General News Updates 2023

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3/15/23 - Until today, it has been a couple of months since the United States Department of State has issued an updated travel advisory concerning China (PRC), the latest STEP advisory received today is posted below. In short, the new advisory unfortunately confirms what has been previously reported to me by my personal contacts overseas and ultimately shared on this site. Again, the situation in the PRC is important to the model railroading industry because in recent years, it has been the source of sub-contracted labor that has helped to supplement skilled labor for 'South Korean' builders and as a result to help keep brass model pricing under control.

There are no easy answers for the overseas situation or in fact, for the situation here in our own country which is still struggling with skilled labor shortages affecting suppliers and component shortages for related product production. The situation is improving all too slowly, but there is progress. Airfares affecting my necessary overseas travel is also beginning to improve, it is typically down to 2-3x what had been routine pre-pandemic. As previously explained, I am not planning for the short-term, but rather working to put together a coherent plan that will allow for the completion of the many projects already invested in and desired by my very loyal clients.

STEP Notifications

Subject: China Travel Advisory: Level 3: Reconsider Travel, March 10, 2023

Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.

Reconsider travel to the People's Republic of China (PRC), including the Special Administrative Regions (SARs) of Hong Kong and Macau due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws. See specific risks and conditions in each jurisdiction below. Commercial transportation options for international departure and arrival are available. Exercise increased caution in the PRC due to wrongful detentions.

Country Summary: The PRC government arbitrarily enforces local laws, including issuing exit bans on U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries without fair and transparent process under the law.

The Department has determined the risk of wrongful detention of U.S. nationals by the PRC government exists in mainland China.

U.S. citizens traveling or residing in the PRC, including the Hong Kong SAR and the Macau SAR, may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime. U.S. citizens in the PRC may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention without due process of law.

Foreigners in the PRC and the Hong Kong SAR, including but not limited to businesspeople, former foreign government personnel, and journalists have been unjustly interrogated and detained by PRC officials for alleged violations of PRC national security laws. The PRC has also interrogated, detained, and expelled U.S. citizens living and working in the PRC.

Security personnel may detain and/or deport U.S. citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the PRC, Hong Kong SAR, or Macau SAR governments.

In addition, the PRC government has used restrictions on travel or departure from the PRC, or so-called exit bans, to:

  • compel individuals to participate in PRC government investigations,
  • pressure family members of the restricted individual to return to the PRC from abroad,
  • resolve civil disputes in favor of PRC citizens, and
  • gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments.

In most cases, U.S. citizens only become aware of an exit ban when they attempt to depart the PRC, and there is no reliable mechanism or legal process to find out how long the ban might continue or to contest it in a court of law.  Relatives, including minor children, of those under investigation in the PRC may become subject to an exit ban.

The PRC, Hong Kong SAR, and Macau SAR governments do not recognize dual nationality.  U.S.-PRC citizens and U.S. citizens of Chinese descent may be subject to additional scrutiny and harassment, and the PRC, Hong Kong SAR, and Macau SAR governments may prevent the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate General from providing consular services.

Check with the PRC Embassy in the United States for the most updated information on travel to the PRC. In some limited circumstances travelers to mainland China may face additional testing requirements to enter some facilities or events.

The Department of State does not provide or coordinate direct medical care to private U.S. citizens abroad. U.S. citizens overseas may receive PRC-approved COVID vaccine doses where they are eligible.

The PRC government has not authorized for general use in mainland China many COVID vaccines commonly available in the United States and Europe, including AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson products. It has conditionally authorized thirteen PRC-made vaccines; these are available to anyone residing in China. The FDA has not approved the two most commonly available, Sinopharm and Sinovac. Sinopharm and Sinovac have received approval for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO).

In Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR, BioNTech mRNA COVID vaccines including the bivalent option are available. Please contact local health authorities for information on available vaccines.

Visit the FDA's website to learn more about FDA-approved vaccines in the United States.


Extra security measures, such as security checks and increased levels of police presence, are common in the Xinjiang Uyghur and Tibet Autonomous Regions. Authorities may impose curfews and travel restrictions on short notice.


Since the imposition of the National Security Law on June 30, 2020, the PRC unilaterally and arbitrarily exercises police and security power in the Hong Kong SAR. The PRC has demonstrated an intent to use this authority to target a broad range of activities it defines as acts of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign entities. The National Security Law also covers offenses committed by non-Hong Kong residents or organizations outside of Hong Kong, which could subject U.S. citizens who have been publicly critical of the PRC to a heightened risk of arrest, detention, expulsion, or prosecution. PRC security forces, including the new Office for Safeguarding National Security, now operate in the Hong Kong SAR and are not subject to oversight by the Hong Kong judiciary.

Demonstrations: Participating in demonstrations or any other activities that authorities interpret as constituting an act of secession, subversion, terrorism, or collusion with a foreign country could result in criminal charges. U.S. citizens are strongly cautioned to be aware of their surroundings and avoid demonstrations.

Propaganda: A PRC propaganda campaign has falsely accused individuals, including U.S. citizens, of fomenting unrest in the Hong Kong SAR. In some cases, the campaign has published their personal information, resulting in threats of violence on social media.

