Archive for the ‘TheInnkeeper.com News’ Category

Experts: Loud noise sent 5,000 Arkansas birds flying to their deaths

January 5th, 2011 by Mariah

(CNN) — Experts believe a loud noise or event was behind the mass death of as many as 5,000 red-winged blackbirds and starlings in Arkansas on New Year’s Eve, when they all flew into buildings at night, veterinarian Dr. John Fischer said Wednesday.

Fischer, of the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in Athens, Georgia, said the bang startled very large roosts in a square-mile area in Beebe, Arkansas, 40 miles northeast of Little Rock.

Agreeing with this finding later Wednesday was the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, whose preliminary test results showed that the red-winged blackbirds died from blunt-force trauma. The report supported preliminary findings from the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission released Monday.

Necropsies on the carcasses at the Wisconsin lab revealed internal hemorrhaging, according to a Arkansas Game and Fish Commission statement. Tests showed no pesticides, and results are pending for additional chemical toxins and infectious diseases, authorities said.

Unusually loud noises, reported shortly before the birds began to fall, caused the birds to flush from a roost, and New Year’s Eve fireworks in the area may have forced the birds to fly at a lower altitude than normal, causing them to hit houses, vehicles and trees, the commission’s statement said. Blackbirds have poor night vision and typically don’t fly at night.

The collisions caused internal trauma, Fischer said.

“At this stage of the game, I don’t see anything that will alarm me or precipitate alarming the public at all,” Fischer told CNN.

Karen Rowe, an ornithologist for the game and fish commission, said this week such incidents are not that unusual and often are caused by a lightning strike or high-altitude hail. A strong storm system moved through the state earlier in the day Friday.

Officials have also speculated that fireworks shot by New Year’s revelers in the area might have startled the birds.

In a separate incident 450 miles south of Beebe, some 500 red-winged blackbirds, starlings and sparrows were found dead Monday morning on streets in the southern Louisiana community of Labarre.

Fischer told CNN Wednesday that X-rays of those birds found hemorrhaging consistent with traumatic death, and the birds apparently flew into stationary objects and power lines.

Michael Seymour, a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries ornithologist, said he would not relate what happened to Arkansas to what happened in Louisiana.

“On the outside, it’s obviously pretty easy to link them together and find the pattern there, but as of now, there is absolutely no linking besides some of the species involved,” he said.

Seymour said these preliminary results tend to point toward some sort of collision or traumatic event as opposed to a virus or bacterium.

“We obviously have to wait on final results,” he said. “We’re still waiting on the toxicology reports, which could take weeks.”

Seymour said there is a “pretty good chance” the bird hit power lines.

“It’s the No. 2 killer in the U.S.,” Seymour said.

More mystery bird deaths reported, this time in Louisiana

January 5th, 2011 by Mariah

NEW ORLEANS | Tue Jan 4, 2011 1:52pm EST

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) – As if the deaths of 5,000 birds in Arkansas were not strange enough, Louisiana wildlife experts on Tuesday are investigating the deaths of 500 birds along a stretch of highway in Pointe Coupee Parish.

The Louisiana birds included some red-winged blackbirds, the same type discovered dead in Arkansas.

The mix of blackbirds and starlings were discovered on Monday between New Roads and Morganza, Louisiana, according to Bo Boehringer, press secretary for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. That area includes the False River Regional Airport.

Boehringer said the birds were sent to labs in Georgia and Wisconsin to find out how they died, tests which could take a week.

“Our staff veterinarian is not ready to speculate at this time,” said Boehringer, regarding the cause of death.

The Louisiana report comes days after some 5,000 birds, mostly red-winged blackbirds, fell from the sky in Beebe, Arkansas on New Year’s Eve. Tests by Arkansas veterinary officials concluded Monday they died after massive trauma.

One theory is that birds were spooked by New Year’s fireworks and flew into buildings or other objects. Another theory is that severe weather caused the deaths.

“We’re leaning more toward a stress event,” said Arkansas Game and Fish Commission spokesman Keith Stephens, noting that severe weather had already left the area.

The Arkansas commission also is trying to determine what caused the deaths of up to 100,000 fish over a 20-mile stretch of the Arkansas River near a dam in Ozark, 125 miles west of Beebe. The fish were discovered December 30.

