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Widespread Panic’s John Bell Talks Col. Bruce Hampton & The Art Of “Improvising Eloquently” [Interview]

first_imgOn April 27th and 28th, Trondossa Music & Arts Festival will return to Riverfront Park in North Charleston, SC for its second year. The two-day event will feature performances by Umphrey’s McGee, The Wood Brothers, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, The Marcus King Band, and more. Of course, the Trondossa artist lineup is anchored by host band Widespread Panic, who will perform four sets over the course of the event.Ahead of this weekend’s Trondossa excitement, Live For Live Music Widespread Panic correspondent Otis Sinclair caught up with frontman John Bell to chat about Col. Bruce Hampton, songwriting, the philosophy of communal improvisation, the band’s early days on the frat party circuit, and the virtue of taking a minute to breathe. You can read the conversation below.Otis Sinclair: (After a dropped call) Sorry about that John, crazy morning.John Bell: It promises to get crazier.Otis: The morning’s still young, right?JB: Yup, at least for me [yawns].Otis: Are you an early riser?JB: I’m a medium riser.Otis: Are you a coffee guy?JB: Little bit. Just to get it started, not enough to 4-putt.Otis: No 4-putts. No 3-putts, even. Have you been playing [golf] this year?JB: Not yet. I was hoping to today, but we got a lot of rain.Otis: Widespread Panic had SweetWater 420 Fest in Atlanta last weekend. Looking ahead, you have Trondossa Music & Arts Festival in South Carolina. Now, you’ve recently added your traditional spot on New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival’s second Thursday lineup after the cancellations of both Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac.JB: It was a nice surprise. With the circumstances, wishing everybody a speedy recovery. Mick [Jagger] and Ms. [Stevie] Nicks. All of a sudden, we’re just watching from afar, we had our schedule locked, and we were like “Man, who do you get to replace The Stones?” The answer is, “Nobody!” You don’t think of it that way cause it’s not gonna happen. We just got a call, “If you guys are free, do you want to come play?” It’s as simple as that.Otis: So, Trondossa is next on your list. When will you guys be traveling to South Carolina? Do you have any collaborations in mind?JB: No. We are playing it real loose at this point. Not give ourselves too much to think about. We will pretty much just chit-chat normally and see how our next few weekends are gonna pan out. But it all happens pretty easily without a lot of fanfare.Otis: That’s always how you guys seem to operate—with a business-as-usual, very casual demeanor, but a very intense, very professional performance. None of the coffee house bullshit, just go out there and get it done and play some good old fashion swamp rock and roll.JB: That’s basically the name of the game. You’re going to play the gig. You can’t really make things happen, you can do as much as you can to put yourself in position to have a good show and to communicate well, and stuff like that. But beyond that, you set yourself up for a positive experience and then you also got to lose any rigidity you might have and fall into the music and see where that takes you.Otis: That otherworldly communication. Tapping into that other dimension, it’s very Col. Bruce-like. That connection between the Col. and Widespread Panic is still apparent—Trondossa Music & Arts Festival even takes its name from one of his songs. Going back to the H.O.R.D.E. Tour and before, could you talk about the relationship and history that you guys have with the Colonel?JB: He came into our lives, we knew him just from going to clubs and seeing him play with Tinsley Ellis and various other configurations, The Stained Souls, and Aquarium Rescue Unit. He was also on our first little independent record label, Landslide Records. He had been longtime friends with the [label] president, so we got to know each other that way.We also started doing some gigs together, too. That was the situation, and just by being in each other’s company, all of a sudden, you got a new friend and a new relationship. Again, it happened pretty naturally. Here’s a cat that you have a lot of fun with, you look up to, still look up to him, and he was a good reminder to keep spontaneity and the magic into the experience. Whether you were driving in a van, or if you were playing music. Basically, he was always a reminder to keep your intentions pure and get over yourself.Otis: It seems you embraced a lot of his spirituality and life in another dimension. It’s almost shamanistic the way you improvise your JB-isms or raps or whatever you want to call them. I was wondering if you could touch on how you clear your mind to get into that zone, to focus in on that kind of whacky, anything-can-happen attitude?JB: Sometimes, you just find yourself there. That’s usually when it’s the most genuine. You play in that space while it’s available to you. Then again, if you start naming it or trying to hold on to it or control it, it’ll slip right away from you and you’re back to the mechanics as opposed to the free-flowing. Which is cool, it’s ebb and flow, and not failure of the system. It’s not a given that you’re always in a mode of clarity—communal clarity. You set yourself up to put yourself in that position so you can improvise as