Friedman Park Event Center Ground Breaking


first_imgWarrick County broke ground on the 16,000 square foot Friedman Park Event Center. This modern lodge, multi-use facility is set within the 180 acres of Friedman Park in Warrick County.  The Event Center’s design will allow it to host a wide range of events, conferences and corporate functions as well as community and business events. The Event Center will be a significant asset to pair with the adjacent Victoria National Golf Club, one of the nation’s top courses for future tournaments, events and corporate retreats.The Friedman Park, infrastructure, and event center make up $11.6 million transformative project that is part of the Regional Cities Initiative driven by the State of Indiana. The Regional Cities Initiative designated three regions through a competitive process to receive $42 million for talent attraction projects to be leveraged by additional public and private investment. Once called the Victoria National Conference Center in the plan for Indiana’s Great Southwest, the project will receive $2,000,000 from Regional Cities funding and the remaining from public county funding and local private investment.“Regional planning and transformational quality of place projects are vital to continuing to propel Indiana’s economy forward,” said Elaine Bedel, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. “The Friedman Park Event Center is one piece of a strategic plan to enhance culture, vitality and livability across Southwest Indiana, supporting efforts to retain and attract top talent in Warrick County and throughout the region.”“Warrick County has extraordinary vision in providing residents with useful and desired amenities,” said Beth Mcfadin Higgins, president of the Southwest Indiana Regional Development Authority. “The Friedman Park Event Center is a welcomed addition to the health and recreation focus of the community and is certainly a talent attracting location for residents and visitors of Indiana’s Great Southwest.”“The Friedman Park Event Center will allow us to create new and exciting opportunities for the region by leveraging two of our area’s finest resources, Friedman Park and Victoria National Golf Course. Resident and visitors alike will benefit from the transformative project,” said Dan Saylor, Warrick County Commissioner.The project completion date is fall of 2020.Friedman Park Event Center breaks groundFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

Sourdoughs


first_imgCreating a sourdough ‘starter’ – which involves developing your own yeast culture rather than adding yeast to the mix – entails mixing flour, water, and other ingredients that have been colonised by wild airborne bacteria.A sourdough starter contains a strain of yeast that is tolerant of the lactic and acetic acids produced by the lactobacilli, giving the bread its unique tang.For bakers considering developing their own starter, the best tip for a successful sourdough is to reduce the risk of microbial contamination from other sources as much as possible.The conditions in a mother dough need to be controlled to ensure the continued reproduction of yeast cells.If the dough becomes contaminated with other micro-organisms – yeasts, moulds and bacteria – and the storage conditions favour those micro-organisms rather than the yeast (all micro-organisms have their own favoured food and growth conditions controlled by temperature and pH), then development of ‘off flavours’ and loss of performance can become a real problem.Here are Dan Lepard’s top tips for better sourdoughsStart with an active, bubbling, acidic leaven mixed with equal quantities of flour and water, without the addition of commercial yeast.Starter Every 24 hours you should hold back one-fifth and replace what was used in baking with fresh flour and water stirred in well.Regular replenishment with flour and water is essential as it is a living thing that will respond to regular rather than intermittent feeding.The acidity will ensure that the mixture stays hostile to bad bacteria and other organisms, and will keep it fresh tasting and healthy.Recipe & methodAdd 30-40% active leaven to flour weight and water to take the dough moisture percentage to 65-70% (allow for the flour and water in the sourdough). Mix and then wait.Extend the bulk fermentation until you can see clear signs of fermentation in the dough and only then divide and shape.Time You might find that you want to chill the dough between shifts to slow down the fermentation, as it is no good if the dough ripens when there is nobody in the bakery to scale and shape it.Equally, if it is looking a bit sluggish then you might want to increase the amount of leaven in the dough. Some bakers take the percentage up to 60-70% to create a big sour tang to the crumb.ProvingWith sourdough or other naturally leavened breads everything takes longer. So bakers often use a soft dough to encourage the fermentation, but this tends to flow if left on a tray.So some sort of containment, like flour-dusted baskets or cloths, that trap the dough and force it upwards rather than outwards, is needed. It will need a deft hand to quickly upturn and roll the proved fragile dough onto a peel without degassing it, then to slash it quickly without it deflating. But it is just knack, not a tricky skill.Strong floursThe longer the fermentation, the better strong flour will perform. The lightest loaves will come from strong white flour, but sometimes the flavour is a bit thin.So try using 70% strong white flour, 20% wholemeal flour and 10% dark rye flour for a big flavour and a relatively light loaf.last_img read more

