July 8, 2019 /Sports News – National Coco Gauff, 15-year-old tennis phenom who beat Venus Williams, is out at Wimbledon Beau Lund Coco is terrific! https://t.co/13vsVKdjFP— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) July 5, 2019“She’s one of my role models,” Gauff said of Obama’s tweet about her, according to People. “So it was just cool to see that she knows I exist.”But above all, it’s Gauff’s athletic performance on those famed grass courts that has garnered attention for the young phenom.After beating Williams, she beat Magdaléna Rybáriková to reach the third round, where she faced Polona Hercog of Slovenia.That match on Friday cemented her place in history, as she fought back from two match points, including a second set tiebreak, to come out on top. In doing so, Gauff became the youngest player to make it to the second week of Wimbledon since 1991.Gauff also caused some conversation with her entrance in the mixed doubles Wimbledon tournament, when Brit Jay Clarke left original partner Harriet Dart to instead play with Gauff at the last minute. They did, however, lose in the opening round.“If somebody told me this maybe three weeks ago, I probably wouldn’t believe it,” Gauff said after her loss on Monday. “But I think just putting in the work definitely raised my confidence because I knew how hard I worked and I knew what shots I could make and what was possible.”“I’m only 15,” she continued. “Like, I’ve not nearly gotten or developed my game. I started tennis at six. I’m so excited to see, if I continue to work hard, what other success I can do in the future.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailShi Tang/Getty Images(LONDON) — Coco Gauff, the 15-year-old tennis player who burst onto the professional scene with a stunning victory over Venus Williams last week, is leaving Wimbledon with a loss in straight sets — and a host of new fans ready to motivate her for the next tournament.“Your journey is far from over, @CocoGauff,” tennis legend Billie Jean King tweeted. “Looking forward to watching your future successes on the court and off. #BigFan”Gauff’s eye-catching debut at Wimbledon came to an end Monday in the fourth round with a loss to Romanian star Simona Halep, 27, who was seeded No. 7, 6-3, 6-3. Written by The No.1 Court crowd rises to acknowledge all the excitement @CocoGauff has given us And remember – this is just the beginning… #Wimbledon pic.twitter.com/UBiOYSxPeU— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 8, 2019“I hope they learned about me that I’m a fighter,” Gauff said in a post-match press conference after her loss about her new fans. “I’ll never give up. I hope they learned from me that, I mean, anything is possible if you work hard, just continue to dream big.”It’s likely Gauff’s Wimbledon success, which made her an overnight sensation, will outlive her loss. In the first round of ladies’ singles, Gauff beat her icon, Williams, 39, 6-4, 6-4. To get there in the first place, Gauff became the youngest player to ever qualify for Wimbledon.She and her parents became visibly emotional after that match, and they quickly won over tennis fans everywhere. In an interview with GMA, Gauff’s parents credited Venus and her sister Serena Williams for paving the way.“We hadn’t seen many African-American women in the sport, so when they started winning and having success and trailblazing, some of the challenges that they went through made it a lot easier to get into the sport and it allowed us to be a lot more confident about choosing [tennis],” Gauff’s father, Corey, said.Gauff, who has been competing while taking school tests, has been humbled and excited by the attention she’s getting — including from Beyoncé’s mom, Tina Knowles, Jaden Smith and Michelle Obama.