eloquently as possible. Like meditation, real slow in and out, if your tension reigns then that’s part of the gig too. And, you know, we got a lot of practice allowing that process to take place. So that helps you reach that place a little more often. But we don’t take it for granted, because it is kind of a special thing, and almost unnameable when you get there. And have fun while you’re there.Otis: There’s plenty of imagery that you create between “hot, hot in the summertime”, the “smell of apple pie”, “the kids running around playing Cowboys & Indians.” It’s very spot-on, and with each one of your additions, it’s almost like a puzzle piece to the full story. Like in “Space Wrangler”, when you say “He passes the jailhouse without tears (‘cus his daddy’s in there).” It’s just a little something that adds to the song that’s unique and helps you appreciate the story behind it and the bigger picture.JB: And the story changes. When you get into an improvisational mode, there are gonna be some similarities. We played these songs before, so some of the same images are gonna reoccur. They are like photographs of your past, those images have come out before and so you might be visiting again, but a lot of times new details come into play. That’s the exciting time when even after twenty years of playing a song, you can close your eyes and the characters come to life and start doing some variations on what they had done in the past. If you’re riding a good wave, musically, then onstage you can kind of capture the development of the story and the characters and report on it. You’re not really writing or making it up, it just kind of happens. Spew some words to describe what you’re seeing in your head. Sometimes, they rhyme. Sometimes, they don’t. Sometimes, you just fall, right on your ass.Otis: Do you have any particular memories, especially of the earlier days, that you would like to talk about?JB: Well, memories don’t always work spontaneously or on command like that. Usually, you kinda putter around through the day and something will trigger a memory or a dream or something that makes you go “Oh, yeah, I remember that!” But what comes to mind a lot is the early, early days. Basically, ’cause your eyes are wide open, and a lot of weird stuff happens. When you’re first starting out, it’s kinda a trip for you and your bandmates. I wouldn’t say “you against the world,” but it’s you in a big ol’ world with surprises around every corner. You get little things like being paid with quarters out of the pool tables at a joint you were playing. A lot of places along the way, a lot of good memories come from folks who used to let our whole crew crash at their place if we were playing in a town a certain weekend. We wouldn’t have been able to do those gigs if it weren’t for those folks extending their hospitalities, ya know, ’cause there was no affording hotel rooms. Dave [Schools]’s mom was a real good one for that. She let us all stay up in the attic on the third floor at her place when we played Richmond, Virginia. We had some friends in Macon who let us crash at their place. And that usually meant doing the gig and then going and partying all night long, and then coming back and playing the next day after eating some local food and healing up a bit.Otis: Sounds almost like the premise of “Diner” right there, waking up on a park bench a little early.JB: That happened a good many times before we got consistent lodging.Otis: From some earlier research, you were in Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity [at University of Georgia] and you played at some fraternity parties. Were those shows at your frat or others?JB: No, it’s interesting ’cause we didn’t play our fraternity ’til later on, way after we graduated out of college. The ones I remember most were in the S.E.C. area. Clemson used to be in the A.C.C. There’d be Clemson, University of Georgia, there were a couple of fraternities that would have us once or twice a year, and that was a big deal cause you’d make a thousand bucks for a gig and that would keep you at Waffle House for a little bit. At club gigs, you get paid by what was coming through the door or some kind of deal that you’d make with the club owner, and sometimes that could just add up to twenty, thirty bucks a piece by the end of the night. So frat gigs sometimes were a little unruly and crazed as the evening wore on, but they did help keep us afloat. Over in Alabama, we had some experiences. It was a lot of work, and sometimes all your gear got really trashed—because of liquor, food, and beer, and people flying around—but it kept us playing.Otis: I was wondering if you cared to talk about the A-Frame House. That is one of the earliest streams on Panicstream.com. Can you talk about the history of the A-Frame House? Did it have any special meaning to you?JB: That was one of the first gigs. Me and Mike [Houser], and later on Dave [Schools] joined us. Just playing at a party and nothing really special, it was just a little different. We had records playing, and, yes, those were the days of records. So a friend of ours, Neal Becton, who I just saw up in D.C. He is a DJ up there. So he say “Come on over, plug in.” We’d play. Those are where you first cut your teeth on performing and getting comfortable in a public setting and seeing how that felt. Very, very, very humble beginnings and a lot of fun, too. I think I remember having to