U.K. company’s Africa expansion will bundle solar power with internet service

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg New Energy Finance:Providing internet to off-grid solar customers in Africa is the next logical step for BBOXX Ltd. in becoming a “next-generation utility,” according to Mansoor Hamayun, chief executive and co-founder of the U.K.-based company, which is backed by Engie SA and venture capital investors.Hamayun told BloombergNEF in an interview that BBOXX can increase its average revenue per user and overall number of customers by offering internet as an additional service to electricity under a pay-as-you-go model.BBOXX has launched its internet hotspot model in Rwanda, where customers log into the hotspot using their existing BBOXX user account, and the amount of time they spend on the internet is added to their bill. Hamayun is considering expanding internet provision into urban areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it may bundle a Wi-Fi offering together with solar energy and partner with a telecoms company to facilitate it. The aim from a customer’s perspective, would be to “have one sole provider for internet, utility and appliances,” he said. “Electricity is a starting point. All the infrastructure that we have to build around it then becomes the foundation for extra services – everything from logistics to call centers and customer services,” said Hamuyun. BBOXX is able to provide lower-cost internet due to the existing distribution and logistics networks it already has in place, plus call centers, customer services and billing processes.Providing internet access in rural places is a “mass market opportunity”, as without internet access, the use case for mobile phones and many other appliances becomes limited. “We are seeing evidence among certain customers that payment for internet is equal to what they pay for electricity, so it doubles the revenue we receive,” Hamayun said.“From a customer’s perspective, you have one sole provider for internet, utility and appliances. Many customers don’t have internet access, or cheap enough internet, to use their appliances with. The reason for the high cost of internet in many areas is that the overheads of managing customers are expensive. So the fact that we’ve built up an effective distribution and logistical network, call centers, customer services and billing processes — all established with our electricity offering — helps to lower the cost of internet and other services to people. Electricity is a starting point.”“We credit check our customers and install the system in their household with a range of appliances. Each system is remotely monitored and controlled. In Rwanda, customers can qualify for an upgrade to a smart phone, and once they get that they can access the hotspot and pay using mobile money. BBOXX has received equity from institutional investors like Engie and on a local level we work with banks. In Rwanda, we have debt funding from Deutsche Bank and Banque Populaire du Rwanda. A USAID guarantee and agreements with the Africa Guarantee Fund is part of that, and the debt comes from a socially-focused fund they manage. That allows us to purchase the equipment that we manufacture, install it and receive payment that matches the debt profile.”More: ‘Next-Gen Utility’ Offers Africans Solar, Internet U.K. company’s Africa expansion will bundle solar power with internet servicelast_img read more

