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NY launches $2.5M competition for canal improvement ideas

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 12:56:28 UT

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is launching an effort to improve the New York State Canal System by holding a competition that will award up to $2.5 million to entrants who come up with the best ideas. The Democrat made the announcement Monday as the World Canals Conference got underway in Syracuse. Cuomo says the contest will be a global competition to find the best ways to re-imagine the 524-mile canal system whose main component is the Erie Canal. He says the state is looking for "bold and innovative ideas" that will boost the development and tourism potential of the waterway and neighboring communities. The competition will be run by the New York Power Authority and state Canal Corp.

Diwali festivals grow in US, from Disney to Times Square

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 12:37:39 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — The holiday of Diwali is starting to light up mainstream America. Diwali, a festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others in India and other countries, has long been observed in immigrant communities around the U.S. But now public celebrations of the holiday are starting to pop up in places ranging from Disneyland and Times Square to parks and museums. The Times Square event is the brainchild of Neeta Bhasin, who says that while many Indian immigrants have found great success in the U.S., "still people don't know much about India. I felt it's about time that we should take India to mainstream America and showcase India's rich culture, heritage, arts and diversity to the world.

Correction: Early US Landscape Photographs story

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 22:44:29 UT

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — In a story Sept. 23 about early U.S. landscape photos to be shown in New Orleans, The Associated Press misspelled National Gallery of Art curator Diane Waggoner's name. Her surname is spelled with one "n," not two. The date of the oldest photo was also incorrect. The year should be 1839, not 1939. A corrected version of the story is below: Some of earliest US landscape photos coming to New Orleans Some of the oldest daguerreotypes and photographs of U.S. landscapes are about to go on display in New Orleans, as part of the first exhibit and study of such landscapes made east of the Mississippi River By JANET McCONNAUGHEY Associated Press NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Some of the oldest daguerreotypes and photographs of U.S.

No more flying with reindeer: Unique Alaska planes to retire

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 19:58:39 UT

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Claire Richardson remembers taking off in an airplane uniquely configured for Alaska when a horrible smell seeped into the passenger area. The captain soon came on the speaker to apologize for the odor, which was coming from 70 skittish baby reindeer headed for Texas. "Guess they all pooped as we lifted off from the runway," said Richardson, a Jesuit volunteer at a Nome radio station during the 1980s flight who is now chief of staff for Alaska Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott. Those days will be coming to a close as the special plane that hauls people, goods and even animals on the same flight is taken out of service in a state with few roads.

Irma recovery: Florida Keys will open to visitors Oct. 1

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 16:36:47 UT

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — Florida Keys officials say the island chain hit hard by Hurricane Irma will reopen to tourists Oct. 1. Officials made their announcement Monday, more than two weeks after the Category 4 storm made landfall in the Florida Keys. The storm destroyed an estimated 25 percent of homes on the islands. Florida Keys officials asked visitors to postpone their trips after the storm damaged power and water supplies. Florida Keys spokesman Andy Newman said power and water service is now restored to customers that can receive them and a boil water notice has been lifted. The Key West and Marathon airports have reopened, but debris removal continues and some hotels and tourist facilities are still recovering.

Busy US-Mexico border crossing reopens ahead of schedule

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 16:04:32 UT

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The busiest border crossing in the United States reopened ahead of schedule Monday after a weekend shutdown for work on a $741 million expansion project. Traffic began flowing again just after midnight on southbound Interstate 5 and connecting freeways at the San Ysidro Port of Entry connecting San Diego to Tijuana, said California Department of Transportation spokeswoman Caridad Sanchez. The crossing shut down at 3 a.m. Saturday and the closure had been scheduled to last until noon on Monday. The expansion was believed to be the largest renovation of a crossing along the nearly 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) U.S.-Mexico border. It has been in the works for years to ease congestion and boost cross-border commerce.

Air Force 1 replica takes visitors inside presidential 747

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 16:02:51 UT

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (AP) — The image is among the most indelible of any American presidency: The commander-in-chief and first lady emerging with a wave from Air Force One. Now, people outside the first family have a chance to recreate that shot, and get a behind-the-scenes peek at the world's most famous Boeing 747. A new Air Force One replica, currently on display in Rhode Island until the end of October and headed next to New York, meticulously recreates many of the details inside the aircraft. The Air Force One Experience is the brainchild of Ari Scharf, who says he hopes to inspire an appreciation for democracy, the right to vote and the United States. "This is a great asset to let kids know America belongs to them.

Stealthy, scarce and spectacular: Viewing tigers in India

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 13:45:07 UT

Going on safari to India to photograph tigers in the wild is an unrivaled experience. These are the world's largest cats. They are stealthy, solitary, spectacular and scarce. But sighting one in its natural habitat is never a sure thing. "All wildlife viewing is opportunistic and needs a certain amount of luck," said Toby Sinclair, an expedition leader with Natural Habitat Adventures in Delhi. Here are some things to know when considering a tiger safari. WHEN TO GO You can tilt the odds in your favor by arriving when the escalating heat of late spring drives tigers from the thick jungle scrub to more visible waterholes.

Public invited to vote on Main Street preservation projects

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 12:51:34 UT

A preservation group is inviting the public to vote on projects to improve Main Streets around the U.S. Twenty-five cities from Seattle to Miami are vying for funding to preserve or improve theaters, parks, landmarks and other venues in downtowns, historic neighborhoods and cultural districts. One proposal would create a park for vintage neon signs in Casa Grande, Arizona. Another would preserve the Formosa Cafe on Route 66 in West Hollywood, California. Several cities seek funding to preserve historic theaters, like the Woodward Theater in Cincinnati and the Yale Theatre in Oklahoma City.

Airbnb launches local tours in NYC with Sarah Jessica Parker

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 12:49:46 UT

Airbnb is launching local tours and other experiences in New York City this week, with one listing promising "an unforgettable shoe-shopping experience" led by a New Yorker whose bio describes her as "an actor, producer, businesswoman ... and a proud New Yorker." That host is Sarah Jessica Parker. Each participant will get a pair of shoes from her SJP Collection at Bloomingdale's, with a stop at the department store's Forty Carrots cafe for frozen yogurt before the guests head off to the ballet. The listing for Parker's Oct. 6 experience will go live Tuesday morning, with four spaces bookable at $400 each, first come, first served. The money will go to the New York City Ballet, where Parker is a board member.

Q&A: Rumbling Bali volcano looms over tourist paradise

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 07:13:13 UT

BALI, Indonesia (AP) — Mount Agung on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali is threatening to erupt after more than half a century of quiet. Here's what you need to know. ___ IS BALI STILL SAFE FOR TOURISTS? Seismic activity from the volcano has escalated dramatically in the past two weeks but officials say there is no reason for tourists to panic and the island famous for its surfing, beaches and elegant Hindu culture is still safe to visit. Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport has been operating normally since the alert status for Mount Agung was raised to the highest level on Friday but a significant eruption would force its closure and strand thousands. Nearly 5 million tourists visited Bali last year.

Berliners back call for city's Tegel Airport to stay open

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 02:30:45 UT

BERLIN (AP) — Voters in the German capital have backed a proposal to keep operating Berlin's Tegel Airport even after the city's much-delayed big international airport opens, officials said Monday. With 2,436 out of 2,439 voting districts in Sunday's referendum counted, officials said a majority of 56.1 percent voted in favor of keeping the airport in the northwest of Berlin open. Some 41.7 percent rejected the proposal, with the remainder of the votes being invalid. Tegel was meant to be closed six months after Berlin's new airport began service. But the opening of the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport, or BER, south of the capital has been delayed repeatedly since 2011 due to technical problems.