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Holiday Flying is Expensive: Some Airports Offer Free Perks and Goodies

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Christmas – as all holidays – is one of the highest seasons in air travel. Airlines naturally prepare a lot for the holiday season. (Photo Credit/Pinterest).

Flying during the holiday season can be stressful and expensive once all the costs are added up. Those include items like car service (or long-term parking), ticket prices, baggage fees, food and drinks before your flight.

With that in mind, many airports in the U.S. and abroad offer a wide variety of free amenities. Some are available year-round, while others may be tied to a certain season or event.  CNBC recently took a look at a few travelers can take advantage of as they gear up for the Christmas travel season:

Free Phone Calls

In case you forgot your cellphone (or it ran out of juice), airports in Denver and Washington, D.C. let travelers make free phone calls year-round.

In Dulles and Washington Reagan airports, local and long distance calls are free anywhere within the 48 contiguous United States for the first five minutes. The airports provide marked courtesy phones located in the main terminal, and each concourse. Denver International has 233 phones where travelers can make unlimited free local and national calls. International calls are free for the first 10 minutes.

Align your Chakra

Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

A handful of airports around the country, including San Francisco International, Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway, Miami International and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airports, let flyers make use of yoga rooms for free. Most have complimentary loaner mats available as well.

Shoe-shine

Miami International Airport

At Los Angeles International Airport, Denver International Airport and Missouri’s Kansas City International Airport travelers can set their own price, or simply leave a tip when getting a complimentary shoe or boot shine at an airport stand.

Take in a Movie

Denver International Airport

Free movies by local filmmakers are offered to travelers in the 17-seat Hollywood Theatre micro-cinema at Oregon’s Portland International Airport, the Video Arts room at San Francisco International Airport and the film screening room at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Free first run films are offered at two 24-hour movie theaters at Singapore’s Changi Airport.

Free Personal Shopper

London Heathrow Airport

Passengers traveling through London’s Heathrow Airport can book ahead to tap the complimentary services of the airport’s team of personal shoppers. They don’t make commissions, but they make it their point to know the all the latest trends and the current stock available in all the shops. There is no minimum spend and consultations take place in a private lounge, where free champagne is served.

Free Art and History and Games

Source: SFO Museum

San Francisco’s SFO Museum offers no fewer than 20 free exhibitions inside the airport at any one time. Meanwhile, aiports in Miami, Albany, NY, Minneapolis, Portland, St. Louis and elsewhere offer a rotating schedule of free museum-quality art and history exhibits throughout the year.

Austin-Bergstrom International and Seattle-Tacoma International airports each present more than 20 free music performances each week and, at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport, passengers can play ping pong for free.

Free Water: Bring Your Own Bottle

Buying a bottle of branded water can set a traveler back $5 in many post-security airport shops, but travelers who bring their own empty bottles can fill them up for free at complimentary refill stations now located in airports in San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia, Chicago, among others.

Free City Tours, or a Ride Through the City

Seattle Tacoma International Airport

Passengers with layovers of two hours or more at Salt Lake City International Airport can get a free shuttle ride to and from Temple Square, where they can join in a free tour of the thirty-five acre historic site. Free city tours are also available to travelers with varying lengths of layovers at hubs that include Singapore, South Korea, Tokyo, Qatar and Istanbul.

Travelers who land at Boston Logan International can ride the Silver Line bus from the airport into the city for free. The bus picks up at every BOS terminal and offers free connections to the Red Line once in town. (Rides from the city back out to the airport, however, are not free.)

Free CPR Training

Jim Davis | The Boston Globe | Getty Images

At a growing list of airports, passengers can learn to save a life while waiting for their flight by taking a free course on an interactive hands-only CPR kiosk. A “how-to” video is followed by a practice session on a rubber manikin and a 30-second CPR test.

Airports offering the training include Chicago’s O’Hare, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland, Orlando and Dallas-Fort Worth.

Free Trading Cards

Source: American Heart Association

They look like sports trading cards, but at more than 60 airports throughout the country, passengers can stop by information booths and tourism booth to pick up a free, collectible, airport-themed trading cards.

Animal Encounters

Austin-Bergstrom Int’l Airport

Dozens of airports now have specially-trained therapy animals that mingle with passengers in the terminals and help them beat stress. Most airports use, but San Francisco International has a pig on its team, Denver has a cat, and miniature therapy horses visit the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport twice a month.

