Holiday travel: Problem Solvers test journey from Pikes Peak shuttle lot to terminal

DENVER (KDVR) — More than 2 million travelers are expected to pass through Denver International Airport over the Thanksgiving holiday travel surge.

Airport officials have reopened the massive Pikes Peak shuttle parking lot to accommodate the extra demand. The Pikes Peak lot was closed for months because it wasn’t needed during the pandemic. But times have changed. DIA is bracing for an even larger Thanksgiving travel crowd than it saw in 2019, prior to pandemic restrictions.

The airport closed the east economy lot to funnel more shuttles to the far-and-away Pikes Peak lot that costs drivers $8 a day.

The FOX31 Problem Solvers timed the wait between six shuttles late Monday afternoon into the early evening. The first wait was nearly seven minutes. After that, the waits were anywhere from 90 seconds to five minutes between shuttles. Once on board, it took just a bit more than 15 minutes to arrive at the terminal.

Accounting for the time it takes to park, walk to a stop, and any unexpected delays— airport officials advise 45 minutes for the shuttle lot option to ensure travelers are at the airport two hours before a domestic flight.

Security lines Monday evening appeared to be average length.

The airport said there will be anywhere from 89 to 95 shuttle drivers working each day through the rest of Thanksgiving week to get people to and from the terminal.

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Even California Has a Mosquito Problem

When I moved to Los Angeles years ago, I was told by native Angeleno friends that the city without humidity also definitely did not have mosquitoes.

What is that whizzing sound then? The welts on my ankles? My favorite cafe has taken to selling bottles of insect repellent next to the cash register. Were my friends wrong, or should we acknowledge that this winged scourge is part of life in the Golden State? 

Since 2011, scientists have tracked an invasive mosquito species in parts of California: the Aedes aegypti. These black-and-white-striped “ankle-biters,” which can transmit dengue fever, Zika virus and yellow fever, have been found up and down the state.

Alec Gerry, a professor of entomology at the University of California, Riverside, said it was not necessarily that the mosquito population had increased in size but rather that the habits of this invasive species were far more noticeable.

The native Culex mosquito tends to emerge at night, preferring to feed on birds, but nonnative mosquitoes have adapted extremely well to life here. They hunt for blood during the daylight hours when people are most active, often going undetected after biting below waistlines. This particular species also has an annoying habit of snacking — aggressively biting a host multiple times in one feed. Laying eggs just above the surface of water, the Aedes aegypti can breed in a bottle cap or the finger holes of a bowling ball. The eggs can lie dormant after drying out for up to a year, hatching once they come in contact with water again.

Levy Sun, communications director for the San Gabriel Valley mosquito and vector control district, told me that longer spells of warm weather and man-made environments featuring lush, tropical vegetation are contributing to the proliferation of this species. Mosquitoes have a hard time regulating their body temperatures, so they often seek relief from the heat in shady yards. If you notice an uptick in bites, it’s probably because they have set up shop nearby.

Mosquito infestations come and go depending on how hospitable you make it for them. “They wash over neighborhoods in waves,” Sun said.

Controlling the mosquito population is extremely tricky, but eliminating all sources of standing water is a good starting point. Use insect repellent if you don’t want to get bitten. Call your local vector control office if you need help finding potential breeding sites. Some counties will send fish that eat mosquito larvae.

California has had native mosquitoes going back to the gold rush days, when malaria tore through populations and had to be eradicated by aggressive mosquito abatement programs. Nonnative mosquito species were introduced to the state gradually through global trade; in 2001, health officials linked an outbreak of Aedes albopictus in Southern California to a shipment of lucky bamboo plants from Taiwan.

The preponderance of these pests should lessen by the end of October, when colder nighttime temperatures affect their life cycles until they reappear again in May. However, it looks likely that the Aedes aegypti will continue to be a scourge on our summers.

Sun, who zaps mosquitoes in his house with an electric racket, said that while efforts should be made to control the population, total eradication was not very likely at this point.

“They survived the dinosaurs and lived until now,” he said.

My colleagues Ryan Mac and Sheera Frenkel wrote about Facebook’s push to defend its public image through a company initiative code-named Project Amplify. Its purpose: to use Facebook’s News Feed to show people positive stories about the social network. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, who became intertwined in the 2020 election, also wanted to recast himself as an innovator, according to the article.

Read the full story here.

  • Wildfire emissions: This summer, California fires emitted twice as much carbon dioxide as during the same period last year, and far more than any other summer in nearly two decades.

