Martinsville, Va.

first_imgIllustration by Scott DuBarMartinsville used to build chairs. Now the town builds trails. The former thriving furniture and textile hub once had the highest rate of per capita millionaires in the country. But with industry moving abroad, the small city in Southern Virginia’s Blue Ridge foothills is now focused on utilizing the vast natural beauty that surrounds it.“We now have a clean slate,” says resident Brian Williams, member of the Dan River Basin Association, who’s helping to spearhead recreation development. “We have a perfect opportunity to reinvent the way we do things here.”The former furniture mecca and NASCAR hotbed is getting a new reputation for outdoor recreation. A 44.5-mile section of the Smith River bisects Henry County, as it travels from the 3,000-acre Philpott Lake (Virginia’s largest Smith Mountain lake is actually Virginia’s largest lake) down to the North Carolina border. Williams has helped develop multiple access points for paddling and a growing accompanying trail system.Town culture is also changing. Part of Martinsville’s 15,000-person population now visits uptown coffee shops and lives in loft apartments. An arts scene is budding at Studio 107 and the Piedmont Arts Association. There are bluegrass shows and independent movies at the Rives Theater and plays at the Black Box Theater.“People here are starting to realize how much potential there is with community arts and our natural surroundings,” adds Williams.Williams’ Outdoor Picks:Paddle the Smith River Henry County has eight easy access points to get onto the Smith River. A popular class II stretch is the 6.5-mile run from Philpott Dam to Bassett. A quiet flat stretch is the 3.5-mile run from Merribone to Mitchell Bridge. The town celebrates the river every August with the Smith River Festival.Rail Trail Recreation Locals have been taking advantage of the new Dick and Willie Passage, a rail trail that’s popular for running and cycling. The six-mile out-and-back Fieldale Trail offers a more wooded riverside stroll with seasonal spring rhododendron blooms. Both of these trails are part of the growing Smith River Trail system, which will eventually run for 45 miles down to the North Carolina border.Hiking at Fairy Stone Nearby Fairy Stone State Park has a range of hiking options, including five miles of footpaths in the Stuarts Knob trail system and 13 miles in the Little Mountain trail system.Ride the Roads Martinsville has an active road cycling scene led by the Henry County Bike Club. The club leads open 25-mile group rides on the idyllic country roads around Martinsville every Tuesday and Thursday evening. For a longer ride, complete the 60-mile course of the former Tour de Scholar metric century.Jamison Mill SingletrackMountain bike clubs in surrounding counties recently banded together and added newly constructed singletrack to the Jamison Mill Recreation Area around Philpott Lake, giving fat tire freaks a rolling six-mile wooded maze to spin their wheels.last_img read more

Public Nudity Debate: Bare Me or Spare Me?

