Queensland travel agent warns of staff shortages as quarantine-free travel opens


A veteran Queensland travel agent is warning of a looming “supply crunch” as agents struggle to meet the demand from the high number of people planning an overseas holiday.

From 1am today, quarantine-free international travel into Queensland for fully vaccinated people resumed.

Travellers will not have to quarantine, provided they are fully vaccinated and have a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test (RAT) result within 24 hours of entering the country.

The principal of Main Beach Travel on the Gold Coast, Mike Dwyer, said one in three travel agencies had closed since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020.

“We’re already struggling to service existing demand which is really just the tip of the iceberg.”

The industry veteran said people who wanted to travel overseas needed to start thinking about it sooner rather than later. 

“About half of our incoming calls are from travellers who are stranded overseas needing help to reorganise their flights home,” Mr Dwyer said.  

Great haired man wearing a white shirt and black jacket.
Mike Dwyer is concerned there’s a looming shortage of agents to service overseas travellers.(Supplied: Mike Dwyer)

“I am really concerned about our industry and the lack of travel agencies and the lack of support for the industry.

“As the demand ramps up, we are going to hit a supply crunch, because there’s not enough agents to help people make their plans.” 

Mr Dwyer opened his business in 2000 and said his focus is on servicing outbound travellers.

“Aussies have always been great travellers and many people have had their plans cancelled over the last two years.

“There’s lots of people with family in Europe who they haven’t seen for two years.”

The travel business owner said quarantine-free travel would now give more people the confidence to book a holiday.

a closed travel agency displays closed signs on its doors
Mr Dwyer says one in three agencies closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.(AAP: Mick Tsikas)

“One of the biggest impediments for travelling overseas has been the fear of coming home and quarantining for two weeks,” he said.

“Removing that restriction makes it a lot better for people wanting to get overseas.

“I think people have lost faith in the consistency of the rules so there will be a lot of nervousness still.”

Logistical challenges

Mr Dwyer said COVID-related challenges meant more people were choosing to book through a travel agent rather than handle the bookings themselves.

“Every country has its own set of rules and regulations.

“On top of that, the airlines have specific requirements about being tested either 24 or 48 hours before a flight.”

Passangers wearing face masks exit an airport tunnel
Chris Mills says it could take months for airlines to restore international connections. (AAP: James Ross)

Inbound travel 

When it comes to inbound travel, the chief executive of Queensland Airports, Chris Mills, said he was expecting a trickle, and not a flood, of international travellers to arrive in tourist destinations including the Gold Coast.

“What we’re expecting [is] from February onwards; we’re working with the airlines to get them back on restoring connections with countries that are in pretty good shape.”

Mr Mills said countries including New Zealand, Singapore, Japan and South Korea would be prioritised.  



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Men’s Basketball Heads To Rhode Island Wednesday


Saint Joseph’s (7-6, 1-1 A-10) at Rhode Island (9-4, 0-1 A-10)
Wednesday, January 12 | 7:00 p.m. | Ryan Center
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Listen Live | Live Stats

GAMEDAY LINKS
Saint Joseph’s: Roster | Schedule | Stats
Rhode Island: Roster | Schedule | Stats

THE TIP-OFF

• Saint Joseph’s returns to the road as the Hawks travel to Rhode Island on Wednesday for the first of two meetings this season with the Rams.

• The Hawks and Rhode Island cap the regular season with an afternoon matchup at Hagan Arena on March 5.

• The last time out, the Hawks fell to Davidson, as the Wildcats pulled away for an 88-73 decision last Wednesday.

Dahmir Bishop is coming off a 17-point performance versus Davidson.

• Bishop finished three points shy of his career-high (20 points) as he went 6-of-12 from the field, including 3-of-6 from distance, to go with six rebounds.

Jack Forrest went 5-of-7 from the floor, and 3-of-4 from three-point range, for a season-high 13 points against Davidson.

Jordan Hall added 16 points, six assists and four rebounds last Wednesday.

• Hall currently ranks third in the A-10, and ninth nationally, in assists per game (6.5).

• Saint Joseph’s 32 bench points against the Wildcats were a season-high.

• St. Joe’s was scheduled to play at George Mason this past Saturday, but the game was postponed due to health and safety protocols affecting the Patriots.

THE MATCHUP
Series vs. Rhode Island: Saint Joseph’s leads 56-34
First Meeting: 12/1/51, Saint Joseph’s, 66-61
Last Meeting: 1/3/21, Rhode Island, 85-77 OT
Coach Lange All-Time vs. Rhode Island: 0-3

SAINT JOSEPH’S VERSUS RHODE ISLAND

• Wednesday marks the 91st meeting between Saint Joseph’s and Rhode Island, with the Hawks holding a 56-34 edge in the all-time series.

• Last year, the Hawks and Rams met in an overtime thriller in which Rhode Island prevailed, 85-77.