2008 Best of the Outdoors : Hiking

first_imgBEST LONG DISTANCE HIKING TRAIL Appalachian TrailThe 2,175-mile National Scenic Trail extends from Springer Mountain, Ga., to Mount Katahdin, Maine.“My first thru-hike was in 1973, and I’ve done 14 thru hikes in total. I keep doing it for the same reason people keep going to church. I enjoy it. It’s a passion and it’s my guidestone. The A.T. helps me move through the real world. It gives me something that is stable and fair and enables me to progress more confidently in a world that isn’t as consistent. You have to flow with the trail. You can’t fight it. As far as physical beauty is concerned, nothing can beat the diversity in the 70-mile section between Roan Mountain and Watauga Lake: Canadian spruce forest, high elevation bald, mountain plateau, deep gorge with waterfalls, and a man-made lake with an earthen dam. Plus, on that section, you’re walking in the footsteps of John Muir.”—Warren Doyle, most accomplished A.T. thru-hiker with a record 15 thru-hikes.NEXT BEST2. Mountains to Sea Trail, N.C.3. Tuscarora Trail, Va./W.Va./Md./Pa.4. Bartram Trail, Ga./N.C.5. Cumberland Trail, Tenn./Ky.6. Massanutten Mountain Trail, Va.7. Foothills Trail, S.C./N.C./Ga.8. Benton Mackaye Trail, Ga.9. Allegheny Trail, Pa./Md./D.C.10. Pinhoti Trail, Ala./Ga.BEST MOUNTAIN SUMMITBlack Balsam, N.C.The 6,216-foot bald mountain is covered with rock and knee-high grass, offering 360-degree views of the surrounding wildlands.NEXT BEST2. Old Rag, Va.3. Roan Mountain, N.C.4. Max Patch, N.C.5. Whitetop Mountain, Va.6. Big Bald, N.C.7. Thunderhead Mountain, N.C.8. McAfee Knob, Roanoke, Va.9. Wayah Bald, N.C.10. Rabun Bald, Ga.BEST DAY HIKERamsay Cascade TrailAn eight-mile out and back trail through Great Smoky Mountains National Park.“There’s a lot of old growth forest left in the park, and this hike takes you through big pockets of old growth. One spot is almost magical: you pass through this gate of old growth trees and then you come to the largest tulip poplar on the trail. It’s massive. It takes four people holding hands to wrap around this thing. You hike along two different streams and the trail terminates at my favorite waterfall in the park. It’s not the highest or the most powerful waterfall, but there’s something about the way the water comes down over the ledges and drops that’s just gorgeous. If you were gonna have one day hike in the park, this would be it.”—Eric Plakanis, owner of A Walk in the Woods hiking guide service in the SmokiesNEXT BEST 2. North Fork Mountain Trail, W. Va.3. Roaring Run, Jefferson NF, Va.4. Naked Ground Trail, Kilmer-Slickrock, N.C.5. Piney River Falls, Sehnandoah NP, Va.6. Gregory Ridge Trail, Great Smokies, Tenn.7. Cooper Creek Trail, Chattahoochee NF, Ga.8. Deep Gap Trail, Pisgah NF, N.C.9. Mount LeConte, Great Smoky Mountains, N.C.10. Wild Oak Trail, George Washington NF, Va.WILDEST WILDERNESSCranberry WildernessA 36,000-acre chunk of the Monongahela National Forest where raw nature functions freely and unmanipulated, allowing rare ecosystems and wildlife to flourish.“The Cranberry represents the last of the best red spruce ecosystem. One of the trails, the Middle Fork Trail, has been called the most beautiful hike in the Monongahela National Forest by guidebook writers. Personally, I like the ridgetop hikes the best, through the red spruce, but there are some great hikes along the valley floor, particularly next to the North Fork of the Cranberry, which is a great trout stream with campsites along the entire stretch. There are no big vistas. The entire area is forested. It’s deep, dark woods. But the woods are so magical. It’s enchanting to be engulfed by them. The new Wild Monongahela Act will add 12,000 acres to the Cranberry, making it the third largest Wilderness area in the Eastern U.S.”—Dave Saville, executive director of the West Virginia Wilderness CoalitionNEXT BEST 2. Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness, N.C.3. Tray Mountain Wilderness, Ga.4. Ramseys Draft Wilderness, Va.5. Citico Creek Wilderness, N.C.6. Linville Gorge Wilderness, N.C.7. Otter Creek Wilderness, W.Va.8. Dolly Sods Wilderness, W.Va.9. Beartown Wilderness, Va.10. Shining Rock Wilderness, N.C.FAVORITE WATERFALLWhitewater FallsGorges State Park, N.C.The tallest waterfall east of the Rockies, Whitewater Falls drops 411 feet near the border of North Carolina and South Carolina.“It’s beautiful in all seasons. Catch it in the winter after it snows and it’s magical; during the fall it’s colored by surrounding yellows and oranges; during spring or summer, it cascades through verdant greens. You can hike to both Whitewater Falls and Lower Whitewater Falls for an incredible day trip.”—Allen Easler, waterfall photographerNEXT BEST 2. Crabtree Falls, George Washington NF, Va.3. Triple Falls, DuPont State Forest, N.C.4. White Oak Canyon Falls, Va.5. Great Falls of the Potomac, D.C.6. Ramsay Cascade Falls, Tenn.7. Amicalola Falls, Amicalola SP, Ga.8. Linville Falls, Pisgah NF, N.C.9. Laurel Fork Falls, Foothills Trail, S.C.10. Blackwater Falls, W.Va.BEST URBAN HIKECarvins CoveRoanoke, Va.Carvins Cove consists of 14,000 acres of forest on the edge of the city of Roanoke, complete with 47 miles of trails (including 14 miles of the A.T.). It is the second largest city-owned park in the country.“You can throw a rock from Interstate 81 and hit the cove, it’s so close to civilization. But once you’re in it, it’s amazingly pristine and extensive. It’s all woods, and there are so many trails, people get lost all the time. Not a tree has been cut commercially in over 50 years. My favorite trails are Enchanted Forest—an endless pine forest where hikers walk beneath a dense pine canopy—and Heidi-Ho, which is a tough climb up to the ridge top.”—Roger Holnback, president of the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club NEXT BEST 2. Great Falls Park, Washington, D.C.3. James River Park, Richmond, Va.4. Kennesaw Mountain, Ga.5. Rivanna Trail, Charlottesville, Va.6. Blackwater Urban Trail, Lynchburg, Va.7. Crowders Mountain, Charlotte, N.C.8. Kanawha State Forest, Charleston, W.Va.9. Bent Creek Forest, Asheville, N.C.10. C&O  Towpath, Washington, D.C.FAVORITE CAMPGROUNDLakeside CampgroundDouthat State Park, Va.Forty miles of trails sit crisscross this state park, all of which are easily accessible from the campground. But what makes this campsite so attractive is the 50-acre Douthat Lake. NEXT BEST 2. Laurel Fork, Elkins, W.Va.3. Carolina Hemlock, Black Mountain, N.C.4. Cranberry River, Richwood, W.Va.5. Pocahontas, Marlinton, W.Va.6. Mortimer, Lenoir, N.C.7. Davidson River, Brevard, N.C.8. Sherando Lake, Lyndhurst, Va.9. Standing Indian, Franklin, N.C.10. Elizabeth Furnace, Front Royal, Va.FAVORITE HIKING CLUBAppalachian Trail ConservancyThe Appalachian Trail Conservancy is a non-profit that maintains the integrity of everyone’s favorite long distance trail with the help of 30 regional trail clubs from Georgia to Maine.“The entire Appalachian Trail is maintained by volunteers. We make sure those volunteers are on the same page and have the equipment they need to take care of the trail that they love so much. We facilitate, making it as easy as possible for people to give back to the trail they love—whether it’s organizing trail work days, pioneering innovative projects like the Roan Mountain goat project, or helping to protect the Rocky Fork Tract, which is the largest tract of land left unprotected along the A.T. The A.T. is close to a lot of people’s hearts. People want to take care of it, and we make it easier for them to do so.”—Andrew Downs, regional associate representative for the ATC NEXT BEST2. Sierra Club3. American Hiking Society4. Potomac Appalachian Trail Club5. Carolina Mountain ClubHIKING MOMENTS OF THE YEARThe Mountains to Sea trail in North Carolina reaches the 500-mile mark…The Wild Monongahela Act—the first Wilderness bill in West Virginia in 20 years—is introduced to Congress…The 60-year-long North Shore Road conflict is resolved when the National Park Service determined building 34-mile highway through the park would be environmentally devastating, and the $6 million settlement to Swain County passed Congress.last_img read more

