Debate: Bike Lanes on the Blue Ridge Parkway?

first_imgYES: BIKES BOOST BUSINESSMinimal traffic, amazing views, and access to historic and natural attractions make the Parkway a world-class bike touring route. We should do everything possible to encourage cycling on this national treasure.The National Park Service has shut down multiple facilities, like restaurants and campgrounds, for lack of use, so encouraging more cycling on the Parkway seems an obvious way to attract visitors and generate additional revenue at low cost. Bicycle touring is a proven revenue generator. Oregon claims $325 million a year in economic impact from bike tourism. The reasons are obvious. Cyclists are slower, stay longer, and eat more. Not paying for gasoline and other automobile-related expenses, they have more money to spend, and they have high disposable income to start with. They tread lightly on the infrastructure.Bikes mean business, and the Parkway is an ideal route. But do we need bike lanes? It’s not as simple as you might think. Some say only dedicated paths will do. Others say cars and cyclists can share the road as is. Bike lanes fall somewhere in between. Although painted lanes provide no physical barrier, they’re a constant reminder to share the road. They also reduce vehicle speeds, further increasing safety.Motorists might complain that they will be inconvenienced by slower speeds and narrower lanes,  but even if bike lanes reduce speeds somewhat, the net effect would be greater safety and a little more opportunity for motorists to take in the sights, which is the purpose of the Parkway after all. Traffic engineers might argue that bike lanes would not be the ideal treatment for the Parkway. Some prefer sharrows; others say signage is enough. In my mind, designating a few feet of roadway for bikes is a nonintrusive and cost-effective way to encourage more cycling on the Parkway.Tom Bowden is chairperson of Bike Virginia and a board member and vice president of the Virginia Bicycling Federation. He spent many hours riding the Parkway training for Team RAAM in 1994.NO: DON’T MESS WITH SUCCESSAs an avid cyclist, I’m an advocate for anything that encourages drivers and cars to share the road.But the Blue Ridge Parkway is a different entity, and I feel bike lanes are unnecessary. Part of the Parkway’s charm is that it is a narrow, exquisitely designed 469-mile country road that travels through some of the most beautiful spots in the Southeast. The National Park Service does a great job at using the landscape to bolster the scenery. Instead of a shoulder,  you can often find a carefully maintained and manicured stretch of grass. By leaving things alone, this experience will be maintained.I’ve spent quite a bit of time riding the Parkway, and cannot remember a time when I’ve wished for a bike lane. Sure, there are occasions when cars will bunch up behind me, wanting to pass. When I am climbing, they get around me pretty easily, as I am usually able to keep to the far right of the lane. When descending, I maintain a high-enough speed to not hinder traffic. If necessary, I can always pull off to one of the many overlooks to let them pass.There are not many situations where a bike lane would benefit the rider or the car. After laboring to ride up a thousand feet or more, the reward is an exhilarating descent. When descending on the Parkway, the rider needs the entire lane to maneuver around the bends and twists of the road. As you soar along the ridges of the mountain, you are enveloped in breathtaking views, lush greenery, and craggy rock structures below and above you. You see peaks and domes always in the distance, with a cool, breezy wind in your face. It would be nearly impossible to keep confined to a bike lane on such a descent, and if you did, it would take away from the experience.I’m in favor of anything that makes the Parkway more bike-friendly, but adding bike lanes would be drastic, expensive, unnecessary, and in many areas, logistically impossible. Instead, I would suggest that the National Park Service embrace the cycling community, encourage and support more cycling events, and educate motorists to be wary of those of us on two wheels. The Blue Ridge Parkway is an American treasure, a terrific way to allow for people to engage with nature. Let’s keep it that way.Aaron West races and lives in South Carolina, and writes about cycling for his blog What do you think? Join the debate by leaving a comment below!last_img read more