rescue my guitar out of the bonfire a couple of times.Otis: Let’s talk about your slimmed-down touring schedule. You guys went from playing five or six shows a week to three shows a weekend in different cities, which gives you guys some more off-time. With three nights in one city, you have the “same, rowdy crowd” coming back night after night. How do you perceive the difference in the touring these days?JB: It’s a different way to apply yourself. [When] you go in there really fresh and it’s been no more than a month, then you’re still ready to go as far as being familiar with the songs and your hands are all warmed up. I’m not saying we used to pace ourselves, but you just get into a different flow, different rhythm if you are on the road for 8-10 weeks as opposed to leaving home, blowing into a city, and going straight into rock and roll mode for three days and then blow back home for a few weeks. It has its own explosive element of coming out and playing three shows in a city, about 60-70 songs to go filter through and have fun with. Kinda a mini-marathon within those few days.Otis: When I interviewed JoJo [Hermann] recently, he was saying how good it feels playing in the band and how you guys were all gelling right now, how the old songs kept coming back and everything felt really good to play right now. “Bayou Lena” returned in Durham, and “The Waker” came back in Atlanta on New Year’s Eve for the first time since Mikey passed. Can you talk about the decision in bringing that back?JB: It’s not a big decision. You’re not looking for any kind of response or outcome. Very simply, Duane [Trucks] mentioned the song. He started out with this band listening to a lot of our records. So, he picked up on that and said, “Do you guys ever play that?” “Nah, we haven’t since Mikey passed.” And that song was a little personal. It was written by Mikey for his son, Waker. We hadn’t visited that yet, but with Duane’s prompting, we said, “Oh yeah, sure. Let’s do that.” It’s kind of cool to have a song you haven’t played in fifteen, seventeen years, something like that.Otis: Going back to your original collaborations with Mikey, what writing strategies do you employ? Do you like to write in the morning as opposed to the night? Do you always carry a notebook?JB: It’s good to carry something around. Every song has a little voice memo. I used to keep a little handheld, baby recorder. I even used one with the little tapes in them back in the day. In case you had a thought or a melody line or something, you can catch that and go about your day and not worry about trying to remember it. Like having that little notebook in your pocket, if you want to write something down if any inspiration was to come about. Personally, I enjoy waiting for the inspiration and working from that. Sometimes, you push yourself, sit down and try to articulate the ideas brewing and see where the songs go. Kind of push them along. Usually, it’s me, all in the name of discovery, more than actually steering where stuff goes. You start out to write a song but actually the song kinda just takes off on its own. For me, that’s how the songwriting process goes. As far as collaboration goes, you just have to remember to let go a little bit, especially if you got two different people with two different imaginations happening at the same time. You have to let that other person in and let the other ideas in and see how the tune melds together into one scene.Otis: That’s good advice. Are you still writing? “Sundown Betty” is new. You also debuted a new song, “Sacred Moments”, at a talent show in North Carolina. Can you talk about these two songs and how they came together?JB: Same way. You feel like writing a song and you could hear it in your head. So you just put it down in some kind of form, and then play with it a little bit. We have lots of songs in various stages of birth. We have a lot of things that are gestating right now with no real agenda on our part.Otis: Schools has been spending a lot of time producing music, on the other side of the glass in the studio. I’ve been wondering if you’ve been working on other things too or just reading or spending time with the family.That’s basically it. More homebody stuff and relearning how to do that. It’s mid-1980’s, you kind of throw the regular stuff away and just work on the music and the band. All of a sudden, you wake up thirty-five years later, and now I’ve got to relearn how to chill. Or find your life’s purpose. Right now, my life’s purpose is chilling. It’s good to do other things too. No matter what your beliefs are. This is the lifetime I’ve got to work with, and there’s a lot of stuff on the fey line. This is a nice time along with the music, we get to reunite with our friends and take a minute to breathe while you’re sitting on the back porch. It’s pretty cool. It helps you be a little more well-rounded, and you can bring that back into the music, too. That’s the name of the game. We didn’t start playing rock and roll to be slaves to the alarm clock. For sure. It’ll give me a chance to catch up on my mail.Don’t miss John Bell and Widespread Panic at Trondossa Music & Arts Festival on April 27th and April 28th alongside Umphrey’s McGee, The Wood Brothers, The Marcus King Band, and more. For more information, or to grab your tickets today, head here.You can also enter to win a pair of weekend passes in the contest below!last_img read more

