Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard Repairs About Half of RIMPAC Ships

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first_img View post tag: shipyard View post tag: ships View post tag: News by topic August 29, 2012 Industry news View post tag: repairs View post tag: Half View post tag: Navy View post tag: Naval Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard Repairs About Half of RIMPAC Shipscenter_img View post tag: RIMPAC Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PHNSY & IMF) answered the call for 132 repairs to U.S. and foreign surface ships taking part in the 2012 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise that ended Aug. 3.Held every two years by the U.S. Pacific Fleet, the two-month-long RIMPAC is the world’s largest multinational maritime exercise. Twenty-two nations participated this year. Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore, and the United States sent more than 40 surface ships and submarines.The Shipyard began providing maintenance support as ships started arriving in port in advance of the exercise. Almost half of the trouble calls came in the week before and week after the June 29 start date of RIMPAC. By the end of the exercise, the Shipyard and contractors had worked on jobs on about half of the RIMPAC ships.The majority of the repair calls concerned communications and other electronics gear. Fleet Technical Support Division, Code 210, was the Shipyard shop most impacted by the requests for technical assistance.Surface Operations Superintendent William Sullivan commended Code 210 personnel for their expert guidance to ships’ crews on numerous high-tech issues. He also acknowledged “great support from our business agents, Barry Ferreira and Neil Teves, … (and) ship superintendent support, led by Senior Chief Engineman Eduardo Romero and Chief Engineman Samuel Bernal.”The Surface Ship Operations Division, Code 103, led by Assistant Project Superintendent Henry Mata, and Shop 11 shipfitters and Shop 26 welders, led by Shipfitter Supervisor I Calvin Chang and Welder Supervisor I James Joseph Jr., displayed outstanding effort on structural repairs, Sullivan noted. Code 760 divers also provided outstanding support on short notice to numerous ships. “It was a team effort and the entire project contributed to supporting the fleet,” he said.The shipyard is a field activity of the Naval Sea Systems Command and a one-stop regional maintenance center for the Navy’s surface ships and submarines. It is the largest industrial employer in the state of Hawaii with a combined civilian and military workforce of about 4,850. Strategically located in the mid-Pacific, the Navy’s largest ship repair facility between the West Coast and the Far East is about a week of steam time closer to potential major regional contingencies in East Asia than sites on the West Coast.[mappress]Naval Today Staff, August 29, 2012; Image:Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard View post tag: Pearl View post tag: about Back to overview,Home naval-today Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard Repairs About Half of RIMPAC Ships Share this article View post tag: of View post tag: harborlast_img read more


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first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:A Nordic hedge fund worth more than $90bn (£68.6bn) has dumped its stocks in some of the world’s biggest oil companies and miners responsible for lobbying against climate action.Storebrand, a Norwegian asset manager, divested from miner Rio Tinto as well as US oil giants ExxonMobil and Chevron as part of a new climate policy targeting companies that use their political clout to block green policies.The investor is one of many major financial institutions divesting from polluting industries, but is understood to be the first to dump shares in companies which use their influence to slow the pace of climate actionJan Erik Saugestad, the chief executive of Storebrand, said corporate lobbying activity designed to undermine solutions to “the greatest risks facing humanity” is “simply unacceptable”.Storebrand will also divest from German chemicals company BASF and US electricity supplier Southern Company for lobbying against climate regulation, and a string of companies that derive more than 5% of their revenues from coal or oil sands.“We need to accelerate away from oil and gas without deflecting attention on to carbon offsetting and carbon capture and storage. Renewable energy sources like solar and wind power are readily available alternatives,” he said. “The Exxons and Chevrons of the world are holding us back,” he added. “This initial move does not mean that BP, Shell, Equinor and other oil and gas majors can rest easy and continue with business as usual, even though they are performing relatively better than US oil majors.”Saugestad said he expects Storebrand’s investor peers will follow its lead in divesting from companies that support anti-climate lobbying “as part of a logical progression in global fossil fuel divestment”.[Jillian Ambrose]More: Major investment firm dumps Exxon, Chevron and Rio Tinto stock Norway’s Storebrand divests ExxonMobil, Chevron stock due to climate inactionlast_img read more


