December, 2020 Archive

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8 Pictures That Make the Case Against the FirstEnergy Bailout in Ohio

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享John Funk for the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Cleveland.com):Cheap natural gas for years to come plus a continuing surge in construction of wind and solar power plants because of decreasing costs means FirstEnergy’s bet on keeping its fleet of coal-fired and nuclear power plants — by shifting the risk to customers — is a $4 billion loser for customers, say analysts with the Cleveland-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, or IEEFA.FirstEnergy says that natural gas won’t stay cheap for long but refuses to reveal its gas price projections, which it made two years ago. The company hints it may have to close it largest Ohio-based coal plant, the W.H. Sammis plant, on the Ohio River, and its Davis-Besse nuclear plant near Toledo if it doesn’t get what it is asking for. Competitors and PJM, the company that manages the grid from Ohio to Washington, D.C., are opposed to FirstEnergy’s plan. See IEFFA’s main arguments in the following slides from the study.The W.H. Sammis power plant on the Ohio River is FirstEnergy’s last coal-fired power plant in Ohio. The company spent $1.8 billion upgrading the plant’s pollution controls after settling a Justice Department suit in federal court. Sammis has trouble competing against gas-fired power plants.Full article: Higher Energy Bills? Here Could Be Reasons Why 8 Pictures That Make the Case Against the FirstEnergy Bailout in Ohiolast_img read more

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In Montana Ruling, a Risk to Fossil-Fuel Expansion

first_imgIn Montana Ruling, a Risk to Fossil-Fuel Expansion FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg BNA:A district court decision stopping the expansion of a Montana coal mine provides a blueprint for environmental advocates to block other coal, oil, and gas projects across the country.“The decision has national significance, and it can and will be applied in other cases that we are bringing to challenge the federal government’s analysis of coal development, oil and gas development, and other fossil fuel projects,” Laura King, staff attorney at the Western Environmental Law Center, told Bloomberg BNA.Especially vulnerable could be two Bureau of Land Management decisions, King said. One, issued in 2015, made more than 80 billion tons of coal and nearly 10 million acres of land available for federal oil and gas leasing in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. The second approved 147,000 acres for oil and gas leasing in Colorado.The U.S. District Court for the District of Montana found Aug. 14 that the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement didn’t fully consider the impacts of Signal Peak Energy’s proposed expansion of Bull Mountain Mine in Montana ( Mont. Envtl. Info. Ctr. v. U.S. Office of Surface Mining , 2017 BL 283856, D. Mont., No. CV 15-106-M-DWM, 8/14/17 ).The court ruled OSMRE violated the National Environmental Policy Act by focusing on the benefits of the mine plan while minimizing the environmental and social impacts of trains transporting coal to ports in Canada and on the Great Lakes, as well as the air pollution emissions of coal combustion.Had it been approved, Signal Peak’s mine would have been the biggest underground coal mine in the country, based on production, according to the Sierra Club.Hayden Baker, an attorney with Sullivan & Worcester LLP, told Bloomberg BNA that the decision “really shows how courts—and, by extension, nongovernmental organizations and states—can continue to use the other mechanisms at their disposal to slow down infrastructure in mining.”Rena Steinzor, an administrative law professor at the University of Maryland, said the decision shows how government is supposed to work.“That use of the separation of powers is an absolute model,” Steinzor told Bloomberg BNA. “There are three branches, and they are all supposed to provide checks and balances on each other. And [Judge Donald] Molloy checked and he balanced. The courts are particularly important in interpreting statutes, because otherwise we just have the agencies themselves doing it. “But attorney Baker also cautioned that one impediment to environmentalists using the strategy again is that each case is different and highly contingent on specific sets of facts.More: Court Provides Blueprint for Challenging Fossil Fuel Projectslast_img read more