first_imgBare Me: Public Nudity Rocks!Across the country, buds are blossoming, bees are buzzing, and everyone is enjoying blissful summer days spent enjoying the great outdoors. But too often, in our congested cities and technology-focused lives, it can be difficult to really get in touch with nature. For those looking for a great way to unplug from cell phones and email and reconnect with nature (and yourself) we have a solution: Bare it all!Clothing-optional and clothes-free campgrounds and RV parks across the United States offer a way to escape the craziness of the city and return to nature, on many different levels. Think about the possibilities of a nude camping experience: If you are not wearing any clothes then you have nowhere to put your cell phone…a true vacation. Going for a skinny dip in the nearby streams is sure to leave you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. And just imagine falling asleep—in the nude—listening to the sounds of nature as you gaze up at a star-studded sky.The American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) is the largest and most respected organization of its kind. It is the authority on nude recreation and family social nudism, and has been since 1931. The popularity of public, recreational nudity has only grown since the organization’s inception. From “Dare Bare” 5Ks to nude volleyball tournaments to the seemingly limitless amount of nude bicycle races and rides, organized recreational nudity is enjoying a heyday. The possibilities are endless: try nude Frisbee golf, gardening, petanque, tennis, kayaking, bowling, and jazzercise!Think nudism is un-American?  Think again. In one survey, we found that one in five Americans have skinny-dipped at one time or another. Benjamin Franklin himself was fond of taking daily “air baths” sitting nude for an hour or so while he read or wrote. Others known to have enjoyed skinny-dipping or other recreational nude activities include John Quincy Adams, Theodore Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Walt Whitman, and Henry David Thoreau. In popular culture, Helen Mirren, Drew Barrymore, Alanis Morissette, Elle McPherson, Alicia Silverstone, Woody Harrelson, Heidi Klum, and many others have indicated that they too enjoy shedding their clothes.It is widely accepted that sunlight counteracts the effects of the winter blues, or seasonal affective disorder. Studies indicate your body needs at least 20 minutes a day of sunshine to help prevent a vitamin D deficiency – one notable side effect of which is depression. Those who routinely enjoy the benefits of a daily exercise in the buff are on a steady course for healthy living.Carolyn Hawkins is a member of the American Association for Nude Recreation.Spare Me: Public Nudity Sucks! My mother used to tell me, “Don’t ever say anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother to hear.” Which, of course, I took to mean don’t do anything of that nature either. And while none of us is perfect, I’d like to think Grandma would be pretty damn proud of the life I’ve lived thus far: one of steadfast dedication, unwavering morals, charitable selflessness, and walking around clothed. All the time.Let’s be honest people: we’re not cavemen. Hell, cavemen didn’t even walk around naked. I think we can all agree that freedom is a great thing. But do we need to be so free that we look like a bunch of idiots with our junk hanging out? Humans are a naturally defenseless, vulnerable lot, and walking around naked only exacerbates the condition. Besides looking silly, think of all the hazards of an active nude lifestyle. Do you really want to expose your most sensitive areas to the blazing sun, piercing brambles, and jagged rocks that you are bound to encounter on the trail or at the beach?Evolutionary misfortunes aside, society has rules. Rules that allow it to function in a (somewhat) operative manner. Public displays of nudity can be distracting, rude, and in some cases, downright illegal. Think about the rest of us, who don’t need to “let it all hang out,” who just want to live and work peacefully and walk down the street, hike the Art Loeb, or go to yoga class without being assaulted by the sight of your sex organs waving in the wind. You could be responsible for traumatizing legions of sheltered children who don’t need to see your hairy, wrinkled parts up close and personal. That’s scary enough between consenting adults.Why don’t we bare it all? Blame it on “societal conditioning,” or call us uptight if you must, but maybe we just don’t need the attention. We get enough of it from the IRS, city utilities, and the bank. Questioning those authorities is all well and good. But you can go against the grain by biking to work or marching against Monsanto downtown – and you don’t need to do it naked.So next time you and your attention-deprived significant other conjure up the idea for another nudie adventure, ask yourselves, “What is the deeper psychological motivation I feel here? Why do I have to resort to such an extreme act to receive the attention I crave? Is it really necessary to perturb and perhaps offend my fellow human beings?” Then make sure to take your eyes off his/her junk while you answer.Keep your pants on and your grandmother from rolling over in her grave.Evans Prater is a journalist and triathlete living in Asheville, N.C. He blogs at hiketilyourehigh.wordpress.comlast_img read more

Purposeful Talent Development: Connecting culture to your values

first_img“What are your personal values?” I’ve asked this question of new leaders, long-time leaders and individual contributors. Often, I’m met with a pause and sometimes a blank stare, as many have never really thought about how to articulate their values.Have you ever sat down and really thought about your own personal values? What drives you? What motivates you? What is most important to you? Being able to identify your values helps to guide your actions, behaviors and decisions so you can be the person you want to be.Sidebar: If you’ve never thought about your own values, I recommend you do so. Take a few minutes and think through what is important to you. Here are 418 values to help get you started.While personal values reflect who you are and what you stand for, organizational values serve the same purpose. Organizational values become a road map that individual employees can use to navigate situations and make decisions in line with the organization. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Long Islanders Give Harper Lee’s “Watchman” Mixed Reviews