Free Travel Item

Source: CVG Airport

Customers of Google’s Project Fi can use their phone to get one free item a week from Project Fi vending machines located in airports in Baltimore, LaGuardia, Chicago’s Midway and O’Hare, and Philadelphia, among others. Free items include bottled water, playing cards, fuzzy socks, eye masks and luggage tags.

 

Source: CNBC

#LeNoraMillen        12-24-17

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Lifestyle

Dodge MLK Super Bowl Ad Sparks Controversy

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A Dodge Super Bowl ad has attracted criticism for its use of a sermon by Martin Luther King Jr. to sell trucks.

The ad featured a section of King’s The Drum Major Instinct sermon delivered February 4, 1968, overtop images of American patriotism, including America’s military and other service jobs like teachers and firefighters.

“If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant,” King is heard saying in the ad. “That’s a new definition of greatness.”

The ad, which ran in support of the Ram Nation volunteer program, also featured images of Dodge trucks. On airing, it began to get immediate blowback.

“The use of MLK to promote Ram trucks strikes many people as crass and inappropriate,” Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University told the Associated Press.

Bernice A. King, the youngest child of the civil rights leader and his wife Coretta Scott King urged people to listen to the sermon “in its entirety.”

“Please listen to/read his speeches, sermons, and writings. Understand his comprehensive teachings and his global perspective. Study his nonviolent philosophy. It’s more than a tactic,” she tweeted, providing a link to the sermon.

A social media user took that message to heart and created a different version of the ad with King’s warning to his congregation from the same sermon that advertisers pressure them to buy more than they can afford, playing on their selfishness and the “drum major instinct” that pushes them to prove that they are better than others.

King said: “They have a way of saying things to you that kind of gets you into buying. In order to be a man of distinction, you must drink this whiskey. In order to make your neighbors envious, you must drive this type of car. In order to be lovely to love, you must wear this kind of lipstick or this kind of perfume. And you know, before you know it, you’re just buying that stuff (…) That’s the way the advertisers do it.”

King said people end up living “their lives trying to outdo the Joneses” rather than building communities around themselves.

The Dodge ad also appeared to some to contradict what King stood for as he famously argued for U.S. military spending to be cut and instead go to programs that served the poorest Americans.

“Are MLK’s words really being used right now to sell cars?” wrote Nicholas Thompson, the editor-in-chief of Wired magazine in response to the ad on Twitter.

The King Center distanced itself from the ad, pointing out it was not responsible for approving the use of King’s image and words,

Fiat Chrysler said it worked with King’s estate on the ad, which licenses King’s image and speeches, and is run by King’s son Dexter Scott King. The estate’s managing director, Eric D. Tidwell, said in a statement early Monday: “We found that the overall message of the ad embodied Dr. King’s philosophy that true greatness is achieved by serving others. Thus we decided to be a part of Ram’s ‘Built To Serve’ Super Bowl program.”

Source: Newsweek

@LeNoraMillen            02-05-18

 

 

 

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Legendary Performer and Civil Rights Activist Lena Horne Honored on New Forever Stamp

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The U.S. Postal Service celebrates the life and legacy of Lena Horne as the 41st honoree in the Black Heritage stamp series during a first-day-of-issue ceremony at Peter Norton Symphony Space.

“Today, we honor the 70-year career of a true American legend,” said Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman, who dedicated the stamp. “With this Forever stamp, the Postal Service celebrates a woman who used her platform as a renowned entertainer to become a prolific voice for civil rights advancement and gender equality.”

Joining Stroman to unveil the stamp were Gail Lumet Buckley, an author and Horne’s daughter; Christian Steiner, photographer; and Amy Niles, president and chief executive officer, WBGO Radio.

The stamp art features a photograph of Lena Horne taken by Christian Steiner in the 1980s. Kristen Monthei colorized the original black-and-white photo using a royal blue for the dress, a color Horne frequently wore. Monthei also added a background reminiscent of Horne’s Stormy Weather album, with a few clouds to add texture and to subtly evoke the album title. Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamp. Share the news of the stamp using the hashtags #LenaHorneForever and #BlackHeritageStamps.

Background on Lena Horne

Born in Brooklyn, NY, on June 30, 1917, Horne was a trailblazer in Hollywood for women of color and used her fame to inspire Americans as a dedicated activist for civil rights.

Horne began her career as a dancer at Harlem’s Cotton Club and later became a featured vocalist with touring orchestras. The rampant racial discrimination she encountered from audiences, hotel and venue managers and others was so disconcerting that she stopped touring, and in 1941, she made her move to Hollywood. A year later, she signed a contract with MGM — one of the first long-term contracts with a major Hollywood studio — with the stipulation that she would never be asked to take stereotypical roles then available to black actors. Her most famous movie roles were in Cabin in the Sky and Stormy Weather, both released in 1943.

