Category Archives: news-and-views

We Know Them by Name: Katrina, Sandy, Matthew, Harvey and now Irma

By Shep Altshuler, publisher TimeSharing Today

By now, every American has been touched, in some way, by the effects of hurricanes. They imperil lives, property, and businesses. Death and destruction threaten as we watch the most severe storms form, grow, and roll across the national landscape. We also know the international devastation caused in parts of the world that are less capable of responding as we do here in the U.S.

We know them by name — but these monster storms are not our family members or friends. They enter our lives as unwanted invaders, foes wreaking havoc and terror on a scale beyond most terror attacks.

Unlike terror attacks, hurricanes are predictable. We can see them coming from hundreds of miles away. They’re reported and tracked on the news and by multiple weather-reporting services. As the winds blow, and the waters rise, we see the toll of injuries and deaths rise in the aftermath.

In the world of vacation ownership, TimeSharing Today, its readers, and industry providers are among those who are impacted. We may live far away from the eye of the storm, but our resort could be dead center when the hurricane hits.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all victims of extreme natural disasters.

 

 

 

 

Hawaii timeshare associations win tax case

By Kristina Payne

Maui County has been ordered to return $10.7 million to Ocean Resort Villas and Ocean Resort Villas North.

Maui Now and The Maui News reported that the litigation began after the county assessed additional taxes for the timeshare properties, claiming that they owed a total of $10 million in property taxes for 2006, 2007, and 2008.

The timeshare associations claimed that this additional tax was imposed in response to another lawsuit that started in 2013 and is still pending.

Judge Peter Cahill sided with the timeshare associations because of the way the county reassessed the property tax. This sets a precedent in favor of timeshare buyers. The judge was worried that future buyers would not fulfill their tax obligations if the tax can change at any time.

The county is appealing the decision.

What does this case mean for the timeshare industry? Tell us what you think on our Facebook or Twitter page.

For more information, Visit Maui Now and The Maui News.

Identity-Protection Tips

By Kristina Payne

In this new age of fast-paced technology, keeping track of the best ways to protect your information from thieves and criminals is becoming increasingly difficult.

A lot of online articles will give you quick tips on how to protect your identity while you’re on vacation, but protecting your information isn’t that simple any more.

Most websites, online retailers, and even walk-in stores keep your credit-card information on their corporate servers. Web browsers such as Internet Explorer and Google Chrome have options to save your credit-card information for easier checkout. This seems pretty convenient, until you think about recent news of hacking and website outages all over the internet.

This is scary and seems to be out of hand, with corporations collecting personal information without regulation.  Although major hackings are hard to control and predict, you can take three main steps to help protect some of your information.

  • Never input or post your Social Security number anywhere on the internet. No website should ever ask for that information, and no bank will ever ask for that information over the phone or in an email. If someone asks you for that information, hang up the phone or delete the email right away. If a website asks you that information when you’re checking out after some online shopping, do not make a purchase and leave the website. Your SSN is just as unique as you are. It’s the number-one way a thief can steal your identity.

 

  • Use gift cards and cash while on vacation. Going to a nice resort for your vacation can be a great time, but do you know how safe that resort is keeping your information? A risk is associated with using your credit card when purchasing and planning that vacation online. Many companies, including like Visa and MasterCard, have gift cards that look and act just like a debit account, to which you can add money as you go. Using one of those while on vacation can help you protect your information as well as stick to a budget. In a foreign country, using cash is always better than anything else.

 

  • Keep a close eye on your bank account. Sometimes you need to input your credit-card information on a website, or maybe a store that you’ve recently visited reported the theft of some credit-card information. To help protect yourself in such situations, check the amount of money in your bank account daily, and keep a close eye on your credit score. Most banks will deactivate a debit or credit card when you alert them to suspicious activity on your account. Fixing issues with your credit score can be more complicated, but the sooner you find a problem, the sooner you can work toward a solution

To prevent massive damage to your identity and credit, keep track of when and where you use your credit-card accounts and provide personal information. With proper planning and simple precautions, you can enjoy a worry-free vacation.

