Tag: News

Mark Bennett: A path of safety, adventure and recreation underway, at last | News Columns

Just outside West Terre Haute on Tuesday morning, a young woman walked toward Terre Haute along U.S. 150 as cars and trucks sped past her.

Mark Bennett: A path of safety, adventure and recreation underway, at last

Tribune-Star/Mark BennettProgress underway: Ben Leege stands beside the substructure of a new pedestrian walkway adjacent to the south side of U.S. 150 between West Terre Haute and Terre Haute. Leege is the Indiana Department of Transportation’s project engineer on the effort.

She walked just a few feet from traffic. That’s because there’s almost no shoulder area between the edge of the highway and the steel roadside barriers. “The Grade,” the 1.1-mile stretch of roadway between the two towns, is risky for the numerous people who walk or bicycle to their destinations.

At that same moment Tuesday, construction continued on a remedy to the longtime hazard.

It’s a success story, a community-wide effort that will provide safety, as well as an economic boost and recreational opportunities.

Anyone who’s driven between Terre Haute and West Terre Haute since late August has undoubtedly noticed the early-stage progress on a new pedestrian walkway, adjacent to the south side of the U.S. 150 pavement.

Once it’s finished in October 2021, that young woman and other pedestrians or bike riders will be able to trek to and from West T and the Haute without feeling the air gusts of SUVs and pickups that motor by at an average rate of 16,000 vehicles a day, according to 2018 figures from the West Central Indiana Economic Development District.

This solution to that decades-old problem alone validates the project’s $6.2-million cost.

The walkway opens up other benefits, too.

Mark Bennett: A path of safety, adventure and recreation underway, at last

Tribune-Star/Mark BennettScenic: A new pedestrian walkway on the south side of U.S. 150 between West Terre Haute and Terre Haute will offer its users a clear view of the Wabashiki Fish and Wildlife Area, shown here.

It unlocks a virtual dead-end to the popular National Road Heritage Trail, which winds for 30 miles through eastern and central Vigo County and across the Wabash River before reaching the no-room-to-safely-walk-or-bike segment of U.S. 150. Thanks to the walkway, the Heritage Trail system could someday connect Vigo County’s four college campuses. Heritage Trail also can now extend to Illinois and link with burgeoning trail systems in Vermillion, Parke and Sullivan counties.

And, the walkway makes the Wabashiki Fish and Wildlife Area and its Wabashiki Trail more accessible. The new pedestrian bridge will run alongside the 2,700-acre wetlands, which was set aside by the state of Indiana in 2010. The numbers of hunters, anglers, bird-watchers, hikers, runners and picnickers using Wabashiki’s amenities will grow.

Terre Haute and West Terre Haute could become a destination for groups of cyclists, runners and outdoors enthusiasts, just like other Midwestern towns that anchor long-running trail systems.

Constructing the walkway on the slope between the highway and wetlands requires some architectural finesse.

Three-hundred steel pilings are being driven 30 to 60 feet deep into the soil to support the walkway, explained Ben Leege, the Indiana Department of Transportation’s project engineer. Those 12-inch-diameter pilings are then

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Des Moines recreation manager named Omaha’s new parks director | Local News

20201109_new_miller_LS07 (Gallery) (copy)

People eat lunch under a tree bearing bright autumn leaves at Miller Park in North Omaha on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert has hired the city’s next director of parks, recreation and public property.

Matthew Kalcevich, recreation manager for the City of Des Moines, will begin Dec. 14. Kalcevich has more than 10 years of experience managing recreation centers, public pools, golf courses and other facilities, according to a press release from the Mayor’s Office.

He replaces longtime director Brook Bench, who left the job over the summer.

“Matt brings enthusiasm and experience to manage our park system and the wide range of recreation, leisure and athletic facilities we operate,” Stothert said in the release. “He shares our commitment to great public spaces, which contribute to Omaha’s quality of life for families and neighborhoods.”

Kalcevich will make $162,318 in the role.

Last summer, the city hired Searchwide Global, a recruitment firm, to find its next parks director. The city agreed to pay the firm 30% of the hire’s annual salary — nearly $49,000, based on Kalcevich’s pay.

He will be responsible for overseeing more than 250 city parks, eight golf courses, 18 swimming pools, 11 splash pads, four dog parks, two tennis complexes, 13 community centers, a trap and skeet center, a nature center and the city’s ice arena.