Stephens said disease may be the culprit, since almost all the fish were one species — bottom-feeding drum.

Stephens said the Arkansas events do not appear related.

2010 Year Of The Angry Traveler

January 3rd, 2011 by Mariah

(CNN)–There’s generally no shortage of aggravated travelers, but as far as years go, 2010 seems to have gone above and beyond in irritating the moving masses.

Last year on Christmas Day, a Nigerian man was accused of attempting to detonate explosives hidden in his underwear aboard a Northwest Airlines flight. That incident got the air travel year off to a rocky start with a rush put on the deployment of the now-infamousfull-body scanners, which critics call “virtual strip searches.”

Add an onslaught of bag fees hikes in January, and you have a delicious recipe for disgruntlement. In April, Spirit Airlines heaped it on with a fee for carry-ons stowed in overhead bins. Fortunately, the major carriers didn’t follow boldly in Spirit’s footsteps.

On a positive note, airline passenger protections designed to reduce long tarmac delays went into effect in April, and the new rules have dramatically cut the number of domestic tarmac strandings lasting more than three hours, without causing a noticeable increase in flight cancellations. Flights on international carriers — as we’ve seen during this week’s Snowpocalypse – are not subject to the same rules.

We all learned that air travel and ash clouds don’t mix this spring when a volcanic eruption in Iceland grounded thousands of flights across Europe, stranding travelers on both sides of the pond for days.

From fire and crashing waves to gastrointestinal illness, many cruise passengers have had a tough time of it this year with a handful of unfortunate events rendering some seafaring retreats less than relaxing.

But, let’s be honest, travelers are no picnic. In fact, during a 5,900-mile airport odyssey, one CNN reporter discovered how awful and annoying we are.

And there’s no lack of examples of travelers behaving badly: Adrunk cruise passenger managed to drop anchor on his vacation, and just this week an airline passenger smacked a fellow travelerwho wouldn’t turn off his iPhone as their flight was taxiing for takeoff.

Angry with the ill-behaved masses, flight attendant Steven Slater channeled his outrage into one of the most spectacular take-this-job-and-shove-it moments in recent memory this August. His employer, JetBlue Airways, didn’t share the public’s admiration. Slater was suspended and eventually resigned. He made a deal with prosecutors to avoid jail time.

Thanksgiving brought the usual travel rush and a new catchphrase in “don’t touch my junk,” Video prompted by the Transportation Security Administration’s implementation of “enhanced” pat downscreening procedures for some travelers.

The pat downs, conducted by TSA screeners of the same sex as the passenger, involve touching the groin and breast areas. Opponents say they’re an invasion of privacy, with some comparing the procedures to sexual molestation.

The uproar over the pat downs didn’t amount to much during the peak Thanksgiving travel period, and the Christmas holiday has been plagued with a wintry weather snarl on roads and at airports in the U.S. and Europe.

Tarmac delays reared up again this week with some travelers on international airlines stranded at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport for up to 11 hours.

All this on top of the quiet (and not-so-quiet) battles waged daily on planes — from reclining seat wars to critics of crying babies.

Why do we heap all this hassle on ourselves? The magic’s in thedestination – and getting there does make for some of the best travel tales.

Fire Closes Down Ride In Orlando Theme Park

January 3rd, 2011 by Mariah

(CNN) –A fire Saturday led to the evacuation and indefinite closing of a water flume ride at the Islands of Adventure park in Orlando, Florida, officials said.

The Orlando Fire Department got the call just after 5 p.m. and raced to the Universal Studios venue, Deputy Chief Greg Hoggatt said.

Dozens of patrons were at the Ripsaw Falls ride, but only a few were in the area where the smoke was noticed by an employee, Universal Studios spokesman Tom Schroder said. Staffers shut the ride down and got passengers out of the area.

A structure that houses part of the ride was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. They were able to knock it down in 30 minutes and contain it in 45 minutes, Hoggatt said.

The rest of the park was open Saturday evening, as investigators began looking into a cause, officials said.

Officials did not have a damage estimate and did not know when the ride, which is in the Toon Lagoon portion of the park, would reopen, Schroder said.

While some guests complained about smoke, no one was transported from the park for additional medical assistance, according to Schroder.

