Day: October 26, 2020

Trump campaign sending out invitations for ‘EPIC’ election night party at his D.C. hotel

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has his eye on hosting an election night party at his own hotel in the nation’s capital.

Over the weekend, the campaign pushed out fundraising emails in the president’s name offering donors the chance to enter a drawing “to join Team Trump at the Election Night Party in my favorite hotel,” in Washington, suggesting he will use his luxury hotel as the backdrop for reacting to election results.

“November 3rd will go down in history as the night we won FOUR MORE YEARS. It will be absolutely EPIC, and the only thing that could make it better is having YOU there,” Trump said in a fundraising solicitation.

For Trump, an election night party at his own hotel is symbolic for a businessman who leveraged his celebrity as a reality star and New York real estate magnate to win the nation’s highest office.

Critics see it as one more reminder of how the president has used his office to personally profit as foreign leaders, conservative supporters and administration officials use the lobby of Washington’s Trump International Hotel as an unofficial clubhouse for the Trump presidency.

Since 2017, the president and Republican National Committee have held several fundraisers at the president’s Washington hotel in the historic Old Post Office building, which the president’s company leases from the federal government.

Over the course of his presidency, the Trump campaign, the RNC and their joint-fundraising committees have spent over $7.4 million at Trump-branded properties.

The Washington hotel, which is blocks from the White House, has been sold out for weeks for Election Day as well as the days before and after Nov. 3. A basic room then is going for $1,200 a night, nearly triple the $476 room rate on Monday.

  • RELATED: Trump’s final-stretch campaign blitz draws big crowd in central Pa.

“Donald Trump has spent his entire presidency funneling taxpayer, campaign, special interest and foreign government money into the business that he still owns,” said Donald Sherman, deputy director of the nonprofit government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “In some ways, election night is going to be the pinnacle of his self dealing.”

The White House referred questions on the president’s election night plans to the Trump campaign, which did not respond to requests for comment.

It’s unclear how big Trump’s election night party will be. The District of Columbia, under coronavirus protocols, has capped mass gatherings at 50 people.

The president has sidestepped the district’s rules, which hold no weight on federal property, at other recent events. The president hosted hundreds of people on the White House grounds for an Independence Day weekend celebration, for his Republican National Convention speech in August and again at last month’s Rose Garden announcement of the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Several attendees, including Trump, tested positive for the coronavirus in the days following Barrett’s event. Few guests wore masks.

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser told reporters on Monday that she

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The Holiday Inn Holidome, the hotel amusement park of yesterday

Indoor pools, recreation facilities and even business centers.



Holiday Inn Holidomes boasted heated pools and mini golf at many of their facilities.


© Provided by CNN
Holiday Inn Holidomes boasted heated pools and mini golf at many of their facilities.

Those are common amenities at many hotels today, but it wasn’t too long ago that they were considered luxuries. One of the first hotel chains in the country to bring those comforts and conveniences to the masses was Holiday Inn.

Beginning in the 1970s, Holiday Inn was looking to reinvent their hotels and further cater to traveling families and business clientele.

Enter the Holiday Inn Holidome: a climate-controlled indoor space that housed everything from tiki bars to shuffleboard. Instead of traveling across the country to a tropical destination, vacationers had to look no further than their own backyard.

It was a minivacation for the family, but it was also a great place to hold business events, said writer and producer Ross Walton, a historian for the University of Southern Mississippi Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage.



a truck is parked in front of a sign: The iconic Holiday Inn sign frequently accompanied the holidome.


© IHG
The iconic Holiday Inn sign frequently accompanied the holidome.

The large, open space also made a great venue for class reunions and proms. The ability to hold these types of events transformed Holiday Inn into a destination instead of another hotel for travelers to rest their heads for the night.

A solution for swimming pools

One of the first inspirations for the Holidome came out of necessity, said George Falls, who was a vice president at Holiday Inn from 1960 to 1980.

“Swimming pools are just useless, particularly in the North, nine months out of the year or more,” Falls said.

A Holiday Inn in North Dakota built one of the first Holidomes to solve that problem, though it wasn’t called a Holidome until Holiday Inn later adopted the idea at their other hotels. With a large covered space to hold a pool and other amenities, locals could now enjoy swimming in a pool year-round.



a group of people posing for the camera: George Falls cut the ribbon for the opening of the holidome at Holiday Inn of North Platte, Nebraska, in 1974.


© George Falls
George Falls cut the ribbon for the opening of the holidome at Holiday Inn of North Platte, Nebraska, in 1974.

