Event Cos. Deal as Bishop-McCann Acquires Onyx

Kansas City, Mo.-based event management firm Bishop-McCann effective March 1 will acquire Overland Park, Kan.-based event management firm Onyx, the companies announced. 

Financial terms were undisclosed. 

The acquisition, Bishop-McMann’s second in just over two years, is a move to broaden its reach into incentive travel, according to the company. Onyx’s client list includes companies in the pharmaceutical, casual dining, travel and leisure, financial and manufacturing industries.

In 2020, Bishop-McCann acquired the meetings and events division of Kansas City-based ASE Group, Inc., which specialized in franchise conferences.

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11 products for thriving in a tiny home

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I’ve never been a minimalist. When I started college—insisting on packing “essentials” like every piece of clothing I owned and 10(!) bath towels—one parent walking by my throng of suitcases assumed my mother was moving in twins. It didn’t matter that I went to school in the middle of a city (within a block of CVS), or that I was only an hour from home. I felt a need to squeeze a six-month supply of tampons, winter boots I had never worn outside of a ski slope, and a 13-gallon trash can into my tiny shared dorm room. 

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Fast forward a decade, and I still don’t have all that much space. My apartments have all hovered around 500 sq. ft., including a studio that only had one narrow closet. Out of necessity, I had to step up my storage and organization game. But out of preference, I wanted my place to still look like an adult lived there. I wanted posh, not plastic.

After much personal trial and error, I’ve established a roster of products that make it possible to love living in a tiny space—even with a ton of stuff. Spoiler alert: Vertical space is your friend.

1. Cubbies to maximize storage space

While cubbies aren’t a revolutionary storage solution, I can’t say enough about how much of a game-changer the Threshold 6-Cube Organizer Shelf has been. I use two side-by-side, making for more than 12 cu. ft. of extra space for everything from sweaters to cleaning supplies. (I even have one dedicated to yarn and knitting supplies, a hobby that wouldn’t get precious real estate otherwise.) The top is also perfect for perching a TV, books, or any other knick knacks you want to display. Plus, the honey oak finish looks more like a piece of furniture than a storage unit, especially when paired with sand-colored bins (below).

Get the Threshold 6-Cube Organizer Shelf at Target for $59.50

2. Bins to keep messes hidden

Sure, you can display books and files in a set of cubbies without bins, or alternate every other. But to really maximize storage and keep your unit looking sleek, bins are the way to go. I have 12 of these fabric bins in Sand, each 13-inch cube looking sleek and polished on the outside while hiding messes like tangled extension cords or mail that needs sorting. I’ve kept laundry detergent in my living room for years and my guests have never had a clue. Pro tip: Try to store items as vertically as possible so you can see everything inside at a glance.

Get the Threshold Fabric Cube Storage Bin at Target for $8.50

3. A compact fitness system for your home

If developing your home gym setup has fallen to the wayside in your tiny living space, consider investing in a Tempo Move system over a gym membership. We reviewed Tempo Move and were impressed with the setup, the barebones smart equipment and weights, and the way it made our reviewer feel like they were being kept on track. You’ll pay a one time fee for the system, and you can use it to take advantage of your small space.

Get the Tempo Move from Tempo for $395

4. A non-stick pan to replace up to eight pans in your cabinet

We’ve talked about our love of the Always Pan before, but if you have yet to experience it for yourself and you’re beholden to cluttered, overcrowded cabinets in your kitchen, you might want to invest. The Always Pan is a nonstick pan that’s designed to replace saucepans, soup pots, skillets, and more. You can use it to pan fry, saute, steam, braise, and strain; the Always Pan also comes in beautiful colors, so if you have to leave it on your stovetop to save space in your cabinets it won’t stand out in a clean kitchen.

