US ski industry tallies 57.1 million visits, fifth best on record

first_imgBased on preliminary estimates, ski areas nationwide tallied 57.1 million visits for the 2008/09 season, making it the fifth best season on record. Over the last 10 seasons (1999/00 – 2008/09), the industry has averaged 56.7 million visits. The 2008/09 season represents a 0.8 percent increase from the 10-year average, and just a 5.5 percent decrease from the record 2007/08 season of 60.5 million visits. At 13.8 million visits in 2008/09, the Northeast region was up 5.5 percent from its 10-year average. Meanwhile the Southeast region, at 5.62 million visits, was up 3.8 percent from its 10-year average; the Midwest region, with 7.41 million visits, was down 1.1 percent from its 10-year average; the Rocky Mountain region, with 19.79 million visits, was up 1.3 percent from its 10-year average; and finally the Pacific West region, with 10.54 million visits, was down 5.8 percent from its 10-year average.Relatively favorable snow and weather conditions in most parts of the country during much of the season provided a strong counterbalance to the challenging economic conditions. Based on resort comments, the impact of the economy varied somewhat depending on resort location and resort type. Many day-ski areas in close proximity to major metropolitan markets benefitted as many guests chose to ski and ride at locations closer to home. Meanwhile destination resorts often reported fewer overnight visits and shorter stays. Many resorts commented that snow and weather conditions had a more powerful impact on their visitation than the economy. Overall average snowfall was down just 10 percent. The Southeast realized a 31.2 percent increase in average snowfall; the Midwest was up 1.1 percent; the Northeast was down just 10 percent; the Pacific West was down 10.2 percent; and the Rocky Mountain region was down 14.2 percent. A final report will be issued in July. For more information visit THE NATIONAL SKI AREAS ASSOCIATION, LOCATED IN LAKEWOOD, COLO., IS A TRADE ASSOCIATION FORMED IN 1962 FOR SKI AREA OWNERS AND OPERATORS NATIONWIDE.last_img read more