There was standing room only at The Digby Hall, Sherborne with 19 lots in Dorset and Somerset and auctioneer Mark Lewis was delighted with the results, “We knew that the sale room was going to be busy but people started arriving two hours before the auction began and, apparently, the car parks in the town were full. We had ‘phone and proxy bids but successful buyers came from London, Cornwall, Hampshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire as well as the locals.A building plot in Shipton Gorge near Bridport set in two acres sold for £318,000 (59 per cent above guide), a workshop near Sherborne sold for £129,000 (72 per cent above guide). The Former Medlycott School in Milborne Port sold for £280,000 (86 per cent above guide). The Old Post Office at Glanvilles Wootton, pictured, had been lived in by the same lady for many years and many buyers felt that a rebuild was required. It received terrific interest and sold for £224,000 (49 per cent above guide).”Sherborne auction Symonds & Sampson Dorset and Somerset auctioned properties November 28, 2017The NegotiatorWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicenced rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Home » News » Agencies & People » Smashing sale for Symonds & Sampson previous nextAgencies & PeopleSmashing sale for Symonds & SampsonThe Negotiator28th November 20170617 Views
Wadham SU has passed an emergency motion proposing to lobby the college for changes to the support systems for suspended students, allowing them access to college facilities.The motion, which passed unanimously at Sunday’s SU meeting, was put forward by finalist Chloe Kane. It outlined plans to allow suspended students access to college grounds and services, and to guarantee accommodation until the end of the term in which the student rusticated, so as to allow them time to find alternative living arrangements.A system was proposed whereby “students should have a key contact in college, who is designated as the special contact for suspended status students, who has undergone welfare training [and] can advise the student of their rights.”Plans to provide “easily accessible information” about rustication were also put forward, and the motion stressed that the particular nature of each rusticatee’s case must be taken into account since “a blanket policy does not work well when each individual’s case and needs are different.”Earlier this month OUSU announced changes to the University’s procedures for suspended students, under which those who rusticate will be allowed access to Oxford-wide facilities including faculty libraries, Nexus, and other services requiring a Bod card. However, under such proposals students would still excluded from individual college grounds, amenities, accommodation, and events.One Wadham student described Sunday’s motion as “highlighting unfair treatment of rusticated students under the current system. Although at Oxford we’re told that our welfare is put first, our fantastic college-based services are off-limits to the most vulnerable at their most difficult time.”Wadham SU President Anya Metzer stated, “College have independently expressed a desire to examine the Wadham policy on suspended students and after this motion passed unanimously we have a strong mandate to pursue the changes outlined in the motion. On the heels of OUSU’s recent triumph, students are engaging with this issue across campus, and I am keen to negotiate for the rights of suspended students as valued members of our community.”The motion was submitted following a survey conducted through the Wadham SU Facebook page, which assessed the attitudes of Wadham students, both current and suspended, towards rustication. Of the 149 surveyed, 97 per cent felt they had received ‘little or no information on the issue of suspension’ and 92 per cent felt they ‘should have been better informed’.Charlotte Cooper Beglin, Wadham SU’s Access Officer, commented, “Students most often suspend their studies for very difficult health or personal reasons, and they should still be seen as members of the college community and given the support they need.“I’m glad we’re starting a conversation with college about it. Hopefully it will mean no-one feels ostracised as a suspended student and everyone gets equally good care.”
Along with Teach First, King’s College London and others, Oxford University has warned that the government’s grammar school plans would abandon many secondary school students to a “second rate” education.The announcement comes just days after the release of Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans to create new grammar schools while allowing comprehensive schools to apply for a permit to begin merit-based admission. Under current law, it is impossible to create new grammar schools, but May claims reversing this would improve social mobility and help the “hidden” hardworking families that were “just getting by”.The Fair Education Alliance, made up of 70 education advocacy groups and universities including Oxford, has called on the public to sign a petition against May’s plan.“This is the right ambition, but the wrong policy”, the group said in an online statement. “We share the government’s ambition and passion for social mobility but experts are unanimous that an expansion of grammar schools would lead to worse outcomes for the majority of children, especially the poorest.“Grammar schools select only a tiny proportion of children for the best education, leaving others with a second-rate choice”, it continued. “Even with quotas, poorer children will have a harder job of getting into these schools. And for the overwhelming majority of children who don’t get in, the evidence is clear that they get worse grades and a worse education.”May defended her policy in a public statement on Friday.“It is not a proposal to go back to the 1950s, but to look to the future, and that future I believe is an exciting one…It is a future in which every child should have access to a good school place”, the PM said. “And a future in which Britain’s education system shifts decisively to support ordinary working-class families.”Grammar school students do not account for a massive percentage of students at Oxford. Only 89 of the 1,404 UK acceptances to Oxford University from state schools came from grammar schools in 2015, according to Oxford University Press Office.