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Spend to save

first_imgBy Jeffrey DorfmanUniversity of GeorgiaGeorgia is experiencing a budget shortfall that will force cuts of between 5 percent and 10 percent of the state budget. The governor and the General Assembly must consider any opportunity to reduce spending. Cuts of that magnitude won’t be easy to make. Hopefully, the Georgia Land Conservation Program won’t be among the cuts.Most federal and state government programs today are transfer programs. That means they take money from one group and give it to another. Examples include Medicare, Medicaid, economic development subsidies and Social Security. Land preservation is a transfer program because the money comes from sources that may not directly benefit from the preserved land. For example, if Joe Georgian’s tax money is used to preserve privately-owned farmland or a park in an area he’ll likely never visit, Joe may not see a direct benefit. Transfer programs can be unpopular with those on the taking end of the deal.Give and getSome transfer programs are still a good financial deal for taxpayers. For example, health and nutrition programs for pregnant women save taxpayers money because it’s cheaper to provide prenatal care than bear the higher costs associated with low-weight or premature births. In many cases, land preservation programs fall in this category. When farmland is preserved and kept in agricultural or timber production, taxpayers may have a lower total tax bill.If the land is sold to a developer and houses are built on the land, it’s likely that the taxes paid by the new homeowners will be less than the cost of providing services to the new residents. Research strongly supports this. Unless the houses are expensive, between $200,000 and $300,000 in most parts of the state, or the residents have few kids who attend public school, taxpayers probably pay less to preserve the land in one time costs and in annual property tax breaks than they would pay to make up the budget shortfall caused by their new neighbors.When parkland or natural lands are preserved, similar economic scenarios play out. Even better, if the parkland or nature areas are surrounded by development, the surrounding property values rise. Thus, those nearest to the preserved land pay more property taxes, potentially helping to offset some of the cost of the land preservation. Under the Georgia Land Conservation Program local governments must put up some of the money, so these increased property taxes reduce the transfer program nature of the land preservation program even further.Environmental benefitsPreserved land (whether farm, park, timber or just natural) provides environmental amenities. We get cleaner water, cleaner air and stormwater management. While a cleaner environment is likely something most of us value, these environmental benefits are also attractive to our wallets. Rather than having to build government facilities to accomplish these tasks, we get them for free from the preserved land, its soil and plant life. In suburban settings, an acre of trees (such as a wooded, pocket park) can save the local government $1,000 per year in avoided costs. That is, taxpayers don’t have to pay to build stormwater collection or water treatment facilities. These costs are easily overlooked since they’re saved by not appearing in the budget, but taxpayers still should be happy about them.Land preservation programs cost money, both in one time payments such as through the Georgia Land Conservation Program and in annual tax breaks such as the Conservation Use Assessment. In exchange, most Georgians realize they receive the non-monetary benefits of saving these lands, enjoying them and gaining environmental benefits. Few people realize that we usually get some or all of the money spent on land preservation back through lower future taxes due to the land remaining undeveloped. With both the environmental and economic upsides in mind, I hope we preserve and even expand funding for the Georgia Land Conservation Program during these tough budget times.My work on this in Georgia and other programs can be found at the Web site http://landuse.uga.edu. (Jeffrey Dorfman is an economist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

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EW! VT’s Holly Lane honored by the Vermont Children’s Trust Foundation

first_imgEverybody Wins! Vermont’s Holly Lane was awarded the Lynne Von Trapp Award by the Vermont Childrens Trust Foundation (VCTF)at their luncheon on June 18.This award is given annually to a staff person of a Vermont Children’s Trust Foundation grant site who was a driving force in establishing or moving the program or organization forward, was responsive to and accurate in meeting the requirements of the VCTF, was a good ambassador for the VCTF and was a positive and optimistic colleague to all. Holly has served in many capacities at EW!VT and has handled nearly all of the grant writing and reporting since arriving in 2004. She was recognized especially for her leadership and dedication in the 2005-2006 school year, which was marked by a series of personnel changes and financial shortfalls. Holly’s determination and perseverance were critical in helping EW! VT emerge from that period with renewed energy. As Hilda Greene from the Vermont Children’s Trust Fund stated, She’s a real superwoman!Everybody Wins! Vermont is a not-for-profit literary and mentoring organization dedicated to encouraging positive attitudes about reading. EW! VT uniquely combines mentoring and literacy programs to help children increase their prospects for success in school and in life through reading. More than 500 EW! VT mentors read with 580 students at 19 schools. For more information, see: www.everybodywinsvermont.org(link is external)last_img read more

