Police Officer’s Death Intensifies Capitol Siege Questions

first_imgZUMA / MGNWASHINGTON (AP) — A police officer has died from injuries sustained as President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol, a violent siege that is forcing hard questions about the defeated president’s remaining days in office and the ability of the Capitol Police to secure the area.The U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement that Officer Brian D. Sicknick was injured “while physically engaging with protesters” during the Wednesday riot. He is the fifth person to die because of the melee.The rampage that has shocked the world and left the country on edge forced the resignations of three top Capitol security officials over the failure to stop the breach. It led lawmakers to demand a review of operations and an FBI briefing over what they called a “terrorist attack.” And it is prompting a broader reckoning over Trump’s tenure in office and what comes next for a torn nation.Protesters were urged by Trump during a rally near the White House earlier Wednesday to head to Capitol Hill, where lawmakers were scheduled to confirm Biden’s presidential victory. The mob swiftly broke through police barriers, smashed windows and paraded through the halls, sending lawmakers into hiding. One protester, a white woman, was shot to death by Capitol Police, and there were dozens of arrests. Three other people died after “medical emergencies” related to the breach.Despite Trump’s repeated claims of voter fraud, election officials and his own former attorney general have said there were no problems on a scale that would change the outcome. All the states have certified their results as fair and accurate, by Republican and Democratic officials alike.Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said news of the police officer’s death was “gut-wrenching.”“None of this should have happened,” Sasse said in a statement. “Lord, have mercy.”Sicknick had returned to his division office after the incident and collapsed, the statement said. He was taken to a local hospital where he died on Thursday.RELATED | Congressman Reed Condemns Mob That Stormed Capital, Calls For UnityTwo House Democrats on committees overseeing the Capitol police budgets said those responsible need to be held to answer for the “senseless” death.“We must ensure that the mob who attacked the People’s House and those who instigated them are held fully accountable,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Ct., and Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio. in a statement.Earlier Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said any remaining day with the president in power could be “a horror show for America.” Likewise, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the attack on the Capitol was “an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president,” and Trump must not stay in office “one day” longer.Pelosi and Schumer called for invoking the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to force Trump from office before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20. Schumer said he and Pelosi tried to call Vice President Mike Pence early Thursday to discuss that option but were unable to connect with him.Wearing a gas masks, Rep. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA) and other members take cover as protesters disrupt the joint session of Congress during certification the Electoral College vote. Image by ZUMA / MGN.At least one Republican lawmaker joined the effort. The procedure allows for the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to declare the president unfit for office. The vice president then becomes acting president.Pelosi said if the president’s Cabinet does not swiftly act, the House may proceed to impeach Trump.Trump, who had repeatedly refused to concede the election, did so in a late Thursday video from the White House vowing a “seamless transition of power.”Two Republicans who led efforts to challenge the election results, Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, faced angry peers in the Senate. Cruz defended his objection to the election results as “the right thing to do” as he tried unsuccessfully to have Congress launch an investigation.nIn the House, Republican leaders Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California and Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana joined in the failed effort to overturn Biden’s win by objecting to the Electoral College results.With tensions high, the Capitol shuttered and lawmakers not scheduled to return until the inauguration, an uneasy feeling of stalemate settled over a main seat of national power as Trump remained holed up at the White House.The social media giant Facebook banned the president from its platform and Instagram for the duration of Trump’s final days in office, if not indefinitely, citing his intent to stoke unrest. Twitter had silenced him the day before.Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said “the shocking events” make it clear Trump “intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power.”U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, under pressure from Schumer, Pelosi and other congressional leaders, was forced to resign. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asked for and received the resignation of the Sergeant at Arms of the Senate, Michael Stenger, effective immediately. Paul Irving, the longtime Sergeant at Arms of the House, also resigned.Sund had defended his department’s response to the storming of the Capitol, saying officers had “acted valiantly when faced with thousands of individuals involved in violent riotous actions.”Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser called the police response “a failure.”Lawmakers from both parties pledged to investigate and questioned whether a lack of preparedness allowed a mob to occupy and vandalize the building. The Pentagon and Justice Department had been rebuffed when they offered assistance.ZUMA / MGNBlack lawmakers, in particular, noted the way the mostly white Trump supporters were treated.Newly elected Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., said if “we, as Black people did the same things that happened … the reaction would have been different, we would have been laid out on the ground.”The protesters ransacked the place, taking over the House area and Senate chamber and waving Trump, American and Confederate flags. Outside, they scaled the walls and balconies.Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., a former police chief, said it was “painfully obvious” that Capitol police “were not prepared.”Associated Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick, Zeke Miller, Alan Fram, Padmananda Rama and Michael Balsamo in Washington contributed to this report. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

DOE: Average U.S. wind prices now at $20/MWh

first_imgDOE: Average U.S. wind prices now at $20/MWh FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:The middle of the United States continues driving wind prices lower. Cheap projects located in the country’s windy center have drawn the national average down to $20 per megawatt-hour, according to a new report from the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.The report calculates a decline in average wind prices from about $70 per megawatt-hour in 2009, to $20 per megawatt-hour in 2017 — a $50 decline in an eight-year period.While the drop was less pronounced in the U.S.’ most resource-rich wind zone — the prices in the middle of the country fell from $55 per megawatt-hour to a bit below $20 per megawatt-hour in that same time — the overall price declines are drastic.Bigger turbines have enhanced wind project performance, while lower turbine pricing continues to push down installed project costs. The average installed cost of wind projects in 2017 was $1,610 per kilowatt, down $795 per kilowatt from the peak in 2009, according to the DOE report. But comparatively tough times are ahead. Analysts call the federal Production Tax Credit a “core motivator for wind power deployment,” and the credit will phase down through 2024.“At the same time,” the DOE report notes, “the potential for continued technological advancements and cost reductions enhance the prospects for longer-term growth, as does burgeoning corporate demand for wind energy and continued states RPS requirements.”More: Average US wind price falls to $20 per megawatt-hourlast_img read more