Trail Mix – Travis Book & The Three Bs

first_imgTravis Book heads to four Blue Ridge locales for a weekend of beer, bluegrass, and bikes.Travis Book, bass player for The Infamous Stringdusters and longtime friend of BRO, is a man of many passions. Chief among them are playing music, drinking good beer, and spending time on his bike. Ever the crafty fellow, Book has managed to concoct a plan that combines all three of these loves — travel to four Blue Ridge towns, crank some great mountain bike trails, and then hit the local craft brewery to pick some tunes and sip some brews.Best weekend ever?  It could very well be.And it turns out Book is as generous as he is crafty. All of the proceeds from the four shows will benefit local biking clubs and trail systems.Travis and I recently chatted about the tour, which starts in a couple weeks.BRO – You have put together a weekend of playing music, drinking beer, and riding bikes. Any advice on how I can get something like that past my wife?TB – I’ve demonstrated to my wife over the years that if I don’t get outside and do something reckless/thrilling/challenging, I get to be a little bit of a pain in the ass. I also have to give her a foot rub while watching pre-recorded episodes of Downton Abbey pretty much whenever she wants for the foreseeable future, which isn’t a bad deal if you ask me.BRO – For years, you and the Dusters have wound outdoor experiences with your music. How do you satisfiy your outdoor wanderlust when you are on tour?TB – Careful planning, creative scheduling, and a steadfast belief that playing tired after a day of riding in the van and skiing or riding or running or hiking is better than playing tired after a day of just riding in the van. We all love to get outside and get the blood flowing, so it’s always an easy sell to detour into a national park or get up a little early to make some turns.BRO – What was it about these four towns that made you choose them for this tour?TB – Initially, I was inspired by the Blue Ridge Parkway and the way it ties the Blue Ridge together. Brevard and Roseland are a few miles from the northern and southern termini of the parkway, and I’ll be using the parkway as much as possible in my travels. All four of these communities have strong outdoor and beer cultures and a need for additional funding for trail and music lovers.BRO – What’s your favorite post-ride beer?TB – Devils Backbone Eight Point IPA or Oskar Blues G’Knight. I’m also not afraid of anything cheap or in a can. I’m not a beer snob, but I won’t drink Miller Lite. There’s something wrong with that beer . . . it might be the corn.BRO – Can we look forward to this being an annual event?TB – I hope so. If the breweries sell some beer, the clubs raise money, sponsors see some new eyes, people dig the music, and everyone has a great time, then this model could work anywhere there are music lovers, breweries, and trails. Thankfully, that’s pretty much everywhere. I’d love to try this out west, too. I don’t get to ride in Colorado as much as I’d like.BRO – Should I join you for a ride, could I fill my Camel Bak with a refreshing IPA?TB – You could, but I would advise taking a can or two of Dale’s or Striped Bass in your pack. Once you put beer in that Camel Bak bladder, there is no going back.The Bluegrass, Beer, and Bikes Tour kicks off on Thursday, March 26th, at Oskar Blues Brewery’s Tasty Weasel Taproom in Brevard, N.C. Friday, March 27th, includes a stop in Boone at the Appalachian Mountain Brewery, while Saturday, March 28th finds Travis back on his home trails at Devils Backbone Brewing Company in Roseland, Va. The weekend winds up on Sunday, March 29th, at Soaring Ridge Craft Brewery in Roanoke.All shows on the Bluegrass, Beer, and Bikes Tour are free, though a donation is suggested.For more information on the bike tour, along with details on other solo shows or where you might catch Travis with The Infamous Stringdusters or Sunliner, please check out his website.last_img read more

The future of Appalachian Power is Renewable

first_imgChris Beam, the new president of Appalachian Power, plans to move towards renewable energy in hopes to attract large businesses to West Virginia, Virginia, and Tennessee.Top tech companies such as Amazon and Google are on the lookout for new locations for data and distribution centers, and both of these companies require 100 percent clean reusable energy. Beam said bringing these companies to West Virginia could have a massive impact on the region.“So if we want to bring in those jobs, and those are good jobs, those are good-paying jobs that support our universities because they hire our engineers, they have requirements now, and we have to be mindful of what our customers want,” Beam told the West Virginia Gazette-Mail.Stepping back from coal might be tough for a region that has depended on the coal industry for jobs for decades. In the near future, Appalachian Power plans to build a wind farm in Southern West Virginia.Read more here.last_img read more