Get the Always Pan from Our Place for $145

5. A jewelry holder that doubles as décor

Vertical space is key in tiny living, especially when it comes to accessories. Instead of having a jewelry box take up most of the top of my small dresser, I use this heart-shaped IMM Living wire jewelry holder. Pretty enough to function as décor all on its own, it looks even cooler holding a dozen hoop and dangling earrings. Rings, studs, and even necklaces fit perfectly on its ceramic dish, too. And because it looks like this personal recommendation is also popular to the point of selling out online, here’s one that looks like it will work just as well (and who doesn’t love a cactus?).

6. A suitcase to use as extra storage space

I love to travel, so I need to have my suitcase easily accessible. But in a tiny home, that means it’s occupying pretty valuable storage real estate since suitcases are not generally attractive enough to leave out. Aside from the fact that it’s a breeze to take on a plane, this carry-on from Samsonite is sleek enough to fit under a bed or stand up in a closet. Plus, its hard exterior means no matter how much you stuff into it, it will stay the same size. I use this to my advantage and store my gym bag, larger bags, and even some purses inside. Sure, you have to empty it when you go on a trip, but it’s worth it to hold those bulky items the rest of the time and save valuable drawer space.

Get the Samsonite Stryde Carry-On Glider on Amazon for $155.20

7. A console table that makes for a perfect bar

If there’s one thing I don’t mind storing out in the open, it’s liquor. Owning a well-stocked bar was one of the first times I saw my place as a real adult home, even if some of the bottles—er, boxes—of wine and booze still skewed college. There’s something about long-stemmed glassware and cocktail shakers that simply looks elegant, especially when they’re perched on this antique brass table with glass and mirrored shelves. While the table is technically made for more decorative objects, I’ve played with bottles on top and glassware on the bottom, and vice versa, depending on the space. The middle section is perfect for shot and rocks glasses, as well as a few cocktail recipe books.

Get the Terrace Console at West Elm for $399.20

8. A shower caddy that makes bulk shopping possible

One of the major downsides to living in a tiny space is missing out on those sweet, sweet Costco deals. There’s no use buying in bulk if you physically can’t fit things in your place afterward. But because deals on everyday items like toilet paper and shampoo are too good to pass up, I found a solution: the shower caddy. Yes, this can help organization even if you’re not stocking up a three-month supply, but by migrating all waterproof, shower-related bottles to the tub shelves and caddy, you can free up precious under-sink storage for the rest. In my shower, this hanging caddy holds eight bottles, a razor, and a detangling comb, leaving tub shelves open for even more stock.

Get the Made By Design Bathroom Shower Caddy at Target for $16

9. A cast iron skillet that can go in the oven

When I finally discovered the wonder that is cast-iron cooking, this Lodge skillet became my go-to, allowing me to cook everything from meat to veggies to shakshuka in one heavy-duty pan that could work on the stove and in the oven. Plus, in our roundup of the best cast iron pans, Lodge came out on top.

Get the Lodge Cast Iron Skillet on Amazon for $19.62

10. Bar stools that only look expensive

IKEA is the juggernaut in the small-living biz, but my favorite product for my home hasn’t been anything storage-related. Instead, I’m obsessed with these bar stools that can be adjusted in terms of height, as well as repurposed as side tables for drinks when friends are around. Backless, they fit neatly under a countertop overhang or small kitchen table, and they’re lightweight enough to move around.

Since I’ve lived for years without a proper dining room table, these stools help expand the surface area of the coffee table, which comes in handy for movie nights or stocking up on snacks for a Netflix binge. Plus, they’re easily the most complimented pieces of furniture I’ve owned—and I put them together them myself!

Get the Dalfred Bar Stool at IKEA for $55

11. Drawer dividers for keeping utensils in place

In my studio apartment, my utensil drawer was the single source of my organization frustration for months. Too narrow to fit even the smallest of utensil dividers (trust me, I tried them all), the drawer ended up just being a heap of forks, spoons, and knives. I had resigned myself to a life—or at least a lease—of sticking my hand in a pile of sharp objects. Then I tried a set of expandable drawer dividers. While I assumed they were only good for separating clothing like socks and underwear, they fit perfectly in my skinny kitchen drawer, saving my fingers—and my sanity.