Dirty (Trail Running) Secrets

first_imgI try to stay smooth on my run this morning. I skip rhythmically across the rocks and attempt a controlled slide across the cascades that have frozen into a sheet of ice along the trail. My body is protesting, still feeling the effects of the previous day’s track workout. But a smile comes to my face as I enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds of winter in the mountains. Soon, my mind wanders, and I recall the words of some of the most inspiring runners with whom I’ve had the pleasure to share the trails. Their thoughts on running have seeped into my own, and they’re with me on this and every run.Doug BlackfordBoone, North CarolinaAt 67 years young, Doug Blackford from Boone, N.C. has been running for 17 years. He starting running in order to help his son, Henry, keep up with his summer cross country miles; Doug would cover a couple of miles which he recalled “would about kill me”. After running a 5K with coaches and parents of competing cross country teams, in which his goal was to not walk, Doug got a taste of the competitive bug. He realized that with a little bit of extra training he might be able to beat some of the regular runners. He’s now completed 60 ultramarathons (including three 100-milers), and numerous marathons.What inspires you?The spirit of adventure! In an ultra, I don’t know what demons I am going to face out there, and I try to prepare for unknown troubles.What gets you out the door? It really feels good to be in good shape, maybe the best shape of my life, at my age. So to stay in shape, I have to keep getting out there. It’s just a lot of fun to get out with a good group on a long run. I always like beautiful scenery, but I also like it when the weather turns nasty.What do you think about when you run?I think about where I am going to put my next foot. I think about whatever conversation I am having at the time, the beauty of the trail, and what it’s going to take to survive whatever conditions I am encountering.Favorite trail or running spot?Probably Roan Highlands, or it could be Dupont State Forest.Favorite race and/or fun run?Mount Mitchell Challenge—it was my first ultra run, and I have done it every year since (Doug will be competing in his 13th this month). My favorite course is the Terrapin 50K in Virginia because it seems to have everything an ultra can offer: technical trails, forest roads, steep climbs, beautiful views, and river crossings.Greatest accomplishment or moment?I have finished three 100-milers, and I had to really dig deep, so they have felt like my greatest accomplishments. My greatest running moment might be the double crossing of the Grand Canyon (R2R2R). It was a great group and gorgeous scenery and it felt special to get out of the bus and see that Canyon for the first time and just start running. Three of us stayed together the whole time and took pictures and had fun. It was a truly memorable experience.Running advice?Keep it fun and find some adventures.Favorite running workout?A good long run on a beautiful trail. I don’t do speed work or workouts except if I am trying to keep up with someone faster than me.Cross-train? What methods?I bike some and swim some.Running hero or mentor?Gary Knipling, because he is three years older than me, and he still does three 100-milers per year. So when I start feeling like I am too old for this crap, I look at him and figure I better have at least three more years.Do you give back to the running community in any way?I volunteer at races when I can.Something quirky, weird, or unusual about you that most folks don’t know?I play duplicate bridge. I am usually about the oldest one in a group of runners and the youngest in a group of bridge players.Denise Davis 2_FIXDenise DavisFranklin, North carolinaDenise Davis fell in love with running through the woods as a young girl, and fondly remembers running alongside her local river during high school cross country practices. After a hiatus from running in her twenties, she came back with a vengeance in an attempt to get back in shape for a South Beyond 6,000 adventure in 2001. She skipped from 5Ks to 50Ks and never looked back; she’s completed most of the Southeast’s best races and toughest adventure runs.What inspires you?That feeling you get now and then when the run is perfect. When everything feels right, the running is smooth and fast, I breathe easily and it is beautiful all around me. I am inspired to try to recapture that feeling every day.What gets you out the door?If I feel good and am in a good mood, I don’t need motivation to head outside. If not, I know running will help fix most anything.What do you think about when you run?I think about pretty much anything and everything, but I always spend time just being thankful. I am so lucky to live in this part of the world and have the ability to go run on all these great trails, just minutes from my front door.Favorite trail or running spot?That’s like trying to pick your favorite child. I love the northern half of the Appalachian Trail through the Smokies. The North Carolina section of Bartram Trail is a special place for me. I have been drawn to the Shining Rock area since I was a teenager. It was the last place I went before I had ACL surgery and knew running and hiking would be out of the picture for a while, and it was the first place I went when I got off crutches.Favorite race and/or fun run?Old Dominion 100.Greatest accomplishment or moment?The best moment of my running career was being late to get on the shuttle van to the start of the inaugural Hellgate 100K. There wasn’t much room left, but a nice guy gave me the front seat and squeezed into the back. When we got out at the start line, I handed him his pack that he had left on the floorboard, which started a conversation that has lasted for over a decade. We married the next year! My biggest accomplishment was being the first to thru-run the 110 miles of the Bartram trail. Not because I was the first, but because of what I learned I was able to endure to do it. I had been sick for two weeks and almost quit time and time again. Also, running 94 miles one year to the day of my ACL surgery was a physical, mental and emotional victory.Running advice?Have fun. Don’t ever take for granted your ability to get out there and do it. I was playing Ultimate Frisbee with my cross country team, took a hit and a fall, and completely tore my ACL. Nine months of no running and three years later, still trying to get back to where I was, makes me so very grateful every time I step out the door.Favorite running workout?My favorite is a workout I do with my cross country team. We strap tires of varying sizes to us and run up the mountain as far as we can go. It’s a great physical and mental workout.Cross-train? What methods?I should. But I love to run, so that’s what I do.Running hero or mentor?Anyone who does something that they “shouldn’t” be able to do. People who finish last but don’t quit. Bill Irwin, the blind hiker, who fell repeatedly, but kept getting back up to finish thru-hiking the Appalachian Trial. Bill Keane is 70 and still kicking ass in the ultra world. Amy Palmiero-Winters, who I passed at Vermont 100 only because she had stopped to shake rocks out of her prosthetic blade. She caught back up.Do you give back to the running community in any way?I have been coaching our girls cross country team for twelve years and also coached our first full indoor track team. I have mentored students in directing races and I continue to direct a memorial scholarship race one of my runners started ten years ago. I have volunteered at different races and runs, organized small fun runs, and tried to spread the love for