Bill creating statewide Hawaii travel policy dies in House


House Speaker Scott Saiki has requested to kill a bill that he introduced that would have mandated state-wide travel rules, saying COVID-19 conditions have since changed.

Saiki said he asked House Finance Chairwoman Sylvia Luke to defer action on Senate Bill 266 when it goes before her committee today.

SB 266 would create a statewide “Safe Travels” policy, reversing what Saiki called Gov. David Ige’s “county-by-county approach to decision making.”

The bill is no longer necessary since Kauai has asked to be part of the state’s Safe Travels program and COVID-19 vaccines are more readily available, Saiki said.

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Biden could visit storm-ravaged Texas ‘as soon as this week,’ White House says

President Biden could travel to Texas “as soon as this week” to review the damage from the devastating power outages and freezing temperatures there, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Sunday.

Psaki said the president has been getting constant updates from his Federal Emergency Management Agency chief and is “eager” to show his support for the Lone Star State.


“But he’s also very mindful of the fact that it’s not a light footprint for a president to travel to a disaster area. He does not want to take away resources or attention,” Psaki said on ABC News’ “This Week.”

“And we’re going to do that at an appropriate time in coordination with people on the ground. Could be as soon as this week,” she said.

Biden signed a major disaster declaration on Saturday that unlocked federal funds for residents of weather-ravaged Texas.

But ABC’s Jon Karl noted that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott characterized the aid as a “partial” solution because it only included 77 of the state’s 254 counties and that Abbott wanted the assistance to cover all of Texas.

Karl asked Psaki about the issue.

“What happens here is the governor requested a federal disaster declaration. The president asked his team to expedite that,” the spokeswoman said. “And FEMA determined where the counties should be — where it should focus the immediate resources, where the counties that are hardest hit so that they can make sure they get to the people in most need.”

Psaki said the federal aid was intended not only to take care of the emergency but also to continue through the recovery.

“People who don’t have water, don’t have heating, need a place to stay for a while, that’s what that major disaster declaration will help address, or that’s our hope,” she said.


A recent winter storm that brought freezing temperatures and snow and ice to Texas was compounded by widespread electric outages after the state’s power grid failed, leaving thousands without heat and water and causing billions of dollars in damages.

At least 70 people died in the south because of the storms, with the majority of the deaths happening in Texas.

To read more from The New York Post, click here.

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Travel Leaders React To White House Meeting With Airlines

Travel leaders say they support all efforts to rid the world of the coronavirus pandemic – except for a mandate that would require airline passengers to present a negative COVID-19 test before flying.

The CEOs of American, United, Southwest, Alaska and JetBlue airlines met with White House officials on Friday in a virtual meeting to discuss the proposal, and all of them – as well as key industry figures – say such a mandate would do more harm than good for U.S. carriers.


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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

“We had a very positive, constructive conversation focused on our shared commitment to science-based policies as we work together to end the pandemic, restore air travel and lead our nation toward recovery,” Nick Calio, head of the trade group Airlines for America, said in a statement.

The meeting was arranged after Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that such a testing requirement was under consideration.

The Southwest Airlines pilots’ union said a testing mandate “would decimate domestic air travel demand, put aviation jobs at risk, and create serious unintended consequences.”

U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said the high cost and low availability of testing make a domestic testing mandate a challenging concept to put into practice.

“Based on January 2021 data, a testing requirement for domestic air travel would necessitate a 42 percent increase in daily testing capacity nationwide—a substantial use of testing resources when air travel has already been shown to be safer than many other routine activities,” Dow said. “The recent implementation of a mask mandate adds another enforceable layer of health and safety protection to the travel process. Scientific studies have shown that air travel can be safe as long as everyone carefully follows best health practices—wear a mask, practice physical distancing whenever possible, wash hands frequently and stay home if you are sick. We are also encouraging Americans to get the COVID vaccine as soon as it is available to them. These are the messages the travel industry has emphasized as part of our firm commitment to a layered approach to healthy and safe travel, and we will continue to do so.”