Kristina Payne is the social-media coordinator for TimeSharing Today.

Viewing The Solar Eclipse

By Kristina Payne

On August 21, 2017, everyone in the continental United States will be able to see the first solar eclipse since 1979. The next one that will encompass the entire U.S. won’t be until 2024.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the earth and the sun, blocking the sun’s light and casting a shadow over the earth. It will not be as dark as nighttime because the eclipse emits light just as the sun does.

Looking directly at the eclipse isn’t safe. To view it safely, either buy special solar-viewing glasses, or create a projector for it. To create a projector, poke a small hole in a piece of white cardboard, and hold it over a piece of white paper so it creates a shadow. The hole will mimic the sun and show you the progress of the eclipse.

The total eclipse will be visible in 14 states. Moving from west to east, it will cross Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The rest of the U.S. will be able to see the moon cover most of the sun.

More information on the eclipse is on NASA’s website: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/eclipse-who-what-where-when-and-how. Mark your calendar with the time the eclipse will occur in your location.

Kristina Payne is the social-media coordinator for TimeSharing Today.

Trip to Wallowa Lake

Phil and Shirley Hixon are avid readers and supporters of Timesharing Today! This is the review they wrote about their recent vacation to Wallowa Lake, OR.

We took a short trip down to Wallowa Lake in northeastern Oregon for a couple days last week.  Weather was fantastic; even got a little afternoon shower each day.  It just happened to be “Chief Joseph Days” in the town of Joseph, OR so lots of vendors were set up for selling items related to the rodeo.

The lake was as beautiful as ever. Wallowa Lake is about six miles long and is bordered on both sides by some pretty hefty looking glacial moraines.  There is an equally impressive terminal moraine at the outlet end of the lake.  There were probably as many paddle boarders as there were kayakers and other boaters enjoying the lake both days.

Deer are prolific in the Wallowa Lake resort community.  It is really a very unsafe situation.  This guy was one of four bucks (all about the same size) freely roaming around munching on yard landscaping and grass.  You can literally walk right up to these guys as they have little fear of humans and of course most humans don’t know how dangerous they can be if they get spooked and kick someone.

We hiked up the river to the first bridge.  It was a short hike of only about 4 miles round trip.  There is still enough snow in the high country at the end of July to keep the river running bank to bank.  If you travel further on this trail you will eventually enter the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area.

We had dinner at Vali’s, our favorite Hungarian restaurant (actually it is the only Hungarian restaurant we’ve ever eaten at) at Wallowa Lake.  The current owners are the son and daughter-in-law of the couple from Hungary who opened the restaurant over forty years ago.  Michael, the father died about 7 years ago and his wife, Maggie has retired and moved to Portland.  Maggie used to be the “life of the party” as she waited on customers and served our meals.  She would generally have everyone in the restaurant talking with each other before the meal was over.  She still comes over to the restaurant a couple times during the summer to help out.  They serve only one main entree each evening and it is imperative that you make reservations for either the 5:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. dinner.  Their cold cucumber salad was superb, as was the strudle and ice cream desert.  The main entree was three pieces of chicken served in a creamy paprika sauce accompanied by spätzle(small dumplings); a very interesting dish.  I always get a bottle of their Hungarian imported raspberry Malna soft drink to go with my meal.

In one of the shops in Joseph I came across a poster that showed a big ole rooster crossing a road.  His thoughts were: “I dream of a world where chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned.”  One other poster showed a rather overweight fellow trotting down the street saying: “Life is too short to eat rice cakes.”  I am in total agreement with that one.

Breakfast at the Cheyenne Cafe in Joseph is always a treat.  After the first time we ate there many years ago, we decided that one breakfast was plenty big enough for the two of us.  Their biscuits are humongous and go great with their country gravy.  

On the way home we drove by to see the first house we owned in Clarkston, WA when I started working for the Corps of Engineers in 1978.  We were surprised to see the growth of the trees we planted about forty years ago.


