Tag: plans

WoodSpring Suites proposes new Milwaukee development. The hotel chain’s 2018 plans were rejected by city officials.

An extended-stay hotel chain that has been repeatedly rebuffed in attempts to open its first Wisconsin location is trying again — this time on Milwaukee’s far northwest side.

a car parked in front of a building: A WoodSpring Suites extended-stay hotel is being proposed for the southeast corner of West Bradley Road and North 124th Street.

© WoodSpring Suites
A WoodSpring Suites extended-stay hotel is being proposed for the southeast corner of West Bradley Road and North 124th Street.

A four-story, 122-room WoodSpring Suites is being proposed for the southeast corner of West Bradley Road and North 124th Street. 

That proposal will need Common Council approval — both to rezone the site and to grant a hotel license.

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And it comes over two years after the council rejected a license application for a WoodSpring at 1701 W. Layton Ave., on Milwaukee’s far south side.

That license was rejected in 2018 after then-Ald. Terry Witkowski, whose district included the development site, and nearby homeowners objected.

Witkowski, at a 2017 Plan Commission meeting, said WoodSpring “does not have a great reputation” and has been turned away in other Milwaukee-area communities.

The hotel chain’s niche of offering bargain-priced rooms for guests who stay several days has raised concerns in Milwaukee and other communities.

WoodSpring in 2015 proposed a similar hotel at 4040 W. Layton Ave., Greenfield.

Those plans were opposed by Greenfield officials, who said it would generate a high number of police calls. 

WoodSpring executives disputed that claim, saying their hotels have safe main entrances, security cameras and proper exterior lighting. 

The WoodSpring being proposed on Milwaukee’s far northwest side would be developed by Wichita, Kansas-based New Era Development Group LLC.

New Era’s projects include eight WoodSpring Suites locations in the Columbus, Ohio; San Antonio, Texas; Fort Worth, Texas; and Wichita areas.

Those hotels have received praise from local officials for their safety and security, said Chris Stevens, New Era managing member.

Stevens said New Era operates its hotels with 24-hour staffing, unlike how some WoodSpring locations have been managed in the past.

He also said the WoodSpring chain, which is franchised by Rockville, Maryland-based Choice Hotels International Inc., continues to grow, and operates in metro areas throughout the country without major problems.

The northwest side Milwaukee proposal has the support of Ald. Nikiya Dodd, whose district includes the site, Stevens said.

New Era would likely begin construction by late spring of 2021 if the $10 million project wins city approval, Stevens said.

It would open by late spring or early summer of 2022, he said.

Stevens said the 3-acre site has strong visibility, as well as quick access to nearby I-41.

Tom Daykin can be emailed at [email protected] and followed on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. 

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WoodSpring Suites proposes new Milwaukee development. The hotel chain’s 2018 plans were rejected by city officials.

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Need to cancel your holiday travel plans amid COVID? Here’s the latest on changes and refunds

With California’s pandemic policies tightening, COVID-19 cases escalating and vaccines unlikely to reach most people until spring or later, many families are rethinking their holiday travel plans. “It’s time to cancel everything,” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a news conference Wednesday night.

a group of people standing next to a sign: A flight crew member at LAX on Nov. 23, just ahead of the Thanksgiving travel period. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

© (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
A flight crew member at LAX on Nov. 23, just ahead of the Thanksgiving travel period. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of health and human services, said Thursday the state is, in effect, telling, not asking, Californians to stop all nonessential travel. That includes canceling holiday travel plans, Ghaly said. The new requirements, to take effect Friday, were in response to stress on critical care services and hospital intensive care units. Details on how the state would enforce such a broad restriction remained unclear Thursday afternoon.

Here’s a quick look at how airlines, lodgings and other travel suppliers are handling reservation changes and cancellations.


In late August and early September, several airlines dropped their ticket change fees at least through the end of this year. Among them: Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian and United.

Southwest Airlines, which has had the most flexible major airline ticket policy for years, continues to allow passengers to rebook their flights for travel up to one year from the original purchase date.

It’s easier to get a credit or vouchers for future travel than it is to get your money back. As millions of travelers learned in the first months of the pandemic, many airlines refused to issue refunds unless they had canceled or significantly delayed a flight themselves. And even then, many did their best to nudge customers toward accepting travel credit rather than cash.

But as the Federal Trade Commission noted, airlines are required to offer refunds for canceled or significantly delayed flights, even if the cause is beyond their control. If your airline resists, report it to the U.S. Department of Transportation — but be warned that the DOT can take months to process complaints and the process is far from a sure thing.