Miller Park has a whole new shine in Omaha

“I am incredibly excited to lead this amazing department and expand the wonderful facilities and programs already serving the community,” Kalcevich said in the release. “My family and I are thrilled to make Omaha our new home.”

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Welsh Covid travel rule changes unfair on pubs, say critics | UK news

The Welsh government is under fire over changes to its Covid travel rules that critics say will lead to people from Wales crossing the border for nights out in England.

From Friday, a rule that bans people from leaving Wales except for reasons such as work or education will be replaced with one that allows Welsh residents to go to tier 1 and 2 areas in England. At the same time a law comes into force that stops pubs and other licensed premises in Wales selling alcohol and forces them to close at 6pm.

Welsh pub owners said people from Wales were bound to travel into England for a drink and meal. Mark Jones, who runs the Stanton House Inn in Chirk, north Wales, said: “I’m just half a mile from the border. We’re going to close and I know some people from here will go to pubs in England. It isn’t fair.”

Ashley Rogers, the commercial director of a business council that covers north Wales, said: “It will put pubs in Wales at a competitive disadvantage. On the back of an awful year it could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”

Conservatives in the Welsh parliament called for the government to think again. Darren Millar, the shadow Covid recovery minister, said: “While any lifting of travel restrictions between Wales and England is to be welcomed, there can be no doubt that this news will rub salt in the wounds of the Welsh hospitality industry.

“With Welsh pubs, cafes and restaurants being banned from selling alcohol on their premises, many of their customers will be taking their custom and cash across the border to enjoy a tipple with a meal in England instead.

“The Welsh Labour-led government must rethink its new rules, engage with leaders the hospitality industry and adopt a more targeted approach to intervention that keeps the Welsh pound in Wales, and attracts the English pound into Welsh businesses too, especially in the run-up to Christmas.”

Asked if the rule change meant Welsh residents would be able to go to pubs in tiers 1 and 2 in England, a Welsh government spokesperson said there would be no legal restrictions, but added: “We strongly advise people in Wales not to travel into those parts of England and Scotland where the infection rate is lower, to help prevent them taking coronavirus with them.”

The changes mean people from tiers 1 and 2 in England can go on holiday to Wales. The spokesman said: “People in England living in tier 1 and 2 areas can enter Wales. However we are asking people to think carefully about their actions and the risk of spreading the virus. We continue to ask people to do what they should do, rather than what they can do under the law, in order to play their part in preventing the spread of coronavirus.”

Under the new rules for Wales travel to and from tier 3 areas in England, level 3 and 4 areas in Scotland

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Coronavirus live news: Italy reports record deaths after close to a thousand Covid-linked fatalities in 24 hours | World news

Rich nations stand to lose hundreds of billions of dollars in economic output over the next five years if poorer countries do not get equal access to Covid-19 vaccines, a report has said as concerns grow about “vaccine nationalism”.

As the World Health Organization (WHO) seeks to plug funding gaps in its ACT Accelerator programme for global Covid-19 treatments, researchers said their findings showed there was a financial – as well as a moral – case for ensuring equal access.

“Governments are increasingly focusing on investments that can help their own economies to rebound,” said Hassan Damluji, deputy director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which commissioned the report by the Eurasia Group research firm.

“The ACT Accelerator is precisely one of those investments. It is both the right thing to do, and an investment that will pay dividends by bringing the global economy back from the brink, benefiting all nations.”

As nations prepare to roll out mass Covid-19 vaccination programmes, with Britain becoming the first to approve a vaccine for use this week, there has been concern that “vaccine nationalism” could see poorer countries left behind.

The WHO says the programme needs $38bn (£28bn) – of which about $28bn is still outstanding – without which lower-income countries will not be able to get prompt access to Covid-19 drugs including vaccines.

Thursday’s report assessed the economic benefits of ensuring swift, equal global access to vaccines to 10 major economies – Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Qatar, South Korea, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US.

It found boosts to the global economy as a result meant they stood to gain at least $153bn in 2020-21, and $466bn by 2025, in an analysis based on IMF World Economic Outlook forecasts of varying vaccination scenarios.

The WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, hailed the report, and said contributing to the ACT Accelerator was “the smart thing for all countries – socially, economically and politically”.

Its findings are in line with an earlier study that found wealthy countries stood to lose $119bn a year through uneven vaccine access, said Andrea Taylor, a researcher at the Duke Global Health Institute’s project tracking Covid-19 data.