Saint Mary’s honors 2017 Outstanding Senior


first_imgDuring her time at Saint Mary’s, Alex Winegar said she strove to put others before herself, even through simple actions such as holding the door open for others. Winegar, the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Senior Award — which honors a student who exemplifies the Saint Mary’s spirit and values — now awaits the many doors that will open for her as a graduate of the College.Editor’s Note: Winegar is a former Associate Saint Mary’s Editor of The Observer.Winegar said students can foster a compassionate, uplifting community through showcasing positivity and optimism in daily tasks.“My mom always has this saying, ‘Be the bright side in someone’s day,’” Winegar said. “I just hope I could’ve done that for at least a few people.”Winegar’s classmates empowered her to consistently work toward her ambitions and use her talents for good, she said“It’s really humbling to accept this award because our class is full of amazing people,” she said. “Our whole school is. I did not expect it to be me at all.”After earning her degree in communicative sciences and disorders from Saint Mary’s, Winegar will pursue a doctorate degree in audiology at Central Michigan University. She said the invaluable lessons she learned and connections she made while enrolled at the College will benefit her for the rest of her life.“I want to make sure that I’m grateful for everything I have in my life,” Winegar said. “Take it one day at a time.”Winegar said she hopes current students embrace their limited time at the College and recognize the premiere education an all-women’s institution affords them.“Realize the importance of being at Saint Mary’s,” she said. “You’re never going to have that again, so take advantage of all four years.”Saint Mary’s emphasis on a challenging curriculum and lifelong friendships enables the College to fortify its students’ minds and hearts, Winegar said.“Over the years, I found myself comparing my college to my friends’ state schools or co-ed schools,” she said. “Ours is truly special and unique, and I think we need to value that a lot more than we do sometimes.”Winegar said Saint Mary’s enforces values of service and selfless love, which enabled her to explore her passions. Her four-year commitment to Dance Marathon — an annual fundraiser in which participants dance for 12 hours to raise money for Riley Hospital for Children — taught her the powerful influence Saint Mary’s students can have on the world, she said.“I love Dance Marathon because it’s like we’re part of something bigger than our school,” Winegar said. “This is where you go to school, and you’re dedicating your life for four years to studying here. It’s like, ‘Why not be involved and learn more about what our campus can really do?’”Saint Mary’s prepares graduates to take on future endeavors with confidence and critical thinking skills, Winegar said. She said she hopes her legacy reflects her everlasting commitment to enhancing the College through simple, random acts of kindness and dedication to service organizations.“I just want to be known as someone who really cared about the school,” Winegar said.Tags: Commencement 2017, communicative sciences and disorders, Dance Marathon, outstanding seniorlast_img read more