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2011 Online Video Best-Of

first_imgPhoto: Maxi KniewasserI am an online video addict.  The commoditization of high-end POV cameras and 1080p HD capabilities on SLRs has ushered in a new era of extreme sports documentary.  The viewer can now truly be brought into the experience of the athletes.The other fascinating thing about this shift is the fact that many companies are now stepping behind their athletes and enabling them to create extremely high-quality videography to be released completely free over the Internet.  We no longer need to wait for months in suspense until a particular video project is done.  We get our fix immediately via the powerful driving force of social media.Things are certainly changing around in the videography space, but regardless of the effects that it may have on some artists, it’s all gravy for us armchair viewers.  I can honestly say that I am amazed and inspired by something that I see online almost everyday.Here is a short list of a few of my 2011 favorites:1) All.I.Can Ski Movie- JP Auclair Street SegmentJP Auclair Street Segment (from All.I.Can.) from Sherpas Cinema on Vimeo.This segment blows my mind!  I love the climaxing nature of the music, the little artsy touches with the hidden skier going through the frame in the first few shots, and the incorporation of all kinds of urban settings and props.  The one thing that I love the most about it is the grungy feeling that pervades.  This is not some pristine Alaskan powder slope that can only be accessed by helicopter.  It is sub-prime conditions in an average BC town.  Absolutely amazing… a work of art.2) From the Inside Out TrailerFrom the Inside Out Trailer from SecondBase Films on Vimeo.The Coastal Crew.  If you are a mountain biker, you know who these boys are.  Semenuk, Norbraten, Smith… these guys all have their own unique styles whether it be World Cup race domination or building and sending unique and innovative features in the woods.  From the Inside Out looks to be an unreal video, and I am always happy to hit play whenever I see one of their online vids come across!3) GoPro 2 MontageThis one gets my best montage video award!  It features unreal and super creative shots from around the world of the best athletes expressing themselves in their own ways.  Just watch.4) Rider of the Year II PreviewRider of the Year II PREVIEW from Tribe Alliance on Vimeo.Gotta throw one in there from my own sport right??  In spite of the much smaller budget figures in the sport of kayaking, the Tribe Rider faction is consistently producing jaw-dropping footage and organizing the best kayaking events on the planet.  Check out this video for a look into the future of paddlesports.5) Danny Hart’s World Championships RunI mentioned it in a previous blog post, and I’ll stand by it.  This is one of my all-time favorite extreme sports videos.  The focus, commitment, and willingness to put it on the edge in the worst of conditions is truly inspiring, and I think that we can all learn something from it.Well, there you have it… that’s my highlight real of 2011 must-sees.  I can’t wait to see what kinds of media 2012 produces.  Now with those videos in mind, get out there and do what brings you passion in your own lives!last_img read more

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Weekend Pick: Red Wing Roots Music Festival

first_imgTo use the proper nomenclature, festival season is peaking right now. The summer circuit is in full swing at the moment with music lovers criss-crossing the Blue Ridge, and the country for that matter, seeking out their favorite bands, the best line-ups, and the coolest lot scene – sorry, make that camp scene. It seems that summer music festivals are aimed more and more at the counter-culture sect, the hippies, and the burnouts. Of course, this is the main demographic for your typical big festival crammed with jam bands, prog-rock, and late night techno raves. This leaves little room for the common man; the intrepid music fan who wants nothing more than to relax with their family, listen to some good old-fashioned mountain music, and maybe even slip off festival grounds for a bike ride or hike. This type of behavior would be blasphemy at Bonnaroo or All Good, where if you are not in a trance, hula-hooping to a band you’ve never heard of, you’re doing it wrong. Well, one band and one festival are out to change that, and it starts this weekend at the Red Wing Roots Music Festival at Natural Chimneys State Park outside Harrisonburg, Virginia.Presented by home-town and BRO favorites The Steel Wheels, the Red Wing Roots Music Festival is in its first year and is opening with a bang. Along with the Steel Wheels, the festival is headlined by the Del McCoury Band, Sam Bush, Tim O’Brien, and features festival favorites Yarn, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, The Duhks, and Pokey LaFarge. For the family there will be a Kids Zone featuring a kids’ stage with workshops and performances by the bands, story telling, and animal viewing from The Wildlife Center of Virginia.The lineup is top-notch, but attendees will also be in the heart of Blue Ridge adventure at Natural Chimneys State Park. Hosts The Steel Wheels are cycling enthusiasts and will be leading rides on some of the country roads of Augusta County, and the Shenandoah Group of the Sierra Club will lead a hike to Little Bald Knob. There is also fishing, swimming, and mountain biking all in the immediate vicinity, and outdoor activities are encouraged by festival organizers.Day passes are available at the gate or camping passes are online, so there is no excuse not to check out this brand-spanking-new music festival right in your Blue Ridge backyard.View Larger Maplast_img read more