Taylor Funk finished with 29 points and Cameron Brown had a season-high 21 points at Rhode Island a season ago.

• The Hawks enter Wednesday with a 23-20 record versus the Rams in Rhode Island.

• Saint Joseph’s 56 victories over Rhode Island rank third-most against any opponent, trailing only La Salle (72) and Temple (70) .

HAWKS ADD GREER III

Saint Joseph’s head coach Billy Lange announced on Monday that Lynn Greer III has enrolled on Hawk Hill for the spring 2022 semester. A four-year starter at Roman Catholic High School, Greer III returns to Philadelphia after transferring to Saint Joseph’s from Dayton. While with the Flyers, the 6-foot-3 guard averaged 2.7 points, 1.4 rebounds and 9.0 minutes per game over 10 contests.  A three-time First Team All-Catholic honoree, Greer III led the Cahillites to two Catholic League titles and a PIAA Class 4A championship. Averaging 5.0 assists per game for his career, he finished eighth all-time in scoring at Roman with 1,392 career points. The son of Temple’s second all-time leading scorer and Big 5 Hall of Famer Lynn Greer, Jr., and grandson of Virginia State Hall of Famer Lynn Greer, Sr., Greer III spent a post-graduate year at nationally-ranked IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, before attending Dayton.

NEXT UP

The Hawks return home to host La Salle on Monday, January 17 as part of a Martin Luther King Day doubleheader with the St. Joe’s women’s basketball team. The Hawks’ women’s team take on the Explorers at noon, while the Saint Joseph’s men’s squad and La Salle tip at 4 p.m., with both games nationally televised on CBS Sports Network.

Follow the Saint Joseph’s men’s basketball team on Instagram and Twitter and like the Hawks on Facebook.





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What should I do if my flight has been canceled or delayed?


(CNN) — It has been a tough slog for some air travelers here at the winter holidays rush — and it may not be over soon.

Citing the spike in Omicron variant cases and in some cases bad weather, airlines have been canceling and delaying thousands of flights since December 23.

While most flights are still proceeding, what if you’re one of the unlucky passengers? Here are some tips to help travelers navigate the system when flights are delayed or canceled:

Avoid getting trapped at the airport

As bad as it is to find out your flight has been delayed for a long time, or worse, canceled, it’s better to find out from the comfort of home or a hotel room and make new arrangements from there.

“Check your flight status before you go the airport. Most of these notifications are not happening at the last minute,” said Scott Keyes, the founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights. “Save yourself the drive to the airport.”
Keyes told CNN Travel in an interview on Monday that you should sign up for airlines’ free text alerts on the status of flights when you buy your ticket. You should also download your carrier’s app.

You can also put your airline and flight number directly into a Google search bar to retrieve the status that way. That’s also handy for friends or family who are on standby to pick you up.

Keyes also suggested checking the website FlightAware to track larger flight trends across country.

If you’re at the airport already

A flight information display system shows departure times at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, on Monday, December 27.

A flight information display system shows departure times at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, on Monday, December 27.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Sometimes, the delays and cancellations happen after you’ve arrived at the airport. Once the bad news has been delivered, what should you do?

Keyes said to head fast as you can to the airline agents’ desk — and get ready to multitask while you’re in line.

Fast is a key word here. “It’s going to make a difference who arrives first. It’s first-come, first-serve. Positioning yourself close to the desk can pay off,” Keyes said.

Then call up your carrier while you’re waiting. Depending on your spot in line, it might be faster to get through to a call center. “Whatever happens first, great,” he said.

Calls to US domestic numbers might have really long waits. Keyes suggested trying an international call center for your carrier instead.

“Most US-based travelers aren’t thinking to call the Canadian help line for Delta. You might get through to an agent much quicker. They can all handle your reservations just the same.”

You can also use a self-serve kiosk, American Airlines says. “Scan your boarding pass or enter your record locator to see your updated trip details. From there you can also switch your flight and print your new boarding passes.”

Attitude and research matter

Passengers wait in line to check in for their flights at the Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, on Monday, December 27.

Passengers wait in line to check in for their flights at the Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, on Monday, December 27.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Whether you’re dealing with an agent in person or over the phone, how you approach things can make a big difference. That starts with attitude.

“Honey attracts more flies than vinegar,” Keyes said. “Look at this from the airline agents’ perspective. They’ve been dealing with irate customers really since the pandemic began. The agent is the one who has the most ability to help you.

“Asking nicely and sympathetically is far more likely to get what you want than being a jerk about it.”

He had another tip when it’s your turn to talk to an agent about making new arrangements: “Come prepared to offer your own options already. Doing your own research is absolutely helpful.”

Your agent can expedite things if you’ve already looked up new routes and possible suggestions while you’ve been waiting. Be ready to explain what you want.

If you’ve booked through Expedia or another third-party site, you’ll have to deal through them when there’s a cancellation.

If price is the same, Keyes suggested you book directly with the airline. In case something goes wrong, “it makes it much more complicated with multiple sets of policies” when you booked via a third party.

