Tag: News

Greene County recreation department holding children’s Christmas activities | Community News

Children from all across Greene County will be able to enjoy two upcoming Christmas-themed events being coordinated by the county’s department of recreation.

Santa Claus will be the focus of the upcoming activities, as he will serve as the special guest at “Breakfast with Santa” from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Dec. 5. He will also be receiving letters from local youths who write to him through the department’s “Letters to Santa” initiative.

The breakfast starts at 9 a.m. in the lower level of the 4-H Building at the Greene County Fairgrounds. Admission is $7 per person and includes a breakfast catered by Dan Wagner, culinary arts instructor at Greene County Career and Technology Center.

To follow CDC guidelines put in place because of COVID-19, the current plan is for the department to offer three time frames with a 35-person occupancy per time frame, and masks must be worn by attendees unless they are seated.

Also, Santa will be seated behind a Plexiglas frame in the upper level of the 4-H Building and available for a picture. Children will also receive that picture with Santa and a special treat.

A mailbox for the North Pole will be available for children to write and deposit their letters into, along with “Dear Santa” templates to compose their wish list on.

The event is sponsored by Direct Results and Waynesburg VFW Post 4793.

Recreation department director Bret Moore said all steps are being taken to ensure the event will follow all CDC mandates and guidelines.

“We haven’t made a final decision yet as to whether we will allow people to come inside and eat breakfast, or if this will become a ‘to-go’ event,” Moore said. “We will make the decision based on what is best for those coming, and what is mandated.

“As for Santa, unfortunately children will not be able to sit on his lap this year because of COVID-19, but he will be there, greeting and waving, and he will be situated behind a safety glass that will resemble a wonderful Christmas card.”

Moore said tickets for the breakfast are now available at the recreation office, located at the county fairgrounds, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Also, through Dec. 15, area children wishing to receive a personalized letter from Santa can simply send their letter with a completed request form to Greene County Department of Recreation, ATTN: Santa Claus, 107 Fairgrounds Road, Waynesburg, Pa., 15370.

Letter request forms include the child’s contact and basic information, including gender, age and any gifts requested from Santa, and must be completed by a parent or guardian.

A completed form must accompany each letter, and parents are asked to limit one request per child. There is no cost for a letter from Santa, as funding has been provided through various sponsors and fundraising efforts the department of recreation holds throughout the year.

Children should receive the letters before Christmas.

For more information on the “Breakfast with Santa” event or the “Letters

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COVID-19: Labour demands ‘comprehensive’ Christmas travel plan to help people avoid ‘chaos’ | Politics News

The government is being urged to suspend peak rail fares and introduce mass testing for transport staff, to help the country avoid travel “chaos” in the run up to Christmas.

Labour is demanding that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps present a “comprehensive travel plan” to the House of Commons next week that looks at the lifting of COVID-19 travel restrictions between 23 December and 27 December.

A temporary easing of restrictions has been agreed by the devolved administrations over Christmas, that will allow up to three households to mix in a single bubble.

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Virus ‘doesn’t know it’s Christmas’, says PM

Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy was appointed as a Christmas travel tsar in the week, and will look at what impact the easing of the rules will have on the air, rail and road networks during the five days, and scrutinise their preparedness.

Labour says more than two million people used the rail network to travel over Christmas and New Year in previous years, while millions more took car journeys.

To minimise the risk of overcrowding in trains, the party has called on the government to temporarily scrap peak fares during the lockdown-eased period.

It is also encouraging the government to implement mass COVID-19 testing for transport workers such as train staff, bus drivers and highway employees.

As well as that, Labour has also argued that planned maintenance works on the East Coast Mainline, which runs between London and Edinburgh, via cities such as York and Newcastle, should be delayed until the 27 December, so people can return home safely.

London North Eastern Railway (LNER) which runs the line said that planned engineering works will make alternative routes “very busy”.

Labour shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon said: “Families will be looking forward to travelling to see one another this Christmas after a really tough year.

“However, we cannot afford to be complacent. The virus still poses a very serious risk to people’s health.

“That’s why ministers need to come to Parliament on Monday with a comprehensive travel plan to ensure families travelling across the country are kept safe and chaos on our roads and rail network is avoided.”

He added: “This is too important for the government to ignore or leave until to the last minute. This is about protecting lives and livelihoods.”

The Department for Transport will publish measures next week that will ease travel disruption over the Christmas period, which will use analysis of demand for advance rail tickets and public surveys.

Mr Shapps has urged the public to make plans “very carefully” and “where possible, book well in advance“.

He said: “As some advance tickets go on sale and people begin to plan their journeys, we are closely assessing demand on the network and have already taken actions to minimise potential disruption.

