Day: October 22, 2020

City of London recreation programs on hold to adapt to health unit measures

The City of London is putting recreation programs on hold as of Saturday while it adjusts to new measures announced by the Middlesex-London Health Unit to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Aquatic programs are exempt from the change, which impacts indoor sport, recreational and fitness facilities, as well as Learn to Skate programs.

This follows Wednesday’s announcement from the Middlesex-London Health Unit, which placed restrictions on the region’s fitness centres, bars, restaurants, salons and spas. The measures come into effect on Saturday, and include limiting the number of people in a fitness class to 10 and requiring instructors to wear face coverings.

Any businesses or facilities found guilty of breaking the new public health guidelines could be fined up to $25,000.  

Aquatic programs will continue as other city-run programs are put on hold. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

People registered for city-run programs at community centres or arenas will be directly notified and refunded, according to a press release from the city. Volunteer and sport organizations that use city arenas for programs will be contacted about ensuring the new requirements are met.

According to the release, the city is working with the health unit to modify programs to adhere to the new measures, and will share more information about the future of the programs as soon as possible.

More information about city-run programs is available here.

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Sabre Launching AI Travel Platform Developed With Google

The first travel industry technology platform powered by artificial intelligence (AI) is being rolled out by Sabre (NASDAQ:SABR), the company said in a press release on Thursday.

Sabre’s partner in the venture to build the system, called Sabre Travel AI, is Alphabet‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google. The latter company is bringing its AI and machine-learning solutions to the platform, in addition to providing the cloud computing services that will support it. 

A plane taking off at dusk.

Image source: Getty Images.

Sabre says that Sabre Travel AI “will help customers to deliver highly relevant and personalized content more quickly, deliver personalized content that better meets the demands of today’s traveler, and create expanded revenue and margin growth opportunities.”

The company added that it is busy integrating the new platform into some products in its current portfolio, although it did not specify which ones. Sabre also didn’t provide any financial details of its arrangement with Alphabet/Google, or how much capital it was expending on the Sabre Travel AI project.

The system is the result of a fairly recent collaboration; Sabre and Google began to team up only in January, indicating a relatively quick development process.

The announcement comes at a challenging time for the travel industry, many aspects of which have been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. The development and implementation of the new technology will help give it an advantage when the sector begins to recover.

Long thirsty for hope, travel stock investors got excited about Sabre’s news. On Thursday, they bid the company’s shares up by nearly 17%, trouncing the gains of the wider stock market.

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Southwest Airlines to start unblocking middle seats for holiday travel

Southwest Airlines announced Thursday that it will start fully booking popular routes, unblocking middle seats that it has kept vacant for months to make travelers feel safer during the pandemic.

The Dallas-based carrier cited several studies that the airline said shows the risk of getting coronavirus on an airplane is extremely rare when everyone wears a mask. In one case, the International Air Transport Association found 44 cases of Covid-19 transmission associated with plane travel, with most recorded before airlines adopted enhanced cleaning procedures and mask requirements, according to a news release.

“That’s 44 people out of the nearly 1.2 billion passengers who have traveled in 2020, or one case for every 27 million travelers this year. As IATA suggests, this is approximately the same risk category as being struck by lightning,” Southwest said in a statement.

Another study from Airbus, Boeing and Embraer found that an airplane’s airflow systems, filters and seatback barriers, along with wearing a mask, make flying safer than being in another type of indoor environment.

“We expect demand to be stronger around the holidays so it probably makes sense to make more seats available to customers in December,” Helane Becker, managing director and senior research analyst at Cowen, told NBC News.

Becker also cited the IATA study as proof transmission rates are lower in air travel.

The decision to open up middle seats comes as Southwest posted its biggest ever quarterly loss on Thursday. The airline reported a loss of $1.2 billion in the three months ended Sept. 30. During the same period last year, Southwest posted a $659 million profit.