Read the country information page for the PRC, the information page for the Hong Kong SAR, and the information page for the Macau SAR for additional information on travel.

If you decide to travel to the PRC, including the Hong Kong SAR and the Macau SAR:

  • Read the Department of State's COVID-19 page before planning any international travel, read the Embassy COVID-19 page for the PRC and the Consulate General COVID-19 page for the Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR for specific COVID-19 information.
  • For the Hong Kong SAR, monitor local media, local transportations sites, and apps like MTR Mobile or CitybusNWFB, and the Hong Kong International Airport website for updates.
  • Avoid demonstrations.
  • Exercise caution in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests.
  • Avoid taking photographs of protesters or police without permission.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Keep a low profile.
  • For the Hong Kong SAR, review your Hong Kong flight status with your airline or at the Hong Kong International Airport website.
  • Enter the PRC on your U.S. passport with a valid PRC visa and keep it with you.
  • If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or the nearest consulate immediately.
  • If you plan to enter the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), read the DPRK Travel Advisory. Travelers should note that U.S. passports are not valid for travel to, in, or through the DPRK, unless they are specially validated by the Department of State.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter. Follow the U.S. Embassy on TwitterWeChat, and Weibo. Follow the U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong and Macau on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for the PRC, the Hong Kong SAR, and the Macau SAR.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler's Checklist.

2/12/23 - Organizational work continues in order to get our production process back up and operational. Regular contact is happening with builders, sub-contractors, suppliers and even logistics companies at this point to put all the pieces together necessary to move our projects forward. We are actually starting to get answers to the many questions that have to be asked and answered which is a step in the right direction, until now, there have been a lot of 'I don't know' responses in multiple languages. Persistence and patients has to be the 'game' at this point if progress is going to be made.

Needless to say, there have been numerous tough decisions to be made regarding Kohs & Company in the last three years, all centered around maintaining the standards that have been set for my projects. Continual 'intelligence' efforts with overseas sources have been helpful in making the decisions, but you are always left wondering if something could have been done in a better way. I raise this issue in light of the recent exchanges that have taken place on several of the model railroad blogs which have highlighted the concerns regarding quality or lack of same with recently delivered projects. I take little solace in saying that this reporting only serves to confirm my own evaluation of the production situation during and early post COVID manufacturing environment. It has always been extremely difficult to maintain my standards even prior to COVID, with many delays in our production as a result, but the added pressure caused by the COVID situation simply made continuing production Kohs & Company blindly out of the question.

With that said, the effort now is to continue making the correct decisions going forward to not only allow for the completion of our current project in the short term, but to also set the stage for many more quality projects from Kohs & Company.

1/19/23 - Just a brief FYI message; updating work on this website is continuing, replacing images with higher resolution ones and making information access more user friendly particularly for phone and tablet users. This site is unique in that it does not follow Google guidelines and the desktop and mobile sites are actually separate sites running in parallel in order to make the mobile presentation as clean and predictable as possible.

1/01/23 - Wishing all that may read this post a very Happy and safe New Year. With the new year here, I sincerely hope that better, more predictable times will be at hand. I want to thank all that have continued to provide their unwavering commitment, be assured that everything will be done to honor that support.

At the outset of the Kohs & Company efforts to produce and deliver the finest brass O scale models ever, a business plan was put together that was unlike those that had been used by other producers for the hobby including direct sales and no dealers. For over twenty years the plan has been extremely effective and the resulting models have been judged as the finest ever, not by my evaluation, but simply put, few other models have ever achieved the level of financial appreciation that typical Kohs models routinely do. This is the result of well researched and built models delivered at fair prices with pricing integrity in place to protect the investment of each and every owner. The only complaint....we are too slow

The onset of the COVID scourge was certainly not foreseen by me or anyone else at the end of 2019, at least in the United States. The results have been devastating for another year on all fronts continuing to stall the efforts of Kohs & Company along with numerous other businesses, many of which have not or will not survive. Kohs & Company will survive, the demand for what I offer has never been stronger with over a quarter million visits to this website in the last twelve months. A new business plan is required going forward in response to all of the problems that have been created primarily by governments around the world and a thorough evaluation of every aspect of the business has been undertaken. Production considerations are at the forefront, but how orders are handled and how we promote what Kohs & Company offers also require a serious review.

As decisions are made and we proceed in the new year, some of what I decide to do may well be misinterpreted as weakness and promoted as such by detractors who have never understood my plans from the beginning. It has been roughly fifteen years since I ran my last published ad and I do not see that changing now. I have taken part in shows in Germany, Switzerland, France, England, Canada and from coast to coast in the United States, I do see this situation changing. It's a simple matter of controlling expenses and putting resources where they matter most. As the years have passed, shows have become a less and less effective tool with fewer modelers/collectors that actually support Kohs & Company bothering to attend. I will be looking for more effective ways to acknowledge supporters while still very selectively attending shows that make the effort to be more current in their appeal and offerings.

As necessary adjustments are made, I look forward to maintaining the effort of delivering the finest models ever....and maybe even faster!

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