Fairbanks annual Equinox Marathon is Saturday. A hilly, mostly off road course and wet, cool weather make the race a challenge, but a few participants in this year’s event are battling a much tougher foe.Photo: Dan BrossDownload AudioFairbanks runner Caroline Brown’s son has a rare genetic disorder that’s robbing his hearing and sight. Brown is part of a group of runners taking on this year’s Equinox Marathon in support of developing treatments and even a cure for Usher Syndrome.Brown and several other members of the Usher Syndrome Coalition are participating in the Equinox Marathon as part of the first ever Usher Syndrome Awareness Day, and what they’re calling “Own the Equinox”.Marco Steffan is running tomorrow’s marathon, guiding a friend from Boston who has Usher syndrome.Steffan and Brown are taking sponsorships and donations in hope of raising fifty thousand dollars for Usher syndrome research.
Daydream Island $50 million redevelopment brought forwardDaydream Island Resort and Spa has announced that in the wake of substantial damage caused by recent Tropical Cyclone Debbie that the popular Whitsundays Resort would bring forward its planned refurbishment for 2018.The resort will now stay closed ahead of a continuing clean-up and the beginning of works later in 2017.Daydream Island Resort & Spa announced in January that they will spend more than $50 million on a significant refurbishment next year which will see major infrastructure upgrades including accommodation refurbishments as well as renovations to existing attractions and installation of new features which will transform Daydream into an upscale 4½ star world-class resort.It is anticipated that the newly refurbished Daydream Island Resort & Spa will be opening for guests in mid-2018.Daydream Island Resort General Manager Dawson Tang said that following an assessment it was not feasible to invest money in reopening Daydream Island in the next few months only for it to close again for the refurbishment.“We are determined to bring Daydream Island back to its spectacular best,” Mr Tang said.“The level of support we have received from past guests and the community has been overwhelming.“This decision for an extended closure has not been an easy one but will enable us to concentrate fully on restoring Daydream Island back to the top of the Queensland tourism industry.”Daydream had previously announced that it would not accept guests until at least April 30th 2017 whilst it carried out a full assessment of the impact of Cyclone Debbie. Guests with forward bookings are being contacted to arrange the provision of refunds.Major works will include redevelopment of the Arrivals pavilion, Reception, main Atrium area, Waterfalls restaurant, Lagoons bar, all room types and Mermaids Restaurant. Additionally, the Lovers Cove function area will be expanded and a new Asian-inspired restaurant will be built overlooking Mermaids Beach.The resort’s conference facilities will be significantly revamped and expanded.Over recent days, Daydream Island’s management team have met extensively with representatives of the State Government and other tourism industry bodies.As part of these discussions the State Government has offered to assist in developing processes that will allow us to fast track the re-development of Daydream Island, particularly in relation to the various approvals that will be required.“We want to work together with the Queensland Government to get the newly renovated luxury Daydream Island opened as soon as possible” Mr Tang said.In line with this closure decision, Daydream is in the process of reviewing its resource and staffing needs to carry the resort through the refurbishment process. Many staff have already moved on to other jobs, and Daydream is working closely with other operators including Hamilton Island to assist with possible redeployments.“Our staff and resort managers have to be commended for the professional way they implemented our cyclone procedures in very difficult circumstances. We have received so many positive comments from guests about how they were looked after and reassured by our resort staff,” Mr Tang said.“Whilst some redundancies will be necessary in the short term, we are doing everything possible to minimise this.“We look forward to welcoming many of our staff back as well as guests old and new to the rebuilt Daydream Island next year.” Daydream Island ResortSource = Daydream Island Resort