UAS assists U.S. Coast Guard’s narcotics seizure for first time

first_img WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A. – The U.S. Coast Guard recently conducted its first narcotics interdiction with the support of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) when authorities confiscated more than 560 kilograms of cocaine off a go-fast boat in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The UAS was being tested during the second of three planned shipboard demonstrations to gauge the system’s capabilities aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf. The demonstrations are part of an ongoing test of UAS capabilities and shipboard handling techniques. Coast Guard officials operated a ScanEagle UAS for more than 90 hours during a two-week deployment in May. One of the biggest highlights occurred when the ScanEagle provided real-time surveillance and information on the location of a go-fast vessel that was suspected of carrying narcotics on May 29 in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The UAS tracked the suspicious vessel until the Bertholf’s MH-65D helicopter and boats intercepted the vessel and arrested its crew members in connection with the seizure of 567 kilograms of cocaine worth an estimated US$19 million. The cocaine was offloaded at U.S. Coast Guard Station Miami Beach, Fla., on July 1. The narcotics-carrying vessel was initially spotted by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection aircraft, before it was tracked by the UAS and interdicted by Bertholf officers. The UAS was evaluated by a team of technicians and aviators from Coast Guard Headquarters, the Coast Guard Research and Development Center, Coast Guard Air Station North Bend, Ore., and Insitu Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based company that makes unmanned aerial vehicles. The Coast Guard has identified cutter-based UAS as an integral element to bolster the operational effectiveness of its major cutter fleet. The results of the test are encouraging in how the UAS could become another weapon in the United States’ counter-narcotics fight. The U.S. is playing a major role in Operation Martillo, an international mission that gathers partner nations to curtail illicit trafficking routes on both coasts of the Central American isthmus. Operation Martillo, which is led by the U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force South and includes Canada, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Spain, and the United Kingdom, strives to disrupt transnational criminal organizations by limiting their ability to use Central America as a transit zone. The operation plays a key role in the counter-narcotics fight, as about 80% of cocaine shipments are moved via maritime routes. Nearly 90% of the cocaine that reaches the United States comes through Mexico and Central America, according to the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board. From Jan. 15, 2012 to July 17, 2013, Operation Martillo, which was launched in January 2012, resulted in the seizure of 207,740 kilograms of cocaine and 37,397 kilograms of marijuana, 472 arrests and the confiscation of 152 assets. The Joint Interagency Task Force South and U.S. Southern Command will continue to work closely with partner nations through Operation Martillo, as 69% of the disruptions made during the past fiscal year were supported by a member nation. During the 2011 fiscal year, 59% of disruptions included a partner nation. By Dialogo July 31, 2013last_img read more

Board seeks Foundation applicants

first_img Board seeks Foundation applicants The Board of Governors is seeking applicants for the following vacancies to be filled during its February 17 meeting: Florida Bar Foundation Board of Directors: Two lawyers to serve three-year terms, commencing July 1, 2006, on this 31-member Board of Directors which administers Florida’s IOTA program. Directors shall be members of the Foundation during their term(s) as directors.Persons interested in applying for this vacancy may download and complete the application online from the Bar’s Web site,, or may call Bar headquarters at (850)561-5600, extension 5757, to obtain an application form. Completed applications must be submitted to the Executive Director, The Florida Bar, 651 East Jefferson Street, Tallahassee 32399-2300 no later than close of business, Friday, January 20, 2006. Resumes will not be accepted in lieu of an application. January 15, 2006 Regular News Board seeks Foundation applicantslast_img read more

Frodon heads to Aintree for Many Clouds Chase | Racing News

first_imgFrodon is back up to a joint career-high rating of 169 after his latest victory.Nicholls added: “He has gone up another 5lb for that win at Cheltenham, so handicaps are now out of the question.“He is off a rating that should make him competitive back in Graded races.”- Advertisement – Nicholls is still considering the best path to the blue riband at Prestbury Park next March, and views the Grade Two event on December 5 as a suitable next step.He said: “I want to discuss things with Paul (Vogt, owner), but there is a possibility of going for the Many Clouds at Aintree next.“He has come out of Cheltenham very well and he seems good at home. He recovered very quickly from that race.”- Advertisement – Paul Nicholls has earmarked the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree as a potential next target for the popular Frodon.The 2019 Ryanair Chase hero produced a tremendous weight-carrying performance on his reappearance at Cheltenham last month under regular partner Bryony Frost, after which the 11-time champion trainer confirmed a tilt at Gold Cup glory as the ultimate aim this season.- Advertisement – Frodon is a general 25-1 shot for the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup. – Advertisement –last_img read more