Although the Holidomes were popular in colder states, Walton said Holiday Inn’s most popular Holidomes were in Florida.



a group of people sitting at a table in front of a building: Skylights were built into the ceiling of many holidomes to let natural light in.


© IHG
Skylights were built into the ceiling of many holidomes to let natural light in.

“There’s nothing worse than taking your kids on vacation in Florida and it rains for the whole week,” Walton said. “This is a bit of vacation insurance for a lot of people.”

In the 1970s, Holidomes began sprouting up all around the country. This particular project allowed the franchisee owners a lot of creative freedom, which quickly turned into a competition.

“They were competing with each other to see who could have bragging rights for the biggest Holidome or the most elaborate production,” Walton said.

One such franchisee owner was DeWitt Hardin in White River Junction, Vermont. He opened his Holiday Inn in 1971 and later constructed a Holidome for it, which was completed in 1978.

Unlike the tropical oasis many of the

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United drops its shortest route, Hawaii opens and adds new flights, holiday travel bargains ahead…

In this week’s TravelSkills on SFGATE newsletter…

In route news, Southwest and Alaska revise their empty middle seat policies; United drops its shortest San Francisco route; JSX adds more Bay Area service as well as intra-Texas flights; Delta scraps a number of smaller domestic markets; Hawaiian brings back East Coast service and more Bay Area flights; United adds spokes from its Washington Dulles hub; Spirit overhauls its frequent flyer program; Alaska will start selling London flights; Singapore Airlines will revive the world’s longest nonstop route; and international route news from Level, United and El Al. Read: Routes- Middle seat shuffle, United, JSX, Delta, Hawaiian, Spirit, 737 Max, Singapore, more

With air travel demand plummeting this year, you might think airlines would try to make up some of that lost revenue by raising fares, but that’s not what happened – not in the second quarter, at least. And experts aren’t expecting holiday fares this year to be anywhere near as high as their 2019 levels. Read: With airfares plunging, will you go home for the holidays?

Nearly two weeks ago, Hawaii reopened to large numbers of mainland visitors when it relaxed its 14-day quarantine rule and replaced it with a negative COVID-19 test requirement. Since then, about 6,000-7,000 visitors per day have arrived, down from the normal 30,000 or so daily arrivals at this time of year. That bump in arrivals is great news for the economically strapped state — and for mainlanders hungry for a nice beach vacation. But for a small percentage of travelers, that nice vacation could turn into a nightmare. How? Read: What happens if you test positive for COVID-19 in Hawaii

A newly reported case in Texas could be the first instance of an airline passenger dying of COVID-19 on a flight. Although the incident happened in July, it was only this week that Dallas County officials confirmed the cause of death was COVID-19. Read: Airline passenger dies of COVID-19 on plane


Honolulu police issued warnings or citations to thousands of people in violation of coronavirus protocols since the state launched a pre-arrival testing program to reopen to tourists. The Honolulu Police Department said officers issued 4,500 warnings and 470 citations for not wearing masks or failing to social distance since the launch of the traveler testing program last Thursday. Read: Honolulu police issue 4,500 warnings for virus violations

It looks like Boeing’s troubled 737 Max is almost back. American Airlines said this week that pending final recertification of the aircraft, it expects to put the plane back into active service before the end of the year and has scheduled it for a daily New York-Miami flight from Dec. 29 through Jan. 4. Technically, the 737 Max remains grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration — as it has been since March 2019 — although it has made a lot of progress to resolving the agency’s concerns. Read more about this in our weekly routes update.

Tell your friends about TravelSkills on SFGATE and have them sign

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L.A. council members backtrack, turning against request to help a hotel developer

Nine years ago, a judge found that a financially struggling hotel in Koreatown had failed to pay its share of local taxes, ruling that the company owed the city of Los Angeles nearly $3.5 million.



Mike Feuer wearing a suit and tie: Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer said he opposes any effort to give a tax break to the developer of a hotel planned in Koreatown. (Mike Balsamo / Associated Press)


© (Mike Balsamo / Associated Press)
Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer said he opposes any effort to give a tax break to the developer of a hotel planned in Koreatown. (Mike Balsamo / Associated Press)

City officials, reeling from their own financial crisis, were so eager to collect that they sent sheriff’s deputies into the Wilshire Boulevard hotel to retrieve a portion of the money. The City Council eventually reached a legal settlement in 2012, securing $2.65 million — less than officials claimed they were owed — from the hotel and its owner, Leo Y. Lee.

