Tag: Winter

Nonprofit turns hotel into winter shelter, studio apartments

Roof Above has purchased an 88-room hotel in southwest Charlotte, with plans to convert the building into affordable housing for people who are chronically homeless.

The nonprofit recently finalized the purchase of a former Quality Inn hotel on Clanton Road near Interstate 77. The rooms immediately will be used for winter shelter and next year renovated into studio apartments.

“We believe so firmly that housing is the solution to homelessness,” said Liz Clasen-Kelly, CEO of Roof Above, the name for the merged Men’s Shelter of Charlotte and Urban Ministry Center.

The units will be for people who have been homeless for more than a year and who have physical or mental health conditions or substance use disorders, which are barriers to staying housed.

“There really is a need, not just for the affordable housing but for the support services to go with that housing,” Clasen-Kelly said. Residents will have access to a case manager, nurse and other resources on site.

The project will replicate the model from Moore Place, which opened in 2012.

Next year Roof Above plans to add kitchens in each room and convert the units into studio apartments. The budget for the purchase, renovation and initial operating costs is $12 million, officials said.

This is the second Roof Above venture this year to expand permanent supportive housing. In September, the nonprofit announced it had bought the 341-unit HillRock Estates apartments in east Charlotte, where 75 units will be used for permanent supportive housing.

‘An opportunity’

Officials had initially planned to expand supportive housing through new construction. But as the pandemic grew and leaders sought more hotel rooms to decrease shelter crowding, they learned the hotel’s former owners were looking to sell.

Renovating an existing facility is faster and more cost-efficient, Clasen-Kelly said.

“The pandemic has created, clearly, such hardship and suffering, but there are opportunities that the pandemic has created as well,” she said. “This is one of the silver linings is the potential you shift in some hotels and motels into affordable housing throughout the country.”

Hotels have been a potential solution for affordable housing advocates around the United States. And as the tourism industry struggles amid the pandemic, more buildings may become available.

Locally, nonprofit Heal Charlotte announced a $10 million capital campaign this fall to buy and renovate a hotel into affordable housing.

Winter shelter

Before the renovations at the Clanton Road site begin the hotel will immediately be used for winter shelter for women and children who are clients of the Salvation Army Center of Hope.

Emergency shelter has been challenging during the pandemic, with typical congregate living and dining systems more risky for spreading COVID-19.

Shelters like Roof Above and others have lowered capacities and moved some residents into hotel rooms to practice social distancing. Other programs like the Room in the Inn, where local congregations and other groups housed small groups of people during the winter, have been canceled this year because of concerns around managing them safely.

Clasen-Kelly said adjustments,

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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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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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Hoboken Winter Recreation Programs Benched Amid Ongoing COVID Concerns

HOBOKEN, NJ – While area schools are altering programs to mitigate COVID risk for kids, the City of Hoboken has made the decision to blow the whistle on winter recreation programs.

“As we continue through the next stage of the second wave, and with cases surging in New Jersey, we have made the difficult decision to indefinitely postpone all City-run recreation programs for the winter, including all indoor sports and flag-football,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla. “We have seen some recent COVID-19 cases coming from recreation leagues, and given the expected increase in cases, we feel it would be irresponsible from a health perspective to continue with indoor sports where social distancing is not practical.”

Hoboken Public Schools have resumed virtual learning this week, and are tentatively scheduled to return to classrooms on December 7. Other schools serving Hoboken students are operating under different plans based on the COVID impact to their classrooms. Parents and guardians are recommended to check in with their student’s specific classroom as virus responses continue to evolve.

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Our View: Climate change putting winter recreation on thin ice

As we sit here in late November, the idea of shorter winters may sound inviting. But there’s no doubt Maine has a lot more to lose from climate change besides a week or two of colder temperatures.

In the latest warning from climate scientists, a study published this month in the journal PLoS One found that winter drownings are rising sharply along with early spring temperatures. The lack of sustained cold in the Northern Hemisphere, including the northern U.S., is forcing the ice to thaw and refreeze more often, making it weaker — and making activities such as snowmobiling and ice fishing a little more risky.

One by one, areas that were perfect for outdoor winter activities in decades past are becoming less of a sure thing. One study of 122 lakes worldwide, using nearly 80 years of lake-ice data, found that the number of ice-free winters has more than tripled since 1978 as global temperatures have reached new heights.

Mainers who enjoy outdoors in winter don’t have to be told that the environment around them is changing. Many Maine lakes have a week or two less of ice time during the winter now than in the recent past. Sebago Lake, the home of one of the state’s premier ice-fishing derbies, used to ice over about 80% of the time; now it only freezes over about half the time, and the derby is often moved off the lake for safety purposes.

It’s not just a problem confined to the winter, either. Lakes that don’t freeze over are more prone to toxic algae blooms, and the warming waters could threaten the state’s cold-water salmonid fishery.

As we’ve already seen in Maine, the small increases in temperature can have outsized impact. Just as rising temperatures have brought ticks to new areas of Maine and pushed the heart of the lobster industry north in recent years, they will shorten the winter season and change when and where Mainers can enjoy their favorite outdoor activities.

