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Planning on Thanksgiving holiday travel? Many in the D.C. area are staying put.

The Washington region is in the midst of a Thanksgiving travel season like no other.

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Amid an alarming spike in new coronavirus cases, governors and local health officials are urging people to stay home. Health experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have “strongly recommended” people avoid traveling during the holiday.

Most seem to be heeding that advice.

“It’s been a long outbreak — almost 11 months now — and people are tired. We understand that,” said Erin Sauber-Schatz, head of the CDC’s Community Intervention and Critical Population Task Force. “People want to see their relatives, their friends and [celebrate] the way they’ve always done it, but this year, particularly, we’re asking people to be as safe as possible and limit their travel.”

Even before the CDC issued its updated recommendations, surveys by AAA Mid-Atlantic showed many people already had decided not to travel.

About 83 percent of D.C. residents said they planned to stay home this Thanksgiving holiday. When asked why they had decided not to travel, 65 percent cited the coronavirus pandemic. A similar number of Virginia residents, 84 percent, said they would be staying put.

In Maryland, where Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Monday urged residents not to let their guard down and to remain vigilant about wearing masks and social distancing, 89 percent of those surveyed said they would not be traveling. The Maryland Department of Transportation on Monday asked residents to avoid nonessential travel.

[Hogan announces targeted enforcement of coronavirus restrictions in bars and restaurants]

It’s a significant shift from previous years, when the Thanksgiving exodus would begin a week earlier as people plotted how to avoid the inevitable crush of holiday traffic. Regular commuters were warned to leave their offices early on Wednesday to avoid getting caught in holiday getaway traffic. The Capital Beltway became a sea of brake lights.

This will be the first Thanksgiving in more than a decade that fewer people plan to travel for the holiday when compared to the previous year, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

But not everyone is staying home. Roadways and airports might be more crowded than in previous months, but the volume will be a far cry from previous years, officials said.

The Transportation Security Administration reported it screened more than 1 million passengers Friday and again Sunday — something that has happened only three times since the pandemic began in March.

“We’re seeing more people on a daily basis than we have in the last few months,” said Christina Saull, spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which manages Dulles International and Reagan National airports.

Even so, Saull said passenger volumes are down about 60 percent compared to 2019, when trade group Airlines for America projected 30.6 million people would travel over a 12-day period around Thanksgiving.

Saull said travelers are largely following requirements to wear masks and practice social distancing. She said free masks are available at airport information desks. Many airlines also are making masks available.

In a briefing

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Thanksgiving travel: Many in the Washington DC area are staying home

Most seem to be heeding that advice.

“It’s been a long outbreak — almost 11 months now — and people are tired. We understand that,” said Erin Sauber-Schatz, head of the CDC’s Community Intervention and Critical Population Task Force. “People want to see their relatives, their friends and [celebrate] the way they’ve always done it, but this year, particularly, we’re asking people to be as safe as possible and limit their travel.”

About 83 percent of D.C. residents said they planned to stay home this Thanksgiving holiday. When asked why they had decided not to travel, 65 percent cited the coronavirus pandemic. A similar number of Virginia residents, 84 percent, said they would be staying put.

In Maryland, where Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Monday urged residents not to let their guard down and to remain vigilant about wearing masks and social distancing, 89 percent of those surveyed said they would not be traveling. The Maryland Department of Transportation on Monday asked residents to avoid nonessential travel.

It’s a significant shift from previous years, when the Thanksgiving exodus would begin a week earlier as people plotted how to avoid the inevitable crush of holiday traffic. Regular commuters were warned to leave their offices early on Wednesday to avoid getting caught in holiday getaway traffic. The Capital Beltway became a sea of brake lights.

This will be the first Thanksgiving in more than a decade that fewer people plan to travel for the holiday when compared to the previous year, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

But not everyone is staying home. Roadways and airports might be more crowded than in previous months, but the volume will be a far cry from previous years, officials said.

The Transportation Security Administration reported it screened more than 1 million passengers Friday and again Sunday — something that has happened only three times since the pandemic began in March.

“We’re seeing more people on a daily basis than we have in the last few months,” said Christina Saull, spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which manages Dulles International and Reagan National airports.