Council members began dealing with Lee again earlier this year. But this time, they began looking at providing financial help for his latest venture: a new 192-room hotel planned in another part of Koreatown.

After The Times inquired about Lee’s previous legal dispute with the city, City Atty. Mike Feuer said he would oppose any financial aid for Lee’s planned hotel. Such an arrangement, while not illegal, would be “outrageous,” he said.

“I think it takes real chutzpah for a developer to try to avoid paying millions in taxes that he owed to the city, and then return and ask taxpayers for a subsidy,” Feuer told The Times last week.

Councilman Herb Wesson, after speaking with Feuer, is now backtracking on the idea of a hotel subsidy — and asking his colleagues to vote Tuesday to drop the effort. Councilman Curren Price, who previously supported Wesson’s request to explore financial aid for Lee’s hotel, now opposes any taxpayer assistance, according to his spokeswoman.

Victor Sahn, who served as the hotel developer’s bankruptcy lawyer in 2012, says his client is being wrongly portrayed as a “deadbeat.”

Lee was one of many businesses owners overwhelmed during the 2008 recession, losing millions of dollars, Sahn said. The businessman also had a “bona fide” dispute with the city, arguing that some parts of his building were being rented by the month and therefore did not require payment of transient occupancy taxes, also known as bed taxes, the lawyer said.

Lee’s hotel companies filed for bankruptcy in 2011. Once Lee succeeded in selling the property, he used the proceeds to pay off his obligations, the lawyer said.

“People are playing a blame game with someone who shouldn’t be blamed, who did his best to keep a project going,” Sahn said. “And when he couldn’t keep it going, he sold it and paid his creditors as much as he possibly could.”

Wesson and Price first broached the idea of providing financial help to Lee’s planned 21-story hotel last year. Both men signed a motion asking the city’s policy analysts to determine whether Lee’s company, 3800 West Sixth Street LLC, should be allowed to keep a portion of the taxes generated by his hotel

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Trump eyes hosting election night party at his DC hotel

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has his eye on hosting an election night party at his own hotel in the nation’s capital.



Supporters cheer as President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally at the Altoona-Blair County Airport in Martinsburg, Pa, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)


© Provided by Associated Press
Supporters cheer as President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally at the Altoona-Blair County Airport in Martinsburg, Pa, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Over the weekend, the campaign pushed out fundraising emails in the president’s name offering donors the chance to enter a drawing “to join Team Trump at the Election Night Party in my favorite hotel,” in Washington, suggesting he will use his luxury hotel as the backdrop for reacting to election results.

“November 3rd will go down in history as the night we won FOUR MORE YEARS. It will be absolutely EPIC, and the only thing that could make it better is having YOU there,” Trump said in a fundraising solicitation.

For Trump, an election night party at his own hotel is symbolic for a businessman who leveraged his celebrity as a reality star and New York real estate magnate to win the nation’s highest office.

Critics see it as one more reminder of how the president has used his office to personally profit as foreign leaders, conservative supporters and administration officials use the lobby of Washington’s Trump International Hotel as an unofficial clubhouse for the Trump presidency.

Since 2017, the president and Republican National Committee have held several fundraisers at the president’s Washington hotel in the historic Old Post Office building, which the president’s company leases from the federal government.

Over the course of his presidency, the Trump campaign, the RNC and their joint-fundraising committees have spent over $7.4 million at Trump-branded properties.

The Washington hotel, which is blocks from the White House, has been sold out for weeks for Election Day as well as the days before and after Nov. 3. A basic room then is going for $1,200 a night, nearly triple the $476 room rate on Monday.

“Donald Trump has spent his entire presidency funneling taxpayer, campaign, special interest and foreign government money into the business that he still owns,” said Donald Sherman, deputy director of the nonprofit government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “In some ways, election night is going to be the pinnacle of his self dealing.”

The White House referred questions on the president’s election night plans to the Trump campaign, which did not respond to requests for comment.

It’s unclear how big Trump’s election night party will be. The District of Columbia, under coronavirus protocols, has capped mass gatherings at 50 people.

The president has sidestepped the district’s rules, which hold no weight on federal property, at other recent events. The president hosted hundreds of people on the White House grounds for an Independence Day weekend celebration, for his Republican National Convention speech in August and again at last month’s Rose Garden announcement of the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Several attendees, including Trump, tested positive for the

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Grapevine Parks and Recreation receives national accreditation

The city of Grapevine’s Parks and Recreation department recently received a national accreditation distributed to only 186 departments throughout the country.