Maine will have to adapt to the changes caused by climate change. But we also need to be part of the effort to address rising temperatures so that our way of life is disrupted as little as possible.

Gov. Janet Mills has taken aggressive, thoughtful action on climate change, and President-elect Joe Biden has set even more lofty goals for his administration, including major investments in renewable energy and a goal of ending carbon pollution by 2035.

As a country and a world community, we are behind in addressing the climate crisis. There is hope now that with a new president and a new focus, we can take the steps necessary to make sure robust Maine winters don’t become a thing of the past.


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Indoor recreation sites say operations crucial for well-being this winter

Published


Operators of places for indoor activity impacted by the governor’s COVID-19 regulations say their operations are essential for the physical and mental well being of the public.

Craig Rhodes, a managing partner for Kingpin Lanes in Springfield, said they were closed during the lockdown this spring, allowed to open for a few months and then closed down again.

“A, we’re in the league bowling season which is the best season for us and going into the holidays where we pick up quite a bit of extra income and foot traffic for the holidays which is not just difficult, but difficult timing as well,” Rhodes said.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has imposed prohibitions on indoor service at bars and restaurants statewide, and capacity limits on retail operations. Indoor recreation, like bowling, is prohibited.



Rhodes said he’ll be keeping a close eye on the numbers, and if there aren’t declines from all the closures, there need to be some explanations.

“If there’s no change and everyone’s closed, obviously there’s something else if afoot,” he said. “We would certainly demand to have some answers based on those numbers.”


Rhodes said while some don’t consider bowling essential, it is to his employees and to his clientele’s physical and mental well being.

For gyms, there can’t be any group exercises and locker rooms are closed under the governor’s rules. In Springfield, FitBodies owner Chris Schmulbach said he’s gone from group classes to open gym. He also said he doesn’t recommend masks.


“I can’t force them to wear masks, so I guess I’ll take the heat and deal with it from there and see what happens,” Schmulbach said.

Corynne Cooper, the general manager of a fitness facility in Chicago, will be following the guidelines to the letter.

“If [Pritzker] says masks, it is masks,” Cooper said. “If it’s not steam rooms and saunas, it’s no steam rooms and saunas. If it’s no locker rooms, it’s not locker rooms. We’re not trying to cut any corners.”

Both said keeping their facilities open is crucial to the physical and mental health of their clients.

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Hoboken Cancels Winter Recreation Programs Amid Coronavirus

HOBOKEN, NJ — The city of Hoboken said Sunday that they have decided to “indefinitely postpone” all city-run recreation programs for the winter amid coronavirus.



a sign on the side of a building: Christmas wreaths for sale near Our Lady of Grace Church in Hoboken on Saturday.


© Caren Lissner/Patch
Christmas wreaths for sale near Our Lady of Grace Church in Hoboken on Saturday.

“As we continue through the next stage of the second wave, and with cases surging in New Jersey, we have made the difficult decision to indefinitely postpone all city-run recreation programs for the winter, including all indoor sports and flag-football,” wrote Mayor Ravi Bhalla in an update on Sunday. “We have seen some recent COVID-19 cases coming from recreation leagues, and given the expected increase in cases, we feel it would be irresponsible from a health perspective to continue with indoor sports where social distancing is not practical.”

The mayor also announced new testing options citywide, including for the coming week.

“I encourage any resident who gathered over Thanksgiving or the weekend with multiple families outside the household, traveled or received visitors who traveled from outside the tri-state area, or attended a large gathering of any kind, to get tested this week,” he said. “Since the virus has been proven to spread among those who are asymptomatic and the increased chances of transmission in group and indoor settings, I encourage those residents also avoid contact with others and quarantine whenever possible until after receiving test results.”

The Hoboken Health Department recommends a COVID-19 test at least 5-7 days after the latest potential exposure.

On Sunday, ABC News reported that “Some Hoboken bars [were] packed” on Saturday night. They said that in many, social distancing was in effect and “masks were everywhere,” but added, “some Hoboken bars were looking a little too pre-covid” with people sitting close together and windows “fogged up.”

Testing this week:

  • A new testing partner, ivee, is hosting COVID-19 testing this Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Multi-Service Center, 124 Grand S. Testing is open by appointment to both Hoboken residents and Hoboken business employees. PCR testing is offered, with results anticipated within 48-72 hours. Sign up: https://calendly.com/iveecovid/ivee-x-hoboken-covid-19-testing-clone-1
  • Dr. Islam and the Prompt MD staff are providing testing on Monday, 8 a.m. to 3, Thursday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Friday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 605 Jackson St. PCR testing is offered, with results anticipated within 48-72 hours. http://www.hobokennj.gov/promptmd
  • Dr. Raj Brahmbhatt and the Riverside Medical Group staff are continuing to provide COVID-19 testing six days a week, at the new location uptown, by appointment to Hoboken residents only. Rapid testing is offered, with results provided within 15 minutes. See our story and details here and see general testing information below.
  • State of New Jersey: The State Department of Health, in partnership with the City of Hoboken and Hoboken Housing Authority, is providing testing for residents at 221 Jackson St. (community room) on Friday, between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Testing is open to all residents and business employees. No appointment is needed, and testing is available on
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The Companies Bringing Travel Home To You This Winter

While we are all still grounded, and travel is limited for most of us for the foreseeable future, all we can do is dream about far-flung adventures yet to come. Those working in the hospitality sector have had to think fast on their feet to keep surviving, and we can only applaud the efforts of many brands who have pivoted to offer something new, in order to keep their names fresh in the minds of would-be guests and travellers.

