A new Hawaii tourism chief steps in at a critical time for the Aloha State: Travel Weekly

John De Fries took the reins of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) one month, almost to the day, before this week’s planned launch of a pretravel program that is crucial to the state’s tourism reboot.

“It’s a vertical learning curve,” De Fries said. “Not only for me, frankly, but for the entire industry.”

The program, which would enable visitors to bypass a strict 14-day quarantine if they test negative for coronavirus within 72 hours of arrival, would be the state’s first major step toward reviving its economy. Among U.S. states, only Nevada is more dependent on tourism, but Hawaii’s isolation has become a factor, as well. Nevada’s biggest feeder market is the California drive market, but the Islands depend on long-haul flights to deliver visitors.

De Fries, the first Native Hawaiian to be named CEO of the HTA, grew up in Waikiki and was previously director of the Native Hawaiian

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World’s third-largest Joshua tree found in southern Nevada; conservationists push for protection

In a land of twisted limbs and giant Dr. Seuss-like branches reaching toward the sky, it stood out among the others.  

a cactus in a field: Nevada's largest Joshua tree has been measured in southern Clark County.

© Courtesy Alan O’Neill
Nevada’s largest Joshua tree has been measured in southern Clark County.

A group of conservationists were driving through a remote section of the proposed Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in southern Nevada when someone in the car called out “Stop!”, said Alan O’Neill, one of the conservationists. “We were wondering what he wanted to stop for, and he said, ‘Look at that huge tree, it’s really a huge tree.’”

Standing before them was a 24-foot tall Joshua tree. It wasn’t the tallest they had ever seen, but its trunk was wide, and its branches stretched wider than the tree was high.

“We marveled at it, and I got to thinking this could be the largest one (Joshua tree) in the monument and possibly in the

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Chicago residents urged not to travel to Indiana amid surge in coronavirus cases

CHICAGO — Indiana hasn’t made Chicago’s quarantine list yet, but officials from the Windy City are urging residents not to travel to the Hoosier State, citing rising COVID-19 numbers.

The city updated its emergency travel order last week. Indiana was added to the warning category:

Indiana is seeing a daily case average of over 15 cases/100k/day. To allow residents enough time to plan travel to this border state, it has been added to a warning list. If Indiana is unable to bring down the daily case average in the next week, they will be added to the quarantine list. Chicago residents are strongly advised to not travel to Indiana.

The city said Indiana would be added to the quarantine list if cases continue to rise. As noted, Chicago residents are “strongly advised” not to travel to Indiana.

The full quarantine list includes Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota,

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International student enrollment down at UNLV, UNR

After learning she’d lose her government job in Wales due to COVID-19-related budget issues, 32-year-old Lorna Griffiths decided to realize her dream of studying abroad and pursuing a career change to become a nurse.

But amid the pandemic, making that happen wasn’t easy. Griffiths traveled to Iceland to get a student visa in time for fall semester. And despite having the correct paperwork in hand, she was stressed while traveling to the U.S. and was worried she’d be turned away.

But now she’s in Las Vegas and is enrolled in her first semester of classes at the College of Southern Nevada.

“I always wanted to actually study abroad somewhere and it came down to a choice between Australia and the United States,” Griffiths said, adding she’s happy to be in the U.S.

In Nevada and nationwide, many colleges and universities are seeing fewer international students this fall due to factors

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Wa She Shu Travel Plaza celebrates first anniversary

People were hanging out outside for the grand opening of the Wa She Shu Travel Plaza.
Aurora Sain |

The Washoe Tribe is a federally recognized Indian tribe located in Gardnerville, Nevada, situated about 20 miles south of Lake Tahoe, organized pursuant to the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. The Tribe is composed of nearly 1,500 enrolled members, and has four reservations: Stewart, Carson Colony, Hung A Lel Ti Community, and Dresslerville Community.