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first_img“The Epic Ride designation is the golden seal of approval in mountain biking.It’s like the Oscar for Best Picture.”My legs are on fire, my lungs are holding a coup, and my bike feels like it's made of granite and square wheels. I'm in mountain biking hell, which is strange because I’m riding one of the best trails in the Southeast. I’m sure you’ve heard that before. The “best,” “sweetest,” “gnarliest”: There’s so much buzz around some of these trail systems, it’s hard to figure out what’s reality and what’s hype. Sometimes, you have to weed through a barrage of superlatives to get to the heart of a trail. They can't all be the sweetest, right?But the trail I’m riding really is one of the best around. Honestly. Because the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) says so. This is Tanasi, in eastern Tennessee, and it’s one of the IMBA “Epic Rides,” a distinction given to a select few trail systems across the globe. The “Epic Ride” is the golden seal of approval from the unofficial ruling body of all things fat tire. It is the Oscar for Best Picture. It is the Grammy for Best Album. A few new Epics are designated each year, but so far there are only 32 in the United States, and only six in the Southeast.While you may hear hyperbole about other trails around the country, the Epic designation gives Tanasi a certain level of cache`. But that doesn’t mean I’m having a good time. At least not at first. There’s just so much climbing involved.The elevation gain doesn’t seem to bother Doug Coulter or his other riding buddies -a couple of firemen named Jerry and Dave, and Mike Alcorn, a forest service trail engineer. Tanasi is their home track, their backyard. They’re used to paying these sort of dues. And they know what’s on the other end of this climb. If Tanasi is famous for one thing (other than the climbing), it’s the roaring downhills that await bikers who are able to make it past the initial elevation gain.I use the word “famous” loosely. Outside of a rabidly supportive group of local riders, Tanasi is relatively unused.“On a summer weekend, when the weather is perfect, you may have 50 riders spread out over these trails,” Coulter says. “It just doesn’t draw the crowds that Tsali draws.”Coulter, who owns a bike shop in nearby Cleveland, Tenn., is quick to compare Tanasi with Tsali, a revered western North Carolina trail system about an hour away from Tanasi that receives the lion’s share of the region’s mountain biker activity. Tsali and Tanasi are like rival high schools on opposite ends of a small town, and Tsali is winning the popularity contest. Head to Tsali’s parking lot on any given weekend and you’ll find a sea of cars. Riders mingle on the asphalt. A vendor sells T-shirts and power gels. It’s the sort of scene you usually reserved for race weekends. The system is so popular, the Forest Service has to control traffic by enforcing an alternating trail schedule. Certain trails are open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and others are open on Tuesdays and Thursdays and weekends.Tanasi has no such problem. As we reach the top of our first big climb, our group stops for a water break. We haven’t seen any other riders and we won’t for the rest of the day. Nobody is sure of the exact elevation we’ve gained, but we know we’ve all been in granny gear since leaving the car. We know we’ve had to pick lines through slick roots. We know we’re happy to take a water break.Coulter blames the climb we just finished for Tanasi’s lack of popularity. “There’s no way to access any of the trails without climbing at the beginning,” he says. “Right out of the parking lot, you’ve got to work your butt off. There’s no warm up. That climb keeps people away. It weeds people out.”Of course he’s right. While many bikers enjoy the grind of a climb, the majority are looking for the downhills without the uphills-which helps explain Tsali’s popularity. Tsali doesn’t have any significant climbs, and it’s downhills are less technical and demanding than surrounding trail systems like Tanasi. But, as jaded as it may sound, there’s more to a trail system’s popularity than just the quality of its trails, just as there’s more to making a hit record than talented musicians. There’s public relations. There’s hype.And if there’s any mountain bike trail system that deserves a little hype, it’s Tanasi. The 30 miles of trails start at the Ocoee Whitewater Center, and unlike most National Forest trails, these paths were built specifically for mountain biking. The elevation changes are quick and frequent, the berms are perfectly placed, and the downhills are fast, technical, and accentuated with jumps. Then there’s the location. Tanasi is two hours from Atlanta, an hour-and-a-half from Knoxville, an hour from Chattanooga, and two-and-a-half hours from Asheville. It’s in the heart of mountain bike country, sandwiched between the largest population zones in the South. And yet, Tanasi doesn’t receive the bike traffic it deserves.This is a problem with many Epic Rides designated by IMBA. “The Epics program has waned in recent years,” says Mark Eller, manager of IMBA. IMBA still designates a few trails every year, but their involvement with the trail systems doesn’t go much further than a designation party. As a result, many of these trails, which are considered the best in the country, are completely forgotten by the biking community after the buzz from the party wears off. IMBA is hoping to change this with a little bit of hype.