American Airlines No Longer Listed On Expedia

January 3rd, 2011 by Mariah

(CNN)–The online travel site Expedia has removed American Airlines fares and schedules, the latest move in an ongoing legal squabble between travel websites and airlines.

 

“Expedia, after more than a week of discriminating against American’s fares and schedules by omitting them from its top search displays … has removed American’s fares and schedules from Expedia.com, effective January 1, 2011,” the airline said in a statement Saturday.

 

American’s fares and schedules remain on Egencia, Expedia’s corporate travel site, the statement said. Customers looking to compare flights online can visit other travel sites such as kayak.com, priceline.com or travel agencies, it said, as well as American’s own website, aa.com.

 

The airline has seen a year-over-year increase in ticket sales since removing its schedules and airfares from the travel site Orbitz.com on December 21, and since Expedia “began discriminating against American’s flights and schedules” two days later, a practice the airline said was “deceptive to consumers looking for competitive choices for

travel.” The ticket sales have shifted to other channels, the airline said.

 

Expedia said in a statement it had been unable to reach an agreement with American “due to American Airlines’ new commercial strategy that we believe is anti-consumer and anti-choice.”

 

The airline, it said, “is attempting to introduce a new direct connect model that will result in higher costs and reduced transparency for consumers, making it difficult to compare American Airlines ticket prices and options with offerings by other airlines.”

 

As a result, Expedia has suspended the sale of American flights on its site, the statement said. “We remain open to doing business with

 

American Airlines on terms that are satisfactory to Expedia and do not compromise our ability to provide consumers with the products and services they need. … We cannot support efforts that we believe are fundamentally bad for travelers.”

 

American said it did not expect significant impact from the Expedia action. Tickets for air travel on American purchased on Expedia remain valid, the airline said.

 

“Our direct connections offers a path to a new era of buying and selling travel services,” Derek DeCross, American’s vice president and general sales manager, said in a December 29 statement. Previously, airlines have offered “different flavors” of airfares, he said. “… Our direct connection will help travel agencies help their own customers by giving them access to customized choices and delivering the best value to travelers.

 

“We do not envision a future in which we only sell to our customers through our own branded website,” DeCross said. “Our goal is to have broad distribution channels and choices for our customers, with our products and services delivered efficiently and without unnecessary costs flowing through the process.”

 

Last month, Delta Air Lines also notified three online travel sites — cheapoair.com, onetravel.com and bookit.com — that it had terminated them as authorized travel agents, according to Bloomberg News.

Damage from blizzard lingers in the Northeast

December 29th, 2010 by Mariah

New York (CNN) — A historic blizzard that blanketed the Northeast with several feet of snow was still causing heartburn for pilots, air traffic controllers and stranded passengers Wednesday.

Some 10,000 flights have been canceled because of the weather since Saturday, according to the airlines.

Representatives from AirTran, American, Continental, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, United, U.S. Airways, Spirit and Southwest reported a total of at least 9,726 trips were called off due to weather since Saturday.

Of those, at least 1,335 flights were canceled on Tuesday as major airports across the region slowly got back to normal.

Nowhere is the traveling heartburn more pronounced than at John F. Kennedy airport in New York where passengers on international flights have had to wait up to 11 hours on the tarmac before being allowed to deplane.

Travel nightmare at JFK airport At least a handful of flights sat in the cold of a New York night early Wednesday, waiting for a gate and permission to unload. Passengers on at least three flights — Aero Mexico, Air France and Lufthansa — waited more than six hours to get off their planes.

No explanation was immediately available from airport officials or the airlines.

The worst case involved a Cathay Pacific Airways flight from Vancouver, British Columbia.

The plane arrived in New York at 2:12 a.m. ET on Tuesday; no one got off the plane shortly after 1 p.m. ET.

“It wasn’t fun with three children sitting there,” said passenger Vincent Butcher. “No one has admitted to making any mistakes.”

At some point, Butcher said, there was even talk of a ladder being brought out to the runway, but that did not happen. The airline told him it may be at least 48 hours before the family gets its luggage, he said.

Passenger Max Ascui told CNN’s “AC360″ that the crew did a good job but couldn’t provide answers on what would happen.

Cathay apologized on Wednesday.

“We are particularly sorry for the great inconvenience that more than 1,100 passengers have suffered throughout their long wait inside our aircraft on the tarmac,” a statement from the airline said.

