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NATIONAL REPORT—You need not take more than a quick glance at the U.S. Drought Monitor to see that something is awry in California. Much of the state is in dark red—exceptional drought. Other parts of the state are in either extreme or severe drought. Sources of water for the Golden State are shrinking—both above ground and below ground. According to University of Colorado geoscientist Brad Udall, drought, combined with overuse have produced some of the Colorado River’s lowest flows in more than 1,000 years. As many as 40 million people in the Southwest rely on the Colorado for drinking water. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the loss of groundwater in the Western United States has been so great that the ground there actually rose one-sixth of an inch this year. The mountains of California rose three-fifths of an inch as the easing weight of the groundwater has caused the Earth’s crust to spring upward. California, for years, has dealt with frequent drought.
VISTA, CALIF.—What is interesting about the California drought currently impacting the area is not necessarily the severity of it. Instead, it is how the state seems to be handling it in stride, with relatively minor impact on communities. While some industry sectors are definitely being impacted—and we may not have seen the worst—compared to the last “major” drought in California (1976-1977), there have been considerable changes for the better.
BETHESDA, MD.—Marriott Hotels, the flagship brand of Marriott International, Inc., launched its first traveler-inspired innovation—a healthy vending machine, featuring handcrafted salads, sandwiches and snacks made fresh everyday using local ingredients. The working prototype debuted in the lobby of the Chicago Marriott O’Hare, offering travelers healthy food options available all day and night during their journey. The innovation was inspired by Anjana Kallarackal, a 21-year-old college student, who answered the call to join Marriott Hotels in co-creating the future of travel as part of its Travel Brilliantly campaign. In looking to bring Anjana’s idea to life, Marriott Hotels reached out to Chicago start-up Farmer’s Fridge, which has taken an innovative approach to making healthy, delicious food easier to access. The company’s kiosk, one of 12 in the Chicago area, will be located in the Chicago Marriott O’Hare for the next five months for testing with guests. Items curated and prepared daily by Farmer’s Fridge will be offered for sale in distinctive packaging, ranging in price from $3 to $12 dollars.
SAN FRANCISCO—Tens of thousands of Californians, including a pledge of 1,000 California Fairmont Hotels & Resorts colleagues, friends and family members, will volunteer to remove debris from the coast, creeks, rivers, lakes and shorelines all around California protecting wildlife from harm while taking care of the environment. The event, the 30th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day, will take place on Saturday, September 30 from 9 a.m. to noon in most locations.
SANTA ANA PUEBLO, N.M.—Bees can bring to mind sci-fi like headlines, and thoughts of painful stings. In reality honeybees are important contributors to the many fruits and vegetables that we eat. Earlier this summer, Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa added two colonies containing 20,000 bees each to its grounds, furthering Tamaya’s mission of being an environmentally friendly resort. Honeybees are the major pollinators of the resort’s many flower beds and its on-site orchard, vegetable and herb gardens. It’s estimated that in the first year, these bees will produce 70 to 80 pounds of honey as well as beeswax. While the bees will need much of this honey for the winter months, as much as 25 to 30 pounds will be harvested by the resort and used in the Tamaya Mist Spa and Salon and in the resort’s kitchens.
SINGAPORE—Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group announced that the company has joined the fight in reversing the rapid decline in the shark population, signaling its commitment towards sustainable seafood sourcing. Reaffirming its commitment to operate as a responsible business, the company will stop serving shark fin at its leased and managed hotels and food and beverage establishments across Asia Pacific beginning September 1, 2014.
LAS VEGAS—Mirtha Eusebio, a card dealer at Bally’s in Las Vegas, is getting excited about the trip she will be taking to the Dominican Republic from September 23 to 26 with two other Caesars Entertainment employees. The three will be joining Clean the World Foundation staff and representatives of Children International on a trip to distribute soap to those in need in three locations. The soap to be distributed was donated by lodging establishments and sanitized and reprocessed by Clean the World. Eusebio and her two colleagues were selected as a result of a contest held by the Caesars Foundation, a private charity funded through the profits of Caesars Entertainment. “I am thrilled to have been chosen for the Clean the World trip,” Eusebio says. “I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. I have seen firsthand the need for soap. It will be an amazing experience. We will have direct contact with the people and talk about the importance of hygiene and its role in preventing diseases.”
HARTFORD, CONN.—The 393-room Hilton Hartford recently announced its recognition by TripAdvisor as a GreenLeader, Bronze level into the TripAdvisor GreenLeaders program, which helps travelers plan greener trips by identifying environmentally-friendly accommodations. The Hilton Hartford is operated by the Waterford Hotel Group, a national hotel and convention center management firm.
ATLANTA—Global Soap Project, the nonprofit organization focused on educating, empowering, and improving the hygiene and health of vulnerable populations around the world, has announced the opening of a new 7,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in Las Vegas. The facility, which is double the size of its original Atlanta plant, has relocated to Las Vegas to more efficiently process the donations of used soap from more than 150,000-plus hotel rooms, including a large concentration in the Las Vegas area. Global Soap Project accepts used soap in bulk from hotels, and then processes them into large bars, which are distributed to 32 of the poorest regions in the world. This undertaking is in cooperation with global health organizations including the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Helping Hand for Relief Development (HHRD), World Water Relief (WWR) and CARE International. The new Las Vegas facility will be capable of producing four million bars of soap annually, and will save more than one million pounds of soap from being dumped into landfills each year.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y.—Surrounded by the six million protected acres of the Adirondack Park—the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous U.S. states—Whiteface Lodge is mindful of the very special place it occupies in the world. From the timber used in its construction in 2005, all of which was found on-property, to its reuse of dying trees on its land as mulch and in landscaping, the rustic resort continues to strengthen its conservation commitment as awareness increases and technology improves.
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