Tag: Western

Recreation challenge donates $6,500 to Western Maine food pantries

Maine West members Mike Wilson (Northern Forest Center) and Brendan Schauffler (Oxford County Wellness Collaborative), from left, present a check to Servant’s Heart Food Pantry Director Karen Eastman. Contributed

NORWAY — People across the Oxford Hills, greater Bethel and the River Valley areas completed more than 700 outdoor activities to earn $6,500 in donations to local food pantries as part of the Second Nature Adventure Challenge that wrapped up on Oct. 12.

Developed by the Maine West initiative, the program challenged people in northern Oxford County to earn cash contributions by completing 300 outdoor activities and logging them on the Maine Trail Finder website. In response, more than 200 signed up for the challenge – logging more than 700 hiking, walking, biking, rolling, swimming and paddling activities between July 18 and Oct. 12.

“The public response to the Second Nature Adventure Challenge was hugely encouraging,” said Brendan Schauffler, facilitator of the Oxford County Wellness Collaborative and program coordinator for the challenge.  He also credited the support of organizations like the Western Foothills Land Trust, Mahoosuc Land Trust, Mahoosuc Pathways and Bethel Outing Club.

Beneficiaries include the Bethel Food Pantry, Agnes Gray Elementary School Food Pantry, West Paris, and  Servant’s Heart Food Pantry, Peru. Each will receive a $2,000 contribution from Maine West.

Based on the success of the 2020 Challenge, program organizers are starting to plan additional challenges for 2021.

The challenge is a project of Maine West, a partnership of local and regional organizations working to position rural communities in northern Oxford County as viable and attractive places to live, work, do business and raise families. Maine West works across the Oxford Hills, River Valley and Bethel-Mahoosuc areas to provide network-based, collaborative programming in three focal areas: Active Communities, Broadband Access and Adoption and Educational Attainment and Aspirations.

To learn more about the Second Nature Adventure Challenge visit secondnaturemaine.com.


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Best Western CEO slams Congress for being ‘numb’ to the travel industry’s pain and suffering

The hotel industry is crumbling — and Uncle Sam may not be coming to the rescue.



a close up of a street in front of a building: 2D2JKED Florida Orlando Best Western hotel empty vacant parking lot Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic illness infectious disease health biological crisis outside


© Alamy
2D2JKED Florida Orlando Best Western hotel empty vacant parking lot Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic illness infectious disease health biological crisis outside

More than 2 million hospitality jobs have already disappeared during the pandemic. Within the next six months, a stunning 38,000 US hotels could be forced to close, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

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“If we don’t get a vaccine soon and business doesn’t return, it’s going to get much worse,” Best Western CEO David Kong, the industry’s longest-serving CEO, told CNN Business.

Kong, who in March met with President Donald Trump at the White House to discuss federal aid, expressed deep frustration with the leaders of Congress for failing to reach a bipartisan agreement on another round of fiscal stimulus.

“They are just so stuck in their positions. I feel so aggravated by it. Why can’t we work something out?” the Best Western CEO said.

Like many hotels, Best Westerns are owned by franchisees, rather than a deep-pocketed corporation. These Best Western small businesses have cut an estimated 20,000 jobs since the start of the health crisis. That’s on top of the layoffs of 800 corporate associates at the parent company that owns the hotel brand.

“We’re putting them out on the street during a pandemic,” Kong said. “They don’t have a safety net. It’s a very heart-wrenching situation.”

With stimulus talks stalled, leading hotel CEOs wrote a letter to Trump on Thursday pleading for help.

“Your engagement is desperately needed to support struggling businesses, stem the impending wave of foreclosures and save millions of jobs,” the hotel CEOs wrote.

‘There is so much pain and suffering’

Politicians may not feel a sense of urgency to spend trillions more because of the uneven nature of the recession.

Although hotels, airlines, restaurants and cruise lines are in crisis, other parts of the economy are recovering swiftly — or already have. Home prices are soaring. Millions of jobs have been added to the economy. The S&P 500 has raced back to record highs. And companies like Amazon, Zoom and Apple are booming.



a young boy sitting on a wooden table: Maura Robson right, her son Magnus, husband Dusten and stepson Raidyn.


© Little Miss Rose Photography
Maura Robson right, her son Magnus, husband Dusten and stepson Raidyn.

“There is so much pain and suffering, but they’re numb to it because the stock market is doing well and unemployment is below 9%,” Kong said.

Even the deadlock in Congress on another round of fiscal stimulus has failed to deal a meaningful blow to the stock market. The S&P 500 is just 2% away from its early September record high.

“A lot of people would say they don’t understand why the market is seemingly going up and up,” Kong said. “That’s not Main Street. That’s Wall Street. They don’t seem to feel the pain of most businesses.”

