Jamiroquai is currently performing at Moon&Stars Festival in Locarno, Switzerland. Fresh off the heels of their Automaton release, Jamiroquai is currently in the midst of a huge tour. While some medical issues kept frontman Jay Kay from performing a few shows, the future funk band is officially back and soaring.Moon&Stars is currently sharing a live stream from their set, which you can view below.
Once referred to as the “Trashy Broad,” today people no longer smell the French Broad River before seeing her. The French Broad now supplies over one million people with drinking water, countless recreational opportunities, and scenic vistas. But the lurking dangers of the unsafe disposal of coal ash threaten the long-term health of the river and the region.The Beautiful BroadHer HistoryIf the Southern Appalachian peaks are the soul of Western North Carolina, the French Broad River is the region’s pulse. During the 18th century, industrialization swept the river’s banks and the river’s pollution kept rate with the urban development. By 1951, author Wilma Dykman called the river “too thick to drink and too thin to plow.” She wrote The French Broad, which raised awareness about the polluted river. With the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, the river was on its way to becoming the world-class recreation area enjoyed today.North-Flowing River The French Broad is one of the few north-flowing rivers in the country. For 117 miles, the French Broad River flows freely northward from its headwaters in Transylvania County, N.C. There it teems with fish and is wild and untamed.As the French Broad nears Asheville, the river becomes much wider, and a water-treatment facility built on the river’s banks provides drinking water to the region. On river right, the stacks from Duke Energy’s Asheville coal-fired power plant adjacent to the French Broad can be seen through the trees.Just downstream of the facility, the river becomes a hotbed for recreational opportunities and riverside tourist destinations. Fishers, swimmers, tubers, and flat water paddlers find plenty of river access. From the two river parks in the Bent Creek area to the six miles of continuous river parks in the city of Asheville, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the river. The parks lining the river’s edge create an urban oasis, interrupted only by the occasional tall building hinting of downtown Asheville.Tourists and residents alike visit the urban waterfront, where once abandoned industrial warehouses have been transformed into artists’ studios, breweries, and restaurants. The renaissance of the River Arts District, as the area is commonly known, continues with New Belgium Brewing Company’s announcement last year of plans to invest $175 million into building a new beer-making operation in the industrial zone. The plans involve new bike lanes and greenways along with a summer concert series, sure to encourage more people to come enjoy a beer by the riverside.The Ledges Whitewater Park offers the perfect post-study or after-work paddling destination. Only fifteen minutes from downtown, a series of ledges spread out over about 200 yards of river provides paddlers the opportunity to work out doing attainments up the rapid.Paddlers looking for a longer stretch of whitewater only have to drive some thirty minutes to Madison County. There the river becomes wilder, winding through Pisgah National Forest. Commercial outfitters and paddlers flock to this area to paddle the Barnard to Hot Springs section. The stretch consists mostly of splashy and fun Class II and Class III rapids, with one Class IV rapid, Frank Bell’s, just before the town of Hot Springs.THREATS TO HER HEALTHThe Duke Energy coal-fired power plant sits on a 90-acre complex adjacent to the French Broad River just seven miles downstream of Asheville. The plant has two ponds built in 1964 and 1982 to hold coal ash, the waste left over after coal is burned to generate power. The coal ash mixes with water to form a toxic slurry. The ponds are unlined and earthen dams are used to contain the contamination.As staff attorney Amelia Burnette of the Southern Environmental Law Center put it: “Wet storage of coal ash waste in unlined ponds causes a slew of problems. Polluted water seeps through the earthen dams into streams, rivers, and groundwater; and these impoundments can suffer from structural problems.” As of now, there’s no reason to stop recreating in the French Broad, but we must take action and address the three major threats posed by wet coal ash storage to ensure that the river stays healthy.1. Potential Dam Failure One only has to look five years back in time to be reminded of the catastrophic risk associated with using earthen dams – a dam could burst. The 2008 Tennessee Valley Authority’s Kingston, Tenn., ash spill devastated the Emory River. When the dam failed, 1.1 billion gallons of coal ash slurry destroyed nearby homes and property. Cleanup efforts are expected to continue into 2014 and cost $1.2 billion.The Kingston catastrophe isn’t an isolated incident. Three years before the Kingston catastrophe, a similar dam failure on a smaller-scale occurred in Martin’s Creek, Penn. In that accident, the dam released over 100 million gallons of coal ash, contaminating the Oughoughton Creek and Delaware River.After the Kingston disaster, the EPA sent out inspectors to determine the structural safety of these dams and rated the 1964 Asheville pond as “poor.” Since then, the EPA has upgraded the dam to a “satisfactory” rating.Wet coal ash storage