Ice and snow prompt Saturday morning travel warning | Local


The T&D Region received a mix of ice and snow overnight, leaving some dangerous conditions as dawn approached Saturday morning.

A special weather statement warning of slick roads and black ice remains in effect until noon:

“In the wake of winter precipitation overnight and below freezing temperatures, some roads remain slick and snow covered. Temperatures will be slow to rise and likely will not be above freezing until late morning or early afternoon. Therefore, motorists should remain alert for slick roads with patchy ice and use caution while traveling or delay travel until later this afternoon.”

Temperatures will be below freezing in the morning with wind-chill factors making conditions feel much colder.

Saturday is forecast to be partly sunny, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 41 in the afternoon.

 An Orangeburg resident reported freezing rain at 5:30 p.m.

That was followed by a similar report in Holly Hill at 7 p.m. and St. Matthews at 8 p.m., according to reports made to the National Weather Service. Bowman reported freezing rain at 9 p.m.

The temperature at midnight in Orangeburg was 31.

Forecasts called for snow and sleet before 1 a.m., then a chance of snow between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. The low temperature was expected to be 24, with a north wind around 10 mph and gusts as high as 20 mph.

The total nighttime snow and sleet accumulation was projected at less than one inch.

Orangeburg’s Department of Public Utilities was reporting no outages in its service area at midnight.

The S.C. Highway Patrol was reporting one collision in The T&D Region on Friday night. It occurred on Old State Road in Calhoun County at 8:15 p.m.

The weather system was moving to the east, bringing some icy conditions along the coast primarily from Charleston north. It was expected to move offshore during the morning.



Source link

G Adventures Connects Travelers to Local Communities


Our Tour Operators That Give Back series looks at a company that ensures travelers’ dollars benefit the communities they visit.

share this article

flipboard

It’s often the people we meet on our travels who create the memories and experiences that change our lives. G Adventures is committed to making travel a force for good—with all of the social, environmental, and ethical good it creates, fueling tourism that has a positive impact not only for the communities in which it operates but also for everyone along the way. And the company hopes that influences the way we all think about travel.

Founded in 1990, G Adventures hosts 200,000 travelers per year on tours that average 10–12 people. It offers more than 750 small-group excursions across all seven continents—covering wellness, hiking, and cycling, rail, sail and river tours, family adventures, and trips for 18-to-30somethings.

What’s so exceptional about trips with G Adventures? Its tours, built through meaningful relationships with local communities, directly benefit the people and places on the itinerary. But the communities they impact extend far beyond the tour destinations, to G Adventures’ employees, supplier and agent partners, small business owners, customers, social followers, and travelers. It’s a ripple effect that keeps the company notable for the community tourism it pioneered 31 years ago.

During the pause in travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, G Adventures worked to maintain a responsible travel commitment, supporting local people impacted by the halt in tourism. Among other projects, the company launched funds to donate more than $122,000 for essential needs in local communities.

A positive ripple effect

After a transformational backpacking trip to Asia, founder and CEO Bruce Poon Tip was inspired to change the face of travel. He wanted to find a better way to see the world, expanding beyond either backpacking or large tour groups, and create an authentic and sustainable travel experience. In 1990, he founded G Adventures, long before the term “sustainable” was used widely in the travel industry.

“We operated at a grassroots level and became more aware of how we needed to work with local communities to allow our customers to have more authentic experiences,” he says. “We were suddenly making decisions based on issues of culture: cultural interaction, cultural immersion, and cultural heritage.”

The very first trips were to Ecuador and Belize because Poon Tip wanted to “bring people to places where others weren’t going.” On one of his first trips in the Ecuadorian Amazon, Poon Tip met a man named Delfin who couldn’t understand why people would want to visit his community. Poon Tip convinced him to share his way of life with travelers and open his home for homestays, and Delfin–who became the company’s first community tourism partner–is still affiliated with the organization today.

“A few years later, we started our first foundation work in 1995 by partnering with Conservation International to look at how extreme poverty intersected with tourism and how we could be a catalyst for change by developing community projects,” says Poon Tip. It was through this partnership that G Adventures became the first international tour company to run trips to Chalalán Lodge in Bolivia’s Madidi National Park.

On those early excursions, G Adventures travelers and tour leaders played a pivotal role in helping community members learn through on-the-job experience how to run a successful ecolodge. Today, it’s an example of successful ecotourism in the country.