Even so, Saull said passenger volumes are down about 60 percent compared to 2019, when trade group Airlines for America projected 30.6 million people would travel over a 12-day period around Thanksgiving.

Saull said travelers are largely following requirements to wear masks and practice social distancing. She said free masks are available at airport information desks. Many airlines also are making masks available.

In a briefing with reporters last week, TSA Administrator David Pekoske said the agency expected its busiest days around the holiday will be Wednesday and Sunday. He also encouraged those who are traveling to be patient with others since it will be the first time many are traveling since the pandemic began.

Pekoske emphasized changes TSA has made to screening procedures to protect travelers and its workers. Officers are required to wear masks and gloves. Gloves will be changed out following each pat-down and if a passenger requests they be

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Man bites woman, holds steak knife to her throat at York area hotel

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In this Crime Wrap-Up, reporter Ted Czech highlights why drugs are bad, a failed car theft and a ‘Do Never” list, March 25, 2020.

York Daily Record

Ishaan Jamaal McKnight-Whitehead faces two counts of aggravated assault and one count each of robbery, harassment and possession of marijuana.

A female guest at a West Manchester Township hotel said she and others stopped a man from attacking a woman near the pool and later was robbed at knifepoint by him, according to charging documents.

West Manchester Township Police responded to the melee about 12:23 a.m. on Nov. 15 at the Wyndham Garden Hotel, 2000 Loucks Road.

Once there, they arrested Ishaan Jamaal McKnight-Whitehead, 40, of the 200 block of Peshine Avenue, Newark, New Jersey.

McKnight-Whitehead faces two counts of aggravated assault and one count each of robbery, harassment and possession of marijuana. 

More: Helicopter over Lake Redman on Saturday was state police looking for missing man

He was arraigned on the charges and was placed in York County Prison on $15,000 bail. A preliminary hearing before District Judge Keith L. Albright is scheduled for Dec. 22, according to online court dockets.

Ishaan Jamaal McKnight-Whitehead, charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count each of robbery, harassment and possession of marijuana. (Photo: Submitted)

Steak knife to the throat

As police were en route, they received information that a woman who was being held at knifepoint just outside the hotel had broken free and ran into the hotel.

Another transmission from 911 told them the man was now “running around the hallways of the hotel with a knife, threatening people,” documents state.

Police spoke with Rita Thomas, of Newark, New Jersey, who said she and other people got into a fight with McKnight-Whitehead earlier near the pool “because he punched a female,” documents state.

Police did not identify the female, nor did they say if McKnight-Whitehead and Thomas knew each other previously, since both are from Newark, New Jersey and were staying at the same hotel.

More: York man wanted for choking woman, damaging her vehicle, police say

More: ‘Easy target’ Police say lock your vehicle doors after rash of break-ins and theft

During the fight, McKnight-Whitehead bit Thomas in the upper right thigh area, according to documents.

Later, when Thomas and her friends were smoking in a designated area just outside the hotel, McKnight-Whitehead crept up behind her and held a steak knife to her throat, police said.

“Whitehead kept advising Thomas that he wanted his money back or he was going to stab her,” documents state. “Thomas did not take any of his money … she was telling him that over and over.”

McKnight-Whitehead moved the knife from her neck to her abdomen and again demanded money. After a brief argument, he took her iPhone and charging cord from her pants and ran into the hotel, according to documents.

Thomas showed police the bite mark on her thigh and a small cut under her jaw where the steak knife

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Norris Area Trail System Taking Recreation Tourism to the Next Level by Unveiling Plans for Multi-Use Recreational Trail System

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Nov. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — The Norris Project Steering Committee is launching a plan to improve connectivity between four park systems to create a more extensive multi-use recreational trail system. The NATS steering committee consists of local officials and the respective property managers for Loyston Point, Big Ridge State Park, Norris Watershed Trails, and Norris Dam State Park. The recently completed Norris Area Trail Sustainability (NATS) and Connectivity Feasibility Plan propose building a system of non-motorized multi-use trails to attract more year-round visitors by expanding recreational options.

In an area that’s long suffered from tepid economic vitality, enhancing visitors’ experiences could catalyze raising the region’s recreation profile and, in turn, boost local businesses and increase demand for workers. This improvement will sustain local tourism during the winter months by leveraging existing NATS recreational assets to balance the large number of tourists who visit Norris Lake in the summer.

