Wizards Stay Hot, Erase 19-Point Deficit To Beat Pelicans – CBS Baltimore


WASHINGTON (AP) — Spencer Dinwiddie scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half, and the Washington Wizards erased a 19-point deficit to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 105-100 Monday night for their fifth consecutive victory.

Washington at 10-3 is off to the franchise’s best start in 47 years when the Bullets opened the 1974-75 season 11-2. The Wizards have done this with and without All-Star guard Bradley Beal, who missed a second consecutive game mourning the death of his grandmother.

READ MORE: No. 5 N.C. State Controls Game In 100-52 Win Over Towson

“We love him, we support him and we can’t wait till he comes back,” Wizards forward Deni Avdija said.

Aaron Holiday, who took Beal’s spot in the starting lineup, scored 12 points. Dinwiddie made his first three 3-point attempts in the third quarter to start the climb back from down 60-41, cutting the Pelicans’ lead to five before a series of fouls and missed free throws temporarily stalled the comeback bid.

Trailing by seven entering the fourth quarter, it took until Kyle Kuzma’s 3 with 5:18 left for the Wizards to pull even at 92 for the first tie since 33-all. Avdija’s fast-break layup put Washington up with under four minutes left, and the second-year pro from Israel grabbed a defensive rebound on the next Pelicans possession to bring the home crowd to its feet.

Fan favorite center Montrezl Harrell was serenaded with “M-V-P! M-V-P!” chants while shooting free throws with two minutes remaining and pounded his chest after drawing an offensive foul seconds later. The Wizards pulled away from there on jumpers by Avdija and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, while the Pelicans missed 11 consecutive attempts from the field to let the game slip away.

New Orleans lost for the 13th time in 15 games this season, all without Zion Williamson because of a broken right foot. Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram led all scorers with 31 points in his second game back from a hip injury, and Jonas Valanciunas added 16.

RUI EVENTUALLY

The Wizards have been playing without Rui Hachimura because the forward was granted a leave of absence for personal reasons. They know they’ll need to integrate him into the rotation at some point but don’t yet know what that looks like or when it will happen.

READ MORE: 2 Construction Workers In Serious But Stable Condition After Being Hit By Car On I-95

“It’s going to be a challenge,” Washington coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “Obviously we’re playing pretty well. Sometimes as coaches we overthink it, and you’re worried about upsetting the balance. There’s another part of me that says, ‘You know what, just rip the band aid off and go for it, see how it looks.’ But when that time comes, we’re just going to have to deal with it, incrementally bring him in, bring him along.”

TIP-INS

Pelicans: Josh Hart, who coach Willie Green has praised for becoming a better leader, had 13 points and 12 rebounds. … Former Wizards guard Garrett Temple scored eight points. … Ingram had missed seven consecutive games before coming back Saturday against Memphis. … Devonte Graham finished with 14 points.

Wizards: Held an opponent at 100 or fewer points for the sixth time in 13 games. They only did that five times last season. … Caldwell-Pope finished with 18 points and hit four 3s. … Dinwiddie also had nine assists. … Unseld expects Beal to travel with the team on its upcoming two-game road trip and be available to play Wednesday night at Miami. … Forward Davis Bertans, who has been out with a sprained left ankle, continues to practice and could play next week, according to Unseld.

UP NEXT

Pelicans: Wrap up their two-game road trip at the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.

Wizards: Visit the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night.

MORE NEWS: Man, 21, Seriously Injured In South Baltimore Shooting

(© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)



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How To Move A Hot Tub – Forbes Advisor


Editorial Note: Forbes Advisor may earn a commission on sales made from partner links on this page, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations.

  • Working time: 2 to 4 hours
  • Total time: 8 hours
  • Skill level: Beginner
  • Project cost: Less than $500, depending upon the move

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Moving a hot tub is a chore, to say the least, but with the right plan and help, it’ll be a far shorter chore. Be sure to practice safe lifting techniques and prevent any tips or falls of the hot tub. Before you know it, you’ll be soaking in the hot tub after your move to your new home.

Safety Considerations

A small hot tub can weigh around 600 pounds when empty, and a big hot tub is closer to 1,000 pounds. With that much weight, it’s important to lift properly to avoid hurting yourself or damaging the hot tub.