Argentina, Chile Conduct Combined Exercise in Antarctica

first_imgBy Juan Delgado/Diálogo October 02, 2018 Argentine and Chilean armed forces spent 10 days on the northern Antarctic Peninsula in a combined rescue exercise. The Argentine-Chilean Combined Antarctic Emergency and Rescue Patrol 2018 (PARACACH 2018, in Spanish) integrated army elements of both countries to improve response capabilities in rescue emergencies in Antarctica, August 20th-30th. Under the coordination of the Antarctic Joint Command of the Argentine Armed Forces’ Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Chilean Joint Chiefs of Staff, participants carried out Antarctic emergency operations, such as planning for search and rescue missions, navigation, injured recovery, and first-aid response. The patrol also walked over glaciers and frozen seas and coordinated radio communications. “It’s a very enriching experience professionally,” Argentine Army Major Leonardo Martín Sakamoto, commander of the Esperanza Base in Argentine Antarctica, told Diálogo. “Conducted on site in real time and under extreme conditions, the exercise adds great value to patrol training.” The objective was to assess and increase military capabilities in Antarctic rescue operations. PARACACH 2018 also aimed at strengthening cooperation and bonds of friendship between both nations to face emergency situations in the inhospitable white continent. “The main objective was to create a combined patrol team on a permanent basis to respond as soon as possible to an emergency call from any foreign base,” Maj. Sakamoto said. “It’s important to standardize techniques to rescue injured people who fall into deep crevasses and use special rescue equipment to recover the injured.” A long trip The patrol consisted of 14 members of both nations and 13 snowmobiles, each with sleds. Participants came from the Argentine Esperanza Base and the Chilean O’Higgins Base in Antarctica, both of which operate all year long. “For the Chilean Armed Forces, conducting these exercises with Argentina is very important, so that we can standardize procedures that will allow for a quicker reaction,” said Chilean Army Captain René Salgado, commander of the Exploration and Rescue Section at O’Higgins Base. “We demonstrated the combined capabilities of rescue teams to act under extreme weather conditions at any time of the year.” Under temperatures of -20º C and strong freezing winds, the patrol left the O’Higgins base and headed for Bahía Dusse, near Esperanza Base, to carry out the simulated rescue of a scientist injured from a fall into a deep crevasse. After traveling nearly 50 kilometers on glaciers and frozen waters, service members reached their objective with the support of a DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft from the Argentine Marambio Base in Antarctica, which made a real-time air evacuation. The exercise concluded with a debriefing to share lessons learned and implement participants’ experiences, which will be passed down to future Antarctic personnel. “It turned out to be a successful exercise, showing the outstanding operational state of human and material resources,” Capt. Salgado said. Antarctic challenges Rescue operations are challenging in Antarctica, whether in response to an accident or the need to evacuate personnel or equipment. Local bases must manage and develop contingency plans in case of possible emergencies and conduct frequent training. Considering their predominant role in the area, Argentina and Chile decided to join efforts and coordinate combined exercises between the Esperanza and O’Higgins bases. PARACACH was the fruit of these efforts. Argentina and Chile carry out the annual exercise under the framework of bilateral agreements and the 2009 Maipú Treaty of Integration and Cooperation. The 2014 Joint Declaration of the Defense ministers of Chile and Argentina, which seeks closer cooperation in Antarctica, also supports the exercise. Bonds of friendship “First and foremost, there is a close relationship between the O’Higgins and Esperanza bases, made evident through the annual planning and execution of PARACACH,” Capt. Salgado said. “The Argentine Marambio Base also provides weather information, which is fundamental to carry out exploration.” Units from O’Higgins and Esperanza bases will continue to conduct individual exercises and improve procedures to prepare for PARACACH 2019. An added benefit of the exercise is the better knowledge of the terrain gained in the northern area of the Antarctic Peninsula. “Carrying out PARACACH increases readiness and collaboration between both nations, so as to conduct rescue operations and exchange experiences,” Maj. Sakamoto said. “It strengthens ties of camaraderie between the Argentine and Chilean personnel to implement all the experience obtained.”last_img read more