Hidden Treasures in our National Parks


first_img“Did you get my email about bringing water shoes?”That’s the first thing Jerry Span says to me when I meet him at the Fontana Marina in the far western corner of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I did not get his email. He seems disappointed. “We’ve got river crossings,” he says. “A lot of them.”Span is taking me on a backpacking trip through what is arguably the most remote region of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The word “remote” isn’t usually used to describe any portion of the Great Smokies, which sits within a three-hour drive of some of the biggest cities in the South. The park is sandwiched by bustling “gateway” towns, hosts one of the busiest sections of the A.T., and is surrounded by major interstates and highways. After all is said and done, the Smokies see nine million visitors a year, making it the most visited national park in the entire country. During peak tourist season, visitors stand in line at popular overlooks, waiting to take the exact same picture as the guy in front of them.But we’re headed to a section of the Smokies that rarely attracts visitors at all. We’re exploring a 44,000-acre section of the park called Hazel Creek that was separated from the rest of the world when the Tennessee Valley Authority flooded the Little Tennessee River to create Lake Fontana. At one point, Hazel Creek was a bustling timber town, complete with a softball field, school, even a movie house. Before that, copper mines dotted the landscape. But when the national park acquired the land, all remaining residents were relocated. After the waters of the Little Tennessee rose, all roads into the area were flooded.Today, Hazel Creek is flanked by miles of roadless park land on one side and the 12,000-acre Fontana Lake on the other, leaving only two ways to get to Hazel Creek: by boat or by foot. Few people have access to a boat and even fewer are willing to hike the ten miles of lakeshore trail it takes just to reach the Hazel Creek trailhead. To really explore the area, you have to hoof it for several more miles inland. It is an area filled with historical ruins, trout streams, rugged trails, and expansive views, and it is left relatively untouched by the nine million visitors that converge on the Smokies.“Occasionally, you’ll see a fishermen back here, but that’s it,” Span says as we cross over Hazel Creek, a wide, powerful stream that cuts through the valley floor before joining Fontana Lake. As the outdoor recreation manager for nearby Fontana Village, Span has spent the last two years exploring the Hazel Creek watershed. He’s a young, skinny man with a bushy Civil-War-esque beard, whose exploration is fueled by an intense passion for Appalachian history. Span collects stories about the families and companies who once occupied the area, then bushwhacks through the thick forest looking for any remaining artifacts.We take a pontoon boat deep into one of the fingers of Fontana Lake, tying up at the mouth of Hazel Creek. The boat shuttle cuts off ten miles of hiking. The fact that you have to take a boat into the area is a controversy that has raged among locals for decades. In 1943, when the park acquired the land that was once the Hazel Creek community, the National Park Service promised Swain County residents a road would be built so locals could visit their ancestors still buried in small cemeteries deep inside the park boundaries. This is the famed North Shore Road, which was never built because of the devastating environmental impacts the construction would have caused. Without the road, locals visit their ancestors by boat and jeep shuttle.Screen shot 2015-06-18 at 10.51.59 AMThis is why the 5.5-mile Hazel Creek Trail that Span and I are hiking isn’t really a trail. It’s a well-maintained road-bed covered with crushed gravel that serves as the main thoroughfare into the cemeteries. It’s a bit disappointing to take a boat shuttle into a narrow cove, cross a rushing river to get to one of the most remote trailheads in the entire national park, and then spend the afternoon hiking crushed gravel. We even pass two jeeps that the park service uses to transport relatives to the cemeteries. Half a dozen times a year, local families will stage elaborate ceremonies at their family cemeteries, called “Decorations.” They bring in large spreads of food scattered over portable picnic tables. They tell stories, play bluegrass music. Imagine an Irish wake 100 years after the honoree’s death. Other than the occasional fly fisherman, the Decorations are the most traffic Hazel Creek ever sees.Along the river bank, we hike past old schools that are now stands of hardwoods. Softball fields that were turned into campsites. Boardwalks that are now trails. The Ritter Lumber Company (one of the many companies to occupy Hazel Creek) would scour the country looking for suitable timber, establishing portable villages when they found an ideal location. After the timber was used up, Ritter would deconstruct the town and move on to the next locale. When Ritter Lumber Company abandoned the Hazel Creek area, the leftover scraps of the town were burned by the park service. Only a few brick fireplaces, foundations, and the occasional cabin remain today. If it weren’t for the obvious road grade we’re hiking, we would never know there used to be a thriving community that once called these valleys and ridges home.“I love seeing things like that,” Span says, pointing out a tree that’s growing through the heart of an old, rusted bucket.“This town was created to destroy the forest, and now the forest is taking over.”From the Hazel Creek Trail, we bushwhack to a few of the old copper mines that used to occupy the area. It’s been estimated that there is 19 million dollars worth of copper still in these mountains. Some of the shafts inside the mountains are as big as football fields. Most of the mines that sit close to marked trails are gated off, but if you’re willing to slip off trail into the rhododendron thickets and thorns, you could easily find yourself at the mouth of a mine that carves deep into the belly of one of these Great Smoky Mountains.After 45 minutes of bushwhacking, we scramble up a scree-laden pitch that’s so steep, we have to crawl on our hands and knees to reach the top. At the crest of the hill is a pickup-truck size hole cut out of rust-colored rock. The bottom of the mine is filled with water and after a few yards, the shaft takes a sharp left turn and disappears into utter darkness. We’re separated from the main trail by two miles of thick Southeastern underbrush and rhododendron, standing inside the mouth of a mine that leads to the center of a mountain. The mine “breathes” cold air and true darkness is just a few steps away. This is not your typical national park experience.The copper mine we’re standing in is what’s left of the Adams-Westfield mining company. It was the center of a 26-year lawsuit over ownership rights, the longest court case in American history. When the suit was finally settled, the original plaintiffs were long dead. The lawsuit typifies Hazel Creek, which has a history of hard-fought disputes. Timber companies and mining companies fought over the right to plunder its resources. When the national park was created, farmers fought for the right to stay in the area. Before that, the Cherokee fought for their right to inhabit the region, just as the original Native American tribes fought for their land rights against the Cherokee. When Fontana Lake was created, there were more court cases, more