The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) sent a letter to Centers for Disease Control Director Rochelle Walensky asking the agency to “immediately issue guidance to the traveling public. The CDC’s numerous orders intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) have created confusion, uncertainty and unpredictability, a chilling effect on future bookings and innumerable other challenges for our travel agency members.”

Jenny Cagle, owner of Elm Grove Travel in Elm Grove, Wisc., also said she believes there is no need for a mandate.

“I am hopeful that this administration has heard the very well-articulated concerns of the travel industry and will choose to navigate the pandemic without a domestic travel mandate.”

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White House warns immigrants against travel as new Border Patrol numbers show arrivals are edging upwards

A controversial immigration policy left over from the Trump presidency has resulted in immigrants being quickly removed from the U.S. more than 450,000 times since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, and the White House is warning migrants that they should not travel to the U.S.

And the number of migrant families caught at the southern border rose to 7,260 in January from an average of about 4,500 in the first three months of this fiscal year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported on Wednesday night.

Both figures highlight the policy dilemma now before the Biden administration as it tries to reverse some of the measures made by the Trump administration. If the Biden team changes policies too quickly, it could result in a fresh spike of desperate immigrants and asylum-seekers like 2019.

“Now is not the time to come,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a Wednesday news conference. “The vast majority of people will be turned away. Asylum processes at the border will not occur immediately.”

For now, migrants seeking asylum will still face the same hurdles put in place by the Trump administration. About 28,000 were waiting in Mexico for their day in immigration court under former President Donald Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols, commonly known as Remain in Mexico. In Matamoros, across from Brownsville, about 1,000 asylum seekers have lived there for months, some for more than a year in a squalid tent camp.

Rapid expulsions

Under Title 42, the removals are known as expulsions and aren’t considered deportations, which would allow an immigrant to make a case to stay in the U.S. before an immigration judge. The Trump administration said the emergency measures were needed to protect the health of U.S. citizens and of the migrants who couldn’t be socially distanced in the tight confines of Border Patrol holding areas.

At the ACLU, which sued the Trump administration numerous times over its policies, attorney Lee Gelernt urged the Biden administration to make a strong pivot against rapid returns.

“While we recognize that the Biden administration has been saddled with a lot of bad policy and structural problems, it cannot continue the Trump administration practice of turning away people in danger based on illegal policies, such as the notorious and pretextual Title 42 policy.”

Critics of Title 42 have noted that while unauthorized immigrants and asylum seekers are being routinely rounded up and expelled at the border under Title 42, an emergency pandemic order named for its place in the federal code, routine trade and medical traffic has continued at U.S,-Mexico checkpoints.

Medical and human rights groups have pushed back hard on the targeted use of the measures and say people can be screened for COVID-19 like others who move across the border.

They also say Title 42′s use end-runs the due process of the U.S. immigration court system. And many people expelled by Title 42 are also believed to be immediately attempting new crossings into the U.S.

“It really shows the urgency of doing away with the policies Trump left behind and the difficulty of setting up the infrastructure for the migrants,” said Adam Isacson, a security analyst at the Washington Office on Latin America.

Infrastructure would include creating adequate processing facilities for CBP, staffing up to do the processing, and expanding COVID testing, he said.

Migrant families

Although Title 42 has led to the rapid expulsion of most immigrants and asylum seekers, a small increase has been reported in the number of migrant families that are being allowed into the U.S.

Isacson has kept a steady watch on migrant families arriving along the border, traveling through Mexico toward the U.S. The number of individuals in migrant families — 7,260 in January 2021 — is far lower than in 2019 when 10,000 were coming in a week. “If they say they have gotten hundreds in the last week, that’s not that much,” Isacson said.

Overall, January showed an increase of 6 percent over the previous month when Title 42 expulsions and regular apprehensions were combined.

Advocates and authorities are concerned about the rising numbers.

This week in Donna, near McAllen, a climate-controlled tent camp was reopened by CBP for immigrant families. The temporary tent camp expands processing capacity in the Rio Grande Valley, the busiest region for the U.S. Border Patrol.