Colombia Curbs Maritime Narcotrafficking

first_imgBy Myriam Ortega/Diálogo April 11, 2019 The Colombian Navy curbed the activities of a transnational criminal ring in Cauca department, in the Colombian Pacific coast, between January and February 2019. Units of the Navy’s Pacific Naval Force (FNP, in Spanish) led several joint operations that resulted in the seizure of three semisubmersibles and more than 1 ton of cocaine, and the arrest of three criminals. FNP conducted the operations with the support of the Colombian Air Force’s (FAC, in Spanish) 7th Combat Air Command (CACOM-7), and the Attorney General’s Special Office against Drug Trafficking and Technical Investigation Corps. According to the Navy, the vehicles, drugs, and the three individuals belonged to the Residual Organized Armed Group (GAOR, in Spanish) Front 29 Steven González, which operates in the region. Pursuit at sea On January 28, authorities carried out a pursuit at sea, as a result of intelligence work from the Navy and former members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, in Spanish). The former guerillas sought for extradition by the United States collaborated with authorities in exchange for benefits such as reduced sentences, the Navy indicated in a press release. “Naval intelligence had information that helped detect the possible departure of a semisubmersible or vessel that potentially transported an unknown amount of an illegal substance,” Navy Commander Julio César Sánchez Suárez, chief of the Pacific Coast Guard Station, an FNP unit, told Diálogo. FAC pilots supported the operation with flights over the area with a Citation SR-560 intelligence aircraft, and a Cessna 208 Caravan surveillance platform. “What we do is act as a warning to guide Navy vessels and make maritime interdictions more efficient,” FAC Captain Rodrigo Núñez, CACOM-7 Air Defense Squadron commander, told Diálogo. With the information provided, FNP units located the semisubmersible in Pacific waters near Timbiquí municipality, Cauca department. The crew, one Colombian and two Ecuadorean nationals, attempted to get rid of the evidence upon seeing the Colombian Navy vessels. “When the crew realized we were going to capture them, they opened a few bottom valves, so that water could get in quickly and sink the semisubmersible,” said Cmdr. Sánchez. “We marked the approximate position where the vessel sank, and with the help of another Navy ship we verified and identified the exact location of the semisubmersible.” Rescue operation FNP units responded quickly to rescue the three criminals and recover the semisubmersible, which was 30 meters deep. After 10 days of work, and with the help of an amphibious landing ship, as well as diving and logistics units, the Navy salvaged the 20-meter-long and 2-meter-wide vessel and seized 1,535 kilograms of cocaine that the crew attempted to smuggle to Central America. “Colombian Navy divers, who are highly professional, started a very tricky and dangerous maneuver,” said Colombian Navy Vice Admiral José Martínez Olmos, FNP commander. “They tried several times to refloat that semisubmersible; it was very complicated, but with a well-conducted procedure we were able to extract both fuel and cocaine.” Navy personnel brought the detainees, drugs, and semisubmersible before authorities in Buenaventura, Valle del Cauca department, for prosecution. The criminals could receive a six-to-12-year sentence for using, constructing, and owning a semisubmersible, and eight to 14 years for transporting the drug, said the Navy. Other semisubmersibles In early February, the Navy seized two other semisubmersibles in two shipyards hidden in the rural jungle area of López de Micay municipality, Cauca department. Joint intelligence work enabled the Navy and FAC to locate the shipyards and confirm the vessels’ presence. “We scanned through the undergrowth [in the jungle] with an infrared camera,” said Capt. Núñez. “We used heat marks to follow clues until we found the shipyard.” The seized semisubmersibles were 15 meters long and could transport up to 2.5 tons of cocaine each, the Navy said. The seizure of three semisubmersibles and 1.5 tons of cocaine allowed the Navy to deal a harsh blow to the finances of GAOR Front 29 Steven González. “So far this year [2019], we seized six semisubmersibles and about 10 tons of cocaine and marijuana,” Vice Adm. Martínez concluded. “It’s a huge amount that shows the operational effort we carry out in our fight against the entire narcotrafficking chain of operation.”last_img read more

Ex-Nassau Cop Admits to Killing Wife Upstate

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A former Nassau County police officer has admitted to killing his 65-year-old wife in their upstate New York home where he spent the weekend with her body before his arrest last year.Charles Wilkinson pleaded guilty Thursday to manslaughter in Saratoga County court. He was originally charged with second-degree murder.Prosecutors have said that the 69-year-old ex-cop killed his wife, Kathleen, “during a physical domestic dispute” in June 2014 and then “continued to live in the house over the weekend while his wife lay deceased in the bedroom.”Deputies from the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office made the discovery at the couple’s Malta home when authorities were called to check the condition of the victim, who had not been heard from in several days.Investigators later determined that the woman had been fatally strangled.Prosecutors offered Wilkinson the plea deal because psychiatrists determined he was emotionally disturbed, according to The Associated Press.He is scheduled to be sentenced July 23 to 15 years in prison and five years of post-release supervision.Wilkinson, who retired in 1984, collected a pension of more than $33,000 last year, records show.last_img read more

PHOTOS: Guthrie, community partners break ground on early-childhood learning center

first_imgGuthrie says the center will be open by July 2021. SAYRE, Pa (WBNG) — Guthrie and community partners officially broke ground on a $4.5 million early childhood learning center Wednesday. The project includes a 15,000 square-foot facility, 10 modern, bright and open classrooms, 1,800 square-foot indoor play space, custom-designed 12,000 square-foot outdoor playground, advanced classroom technology, life skills programs and secure access and building perimeter.center_img Guthrie Health partnered with U-GRO Learning Centres and Discover the World Children’s Center to offer additional childcare options. The learning center will be located across from the Guthrie Pediatrics Center.last_img read more