Ingredients for coffee syrupSugar syrup (½ sugar, ½ water): 500mlInstant coffee (dissolved in a little boiling water): 5 tablespoonsBrandy to taste T his is a classic, multi-layered, coffee and chocolate flavoured cake or slice, which appeared in Paris in the 1930s. It was created in honour of the Paris Opera House.It has a very good shelf-life, as it is made in a slab and can be cut to any size as required and, if constructed correctly, looks absolutely stunning.The key is to ensure that each layer is completely flat throughout.We charge £1.80 per portion. Method1 Place a sponge sheet on a sheet of silicon.2 Brush generously with coffee syrup – we flavour ours with brandy.3 Spread out a flat, even layer of buttercream, approximately 3mm thick (see hint). Place the second layer of sponge carefully over the buttercream and soak with coffee syrup.4 Spread an even 3mm layer of ganache over the second layer of sponge. Place on the third layer of sponge. Again, soak with coffee syrup and cover with buttercream (as steps 1-3).5 Place on the fourth layer of sponge and soak. Spread on a last 3mm layer of ganache: the surface should be very flat at this stage. Refrigerate to set. The cross section should now have nice parallel and even layers.6 Carefully trim the edges so that they are true.7 Lastly, spread a thin layer of shiny chocolate glaze over the surface. Basic ingredients4 flat sponge sheets (joconde), approximately 4mm thick, coffee syrup (see recipe), coffee butter cream, ganache, chocolate glaze
Schools struggle to safely get free meals to needy students Facebook Facebook A cafeteria worker packages hot lunches at Calhoun Elementary School in Calhoun, Georgia on Thursday, March 19, 2020. The city’s school district recently shuttered its doors in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, but the district’s school bus drivers still drive their normal routes to deliver hot meals to an area where 60% of students qualify for free and reduced-price lunch. (AP Photo/Angie Wang) AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Schools that feed millions of children from low-income families across the U.S. promised to keep providing meals during the coronavirus pandemic.But cities big and small quickly ran into problems when food workers, teachers and volunteers became infected or were too scared to report for duty. Some districts have been forced to suspend their programs altogether.That’s left families who are already struggling more desperate.After a more than weeklong shutdown in Houston, schools in the nation’s fourth-largest city made changes to reduce risks.The district started giving out enough food to last for several days in fewer locations. WhatsApp CoronavirusIndianaLocalMichiganNews Pinterest Google+ Twitter Twitter Pinterest Google+ By Associated Press – April 12, 2020 3 272 WhatsApp Previous articleThird COVID-19 death reported in St. Joseph CountyNext articleBerrien County officials react to extension of “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order Associated PressNews from the Associated Press and its network of reporters and publications.
More than 245 4-H youths, leaders and volunteers traveled to Atlanta for the 11th Annual Leadership Day and 4-H Day at the Georgia State Capitol on Monday, Feb. 6. Sponsored by the Department of Community Affairs, the event brings together leaders from across Georgia to share best practices and identify ways to improve leadership efforts in Georgia. Held at the Atlanta Freight Depot, the annual event recognizes leadership programs sponsored by DCA, including Georgia 4-H, the Fanning Institute’s Community Leadership Program and the Georgia Academy for Economic Development. In all, more than 500 youth, county leadership team members, graduates of the Georgia Academy for Economic Development and government officials attended.The day included speeches from Governor Nathan Deal, Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, Speaker of the House David Ralston, DCA Commissioner Mike Beatty and Development Manager and Georgia 4-H alumna Lisa Gipson. Members of the Georgia 4-H Performing Arts group, Clovers & Co. including Jado Cato of Henry County, Clay McArthur of Pickens County, Gracie Rowe of Heard County, Garrett Collins and Ansley Hutcheson of Butts County, Destan Musgrove of Crisp County and Tifara Brown of Ben Hill County, provided special entertainment for the day.While in Atlanta, 4-Hers also visited the State Capitol to meet with their representatives, tour the capitol and witness the legislative process in action. State 4-H President Dowdy White of Crisp County addressed both the House and Senate and thanked them for their support of 4-H over the past year. Senator Johnny Grant and Representatives Richard Smith and Rick Jasperse hosted the 4-Hers’ visit. Proclamations in both the house and senate recognized 4-H honorees.