Shelters and nonprofits in the Rio Grande Valley have seen a small increase in the number of migrant families released into the area. In Brownsville, for example, two nonprofits greet about 50 persons daily, bringing them hygiene kits and meals, after they are dropped off at a bus station there.

Nonprofits along migrant trails from Honduras to U.S. say shelters are filling up again as asylum seekers and immigrants head north because economies are suffering due to the pandemic, people are still feeling the effects of two recent hurricanes, and the new Biden administration has given them new hope that they would be welcomed in the U.S.

At the Good Neighbor Settlement House in Brownsville, staff is bracing to help more desperate families — a task complicated because of the pandemic. In the past, immigrant families were allowed to bathe and eat at their nonprofit. No longer.

“When we started noticing that McAllen got the first 150 persons [in families] we knew we had to be prepared,” said Belinda Bradford, the assistant director at the Good Neighbor Settlement House. Sighing, Bradford said migration is “unhealthy. It is causing a lot of trauma to children.”

The election of a new president friendlier to immigrants sparked a journey north for Gustavo Sanchez, the father of five young children. He left his central Mexican state of Guanajuato late last year for a job making bleachers in North Texas. He never made it. He was deported through Laredo last week and expelled into a cartel-controlled area of northern Mexico.

He told his wife not to wire him money to get home because of cartel lookouts. Instead, he hitchhiked some 500 miles south.

Now, Sanchez would just like to get back his Mexican identification card and $200 in pesos he had with him when he was caught, he said by phone Wednesday.

“When I left [Texas immigration officials] said they didn’t have them, and said they sent them to Mexico,” Sanchez said.

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Google Maps Street View: Woman’s shock at house toilet paper prank captured in photo | Travel News

Google Maps Street View sees the tech big’s automobiles monitor the globe taking 360-degree pictures. This means Street View usually shares a captivating perception into folks’s lives. Sometimes Google Maps captures joyous scenes however, on different events, it snaps distressing ones.

The house seems to have been subjected to an assault.

Reams of toilet paper are strewn concerning the backyard.

The white litter lies on the grass, throughout the drive and is even up in the bushes.

It will also be seen on the automobile parked in entrance of the house.


If one appears carefully, a lady will be seen standing in entrance of an open storage door.

It would appear she is the resident in the midst of discovering what has occurred to her property.

Wearing a blue outfit and a visor, she stares out at the surprising scene in entrance of her.

No clarification is given for the toilet paper eruption.

One thought youths have been in charge and slammed the act.

“I really hope the kids who did this have seen this,” one individual commented.

“Ug whatamess!” one other wrote.

“Looks like it was done, then it rained, and that tp in the trees will be there awhile lol!”



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‘House Floats’ And Insider Tips From A Former New Orleans Carnival Queen

I recently talked about Mardi Gras with Millie Ball, former travel editor of the Times-Picayune. She’s also a former Carnival queen (and, for real, the only one in New Orleans history to marry her king!).

Lea: This year Mardi Gras is February 16. With the pandemic still going on, how New Orleans is dealing with it?

Millie: There will be no parades this year because of Covid. New Orleanians are resilient though, and there still will be Mardi Gras cocktails and king cakes. And people are decorating the fronts of their houses to resemble floats! Some have even have hired float designers. There are official maps. and websites like the Krewe of House Floats. It sounds like an idea that will stick, even after the pandemic.

Tell me about a typical Mardi Gras celebration.

Well, Carnival, with a capital C lasts from the 12th night after Christmas (January 6) through Mardi Gras, 40 days before Easter. Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday,” the last bash before Lent begins the next day, Ash Wednesday. Carnival parades start two weekends before Mardi Gras.

Most New Orleanians are fluent in Carnival-speak. For example, a cousin would tell me, “I’m riding Chaos, fourth float, second position, neutral ground side.”


He’s a member of a men’s krewe, a private club called Chaos, sponsoring a parade and/or ball, and will be the second masked or costumed person on the fourth float, left side if you’re walking in the same direction as it “rolls” (another word) through the street. If he were on the right, he would say he’s on the “sidewalk side.”