Chuck Morris, a local biking enthusiast who often volunteers to help build and maintain area trails, is excited about the NATS plan. He believes that if improved and energetically promoted, NATS could compete as planned with the booming summertime water activity.

“It’s hard to get somebody to come here for a single trail system, but if you can market it as multiple trail systems that are interconnected, then when you have people come stay on a houseboat for a week, they will want to bring their bikes out to ride, too. Then you will have more people coming in the summer and riding, but also coming back in the winter and bringing business to your hotels, your cabins, your marinas, and restaurants.”

“The bigger picture of the Norris Area Trail System is not only to get more people to enjoy our parks but to discover our area and draw more attention to it,” said Norris Lake State Park manager Veronica Grear. “All of us want to bring more people to our parks — and have them spend their money locally. The whole vision of the NATS plan is to promote parks and connect more people to the parks so that we can have future generations of park supporters and advocates who’re going to protect the land and enjoy it after we’re not here anymore.”

“What is unique about this system of trails is that each land manager will retain autonomy for their property, but is committed to collaborating to boost the tourism opportunities for these rural counties that border Norris Lake,” says Julie Graham, spokesperson for ExploreTRV. “The TVA came to this Valley in 1930 to create not only the dam but to build places for people to enjoy outdoor recreation. The TVA’s investment in funding the feasibility plan helped us create this vision. We appreciate the support from the Anderson, Campbell, and Union County mayors and commissions in supporting the realization of the vision.”

The Tennessee River Valley Stewardship Council serves as the steering committee and editorial board for the Geotourism

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CNBC reports home sales surging in vacation towns, including Bridgeport area

Photo of Lidia Ryan

The red and white smokestack from the PSEG Power Connecticut coal-burning power plant, the last of its kind in New England, stretches high into the skyline of Bridgeport Harbor in Bridgeport, Conn. Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014.

The red and white smokestack from the PSEG Power Connecticut coal-burning power plant, the last of its kind in New England, stretches high into the skyline of Bridgeport Harbor in Bridgeport, Conn. Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014.

Tyler Sizemore / Tyler Sizemore

A recent report by CNBC’s Shep Smith showed that home sales are up in many vacation towns around the country including Lake Tahoe, Cape Cod, the Jersey Shore. Bridgeport was also included on that list.

The report used data from real estate Redfin to illustrate how the market is booming in vacation destinations as people continue to work from home. The segment highlighted Lake Tahoe, but said the same is happening in “the area around Bridgeport, Connecticut.”

While it’s no secret that real estate sales are exploding in Fairfield County, describing Bridgeport — a medium-sized industrial city — as a “vacation town” had some Twitter users disagreeing.

Bridgeport does have some coastline — Seaside Park, Pleasure Beach, St. Mary’s by the Sea — and destinations like the Beardsley Zoo, the Stress Facory and a forthcoming amphitheater. Still, Twitter users cracked some jokes at CNBC’s unusual characterization of Bridgeport.

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Incoming storm prompts closure at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area



a close up of a sign


© Provided by KRCR Chico-Redding


The storm arriving Tuesday in the Northstate has prompted the closure of part of Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.

Park officials said with the potential for substantial rain starting Tuesday, as a safety precaution, the south side of the park will be closed through Wednesday. The closure includes Kennedy Memorial Drive at the Clair A. Hill Whiskeytown Dam, Brandy Creek Marina, and Crystal Creek Road. Park officials said in the post-Carr Fire landscape, environmental hazards increase during storms. The southern areas of the park, specifically the steep drainages on Shasta Bally, are susceptible to debris flows carrying rock, soil, mud, and water.

The National Weather Service also issued a Flash Flood Watch for areas burned in the North Complex fire in Butte County. That flash flood watch takes effect at 10 a.m. Tuesday through 4 a.m. Wednesday.

A post by the National Weather Service on Facebook said “Moderate to heavy rainfall could cause ash flows on newly burned areas, especially over the North Complex burn scar. It is important to not drive over areas where ash or debris is flowing, and stay connected to local alerts for updated information.”

Safety tips for burn scars and areas nearby:

  • Do not drive over areas where ash or debris is flowing
  • Stay connected to local alerts
  • Turn around, don’t drown

Snow is expected at elevations 6,000 feet and higher.