legal battles, more landowner displacement. For hundreds of years, people have been fighting over Hazel Creek. The irony? After the establishment of the national park and the lake, almost nobody sets foot in the area anymore.We set up camp in a flat site sandwiched between Hazel Creek and one of the old family cemeteries still occupying the area. The graves are mounded with red dirt and spaced only a few feet apart from each other. About half of the graves are occupied with infants. You can’t see the cemetery from our campsite, but you know it’s there, which makes Span’s insistence on going on a night-hike all the more creepy. Add to that the fact that Span wants to hike to an abandoned cabin in the middle of a region known as Bone Valley, and you’ve got a “Blair Witch” situation on your hands.Years ago, before this was a national park, a cattle herder drove his herd into the valley to graze. A blistering winter storm set in. The herder was able to get out, but he had to leave his cattle. When the rancher came back in spring, all the cattle were dead, nothing left of them but their bones. That’s how Bone Valley got its name.Span tells the story as we hike from the camp into the valley. It’s a short, flat walk along the Bone Valley Trail, but we have to cross a fast-paced stream ten times. This is why Span wanted me to bring water shoes. Without them, I move slowly through the stream, my shoes held high above my head, my pants rolled up to my thighs as the cold water reaches my kneecaps. The hike ends at a two-story cabin sitting alone in a small field. There’s a decent-sized porch attached to the front of the cabin, but the interior is about 500 square feet altogether. There’s a sparse sleeping loft upstairs, and the downstairs is divided by a stairwell. I try to imagine where the kitchen and the living space would have been, but it’s difficult. The cabin was built to house a family of 13. I couldn’t even fit my couch in the biggest room.We shut off our headlamps and hold our breath. If I’m ever going to see a ghost in my life, it’s inside an abandoned cabin nestled in a place called Bone Valley near ancient cemeteries. Nothing happens.On the second day, we trade the gravel road for a path that’s so steep, so rocky, so difficult to navigate, I hesitate to call it a trail. This is Cold Spring Gap Trail, a 3.5-mile route that weaves from the valley floor to High Rocks, a remote rock outcropping sitting on the peak of a 5,200-foot mountain. Look at Cold Spring Gap Trail on the map and you’d think it follows a skinny branch of water that feeds into Hazel Creek. You’d be wrong. The truth is, the creek is Cold Spring Gap Trail. After several stream crossings, the trail is simply absorbed by the ankle-deep creek, leaving you with two options: turn back, or hike the creek. There are no trail signs, no blazes—the trail just disappears.“I like having to take my time and figure out the trail,” Span says as we move slowly up the creek towards High Rocks. “The A.T. is so well-worn and over-blazed, it takes some of the fun out of hiking.”No one would ever call Cold Spring Gap Trail a “well-worn” path. Span climbed to High Rocks last summer and said the spur trail to the summit was so overgrown, he didn’t think anyone had been there in a few years. I can believe it. If the countless creek crossings and steep grades don’t keep people off this trail, the fact that the trail turns into a creek will. Even though we’re on an official national park trail, I get the sensation that we’re bushwhacking our way up a mountain, the first people to ever forge this particular path.The higher we climb, the steeper the pitch gets. From the valley to High Rocks, Cold Springs Gap climbs 3,000 feet, most of the elevation coming in the last two miles, making our steps slow and deliberate.The concrete foundation of an old fire tower still stands on top of High Rocks, along with a crumbling old cabin. We make it to the summit and stand on a slab of granite that juts out from the mountain peak. All of Fontana Lake lies before us, as well as the entire Tuskegee Valley. From 5,200 feet up, the lake looks skinny and long, its fingers ducking into the green ridges of the surrounding mountains. This is the ultimate reward for our hard work. The boat shuttle, the road hike, the bushwhacking, the steeps, the creek tromping—it’s all led to this view. At one time, a man lived in the dilapidated cabin and stood watch over everything below him. That was his job. Today, few people are lucky enough to take in this scenery.I snap a picture and wonder how many other people have captured this same image. Probably not many. The nearest overlook is miles away.A Brief History of the SmokiesThe nomadic Paleo Indians were the first to roam the Smokies. They followed game trails to hunt deer, elk, and bison. When the Cherokees arrived, they followed these same trails to create more permanent settlements. By 1830, the first white settler, Moses Proctor, made his way with family from Cades Cove using one of the Cherokee footpaths. The Proctors and other early families are preserved in the nomenclature scattered about the branches, streams, and ridges in the park today. The early settlers turned Indian paths into sled roads.In the 1890s, life in the Smokies changed drastically with the discovery of a copper vein near Sugar Fork Creek, a tributary of Hazel Creek. The mine soon closed over a land ownership dispute which took 26 years to resolve—the longest court case in U.S. history. Following the copper era, timber companies descended upon the Smokies—at that point the largest virgin forest remaining in the East. Much of the ancient forest was logged. Native trout and otter disappeared from the waterways. Indian trails became roads, and then railways. The Southern Railway made its way to the mouth of Hazel Creek, and a large lumber company followed. The Ritter Lumber Co. was in the area from 1903 to 1928. It developed a company town of about 1000 people, cut 200 million board of feet, and then left.Industry returned to the Smokies by way of Fontana Dam. Once the dam was built, the National Park Service required residents to move from the area to establish the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Most left and sold their land to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), who then transferred it over to the park. However, some refused to sell, losing their land and gaining no monetary value. TVA burned most of what was left by Ritter Lumber Company and other landowners.On June 15, 1934, Great Smoky Mountains National Park was officially established. Once in the park’s possession, the Civilian Conservation Corps planted trees and tried to restore the ecological health of the Smokies. The park reintroduced otters and trout, along with other species of native fauna and flora. Visitors hiking the Smokies today can see and feel the reminders of this now protected national park in the buildings, cemeteries, place names, and scattered artifacts that still remain.