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Swipe right when you see a conference room you like

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Swipe right when you see a conference room you like

By Julie Weed, The New York Times Company

Employees returning to the office in the midst of the pandemic are bound to arrive with a new set of questions: What health precautions have been put in place? How crowded is the cafeteria? Which meeting rooms are available? How do visitors gain entry to the building?

To ease their adjustment, a growing number of office managers are using mobile apps that offer the answers that workers seek.

Building apps are designed to connect office tenants to maintenance, security and logistics systems and community-building programs. They began gaining traction in 2018 as a way to make offices more efficient and have taken off in the pandemic as employers try to entice workers back on site by making work-related tasks safe and convenient.

“COVID has definitely accelerated the development, accelerated the use and expanded the use cases,” said Meghan Rooney, senior vice president of operations for experience management at JLL, a global commercial real estate firm.

The apps can be customized for each location and specific tenant and expanded as needed. Employees can use the app to enter a building, reserve conference rooms and request maintenance. Safety information, such as in a building emergency or a natural disaster, can be disseminated quickly. Building managers can monitor the use of workrooms and other locations.

In the pandemic, the apps can also help the office feel safer by communicating building-wide health information and reducing physical interactions. But the rise of these apps, which can track workers in a building, have also prompted warnings from privacy advocates.

Still, the idea that each office building should have its own app is becoming the industry standard, Rooney said. She added, “Every conversation with investors now includes, ‘What app would you recommend?’”

JLL increased its investment in HqO, a building app platform, in a fundraising round last year. Other companies creating building management apps include Cohesion, Rise Buildings and HiLo.

In the Chicago Loop, 15 companies in an office tower known as 77 West Wacker began using the TranswesternHub building app from Cohesion in June. Rosalyn Griffin, an office manager at Rothschild & Co., an investment bank with offices there, can use her phone for simple tasks like submitting repair orders or getting notified when visitors have arrived, which gives her more freedom to leave her desk.

One of her favorite features is calling for the elevator from the app when she steps into the building. “You turn the corner, and it’s there,” she said. “It’s super easy.”

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Magic looking for luck to turn their way in NBA’s draft lottery

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Magic looking for luck to turn their way in NBA’s draft lottery

The Orlando Magic know as well as any other team the luck and misfortune that can come with the NBA’s draft lottery.

They’re hoping luck will turn their way for the first time in over a decade during Tuesday’s 38th installment of the lottery. The lottery will start at 8 p.m. in Chicago and will be broadcast on ESPN.

The Magic were on the receiving end of a lot of luck in their infancy, winning back-to-back No. 1 picks in 1992 and ‘93 — selections that led to Orlando drafting Shaquille O’Neal and acquiring Penny Hardaway, the linchpins of the Magic’s early success in the mid-90s.

The Magic later won the ‘04 lottery, leading to the drafting of Dwight Howard, the backbone of six consecutive playoffs appearances, including the 2009 Finals.

Since then, the Magic have either stayed at or fallen from their pre-lottery positioning.

While it isn’t known if this year’s draft class will have the kind of franchise-changing prospects that could propel the Magic to similar success they’ve experienced in previous decades, better positioning in the lottery — or even winning it — would help set them up for greater success after finishing the 2021-22 season with their worst record since 2012-13.

“Our goals remain the same, which are to develop these young guys,” Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said during an interview on FM 96.9 The Game’s Open Mike with the Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi. “Everybody says you need stars in this league. Sometimes stars don’t always reveal themselves instantly.

“There are still evaluations to be made. There are still a lot of improvements that our guys have to make and that’s going to take a lot of work. And it’s going to take time. I don’t really think we recalibrate our goals going into the season. We ramp them up, we challenge our guys to get better, and from a team-building standpoint, obviously, we’ll look to add more. We’ll [soon] find out in about a month where we sit in the lottery and it’ll be an exciting offseason.”

Here are three things to know ahead of Tuesday:

Magic’s lottery odds

The Magic are tied for the best odds (14%) of winning the No. 1 pick in the draft.

With the league’s second-worst record at 22-60, Orlando has a 52.1% chance of securing a top-four pick in the June 23 draft. The pick won’t fall below No. 6.