Moving a hot tub requires an initial lift of the hot tub in order to insert boards underneath it so furniture dollies can get put in place. Remember to lift with your knees and not your back. Try to find a level path for the hot tub to travel so it won’t tip. If possible, try to find a truck with a liftgate to eliminate a heavy push up a ramp into a truck. A ramp will work but once again, pay attention to the amount of strain it takes to push the hot tub.

Tools and Materials

  • Furniture dolly
  • 2-by-4s
  • Garden hose
  • Wet/dry vacuum
  • Moving truck
  • Ratchet straps

How to Move a Hot Tub Instructions

1. Plan Out Move

The old adage, “measure twice, cut once” comes into play during a hot tub move. Find a path free of obstacles and on a level surface so the hot tub won’t tip or fall as you move it toward the moving truck. Measure your hot tub, especially its width, to make sure it will fit through any potentially narrow spots.

2. Gather Materials

Have your boards, dollies and ratchet straps nearby and ready to go when you’re ready to start the move. Make sure you have the right sized rental truck to make sure your hot tub will fit. Rental companies like Uhaul provide the dimensions of their trucks on their website. You’ll also want about four people to help with the move. Two can do the initial lift while the other two slide the furniture dollies into place.

NOTE: Uhaul says that a hot tub can be hauled using an auto transport trailer, too.

3. Disconnect and Drain Hot Tub

If you’re planning on moving the hot tub, you’ve likely already disconnected it from its electrical source and drained it, but if not, you’ll need to do that first. Draining the hot tub might take special consideration because different municipalities have different requirements on how to drain a hot tub. Check local codes before draining a hot tub. You can drain the hot tub by attaching a garden hose to the drain and use a wet/dry vacuum.

4. Pack Up Hot Tub Supplies

You can pack up your hot tub supplies at any time, but just remember to do so prior to moving the hot tub. The last thing you want is to try to connect the hot tub in a new spot and not have all the necessary equipment. Be sure to label each part as you dissemble so you know where it goes when you reinstall it.

5. Lift the Hot Tub

Have one person, or more, at each end of the hot tub and have them lift it a few inches off the ground.

6. Slide Dollies Under Hot Tub

Have a person at each end of the tub slide a furniture dolly underneath so the hot tub rests on it. You might want to use ratchet straps to secure the hot tub to the dolly so it doesn’t kick out on you while you’re moving it.

7. Push Hot Tub to Truck and Load It On

Push the hot tub along the path you outlined until you reach the moving truck. Make sure the hot tub stays balanced on the furniture dollies. Once at the truck, push it up the ramp or use a liftgate to get it into the truck. Once the hot tub is in the truck, secure it with ratchet straps so it won’t shift during transportation.

8. Unload the Hot Tub

Reverse the hot tub loading process to put it in its new position. Be sure to lay down the boards at the spot you want the hot tub to rest so you can lay the hot tub there and remove the dollies. Fill up the hot tub and enjoy.

When to Call a Pro

Calling a pro to move a hot tub will eliminate logistical nightmares. If moving your hot tub looks too difficult to do on your own, call a moving pro to do the job. They might charge similarly to the cost of a regular move.

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The Cotswolds: Wealthy Americans buying ‘hot property’ for countryside lifestyle | Travel News | Travel


The Cotswolds are known for their chocolate box cottages, picture perfect villages, beautiful countryside and more than a famous name or two. For all these reasons, the area is one of the favourite holiday spots for Britons.

Famous names such as Kate Moss, the Beckhams or even David Cameron have made sure the area was associated with affluence, glamour and privacy.

An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Cotswolds have everything anyone could wish for in a holiday destination.

Historic villages, independent shops, beautiful nature that provide plenty of opportunities for an exploration of the great British outdoors…

Over 800 square miles and five counties, the Cotswolds have captured the world’s imagination.

DON’T MISS

The Cotswolds have been featured many times in films and TV, only raising its status as a brand for overseas buyers.

From Bridget Jones’s Diary to Downtown Abbey, Harry Potter to James Bond, most people will have seen part of the Cotswolds on film at one point or another.

All this contributes to the popularity of the area, and there have been reports of multiple buyers for each house.

Overseas buyers are even purchasing without having seen the properties, relying on video tours before forking out the cash.

With prices going up to more than one million pounds, the Cotswolds aren’t the cheapest of location to buy into the English countryside “lifestyle”.

The average price of a house in the area is half a million pounds.

Lucy Challenger, founder of luxury domestic recruitment agency Polo & Tweed, said: ”The Cotswolds is hot property at the moment.