Amtrak has waived change fees for tickets bought by Dec. 31. You may be eligible for a credit voucher or a refund, depending on the type of ticket you bought.

The cheapest Saver Fares give refunds only within 24 hours of booking; these tickets can’t be changed, either. Value Fares offer a refund or voucher if you cancel within 15 days of your departure. Canceling closer to your departure date may cost you 25% of the ticket price.

Flexible, Business and Premium fares will give you a full refund or voucher with no fees as long as you cancel in advance. If you don’t show up without canceling, you forfeit your ticket.


Greyhound is allowing bus riders to postpone their travel plans through Jan. 31. Requests for a credit voucher must be made at least a day before you are scheduled to leave. (This doesn’t apply to cash or

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Ex-Hong Kong lawmaker goes into exile, plans to travel to UK

COPENHAGEN (AP) — A Hong Kong pro-democracy activist and former lawmaker who is visiting Denmark said Thursday he is going into exile and will soon move to Britain.

“I hereby announce that I will go into exile and will withdraw my membership in the Democratic Party of Hong Kong to leave Hong Kong,” Ted Hui said in a statement to The Associated Press. “There is no word to explain my pain and it’s hard to hold back tears.”

It was not clear when he would travel to Britain which, in response to a crackdown on opposition in Hong Kong, has extended residency rights for up to 3 million Hong Kongers eligible for British National Overseas passports, allowing them to live and work there for five years.

“My personal determination is that my exile will not be a migration. My only home is Hong Kong which is why I will not apply for asylum in any country,” Hui said. “I will wait for the day that I can go home with the bells of freedom ringing in a free Hong Kong. Until my last breath I will fight to the end. Revive Hong Kong, revolution now!”

In July, another democracy activist, Nathan Law, left Hong Kong after testifying in a U.S. congressional hearing about a tough new security law imposed by mainland China on the semi-autonomous territory. At first, he declined to disclose his whereabouts for safety but later appeared in London.

“I will continue to fight on aboard and will make it my life mission to widen Hong Kong’s international battle front with people like Nathan Law in the U.K.,” Hui said.

Hui was arrested in Hong Kong in May over an incident in the Legislative Council in which he dropped a rotten plant and attempted to kick it at the body’s president. He was able to get his passport back from the government and a visa after receiving an invitation from Danish lawmakers to travel to Denmark, where he arrived Tuesday.

Since the start of anti-government protests in June 2019, Hong Kong police have made more than 10,000 arrests.

Prominent pro-democracy figures who have been arrested include activists Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, as well as media tycoon Jimmy Lai, an outspoken advocate for democracy.

Hui’s parents, wife and two young children left Hong Kong on a flight on Wednesday, Hong Kong online news portal HK01 reported. It did not mention their destination.

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Road and rail works curtailed to aid UK Christmas travel plans

Some Christmas rail engineering works will start later and hundreds of miles of roadworks will be paused to minimise possible disruption during the UK’s 23-27 December travel window, the government has announced.

a group of people on a train track at a train station: Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA

However, ministers have decided not to cancel long-planned works, with advance bookings and polling suggesting that festive travel will remain subdued on rail and road.

Announcing the measures, transport secretary Grant Shapps said the government was “working with transport operators to help people see their loved ones safely.”

The biggest work, the closure of the East Coast main line between London and Scotland, will start later to allow for some train services in and out of Kings Cross on Christmas Eve. But it will remain closed for the remainder of the five days when the government and devolved administrations are easing Covid-19 restrictions to allow up to three households to mix.

a group of people on a train track at a train station: Transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said the government was ‘working with transport operators to help people see their loved ones safely.’

© Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA
Transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said the government was ‘working with transport operators to help people see their loved ones safely.’

Work is now planned to end slightly earlier on the West Coast main line, allowing more trains between cities on the London-Glasgow route from 10am on 27 December.

Passengers have been urged to plan ahead and book early. Longer trains will run on some services and rail passengers who had already booked tickets before the Christmas rules were announced can amend them without the normal administration fees, Shapps said.

Shapps said: “With many people carefully considering whether to travel to see loved ones this Christmas, we’re taking steps to try to ease journeys.

He added: “We ask everyone to closely consider their journey, plan and book ahead, be patient, and be considerate of fellow passengers – and particularly staff who have worked so hard all year – by following the guidance carefully, including keeping space and wearing a face covering on public transport.”

Rail sources indicated that bookings to date did not indicate any rush to travel in the Christmas period, with trains far below capacity even with social-distancing requirements. Passenger numbers were about 22% of pre-Covid times in the November lockdown, and about a third of normal in October.