The Washoe Tribal government is composed of the supreme governing body known as the Washoe Tribal Council made up of twelve (12) members, including a Tribal Chairman. The Washoe Tribal Council current elected officers is Chairman Neil Mortimer; Vice-Chairwoman Deirdre Jones Flood; Secretary-Treasurer Jeremy Steele; and additional Councilmembers: Jacqueline Steele, Stan Smokey, Irvin Jim, Rueben Vasquez, Willie Smokey, Chad Malone, Gary Nevers, Mahlon Machado, and Lorraine Keller. Beginning in 2014, the Tribal Council began the process of

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“The Longest Walk” American Indian Movement makes a stop in Nevada

From the words of an Ojibwa man, it’s human to be addicted to all kinds of things, such as money, jobs—something.

But sometimes, those addictions can cause major issues and are in need of spiritual assistance, especially when it comes to domestic violence and drug abuse.

That insight comes from Ray Muckuk of Ontario, Canada, whom is walking across the United States with a group of 40 to help spread awareness, and educate the public about the dangers of substance abuse and domestic violence.

It’s otherwise known as “The Longest Walk.”

“We want to encourage everyone they can get through addictions, too,” he said. “I’m a recovering addict going on 10 years of sobriety. I went back to school, graduated, and now I’m giving back.”

American Indian activists and supporters have done these walks for the last 39 years. Each year, they pick a section of the country to travel

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Unusual gems lurk in Colorado Springs architectural landscape | Lifestyle

Slow down and look around as you travel the streets of our fair city.

For there are hidden architectural gems to be found in the Pikes Peak region. Have you really looked at the exterior of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum on Tejon Street as you hurry past?

The magnificent building, built in 1903 as the El Paso County courthouse, sports keystones of American Indian faces, angelic figures and leaves and ferns carved into the building.

This and other spots, mostly around downtown, are remnants of our past. And like some wise person said, you have to know the past to understand the present.

“Colorado Springs had to think about and use architecture you might not see in a typical Western town to create a sense of place,” says Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum Director Matt Mayberry.

“We did use architecture as a community-building device. It was part of who we

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Latest COVID-19 numbers for Memphis and the Mid-South; 862 new cases & 6 new deaths in Mississippi

Local 24 News continues to track the latest COVID-19 numbers in Memphis and the Mid-South.  On this page you will find case information for Shelby County, as well as the state’s of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas. 

A closer look at COVID-19 numbers for Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020



Refresh often for new information.


862 new cases & 6 new deaths in Mississippi; 57 new cases & 2 new deaths in DeSoto County

10:45 a.m. – The Mississippi State Department of Health reports 862 new COVID-19 cases and 6 new deaths, for a total of 103,681 cases and 3,080 deaths in the state.

Desoto County has a total of 6,076 cases and 74 deaths in the county.

Find the full breakdown from the Mississippi State Department of Health HERE.

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University of Nevada, Reno canceling in-person classes after Thanksgiving

University of Nevada, Reno President Brian Sandoval sent a University-wide message to students, faculty and staff Oct. 9, announcing additional coronavirus mitigation efforts concerning fall break and spring break.

“COVID-19 remains a significant challenge, not only for our institution but for our community, the state of Nevada and our country,” President Sandoval said. “I write today to share our plan forward, which is essential in order to safeguard the health of everyone associated with our University.”


In the past few weeks, 1 in 9 active positive cases in Washoe County were associated with our University community, and the 18-24 age range continues to be the highest range of new cases. Washoe County is one of only two counties flagged for elevated disease transmission in Nevada.

As of Oct. 5, the COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 over the last 30 days in Washoe County is highest in the

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Rising coronavirus cases in El Paso County could impact business reopenings

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated after initial publication to include information about Gov. Greg Abbott permitting bars to reopen and remarks from city and county leaders. 

El Paso nurse talks about new normal during the coronavirus pandemic



When Gov. Greg Abbott relaxed how many people can dine at restaurants and occupy other businesses in El Paso and across Texas, there was a condition: Coronavirus hospitalizations must stay low. 

Abbott let restaurants, retail stores, office buildings, manufacturing facilities, gyms, museums and libraries increase their capacity from 50% to 75% on Sept. 21.

On Wednesday, Abbott said other businesses limited to 50% capacity, such as movie theaters and bowling alleys, could expand capacity to 75% on Oct. 14. He also permitted bars in the state to open at up to 50% capacity with county judge approval.

But the order only applies to regions without

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