Five Cathay flights sat on the JFK tarmac from four to 11 hours.

“Our intentions to get our passengers to their destinations as quickly as possible were good, but we could not overcome the challenging conditions at JFK due to the snowstorm and as a result did not live up to our service standards, for which we sincerely apologize,” the airline said.
Four international flights were stranded at JFK on Tuesday without gates available to unload passengers, Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman said Tuesday.

Because the JFK flights were international, they had to be unloaded in specific customs areas to undergo screening, he said.

“There is just no place that you can dump 1,000 people in a secured area for a period of time,” Coleman said.

He said the planes were stranded because the airlines brought them in without checking with terminal operations to see if there was a place to put them.

The damage caused by the blizzard likely will continue to linger.

“With all the cancellations and delays, it’ll be two to three days before the airlines are at a regular schedule,” said Thomas Bosco, general manager of New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

Early Tuesday evening, LaGuardia was still operating well below its normal 70 flights per hour, he said.

Delta Air Lines canceled 300 flights on Tuesday and was still facing reduced operations at JFK and Newark because of runway issues, according to spokesman Trebor Banstetter.

Banstetter said the airline is hoping to return to a full schedule at JFK sometime Wednesday morning, and at Newark by midday.

The Federal Transportation Security Administration has been coordinating with airports and airlines to bolster staffing as necessary as flights resume, according to spokeswoman Sterling Payne.

Other travel — by rail and road — was snarled as well. Hundreds of people were left stranded at New York’s Pennsylvania railroad station after Long Island Railroad canceled trains. Amtrak said it would resume normal service Wednesday between Boston and Washington, but passengers could see some delays.

Passengers Stranded For 11 Hours on JFK Tarmac

December 29th, 2010 by Mariah

New York (CNN) — Airline passengers who spent 11 hours stuck on the tarmac at John F. Kennedy International Airport were unloaded Tuesday afternoon in the latest example of the frustrating effects of a massive blizzard that delayed thousands of would-be holiday travelers.

The airport, airline and government officials engaged in finger-pointing over delays on the tarmac.

“There were a lot of people on the plane crying,” said passenger Christina Edgar. “It was really a tough situation.”

She called the situation “just a bad judgment call.”

“They kept trying to get us to go, and they kept us on the plane with no choice,” Edgar said.

Travelers aboard the Cathay Pacific Airways flight from Vancouver, British Columbia, arrived in New York at 2:12 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

They got off the plane shortly after 1 p.m. ET.

“It wasn’t fun with three children sitting there,” said passenger Vincent Butcher. “No one has admitted to making any mistakes.”

At some point, Butcher said, there was even talk of a ladder being brought out to the runway, but that did not happen. The airline told him it may be at least 48 hours before the family gets its luggage, he said.

Passenger Max Ascui told “AC360″ that the crew did a good job but couldn’t provide answers on what would happen.

Cathay Pacific spokesman Gus Whitcomb said the airline’s intention was “to get passengers to New York as quickly as possible, and we anticipated to have gate space available.”

He said the gate typically assigned to the airline had been moved “because of what became a very fluid situation at JFK due to the weather.”

Four international flights were stranded at JFK on Tuesday without gates available to unload passengers, officials said.

“We also had four flights come into LaGuardia, but because they were domestic flights we were able to get them off,” said Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman.

Coleman said that because the JFK flights were international, they had to be unloaded in specific customs areas to undergo screening.

“There is just no place that you can dump 1,000 people in a secured area for a period of time,” Coleman said.

He said the planes were stranded because the airlines brought them in without checking with terminal operations to see if there was a place to put them.

The airline’s website advised passengers on other flights scheduled for Tuesday to check for confirmed departure times before traveling to the airport.

A British Airways spokesman also blamed a lack of gate space for the seven-hour stranding of its passengers on a flight from London.

Aeromexico’s Flight 404 landed at JFK from Mexico City at 1:15 a.m., more than two hours behind schedule, but passenger Cristobal Alex said it was six hours before he could walk off the plane.

“We were running out of food and water and the pilot came on to say he had been arguing with the folks at the airport to at least let the police come on board to deliver some food and water,” Alex said. “And I guess he lost that fight — nobody came on.”