“This practice of effectively keeping middle seats open bridged us from the early days of the pandemic, when we had little knowledge about the behavior of the virus, to now,” the airline said in a statement Thursday. “Today, aligned with science-based findings from trusted medical and aviation organizations, we will resume selling all available seats for travel beginning Dec. 1, 2020.”

Delta and Alaska are the only two U.S. airlines now committing to block middle seats through January. With Southwest now gearing up to run full flights during the post-Thanksgiving travel holiday period, some customers expressed concern about whether this was the right choice.

“This is disheartening. Even with the middle seat empty I was almost too nervous to consider return to SW air travel. Are you requiring 100% mask compliance?” one person wrote on Twitter. “I would definitely get off a plane if even one person is not wearing their mask.”

Another person questioned why middle seats are being unblocked when cases are starting to surge.

“Very upsetting to learn this just as all the scientific, solid predictions are that cases are spiraling upward and will continue thru the winter,” they wrote. “With this policy I would not risk flying even for a family emergency. Hope you’ll roll this back.”

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said on Thursday that the airline is seeing “modest improvements in leisure passenger trends since the slowdown we experienced

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ND Parks and Recreation Department seeks advisory committee applicants

BISMARCK — The North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department is searching for applicants for the Recreational Trails Program Advisory Committee.

The Recreational Trails Program is an 80/20 matching grant program that provides funding for recreational trail projects.

The purpose of the RTPAC is to assist in ranking projects seeking federal trail funds administered by the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department and to provide additional program guidance. Committee members are appointed by the Parks and Recreation Department director and required to be recreational trail users and represent trail interests.

Those considering applying should classify themselves as representing the following interests, per the Parks and Recreation Department:

  • A nonmotorized recreation representative.
  • An off-highway vehicle representative.
  • A motorized recreation representative.

Committee members serve three-year terms. The term will run from 2021 to 2024. Committee meetings occur at least once a year and members are reimbursed for mileage and hotel expenses if meetings are unable to be conducted virtually.

Interested parties must email [email protected] before 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30. Include name, email address and phone number, desired category, county of residence and one to two paragraphs about why one wants to be considered.

For more information, contact Jolene Rieck, PLA, chief of planning and programs, or Char Binstock, grants coordinator at the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department, at 701-328-5357.

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Tweaks to recreation restrictions likely after consultation with London-area hockey associations – London

A day after new restrictions were announced that would impact youth sports in the London area, some minor tweaks could be on the way.

Dr. Chris Mackie, London and Middlesex County’s medical officer of health, announced a number of new restrictions targeting operators of indoor sports and recreation facilities, as well as health clubs and yoga studios, among others.

That announcement caught many in the hockey community off guard, and even sparked an online petition on Change.org calling for minor hockey in the region to be allowed to continue without additional restrictions yielded more than 5,000 signatures by Thursday evening.

Read more:
Some City of London programs paused as staff prepare changes to follow new health measures

“Although we were surprised by the order, we are currently working with the health unit to minimize risk and hopefully continue with our programming,” said Karen daSilva, president of the Elgin Middlesex Chiefs.

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After speaking with some local hockey organizations Thursday, Mackie says some minor tweaks will likely be made.

“We’ve been having a number of conversations with leaders in sporting organizations across London and Middlesex, and we’ll continue to do so up to Friday,” he said.

“Late Friday afternoon we’ll make a final determination about any adjustments that we’ll be making to the orders before they come into place.”

The potential changes come following consultation with daSilva, as well as Kevin Gardner with the London Junior Knights and and Justin Hoffer with the Greater London Hockey Association.

They were asked to provide detailed protocols that have been in place over the course of their individual return-to-play plans.

“I trust moving forward the health unit learns that we can work together for the benefit of getting kids back to playing hockey in a safe manner during these very challenging times,” said Gardner.

Read more:
Several sports at Fanshawe College impacted by season cancellation

 

Wednesday’s announcement was a surprise for those involved in minor soccer as well.

Tom Partalis, president of London Optimist Sports Centre, was one of many who say they were blindsided by the announcement of new restrictions.

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“This is not going to work for our place. Unless they come up with a new plan, I don’t see it working for us at all.”