  • Disaster relief: Democrats in Washington unveiled a nearly $30 billion disaster relief package on Tuesday that could help California communities affected by wildfires and drought. But the bill is contingent on efforts to raise a federal borrowing cap, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.


  • Cal Fire training: Over the past 18 months, almost four dozen firefighters have experienced heat-related illness while training for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, LAist found.

  • Student loan scam: A woman in Orange County is accused of operating a network of call centers that posed as student loan debt relief, scamming 19,000 people out of over $6 million, according to The Associated Press.

  • Water conservation: Despite pleas from Gov. Gavin Newsom to conserve water, new data shows that Los Angeles and San Diego residents actually increased their water use during July, The Los Angeles Times reports.

  • Cargo ship queue: Sixty-five cargo ships are sitting outside the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which handle 40 percent of all containers entering the country, according to BBC News.


  • Giant Forest: Though the KNP Complex fire has been burning near Giant Forest for nearly two weeks, firefighting crews have kept the sequoias unscathed, The Associated Press reports.


  • San Jose State: The university agreed to pay $1.6 million to students who were inappropriately touched by an athletic trainer and whose complaints were mishandled.

  • Haitian community: This summer’s compounding crises in Haiti have taken a toll, with many people in the Bay Area’s Haitian community worried for their families, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

  • Housing initiative: The mayor of Oakland pledged to house 1,500 homeless residents and build 132 permanent affordable housing units as part of a federal initiative, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

Try this slow-cooker white bean Parmesan soup.

Today’s travel tip comes from Brandi Katz, a reader who lives in Aromas. Brandi recommends Tomales Point Trail in Point Reyes National Seashore:

“In late spring and early summer, when native lupine and Douglas iris are in full glory, you might feel like Dorothy in the poppy fields, surrounded by the fragrant yellow and purple blooms on all sides and as far as the eye can see, but this trail enchants at any time of the year.”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to [email protected]. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.

For seven years, the Bay Area artist Lynell Jinks transformed the drab paper lunch bags that his children brought to school into works of art featuring portraits of actors, musicians and historical icons. Each bag was returned after serving its purpose and carefully kept in a collection that eventually numbered over 800 works.

The bags, which earned the praise of President Barack Obama, are now featured in a new book, “School Lunch: Unpacking Our Shared Stories” by Lucy Schaeffer.

Jinks told The Mercury News that he decorated the bags to share his love of art with his children. “I want them to look back at their childhood and remember what we did together,” he said.

Thanks for reading. We’ll be back in your inbox tomorrow.

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: ___ of Terror, ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (5 letters).

Mariel Wamsley and Soumya Karlamangla contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at [email protected].

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Australia news live updates: Scott Morrison blames ‘supply problem’ for slow Covid vaccine rollout | Australia news

Australia Post’s submission to the same Senate inquiry clearly indicates it doesn’t resile from the position she stood aside.

It said:

On 22 October 2020, Ms Holgate agreed to stand aside from the role of group chief executive officer & managing director of Australia Post pending the outcome of an investigation by the shareholder departments and any further actions taken by Australia Post. On 2 November 2020, Ms Holgate resigned with immediate effect and advised that she was not seeking any financial compensation from Australia Post.

The submission also quotes the Maddocks review of the incident, which it said contradicts Holgate by finding that:

  • The “former Chair’s position is that he did not” approve the provision of the watches to the watch recipients
  • There was “contradictory evidence as to whether the former Group CEO & Managing Director informed the former Chair that it was her intention to purchase the Cartier watches”.

Australia Post said it considers current chair, Lucio Di Bartolomeo’s, evidence to the Senate “to be accurate” but that is after “incorporating the subsequent clarification provided on 21 December 2020”.


Former Australia Post chief executive, Christine Holgate, has lodged an explosive submission to the Senate inquiry into her sacking for the decision to award executives Cartier watches as bonuses.

“It is almost five months since the events of October 22nd, 2020, when, for no justified reason, I was humiliated in Parliament and then unlawfully stood down by the Australia Post Chair from a role I was passionately committed to,” the submission begins.

In the submission, Holgate doubles down on her claim she never voluntarily stood down and accuses Australia Post chairman, Lucio Di Bartolomeo, of unlawfully standing her down and alleged “he lied repeatedly to the Australian people and to their parliament about his actions”.

”Time after time he has made statements that I had agreed to stand down when I had done no such thing.”

Holgate said she offered to resign, but alleged Australia Post then leaked the letter to the media, before sending a counter-offer which is “itself confirmation that no agreement had been reached”.