Public vs. Private: Zinke Proposes Privatizing National Park Campsites

first_imgSecretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is proposing outsourcing park functions to private companies. The intention is to address the $11 billion backlog of deferred maintenance projects within the National Park Service. Many fear that even more privatization within parks would significantly increase campsite prices and deter tourists. While many private companies already own and maintain campgrounds throughout the U.S. park system, if widespread privatization were to happen, recreation and camping outings could fall victim to a mean price tag. The majority of camping on public, federally owned land costs under $15 a day and most camping on U.S. Forest Service property is free.The future of the campsites and their prices in our national parks is up in the air as it is being debated whether the actual land the campsites are on would be privately owned or if just the services and maintenance required would be outsourced like trash removal and bathroom cleaning.A pay station at the Juniper Family Campground in the Bandelier National Monument.Photo by Clyde MuellerSupporters of privatizing camping believe it would save taxpayer dollars while improving upon the maintenance issues that have gone unchecked due to a lack of funding. Environmentalists believe it would increase costs, making outdoor vacations and adventure less attainable and desirable. With growing concerns of more private ownership rather than federal ownership, some are even concerned that oil and gas drilling could be happening on the doorsteps of more of our national parks. Already, some national park units are being opened to oil and gas drilling.The U.S. Interior Department budget for 2018 calls for a 10.9 percent cut in funding, including decreasing funding to park maintenance by 15 percent and cutting funding for national parks by 23 percent. This proposal has drawn criticism in Congress from members of both parties.last_img read more

Remembering My Mom, Maria Noakes

first_imgEditor’s Note: This tribute was written by Dominique Williams, Maria’s 14-year-old sonMaria was a mother, a friend, a wife, and an all around amazing person. She was born on May 11, 1967 to dairy farmers in small town in Northland, New Zealand. She lived on the farm until the age of 13 when she attended Saint Cuthberts boarding school. Choosing to go to boarding school was one of several pivotal decisions in Maria’s life. Leaving home, making many lifelong friends, and gaining the knowledge to eventually get a degree in occupational therapy all set her on a path toward travel and adventure.After taking a vacation from her job as an occupational therapist to work in a ski chalet in France, and then travel the world, Maria found the gift of whitewater on a multi-day raft trip on the Sun Kosi River in Nepal. She went on several more river trips in Nepal right after that, and her journal from those weeks has enthusiastic descriptions of river life. Her passion for the river is already apparent in her words, and at the top of one of the pages she wrote, “WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE A KAYAKER.” She loved the river so much that she eventually got a job raft guiding in Nepal. This is where she met my dad, Nick Williams. From here, Maria’s life would never be the same. She learned how to kayak, and she followed Nick to Bryson City, N.C. where they built their dream house and showed me and my brother Matteo how to love the outdoors, especially the river.On March 3, 2018, Maria died tragically while whitewater kayaking on the Cheoah River, close to Robbinsville, N.C. The Cheoah was one her favorite rivers and one that she had paddled over a hundred times. We will never know exactly what happened that day, but we know that she would have wanted us to continue to love the river in her memory.Maria changed and touched the lives of so many people, which was apparent from the 700+ people who showed up at her memorial service, as well as the huge community of people worldwide that watched online or posted on her Facebook page. As I take time to reflect on my mom, I remember the good moments in her life and am grateful that I was fortunate enough to be a part of it. These good moments in her life defined my mom.Some may see her death as she died too soon, but I look at it as her living every moment to the fullest.Living every moment to the fullest really characterized my mom. There was little time in her life when she wasn’t kayaking or biking, often with Matteo and I along. And if she wasn’t actually out doing something, she was planning the next adventure. This comes to the subject of risk. Risk is very complicated, but I define it as doing something with the chance of it going wrong. My mom loved taking risks, whether it was marrying an American or working in London, but she always did so in a calculated way. Taking risks allowed her to build a life of adventure, one which she shared with me and hundreds of others. As we look back on her life, and her death, we see that risk shaped her and allowed her to touch the lives of so many. What if she hadn’t learned to kayak? Or traveled to Nepal? Or had kids? Who would she be, and who would I be, if she had not taken on these challenges? She taught me to take risks, live life to the fullest, and to be your best. These lessons I will carry with me forever.As you move through life, I challenge you to live life to the fullest, take risks, and live like Maria.In order to honor her legacy, Dom and his family have established the Live Like Maria Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. Donations into the fund will be directed into causes that were close to Maria’s heart, including paddling instruction and outdoor experiences for youth, river conservation and access, and empowering women in outdoor adventure pursuits. Contributions of any amount may be made by check and should be sent to “CFWNC” with “Live Like Maria” in the memo line and mailed to The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina; 4 Vanderbilt Park Drive, Ste. 300; Asheville, NC 28803. Gifts may also be made online at www.cfwnc.org; click “GIVE NOW” in the upper right corner of the home page, then choose the “Live Like Maria Memorial Fund “ from the drop-down menu.last_img read more