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EU ministers recommend ending public funding for oil, gas and coal

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:The European Union should phase out its funding of oil, gas and coal projects, EU finance ministers said in a joint statement on Friday, in a move that could mark a major shift in the bloc’s efforts to combat climate change.It is the first time EU finance ministers have backed a declaration urging an end to fossil fuel funding altogether, having called previously only for an end to funding for coal power plants.An outright phase-out could halt multi-billion-euro financing of fossil fuel projects by the European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU’s financial arm.Last year, the EIB funded nearly 2 billion euros ($2.10 billion) of fossil fuel projects. Since 2013, such funding has amounted to 13.4 billion euros, EIB data show.However, gas projects in Ukraine, Croatia and other EU partners might still be funded after Hungary pushed for a waiver, fearing those countries would otherwise need to rely on Russia, confidential documents seen by Reuters show.Despite being a top financier of worldwide projects aimed at tackling global warming, the EU is ironically also funding fossil fuels, as many of its 28 member states back gas projects to reduce their reliance on nuclear energy or coal.But EU ministers on Friday in a joint statement called on the EIB and other global financial bodies, such as the World Bank, “to phase out financing of fossil fuel projects, in particular those using solid fossil fuels, taking into account the sustainable development, and energy needs, including energy security, of partner countries.”The political declaration needs to be backed up by a formal decision by the EIB board, which is composed by representatives of the 28 EU states.More: Worried by climate change, EU moves to end fossil fuel funding EU ministers recommend ending public funding for oil, gas and coallast_img read more

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Best of the Outdoors 2008: Climbing

first_imgBEST CLIMBING CRAGNew River GorgeThe New River Gorge has more than 2,000 developed routes and more are being sent every year. The gorge is famous for hard, heavily featured sandstone and routes with killer views.“I moved all over the U.S. checking out different climbing areas, but I kept coming back to the New. What makes it unique is the diversity. The Red has good sport climbing, North Carolina has good trad climbing, but the New has it all. It’s the best diversity of climbing in the country. On any given crag inside the gorge, you’ll have great sport and trad climbs, crack, corners. And the difficulty is just as varied, from 5.7 to 5.14.”—Mike Williams, guide at New River Mountain Guides NEXT BEST2. Red River Gorge, Ky.3. Tennessee Wall, Tenn.4. Linville Gorge, N.C.5. Looking Glass, N.C.6. Tallulah Gorge, Ga.7. Sunset Rock, Tenn.8. Seneca Rocks, W.Va.9. Potomac River Gorge, D.C./Md.10. Whitesides Mountain, N.C.FAVORITE CLIMBING ORGANIZATIONSoutheastern Climbers CoalitionThe Southeastern Climbers Coalition fights for climber’s rights in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee, securing access to some of the Southeast’s most cherished crags.“Whenever possible, we purchase climbing spots across the region, but the other side of the equation is making sure we take care of the climbing areas that we do not own—on both private and public lands. To ensure access, climbers have to continue to be good stewards of the land. One of our greatest achievements is energizing climbers to preserve their local crags. Seeing people step up to keep their crags clean and open has been really powerful.” —Paul Morley, climber and board member of Southeastern Climbers CoalitionCLIMBING HERORick WeberMuir Valley Nature Preserve, Ky. Muir Valley Nature Preserve is a privately owned tract of land within the Red River Gorge of Kentucky. Lifelong climber Rick Weber and his wife opened their property specifically to climbers, leading the way for a new realm of private stewardship.What made you decide to open a climbing preserve? We bought it in 2003 with the specific purpose of opening it up as a nature preserve and climbing area. We’re at that point in our lives where we’ve been successful and want to start giving something back.How many climbers visit Muir Valley?It’s growing fast. We got 10,600 visitors last year—almost one-third of all climbers in the Red River Gorge. People come from all over the world, making it the most popular private preserve in the East.You’re retired now—do you still climb?I try to get out a couple of days a week. I’m also a certified guide, so I do some instruction and guiding as well as climbing for fun. It’s a great way to spend our retirement. But it’s a lot of work too. I don’t think some climbers understand that [Muir Valley] is privately owned. They think it’s state owned or something. But I know they appreciate it as a good place to climb.BEST BOULDERING SPOT Rocktown, Ga. Sitting atop Pigeon Mountain, halfway between Chattanooga and Atlanta, Rocktown is full of house-sized sandstone boulders, some of which top out at 40 feet high. Climbs range from sweet beginner’s routes to classic advanced problems.“Rocktown has an underground reputation that’s spreading fast. The variety is incredible. It’s got great problems for everyone from novices to sick climbers. The Orb section alone has everything from 5.0 up to 5.8, and it’s all incredibly classic stuff. —Trey Johanson-Smith, owner of Adrenaline Climbing Gym in Sewanee, Ga. NEXT BEST2. Grandmother Boulders, N.C.3. Horse Pens, Ala.4. Rumbling Bald, N.C.5. Little Rock City, Tenn.6. Beauty Mountain, W.Va.7. Sandrock, Ala.8. Coopers Rock State Forest, W.Va.9. Blowing Rock Boulders, N.C.10. Little River Canyon, Ala.BEST CLIMBING EVENTTriple CrownBouldering SeriesThe series combines three of the most popular bouldering competitions in the Southeast—Hound Ears, Stone Fort, Horse Pens 40—into a single series that attracts the strongest climbers in the country.“The original idea was to raise money for climbing access. We didn’t think it would be this big. We have to cap Hound Ears and Stone Fort, but Horse Pens is open, so this year we’ll have over 750 people at that event. To date, we’ve raised $50,000 for access issues. Some people are into it purely for the competition, but the majority of climbers come because it’s a festival. It’s the one time of year when they get to engross themselves in the climbing community.”—Chad Wylke, co-founder of the Triple Crown Bouldering SeriesNEXT BEST 2. New River Rendezvous, W.Va.3. Red River Reunion, Ky.4. Sand Rock Hoe Down Bouldering Comp, Ala.5. Boulderween, Ala.6. Boat Rock Boulder Competition, Ga.7. Sloperfest, Ala.8. Rocktoberfest, Ky.9. Fall Flash Fest, N.C.10. Escalade Power Series, Ga. last_img read more