US PIRG, a consumer advocacy group, suggests you avoid layovers when booking if possible. The more times you stop, the more chances for something to go wrong.

The group also backs up the advice from Keyes to be nice and polite to agents but also says consumers should be persistent in trying to get the situation resolved satisfactorily.

Trapped for the night

A woman and child wait for their flight alongside another traveler at Miami International Airport on Monday, December 27.

A woman and child wait for their flight alongside another traveler at Miami International Airport on Monday, December 27.

Rebecca Blackwell/AP

What do you do if it looks like you’re not going to be able to fly out until the next day and you’re not in your home city?

“Ask the airline to put you up in a hotel or give you a hotel voucher. They might do it; they might not. It’s not required by law,” Keyes said.

They’re less likely to do it if it’s weather related, he said, than if the problem is a mechanical issue with the plane or staffing issues.

Get to know policies. For instance, Delta Air Lines says it will provide a hotel voucher in some circumstances if travel is interrupted for more than four hours after the scheduled departure time when the delay is between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Whatever you do, at least ask, Keyes said. A voucher for hotels and even ground transport and meals aren’t likely to just be offered.

You should also look up your credit card information. Keyes said your card might have passenger protections, including free hotel rooms if you’re stranded and perhaps even cover your food and taxi to the hotel. Look up what do you need to do to get reimbursed.

If your flight is delayed instead of outright canceled, you might want to weigh whether to wait at the airport. Depending your personal circumstances, hunkering down there for five or six hours might be easier than going to and from a hotel. Also, Keyes said, check whether there is a hotel within the airport.

The Points Guy advises trying to get into an airport lounge if you can, where you can recharge your phone and rest more easily.

Cancel your trip and fly later

“If you are scheduled to fly in the next week and worried about Omicron, airlines are offering free changes to your flight,” Keyes said. “If you’d like to switch your travel dates, you can change without penalty.”

He also noted that if the new travel dates are cheaper, you can get a travel credit. (Conversely, you’ll pay more if the flight is more expensive.)

“By switching a flight from the holidays to February, you’re less likely to encounter this Omicron situation. You might save yourself a couple of hundred of bucks.”

Refund entitlements for your flight

The US Department of Transportation says you are entitled to a refund of your ticket cost because of a cancellation or “significant delay” and you choose not to travel.

This is the policy regardless of the reason the airlines cancels or delays the flight. However, what “significant delay” remains open to interpretation.

According to the DOT website, “it has not specifically defined what constitutes a ‘significant delay.’ Whether you are entitled to a refund depends on many factors — including the length of the delay, the length of the flight, and your particular circumstances. DOT determines whether you are entitled to a refund following a significant delay on a case-by-case basis.”

CNN’s Gregory Wallace, Jordan Valinsky, Chris Liakos and Sonnet Swire contributed to this report.



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Anthony Albanese: Scott Morrison is slammed over his sunscreen and mask wearing comparison


The Prime Minister’s comments comparing mask wearing to sunscreen have been labelled ‘absurd’ by his opponents.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has criticised the Prime Minister for his “absurd” comments comparing Covid-19 to the sun.

Ahead of Wednesday’s emergency national cabinet meeting to discuss the mounting threat of Omicron, Scott Morrison was quizzed about whether the health advice suggested reintroducing a mask mandate, particularly in NSW where case numbers are ballooning.

Mr Morrison said Australians didn’t need to be told what to do, likening mask-wearing to sun safety.

“In the same way as we go into the summer season, people will be slapping on the hat and slapping on the sunscreen,” he said.

“There’s no rule or requirement to do that, but it is strongly recommended health advice. It’s in the same category.”

Mr Albanese said it was out of line to make such a comparison.

“This sunscreen analogy … is a rather absurd one, because if I don’t choose to wear sunscreen it doesn’t mean you get sunburnt (just me), whereas with protections against Covid – what we do is protect ourselves but we are also protecting people we come into contact with,” he told the Today Show.

“It is quite extraordinary the fact that we had an emergency national cabinet called yesterday, but all the decisions (were) kicked down the road.”

On Wednesday, NSW, Queensland, the ACT and South Australia all recorded their largest ever daily case numbers.

Pressure is mounting on testing centres across the country as close contacts and symptomatic Australians rush to get tested before Christmas, but also clogging up the sites are people wanting to travel interstate.

Those wishing to travel to Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory require a negative PCR test within 72 hours of their arrival, which is in-part causing massive queues and delays in receiving results.

Mr Morrison said on Wednesday health experts could advise states and territories to do away with the testing requirement for interstate arrivals.

Mr Albanese said Mr Morrison should take responsibility for the problem, rather than shift the blame on states.

“This is a classic example of Scott Morrison trying to blame someone else and defer and issue to say, ‘look over there’,” he said.

