photo courtesy of Acura

Users can set up profiles and personalize their user exerpience with an avatar from the WarnerMedia library. Profiles also ensure age-appropriate content with options for adults to restrict access to their profiles with an access code.

"Wireless connectivity and connected car services continue to be key features for customers and our long-standing relationship with AT&T continues to be one way we deliver exciting new content to Honda and Acura owners," said Art St. Cyr, vice president of North American Auto Strategy for American Honda. "Honda will continue working to enhance the in-car experience, including the capabilities of the AT&T network and access to top content with WarnerMedia RIDE."

"We're always looking for new and innovative ways to elevate the connected car experience for our customers. With WarnerMedia RIDE, we are delivering a connected experience that's perfect for journeys," said Joe Mosele, vice president, Mobility & Internet of Things, AT&T. "Our collaboration is keeping Honda and Acura owners connected wherever they travel with hours of news and entertainment for the whole family."

WarnerMedia RIDE is available now in the App Store and on Google Play for all U.S. unlimited data plan subscribers. WarnerMedia RIDE is included at no additional cost for existing and new unlimited subscribers.

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Mercedes-Benz EQS production has begun at Factory 56.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The Mercedes-Benz factory in Sindelfingen, Germany is the home of the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS. Factory 56, a home within the larger manufacturing facility, is where the EQS is produced, in both regular- and long-wheelbase form.

The hub is a carbon-neutral facility that has several measures in place that help it achieve that status. For example, the photovoltaic systems on the roof of the hall cover yearly around 30 percent of the electricity demand. Additionally, the factory's assembly lines have been designed in such a way to allow for maximum flexibility where different models of different drive types can be put together on the same line.

Mercedes EQS production at Factory 56

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The processes and equipment of Factory 56 have been specially adapted for the EQS. This is most apparent at the point in the production process called the "Fullflex Marriage". It is then that the vehicle body is connected to its drive system. It happens over the course of the car's visit to several stations. Because of this order of operations, different powertrain variants can be connected to the respective vehicle bodies on the same line. This, along with enhanced digitization, has allowed the efficiency of the line to be increased.

The MO360 digital ecosystem is the basis for production. In installing the system, Mercedes has committed to focusing on people and providing them the support they need via digitization. Factory 56 has more than 1,500 employees.

The first finished EQS models have begun rolling off the assembly line. Deliveries of the all-electric luxury sedan for U.S. customers will begin in the later part of 2021.

"The future of our global Mercedes-Benz production network begins with EQS production in Factory 56: this future is CO2-neutral, sustainable, fully digitalized, connected and highly flexible," said Jörg Burzer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz AG, responsible for Production and Supply Chain Management. "The start of production of the EQS is a highlight in our unprecedented electric vehicle initiative in the production area. In 2022, a total of eight Mercedes-EQ electric vehicles will be produced at seven locations on three continents."

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