“Everywhere like Chipping Norton, Stow-on the Wold, Lower Slaughter, all round this area we have a huge amount of families re-locating.”

She said she’s seen many wealthy American families relocate in the area.

All this is good news for local staff who can negotiate their rates, but British buyers may look to the new influx with less enthusiasm.

The Cotswolds have long been synonymous with celebrity homes and it’s never been the cheapest area to buy a holiday home in.

But demand may raise prices, on top of seriously diminishing supply.





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Our hot tips to cut costs before the big chill, include don’t fix energy rates, free flu jabs and more


1. Martin’s warning: Energy firms are pushing you to fix… don’t. In fact DO NOTHING.

Over to our founder: “The energy market is in crisis, wholesale prices have exploded. Firms are being forced to sell energy substantially below its cost price, due to the energy price cap on standard variable tariffs. And I’m starting to hear that firms’ marketing departments are therefore kicking into gear to try to persuade people to take up other tariffs.

“Expect to get fancy letters extolling the virtues of fixing – tapping into switchers’ instincts as if these were normal times, when that was the right thing to do. No surprise, they are desperate to get people off the price cap. Yet as a consumer, fixing now is almost certainly NOT the right thing to do (I can’t say 100% without a crystal ball, but it’s my very strong suspicion).

“The cheapest fixes cost 30%+ more than the price cap – a huge premium, when you consider the price cap is in itself fixed until April. If you’re on it you’re essentially locked in at the cheaper price over the high-use winter period. So DO NOTHING, and if you’ve never switched, you’ll be on the price cap. If your fix is coming to an end, or your provider has gone bust, DO NOTHING and you’ll automatically be moved to the price cap.

“If you want to see the price differentiation for yourself, do a Cheap Energy Club comparison.”





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14 heat safety tips for L.A. hiking during hot weather


When it’s hot out there — really hot — you need a sure-fire strategy for what to wear and what to bring before you go hiking. Sure, skip the down parka, but you’ll need to carry more water than you usually do. But that’s not all. I asked experts for their best advice on how to stay safe in the heat. Here’s what they told me.

Illustration of a woman applying sunscreen

(Micah Fluellen / Los Angeles Times)

Before you go

1. Check the weather forecast. Southern California has myriad microclimates — urban, mountain, coastal, desert and more — so research how hot it will be where you plan to hike. “You want to do a little research on where you’re going, what are the peak temperatures and also humidity … that has an effect on how your body cools itself off too,” said Johnny Stevens, an REI outfitter. Don’t forget to check other conditions, such as air quality on the South Coast Air Quality Management District app and the Environmental Protection Agency’sUV Index app for sun exposure ratings. Both apps are free.

2. Avoid hiking during the hottest part of the day. This sounds simple, but it’s easy to get into trouble when you get a late start and want a hard workout. Go early (6 a.m.) or late (6 or 7 p.m.) to avoid high temperatures. In Death Valley, where extreme temperatures soar to 115-plus degrees in summer, officials warn hikers to stay away from Badwater and other low, exposed areas and suggest hitting the trails no later than 10 a.m. In most L.A. climes, the sun is strongest and UV exposure highest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

3. Use sunscreen to avoid sunburn. The best time to apply sunblock is at least 15 minutes before you step out the door. “This allows the sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) to have enough time to provide the maximum benefit,” according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website. By the way, SPF, or sun protection factor, measures how much “solar energy” or UV radiation it takes to burn unprotected skin, not — as some mistakenly believe — the amount of time it protects you. The FDA said it takes at least an ounce of sunscreen to cover the body from head to toe. Some lotions are for faces only; just make sure to coat your nose, ears and neck too. Sunscreens lose their effectiveness usually after three years, so make sure yours still works.

4. Acclimate, acclimate, acclimate. I acclimate when I hike to high elevations, but high temperatures and humidity also require getting used to. “Heat acclimation occurs over the course of four to five days,” said Dr. Daniel V. Vigil, who specializes in sports medicine at UCLA and oversees the university’s athletic teams. Head outside and do some mild workouts to give your body time to adjust to the heat. Also, make sure you’re fit enough to tackle whatever trail or peak you have planned. Heat can make you feel worse if you’re out of shape and struggling.

5. Make sure someone knows where you are going and when you’ll return. Hikers, especially those going it alone, shouldn’t skip this step when heading out. It’s always best to share your plan with a friend or loved one, but especially true when conditions are hot. Leave a copy of your itinerary in your vehicle too. It could be a life-saver; if you don’t return on time, rescue teams will know where to start looking.

graphic of a hiking book sweating a lot.