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Hillbilly Environmentalist: We All Drink Downstream

first_imgOn the side of a can of Pisgah Brewing Company’s (excellent) Pisgah Pale Ale or Greybeard IPA is the quotation “We all drink downstream.” Though printed on the side of a beer can, this sentence captures the essence of the broader argument that living organisms are highly affected by activities upstream—and essentially all of us live downstream.Let me get directly to the point of this post: Our nation’s waterways are once again under attack, an attack which began the afternoon of January 20, 2017, the day Donald Trump was inaugurated as President. His public statements in support of clean air and clean water contrast sharply with his executive actions and budget proposals. He said the following when addressing Congress on February 28, 2017: “My administration wants to work with members in both parties … to promote clean air and clean water.” Nothing could be further from the truth.Mr. Trump quickly signed into law H.J.Res.38 “Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Interior known as the Stream Protection Rule,” submitted to him by Congress on February 16, 2017. The Stream Protection Rule, finalized in the waning days of the Obama Administration, made it nearly impossible for companies to legally remove mountaintops to remove coal, and then fill the once-pristine, adjacent headwater streams with “overburden.” This action was low-hanging-fruit for anti-environment, pro-business members of Congress and the President, as the rule was legally reviewable by Congress under the Congressional Review Act. The Stream Protection Rule is dead.But Mr. Trump is not satisfied to stop there, as his administration has set its sights on the broader Clean Water Rule, which was finalized on June 29, 2015 under President Obama. The title of the President Trump’s executive order, signed the same day as the address to Congress, says much: “Presidential Executive Order on Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule.” This executive order directs the administrator of the EPA (climate-change denier Scott Pruitt) and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (currently Douglas Lamont) to review and then rescind or revise the rule.Mr. Pruitt and Mr. Lamont wasted no time in signaling their intent in the Federal Register. Their intention is to interpret “navigable waters,” a crucial phrase which appears in the landmark Clean Water Act of 1972, as narrowly as possible—in fact, consistent with the interpretation of uber-conservative Justice Scalia in the 2006 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Rapanos vs. United States. Rapanos was argued many years after Michigan-based developer John Rapanos filled 22 acres of wetlands with sand to develop a mall, and he did not apply for a permit for this action, even though his consultant and state employees requested that he do so, claiming that the wetlands were far enough from “navigable waters” that he could do whatever he wanted.The intention filed by Mr. Pruitt and Mr. Lamont in the Federal Register states “… the agencies will consider interpreting the term ‘navigable waters,’ as defined in the CWA in a manner consistent with the opinion of Justice Scalia in Rapanos.” Justice Scalia wrote this in his opinion on the case: “In applying the definition to “ephemeral streams,” “wet meadows,” storm sewers and culverts, “directional sheet flow during storm events,” drain tiles, man-made drainage ditches, and dry arroyos in the middle of the desert, the Corps has stretched the term “waters of the United States” beyond parody.” Parody, as in funny, an exaggeration. Justice Scalia thought it was humorous that one could consider all waters as connected and worthy of federal protection.I could go on for pages with the details, but I will cut to the chase: After the 2006 Rapanos ruling, which did not clarify exactly which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act, the EPA began the years-long process of studying the science related to “connectivity of streams and wetlands to downstream waters,” the title of its 2015 report. It took four years to even finalize the report, owing to the extensive review by dozens of both governmental and non-governmental subject matter experts (a.k.a. scientists). Over 1,200 publications from the peer-reviewed journal literature were used in the writing of the report. Bottom line: The extensive study is scientifically-based, not whimsical. Next bottom line: Mr. Trump’s and Mr. Pruitt’s/Mr. Lamont’s intentions are whimsical, at least from a scientific perspective. In fact, Mr. Pruitt and Mr. Lamont write in the Federal Register “such a revised decision need not be based upon a change of facts of circumstances.” (emphasis mine)The science report “Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence” is almost 500 pages long, but the conclusions are clear—all streams, wetlands, and open waters of any kind, size, and frequency of flow are intimately “connected to downstream waters and strongly influence their function” and/or “provide physical, chemical, and biological functions that could affect the integrity of downstream waters.” The subsequent Clean Water Rule, then, defines “navigable waters” very broadly, given these unequivocal findings of professional scientists in the field (again, both governmental and non-governmental). [Read a summary of the “Connectivity” report here.]Back to my opening line—We all drink downstream. Clean water is crucial to all living organisms. And clean water is paramount for the readers of this magazine to do all the wonderful activities we do outside. The incredible efforts of scientists, lawmakers, and federal employees have made universal (at least in the U.S.) clean water even more attainable, but these efforts are being undermined by an Administration hell-bent on moving the needle in the opposite direction, towards a handful of companies and landowners.We don’t have to take this sitting down. The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers, under new leadership, will not effortlessly undo the Clean Water Rule, as it took years to create and will take years to undo, with long court battles undoubtedly forthcoming. But we can resist as individuals, too. A simple action is to do what Mr. Pruitt and Mr. Lamont state in the Federal Register: “For further information, contact …” Let’s ask for further information. Let’s unite, regardless of political leanings and affiliation, to demand an explanation as to why the current Administration desires, openly, to roll back environmental protections of waterways and those of us who live, drink, work, and play downstream.Here are the contacts. Please take five minutes to make the call and send an email. And then send these along to all your friends. After all, we all drink downstream.EPA: (202) 566-2428  /  [email protected] Secretary of the Army for Civil Works:(703) 695-4641 / email: [email protected]last_img read more