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Police: People shot outside Salt Lake area hotel shot each other

MIDVALE — Unified police now say two people shot outside a Midvale hotel on Friday, resulting in one woman’s death, shot each other using the same gun.

Teresa Marie Alires, 39, of Salt Lake City, was fatally wounded outside a hotel near 6962 S. Bingham Junction Blvd. on Friday. Another man, 36, who was shot ran into a nearby Winco store where he received help, police said.

Police identified that man on Tuesday as 36-year-old Tyler Wade Shirreffs. He was initially taken to the hospital but has since been released and taken to the Utah State Prison on a parole violation.

Unified police now believe that Alires shot Shirreffs, though it was still unclear Tuesday what their confrontation was about. The two then fought over the gun, which Shirreffs took control of and fatally shot Alires, said Unified Police Sgt. Melody Cutler.

Shirreffs was a parole fugitive at the time of the shooting.

Police were still looking Monday for two people as possible witnesses, a man and woman who were seen by witnesses leaving the area, as well as a white Cadillac, believed to be a 2005 model.

Anyone who has information about what happened, or to report sightings of the vehicle or persons of interest, is encouraged to call 801-743-7000.

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Grant’s Getaways: Visiting Wildwood Recreation Area

You’ll want to bring your camera to capture the steady stream of color along the Salmon River that flows through the BLM’s Wildwood Recreation Area near Welches.

PORTLAND, Ore — Just in time for the weekend that finds most of us preparing to Fall Back – Grant’s Getaway offers an adventure at a place to enjoy hiking trails framed by crimson-colored fall leaves, plus a riverway chock full of fall spawning salmon, and it’s all within easy reach of Portland.

You’ll want to bring your camera to capture the steady stream of color along the Salmon River that flows through the BLM’s Wildwood Recreation Area near Welches, Oregon.

It’s a sprawling site that may find you wondering: “How is it I’ve never heard of this place before?”

After all, the Salmon River is born from glaciers atop Mount Hood and it is Oregon’s last undammed river that flows unhindered from the mountains to the sea.

The Salmon River cuts a beeline through more than 500 acres of designated public recreation land at Wildwood.

Adam Milnor said that most people are in a big hurry to reach Mount Hood or Central Oregon and overlook Wildwood.

“Mt Hood beckons to everyone who lives in the Portland area and that’s understandable,” said Milnor. “It’s a popular summertime draw, but not so much this time of year. A great place for families to introduce their children to the outdoors with a rushing river, salmon and fantastic trees in a beautiful forest.”

The trails that wind through Wildwood are marvelous opportunities to explore the parkland.

The Wildwood Wetlands Trail is a one-mile loop of gravel and paved foot-paths plus more than 1,000 feet of elevated boardwalk that gives you access to the heart of a vast wetland area where many different wildlife species live.

Observation decks extend into the wetland at several locations and allow closer inspection.

The habitat is wild and natural so don’t be surprised while hiking the boardwalk if you see blue herons, mallards, teals, turtles or any number of small songbirds.

Pay special attention to the many interpretive signs that describe the wetland habitat and the critters that live here.

“A wetland eco-system is something you have to really see up close to get really fascinated with it,” noted Milnor. “Building this structure really allows you to get up close and personal to it in a way that you wouldn’t otherwise.”

There are more than 1,000 feet to the boardwalk on the Wildwood Wetlands Trail that was built four feet off the ground to keep hiker’s feet dry and limit access onto the sensitive wetlands.

Beginning in mid-October, the boardwalk area explodes to life with a colorful show of brilliant reds, oranges and yellows from vine maple, big leaf maple trees and alder trees.

The Cascade Streamwatch Trail is a barrier-free and paved, three-quarter-mile trail adjacent to the Wild and Scenic Salmon River. Interpretive displays describe points of interest.

The most remarkable highlight of this trail is

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Frisco adopts new visioning plans for Peninsula Recreation Area

FRISCO — Frisco Town Council members signed off on the new Comprehensive Vision & Project Implementation Plan for the Frisco Adventure Park at the Peninsula Recreation Area.