(Micah Fluellen / Los Angeles Times)

On the trail

6. Carry more water than usual — and drink up. I’ve been on hikes on hot days when people proudly return with a quart or more of water. That’s not the goal. Sip enough water to replenish what you are sweating. “The human body’s main mechanism for dissipating heat is evaporation,” Vigil said. “The only way to combat intense heat is to stay hydrated, so we can sweat and evaporate heat.” How much should we drink? There’s no right answer because some people sweat profusely while others just glisten. Think about using a water well/hydration system with a drinking tube that fits in most backpacks. This setup allows you to drink without taking a break. If you prefer to use water bottles, be prepared to stop frequently for a few slugs along the way.

7. Bring electrolytes and snacks. You need something to perk you up when you start to drag. Electrolytes — essential minerals such as sodium, potassium and calcium — will help replenish what you’ve lost too. “What’s most important is that you are drinking and you are snacking,” said Gates Richards, education director for wilderness medicine at the National Outdoor Leadership School, or NOLS. “If you are doing those things you’re probably going to be fine.” Electrolyte drinks and gels help too, especially if it means you’ll eat and drink more because you like the flavor. If you work out in the heat for an hour or less you probably don’t need electrolyte replacements, Vigil said. But those planning a longer day should bring them.

8. Choose loose-fitting clothes that breathe and allow airflow. Spandex is not your friend on hot days; save it for the air-conditioned gym. Loose clothing allows air to circulate and cool you. What color you wear matters too. Black clothes absorb more heat, so you don’t want anything dark or tight-fitting against your skin. Look for shirts with mesh vents under the arms and on the back that improve airflow.

9. Wear a hat. A hat will keep the sun from frying your brain — and your neck and face — if you wear one with a wide brim. Make sure it’s well ventilated on top so your head doesn’t overheat. Experts recommend a hat that covers your ears and back and sides of your neck; straw hats may be stylish but allow in rays, if you are concerned about sun exposure. “Most baseball caps don’t do a good job with ventilation,” Stevens said. “They do shade the eyes, but I like more of a sun hat.”

10. Cover up. It may sound counterintuitive, but long pants and long-sleeved shirts are a good idea on hot days. “If you plan to hike in exposed areas, better to be covered than to be short-sleeved with shorts,” REI’s Stevens said. Sun protection may also include sun sleeves (if you’re wearing a tank top or short-sleeved shirt), a lightweight neck gaiter and sun gloves, particularly for people who use trekking poles at high elevation. Also, look for sun-blocking clothing that can help protect your skin. UPF ratings on shirts, pants and hats measure how much ultraviolet radiation can penetrate the fabric. For example, clothing labeled UPF 50 lets in only 1/50th, or 2%, of UV rays.

11. Keep your feet cool too. Heavy leather boots may make your feet sweat more than is needed. Consider lighter boots with webbing (but still offer waterproof protection) that allow some breathability. Avoid cotton socks that absorb sweat and lead to blisters. Instead, use wool or synthetic-blend socks that will keep your feet dry.

12. If you are lucky enough to find water on the trail, get wet. Water is in short supply in Southern California, but even small creeks or mountainside seeps allow you to dunk your hat or a kerchief to wear around your neck. It’s a good cool-down trick, particularly if you stop and rest in the shade. (There are “neckties” and gaiters with insulation designed to keep you wet/cool). Just don’t drink the water unless you filter or treat it.

Graphic of a woman lying down on boulder

(Micah Fluellen / Los Angeles Times)

What could go wrong

13. Stop if you or someone you are with start to feel sick. You want to push yourself on tough terrain, but heat cramps in your legs or abdomen may suddenly take hold in hot weather. Heat cramps are the result of two things: You’re low on glycogens and dehydrated, or you’ve overtaxed your muscles, Vigil said. Either way, it’s time to slow down, drink more fluids and try to stretch or massage your legs. If you’re dehydrated, you may not realize early signs, such as becoming sullen or agitated. “You have to trust the people you’re traveling with to say, ‘Yeah, you’re not as friendly as you usually are. Let’s all stop and have a drink right now,’ ” Richards said.