Winter is a time for hanging holiday lights and keeping warm and toasty. Both of these activities can involve using extension cords. To keep your family safe while being warm and festive, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension urges homeowners to check extension cords closely.Extension cords are rated for a certain load, but that limit is often overloaded by the use of adapters that allow you to plug in more appliances than the cord was designed to handle. Don’t exceed loadDuring cold weather, families may use small electric heaters to warm up small areas, like bathrooms. The average extension cord is rated at 1250 watts, but many heaters go up to 1500 watts. The average extension cord could easily overheat when used with a 1500-watt heater.Faulty extension cords cause 7,400 home fires in the U.S. annually, causing 80 deaths and 260 injuries. To protect your home and your family, inspect all your extension cords before use. Do they overheat? Are they worn, cracked, brittle, spliced, taped? Are they covered by rugs or carpets? Are they overloaded? If any of these conditions exist, unplug them or replace them to correct the problem. Do a whole-house checkFaulty extension cords are just one electrical fire hazard. Wall outlets, switches and electrical appliances can also cause fires and electrical shocks. To protect your home and family, conduct an annual electrical safety inspection of your home. Prevention is key to staying safe. For more advice from Extension experts, view free publications online at www.caes.uga.edu/publications.
A huge thank you to this year’s contest sponsor, Pilot Cove!Over 50,000 votes poured into our 8th annual Top Adventure Towns Contest. From 55 adventure hubs across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, our readers narrowed down their choices to the top three: their favorite large town (population 85,000+), mid-sized town (population 8,500-85,000), and small town (population less than 8,500). Which towns were tops in 2018?Humpback Bridge, the oldest of its kind in the United States / Photo by Ellen KanzingerTop Small Town: Clifton Forge, VirginiaPopulation: 3,715Back in the day when the railroad was king, Clifton Forge, Va., was a major stop along the Chesapeake and Ohio line. When the maintenance yard moved out of state, jobs began disappearing from the area. But the town was blessed with a location the railroad could not take away.Clifton Forge sits along Interstate 64 in Alleghany County, a few miles from the West Virginia border. More than 50 percent of the county is national forest and public lands, offering adventurers of every kind plenty of space to explore the outdoors.Alleghany County, which also encompasses the town of Covington, had the potential to become an outdoor destination but lacked the amenities to capitalize on the location.“You can’t just have it and hope people will come. You have to create the infrastructure and get people here,” said Chad Williams, the director of parks and recreation for Alleghany County.In a small town like Clifton Forge, support from the community is vital to building up that foundation and bringing more visitors to the area.Michael Scales, a transplant from Virginia Beach, is on a mission to turn Clifton Forge into a top mountain biking destination.One of the very first races he competed in was the Middle Mountain Momma at Douthat State Park, one of the six original Virginia State Parks. After that first visit, he could not stay away.“I found that whenever I had a few days off, I’d shoot down here,” Scales said.He lived on the road for a few years, his bikes strapped to the back of his car, visiting when he could. When Scales finally decided to move to Clifton Forge, he wanted to bring other mountain bikers with him. Although he has only lived in town for two and a half years, he saw the future of Clifton Forge that first visit.“It’s kind of fun to see how people have discovered it just like we did and see that small town coolness that you just don’t find in a lot of places anymore.”“People know Douthat State Park, but they don’t know the 150 plus miles of trails in the national forest,” Scales said. “I live here in town, and it’s less than two miles to most trailheads. Once you’re at those trailheads, you can ride for a full day without seeing any pavement. Everything is connected.”When Scales is not working as the general manager at Jack Mason’s Tavern and Brewery, he is setting up travel accommodations for biking groups coming into the area and organizing volunteers to maintain overgrown trails. Ride CFVA is a manifestation of his plan to market Clifton Forge as a top mountain biking destination. Scales plans to offer guided tours, shuttle services, and mountain biking events as business grows.Like Scales, Martha Atherholt and Wendy Hudler moved to Clifton Forge after falling in love with the area. In 2009, they opened Jack Mason’s Tavern and expanded in 2017 to include Clifton Forge’s first brewery.