Travel health warning, finding vaccine, testing updates

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This message covers

  • Travel health warning
  • How to find vaccine
  • Talking about vaccination
  • Testing updates

Travel health warning

  • Travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. More contagious variants of COVID-19 are being found around the country and within Wisconsin. This threatens to produce another surge in illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths. For these reasons, travel is strongly discouraged, even for people who are vaccinated.
  • If you must travel, learn how to reduce your risk.
  • If you travel, upon returning to the Madison area, you are expected to get tested 3-5 days after your trip and self-quarantine (stay home except for attending class and work) for a full 7 days after travel, even if your test is negative. If you don’t get tested, self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.

How to find the vaccine

UW–Madison encourages all employees and eligible students who are interested in vaccination to seek appointments both on and off campus. Because University Health Services’ vaccine supply has so far been limited, you may be able to be vaccinated more quickly off campus.

  • Who is eligible: All UW–Madison employees, including student employees and employees working both in-person and remotely, are eligible to be vaccinated. In addition, students are eligible if they meet other state criteria, including having certain medical conditions or working in certain settings. Effective April 5, everyone age 16 and older who lives, works or studies in Wisconsin will be eligible.
  • Getting started: Visit the MyUHS portal. It allows you to search for appointments on campus and to sign up for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services vaccine registry. Once you are registered, DHS will email you with off-campus appointment options. Employees, including student workers, qualify for vaccination under the state’s definition of faculty and staff with direct student contact or under previous eligibility criteria.
  • More off-campus options: Check with your health care provider to see if they are offering appointments. Also, more pharmacies, including many at major retailers, are starting to offer vaccine. Visit the DHS website for a list of participating pharmacies and instructions on finding an appointment.
  • Keep checking MyUHS: UHS anticipates increased vaccine supplies in the coming weeks, so you should continue to check the MyUHS portal.
  • Learn more about what to expect when being vaccinated.
  • If you’re vaccinated off campus, remember to upload your record to MyUHS. You must do this in order to be excused from routine campus COVID-19 testing.
  • This week, UHS is offering expanded hours to accommodate second and third shift employees in the following departments:Facilities Planning and Management, Athletics, Wisconsin Unions, Conference Centers and Mail Services, Housing, Mouse Breeding Core and Research Services, University Health Services. Learn more
  • Additional clinic options for other second and third shift employees will be available soon. UHS will share more information with these employees when details are available.

Talking about vaccination

Does an employee have to tell their supervisor or manager whether they have been vaccinated?

No. A person’s vaccination status is private, just like any other medical issue or condition. Employees are not required to share this information with supervisors or managers. There are limited exceptions to this (such as health care roles) where sharing vaccine status information is required, but in these limited cases employees are formally notified of this requirement. In general, especially as more people become eligible for vaccination due to health conditions, it is important to avoid asking these types of questions of employees because it could cause an employee to feel compelled to share medical or disability information. However, supervisors and managers are permitted to ask for Safer Badger app color or designation (green/building access granted).

Is it okay to ask someone I work with if they have been vaccinated?

No. A person’s vaccination status is private, just like any other medical issue or condition, and employees should not be asked to share this information. In general, especially as more people become eligible for vaccination due to health conditions, it is good etiquette to avoid asking people their vaccination status. Anyone who wants to share their vaccine status information with others is free to do so, but there is no requirement to share this information with others with whom they work and/or report.

Testing updates

  • The employees at our testing sites and behind the scenes are working diligently to make the process as safe and easy as possible. We appreciate your patience and understanding as you interact with them.
  • If you overfill your vial while providing a testing sample, please do not try to empty it; doing so is a contamination risk. Staff will assist you in disposing of the vial and give you a fresh vial.
  • Because a growing number of employees and students are vaccinated and no longer need to test regularly, campus is able to reduce the number of testing sites while still providing sufficient access.

    The following sites will shut down at the end of the day on April 1;
    nearby sites are listed as alternates: Health Sciences Learning Center (Alternate site: Nielsen Tennis Stadium), Carson Gulley Center (Alternate site: Dejope Residence Hall), Helen C. White (Alternate site: Pyle Center).All other sites will remain open, with their same operating hours.Testing sites will remain open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday April 2-4. Employees and students should continue to test on their regular schedule.

How to get help

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The Best Detail in ‘Finding Freedom’ Is Meghan Markle’s Secret Packing Hack

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9 Tips For Finding Free Camping Spots In The U.S.