New Orleanians call all street medians “neutral grounds.” Streetcars run on the neutral ground of St. Charles Avenue, which is part of the traditional route of Carnival parades. We always refer to the left side of the float as the neutral ground side even on streets where there is none.

I think I got that. What about getting throws from floats?

“Throws,” are the generic name for the beads, stuffed animals, toys, doubloons, plastic cups and whatever is big that Carnival season that members buy to pitch to the crowds, called “revelers.” Friends and family members tell you where they’re riding in a parade so you’ll know when and where to scream their names, your arms outstretched to snap them up.

Can’t they just give them to you in advance?

That’s no fun. Someone could have given the “throws” before the parade, but it only really counts if you catch it at a parade. If “riders” or costumed “maskers” on a Carnival float, want to let a friend know which float they’re on, they’ll give the details so that friends can scream their names and the maskers will throw them all sorts of stuff.

There are a few exceptions to advance gifting — coveted throws like decorated coconuts from the Zulu krewe, creative purses from Nyx and glitter-covered shoes from Muses.

Where’s the best spot to see the parade?

I like watching parades along St. Charles Avenue near Napoleon Avenue. But many pack Canal Street, and afterward the French Quarter.

Regarding the pandemic and the house floats, New Orleans seems to take hits and build back better, to borrow a phrase.

Yes, New Orleans was hit by a fire in 1788 that flattened 80% of the French Quarter. A yellow fever epidemic in 1853 killed 8,600, and 41,000 more between 1817 and 1905. And of course there have been multiple hurricanes.

On Aug. 29, 2005, levees broke under the weight of Hurricane Katrina and flooded New Orleans for miles between Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River. The disaster killed about 1,500 people in Louisiana. Some in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere said our city shouldn’t be rebuilt. Parts of the city are below sea level, and they deemed it doomed.

But New Orleans came back.

New Orleanians don’t quit. Three months after Katrina, Ricky Graham, a popular playwright-actor, opened “I’m Still Here, Me!” The show ran a year. Audiences cheered when he walked onstage wearing a hat shaped like a roof covered by a blue tarp. Now he has a socially-distanced Mardi-Gras musical comedy called “And the Ball and All.

What about other New Orleans festivals going on?

Come anytime, and you’ll find a festival; there usually are 135 annually. The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is the most revered — and crowded.

Richard Campanella, who has authored 11 books about New Orleans and Louisiana, said for better or worse, Bourbon Street has exported a vision of New Orleans culture around the world.

He compares Bourbon Street to Mardi Gras — “Both are spontaneous, bottom-up phenomena, without organizational element ….We’re a place that celebrates pleasure and turns a blind eye.”

So fun all year, even in a pandemic?

Yes. Frenchmen Street is where to go for local music. Many of the clubs have been closed during pandemic. But we still wave white handkerchiefs in celebration, whether it’s at a concert by New Orleans’ “Queen of Soul” Irma Thomas, a winning Saints game, or as part of a second line, which refers to anyone marching or dancing behind the first line of family or members of an organization and musicians playing as they walk. The tradition started with funerals of African Americans. We’re just masked and more careful.

The French Quarter is the year-round center of celebration, yes?

Sooner or later everyone ends up in the French Quarter, walking on replacements of those streets laid out by slaves and convicts. A riverfront park is underway, and when finished it will be walkable from Bywater to Canal Street. One of the longest riverfront parks in the country.

But let me give you a real insider tip. If a stranger approaches you on the Moon Walk (named for former Mayor Moon Landrieu) beside the Mississippi River in the French Quarter, and says, “I’ll bet you $5 I can tell you where you got your shoes,” just call his bluff. Tell him, “I got my shoes on my feet.” And walk away with $5 still in your pocket, and a smile.

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Trump Departs White House for Final Time as President, Will Travel to Florida Instead of Biden's Inauguration – U.S. News & World Report

Trump Departs White House for Final Time as President, Will Travel to Florida Instead of Biden’s Inauguration  U.S. News & World Report

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