Mexico may accept medical kit in barter for presidential jet

first_imgMexico’s government is considering a $120 million bid for a luxurious presidential jet after an unidentified prospective buyer offered to pay part in cash and part in medical equipment, a government official said on Monday.President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has made selling the Boeing 787 Dreamliner of his predecessor a cornerstone of his campaign for a more frugal government.Last week he traveled economy class on a commercial airline to a summit with US President Donald Trump. Jorge Mendoza, who heads a state-owned development bank involved in the sale, told a regular news conference the president had instructed him not to offload the jet, and other planes and helicopters on sale, for less than their value.”The offer is in cash and also a part in medical equipment,” Mendoza said, adding that he could not yet give more details or identify the buyer for reasons of confidentiality.Like many nations, Mexico has been scrambling to source medical supplies including oxygen, ventilators and masks during the coronavirus pandemic. Both the United States and China’s governments have helped with equipment.The sale of the jet, acquired by former President Enrique Pena Nieto in 2012 and fitted with marble-lined bathrooms, has proven tough.In January, Lopez Obrador said one potential buyer offered $125 million. But Mexico could not sell it below a United Nations-backed valuation of $130 million, he explained then.It was not immediately clear why Mexico was now considering a lower offer, although the plane may have decreased in value while in storage.The government has separately launched a raffle aimed at raising the value of the plane in return for cash prizes. Topics :last_img read more

US pension fund sues Willis Towers Watson over merger

first_imgA US pension fund is suing Willis Towers Watson (WTW) and Towers Watson’s former chairman and CEO John Haley for alleged fraud in connection with the $18bn (€16.6bn) merger deal between the Willis Group and Towers Watson in early 2016.The $1.3bn Massachusetts-based Cambridge Retirement System filed a class action in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in late November, claiming the merger contravenes the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The action was brought on behalf of all Towers Watson (TW) shareholders eligible to vote on the merger.Haley is now chief executive of WTW. The defendants also include TW, Willis Group, Willis’ former CEO Dominic Casserley, ValueAct Capital Management – Willis’s biggest shareholder at the time of the merger – and ValueAct’s CEO Jeffrey Ubben.On 30 June 2015, the TW consultancy – based in Arlington, Virginia – and brokers Willis, whose headquarters were in London, announced an agreement to merge. The Richmond courthouse for US district court eastern district of VirginiaUnder the merger terms, TW shareholders would receive 2.649 shares of Willis stock and a $4.87 per share cash dividend, in exchange for each TW share. The agreement gave TW shareholders a 49.9% stake in the combined entity, with Willis shareholders owning a majority 50.1%.The merger needed approval by a majority of TW shareholders and, according to the filed complaint, it became “immediately apparent” that many shareholders were dissatisfied with the consideration they would receive in the deal. Recognising the waning shareholder support for the merger, the TW directors authorised their chairman and CEO John Haley to renegotiate the deal terms, including both the exchange ratio and the cash dividend.According to the court papers: “Haley, however, had an economic incentive for the deal to be consummated and when he recognised that TW shareholders would likely reject the deal, Haley conspired with Willis executives and a major Willis shareholder, ValueAct, to secretly help them execute this transaction.”The papers continue: “In particular, Haley decided to sell out TW shareholders in exchange for an undisclosed promise of a three-year, US$165m pay package when Haley became CEO of the merged company. In return, Haley did not negotiate to maximise the value of TW shares in the merger and instead worked to persuade TW’s board and shareholders that a meagre US$5 increase in the special dividend was the most he could extract from Willis.”The complaint maintains this led to “false and misleading representations” being made to investors in the TW and Willis joint proxy materials. It claims the proxy materials also omitted the fact that Haley had negotiated his compensation as the future CEO of the combined entity, and that several statements made by Haley in support of the merger were secretly “ghostwritten” by ValueAct.It concludes: “As a result of these material misrepresentations and omissions, TW shareholders were misled into accepting consideration from the merger that was well below fair value for their TW shares.”The merger between the Willis Group and Towers Watson closed in January 2016.WTW has declined to comment.last_img read more