The open road beckons with the promise of an exciting adventure. It’s time to get out and explore America. Road tripping is the new vacation craze. Camper rentals are up, families are spending time together outdoors, and the options for parking your RV for free are extensive.

Free camping, also known as dispersed camping, boondocking, going off the grid, and dry-docking are essentially parking your self-contained, self-sufficient camper or tent in that perfect, free camping spot. With the growing interest in hitting the road, options for free camping are gaining traction across the country. With a few simple tools and some planning, your overnight accommodations can be inexpensive and many times free.

Dispersed camping or boondocking is camping on public lands where there is not a developed campground or recreation facility closeby. Typically there are little or no services provided. You are dry camping, self-reliant on your generator, your own water supply, and everything you need to survive.

We spoke with camping experts Brandi and Sean Green from Campers and Campfires to get their take on free camping in the U.S. The Greens have been educating newbie campers and camping enthusiasts for over five years. Their extensive camping knowledge is a great source of information. Brandi noted, “We love traveling and want people to enjoy camping.”

If you want to learn more about dispersed camping, my article Dispersed Camping: What It Is and Why You Should Try It will have you checking your calendar to see when you can get out and explore this great country and camp for free.

1. Bureau Of Land Management

The U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages 245 million acres of U.S. land, including forests, mountains, rangelands, arctic tundra, and deserts. More prominent in western states, BLM is the lead agency of public lands and resource management.

The BLM website offers a Visit Us search page that allows you to select a location and keyword activity. This planning tool will guide you through the process of finding a potential dispersed camping site. Many sites are not marked and are along secondary roads, so packing a good map to backup your potentially spotty GPS is a good idea.

If you dream of sleeping under the stars in your own secluded site, dispersed camping on BLM land is something you need to try.

2. National Forest Service

The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Forest Service oversees our National Forests and Grasslands for your recreation pleasure. Their purview includes our public forests, trails, recreation sites, wilderness areas, and scenic rivers.

The U.S. National Forest Service offers a Visit Destinations search page that allows you to search dispersed camping sites, trails, and other available activities.

The National Forest Service brings the lyrics “this land is your land, this land is my land” to the forefront of your camping experience.

3. National And State Parks

The National Parks Service has an interactive camping map that highlights Camping Opportunities across the country. Each map point connects to an appropriate local park website for all the up-to-the-minute details for that particular park.

Many state parks offer beautiful campsites on or near protected outdoor recreation areas, too. Each state has its own regulations and camping registration requirements that can easily be found with a web search.

4. Army Corps Of Engineers

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers oversees outdoor recreation projects across 43 states. Camping and other opportunities can be sourced by state on their status map.

Brandi instructed, “National and state parks along with the Army Corps of Engineers sites are the best value in the Southeast because they do not offer full hook-ups.” Of course, this means you might not have sewer or cable services at your campsite.

5. Boondockers Welcome

If going totally off the grid seems a little daunting, there are sharing groups where you can park your self-contained RV on a member’s property as their guest. Boondockers Welcome requires a minimal annual fee. This allows you to request a stay on a member’s property for a predetermined number of nights.

Sean likes the idea of these host sharing sites for campers looking to venture away from traditional campgrounds. “The Boondockers Welcome program is a space sharing community. It is a network of wineries, golf courses, and yard sharing. Some participants offer hookups beyond the basic amenities.”

Their interactive search map allows you to explore hosts by area and access to reviews by guests. Some properties are as simple as an overnight spot in the owners’ driveway; others have beautiful lakefront vistas. The possibilities are wide open.

6. Harvest Hosts

Another site sharing group is Harvest Hosts. Their niche stays are focused on wineries, breweries, golf courses, farms, and attractions for self-contained RVers. Harvest Hosts has a 24-hour stay policy and your small annual membership fee covers your stays for the year. They offer two membership plans: the Harvest Hosts Classic, which covers all stays excluding golf courses. The second is the Harvest Hosts + Golf, which is a 50 percent increase but still a great value, particularly if you are a golfer.

Harvest Hosts covers the U.S. and Canada, offering stays at over 750 wineries and breweries, over 370 golf courses, and over 750 other various attractions. Imagine embarking on a cross-country trip that parks you onsite for a round of golf one day and a vineyard view with a wine tasting the next. It takes dry camping to an entirely different level.