A broken-down car away from disaster

Maura Robson was working full-time at a Holiday Inn in Webster, New York, when the pandemic erupted. The

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Top Western Ski Resorts Review for Family Ski Vacation

For the best family ski trip, consider going out west to Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Montana, California, Idaho, Wyoming and Oregon. Here are our Top 10 Rocky Mountain Ski Resorts selected for our ski criteria: lots of ski terrain diversity, snow abundance, ski in ski out lodging, family activities, and après ski things to do, exceptional ski and snowboard schools, plus a healthy dose of scenery and friendly locals. Of course, we have yet to ski all of the Rockies, still need to ski Washington, and New Mexico… so stay tuned for more family ski reviews. But here are our favorite family ski resorts including Best Western Ski Resorts for Early Season Snow and Best Spring Skiing in the West!

Snowmass at Aspen Colorado
Snowmass is the largest of the four Aspen ski mountains. Skiing the Big Burn at Snowmass will make everyone in the family feel like the big cheese – or a ski movie star. With ski in ski out lodging at Snowmass Village in the posh Viceroy Hotel, and the state of the art Tree House child care center – Snowmass is ideal for families. Glade expansion on Snowmass’ Burnt Mountain makes Snowmass the second largest ski resort in Colorado at 3,362-acres. Aspen’s Buttermilk is teen heaven in January when they host the trendy Winter X-Games. Siblings Aspen Highlands and Ajax in downtown Aspen are also worth a day of skiing during your family ski week in Aspen.

Steamboat, Colorado
Steamboat is a frontier cowboy town ideal for ski families. Steamboat’s ski terrain is extensive, 3,000 acres, with mostly gentle pitch and plenty of perfect aspen glades from mellow to steeper Shadows and Chutes. The Colorado snow and sun are abundant, and the on-mountain accommodations are aplenty including the Steamboat Grand. Steamboat’s Village at the mountain has everything steps away, while the downtown frontier town of Steamboat Springs, just a short drive, is authentic western and wild. Take the family to Strawberry Park Hot Springs for après ski. Also ski with Billy Kid, and race NASTAR in this Ski Town USA – home to the most US Olympic skiers and riders. They must be doing something right in Steamboat Springs.

Big Sky, Montana
Big Sky is not so easy to get too – just one of the reasons we like it so much. This Montana ski resort is vast, very fun and offers spectacular vistas in ski country. Now that Big Sky interconnects with Moonlight Basin, you have some of the biggest skiing in America. Staying slopeside at Big Sky’s Summit Hotel, you can walk to the lifts, to kids ski camp and to the Village Plaza with skier services, shops and restaurants. Take a day off to visit Yellowstone National Park -Old Faithful still goes off in winter, and the geysers and animals tracks are easy to spot in the snow.

Vail, Colorado
Vail is the grandfather of Rocky Mountain ski resorts (circa 1962). With so much terrain (over5,200-acres), Vail makes the top ten ski resort list

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Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative | Homeland Security

WHTI is the joint Department of State (DOS) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plan to implement a key 9/11 Commission recommendation and the statutory mandates of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA). IRTPA, in part, required the DHS and DOS to develop and implement a plan to require all travelers, U.S. citizens and foreign nationals alike, to present a passport or other acceptable document that denotes identity and citizenship when entering the United States.

What is the goal of requiring secure documents?

The goal is to strengthen border security while facilitating entry into the United States for U.S. citizens and legitimate international travelers, making the process more efficient and convenient.

What types of documents are accepted for entry into the United States via air?

  • U.S. citizens can present a valid: U.S. Passport; Trusted Traveler Program card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST); U.S. Military identification card when traveling on official orders; U.S. Merchant Mariner document when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business. Note that children are also required to present their own passport when traveling by air. (note: The Indian/tribal card can NOT be used for air travel).
  • Requirements for lawful permanent residents of the United States are not changed by the implementation of WHTI. Lawful permanent residents must continue to present a valid Permanent Resident Card. A passport is not required.

What types of documents are accepted for entry into the United States via land and sea?

  • U.S. citizens can present a valid: U.S. Passport; Passport Card; Enhanced Driver’s License; Trusted Traveler Program card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST); U.S. Military identification card when traveling on official orders; U.S. Merchant Mariner document when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business; or Form I-872 American Indian Card, or (when available) Enhanced Tribal Card.
  • U.S. and Canadian citizen children under the age of 16 (or under 19, if traveling with a school, religious group, or other youth group) need only present a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship. The birth certificate can be original, photocopy, or certified copy.
  • WHTI does not affect U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents, who are still required to present their permanent resident card (Form I-551) or other valid evidence of permanent residence status.
  • Canadian citizens can present a valid passport, Enhanced Driver’s License, or Trusted Traveler Program card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST).
  • Bermudian citizens are required to present a valid passport.
  • Mexican citizens, including children, are required to present a passport with visa, or a Border Crossing Card.
  • U.S. citizens on closed-loop cruises (cruises that begin and end at the same U.S. port) are able to enter the United States with a birth certificate and government-issued photo ID. Please be aware that you may still be required to present a passport to enter the countries your cruise ship is visiting. Check with your cruise line to ensure you have the appropriate documents.

What is an enhanced driver’s license?

State-issued enhanced drivers licenses (EDLs) provide proof of identity and U.S. citizenship, are issued in a

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