Get the 2 3/8” Expandable Drawer Dividers at the Container Store for $17.99

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U.S. CDC Says Unvaccinated Travelers Should Avoid Hong Kong Travel | World News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday recommended unvaccinated travelers avoid travel to Hong Kong over rising COVID-19 cases.

The CDC raised its COVID-19 level for Hong Kong from Level 1: Low to Level 3: High, one level below its highest warning level. Hong Kong is facing a record number of COVID-19 fatalities and battling to control a surge in cases.

The global financial hub reported a daily record high of 34,466 new coronavirus infections and 87 deaths on Monday, health authorities said.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chris Reese)

Political Cartoons on World Leaders

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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What to Know About California’s Mask Rules

With the Omicron variant in retreat across much of the country, federal officials on Friday inched toward a new pandemic normal by easing their guidelines for staying safe from the coronavirus.

Based on new criteria for measuring a community’s Covid-19 risk, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 70 percent of Americans could stop wearing masks, and would no longer need to social distance or avoid crowded indoor spaces.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, though, what this means for Californians is not that simple.

The federal guidance is merely a baseline upon which local rules are layered. In other words, even if C.D.C. officials say masks aren’t needed where you live, the mayor of your city might still prohibit you from going barefaced to the grocery store.

These rules can be confusing, so today I’m going to walk you through the latest federal, state and local recommendations and how they could apply to you.

Keep in mind that public health guidelines are always shifting, and that a major change to California’s school masking requirements is expected to be announced later today. (More on that below.)

Until last week, the C.D.C. had been calculating a community’s Covid-19 risk level based on numbers of new cases. But given that Omicron spreads easily but causes mostly mild illness, the new calculations rely more on the likelihood that hospitals could be overwhelmed.

With its overhauled metrics, the C.D.C. reduced the fraction of counties in the U.S. where it recommends indoor masking to 37 percent from 95 percent. (One exception: No matter where you live, masks are required on public transit and airplanes.)

These looser recommendations aren’t necessarily permanent, but an acknowledgment that our pandemic situation appears to be improving.

“We want to give people a break from things like masking when our levels are low, and then have the ability to reach for them again should things get worse in the future,” the C.D.C. director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, told reporters on Friday. “We need to be prepared, and we need to be ready for whatever comes next.”

In California, 30 of our 58 counties fall into that high-risk, mask-recommended category. Those include Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange and Fresno Counties.

So while you can always wear a mask if it makes you feel safer, the C.D.C. is saying that you definitely should wear a mask in these high-transmission areas, regardless of your vaccination status.

You can check your county’s risk level as determined by the C.D.C. here.

If where you live is considered high risk, you don’t need to dive further into state and local regulations: Just keep that mask on.

But if your county is listed as medium or low risk, such as San Francisco and Ventura Counties, then you need to pay attention to the statewide rules.

California regulations require that if you’re unvaccinated, you have to wear a mask in indoor public spaces. And even if you have your shots, you must still mask up in certain settings, such as doctor’s offices, homeless shelters and prisons.

So let’s say that you’re not in a high-risk county and you have all of your shots. Can you go to the movies without a mask on?

Yes, unless your community has its own additional mask rules. (I warned you it was complicated.) Counties with mask ordinances include Santa Clara, Los Angeles and Mendocino.

That brings us, finally, to masking in schools, which has become a particularly contentious issue in California.

Just yesterday, 200 parents and children rallied in Golden Gate Park in opposition to California’s requirement that teachers and students wear masks indoors, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. In recent weeks, there have been protests in favor of masks, too.

But change is coming soon.