Unsure about what it could mean for the future of BMO Centre London, Partalis says these changes are coming with a new season freshly underway.

“If we had known two weeks ago, we would have made different plans. We just started our indoor schedule Monday night,” said Partalis.

“It’s just devastated us completely.”

Read more:
OPP K9 team celebrating 100th capture in Essex County

Abbi Lezizidis, the president of Whitecaps London, wonders why consultation wasn’t done prior to making the changes.

He says the club already

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Cooking at home? Try new takes on old favorites, or travel the world.

It’s an open secret that many people would rather read a cookbook and order takeout than actually try new recipes. But lockdowns have provided more time to be patient and courageous in the kitchen. And with restaurants closing or serving meals only outdoors, more cupboard doors at home are swinging open these days. Social media feeds have been filled with images of “pandemic baking” – beautiful round loaves of sourdough, elaborately styled finger foods for grazing, and dinners for the family proudly made by teenagers. On cue, here comes a harvest of new cookbooks. There may be no sourdough recipes in this roundup, but there are plenty of invitations to experiment with flavors and transcend the confines of your kitchen.

Meals from pantry staples

Stocking the pantry seems simple enough, but what to make with all of those cans of chickpeas and boxes of pasta? Emily Stephenson offers a friendly guide in “Pantry to Plate: Kitchen Staples for Simple and Easy Cooking” with her recommended 50 staple ingredients and 70 recipes that mix and match only those ingredients. She suggests a pared-down protein list: eggs, bone-in chicken thighs, tuna, Italian sausage, and tofu. But there is plenty here to please the vegetarian cook, too.

Easy-to-follow recipes are grouped into chapters by meal type, including nine recipes that move eggs out of a scrambled rut. Stephenson also curates the recipes for meal planning on the go with categories such as quick weeknight meals, family-friendly, vegan, make ahead, and even dishes to impress dinner guests. If you are a beginner cook or just looking for fresh ideas, this collection will help take the stress out of mealtimes.

Irresistible baked goods 

Advance your pandemic baking repertoire beyond yeasty loaves of bread with Kelly Fields and Kate Heddings’ “The Good Book of Southern Baking: A Revival of Biscuits, Cakes, and Cornbread.” Fields, a James Beard Award-winning pastry chef and owner of New Orleans bakery Willa Jean, reimagines quick breads, muffins, biscuits, cookies, and every kind of pie and tart in such mouthwatering ways you’ll be reaching for those baking pans before turning the last page.

Think chocolate chip cookies can’t be improved? Fields spent two years perfecting her Willa Jean recipe with three kinds of coarsely chopped chocolate and finished with sea salt. She breaks down old favorites like pumpkin pie and builds them back stronger: pumpkin pie with roasted white chocolate cream. See? You can’t resist. Roll up those sleeves and set the oven to preheat. Fields, with her humorous, no-nonsense talk about the best flours, flavors, and strategies will soon have you laughing and baking “ALL the pies.” As she says, baking should be simple and fun.

Cooking by color

Asha Gomez grew up along the beaches of southwest India and today navigates the bountiful displays of the international farmers markets in Atlanta. In “I Cook in Color: Bright Flavors From My Kitchen and Around the World,” by Gomez and Martha Hall Foose, the focus is on color in selecting

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Trump Hotel Struck By Lightning Hours Before Final Presidential Debate (Photo)

Even Mother Nature is reacting to the final presidential debate.

President Trump’s Chicago hotel was struck by what appears to be three simultaneous bolts of lightning on Thursday — though one Twitter user pointed out that it could just be one lightning strike followed by what are called “stepped leaders,” or a series of secondary strikes that commonly follow the first.

Photographer Barry Butler shared the image he took of the incredible early-morning incident on Twitter, writing: “Three Simultaneous Lightning Strikes on the Trump Hotel Chicago at 2:14am on Thursday.”

Also Read: Will the Final Trump-Biden Debate Set New Ratings Records?