“We are currently developing a plan focused on tackling disruption – including running longer trains and relaxing rules to allow more types of coaches

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Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Department lists 10-year priorities | News

ELIZABETHTON — The completion of a bicycle and hiking trail that has been under construction for decades is one of the top priorities listed in the goals and objectives of the Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Department.

These goals and objectives for the period 2021 to 2030 can be found in the Parks and Recreation Department’s 10-year Master Plan, which was developed by the Parks and Recreation Board and has been approved by the Elizabethton City Council.

The top priorities of the Master Plan were discussed in the November edition of the Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Newsletter. It lists the top priorities to be the completion of the Elizabethton Linear Path; improvements to the Covered Bridge Park; the extension of the Hampton Watershed Bike and Hiking Trail; and Surf Betsy.

In addition to these plans, the Parks and Recreation Board also included the possible partnership with the Carter County Parks and Recreation Committee to build a new park near the start of the new Mary Patton Highway.

Another consideration is the desire to build a skate park.

The completion of the Linear Path would be noteworthy for no other reason than the long time it has been under development. Work began on the trail in the 1980’s. With the exception of the Tweetsie Trail, the Linear Trail also impacts more parts of the city, extending from Sycamore Shoals in the west to East Side in the east.

The trail begins near East Side Elementary School and follows the Doe River to the confluence with the Watauga River, then west along the Watauga River two Sycamore Shoals.

In addition two recreation facility projects, programs and special events are also top priorities. The newsletter reported that work is ongoing to plan and implement several events, including the Covered Bridge Days, which has recently been acquired by the Parks and Recreation Department from the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce. That event coincides with the department’s Covered Bridge Jams, the summering series of free concerts at Covered Bridge Park held nearly every Saturday night during the season.

Athletic leagues and tournament play is also a top priority in the Master Plan. New pickle ball, kick ball, wiffle ball and other atheltic leaves will be offered for the first time in 2021, and the department plans to open its baseball and softball facilities on weekends for travel ball tournament play.

To view the entire 10-year Master Plan, go to www.elizabethton.org and click on the link to the Elizabethton Parks and Recreation page.

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New cardinals quarantine in pope’s hotel ahead of ceremony – News – Austin American-Statesman

ROME (AP) ” The Vatican’s Santa Marta hotel was built to sequester cardinals during papal elections. It’s now sequestering soon-to-be cardinals in town for this weekend’s ceremony to get their red hats: A handful are in protective coronavirus quarantine, confined to their rooms on Vatican orders and getting meals delivered to their doors.

The 10-day quarantines, with COVID-19 tests administered at the start and finish, are just one example of how Saturday’s ceremony to elevate new cardinals is like nothing the Holy See has ever seen.

‘They told me it would be like this but I didn’t think it would be so strict!’ marveled Cardinal-designate Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, the retired archbishop of Chiapas, Mexico.

During a Zoom call with The Associated Press from his hotel room, Esquivel said he had thought there might be some exceptions to the lockdown for new cardinals. ‘No! Here, it doesn’t matter if you’re a cardinal or a pope. The virus doesn’t respect anyone,’ he said.

Pope Francis on Saturday will elevate 13 clerics to the College of Cardinals, the elite group of red-robed churchmen whose primary task is to elect a new pope. It’s the seventh time Francis has named a new batch of cardinals since his election in 2013, and his imprint is increasingly shifting the balance of power away from Europe and toward the developing world.

The Vatican has said two new cardinals won’t make it to Rome for the ceremony, known as a consistory, because of COVID-19 and travel concerns: The Vatican’s ambassador to Brunei, Cardinal-designate Cornelius Sim, and the archbishop of Capiz, Philippines, Cardinal-designate Jose Advincula.

The Vatican is arranging for them, and any of the cardinals who might not make it, to participate in the ceremony remotely from their homes. They’ll get their three-pointed ‘biretta’ hats from a Vatican ambassador or another envoy.

For those who are participating in person, the public health crisis has posed an unusual set of challenges. Italy, where the pandemic erupted in late February, is currently in the throes of a second wave. The Vatican itself has returned to a modified lockdown in recent weeks, with the Vatican Museums shuttered and a dozen Swiss Guards testing positive.

Francis, 83, has been criticized for his rather lax mask usage, but he has abided by social distancing measures to a degree. He too lives at Santa Marta, where there has been at least one positive case reported in recent months.

Usually, consistories are full of parties and crowds: Cardinals come to town with family, friends and sometimes benefactors and parishioners who get to see the new ‘princes of the church’ up close and then attend receptions and dinners in their honor. Under normal circumstances, the consistory would be followed by ‘courtesy visits,’ where the new cardinals greet well-wishers and the general public from the grandeur of their own reception rooms in the Apostolic Palace or Vatican auditorium.