“It’s kind of fun to see how people have discovered it just like we did and see that small town coolness that you just don’t find in a lot of places anymore,” Atherholt said.They were used to the bustle of Phoenix, Ariz., and liked the change of pace.“It’s a peaceful area, it’s not a congested area,” Hudler added. “So you can enjoy a hike on a trail and not pass a million people.”The county took advantage of its railroad history to construct the Jackson River Scenic Trail. When completed, the 16-mile trail will connect the town of Covington with Bath County. Built on an old C&O Railroad bed, the trail follows the Jackson River as it flows from Lake Moomaw.Twin brothers Dan and John Mays will be opening Alleghany Outdoors, the area’s only outfitter, at the southern-most trailhead for kayaking, tubing, and mountain bike rentals in April 2019.The push to expand outdoor recreation opportunities in the area extends beyond the public lands. More shops and restaurants have opened in downtown Clifton Forge, offering visitors a taste of the community.“There seems to be a lot of enthusiasm for this renaissance we’re getting into here in this area,” Atherholt said. “Those that have been here for a long time are coming around to the fact that they really have something to offer visitors.”Must SeeStop at the roadside park to take in Humpback Bridge, the oldest bridge of its kind in the United States. Drive up Route 220 to see the 80-foot Falling Spring Falls, an Alleghany landmark.Outdoor EventsSign up for the Jackson River Scenic Trail Marathon, a Boston Marathon qualifying event, in June. Mountain bikers should look out for the Gran Fondo Alleghany, which offers more than 100 miles of racing.Get Out of the SunSee a show or movie at the newly restored Historic Masonic Theatre. If you have extra time, take a stained glass or blacksmith class at the Clifton Forge School of the Arts.Spend the NightBook a room at the Hill Crest Mansion Inn or The Red Lantern Inn for an immersive experience in the history of Clifton Forge. Reserve one of the many cabins or campsites at Douthat State Park to be close to the action.Runner-Up: Abingdon, Va. Population: 8,083Abingdon, Va. may be a small town, but the opportunities for outdoor adventure are endless. Located in Southwest Virginia, Abingdon offers easy access to the Blue Ridge Mountains and beyond, including Roanoke, Va., Asheville, N.C., and Knoxville, Tenn.Bike the 34-mile scenic Virginia Creeper Trail • “Float the Fork” with a kayak trip through Adventure Mendota • Hike in Grayson Highlands State Park, home to Virginia’s highest peakFounders Park / Photo courtesy of Johnson City CVBTop Mid-sized Town: Johnson City, TennesseePopulation: 66,500Although the mountains and rivers have always been there, Johnson City is a relatively new adventure town.Like many boom towns, Johnson City was once a meeting place for the railroads, musicians, and bootleggers. Johnson City has embraced outdoor recreation as an economic driver in the last five years, capitalizing on what the locals had always enjoyed but had not advertised to the rest of the world.Chad Wolfe moved from Chicago to Johnson City at a time when Trek bike stores were virtually nonexistent in the Southeast. He and his wife looked at Asheville, N.C., but the market there was already saturated with other bike shops.Johnson City was not really on the map as an outdoor destination and Wolfe wanted to be at the forefront of an emerging cycling community.“Outdoor recreation is probably the sexiest thing in America right now because it’s not going to go away,” he said. “Johnson City is authentic in the sense that we actually have mountains here, as opposed to 45 minutes away in another town.”To engage the local community, Wolfe started with the Taco Trek. Four years later, hundreds of riders come out for the 30-minute bike ride from the Trek store to Holy Taco and Cantina.Capitalizing on that success, Wolfe started a second group ride every other Saturday morning, fittingly titled Bikin’ and Eggs.“This is a beautiful location with immediate access to world-class outdoor areas with some of the best resources.”Since Wolfe moved five years ago, the city has opened four new parks.In 2015, the city completed the 10-mile Tweetsie Trail without any federal or state funding. A state study predicted the project would cost six million dollars. Johnson City turned the old rail line into a multipurpose trail for a third of that cost through private funding and donations.On any given day, you will find dozens of runners, bikers, and those just enjoying the scenery on the trail connecting Johnson City and Elizabethton.The success of Tweetsie Trail demonstrated how much the community was behind this kind of project.Tannery Knobs, the town’s most recent city park, is almost ready to open to the public.This bike skill park is designed for riders of all abilities, featuring multiple green, blue, and black level trails as designated by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA).“Every single trail in there was built almost like a theme,” Wolfe said. “One might be narrow and rocky, the other one might be wide, flowy, and jumpy. Another one might just have the great overlook with the very gradual slope. But it’s all designed around the experience.”Johnson City also received a grant from the State of Tennessee to put in a pump track at the top of the mountain. The track is designed to help kids and beginners get used to the feel of mountain biking.The project came together in about a year and a half, largely due to the volunteers who helped shape the park.Hikers at the Buffalo Mountain overlooks / Photo courtesy of Johnson City CVB“We would have anywhere from 50 to 75 people out there helping dig the trails,” said Jacob Grieb.Grieb, a co-owner of Atlantic Ale House in downtown Johnson City, was on the original committee tasked with planning Tannery Knobs.“I think it’s one of the hidden gems of the Great Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains,” said Jacob Grieb. “You can be in the middle of the mountains in a matter of 15 or 20 minutes.”Beyond what is available immediately in Johnson City, visitors can access world renowned hiking trails, whitewater, and fishing. The Appalachian Trail, Nolichucky River, and Watauga Lake are all within a 30-minute drive from the downtown.In March of 2018, Scott Fisher opened one of the first comprehensive outdoor schools in the region. The Nolichucky Outdoor Learning Institute (NOLI) offers a wide range of instructional classes, including whitewater and flatwater kayaking, wilderness first aid, conservation, and outdoor arts right on the river.Although NOLI has only been operational for two months, they have already offered 25 classes for beginners through advanced adventurers.“This is a beautiful location with immediate access to world-class outdoor areas with some of the best resources,” Fisher said. Must SeeIt is only a ten-minute drive from downtown to Buffalo Mountain, a city park that offers a 360-degree view of the town below. There are almost two dozen waterfalls to visit within a 25-mile radius of Johnson City.Outdoor EventsIn August, Johnson City hosted the first annual Meet the Mountains Festival. People of all ages were invited to test their bike skills, navigate the ropes course, or demo paddle boarding at Founders Park. At 15 other sites around the region, visitors participated in sunset and sunrise hikes, disc golf, and trial runs at Tannery Knobs.Get Out of the SunAt the active Gray Fossil Site, paleontologists uncovered the fossils of a saber-tooth cat, alligator, and a mastodon. The International Storytelling Center celebrates the power and tradition of stories as the host of the first national storytelling festival.Spend the NightStay at the Carnegie Hotel for easy access to all of the restaurants and shops downtown. Set up your camp away from the city lights at Roan Mountain State Park.Runner-Up: Cumberland, Md. Population: 20,900Spend the day hiking through the Allegheny Mountains or on the waters of the Potomac before unwinding in downtown Cumberland, Md. Explore all the history and scenery that this town has to offer.Pedal the Great Allegheny Passage • Paddle the North Branch of the Potomac River • Search for fossils at Bone CavePaddlers on the Northwest River Natural Area Preserve / photo by Ellen KanzingerTop Large Town: Chesapeake, VirginiaPopulation: 237,940Chesapeake, Va. may not be a mountainous town, but its extensive waterway and trail systems offer opportunities for adventurers of all abilities to explore a city rooted in history.For a long time, Chesapeake’s neighbors, Virginia Beach and Norfolk, overshadowed what the city had to offer. When Kim Murden was brought on as the Chesapeake Tourism Manager in the early 2000s, one of her responsibilities was to market the city’s outdoor recreation opportunities.Murden said the city focused on “improving upon what was here naturally.” This meant adding water access points that are ADA compliant and walking trails around the city.For adventurers looking for a coastal destination with fewer crowds, Chesapeake has plenty of miles to explore.Kevin Fonda has been leading custom kayak and SUP tours in eastern Virginia and North Carolina for eight years but has been paddling the waterways since he was a teenager. He called the Great Dismal Swamp and Northwest River Natural Area Preserve some of the top paddling on the east coast.“There is variety here that you can make your getaway what you want it to be.”“It’s really an untouched environment,” Fonda said. “A lot of places you paddle, you’re going to run into a lot of buildings and people. Chesapeake is a lot more isolated. It hasn’t changed in thousands of years. Sometimes you have the whole place to yourself.”At one time, the Great Dismal Swamp covered more than a million acres across what is Virginia and North Carolina today. Over time, agriculture and business ate into the swamp. The 112,000 acres that remain are protected as a National Wildlife Refuge.The refuge and preserve are two of the only places in eastern Virginia with dark skies.