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Mountain Mama: Winter Solstice

first_imgBetween shopping, decorating, baking and showing up to holiday functions, this time of year tends to overwhelm. Getting caught up in all the frenzy results in losing sight of the magic and beauty of the season.When Orion marched across the night sky and nightfall blanketed our ancestors in darkness, they celebrated a simpler and more natural holiday, the winter solstice. From the ancient Egyptians to the Celts, and the Hopi, winter signaled a time to turn inward, a time of ritual, reflection and rest.For us in the Northern Hemisphere, Thursday, December 21st marks the beginning of winter when the sun shines at its most southern point. People celebrate the winter solstice to acknowledge winter’s arrival and look forward to the increasing light as the countdown to spring begins.Many Christmas traditions date back to solstice celebrations, which incorporated Yule logs and decorating to brighten the dark winter nights. Evergreens, mistletoe, and holly began as symbols of everlasting life, a reminder many of us appreciate when darkness becomes so prevalent.Even the earliest version of Santa Claus may be based on a story about the first shamans who climbed the highest peaks to visit the upper worlds, returning to their communities on the winter solstice with gifts that included predictions and visions for the coming year.A typical Christmas celebration in 1800s Appalachia more closely resembled winter solstice than our current holiday customs. Back then, parents limited gift giving to one or two small gifts to their children, not the mound of presents we pile under today’s trees. Communities celebrated by eating sweets, setting off fireworks, gathering around bonfires, and drinking wine and moonshine. For anyone craving deeper connections to people and places this holiday season, the answer might be as simple as getting outside with a loved one to witness late sunrises and early sunsets, to acknowledge the natural order and rhythm of the season. The colder temperatures and early nightfall means some of our favorite trails, rivers, and mountain perches become less frequented. The stillness of winter landscapes provides the silence that cultivates intention.In these quiet places, we may also find the requisite courage to revise our holiday rituals. Nature tethers us to what matters most, gifting us with the opportunity to create meaningful lives.last_img read more

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Four Outdoor Dining Experiences in Asheville