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Daily Dirt: Climb4Life in DC, Man Missing In SNP, and MTB in Athens, Ga.

first_imgYour daily outdoor news bulletin for July 11, the day Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton in a duel in 1804, proving once again that Vice Presidents are above the law…that is until they hatch a plot to take over half of the country in a military style coup:Climb4Life in Washington D.C. This WeekendThe 8th Annual Climb4Life Metro DC is happening in the DC area this Saturday, July 13th. Climb4Life is a unique fundraising event put on by the HERA Women’s Cancer Foundation to raise funds for ovarian cancer research and awareness. The American Cancer Society states one in 72 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer during their lifetime; the disease kills 14,000 women each year. The DC event will be held at locations in Carderock, Md. and Great Falls, Va. The event includes climbing or hiking with pro guides and a Celebration Dinner that eventing. Of the funds HERA raises through Climb4Life and other initiatives, 88 percent provides for programs such as the scientific research grants and community awareness grants.More info HERA and the Climb4Life event can be found here.Man Missing in Shenandoah National ParkShenandoah National Park Rangers are searching for a missing 21-year-old thought to be in the park. Tyler Keefer of Front Royal was reported missing on Monday around noon. His bicycle was found at the Dickey Ridge Trailhead and authorities think he may have been hiking in the area. Keefer is 6’1″ tall and weighs around 175 pounds. The search is a joint effort between the Shenandoah National Park and the Front Royal Police Department. Anyone with info on Keefer is asked to call 1-800-732-0911.Mountain Biking Comes to Athens, Ga.The Athens chapter of the Southern Off-Road Bicycling Association (SORBA) has launched an ambitious plan to build 30 miles of trails within 30 miles of the city. Athens has long been known as a great college town (GO DAWGS!) and a great music town (Panic, brah, ever heard of ’em?), but SORBA-Athens wants to build on their existing trail system. There a a few trail systems in the area, but nothing as close to what is being proposed – that is trail systems you can ride to from town, or take a short car ride to, as oppose to a long car ride. The 30/30 project is already underway with nearly five miles already built at East Athens Community Park and Hard Labor Creek State Park, with another five miles flagged and ready for shovels. The East Athens Community Park trail was even the site of a Twilight Criterium event in April. There are still some use issues to sort out, but this seems like a long-term project that will have serious benefits for mountain bikers in Athens and the community at large.More info at OnlineAthens.com.last_img read more