One of the UK’s ultimate wintery destinations – Gleneagles, near Auchterarder, Scotland – may have had to close its doors for a while, but the grand-dame hotel is keeping its ‘spirit’ alive this year by opening its own online shop. On offer is its own range of fine foods, devised by its chefs and local suppliers, and festive hampers, focusing on Scottish treats and locally-sourced items. It means you can feast on preserves, inspired by the flavours of Perthshire, for instance, or drizzle on gourmet oils and dressings, produced on a farm near to the hotel. The hotel is renowned for its outdoor pursuits and swish, cosy interiors, and this ambiance can also be conjured up at home by cocooning under one of the pure wool blankets woven by Lovat Mill in the Scottish Borders and usually given to guests to take out on excursions.

Devold – a Norwegian knitwear brand – is under the same ownership of  62ºNORD, an experiential travel company offering personalised adventures and timeless hotels on the north-west coast of Norway. Its Svalbard wool sweater is usually only available at three of the company’s properties – Hotel Brosundet, Storfjord Hotel and Hotel Union Oye – but is now available online. It’s the ideal way to imagine yourself on an Nordic adventure, that is until you get the chance to check-in in person.

One of the sweet little moments to be had at the legendary Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, an Oetker Collection hotel, is browsing the eclectic Eden Being Boutique. To celebrate its 150 years of glam French Riviera hospitality, it has now introduced some landmark products to purchase online. You can pick up an inflatable lifebuoy –perfect to dream that you are floating on the aquamarine waters of the Med, or, why not light one of the Bamford x Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc candles? Your home will be scented with bergamot, lemon and grapefruit – just like the ocean-fronted property. If money is no object, you could splash out on a limited-edition Hublot x Eden Rock St Barths watch, for £16,379. 

Inspired by the expert craftsmen who built The Domaine des Etangs – a converted 13th-century chateau in the heart of the Charente, close to Bordeaux

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Temagami considering winter recreation options

TEMAGAMI – With COVID-19 not going away anytime soon, Temagami council has begun discussing some options when it comes to winter recreation opportunities at the Community Centre.

With all the uncertainties surrounding COVID, and with current arena restrictions, the municipality had yet to determine if the ice plant would be operational for the 2020-21 winter season.

Council looked at a pair of options at the November 19 regular meeting.

The first option would be for the town to start up the ice plant and have the ice ready for the Christmas season.

Staff would ensure that the municipality would continue to follow current health regulations while offering public skating, pick-up hockey, and other events for which revenue could be generated.

“To proceed with this option we would need to develop health and safety protocols, cleaning protocols and purchase additional protective equipment,” recreation manager Kelly Hearn wrote in his report to council.

“The start-up procedures for the ice plant would also need to be completed.”

The second option would be that the municipality does not start up the ice plant this winter.

Staff would consider other options for recreational programming for the community to stay active and healthy.

“From the operational funds that are not utilized on the start-up, shut down and maintenance of the ice surface, staff would find alternate means of providing recreation to the community,” said Hearn.

Hearn noted that staff are also considering the purchase of a made-to-measure, rubberized floor for the arena surface.

“This would increase the options of non-ice arena use,” he reasoned.

Councillor John Shymko was in favour of the second option, suggesting that the town “could plow a few rinks on Net Lake and Lake Temagami” so that they could still offer public skating.

Treasurer-administrator Craig Davidson said he didn’t disagree with Shymko’s idea, but that it might not be something the municipality could do itself based on its insurance coverage.

“It might need to be something that’s done at arm’s length (from council) volunteers,” he explained.

Davidson added that he has always thought an outdoor rink, along with a bonfire, by the municipal office would be a good idea “as long as the fire doesn’t melt down into the lake.”

Shymko then said he wouldn’t mind plowing the potential rink himself.

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Councillor Margaret Youngs was also in favour of the second option while Councillor Jamie Koistinen said she was leaning towards favouring the first option because of how “depressing” Northern Ontario winters can be.

“If we’re removing any kind of recreation from the kids here in town, or even families to have some kind of outings that are safe within the community, then what does that do for the community members there?” she questioned.

“Christmas is coming, there’s the two-week (school) break and possibly extensions beyond that. So I tend to think that some families might benefit from going to the arena, especially during a time where you’re not quite able yet to go ski-dooing, you

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