The city of Grapevine’s Park and Recreation department received the accreditation through a national program with the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies and the National Recreation and Park Association. As part of the accreditation process, Grapevine Parks and Recreation was required to demonstrate compliance with 151 recognized standards and document all policies and procedures.

The standards focus on the agency’s management, operations and community service. Among the areas covered in the accreditation are historical and cultural resource management plans, community relations plans, specific licenses for staff and guidelines for volunteers.

According to the release, Grapevine’s department has been working toward accreditation since 2018.

A concert at Grapevine's Town Square Gazebo during the Grapevine Main Street Festival in 2019. The outdoor concerts in Grapevine are one of the options for socially distanced date nights in the city.

“Getting CAPRA accredited validates the quality of operations, management and service to the community here in Grapevine is the best in the industry. It’s rewarding for our team to know they’re doing the very best for the citizens day in and day out,” Director of Grapevine Parks and Recreation Kevin Mitchell said in a press release.

In order to maintain their accreditation, the city must submit an annual report and go up for review again in five years, according to the release.

A cluster of rocks devoted to U.S. military branches on the rock art trail at Parr Park in Grapevine, Texas on October 15, 2020.

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Hennepin Theatre Trust Presents A (VIRTUAL) CHRISTMAS VACATION WITH THE GRISWOLDS

A (Virtual) Christmas Vacation with The Griswolds: An Evening with Chevy Chase & Beverly D’Angelo streams live on Saturday, Nov. 28

Hennepin Theatre Trust Presents A (VIRTUAL) CHRISTMAS VACATION WITH THE GRISWOLDS

Hennepin Theatre Trust announced today that it will be presenting A (Virtual) Christmas Vacation with The Griswolds: An Evening with Chevy Chase & Beverly D’Angelo on Saturday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. (CT). Light up your holidays and join Christmas’ favorite couple, Ellen and Clark Griswold for this virtual salute to the holiday classic, National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation. Chevy Chase (“Clark”) and Beverly D’Angelo (“Ellen”) lead audiences through this live event as they share fan-favorite clips from the movie, reveal their favorite memories from the making of the Vacation franchise and answer your questions in a live audience Q & A.

Tickets for A (Virtual) Christmas Vacation with The Griswolds: An Evening with Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 10 a.m. at HennepinTheatreTrust.org.

DAY

DATE

TIME

VENUE

TICKET PRICES

Saturday

Nov. 28

7 p.m. (CT)

Online

$25

A limited number of VIP tickets will be available that includes livestream access and a brief post-show meet and greet for $250.

An original member of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” Chevy Chase was the trailblazer who turned SNL success into Hollywood mega-stardom. The movies Caddyshack, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Fletch, and Three Amigos all contributed to making Chevy Chase a world-wide household name.

Perhaps best known for her portrayal of Ellen Griswold in the National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise, actress-singer Beverly D’Angelo has had an accomplished career spanning over four decades. Her acting resume includes roles in over 60 films and appearances in some of pop-cultures most celebrated television series including “The Simpsons,” “Law & Order: SVU” and “Entourage.”

Fans can expect the unexpected as these legends share a no-holds-barred trip down memory lane and unveil the behind-the-scenes secrets of the making of a blockbuster film franchise.

Add a new twist to your holiday tradition-gather the family and cozy up on the couch as we stream the Griswolds directly to your living room for this live virtual event that is fun for all ages. Chestnuts and eggnog recommended!

Hennepin Theatre Trust drives cultural and economic vitality in Minnesota through leadership of the dynamic Hennepin Theatre District in downtown Minneapolis and educational programming that reaches every area of the state. Its historic theatres – Orpheum, State and Pantages – and event center at 900 Hennepin Avenue light up Hennepin Avenue with top-tier entertainment, including the best of Broadway and a wide variety of arts programming. Hennepin Theatre Trust is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Learn more at HennepinTheatreTrust.org.

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Atari video game hotel concept art teases futuristic cyberpunk theme

atari-hotel

Atari released concept art for one of its new video game-themed hotels.


Atari

New concept art from Atari has given us a peek at one of the establishments in its future line of video game-themed hotels. From the images, it looks like it could have some influences from Blade Runner and Tron. It’s also possible this could be one of the first hotels planned for Las Vegas or Phoenix.

