Day: October 19, 2020

Summit recreation centers work to expand amenities as health regulations allow

Sanitizer and towels are lined up behind the front desk at the Silverthorne Recreation Center on June 24. The center previously was closed from 1-3 p.m. each weekday but now will be open to the public during those hours.
Photo by Antonio Olivero / [email protected]

FRISCO — The recreation centers in Silverthorne and Breckenridge are working to slowly roll out more offerings as resources and health regulations allow.

The Silverthorne Recreation Center has expanded its operating hours to 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays, adding an additional three hours open to the public. Before the change, the center was open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and closed from 1-3 p.m. for cleaning. The center will no longer close in the afternoons.

Recreation Center Manager Steven Herrman said the center also has reopened some amenities, including some lockers and showers, and added household reservations for the pool or gymnasium. In these two areas, people from the same household can reserve up to four spots in the gym or five spots in the pool. Pickleball reservations for up to four people also are available.

Herrman said that while the center would like to open up some weekend hours for individual workouts and classes, there currently isn’t enough staffing to do so. However, the facility is still used on weekends for swim lessons and for middle school and high school club sports that typically would practice at the high school.

Herrman said the center is preparing for more demand as the weather changes and people move to indoor exercise. 

“Right now, our focus is going to be really dialing in our current operations, trying to educate on some of our policies and procedures a little bit more, and trying to work toward some weekend hours while balancing everything,” Herrman said.

The final fall program session for November and December opened for registration Monday, Oct. 19. The programs provide after-school activities like swim lessons, gymnastics, volleyball or outdoor activities. Herrman said mornings are busier and tend to fill up with 25 available reservations per 45-minute time slot. Evening hours are gaining more traction, and Herrman expects them to fill up when the snow starts to set in. He noted that capacities won’t be expanded unless the county’s COVID-19 dial moves in a positive direction. 

In an effort to step up sanitation measures, Herrman noted that a bipolar ionization system was installed in the facility’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at the beginning of the month. Currently, maintenance staff is testing the system for efficiency. 

“We’re definitely constantly exploring better ways to improve the safety of our indoor space so we can keep our doors open,” Herrman said. 

Farther south, the Breckenridge Recreation Center has a maximum use capacity of 50 people indoors and is open from 5:30-7 p.m. weekdays, which is a 90 minute extension from when the center originally reopened. While the climbing wall, leisure pool and indoor playground remain closed, lap lanes are open, and the personal training program

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Lee Answers Questions On Proposed Homeless Hotel

CHATSWORTH, CA — District 12 Councilmember John Lee has released answers to a series of frequently asked questions about the proposal to turn a Devonshire Street Travelodge into temporary homeless housing.

The transformation, administered by state initiative Project Homekey, is being proposed in order to comply with a court order to provide 6,700 new beds in the city of Los Angeles for homeless people living near the freeways, over the age of 65, or at vulnerable to contracting COVID-19.

According to Lee’s release, the city would purchase the property, which has 72 rooms available. The rooms would be targeted towards any homeless individual from District 12, with priority given to people over 55, living near the freeways, or with previous health issues. The rooms will need to be available by April, and will initially serve as interim housing lasting three to five years, though some rooms will be permanent later on.

The project is referred to as “interim housing,” a “stop-gap measure until individuals are able to find long-term housing,” according to the release.

The project is mostly funded by the Federal Coronavirus Relief Funds allocated by the state. Homeless grants are being used for necessary safety and Americans with Disability Act upgrades. Across the state, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is picking up 75 percent of the tab for rooms, according to a report in the Mercury News. As of April, the state has distributed $150 million for counties to pay for motels and homelessness services.

The site will be substance and alcohol-free and observe a curfew. A to-be-determined private security company will provide 24-7 onsite security, and Lee says that his public safety deputy will be in regular communication with the LAPD to keep the public apprised of the security situation in the nearby area.

24/7 onsite staff will be “experienced with facility operations, resolving conflicts, and other types of issues related to behavior and facility rule compliance.” Case management staff and social workers will be available during the day and early evening hours. Drug and mental health services will be offered, but it is illegal to require clients to participate in them.

Lee said that the project is different from the Topanga Apartments, a proposed project that would turn a car sales and lot garage at the intersection of Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Devonshire Street into a 63-unit homeless apartment complex. Rather than interim housing, the site would provide long-term residency and intensive support. Lee says that he strongly opposes that project because he does not believe it is suitable for the site. A Motel 6 near Roscoe Boulevard and the 405 Freeway was sold to a private developer before the court ruling.