Highways England has agreed to lift around 50% more roadworks than originally planned, with about 778 miles of works now to be completed or paused during the window on motorways and A-roads.

An AA survey found comparatively few people were expecting to drive to see relatives this Christmas, despite the flexibility in lockdown rules. The motoring organisation’s research suggested that there would be just 7.9m cars on the road, fewer than half the 17m in the same period in 2019.

Labour said the plan left “many unanswered questions”.

Jim McMahon, shadow transport secretary, said the government should ensure engineering works did not clash with the window and that all peak fares were suspended during the travelling period. He added: “We must not lose sight of the fact that Covid has not gone away. Ministers must

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CDC: Add COVID Testing to Your Holiday Travel Plans

Stay home this holiday season, but if you must travel, get tested both before and after your trip, CDC officials said at a news conference on Wednesday.

People who insist on traveling should be tested for SARS-CoV-2 with a “viral test” 1-3 days before travel, and 3-5 days after travel. After traveling, people should avoid “non-essential activities” for 7 days.

If someone does not get tested before or after traveling, they should avoid “non-essential activities” for 10 days, CDC officials said. Better yet: just don’t go anywhere.

“Cases are rising, hospitalizations are increasing, deaths are increasing. We need to try to bend the curve to stop this exponential increase,” said Henry Walke, MD, CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager. “Testing does not eliminate all risk, but it does make travel safer.”

Cindy Friedman, MD, chief of CDC’s Traveler’s Health Branch, said travel volume was high during Thanksgiving, and that even a few resulting infections could further the virus’s spread. Officials have been warning of a “surge on surge” emanating from holiday travel.

A reporter noted that the agency’s last guidance about Thanksgiving travel was released a mere week prior to the holiday, and asked if the CDC waited too long to issue those recommendations. Walke said the agency is issuing the new guidance now, weeks prior to the next big holiday travel period, “to provide additional consideration for the American public, healthcare providers, and public health administrators.”

“Our hope is that before the upcoming holiday season, people hear the message about staying home and protecting themselves,” he said.

Shorter Quarantine Options Clarified

As previous reports had predicted, CDC officials also unveiled more nuanced COVID-19 quarantine recommendations for close contacts of COVID-19 cases. The agency offered two alternate quarantine periods: 7 days after a negative test or 10 days if the person is not tested at all. Previously, the recommendation was a blanket 14 days’ isolation for exposed individuals.

However, Walke stressed that the agency still recommends the 14-day quarantine as the best way to stop the spread of the virus, and said that people should continue to monitor symptoms for a full 14 days, regardless of quarantine length.

The two additional options were added based on “extensive modeling data,” including from academic medical centers, as well as pre-print websites. John Brooks, MD, CDC’s chief medical officer for COVID-19 response, said that with the 10-day period, residual risk of transmission is reduced to 1%, with an upper limit of risk at 12%.

“Ten days is where risk got into a sweet spot that we liked,” he said.

For 7 days of quarantine, residual risk of transmission with a negative test was 5%, with an upper limit of risk around 10%, Brooks added. Either a PCR test or a viral antigen test can be used for discontinuing quarantine.

Walke said the agency looked for an option that doesn’t require testing so as to ease the burden on public health departments. “Testing is difficult in some locations,” he said.

“Our public health partners have options

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Opinion | Cancel your winter holiday travel plans now

So there’s no reason to wait to issue a warning. Before Thanksgiving, covid-19 infections were already spreading explosively. One in five hospitals reported that they were facing a critical shortage of workers. The coronavirus surged after Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day, and after an estimated 50 million people traveled for the holiday, the same will certainly be true of Thanksgiving. With most of the country engulfed in coronavirus infections, chances are high that many of those who participated in indoor get-togethers will contract covid-19 and return home to seed it in their communities.

Health-care systems are stretched to their limits, with beds becoming scarce and some hospitals beginning to ration care. Deaths nationally could reach more than 4,000 a day. We have no option but to take drastic steps to “flatten the curve” once again.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention waited until one week before Thanksgiving to warn against travel. By then, however, many people had already booked flights. Now is the time for a clear directive: No one should travel for nonessential reasons. People should not gather indoors over the winter holidays. If we want to see extended family or friends, we must see them outdoors only, with households spaced at least six feet apart.