Fresh Tracks: Top Cross-Country Skiing Destinations in the Southeast

first_img—Ellen Kanzinger Cross-country skiing—also known as Nordic skiing—evokes thoughts of the far north. Places where the thermostat stays below zero and snow blankets the ground for months on end. With fewer winter whiteouts in the South, you have to strike fast when there’s fresh powder in the Blue Ridge backcountry. From a Metro-accessible greenway to secluded wilderness areas, here are some top spots to explore on skis when fresh snowfalls in Appalachia.  For urbanite adventurers in the nation’s capital, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Historical Park offers 185 miles of skiing in a flat, lowland forest with wide paths and open views. In addition to the beautiful natural landscape, the park features centuries-old canal structures including locks and aqueducts that were used during the Civil War. Private and public camping options are available and, for a small fee, visitors can also spend the night in a restored 19th-century lockhouse along the canal. For residents of Washington, D.C., this is the spot to come for winter adventure on the weekend, or even after work during the week. At mile marker 294 along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Boone, is the expansive Moses Cone Memorial Park. Known as one of the High Country’s best cross-country ski destinations, the park has 25 miles of trails that offer access to a serene winter landscape. The gently sloping carriage trails throughout Moses Cone Memorial Park make it a great option for beginners and families. Along the trails, skiers can admire the icy surface of one of the park’s lakes, trek to the summit of Rich Mountain, rest atop the Flat Top fire tower, and have a glance at the history of the Cone family at the Cone Cemetery. Centrally located a few hours from Charlotte, Roanoke, and Greenville, Moses Cone Memorial Park is truly a winter gem in the Southeast.  Roaring Run Natural AreaPennsylvania  Cross-country skiers seeking solitude would do well to explore the Cranberry Wilderness within the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. One of the largest wilderness areas on the East Coast, the 47,815-acre forest has a network of over 200 miles of remote trails that vary in difficulty and length. Visitors should prepare themselves for a challenge, as many skiers find themselves off trail for miles, navigating the elements that a truly wild landscape offers. The area has seven camping shelters and four campgrounds, so serious skiers can go deep into the winter wilderness for days at a time.  More XC at the Mon Grayson Highlands State ParkVirginia From Spruce Knob and Seneca Rocks to Dolly Sods Wilderness, West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest holds endless areas for cross-country skiing, and thanks to high elevations and cold climate, the region holds plenty of snow throughout the winter.  Enjoy epic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains along the Roan Mountain range, located on the North Carolina/Tennessee border. / Photo by Travis Bordley Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Historical Park Maryland  With evergreen forests, wide-open grassy balds, and over 100 inches of snow annually, Roan Mountain State Park leaves visitors feeling closer to Ontario than Asheville. The Roan Mountain range is ideal for skiers seeking a real challenge as the steep terrain offers highly technical routes. Most of the range is over 6,000 feet in elevation, offering stunning views of Tennessee to the north and North Carolina to the south. Located along the Appalachian Trail, Roan Mountain is the perfect spot for a southern ski-packing trip.   To glide through the snow in eastern Pennsylvania, look no further than Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Located along the Delaware River on the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, this national park offers cross-country skiers over 70,000 acres for an off-the-beaten path winter adventure. Visitors can ski along the frigid Delaware River from campground to campground, stopping to admire the cliffs, wetlands, and lakes. Delaware Water Gap is also home to some of the few remaining old-growth hemlock trees in the eastern United States. There is no entrance fee to the park and it is open year-round. Only hours away from Baltimore, Cumberland, Washington, D.C., and Pittsburgh, this park is truly worth a winter escape.  