the trails in our little corner of the world.Something quirky, weird, or unusual about you that most folks don’t know?I have a Massanutten dimple. In my first 100, the Massanutten, I took a really hard spill, face down, on the infamous Massanutten rocks and ended up with a chipped cheekbone and a black eye. So now, a decade later, when I smile, I have a prominent dimple on my left cheekbone.Beth Minnick_FIXBeth MinnickAbingdon, VIRGINIADue to the persistence of a running neighbor, Beth Minnick decided to finally give running a try. Realizing that she struggled to even run one mile in high school, she shocked herself in October of 2005 by running 6 miles on the Virginia Creeper Trail on her first outing. A month later, during a 16-mile trail run in Kentucky, she was hooked. After dabbling in road marathons, including Knoxville and Boston, she started running trails and has been turning in inspiring performances ever since.What inspires you? The regional running community. They’re like family to me. We’ve spent a lot of time together over the years, we’ve traveled together, laughed and cried together, shared our triumphs and defeats. I see them putting in the miles, the desire, the joy, the struggles, and I want be a part of that.What gets you out the door? Nature! I want to be out there exploring, hearing my feet hit the ground, feeling the wind, rain, snow, and sun hit my face. I want to see the sunrise, find a waterfall, take a dip in a creek, run by the light of the moon, see a bear! I love the way the different seasons completely transform the trail, the newness of spring, the long days of summer, forest ablaze with fall colors, and the magic found in snow-covered woods. I want to be out there experiencing that constant change.What do you think about when you run?A lot of the time I’m chatting it up about whatever comes to mind: books, movies, races, current events. When I’m racing it’s more of a flow state of mind, being present and letting the constant stream of thoughts just quickly come and go. It’s a delicate balance, managing the effort and fuel, staying focused, and pushing out any negative thoughts that might get in the way.Favorite trail or running spot? Grayson Highlands/Appalachian Trail: From Elk Garden to the Summit of Mount Rogers, especially in the snow. Visiting the wild ponies, soaking in some amazing views, and being enveloped by the spruce-fir forest (their scent is heavenly) at the top.Favorite race and/or fun run?Terrapin Mountain 50K will always be a favorite race of mine, and the Sultan 50K will always be a favorite fun run—I love wearing crowns and eating cake.Greatest accomplishment or moment? Completing and competing in the Lynchburg Ultra Series with one of my best friends and running buddies, Beth Frye. The moment we realized we had both finished in the top 10 at Mountain Masochist 50 Miler (the last race in the series) and had also finished 1st overall and 1st masters female in the series with only 2:02 separating our overall times. In a sport where there is so much emphasis on “I”, it was refreshing to feel like part of a team and feel proud of what “we” had accomplished together.Running advice? Sometimes less is more. Listen to your body, not everyone can log 80-100 miles a week. If you’re tired, rest. You may have logged a billion miles, but if your body is broken and you’re exhausted it’s not going to matter.Favorite running workout? DAM8—it’s a figure 8 route linking the Appalachian Trail and Iron Mountain Trail out of Damascus, Virginia. It’s got a good long climb to warm you up, 4 miles of sweet downhill, a nice view, enough rocks to sharpen your technical skills, and a half mile sprint finish on the creeper.Cross-train? What methods? Yes! I enjoy a lot of different activities and think it’s important to mix things up, use different muscle groups, and avoid risking burnout. Do something active during lunch break: walk on the creeper, attend yoga classes, play tennis, or play a round of Frisbee golf. I live on the Virginia Creeper trail so some days I bike commute to and from work.Running hero or mentor? Rick and Tammy Gray of Johnson City, Tenn. Rick and Tammy took me under their wing in my early trail running days, and their guidance and support has been invaluable. Rick has inspired and brought more people to ultrarunning than anyone I know. With over 100 ultras under his belt, his knowledge of all things running is book worthy! You won’t go to a race in this region where someone won’t come up to Tammy and thank her for that time she yelled at them to get out of an aid station, gave them just the right pep talk, thawed their frozen shoelaces, and took care of their extra gear so they wouldn’t have to carry it for the next 30 miles.Do you give back to the running community in any way?I love volunteering for local races. I feel it’s the perfect way to give back and support others, plus it’s a ton of fun. For years now I’ve volunteered at the Virginia Creeper Marathon (I can walk to my aid station from my house), and the Iron Mountain Trail Run. I also love organizing group runs on the Iron Mountain Trail Runners’ Facebook page.Something quirky, weird, or unusual about you that most folks don’t know?I have crazy feet. When I’m seated, my foot measures a women’s size 9, when I stand up it jumps to an 11 ¼. I just have to find middle ground and wear a 10.5 running shoe.[nextpage title=”Page 2″]Emily Bell1_FIXEmily Chaney BellChattanooga, TennesseeEmily Chaney Bell started running at the age of 17 with her high school cross country team. Not only was she hooked from the start, but a running phenom was born, clocking personal bests ranging from 17:38 in the 5K up to 2:47:16 in the marathon. Moving around a bit allowed her to test her range throughout the region’s many great trail races, notching course records and racking up wins at some of the region’s classic trail and road races. After a break to give birth to her daughter, Leela, she is back at it.What inspires you? Being outside, beautiful mountains, great friends and family.What gets you out the door? I feel best when I’m outside. Too much time indoors makes me feel sluggish.What do you think about when you run? Everything…frustrations of the day, inspirations of the day, pretending I’m doing something great, planning all sorts of things. When Dancing with the Stars first came out, I would daydream I was a participant in the show and would choreograph all the dances in my head.Favorite trail or running spot? West Virginia has my heart, especially the New River Gorge and Tea Creek area of the Monongahela Forest, but anywhere road or mountain in the state is pretty phenomenal. I actually enjoyed and found inspiration in the running around Huntington, W.Va., while I was in grad school. In North Carolina, I love Dupont and Pisgah, but I also really enjoyed the roads around East Fork between Brevard and Rosman. I grew up in Maryville, Tenn., so Cades Cove and the trails of the Smokies are a favorite when I’m visiting family.Favorite race and/or fun run? Charleston Distance Run, Grandma’s Marathon, Frozen Sasquatch 25K, and Shut-In. I love the Richmond Off-Road Xterra Triathlon.Greatest accomplishment or moment? Sharing an emotional Chicago Marathon with a dear friend, and running the Blue Ridge Relay while pregnant.Running advice? Slow down, have fun, smile and wave back at people, and listen to your body: it will tell you everything you need to know.Favorite running workout? Jus’ Running’s Maggot track workout when I’m in Asheville.Cross-train? What methods? Cycling, both road and mountain. Swimming, although I’m horrible. My husband just bought me a kayak and I’ve been eager to learn.Running hero or mentor? I have found