Feedback has been mixed. “We’re happy to hear Councilmember Lee supports this project!” the West Valley Peoples’ Alliance, a social justice group, wrote in response to a Facebook post by Councilmember Lee. “We would love to work on solutions for people experiencing homeless in CD12, especially welcoming the new residents into our

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United to JFK; Hawaii testing blossoms; another SFO lounge + more travel news

In this week’s TravelSkills on SFGATE newsletter…

In route news, it looks like SFO transcon flyers on United will get two NYC options next year; United customers to Hawaii get another testing location at SFO as the islands once again welcome tourists; Hawaii’s hotels and resorts are gradually reopening; American makes new concessions to AAdvantage elites; Southwest plans to start flying out of two big United hubs; UA will add more Mexico/Central American service this winter; Qantas will resume repatriation flights; JetBlue and Southwest will open up service to a popular Colorado ski resort; and American Express reopens its Centurion Lounge at SFO. Read: Routes: United at JFK, Hawaii updates, Alaska-American + AAdvantage, Southwest, AmEx at SFO, more

Two new lounges at SFO? Yep. The old USO Center near the Delta Air Lines gates at San Francisco International Airport shut down for good in March during the onset of COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders. But the USO Center, SFO’s most exclusive lounge, is now back in business in a brand new location. See photos in this post for a closer look!) Read: Take a look inside SFO’s big USO lounge upgrade for service members This is the second lounge at SFO to open this month — American also opened a shiny new Admirals Club in T1 — Read more about that here. 

California home buyers are flocking to Hawaii and snapping up homes, sometimes sight unseen. But from coqui frogs that chirp all night to an hour’s drive to the closest supermarket, the homes in rural Hawaii that some California buyers are purchasing after seeing them only online may come with unadvertised downsides. Read: ‘Not always going to be easy’: What Bay Area transplants to Hawaii need to know

Oakland Airport now has two COVID testing sites, and both are free. There’s one between terminals on airport grounds, and another on the north side of the airport, which you can access via car. This makes flying out of Oakland a much cheaper option for Hawaii-bound travelers hoping to avoid the $80-$250 fees at SFO.  Read: Oakland airport will offer free COVID-19 tests for Hawaii-bound travelers

When Singapore Airlines said seats on its superjumbo-turned-restaurant sold out in 30 minutes, one common question was: Who on Earth would want to do that? Plenty of people, it turns out. For every person who doesn’t relish flying, let alone schlepping to the airport and onto a parked plane for some reheated airline food, there’s another who can’t get enough of the aviation experience and is willing to shell out (big bucks) for it. Read: Why people pay hundreds of dollars to eat on grounded planes

Alaska Airlines and American have been moving closer together for months now, with increased code-sharing, plans by AA to shift some international flying on the West Coast from Los Angeles to Alaska’s Seattle hub and so on. They have also been promising that Alaska, which has never been part of a global alliance, will become a full member of American’s Oneworld 

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United Airlines adds 8 leisure routes to Latin America and Caribbean

  • United Airlines is growing its leisure route network as executives expect business travel to remain low until 2024.
  • Latin American and Caribbean countries with limited or no restrictions for entry by US citizens are the main focus of the expansion.
  • The new routes boost United’s presence in Mexico, Costa Rica, Belize, the Dominican Republic, and Honduras.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

United Airlines is further expanding its leisure route map this winter with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean as demand shifts south of the border to the few countries welcoming Americans. The new leisure-focused routes make sense as the company’s CEO has said he doesn’t expect business travel to recover until 2024. 

The new routes boost United’s presence in Mexico, Costa Rica, Belize, the Dominican Republic, and Honduras with expanded service from the airline’s hubs across the US from coast to coast. Both regions have been taking the lead in accepting American tourists in recent months as more flyers take to the skies.

Costa Rica, for example, is opening its borders to all Americans starting November 1 – after previously restricting entry for residents of high-risk states – with proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, according to the US Embassy in San Jose. Belize and Honduras have recently begun allowing all US citizens to enter but are similarly requiring negative tests to be presented for entry. 

Mexico has remained open to Americans arriving via air throughout the summer and has not used negative tests as a requirement for entry. The Dominican Republic also does not require a negative test for entry.

The new routes allow for quicker journeys and allow for more non-stop itineraries for those seeking to head south for the winter. United is also increasing flights on existing routes to Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Here’s where United Airlines is flying this winter.

Between Cleveland, Ohio, and Cancun, Mexico

Cancun, Mexico

Cancun, Mexico.

United will begin flying between Cleveland, Ohio, and Cancun, Mexico on December 19 with year-round, Saturday-only service after having left the route in August 2019, according to Cirium route data. Competing with United on the route will be ultra-low-cost carriers Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines.

A former United hub that was re-acquired by the airline after a merger with Continental Airlines, Cleveland has seen reductions in service from United in recent years, with few routes beyond those to its other hubs. Once the route resumes, it will be United’s only international route from Cleveland. 

