Sunday snow updates: Asheville City snow plowing focuses on primary roads, urges people to limit travel.


City of Asheville staff are actively working in snow response mode.  All 24-hour services including the Police, Fire and Water Departments are fully staffed and prepared to respond as needed.

Public Works is currently focusing on plowing our priority 1 streets. Primary roads have to be the priority for snow removal to ensure they are passable for our emergency responders. Here is a link to the City’s snow removal priority map.

We ask that the community limit travel and stay off of the road during snow events if possible.

A reminder that City garages in the Central Business District are now free to the public.  The gates will remain up until the completion of the storm

The City asks everyone to limit on-street parking during any snow event! This is extremely helpful to our ability to clear streets more efficiently.

 

UPDATE:  ART bus service suspended and Parks and Rec facilities closed on Sunday Jan. 16. Parking garages open and free to public.
Posted: Jan. 15 @ 6:00 p.m. 

  • Due to the expected snow, there will be no ART bus service on Sunday, January 16, 2022.
  • All City Parks and Recreation community centers will be closed on Sunday, January 15.
    During the next few days, some services at parks such as restrooms and parking lots may be unavailable as crews work to reopen facilities.
  • City garages in the Central Business District are now free to the public.  The gates will remain up until the completion of the storm
    The City asks everyone to limit on-street parking during any snow event! This is extremely helpful to our ability to clear streets more efficiently.

 

UPDATE: Parks facilities will close at 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 15
Posted: Jan. 14 @ 3:30 p.m. 

All City parks, community centers, and recreation facilities will close at 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 14, in an effort to keep our community safe and mitigate the chances of someone getting stranded.

 

UPDATE: MLK, Jr. Day of Service event canceled
Posted: Jan. 14 @ 11:20 a.m. 

The MLK Jr. Day of Service in Burton Street Community scheduled for Monday, January 17, has been canceled. Keep an eye on Asheville Parks & Recreation websiteFacebook page, and Instagram feed for  the latest updates.

 

Snow Preparation
Posted: Jan. 13 @ 3:30 p.m.

Asheville Public Works trucks have already begun pre-treating streets in Asheville with salt brine as the City prepares for oncoming snow.

The National Weather Service   has now issued a Winter Storm Watch for the area starting 6pm Saturday.  The Weather Service’s website says: “Precipitation may begin as early as Saturday afternoon across parts of the mountains, eventually falling as mostly snow and increasing in coverage and intensity late Saturday night. Widespread black ice should be expected Monday morning, and may be a concern into the middle of the week.”

The Public Works Department continues its proactive approach to this forecast.  Pre-treatment of sidewalk areas bordering City property is also taking place. This includes, but is not limited to: City Hall,  the Municipal Building housing first responders, Pack Square, Pritchard Park and Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville.

“Our staff is steadily preparing our equipment to begin snow removal operations when needed,” said Public Works Director Greg Shuler. “We have plenty of salt, our staffing levels are in good shape, and our equipment is ready to go.”

Street crews are scheduled to report as the predicted storm moves in Saturday  and will be prepping and plowing streets as conditions require. Staffing will continue on a 24-hour basis throughout the storm event.

 

Please clear the streets so snow plows can get through

The City asks everyone to limit on-street parking during any snow event! This is extremely helpful to our
ability to clear streets more efficiently.

City garages in the Central Business District will be opened to the public free, likely around 5 p.m., depending on when the snow moves in. This is in effort to  allow salting and snow plows clear access. Everyone is asked to please ensure their vehicles are off the streets so our teams are able to continually clear roadways of snow build up or other weather related hazards.

For everyone’s safety, please limit travel and stay off the road during snow events if possible. Hazardous travel conditions could continue through Monday.

Clearing Priority One streets first 

Once snow starts, City Streets crews will stay on the job around the clock as needed, to remove any accumulating snow, first from our priority one streets, then moving into secondary / neighborhood streets as the priority routes are cleared. Priority one roads are major routes needed for emergency response as well as streets where ART bus routes run. Streets crews will also remove snow on sidewalks in front of City-owned property. 

The City’s Snow Mapper shows which roads are priority one.

The City of Asheville maintains approximately 4oo miles of roads, which translates into 805 lane miles. During snow events, Public Works removes snow from 180 centerline miles of priority one streets, 318 centerline miles of priority two streets, which adds up to about 400 miles, including 87 miles of NCDOT-maintained roads.

 

In case of power outages and downed trees

Duke Energy will provide additional updates once storms move out of the area and damage assessment is underway. See the outage map at www.duke-energy.com/outages.