“I had a few days off (in Queensland), and guess what? People are getting on with their lives. They are checking in with QR codes, they are wearing masks … they are getting on with life.

“One of the ways that they have done that is because Annastacia Palaszczuk has protected Queenslanders. She deserves praise.”

Mr Albanese rebuked claims the long testing queues were being caused by those travel requirements, instead blaming Mr Morrison.

“Overwhelmingly, people are waiting in queues because the governments haven’t prepared. The federal government shut down a w hole lot of the testing areas,” he said.

“The government … have known that this period was coming for months now, and the preparation simply hasn’t been put in place.

“We need to make sure that there are more testing sites available, and more vaccination sites available as well.”

Read related topics:Anthony AlbaneseScott Morrison



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Cunane powers No. 2 NC State women past Saint Mary’s 101-73


North Carolina State center Elissa Cunane (33) reacts following a basket against Saint Mary's during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Raleigh, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

North Carolina State center Elissa Cunane (33) reacts following a basket against Saint Mary’s during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Raleigh, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

AP

N.C. State coach Wes Moore keeps thinking about last March, when starter Kayla Jones’ knee injury kept her out of the Wolfpack’s Sweet 16 defeat. It’s impacted the way he substitutes, and he’s trying to get his reserves more playing time this season.

“In the NCAA Tournament, I thought it was a real blow to us,” Moore said. “So, this year, even though we’ve played a really, really good schedule, we’ve had opportunities to play some of the young players. Hopefully it’s going to pay off down the stretch.”

Second-ranked 2 N.C. State got 52 points from its bench Sunday and won its 10th straight game, beating Saint Mary’s 101-73.

Elissa Cunane led the Wolfpack (10-1) with 15 points and nine rebounds. The senior center, who scored her 1,500th career point, had nine points during an early 18-0 run that put the Wolfpack in control.

“It’s pretty cool,” Cunane said of the milestone. “I just give it all to my teammates, because they’re the ones that have to give me the ball. I appreciate them doing what they do for me.”

Jones added 13 points, while Jakia Brown-Turner had 11 points and six rebounds for N.C. State. Off the bench, freshman Aziaha James tallied 11 points, five rebounds and two steals.

Jade Kirisome led the Gaels (5-4) with 17 points. Ali Bamberger had 13 points and nine rebounds.

Saint Mary’s tied it at 7 on a 3-pointer from Makena Mastora in the first quarter. The Wolfpack then broke away with their big run.

N.C. State grew its lead to as much as 30 points, and Saint Mary’s was unable to trim the deficit to single digits over the final three quarters.

BIG PICTURE

Saint Mary’s: The Gaels outscored N.C. State 22-21 in the third quarter, but the early deficit they dug themselves into proved too deep. Saint Mary’s shot just 53.8% on free throws and turned the ball over 16 times.

“You can’t give the ball to the No. 2 team in the nation that shoots the ball that effectively. They’re just so efficient on offense,” Gaels coach Paul Thomas said. “We just did not get enough stops to counter that. We just couldn’t find a rhythm defensively. … Our kids know we did not play the way we are capable of playing.”

N.C. State: In these blowout victories over mid-majors, Moore has been able to get valuable minutes for his non-starters. Six players off the bench played double-digit minutes for the Wolfpack, including freshman guard Jessica Timmons, who scored a season-high nine points. The experience that N.C. State’s reserves are getting now could be valuable in the postseason.

“Hopefully, that’s getting them prepared for ACC play as well,” Moore said. “It’s tough because of the extra-year super seniors – it affected Aziaha’s and Jessica Timmons’ roles as freshmen. But they’ve handled it well. They’re going to make an impact and a difference right now, but they’re also the future.”

POLL IMPLICATIONS

With No. 3 UConn losing to Georgia Tech, and No. 4 Stanford not posting any impressive wins this past week, N.C. State should hold on to its No. 2 spot, just behind unbeaten South Carolina.

UP NEXT

Saint Mary’s: The Gaels travel to Conway, South Carolina, to face undefeated Coastal Carolina on Wednesday.

N.C. State: The Wolfpack host their fourth ranked opponent this season, playing No. 21 Georgia on Thursday.

TIP-INS

The win was Moore’s 200th as N.C. State’s head coach. … It was the sixth time this season that N.C. State has scored more than 80 points. The Wolfpack are second nationally in field goals made this season.

___

More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Poll: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll





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Seton Hall vs. Ohio State, Fort Myers Tip-Off: How to watch, odds


The Seton Hall University Pirates travel to play in the Fort Myers Tip-Off Classic versus the Ohio State Buckeyes. This battle of Big East and Big Ten powerhouses comes on the heels of the Gavitt Games. Seton Hall comes into the game 3-0 after surprising the Michigan Wolverines in Crisler Arena last Tuesday. The Buckeyes check into this game at 3-1 and hope to bounce back following a loss at Xavier. This early-season test gives both teams an opportunity to add a quality win to their resume.