“We’re hoping to get special trail markers for each Epic trail system we’ve designated, and hopefully, we’ll find regional sponsors for our clubs to provide funds for maintenance,” continues Eller.Increasing the popularity of forgotten trail systems may seem like a minor issue, but convincing a portion of the nation’s 51 million mountain bikers to explore these under-used trail systems could be a necessity for mountain biking’s survival.Take Bent Creek Experimental Forest, outside of Asheville, N.C. This popular fat tire destination is reaching the breaking point for mountain bike activity. The Blue Ridge Bicycle Club estimates Bent Creek sees 1,500 recreational users a week, most of which are bikers. The parking lots are consistently full, the trails are in disrepair, and the management is getting antsy. The small tract of forest land was originally designated for timber research, and David Loftis, project manager for the experimental forest, isn’t sure Bent Creek can handle the recreational activity it’s receiving. “Bent Creek is just 6,000 acres out of 150,000 acres in the Pisgah Ranger District,” he notes. “We’ve reached the upper saturation level of recreation use on the land. There is a limit to what we can do here. There’s a lot of other forest service land.”Such as Mills River Recreation Area, a hotbed of mountain bike trails ten miles south of Bent Creek. While Mills River has trails that easily rival Bent Creek and while it is a popular fat tire destination among bikers in the know, it receives only a fraction of the regular traffic that Bent Creek receives. And don’t forget DuPont Forest, an Epic Ride only 45 minutes from Asheville that could easily accommodate more traffic.And Bent Creek is just one tract of forest land that’s oversaturated with mountain bike activity. Tsali, while it manages existing crowds, will eventually reach a tipping point. The trails at the Chattahoochee Recreation Area in Atlanta could certainly use some relief from constant traffic. The same can be said with Cane Creek near Charlotte, or Belle Island in Richmond.And the problem is poised to get worse. While mountain biking’s popularity waned at the turn of the century, the advent of 24-hour races and the creation of the freestyle niche have increased participation in recent years. And the popularity of mountain biking among teenagers is through the roof according to the Outdoor Industry Association. A whopping 63 percent of all mountain bikers are between the ages of 16 and 24.Dr. Ken Cordell is a Research Project Leader for the Outdoor Recreation and Wilderness Assessment team within the National Forest system. Cordell, who was a key player in turning Tsali into the successful recreation area that we have today, isn’t sure what to do about the increase of mountain bikers on public land. “It’s amazing how much use there is, but it’s also a real management challenge. Honestly, I don’t know how we’re going to handle the increase in use overall.”At Tanasi, the higher you climb, the better the trails get. Coulter leads our group down Thunder Rock Express. This is the headliner at Tanasi, the signature trail that some compare to heroin. It’s just as addictive. It’s fast, it’s bermy, it’s technical, it’s smooth, it’s rolling, it’s everything a mountain bike trail should be, and Coulter and a small group of riders have it all to themselves-a fact that they’d like to change.It's not that these bikers don't appreciate the dream scenario of a “private” trail system. They're just able to see the big picture.“The more attention these trails receive, the better they’ll be maintained,” says Mike Alcorn, the forest service trail engineer along for the ride. He’s responsible for creating new trails near the river and is also working on relieving the congestion problem at Bent Creek. “We’ll also be able to justify creating more mountain bike trails and ultimately, it will help diffuse the traffic problems we’re seeing elsewhere.”The EpicsTanasiOcoee, Tenn. 30 miles of extremely fast singletrack and doubletrack accentuated by some tough climbs, all of which rise above the Ocoee River and the Olympic Whitewater Center.More Info: www.chattbike.com.What to expect: A tough climb out of the gate but once you reach the top you’ll be treated with some of the best downhills in the South. Rolling and bermy: a great combination.Must Ride: Thunder Rock Express: 1.5 miles of fast, rolling downhill. Jumps, berms, bridges, Nirvana.Know it Alls: Scott's Bicycle Centre in Cleveland, Tenn. 423-472-9881. www.scottsbikes.com.Detour: Shake Shack, Cleveland, Tenn. 423-476-4770. A thirty minute drive into Cleveland and you’ll be sucking down what many say is the best milk shake in the Volunteer State.Bull MountainDahlonega, Ga. More than 50 miles of trails wind up and around Bull Mountain in North Georgia. If you’re willing to do some forest road riding, you can connect to a couple of other trail heads nearby.More info: www.sorba.org.What to expect: The climbs aren’t terribly steep but they’re technical as hell and littered with roots and rocks. Some of the trails feel more like dried up creek beds. Bull Mountain is why God invented the full suspension bike.Must Ride: Bull Mountain Loop: 11 miles. Easily the most popular trail in the system. It starts with a tough, technical climb and then turns into a fast, twisting downhill (read: endo-centric).Know it Alls: Cartecay River Bicycle Shop in Ellijay, Ga. 706-635-2453.Detour: Mack Aaron’s Apple House, Ellijay, Ga. 706-273-3180. They’ve got 11 different kinds of fried pies, which is exactly what the doctor orders after riding Bull Mountain.TsaliBryson City, N.C. Forty miles of trails are split into four different loops. All consist of fast, rolling singletrack that cruises by Fontana Lake. The trails follow the contour of the mountainside as opposed to the fall line, which accounts for the roller coaster affect.More Info: www.mtbikewnc.comWhat