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BRO Athletes: Brian Vincent’s Epic Kayak Fishing Adventure

first_imgThis past Easter Sunday started off like most holidays at my house, with a little cuddling and giggling.Then we headed out to the lake for some Easter egg hunting and visiting with family. It’s a beautiful spot in Central Virginia.After all the festivities I ventured out onto the lake for a bit of kayak bass fishing. I’ve heard of good bass being caught in this 40 acre lake, from various family members, but I’d begun to question those reports, after many failed missions to find them. Today would be different. Everybody was out casting lines, the sun was out, and I was optimistic.I paddled the Jackson Kayak Coosa HD out to where the creek rolled into the lake and started fan casting a Powerteam Lures Swinging Hammer trailing a jig. I wanted something big with some action to entice aggressively feeding fish. I found one within 20 minutes, when this big girl smacked my lure 5 feet from the kayak. After a little tail walking I got her on board.For 10 years, while living in Boone, NC and Fayetteville, WV, I was heavy into hiking, rock climbing, and trail running with a little paddling sprinkled in.I hadn’t gone fishing in a long while. I got back into it a little over 2 years ago, and it was kayak bass fishing that brought me back. It’s so dang fun, and the kayak fishing community in Virginia is pretty awesome.Spurred on by the reports and photos of the many great Virginia kayak anglers, I’ve wanted to score a citation size bass in Virginia out of the kayak. When I pulled this big girl on board I knew I was close. Little did I know how close. I didn’t get a proper photo at first because all I’d brought on this quick mission was my phone, which I keep stashed in the pocket of my Ronny Fisher PFD. I was so anxious about losing the fish that I was hesitate to snap photos while out on the water, in the wind. I’d lost a big fish over the side of the kayak before; I didn’t want to do it again. So, I hooked her to my Fish Grips which I keep tethered to a Yak Attack track Mounted T-Reign Retractor, and slowly paddled back the short distance to my in-law’s house to get the camera and to show off the catch. 😉  Since getting back into fishing with this new found kayaking passion, I hadn’t caught anything over 5lbs.I weighed her when I got to shore. She came in at 7lbs. 10ozs. It was a new personal best. I was giddy. Everyone came running down the hill to the water and my wife started snapping photos. She remarked that she hadn’t seen me this psyched in quite a while. “You’re so happy.” The kids all got super excited to go fishing. It was great!As RMFC, aka Angling Addict, is prone to state, “I love this sh–!” During the chaos of congratulations and the quick photo session, I remembered that I needed to get a proper measurement to see if this bass was citation size. I slapped the bass down on the hawg trough, snapped a photo, and amidst cries from my wife to, “quit torturing that fish and just release it,” I let her go. When I took the photo I was certain it said 22″, the stated citation length for a largemouth bass.After releasing that big girl I went back to fishing and managed a few more, but nothing of size.That night, sitting on my couch with my wife, our girls safely tucked in to bed, I thought, ” I should check that photo and make sure it’s good.” I wanted that citation paper…My mouth dropped open and an expletive escaped from my lips. Life affords you many lessons. This was one. In my haste, I hadn’t really looked closely when I snapped the shot, and now the picture revealed a fish that appeared to be just a tiny smidgen short of 22″.  An absolutely infinitesimal degree of missed opportunity. I was frustrated. Disappointed.My wife asked,” It was your personal best. Does the fact that it’s not a citation make it less exciting or cool?”It did. Not less cool, but a bit less exciting. Sorry. That’s the truth.Don’t get me wrong, I was still very psyched, but I’m a competitive person, and I wanted that trophy paper I’d seen other anglers receive. My wife’s comment did give me pause though. It’s easy to get pulled into the hype train with social media, forums, etc. as this lifestyle/sport of kayak fishing takes off. But it’s important to retain that love of the process, the paddling out onto a peaceful lake or ocean, the excitement of your lure getting hit and of personal bests. Because in the end, that’s why we all love kayak fishing, or at least I do. It’s extremely personal. The intimacy we share with the natural world, the immediacy of that interaction on the water, is unparalleled. It is a great gift every-time we get to paddle out, with possibility beckoning, and this country’s great bounty at our fingertips.Enjoy it folks.Meanwhile, I’ll be out there chasing that paper, like a freshwater fishing hustler, trying to earn my stripes in a state and fishery, full of many talented, OG kayak anglers. 😉And while this fish was a personal best, it wasn’t a monster by any stretch. But as the first big spring bass of my season, it got my heart pumping and put a grin on my face. I’ve got a long way to go to be the angler I wish to be, whether fresh or salt, but I want to say thank you to all who PaddleVa and continue to inspire and educate me in the pursuit of big fish. You guys and gals rock!!See ya on the water!last_img read more