Between Washington, DC and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Roldys Jorge/

United will begin flying between Washington, DC, and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on December 17 with daily service until March 27, according to Cirium route data. No other airlines currently serve this route. 

Between Denver and San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose, Costa Rica.

United will begin flying between Denver and San Jose, Costa Rica on December 19 with Saturday-only service until March 27, according to Cirium route data. No other

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Nomatic Backpack Review for Remote Work

I’m a remote copywriter traveling the world, so finding a reliable backpack is vital for me. I need a backpack that’s versatile and durable enough to carry my laptop and other tech gear, whether I’m walking through London in the pouring rain or plodding through the sand on a hot baking day in a beach town in Mexico.

While I used to make do with a classic backpack without any extra features, this year, I met another digital nomad who introduced me to the marvel that is the Nomatic Backpack.

The Nomatic bag is high-end, made of strong and robust material to hold all your precious tech, keeping it safe from the prying hands of thieves as well as the unpredictable elements of the weather.The maximum capacity of the bag is 24 liters, which is more than enough for your day-to-day requirements while leaving plenty of room for clothes for an overnight stay. Plus, it’s super lightweight too, so it doesn’t weigh you down like many other travel backpacks tend to do.

As a neat freak, my favorite feature of the bag is all the extra pockets and compartments that make it super easy to organize your belongings. The removable organizing panel makes it easy to tailor the backpack to your exact needs, like working from the beach one week then up in the mountains another.The expandable capacity is excellent, too, especially for colder climates when you need to pack plenty of extra layers.

Since I’ve traveled on the road with the Nomatic backpack, my worries of ruining my gear have evaporated. I know that no matter what is thrown at me weather-wise, I can trust my bag not to crumple, leak, or ruin.

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Two people robbed, pistol-whipped in Braintree hotel parking lot after meeting to complete online deal, police say

Two people were robbed and pistol-whipped by two suspects when they went to meet up and complete an online transaction Saturday in a Braintree hotel parking lot, police said.

Both victims were evaluated for injuries but declined to be taken to the hospital, Braintree police said in a statement Monday afternoon.

Officers went to the back parking lot of the Hyatt Place hotel, located at 50 Forbes Road, in Braintree at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday following the report of an armed robbery, police said.

The victims told officers that a vehicle with three men drove into the parking lot, with two getting out of the car to finish the online transaction, police said.

This is when, police said, the suspects allegedly robbed the victims at gunpoint, taking several items from them and pistol-whipping them.

The victims told police the suspects went through the intersection at Forbes Road and Granite Street onto I-93 North, police said.

The victims told police they followed the suspects onto the highway, with the suspects allegedly firing one shot at their vehicle.

Police said they did not find evidence that shows the car was hit by a bullet nor any other property damage.

The suspects’ vehicle was later recovered in Boston, police said. State Police said early Sunday they assisted Boston police with the search Saturday night and found the possible suspect vehicle in Boston.

State Police also said they assisted Braintree police in investigating the incident and the shots fired scene.

The incident remains under investigation.

Breanne Kovatch can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @breannekovatch.

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Midterm vacation for PU lecturers from Oct. 21-30

The Department of Pre-University Education has declared midterm holidays for PU college lecturers across the State from October 21 to 30. “As there are government holidays on October 31 and November 1 also, lecturers are expected to report for duty on November 2,” a circular issued by the department said.

However, the circular stated that online classes would continue and lecturers had been directed to supervise the classes.

Meanwhile, hundreds of protesting candidates, who were recruited as lecturers in government PU colleges and have not received appointment orders even a year after their selection, have withdrawn their agitation after an assurance from the government.

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and Primary and Secondary Education Minister S. Suresh Kumar promised them that appointment orders would be issued soon after PU colleges reopen.

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TSA screens 1 million passengers in one day for first time since mid-March as travel picks up during coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus is still in the air, but so are travelers.

The Transportation Security Administration screened more than 1 million passengers on Sunday, the first time passing the seven-digit mark since March 17, just five days after Tom Hanks and Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus.

Between Monday and Sunday, 6.1 million passengers crossed through TSA checkpoints, the highest weekly volume since the pandemic began.

The TSA touted its health protocols in keeping passengers safe, including acrylic barriers and technologies that reduce or eliminate physical contact between passengers and officers.

“TSA has been diligent in our efforts to ensure checkpoints are clean, safe and healthy for frontline workers and airline passengers, implementing new protocols and deploying state-of-the-art technologies that improve security and reduce physical contact,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement Monday.

While the TSA said its numbers are still “well below pre-pandemic levels,” the slow return to normalcy comes as coronavirus rates begin to spike again.

As of Monday, more than 8.1 million Americans have tested positive for coronavirus and almost 220,000 deaths reported so far.

