Wild Palm Cockatoos Have Taught Themselves How To Drum To Pick Up Girls

first_imgPercussion and rhythm are deeply rooted in the human psyche (and our biology), with even Charles Darwin noting humans’ innate joy in creating and dancing to rhythms. In a crazy first, it turns out that male palm cockatoos are the only other animals besides humans (that we know of) that create tools to tap out rhythms. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it also turns out that the Australian birds developed their musical talents to pick up ladies, with the male birds primarily showing off their drumming skills to accompany their mating calls when female birds are around (70% of the time to be exact).Just A Reminder That Gorillas Hum ‘Little Food Songs’ To Themselves While They EatRobert Heinsohn, a conversation biologist at Australia National University, has been studying the species for the past two decades, and he recently published his findings on the male palm cockatoos’ penchant for percussion in Science Advances at the beginning of summer. As Heinsohn told National Geographic about the first time he witnessed the phenomenon in the wild back in 1997, “The cockatoo was clutching what looked like a stick and banging it on the trunk, and every so often he would pause, erect his amazing crest, and let out either a piping whistle or a harsh screech.”He found that the beats made by the male birds were highly predictable and repetitive, with each bird developing its own personal drumming style to accompany its mating calls. Though other animals have been known to drum in the wild—such as chimpanzees who have been known to enjoy drumming on logs with sticks—palm cockatoos differ in that they create custom-made tools to lay out their sick beats.As noted previously, male palm cockatoos’ drumming patterns frequently accompany their vocal and visual mating rituals to attract female palm cockatoos to mate. Because the birds’ “cheeks go red when sexually excited,” it’s pretty clear what the birds’ intentions are with their musical skills. However, some questions remain about why the birds picked up this trait in the first place. Heinsohn posits, “As soon as one male works out a pleasing drumming pattern involving rhythm that gets the stamp of approval from the females, then others would be quick to learn it so that it would spread easily in a population.”Regardless of whether male palm cockatoos create music to pick up chicks or for themselves, Heinsohn (adorably) noted, “It seems that they are open to the pleasure of rhythm, just like humans,” he says. [H/T National Geographic; Photo: Christina Zdenek]last_img read more

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Turkuaz Announces Late Night Shows During Jazz Fest Including Paul McCartney’s Wings Tribute

first_img03/14 Telluride, CO: Club Red03/15 Frisco, CO: Barkley Ballroom03/16 Ft. Collins, CO: Aggie Theatre03/17 Steamboat Springs, CO: Gondola Plaza03/20 Park City, UT: O.P. Rockwell03/21 Jackson Hole, WV: Pink Garter Theatre03/22 Bozeman, MT: The Rialto03/23 Whitefish, MT: Remington Bar03/24 Sandpoint, ID: The Hive03/27 Eugene, OR: HiFi Music Hall*03/28 Chico, CA: Lost On Main03/29 Sacramento, CA: Harlow’s03/30 Los Angeles, CA: The Fonda Theatre^03/31 San Francisco, CA: Warfield Theatre^04/19 Hartford, CT: Infinity Music Hall04/20 Brooklyn, NY: Brooklyn. NY04/21 Brooklyn, NY: Brooklyn. NY04/22 Brooklyn, NY: Brooklyn. NY05/03 New Orleans, LA: Tipitina’s05/04 New Orleans, LA: Tiptina’s (Turkuaz Gives You Wings with Denny Laine)06/13 Chattanooga, TN: Riverbend Festival06/15 Hunter, NY: Mountain Jam06/23 Rothbury, MI: Electric Forest Festival06/29 Rothbury, MI: Electric Forest Festival07/05 Quincy, CA: High Sierra Music Festival07/06 Quincy, CA: High Sierra Music Festival07/08 Marshfield, MA: Levitate Music & Arts Festival07/19 Scranton, PA: Peach Music Festival08/24 Arrington, VA: Lock’n Festival09/23 Morrison, CO: Red Rocks~ * w/ Moon Hooch^ w/ Galactic~ w/ Greenskly Bluegrass Turkuaz will do it big when they come down to New Orleans for a pair of Jazz Fest late night shows. The Brooklyn-based funk juggernaut will take over iconic Big Easy venue Tipitina’s on May 3rd and May 4th, with both gigs starting a few hours after the daytime festivities wrap up at the Fair Grounds Race Course.While the May 3rd show will find Turkuaz delivering their energetic brand of funk, the May 4th show will be a very special occasion. Dubbed “Turkuaz Gives You Wings”, the set will be a very special tribute to Paul McCartney’s post-Beatles project Wings. On top of that, the tribute will feature special guest Denny Laine, who co-founded Wings with Paul and Linda McCartney (Laine was also a founding member of The Moody Blues).In addition to their Jazz Fest shows, Turkuaz is also gearing up for a lengthy run of tour dates that will bring them across much of the country, including festivals like Electric Forest, High Sierra, Levitate, The Peach, and LOCKN’. Tickets for their Jazz Fest shows are now on sale.Turkuaz 2018 Tour Dates last_img read more

