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Central Florida Expects Tourism Windfall As US, Canada Border Reopens

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With the COVID-19 pandemic easing, it has been announced that fully vaccinated Canadians can now travel to the United States through the land border and ferry crossings.

On Tuesday, officials laid out a plan to reopen the country’s border with Mexico and Canada, which had been closed for non-essential travel ever since the pandemic started way back in early 2020.

Talking to wesh.com, Rob Alvey of Theme Park Review said Central Florida will benefit as more families will come.

“There will be lot of people coming down here from Canada, especially the Toronto area driving all the way straight down,” he said.

Alvey added that not only will it boost tourism but will also boost morale.

He said Central Florida was an international destination for a lot of people of different nationalities. “Every time we heard a new accent or a new language it was so cool as someone else wherever they were from was paying us a visit,” Alvey said.

Canada ‘Important Market’ For Central Florida

Experience Kissimmee officials say Canada being a very important market for them can be gauged from the fact that DT Minch, the company’s president and CEO, paid a visit to Toronto in early October.

There he is said to have met with travel advisors and tour operators as Canada works on a tourism revival plan which includes working closely with partners to woo Canadians in the coming months.

When asked to comment on the development, Visit Orlando said they were encouraged by the news and issued a statement saying it was important for Orlando as international tourists on average stay longer in Central Florida and spent more than $6 billion annually before the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to international travel.

The date of reopening hasn’t been decided as yet though it will be done soon.

Air Canada and WestJet operate direct flights between Toronto and Orlando.

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San Francisco

San Francisco Man Who Went Missing While Kayaking Found Dead

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The body of a man, who was on a kayaking trip and had been missing, has been found by authorities on the shore of the Clear lake Thursday after four days of intensive search, authorities said.

The Lake County Sherrif’s Office said that Dylan Flanagan, 28, was last seen alive on Oct. 10 afternoon in his kayak, rowing on Clear lake, reported San Francisco Chronicle.

Later that day, his girlfriend got in touch with the authorities reporting that he was not responding to her calls, which lead to a four-day long search.

A San Francisco resident, Flanagan, was staying near Clearlake Oaks in a rental home celebrating his birthday and job promotion when he went kayaking alone Sunday afternoon.

According to Lake County News, conditions were windy and there were high waves.

Though the Sherrif’s office couldn’t confirm where the deceased man was from, according to profiles on social media, he was from San Francisco.

The authorities said Flanagan’s girlfriend was able to contact him on his phone shortly after 5 p.m. on Oct. 10 when he told her that he was fine. But subsequently, when she tried to call him repeatedly later that night there was no answer. She then reported him missing and no one else had heard from him too.

Kayaking

A representational image of a green kayak. Image Credit: Pixabay.com

Search Team Found Flanagan Kayak

On Monday, a search team found the green-colored kayak which is believed to be that of Flanagan near Widgeon Bay, where he is believed to have gone missing.

A California fire crew found his body Thursday around 10.40 am on the lake’s shoreline near Olson Road, Clearlake Oaks. According to the Sherrif’s Office, an autopsy will be conducted in the coming week.

Five deaths have been reported on Clear Lake this year, with all but one occurring off the Clearlake shores, officials said.

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San Francisco

San Francisco: Thieves Break Into Cars Along Embarcadero, Shoot At Witness

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San Francisco has been hit by an ongoing series of car break-ins. This time the latest incident happened along the Embarcadero.

A witness, who wished to remain anonymous, said he saw two persons breaking into cars around Pier 19 as he shouted at them to stop. Before driving off they dumped the luggage from the car and on reaching Pier 19½ they broke into another car, Kron4 reported.

The witness said he again shouted at them and started clicking photos. One seeing the witness taking photos, one of the thieves took out a gun and opened fire.

“I heard gunshots as he aimed the gun at me, I instinctively jumped behind a car standing next to me. They then got into the stolen vehicle and sped away,” the man told the outlet.

The witness, who luckily didn’t suffer any injury, said he was angry that such a thing was happening in the city in broad daylight and no one was trying to stop the thieves.

‘Feel Unsafe Here’

Hours later, the owners of the car turned up to find their cars gone.

One of the car owners speak to Kron4.

One of the victims said, “Something like this has happened to me twice in the city. The first time I was here I was mugged and now this. I have lived and worked in Detroit for 10 years and never has something like this happened. It is a pity that you come to this beautiful city and feel unsafe.”

Some of the dumped luggage was found and the finder contacted the owner, who immediately headed out to collect whatever was left of it.

One of the cars which were broken into had its rear windscreen smashed.

When the police were contacted, the guy whose car was broken into was told to fill an online police report. Meanwhile, the witness who was shot at was also told to fill an online report. Not satisfied with this, he called 911 again and this time they agreed to send an officer to meet him.

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San Francisco

Organized Shoplifting Forces Closure Of 5 Walgreens In San Francisco

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Undeterred by a security guard and a TV reporter recording his act, a thief raided a Walgreens store in San Francisco on a bicycle, with a garbage bag in his hand full of stolen goods.

The brazen shoplifting video, shot in June, was watched by millions. Critics say this underlines how epidemic thefts at retail stores have become in the city.

It was the fifth time the thief had targeted the same Walgreens store located on Gough Street in the Hayes Valley neighborhood, police said.

On June 19, the San Francisco Police Department said it had arrested the man, identified as Jean Lugo-Romero, 40. Investigators said he was responsible for a number of thefts in the Northern and Mission districts.

A video grab of Jean Lugo-Romero stealing goods inside the Walgreens store.

Lugo-Romero faces burglary and robbery charges for the five times he stole from that particular Walgreens store, including on four consecutive days in late May, early June.

Four months later, Walgreens said it has decided to close the stores plus four others in the city in November due to the continuing issue of organized shoplifting in San Francisco.

‘Organized Retail Theft Challenging’

In an email to The New York Times, Phil Caruso, spokesman for Walgreens said, “Organized shoplifting has been a continuing challenge facing retailers in San Francisco. Retail theft across our stores in San Francisco are fives the average across our chain.”

Walgreens said professional thieves steal from their stores and then resell the goods through the online marketplace. According to police, most of the retail crime in the city is the handiwork of organized gangs.

In a board meeting in May, Walgreens’ representatives said the company had to close 17 stores because thefts had made doing business untenable at these stores.

With the fresh closure, Walgreens stores in the city which have shut have gone up to 22. The company has more than 50 stores in the city.

Employees working in these stores will be shifted to other locations and customers will have their prescriptions transferred to nearby stores.

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