On Friday, the C.D.C. announced that it no longer endorsed masking in schools everywhere in the country, and instead only in counties deemed at high risk. Later today, California officials are expected to announce a timeline for relaxing their own school mask mandate.

“Masking requirements were never put in place to be there forever,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s health and human services secretary, as reported by The Los Angeles Times.

For more:

Today’s travel tip comes from Gerry Brague:

Armstrong Woods is a state park north of Guerneville in Northern California about an hour and a half north of San Francisco. It is a wonderful stand of redwoods and much less crowded than Muir Woods. There are hiking trails and a picnic area and it is a peaceful and lovely spot.”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.

For decades, a heart-valve replacement was off limits to people over 90 because they were considered too frail to survive the invasive surgery it required.

But that changed in 2012, when a replacement technique that doesn’t require open-heart surgery gained federal approval. The new procedure has helped extend the lives of some of the oldest Americans.

Velvin Bill, who lives in the San Diego area, received a high-tech heart valve two years ago when his original equipment began to fail.

This month, he turned 100.

Read more from The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Birds that can fly nearly silently (4 letters).

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American Airlines to Launch Revamped Loyalty Program

The newly revamped loyalty program American Airlines announced in October 2021 is set to begin Tuesday, the carrier announced. 

The key difference in the new iteration of the AAdvantage program is that elite-tier qualifications now will be tracked by one metric: loyalty points. One qualifying mile earned equals one loyalty point, according to the carrier. Members can earn points by flying American and its partners or from purchases made with an AAdvantage credit card.

Members for 2022 must accumulate 30,000 points for Gold status, 75,000 for Platinum status, 125,000 for Platinum Pro status and 200,000 for Executive Platinum status. Once a member has attained a status level, it will be valid through March 31 of the following year. 

American will expand complimentary upgrade access for Gold and Platinum members to include all flights on American within North America regardless of the flight distance. For travel starting March 2, the carrier automatically will request an upgrade if everyone in the reservation is eligible for one. Members will need to use 500-mile upgrades if they want to upgrade travel companions who have not achieved a status level.

Later in 2022, American will extend complimentary upgrades to one companion traveling on the same flight as a status member, according to the carrier. At that time, all existing 500-mile upgrades in members’ accounts each will convert to 250 loyalty points toward the 2022 status qualification period.

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Here’s which TikTok air travel hacks actually work

Vacation-goers are always looking for a stress-free route when packing for a trip. And they’ll stop at nothing to ensure that their vacay goes off without a hitch.

TikTok has become a hub for finding so-called “travel hacks” with users sharing tricks and tips for flying with extra baggage, traveling lighter and more.

However, according to several travel experts, some of these hacks — like shoving clothes into pillowcases and hiding extra shirts in an overcoat — may not actually be that practical.

User Anya Iakovlieva posted a clip last September in which she stuffed her pillow with extra clothes and placed it on top of her luggage.

Naveen Dittakavi, a founder of cheap-flight site Next Vacay, explained to Insider that this trick is “worth trying.” But he also warned that it may not work every time.

“Most airlines will allow you to bring a travel pillow as part of your attire, but each airline will determine if you can board carrying a standard-sized bed pillow, depending on their luggage regulations,” he said.

He also noted that travelers should ask their airline what size pillow would be right to bring on board. Some companies may consider large pillows to be the one personal item that passengers are allowed to take with them. The extra item might lead to additional fees for travelers.

In another creative compromise, TikTok user Kristen Black tried her hand at rolling her sweaters into a DIY neck pillow. “Save space, save money,” she captioned her November 2021 video in which she demonstrated the hack while waiting at the airport.

“How to pack when you have zero baggage allowance,” she wrote across the video. She also suggested that passengers put souvenirs from their trip into their hats.

However, Dittakavi told the outlet that while the idea appears to be a “brilliant packing hack,” it won’t work on all airplanes.