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Schools may flunk testing

first_imgOne of the nation’s leading educational authorities reiterated Tuesday (April 6) her often-reported warning that American public schools are in peril — perhaps more than ever.What was unusual, however, about Diane Ravitch’s presentation at the Askwith Forum of the Harvard Graduate School of Education was her approach: What she once championed to save the system is now, she contends, leading to its demise.“The passion for test-based accountability has turned into a monstrous obsession with data that threatens the quality of education,” said Ravitch, an education historian who served in the first Bush administration’s Education Department.“I’m not actually opposed to testing. I believe testing can be very valuable when testing is used for informational and diagnostic purposes,” she said. “What I am opposed to is misuse of testing for accountability purposes.”She singled out “the naïve belief that test scores are infallible and certain.” Rather, “They should be used with caution.”“I’m not opposed to choice [in selecting to attend a charter school]. I think everyone should have choices. But I oppose choice when it is used — as it has been in some places — as a conscious strategy to undermine public education.”Once a vocal proponent of standardized testing and charter schools, Ravitch often clashed with progressives. But in her 20th book, “The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education,” she decried the mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB); indeed, she suggested that an alternative book title could be “Lies Our Policymakers Tell Us About School Reform.”Ravitch insisted she has not “done a 180” degree turn in her thinking. Rather, she said, she always has pushed for all children to have a quality education. “I’ve long been a critic of the rising tide of mediocrity,” she said. “I hoped, perhaps foolishly, that accountability and choice would help us reach [those ends]. And I think now I was wrong.”Schools and teachers are being punished for failing to reach impossible standards, so schools are “gaming” test results to improve scores, she said. Using 1998 to 2009 data that examines the skills of children who grew up under the No Child strictures, “there is not one iota of improvement,” she said.She compared using test scores to evaluate schools to judging a baseball player by a single at-bat, saying scores should only be only one element in evaluating a school. “Even Babe Ruth struck out more than he homered,” she said.Charter schools, once heralded as an alternative to regular public schools, do not get better results, she said. Moreover, they represent only 1.5 million out of 50 million public school students. The focus should be on the majority, she said.Ravitch slammed President Barack Obama for supporting punitive action against schools that fall short of standards. That, she said, encourages schools to recruit better students to raise scores, rather than help those most in need. She saved her harshest critiques for Congress, accusing lawmakers of knowingly passing impossible and unproven standards. “It is unethical for Congress to mandate remedies that are impossible to achieve,” she said.Ravitch’s new approach has plenty of skeptics and critics; two of them participated in Tuesday’s forum.Martin West, assistant professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, hammered both Ravitch’s research and her conclusions, accusing her of a lawyerlike habit of choosing only those facts that support her case and ignoring those that don’t. Ravitch’s book, he said, presents “no studies showing choice destroys education.”Moreover, Ravitch “ignores the failings of the system that [reforms] were intended to improve,” West said.Daniel Koretz, Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Education, addressed Ravitch by wondering, in effect, where she was when the act was being formulated.“We didn’t have to wait for NCLB [to pass] to know these policies are impossible,” he said.Still, he agreed with Ravitch that education policymakers “charge along blissfully, unaware of evidence.”last_img read more