The airport keeps buses ready to help remove passengers from planes stranded on the tarmacs, “but sometimes the airlines don’t inform us,” said Coleman.

The Aeromexico jet pulled up to a gate after several hours on the tarmac, but the doors stayed closed until 7 a.m. ET, Alex said.

“Apparently, what happened was the Customs folks went home at 1 a.m. and so everybody coming international kind of had to sit out there in the snow all night,” he said.

“It’s possible” the lack of a customs staff caused the deplaning delays for international flights, Coleman said, “and that’s why we have to look into the whole situation.”

“It might have been a situation where too many planes came in with not enough gate space for them,” Coleman said.

However, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman in New York said those reports were incorrect.

“At no point were Customs officials sent home,” spokesman John Saleh said.

“For flights arriving after midnight, there is usually one terminal available which is always staffed with Customs officers,” said Saleh.

He said Customs officials have been taking multiple shifts to ensure ample staffing, noting that agency has no involvement in passengers deplaning or the removal of their cargo.

Saleh said it is the responsibility of the airlines to notify Customs officials when arriving at JFK.

The fourth international flight stuck on the tarmac was another Cathay Pacific flight, according to the Port Authority, but it was not known where that flight originated or how long it was stranded.

For the passengers who were able to deplane after several hours, some had more frustration ahead — they were informed they could not access their luggage.

Tai Nickel, a passenger aboard the Aeromexico flight, said “most people were calm” as they waited inside the plane.

“But once we got out, people were more upset because there were no bags,” he said.

British Airways Flight 183 arrived in New York a few minutes early Monday night, but it took seven hours before a gate was opened “due to the weather-related problems they have been having lately,” an airline spokesman said Tuesday morning.

“We fully apologize to customers for this delay, but it is outside our control what parking stands we are allocated,” said the British Airways spokesman.

On the Aeromexico plane, Alex credited flight attendants for keeping their composure.

“They were actually quite nice and pleasant and had a smile on the face throughout the whole ordeal,” he said.

Passengers on several other flights also posted Twitter messages complaining they were stuck on the tarmac at JFK overnight.

The Airline Passengers Bill of Rights, which prohibits airlines from letting passengers stay on grounded planes for more than three hours, doesn’t apply in these situations.

Kate Hanni, executive director of FlyersRights.org, said the rule doesn’t apply to international flights.

Skiers Fall From Chairlift at Maine Resort

December 29th, 2010 by Mariah

Five stranded skiers have been evacuated from the chairlift that broke down Tuesday at Sugarloaf Mountain, Maine, CNN Newsource employee Robb Atkinson said.

Officials with the ski resort said it would take 60 to 90 minutes to rescue all the trapped skiers.
A gust of wind derailed a chairlift cable Tuesday morning, according to a resort spokesman, sending skiers tumbling.

At least three people were injured, said CNN Newsource employee Robb Akinson, who was among about 100 skiers stranded on the chairlift 30 to 40 feet off the ground after the accident.

“We heard screams from skiers down below that skiers were off the lift, and we’ve been trapped ever since,” he told CNN’s Tony Harris.

Skiers would have to climb down one at a time using harnesses and ropes, Atkinson said.

“We’ve got a whole lot of people throwing ropes over the lift right now,” Atkinson’s wife, Maureen, said.

Robb Atkinson said the temperature was about 8 degrees with a 20 mph to 30 mph wind. The resort received 20-22 inches of fresh snow with the weekend blizzard, he said.

A spokesman for the ski resort said the lift cable derailed between 10:30 and 10:45 a.m., and all the chairs on that cable fell to the ground.

Rescuers were swiftly bringing stranded skiers down from a broken-down chairlift at western Maine’s Sugarloaf Mountain resort, CNN Newsource employee Robb Atkinson said.

“It’s incredibly organized. They know what they’re doing,” Atkinson said while still suspended 30 to 40 feet above the ground. “They’re moving incredibly fast.”
The accident occurred on the resort’s Spillway East slope, which runs all the way to the top of the mountain, Maureen Atkinson said.

Disney Sells Out 2nd Day in a Row

December 29th, 2010 by Mariah

(CNN) — California’s Disneyland filled to capacity two hours after opening Tuesday — the second day in a row the 55-year-old theme park was forced to turn potential guests away because of overcrowding.