“It is in the best interests of wealthy nations to invest in equity and it will cost all of us more if we don’t, both in terms of mortality and GDP,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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Coronavirus live news: Iran passes 1m Covid-19 cases; WHO looks at possible ‘e-vaccination certificates’ for travel | World news

The information technology company said in a blog post published on Thursday that it had uncovered “a global phishing campaign” focused on organisations associated with the Covid-19 vaccine “cold chain” – the process needed to keep vaccine doses at extremely cold temperatures as they travel from manufacturers to people’s arms.

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency reposted the report, warning members of Operation Warp Speed – the US government’s national vaccine mission – to be on the lookout.

Understanding how to build a secure cold chain is fundamental to distributing vaccines developed by the likes of Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE because the shots need to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius (-94 F) or below to avoid spoiling.

IBM’s cybersecurity unit said it had detected an advanced group of hackers working to gather information about different aspects of the cold chain, using meticulously crafted booby-trapped emails sent in the name of an executive with Haier Biomedical, a Chinese cold chain provider that specializes in vaccine transport and biological sample storage.

The hackers went through “an exceptional amount of effort,” said IBM analyst Claire Zaboeva, who helped draft the report. Hackers researched the correct make, model, and pricing of various Haier refrigeration units, Zaboeva said.

“Whoever put together this campaign was intimately aware of whatever products were involved in the supply chain to deliver a vaccine for a global pandemic,” she said.

Haier Medical did not return messages seeking comment. Messages sent to the email addresses used by the hackers were not returned.

IBM said the bogus Haier emails were sent to around 10 different organizations but only identified one target by name: the European commission’s directorate-general for taxation and customs union, which handles tax and customs issues across the EU and has helped set rules on the import of vaccines.

Representatives for the directorate-general could not immediately be reached for comment.

IBM said other targets included companies involved in the manufacture of solar panels, which are used to power vaccine refrigerators in warm countries, and petrochemical products that could be used to derive dry ice.

Who is behind the vaccine supply chain espionage campaign isn’t clear. IBM’s Zaboeva said there was no shortage of potential suspects. Figuring out how to swiftly distribute an economy-saving vaccine “should be topping the lists of nation states across the world,” she said.

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Australia politics live: NSW hotel quarantine worker tests positive for Covid | Australia news

NSW Health is calling on people in Sydney’s north-west to get tested if they have even the mildest Covid-19 symptoms, after the state’s sewage surveillance program detected traces of the virus at a sewage treatment plant in Riverstone.

Fragments of the virus that causes Covid-19 have been detected in samples taken on Sunday 29 November from the sewerage system that drains parts of Riverstone, Vineyard, Marsden Park, Shanes Park, Quakers Hill, Oakville, Box Hill, The Ponds, Rouse Hill, Nelson, Schofields and Colebee.

Detection of the virus in sewage samples could reflect the presence of known cases of Covid-19 diagnosed in recent weeks in the area served by this sewage treatment plant. However, NSW Health is concerned there could be other active cases in the local community in people who have not been tested and who might incorrectly assume their symptoms are just a cold.

Particularly in light of the easing of restrictions on gatherings announced [yesterday], it is important that people in these areas be aware of any symptoms of illness, and immediately isolate and get tested should even the mildest of symptoms appear. Cold-like symptoms, including a runny nose or scratchy throat, cough, tiredness, fever or other symptoms could be Covid-19.

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Covid-19 Live News and Updates

Here’s what you need to know:

A student under quarantine in a dorm at Ohio State University last month.
Credit…Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

Citing the spiraling rise in coronavirus cases nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday warned Americans not to travel over the holidays, and outlined two ways to shorten the recommended quarantine times for people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus, especially those who may choose to travel anyway.

“The best thing for Americans to do during the holiday season is to stay at home and not travel,” said Dr. Henry Walke, who oversees day to day management of pandemic response for the agency.

The C.D.C. previously had recommended a 14-day quarantine period following potential exposure, and officials said they still supported the longer period as the safest option. But officials also recommended two alternatives.

Those without symptoms may end quarantine after seven days, followed by a negative test for the virus, or after 10 days without a negative test, agency officials said at a news briefing. P.C.R. or rapid tests are acceptable, the agency said, and should be taken within 48 hours of the end of the quarantine period.

“We can safely reduce the length of quarantine, but accepting that there is a small residual risk that a person who is leaving quarantine early could transmit to someone else if they became infected,” said Dr. John Brooks, the C.D.C.’s chief medical officer for the Covid-19 response.