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Paris deal a step toward better health, experts say

first_img Paris agreement greatly expands international commitment to reduce damage, Stavins says At last, global fretting on climate change The Paris climate agreement may turn out to be more than just a major step to protect the planet. It may also wind up being a monumental public health measure.So says María Neira, director of the World Health Organization’s Department of Public Health and Environment.“This is a strong agreement for public health, probably one of the biggest we’ll sign this century,” said Neira, one of a group of public health experts who addressed health and climate change Wednesday at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.Panelists at The Forum at Harvard Chan School said that the public health argument for action on climate change has gained resonance in recent years, with air pollution from burning fossil fuels for power becoming an acute problem in developing nations such as China and India.Jack Spengler, the Akira Yamaguchi Professor of Environmental Health and Human Habitation and director of the Harvard Chan School’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, pointed out that Beijing experienced its first red alert for air quality while climate talks were underway in Paris. Local health authorities’ recommendations to stay indoors during air pollution episodes are of little practical use, Spengler said.“Where do they think the indoor air comes from? Outside. This is the old days in London.”Climate Change: Health and Disease Threats | The Forum at HSPH In this Harvard Chan School forum, public health and policy experts picked up where COP21 left off, taking on the critical piece of health within the climate change conversation.WHO estimates that outdoor air pollution causes some 7 million premature deaths each year, while indoor air pollution ― largely from burning wood and biomass for cooking and heat — leads to another 4.3 million early deaths.Cleaner technologies that help reduce burning of fossil fuels and of indoor biomass will provide what Spengler called a “double win” of lower warming emissions and improved health due to air quality. New cooking methods could also be a factor in women’s rights and the rights of children, who are disproportionately affected by both the need to gather wood and unhealthy indoor air.But cleaner air is just one potential health benefit of the Paris agreement. Panelists said that progress against climate change could yield a range of other health-related changes, including fewer droughts, less disruption to agriculture and food supplies, and a dietary shift to less meat and more plants. Related <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYIeFPcpN2A” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/HYIeFPcpN2A/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a> “There’s really nothing about our health not in play with climate change,” said Aaron Bernstein, associate director of the Harvard Chan School’s Center for Health and the Global Environment and a pediatrician at Harvard-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital. “Regardless of what aspect of health you might want to talk about, climate change matters.”Bernstein pointed out that changes linked to the Paris accord will occur over the next 40 years, as the children and grandchildren of today grow up and raise families of their own.“People care about their health and absolutely care about the health of their children — that’s one of the most powerful arguments we can make,” he said. “We have to realize that we stand to gain so much.”Barry Levy, co-author of the book “Climate Change and Public Health” and a former president of the American Public Health Association, said that indigenous peoples whose traditions tie them tightly to the land might be among those most affected by climate change. A warming Arctic affects the Inuit and other native peoples of the far north, but also groups in other parts of the world, such as Masai herders in sub-Saharan Africa, whose lifestyle is tied to cattle, which are vulnerable to droughts.Times of scarcity can become times of insecurity as well, Levy noted, leading to violence as groups struggle to maintain a hold on suddenly vanishing resources.At the local level, leaders have made “resilience” a point of emphasis. It’s an important step, panelists said, as individual cities will need strategies against the front-line effects of climate change, such as higher sea levels and hotter heat waves.“Everyone can understand ‘resilience,’” Spengler said. “This is what we want to build into our communities.”Bernstein cautioned that the potential health impact of climate change solutions — including innovations in energy — should be considered from the outset, to avoid creating an base of long-lasting, yet ultimately harmful, technology.“We know enough to be able to think critically about our health-energy future,” he said.last_img read more