This year, there will be no courtesy visits, and each cardinal has a 10-person limit for guests. For Esquivel,

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Travel agents in Mideast, Africa say UAE is blocking visas | St. Louis business news

Saeed Mohammed, an agent at Arabian Nights Tours in Dubai, said he frequently faces difficulties obtaining UAE entry visas for Iranians, Turkish citizens and those from Yemen’s rebel-held capital due to simmering political tensions. The UAE’s recent normalization deal with Israel, which now allows Israelis to visit the emirate’s skyscraper-studded cities visa-free, has cast a spotlight on a changing Middle East. Gulf leaders have come to see Israel, a former enemy, as a key ally against the shared threats of Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Despite long-standing visa troubles, Mohammed said he’s never seen the 100% visa rejection rate of the past week, with some dozen visitor visas denied each day from Yemen, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan and other countries.

“We can only assume that there has been some change in the law, but in reality, no one knows,” he said.

Mohammad Hosseini, Iran’s Chargé d’Affaires in the UAE, wrote on Twitter Thursday that he’s following up with the Emirati Foreign Ministry after hearing the visa ban applies to 13 countries “temporarily and until further notice.” A travel agent in Tehran said Iranians hadn’t received visas to enter the UAE since early August.

One travel agent in Istanbul said she wasn’t at all surprised by the ban, especially given the UAE’s growing trend of rejecting Turkish visas over the past few months — the result of a political rivalry, not the coronavirus, she added.

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New Cardinals Quarantine in Pope’s Hotel Ahead of Ceremony | World News

By NICOLE WINFIELD and TRISHA THOMAS, Associated Press

ROME (AP) — The Vatican’s Santa Marta hotel was built to sequester cardinals during papal elections. It’s now sequestering soon-to-be cardinals in town for this weekend’s ceremony to get their red hats: A handful are in protective coronavirus quarantine, confined to their rooms on Vatican orders and getting meals delivered to their doors.

The 10-day quarantines, with COVID-19 tests administered at the start and finish, are just one example of how Saturday’s ceremony to elevate new cardinals is like nothing the Holy See has ever seen.

“They told me it would be like this but I didn’t think it would be so strict!” marveled Cardinal-designate Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, the retired archbishop of Chiapas, Mexico.

During a Zoom call with The Associated Press from his hotel room, Esquivel said he had thought there might be some exceptions to the lockdown for new cardinals. “No! Here, it doesn’t matter if you’re a cardinal or a pope. The virus doesn’t respect anyone,” he said.

Pope Francis on Saturday will elevate 13 clerics to the College of Cardinals, the elite group of red-robed churchmen whose primary task is to elect a new pope. It’s the seventh time Francis has named a new batch of cardinals since his election in 2013, and his imprint is increasingly shifting the balance of power away from Europe and toward the developing world.

The Vatican has said two new cardinals won’t make it to Rome for the ceremony, known as a consistory, because of COVID-19 and travel concerns: The Vatican’s ambassador to Brunei, Cardinal-designate Cornelius Sim, and the archbishop of Capiz, Philippines, Cardinal-designate Jose Advincula.

The Vatican is arranging for them, and any of the cardinals who might not make it, to participate in the ceremony remotely from their homes. They’ll get their three-pointed “biretta” hats from a Vatican ambassador or another envoy.

For those who are participating in person, the public health crisis has posed an unusual set of challenges. Italy, where the pandemic erupted in late February, is currently in the throes of a second wave. The Vatican itself has returned to a modified lockdown in recent weeks, with the Vatican Museums shuttered and a dozen Swiss Guards testing positive.

Francis, 83, has been criticized for his rather lax mask usage, but he has abided by social distancing measures to a degree. He too lives at Santa Marta, where there has been at least one positive case reported in recent months.

Usually, consistories are full of parties and crowds: Cardinals come to town with family, friends and sometimes benefactors and parishioners who get to see the new “princes of the church” up close and then attend receptions and dinners in their honor. Under normal circumstances, the consistory would be followed by “courtesy visits,” where the new cardinals greet well-wishers and the general public from the grandeur of their own reception rooms in the Apostolic Palace or Vatican auditorium.

This year, there will be no courtesy visits, and each cardinal

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‘Hotel Rwanda’ Hero Says He Was Kidnapped and Blindfolded Before Arrest | World News

KIGALI (Reuters) – “Hotel Rwanda” hero Paul Rusesabagina, on trial on terrorism and other charges in the central African country, said on Friday he had been kidnapped from abroad before being detained and charged.

Rusesabagina, a political dissident who has lived in exile in Belgium and the United States, was arrested in August after returning to the country.