That was only the beginning for G Adventures. Poon Tip believed that travel could be a force for social good and wealth distribution, and in 2003, he founded the company’s nonprofit partner, the Planeterra Foundation. In 2018, he was honored by AFAR as a Travel Vanguard, the first tour operator to be distinguished in this manner.

To measure the real-world impact of travel on the local communities in their itineraries, G Adventures began applying a Ripple Score to its tours—an evaluation that lets people see the money spent by the company on all the services it takes to run each tour, measuring the power of the tourism supply chain to channel travelers’ dollars into underserved communities around the world. The higher the score, the more money that’s staying in the local community. In 2021, the company’s average Ripple Score across all trips is 93, meaning that 93 percent of the money spent in the destination goes to local businesses and services.

“Developing the Ripple Score with Planeterra and Sustainable Travel International [an organization focused on protecting and conserving the most vulnerable destinations by transforming tourism’s impact] was a five-year labor of love,” says Poon Tip. “We needed to see how we could engage all our suppliers and change the behavior of the company by finding a way to measure the local impact of how our dollars are spent. It’s expanded the spectrum of how people purchase travel—not just based on price point or dates, but real, community impact.”

G Adventures trips have a

How G Adventures gives back

Since its earliest days, the company’s vision for traveling responsibly has meant giving back as much as possible. The company always aims to employ local staff to guide tours and local businesses to host, transport, and provide activities for travelers. 

Planeterra turns travel into impact by providing community tourism enterprises (from women-owned handicraft cooperatives to nonprofits that train women in tourism) with access to online training tools to break down barriers to engage underserved communities in meaningful ways. The organization has created an online community that provides a place for community tourism all around the world to connect and share stories and experiences. 

The G Values Fund also provides low-interest loans for G Adventures tour leaders called CEOs: chief experience officers. This allows them to kick-start their own businesses that will not only help the community where they live but also add an experience into one or more G Adventures tours. For example, Hanoi Food Culture is a restaurant that hires and trains underprivileged youth from the area who then run the restaurant that serves traditional Vietnamese food. G Adventures travelers visit the restaurant on several tours and learn about the origin of the restaurant, which in turn helps support the business and the cause.

G Adventures is also committed to improving the sustainability of its own operations. It launched the Plastics Partnership Project in 2018 to eliminate as much single-use plastic on its tours as possible, encouraging travelers to bring refillable bottles, working with accommodation partners to provide safe drinking water for those bottles, and developing other tools and resources to help reduce plastic throughout its operations.

In 2016, G Adventures partnered with nonprofit Friends-International to develop the Global Good Practice Guidelines on child welfare in the travel industry, outlining how businesses can operate in ways that protect children. That same year, another partnership with the International Institute of Tourism Studies at George Washington University resulted in a set of guidelines on responsible travel with Indigenous communities to ensure tourism supports and respects the rights, history, and culture of Indigenous people.

Among the groups that worked to contribute to the guidelines was the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA). “WINTA and its network seek to influence the tourism industry to act with simple human decency and ecological conscience in all its dealings around the globe,” says Ben Sherman, chairman, World Indigenous Tourism Alliance. “Indigenous people seek to create tourism businesses in partnerships with members of the tourism industry that honor humankind’s obligation and sacred duty to the Earth.” The desire to model responsible action has also resulted in an animal welfare policy that puts the needs of animals first and ensures that all animals featured on G Adventures’ tours are treated humanely. 

“Part of our model is about making it possible to bring as many people along into the story,” says Poon Tip. “One of the wonderful things that people take away from travel is the appreciation for how other people live, and our collective place in the universe. How can we change how people think about travel, realize the privilege they have to travel, and how travel can be a force for good?

“The real change happens when consumers are changed, themselves, and see that they have the tools to be better travelers.”



Source link

Travel Advisory lifted in west central MN | Local News


MnDOT reopens Highway 210, travel advisories lifted in west central Minnesota

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – (6 a.m.) The Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Minnesota State Patrol reopened Highway 210 from Highway 9 near Breckenridge to Interstate 94 near Fergus Falls. MnDOT has also lifted the no travel advisory on state and federal highways in Clay, Otter Tail and Wilkin counties. Visibility has improved in these areas, however, there is still blowing snow and roads are partially snow and ice covered so motorists are advised to reduce speed and drive according to conditions.

Although driving conditions have improved, motorists should still use caution when traveling as strong winds and temperatures below freezing may cause slippery conditions and icy patches.