During World War II, Horne entertained at camps for black servicemen, and after the war worked on behalf of Japanese Americans who were facing discriminatory housing policies. She worked with Eleanor Roosevelt in pressing for anti-lynching legislation. In the 1960s, Horne continued her high-profile work for civil rights, performing at rallies in the South, supporting the work of the National Council for Negro Women, and participating in the 1963 March on Washington.

Horne’s awards and honors include a special Tony Award for her one-woman Broadway show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music; three Grammy Awards; the NAACP Spingarn Medal; and the Actors Equity Paul Robeson Award. She was a Kennedy Center Honors recipient in 1984, and her name is among those on the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.

Customers may purchase the Lena Horne Forever stamp at The Postal Store at usps.com/shop, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724) and at Post Office facilities nationwide. A variety of stamps and collectibles also are available at ebay.com/stamps.

Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks
Customers have 60 days to obtain first-day-of-issue postmarks by mail. They may purchase new stamps at local Post Office facilities, at The Postal Store usps.com/shop or by phone at 800-STAMP-24. They must affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others and place them in envelopes addressed to:

FDOI – Lena Horne Stamp
USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services
8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300
Kansas City, MO 64144-9900

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for postmarks up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, customers are charged 5 cents each. All orders must be postmarked by March 30, 2018.

Ordering First-Day Covers
The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamps and stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the USA Philatelic Publication and online at usps.com/shop. Customers may register to receive a free USA Philatelic Publication online at usps.com/philatelic.

Philatelic Products
Philatelic products for this stamp issue are as follows:
476906, Press Sheet with Die-cut, $60.00.
476910, Digital Color Postmark Keepsake, $11.95.
476916, First-Day Cover, $0.94.
476921, Digital Color Postmark, $1.65.
476924, Framed Art, $39.95.
476930, Ceremony Program, $6.95.

Many of this year’s other stamps may be viewed on Facebook at facebook.com/USPSStamps or via Twitter @USPSstamps.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products, and services to fund its operations.

For more information about the Postal Service, visit usps.com and usps.com/postalfacts.

Source: USPS

@LeNoraMillen       02-02-18

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Coffee Shops Considering Displaying Cancer Warnings in California After Lawsuit

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A nonprofit who believes coffee could cause cancer has persuaded businesses, by way of a lawsuit, to issue warnings on all ready-to-drink brews sold in California.

At least 13 companies, most recently 7-Eleven, have settled with the Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT) following its 2010 lawsuit, and promised to add warnings to served coffee, CNN reports.

The suit asks for the warning to say this is a “chemical known to cause cancer” or “chemical that causes cancer” in a label at least 10-inches by 10-inches in the establishment.

Metzger Law Group, which represents CERT, is trying to shine the light on acrylamide, a probable carcinogen, in coffee. What makes this request particularly potent in California is Proposition 65, the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, which requires businesses to be transparent about harmful ingredients, including acrylamide.

The Good, Bad, and Ugly on California Prop 65

Prop 65 came about from a growing concern that many chemicals may cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. Under Prop 65, chemicals identified by the state as having even a 1 in 100,000 chance of causing such harm may not be discharged into drinking water or onto land where they could contaminate sources of drinking water. In addition, manufacturers are required to post clear and reasonable warnings on any products, or in any locations, that could “knowingly and intentionally” expose consumers to any of these listed chemicals. California is required to update the list of harmful chemicals annually. As of 2015, the list includes around 900 chemicals, some of which are monitored by the FDA and EPA

When coffee beans are roasted, acrylamide forms and scientists haven’t found good ways to reduce its presence in the beverage, according to a post on the American Cancer Society website.

Still, Ronald Melnick, a former toxicologist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences provided a testimony about possible ways to reduce the chemical in coffee, including altering plant selection, harvesting and/or the pre-roasting process, as part of the California trial.

Reducing or eliminating the toxin is CERT’s goal, Raphael Metzger of Metzger Law Group said.

“CERT believes the best resolution of the case would be for the coffee industry to get the acrylamide out of coffee rather than giving acrylamide cancer hazard warnings,” Metzger said in a statement.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, and the National Toxicology Program does not recognize coffee as a carcinogen. The only documented link to cancer is the IARC finding that hot beverages (at least 149 degrees) “probably” cause cancer of the esophagus.

Source: The Associated Press

Photo/Getty Images

@LeNoraMillen      02-01-18

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