“A lot people who live in the cities forget how much you can’t see up in the sky,” Fonda said. “People don’t understand until they get out here, away from the city lights.”Lake Drummond at the center of the Great Dismal Swamp / Photo by Ellen KanzingerDeloras Freeman has worked at the refuge for 18 years. As the visitor services specialist, she is in charge of environmental education and special events at the swamp. She said that the Birding Celebration in early spring never fails to attract bird-watchers.“We have visitors that come from all over the United States and out of the country to see the Swainson’s warbler,” Freeman said.The swamp is one of the best places to see this rare species because they nest in such large numbers.The swamp was once home to more than the wildlife. In the last few decades, historians and archaeologists started extensive research into the people who found refuge from their oppressors in the swamp.Indigenous people driven off their land in the early colonial period took to the swamp they knew. Later, slaves sought protection in the dense forest as they made their way north along the Underground Railroad. The water acted as a moat around the islands scattered throughout the swamp and helped cloak their escape.“They had to get all of their needs from the swamp,” Freeman said. “They weren’t just hiding out, it was a whole other society living in the swamp.”The water in the swamp provided a source of drinking water. Tannic acid from the bald cypress forests seeps out and purifies the water of bacteria and algae.Visitors can explore the swamp by foot or bike on one of the many trails running through the refuge. Cars towing boats can access Lake Drummond, one of Virginia’s two natural lakes, in the middle of the swamp through the Interior Ditch.Above the city, the South Norfolk Jordan (SNJ) Bridge offers a unique urban adventure and aerial view of the city. The bridge crosses the Elizabeth River, connecting Chesapeake and Portsmouth. Dubbed the “Brooklyn Bridge of the South,” the SNJ Bridge is taller than the New York landmark at 169 feet above water. Beneath the bridge, the Elizabeth River Park offers water access and a pier that does not require a fishing license.“There is variety here that you can make your getaway what you want it to be,” Murden said. “Whether you want a relaxing experience or you want to do a 50 mile bike ride through the city, all of those things are there and you can really tailor your experience.”Must SeeKayak or canoe along the eastern edge of the refuge through the Dismal Swamp Canal. If you are feeling adventurous, spend the night at the campsite near Lake Drummond. Travelers over 21 should check out Big Ugly Brewing, named for the owner’s 1955 Chevy.Outdoor EventsIn Paddle for the Border, join more than 300 paddlers on the water as you cross from North Carolina into Virginia on the Dismal Swamp Canal. Foodies should travel in October to check out the Great American Food Fest or the Dismal Swamp Art Festival.Get Out of the SunStarting in Spring 2019, visitors can learn about the Battle of Great Bridge at the Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterways History Museum. Stop by 3 Little Black Birds for some vintage, repurposed, and handcrafted shopping.Spend the NightWith more than 40 hotels, you are sure to find a place to stay in Chesapeake. Camp on the bank of the river at the Northwest River Park and Campground.Runner-Up: Roanoke, Va. Population: 99,400The Blue Ridge Mountains in the East Coast’s Mountain Biking Capital have something for everyone. Roanoke, Va. is the perfect place to test your endurance and skill as you hike, bike, or climb above the Roanoke Valley.Boulder at McAfee Knob • Ride mountain bikes to Mill Mountain Park • Float the Roanoke River
Study reveals University of North Carolina coal plant releases dangerous toxins well above Clean Air Act limits An analysis released by the Center for Biological Diversity has revealed that the permit for the University of North Carolina’s coal-fired power plant allows four to six times the limits of dangerous nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide pollution found to be safe under the Clean Air Act. In 2010, former Chancellor Holden Thorpe committed to closing the plant and abandoning the use of coal by 2020. After a change in administration in 2017, UNC changed course, announcing it would not close the coal-fired power plant. Models indicate that nearly the entire campus, including outdoor athletic facilities, and numerous residential neighborhoods in Chapel Hill, are at risk from the toxins. UNC-Chapel Hill operates the last coal-fired power plant at a university in the state of North Carolina. University officials claim the plant currently operates more than 15 times lower than their permit limit and said that by the end of 2019 the university will convert the plant to 50 percent natural gas.