(Quarantine refers to people who are well but may become ill; isolation refers to those known to be ill.)

Agency officials also recommended that Americans who are traveling get tested for the infection one to three days before the trip and again three to five days after returning. Returnees should eliminate nonessential activities for seven days.

A shortened quarantine period may be more palatable to people, with reduced economic impact, and may improve compliance, officials said. But the more relaxed guidance may lead to some infections being missed.

Studies have found that the median incubation period for the virus is five days. But symptoms do not develop in a few patients until nearly two weeks after exposure.

C.D.C. officials also warned strongly against travel over the Christmas holiday.

Dr. Cindy Friedman, chief of the travelers health branch at the C.D.C., reiterated that with cases rising, “the safest thing to do is to postpone travel and stay home,” saying that even a small percentage of infected travelers could “translate into hundreds of thousands of additional infections.”

“Travel is a door-to-door experience that can spread the virus during the journey and into communities where travelers visit or live,” she said. “We know it’s a hard decision, and people need time to prepare and have discussions with family and friends and to make these decisions.”

“Our recommendations are trying to give them the tools they need to make these tough choices,” she said, adding that people should take the time before the Christmas holidays to

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Winter spring fare deals, Hawaii, COVID passports + more travel news

In this week’s TravelSkills on SFGATE newsletter…

With airlines desperate for cash, this year’s round of Cyber Monday fare deals, good through Thursday, are definitely worth a look, even if you are uneasy about traveling in the current pandemic-plagued environment. Why? Because deals like this won’t be around once a vaccination rolls out, quarantine restrictions dissolve, travelers release pent up demand and fares increase. Read: Fare deals flourish for winter trips to LA, Hawaii, NYC

Joshua Colby Council, 44, was boarding Delta flight 1362 to San Francisco from SLC at about 11 p.m. when he disregarded the gate agent’s order to put on a mask before he got on the aircraft, police said. Salt Lake County sheriff’s records identify him as a resident of San Francisco. Once he took his seat, other crew members, including the captain as well and a Delta manager, insisted that he wear a mask, which he consistently refused to do “for unknown reasons,” according to the police booking report. Read: San Francisco man arrested for refusing to wear a mask on Delta flight

In this week’s route news roundup, Kauai opts out of Hawaii’s pre-testing program, San Francisco International has a new “touchless” option for its parking garages, and also introduces COVID testing for Cathay Pacific; Hawaiian Airlines adds more mainland testing sites; CDC has new testing guidelines for international travel and warns against trips to Mexico; Delta finds a way around Italy’s mandatory quarantine; Air India will add a new San Francisco route; Alaska Airlines bets on the 737 Max for fleet renewal; JetBlue will still fly to London but not to Heathrow; the Delta/WestJet joint venture is scrapped; American Express reopens its Phoenix Centurion Lounge; and United gets some new gates at Denver International. Read: Routes: Kauai shuts down, New route to India, COVID updates, Mexico warning, more

As more governments turn to mandatory COVID-19 testing for travelers in place of mandatory 14-day quarantines after arrival, the world’s airlines are developing a digital health passport that will collect and standardize coronavirus-related passenger data for border crossings and could jump-start international travel once it is widely used. Eventually, the current proof of negative test results prior to travel could be supplanted by proof of vaccination. Read: Airlines’ new ‘health passport’ could revive international travel

Last week, on-airport COVID-19 facilities at both Oakland and San Francisco International Airports were sold out. There were no advance reservation slots until later in December nor was walk-up, day-of-travel testing available for the busiest week for air travel since the pandemic began in March. If you are planning on using the on-airport testing options, be sure to plan ahead and not rely on getting a walk-in appointment. Read: COVID-19 testing at SFO, Oakland airport is sold out

For the first time in more than two centuries, the people were gone. Hanauma Bay, a stunning body of water that formed within a volcanic crater, is approximately 15 minutes from Waikiki. Its natural glory makes it one of Hawaii’s top tourist

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Axon Capital’s Singh Sees Vaccine Boosting Travel, Entertainment Stocks | Investing News

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Services company stocks, especially those linked to travel and leisure, have room to rocket higher next year as consumers venture out again after spending on goods but cutting back on services during the pandemic, hedge fund manager Dinakar Singh said.

With vaccines against Covid on the horizon, Singh, who runs Axon Capital, expects a flood of pent-up demand for travel to see far-flung business clients and employees, visit grandparents and take vacations.