inspiration in my closest running friends and mentors. Norm Blair, Chad Newton, Rob Smith, Howard Nippert, Larry Taylor, Kim Sweetland, Doris Windsand-Dausman, and Anne and Mark Lundblad have always been heroes, and I have always admired Devon Yanko Crosby-Helms.Do you give back to the running community in any way?I built and maintained trail and helped with races at ACE Adventure Center back in the day. I have worked at many races in lots of places and volunteered. I have also been involved in the running communities of Huntington and Charleston while working for Robert’s Running & Walking Shop, and I get to Asheville as often as I can since moving to help out at Jus’ Running where I have worked since 2010.Something quirky, weird, or unusual about you that most folks don’t know? I have an earring that I haven’t taken out since I got it in middle school. I was shot in the eye during a drive-by shooting with a shotgun. And I send thank you cards or emails to race directors after events I have run.MarkRostan_table_rock_FIXMark RostanValdese, North CarolinaAfter starting to run in order to impress a girl some ten years ago, Mark Rostan has compiled an impressive list of marathon and ultramarathon finishes. Having completed 43 marathons and 26 ultras, including the 2014 Western States 100, Mark has developed an insatiable desire to run the high mountain ridges surrounding him in Western North Carolina. He enjoys feeling like a kid again while bounding over technical singletrack, seeking out scenic overlooks and rhododendron tunnels in lieu of chasing times on a clock.What inspires you?The big and the small of our world. Thinking about the enormous cosmic and geological forces that are at work in the world and then thinking about how on the opposite end of the scale are bosons, quarks, and photons operating at a subatomic scale.What gets you out the door?My feet. Oh, the places they will take me!What do you think about when you run?When I’m with a friend, the discussion could be anything from Gilligan’s Island, to Bitcoins, to American history. When I’m alone, I’m typically thinking about what’s around me, trying to take it all in. As fatigue sets in, I might find myself thinking about a shower and the sofa.Favorite trail or running spot?The Mountains-to-Sea Trail, given that it has 1,000 miles of varied terrain.Favorite race and/or fun run? I’ve got to go off the grid here and say Pitchell. It’s a fun run, not a real race, though there is a time element in that you need to get to Mount Mitchell before the gates close. The reason I pick this one is because of how ridiculous it sounds on paper. Start at midnight on Mount Pisgah and run 67 miles with nearly 3.5 miles of climb, mostly along the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, to Mount Mitchell. To a large degree, the farther along the trail you get, the more technical it becomes. When you finally emerge onto the cobblestone path up to the Mount Mitchell summit, these tourists are looking at you and simply have no idea what you’ve done. It’s very much back to the basics. There are no shirts or medallions. There are no cheering crowds. Your reward is the feeling of accomplishment.Greatest accomplishment or moment?My wife, Leslie, has, by her choice, not accompanied me to any of my longer races or fun runs. But she and another friend of ours crewed for me at Western States, meeting me at several spots along the way. She ran the last quarter-mile around the track at the finish with me. That would be my favorite moment.Running advice?Just enjoy what you’re doing. Racing for time is fine, but if you can’t enjoy the experience, what have you gained?Favorite running workout? I really don’t train in the traditional sense. I will build up mileage to prepare for a race of a certain distance.Cross-train? What methods? Nothing structured. I try to go to the gym for weight training.Running hero or mentor?I am blessed with a lot of great people who share the same passion as me. I have a ton of respect for our Western North Carolina legends like Mark Lundblad, Will Harlan, Adam Hill, Jason Bryant, Anne Riddle Lundblad, and Annette Bednosky. I know I’m leaving people out, but there are so many. Also, you just have to admire Matt Kirk setting the self-supported A.T. thru-hike record.Do you give back to the running community in any way?I co-direct Table Rock Ultras, help the local Mountains-to-Sea Trail volunteers on their workdays when I can, and volunteer at some area races. Having done the directing thing for four years now, I have an appreciation for what RDs do and make sure that they know I appreciated their efforts in organizing their event. Same with the volunteers; I try to thank them at every aid station.Something quirky, weird, or unusual about you that most folks don’t know?I take piano lessons is about the most unusual thing that comes to mind, since I am 45.AdamC_FIXAdam CassedayElkins, West VirginiaAdam Casseday started running in 2002 as a way to relieve stress from a busy schedule while in optometry school. Clocking a sub-3 in his first marathon in Philadelphia (2:55) a year later, he then spent another year getting faster on the roads before his first ultramarathon in 2004 at the Capon Valley 50K. He quickly grew passionate about the trail and ultra scene and has been instrumental in the growth and protection of the trails ever since.What inspires you?Running is simply a big part of who I am. I’m inspired by training and the daily push to become better. I’m inspired by nature; I’m inspired by the fact that running makes me a better person; I’m inspired to share running with my son.What gets you out the door?The need to clear my head.What do you think about when you run?Many times, nothing at all, yet at times everything imaginable. Regardless of the subject, my thoughts and ideas always seem to have a dream-like flow where everything just makes sense – when the run ends, similar to dreams, many times my ideations have eluded permanence.Favorite trail or running spot?North Fork Mountain Trail, Monongahela National Forest near Seneca Rocks, W.Va.Favorite race and/or fun run?Three Days of Syllamo in Arkansas.Greatest accomplishment or moment?My most satisfying moment in running was completing a thru-run of the Appalachian Trail over 71 days in 2011. My wife crewed me along the way and we had a tremendous adventure and journey together.Although I have won a few races over the years, my most memorable racing moments oddly come from a pair of third place finishes – 2008 Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 (my first hundred) and 2012 Highlands Sky. Both of these races were immensely satisfying to me for various intrinsic reasons.Running advice?Think long term—don’t focus too much on what others are doing (you are an experiment of one), learn to listen to your body, and try to keep running and life balanced.Favorite running workout?Long, slow runs in the mountains alone.Cross-train? What methods?Some weights in the winter, but mostly I subscribe to the notion that if you want to become a better runner, run.Running hero or mentor?Dan Lehmann. I don’t know if I would have ever gravitated to trail running or ultras if it were not for him.Do you give back to the running community in any way?I am the co-race director of both Highlands Sky and the West Virginia Trilogy – alongside my friend Dan Lehmann. I do trail work each year on the trails those races use. This year I have spearheaded an effort to build some trails in a wildlife management area in my hometown of Elkins, WV.Something quirky, weird, or unusual about you that most folks don’t know?I play the banjo and would like to be a professional fly fisherman. •last_img read more