7. Blacktop Boondocking

Not at all glamorous, but if you are in a pinch, blacktop boondocking can be a free and easy way to park for the night. Many big box stores like Walmart, Bass Pro Shop, Cabela’s, et cetera allow guests to dry dock overnight in their parking lot. Tents are generally prohibited as are awnings, firepits, lawn chairs, etc. This is a place to get some rest, not set up camp, and the store managers are anticipating you stocking up on provisions at their store.

It is important to note, not all stores welcome overnight guests. RVers are required to speak with the store manager for permission to stay — or risk dealing with a tow truck driver.

8. Kampgrounds Of America

One of the oldest and most trusted camping resources is Kampgrounds Of America (KOA). This is not a free camping program, but it is the premier resource for camping research. Every form of camping, from glamping to tenting, can be found on their extensive campground list. The KOA franchise offers camping options across the U.S. and Canada.

Brandi remarked, “KOA offers online memberships. They tend to be more expensive, but they are about as nice as you will get on the road.”

9. Planning Is Key

Planning your route, desired attractions, daily driving time, and overnight accommodations is key to a successful trip. Many free and nearly free camping opportunities require some advanced planning and reservations.

The Greens have taken several long-haul trips including a 52-day round trip from Georgia to California and a 36-day trip through Canada. Sean said, “We use paper and pencil when we plan. We decide how many miles to drive in a day and what we want to see.” Brandi cautioned, “Plan every third day off and do nothing. It is mentally draining when full-force vacationing or traveling on the road every day.”

Allstays is a camper and trucker research tool that collects reviews and tips on where to stay. The application is sortable by state and town, offering reviews and information about campgrounds, public lands, state parks, and big box stores. There is a modest subscription fee, but the wealth of information available is a good road trip resource.

When you are ready to get out on the road and experience amazing adventures, finding free camping spots requires a small amount of planning. The reward is a unique and fascinating travel experience.

Brandi summed it up best: “I have been camping for over 40 years. I love camping so much I wanted to share the experience with my husband and children. Camping is the best experience you can possibly give them while maximizing your budget.”

Final Tip

If you are planning to rent an RV for a long haul, rent one for a test run first. Driving an RV is a little different than a van. Practicing self-contained dry docking can take time to perfect. You don’t want to be caught unprepared. For more useful tips, consider:

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'I was completely flabbergasted:' A year into pandemic, travelers finding some flight credits are expiring – USA TODAY

‘I was completely flabbergasted:’ A year into pandemic, travelers finding some flight credits are expiring  USA TODAY

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Meghan Markle’s Genius Packing Tip from Finding Freedom

Finding Freedom, the new biography of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, out now from reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, offers insight into the royal couple’s life and work, including their unprecedented decision to step away from their senior positions within the family.

There are plenty of surprising details in the book, but perhaps the most practical revelation is Meghan’s genius packing tip.

Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family

Dey Street Books

When Harry and Meghan traveled to Botswana early on in their relationship, Meghan only brought one backpack.

“Extremely organized, Meghan immediately impressed Harry with her packing skills. She has always taken pride in being a great packer,” write the authors, “going as far as layering dryer sheets in between her clothes to keep them smelling fresh and no matter her destination always bringing tea-tree oil for bites, cuts, and pimples.”

This isn’t the first time Meghan’s sensible travel tips have been shared publicly. Back in her pre-royal days, Meghan posted a few additional travel tips on her now shuttered lifestyle site, The Tig.

When it comes to travel, “the foremost issue is self-care,” she wrote in a 2016 post. “It’s easy to run yourself ragged, hopping from one locale to another, sometimes feeling homesick, and other times just feeling plain-old sick (tummy, head cold, you name it.)”

To combat those issues, Meghan said she always brings a curated collection of in-flight essentials, one of which is hand sanitizer.

“I’m no germophobe, but when I get on a plane I always use some quick hand wipes or a travel sanitizer spray to wipe it all down,” she wrote. “That includes the little TV, the service tray, and all the buttons around your seat.”

Meghan also revealed how she combats jet lag: with a strategy from one of her closest friends, Misha Nonoo.

“My gal pal and designer extraordinaire, Misha Nonoo, once told me that if you eat on the schedule of wherever you’ve landed, you won’t feel jet lagged,” Meghan shared. “By simply eating a meal at the time the locals are when you land, you trick your brain a bit and stay much more on track, and much less cranky.”

Finding Freedom is out now, and available for purchase wherever books are sold.