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Long Islanders may recall fondly shopping for the cherished novel To Kill a Mockingbird, but it’s Harper Lee’s newly released second novel, Go Set a Watchman, that is rocking the bookstores these days. Whether it makes it into the classroom is another story.A random survey of local booksellers taken earlier this week on Long Island showed that the book was sold out and orders for new copies were pouring in.“There’s been quite a great deal of interest,” said a sales representative at the Book Revue in Huntington. “All of our books have been reserved for the most part.”Barnes and Nobles reports that it has already set a one-day sales record for adult fiction by number of units sold. The national chain bookstore expects Watchman to be the most bought-title of the year.“People have been excited to see what the controversy’s all about,” said worker Brenda Vasiento at the Dolphin Bookshop in Port Washington.Lee, now 89 and living in Alabama where she grew up, wrote Go Set a Watchman as a first draft long before she created To Kill a Mockingbird, which ultimately was published in 1960. When Lee turned in that initial draft to her editor, she was asked to rewrite it substantially and focus on the childhood of the lead character, Jean Louise “Scout” Finch. She did, and the result became a Pulitizer Prize-winning classic taught in countless schools.The new novel takes place in the 1950s, 20 years after the setting of the original. The figures in this fiction are the polar opposite of the established characters known and loved amid the bigotry in Maycomb County, her imaginary district in southern Alabama.Take, for instance, heroic Atticus Finch, who believed in upholding fairness and justice. Originally depicted in Mockingbird as the noble attorney protecting a black man named Tom Robinson, unfairly accused of rape, Watchman starkly portrays Finch as a hateful racist.“We are all excited to read this sequel to Mockingbird, even though we have mixed feelings about taking old Atticus off of his pedestal,” said Beth Seigel, a librarian at the Bryant Library in Roslyn.“He is not a fairy tale hero but a man who is decent in some ways and not in many others,” mused Judith Bamel, an English professor at Hofstra University. “It seems to me that the portrait of Atticus Finch can only be deepened by the realism and complexity these new scenes add.”Similarly, Jean Louise “Scout” Finch is no longer of the same ilk. Once known for her tom-boyish features, Scout—known here as Jean Louise—has transformed herself into a “reasonable facsimile of a human being.” Now all grown up, she lives in New York and harbors an ardent love for “lifelong friend” Henry Clinton, a World War II veteran and lawyer.Scout’s big brother from Mockingbird, Jeremy “Jem” Atticus Finch is gone from Watchman. The treasured character died from a cerebral hemorrhage before reaching adulthood.Mockingbird  was written in Scout’s first person voice. Now in third person narrative, Watchman flows from Jean Louise’s much older perspective.While Watchman is no revered Mockingbird, having the chance to see Lee’s initial thought process certainly calls for attention. It is only her second novel ever to be published.Some aren’t as thrilled as others by its release.“I can’t imagine a prospect more dull than reading that new Harper Lee novel,” says a tweet from Donald McCarthy, an English teacher at SUNY Old Westbury.The question remains if Watchman will be mixed into schools’ curricula, as Mockingbird  has graced countless reading lists for decades.“We expect this to be a very popular book group choice in the coming year,” said Roslyn librarian Michele Lipson, “and look forward to reading it and comparing, questioning, and discussing this book with readers in our community.”last_img read more

Ethical minority

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The end of the line

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Medan Veterinary Center rules African swine fever as cause of thousands of pig deaths

first_imgThe Medan Veterinary Center has confirmed that the deaths of tens of thousands of pigs in Nias and South Nias regencies in North Sumatra were due to the African swine fever (ASF) virus. Medan Veterinary Center head Agustia said his team sent the test results to the Animal Husbandry Directorate General, adding that the virus could spread to the rest of Nias Island if preventative measures were not taken.”There are indications that the virus has spread to Gunung Sitoli already. We ask other areas, especially North Nias and West Nias, which have not yet been infected, to remain cautious since this virus spreads quickly,” Agustia said on Saturday.  According to Medan Veterinary Center data, the number of dead pigs in Nias and South Nias has surpassed 37,000.Read also: Two Sumatra regencies report sudden death of pigsTo halt the spread of the virus, Agustia recommended that the Nias and South Nias regency administrations stop the transportation of pigs between villages, designate a special area for the disposal of pig corpses and implement biosecurity measures to reduce pig deaths. “These recommendations must be carried out to prevent further pig deaths on Nias Island,” Agustia said. The East Nusa Tenggara Husbandry Agency previously reported that 2,000 pigs across Timor Island died after contracting ASF in February.Earlier this year, ASF killed tens of thousands of pigs across other areas of North Sumatra, as well as hundreds of pigs in Bali. (dpk)Topics :last_img read more

Arsenal heroes Ian Wright and Kanu send messages to Alex Iwobi after move to Everton

first_imgAdvertisement Alex Iwobi moved to Everton on deadline day (Picture: Arsenal FC via Getty Images)Alex Iwobi has received the blessings of some Arsenal greats after leaving the club for Everton on transfer deadline day.The Nigeria international made the switch to Goodison Park for an initial fee of £28m on Thursday, while the Gunners brought in Kieran Tierney and David Luiz on deadline day.The 23-year-old made 149 appearances for Arsenal, scoring 15 goals in all competitions and winning the FA Cup in 2017.Despite switching to a Premier League rival, Gunners heroes Ian Wright and Nwankwo Kanu have hailed the midfielder and given him their best wishes at his new club.ADVERTISEMENTWright wrote on Instagram: ‘All the best @alexanderiwobi we love you ♥️♥️♥️ #OnceAlways.’AdvertisementAdvertisementKanu added on Twitter: ‘Once a Gunner, Always a Gunner. We are proud of you and will continue to support you. Good luck with your new club.’More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityEverton boss Marco Silva was delighted to welcome his new signing to Merseyside, saying: ‘Alex was one of our main targets for this window and I believe he is a fantastic signing. He is a direct and skilful winger and attacking midfielder who always works very hard.‘He is still young but already with a lot of top-level experience – 100 Premier League matches, more in Europe and many international games.‘Alex fits exactly the profile of player I want. He is hungry to join Everton and take the next step in his career, to help us compete with the strongest teams in the league and reach his potential at our club.’Everton get their Premier League campaign underway at Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon but Iwobi will not be available for the fixture.MORE: Frank Lampard reveals why Chelsea agreed to let David Luiz join ArsenalMORE: Arsenal provide fitness updates on new signings David Luiz and Kieran Tierney ahead on Newcastle clash Comment Arsenal heroes Ian Wright and Kanu send messages to Alex Iwobi after move to Evertoncenter_img Metro Sport ReporterFriday 9 Aug 2019 4:41 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link Advertisementlast_img read more