MnDOT snowplow operators are doing their part to make highways safe and motorists should remember to:

  • Check MnDOT’s road conditions map at www.511mn.org or call 511
  • Stay alert for snowplows, which turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. They also may travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to further improve road conditions.
  • Stay back at least 10 car lengths behind the plow. Don’t drive into a snow cloud.
  • Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions.
  • Turn on your headlights and wear your seat belt.
  • Turn off the cruise control.
  • Be patient and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.
  • Don’t drive distracted.

For additional tips on safe winter driving, go to www.mndot.gov/workzone/winter.html.

For real-time traffic and travel information in Minnesota, visit www.511mn.org or get the free smartphone app at Google Play or the App Store.

 



Source link

Fitting a new need: Local agencies get FEMA travel trailers | Local News


CAMDEN — Camden Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Blount didn’t quite know what to expect when he went to Hyde County last week to get a look at one of the free trailer travels Hyde was giving away.

Hyde is giving away around 40 of the travel trailers it received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in 2019. The trailers were used to house residents of Ocracoke Island whose homes were destroyed or heavily damaged by the storm.

Hoping to use one of the travel trailers as a command post, the Camden Sheriff’s Office was interested in Hyde’s offer. But Blount didn’t know if the free trailers were new or older models, and he had no idea what condition they would be in after being used for several years.

Blount was surprised — and pleased — at the traveler trailers’ condition when he saw them. So pleased, in fact, he returned to Camden with one in tow.

“Wow,” Blount said Tuesday was his reaction when he saw the unit was in good condition.

Sheriff Kevin Jones was equally impressed with the Sheriff’s Office’s latest addition after seeing it on Blount’s return.

“I’m not sure if it was even used,” Jones said. “If it was then they did a good job of cleaning it up.”

Pasquotank-Camden-Elizabeth City Emergency Management and the Pasquotank Sheriff’s Office are also getting free travel trailers from Hyde County they hope to use as mobile command units, but neither has been picked up yet.

Receiving federal government surplus items is a way to provide needed equipment to the Sheriff’s Office without using county dollars, Jones said. He pointed to three generators the county also acquired from the federal government.

“I didn’t know what FEMA was going to do with it (the travel trailer), but they didn’t need to let it go to waste,” Jones said. “It’s pretty nice.”

Jones said the trailer will be used for multiple purposes, including support for deputies at an incident and as a classroom at the department’s shooting range.

“We can use it for a natural disaster or something like that,” Jones said. “If the deputies have to stay out all night they will have a place to relax. You can even take a shower in this thing.”

Jones said there are no plans to spend money to upgrade the travel trailer. He noted the department can use its portable radios in the new mobile command post.

“We can transmit with the radios we have without having to wire anything,” Jones said. “Right now, we plan on using it just like it is.”

Emergency Management and the Pasquotank and Camden Sheriff’s offices currently share an aging 1998 model mobile command bus. The three new trailers are model years 2016 to 2018.

Pasquotank Sheriff’s Office Maj. Aaron Wallio said the free travel trailer fills a big need for the department. Wallio also recently went to Hyde to pick out a travel trailer for Pasquotank.

Wallio said a mobile command post is needed for such large-scale events like the Potato Festival and for search and rescue missions.

“We can use it for a variety of things,” Wallio said.

Wallio said the current shared command bus is prone to breakdowns and the upkeep is expensive.

“There is always something wrong with it,” Wallio said. “Every time we need it there is a motor issue, a transmission issue or something else doesn’t work. It costs a fortune to keep it running.’’

Wallio said he and other deputies are familiar with travel trailers and most of the upfit work will be done in house. The department will have to install radios in the travel trailer but Wallio doesn’t have a cost estimate yet.

One change that will need to be made is removal of the trailer’s bunk beds, Wallio said.

“We were talking about it and we said we need a travel trailer because we can convert it into a mobile command vehicle,” Wallio said. “Most of the work we can do ourselves because we know campers and we have worked on campers. We have the trucks to move it when we need it.”

Emergency Management Coordinator Brian Parnell, who previously served as the Area 1 coordinator for the N.C. Division of Emergency Management, said he was aware that Hyde had the surplus travel trailers.

“I knew that after they are issued to a county like Hyde that sometimes they will no longer have a use for them,” Parnell said. “We needed to revamp our needs and I reached out to see what was available.”