How to watch Seton Hall vs. Ohio State

Time: 6:00 ET
TV: FS1
Watch Online: Fox Sports Live

Betting Odds

(via DraftKings Sportsbook)

Spread: Seton Hall -2.5 | Ohio State +2.5
Total: 137.5
Moneyline: Seton Hall -135 | Ohio State +115

Seton Hall will look to build on their hot start to the season. Coach Kevin Willard has utilized his team’s deep roster of experienced players to make a splash on the national scene.”We’re going to be one of the best teams in the country and we are one of the best teams in the country because we can play 10 guys,” Willard said.

The Pirates team defense has been relentless as they have held their opponents to 31.4% from the field and 13.3% from three-point range. Seton Hall’s offense has been balanced, led by Jared Rhoden, Myles Cale, and Bryce Aiken. Transfers Jamir Harris, Alexis Yetna, and Kadary Richmond also have transitioned into the Pirates rotation as Kevin Willard tinkers with the lineup to maximize his deep talent.

Ohio State returns from a 21-10 season last year that ended with disappointment in their NCAA Tournament Loss to Oral Roberts. Their loss at Xavier was their first true road game since March 8, 2020. The Buckeyes are led by EJ Liddell and Kyle Young that will look to impose their will on the Seton Hall frontcourt.

Additional Facts– Ohio State leads the all-time series 3-2. Ohio State assistant coach Tony Skinn is a former Seton Hall Coach. The other side of the bracket in the Fort Myer Tip-Off is the University of Florida vs California out of the Pac-12. Winners will match up on Wednesday evening.



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New Santa Barbara Restaurants, Hotels & More Worth Visiting


With a new crop of hotels, restaurants, and outdoor adventures, this sunshiny, food-loving city—nicknamed the American Riviera—has grown even headier.

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The last time I visited Santa Barbara was in those halcyonic Before Times. The oceanside city—a little less than two hours north of L.A. and five hours south of my home in the Bay Area—has always been a haven for folks who crave a mix of adventure and culture with a side of Spanish Colonial style architecture, beach time, (and now, Meghan and Harry). But its mix of moderate climate (the temperature rarely dips below 50°F) and outdoor living meant that Santa Barbara was, let’s say, uniquely suited to offer the things we’ve all sought during the pandemic: nature and the ability to gather in the fresh air.  

In fact, in May 2021, the city—after years of discussion—transformed 10 blocks of its main drag, State Street, into a pedestrian promenade that could rival Europe’s best. Beginning four blocks from the waterfront, travelers and locals alike can stroll or cycle block after block, now packed with parklets and outdoor patios. 

I spent a weekend exploring all that’s new and pleasurable—here’s how you can, too.

New hotels to check into

Palihouse felt like a home away from home—well, the posh, impeccably decorated home of my dreams. Opened in March 2021, the 24-room boutique hotel is located on a quiet stretch of Garden Street, three blocks from State Street. Rooms are spacious and outfitted with colorful vintage and new furniture, quirky art, Smeg fridges, and an awfully tempting selection of mini-bar snacks. There’s a pool for day-time lounging, an intimate pink-chandeliered bar for nighttime boozing, and a plant-filled courtyard where you can order breakfast and lunch. Bonus: You’re right around the corner from the head-spinningly beautiful Alessia Patisserie, opened in July 2021 by pastry chef, and Santa Barabra native, Alessia Guehr. (You can’t go wrong, but my partner and I gobbled up a rum-accented monkey bread and a flaky ham-filled croissant—and vowed to return for the chocolate bombé, filled with liquid chocolate.)

For those looking for an ocean view, book a room at Mar Monte. The 90-year-old hotel, a local icon, is fresh off a remodel that maintained the Spanish revival bones (check out the painted beams in the lobby) but modernized all 200 of its rooms with poppy new furniture and diving-inspired art, as well the main gathering spaces. Don’t miss a meal at the new on-site restaurant Costa Kitchen & Bar, where you can linger over cocktails at the patio bar while watching the sun sink beyond the Pacific. Then enjoy Mediterranean-inflected dishes (branzino with olive salsa verde, lamb with charred feta) on the restaurant’s patio, also overlooking the beach. 

Restaurants to plan a trip around

Run, don’t walk, to Bibi Ji for butter chicken and perfectly charred naan.

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There’s a clutch of new—or newsy—places to eat well in this food-loving city, starting with the three latest additions to the California Michelin guide: Loquita (a Spanish restaurant with stellar tapas, which got a Bib Gourmand designation), Caruso’s (California-style dining at the Rosewood in Montecito, just north of the city), and Bibi Ji. At the outdoor patio at Bibi Ji, I had the best Indian food—paired with glasses of natural wine—I’ve had in years, including a butter chicken I still think about, fiery fried cauliflower, and a dreamy, paneer-stuffed kulcha, a type of flatbread. Don’t skip the sauce section of the menu—the okra raita was out of this world (and I never like okra). 