New Yorkers have one more chance to register to vote

first_imgSmith adds that while Oct.9 is the last day to register to vote, you can request an absentee ballot until a week before the election, but it has to be postmarked by election day. You also have the option to drop off your absentee in person at the Board of Elections. “We’ve had over 3,000 voter registrations since the July primaries and even more important, and more impressive, is to date, we have received just about 18,000 absentee ballot requests,” said Mark E. Smith, the Republican Broome County Election Commissioner. With only days until the election, early voting has begun in some states. The Broome County Board of Elections says there has been a record amount of registration and absentee requests. And if you’re a last minute voter and if the site crashes, Smith says to not panic and to call the BOE who is always ready to assist. (WBNG) — New Yorkers have one more day to register to vote before registration closes on Oct.9. last_img read more

Liquidation business booms in South Korea as wave of small retailers close due to virus

first_imgYou Young-sik has tried his luck running businesses, but when his convenience store, a sausage factory and a second-hand furniture shop all failed, he realised he had found a niche, one that he understood well: helping people go out of business.You says he is now busier than ever, due to the resurgence in coronavirus, tearing down sign boards and cash registers at shuttered hair salons, BBQ buffets and other places whose business model is based around human contact.“This is my busiest year so far, having done this for 10 years. Inquiries are about four to five times higher,” said 54-year-old liquidation specialist, who added that his business started taking off about two years ago as a street-level economic downturn began. “Second-hand goods have been piling up and we have nowhere to sell them to, so the coronavirus has been really bad for us,” said Cho, pointing to used fridges, rice cookers and waffle makers all cleaned up and displayed in glass racks.Family retailers batteredInventory glut at recycled kitchenware stores and booming liquidation businesses point to battered family retailers in every corner of the country.While policymakers brag that retail sales returned to growth in June and per-day exports recorded the slowest decline in 7 months in August, small businesses are failing at a rate not seen since the global financial crisis, data from the Korea Statistics shows.The hardest hit sectors in Asia’s fourth largest economy include hospitality, retail and restaurants, which are traditionally small, family-run businesses.South Korea has one of the world’s highest proportion of self-employed people, about 25 percent of the job market, making it very vulnerable to downturns. A 2017 Bank of Korea study showed only 38 percent of the self-employed businesses survive three years.New retirees seeking to supplement pensions by opening fried chicken diners or coffee shops and unemployed youth starting their own cafes have driven demand for second-hand sales for liquidators like You.But unprecedented social distancing restrictions imposed on eateries in Seoul since late August, banning onsite dining after 9 p.m. and limiting coffee and bakery franchises to takeout and delivery, has made trading tough for new start-ups.The government has warned South Koreans for several years not to open more fried chicken shops or cafes as the small hospitality sector is saturated.Small business profit margins were thinning before COVID-19.On top of the coronavirus pandemic, that has also fuelled an acceleration of e-commerce, small businesses are fighting spiking rents, a shorter work week and higher minimum wages under the left-leaning President Moon Jae-in.Moon has raised the legal minimum wage by about a third in the past three years to 8,720 won (US$7.2) an hour for 2021 and capped weekly work hours to 52 hours, raising costs and making lay offs inevitable for small businesses.Statistics Korea data show the number of self-employed businesses were down by 128,000 in July from a year earlier to 5.55 million, logging the biggest drop since the comparable period of 2009.Kim Da-eun, 27, ran a private tuition school for the past three years in Anseong, south of Seoul, but is now shuttering it as the number of students has dropped below 10, down from 40 last year, as the coronavirus outbreak kept many at home.“I’m now looking for a job but I don’t see anyone hiring. So I will be sticking to my delivery part-time for a while,” Kim said, observing the demolition of her business.Topics : “I can’t do them all but I still take about twice the work I used to, which is why I need to head out at 4 or 5 in the morning,” said You in the city of Suwon, south of Seoul, as he answers telephone calls and tightens ropes around tables and chairs on his truck.Tough social distancing rules to curb a second wave of coronavirus have markedly slowed retail traffic and emptied cafes across Seoul since mid-August.The tables and chairs that You collects from closing businesses will end up in recycled kitchenware shops, such as Dajoobang in a run-down part of Seoul’s Hwanghakdong.“Our 600-pyeong (21,350 square feet) storage warehouse has been completely full for about two months,” said Cho Gye-su, a 53-year-old manager at Dajoobang.last_img read more

