Day: October 15, 2020

Kamala Harris suspends travel after two associated with campaign test positive for COVID-19

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, will suspend in-person events until Monday after two people associated with the campaign tested positive for the coronavirus.

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign said Thursday that Biden had no exposure, though he and Harris spent several hours campaigning together in Arizona on Oct. 8, when the two people were on a flight with Harris. Both candidates have tested negative for COVID-19 multiple times since then, and Biden’s campaign said he tested negative again on Thursday.

It’s the Biden campaign’s first major coronavirus scare, after months of careful health procedures that brought mockery from President Donald Trump, even after a White House virus outbreak that included the president and first lady Melania Trump. The Democratic campaign’s cautious reaction underscores again the differences in how the rival camps have approached the pandemic, both in terms of preferred government response and the candidates’ personal protocols.

The travel suspension interrupts the Biden campaign’s aggressive push across a wide battleground map, including North Carolina and Ohio, the next two states Harris was scheduled to visit.

The campaign sees Harris, the first Black woman on a major party presidential ticket, as a key part of its outreach in North Carolina, where increasing Black turnout is key to the Democrats’ hopes of flipping the state. She had been scheduled to travel to the state Thursday for events encouraging voters to cast early ballots.

Her Friday trip to Cleveland would have been her first to Ohio as the vice presidential nominee and would have taken her into the metropolitan area with the state’s largest concentration of Black voters.

The senator’s brief hiatus from the trail comes as Trump ramps up his own travel again after he, the first lady and several White House staffers contracted the virus.

The Biden campaign told reporters Thursday morning that Harris’ communications director, Liz Allen, and a flight crew member tested positive after the recent campaign trip to the southwest. Campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said both tested negative before and after Harris’ travels. Their positive results came in subsequent tests.

“Neither of these individuals had any contact with Vice President Biden, with Sen. Harris or any other staff member since testing positive or in the 48-hour period prior to their positive test results,” O’Malley Dillon said, adding that under CDC guidelines there was no need for quarantining.

But O’Malley Dillon said Harris would suspend travel for several days “out of an abundance of caution.”

The campaign also is canceling upcoming travel for Doug Emhoff, Harris’ husband.

Harris followed up in a statement saying that “both the crew member and the staff member were wearing N95 masks at all points they were near me, and our doctors believe that we were not exposed under CDC guidelines.”

She also pledged to be “transparent with you about any test results that I do receive. In the meantime, remember: wear a mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands regularly. It is possible to stop the

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United CEO: Business demand for air travel won’t return until 2024

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby on Thursday said that he doesn’t expect the demand for business travel to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024.

Kirby said in a holdings call that in his personal opinion, which he acknowledged is not the consensus generally, business travel will make a full comeback.

“We are, as you and me, we are social creatures and I think business demand is going to come back. I don’t think it’s coming back immediately. I think demand sort of starts to recover in earnest end of next year, beginning in 2022, and business demand getting back to normal is, I would guess, 2024. But I think it will come back to normal,” he said. 

He remained hopeful that business travel can be a driving revenue stream for the airline in the future. 

“Business travel is incredibly important to United. And it was our bread and butter before. I think it will be our bread and butter in the future. It’s going to be a few years before it comes back in earnest” he said.

United, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, lost $1.8 billion in the third quarter. Delta Air Lines reported earlier this week that it lost $5.4 billion in the third quarter.

Kirby also said, expressing hope that business travel will rebound, that it’s human nature to want to connect with others in person. 

“I’ve been fond of saying the first time someone loses a sale to a competitor who showed up in person is the last time they try to make a sales call on Zoom,” he said. 

Airlines for America, the industry group that represents the major U.S. airlines, also warned in September that the industry won’t fully rebound to pre-pandemic levels until 2024.

Kirby told employees on Oct. 1 that the company is moving forward with furloughing about 13,000 people but left the door open to reversing the process if Congress and the administration can reach a deal on a coronavirus relief package.

