first_imgWINDSOR, Vt. Vermont and New Hampshire tourism officials today formally announced that the Connecticut River Byway, running from Brattleboro, Vermont to Pittsburgh, New Hampshire, has been named a National Scenic Byway by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The Connecticut River Byway, which stretches from the Canadian border to Massachusetts, follows 500 miles of state highways in 53 communities along the Connecticut River Valley in Vermont and New Hampshire. The byway embraces traditional New England historic and cultural sites which tell the story of the nations first explorations into the wilderness, first transportation corridor, and the initial expansion of American culture.The awarding of national designation follows a long and competitive application process, according to Sharon Francis, executive director of the Connecticut River Joint Commissions (Web: is external)), which oversees the Connecticut River Byway Council (Web: is external)). We know we have a river valley with outstanding scenery and impressive history, but it is sweet news to hear that we are among the winners in a national competition, Francis said.This is very exciting news and will be enormously important for both tourism and economic development in this region, said Vermont Governor Jim Douglas. In August, Governor Lynch and I toured cultural heritage sites along the byway on both sides of the Connecticut River and renewed our commitment that our two great states would work together to promote the entire Connecticut River Byway. The National Scenic Byway designation will give those efforts an enormous boost.Americas Byways (Web: is external)), of which the Connecticut River Byway is now a part, is a distinct collection of American roads and treasured places recognized for their scenic, historic, natural, recreational, cultural and archeological qualities. Congress created the National Scenic Byways Program in 1991 to meet widespread demand that the nations unique places should be preserved and shared while at the same time promoting tourism and economic development by bringing tourists to rural America and much-needed dollars to small communities. Since its inception, the Americas Byways has provided $206 million for 1,495 projects in 48 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Colombia. In New Hampshire, the program also recognizes the White Mountain Trail and Kancamagus Scenic Byway. The Connecticut River Byway is the first National Scenic Byway in Vermont.The Connecticut River Byway includes nine waypoint centers where visitors may learn about the river valleys history, culture, arts, and recreational opportunities, as well as local lodging, dining, and entertainment. The waypoint centers are in Brattleboro, Bellows Falls, St. Johnsbury, Windsor, and White River Junction, Vt., and Claremont, Lancaster, and Colebrook, N.H. Wells River, Vt. and Woodsville, N.H. share a waypoint center located in Woodsville. ###last_img read more

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York From left to right: Jennifer Domenech, Jennifer Santiago, Michelle Alperin-Smith.A Hicksville-based modeling agency has been accused of defrauding dozens of clients out of more than $250,000 by allegedly overcharging for photos, misrepresenting contract terms and promising clients jobs that never existed.James Muniz, who was president of the Model Talent Development Center (MTD) and New Faces Development Center, Inc. between 2010 and 2012, had scouts approach teenagers and families with children at Roosevelt Field Mall, among other public places, to lure them in with alleged false promises of fame and fortune, authorities said.“Hundreds of families were led to believe that their child was the next big thing, only to learn that they were just the next in line to be scammed,” said Nassau County District Attorney Kaltheen Rice, who announced Wednesday the results of a five-month joint investigation with the New York State Attorney General’s Office.A warrant has been issued for the arrest of the 44-year-old Roslyn man on charges of grand larceny and scheme to defraud. Three of his employees, 26-year-old Jennifer Santiago of Queens, 31-year-old Jennifer Diaz-Domenech of Brooklyn and 42-year-old Michelle Alperin-Smith of Nesconset, have been arrested on the same charges. The companies are facing the same charges and up to $10,000 fines as well.Prosecutors said scouts for the two companies, which closed last November, told victims they had the “look” to succeed in modeling or acting, would not be charged for the companies’ services and that only a few were offered such opportunities through the agencies—but scouts signed up anyone who’d pay for contracts costing $550 to $3,000.Attorney General’s office had sued the company in 2006, when it was known as New Faces and owned by Muniz’s ex-wife, resulting in the agency paying more than $250,000 in restitution.This time, the scouts allegedly misrepresented the agencies’ affiliation with celebrities, exaggerated the employment opportunities it offered and told some clients that their children secured contracts with major retailers such as Macy’s, Toys R’ Us and Target—as long as they paid thousands for contract extensions with the agency within 24 hours.The agency never had arrangements with the companies and the promised contracts never materialized, prosecutors said. Other clients often went months without ever getting a call from the agency, never mind a job. The agency mostly provided photo services for additional fees.The three suspects are scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday at First District Court in Hempstead. They each face up to seven years in prison if convicted.The investigation is continuing and prosecutors ask anyone who thinks they may have been similarly victimized to contact the district attorney’s Complaints Unit at 516-571-3505 or the Attorney General’s Office at 516-248-3301.last_img read more

first_imgThe U.S. State Department recently released a statement cautioning students about traveling abroad during spring break, but many USC students said they are still planning to head to popular vacation spots such as Cabo, Cancun and Puerto Vallarta.“I’m not worried about any type of threats and I’m really excited about going to Mexico,” said Victoria Willingham, a sophomore majoring in psychology and Spanish.The State Department reported that each year U.S. citizens have been badly injured or killed in accidents, falls and other mishaps while traveling abroad. Many of these incidents have been related to alcohol and drug use.Other spring break vacationers have been sexually assaulted or robbed because, according to the State Department, they found themselves in unfamiliar locales and were incapable of protecting themselves.More than 2,500 U.S. citizens are arrested while abroad every year. Nearly half of the travelers arrested each year were for narcotics charges that include having very small amounts of illegal substances in their possession.The State Department issued the advisory on spring breaks to raise students’ awareness. It noted, however, that the majority of students will have safe and enjoyable adventures.Juan Espinoza, a junior majoring in communication and international relations, said he believes most students can stay out of trouble while in Mexico.“Mexico is safe. Most of the violence is connected to drug cartels,” Espinoza said. “So if students aren’t engaged in those activities they will be fine.”Elizabeth Chau, a sophomore majoring in international relations, said she does not plan to travel outside of the country during spring break because she is concerned for her safety.“The risk is too great,” Chau said. “You have no idea what could happen to you right now with everything going on.”Carol Wise, a professor of international relations, said students should be more wary of traveling to Mexico’s border states.“I feel safe in [Mexico]. I just wouldn’t go to the border states,” Wise said. “I feel as safe there as in South Central Los Angeles.”To keep safe, the State Department urged all U.S. citizens traveling, studying or residing abroad to sign up online for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. STEP makes it possible for the State Department to contact the student traveler in the case of a family emergency in the United States or because of a crisis in a foreign country.Devin Carey, a sophomore majoring in international relations, said she believes the STEP program could be more helpful for students traveling in small numbers.“If I were going to Mexico with a small group of people I would sign up [for STEP], but I’m going with a lot of people so I think I’ll be relatively safe without it,” Carey said.last_img read more