Mountain Mama: A Whirlwind of Luck

first_imgI was looking to learn how to mountain bike, not move to a new town.Last spring after a glorious ride in Dupont, I got that happy buzz of being active outdoors. The mountains became even more beautiful. Brevard grabbed hold of my heart and became a relentless whisper in my ear. Move here.I found myself spending more of my free time in Brevard than anywhere else. Real estate signs caught my eye. I researched preschools for my four-year-old son. I asked around about writing groups and yoga classes and babysitters.The pieces were coming together. No doubt remained that I would move to Brevard, the only question was a timing one, when it would happen.I spent a day with my son exploring downtown and we ate lunch at Rocky’s Grill and Soda Shop right out of the 1950s. My son and I sat at the lunch counter on red vinyl stools, dangling our legs as I told him his lunch choices.Halfway through our burgers and shakes, I got to talking to the man sitting next to me who happened to be a realtor. I gushed on about how much I loved Brevard, the funky upcoming Lumber Arts District to the world-famous Brevard Music Center to the less-than-a-mile-from town trails at Bracken Mountain Preserve.He turned his stool to face me. “I know of a house that would be perfect for you and your son. Outside of town, but not too far with a great yard for him to play outside.”I waved him off. “We’re not ready to move yet, I still haven’t figured out where we’d want to live.”He just smiled. “We could just take a drive up there. At the very least you’d see another area.”I shrugged and agreed to go. My son and I had already played with everything in the local toy store and I storm clouds made the prospect of an afternoon in the forest less appealing.We drove up twisting country roads past rolling farm fields, the mountains punctuating the horizon. I felt my shoulders relax as we turned onto a road bordered by a creek.Then I saw the house.Nestled among towering trees on almost an acre, blooming rhododendron framed the house. My son raced from room to room. I marveled at the chance of having my own bathroom. And then I saw the sunroom, sun-drenched under the green canopy, the perfect room of my own for writing.The more I saw of the house, the more I realized this was exactly the type of house that I wanted to be able to afford one day.“So what do you think?” the realtor asked.“I’m smitten, but I’m sure it’s out of our price range, everything is at this point,” I said.“You might just be in luck. The buyer walked yesterday after the inspection revealed a few problems. The buyer reduced the purchase price by over fifty thousand and it’s going to be listed tomorrow,” the realtor said.12976886_10153526474116299_4246232820576401512_oStill, I didn’t know how I’d make it work. We said good-bye and my son and I drove back to town in the rain. By the time we reached town, the storm passed, leaving spires of steam rising from the mountains.I craned my neck, admiring the way the fog looked like dreams reaching upward, bridging the solid rocks with the ethereal realm of clouds, reminding me of possibility.I knew I was moving in the right direction, taking another step and then the next to live closer to the mountains and rivers I love, raising my son in a small town with a vibrant close-knit community.More from Mountain Mama:last_img read more