is untenable in the long term. The Asheville plant, constructed in the 1960s, lacks the advancements of newer plants that use a dry-storage system where coal is stored in lined holes under a secure covering. Outdoor groups are advocating for the EPA to implement strong, enforceable rules to regulate coal ash. In the absence of federal safeguards, state laws govern coal ash. Too often state laws are a cobbled patchwork of inconsistent and confusing laws, difficult to enforce. Some Southeast states have tougher standards for handling household garbage than they do for the disposal of coal ash.2. Contaminated GroundwaterStoring wet coal ash in unlined ponds causes groundwater contamination, and the groundwater eventually flows into tributaries of the French Broad or directly into the river itself.Independent samples taken within a two-mile radius of the Asheville plant over the past two years show that the groundwater contains iron, magnesium, and, most troubling, thallium, in levels exceeding health standards. Thallium poses health risks to people and is suspected to cause cancer. Despite the acknowledged contamination, in December 2012 the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission voted to allow the Asheville facility to continuing contaminating groundwater.3. Leaks Bypassing the On-Site Treatment SystemThe earthen dams leak, seeping heavy metals and other pollutants found in coal ash into the French Broad. By design, the dams leak in order to avoid the potentially catastrophic safety problem of pressure build-up over time.Samples taken by the French Broad Riverkeeper showed higher than normal levels of pollutants from coal combustion waste, including boron and metals like cobalt, barium, manganese, and nickel, all listed as toxic substances by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.The samples were taken far from where the pollutants are first discharged into the tributaries. Nobody knows the real levels of contamination.WATER FIGHTIn January 2013, the Southern Environmental Law Center gave Duke Energy a 60-day notice that, if the environmental problems go unaddressed, a lawsuit will be brought pursuant to the Clean Water Act. The legal claim is that Progress is essentially bypassing the standards, conditions, and monitoring required by the Clean Water Act, since the seeps are exiting through the permitted area.The Clean Water Act requires any entity that plans to discharge a form of wastewater directly into a body of water to receive a federal permit given and enforced by the state. Essentially permits-to-pollute, each permit allows the recipient to discharge a certain amount of pollution daily. Progress moved its discharge point in 2012. Pollutants continue to flow through the seeps, entering the river at points that used to be, but now aren’t, covered by the permit.In March the state of North Carolina filed a separate lawsuit. The lawsuit stated that, “continued operation of the Asheville Plant in violation of groundwater standards (and state law) without assessing the problem and taking corrective action poses a serious danger to the health, safety, and welfare of the people of the State of North Carolina and serious harm to the water resources of the state.” The lawsuit demands Duke Energy report the cause and extent of their discharge into the French Broad and groundwater.BEYOND WESTERN NORTH CAROLINAThe Asheville facility is a microcosm of communities across Appalachia. Nearly every major river in the Appalachia has one or more unlined ponds on its banks holding slurries of coal ash from power plants. Dams throughout Appalachia hold back tens of millions of coal ash. The dams, some of which are forty or more years old, are essentially ticking time bombs.In the words of Leonardo da Vinci, “Water is the driving force of all nature.” Nowhere in the world is that more true than in the water-rich Blue Ridge. We can prevent the insidious threats coal ash slurry poses to the region’s most prized resource now, while it’s still possible. If we wait too long, we won’t be able to separate contaminated groundwater from the river or pull heavy metals from the deep sediment layers. As a community, it makes no sense to subsidize energy costs with the health of our rivers. The price of safeguarding our water today is a fraction of the cleanup costs imposed by tomorrow’s polluted waterways.A Look at Coal Ash in Your StateOn the West Virginia and Pennsylvania border, the Little Blue Run coal ash pond is the largest in the country, covering three square miles. The color is so bright that the pond can be viewed from space.In Virginia, the EPA has only inspected five of thirteen power plants for on-site coal ash dam safety.In Tennessee, all eight of the state’s power plants received ratings of either “significant danger” or “high-hazard” from the EPA for dam safety.North Carolina has more “high-hazard” coal ash impoundments than any other state in the Southeast.South Carolina plants have inadequate data for the EPA to even assess dam safety. Only one of the state’s twelve facilities has received a safety rating.Kentucky has more coal-fired power plants than any other state in the Southeast. About one half of the facilities have “significant” or “high-hazard” ratings from the EPA.In Georgia, seven out of eleven coal power plants have been rated by the EPA for safety and the dams at all but one of the plants were rated “high-hazard.”Visit southeastcoalash.org for more information about coal ash in your area and what you can do to put a stop to wet coal ash storage.