The airline industry has lobbied for a $25 billion injection from Congress to extend the Payroll Support Program. The program, which prohibited airlines from laying off employees until Oct. 1, allocated $25 billion in aid as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed in March.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTwitter CEO calls blocking New York Post article without explanation ‘unacceptable’ Michael Cohen writing second book on Trump administration’s Justice Department As Trump downplayed the virus publicly, memo based on private briefings sparked stock sell-offs: NYT MORE indicated last week, after halting coronavirus relief talks until after the election, that he wants to help the airlines, but negotiations are stalled between Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Mnuchin says COVID-19 relief before election ‘would be difficult’ | Gender employment gap widens with start of virtual school year | Warren rips Disney over layoffs, executive pay Videos show conservative activists discussing limiting mail-in voting: report Michigan Republican isolating after positive coronavirus test MORE (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary

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Seven Hills voters asked to approve tax-reducing parks and rec levy Issue 41 on fall ballot

SEVEN HILLS, Ohio — A tax-increase ballot issue that if approved actually costs residents less money sounds like an oxymoron. However, that’s exactly what Seven Hills voters will be deciding with Issue 41 — the city’s first parks and recreation levy — on Election Day.



a sign on a dirt road: Valleywood Park in Seven Hills.


© John Benson/cleveland.com/cleveland.com/TNS
Valleywood Park in Seven Hills.

“Being fiscally responsible while protecting our investment in the recreation center, Issue 41 is a way to meet all of these needs without impacting our general fund,” Mayor Anthony D. Biasiotta said.

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“At the same time, coupled with the expiring (community recreation center) construction levy, it will actually have a net lower tax to all residents of Seven Hills. It’s as close to a win-win situation as I’ve come across in my elected career.”

The timing of Issue 41 is tied to a 1.65-mill recreation bond issue that voters approved 20 years ago for the construction of the community recreation center. The expiring levy brings in $577,783 a year. It currently costs a $100,000 homeowner $50.53 annually.

The proposed new levy — if passed — will cost the same homeowner $49 annually and bring in $490,240 a year that will be used to cover both rec center needs, as well as park upgrades.

“Issue 41 is important in two regards,” Biasiotta said. “First, we need to protect our investment in the rec center. It’s 20 years old, and like any 20-year-old building we’re beginning to see issues impacting the performance, maintenance and even the safety of the facility.



a large lawn in front of a house: Seven Hills Community Rec Center is located at 7777 Summit View Dr.


© John Benson/cleveland.com/cleveland.com/TNS
Seven Hills Community Rec Center is located at 7777 Summit View Dr.

“Being proactive, the city of Seven Hills earlier this year contracted with Quality Control Inspection Company to review our recreation facility and determine what a long-term cost of maintenance and repairs would look like.”

The city paid the Bedford-based company $15,000 for the building condition report, which determined a reasonable annual operations budget for the community rec center would be $241,000. Currently, the facility doesn’t have a dedicated operations fund.

“Our intent with this levy is to provide relief to the general fund for the ongoing maintenance and updates that will protect our multimillion-dollar investment,” Biasiotta said.

The mayor noted the Summit View Drive facility is facing numerous looming projects — maintaining the pool bottom ($100,000), replacing seven HVAC units ($50,000 to $100,000 each) and making mechanical repairs ($130,000) — over the next decade. In addition, the Nautilus equipment is nearing 20 years old.

“The second part of Issue 41 is very intriguing,” Biasiotta said. “While the original levy was only for the construction of the rec center, this allows the use of funds to include our six city parks. Many residents of the city utilize our parks, but may not utilize our rec center.

“We have a unique opportunity here to provide a recreation amenity to those residents without having to pay a membership due.”

If Issue 41 is passed, the mayor said the plan includes adding ADA-compliant restrooms to North

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Former armory in downtown Columbia becoming boutique hotel | Columbia Business

COLUMBIA — A building in downtown Columbia that served for almost 60 years as a National Guard armory is slated to be converted a boutique hotel, according to plans filed with the city.

The building at 1219 Assembly St. in the Vista is used as office space and a bank branch now, with the name of one tenant, the Hussey Gay Bell engineering and architecture firm, on the side. 



Latest addition to Columbia's BullStreet: Office building that swaps wood in for steel

From its construction in 1905 until 1964, however, it was a guard armory, where weapons and equipment were stored.

The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as an example of a more modern armory building in a 20th century style, rather than the more medieval style used in other buildings.

The current plan would take the office building and make it into a 34-room boutique hotel called The Armory. The plans for the $7.7 million project were filed with the city as part of a Board of Zoning Appeals request.

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An addition to the building would be added on the back of the current structure. That would house additional rooms and suites, plus some infrastructure. Atop the addition would be the 1,000-square-foot terrace, featuring a bar and kitchen area.



Former Columbia car dealership finally to get new life as expanded tire shop

The project is being designed by Columbia’s LS3P architectural firm. 