Courts feel budget ax

first_img June 1, 2003 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular News Courts feel budget ax Associate Editor and Gary Blankenship Senior EditorAs the final 2003-04 state budget took shape, Florida courts were facing drastic budget cuts, according to Sixth Judicial Circuit Judge Susan Schaeffer, chair of the Trial Court Budget Commission.“I’m disappointed. I think our cuts were very severe,” said Schaeffer, shortly after the court budget came out of the conference committee May 20.“We’re going to lose a lot of good employees. We’re going to actually lose over 70 people, and we’re going to lose good programs, things that have added to the court system.”Also suffering a stinging blow is the Office of State Courts Administrator, facing a loss of 13 positions – more than 10 percent of its 126-member workforce.“We spent all day yesterday trying to look at how to best take that hit and trying to determine which functions we will no longer be able to perform,” said Deputy State Court Administrator Lisa Goodner. “I’m going to have to lay people off, and that is one of the most difficult responsibilities I have.”But at the same time, a bill governing the logistics of how the state will take over more funding of the trial courts from counties next year and the shape of the court system and its programs is nearing passage, and it is very favorable to courts, Schaeffer said.Those were some of the results of a flurry of late-night conferences and compromises during the special legislative session. Neither the budget nor the Article V funding measures were expected to pass until on or near the May 27 end of the session, after this News went to press.Drug courts, touted as great successes in helping people beat their addictions rather than just sitting in jail, would remain funded by the state, rather than left to counties as an option. And the governor would get his wish to privatize at least the Northern Region of the three Capital Collateral Regional Counsel, state lawyers who handle death penalty appeals, as the bills took shape.Schaeffer said House and Senate conferees had agreed on details on the judiciary budget by May 20, although overall budget differences remained. These details could change as top officials from each chamber reviewed the budget and worked out final details. The tentative agreement called for:• A 4.19-percent cut in the trial courts budget this year, totaling more than $9 million, and a loss of 79.5 positions. Schaeffer said that breaks down to ending the five circuit model dependency court programs, with a cut of 34 positions, including masters, hearing officers, and case managers. Also cut were 20 juvenile alternative sanction coordinators (one in each circuit), 13 deputy court administrators, 10.5 positions with the Ninth Judicial Circuit attorney ad litem pilot program, and two guardianship monitors in the 17th Circuit. On the positive side, 7.5 temporary positions in child support enforcement were to become permanent, and judicial assistants were slated for a raise.• No positions were cut from the district courts of appeal. Earlier proposals had looked at cutting the number of judicial assistants in half or reducing central court staffs.• The Supreme Court was cut by two judicial assistants.• The Office of State Courts Administrator was slated to lose 13 positions, including three jobs for legislative liaisons.“If we lose our legislative capacity, that will be a blow to the judicial branch,” Goodner said, hoping OSCA’s crucial three legislative positions will be salvaged as the budget was bumped up to be decided at a higher level.“Our argument is we are a branch, not an agency,” Goodner said. “They are not cutting the governor’s liaison, while they are cutting the court’s liaison.”A main goal of Rep. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, chair of the House Judiciary Appropriations Committee, was to eliminate staff for Supreme Court appointed committees.“We tried to say from the beginning that committee support is not isolated to certain positions. We all do that as part of our jobs,” Goodner said.Judge Schaeffer said the focus of the legislature was on adjudicating cases and not other programs that have been added to courts.In the case of the model dependency courts, she said although those had worked extremely well in handling cases of abused and abandoned children, there wasn’t enough money to expand the program statewide, so it was cut in the five circuits where it was being tested.“In an austere financial crisis, you cannot afford those things that make things the best they can be,” Schaeffer said. “You have to go down to the basics, and that’s where we’re headed.”The state budget is not in such a crisis that it had to decimate the courts’ budget, said Rep. Jack Seiler, D-Pompano Beach, minority leader for judicial oversight who also served on the House Subcommittee on Judicial Approriations.Seiler stressed that the cuts were too severe at the highest level in the House.“I think Chairman (Joe) Negron in the House and Chairman (Rod) Smith in the Senate did an outstanding job with what they were given,” Seiler said. “In my opinion, House Appropriations Chair Bruce Kyle (R-Ft. Myers) and House Speaker Johnnie Byrd (R-Plant City) should have allocated more funds to the judicial branch. My concern is had they even given us the same pro rata share of the total budget, as in the past, we could have gotten by. These cuts are just too servere to the courts. The biggest frustration to me is if you were to take the three branches of government and have an independent auditor look at them, the courts would be the best-managed and best well run. And they got punished for it.”Sen. Alex Villalobos, R-Miami, chair of the Judiciary Committee, expressed disappointment at missing an important opportunity to boost the court budget.“In my opinion, the budget is not treating the court like it needs to be. We need to make it not only whole, but we need to make it better. In my view, the court system is really a co-equal branch of government. And there are some in the legislature who are trying to undermine the court through the budget, because they do not philosophically agree with some of the decisions that the court made. I think that is just very backward thinking.. . . . I think what they are doing is nickel-and-diming the court. The courts are the ones that interpret the statutes that the legislature passes and make sure they’re done correctly. I just believe that not funding the courts adequately is just a reflection of the legislature not taking laws that they pass seriously enough.”At one point during a May 14 House Appropriations Committee meeting, Negron reported he had secured another $2.2 million to address concerns raised by the Trial Court Budget Commission. That brought a smile to the face of Judge Schaeffer, who watched the amount grow from $500,000 just a day earlier. But they were still working out the details on how that money would be spent, and it was not nearly enough to keep the courts at current funding levels.As for the Article V, Revision 7 efforts, Schaeffer said she was satisfied with the final bills, as the two chambers filed identical bills and prepared to move them without amendments.