first_imgOn the first crisp days of fall, open air dining is a dream anywhere. In Asheville, North Carolina, however, dining outdoors has taken on a entirely new meaning with elevated experiences that combine the best of outdoor adventure with a tall order of gourmet delicacies.While AUX Bar, a new downtown haunt from the minds of the Blind Pig Supper Club, hosts an outdoor, late-night cinema and Isis Restaurant and Music Hall is featuring a free outdoor concert series, other establishments are giving their guests the option to roam. Those seeking a more immersive dining experience beyond an open kitchen layout or sitting at the chef’s table, several of Asheville’s culinary community has formed picnics, farm tours and afternoons of foraging.Apple- and pumpkin-picking seasons are just the beginning. With pleasant weather throughout most of the year and a near constant supply of produce available each season, itineraries suggested by local restaurants extend beyond warm-weather days and past peak leaf-peeping weekends. Visitors and locals alike looking for an exhilarating afternoon or a quiet escape to the countryside will find the perfect opportunity to dine al fresco with the help of local restaurants. These four outings are guaranteed to thrill–and lessen the decision maker’s burden.Take a curated, gourmet lunch to-goChefs around town, namely second additions of two Asheville staples, are curating picnic baskets perfect for an on-the-go date or outdoor activity like hiking in nearby state parks. James Beard-nominated John Fleer, famously known for his work at Blackberry Farms, is providing a selection of options at The Rhu, a café and bistro next door to his full-service restaurant Rhubarb. Guests can also build their own lunch filled with products made both in-house and locally.A local-favorite for approachable French cuisine, Bouchon, opened their second restaurant in East Asheville this summer. The new establishment, RendezVous, will also offer a range of French-inspired picnic options. Though designed for take-out, consider dining on their lawn or in the specialty garden for an atmospheric setting without wandering too far away.Dine like a VanderbiltThose seeking more action will love exploring the Biltmore grounds, an 8,000-acre estate, by way of a private three-hour horseback ride. From walking through forests and across expansive meadows, guests will enjoy a unique experience and views of the iconic Vanderbilt home. After spending some time in the saddle, guests can select an idyllic stop for their packed picnic included with the day’s adventure. While the horses rest, enjoy the meal and don’t forget to pick up a bottle of wine to share from the Biltmore’s own winery.Get up close and personal on the farmProving to be a more leisurely day, full- and half-day options for farmland tours can be arranged throughout Asheville’s lush surrounding countryside. Take an active role by feeding the animals and gathering eggs while learning more about the city’s culinary scene and surprising insight into the local produce production. Of course product tastings–think craft beer, cheese, fruit and southern spreads–will take place at the farms as well.Other dining arrangements can be made with Asheville Farm to Table Tours. Guests can visit creameries, flower farms, Appalachian produce farms and the pottery studios of local artisans. Take lunch at one of the small homesteads like Little Round Farmhouse complete with a bakery. Don’t forget your wallet. You and everyone you know will want souvenirs to take home (or at least eat on the way home).Forage for ingredientsAn exciting day of discovery can be found on a mushroom hunt with No Taste Like Home through the second-richest temperate ecosystem on the planet. A fixture of the community, this  company is planning to add more tours and a monthly immersion series to their repertoire.Though the tour may focus on educating its participants with regard to one ingredient, this outing plays by the “finders keepers” rule: everything edible can be picked. With baskets full of greens, berries, nuts, flowers, and more from the Blue Ridge Mountain terrain, head back to one of the company’s four partnered restaurants for a prepared lunch or dinner featuring your finds. Plates these award-winning restaurants have served after the tour include wild mushroom pizza, daylily tamales and wisteria ice cream.last_img read more

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Live Slow. Race Fast.