Beyond the Michelin guide, there’s plenty to eat. La Paloma, which opened in November 2020, honors the restaurant of the same name that ran in the same place for 37 years. At the spacious outdoor patio, spoon up homey pozole verde and a Santa Maria Wagyu tri-tip that’s criminally good: sliced thin with a mouth-watering char on the outside and paired with a ranchero salsa.  

For lunch—or dinner—you can’t go wrong with Secret Bao, a casual restaurant that opened in March 2021 and traffics in seriously good bao buns: spicy Korean Fried Chicken, tender octopus, or even PB&J folded, taco-style, into pillowy bao. (Cap things off with the donut bao, a fried concoction topped with vanilla ice cream.) Korean fried chicken is also on the menu at Bossie’s Kitchen—named for the sculpted cow that once sat atop the Art Deco building, formerly a dairy—this time sandwiched between a bun and topped with sesame slaw and gochujang sauce. The hearty dishes, homemade brioche donuts, and quiet outdoor patio draw people from all corners of the city. 

Round out your day 

When the program is complete, BCycle will have 250 electric bikes—and 500 docking stations—throughout the city.

You’ve got to find some way to pass the hours between meals, right? In January 2021, Trek Bikes—whose CEO, John Burke, lives locally part of the year—rolled out BCycle, an e-bike sharing program in downtown Santa Barbara. Just download the app and off you go. The 4.5-mile beachfront trail is a given, but I liked pedaling up into the hills, toward the Old Mission—and with the e-bike, you won’t even break a sweat. 

Or you can stroll up the State Street Promenade and pop into the newly renovated Santa Barbara Museum of Art. The six-year, $50 million remodel—completed in August 2021—added a contemporary art gallery and one devoted to photography, among many other changes. Sundays are free to the public. In 2022, watch for the exhibit “Through Vincent’s Eyes: Van Gogh and His Sources,” which will feature 20 works from the artist and Van Gogh–inspired partnerships with the opera, symphony, and other institutions. 

Drink up, morning, noon, and night

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Greet the day at Dart Coffee in the Funk Zone, a food-and-art filled district near the waterfront. Yes, there may be a line but that’s OK because a) you’ll be outside where you can admire the hot pink market lights and two expansive seating areas (one a plant-filled garden space across the street) and b) expertly made coffees and quite possibly the city’s best empanadas await. I’m a fan of the sweet corn-and-onion with a churro latte on the side. Too impatient? Try Golden Line Coffee on Anacapa Street. We stumbled on this pop-up one morning while wandering around, post-farmers’ market. It occupies the Villa Wine Bar on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, serving specialty teas and coffees, like flavored cacao chai lattes and single-origin pour-overs.

You can’t throw a cork without hitting a tasting room or wine bar in Santa Barbara, including newcomers Sevtap and Venus in Furs, which has a vegan pop-up. But right off the main drag there’s a little light-strung place called La Arcada Plaza, where you’ll find spots to eat, shop, and wine-taste, including at Barbieri & Kempe Wines. The European-feeling tasting room (check out the cheese case!), opened in late 2020, shares wines under two labels from husband-and-wife duo Paolo Barbieri and Erin Kempe. We couldn’t help but bring home a bottle of a Rhône-style grenache from the Barbieri label and the full-bodied Kempe Bianco, a viognier blend. 

The Accident in Paradise at Pearl Social, a mix of tequila, pineapple, cilantro, and cucumber that you can convince yourself counts as a health tonic.

After a day of eating well and playing in the sun, there’s nothing like settling down with a well-mixed drink. Located in the Funk Zone and run by the same group that owns the neighboring Lucky Penny, Lark, and Helena Avenue Bakery (all delicious), Pearl Social has a swanky interior and a small patio—and cocktails so good we returned the next night. Ask Chris to mix you a Martin & Gina, a concoction made with gin and amaro. Just blocks from the beach, at  Santo Mezcal, you’ll find the city’s most extensive list of tequila and the restaurant’s namesake spirit. Order an Oaxacan Daiquiri (a world away from its overly sweet, resort-drink cousin) and savor the sounds of people living the good life. 

Watch before you come 

Julia, the just-released HBO documentary about the life of Julia Child, who retired to Montecito in 2002. While Santa Barbara isn’t the focus of the doc, it’s still fun to watch and then take a Julia-inspired whirl around the city, stopping at favorites like the Saturday farmers’ market, the Sicilian Olio e Limone, and of course, La Super-Rica Taqueria for bistec tacos. 

Coming in 2022

Take the kiddos down under: In January 2022, the Santa Barbara Zoo will unveil the Australian Walkabout, an immersive exhibit that will allow explorers to wander among resident wallabies, emus, and more. In spring 2022, watch for the new Drift Santa Barbara, a tech-focused hotel on State Street, and the renovated Waterman, a Moxy hotel in the Funk Zone. 