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Deal Registration from Anywhere, at Any Time with the Dell EMC Partner App

first_imgYou’ve just had a great customer meeting and there’s a major opportunity coming down the pipeline. You want to register the deal right away, but you still have three more client calls to make before returning to the office. You know that if you don’t lock in the opportunity, you could lose out on potential discounts and a preferred partner status…Enter the Dell EMC Partner app, which makes it easy for you to register deals on the go, from almost anywhere and at any time.This intuitive app lets you register a deal, check a deal’s status (won, lost, cancelled) and retrieve supplementary deal status information. With the Dell EMC Partner app, you’ll know immediately the number of days until a deal expires or the stage of active deals (e.g. “qualified 30%”). In addition, the Dell EMC Partner app enables you to be more productive—giving you more time with clients and reducing the amount of time you spend on administrative tasks.Newly Launched The just-launched Dell EMC Partner app (which replaces the Dell PartnerDirect App) makes it easier to register deals on the go. The app will initially be available in 14 countries including USA, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, UK, Germany, France, India, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, and Japan, The release of this app includes an upgraded authentication method. Simply use your Partner Portal login to access the app—and all of your deals.Some of the features of the Dell EMC Partner app include:Easy Deal Registration – Register a deal with Dell EMC faster. Simply create a deal, add products and submit—all with just a few clicks.Check Deal Status – Monitor the status of your deals right from the app; and receive alerts when a deal is about to expire.Save Draft Deals – The app enables you to create a deal draft and then submit to Dell EMC only when you are ready. Within the app, you can take notes, enter deal info, add products and save as a draft.Download the Dell EMC Partner App TodayThe Dell EMC Partner app is available for iOS, Android and Windows smartphones, as well as for Apple iPad.Download the updated Dell EMC Partner app User GuideEnglishJapaneseKoreanStart saving time. Use the Dell EMC Partner app to register your deals from almost anywhere, at any time.last_img read more

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Corcoran, Ogden reflect on accomplishments thus far while looking toward next semester