ABC 7 Chicago shared the image on its Twitter account where users sounded off in the comments with some pretty hilarious reactions to the ironic lightning strike that took place just hours before Trump is scheduled to face off against Joe Biden in the final presidential debate.

One user parodied the Trump administration’s proclivity for taking credit for things with this clever joke: “Trump Campaign: ‘We would like to thank President Trump for building the first hotel that safely attracts lightning so none of our citizens are ever stuck again. Lightning deaths are down almost 749% since Trump took office.’”

“When does a giant marshmallow Bill Barr show up?” wrote another user, referencing the Stay Puft marshmallow man who descends on the city in “Ghostbusters.”

The science whiz who made note of the previously mentioned scientific phenomena going on in the picture wrote: “Not to be ‘that guy’, but the fainter two look to be stepped leaders. The brightest flash is the return stroke. This happens all the time, it’s just how lighting works.”

Also Read: How to Watch MSNBC and NBC News’ Coverage of the Final 2020 Presidential Debate Live

Take a look at the image and more Twitter reactions here:

Three Simultaneous Lightning Strikes on the Trump Hotel Chicago at 2:14am on Thursday. #storm #chicago #ilwx #news #weather pic.twitter.com/fLIIa8kVkm

— Barry Butler (@barrybutler9) October 22, 2020

Oh great, now he’s summoning Gozer for a new October surprise.

— Matthew Krier (@matthewkrier) October 22, 2020

Trump Campaign: “We would like to thank President Trump for building the first hotel that safely attracts lightning so none of our citizens are ever stuck again. Lightning deaths are down almost 749% since Trump took office.”

— Marty Shankle (@mshankle1131) October 22, 2020

Sign from God!

— Gusto779 (@KriveF) October 22, 2020

Keep it going, THOR😃 pic.twitter.com/4AbXckOIMP

— 🇵🇷EVE NATALIE🇵🇷 (@TAINA525) October 22, 2020

Zuul has arrived. pic.twitter.com/GeZQe31AZE

— Mitch (@Lifeisamitch) October 22, 2020

Looks like a scene out of Ghostbusters. Expecting an Orange Pilsbury Doughboy to appear through the clouds! pic.twitter.com/b6q6qICG1f

— Stephen Rycroft (@RycroftStephen) October 22, 2020

Read original story Trump Hotel Struck By Lightning Hours Before Final Presidential Debate (Photo) At TheWrap

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Inclusive Recreation program displays adaptability amid chaos

As ground zero of the disability rights movement, the city of Berkeley sets a historically high bar for disability activism. Torre Meeks, coordinator of Cal’s Inclusive Recreation program, believes the program has lived up to these expectations despite the hindrances of a pandemic.

Meeks has journeyed through uncharted territory with enthusiasm and grace as Cal’s first full-time inclusive recreation coordinator. “It’s been really fun to be able to trailblaze, in terms of new programming and campus involvement,” he said. “There are so many possibilities and directions for inclusive recreation can explore.”

In almost two years at Cal, Meeks has stayed true to his word and helped expand the program’s offerings to new heights. For one, the program added wheelchair basketball to a lineup of adaptive recreational sports in 2019 that also included goalball and CalStar Yoga, the latter of which is an adaptive yoga course designed for students with mobility impairments. The Inclusive Recreation program is equipped with 10 PER4MAX wheelchairs, which were available for students to rent and utilize during open gym hours. In order to publicize wheelchair basketball, Berkeley Recreational Sports hosted a showcase before social distancing restrictions were enforced. Meeks also invited guest Paralympic athletes as well as coaches from the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program to help implement programs at Cal. Furthermore, Meeks and his team have expanded the use of assistive devices and equipment in the Recreational Sports Facility. While the population of students without disabilities may not be directly affected by these changes, Meeks maintains that inclusive equipment is imperative in creating a welcoming environment for students with disabilities in sports.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily suspended in-person access to many adaptive sports, including wheelchair basketball. Restrictions have also derailed plans to create a wheelchair basketball DeCal and expand goalball beyond the introductory DeCal courses.