A park spokeswoman said the park stopped selling tickets at 10 a.m.

“This stoppage is fairly typical for us during our holiday peak period,” said Betty Sanchez. “Certainly we want all of our guests to have the best guest experience, so we have measures in place to make sure that we deliver the best time.”

Park officials directed people to another park in the Disneyland Resort complex, California Adventure, but Sanchez said that park, too, experienced overcrowding.

“We stopped selling tickets briefly at the California Adventure, as well,” she said.

Sanchez said great weather coupled with holiday deals helped lure more people to the parks.

Disneyland does not release attendance numbers, including how many times the park has sold out.

Five airports with art worth seeing

December 23rd, 2010 by Mariah

(CNN) — Rushing around is standard airport behavior, but surprising collections of art at U.S. airports offer a moment for reflection — for those who have the time.

Here are five airports where you can catch some art on the way to catching your flight:

1. Denver International Airport

Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado, was one of the first airports in the United States to integrate art into its public spaces, according to its officials.

Some 30 permanent art exhibits are on display at the airport, including “Mustang,” a 32-foot tall, bright blue, cast fiberglass horse sculpture with gleaming red eyes.

New Mexico artist Luis Jiménez created the 9,000-pound piece — the largest of his career.

Jiménez died while working on the sculpture in 2006 when a large section of the piece fell on him while it was being hoisted in his studio.

Today, “Mustang” greets drivers as they approach DIA and is the first thing visitors see as they depart the airport.

“Jiménez’s work elicits strong feelings as his pieces are very striking,” said Matt Chasansky, DIA public art administrator. “About 50% of people I’ve spoken with love his work, while the others hate it.”

In addition to Denver, his sculptures are collected and displayed in public spaces and museums around the country.

Jiménez was the son of Mexican immigrants and was born in El Paso, Texas, in 1940.

2. Sacramento International Airport

Sacramento International Airport in Sacramento, California, may be a mid-sized airport but it has big artistic ambitions.

Terminal A’s baggage claim houses a piece called “Samson,” which

is two 23-foot tall pillars made from 1,400 pieces of luggage stacked on two wheeled carts. Brian Goggin’s work appears to hold up the ceiling. Steel beams attached to the airport’s existing columns keep the structure sturdy.

“It does exactly what great public art is supposed to do: Create a sense of fun and whimsy in a normally utilitarian place,” said airport spokeswoman Karen Doron.

Goggin’s work landed in the coveted spot in 1998 after competing in Sacramento’s Arts in Pubic Places program. “Samson” is one of the programs 8 selected pieces on display at the airport.

When the airport builds a new terminal, the airport will also be adding 13 new pieces of art, including a controversial sculpture by Lawrence Argent: a 56-foot-long red rabbit made of fiberglass leaping from the rafters into a stone suitcase on the floor.

Some wonder if the planned $800,000 centerpiece is money well spent. Judge for yourself when it appears, planned for sometime next year.

3. Miami International Airport

Miami International Airport is the largest U.S. gateway for Latin America and the Caribbean. So it seems fitting that the airport’s international baggage claim is home to a piece called “Ghost Palms” by artist Norie Sato.

Situated at five window bays along a 300-foot-long glass wall, the work takes its inspiration from the ubiquitous palm trees that populate the Miami-Dade County landscape.

Each of the five sites, 24 feet tall, expresses a specific, strong structure of the palm, whether the frond, the branch or the trunk.

Hand-painted and sandblasted glass, laminated glass, aluminum and terrazzo were used to create the work.

The colors in the glass are formed with embedded powders that reflect multiple spectrums of light, which not only change colors throughout the day, but alter as passengers move throughout the baggage claim area.

See Miami’s website for more unique artwork at this international airport.

4. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Atlanta, Georgia’s Hartsfield-Jackson is one of the world’s busiest airports, and it offers plenty of art for busy travelers throughout its six concourses.

On display now in Concourse E is a piece called “Concorde” by Alabama artist Craig Nutt. The wood carving of a corn on the cob flying in the air is part of Nutt’s “Flying Vegetable” series.

The design was “inspired by jet airliners, their wings swept back, leaping into flight from the airport’s runways,” Nutt said.

Also on display in Concourse E are 15 murals created by students from all over the world, including Pakistan, Denmark, Bulgaria and

the United States.