“I’m very happy with it and I think the judges are very happy with it,” she said. “It took some of the best of both [House and Senate regular session] bills and gave us the best of each. I can say without question, it’s a good bill. It’s a very workable bill for the courts.”Officials representing county governments, though, had a different opinion, as expressed when the Senate began work on SB34A Judiciary Committee on May 15.Sen. Rod Smith, D-Gainesville, chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Article V, said the measure addressed everything from clerks’ fees to jury management to providing funding for drug courts. He also acknowledged, after representatives for counties said the legislation still has problems, that the bill is not yet perfect and may be further modified next year.“I do not for a moment contend this will be the absolute final product we will implement,” Smith said. “I am proud of the fact we have been able to bring a 200-page document in here and if it’s not 100 percent right — and it’s not — it’s 90 percent right.”From the very beginning, Smith said his highest priority was funding the state attorneys’ and public defenders’ workload.SB 34A deals with judges, jury compensation, providing court interpreters, expert witnesses, legal support for judges, court administration, case management including critical case management for drug courts, and funding for the Judicial Qualifications Commission. Smith said it calls for keeping at present levels funding for drug courts — a major issue for counties. Some legislators earlier had suggested the state should leave drug court funding for counties.When Rep. Holly Benson, R-Pensacola, and chair of the House Select Committee on Article V, gave an update on the compromise reached between the House bill and Senate bill May 14, she said, “You asked questions about drug courts. We recognize that this has statewide significance and serves many communities well. We will continue to fund it at the level we previously funded it, and that language reverts to what was previously in the statute.”Benson said the House worked to incorporate a definition of case management, an area of great concern to the trial court.Smith said the Senate bill also addressed “minor” items on what counties must fund.Two speakers representing counties said while they supported the overall bill, more work needs to be done and the state is still sticking counties with the bills for operations that should be state funded.John Ricco, representing the Florida Association of Counties, said the legislation could be read as making counties responsible for funding legal aid programs and alternative sanction coordinators.That’s what attorney Joyce Dove hopes, as she monitored the bills for Legal Services of Florida, Inc.“Funding legal services is now a local requirement in both the House and Senate, so the bills are identical,” said Dove. “The county is mandated to fund and we are labeled a local requirement, so it’s like a double mandate. So that was very comforting.” When the regular session ended, the Senate version had funding legal services a local option that left Legal Services of Florida Executive Director Kent Spuhler feeling concerned about funding civil legal services for poor people around the state.Ricco also expressed concerns the bill prohibits counties from contracting with state attorneys for prosecuting infraction of local ordinances. That section prohibits state attorneys from prosecuting violations of local laws unless they are reasonably related to prosecuting violation of a state law.“The legislation has come a long way, and the legislation has many positive changes,” Ricco said. “There are still some concerns out there. We look forward to working with. . . you further as the session progresses.”Ron Book, representing Miami-Dade and Broward counties, said the bill requires counties to pay for things now funded by the state, including fax machines, telecommunications, computers, and similar services.Other parts of the bill, he added, are vague, such as the section that requires counties to pay for “specialized programs, nonjudicial staff, and other expenses associated with specialized court programs, specialized prosecution needs, specialized defense needs, or resources required of a local jurisdiction as a result of special factors or circumstances.” There are inadequate definitions of what constitutes “specialized programs,” Book said.Despite the problems, “We support the bill and we want to go forward,” Book said, hoping to make changes later.Roger Maas, executive director of the Commission on Capital Cases, said if privatizing one of the three regions of capital appeals lawyers passes, as it appeared headed to do, “We need to recruit a lot more lawyers for the Northern Region. It was the governor’s position, as I understand his budget, that he thought there would be considerable cost savings (to use a private registry of lawyers).”Critics of privatizing CCRCs argued it would cause delays in appeals and would not be more efficient.“Although there would be a delay, those cost savings would warrant any delays that would occur,” Maas said of the governor’s rationale. “It’s my understanding they are doing this sort of as a pilot project.”Michael Rieter, head of the Northern Region CCRC, declined to comment until the legislation passed, holding out hope his office would remain the same.Although the legislature is working to set a statutory framework this year, next year it must come up with the money to pay for taking over financing more trial court operations.During its budget debate May 16, Sen. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, asked Appropriations Committee Chair Sen. Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, how much extra the legislature would need next year for Article V funding. Pruitt replied the bill was estimated at $320 million, which includes courts, clerks, state attorneys, and public defenders expenses.Senator Smith had hoped to raise civil filing fees from $200 to $300 to help finance the transition.But Benson explained the House “held them to $250 and made sure that first $50 goes to the state to ensure that if we find over the course of the next year we do further revenue analysis, we can reduce that fee. After the first $50 that goes to the state, one-third will go to the state again for a contingency fund for smaller county’s clerks. And two-thirds will go to the individual clerks themselves. In all steps along the way, this has worked to ensure the ongoing independence of our locally elected constitutional officers, the clerks. And we therefore empower them to continue setting their fees up to that statutory cap of $250.”Whether to raise the filing fee to $250 – or do it piecemeal as the House advocates – “is the biggest stumbling block right now” to getting the Article V legislation passed, Villalobos said.“I think the $250 is really needed,” he said. “It would make the court system a much better place. When I was Criminal Justice Appropriations chair in the House, I was in charge of the court budget for years. I think one of the most important things we can do for the courts is to totally modernize it. And we have. We have computerized a lot of it. Now that we have momentum is the time to keep on moving forward and make it even better. Justice only works when it’s swift.”But realistically, Villalobos said, “I think we’re trying to keep the courts at the level they are right now. But we should not be satisfied with that. Hopefully, once the economy picks up, the legislature has to make a greater investment in our judicial system, if we want to be a respected state where people feel safe and there’s a great respect for the law. You don’t have great respect for the law if you have crumbling buildings and equipment that doesn’t work.” Courts feel budget axlast_img read more