to expect: Butter smooth trails that roll endlessly. There’s nothing too technical at Tsali, just unadulterated fat tire fun. Don’t expect to have the trails to yourself…ever.Must Ride: Left Loop: At 12 miles, it’s the longest loop at Tsali and it offers the most lake-side riding. Lots of rolling with fast turns and a couple of good climbs followed by steep downhills. Combine it with the Right Loop for the full Epic affect.Know it Alls: Nantahala Outdoor Center in Wesser, N.C. www.noc.com.Detour: Aunt B’s Donut Shop in Bryson City. 828-488-0881. Fresh donuts made right in front of your eyes? What more could a biker want?DuPont ForestBrevard, N.C. Almost 100 miles of singletrack, doubletrack, and forest roads cruise through the 10,400 acre forest which was featured prominently in the film “Last of the Mohicans.” www.dupontforest.com.What to expect: Dupont is famous for its eastern slickrock; big granite slabs in the middle of the trails much like Moab but without all the sand and deadly temperatures. Some of the best scenery you can imagine along a mountain bike trail: several trails take you to the base of impressive waterfalls. You’ll have to use fire roads to connect some of the singletrack but it’s worth it.Must Ride: Cedar Rock: 1.5 miles of the eastern slickrock that everyone loves. It’s rocky, technical, and you can combine it with a handful of other similar trails for a day-long adventure.Know it Alls: Backcountry Outdoors in Brevard, N.C. 828-884-4262Detour: Hawg Wild Barbecue, Pisgah, N.C. 828-877-4404. Do you really need a reason to check this place out or is the name enticing enough?The Southern Traverse:Harrisonburg, Va. 32 miles of beastly singletrack through a historic Civil War battle field. And 3,000 feet of elevation gain in the George Washington National Forest.More Info: www.mtntouring.com.What to expect: Lots of ridge riding on this tight, winding singletrack littered with fast downhills and technical rock gardens.Must ride: Shenandoah Mountain Trail: This 17-mile trail is the backbone of the Southern Traverse. Most people ride it from North to South in order to climb the forest roads and descend the singletrack. A shuttle is almost mandatory. Know it Alls: The Shenandoah Bicycle Company in Harrisonburg, Va. 540-437-9000.Detour: Dave’s Downtown Taverna, Harrisonburg, Va. 540-564-1487. $2 Natural Light pitchers. You can’t beat that.Gauley Headwaters:Slatyfork, W.Va. Rocks, hills, rocks, hills, and rocky hills dominate the 37-miles of trails within the Cranberry Wilderness. This is classic gnarly West Virginia singletrack and possibly the toughest in the east.More Info: www.wvmba.com.What to expect: From expansive meadows to deep hardwood forests, the scenery is breathtaking, but so are the trails. Finish ten miles of the Gauley Headwaters and you’ll feel like you actually accomplished something with your life-a rare feeling for a day of mountain biking.Must ride: Tea Creek Mountain Trail: 4.5 miles of rocks and roots. The climb at the beginning is a beast (there’s no shame in walking) but you’re rewarded with a three mile downhill that’s tight, narrow, and fast.Know it Alls: Elk River Touring Center in Slatyfork, W.Va. www.ertc.com.Detour: Forget the restaurants. Pack a lunch and head to Snowshoe for some lift-served downhill riding and mountain bike park fun. You’ve earned it. www.ride.snowshoemtn.com.last_img

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first_imgEditor’s Note: Blue Ridge Outdoors contributor Chris Gallaway was thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail and contributing a blog to BRO when tragedy struck his family. This is his final dispatch. Read his other dispatches from the trail: A Cold Start, Trail Magic, Difficult Winter, Monuments, Spring!, Family, and Virginia is for Limpers.The news from my hike is rather difficult. On my third day into Maine my parents called to tell me that my little brother Zach had died in a motorcycle accident. I traveled home from Rangeley, Maine and have been with my family since the 4th. We are stretched between grief, the unreality of this situation, and the simple business of all that must be done in this time. We are holding a memorial service for Zach this Saturday in Birmingham, and at the moment we’re trying to plan and prepare for that.I do plan to resume and finish my hike. It will be challenging to figure out how this life change fits with the journey I was on, but I hope that the trail will provide time and space for me to process this grief and to remember Zach. I’ll be flying back to Maine next Monday with about 200 miles left on the trail. My fiance, Sunshine, will join me in the town of Caratunk and we will finish the final week of walking together.last_img read more


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first_imgImagine living inside a 40-square-foot room, perched 60 feet above a 5,000-foot mountain for weeks at a time.Except for the occasional hike to the nearest town for re-supplies, you’re completely self-sufficient. Your job is simple: Watch the mountains that spread before you for smoke. Aside from that basic task, you’re free. It’s just you, the fire tower you call home, and the miles and miles of unending mountains that surround you in every direction.It’s easy to romanticize the bygone era of fire towers and the watchers who inhabited them, but the truth is, these men and women served a very practical function. At one time, thousands of towers stretched across America’s expansive wilderness. They were manned by watchers who kept tabs on the thunderstorms and accidents that could endanger the forests and communities within their purview.While some fire towers are still used to monitor the forests in the Western U.S., here in the Southeast, most towers were abandoned in the 1960s when it was decided planes could monitor the mountains more cheaply than men and women living in towers. Since the structures were abandoned almost five decades ago, various land management agencies have either dismantled the majority of their towers or let them fall into disrepair. Virginia’s George Washington National Forest had 24 fire towers at one time; they now have three. The others were either dismantled and sold, moved to private land, or burned by arsonists (a common fate for fire towers).