To receive the most up-to-date information about restoration efforts by enrolling in Outage Alerts. If customers lose power, they can text OUT to 57801, report online, or call 800-419-6356.

 

Duke Energy warns people to stay away from downed power lines.

If a you encounter a fallen or leaning tree resting on a power line, call Duke Energy Progress at 1-800-419-6356 or 1-800-452-2777.

For a downed tree not involving power lines, blocking a road in the City limits, call Asheville Public Works at 828-259-5852.

 

Pulling together as a community

We want to encourage everyone in our community to prepare personally and come together to look after their neighbors as well.

If you have regular medical appointments critical to your health, then please make sure you have a snow plan in case travel becomes hazardous. In the event of a medical emergency, call 9-1-1. For information on available resources call 2-1-1.

 

 





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Can a Gay Cruise Keep 5,500 People Safe Amid Covid?


Out of the 2,700 rooms sold, Mr. Campbell said only 35 have been canceled since Jan. 1.

For guests who cannot travel because of government restrictions or lockdowns, Atlantis is showing more flexibility and issuing credits for future cruises, Mr. Campbell said. Because of the fast-changing circumstances of the pandemic, he said, the company is approaching cancellation requests on a case-by-case basis and trying to accommodate as many people as possible.

“We are here to take care of people and we are doing our best,” he said. “But if someone comes to us and just says they want their money back, because they don’t feel comfortable going on the cruise, then we recommend that they take out ‘cancel for any reason’ travel insurance.”

Since restarting operations in the United States in June, many cruise lines and tour operators have adopted flexible cancellation policies, offering credit or refunds to customers who want to make itinerary changes because of the coronavirus.

Before the pandemic, Atlantic Events hosted more than 25,000 guests each year, organizing specialty gay and lesbian events on cruise ships and resorts around the world. Last year it was forced to cancel or postpone several events, including its 30th anniversary cruise.

“We had almost two years with no income, and we are a tiny self-financed company. It was a huge challenge to survive,” Mr. Campbell said.

While the company does not offer refunds, it says that the health and safety of its guests is a top priority and it will be enforcing Royal Caribbean’s health and safety protocols, which includes a mask mandate indoors except while eating and drinking and in crowded spaces outdoors. Royal Caribbean officials say that while the Omicron variant has driven up cases on board its ships in recent weeks, most infections have been mild and have not resulted in severe illness. Still, with a growing number of crew members and passengers contracting the virus, the cruise line, like other cruise companies, has canceled several voyages this month in what it said was “an abundance of caution” as a result of “ongoing Covid-related circumstances.”

Passengers booked on the Atlantis cruise are closely watching the Celebrity Millennium cruise ship, which was chartered by another L.G.B.T travel company this week for a seven-night Caribbean cruise. The capacity for that ship is much smaller, at 2,218 passengers, but coronavirus cases have been reported to the C.D.C. and reached their threshold for an investigation.



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Programme flexibility & ‘people risk management’ key trends for buyers


The travel management community has been forced to refocus its priorities in the past two years because of the pandemic, and BCD Travel has identified the trends that it believes travel managers and travellers will see in 2022.

Remaining flexible is top of the list in the Business Travel Trends for 2022 report with BCD highlighting the need for travel programmes to be adjusted for new hybrid ways of working.

BCD adds that workplaces are also under scrutiny with companies needing to move away from rigid structures.

With all of this comes the need to extend duty of care to employees whenever they are away from the office and the report says companies should think in terms of people risk management rather than travel risk management.

The report also says sustainable travel is now firmly in the spotlight, putting pressure on everyone in the travel industry to find ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

Cybersecurity risks are another trend highlighted by the report that travel managers and travel management companies must face head on to protect companies and travellers.

It says: “The first step is to recognise cybersecurity as a daily risk to travel and take responsibility for tackling it. Prevention, or minimising the impact, will pay dividends over simply responding to cyber incidents after the damage has been done.”

Furthermore, with employees seen “as the weakest point in a company’s defence” they will need security training and tips on what to look out for when travelling.

Further trends highlighted in the report include a shift away from globalisation and towards a more diversified approach which may, in turn, mean business travel patterns change.

Finally, the study puts a spotlight on the fintech trend and says fintech-based solutions can help “simplify, digitise and automate corporate travel payment, reconciliation and invoice management”.

Jorge Cruz, executive vice president for global sales and marketing at BCD Travel, said: “With new Covid variants emerging, it’s not clear when business travel will return to pre-pandemic levels, but it’s high time companies start thinking about how to future fit their travel programmes.” 