first_imgCorcoran and Ogden are moving forward with many of the key aspects of their platform. Though the pair is working hard on their initiatives, they could benefit from better communication with the student body as a whole. Much of their progress is not known by a majority of the student body, and they would benefit from better publicity.Grade: A-Tags: 2018 Student Government Insider, Corcoran-Ogden, Saint Mary’s Student Government Association Seniors Madeleine Corcoran and Kathy Ogden, president and vice president of Saint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA), said they were prepared for many things during their time as leaders — except former College President Jan Cervelli’s resignation. Regardless of this occurrence, Corcoran said the transition from Cervelli to Interim College President Nancy Nekvasil was smooth and an opportunity for Corcoran and Ogden to work well with the administration. “I think overall, this transition was much smoother than anyone probably would have expected. We had such great support, especially from [vice president of student affairs] Karen Johnson, [vice president for mission] Judy Fean, [Interim] President Nekvasil, of course, and [chair of the board of trustees] Mary Burke,” Corcoran said. “ … That’s why we had the All-Student Assembly, so we could have as open and honest of a conversation as possible for students. We’re obviously here to answer any questions, but we know just as much as everyone else, so it was good, I think, for everyone to hear from those people who are the new leaders of the College.”Nekvasil has been willing to work with the pair in achieving their goals this semester, Corcoran said.“We love President Nekvasil. She’s been so helpful in working with us, and she’s really here for the students, which I think is something super special and important in a president,” Corcoran said. “She knows Saint Mary’s so well, so we’ve been really fortunate to have that because [Cervelli’s resignation] was definitely unexpected and could have had a lot of hard road blocks along the way, but we’ve been really fortunate.”Corcoran said she and Ogden have been able to work toward accomplishing many of the points on their platform, specifically getting Blinkie, the student shuttle, running on Sundays and enhancing a few technological aspects on campus.“We’ve been working very hard to get a couple things done. One is printing from your own device. … That hopefully will be implemented very soon,” she said. “They worked very hard on it over fall break when students were gone. Also, we’re working on a ‘This Week at SMC’ newsletter that will be like a weekly email with all the events instead of so many all-SMC emails.”Ogden said another initiative from the team’s platform is to enhance Campus Ministry events. To this end, the team began “Lemonade and Le Mans” Mass on Wednesday evenings.“On Wednesdays at the 9 p.m. Mass in Le Mans, they have popcorn and lemonade,” Ogden said. “I talked to Tara Nelson, who is an [executive] for mission, and she said that normally they had maybe eight girls at Mass, but the attendance has gotten up to 25, 30 girls at Mass. They hang around and they eat popcorn and drink lemonade. [Corcoran] and I have been able to go to quite a few of those Masses, and it worked out well.”Another major part of the job has been addressing day-to-day issues, Ogden said.“Things pop up, and you don’t realize you need to work on it, so we did,” she said. “Having graduation — there was an initiative to move it inside of Angela, so we really fought hard for the students, and it’s now officially outside of Le Mans, weather permitting.”The pair also recognized a need to enhance the collaborative spaces available on campus, Ogden said, such as the SGA office located on the second floor of the Student Center.“We’re redoing the SGA office. [Corcoran] and I saw that it was a well-used office,” she said. “All the clubs and organizations are welcome to use it, and they each have closets. That’s taken a good amount of time, and hopefully after Christmas break, it’ll be completely finished. It’ll be nice for all the students to use.”Another way the team hoped to enhance collaboration and communication between the leaders of SGA’s Big Boards — Residence Hall Association, Student Diversity Board, Student Activities Board, Class Council and Student Government Association — was to switch from weekly to biweekly meetings, Ogden said.“[The meetings] are biweekly, but we’re able to sit down and have a longer meeting where it’s very much discussion-based,” she said. “We’re all more engaged. It’s not just a tap in, quick meeting, so we’re all really engaged in what each Big Board is doing. It’s conversation-based, and I think that’s really helped with collaborating with all the clubs and organizations.”Though many of the pair’s initiatives focus on the Saint Mary’s community specifically, Corcoran said they are working on a major event to unite the members of the surrounding community.“There’s already a ‘Back the Bend’ event that Saint Mary’s is already a part of, but Student Government is hoping to promote it more and be a greater part of it this year,” Corcoran said. “That’s in the spring, so our community co-chairs will be working on that more specifically to hopefully build, first of all, community within the tri-campus community, but as well as South Bend in general, our greater community.”Corcoran and Ogden have been continuing work on past initiatives, Corcoran said, like expanding the uses of Munch Money.“We talked to Karen Johnson about it very early on this year as well as Ken Acosta. They’re very much supportive of it,” she said. “They said for this year it’d be hard, but they see the need, and they’re working on seeing what options are the best for Saint Mary’s students and the most feasible. I definitely think we’ll work on it more. At first we thought it’d be a two or three-year timeline for the project, but we think even next year it might be a possibility, so that’s great.”Throughout the semester of work, both Corcoran and Ogden said they could not have achieved what they have without one another and the other board members.“[Ogden] and I definitely lean on each other at times, too,” Corcoran said. “If one of us has a tough week, I think we’re pretty good about being able to say, ‘Can you go to this meeting this week?’ or ‘Can you send the emails?’ or something like that. I definitely couldn’t do it without [Ogden] and our entire student government board. Everyone is so great at doing their jobs, so we don’t have to be sending reminders constantly or anything like that, which is really important.”As the two continue working toward the end of their positions, Corcoran said she’s hoping for a smooth transition to the next pair of SGA leaders.“I think something that’s really important is that transition to whoever’s in our position next year, so that we can really clearly explain exactly what we have done so far and where we’re at, so if anything isn’t finished that they feel that it’s an important enough item to complete,” Corcoran said. “Hopefully that way we can have a smooth transition and strong communication with next year’s president and vice president is definitely something really important to us.”last_img read more

