MSP airport’s therapy cat

Stitches the cat is soothing the nerves of frazzled fliers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. This month she became the first feline to join the airport’s 96 therapy dogs that serve as Animal Ambassadors to reduce stress and enhance the overall airport experience. The airport posted a video on Twitter of the calico-tabby mix riding around in a cart with a sign that reads “Pet Me,” and enthusiastic responses rolled in, including from one person who said, “This is PAWW­SOME!” The 11-year-old feline, who makes the rounds on Fridays in the north rotunda of Terminal 1 and at the entrance to Concourse C, has helped relax anxious passengers who have stopped to cuddle and give the 13-pound cat neck rubs before getting on their flights. Meanwhile, InsureMyTrip recently named MSP the 10th least stressful airport in America, based on flight cancellations.

Tim Harlow

Faroe Islands to close

It’s not every day that a tourism board tells the public to stay away. Visit Faroe Islands is doing just that with its decision to limit tourist access to the island chain this spring. The initiative aims to draw attention to the issue of overtourism by closing major parts of the islands for maintenance on April 16-17, 2020, opting instead to host 100 volunteers for the weekend. The board debuted the “Closed for Maintenance” project this year, resulting in “unprecedented success.” Maintenance projects will work to preserve and create infrastructure to better prepare for the islands’ tourism influx, like building paths and installing signs to protect vulnerable nature. “The Faroese hope that their project will also inspire other countries to set up their own Maintenance Crews, encouraging visitors to help to redress the impact of tourism worldwide,” the tourism board said in a statement.

Washington Post

Nashville vegan

Nashville’s shiny new culinary scene is expanding in different directions. New to the vegan scene is Vege-licious, an intimate soul-food restaurant northwest of downtown on Fisk Street. Scarcely a year old, Vege-licious offers vegan po’boys, Tater Tots with vegan cheese sauce and black-eyed pea salsa, fried soy chicken and hearty “plates,” including a soul food plate. There are also burgers, gyros, sandwiches and dishes like lasagna, as well as full breakfast and dessert menus. Co-owner Bettina Thomas said she’s been a vegan for over 30 years. Her partner and husband Kevin, she added with a little side eye, is “in progress.” The aim of Vege-licous, she said, is to be a “home-style, soul-food restaurant that is opening the eyes of many to veganism” (vege-licious.com).

New York Times

Venice underwater

Venice was hit last Sunday by a record third exceptional tide in the same week while other parts of Italy struggled with a series of weather woes. Stores and museums in Venice were mostly closed in the hardest-hit area around St. Mark’s Square, but tourists donned high rubber boots or even hip waders to witness and photograph the spectacle. Most were disappointed when officials closed the historic square as winds rippled across the rising waters. The doors of the famed St. Mark’s Basilica were securely shut to the public, and authorities took precautions to prevent salt-laden water from entering the crypt again. Italian officials have declared a state of emergency for the area. They say Venice is both sinking into the mud and facing rising sea levels due to climate change.

Associated Press