first_imgIt was a cold day in the mountains in November of 2012, when I gathered up all of the drugs and alcohol I had grown dependent on, and literally threw them in the trash. I was so mad that I couldn’t seem to live without them. They had become such a part of my life that I didn’t really know who I was or what to do if I wasn’t numb. After that day, one of my best friends started driving from Atlanta every weekend to help, by picking me up and going backpacking every weekend for probably a year or more. I’ve always loved nature, but these weekend adventures in the peaceful setting of the NC mountains were exactly what I needed. After my heart stopped pounding in my ears, and my adrenaline came down to a semi-normal range, I hesitantly got back on my bike and headed home. I was scared. How had I been so lucky to have not gotten hurt? I could’ve easily gotten a serious injury from what had just happened. In fact, one of my best friends hadn’t been so lucky. A few years ago, a vehicle hit him while he was on a ride and it shattered his leg. Although he is now able to ride, he has so many pins and rods in his leg from the accident, he was advised not to run anymore. That could’ve been me, I thought. During the spring of 2017, I decided it was time to sign up for my first triathlon. It was an International distance: 1500-meter swim, 24-mile bike, and 6.2-mile run. When the gun went off at Lake Logan that morning to start the race, it was an experience like none other I had gone through. Arms were flailing, feet were kicking alarmingly close to my face, and I was trying to do something that was still completely foreign to me. I made it about 200-yards before I had to flip over on my back and just try to stay afloat. I was already exhausted and out of breath. I wanted to quit. Maybe I should just stick to land sports I thought. This wasn’t even fun. After a while, walking the trails on the backpacking trips just wasn’t challenging enough anymore. I started trail running everyday. I was slowly converting all the energy I had once used towards my addiction, into something productive and positive. During this time I also went back to school and got a degree in Wildlife Management. One day I decided that I wanted to take my running to the next level, so I enlisted the help of a Coach. I had heard about a coach in Franklin who was helping the top runners get better and faster. I got his number through a friend, and gave him a ring. I told him that I wanted to train for The Naturalist, a super-tough 50K in Franklin, NC put on by Outdoor 76. I also told him that I didn’t just want to run it, I wanted to win it. On the other end of the phone, Coach Byrd kind of chuckled and said “So, you want to be a runner, huh?”. He also told me that before he would agree to train me, he wanted to see if I was serious, and also to see where I was physically. He told me to go to the local high school track, which happened to be the high school I graduated from, and run a 5k and call him with the time when I was done. The next day, I went to Franklin High School and ran the fastest 5K I could. I called Coach Byrd back with my time of 18 minutes or so, and he agreed to start coaching me. After that day, I started talking to him almost everyday and we started going on runs together. Our relationship quickly grew into more than just Coach-Athlete. He became not only my Coach, but my mentor and father figure. Swimming was my nemesis, but I wanted to get better. During those first few months, I went every day of the week. I was focused on just learning how to breathe and not feel like I was in a constant state of struggle. It was the hardest thing I had ever tried to do. I competed in The Naturalist 50K that year, and finished in second place. Coach Byrd kept training me, and through a lot of hours on the track and trails, I became on the top runners in the area. After a few years of focusing on running, I was feeling a little unsatisfied. In the back of my mind, I had always thought that the ultimate goal for an athlete was to compete in an Ironman race, and eventually make it to the World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. Talk about an ultra- endurance race. Swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and finishing it out with a 26.2 mile run. I had a problem though…I didn’t know how to swim. And more than not knowing how to swim, it was something I was deathly afraid of. As I entered the last couple of miles of the run, the temperature had reached 87 degrees, and I was starting to “bonk” (a term for hitting the wall). I crossed the finish line in 2:50:28 and knew I had given it my all, physically, mentally, emotionally. Live slow. Race fast. Coming from rock bottom to where I am today has been beyond my wildest dreams. But, what continues to inspire and motivate me is to be an inspiration to others who may be struggling with some aspect of their life, whether it be addiction or something else. Everyone has their own battles, and if I can help someone else beat this thing or improve their life, every obstacle I have and will encounter is worth it. I want to show people if I can do it, they can too. As I laid on the side of the road, still clicked into my pedals, I did a quick scan of my body to make sure I wasn’t injured. My adrenaline was through the roof from the incident, but I was pretty sure I was okay. I jumped up to check with the driver of the truck to make sure everything with him was okay, but he was gone. After that race, I got more focused in the training, but specifically on the swim. One of the swim coaches at the Highlands Rec Pool started to notice that I was coming around a lot. He would watch me from afar and tell me one or two things to focus on after every swim. As I would implement his suggestions, he would give me a couple more. I think he knew that too much at once would overwhelm me at that point. grateful I hadn’t been hurt, but