Government Shutdown Costly for National ParksWashington, D.C.Last fall’s government shutdown took its toll on the National Park system. Numbers revealed by the Obama administration in March totaled $414 million lost by parks and surrounding communities due to closures. According to a report by the AP, eight million fewer people visited parks due to the 16-day shutdown, and five states, including California and Arizona, lost more than $20 million. Six states—Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New York, South Dakota, and Tennessee—decided to reopen parks using state funds, and according to the report, a Congressional bill is pending to reimburse those states.Finishing the Allegheny TrailPaint Bank, Va.After 40 years of hard work from dedicated volunteers, the lengthy Allegheny Trail may soon be completed. According to a story in the West Virginia Gazette, a local hiking group started blazing the final 30 miles of the 330-mile trail back in March. The West Virginia Scenic Trails Association was formed back in 1974 to construct the yellow-blazed trail, which starts on the Mason-Dixon Line at the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border near Bruceton Mills and leads hikers south until it intersects with the Appalachian Trail on Peters Mountain at the Virginia-West Virginia border. To finish the trail, the WVSTA is hard at work on the 30-mile stretch that crosses under I-64 near the Virginia-West Virginia state line east of White Sulphur Springs. It will extend to the Laurel Branch community in Monroe County.Thread Trail GrowsCharlotte, N.C.The Thread will be one of the longest regional trail systems in the country, spanning some 1,500 miles through the Carolinas. Currently about 135 miles of the Thread are open. The longest continuous segment is the 15-mile Ridgeline Trail, which Kings Mountain State Park, Kings Mountain National Military Park, and Crowders Mountain State Park, all of which are great destinations for rock climbing, hiking, and biking.Another top priority is building a 50-mile canoe and kayak blueway along the Rocky River, which runs through North Carolina’s Piedmont region. The goal is to put additional access points and put-in areas along the river near bridges and roads.The Thread is not a point-to-point path, but rather a spider web network of trails extending across North and South Carolina. Funding new trail construction remains a challenge, but Karl Froelich, the Thread’s new executive director, says his organization provides grants to some towns to help with the process—the towns have to match at least 10 percent—along with expert trail design and building support. “Bottom line is people love trails,” he says. “We’re just giving them what they want.”Ray Runs the ParkwayBoone, N.C.In the North Carolina High Country, people don’t get the forecast from The Weather Channel. They get it from Ray’s Weather Center. The Boone-based online weather service was started as a hobby more than a decade ago by Ray Russell, a computer science professor at Appalachian State University. Now the mountain area’s most trusted weather source employs five forecasters and is read by 250,000 people a month.At the end of this month, Russell, an avid runner, will take off in an attempt to run the entire Blue Ridge Parkway in 30 days. During the End to Ender, Russell will cover all 469 miles as a fundraiser for the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and to celebrate the launch of his new website BRPweather.com. The journey can be followed with daily video blogs at RaysWeather.com.Racing in UndiesGrand Rapids, MichiganIn March, runners in a Michigan 5K were encouraged to complete the course in some interesting attire. Organizers of the 3.1-mile FUNderwear Run asked racers to don their drawers on the outside of regular running apparel. The interesting dress code was meant to inspire good humor, as the race was part of the annual Gilda’s LaughFest, which attracted some big time comedians including Jay Leno, Lily Tomlin, and Chris Tucker. Despite a temperature of 21 degrees, 300 runners proudly wore their underwear (some of them wore it on the outside of their clothes) for a good cause. Proceeds benefitted Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, which offers emotional support to those suffering from grief due to cancer and other illnesses.Pee-Wee’s Cruiser Fetches Big Bucks on eBayOceanside, CaliforniaThe iconic red cruiser bike ridden by actor Paul Reubens as the character Pee-wee Herman sold on eBay for big money in March. The souped-up Schwinn, which anchored the plot of the 1985 film Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, fetched $36,600 after a competitive 55 bids were placed on the online auction site. The bike came with an autographed photo of Ruebens, an additional pic of him signing the photo, a certificate of authenticity, and a Warner Bros. spec sheet on the cruiser.New Half-marathon Treadmill RecordBoston, MassachusettsIn March, 23-year-old Tyler Andrews set the new unofficial world record for the fastest half-marathon time on a treadmill. Andrews ran the 13.1-mile distance in 1:07:18, 11 seconds quicker than the previous record held by Scottish runner Andrew Lemoncello. According to a story on the Runner’s World website, Andrews, who ran in place at Marathon Sports in Boston, was six seconds behind the record heading into the final 1.1 miles, but a late burst of energy led to a 4:58 final mile to accomplish the feat. The record was attempted as a scholarship and community development program fundraiser for Strive Trips, an organization that sends high school athletes to South America and Africa for training and community work programs.—Jedd Ferris and Sam Boykin
Schimmerling told 12 News he purchased several thousand bottles of hand sanitizer in preparation for the Southern Tier’s reopening, and gave them out at locations in Owego, Endicott and Binghamton “Safety has always been very important to me and this community has been really good to me,” Schimmerling said. “We’ve always been successful here and this is my way of giving something back to the community.” Schimmerling tells 12 News that he will continue to hold giveaways until all of the hand sanitizer is gone. OWEGO (WBNG) — Tom Schimmerling of Schimmerling Injury Law spent Sunday traveling around the Southern Tier handing out free bottles of hand sanitizer.