“Things are going to be explosive,” Singh, who headed Goldman Sachs’ proprietary trading unit before forming his own fund in 2005, said at the Reuters Global Investment Outlook Summit. “There well could be a huge surge of pent up demand for activities that have been restricted because of the virus.”

After personal savings rates climbed early in the pandemic, stocks broadly recovered. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index has gained 12% since January and has rebounded 60% from its March lows. Real estate values also have increased, so many consumers should be ready to splurge if they manage to get through the crisis with their jobs intact.

While business travel may ultimately be reshaped by video conferencing, markets still may underestimate the near-term demand for travel and entertainment, Singh said.

Singh said stocks that stand to benefit include airlines, hotels and resorts, financial services companies like American Express, which is frequently used for travel, and entertainment venues like Madison Square Garden. His fund is invested with some of these U.S. based stocks, most of which were hit hard in 2020 and whose prices remain lower.

Even companies like beverage maker Coca-Cola could see a positive knock-on effect if concerts and sporting events come back, opening the market for concession vendors to sell soda to millions of people.

In addition to these U.S. stocks, Singh said international markets like Japan and India are attractive. Indian banks, in particular, could see share prices climb, fueled by structural growth and “turbocharged” by a cyclical recovery, he said.

Axon Capital has jumped more than 50% this year after gaining 17% in 2019, an investor familiar with the return said.

Singh cautioned that this recovery will differ from previous ones like the one in 2009 because this year’s downturn was unusual; marked by a crash in spending on services and an “unprecedented and unsustainable” boom in spending on goods.

“The problem is that the pattern people are seeing is the wrong pattern,” Singh said, noting that traditional cyclicals — materials and commodity stocks, for example — could actually be relative losers, not winners, during this recovery.

“At some point you have what you need,” he said, noting that retailers ranging from Home Depot to Walmart have already benefited from strong sales of chairs, plexiglass shields, upgraded electronics and comfortable gear to lounge in around home.

He also said next year could be a breakout year for certain strong stock pickers who have time to analyze potential bets and stick with them. In recent years, a lot of capital has

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Ravens reportedly return to practice field, will travel to Pittsburgh later Tuesday: NFL news roundup

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Ravens and Steelers are getting closer to finally playing their Week 12 game, which has been postponed three times. The game is scheduled for 3:40 p.m., on Wednesday.

Baltimore got some very good news as the team returned to the practice field on Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. The team is expected to fly to Pittsburgh later in the day.

With the game moving to Wednesday afternoon, the Ravens will get some help as Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network noted. J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram will be eligible to return from the reserve/COVID-19 list and play in the game.

However, according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, they won’t be flying out with the team. Instead, they will join the team in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

Will Fuller, Bradley Roby both suspended six games for PEDs

Late on Monday, the Texans got a double dose of bad news. They found out that both wide receiver Will Fuller and cornerback Bradley Roby will be suspended six games for violating the NFL’s policy on PEDs.

Fuller posted on his Instagram that he tested positive because he was prescribed a substance not permitted by the league.

The suspension means that both players will miss the last five games of this season and the opener of the 2021 season.

DK Metcalf explains what got him fired up vs. Eagles

Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf had the best game of his young NFL career on Monday night when he caught 10 passes for a career-high 177 yards in a 23-17 win vs. the Eagles.

It’s only the second time he’s caught 10 passes or more in a game.

After the game, Metcalf talked to reporters about what got him motivated. He said it came from Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz telling him he is not on Calvin Johnson’s level yet.

Metcalf now leads the NFL in receiving yards with 1,039. Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill (1,021 yards) is the only other receiver in the league with more than 1,000 yards.

Broncos quarterbacks reportedly cleared to return

The Broncos look like they will only be playing one game without a quarterback.

Mike Klis of 9News in Denver reported on Tuesday morning that Blake Bortles, Drew Lock and Brett Rypien have all tested negative again, which should clear them to return to practice on Wednesday.

All three of the quarterbacks were held out of Sunday’s 31-3 loss to the Saints after they were deemed as high-risk close contacts to Jeff Driskel, who tested positive for COVID-19. They were forced to start rookie undrafted free agent wide receiver Kendall Hinton at quarterback.

During his Monday press conference, Broncos coach Vic Fangio told reporters including Jeff Legwold of ESPN that he hasn’t ruled out disciplining the three quarterbacks.

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Myles Garrett on

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