“Crucial tasks for travel managers include measuring the value of travel, demonstrating the quality of its outcome, and proving to internal stakeholders that it’s worthwhile. The key is not to simply reduce travel spend, but to increase the effectiveness of that travel towards meeting the company’s goals.”

Similar trends around sustainability, as well as other priorities for buyers, were recently highlighted in hotel group IHG’s Europe Corporate Advisory Board. 



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Man charged in Swissvale shooting that left six people hurt


Allegheny County Police arrested a man they say is responsible for a Christmas Eve shooting in Swissvale that left six people injured, including the man who was arrested.

Jacques Washington, 53, of Swissvale was taken into custody Monday afternoon. He is charged with two counts of attempted homicide and five counts of aggravated assault.

County 911 dispatchers were notified of the shooting in the 7300 block of Schoyer Avenue. Swissvale police responding to the scene found six people with gunshot wounds. They were taken to the hospital in various conditions, police said. An update on their conditions was not provided.

During an investigation, officers with the Allegheny County Police Homicide Unit determined that Washington and another unidentified person injured shot guns during the incident.

Investigators determined that Washington was the person responsible for the shooting, officials said.

Washington is being held in the Allegheny County Jail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 19 at 8 a.m., court documents show.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call the county police tip line at 1-833-255-8477.

Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter .





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Kansas updates travel quarantine list for unvaccinated people


TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has updated its travel quarantine list to include two regions within the U.S. and two countries.

In a recent press release from the KDHE, it states that New York and Washington D.C. have been added to its travel quarantine list along with Isle of Man and San Marino.

The KDHE recommends that any unvaccinated individuals or those who haven’t received all the vaccine doses, including boosters and primary shots, should quarantine if they meet the following criteria:

  • Traveled on or after Dec. 16 to Andorra.
  • Traveled on or after Jan. 10 to New York and Washington D.C.
  • Traveled on or after Jan. 10 to Isle of Man and San Marino.
  • Attendance at any out-of-state or in-state mass gatherings of 500 or more where individuals do not socially distance (6 feet) and wear a mask. 
  • Been on a cruise ship or river cruise on or after March 15, 2020.

The amount of time to quarantine after potential exposure is five days after your last exposure with an additional requirement to wear a well-fitting mask indoors and outdoors when around others for an additional five days. Those who cannot mask are recommended to quarantine at home for 10 days.

The quarantine period would start the day after you return to Kansas or from the mass gathering. If no COVID-19 symptoms develop during the quarantine period, then you are released from quarantine. For additional information, check the KDHE Isolation and Quarantine FAQ.

Those who have traveled internationally are required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to test within three days of flights into the U.S. For more information on this and other requirements, please visit their website here.

Those who meet the following criteria do not need to quarantine if:

  • You are ages 18 or older and have received all recommended vaccine doses, including boosters and additional primary shots for some immunocompromised people.
  • You are ages 5-17 years and completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • You had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days (you tested positive using a viral test).

Those who do not meet the above criteria should continue to follow current quarantine guidance for travel and mass gatherings.



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State Highway Administration Asks People To Delay Travel Due To Potential Freezing Rain – CBS Baltimore




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Why are so many vaccinated people getting COVID-19 lately?


Why are so many vaccinated people getting COVID-19 lately?

A couple of factors are at play, starting with the emergence of the highly contagious omicron variant. Omicron is more likely to infect people, even if it doesn’t make them very sick, and its surge coincided with the holiday travel season in many places.

People might mistakenly think the COVID-19 vaccines will completely block infection, but the shots are mainly designed to prevent severe illness, says Louis Mansky, a virus researcher at the University of Minnesota.

And the vaccines are still doing their job on that front, particularly for people who’ve gotten boosters.

Two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine still offer strong protection against serious illness from omicron. While those initial doses aren’t very good at blocking omicron infection, boosters — particularly with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines — rev up levels of the antibodies to help fend off infection.

Omicron appears to replicate much more efficiently than previous variants. And if infected people have high virus loads, there’s a greater likelihood they’ll pass it on to others, especially the unvaccinated. Vaccinated people who get the virus are more likely to have mild symptoms, if any, since the shots trigger multiple defenses in your immune system, making it much more difficult for omicron to slip past them all.

Advice for staying safe hasn’t changed. Doctors say to wear masks indoors, avoid crowds and get vaccinated and boosted. Even though the shots won’t always keep you from catching the virus, they’ll make it much more likely you stay alive and out of the hospital.

___

The AP is answering your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit them at: [email protected] Read more here:

Do at-home COVID-19 tests detect the omicron variant?

How can I protect myself from the new omicron variant?

Can your pet get COVID-19?