“Most people think that because these towers are in a national park or in a national forest that they’re maintained by the land managers, but they usually aren’t,” says Peter Barr, author of the book Hiking North Carolina’s Lookout Towers. Barr and the Forest Fire Lookout Association are leading the charge to restore what remains of the Southeast’s lookout towers, partly because of each tower’s historical significance (most were built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps), but also because the few towers that remain have become hiking destinations.“You can hike to the top of a mountain in the Southern Appalachians and you’re not always guaranteed a view,” Barr says. “But if there’s a tower, a 360-degree view is your reward.”The Forest Service in the Southern Appalachians is beginning to value the towers because they are becoming popular hiking destinations. Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee recently restored the Pinnacle Mountain Tower outside of Erwin, and North Carolina has asked for federal funds to replace the roofs of eight towers in Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests.During peak foliage season, these towers offer a bird’s eye view of the colorful transition that consumes the Southern Appalachians. Keith Argow, chairman of the Forest Fire Lookout Association and former administrator for the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, believes these towers offer a unique way for hikers to connect with the forests they overlook.“These towers are a recognized symbol of our forest legacy—a symbol that helps remind the public that these forests are essential to our environmental well-being.”High Knob TowerGeorge Washington National Forest, Va.The Tower: One of only three fire towers left in the George Washington National Forest, High Knob sits on the state line between Virginia and West Virginia in Rockingham County. It was built by the CCC in ’39, and is one of the few rock towers in the Virginia forest system. A restoration effort between 2001 and 2003 has helped High Knob become one of the most beloved hiking destinations in the G.W. National Forest. A separate tower located in Wise County, Va. was also named High Knob. Sadly, the High Knob Tower in Wise County was burned by an arsonist in 2007. Efforts to restore the tower are underway.The Hike: Take the two-mile High Knob Trail, which follows the ridgeline of Shenandoah Mountain before accessing the tower. Portions of the trail are steep, but also steeped in rich fall color. Access the trail from Brandywine Campground.The View: The tower sits at 4,107 feet. From the observation deck, you can see Cow Knob ten miles to the north, Harrisonburg to the east, Reddish Knob to the south, and Spruce Knob in West Virginia to the west.The Foliage: The slopes immediately surrounding the tower are dominated by colorful hardwoods, as are the forests that unfold before you for 360 degrees.Hanging Rock TowerJefferson National Forest, W.Va. The Tower: Hanging Rock is a cedar cabin sitting on top of rocky Peters Mountain near the Virginia and West Virginia border. Birding groups use it to spot bald eagles, hawks, falcons, and osprey. In fact, it’s now known as the Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory. The tower burned down in 1996, but the forest service scrambled to rebuild it because it’s so popular with birders.The Hike: An easy one-mile hike on the Allegheny Trail takes you to the Hanging Rock Tower. Access the Allegheny from the trailhead on Route 15 near Waiteville, W.Va.The View: Sitting at 3,812 feet, views from the squat tower include the Greenbriar Valley and the Mountain Lake Wilderness as it stretches into Virginia. Beneath your feet lie mountains interspersed with small farm communities.The Foliage: Peters Mountain is a rocky ridge adorned with mature hardwoods. Reds and yellows creep up to the jagged rock fins that highlight Peters Mountain below the observation deck.Mount Sterling Fire TowerGreat Smoky Mountains National Park, N.C.The Tower: Mount Sterling Tower is a 60-foot tall, metal and wood observation deck perched above a dozen flights of stairs. The Mount Sterling Tower was manned several months out of the year by watchers who lived in a nearby cabin for two-week tours. Sterling is one of only three towers left inside the park, and is the highest true fire tower in the eastern U.S. Built in 1935, Sterling hasn’t been maintained since the ‘60s. It was listed on the National Historic Lookout Register in 2007 and is on the waiting list to be rehabbed by the park and the Forest Fire Lookout Association.The Hike: There are several ways to reach Mount Sterling. One of the most rewarding is to hike the Baxter Creek Trail, which is a 6.1-mile climb from the Big Creek Campground. The trail climbs 4,000 feet in just over six miles, earning the highest average grade