The board is being asked to give the project a waiver on the amount of parking that will be available. The application cites the public parking lots and street parking near the site, along with plans to use valet parking, as reasons that the easement should be granted. 

Traffic to the hotel will share an alleyway with the adjacent Cola’s restaurant.

The zoning board should hear the parking request at its next meeting on Nov. 5.

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Harris cancels travel after 2 connected to campaign test positive for coronavirus

Former vice president Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, also has not been in contact with those affected, according to a statement from campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon. There were no indications that his travel schedule would change.

The announcement was the latest jolt to an already unprecedented campaign, as the Democratic running mate now joins President Trump in having been sidelined from the campaign trail for at least a short period during the final stretch of the race.

The results could muddy the Biden campaign’s message that Trump’s recent coronavirus infection, along with that of several people in his close orbit, is a direct result of his reckless disregard for public health recommendations.

But the Biden campaign was at pains Thursday to draw a distinction between its behavior and that of Trump and his team. The Biden campaign immediately revealed who tested positive and when, disclosed details of Harris’s last negative test, and quickly announced that it was conducting contact tracing — all at variance from the approach of the White House after Trump’s diagnosis.

”This is the sort of conduct we have continuously modeled in this campaign,” O’Malley Dillon said, regarding the suspension of Harris’s travel.

The Biden campaign said Thursday that he had tested negative the previous day.

Trump told Fox Business on Thursday that he is not being tested for the virus daily, contradicting previous White House suggestions that he was. ”I’m tested — not every day, but I’m tested a lot,” he told host Stuart Varney.

At a news briefing in late July, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said of the president, ”He’s tested more than anyone, multiple times a day.”

WASHINGTON POST

Obama has harsh words for Trump

As former president Barack Obama prepares to hit the campaign trail to boost Joe Biden’s bid for the White House, he lashed out at President Trump on Wednesday.

In an interview on the liberal ”Pod Save America” podcast, Obama particularly blasted his successor for continuing to spread misinformation.

”Trump is a symptom of [misinformation] and an accelerant to it,” Obama said. ”When you look at insane conspiracy theories like QAnon seeping into the mainstream of the Republican Party, what that tells you is that there are no more guardrails within that media ecosystem.”

The interview comes as Obama reportedly plots a swing through key battleground states like Florida and Wisconsin to make a closing argument for his former vice president less than three weeks away from the election. It also represents the latest instance of him upping his rhetoric against Trump. Where Obama was once reticent to verbally spar with the president, in recent months he’s issued dire warnings about his leadership in a fiery Democratic National Convention speech and slammed Trump in campaign ads.

A theme of Obama’s interview was his frustration with Trump continuing to push unfounded conspiracy theories — and his anger at Republicans for not distancing themselves from those claims. Speaking with his former aides Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor, Obama

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Brits See Vacation Options Shrink as Italy Joins Quarantine List

ITALY-HEALTH-VIRUS-ECONOMY-TOURISM

Photographer: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP via Getty Images

Holiday options for Britons seeking a slice of autumn sunshine after the year’s earlier coronavirus lockdowns shrank further as Italy joined the U.K. quarantine roster.

Anyone arriving from the south European nation after 4 a.m. on Sunday must self-isolate for two weeks, as Italy has been removed from Britain’s travel corridors list, the Department for Transport said in a statement Thursday.

The announcement will disrupt holiday plans for tens of thousands of people with bookings for Italian sunspots in the half-term school break at the end of this month, the last holiday period for many Britons before Christmas. It means that almost all Mediterranean destinations are now effectively off-limits.

Italy, Europe’s original epicenter for the virus, has seen a resurgence in Covid-19 infections, with its daily tally reaching 7,332 Wednesday, higher than the 6,557 at the earlier peak of the pandemic on March 21. That’s still less severe than in France and in Spain, which have been subject to U.K. quarantine orders for weeks.

Read More: Italy Posts Record Virus Cases as Europe Struggles With Pandemic

In more positive news, the island of Crete was added to the travel bubble list after being assessed as posing a lower infection risk by Britain’s Joint Biosecurity Centre. It joins a number of other Greek islands, though the mainland is excluded.

Among other warm-weather destinations requiring a short-haul flight, only Cyprus and Gibraltar come with no British quarantine requirement for returning travelers. Elsewhere in Europe, Ireland, Germany and most of Scandinavia are also exempt, though unlikely to lure sun-seekers as the weather worsens and nights grow longer.