Since Christmas and Hanukkah are religious holidays, pastors and rabbis are key messengers. I spoke with two Baltimore leaders who are both holding virtual-only services this winter. “We in the faith community have to tell the story in the biblical language so that people don’t see a conflict between science and religion,” said the Rev. Al Hathaway of Union Baptist Church. He talks about how the Egyptians used physical distancing to hold off the plague as he urges his congregants not to gather with anyone outside their households.

Rabbi Daniel Burg of Beth Am Synagogue explained to me that Hanukkah is about human ingenuity, grit and the divine-human partnership. A central practice of Hanukkah is to “publicize the miracle” by placing menorahs in windows for all to see. “This year, we can invite one another into our computer windows by posting photos of households lighting the menorah on social media,” Burg said. “We can invite families from other homes to join us each night on Zoom.”

And, of course, President Trump and President-elect Joe Biden have major roles to play. Trump can help make up for his poor messaging to date by keeping quiet and not contradicting public health experts. Biden delivered an inspiring Thanksgiving message that emphasized how Americans must unite to get through this difficult period; now, he can ask Americans to commit to the same shared sacrifice for Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas. He can guide families through difficult conversations by sharing the hope of vaccines and reiterating why we must hold off seeing one another for a few more months.

Many governors are already imposing restrictions on high-risk activities to avoid overwhelming hospitals. They can go further by implementing mandatory quarantines for out-of-state visitors and

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York Parks and Recreation Department plans outdoor winter activities

By Dan Bancroft
 |  Portsmouth Herald

YORK – Recognizing the importance of getting outside this winter is at the heart of York’s Parks and Recreation Department’s efforts to offer and publicize outdoor activities, according to Robin Cogger, the department’s director.

Cogger noted that with social restrictions remaining in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, everyone should be asking themselves two questions, “How am I getting outside, and how am I moving my body daily?”

“There is a direct connection between mental health, quality of life, and recreation,” said Cogger, whose remarks followed a presentation by two members of York’s mental health provider network.

Getting out of doors in Maine is not just a summertime pastime, noted Cogger. “Colder temperatures and snow do not have to mark the end of outdoor recreation,” said Cogger, who pointed out the physical, mental and emotional benefits of outdoor activities.

     Cogger listed some of the benefits that support mental health and well-being for all ages, including getting away from indoor germs, something that is particularly important this winter, and boosting your metabolism.

“Spending 15-20 minutes outside just two to three times a week, provides sunshine on your hands and face (Vitamin D), and can be beneficial for your mood and your bones,” continued Cogger.

     Cogger also noted that being outdoors in the winter provides an opportunity to do things differently and see things in a different way.

“You will use different muscles, think differently, and move differently, and that is just plain good for you,” said Cogger.

     Some of the activities to be found on the Parks and Recreation website are Nordic Walking, birding, a new partnership with the York Paddle Tennis and Pickleball Club on Mill Lane, and the outdoor nature programs at White Pine Programs.

     These are in addition to some of the better-known winter activities like ice skating, skiing and hiking.

     “Mt. Agamenticus has seen an incredible increase in activity,” said Cogger.

     The Winter Outdoor Recreation resource listing can be found on the website homepage, www.yorkparksandrec.org.

     Sally Manninen, director of Choose to be Healthy Coalition (www.ctbhorg.org), located at York Hospital, and Maggie Norbert, a social worker and therapist working with Sweetser (www.sweetser.org), also presented to the selectmen about concerns facing people who are living through the pandemic, and extolled the benefits of getting outdoors in order to beat coronavirus fatigue.

     Both professionals noted that the pandemic is harmful for everyone, and particularly for anyone who already suffers from mental or emotional health issues.     

     Norbert suggested limiting access to social media and newsfeeds, and “anchor yourself by taking walks and being outdoors.”

“Try to eat well, try to get a good night’s sleep,” urged Norbert, who also suggested that doing something for others can be enormously beneficial.

“One of the things we know for sure (is that) helping others makes us (and them) feel better,” said Norbert.

“It is a good distraction from what you’re going through, and also keeps the positive thoughts moving, and to be quite frank, it is a huge,

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Report: Ravens haven’t finalized travel plans to Pittsburgh

Ravens players don’t know when or if they’re leaving to play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday night, and the chances of the games being postponed are increasing, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Schefter’s tweet came as Ravens players are reportedly awaiting another round of testing – if further players or Tier 1 personnel test positive the game could be delayed again, according to Tom Pelissero.

Ravens players took to Twitter on Monday to express skepticism about the plans to face off against their rivals while severely understaffed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The game was originally scheduled for Thanksgiving night and then pushed to Sunday afternoon before being delayed again.