per mile of any trail inside the Smokies. Good campsites sit near the base of the fire tower, making Sterling a popular overnight destination.The View: From its perch at 5,842 feet, you’ll get uninterrupted views of the east end of the park. You can see Balsam Mountain to the west, Mount Guyot to the north, Max Patch to the east, and Cataloochee Valley to the north.The Foliage: The peak is covered in a dense evergreen forest, so don’t expect close up foliage views from the summit. Once on the tower, the valleys and peaks surrounding you form a undulating sea of color.Yellow Mountain TowerNantahala National Forest, N.C.The Tower: Yellow Mountain isn’t so much of a tower as it is a tall stone cabin with an observation deck on top. Built in 1934 by the CCC, the cabin was staffed until 1969. It was recently restored, but it sits on the edge of the forest boundary and is being encroached upon by private developments.The Hike: Take the Yellow Mountain Trail for a 4.9-mile hike with stellar views and a steep climb up Shortoff Mountain. Access the trail from Cody Gap on Buck Creek Road a few miles from Highlands, N.C.The View: From its observation deck over 5,000 feet above sea level, you can see the rocky cliffs of Hogback Mountain, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the 6,000-footers of the Plott Balsams and Great Balsams, and even Lake Jocassee in South Carolina.The Foliage: Yellow Mountain is a rocky knob with low-lying hardwoods at the base of the tower, so you not only get the long range foliage views, you get some up-close color as well.Olson TowerMonongahela National Forest, W.Va.The Tower: The Olson Tower sits on top of Backbone Mountain, the site of West Virginia’s first fire tower, constructed in 1922. The original tower was removed and replaced by the Olson Tower in 1963. Today, hikers can still climb the steel tower’s 133 steps to the base of the vintage (read: not maintained) cabin.The Hike: A number of trails lead to Olson Tower, but we like the three-mile Canyon Rim Trail for the full experience. It’s a rocky path starting on Forest Service Road 18 that traverses the northwest side of Blackwater Canyon, delivering you from a thick canopy to the open views from the tower.The View: The tower sits at 3,736 feet, with views of the Otter Creek Wilderness, Canaan Mountain, Blackwater Canyon, and the Mount Storm Power Station.The Foliage: You’re immediately surrounded by red spruce, but from the top of the tower you’ll get long-range views of colorful oak, maple, and yellow poplar juxtaposed with sharp green spruce.Still Watching After All These YearsThe Southern Appalachians may be patrolled for fires by planes, but two fire towers in North Carolina are still manned for a few months each year, usually during the winter: Toxaway Tower near Lake Toxaway and Chambers Tower, near Waynesville. A few fire towers in Virginia are also manned on a periodic basis.“We still need to man fire towers on certain days, especially during windy or inclement weather when planes can’t fly,” says Keith Argow of the Forest Fire Lookout Association. “You need someone with eyes on the forest. And you still need experienced eyes in the towers that can tell the right people exactly where the fire is and which direction it’s moving. There have been several horrible fires out West that could have been contained if someone with experience was watching them.”Save ShuckstackThe Shuckstack Lookout Tower sits less than a mile off the Appalachian Trail in the southwestern corner of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You can see the 60-foot wood and steel tower as you walk across Fontana Dam, and it’s become a prime destination for day hikers and A.T. thru-hikers who use the tower to soak up views of Fontana Lake below. While that view is impeccable, the tower itself has fallen into disrepair. The rotted floor, missing steps, and lack of handrail could pose a hazard to hikers.“Shuckstack is in great need of repair, but it’s still salvageable,” says Peter Barr. “If we don’t act quickly though, it will become too expensive to repair and the park will shut off access.”Barr is organizing a project to raise private funds and volunteer labor to restore the tower, hoping that the National Park Service will match the funds and labor as they did to restore the Mount Cammerer Tower in the 1990s. The tower has offered fire protection for the forests and communities of southwestern North Carolina since 1934. Watchers stationed at Shuckstack witnessed the creation of Fontana Dam and the subsequent flooding of the Tennessee River.last_img read more


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first_img“Because children and parents are dying from that trauma too. They’re dying because they can’t do what they’re doing. Mothers can’t go to work because all of a sudden they have to stay home and watch their child, and fathers,” he said.Trump, who has been reluctant to embrace mandatory face masks ordered by many US governors to control the spread of COVID-19, also told CBS Americans should wear them “if necessary.”Against the backdrop of rising cases and deaths, US school districts have been confronted with a difficult choice of resuming classes or using only online teaching, which many parents have called ineffective and burdensome.School districts refusing to send children back to class in the fall, like those in California, are at odds with Trump, who has said he may withhold federal funds or remove tax-exempt status from schools that don’t open. It is not clear how funds could be withheld. Most primary