14. Understand the signs of more serious heat problems. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious and can be fatal. Understanding what’s happening when things go wrong is important. With exhaustion, you or your buddy may look pale, feel nauseous or vomit, and complain about a headache and cramps. Stop in the shade (if you can find some) for at least half an hour, drink water with electrolytes and eat some high-energy foods. The most important thing: Don’t continue to hike; hopefully you and/or your friend can slowly hike out safely or summon help.

Heat stroke, which Vigil refers to as “cooking from the inside out,” is far more serious and deadly. Symptoms include dry skin, weak and rapid pulse, high body temperature, confusion and poor judgment, and even seizures. “Check their mental status,” Vigil said. “Maybe their sense of humor is not there, they’re not as talkative, might be a little confused. You ask, ‘Are you all right’ and they don’t answer articulately. That’s a serious sign.” The key here is to cool their body immediately and get help. Check here for more information about heat exhaustion and heat stroke from the Red Cross.





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Airlines and tourist hot spots prepare to — safely — welcome international travelers again


Starting Nov. 8, the United States will begin welcoming fully vaccinated international air travelers under a new, less restrictive set of Covid-19 regulations.

The new rules require that, with very limited exceptions, non-U.S. citizens flying to the U.S. from more than 30 countries must be fully vaccinated and test negative for the coronavirus three days before they board their flight.

“For passengers who are not fully vaccinated, the rules will tighten to require a test taken no more than one day before departing to the United States,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement this week.

The CDC is also requiring airlines to collect contract tracing information from passengers boarding flights to the United States.

The relaxed restrictions are good news for a U.S. travel industry that has been hammered by the pandemic — and (mostly) good news for international travelers hoping to visit the U.S. for business or leisure. 

Already, airline searches — and sales — for flights to the U.S. have spiked.

“We have seen an increase in ticket sales for international travel over the past weeks, and are eager to begin safely reuniting the countless families, friends and colleagues who have not seen each other in nearly two years, if not longer,” Nicholas Calio, president and CEO of airline trade association Airlines for America, said in a statement.

Along with increased tickets sales, though, come increased prices. The cost of an international flight is up by an average of 12 percent from last month, Adit Damodaran, economist for travel booking app Hopper, told NBC.

“We expect international prices to rise another 15 percent from now until the holidays,” he said. 

Travelers heading to the U.S. are likely to find crowded airports and long check-in lines.

Many airlines are still struggling with staffing and retraining issues, said Daniel Burnham, senior member operations specialist at Scott’s Cheap Flights. And because airline personnel will now be tasked with verifying vaccine records and Covid-19 test results at the check-in counter and collecting contact tracing information, “this will likely cause crowding in the early days of implementing these new rules at many European airports.”

“Travel searches on Expedia and Hotels.com have been simmering in anticipation of the borders reopening and came to a full boil the moment the U.S. pinpointed November 8,” Melanie Fish of Expedia Brands told NBC News. “Increased demand in 2022 is likely going to mean fewer travel bargains are out there,” she said. 

The bargains are likely to fade first at hotels in popular U.S. cities. “It’s expected that city hotels in the U.S. will be in high demand — a reverse in trend over the past 18 months,” says Misty Belles, vice president for global public relations at Virtuoso travel network. “So, say goodbye to low rates and flexible cancellation policies.”

The bargains are likely to fade first at hotels in popular U.S. cities.

Cities such as Orlando, New York, and Seattle are excited to welcome back international visitors, who contributed significantly to local economies in typical, pre-pandemic years.

Casandra Matej, president and CEO of Visit Orlando, notes that the new requirements for vaccinated international travelers visiting the U.S is “especially valuable for families traveling with children under age 18, who will be exempt from the vaccination requirement and allowed entry as long as they meet the negative testing requirements.” That’s a plus for the theme-park-rich Orlando area.

Kauilani Robinson, director of public relations for Visit Seattle, said “we hope to see our international visitations climb back to pre-pandemic levels, but know it will take some time to get there, since travel booked right now is largely cautionary travel and booked at the last minute. But we’re expecting to see that increase as we get into November.”

In New York City, international travel typically generates 50 percent of tourism spending and 50 percent of hotel room nights. “International visitors stay longer and spend more,” said Fred Dixon, president and CEO at NYC & Company, the city’s visitors bureau. “The decision to open international borders safely is the news we have been waiting for and the shot in the arm for our industry.”