Holgate said the gift of Cartier watches was “legal, within Australia Post’s policies, within my own signing authority limits, approved by the previous chairman, expensed appropriately, signed off by auditors and the CFO, [and] widely celebrated within the organisation”.

Holgate accused Di Bartolomeo of “seriously misleading” evidence to the Senate on 9 November, including about his knowledge of a BCG report into the incident.


Travel agents and hotel operators have welcomed details of the two way travel bubble with New Zealand, but have warned “there will be very little real benefit” for the sector in the short term.

This is because most of the initial travellers from 19 April are expected to be low-spending tourists visiting family and friends, as Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive, Margy Osmond, told the Guardian.

Accommodation Association of Australia has backed that prediction up, with its chief executive Dean Long reigniting calls for post-jobkeeper wage support for CBD hotels in Melbourne and Sydney that are still reeling from a drop off in international tourism and business travel.

The Association said Sydney is currently the worst performing city market in Australia with revenue declines of 67% and forward booking rates of less than 10% for the next 90 days and that Melbourne is similarly decimated.

Long said:

The opening of the trans-Tasman corridor is a very welcome step in the right direction but the reality is while it’s good news for the travel sector, given most travellers will be catching up with friends and families there’s very little immediate benefit for our tourism sector or our hotels and motels. With the end of jobkeeper and given the massive holes in the market especially in Australia’s international hubs of Sydney and Melbourne, the flow on benefits for our hotels and motels, and the many small businesses who supply them is negligible. There’s no doubt it will be a big kick along for consumer confidence but it doesn’t erase the need for tailored support for our accommodation sector. The reality is it’s great news for our travel sector but not so good for tourism.

Australian Federation of Travel Agents chair Tom Manwaring said many of his members were already seeing “increased interest in booking NZ albeit primarily to visit friends and family”.

Manwaring said:

It’s not a massive increase in business and our sector still desperately needs support but it is a much needed step in the right direction.” However, we urge both the Australian and the New Zealand governments to do all they can to ensure now the corridor is open that it stays open. This is important both in terms of consumer confidence in booking travel and from a workload perspective for travel agents who are still working hard on repatriating the outstanding $4bn still owed to Australians by airlines, hotels and tour operators on Covid-impacted travel and managing re-bookings and cancellations as a result of state restrictions.


PNG man dies of Covid in Queensland hospital











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G Adventures Bruce Poon Tip on Joe Exotic, problem tourism and pandemic travel one year on

‘The travel industry does to travellers what the Tiger King did to tigers’: G Adventures’ Bruce Poon Tip reflects on a year without travel. Photo / Netflix

G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip says he experienced last year in the same way that “crash test dummy” experiences a windscreen.

He had grown G Adventures from a student enterprise into the world’s largest small-group adventure company. After 30 years of acceleration, life was a rhythm of airports, expansion and exploration.

Then it all came to a messy, unexpected halt. Cancellations, an office exodus and finally layoffs.

After a flurry of violent activity, on March 16 2020 the company went into hibernation.
What followed was a lot of soul searching; a long year in the desert at his makeshift home office in Toronto. Two months into which he published the book “Unlearn: The year the world stood still”.

“It began as one of those ‘everything is going to be alright’ letters that every company was writing at the time. But I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. I didn’t know ‘everything was going to be alright’.”

G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip's last overseas trip was to Auckland. That was a year ago. Photo / File
G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip’s last overseas trip was to Auckland. That was a year ago. Photo / File

Just a year earlier Bruce had been in Auckland, celebrating the A Force For Good summit. Sat across from me, Bruce was in town for a celebration of travel and the fact that a full tenth of the world relied on travel and tourism for their livelihoods. Far more than a tenth in the developing world, in the places which used to be G’s bread and butter.

G and the other speakers were at their zenith. Bruce never expected it was the last overseas trip he would take for a year.

Or, perhaps it was denial?

“[Covid] was a joke in every interview I did,” he says, recounting the trip to Auckland. Making an appearance on TVNZ Breakfast, “there was a bit on people rushing out to buy toilet roll.”

“Oh my goodness, the lack of information,” said Bruce, chastising himself for telling people not to cancel their travel. To “stay strong”, “keep calm” and “go out and see the world.”

A lot happened in the week following: the WHO declared sars-cov-2 a pandemic, New Zealand would shut its borders, the fragile nature of travel would be exposed for all to see – and I would break Bruce Poon Tip’s own record for consecutive days spent trapped in Punta Arenas, Patagonia.

It’s exhausting just to think about. So to meet again 365 days on, feels like a lifetime has passed.