Many airlines are still using their own health protocols, including mask usage and leaving seats open to help with social distancing.


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Public Outcry Forces King Willem-Alexander of Netherlands to ‘Abort’ Greece Vacation After One Day

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima

King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands is regretting his choice of fall vacation.

The 53-year-old Dutch monarch and his wife Queen Maxima, 49, have been forced to return from their holiday villa in Greece after being out of the country for just one day.

Their trip, which started on Friday and ended in disgrace on Saturday, caused an uproar in The Netherlands as it came just three days after the Dutch government advised locals to spend the fall vacations at home to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“We will abort our vacation,” a statement posted on behalf of King Willem and Queen Maxima said Friday, shortly after the public became aware of the royal vacation.

“We see people’s reactions to media reports. And they are intense, and they affect us,” he added.

“We do not want to leave any doubts about it: in order to get the COVID19 virus under control, it is necessary that the guidelines are followed. The discussion following our vacation does not contribute to that.”

The royal family’s decision to fly out of the country with daughters Princess Catharina, 16, Princess Alexia, 15, and Princess Ariane, 13, — who recently returned to school — has also caused deep embarrassment for Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima with Princess Catharina, Princess Alexia, and Princess Ariane

As the head of the Dutch government, he is responsible for assessing whether the royal family’s private trips abroad are in the public interest.

In a letter to the Dutch parliament on Sunday, Rutte said that while he was aware of the king’s vacation plans he “realized too late” that they didn’t match up with the recent tightening of the country’s COVID-19 measures, reports Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

“This should have prompted me to reconsider the intended holiday,” he added.

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This is the second time this year that a Greek holiday has caused problems for King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima.

In August, they were forced to apologize after a photo emerged of them ignoring social distancing rules and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a restaurant owner on the Greek island of Milos.

“A photo appeared in the media in which we don’t keep enough distance,” the King and Queen posted on Twitter.

“In the spontaneity of the moment, we did not pay enough attention to that,” they added. “Of course we should have. Because compliance with corona rules is also essential on vacations to get the virus under control’ -WA & Máxima.”

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Ireland to impose 5km travel limit in strict new Covid lockdown

a person is walking down the street: Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

Ireland is expected to close most shops and amenities and impose a 5km (3 mile) travel limit, some of the severest Covid-19 restrictions in Europe, to curb surging infection rates.

The government was poised to announce on Monday evening that from midnight on Wednesday the country will move to its highest lockdown tier for six weeks. Visits to private homes will not be permitted and there are to be no gatherings except for tightly controlled weddings and funerals, according to leaks in Irish media in advance of the official statement.

a person walking down a street next to a building: Pubs, cafes and restaurants will be allowed to serve takeout meals only.

© Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images
Pubs, cafes and restaurants will be allowed to serve takeout meals only.

A graduated fine system for those who breach the 5km travel limit will be announced later this week, as will new guidelines on social bubbles. Two households can meet outdoors within the travel limit.

Non-essential retail will close along with barbers’ shops, beauty salons, gyms, leisure centres and cultural amenities. Pubs, cafes and restaurants will be allowed to serve takeout meals only.

Schools and creches are to remain open, but teachers’ unions signalled they may challenge this, citing their members’ safety. Martin Marjoram, the president of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland, said his members were anxious and more rapid coronavirus testing was needed for schools to remain open.

The pandemic unemployment payment is to be restored to €350 (£320) a week for those with prior earnings of €400 a week and above. Wage subsidy rates are also to be improved.

Supermarkets and grocery stores across Ireland reported unusually busy trading on Monday even though they will remain open. Building sites are also expected to remain operational.

Health officials reported 1,031 new infections on Monday, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 50,993. The death toll remained unchanged at 1,852.

Ireland’s 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population is 261, less than Britain’s, France’s and Spain’s, and around the middle of Europe’s table. But Ireland’s health service has little spare capacity, especially for intensive care.

Opposition parties broadly supported tighter restrictions but several business groups warned of a wave of bankruptcies and job losses.

The chief medical officer, Tony Holohan, requested a level 5 lockdown two weeks ago but the coalition government rejected the recommendation, citing the damage that it would inflict on the economy and state finances and expressing hope that level 3 restrictions would contain the virus.

Leo Varadkar, the deputy prime minister, accused Holohan and his emergency health team colleagues of not thinking through the recommendation. Several ministers said a second lockdown would be divisive and would struggle to emulate the social cohesion and widespread public compliance of the first.

However, with virus numbers spiralling, Holohan got a different response when he again requested level 5 last weekend, prompting some to say Varadkar had gone from Dr No to the Yes Minister.

Two days of intense talks between health officials and leaders of the three ruling parties, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and

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