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Trail Mix – Paul Cauthen On Tour With Elle King – Win Tickets!

first_imgVery rare is it to feature an artist on Trail Mix one month and then revisit him or her the next.Trail Mix isn’t afraid to break tradition when given the opportunity, though, and with Paul Cauthen, the featured artist from last month’s mix, I was given an offer that I just couldn’t turn down.Cauthen, a Texas troubadour blessed with a rumbling baritone voice and distinct knack for penning great songs, flirted with success with Sons of Fathers, the band he founded in 2011. Despite gathering praise from Rolling Stone, NPR, and even opening for Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, Cauthen walked away from the band, knowing it wasn’t in the cards for him to continue down that route.Going solo lead to the release of My Gospel, from which we featured “Hanging Out On The Line” on last month’s Trail Mix, and his arrival as a rising star in the world of alt-country.Cauthen has caught the ear of some impressive fellow musicians. He will soon join country artist Cody Jinks on tour and is currently on the road in support of pop radio diva Elle King. Their tour will be coming to The Ritz in Raleigh, NC, on Monday, November 14th.Trail Mix wants to offer you the chance to catch the show and grab a signed copy of My Gospel and a meet and greet with Paul Cauthen. If you are interested, take a shot at the trivia question below and email your answers to [email protected]  A winner of two passes, the signed record, and a meet and greet with Paul will be chosen from all correct answers received by noon on Friday, November 11th.Remember – email your answers in. Don’t post them in the comment section below!Question . . . . Elle King is the daughter of what famed former Saturday Night Live star?Good luck!last_img read more

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A closer look at local entrepreneur at the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator

first_imgThe Incubator, which is affiliated with both Binghamton University and SUNY Broome, is a place for entrepreneurs to begin, develop, and grow their businesses/companies, says Holmes. BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — Despite a challenging economy, Koffman Southern Tier Incubator Operations Director, Laura Holmes, says the Incubator has seen an increase in entrepreneurs. She adds that it’s a great help for the Southern Tier economy as well, noting that if the companies are successful, then they hire more people. The Incubator provides a physical space for some entrepreneurs who wish to rent it and continue developing their brands on site, but adds that there are also other membership offers for aspiring entrepreneurs to choose from. While Incubators have seen a 40-50% decrease in entrepreneurs nationwide, she says that at the Koffman Southern Tier center they have added more people since March and have only lost one tenant. Overall, Holmes says the Incubator is there to provide its tenants with all types of support: from passing along contacts and networking opportunities to providing physical spaces and labs. He says he has learned a lot since being at the Incubator, including on how to recieve capital. Alex Kosyakov, founder of Natrion, is one of those those new tenants. The 19 year old founder came to the Incubator just a few months ago back in August. Right now, it has three full time employees but Kosyakov says its also hired Binghamton University student interns.last_img read more

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Year-In-Review: Working in a Bipartisan Way to Achieve Legislative Victories

first_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf Year-In-Review: Working in a Bipartisan Way to Achieve Legislative Victories Implementing several pieces of legislation to fight the opioid and heroin crisis.Expanding unemployment compensation to nearly 50,000 middle-class workers.Enabling non-violent offenders to have their records sealed to increase employment opportunities and reduce recidivism.Finalizing new regulations on gas drillers to protect water and land.Expanding protections for domestic violence victims.Helping prevent drunk driving with stronger penalties.Change is hard to achieve, and only happens when we put partisanship aside for the greater good of our commonwealth. But Governor Wolf has shown that progress can be made if we come together and put working and middle class families first. By: J.J. Abbott, Deputy Press Secretarycenter_img 2016 In Review,  Government That Works,  The Blog,  Year in Review Despite historic Republican majorities in the legislature, Governor Wolf worked with the General Assembly to achieve significant victories to move Pennsylvania forward on many issues, including:Legalizing medical marijuana to help adults and children suffering from debilitating diseases.Allowing ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber statewide.Implementing the most sweeping liquor reforms since Prohibition; includingDirect shipment of wine to consumers,‘Freeing the six-pack’ at gas stations, andWine sales in grocery stores. December 16, 2016 YEAR IN REVIEW SHARE TWEETlast_img read more