Bianca Montalvo, who works in the marketing department at United Airlines, also agreed that the hack was risky, as the neck pillow obviously looks like it was fashioned from clothes. She added that airport gate agents use their own judgment and “may or may not ask for all items to be packed properly,” rather than strapped on one’s neck.

Another hack involved hiding garments inside your coat when you travel. Imogen Blow, the self-dubbed “Queen of Budget Travel” on TikTok, shared a video last year in which she “shaved off 5.5 kg of excess baggage.” At her gate, she unzipped the black puffy winter coat she was carrying to reveal nine other smaller jackets hidden inside.

“It kinda looked like a body,” she joked in her clip.

Tom Church, the co-founder of the money-saving travel site latestdeals.co.uk, told Insider that the large bundle of coats could be too big to actually take on the aircraft. 

He said that one would have to be confident enough to stuff the coat underneath a seat or pack it away in the overhead bin. “Carrying items of this size onto a plane doesn’t seem very practical,” he stated. “It would be better to ask yourself if you really need so many clothes when you have to lug them around like this.”

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🏀 Jayhawks Travel to Fort Worth to Play TCU Tuesday – Kansas Jayhawks

LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 6/7 Kansas (23-5, 12-3) continues its two-game road trip at TCU (18-9, 7-8) on Tuesday, March 1. Tip from Schollmaier Arena is set for 7 p.m. (Central) and the game will be televised on Big 12 NOW on ESPN+.

Holding a one-game lead in the loss column in the 2022 Big 12 race, Kansas is looking to rebound from an 80-70 loss at No. 10 Baylor on Feb. 26. TCU has won two of its last three games after its 69-66 win against No. 9 Texas Tech Feb. 26.

Kansas is 107-15 following a loss in the Bill Self era, which started in 2003-04, including 4-0 this season. Incredibly, since 2012-13, KU has been even more efficient with a record of 54-6 after losses.

Kansas is No. 6 in the NET rankings and No. 7 in strength of schedule, released by the NCAA through games played Feb. 27. Kansas is 10-4 against Quadrant 1 teams, which is second only to Baylor’s 11 Q1 wins for the most in NCAA Division I.

Kansas leads the Big 12 in scoring offense (79.6 ppg), which is 16th nationally, in field goal percentage (49.1%, seventh nationally) and three-point field goal percentage (36.1%).

A national player of the year candidate, senior Ochai Agbaji leads the Big 12 in scoring at 20.4 points per game, which is 15th nationally. He is second in the Big 12, 11th nationally, in three-point field goal percentage at 43.3%. He has scored 20 or more points in a league-high 16 games this season and has averaged 24.3 ppg in his last three outings. Agbaji has been named Big 12 Player of the Week four times this season.

Kansas has two players ranked in the top four in rebounding in the Big 12 with senior David McCormack third at 7.2 rpg and redshirt-sophomore Jalen Wilson fourth at 7.0 rpg. McCormack leads the league with eight double-doubles this season.

Up Next

Two days after facing TCU for the first time in 2021-22, Kansas will host the Horned Frogs on Thursday, March 3, at 7 p.m. (Central). The contest from Allen Fieldhouse will be televised on Big 12 NOW on ESPN+.

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UK prime minister will travel to Poland and Estonia on Tuesday 

Five days into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it seems things haven’t gone exactly to plan for Vladimir Putin so far.

Western intelligence officials briefed repeatedly over the weekend that Russian forces have encountered “stiffer than expected” resistance from an outmanned and outgunned Ukrainian military.

Russia has thus far failed to take key cities across Ukraine, including the capital Kyiv. On Sunday, Ukrainian forces successfully repelled a Russian advance on a strategic airfield near Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, which has been under near-constant attack.

In addition to a fierce fightback from Ukrainian forces and civilians, the Russian invasion has suffered logistical challenges, with soldiers on the front line running short of fuel, ammunition and food.

“They are having problems,” a NATO official said of the Russian forces, pointing to the alliance’s latest intelligence. “They lack diesel, they are proceeding way too slow and morale is obviously an issue.”