The Magic’s odds for landing in spots No. 1-6: No. 1: 14.0%; No. 2: 13.4%; No. 3: 12.7%; No. 4: 12%; No. 5: 27.8%; No. 6: 20%.

How they’ve fared in the past

After early success with the lottery, the Magic haven’t had success moving up the draft order in their last nine tries. Here’s Orlando’s history with the lottery:

2021 — 5th (3rd in pre-lottery positioning); 2018 — 6th (6th); 2017 — 6th (5th); 2016 — 11th (11th); 2015 — 5th (5th); 2014 — 4th (3rd); 2013 — 2nd (1st); 2006 — 11th (11th); 2005 — 11th (11th); 2004 — 1st (1st); 2000 — 5th (3rd); 1998 — 12th (12th); 1993 — 1st (11th); 1992 — 1st (2nd); 1991 — 10th (10th); 1990 — 3rd (4th).

Lottery format

Drawings are done to determine the draft’s first four picks. The remainder of the lottery teams will get draft picks in spots 5 through 14 in the inverse order of their regular-season records.

Under the format that started with the 2019 draft, the team with the worst record (Houston Rockets) will receive no worse than the fifth pick.

The Magic, along with the Rockets and the Detroit Pistons — the team’s with the three-worst records — all have a 14% chance of winning the lottery under the current format.

During the previous format, the team with the worst record had a 25% of getting the No. 1 pick.

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Candidate in hospital, others scrambling before Pa. primary

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Candidate in hospital, others scrambling before Pa. primary

By MARC LEVY and MICHAEL RUBINKAM

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — The last full day of campaigning in Pennsylvania’s hotly contested primaries for governor and U.S. Senate began Monday with a top Senate candidate in the hospital and establishment Republicans trying to stave off victories by candidates they worry will be unelectable in the fall.

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who is leading in polls and fundraising in the Democratic Party’s primary for U.S. Senate, remained in the hospital Monday after suffering a stroke right before the weekend.

His campaign said he won’t appear at Tuesday’s election night party in Pittsburgh, though Fetterman said Sunday that he is feeling better, expected to make a full recovery and will resume campaigning after getting some rest.

Meanwhile, new attack ads are airing against late-surging Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kathy Barnette as many in the Republican Party establishment have begun trying to consolidate their support to prevent Doug Mastriano from winning the party’s gubernatorial nomination in the presidential battleground state.

Some Republicans fear Barnette and Mastriano are too polarizing to beat Democratic opponents in a general election. Barnette and Mastriano have campaigned together, endorsed each other and promoted conspiracy theories, including former President Donald Trump’s lies that widespread voter fraud cost him the 2020 election.

They also have spent a fraction of the money that some of their rivals have.

The scrambling reflects the high stakes of Tuesday’s elections in Pennsylvania and the uncertainty that has rattled the campaigns in the last week amid news of Fetterman’s hospitalization and last-minute jockeying in the Republican primaries.

In the governor’s race, an organization that has reported spending about $13 million to boost Republican candidate Bill McSwain, a lawyer who was Donald Trump’s appointee for U.S. attorney in Philadelphia, switched its allegiance to former congressman Lou Barletta barely two days before polls close.

Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs, a business advocacy group whose political action committees are conduits for cash from billionaire Jeffrey Yass, said it believes Barletta has the best chance to beat Mastriano. The group is now calling on McSwain to drop out and endorse Barletta.

Mastriano, newly endorsed by Trump, belittled efforts by Republicans to defeat him and characterizes Democrats, including President Joe Biden, as far-left radicals.

“The swamp struck back, but they struck and they failed, they missed, and Donald Trump came in in the midst of their conspiring with each other’s swamp-like creatures and endorsed me and cut the legs out from underneath them,” Mastriano said in an interview Monday with the Light of Liberty podcast.

Meanwhile, in the hard-fought Republican primary for U.S. Senate, Barnette worked to fend off growing attacks from former hedge fund CEO David McCormick and heart surgeon-turned-TV celebrity Mehmet Oz, Trump’s endorsed candidate.

Barnette said on conservative Breitbart Radio on Monday that “I’m not a globalist, both of them are” and that they have “very strong ties to the World Economic Forum,” an organization that has been the subject of right-wing conspiracy theories.