—Jerry SpanDO IT YOURSELFArrange for a shuttle across Fontana Lake through Fontana Village (fontanavillage.com, $50 round trip). Have them drop you off at campsite 86, where Hazel Creek meets the lake, then hike Hazel Creek Trail into campsite 83. Hike the Bone Valley Trail at night for a spooky sidetrip. Give yourself plenty of time to summit High Rocks via the Cold Spring Gap Trail (4.5 miles) on day two. Eat lunch overlooking Fontana Lake, then head down the Bear Creek Trail (3 miles) to campsite 75 for the second night. On your third day, take your time exploring the remainder of Bear Creek as it makes its way into Lake Fontana. Have the boat pick you up at campsite 74 where the Bear Creek Trail meets the Lakeshore Trail.SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARKShenandoah National Park sits only 75 miles from D.C. and is even closer to Charlottesville and Harrisonburg. As a result, two million people converge on the park every year. Shenandoah is bisected by Skyline Drive, a federal highway with 75 different overlooks. The A.T. parallels the drive, serving as a foot-traffic highway during the warmer months. As a result, Shenandoah receives a lot of car and day hike traffic. Families cruise Skyline Drive, pick an overlook, and descend in throngs on short loop hikes and easy out and backs. Skyline Drive’s overlooks may sound off-putting, but they act as magnets to the majority of the Shenandoah’s visitors, leaving the rest of the park almost untouched. There’s 80,000 acres of federally designated Wilderness sitting inside the park’s borders, boasting 175 miles of tranquil footpaths that escape the casual park visitor’s attention.Shenandoah is split into three districts, Northern, Central, and Southern, the last of which is dominated by Wilderness and is largely overlooked by the typical park visitor.“The Central District attracts a lot of day hikers and cars,” says Wilson Riley of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. “The Southern District is pretty much left alone, particularly on the western side of the ridge where there’s quite a bit of Wilderness that doesn’t have the amenities day-hikers and scenic drivers like.”We’ve designed a three-day loop traversing the Big Run portion of the Southern District that starts and finishes at milepost 81. This hike will take you through a diverse range of terrain while delivering the solitude you desperately crave. The Big Run area of the Shenandoah is pristine and rugged. Expect trails that are rocky and often overgrown, forcing you to scramble through rock outcroppings, bushwhack to summits, and dance across pregnant streams.Screen shot 2015-06-18 at 11.13.53 AMDay OneFrom the overlook parking area at milepost 81, descend on Big Run Loop Trail from the ridgeline to Big Run Portal Trail. Big Run, a stream that blooms with rainfall and spring runoff, parallels the trail for several miles, offering several swimming holes and mandatory river crossings. Choice campsites along the banks of the stream are plentiful. Pick a site you like and bed down early or spend the rest of the day exploring the corners of Big Run.Day TwoIn the morning, finish hiking Big Run Portal north to Rocky Top Trail, which will take you back south toward your ultimate destination of Lewis Peak. Navigate large swaths of talus rock on Rocky Top while enjoying consistent views of peaks dotting the sky to the west. After 3.5 miles, take Lewis Peak Trail and look for a good campsite. Lewis Peak is a dead-end route that cuts deep into the Wilderness, offering some of the most remote camping in the entire national park. Set up camp and take the trail to its terminus where you can catch a spur that will get you close to Lewis Peak’s summit. From there, it’s an easy bushwhack and rock scramble to the top of the mountain, which is punctuated by rock outcroppings and 360-degree views. You can find slightly better views in the park, but you’d have to share them with other people.Day ThreeBacktrack down Lewis Peak Trail and hang a right on Rocky Top Trail. In just over two miles, you’ll hit the Big Run Loop trail junction. Hang a left and spend the rest of your day exploring the swimming holes of Big Run before heading back to your car. Another option is to stay straight on Big Run Loop and cross Skyline Drive to Doyle’s River Trail, which leads to the impressive Doyle’s River Falls. It’s a popular day-hiking destination, but the tiered waterfall punching through a small rock canyon is a great way to end your trip, particularly after a heavy rain when the water is rushing.CONGAREE NATIONAL PARKThere’s a good chance you’ve never even heard of the Congaree National Park. Established in 2003, the Congaree is the newest member of the park system in the East, a fact that leads many to overlook the South Carolina gem when picking a backcountry destination.The 22,000-acre swampy park consists of the largest old-growth floodplain forest left in North America, and is often referred to as a vegetative museum. The average tree canopy height within the Congaree is 100 feet, with several loblolly pines and bald cypresses reaching state and national champion sizes. The biggest tree in the park stretches 167 feet toward the sky and 15 feet in circumference. One hundred and seventy species of birds call the Congaree home, as do 49 species of fish, 53 species of reptile, feral hogs, white-tailed deer, owls, pterodactyls—okay, there are no dinosaurs inside the park, but the ecosystem certainly feels prehistoric. Scientists are even looking for the famed ivory billed woodpecker inside the Congaree’s borders.Screen shot 2015-06-18 at 11.16.06 AM“Even if you just stand still on the boardwalk trail right next to the visitor center, you’ll begin to see animals moving in the woods,” says Sandy Rankin, owner of Adventure Carolinas, an outfitter that runs trips into the Congaree.Of the 22,000 acres that make up the Congaree, 17,000 of them are designated as Wilderness. The park is lucky to attract 150,000 visitors a year. Compare that to the millions that flock to our other parks, and you have the makings of a remote three-day backpack unlike any other. The itinerary we’ve put together maximizes the park’s canoe trails while allowing you to stretch your legs in some of the more remote corners of the swamp.Day OneThe park has 20 miles of hiking trails, but most backpackers looking for an adventure choose to explore the ecosystem by canoe or kayak. The Congaree floods ten times a year, turning low-lying channels that spread from the main tributaries into water trails begging for exploration. Arrange for a boat and shuttle through Adventure Carolinas (www.adventurecarolinas.com) and start paddling the Cedar Creek Canoe Trail from Bannister Bridge. It’s a six-mile paddle from Bannister Bridge to the Cedar Creek Canoe Access take-out. Many Cedar Creek tributaries venture deep into the belly of the park, passing by giant loblollies and the “great knees” of the bald cypress trees—extensive root systems that rise above the water’s surface. Cedar Creek and its tributaries offer primo backcountry camping opportunities, (permits are free in the Congaree).Day TwoAt the canoe access takeout, pick up the King Snake Trail on the southern bank of the river and head deep into the forest. (Arrange a canoe pick up with Adventure Carolinas). Most land-locked hikers stick to the boardwalk trail next to the visitor’s center, leaving remote trails like the King Snake utterly desolate.Hike eight to nine miles, connecting the King Snake Trail with the Oakridge Trail and River Trail in order to reach the best campsite in the park—a flat, picturesque plot along the River Trail that sits on the bank of the slow, wide Congaree River. Set up camp and try to take a dip in the Congaree before the sun sets.Day ThreeWake early and finish hiking the River Trail loop which will eventually bring you back to the Oakridge Trail. Connect the Oakridge with the Weston Lake Loop to check out Wise Lake and Weston Lake, two large pools of flood water that attract wildlife of all sorts at various times of the day. From Weston Lake, take the Sims Trail back to the visitor’s center.last_img read more