Dialling into the Zoom call from his home in Canada, the travel evangelist seemed chastened by his experiences.

“It’s hard to think that 12 months later we’re still here in Lockdown.”

Like many other companies G has spent the last year recapitalising the business, extending pauses in operations – always following the “promise of pent-up demand” on return, as the restart got kicked further down the road. It was a year that tested even Bruce’s “optimism”.

Now, finally there appears to be some progress. G has delivered 100 trips since the start of the year. Rebooting tours in Europe around Mt Blanc, Morocco and Egypt the return of group tours has been slower than expected, but the first green shoots are emerging of post-pandemic travel.

Uphill battle: G Adventures has led 100 'Travel with Confidence' trips since the Pandemic. Photo / Supplied
Uphill battle: G Adventures has led 100 ‘Travel with Confidence’ trips since the Pandemic. Photo / Supplied

Still, G Adventures is in no hurry.

“I don’t think we should be fighting to ‘get back to normal’, I hate when people say that,” Just before the pandemic, I don’t think normal was a very great”.

There were a lot of mistakes. As his book points out, these were mistakes G Adventures was just as guilty of.

Tourists as caged tigers

As “head of the world’s largest small-group adventure travel company” G’s contradictory existence put them on a par with the cruise companies, airlines or accommodation providers as “one of the villains in these scenarios”.

Though well meaning – G was another company helping fill tourism destinations to the brim, driving demand for bucket list experiences and disappointing Greta Thunberg.
Similarly, it wasn’t just the travel companies behaving badly. Problem Tourists was something that many destinations had grown to expect.

Headlines of air rage, insensitive acts and bad behavior when abroad were part and symptom of what was wrong with the old “normal”.

During the lockdown the perfect metaphor for the ‘problem tourist’:

“In so many ways, the travel industry does to travellers what the Tiger King did to tigers.”
Travellers he says are “noble creatures”, with noble intentions – but they become “tourists” when packed into tight spaces and made to “behave in whatever ways earn the most profit”.

Joe Exotic might have been forever linked to travel’s “end of innocence,” as Bruce called it.
Ahead of international companies like G Adventures is a long road to recovery. However, so is the chance to rebuild with 30 years’ worth of experience and mistakes behind them.

'Travel with Confidence': G Adventures has made its first steps into post pandemic travel. Photo / Travel
‘Travel with Confidence’: G Adventures has made its first steps into post pandemic travel. Photo / Travel

Plug the “leakage”

As a global company G makes its profits from a share of the dollars spent in the communities it visits.

Economic “Leakage” describes the dollars siphoned off by a global company off every tourist transaction. Quoting a 2017 study in Bali it was shown, for every $1 spend in a 4-star-hotel, 56 cent disappeared offshore.

“As terrible as 55.31 per cent sounds, it’s not that bad a number, globally speaking,” says Bruce. However there are places where leakage exceeds 100 per cent – meaning tourism becomes a net cost to the places hosting them.

One of the biggest changes that G has seen in the last 10 years is for more of guests’ dollars to stay in the communities they visit.

Today Bruce says “an average of 93 per cent ripple score” meaning it is 93 per cent owned by local companies. Keeping more of the economic gains in the communities where travellers visit might help build back a stronger tourism infrastructures, capable of withstanding future challenges.

Taking pride in tourism

A year on, tourism may not be the same power it was at the “Force For Good” summit. After huge job losses and business closures in travel around the world, many people rightly question how those remaining operators will cope, when demand returns.

When asked about the problems facing New Zealand’s travel agencies – which lost 70 per cent of their shops since a year ago – Bruce said it represented a “huge opportunity” for the remaining travel agents. Being told to “buy a new car” was not the answer they were expecting.

The flippant answer suggested that a year might not have been quite long enough to consider all of travel’s existential problems.

However, in general Bruce sees only upsides to staying in travel and tourism.

The force might be reduced, but there’s still a lot of good to be done through overseas travel.

As Bruce reflected in the book: “Something kind of magical happens when a bunch of relatively wealthy foreigners come into a community from far away.”

The company has seen declines in trends of aging populations and a reverse of a youth exodus in the remote parts of the world, where the majority of G Adventures tours visit.
“Oohing and aahing over everyday pottery and hats and llamas: it starts to make the younger people proud of where they come from.”

What goes for local cultures and remote parts of Peru, is also true for travel.

Giving people a reason to be proud of the Tourism industry, and the good ends to which it can be put might just be the answer to an industry in despair. Rebuilding travel will be an uphill climb worthy of the Inca Trail. But at G Adventures says it will be worth it.

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