In the face of these setbacks, Meeks and the Inclusive Recreation program transitioned certain aspects of their program into a virtual format. They have incorporated live seated yoga classes, similar to the CalStar Yoga model, into the existing catalog of recreational online classes. Furthermore, the Accessible Wellness and Empowerment program’s services, which provide free, personal training to qualifying students with disabilities, are also offered virtually. After the scrutinized shutdown of the No Limits program in 2019, the Accessible Wellness and Empowerment program was launched in order to reaffirm Inclusive Recreation’s commitment to serve students regardless of income level. While Meeks declined to state how much grant funding the Accessible Wellness and Empowerment program received, the program guidelines guarantee that athletes will continue to be supported until funding is exhausted.

Although inclusive recreational sports faces many challenges in the context of the pandemic, Meeks believes the worst is behind it.

“The biggest challenge was definitely the initial transition to virtual services,” Meeks said. “With so many different economic factors and ability levels to consider, it’s hard to create a diverse array of programs to meet the many needs of Cal’s disabled community.” And as the team transitions into

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Surfliner Reservations Required For Holiday Travel

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CA — Taking the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner up the coast is a longstanding holiday tradition. This year, amid the coronavirus pandemic, you’ll need a reservation if you want to ride the rails during the Thanksgiving holiday period.

Reservations will help Amtrak safely manage an expected increase in travelers, the company announced Thursday.

A reservation will be required on trains that travel between San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties beginning Monday, Nov. 23 through Nov. 30.

This will help manage capacity and allow customers to distance themselves from each other onboard, Amtrak said.

Additionally, the Rail 2 Rail program will be suspended during this period, and monthly Metrolink and COASTER passes will not be accepted onboard Pacific Surfliner trains on these dates.

Amtrak monthly and 10-ride passes may still be used. However, multi- ride ticket holders will be required to confirm each trip (train and date) through the Amtrak RideReserve program on Amtrak.com, the Amtrak app, or an Amtrak agent prior to traveling during the reservation period.

Additional cars are being added when possible to increase the number of available seats on select trains.

Visit www.pacificsurfliner.com for additional information on booking and safety precautions. Tickets can also be purchased at Amtrak.com, from Quik- TrakSM ticket kiosks, from ticket windows at staffed Amtrak stations, on the Amtrak app, or by calling 800-USA-RAIL.

Read also:

Amtrak-Surfliner, Lysol Partner In Pacific Surfliner Rider Safety

This article originally appeared on the San Juan Capistrano Patch

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Town Crier: Sports & Recreation | Announcements

The new 2020 Fall Activities Guide is now available online and is packed with a variety of programs, classes and recreation activities. Registration is open for all classes and private lessons offered through the Casper Recreation & Aquatics Center and also the Casper Ice Arena when it re-opens in November. Classes in Fitness, Dance, Martial Arts, Arts & Crafts, Specialty, Sports, Ice Skating, and swimming will start next week or later.

Along with all the favorites, new classes and programs include: Earlybird Boot Camp, a Wednesday Ballet Barre, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Cake Decorating for Teens, Cake Decorating for Adults, Youth Knitting & Crochet, Youth Photography, Teen Knitting & Crochet, and Science Lab.

Make sure to register early to guarantee a spot in a class and insure classes meet their minimum.

Registration may be completed online at www.activecasper.com, at the Recreation Center, 1801 East 4th St., or by phone with credit card at 235-8383.

Register for youth hockey

Want to know more about Casper Oilers youth hockey? Casper Amateur Hockey Club’s online registration is now open for the 2020-2021 season and they are accepting registrations for our 6U, 8U, 10U, 12U and Girls 19U divisions. Did you know that the first time skater fee for the season is $200 and that they have an equipment rental program that includes almost all the gear needed to play? Please check out the website at http://casperhockey.com to find all the information you need under the Player Registration menu. For families that have new players interested in registering for hockey for the first time and have questions about the youth hockey program, please contact Diane at [email protected] or 315-0188 for more information.

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