These colorful pieces of art depict messages of world peace, community and friendship. The rotating exhibit was organized by The Colorful Art Society, Inc. and People to People International.

“These young artists used art to express their vision of peace and hope and we’re proud to display their work in a global setting,” said Mary Jean Eisenhower, granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and President and CEO of PTPI.

5. Philadelphia International Airport

Business booms at Philadelphia International Airport, in Philadelphia, Pennslvania, and doesn’t lag when it comes to its art.

In 1998, it established an exhibition program to house rotating art to display throughout its seven terminals. Currently, there are 17 rotating sites, and nine permanent pieces of artwork on display.

Terminal E houses a colorful mixed-media work entitled “Evolving Elements,” by Philadelphia resident James Dupree.

Made up of 20 panels, the mural is 30-feet long and 9-feet high.

“The enormity of it grabs people’s attention because it is such a large, energized, colorful piece,” said Leah Douglas, who selected the work and heads up the PHL’s exhibition program.

To create his art, Dupree uses layers of vibrant paint colors, glosses and varnishes along with band embellishments that seem to jut from the surface.

“When people see my paintings, all they want to do is touch it,” said Dupree.

The work addresses the “cultural static and all the noise and all the distractions in our lives,” he said.

Other interesting pieces on display at PHL include a collection called “Streamlined Irons” by Jay Raymond, who has studied and collected uniquely designed clothing irons since the 1930s.

Pumpkin Lobster Bisque Soup

December 23rd, 2010 by Mariah

This delicious recipe for pumpkin lobster bisque soup comes from Kennebunkport Inn in Kennebunkport, Maine. The B&B is located on Maine’s southern coast and is a great home base for fishing, sailing, golfing, whale watching, antiquing or simply relaxing on the beach. The inn also has its own restaurant and bar, plus spa services.

Ingredients:

8 cups lobster stock

4 cups heavy cream

1 large white onion

2 lb. peeled pumpkin (chopped)

1 tablespoon lobster base

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup dry sherry

1 cup lobster meat (chopped)

Steps:

Saute onions and pumpkin in heavy-bottom deep pot until tender.

Add lobster stock and heavy cream and bring to a simmer.

Next, add the lobster base and tomato paste.

Puree soup in a blender or with a braun.

Add the sherry and lobster meat. Whisk well and season to taste with salt and pepper.

The Lodge at Blue Lakes New Wedding Packages!

December 22nd, 2010 by Mariah

SUPER Wedding Package Deals Now Include Catering!

December 2010
Our famous wedding packages now include catering. It’s unbelievable all that is included. No worries, no hassles and we do all the work!! Click on the packages below and see for yourself. The Lodge at Blue Lakes is the perfect setting for romance. We set the stage to make the magic happen…and help you get a bit closer to happily-ever-after. Our Special Events Center is 6,000 square feet with your choice of indoor or outdoor ceremony, rain or shine.We also offer gorgeous hotel rooms and you can even rent the whole resort for the perfect get-away wedding! There are lots of water activities with featuring Electric Boat rentals, swimming, fishing and more. Plan on staying for several days and reDiscover Blue Lakes!Easy access and is located between the Santa Rosa area and Sacramento on the shores of beautiful, crystal clear Blue Lakes. Eat, Drink and be Married!Click Here For The Lodge at Blue Lakes.

Winter Day 1 and 5 Snow Emergencies in Minneapolis

December 22nd, 2010 by Mariah

MINNEAPOLIS – At 5:38 p.m. today the first official day of winter begins, and the city of Minneapolis is still digging out after a record fifth snow emergency was called — a pre-Christmas record.

 

The city is just one snow emergency away from the entire season record of six. That benchmark was made in 2000-2001. The city had originally budgeted for one snow emergency in the month of December.

 

The Minnepolis-St. Paul metro has recieved more than 28 inches of snow in the month of December, the third snowiest on record. Just four more inches would break an accumulation record.

 

Minneapolis Public Works reminds residents that neighborhood sidewalks and corner snowbanks need to be cleared as best they can, and as quickly as possible. Uncleared sidewalks can slow emergency responders as well as trap wheelchair-bound residents.