Two people had to abandon ship after their boat burst into flames at John’s Pass, off Treasure Island and Madeira Beach on Friday.Officials say the boat caught fire when the two people aboard refueling to the ship.The boat began burning in the middle of the water and then sunk, prompting the passengers to jump into the water.The pair suffered minor burns and reportedly took themselves to the hospital after the incident.The cause of the explosion and fire are now under investigation.
BT employees in the north east have offered a ringing endorsement of the national drive to encourage more people into golf. And the company says it is not just the individuals who are benefitting, but their business too. BT decided to promote golf to the company’s employees after reading about its impressive physical and mental wellbeing benefits. The company learnt about the sport’s benefits and the work of the Get into golf campaign in a British Heart Foundation health-for-work newsletter. It seemed perfect for BT’s Fit for Life programme, designed to help BT employees become healthy and active, raise money for charity and help in the community. “A round of golf can involve walking up to five miles (10k) and burning around 900 calories. Golf also helps you relax, reduces stress and encourages you to spend time with friends out in the fresh air,” says BT senior nursing advisor Jo Jenkins “This can help those who work at BT feel more energised, fit and healthy which can only be positive. Golf can also create good working relationships by encouraging bonding away from the office environment.” Get into golf set up a BT after-work taster event for employees at the company’s Newcastle office. It took place at City of Newcastle Golf Club and was run by PGA pro Steve McKenna through the Northumberland Golf Development Group. The event was attended by 17 employees from BT; some had played golf before while others were completely new to the game. Steve taught the group the basics of golf, including arm motion, or ‘swing’, and how it controls the direction of the ball. They also learned to hold the club, known as the ‘grip’. They tried their hand at hitting some balls with a 7-iron on the driving range. Paul Whittaker, the Northumberland County Development Officer, took the group on the putting green for a fun competition to see who could putt around five holes using the least amount of strokes. The event finished with refreshments in the clubhouse while Paul talked about the follow-on opportunities of a five-week beginner course for just £25. Steve McKenna commented: “This type of activity is a great way to sow the seeds to a healthier lifestyle through golf.” Get into golf is the national campaign to inspire adults to take up golf, run by England Golf and supported by Sport England National Lottery funding. For more information visit getintogolf.org or call 0800 118 2766 21 Oct 2015 BT employees get a taste for golf
Talk about success on the water.The Kootenay Rhythm Dragons Club celebrated its tenth anniversary in style by expanding the team while at the same cooking with the experienced clubs during competitive dragon boat festivals in Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton. Thanks in part to the teaching of a new stroke by Brad Hara of Toronto Paddlecore, the competitive teams have posted best ever results and for the first time having two competitive teams finish first and second at the Penticton festival.The success of the season exemplifies the Rhythm Dragons Club mission statement: Empowerment, Health and Well Being for all women. This has been accomplished with courage, tenacity, hard work, dedication, fun and laughter by an amazing group of women.Mallard’s Source for sports would like to honour the Kootenay Rhythm Dragons for their tenacity by naming the club Team of the Week.Rhythm Dragons News: Continuing their purposes of breast cancer awareness, two Rhythm Dragons club members, Sarah Quayle and Mary Walters, will be participating in the 2014 International Breast Cancer Challenge in Sarasota, Florida, USA in October with the Vernon Buoyant Buddies survivor team.Photo caption:BACK ROW, L-R, Maggie Mulvihill, Raven Ferrier, Carla Klein, Brooke Campbell, Patricia Logan, Dorothy Hatto, Heather Compton, Louise Andrews, Sarah Quayle, Coach Puleng Pratt, Jocelyn Church, Deb Ryder, Kelly Simpson, Diane Tulloch, Dana Achtem and Peggy Scott.MIDDLE Tammy Nygaard, Amy Grumme, Frances Long, Mary Walters, Patty McMillan, Rae Macklon, and Jacqui Nordquist.FRONT: Judy Bourne, Elaine Thompson, Chris Temnik Dawn Jacobsen, Pat Gibson, Verna Poohachoff, Jeanette McCarvell, Marg Lozinski, Barb Couch, Kathy Manson and Deb Smith.SITTING Jill Jacobsen, Marlene Pozin, Willa Horsfall, Sophie Goodwin, Hoda Ghamrawy, Linda Hoffman, Maureen Hendry, Lorna Maxwell, Janet Stephenson and Coach Cath Little.