Source link

Beijing reports first local omicron case ahead of Olympics – KXAN Austin


FILE – A woman wearing a face mask to protect against COVID-19 walks past a clock counting down the time until the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Beijing has reported its first local omicron infection, according to state media, weeks before the Olympic Winter Games is due to start. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

HONG KONG (AP) — Beijing has reported its first local omicron infection, according to state media, weeks before the Winter Olympic Games are due to start.

The infected person lives and works in the city’s northwestern district of Haidian and had no travel history outside of Beijing for the past two weeks. The individual experienced symptoms on Thursday and was tested on Friday for COVID-19, officials said in a news conference Saturday during which they confirmed the infection.

The infection comes less than three weeks before the Winter Olympic Games’ opening ceremony on Feb 4., and around two weeks before the start of Lunar New Year celebrations in China.

So far, multiple cities in China have reported omicron infections, including Shanghai, the western city of Xi’an, cities in southern Guangdong province such as Zhuhai and Zhongshan, and the city of Tianjin, which is 30 minutes from Beijing by high-speed rail.

Officials across the country have urged residents to stay in their cities for the new year, instead of traveling back to their hometowns. China has adopted a strict “zero-Covid” policy, with authorities locking down residential compounds and even entire cities such as Xi’an when a local outbreak has been discovered in an effort to stamp out community transmission.

The Beijing patient’s residential compound and workplace have been sealed off and authorities are mass-testing people linked to either location for the coronavirus. Some 2,430 people had been tested as of Saturday night, according to The Global Times, a state-owned newspaper.

China reported 119 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, of which 65 were domestic cases. The country has reported 104,864 infections since the beginning of the pandemic.



Source link

As winter storm looms, officials warn of hazardous travel and predict widespread power outages | Local News


By 4:30 p.m. Sunday, residents in the Triad and other areas of central North Carolina “are not going to be able to go anywhere,” Petro said. “Trees will break. Power outages will happen.”

Freezing rain and sleet will be prolonged Sunday in the Triad, resulting in toppled trees and fallen power lines, Petro said. Residents should be prepared for those scenarios, he said.

Support Local Journalism

Your subscription makes our reporting possible.

{{featured_button_text}}

“All hazards are on the table for this event,” Petro said.

The weather service upgraded its alert Saturday for Sunday’s storm to a winter storm warning for the Triad and Northwest North Carolina.

The warning will be in effect from midnight Saturday to midnight Sunday for Forsyth, Guilford, Davidson and Davie counties, the weather service said.

The warning will be in effect from 1 a.m. Sunday to 7 a.m. Monday for Ashe, Alleghany, Surry, Stokes, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin counties, the weather service said.

Gov. Roy Cooper and state officials urged residents to complete their preparations Saturday for Sunday’s storm.

“Regardless of where you live, pay close attention to your local weather forecast to get prepared and to know whether it’s too dangerous to go out,” Cooper said. “Today, make sure you have groceries, medications and other essentials like water, batteries and pet food that you’ll need for the next few days.



Source link

MoDOT urges caution in weekend travel | Local News


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Accumulating snow is forecast for much of the state Friday evening beginning in the northwestern part of the state and moving southeast overnight continuing through Saturday.

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) urges people to avoid travel if possible. If people must travel Friday night or Saturday, they should use extra caution, anticipate slower travel times and consult the Traveler Information Map for road conditions.

“The forecast is calling for a wet, heavy snow accumulating on roads throughout the day Saturday,” said Natalie Roark, MoDOT state maintenance director. “The heavier the snow, the more difficult it is to clear. Motorists should be prepared for delays or — if possible — should stay off the roads during periods of heavy snowfall to give our crews a chance to work.”

All available crews will be out across the state working 12-hour shifts, but staffing is still short across the state due to turnover and sickness. “It may take crews longer to return roads to a mostly clear status after the storm ends Saturday,” Roark said.

If you are involved in a minor crash or slides off the road, remain in your vehicle with the seat belt buckled. Equip your vehicle with a winter weather emergency kit before you travel in winter weather. Include any necessary medications, a phone charger, a blanket, bottled water, nonperishable foods and a flashlight. For more items to include in a winter weather emergency kit, visit modot.org/winter.

Motorists can check current Missouri road conditions on the Traveler Information Map at modot.org, or through MoDOT’s smartphone app, available for iPhone and Android phones.





Source link

Weather, crashes impact travel near Missoula | Local News


Weather conditions and icy roads are causing crashes and backups on I-90 in both directions in the Missoula area.