 

Reminders for Shoveling Sidewalks, Corners, Etc. • Join together with neighbors and shovel out corners and alley approaches. • Make sure to clear a path three feet wide from your garbage cart and recycling bin to the alley or street. Also make sure your cart and bin can be moved freely. • Shovel out the fire hydrant on your block.

 

Snow removal crews have been on the roads around the clock since Monday, working to clear the city’s 1,500 miles of streets and alleys. Plows were out working on Snow Emergency routes overnight and are plowing the EVEN SIDE of non-Snow Emergency routes today. Comprehensive alley plowing started last night at 10 p.m. and should be completed by approximately noon.

Talking About Global Warming on the First Day of Winter

December 22nd, 2010 by Mariah

The Huffington Post

Dear Brenda,

I know our fingerprints are all over global climate change. I know the science is clear that it’s happening now and that it’s caused by all the human activities that emit heat-trapping gases. And I know that people, countries, and natural systems are at risk from global warming. But I don’t know what to say to friends, family, or colleagues who question the existence of climate change when cold weather sets in.

I admit that sometimes, when my ears are freezing as I walk to the subway, I grumble to myself, “Where’s global warming when you need it!” When it’s cold, I just don’t know how to explain to people that Earth has a fever. Just the other day I was talking to someone at a holiday party who said the blizzards we had last winter disproved global warming.

I’m not the kind of person who always has to set people straight even when I know they’re wrong. I usually let people have their say, but I’m really appalled at the lack of understanding of basic science. If you have any suggestions, especially when it comes to winter weather, could you let me know? What can I say to people who pooh-pooh global warming? And why do they hold their tongues in summer when we’re wilting in a record-high heat wave?

Sincerely,
Cold in Winter

* * *

Dear Cold in Winter,

The hallmark of winter is cold, at least in North America. Even with climate change, you’re still going to wake up on a January morning and see snow falling. I walk to the bus stop, too, so I know about cold ears and fingers. As a climate scientist, I have plenty of compelling facts at hand about global warming, and trust me, it’s hard to explain the overwhelming evidence of climate change when people are feeling winter’s wind in their faces. I understand the problem you describe, for sure.

You may want to remind your friends that weather is different from climate. The day-to-day weather — even a cold snap or a heat wave — doesn’t prove or disprove climate change. Climate is the prevailing condition–temperature, precipitation, humidity, and atmospheric pressure — of a region over a long period of time. For example, in Wisconsin you expect cold, snowy winters. In Mexico you expect mild, sunny winter weather.

When you see the first snowfall of the season, a few details about climate projections might help you explain what’s happening outside. I wasn’t at all surprised by this past year’s drenching rains and devastating blizzards in parts of the United States. In areas that typically get rain and snow, we’ve seen an increase in the intensity of the storms. It may seem counterintuitive, but we have strong evidence that heavier snows are actually one of many links scientists have uncovered between climate change and extreme weather. Rising ocean-surface temperatures have already raised the temperature and moisture content of the air passing over the United States. The heaviest precipitation events in the Northeast are typically more severe now compared with 50 years ago. And the Great Lakes region has had more lake-effect snow; that’s because the lakes aren’t covered by as much ice during the winter months, allowing the air to absorb more moisture, which then falls as snow. At the same time, most of the deserts are getting drier.

It’s also helpful to put our local conditions into perspective. If you look only at our country, you’re seeing only 2 percent of Earth’s surface. That’s like watching a football game and seeing only what’s going on between the 48-yard line and the 50-yard line. Well-documented measurements all across the world over the past several decades show that Earth is definitely warming. Science takes a whole-world view, just like watching the football game in high definition on a wide-screen television.

So, Cold in Winter, there’s no need to get into a confrontation over climate change. But I do want to give you a basic comeback to anyone who spouts false information. Just say, Hey, it’s winter, snow happens, and a cold snap doesn’t prove anything one way or another. And a warming planet generates more intense precipitation in areas that usually get rain or snow. You may also want to remind your friends about how winters are becoming shorter. A lot of people have noticed what scientists have been measuring for years — spring is arriving about 10 days earlier than it has historically. You might want to keep this note handy.

At least, don’t shy away from telling people it’s winter. You just might need to remind them when winter comes next year.

Your friend,
Brenda

Bay View Bed and Breakfast on Mackinac Island

December 16th, 2010 by Mariah

Bay View Bed and Breakfast on Mackinac Island

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