They are pretending to be “Trump card-carrying members of the patriot party,” she said, and she called Oz — he was born in the United States to parents who emigrated from Turkey and holds dual citizenship — “not only an American, but Turkish as well.”

“Globalist” is a derogatory term with an antisemitic origin adopted by Trump and others in his orbit to conjure up an elite, international coterie that doesn’t serve America’s best interests.

Barnette also suggested on Breitbart Radio that she would not support Oz or McCormick if they win the primary, saying, “I have no intentions of supporting globalists.”

However, she later seemed to contradict herself, telling reporters in Scranton: “I do believe they are globalists, and I find that very unnerving. But … I will do everything I can for the GOP in order to make sure we win, and make sure Democrats do not win.”

Trump’s endorsements of both Mastriano and Oz have twisted Pennsylvania’s Republican establishment into contradictions, as some warn that Mastriano is too far to the right to beat Democrat Josh Shapiro in the fall general election.

Trump himself has warned that Barnette cannot win in the fall — yet Mastriano is campaigning with her. In a telephone townhall Monday night with Oz, Trump warned that when Barnette is “vetted, it’s going to be a catastrophe for the party.”

With polls showing a late surge for Barnette, Trump’s attacks reflected an eleventh-hour behind-the-scenes scramble by Trump allies and rival campaigns to discredit her. If elected, she would be the first Black Republican woman to serve in the Senate.

On Monday, the Oz campaign sent out a 90-second robocall to Republican voters featuring Trump urging them to vote for Oz and attacking McCormick and Barnette as “not candidates who put America First,” Trump’s label for his governing philosophy.

In addition to new attack ads targeting Barnette, she is being asked about a history of incendiary comments, which include disparaging Muslims and gays. She said her Islamophobic tweets were taken out of context.

She is also being asked whether she was involved in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol after participating in Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally that day. She was not, she said.

“It’s confusing to understand Kathy Barnette. Every time she answers a question, she raises many more,” Oz said on the “Brian Kilmeade Show” on Fox News Radio.

Barnette, speaking to several dozen supporters at a Scranton hotel Monday evening, said her rivals are lying about her because she is winning.

“Do you really want to hear more smear attacks, more attacks, throwing people under the bus, using leftist-like tactics to try to destroy one of their own?” Barnette questioned.

McCormick, a decorated U.S. Army combat veteran who has strong connections to the party establishment going back to his service in President George W. Bush’s administration, has also been criticized repeatedly by Trump in the last two weeks.

Nevertheless, McCormick is closing the campaign by airing a TV ad showing a video clip of Trump in a private 2020 ceremony congratulating McCormick, saying “you’ve served our country well in so many different ways.”

“You know why he said that,” McCormick says in the TV ad. “Because it’s true. I risked my life for America and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. … I’m a pro-life, pro-gun, America First conservative and damn proud of it.”

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Follow AP for full coverage of the midterms at and on Twitter at

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Levy reported from Harrisburg, Pa. Follow Marc Levy on Twitter at

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Gophers make top four schools for prized recruit Jaxon Howard

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Gophers make top four schools for prized recruit Jaxon Howard

The Gophers football program made the top four options for prized in-state recruit Jaxon Howard on Monday.

The four-star prospect from Robbinsdale Cooper High School put Minnesota alongside Miami (Fla.), Louisiana State and Michigan. He plans to take official visits in June and make a decision in July.

“The past three years, I’ve been blessed to be offered by over 60 amazing colleges,” Howard wrote on social media. “I built genuine relationships with so many coaches and value all the time they have spent with me. After 41 unofficial visits and much prayer, I have narrowed my top four.”

RELATED: How Gophers are making case for Jaxon Howard’s commitment 

If Howard, the No. 1 recruit in the state of Minnesota, committed to Minnesota, he would be the second-highest rated pledge, behind only Minneapolis Washburn running back Jeff Jones, per 247sports.com’s composite rankings.

Howard, who could play tight end or defensive end in college, is listed at 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds; he is the son of Willie Howard, who played defensive end at Stanford and was drafted in the second round by the Vikings in 2001.

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