I-90 eastbound is down to one lane east of Missoula near the Turah exit. There are also multiple crashes west of Missoula near Frenchtown, according to the Montana Highway Patrol.

The eastbound lane of the freeway just west of Alberton is experiencing backups and many vehicles are in the ditch, according to the Frenchtown Rural Fire District. Black ice conditions are being reported.

Severe weather condition warnings have been issued by the Montana Department of Transportation.

Officials are asking people to not travel if not necessary. Call 511 or use the Department of Transportation’s interactive online map.



Source link

Tri-Cities Airport seeks input from local businesses on air travel | WJHL


BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — The Tri-Cities Airport is seeking feedback from local businesses in an effort to improve air travel.

The airport released a 16-question corporate travel survey Monday with questions about 2019 corporate travel, future corporate travel expectations, airline use, and airport use.

Information gathered from the survey will be communicated to airlines on where businesspeople travel the most, future corporate travel expectations, and potential markets for additional air routes.

“Your feedback is vitally important as we work to garner additional air service for TRI’s communities,” Tri Cities Airport Authority Executive Director Gene Cossey said in a release. “The more businesses we have participate in the survey, even if they only travel once a year, the better our chances for recruitment of additional air service. The community’s engagement is critical to the success of your hometown airport.”

The survey can be completed online and will close on Jan. 21.



Source link

Snoqualmie and Blewett passes reopened for freight Sunday, but general travel not advised | Local


Snoqualmie and Blewett passes opened Sunday evening for freight travel, but general travel was still not advised, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

More snow is expected up and down the Cascades this week, and there’s a chance for snow, rain and freezing fog in the Yakima Valley, according to the National Weather Service.

The mountain passes on Interstate 90 and U.S. 97 were scheduled to open at 5 p.m. Sunday with reduced speed limits and traction tires advised, Mike Allende with WSDOT communications said in a news release Sunday.

White Pass is on track to reopen late Monday afternoon, and Stevens Pass and nearby Tumwater Canyon will likely not reopen before Wednesday, Allende said in the release.

Snoqualmie Pass reopens

Drivers should be prepared to cross Snoqualmie Pass without stopping, Allende said, as road shoulders, exit ramps and chain-up areas are mostly impassable. Heavy snow in nearby communities also means restroom facilities will be limited and there may be no safe areas to stop until drivers cross the pass, he said.

“It is absolutely vital for travelers to understand that the priority is to get freight traffic moving; recreational or general traffic should continue to delay their travel,” Allende said in the news release.

WSDOT is recommending people delay their travel for another day or two, spokesperson Meagan Lott said Sunday. She said the recommendation was for driver safety and to get freight drivers through.

“It’s not going to be what they’re typically used to,” Lott said. “The lanes are narrow with barely any shoulders.”

Allende warned that with two narrow lanes cleared across most of Snoqualmie Pass, a crash could cause the road to close again. He said drivers should take it slow, focus on the road, and give each other room.

“It really only takes one driver going too fast or being unprepared to shut it back down,” he said in the news release.

Drivers should also have good traction tires and plenty of gas, he said.

Weather forecast

More snow is expected up and down the Cascades this week, according to assistant forecaster Ann Adams with the National Weather Service in Pendleton, Ore., and there’s a chance for snow, rain and freezing fog in the Yakima Valley.

There is a slight chance of snow early Monday afternoon, around 1 or 2 p.m., Adams said.

With more moisture moving over the Cascades, the forecast shows a slight chance for freezing rain Tuesday morning and rain in the afternoon, according to Adams. She said there will be a 30% chance of rain during the day Wednesday, possibly continuing into the evening.

Yakima Valley residents should also prepare for freezing or patchy fog during morning hours this week, Adams said. Freezing fog was expected Monday morning and could last into the early afternoon, Adams said. There is also a chance for freezing or patchy fog in the morning on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The tiny, frozen droplets of precipitation will be suspended in the air and settle on roads, sidewalks and vehicles, creating a thin and layer of ice, Adams said. Visibility may also be impacted, she said.

“What might not look slippery may very well be slippery,” Adams said.

She said drivers should take it slow and not make any sudden maneuvers. Pedestrians should also be cautious, she said.

Temperatures will warm over the week, but lows will remain below freezing. Adams said the forecast shows:

  • A high of 31 degrees Monday.
  • A low of 24 degrees and high of 32or 33 degrees Tuesday.
  • A low of 28 and high of 39 degrees Wednesday.
  • A low of 29 and high of 40 degrees Thursday.



Source link