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RCMP ask for help finding driver in hit-and-run that killed Peguis First Nation man 1 year ago

RCMP are still looking for the driver in a hit-and-run in the Peguis First Nation that killed a 52-year-old father last year. 

Albert Bradley Flett died on Feb. 1, 2020 after he was hit by a vehicle while walking on West Road at about 6 p.m. 

Police believe Flett was hit by an all-terrain vehicle while walking just a short distance behind his friends. 

His friends, who heard the collision but didn’t see it, administered first aid and called 911, but Flett was pronounced dead shortly after, according to an RCMP news release.

RCMP did not release his name at the time of the collision, but identified him in a news release Monday and asked for anyone with information on the incident to come forward. 

“Brad loved to travel and embraced the traditional way of life. He was kind and gentle and would give the shirt off his back if someone else was in need. He was a loving father to his son Philip, and we all miss him dearly,” said Brad’s sister Rose in the RCMP news release. 

RCMP say they have interviewed dozens of people, reviewed video surveillance and followed up on every tip, but have still been unable to identify who was driving the vehicle that struck Flett. 

His sister Rose is holding a memorial walk on Peguis First Nation in his memory. 

“We don’t want Brad to be forgotten and will continue to bring attention to his death until we get answers,” she said. 

“Someone knows something. Please, if you have any information, call police.”

Anyone with information about this incident can call Fisher Branch RCMP at 204- 372-8484, submit a tip anonymously at 1-800-222-8477 or secure tip online at

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Sheriff’s Office seeks help finding runaway 15-year-old

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s assistance in locating a runaway juvenile.

Asia Black, 15, was last seen on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 10:30 a.m. by her caregiver in Clarksville.

Black is 5-foot-11 and 215 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. She is possibly wearing black sweatpants and a white T-shirt with the cartoon characters “Ren and Stimpy” displayed runon the front. Black is believed to be in either the Clarksville or Nashville area.

Black could be traveling with a 20-year-old named Jordan, a Black male, approximately 6-foot-1 and 150 pounds.

Anyone with information on her location is asked to call Investigator Shelby Largent at 931-648-0611, ext. 13418, submit a tip with the MoCoInfo App, or call 911.

You can also call Crime Stoppers at 931-645-8477 or go online and submit a tip anonymously at


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Furious delivery driver takes back customer’s food order after finding £6 tip

A frustrated delivery driver was filmed walking off with her customer’s food after having a heated argument over an $8 (£5.90) tip.

Viral door security camera video shared by Driver Man on YouTube shows the DoorDash driver asking to speak to the customer face-to-face when she delivers the meal to an address in Smithtown, Long Island in New York, the US.

She speaks to the camera: “I don’t think you realise the distance that it’s coming from because then you would never actually have given what you gave. I think you can come and see face to face.

“I drove 40 minutes and it was extremely far and I got it too early.

The customer is heard replying: “No I’m not. I don’t understand.”

Delivery driver
The delivery driver asked the customer to adjust the tip to ‘make it right’ as she stated that she drove 40 minutes to deliver the meal

She continues: “Do you realise how far it is, the restaurant you ordered from is in Commack and you are in Smithtown?”

“That’s a 15, 20-minute drive,” the man answers.

But the driver shakes her head and says: “It’s not. You need to try to drive it, I just drove it, it’s 40 minutes. It’s 12 and a half miles.

“I think you need to adjust your tip to make it right. You gave an $8 tip.”

She left the address with the food when the customer refused to pay more for the tip
She left the address with the food when the customer refused to pay more for the tip

He quickly pushes back and justifies it by saying: “What the hell are you looking for? I gave an $8 tip!”

The conservation ended as the woman said to take the food back to the restaurant and stormed off the driveway.

His clip stirred a discussion online and some viewers pointed out the average time travel between the two towns is no more than 15 minutes.

One said: “Wasn’t expecting to hear the name of the town I live in mentioned in this. Commack is literally the next town over from Smithtown and is in no way, shape, or form a 40-minute drive even in the worst of traffic.

“Maybe if you’re travelling by rickshaw, but certainly not by car. It’s 15 minutes TOPS.”

A DoorDash spokesperson said: “We take the safety of our community extremely seriously, and such inappropriate behaviour is never tolerated on the DoorDash platform.

“Any behaviour that violates this zero-tolerance policy is grounds for deactivation, and the Dasher involved has been removed from our platform.

“We have been in touch with the customer to offer support, and sincerely regret that this incident fell short of the experience we strive to provide every day.”

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