There is not yet a universally recognized mobile travel pass or travel passport for vaccine and COVID-19 test results. But there are tools, to help travelers figure out what will be required of them at the check-in counter. These include Delta FlyReady, United Airlines’ Travel-Ready Center, and Verifly, which is used by American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and others. IATA, the International Air Transport Association, has developed a Travel Pass currently recognized by more than 50 international airlines. 



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Hot tip for travelers: Leave firewood at home


Wherever your travels may take you this summer, you can make more room for your favorite recreational gear, your pet or even an extra friend by choosing to leave firewood at home.

Moving firewood when you camp, hunt or head out for a weekend getaway means you risk carrying tree-killing insects and diseases inside the firewood. Bugs can crawl out, infesting trees and carrying diseases that can forever change the landscape of the places you love.




oak wilt Hoffmaster state park“Much like the emerald ash borer – which spread across the state in the early 2000s, killing many of Michigan’s 700 million ash trees – invasive oak wilt, beech bark disease and hemlock woolly adelgid are threatening tree species that are critical components of our forests and landscapes,” said Robin Rosenbaum, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Plant Health Section manager.


According to MDARD, there are 140 pests and diseases that can be moved with firewood. Some are already present in Michigan, while others, including Asian longhorned beetle, beech leaf disease and spotted lanternfly, are infesting nearby states.


“On their own, these insects and diseases can’t travel very far, but they can travel hundreds of miles on firewood,” said Sue Tangora, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Forest Health and Cooperative Programs Section supervisor. “Trees cut for firewood often died due to insects or disease. Why risk carrying oak wilt to your cabin or beech bark disease to your favorite camping spot?”

Keep the fire burning

You can still have a roaring campfire, or a cozy night in front of the fireplace, if you just know how to burn safe.

  • Wood that looks clean and healthy can still have tiny insect eggs or microscopic fungi spores that can start a new and deadly infestation. Always leave your backyard firewood at home, even if you think it looks fine.
  • Buy firewood near where you will burn it – a good rule of thumb is only using wood that was cut within 50 miles of where you’ll have your fire.
  • Use FirewoodScout.org to find a firewood vendor near your destination. With over 350 Michigan listings, you can comparison shop before you arrive.




bundle of firewood with USDA certification stamp

  • Certified, heat-treated firewood is safe to move long distances. Look for a federal stamp or seal on the package, and keep the firewood in the original packaging if entering a campground that requires heat-treated wood.
  • Aged or seasoned wood is still not safe. Just because it is dry doesn’t mean it’s clean. A recent study showed insects continued to emerge from firewood even three years after it had been cut.
  • If you buy firewood and don’t burn it all, don’t bring it home or to your next destination.
  • Tell your friends not to bring wood with them – everyone needs to know they should not move firewood.

Know before you go

Firewood policies vary greatly among the national parks, national forests, private campgrounds and other lands in Michigan. Call ahead or visit DontMoveFirewood.org for more information.




Buy where you burnIn state parks, the DNR requests visitors purchase certified, heat-treated firewood sold in the parks or at some local stores and roadside stands.


For cross-country travels, be mindful of state and federal quarantines that may prohibit the movement of firewood or certain wood products. The Nature Conservancy provides information on rules for U.S. states, Canadian provinces and Mexico at DontMoveFirewood.org/Map.

Find out more

Tuesday, May 25, at 9 a.m., Michigan’s NotMISpecies webinar series features “Dynamite! And other tools to protect Michigan’s state park trees,” exploring how and why tree health is a critical component of state park management. Learn about the variety of tools, including explosives, used to control invasive insects and diseases to keep the forest ecosystem intact and ensure you have a great recreation experience. Register for the webinar at Michigan.gov/EGLEEvents under “Featured Webinar Series.”

Information on invasive tree pests and diseases of concern in Michigan can be found at Michigan.gov/Invasives.

Michigan’s Invasive Species Program is cooperatively implemented by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, the Department of Natural Resources; and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

/Note to editors: Accompanying photos are available below for download. Suggested caption information follows.

Certified: A certification stamp and the name and address of the firewood supplier should be visible on any certified firewood label. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Buy-burn: To prevent spreading invasive pests and diseases, buy firewood near or at your destination.

Hoffmaster: Hundreds of trees have been removed from the campground at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon due to an infestation of oak wilt./



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What Is It Like to Be a Hot Air Balloon Pilot?