Surrounded by rainforest, this modern home has sold before auction – see why

first_img26 Vakuta Street Fig Tree PocketThis architecturally designed home has sold before auction for $1.7 million. The home at 26 Vakuta St, Fig Tree Pocket.Mr Goesh said that although the suburb was popular, there was a shortage of properties available to buy.“There aren’t enough homes for sale to satisfy the demand,” he said.Data from CoreLogic found median prices in the area were up 35.8 per cent in the past year. The home at 26 Vakuta Street Fig Tree Pocket.“It’s still a leafy, rural suburban area with generous block sizes and less density,” he said.“Plus the schools and parks are a huge draw card for potential buyers.” Inside 26 Vakuta St, Fig Tree Pocket.“There’s good separation in the home and multiple entertaining areas,” he said.“That really appealed to a lot of buyers.”Mr Goesh said this sale was a strong start to 2018 and a positive reflection on the market in Fig Tree Pocket.center_img Inside 26 Vakuta St, Fig Tree Pocket.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus21 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market21 hours agoMarketing agent Kel Goesh of Brisbane Real Estate said it was the layout of the home that enticed the new owners, a family renting in the area, to buy the property. The home at26 Vakuta St, Fig Tree Pocket.The property, at 26 Vakuta St, Fig Tree Pocket, sits on a 1494sq m block surrounded by rainforest.last_img read more

UK pension lifeboat fund to support Mothercare’s voluntary restructuring

first_imgThe Pension Protection Fund (PPF), the UK’s pension lifeboat fund, has taken temporary control of high street retailer Mothercare’s defined benefit pension schemes in an effort to support a restructuring plan and avoid the company collapsing.The PPF has said it would vote in favour of the restructuring plans on behalf of the company’s pension fund members.Mothercare, which retails to parents of babies and young children, has proposed refinancing its business through a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), which would see it close 50 stores across the UK and agree rent reductions on a further 21.Under the terms of the CVA, the PPF has assumed the rights of the trustees of the company’s pension funds, including voting rights. Mothercare’s pension deficit stood at approximately £140m (€160.4m) on a PPF funding basis, although in its preliminary full-year results the shortfall was reported as £37.7m. The two schemes had combined assets of £351.5m at the end of March, the company reported.Malcolm Weir, director of restructuring and insolvency at the PPF, said he welcomed Mothercare’s willingness to “listen and take on board our view that the CVA proposals should not be to the detriment of the pension schemes”.He added: “Having received additional suitable assurances about the position of the pension schemes, we are able to support the CVA proposals as announced [yesterday]. “Our expectation is that the company will continue to take full responsibility for the pension schemes going forward.” The PPF reached a similar agreement with another struggling retailer, Toys R Us, in December last year. However, the company failed to find a buyer and was declared insolvent at the end of February.Mothercare has faced the twin pressures of rising rents and increased online shopping that have seen many UK competitors – such as Woolworths, Toys R Us and Phones 4u – disappear from the UK’s high street in recent years. Clive Whiley, interim executive chairman of Mothercare, said it was clear the group needed an “appropriate resolution”.“The recent financial performance of the business, impacted in particular by a large number of legacy loss-making stores within the UK estate, has resulted in an unsustainable situation for the Mothercare brand,” he said. “These comprehensive measures provide a renewed and stable financial structure for the business and will drive a step change in Mothercare’s transformation.”Industry experts said the economic pressures on high street retailers remained “intense”.Mothercare was “yet another example of a well-loved brand in the retail sector whose sponsor covenant has been unable to withstand the intense economic pressures on the high street”, said Richard Farr, managing director at Lincoln Pensions, the financial consultants.However, he emphasised that the pension scheme’s trustees had to ensure the best deal for their members.“The covenant risks in the retail sector have been building over recent years,” he said, “and while it is good to see that traditional restructuring techniques are now being applied to rescue groups such as Mothercare, trustees need to independently challenge and scrutinise their sponsors’ plans on a regular basis to ensure they continue to protect their members’ benefits as other creditors are being compromised.”Mothercare is set to present its plans to creditors in the next few weeks. If its proposals are accepted, the company will reassume oversight of its pension schemes from the PPF.last_img read more