Tag: planner

‘Like hitting three home runs in a row,’ Spokane County park planner takes the big picture to conservation, recreation

It’s likely you don’t know Paul Knowles.

But you almost certainly know his work.

Over the past decade, the 38-year-old Spokane transplant has been a key force behind the region’s growing trail and green space portfolio, in the process reshaping regional recreation for decades to come.

As Spokane County’s park planner, his work is often dry and behind the scenes. While others swing Pulaskis (although he’s been known to pick one up on occasion), Knowles submits impeccable grant applications, coordinates volunteer efforts and generally takes in the big picture.

If you’ve ever appreciated a well-marked trail in Spokane County, stared longingly at Mica Peak’s snow-covered slopes while driving on I-90 or taken a quick lap up and down one of Beacon Hill’s numerous mountain bike trails after work, you owe Knowles a beer.

Particularly this year.

That’s because three Spokane County projects are ranked first in a highly competitive state grant program.

“That’s like hitting three home runs in a row,” said Jeff Lambert, the executive director of the Dishman Hills Conservancy and a veteran grant-writer. “If it was in the sports world, it would be on the front page of the newspaper.”

Unlike the sports world, these wins are making tangible and long-lasting differences to the quality of life in our region.

“We’re lucky to have someone so competent working behind the scenes for the public good,” said Rich Landers, the outdoors editor at the Spokesman-Review for 40 years and a trail guidebook author. “He’s the right man at the right time for Spokane County Conservation Futures.”

In May, Knowles submitted two grant requests totaling $1.5 million that allowed the county and city to purchase several parcels of private land on Beacon Hill, thus preserving public access to a popular mountain biking area minutes from downtown Spokane. The sale was announced in August and made possible by the fact that both grant requests are No. 1 in the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.

Every two years, the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office evaluates potential projects and ranks them. The nonprofit then submits a funding request to the Legislature. The Legislature allocates money to the program. Projects receive funding based on their ranking.

“Beacon Hill, that thing is on track,” Lambert said. “It makes me weep with happiness. He’s the most valued conservationist.”

Another Knowles grant, this one for Antoine Peak’s Etter Ranch project, also received top billing in the grant cycle.

“Our grant programs are very, very competitive and for a county to be that high on the various lists they applied for is incredible,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Recreation and Conservation Office, which administers the grants. “It really talks about how much work they put in to showcase the project.”

Knowles also oversaw the completion of the Phillips Creek Trailhead, the “jumping-off point” for the new, 2.25-mile “Flying L Trail.” In recent years, he’s also pioneered the use of trailhead webcams, which allow users to check how busy a trailhead is before driving there. It’s a

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New Magical Vacation Planner joins the chamber | Local Business News

New Magical Vacation Planner joins the chamber

Debbie King cuts the ribbon at a ceremony Thursday at the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce celebrating her joining the chamber with her new business, Magical Vacation Planner. She is surrounded by family and chamber ambassadors.

FLORENCE, S.C. – Magical Vacation Planner Debbie King celebrated joining the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday at the chamber office.

She was joined by family and chamber ambassadors.

King joins more than a thousand agents around the country who are Magical Vacation Planners. She is the third in Florence.

King said the company was started in 2006, but she became an agent in January.

She said they plan vacations at all Disney resorts, Adventures Disney, inclusive resorts and major cruise line cruises. King said she plans honeymoon destinations, destination weddings and other special occasions.

She said her services are free to the vacationer. Her fees are paid by the vendor.

“I work out of my home,” King said.

King said she and her family have taken lots of Disney vacations over past 20 years, and she has first-hand knowledge of locations and sights.

King said planning a vacation can be time-consuming and stressful. It can take time away from your family, she said. She said selecting a Magical Vacation Planner is the best way to make sure you get the most out of your vacation.

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Alleged planner of Mali Radisson Blu hotel attack goes on trial

Malian troops take position outside the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on November 20, 2015.
In November 2015 militants stormed the Radisson Blu hotel taking 170 people hostage and killing 20

Two men accused of being behind terror attacks in 2015 that targeted foreigners in Mali have gone on trial in the capital, Bamako.

At least 26 people died when gunmen stormed La Terrasse nightclub in March of that year and the Radisson Blu hotel in November.

The alleged Islamists face charges of planning and executing the attacks.

This is a rare trial in the country which has been fighting an insurgency since 2012.

French soldiers have been helping the Malian army, but the government has not been able to take full control of the country.

Fawaz Ould Ahmeida in image obtained by AFP on 21 April 2016
Fawaz Ould Ahmeida was reportedly detained in a suburb of Bamako

Fawaz Ould Ahmeida, a Mauritanian who is the alleged mastermind, was brought to court by hooded guards as heavily armed soldiers protected the building, AFP news agency reports.

He is accused of personally shooting the victims at the nightclub using an assault rife, as revenge for French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo publishing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Mr Ahmeida, who was arrested in 2016, is also accused of plotting the Radisson Blu attack. In court, he had a full-beard and was dressed in a long traditional grey robe, AFP reports.

In March 2015 gunmen sprayed bullets at La Terrasse nightclub and tossed a grenade inside. Three Malians, a Frenchman and a Belgian were killed.

Eight months later two armed men held 170 guests and staff hostage at the Radisson Blu during the nine-hour siege, killing at least 20 and wounding 14 before security officers stormed the building.

People running away from attack
Many foreigners were staying at the hotel when it came under attack

Nine Malians, a Russian flight crew, Chinese construction executives, a Belgian politician and an American aid worker were among the victims killed.

One rescued hostage said at the time that he thought the early morning sounds of gunshots were “firecrackers”.

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6 ways using an authorized Disney vacation planner will improve your trip

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Three years ago, I was a brand-new Disney novice. I knew there was a monumental effort required to plan the perfect Disney trip, so I proverbially shelved that travel project for years until I believed my kids would be old enough that the effort would be worth it. What I didn’t know at the time is that there are people who would do the majority of that mental lifting for you … for free.

I met a travel agent specializing in Disney destinations who was a points-and-miles novice. For a year, we traded each other knowledge within our unique skillsets. And while I’m no longer a Disney novice myself, what I’ve learned is that Disney World is such a unique vacation destination that it’s still one of the arenas in travel where it greatly benefits you to have an expert guide you along the way.

Related: Everything you need to know about visiting Walt Disney World Resort

Authorized Disney vacation planners make their money off commissions they receive from Disney when you book a trip through them. Their vacation prices are not inflated, and as we’ll discuss, they are often the way to find the best prices available.

Here are the top six reasons you should use an authorized Disney vacation planner to book your next trip to Disney World. I’ve now booked this way several times, even though I’m no longer a newbie to visiting Disney World.

Related: What it’s like inside a reopened Disney World 

They do all the work

Booking a Disney hotel and buying theme park tickets may seem easy enough, but a complex array of options and add-ons can make it daunting to a Disney novice — even once you’ve picked the best Disney World hotel for your trip.

Currently, things are a bit different than normal. FastPass+ is temporarily suspended and you need to book parks for specific days you are going to visit due to COVID-19 precautions.

But, there are still premium Disney restaurant experiences and character dining you want to reserve well in advance as these do book up. Your vacation planner can handle all of this for you and offer a variety of overall trip-pricing options based on which level of luxury you want to travel in.

Sometimes bookings (and any related changes) may need to be made over the phone or early in the morning, starting at 6 a.m. — but that won’t be your problem as your vacation planner will handle it for you.

Related: How much does a trip to Disney World cost 


Rise of the Resistance attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

© The Points Guy
Rise of the Resistance attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

During non-pandemic times, the

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