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Rescue interview, Legislative Session, Quiet and cool weather, Missing people, Explora internship – KRQE NEWS 13 – Breaking News, Albuquerque News, New Mexico News, Weather, and Videos


Albuquerque man arrested for a attempting to solicit girl

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Albuquerque homicides break record set in 2019

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New Year’s Eve celebrated across the state

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KRQE Newsfeed: Winter storm, Man charged, Out of tests, Curbing speeding, Without power

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Polar Plunge at Eagle Nest Lake canceled due to weather

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State of New Mexico out of at-home ‘Vault’ COVID tests

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State Rep. Alonzo Baldonado resigns

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ABQ BioPark Zoo’s elephant Jazmine tests positive for EEHV

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‘People miss travel’: IATA bullish on Asia travel rebound in 2022 | Aviation News


Asia will reopen to travel as more is learned about the Omicron variant, with the recent tightening of borders only a “temporary speed bump” on the road to recovery, according to a top airline industry representative.

In an exclusive interview, Philip Goh, regional head of the International Air Transport Association, told Al Jazeera he was optimistic about the resumption of travel in Asia in 2022 despite the region’s doubling down on travel restrictions in response to the variant.

“People miss travel and they want to travel. You cannot substitute a hug, a handshake with a virtual zoom call,” Goh said. “Nor can videos capture and invigorate the senses stimulated by the sights, sounds and scents of the places we travel to.”

Goh, IATA vice president for Asia-Pacific, said governments in the region that had banked on isolation to control COVID-19 more than any other part of the world would ultimately reopen because “their citizens want to travel and are asking for it”.

“They also understand the need for economies dependent on global commerce and trade to re-establish trade lanes and to allow connectivity to again flourish,” Goh said.

“This is a temporary set-back,” added Goh, who attributed Asia’s strict border policies to the “risk adverse nature of the region and memories of the SARS pandemic in 2003”.

“We are optimistic that plans to restart international travel will resume when more is learnt about Omicron.”

indonesiaThe Asia-Pacific has relied heavily on border closures to control COVID-19 [File: EPA/Barbara Walton]

Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand have reintroduced tough travel curbs in response to Omicron, while mainland China, Hong Kong and New Zealand have doubled down on existing ultra-strict border controls.

The region’s deepening isolation comes as countries such as the United States, Australia and Canada ease testing and isolation rules amid growing acknowledgement that efforts to tightly control the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron strain have become too disruptive to everyday life.

Although Omicron is believed to be two to three times more transmissible than the Delta variant, the coronavirus strain has been associated with milder illness.

In a study published in The Lancet on Wednesday, South African researchers found that just 4.9 percent of cases during the most recent wave in the province of Gauteng were hospitalised, compared with 18.9 percent during the second wave. The study, which has not been peer-reviewed, also found that patients were 73 percent less likely to have severe disease than those admitted during the country’s third wave, which was dominated by the Delta variant.

On Thursday, the South African government announced that its Omicron wave had peaked with no significant uptick in deaths. In the UK, where the daily number of COVID-19 cases is still breaking records, the number of patients in ventilation beds is less than one-quarter of their peak in January.

Even before the variant’s arrival, the Asia-Pacific had yet to see any meaningful rebound in travel. Air traffic in the region was down 92.8 percent in October compared with October 2019, according to IATA data. By comparison, travel in North America and Europe was down just 57 percent and 50.6 percent, respectively, in the same period.

‘Desire to travel’

While credited with reducing deaths from COVID-19, the region’s isolation has decimated travel-reliant industries such as tourism, separated families, upended plans for study, work and migration, and disrupted supply chains.

Earlier this month, IATA Director General Willie Walsh criticised governments that introduced travel bans in response to Omicron for “putting at risk the global connectivity it has taken so long to rebuild”.

In November, the IATA released a blueprint for restarting international travel that called on authorities to adopt “simple, consistent, and predictable” measures. The proposals included removing all hurdles for vaccinated travellers and allowing quarantine-free travel for passengers who are not vaccinated but have a negative antigen test result.

Goh said the effective shutdown of the region’s aviation had highlighted the “immense importance of aviation in our lives, which is often taken for granted”.

“People have missed not being able to connect with friends and family. People feel worse-off in terms of life experiences gained through exploring new cultures or obtaining an overseas education,” he said. “The fact that travel bookings surged whenever border reopening is announced reveal the desire to travel.”

Goh said there was a need for more balanced discussion about the costs of fighting COVID-19.

“That’s why we need governments to look at reopening borders, allowing the free flow of air travel without quarantine by treating COVID-19 as an endemic disease and managing it through testing and vaccination,” he said.





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