and secondary school funding is local.The nation’s 98,000 public schools are a cornerstone of the economy, providing childcare for working parents, employing 8 million workers prior to the pandemic, and preparing some 50 million students to join the US workforce.Florida, New York allow return to schoolBoth Florida and New York state have said students will be allowed to return to school. New York is one of a handful of states where cases continue to fall and positive test rates are low – although it has seen by far the greatest number of deaths overall, at more than 32,000.North Carolina’s governor on Tuesday ordered schools to reopen if safety measures can be met, but said districts can opt for online learning only.The president’s comments came as Alabama, Florida and North Carolina on Tuesday reported record daily increases in deaths from COVID-19, marking grim new milestones of a second wave of infections surging across much of the United States.Florida, which has become an epicenter of the new outbreak, reported 133 new COVID-19 fatalities on Tuesday, raising its death toll to more than 4,500.”We must all continue to do our part to protect Florida’s most vulnerable and avoid the 3 Cs: closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings,” Governor Ron DeSantis wrote on Twitter. “Safeguarding the elderly and those with underlying health conditions will continue to be our top priority.”Mandi Hawke, who runs a small children’s book company from her home in Broward County near Fort Lauderdale, said she recently made her first trip to the local mall in months and was “horrified” by what she saw.”As bad as things are in south Florida, I feel they’re only going to get worse. We are not getting a grip on this,” said Hawke, 38.Alabama reported a record spike of 40 deaths on Tuesday and North Carolina an increase of 35, bringing each state’s total to over 1,100.Texas and California both reported record one-day increases in new cases. California said it had established a new mark for the current number of hospitalized patients suffering from COVID-19 at 2,103.US Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday visited Louisiana, which reported nearly 13,000 new cases last week.The state’s attorney general, Jeff Landry, canceled a meeting with Pence after testing positive for the coronavirus. Landry said he had no symptoms and was taking medication prescribed by his doctor. Topics :center_img President Donald Trump on Tuesday lambasted California’s two largest school districts for making students learn from home for the upcoming term in the face of the resurgent coronavirus pandemic.The Republican president, in an interview with CBS News, said it was a mistake for the Los Angeles and San Diego school districts to provide only on-line education for the academic year beginning in August.”I would tell parents and teachers that you should find yourself a new person, whoever’s in charge of that decision, because it’s a terrible decision,” Trump said.last_img read more


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first_imgHamptons-style is still growing in popularity as the Queensland coastline home buyers look for a sophisticated coastal feel.Stockland general manager of residential Queensland, Kingsley Andrew, said the developer was seeing a spike in interest for Hamptons-style homes in its Queensland residential communities. “The demand has been so strong that we’ve worked with our builder partners to feature Hamptons-style homes in the display villages of our Newport, Aura and Sovereign Pocket communities, so buyers can come along and see the quality and beauty of a Hamptons home up close,” Mr Andrew said.More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this homeless than 1 hour agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investorless than 1 hour agoThe popularity of the Hamptons-style home sees a return to the more traditional, postcard-pretty houses symbolic of beachside living in Queensland. “Buyers have seen the beauty of the older Queenslander homes being renovated in Hamptons-style in South East Queensland and they want to achieve the same style of elegant home without the hassle of a renovation,” Mr Andrew said. “Not only that, but building a brand new home means buyers can design the home that’s right for them without having to work around existing features of an older house that may not suit their requirements.”The trend is proving to be a popular style at The Elements, an exciting new village at the Sunshine Coast’s Aura community.“These exquisite homes blend indoor and outdoor living seamlessly, making them a perfect fit for a tranquil setting like The Elements,” Mr Andrew said.“We’re also seeing a lot of interest in the Aston Milan Hamptons display home at our waterside Newport community as buyers seek a light, airy home to suit their coastal lifestyle.”last_img read more