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Summit Hotel offers its own take on Oktoberfest this weekend

CINCINNATI — The Coronavirus pandemic has forced organizers to put new twists on many traditional events in Cincinnati.

This weekend the Summit Hotel in Madisonville, in partnership with Taft’s Brewing Co., is the latest place to offer a new way to celebrate Oktoberfest in Cincinnati.

“What we’ve done is brought that traditional Downtown festival spirit atmosphere here to the Summit,” said Martin Pittman, vice president of operations for The Summit Hotel.

The Summit Hotel will host four days of Oktoberfest fun beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday.

The Summit can host up to 300 Oktoberfest fans within its 32,000-square-foot event facility, including the Overlook Kitchen and Bar.

“We have specifically sat our seating arrangements to maximize the physical distancing as well as the enjoyment and the number of guests that can come here,” Pittman said.

For this weekend’s Oktoberfest, the Overlook Kitchen and Bar’s chef de cuisine, Matt Corina, also created a new menu that incorporates traditional Oktoberfest fare.

“A good amount of sauerkraut, mustard, cabbage,” Corina said of his specialty menu. “I’m a huge fan of this type of food. And I want to allow the Overlook and Summit Hotel to be more a part of Cincinnati and the culture this city has.”

One of Corina’s Oktoberfest menu’s centerpieces is a seven-ounce burger topped with beer cheese and bacon crumbles along with house pickles and house coleslaw on the bottom. The chef is serving the burger on a fresh pretzel bun.

On the beer side of things, Taft’s Brewing Co.’s Oktoberfest will balance out Corina’s menu.

“When they approached us about the idea of doing a socially distanced, safe Oktoberfest, we jumped at the opportunity,” said Whit Hesser, the chief operating officer for Taft’s Brewing Co. “We’re looking forward to this weekend.”

Beyond the food and the beer, the Summit’s Oktoberfest will also feature games, food trucks and fun for all.

“It’s a family event,” Pittman said. “We have the Fowling Warehouse. We’ve got Honey Child Artisan Pops. So, we have something for everyone.”

Thursday’s kickoff to the Summit’s Oktoberfest is open to all, no reservations required.

“And then ticketed events for Friday, Saturday afternoon, Saturday evening, as well as Sunday,” he said. “And you get to pick your seat, guarantee your seat as a ticketed event.”

Learn more about the Summit Hotel’s Oktoberfest by visiting www.thesummithotel.com.

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Allentown gets grant to help boost outdoor recreation | Lehigh Valley Regional News

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Cindy Adams Dunn, the Secretary for Pennsylvania’s District of Conservation and Natural Resources, was in Allentown on a day she handed out 31 state grants totaling $7 million. All are aimed at providing more trails throughout the state, and nearly 40 new miles will be added with the funds.

“It is phenomenal. We haven’t constructed a trail in a number of years,” said Allentown Director of Parks and Recreation Karen El-Chaar.

She says that will change as the city received a $500,000 grant to complete 1.8 miles of the Jordan Creek Greenway.

It “provides pedestrians and bicyclists the opportunity to follow the trail and take you into Whitehall,” she described.

The trail, which also runs on the road, will start at the 200 block of North Turner. It will go through Jordan Park, and onto MacArthur Road, getting users closer to Jordan Parkway. This comes as the city is looking to raise $5.5 million for Auburn Cross Trails located at 4th and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The 22 acres would act as a trail link through the city.

“This Jordan Park Greenway is emblematic of the trail system here in Pa. and how it connects communities,” Dunn said.

Dunn says the goal is to have all Pennsylvanians within a 10-minute car ride to a trail.

The D&L Trail also got a $500,000 grant to close a gap in Northampton County, helping to connect its more than 140-mile trail through the state.

It’s all a needed outlet. Dunn says state park use in September had an increase of a million people compared to last year. This follows the trend of people needing the outdoors during the pandemic.

“This has shown us how essential spending time outdoors and walking is for people, especially under stress,” she said.

Allentown hopes to start the trail construction by late summer and be finished in 2022. The ultimate goal is to connect center city with the Trexler Nature Preserve.