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Westlake resident plans “micro” events for hotel customers during the pandemic

WESTLAKE, Ohio – Everyone has had to make adjustments in their lives during the pandemic. Some of the adjustments have been big such as unemployment. Other adjustments have been smaller such as getting used to wearing a mask.

But then other adjustments can now be termed “micro” and a Westlake resident seems to have become the queen of making those adjustments work for many people.

Nicole Bakker calls her efforts “micro event experiences.” Don’t call her an event planner.

She works for both the Kimpton Schofield Hotel at the corner of East Ninth Street and Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland as well as their restaurant, Betts, that is open on the ground floor of the hotel.

“I work for both the restaurant and the hotel. I am the only employee working for both, not just catering, but involving all departments and employees–and their guests,” she said.

Bakker noted she has an extensive background in hospitality.

“I have been in hospitality pretty much my whole life. I have worked from the kitchen to the front of the house to event planning, to marketing to social media to weddings to corporate and even to in-home—doing personal or corporate events in backyards for anywhere from five to 3500 people.

Her mission is clear and certainly takes a lot of planning and creativity but she said people are beginning to come back now to celebrate the times of their lives.

“I have some interaction with every person coming through the door and they are all celebrating something,” she said. “Now the people are re-scheduling and they just want to celebrate and make it happen. The picture from earlier in the year is gone. Everyone who walks into the hotel is really excited to be here. It’s gotten a lot more lively and people are more thankful to be celebrating.”

What, specifically, is important to them now?

“Quality,” she said. “That makes all the difference now. Due to the pandemic, people know what they want.”

But there has been one big change and that’s what Bakker does best.

“All things are much more intimate now, smaller, more personal, with groups up to only about 50 people,” she said.

Are they disappointed to not have more?

“No, they were disappointed in March but now they are grateful they can get out and celebrate. They have more appreciation for more intimate events and the purpose of the event. I hear it all the time. ‘It’s only going to be our closest friends and family,’ and they are happy about it. They are grateful to just be out.”

Bakker said it is not 60 people for brunch now, but only 10, “With people they really want to celebrate with.” This is the definition of micro events.

It doesn’t seem those planning an event in this unusual time could go wrong at the Kimpton Schofield/Betts Restaurant. Experience, understanding and enthusiasm are their outstanding calling card.

For more information on the hotel and/or the restaurant visit https://www.theschofieldhotel.com/ or call (216)

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New road and rail plans for Christmas travel spike

a person standing in front of a building

© Getty Images

Road and rail networks are facing changes as the government prepares for a spike in travel when Covid restrictions are eased over Christmas.

Across the UK, up to three households will be allowed to stay together in a “Christmas bubble” from 23-27 December.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said 500 miles of roadworks have been cleared on motorways and A-roads to ease any congestion.

And, he added, there are plans to run longer trains on the rail network.

Mr Shapps said that rules may also be eased to allow more types of coaches to run.

“We recognise that people will want to be with their friends and family over Christmas,” he said. “For those that choose to form a Christmas bubble, we’re lifting travel restrictions across the UK for five days.”

Further details will be published next week, once the picture on passenger demand is clearer.

The government will be monitoring demand for road and rail travel using ticket booking websites and journey planning services such as Google Maps to try to get a grasp on the public’s travel plans ahead of time and increase capacity accordingly.

The expectation is that the start and end of the five-day travel window will be very busy.

Earlier this week, the transport secretary urged people to book tickets well in advance where possible, and prepare for restrictions on passenger numbers.

Referring to domestic travel during the festive period, Mr Shapps urged those travelling on public transport to pre-book tickets as the capacity of services remains reduced to allow for social distancing and as a result of staff self-isolating.

Some advance fares, such as for Avanti West Coast, which operates trains on the West Coast Main Line, go on sale on Tuesday.

These cheaper tickets are usually available 12 weeks in advance, but their release has been delayed during the pandemic due to short-notice timetable changes.

Mr Shapps also highlighted Network Rail’s plans for a series of upgrades and routine maintenance across Britain between 23 December to 4 January.

He told the BBC: “I would appeal to people to think very carefully about their travel plans and consider where they are going to travel and look at the various alternatives available.”

People who live in areas placed in the highest tier of restrictions in England, tier three, should avoid leaving their region entirely, he said.

The majority of the network has also been cleared of engineering works in a bid to avoid disruption.

Those that are scheduled for the festive period will be reviewed if passenger demand is high. But government sources say it is unlikely that the major works on the East Coast Main Line and London King’s Cross will be altered.

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