It was inevitable that Beth Wright-Smith would find herself up in the air. A distant relative of the Wright brothers, she was just eight years old when her engineer dad caught the ballooning bug in the 1960s. “He just happened to be driving by and he sees this guy inflating a balloon,” she says. That guy turned out to be Tracy Barnes, a pioneer and legend in the ballooning world. Wright-Smith had her own first flight at the age of 17 and got her pilot certification a few years later.

Now, with 43 years of flying under her belt, Wright-Smith is the owner of Airborne Heat, a flight and ground school for ballooning in Albuquerque. For the past 13 years she traveled around the country piloting “¢ent’r Stage,” a nine-story tall stagecoach-shaped balloon that was put to rest this year. But you can still catch her this October piloting Smokey the Bear at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the largest hot air ballooning festival in the world.

Beth Wright-Smith talked to us about her career in ballooning, and what you need to know should you want to lift off yourself. As told to Vanita Salisbury.

I’m probably one of the oldest second-generation balloon pilots in the country. I’ve flown internationally in Switzerland, Mexico, and Canada, and at some point I would like to go to France. They have a big event every other year in Lorraine, near where the first balloons launched in 1783. And France is where Sophie Blanchard is from, the very first woman to fly a balloon professionally.

My first ride was actually when I was 17 in 1973 here in Albuquerque, in the first World Balloon Championships. Part of the attraction of going was the ballooning, and part of it was getting out of school for two weeks. It wasn’t the best landing. My dad fell on me, and he was 250 pounds. All I remember was that he squished me.

When I started, the business of hot air ballooning was basically a family thing. The dad was the pilot, the mom was the crew chief, the kids helped with the balloon. There were very, very few women pilots. At the time I got my pilot certificate, there were basically four ladies at balloon events. There’s getting to be more and more women, especially in the past five years. I’d say about 30 percent of those I certify are women.

Wright-Smith previously piloted the Wells Fargo stagecoach, “¢ent’r Stage” | Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images Sport

If you want to fly, you can get a private certification or a commercial certification. With a private, you can fly for fun, but if you actually want to get paid to do it, then you have to have a commercial rating and some experience. With Airborne Heat, I have what’s called a Part 141 school. There’s also Part 61 which is generally how most people get their pilot certificates. That’s how I got mine. You can do it in 10 hours for a private [certification] and for commercial you need 35 flight hours.

I also fly corporate programs, which means corporate advertising. I flew the Wells Fargo stagecoach for thirteen years; they just ended the program last year. We’d fly in festivals, if they had a bank opening or a charity thing, we’d put them up wherever they wanted us to. We traveled around the country. It was a lot of fun.

“It’s just everyday people that have decided this is their thing.”

Every single flight is different in some way. My favorite part of flying is going low over trees and rivers and lakes, because you can’t really do that in very many aircraft. One mistake I made in the beginning—and one a lot of new pilots tend to make—is when I got close to the ground I thought we were gonna break our legs or something. It’s not like an airplane. It looks like you’re coming so fast when you’re really not at all. So I’d overburn and go back up, and miss my landing spot.

As a pilot you’re constantly thinking. It’s a major mental exercise. There are so many details. You’re constantly watching what’s happening, where you are, where you can land, where you can’t land, how do you get there, what you have to do to get there. It’s like a 3-D pool game; you have to figure out the angles.

A nighttime balloon glow | Mark Newman/The Image Bank/Getty Images

The job draws an entrepreneurial personality. It takes someone with their own mind, that doesn’t want to go with the flow all the time. That creates problems every once in a while, because some of them aren’t very good at following the rules. Most of ballooning is technique and about ten percent is safety stuff. So you ask six different balloonists how to do something and you’ll get six, maybe ten different answers.

One misconception about ballooning: People think only rich people are in it. And it’s actually the opposite. The cost for a small sport balloon starts at around $35,000. I couldn’t afford a balloon myself in the beginning so I co-owned my first two balloons with partners. It’s not rich people who are doing it, for the most part; it’s just everyday people that have decided this is their thing. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is about 70 people competing, a few corporate flyers like me, and the rest of the 600 or so participants are just doing it for fun.

When I first got to Albuquerque I thought it was the ugliest place on the planet. I’m from Minnesota where there’s trees and grass and water. Albuquerque’s the desert. I came in February and everything was brown—the trees were brown, the ground was brown, even the houses were brown. Until I flew, and it was incredibly amazing. We don’t have the humidity here, so you can see forever. On any given day you can see Mount Taylor, 75 miles away. I always wanted to live near mountains when I was a kid. The mountains to the east of us are a big chunk of rock, but they’re amazing. They’re called the Sandia mountains, which means watermelon. When the sun hits them right, they turn pink.