Governor Wolf’s Week, February 26 – March 4, 2017

first_imgThreats & acts against Jewish institutions in PA are reprehensible. We must find those responsible. Full statement:— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) February 27, 2017 March 03, 2017 By: The Office of Governor Tom Wolf Governor Wolf’s Week, February 26 – March 4, 2017 Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: SHARE Email Facebook Twitter The Blog,  Weekly Update This week, Governor Wolf released a statement on the acts and threats against Jewish institutions in Pennsylvania. On Thursday, the governor attended the ‘Stand Against Hate’ gathering in Philadelphia to stand in solidarity with the inter-faith community to condemn the hateful acts. Governor Wolf also sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Sessions requesting that the Department of Justice investigate the threats.On Tuesday, Governor Wolf and PennDOT announced plans to invest more than $2 billion in roadway, highway, and bridge improvements over the next 10 years.Governor Wolf announced several job creation projects this week, including Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority investments to support jobs across the Commonwealth and the creation of 350 new jobs in Lancaster. Also on Thursday, the governor visited Accolade to announce the creation of 250 new jobs and host a discussion on his budget initiatives to continue investments in Pennsylvania’s economy.Governor Wolf’s Week, February 26 – March 4, 2017Monday, 2/27/17Governor Wolf Announces More Than $157 Million in Restitution Payments to Pennsylvania Consumers in 2016Governor Wolf Statement on Acts and Threats Against Jewish Institutions in PennsylvaniaTuesday, 2/28/17Ahead of Presidential Address, Governor Wolf Reminds Washington What’s at Stake for PennsylvaniaGovernor Wolf Announces Appointment of Kerry L. Kirkland as Deputy Secretary of Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business OpportunitiesGovernor Wolf to Attend ‘Stand Against Hate’ Gathering in Philadelphia on ThursdayGovernor Wolf Outlines Plan to Invest Additional $2.1 Billion for Highways and Bridges Through New Road MaP ProgramGovernor Wolf Statement on President’s Address to Join SessionWednesday, 3/1/17Pennsylvania Celebrates 20th Anniversary of HealthChoices Program; Highlights Necessity of Providing Affordable, Quality CareGovernor Wolf Announces Business Investments Through Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority, Supporting 185 JobsGovernor Wolf Announces Tax Credits to Help Pittsburgh Women’s Center and ShelterThursday, 3/2/17Governor Wolf Announces 350 New Jobs with Expansion of Eurofins Facility in Lancaster CountyGovernor Wolf Announces Accolade Will Create 250 New Jobs; Hosts Roundtable on Budget Investment in Pennsylvania’s EconomyGovernor Tom Wolf asks U.S. DOJ to Investigate Rash of Terror Against Jewish Institutions in PennsylvaniaFriday, 3/3/17GO-TIME: New iPad App Makes DEP Oil and Gas Site Inspections More EfficientHighlights from The BlogHow my Budget Protects Jobs and Taxpayers in PennsylvaniaJoin Us for an Ask the Governor Twitter ChatMy Budget Puts Kids FirstGovernor Wolf Announces Two Company Expansions in Pennsylvania, Creation of 600 New Jobs (Round-Up)Highlights from TwitterProud to stand with faith leaders against rash of hateful acts across PA and the country at the #StandAgainstHate rally today in Philly.— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) March 2, 2017last_img read more