FIs warned of another ATM cash-out scheme

first_imgThe FBI, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Treasury Department on Thursday alerted U.S. financial institutions of another ATM cash-out campaignthey’re identifying as “FASTCash.” The sophisticated, cyber-enabled campaign has been linked to North Korea. It has been active since late 2016 and allows hackers to steal tens of millions of dollars in cash.Most of the FASTCash attacks have targeted banks in Africa and Asia; there have been no confirmed FASTCash incidents affecting U.S. institutions. However, the agencies released the joint technical alert and distributed the malware indicators proactively to help financial institutions bolster network defenses and reduce exposure to malicious cyber activity.Federal agencies have issued a number of warnings to financial institutions in recent months warning of fraudulent activity at ATMs. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

Axpo inks capacity deal with German LNG Terminal

first_imgSwiss energy trading company Axpo and German LNG Terminal, the joint venture developing Germany’s first LNG terminal, have signed a heads of agreement for a long-term capacity deal at the facility in Brunsbuettel in northern Germany. This is another important step towards taking the investment decision, the companies said in a joint statement on Monday.Domenico De Luca, head business area trading & sales and member of the executive committee of Axpo Group, said, “With the shutdown of numerous coal-fired power plants expected in the medium term, LNG is expected to gain further importance as an energy source and will be able to increase its market sharein Europe. Our goal is to further optimize the delivery of LNG to our customers together with German LNG Terminal.”Axpo’s LNG portfolio includes long-term natural gas supplies, a 5 percent stake in the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and distribution channels in most European countries.Rolf Brouwer, managing director of German LNG Terminal, added, “We continue to powerfully move forward with the realization of our terminal project.”The preparations for the terminal’s permitting approval process are further moving forward, the statement reads.German LNG Terminal is a joint venture of the Dutch companies Gasunie and Vopak with Oiltanking, a Marquard & Bahls unit.In spring 2019, German LNG Terminal will apply for the required permit for the 8 bcma terminal. The investment decision is scheduled for the end of 2019. After receiving the necessary permits, construction work could then start in 2020 with the terminal presumably being operationally by the end of 2022.last_img read more

Parental leave costs overstated claims MP

first_imgNZHerald 25 July 2012 Labour MP Sue Moroney says Finance Minister Bill English has deliberately overestimated the costs of extending paid parental leave to six months to justify his decision to veto any increase. Ms Moroney’s Paid Parental Leave Bill would extend leave from 14 to 26 weeks by four weeks a year over three years. It is expected to have its first reading in Parliament tonight and has enough support to pass with the backing of all parties but National and Act. In April, Mr English said the Government would veto the bill because it would require an extra $500 million in borrowing over the next three to four years. But Ms Moroney obtained Department of Labour advice to Mr English in April which showed the estimated cost was $285.6 million over the three years.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10822004last_img read more

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has faith in under-fire defender Calum Chambers

first_img Wenger added: “We want to play out from the back so the players go into the game and they do that. “Once they lose the ball, they think they have to continue to play out from the back. That’s where the more experienced players maybe should have said ‘You can see that he is having trouble, let’s push forward so he can kick the ball into the opponent’s half and play off (Olivier) Giroud’.” “That is what I told them to do, but by the time they realised that on the pitch we were already in trouble.” Wenger will make a late call on whether Chambers will start at St James’ Park. Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny both missed the game against Liverpool and remain a doubt for Saturday’s lunch-time clash. Press Association And he appeared to struggle in Arsenal’s goalless draw against Liverpool on Monday night after forming a makeshift central defensive partnership with Gabriel. “He has lost a bit of confidence compared to the player he was last year,” said Wenger ahead of his side’s trip to Newcastle on Saturday. “I don’t think it will have killed him to replace him. I did not sub him as I wanted to save my offensive options. “It gave him time to recover. I looked at how he started again, and if he does not get better I sub him then – you want to win the game and not think too much individually about the player – but he recovered quite well in the second half.” Chambers was called up by England Under-21s manager Gareth Southgate for the woeful European Championship campaign. But the defender failed to feature, and Wenger believes that may have knocked his self-belief. “Maybe not playing too much, and the under-21 tournament did not help him on that front as he did not play at all, but I think he will be a very good player,” Wenger said. “I have spoken to him and he’s a strong boy, a dedicated player who loves football, is ready to work day and night and he has the talent. He will be good player.” Chambers made an impressive start to his Arsenal career following his £16million switch from Southampton last summer. But after being substituted in Arsenal’s defeat at Southampton on New Year’s Day, the 20-year-old made only three Premier League starts for the remainder of the season. Arsene Wenger has said that he considered replacing Calum Chambers in Arsenal’s goalless draw against Liverpool and revealed that the England defender is struggling with confidence. last_img read more

Annual DDL-sponsored 60-mile cycle road race set for Sunday

first_imgGUYANA’s top cyclists are expected to turn out in their numbers on Sunday when cycle coach Hassan Mohamed runs off the annual Demerara Distillers Limited’s 60-mile race under its Diamond Mineral Water brand.This year’s event will see a new champion being crowned as last year’s winner, Alonzo Greaves, is currently serving a two-year ban imposed on him by the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) for drug use during the 2015 National Sports Commission’s Five Stage Cycle Road Race.Greaves was given a one-year ban for drug use after he tested positive at the completion of the five-stage event.After serving his one year ban, the Caribbean Anti- Doping Association (CADA) appealed the light sentence imposed. However, Greaves was free to compete during that time and secured podium places during that period and won last year’s Diamond Mineral Water race.However, after WADA reviewed the CADA’s appeal, WADA added a further two-year ban on Greaves.So, this year’s event should be a very interesting and exciting one.At the moment, Team COCO’s Jamal John is dominating the local scene; his latest success was on Saturday last when he won the Team United ‘We Stand’ 30-lap `dash for Cash’ race in the National Park, narrowly edging Continental Cycle Club’s Geron Williams across the finish line.last_img