Spain Fights to Lose Status as Drug Gateway


first_imgBy Dialogo April 24, 2013 Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal are countries used by traffickers to get cocaine from Latin America to Spain, she added. Colombian groups which dominated the trade in the 1980s have given way bit by bit to Mexican cartels, said Gratius. Spain seized 20.7 tons of cocaine last year, 24.9 percent more than in the previous year, and 325.5 tons of hashish, down 8.5 percent from 2011, Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez-Diaz said on April 18. Spain, the main gateway into Europe for cocaine and hashish, has stepped up the fight against drug trafficking by rings which are shifting their tactics to keep their access to the lucrative European market. “Very often drugs no longer arrive directly from Latin America, instead they pass through Africa using the traditional routes for hashish trafficking,” she said. Drug traffickers’ interest in Europe has increased because demand from the continent for cocaine is growing, she added. “Traffickers have money on their side, a lack of scruples and they can develop their activities without limit.” A multiplication of police operations against drug trafficking in Galicia has diverted cocaine smugglers to the south of Europe, said Susanne Gratius, an analyst with FRIDE, a think tank specializing in European affairs, who wrote a report about the fight against drug trafficking for the European Parliament. That represents 41.21 percent of the total amount of cocaine which was seized in Europe last year and 73.69 percent of the hashish, according to the minister. In response, European nations have reinforced regional cooperation as well as their cooperation with police forces in Latin America to stop the flow of cocaine. A record 49.65 tons of cocaine was seized in Spain in 2006. “We are winning battles but it will be difficult to win the war,” said José Antonio Rodríguez, head of the anti-cocaine squad of the Spanish National Police Force’s anti-drug unit. Cocaine arrives in Spain from Latin America in Galicia, a northwestern region whose rugged coastline is dotted with coves and inlets, and in the southern port of Cadiz, and is then shipped overland by truck to France, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. “We have found that groups in the region such as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb cooperate with them and get paid to transport drugs to North Africa,” he said. Spain’s proximity to Morocco and its easy access to the Atlantic Ocean make it “a natural entry point for drug shipments for all of Europe,” said Rodríguez. Latin American drug rings can rely on the help of strong local networks in Africa to help move their narcotics to Europe, said Rodríguez. “Since then we have observed a clear downwards trend, which may be explained by changes in international trafficking routes,” the Spanish Police wrote in a report last year. Over the past decade the number of cocaine consumers in Europe has doubled while demand for the drug has plunged by 33 percent in the United States, she said. The make-up of drug rings sending cocaine to Spain has changed as well. Hiding cocaine in banana shipments remains one of the favorite tactics used by traffickers.last_img read more

Pennsylvania Health Department sends third shipment of COVID-19 medication to hospitals


first_imgThe health department says they will continue to work with their federal partners to get more doses for patients across the state. Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine said in a press release, “it is important to note that there is limited information on the safety and effectiveness of using remdesivir to treat people in the hospital with COVID-19. However, it was shown in a clinical trial to shorten the recovery time in some people, which is why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the emergency use of the medication for treatment.” (WBNG) — The Pennsylvania Health Department announced they have distributed their third shipment of medication to treat coronavirus patients in hospitals on Saturday. For more coronavirus coverage, click here. They say the number of doses each hospital received was based on the number of coronavirus patients they had in a recent seven-day period and how many were on ventilators. The health department distributed the first shipment of the medication Tuesday, May 12, and the second round on Friday, May 15 and Monday, May 18.  Pennsylvania residents can sign up for AlertPA, which is a notification system for health, weather, and coronavirus updates. Residents can sign up online at this link. The health department says they are distributing the investigational antiviral medication, remdesivir. They said they sent 8,928 doses to 81 hospitals on Friday, May 22.  For statewide updates on the coronavirus, visit pa.gov.last_img read more