COVID changes

As of November 2021, Santa Barbara has no travel advisories in effect. Travelers age 2 and older are still required to wear masks in indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status. Roughly 72 percent of eligible Santa Barbara residents are vaccinated. For more information, see this dashboard.

>>Next: The Santa Barbara Travel Guide

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Forty Acres Insider: Nov. 2


Longhorn Nation,

Last week was another busy one for our Longhorns and it all wrapped up with a special Sunday. In addition to it being Halloween and an opportunity for our student-athletes to share their favorite costumes and celebrate as a team, it also was a successful day of sports action. The bats were cracking, gloves thumping and all of the kids trick or treating during the day at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. That night, Soccer treated us to a thrilling and dominant 5-2 Red River Showdown postseason victory over our rival Sooners in the Big 12 Tournament in Round Rock. It was such a joy seeing all of you at the park and the pitch, and we’re so grateful for your never-ending support, passion and pride for your Longhorns.

However, Sunday did come on the heels of another heartbreaking football game, this one a 31-24 loss at Baylor. It’s been three straight games where we played so well at times against top 25-ranked teams, built good leads, but just couldn’t hold on in the end. The team played extremely hard, made a lot of big plays in all of those games, and Coach Sark has been really pleased with how they’ve prepared each and every week. It’s just come down to missed opportunities in the end, and I know we are all disappointed, but nobody more so than our coaches and student-athletes. They’re pouring all of their energy into learning from their mistakes, getting better and finding every possible edge to get back on track. They need our support more than ever, so I hope y’all can help us rally behind them and charge into the weekend and their game at Iowa State (6:30 p.m. CT/FS1) with our best Texas Fight. There’s a lot of football to be played, we still have high expectations and we’re looking forward to Saturday.

In the meantime, our teams are right back at it already again this week, and it started Monday night with Men’s Basketball tipping things off with a 96-33 exhibition game victory over Texas Lutheran at the Erwin Center. Thank you to everyone who came out for the sneak peek at our 2021-22 Longhorns. It’s the final year at our longtime hoops home and what a special time it was as Coach Beard continued his Unite the Family efforts by squaring off against a team coached by a Longhorn great in Mike Wacker.

Coach Schaefer and Women’s Basketball are up next this week as they’ll host an exhibition game, this one at Gregory Gym on Thursday night at 7 p.m. CT. Admission is free, along with free parking in the Brazos Garage, so stay tuned to TexasSports.com and all of our social media channels for all the details on that one. For those of you who can’t be here in person, our friends at Longhorn Network will be carrying the game live, so clear you calendars and plan on cheering on your Horns!

Speaking of right back at it, how about Coach Kelly and our Soccer squad!? It was total domination on Sunday night versus OU, and now we’re riding into the Big 12 Tournament semis on a program record-tying 13-match unbeaten streak. It started late last week as our Horns secured the No. 2 seed in the tournament with a convincing 2-0 victory in the regular-season finale at Kansas. Our dynamic freshman duo of forward Trinity Byars and midfielder Lexi Missimo both scored goals in that one as our Horns took care of business on the road. And we came so darn close to adding a Big 12 regular-season title, falling just one point short of TCU, but a huge Hook ‘Em is in order for our squad that managed our first unbeaten Big 12 campaign in program history at 6-0-3. Then it was on to the postseason on Sunday in the Big 12 Championship quarterfinals right up the road on I-35 in Round Rock where we cranked up the offense against those Sooners by scoring five times in a convincing, 5-2 win. Byars provided the Halloween trick, as our rookie superstar was at it again, scoring her first career hat trick. Forward Mackenzie McFarland managed her second brace (two goals) in the last three matches, as well. Up next for your Burnt Orange and White is a huge Big 12 Championship semifinal against West Virginia on Thursday at 7 p.m. CT. Be there or be square my friends! Like I said, our Longhorns are playing just up the road at the Round Rock Multipurpose Complex, so head on out and support them on to the Big 12 Championship as tickets are available for $5 each day.

But wait, there’s more! Spring will be in the air at UFCU Disch-Falk Field this week as Coach Pierce and Baseball host the annual three-game Fall World Series starting on Wednesday at 4 p.m. CT. Game two is slated for Friday at 6 p.m. with the series finale set for a 2 p.m. first pitch on Saturday. You can get that Burnt Orange and White garb ready, don that Longhorn hat and come on out to the ballpark. Admission to each of the games is free, parking is available in the East Campus Garage next to the stadium and gates will open one hour before first pitch.

Along with the Football game in Ames, there will be plenty of action on the road, as well. After a bye week, No. 1 Volleyball travels to Waco for a critical pair of Top 10 matches with Baylor on Friday (8 p.m. CT/ESPNU) and Saturday (6 p.m. CT/ESPN+). Coach Elliott and our Horns are 17-0 and have won all eight of their Big 12 matches so they’ll be looking to remain perfect in a raucous road environment. They have a great history of stepping up in those situations, having won 18-straight on the road, so they’ll be looking to build on that.