At the time it was not immediately clear whether he had returned voluntarily or had been coerced.

“I was kidnapped to come here,” Rusesabagina said in court in the capital, Kigali, as he applied for bail.

“…They tied my legs and my arms and I was blindfolded.”

Prosecutors denied he had been kidnapped and said due process had been followed.

“No one kidnapped Paul Rusesabagina…he was detained at a legally recognised place after being notified of charges against him,” prosecutor Jean Cabin Habimana said.

The Oscar-nominated 2004 film “Hotel Rwanda” depicted Rusesabagina, played by Don Cheadle, using his connections as a hotel manager to protect ethnic Tutsis fleeing slaughter by Hutus in the country’s 1994 genocide.

An estimated 800,000 people were killed.

Rusesabagina later acquired Belgian citizenship and became a U.S. resident.

He became a vocal critic of President Paul Kagame and once called for armed resistance to the government in a YouTube video.

In court, his lawyer, Gatera Gashabana, said Rusesabagina had been held incommunicado and his rights violated.

Rusesabagina has already been denied bail twice. [L8N2GT3U7]

The judge said he would deliver his ruling on the most recent application on Dec. 2.

(Reporting by Clement Uwiringiyimana; editing by Elias Biryabarema and Nick Macfie)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Dept. of recreation to present children’s Christmas activities | Local News

Children from all across Greene County will be able to enjoy two upcoming Christmas-themed events being coordinated by the county’s department of recreation.

Santa Claus will be the focus of the upcoming activities, as he will serve as the special guest at “Breakfast with Santa” from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Dec. 5. He will also be receiving letters from local youths who write to him through the department’s “Letters to Santa” initiative.

The breakfast starts at 9 a.m. in the lower level of the 4-H Building at the Greene County Fairgrounds. Admission is $7 per person and includes a breakfast catered by Dan Wagner, culinary arts instructor at Greene County Career and Technology Center.

To follow CDC guidelines put in place because of COVID-19, the current plan is for the department to offer three time frames with a 35-person occupancy per time frame, and masks must be worn by attendees unless they are seated.

Also, Santa will be seated behind a Plexiglas frame in the upper level of the 4-H Building and available for a picture. Children will also receive that picture with Santa and a special treat.

A mailbox for the North Pole will be available for children to write and deposit their letters into, along with “Dear Santa” templates to compose their wish list on.

The event is sponsored by Direct Results and Waynesburg VFW Post 4793.

Recreation department director Bret Moore said all steps are being taken to ensure the event will follow all CDC mandates and guidelines.

“We haven’t made a final decision yet as to whether we will allow people to come inside and eat breakfast, or if this will become a ‘to-go’ event,” Moore said. “We will make the decision based on what is best for those coming, and what is mandated.

“As for Santa, unfortunately children will not be able to sit on his lap this year because of COVID-19, but he will be there, greeting and waving, and he will be situated behind a safety glass that will resemble a wonderful Christmas card.”

Moore said tickets for the breakfast are now available at the recreation office, located at the county fairgrounds, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Also, now through Dec. 15, area children wishing to receive a personalized letter from Santa can simply send their letter with a completed request form to Greene County Department of Recreation, ATTN: Santa Claus, 107 Fairgrounds Road, Waynesburg, PA 15370.

Letter request forms include the child’s contact and basic information, including gender, age and any gifts requested from Santa, and must be completed by a parent or guardian.

A completed form must accompany each letter, and parents are asked to limit one request per child. There is no cost for a letter from Santa, as funding has been provided through various sponsors and fundraising efforts the department of recreation holds throughout the year.

Children should receive the letters before Christmas.

For more information on the “Breakfast with Santa” event or the

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Vernon recreation temporarily pauses group fitness classes – Vernon News

Fitness classes cancelled

The City of Vernon has temporarily paused fitness classes and some other programs after the province issued a new health order that restricts group fitness activities.

The order states that “businesses, recreation centres or other organizations that organize or operate high-risk indoor group physical activities (such as spin classes, hot yoga and HIIT) must suspend them. As well, “venues that organize or operate other types of indoor group physical activities must suspend them temporarily while new guidance is being developed.”

Those directly impacted by the stop order will be contacted by the city. Once new guidelines have been issued, recreation services will examine the situation and make the necessary changes to the city’s risk mitigation plans.

“While we regret having to pause some of our programs, we must ensure all programs and services provided are compliant with provincial health guidelines and orders, as we all do our part to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 and help flatten the curve again,” says Shayne Wright, manager of recreation programs.

The city hopes to restart most of its fitness programs next week, depending on what the new guidelines end up being.

For those who participate in scheduled or drop-in programs that are still running, masks are required in all recreation facilities.

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