The final plan represents more than a year of development through public meetings, stakeholder interviews, advisory committee hearings and more, and will serve as a guiding document for officials to gradually improve one of the town’s most prized amenities over the coming years.

“This was a really monumental effort,” said council member Melissa Sherburne. “We set out two, maybe three years ago at this point to have a collective vision for this area, and to be moving forward with purpose and strategy so that future councils really understand what the community vision for this area is.”

The plan was put together in partnership between Frisco, Lose Design and Sports Facilities Advisory. In total, the vision would cost about $30 million to implement in its entirety, but officials are planning on making the upgrades over time based on financial considerations, community feedback and necessity.

Image from town of Frisco

The plan’s goals are broken down into three categories: revenue generating opportunities, operational efficiencies and value-added enhancements. The idea is that officials will be able to add amenities and improvements piece by piece in a way that’s sustainable, with increased revenue coming in to help fund projects.

“We really thoughtfully went through all these elements to find out what should be tackled first, and what our biggest issues are,” said Diane McBride, Frisco’s director of recreation. “We’ve got issues with crowding, storage and concerns about navigating the location. So we’ve taken those items we’ve heard from the town, staff and the community and made those high priority. …

“But we realize there are opportunities to generate revenue. In terms of how you invest in this and make changes, when you add on you have to decide what that means for generating potential revenue from that site for saving and building future amenities as well.”

What has been budgeted so far is $210,000 for the design and development of a wedding overlook and a new Village Center, a part of the Recreation Village that will serve as a centerpiece of the area’s eventual redesign.

The Recreation Village is meant to serve as the park’s new base camp, encompassing a new Village Center that would house all administrative functions, concessions, classrooms and more. The village would also include a new activity center, ice rink, art installations and renovations to the day lodge and Nordic center.

Image from town of Frisco

The plan also includes a new wayfinding system which will incorporate better lighting and signage for pedestrians and vehicles. It’ll serve as a means to both define the character of the park and help visitors find their way around. There are also ideas for improving transportation issues on a broader scale, like adding the Adventure Park along the Summit Stage bus route, increasing parking capacity and creating a bypass for recpath users.

“It’s all organized in a

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Perry Area Joint Recreation District finances report expected soon | News

A committee that formed to take an in-depth look at the financial condition of the Perry Area Joint Recreation District is making good progress.

That update was provided by Recreation District Board Chairman Rick Amos during the Oct. 27 meeting of the Perry Township trustees.

“They’ve done a lot of work putting together some numbers and what they see (the rec district’s) needs are going to be,” Amos said.

The committee, which is composed of recreation board members, began meeting in late September. Along with conducting a comprehensive financial review, the group also is considering the topic of annual subsidies that Perry and North Perry villages and Perry Township pay to the district.

In a previous News-Herald story, Amos said the panel intended to study the district’s projected finances for the next five years or so, and determine if funding will be able to keep community recreation sustainable in Perry.

At the Oct. 27 trustees’ meeting, Amos also talked about how the group’s findings will be shared.

“As soon as (the committee) is done, I think that they’re going to kind of give a CliffsNotes version of (the district’s) needs, and our plan is to send it to (Perry Township trustees), to all council people and to all mayors so everybody has it in their hands, so they can get a better idea,” Amos said. “I think that if we write this down, it will answer a lot of questions for everybody.”

Amos anticipates that leaders in all three communities will receive the special financial report on the rec district “way before the end of the year.”

Traditionally, the township, and Perry and North Perry villages all have provided the recreation district with annual subsidies to help the district pay for items such as insurance, employee wages and salaries, and overhead. Each year, the rec district sends out letters in January to the communities’ government leaders, reminding them about the subsidies.

Operating costs for the rec district, on the other hand, are covered through fees paid by participants in sports and other activities.

Perry Area Joint Recreation District, which offers programs for children and senior citizens, serves the three Perry communities and Perry Schools.

Although Perry Schools used to pay annual subsidies to the rec district, it hasn’t done so in recent years, However, Amos said that the school district does provide in-kind contributions by allowing its athletic fields and buildings to be used for rec district activities.

The next gathering of the committee spearheading the study of rec district finances is slated to take place at 4 p.m., Nov. 9, at the township Administration Building. That session will be followed by a meeting of the full recreational board at 5 p.m. 

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