But a senior US defense official told reporters on Sunday that Russia has only used two-thirds of the total combat power applied to the mission, leaving a significant amount of forces available to press the offensive.

And on Monday, a miles-long convoy of Russian military vehicles was bearing down on the Ukrainian capital, while Kyiv’s intelligence also suggests Belarus is prepared to join the Russian invasion, according to a Ukrainian official.

Representatives from Ukraine and Russia were meeting Monday on the Belarusian border. In those talks, Ukraine will insist on an “immediate ceasefire” and the withdrawal of Russian troops — though, realistically, no one is expecting that to happen.

Putin, it seems, hasn’t just misjudged Ukraine’s ability to defend itself, but also just how hard a line the international community would take against Russia in the event of an invasion.

For years, the Russian president has faced very little pushback from the West over his illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea, his brutal support for the Syrian regime and acts of aggression in other countries.

For all their strong words of condemnation for Putin and his regime, Western countries still bought gas from Russia, offered a safe haven to Russian oligarchs and retained relatively normal diplomatic relations with Moscow.

But this time around — despite a few early rocky patches which saw Western nations accused of not hitting Russia hard enough — Putin has faced an unusually united Western alliance.

Read more here.

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Babbel language learning app now 60% off


If you’re interested in learning a new language, you may have heard of Babbel, the premium, subscription-based language learning platform. If you haven’t, settle in and read on to get the scoop on this bestselling method. Babbel is an entertaining, flexible language app that provides quick results, according to tens of thousands of users. One testimonial reads, “An addictively fun and easy way to learn a new language or brush up on language skills!” The reason it can be so “fun and easy” while also being effective is the way that lessons are created. Babbel has over 150 linguistic experts crafting short yet effective lessons that can be worked into any schedule. You can squeeze in a 10-minute lesson each day, right? That’s like one Instagram check, and it’s time better spent than falling into a black hole of TikTok videos.

Users have reported that Babbel’s bite-size lessons actually enabled them to start conversing in a new language in just three weeks. “You’re learning without even knowing you’re learning,” says one user. “I went from phrases to sentences to conversations in just weeks.” Fourteen different languages are offered at Babbel, and real instructors are behind the teaching, which makes a huge difference in instructional quality. (Some other language apps actually use AI instead of real humans!)

There are live online class options that prep you for real-life conversations. Babbel Live’s virtual online classes are an interactive experience with native speakers. That’s right: real people, in real time. (Hot tip: Sign up for Babbel Live and the app will be included at no cost.)

Even if you’re not taking live classes, a cool feature is Babbel’s Speech Recognition Technology, which helps improve your pronunciation and accent as you move through lessons. It’s never too early to work on your accent!

Aside from stellar app-based lessons and live online virtual classes, Babbel offers dynamic instructional methods, including podcasts, games, videos (yes, even a YouTube channel) and cultural content. All these great features are probably why Babbel has sold over 10 million subscriptions. Its content is engaging, and best of all, it’s easily digestible in short chunks. The podcasts cover local culture and language secrets and are easily coded by level, so you know which ones are for you. Another source of engaging content, Babbel Magazine is an online hub of entertaining and informative articles about language learning. “The 8 Best Films for Learning Italian,” for instance, is a useful article that summarizes why these particular films are beneficial for language learners, and it includes where to stream or source them.

Wordle or crossword fans will love the app’s Words & Sentences exercises, or games like tongue twisters. You can also opt to take Special Courses, and learn about a culture’s sports, travel, festivals and more.

Whether you’re a beginner just learning to say “hola” or a seasoned speaker, Babbel can meet you where you are and provide a custom educational experience, all while saving up to 60% on their site. And this is a stress-free commitment, because users who aren’t satisfied can get a full refund with Babbel’s 20-day money-back guarantee. What do you have to lose?

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