Two of the nation’s top programs will square off this week as our No. 1 Men’s and No. 5 Women’s Swimming & Diving teams travel to Virginia for a big-time Big-12-ACC dual meet clash on Friday and Saturday in Charlottesville. The Cavalier women are the defending NCAA Champions while the UVA men currently rank No. 9 so expect some great performances across the board in this early season Top 10 matchup! Men’s and Women’s Tennis will be hitting the courts to compete in fall action, as well. You can follow along in all of our sports on TexasSports.com and across all of our social media platforms. Hook ‘Em Horns!

Still time to get those Men’s and Women’s Basketball season tickets

Coach Beard and Coach Schaefer are putting on the final touches of their preparation for what promises to be highly entertaining seasons that are right around the corner with next week’s doubleheader tip off. With that in mind, now is the time to get on board and make those season ticket purchases because only 2021-22 season ticket holders will have priority to purchase season tickets at the Moody Center for the 2022-23 Texas Basketball season. We can’t wait to see the Erwin Center charged up and rockin’ out for one more season, and absolutely want you along for the glorious ride into a breathtaking new basketball experience in the Moody Center. So don’t miss out, get your tickets and bring that Texas passion and pride to the Drum for one more year! Men’s and Women’s season tickets are on sale now and start at $99 apiece. Come out all year and help us celebrate the final season at the Frank Erwin Center in what’s shaping up to be one of the most anticipated campaigns in Texas Basketball history!

Mark your calendars for November 9

We’ve got an old school doubleheader planned to tip off the farewell season at the Erwin Center on Tuesday, Nov. 9, as Coach Schaefer and the Women get things going at 5:30 p.m. CT against New Orleans, followed by Coach Beard and the Men at 8 p.m. CT against Houston Baptist. Tickets are $10 to catch both of these games and all seats will be general admission that night. We’ve got plenty of giveaways and activities set for what will be an incredible evening of basketball.

Football single-game tickets available

There are two games remaining at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium and you can still get your single-game tickets for those games vs. Kansas (11/13) and Kansas State (11/26). Home is Where the Horns Are, and let’s keep those wonderful gameday gigantic family reunions going strong!

Props to our Football standouts Bijan Robinson and DeMarvion Overshown on earning a spot on a pair of prestigious national college football awards semifinalist lists. Bijan was tabbed as one of 15 semifinalists for the Maxwell award that annually goes to the Collegiate Player of the Year. He is already closing in on 1,000 rushing yards this season and leads the Big 12 in total TDs with 14. And as you all know, his highlight reel runs and catches are off the charts! Meanwhile, DeMarvion is one of 16 semifinalist for the Butkus Award that is given each year to the nation’s top linebacker. He’s been a stat sheet stuffer, leading our Horns in tackles (61), while posting 4.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks to go with two fumble recoveries and a blocked punt. Needless to say, he’s been all over the field. In addition, we’ve nominated our walk-on turned starting linebacker Luke Brockermeyer for the Burlsworth Trophy, which goes to a standout player that began his career as a walk-on. Luke’s a third generation Longhorn and just an awesome story. He’s worked so hard to earn a scholarship then a starting position and now ranks second on the team with 59 tackles, shares the team lead with five tackles for loss and has two interceptions this year. Way to go men, we’re proud of all you’ve accomplished so far and excited to watch you for the stretch run of the season.

Finally, congratulations are in order for a pair of our Men’s Cross Country runners, Cruz Gomez and Haftu Knight. They both earned All-Big 12 honors at last week’s conference meet in Stillwater. Cruz was 11th and Haftu 13th as the men finished in a solid third place as a team while the women took fourth. It’s on to NCAA competition with a spot in the NCAA Championships on the line when our Horns travel to Waco on Friday, Nov. 12. That’s the site of the NCAA South Central Regionals at the Cottonwood Creek Golf Course.

It’s another week of Texas Fight with plenty of chances to cheer on your Horns right here on the Forty, in nearby Round Rock and on the road. Whether you’re with us in person or cheering from afar, let’s keep those Horns Up and bring that patented pride, passion and spirit that the best fans in America are known for!

Hook ‘Em Horns,

Chris Del Conte 

Chris Del Conte signature

Chris Del Conte

P.S. — Fun time with Coach Vic making a visit on the LHN broadcast of Texas Volleyball. One big, happy family we are here!

P.S. — Always a joy seeing what our teams have for us on Halloween, and Men’s Basketball sure did have some fun with it!

P.S. II – And then there’s this Halloween treat from Texas Softball.

P.S. III – If you haven’t seen it, this is so cool! Our creative team is the absolute best!!





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From Facebook friend to romance scammer: Older Americans increasingly targeted amid COVID pandemic – USA TODAY



From Facebook friend to romance scammer: Older Americans increasingly targeted amid COVID pandemic  USA TODAY



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