Bill may enable council to curb street prostitution

first_imgChristchurch Press 1 March 2012Christchurch City Council hopes that a bill to give an Auckland council the power to control where prostitutes can work on Auckland streets will be extended to other councils. The council yesterday approved a submission on the Manukau City Council (Regulation of Prostitution in Specified Places) Bill. The submission, which was delayed by the September 4, 2010, earthquake, is due to be presented to Parliament by councillor Sue Wells some time in the next few weeks. The bill aimed to give Auckland Council the power to control where prostitutes could operate if they were not in a brothel.Wells said the submission would provide greater clarity on Christchurch City Council’s position regarding street prostitution and its control over the locations where prostitution could take place. Street prostitution had deliberately been left out of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003, which legalised prostitution, she said. Ironically that has always been the biggest problem.” City wants proposed street prostitute law extendedNZ Herald 2 March 2012Christchurch is hoping to piggy-back off a proposed new law for Auckland as it tries to deal with street prostitutes who have been pushed into the suburbs by earthquakes and are clashing with frustrated residents.Since the devastating February 2011 quake, prostitutes have moved from damaged central Christchurch into the residential neighbourhood of St Albans, and residents have complained of noise, litter and intimidation. Melissa Saggers, whose neighbourhood has been “claimed” by prostitutes and their minders since February last year, says it is affecting people’s lives. She has often seen prostitutes sitting on her letterbox and operating from outside her home, and finds used condoms and needles in her garden. Their presence means Miss Saggers no longer has her nephews or nieces staying with her at her home. “The pimps and prostitutes make you feel very unsafe. I don’t even like to leave the front door after dark. They can be quite verbally harassing. They’ve sort of claimed the street as theirs. There’s not respect for those of us who live here. It’s all about them.” read more

Italy in ‘war-like situation’ after coronavirus disaster – Verona president

first_img Loading… Gravina proposed May as a possible time to restart italy’s top flight, but he insisted it would be best to allow the current campaign to finish much later this year if necessary, rather than declare the season cancelled. “It’s a hypothesis,” Gravina told RAI when asked if a September or October finish had been put forward. “At the moment, a possible date to restart could be May 17, but I want to clarify that this is only a hypothesis. “Finishing the season would be the best way not only so the 2019-20 season is not compromised, but also to avoid compromising the 2020-21 season in any way.” Setti added: “I hope to play again this season. Finishing the campaign would be a way also of giving joy to the population, because the Italian people are so in love with this sport. read also:Juventus eyeing Guardiola to replace Sarri after Verona defeat “I hope that we can get the campaign concluded and be able to close this chapter to slowly get back to normality.” Juventus currently lead the Serie A table by one point from Lazio, with Inter a further eight points back in third position – with a game in hand. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Hellas Verona president, Maurizio Setti, said ‘Italy is in a war-like situation’ as Serie A clubs try to strike a deal with players amid the coronavirus crisis. Promoted ContentCouples Who Celebrated Their Union In A Unique, Unforgettable Way7 Universities In The World Where Education Costs Too Much7 Universities Where Getting An Education Costs A Hefty PennyBirds Enjoy Living In A Gallery Space Created For ThemWho Is The Most Powerful Woman On Earth?8 Things That Will Happen If An Asteroid Hits Earth9 Facts You Should Know Before Getting A Tattoo10 Risky Jobs Some Women DoWhich Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?7 Universities In The World With The Highest Market Value8 Addictive And Fun Coffee Facts6 Interesting Ways To Make Money With A Drone The Covid-19 pandemic has brought sport to a standstill – the 2019-20 Serie A season has been suspended since last month, with the most recent match on March 9. There have been more than 69,300 deaths globally, with over 15,880 of those in Italy, a country which has the highest amount of fatalities in the world. Amid negotiations with the Italian Players’ Association (AIC) over player salaries during the league postponement, Setti told Sky Sport Italia: “Our position is very simple. “We are in a war-like situation, so we need to sit around a table with calm, intelligence and openness, finding a solution that satisfies both parties. “What’s happening is immensely damaging for the whole world of football, so I trust there will be no problems finding a deal with my players, who are good people.” Serie A clubs could be allowed to finish the 2019-20 season as late as October, according to Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina.last_img read more

Santa Barbara local hangs self

first_imgILOILO City – A 60-year-old man diedafter hanging himself from a tree in Barangay Tagsing, Santa Barbara, Iloilo. Investigations of the Santa Barbarapolice showed the victim was suffering from an illness./PN Police identified him as RessuructionSolquio, a resident of the said village.center_img Solquio’s body was discovered hangingfrom a tree with a nylon rope tied around his neck around 8 p.m. on Dec. 31, apolice report showed. last_img

Trump Senate ally seeks China sanctions over COVID-19 probe

first_imgSenator Lindsey Graham, a close ally of President Donald Trump, said he was convinced that had it not been for “deception” by China’s ruling Communist Party, the virus would not be in the United States, where it has killed more than 80,000 Americans. WASHINGTON – A prominent U.S. Republican senator proposed legislation on Tuesday that would authorize the U.S. president to impose far-reaching sanctions on China if it fails to give a full account of events leading to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Graham said China had refused to allow investigators to study how the outbreak started and added in a statement: “I’m convinced China will never cooperate with a serious investigation unless they are made to do so.” (Reuters)last_img read more