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first_imgSir Alex Ferguson has no fresh injuries or suspensions to contend with ahead of Saturday’s clash with the Gunners, so the Manchester United boss is likely to ring in the changes from the midweek Capital One Cup defeat at Chelsea and name the same side that beat the Blues 3-2 in the Premier League last Sunday.Robin van Persie will lead the line for the Red Devils against his old club with Wayne Rooney assuming a deeper role once again, with support from Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young on the wings.Shinji Kagawa (knee) has been ruled out until the end of November, while Nemanja Vidic (knee) is still out. Phil Jones (knee) and Chris Smalling (metatarsal) are both nearing a return but Saturday may be too soon for either to launch a comeback.Arsenal will have to cope without their top scorer in the league Gervinho after the Ivory Coast international injured his ankle after coming on as a sub against QPR last week, meaning Arsene Wenger is likely to stick with the team that forced a late win over Mark Hughes’ side.Kieran Gibbs (hip) is still out for the Gunners, meaning Andre Santos will continue at left-back, while Vito Mannone will start in goal with Wojciech Szczesny (ankle) still fighting to recover.Theo Walcott is pushing for a start after his midweek Capital One Cup heroics against Reading, but it is more likely that Wenger will keep the England international on the bench after 120 minutes of football. DID YOU KNOW?The last time Manchester United and Arsenal met at Old Trafford – when the Red Devils won 8-2 in August 2011 – was the highest-scoring match between the two in history.Arsenal’s last victory at Old Trafford came courtesy of an Emmanuel Adebayor goal in 2006. Theo Walcott is the only current Arsenal player who was in the squad for the 1-0 victory.Sir Alex’s side have won nine of their last 10 meetings with the Gunners in all competitions.The Red Devils have scored and conceded at least two goals in the same Premier League game five times this season. Robin van Persie (pictured right) has hit the woodwork 21 times since August 2009; nine more times than any other Premier League player in the same period.Only one of the Gunners’ 14 league goals this term have come before the half-hour mark.last_img read more


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first_img“I feel like I’ve done a good job of blocking it out,” Bumgarner said. “Sometimes it’s easier said than done, obviously. But winning solves everything. I’m just trying to win the game. It doesn’t matter what may or may not happen. All we can control is what’s going on right now.”The four-time All-Star has spent his entire 11-year MLB career with San Francisco. He has won three World Series and taken home two Silver Sluggers during his time with the team. Related News MLB trade rumors: Potential sleeper moves Astros, Yankees, Phillies could make to bolster rotations MLB trade rumors: What could it take to land Madison Bumgarner? Madison Bumgarner’s time with the Giants could be coming to an end soon.The Giants are reportedly listening to offers for the 29-year-old starter and they’re expected to move him before the July 31 trade deadline. Bumgarner discussed the rumors during a recent interview with MLB.com. MLB trade rumors: Phillies have been ‘in contact with every team that has pitching available’ “I just figured, until they take (the Giants uniform) away from me, I’m not going to think about it that way,” Bumgarner said. “Mindset is a big thing for me. I feel like that’s a negative light on what we’re trying to do, because we’re trying to win. I’m not focused on whether it’s my last start or not or whether they’re going to decide to make moves or not.”Bumgarner holds a 5-7 record with a 3.86 ERA in 20 starts so far this season. He has struck out 121 and walked 25 in 116 2/3 innings pitched. The Yankees are reportedly pursuing Bumgarner while he has also been linked to the Twins, Brewers, Braves and Astros, as well.  The Giants have begun to work their way back into playoff contention as they’ve won five in a row and are just 2 1/2 games out of the second wild-card spot with a 47-49 record. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, however, said the team’s plans have not changed.”Not every trade that’s made leading up to the trade deadline is a pure buy or sell deal,” Zaidi told KNBR earlier this week. “Sometimes it’s a need-for-need deal. That might be the direction that we go. “We’re very invested in this season and it’s been really exciting seeing how the team has played. Every pennant race and every opportunity you have to get to the playoffs has a ton of value. It has a ton of value to the fans and the organization, and we don’t take that lightly.”Bumgarner is set to take the mound against the Mets on Thursday. He will be a free agent after the season.last_img read more


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first_imgThe grand final was a thriller also and saw Axus defeat Fast Fish 5-4 with the golden goal in the extra chukka being scored by Diego Gomez who was also voted the most valuable player of the tournament.Fast Fish occupied the runners-up spot on the podium.Axus battle with Fast Fish in the tournament final. Axus team members celebrate on the podium after winning the Thai Equestrian Federation Cup at the Thai Polo & Equestrian Club in Pattaya, December 31.The Thai Equestrian Federation Cup came to an exciting conclusion on December 31 at Thai Polo & Equestrian Club in Pattaya.Six international teams of 8-10 goals handicap took part in the December 27-31 event; Axus and Fast Fish representing China, La Milagrosa and 22BR from France, local team Thai Polo and La Familia from Malaysia.  This was the first tournament of the Thai Polo League so the points were very important for the season ahead.Saturday’s playoff games saw Fast Fish edge past La Familia by 5 goals to 4 and Axus overcome La Milagrosa by a similar close margin of 6-5 to set up a grand showdown between the two China teams for the title.La Milagrosa rebounded from Saturday’s loss to beat La Milagrosa 8-4 in the first consolation final on Sunday and Thai Polo edged past 22BR 6-5 to take third place overall.last_img read more