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Fisher Hall to host annual regatta

first_imgStudents, alumni and friends of Notre Dame will gather at St. Mary’s Lake at 1 p.m. for the annual Fisher Regatta. The dorm will provide free food and music for its signature event, which invites residence halls and campus organizations to participate in a boat race.  This year, funds will go toward St. Adalbert Catholic School in South Bend, junior Frank Dijak, the event’s commissioner, said.“This year, [the raised funds are] for air conditioning in the junior high,” Dijak said.Previous fundraising had gone toward a new gym floor, AC units, new concrete slabs and a new check-in area at the school, senior Dan Blackburn said.While most funds come from t-shirt sales, in addition to the small fee to enter a boat, Dijak said a few independent fundraisers on Eddy Street this semester and proceeds from Fisher Hall’s fall signature event, the car smash, will also be donated to St. Adalbert. Courtesy of Frank Dijak One of Fisher Hall’s boats compete in their namesake regatta on St. Mary’s Lake.Sophomore Owen Donnelly said the hall purposefully chose to hold the Regatta before finals.“Having the Regatta at the end of the year is nice, because everyone looks forward to it the entire year [and it’s] the culmination of all the year’s events, and by that point, everyone’s already great friends, so you can really enjoy it together,” Donnelly said. For the men of Fisher, the Regatta is rooted in tradition, and they rally together in preparation for the event, Dijak said. Freshmen often adopt “Regatta Hawks” for the event, Donnelly said, and some even shave the letter F into the back of their heads. Blackburn said the upperclassmen hype the Regatta as early as Welcome Weekend to the incoming freshman, telling them it is ranked as one of ESPN’s top 100 student-run college events. “It’s never been disproven,” Donnelly said. On the day of the race, the hall wakes up at 7 a.m., when residents bang on doors with rowing oars. Two freshmen are chosen to drive a golf cart, coined the “Toro,” with a speaker and megaphone around campus. “They go around campus telling people that it’s the day of the Regatta,” Dijak said. Blackburn noted the diverse representation of student groups around campus who participate in the event. “A lot of people have somebody that they can root for in the race, whether it’s their dorm, friends they know in a club [or] an organization they are a part of,” Blackburn said. “Everybody has something they can cheer for.” Dijak said the Regatta effectively fosters both community and competition on campus. “I think [the Regatta is] one of the few signature events that asks for participation from a lot of halls and gets participation from a lot of halls. The Keenan Revue is also a big event, but it really doesn’t require anybody but Keenan to put it on,” Dijak said. “There are a lot of people who have tried to mimic the Regatta. … We have been pretty successful in getting usually around 20 halls to participate.”Dijak encouraged students to come out the event and enjoy the day.“Part of the Notre Dame experience is to go the Fisher Regatta,” Dijak said.Tags: 25th annual Fisher Regatta, boats, fisher halllast_img read more

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Become a Master Gardener

first_imgApril ReeseUniversity of Georgia Applications for the Athens training must be in by Nov. 1. Spaceis limited. Classes will meet Tuesday and Thursday mornings from8:45 to 11:15 a.m. The cost is $130. Certified Master Gardenerscan attend sessions for $5 each. (April Reese is a news writer with the University of GeorgiaCollege of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.) To learn more about the program or get an application, callAndrea Fischer at (706) 542-6195, or email her at ([email protected]). Or visit theMaster Gardener Web site (www.gamastergardener.org). Now in its 13th year, the 22-session Master Gardener programprovides intensive classes in horticulture principles andpractices and pest management. The Georgia Master Gardener Volunteer Program is run by the UGAExtension Service and the UGA College of Agricultural andEnvironmental Sciences. The Athens-Clarke County program issponsored by the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and the countyextension office. Master Gardeners must pass a final exam and agree to return 50hours of volunteer service in the first year. The service may beanswering questions in the extension office, helping conductgardening clinics, working on community beautification projectsor helping at the State Botanical Garden. Topics include soils and plant nutrition, insects, plantdiseases, landscape design, vegetables, woody ornamentals, turfgrasses, weeds, organic gardening, wildflowers, trees, smallfruits, composting, mulching and more. Nearly 2,500 active Georgia Master Gardeners gave more than103,000 hours of service in 2000. For people who love gardening and enjoy helping others, thechance to glean from the best gardening minds’ knowledge shouldbe intensely appealing.For those who want to be Master Gardeners or for current MasterGardeners who want to brush up on their skills, the StateBotanical Garden will offer training in Athens, Ga., Jan. 8through Mar. 25. Check with the University of Georgia Extension Service office inyour county to see if a Master Gardener training is offeredcloser to you.last_img read more