Atari’s hotel line is meant to reflect the history and future of video games. The video game company teamed up with architecture and design firm Gensler to bring this pop culture project to life. 

atari-hotel-2

Concept art suggests this is what the hotel will look like. 


Atari

“Atari Hotels will create a world that caters to gamers of all ages and experience levels, giving them a place to call home — a groundbreaking experience that shares Atari’s legacy of innovation,” Atari CEO Fred Chesnais said in a release. 

Read more: Atari VCS is getting thousands of retro games

The video game company announced in January that it would be opening eight video-game themed hotels in two locations in California — San Francisco and San Jose — as well as in Austin, Texas; Chicago; Denver; Las Vegas; and Seattle. Atari said the hotels would offer an “immersive” gaming experience including AR and VR. 

atari

This is what the back of the hotel could look like, according to the concept images. 


Atari

CNET reached out to Atari for further information and we’ll update when we hear back. 

You can sign up to be an Atari Hotels member for news and offers now.


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East Bay regional parks and recreation areas to remain closed due fire danger

Several East Bay parks will remain closed through Wednesday due to an extended Red Flag Warning anticipating continued high winds. 

The National Weather Service said wind gusts are expected to reach 60-70 mph in some parts of the Bay Area on Tuesday evening.

The East Bay Regional Park District announced Friday that it would close 11 of its parks and recreation areas Sunday and Monday in anticipation of severe winds. The district had expected to see some of the strongest winds in 20 years, but sustained winds only reached 21-45 mph in higher elevations, lower than the anticipated potential 70 mph impact. 

Ferocious winds are forecast to roar through Tuesday, prompting the district to extend the park closure through Wednesday. 

Parks that will remain temporarily closed to the public include Wildcat Canyon, Tilden, Reinhardt Redwood, Roberts, Huckleberry, Sibley, Claremont Canyon, Leona Canyon, Anthony Chabot, Lake Chabot, and Kennedy Grove.

According to the East Bay Regional Park District, winds knocked down 14 power lines in or near the closed park areas. Luckily, no fires sparked from the downed power lines, but that continues to be a worry during strong winds events. 

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An Iconic New York Hotel Is Closing Its Doors: What It Means for Real Estate Investors

It’s no secret that hotels have been struggling since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. Travel restrictions and safety concerns have led to unprecedented vacancies, and while some hotels may have enough cash reserves to sustain themselves through an extended downturn, others may have no choice but to permanently close their doors.

Such is the case for New York City’s famed Roosevelt Hotel, which has become yet another casualty of the pandemic. The iconic hotel, which has been around since 1924, announced in October that it will be shutting down at some point this year. And that’s a harsh blow for New York City hotels in particular.

A sobering turn of events

The Roosevelt hotel, located minutes from New York City’s famed Times Square and Grand Central Terminal, has been a huge part of the city’s history. In fact, it served as the election headquarters for Gov. Thomas Dewey when he incorrectly announced his victory over Harry Truman in the 1948 presidential election. The hotel has also served as a movie backdrop for films such as The Irishman.

Now, the Roosevelt Hotel will be closing its doors due to low demand related to the coronavirus crisis. Of course, it’s not the only hotel that’s taken a hit. The pandemic has decimated the hospitality industry, causing widespread layoffs for hotel staff as occupancy rates have plunged to record lows. In fact, the U.S. leisure and hospitality industry lost 7.5 million jobs in April, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and since then, only about half of those jobs have been brought back.

But losing the Roosevelt Hotel is an especially harsh blow for New York City, which is deep in the throes of a vacancy crisis. Manhattan landlords are growing so desperate they’re giving away free rent, while commercial landlords are facing vacancies and untold financial hardships.

Local hotels are feeling the pain, too. In September, Hilton (NYSE: HLT) announced that it would close its 478-room hotel in Times Square.

Of course, travel has been halted globally since the start of the pandemic, but New York City, which thrives on tourism, has become a virtual ghost town in the wake of COVID-19. Not only have city residents already staged a mass exodus, but tourism has declined substantially, fueled in part by quarantine restrictions and the long-term closure of Broadway. It’s therefore not surprising to see a famed New York City hotel like the Roosevelt shut down, but that doesn’t ease the sting for investors who may be worried that their hotels will be the pandemic’s next victims.

Though New York City started out as the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, its numbers have improved dramatically since last spring. Still, with cases beginning to surge again both locally and nationwide, it’s fair to say that tourism in the city won’t be picking up for quite some time, and that could leave hotel investors in quite the unfavorable spot. In fact, hotel operators may already be bracing for a very lean holiday

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