Suburban Brisbane riverfront home rocks the Palm Springs style

first_imgClean lines and floor-to-ceiling windows.More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home2 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor2 hours agoThe kitchen is no small affair with marble benchtops, three ovens, two dishwashers and a butler’s pantry. A bit of retro cosy in the loungeroom.The split-level, six-bedroom, four-bathroom interpretation includes features such as a fireplace and wine cellar to bring in the buyers. The beautifully appointed kitchen opens to outdoor entertaining.The outdoor space includes a second fireplace, vertical gardens, barbecue, wine fridge and pool.There’s even old-school, breezeblock finishes that would make Sinatra feel like he’s on holiday. Views from the bedroom to the pool. A quintessentially Queensland touch.If you can’t make it to Modernism Week in the USA this year, perhaps a trip to Corinda would be just the (gin and) tonic.The home is up for auction through Place Bulimba on 26th August.Follow Kieran Clair on Twitter at @kieranclair or Facebook at Kieran Clair — journo center_img Breezeblocks enhance the 1960s feel.Best of all, it’s set on a 1867sq m riverfront block with its own pontoon. 227 Dewar Terrace, Corinda has nailed the mid-century modernist vibe.The USA desert address of Palm Springs has long been the modernist mecca for beautiful homes of the 1950s and 60s.But there’s no need to trek across the Pacific in order to own a residential sculpture that has used the wonderful elements of this iconic era and created a stirring space. 227 Dewar Terrace, Corinda has hit the market and is sending Richard Neutra fans wild.Using the classic elements of large windows, clean lines, flat roofs and indoor/outdoor integration, the home is a hot riverfront Brisbane holding that’s Palm-Springs-desert cool.This property is a couple of garden flamingoes from perfection. MODERNIST ARCHITECTURE BRINGS BRISBANE BACK TO THE FUTURE Even the stone garden under the staircase harks back to a golden architectural age.last_img read more

Ireland misses 80% of target dates in pension reform plans

first_imgThe Irish government has failed to deliver on 80% of the deadlines it set out in its pensions roadmap for reform, according to Peter Fahy, the chair of the Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF).Speaking at the IAPF’s annual dinner in Dublin last week, Fahy said the government had missed 19 of the 24 target deadlines for actions in 2018, while of the 11 tasks outlined for the first quarter of 2019, only one had been accomplished.The pensions roadmap, a five-year plan for reform covering both state and private provision, was launched a year ago and includes plans for auto-enrolment, improvements to the sustainability of defined benefit (DB) schemes, and a “total contributions” approach to the state pension.While a “strawman” proposal for Ireland’s auto-enrolment regime was published in August, many other aspects of the reforms have yet to be developed. Despite the delays, Regina Doherty, minister for employment affairs and social protection, has insisted auto-enrolment remains on track for implementation from 2022. Peter Fahy, chair, IAPFFahy said: “There has been widespread support for the government’s roadmap, but pension funds are increasingly concerned that the majority of target deadlines set by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection appear to have been missed.“There has been very little communication between the government and key sector stakeholders on aspects of the roadmap, and general confidence across the sector in the various projects and activities set out in the report is low.”The IAPF said it would lobby for “real progress” on key actions that were overdue, including publication of the final design for the auto-enrolment system, pension tax harmonisation, and additional protections for the funding of DB schemes.center_img Regina Doherty, minister for employment affairs and social protectionThe 2018 missed deadlines include:Setting a formal benchmark of 34% of average earnings for state pension contributory payments;Reviewing the cost of funded supplementary pensions to help inform decisions relating to financial incentives for retirement savings, and underpin the development of the auto-enrolment system;Advancing the Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Bill 2017 to give effect to new rules around DB scheme funding;Arranging for further consultations with industry representatives to identify other funding standard reform options;Beginning a communication campaign targeting employers and employees, outlining the financial incentives available to those who may wish to continue working beyond retirement age.Tasks outlined for the first quarter of 2019 but not yet carried out include finalising the design of the auto-enrolment system, proposing a personal fitness and probity benchmark for trustees, and preparing a new set of professional standards for trustees’ knowledge and experience.The IAPF said that some of the Q1 2019 targets were probably stalled because they were linked to IORP II requirements. The deadline for transposing this legislation has also been missed.last_img read more