As we drove around town, we were equally surprised to see how much both Lewiston and Clarkston have changed over the years.  There has been a lot of home building going on.  The hospital in Clarkston has more than doubled its size.  The schools our boys attended are still very much in use.

Turned out to be a great way to spend a few days away from home. 

Phil

Did you recently go on a vacation? Send your story to articles@tstoday.com and you might get published on our blog!

RCI to acquire DAE

RCI, part of the Wyndham Worldwide family of brands (NYSE: WYN), has reached an agreement with vacation group Beneficium to acquire DAE Global Pty Ltd. (DAE), operator of Dial An Exchange, a leading timeshare exchange company headquartered in Australia, and @Work International, a software company also based in Australia. The deal is subject to customary conditions precedent, including receipt of applicable regulatory approval.  DAE’s offices in Australia, New Zealand, US and Egypt will become part of RCI upon completion of the acquisition. The addition of DAE will complement RCI’s existing business, broaden its appeal to a new base of travelers and strengthen its position as a leader within the global alternative holiday accommodation sector.

As part of the RCI family of brands, DAE will benefit from the core competencies RCI has developed over the past four decades as the leader in vacation exchange, including inventory management, member marketing and analytics. The company will also enjoy the added resources that come with being part of a global hospitality leader.  DAE, which has established a strong loyal consumer base, will continue to run as an independent brand and be marketed separately from RCI. However, the similarities among these exchange-oriented businesses will allow for greater collaboration between the companies to foster growth.

Massive Power Outage Impacts Outer Banks – State of Emergency Declared.

The Governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper, declared a State of Emergency and is urging authorities to work as quickly as possible to restore power to Hatteras Island in Dare County and Ocracoke Island in Hyde County.

The outages happened on July 27th, possibly due to construction being done on Bonner Bridge. The damage is to a transmission line that’s underwater, so officials are working to safely evaluate the damage. Until the damage is evaluated, officials cannot determine how long it will take to resort power to the affected areas.

Officials from Dare County and Hyde County orders a mandatory evacuation of all visitors from the affected areas. So far, the state government is reporting that about 3,782 people and 1,485 cars have been evacuated as of July 29th.

What to do if your power cuts out while on vacation.

If you ever experience something like this, make sure to contact your resort, exchange or rental company to keep updated about the situation.

Update yourself on what rights you have as a timeshare owner or vacation renter. For example, in North Carolina, you are entitled to a refund for the nights you couldn’t stay in your vacation rental, unless you were given the chance to purchase insurance. Keeping up to date on the laws in the state you’re vacationing in can help you in case disaster hits. Check with the State Attorney General’s office about your rights.

Read more about the situation: Governor’s call for repairs.

If you’ve ever experienced a power outage or disaster while on Vacation, we’d love to hear your story. Come and leave a comment on our Facebook Page or Twitter, or email your story to Kristina Payne, TSToday social media coordinator.  kristina@tstoday.com

NOTICE TO: OLYMPIC VILLAGE INN OWNERS

The Board of Directors’ Election at OVI will be held prior to the October 7, 2017 Annual Meeting of Members.  OVI owners should receive their ballots in September 2017.  The current Board of Directors continues to withhold the List of Candidates from the individuals who have requested that they be included on the ballot.  We must win this election and force the incumbents out of office.

There are four candidates who form a coalition team dedicated to reversing the trend set by the current Board to deliver OVI to Wyndham Resort Development Corp.  These four candidates are Sandra Farrow, Greg Rankin, Julie Feldman and Robert Bone.  In order to accomplish the needed change on the Board of Directors there will need to be a change in the majority and these four candidates supply the necessary change.  All four offer unique expertise in their own professional background – Real Estate Management; Timeshare Sales/Management and Resort Development; Legal Expertise; Corporate HR and Operations.  This team of candidates built a website SAVEOVI.ORG and they would like you to see what is happening from their perspective.  Robert Bone is available for any questions or comments at Law Office of Robert M. Bone, 707-525-8999 or via email at robertbone@att.net.