Top Republicans Decline to Acknowledge Biden Win as Trump Refuses to Concede


first_imgPrivately, the president’s advisers, several of whom have quietly been candid that the chances of success in any challenge to the election outcome were not high, were grappling with how to get him to bow to the reality that he had lost. Those comments reflected the advice of some of Mr. Trump’s top advisers, chiefly Rudolph W. Giuliani, his personal lawyer, who were urging him on Sunday to continue to fight the results.A remarkably small number of Republicans called for the country to move on.“Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man, who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country,” Mr. Bush said in a statement.In addition, three Republican governors of blue states — Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, Larry Hogan of Maryland and Phil Scott of Vermont — and at least seven House Republicans acknowledged Mr. Biden’s victory.They included the centrist Representatives Tom Reed of New York and Fred Upton of Michigan; Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who has been an outspoken critic of Mr. Trump; and four lawmakers who will not be returning to Congress next year: Representatives Paul Mitchell of Michigan, Will Hurd of Texas, and Francis Rooney of Florida, who are retiring, and Representative Denver Riggleman of Virginia, who lost his primary this year.Representative Don Young of Alaska, whose race remains undecided after a more difficult than expected re-election bid, said he wished “the president-elect well in what will no doubt be the most challenging chapter of his political career.”“It is time to put the election behind us, and come together to work for a better tomorrow for our nation,” Mr. Young said in a statement. “It’s time for the president’s lawyers to present the facts, and it’s time for those facts to speak for themselves,” Mr. Blunt, the chairman of the Rules Committee, said on ABC’s “This Week.” “It seems unlikely that any changes could be big enough to make a difference, but this is a close election, and we need to acknowledge that.”- Advertisement – Updated Nov. 8, 2020, 3:58 p.m. ET – Advertisement – Their reactions suggested that even in defeat, Mr. Trump maintained a powerful grip on his party and its elected leaders, who have spent four years tightly embracing him or quietly working to avoid offending him in a way that could alienate his loyal base. For many prominent Republicans, the president’s reluctance to accept the election results created a dilemma, making even the most cursory expression of support for Mr. Biden seem like a conspicuous break with Mr. Trump.Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri was the most senior Republican to suggest that Mr. Trump had lost and cast doubt on his allegations of a stolen election, but he stopped short of referring to Mr. Biden as the president-elect in an exceedingly careful television interview. On “Fox News Sunday,” Mr. Romney provided a contrast to many of his Republican colleagues. He said that he believed it was “appropriate” for Mr. Trump to pursue recounts and legal challenges in certain battleground states, but cautioned against widespread condemnations of the American system of elections.“It’s important for the cause of democracy and freedom that we don’t allege fraud and theft and so forth, unless there’s very clear evidence of that,” Mr. Romney said. “To date, that evidence has not been produced.”Mr. Romney noted that he had had a legal team ready to challenge the results of the 2012 election when he was the Republican nominee, but decided not to go forward once he saw such efforts would be futile.“At some point, truth, freedom and democracy have to ascend,” he said, “and you step aside.”Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker contributed reporting. “Why would you call the presidential race first?” he asked.Likewise, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina urged Mr. Trump to refuse to concede and fight on. WASHINGTON — More than 24 hours after President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. was declared the winner of the election, the nation’s Republican leaders and scores of party lawmakers refrained on Sunday from acknowledging his victory, either remaining silent or encouraging President Trump to forge ahead with long-shot lawsuits to try to overturn the results of the election in battleground states.Even as some prominent figures in the party including its only living former president, George W. Bush, publicly congratulated Mr. Biden, the vast majority of Republicans declined to offer the customary statements of well wishes and support for the victor that have historically been standard in American presidential elections. Instead, they followed the lead of Mr. Trump, who has refused to concede and claimed that the election was stolen from him.- Advertisement – “Do not accept the media’s declaration of Biden,” Mr. Graham, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said on Fox News on Sunday morning. He called the election “contested” and urged: “Do not concede, Mr. President. Fight hard.” “I look forward,” Mr. Blunt added, “to the president dealing with this however he needs to deal with it.”At the White House, there was little indication that Mr. Trump was dealing with it at all. As he played a second consecutive day of golf at his private club outside Washington, the president recirculated a groundless claim by Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker of the House, who told Fox News, “I think that it is a corrupt, stolen election.” – Advertisement – On Friday, a large group of them met with the president in the Oval Office to discuss the way forward. After another meeting at Mr. Trump’s campaign headquarters on Saturday, where political aides laid out the small chances of changing the outcome of the race, Jared Kushner, the president’s senior adviser and son-in-law, asked the group to go to the White House to outline it for Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the meeting.The silence from many leading Republicans cut both ways for the president. While it allowed Mr. Trump to continue the fiction that he had not lost, it also left him to battle against the election results without the full, vocal support of his party behind him. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, has declined to say anything since Friday, before the election results were known, when he released a generic statement encouraging officials to “count all the votes.” No member of his leadership team has either, apart from Mr. Blunt’s carefully worded statements on Sunday.At the same time, just two Republican members of the Senate — Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — and a handful of members of the House had acknowledged Mr. Biden’s win by Sunday afternoon, while others were trying to cast doubt on the results.“Every legal challenge should be heard,” said Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House minority leader. “Then and only then will America decide who won the race.”Speaking on Fox News, Mr. McCarthy questioned why news media outlets had called the presidential race for Mr. Biden, who was leading by tens of thousands of votes in key battleground states, before drawing a conclusion about undetermined contests in competitive House districts — many of those in deep-blue California and New York — where thousands of mail-in ballots remain uncounted.last_img read more