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Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway files abandonment notice for track in Maine

first_imgMontreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA) said today that it has filed a “Notice of Intent ” with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to abandon certain of its lines. This notice is required by the STB as a preliminary step in the abandonment process. MMA continues to provide regular rail service and is continuing to work with Maine DOT in order to find a solution that would permit continued rail operations on these lines. Last summer when the company first announced it wanted to abandon some of its track, it put the value of that section at $17 million for the track and the land. MMA has an interchange in Newport, Vermont.MMA seeks to discontinue service and remove 233 miles of track in Aroostook and Penobscot counties in the state of Maine.  The possibility of an abandonment was originally announced  in August 2009. Affected lines include track serving Houlton, Presque Isle, Caribou and Fort Kent. MMA lines between Millinocket and Montreal, Brownville and Searsport, and Madawaska to Van Buren are not included in this application. MMA anticipates that the actual Application will be filed in late February and that the proceedings at the STB will take approximately 3 months to complete.MMA said it has suffered substantial operating losses on these lines in the last three years due to low shipping volume and high operating costs.MMA continues to meet with representatives of Maine in an effort to find an alternate solution that will preserve rail service in the area. Robert C. Grindrod, president of MMA, said, “We have been working closely with Maine DOT since the possibility of abandonment was first discussed. We are seeking an alternative solution and consider abandonment the last resort in a process that offers several options short of abandonment.””We will continue to seek solutions,” Grindrod said, “but we must stop the cash drain that has already and continues to undermine the financial health of the entire company. However, I want to assure our shippers that service will continue during this process, and we are hopeful that an acceptable solution can be found.”Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway began operations in 2003 and currently operates 754 route miles of track in Maine, New Brunswick, Quebec and Vermont. It was formed when it boughtSOURCE Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway. BANGOR, Maine, Feb. 4, 2010 /PRNewswire/ —last_img read more

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Cross-Country in Canaan: The Land of Milk and Honey