Many are familiar with Grayson Highlands State Park for the wild ponies that graze the rolling, open meadows. These same meadows receive a bounty of fresh powder each winter, setting the stage for Virginia’s best cross-country ski destination. While there are designated trails throughout the park, the area is so open and sprawling that skiers can feel free to spread out and explore over 200,000 snow-covered acres. With access to Mount Rogers, the highest peak in Virginia, the park offers breathtaking views and a unique, high-elevation wintery climate—open for exploration with more than 500 miles of trails when including the adjoining Mount Rodgers National Recreation Area.  Delaware Water Gap Pennsylvania and New Jersey Cranberry WildernessWest Virginia Roan Mountain State ParkNorth Carolina and Tennessee Moses Cone Memorial ParkNorth Carolina Alex Schlueter, a recreation manager for the area, recommends getting out on the Allegheny Trail. Although the trail runs from Virginia to Pennsylvania, the five miles that run through the national forest connect Blackwater Falls State Park and Canaan Valley State Park. Explore other trails, including Lundy Run, Mountainside, Pointy Knob, and Table Rock for a full day of skiing. Additionally, the Highland Scenic Highway running through the national forest is not maintained during the winter.   Just outside Pittsburgh is the scenic Roaring Run Natural Area. Most of the nearly 4,000-acre park is wooded, featuring eight marked trails, including old logging roads, which together account for a network of 15 miles of excellent cross-country skiing territory. Along the way, skiers get to experience mountain streams, rich hardwood forests, wildlife, and icy waterfalls, all within an hour of the Steel City. Camping is prohibited, but there are a number of bed and breakfasts in Stahlstown, less than 30 minutes from the park, making for a weekend trip that is both thrilling and relaxing. While you’re in the area, head to the White Grass Touring Center for over 40 miles of trails through pristine glades. The ski area prides itself on its sustainable operations and low electricity bill as it relies on snowfarming to collect natural snow and feed it to the trails. last_img read more

Batten down the hatches, Hurricane Laura may be headed our way

first_imgHeavy rain, gusty winds, and isolated tornadoes may be possible as the storm makes its way on land. Winds of 50 mph could bring down trees and 3-7 inches of rain could fall in isolated areas, causing flooding, according to the National Hurricane Center says. Emergency managers recommend having batteries and candles available as well as dry goods or an alternative way to cook (like a grill.) It’s also a wise idea to have drinking water available for the people and animals in your home and additional water for keeping clean. Additionally, it’s important to remember that it is never safe to drive through running water, as even water that appears shallow or slow moving has the potential to overcome a vehicle. “Through Saturday, Laura is expected to produce 1 to 3 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 5 inches across the mid-Mississippi Valley and portions of the Tennessee and Lower Ohio Valley, the central Appalachians and the Mid-Atlantic States,” the National Hurricane Center said.center_img Hurricane Laura came ashore as a Category 4 hurricane in Cameron, Louisiana at 2 a.m. Thursday with wind gusts up to 130 mph and a storm surge over nine feet. It was the strongest hurricane to hit southwestern Louisiana in recorded history. Meteorologists are warning states throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic that Hurricane Laura (now Tropical Storm Laura) will take a probable path through parts of Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia on Friday and into Saturday and Saturday night. last_img read more