DeepMind would have ‘probably failed’ without Google, says investor


first_imgGoogle Deepmind head Demis Hassabis speaks during a press conference ahead of the Google DeepMind Challenge Match in Seoul on March 8, 2016.Jung Yeon-Je | AFP |Getty Images | Getty Images DeepMind set out to crack artificial general intelligence (AGI), which is often referred to as the holy grail in AI. But, Sheikh said: “The concern, the question marks, have always been in commercialization … How do you do it?”While Google has found uses for DeepMind’s AI, its technology has not been widely applied elsewhere. It has partnered with the U.K. National Health Service but the size and scope of the project is relatively limited. DeepMind was also in talks with electricity grid operator National Grid, but ultimately it came to nothing.The Google acquisition gave DeepMind access to vast amounts of computing power that Google has across its data center network, which has allowed it to train AI models to do things like play abstract strategy board game Go. It also gave the start-up access to engineering talent, and a steady stream of finance. DeepMind costs Google’s parent company Alphabet hundreds of millions of dollars every year. In 2018, it made a loss of £470 million ($622 million), up from £281 million in 2017 and £127 million in 2016. Its losses are growing because it continues to hire hundreds of expensive researchers and data scientists but isn’t yet generating any significant revenue.Jon Crowcroft, a computer science professor at the University of Cambridge, told CNBC that it’s hard to see a business case for DeepMind’s scale and burn rate.“A normal investor would be looking at big customers and an income stream well before now,” Crowcroft said. “They have developed techniques and prototype tools that could lead to that, but [there is] a long way between lab and reality.”Another industry source, who did not wish to be named due to the sensitive nature of the matter, agreed that DeepMind would have eventually needed a big tech parent to survive indefinitely. “The company is engaging in research, not products, and wouldn’t be able to obtain indefinite VC funding without eventually having a business model,” they said, adding that Google is an excellent fit.“Google is large enough and AI is fundamentally important enough for its (highly profitable) business model that having DeepMind as a subsidiary makes solid commercial sense,” the source added. “If you think about DeepMind on its own today, DeepMind would have probably failed as a company because you wouldn’t be able to commercialize anything.”A DeepMind spokesperson said: “We chose Google as a partner because it was clear they were as passionate about AI as we were and since then our partnership has gone from strength-to-strength in pursuit of our shared long-term ambition for responsible and impactful AI.”Sheikh, who claims to be a friend of the company’s CEO and co-founder Demis Hassabis, said there were concerns about how DeepMind was ever going to make money from the beginning. “We spent five years in close discussions about this whole DeepMind thing,” he said.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –center_img – Advertisement – LONDON — One of DeepMind’s first investors believes the artificial intelligence company wouldn’t be around today if it hadn’t been acquired by Google.Founding investor Humayun Sheikh, who held 43,750 of DeepMind’s 3,386,754 shares in 2011, told CNBC that the London AI lab would have “probably failed” if Google hadn’t bought it for a reported $600 million in 2014. Facebook was also interested in buying DeepMind but ultimately the company accepted Google’s offer.“Commercialization for any AI based company is very difficult, unless you get absorbed by a big corporate,” said Sheikh, who now runs his own AI business called Fetch.ai, on a call last Friday. – Advertisement –last_img read more

The removal of ATMs from the historic core has begun in Dubrovnik


first_imgLinked news: Photo: City of Dubronvik Photo: City of Dubrovnik The city of Dubrovnik is the first Croatian city to regulate the issue of setting up ATMs with their acts, which began to ruin the appearance of UNESCO’s monumental heritage with excessive numbers. These are ATMs that the owners themselves decided to remove in accordance with the Decision based on the Amendments to the Decision on Communal Order, which the City of Dubrovnik prescribed a ban on placing ATMs and other devices in openings in buildings in the historic center. Some have already decided to remove improperly installed devices themselves and thus avoid paying high fines. Penalties will be issued on a daily basis in case of non-compliance with the Decision, and can go up to HRK 200.000 million for legal entities and up to HRK XNUMX for natural persons.center_img Two ATMs that were set up in Široka Street without the permission of the conservator and for which the Municipal Police of the City of Dubrovnik issued a Decision on removal, were removed from this location. As they point out from the city of Dubrovnik, after the adoption of the decision by the City Council, administrative procedures were carried out which included ATMs without valid approvals. After the expiration of the 30-day deadline, if the decision is not followed, the Municipal Police of the City of Dubrovnik will repeatedly punish violators. AFTER DUBROVNIK AND ROVINJ INTRODUCED SPECIAL CONDITIONS FOR THE INSTALLATION OF ATMS IN THE OLD CENTER FROM NEXT SUMMER, DAILY FLIGHTS BETWEEN DUBROVNIK AND PHILADELPHIA ARE INTRODUCED last_img read more

Arsenal making progress on Bukayo Saka contract talks amid Man Utd & Liverpool interest


first_imgYoungster Saka has Arsenal fans going crazy over him (Picture: Getty Images)Arsenal are in a hurry to get 18-year-old wonderkid Bukayo Saka to sign a new five-year deal, according to reports.The England youth international has impressed in his debut season for the north London club, with his seven assists in all competitions.Saka produced a dazzling piece of skill to set up Nicolas Pepe for Arsenal’s second goal in their 4-0 win against Newcastle United on Sunday and earned the man of the match award.The versatile winger has only 18 month remaining on his current deal. and reports last weke claimed that the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool are both preparing to snap up the teenager if he becomes available.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENTBut, according to David Ornstein of the Athletic, Arsenal executives are pushing hard to ensure Saka commits his long-term future to the north London club. “Whoops…” 😂Bukayo Saka relives his nutmeg and assist for Arsenal’s second goal v Newcastle📱 Recap #ARSNEW here: https://t.co/2yatcOdwmC pic.twitter.com/Q9chUYkDLu— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) February 16, 2020 Arsenal making progress on Bukayo Saka contract talks amid Man Utd & Liverpool interest Metro Sport ReporterMonday 17 Feb 2020 5:09 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link1.1kShares Advertisementcenter_img Saka is still on the first professional contract he signed when transitioning from the Under-23’s squad in September 2018, earning him a reported £3000-a-week.The rumoured interest has urged Arsenal chiefs Huss Fahmy, Raul Sanllehi and Edu Gaspar to move quickly.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing ArsenalAccording to the report, an agreement with the winger is not imminent, but the process is moving along quickly, with more talks due to take place this week.Although naturally a forward player, Saka has been filling in at left-back. After Sunday’s victory, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta praised his confidence on the ball.The Spaniard told Sky Sports: ‘He takes responsibility, he takes risks in the final third. He is a player who wants to make an impact, he has courage.’MORE: Martin Keown rates Arsenal’s top-four chances after Newcastle United thrashingMORE: Matteo Guendouzi axed from Arsenal squad over heated row with Mikel Arteta Advertisement Commentlast_img read more