first_img“Behold, the land of Canaan.” According to legend, this was the exclamation made by fur trader George Casey Harness as he stood atop Cabin Mountain, W.Va. It was the mid-1700s, and as he gazed out at the sprawling wilderness of old growth spruce and laurel, he was reminded of the Old Testament’s Canaan, “the promised land of milk and honey.” In the eyes of an adventurous entrepreneur like Harness though, this Canaan Valley was much more than a land of milk and honey: it was the jackpot. Just a few years later, the Industrial Revolution would plant seeds of innovation and progress into the minds of men everywhere. For Canaan, that meant the loss of nearly every towering tree to saw and hatchet. The nearby town of Davis acquired the nickname “Stump Town” for the large swaths of land that, once shrouded by dense forest, now lay exposed, dotted with remnants of a former time.When the lumber industry all but died in the area, a new, and much more sustainable, means of revenue came to the valley: skiing. Tales of the region’s lengthy snow season had trickled throughout the East, and by the mid-1950s, the first commercial ski area in the South was established on Canaan’s Weiss Knob. Present-day Canaan Valley is now one of the most recognized ski destinations in the Southeast, bringing downhill, telemark, and cross-country skiers alike to the snow-capped peaks from mid-December often until as late as March.The locals in town will be the first to assure you that even if you spent a week in the valley, you wouldn’t be able to see everything the area has to offer. With the help of White Grass Touring Center owner Chip Chase and Jessica Scowcroft, spokesperson for the Tucker County Convention & Visitors Bureau, we have compiled a three-day Tour de Canaan that lets you experience the best of what this quiet West Virginia valley has to offer. In Canaan, timing is everything, so aim for January or February when the area usually has a steady amount of snowfall. We recommend making this trip during a three-day weekend when the night scene is as active as your daytime skiing. Be warned: with the exception of the resorts, most places only accept cash or check.Day 1Check in at Timberline Four Seasons Resort. Unlike typical resorts, Timberline is a quaint ski destination run by a close-knit community of powder lovers who are eager to show you down the slopes. Lodging is offered within steps of the lifts, making it easy to get up and get shredding early in the morning. If downhill is your thing, check out the Salamander run, a two-mile trail that drops 1,000 vertical feet. For the Nordic and cross-country crowd, get a one-way ticket to the top of the slopes and hit up the 17 kilometers of backcountry trails that take you into the backside of Dolly Sods Wilderness Area. From there you can take Forest Road 80 to the Cabin Mountain Trail and experience a view of the valley similar to what Harness must have seen nearly 200 years ago.  The Cabin Mountain Trail heads back down the mountainside into Timberline’s neighbor, White Grass Touring Center. Be sure to pay your day fee for skiing on the White Grass trails before taking the Timberline Trail back to the resort.After skiing, head into the town of Thomas for a locally-sourced burger at Tip Top Café. Coffee shop by day, burger and beer joint by night, this unique hole-in-the-wall only serves burgers on Friday, but it’s well worth the visit. Top it off with a Moscow Mule made from ginger beer and Hellfire bitters. It’s refreshing with a kick.Chip Chase, Jess Daddio, and friends of BRO and White Grass enjoying the view from Weiss KnobChip Chase, Jess Daddio, and friends of BRO and White Grass enjoying the view from Weiss KnobDay 2After checking out of your room at Timberline, drive a few miles down the road to the Breakfast Nook. Grab a cup of coffee and one of their melt-in-your-mouth homemade biscuits before heading over to White Grass Touring Center. There you will likely get the chance to meet local legend and White Grass owner Chip Chase. For over 30 years, Chase has been exploring Canaan Valley by ski and knows the area’s cross-country ski scene best. If he’s free, get him to show you the way, but you can just as easily get around thanks to their impeccably maintained trails. Coded green, blue, and black for varying degrees of difficulty, the trails at White Grass weave up and down the mountainside and are dotted with warming huts stocked with woodstoves and snacks. The view from Weiss Knob is spectacular, but the exposed bald is windy so be sure to bring extra layers. Only plan on bringing one bottle of water so you can refill it along the way at the Fountain of Youth, one of the few mountain springs you’ll encounter along the way.When you return to the center, be sure to grab a meal at White Grass. Using mostly local, organic ingredients, the café features everything from hearty soups to veggie burgers. Since you’ve been burning off those calories on the slopes, you might as well treat yourself to a pitcher of nearby Mountain State Brewing Company’s beer while you’re at it. The Miner’s Daughter Oatmeal Stout is my favorite. Check in down the road at Canaan Valley State Park and stay at the campground, in a furnished cabin, or one of the luxurious rooms in the newly renovated lodge.Day 3On your last day in the area, you’ll have to decide between more downhill skiing or more cross-country skiing. Canaan Valley State Park has its own downhill ski area and the lodge offers shuttles to and from the lifts. The ski area is also home to the longest snow-tubing run on the East Coast, which makes for a great family activity. If you want to continue to explore the valley by cross-country ski, check out nearby Blackwater Falls State Park. Although the trails are not groomed specifically for cross-country skiing, you’ll only need a few inches of snow on the ground to cover the roots and rocks that litter the trail. The Blackwater Falls themselves are an easy roadside destination to hit on your way out of the park, and if you happen to still be in the valley come sunset, Lindy Point Overlook offers a great place to catch the view.Local Legendchip-chaseChip Chase is a man of small stature but enormous personality. You can read his 30+ years of ski experience in the weathered lines around his face. When he isn’t cracking a joke or singing a favorite Adele song, he’s giving you pointers on your step-step-turns and pizza wedges. His enthusiasm for both the sport and the area are contagious, and it’s nearly impossible to leave White Grass without a smile on your face. When asked what he likes most about his job, he says, “On the weekends, my staff runs the ski center, and all I do is hug people and I walk them to their cars,” a testament to his ability to make out-of-towners feel like family after just one visit.last_img read more

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