First University Exchange Program between Brazil and China Begins

first_imgBy Dialogo July 28, 2009 Shanghai (China), July 26 (EFE).- Brazil and China today inaugurated the Top China program, the first academic initiative for university exchange between the two countries, which will move a hundred students between the Asian and Latin American giants each year. Supported by Banco Santander through its global division “Santander Universidades,” which is contributing 400,000 dollars (281,480 euros) to the project, the Top China program will encourage training and research in the environment, climate change, and life sciences. Shanghai Jiao Tong University, located in China’s economic capital, today welcomed forty Brazilian students and eleven professors for a three-week course in the metropolis together with some fifty Chinese university students. “This is a very important agreement which stimulates student exchange and mobility, as well as collaboration among professors to move forward on joint research projects,” Suely Vilela, the rector of the University of São Paulo and coordinator of the program in Brazil, assured EFE today. The University of São Paulo will be joined in Brazil by the Getúlio Vargas Foundation, Anhembi Morumbi University, the University of Brasilia, the State University of Campinas, the UNESP (São Paulo State University), the Federal University of Alagoas, Mackenzie University, Paulista University, and UNISINOS (University of the Sinos Valley). “We believe that without universities we will not be able to solve the great challenges facing the world at present,” noted the deputy general manager of Banco Santander and director of its global division Santander Universidades, José Antonio Villasante. Villasante indicated that “no other bank in the world puts as much money into education as Santander,” which last year invested 100 million euros in higher-education projects, 1.5 percent of the bank’s profits. “Today is the beginning of a very productive project that will also serve to strengthen relations in strategic areas of great importance for Brazil and China,” added the rector of the University of São Paulo, the leading research university in the Iberian world, Spain and Portugal included. In addition to the newly-inaugurated program, Santander Universidades holds agreements with Peking University, Tsinghua University (located in Beijing), the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT), and the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS).last_img read more

US Rules Out Military Action Against Venezuela

first_imgBy Dialogo July 28, 2010 The United States ruled out military action against Venezuela after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatened to cut off oil supplies to the US if it backed a Colombian attack. “As we have stated in the past, the United States has no intention of engaging in military action against Venezuela,” Virginia Staab, a State Department spokeswoman, told AFP. “The United States has long enjoyed a mutually beneficial energy relationship with Venezuela, and we wish to see that relationship continue,” she said. Importing 1.4 million barrels of oil a day, the United States is the main oil consumer of Venezuela, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and South America’s largest oil producer and exporter. Chavez, Venezuela’s anti-Americabn leftist president, said on Sunday he had intelligence that “the possibility of an armed aggression against Venezuelan territory from Colombia” was higher than it has been “in 100 years.” If Colombia were to launch an attack “promoted by the Yankee empire, we would suspend oil deliveries to the United States, even if everybody over here has to eat stones,” he warned. Chavez broke off diplomatic relations with Bogota in response to charges by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe that 1,500 Colombian guerrillas had set up camp inside Venezuela and were launching attacks from its territory. “We encourage Colombia and Venezuela to work through dialogue and diplomacy to ensure their shared border is secure and peaceful,” Staab said. “The information presented by Colombia concerning a continuing presence by illegal armed groups in Venezuela merits a thorough investigation by competent international entities,” she said. The United States has thrown its support behind its key ally, saying Colombia’s allegations that Venezuela was harboring Colombian rebels “need to be taken very seriously.”last_img read more