so fearful that if I got back on the bike, my whole life could instantly change. One day passed without riding. Then another. And, pretty soon I sold my bikes and decided I was done. It was too dangerous. I would just stick to an occasional run. Which brings us to April 2019 when I competed in my first Xterra Off-Road Triathlon in Myrtle Beach, SC. I finished third overall, and first in my age group. During my first off-road race I knew that this was it. I absolutely loved racing through the woods on bike and on foot. I will admit that swimming is still not my favorite, but I do enjoy it now, and am continuing to make improvements. After a few months of barely training, I found myself in a funk. I didn’t fully feel like myself. I wasn’t as happy. My fiancé at the time, and now wife Jessica, suggested that maybe I should start training again. In fact, she told me that I was driving her nuts because of all the unharnessed energy I was carrying around, and lovingly nudged me to find a better way. After all, I was not a quitter. So, together, we decided that maybe off-road sports were a better alternative. I immediately started training again after a 6-month hiatus. But, my frustration turned into determination, and I finished that swim. I was in 107th place coming out of the water that day. I was more than just tired after 38-minutes of swimming, but now I got to do the things I loved. I got on my bike and sped through the course, passing more than half the people in front of me . Then, I passed a slew of people on the run, where I felt most comfortable. I crossed the finish line in 29th place that day. I was officially a triathlete, but I knew I could be better. center_img I can’t even describe in words what it means to me to have the opportunity to turn my dream into reality. Through this journey thus far, as mine is far from over, I have been I made my way to the closest shaded area to catch my breath as Jessica checked the leaderboard to see where I stood in the rankings. I was sitting under a stream of cold mist with some other athletes who had just finished when Jessica came to the tent and said “You did it babe! You finished first in your age group and second amateur!”. I’d like to say it was sweat, but I’ll admit it was tears that came streaming down my face as I tried to fully grasp what had just happened. How Charlie Ledford raced his way to recovery and a better life. I came out of water in 44th place, but with my best competitive swim to date. The mountain bike course was extremely technical and hilly, but was so much fun. It reminded me of the trails here in WNC, so I made up some ground during the 1 hour 45 minute ride. The run was 6.2 miles on the rocky trails around the lake. With over 400 people competing in the race, including 15 or so professional racers, I really had no idea what place I was in coming down the home stretch. I needed to finish in the top-3 of my age group, or overall, to secure a spot. Jessica and Charlie crossing the “starting line” at their wedding on April 27th 2019 I slowly got better. I could make it across the pool with little problem, and even started practicing in open water at the nearby lakes on a weekly basis. If I could keep making progress, I knew I could eventually finish an Ironman. I increased my mileage in the swim, bike, and run to prepare. Later that year I competed in an Ironman 70.3 event in Raleigh, and won first place at the Lake Logan Half Ironman in Canton, NC. A couple hours after I crossed the finish line, I was called to the podium to receive a medal or finishing 1st in my age group, and 2nd overall amateur (12th including professionals) and claimed a qualifying spot for the Xterra World Championships. Although my energy tank was on empty, my heart was full of gratitude. After months of contemplation about learning a new sport, I finally bit the bullet and went to the Highlands Recreation pool to give it shot. That first day in the 25-yard pool, I didn’t even make it half-way across without having to stop tread water. I felt like I was drowning the whole time. I was super frustrated, but determined. On May 18th, I competed in the Xterra Triathlon at Oak Mountain in Pelham, Alabama. This was a National Championship race in which top competitors from all around the country competed for a “golden ticket” to the World Championships in Kapalua, Hawaii in October 2019. Going into the race, I really had no idea where I would stack up, but I felt if I could put together a solid day, I would have a shot at qualifying. One summer afternoon in 2018, I headed out on what started as a normal training ride. I was riding off the mountain towards Cashiers on my road bike. I was on a pretty steep downhill section when all of a sudden a truck slammed on it’s brakes to make a left hand turn, but failed to give a signal. I couldn’t stop in time to avoid smashing into the back of the tailgate. I sailed off the road toward the guardrail, narrowly missing it. Fear can be so baffling. In the back of my mind, I knew that if I didn’t get back in the saddle pretty quickly, it would be even more difficult later. But, I just couldn’t make myself do it. I was helped by so many people in so many ways. I have met competitors that have become best friends, and have had Coaches who have become family. The moment on the bike that day could’ve gone a lot of different ways. Luckily, I’m still here to tell about it, and am extremely grateful that I walked away unscathed. Although at the time I thought it was a negative, today I see the positivity in that encounter. It took me back to my roots, and my true love, which is being in the woods and immersed by nature. I am truly overwhelmed with joy and excitement to have the opportunity to compete in a World Championship competition in which 46 countries will be represented. I am honored to be able to pursue this dream of mine, as well as represent Macon County, NC. last_img read more