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Drug mule’s Vic ‘vacation’ leads to prison | The Canberra Times

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A Canadian drug mule who came to Australian on a two-week vacation will spend at least five years in a Melbourne prison. Wayne Hackett arrived at Melbourne airport in February with four carry on suitcases and more than 15kg of pure methamphetamine – more than 20 times what Victoria’s courts consider to be a commercial amount. It had a wholesale value of up to $2.8 million. Hackett was to be paid $40,000 to bring the ice to Australia. The 27-year-old admitted possession of the drugs when interviewed by police and later pleaded guilty to the import. But though he knew he was carrying drugs, those behind the operation didn’t tell him what it was. The drugs were stashed in flat packages and hidden in the lining of the cases. County Court Judge Michael Bourke said Hackett was complicit in the smuggling of all the drugs, not just those in the two bags he was carrying. His girlfriend was also charged. She has pleaded not guilty and will go to trial. Hackett had lived a dysfunctional and disadvantaged life, Judge Bourke said. His parents separated when he was five and his mother drowned a few years later, in suspicious circumstances. He was raised by his abusive father and stepmother, and lived in a series of group homes before moving in with his mother’s parents, who remain supportive. Hackett had experienced homelessness after ending a relationship with the mother of his young daughter – an event that Judge Bourke said, with the addition of losing his job, led to his increased drug use. He had used cannabis since his teenage years, escalating to problematic cocaine use shortly before the offending. Judge Bourke described methamphetamine as a very damaging substance, and its spread as highly profitable for major entrepreneurs. While Hackett was no more than a courier, his role was critical to the operation. He said Hackett had shown good qualities in his life and an ability and desire to rehabilitate, but others had to be discouraged. “There must be the attempt to deter other prospective couriers of drugs into Australia,” Judge Bourke said. He was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years behind bars and will be eligible for parole in five years. Hackett will be deported after his release. Australian Associated Press

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Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa Announces Return Of Land-Based Poker October 21

East Coast’s premier Poker Room will welcome back guests with 30 seven-handed tables

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J., Oct. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa – an MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) (“MGM Resorts“) luxury resort and casino – will reopen The Poker Room at 10am on Wednesday, Oct. 21 following its closure earlier this year amidst the coronavirus crisis. Borgata Poker will return with 30 socially distanced tables following the company’s comprehensive health and safety protocols designed to protect employees and customers.


Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa Logo (PRNewsfoto/Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa)

“We are happy to welcome back our loyal players as we reopen Atlantic City’s market-leading East Coast poker destination,” said Melonie Johnson, President & Chief Operating Officer of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. “We have made some changes to enhance our guest’s experience and are excited to reintroduce live poker and the Borgata Poker brand more safely.”

All poker play will be live cash games on seven-handed tables with polycarbonate barriers. Borgata’s Bad Beat Jackpot will immediately initiate, giving players the opportunity to lose their hand but win a prize of $100,000. Hand sanitizing dispensers will be accessible throughout The Poker Room, with frequent disinfecting of high touch points. Masks are required in all public areas and spectators will not be permitted in The Poker Room.  

Health & SafetyEarlier this year, Borgata implemented the MGM Resorts’ “Seven-Point Safety Plan,” a multi-layered set of protocols and procedures designed in conjunction with medical and scientific experts. The plan balances the high level of customer service guests expect from Borgata with policies that continually evolve based on data, science, and public health guidelines. Key initiatives from the plan include:

  • Employee screening, temperature checks and COVID-19 specific training.
  • Masks required in all public areas for both employees and guests (and provided free of charge).
  • Guest screening and temperature checks with limited casino entrance points.
  • A physical distancing policy with floor guides serving as reminders.
  • For areas where physical distancing presents challenges, polycarbonate barriers will be installed, or other measures will be used to reduce risks.
  • Standalone handwashing stations designed by MGM Resorts conveniently located on the casino floor.
  • Guestroom Attendants will wear masks and gloves while cleaning each room and will change gloves between guestrooms.
  • In addition to increased and enhanced routine cleaning of guestrooms and public spaces based on CDC guidance, electrostatic sprayers will be utilized in many large public spaces so that disinfectant is applied efficiently.
  • MGM has compiled its own internal team and processes to respond if a guest or employee tests positive for COVID-19. We ask that if a guest tests positive after visiting one of our properties, they alert us through a special email address (covid19@mgmresorts.com). We will immediately report any positive test results to the local health department and assist with contact tracing to support the health department investigators.

ABOUT BORGATA HOTEL CASINO & SPA:Located in Atlantic City’s Marina District, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa features 2,000 guest rooms and suites; 106,000 square feet of

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