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September Will Be Hot. Here’s How to Protect Your Pets (and Yourself).


For much of California, the arrival of September has brought extreme, scalding temperatures.

Sunday was the hottest day in Los Angeles in nearly 11 months, according to AccuWeather. Temperatures in the Inland Empire and the Sacramento region soared into the triple-digits over the long weekend. And in the next few days, dangerous heat waves are projected for large swaths of the state, weather officials warn.

Across California, September tends to be warmer than we might like. It’s usually the hottest time of the year in the Bay Area and when temperature records are most likely to be broken in Southern California.

So, given what’s probably in store for us, I’m sharing some tips today on how to cope with extreme heat: Earlier this summer, my colleague Jill Cowan put together this guide for staying cool and safe when temperatures spike. The federal government has more advice for you here.

Plus, I spoke to some animal experts about how to care for your pets when it’s really hot out. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimated in 2016 that 57 percent of California households have a pet, though I’d guess that number has risen since so many people (like myself) adopted pets during the pandemic.

Gagandeep Kaur, a veterinary medicine professor at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, told me that pet owners needed to help their animals avoid heat stroke, a potentially fatal condition in which body temperature rises beyond a healthy range. Though humans can also get heat stroke, animals are more susceptible because it’s harder for them to cool off.

“Local emergency clinics, they’ve seen hundreds of cases this summer,” Kaur told me. “It’s not something that’s rare.”

But it is preventable. Here’s what to know:

  • Be aware of risk factors. Dogs and cats are generally comfortable in the same temperatures as humans. But your pets are at higher risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, overweight, or have lung or heart disease.

    Dogs with short snouts, such as bulldogs, pugs and Shih Tzus, are particularly vulnerable because they tend to have breathing problems.

  • Provide water and shade. Always.

  • Dogs are more at risk than cats: Cats are usually better about keeping themselves cool by limiting their movement when it’s hot, said Steve Epstein, the chief of emergency services at the University of California, Davis’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

    In Epstein’s home in Davis, the air-conditioning doesn’t turn on until around 85 degrees, but he doesn’t worry about his cat becoming ill, he told me.

    Dogs, however, may chase after a squirrel or want to go on a walk even when it’s unsafe for them. Epstein said he recently treated a dog with heat stroke that had been racing around in a backyard when it was 90 degrees.

Here’s a shocking statistic: Amazon nearly doubled its annual profit last year to $21 billion and is on pace to far exceed that total this year. The company is undoubtedly one of the biggest economic winners of the pandemic.

But Amazon faces growing scrutiny of its treatment of workers.

A bill moving through the California Legislature would rein in production quotas at warehouses that critics say are excessive and force workers to forgo bathroom breaks. The legislation is part of growing scrutiny of the company’s treatment of workers.

The Assembly passed the bill in May, and the State Senate is expected to vote on it this week.

Read more from my colleague Noam Scheiber.


Thirteen delicious, original ways to eat eggs for dinner.


Today’s travel tip comes from Arin Kramer, who recommends an adventure in Marin County:

The perfect day: Take the whole family biking on the paved shady Cross Marin Trail through the redwoods of Samuel P. Taylor State Park, along Lagunitas Creek. You can bike all the way to the Inkwells swimming hole on a hot day. Afterwards, stop at the Marin Community Farms Stand.


When is the recall election?

Officially, the recall election is on Sept. 14. But because it is happening under an extension of pandemic rules that were created during the 2020 presidential election, that’s really more of a deadline than it is an Election Day in a more traditional sense.

Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked by Sept. 14. (You don’t need to add a stamp; you should have a return envelope.) Voters can also return their ballots to a secure drop box by Sept. 14 at 8 p.m. (Look up the ones closest to you here.)

Finally, voters can cast ballots in person — and in many places early voting is available. (You can find early voting locations here.)

Read answers to more of your frequently asked questions about the California recall election.

Tell us what else you want to know about the recall. Email your questions to [email protected].

An Oakland Brewery is now showcasing the irresistible faces of cats and dogs on its IPAs.

Ale Industries has partnered with the East Bay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to put photos of adoptable fur babies on beer cans to try to encourage people to take the pets home, reports SFist.


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

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Chloe who directed “Nomadland” (4 letters).

Miles McKinley and Briana Scalia contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at [email protected].

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