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Paraguay Seizes Masks Made Of Cocaine Destined For Italy

first_imgBy Dialogo May 18, 2009 Paraguayan narcotics agents at an airport in Asuncion seized several craft masks made of cocaine, which totaled 40 kilos of drugs that were to be sent to Italy, official sources reported today. The National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD) reported in a communiqué that the 18 masks seized the day before at the Silvio Pettirossi airport on the outskirts of the capital were made of cocaine covered with a synthetic material. He reported that the objects, simulating clay crafts made by aborigines, were seized after a SENAD-trained dog detected the cargo, which was distributed in two boxes, the contents of which were examined today before court judge Ruben Riquelme. “The peculiarity of this case is that cocaine is apparently mixed with some chemical that gives it a cinnamon-like color,” the anti-drug agency said. He added that the illegal cargo, whose owner is unknown so far, was bound for the Italian city of Treviso.last_img read more

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Military Athletes Win Five Medals in London 2012

first_img The career of the first Brazilian medalist in the history of the modern pentathlon started to change approximately three years ago. In 2009, Yane was one of the first athletes to join the Army, which at the time planned on forming a strong team for the 2011 Military World Games in Rio. By standing on the podium on August 12, in London, to receive a bronze medal in the women’s modern pentathlon, 28-year-old Yane Marques, an athlete born in Pernambuco, brought to a close the best performance of the Brazilian Military athletes in the Olympic Games. All 51 athletes from the Brazilian Navy and Army won five medals – one gold and four bronze – during the competitions that took place in the British capital. If they were a nation, the military team would hold the 47th position in the medal rankings, ahead of countries like Venezuela, India, Belgium, and Finland. Felipe Kitadai won the first Brazilian medal among military athletes during the first day of the judo competition. Born in Saõ Paulo, Kitadai won the bronze medal. That same day, July 28, Sarah Menezes, born in Piaui, won the gold medal in women’s judo. The Brazilian performance in judo produced two more bronze medals for military athletes, one for Mayra Aguiar, from Rio Grande do Sul, and the other for Rafael Silva, known as Baby. As a sergeant in the Army, the athlete’s military training gave her the key elements needed to compete in a sport as rare as the pentathlon, which involves five events, recalls her coach, Alexandre França. Army Major França was the person who convinced Yane to stop competing in swimming back in 2003, and dedicate herself to the modern pentathlon. Yane ran the “run of her life” in London. She lost the second place to British athlete Samantha Murray, but she secured the bronze. At that moment, the Brazilian athlete had to improve her performance in the race, her weak point in the pentathlon. The plan was to pace herself during the first two laps of about 1,093 yards and to save her remaining breaths for the final lap. “She knew the last lap was a run for her life”, said França. Born in Afogados da Ingazeira, a municipality in Pernambuco, Yane now has an Olympic medal. She won the bronze medal with the best performance of her life in fencing; she achieved her best score in swimming; she excelled in the equestrian portion, even with an older horse; and she was able to maintain the necessary points in her weaker area: the combined event of running and shooting. Yane Marques said farewell to London with a message: “I hope that this victory represents a turning point in the sport that will attract people’s attention”. center_img By Dialogo August 15, 2012 In the final race of the Olympic Games, Army Sergeant Yane Marques ensured the expected medal. She is ranked third in the world. The Military servicemember won bronze, with 5,340 points. It was up to Yane – who won the first Brazilian medal in the modern pentathlon, a competition celebrating 100 years in the Olympics – to place the 17th Brazilian medal to be won in London around her neck. This is how the country concluded its participation in the 2012 Olympics. The Brazilian athlete began the combined event of shooting and running by sharing the lead with Lithuanian athlete Laura Asadauskaite, who won the gold. From this point on the challenge became greater, and just before the final task, coach Alexandre França determined that she was going for the third place. This led França to seek a strategy to ensure Yane earned a place on the podium. Before she started the competition, Yane Marques said, “Stepping on the podium will not be a surprise”. On August 11, after firing 15 shots and running 1.86 miles, she crossed the finish line, fell on the ground and yelled out, “I did it!” At the end of the competition, Marques ran to the bleachers in the arena on Greenwich Park and tried to locate her mother, Maria Gorreti. Then, she delivered a speech where she showed confidence in her performance. “I was ready. This is the result of a job well done”, said the military athlete. It is to highlight the important role that the Brazilian athletes had, but even more of those that in addition to representing the sport of the South giant, also represented the armed forces of their country, Brazil. Congratulations then to those gladiators of gold and bronze!!! Welcome to the Olympic Games of Brazil 2016!!!last_img read more

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