Stalking the Apple Harvest Along 550 Miles of Virginia’s Appalachian Trail, Part 1

first_imgbrom.3 (1)A week or so back Annie started getting this craving for salads—breakfast, lunch, dinner, in between. It was compulsory. Fringing on the neurotic. After a few days of this, it occurred to me her subconscious was likely instigating the salad binge, a reaction to the fact that, for the next give-or-take 12 weeks, as she section-hikes over 550 miles of Virginia’s Appalachian Trail, she will be living predominantly off tofu jerky, ramen noodles, homemade trail-mix, protein shakes, bags of tuna fish, dehydrated fruits and meals of the just-add-water variety.Thus, up until Friday, August 16 when, after years of consideration and umpteen overnight, weekend, and week-long getaways, she trucked it down to the southwestern-most tip of the state, setting out from Damascus on her trek to cover every mile of the Virginia quarter of the Appalachian Trail, she was milking the veggie bender for all it was worth.Hiking the AT, it’s one of those things lots of people talk about doing—that is, if it wasn’t for the kids, job, mortgage, automobiles, in short, the so-called myriad responsibilities binding them to the concrete geographical realities of hearth and home. Similarly, having saved the money, gotten herself mentally fortified, arranged her business obligations in such a way as to enable her to make the trip, still Laura was wavering. However, upon paying a visit to her 92 year old grandmother, waxing into a somewhat worried explanation of what it was she (Annie) was considering, with a curt and dismissive wave, Grandmother responded: “You should go. It would likely be the best thing you could do in your life.”brom.1 (1)Matriarch and homemaker for almost three-quarters of a century, Grandmother—Minerva Torrence—had devoted her life to serving as a pillar of domestic stability. Confronted by this unexpected blessing, a deep calm fell over Laura.“As I face my 34th birthday,” she told me, “I’m trying to accept and come to terms with my infertility. That moment, sitting at the kitchen table with my grandmother, something clicked. Section-hiking the Appalachian Trail felt like the best thing I could possibly do for myself.”“As with many a walk in the woods,” she went on, “I see this trip as a spiritual journey. A cleansing journey to rid myself of toxins—”after years of being a smoker, with the help of the abundant fresh air, Laura plans on quitting cold-turkey. “And it’s professional as well. On the one hand, I’ve committed myself to carrying my camera and working with you on this weekly column for Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, and will have a photo essay featured in AT Journeys Magazine. On the other, artistically speaking, I’ll be taking numerous self-portraits, and meeting with models along the way, hopefully having that culminate in a gallery event sometime in January or February of 2015.”But back to logistics:For the first week, she will be traveling without a tent, “Thereby lightening my load, enabling me to build a tolerance, and ease into the strain of walking with my photography gear.”What she means is: Rather than a traditional backpacking setup, inspired by the Blue Ridge’s ripening apples, the solitude of the season (this time of year thru-hiker traffic will have slowed to a trickle), historic sights, and iconic summits, she’ll be tucking her Canon DSLR Mark II (affectionately known as ‘Mark’) inside her Lowepro Dry Zone—a high-end, waterproof camera bag designed for brief and intensive excursions—composing photos all along the way. In order to pull this off, she will basically be repurposing the bag—storing her water bladder in the pack’s laptop compartment; instead of additional lenses, carrying a homemade aluminum burner, denatured alcohol, quick-dry towel, and a change of clothes; rather than a tripod, when her tent arrives (at the end of week one), it will be strapped to the face of her pack.“For the next twelve weeks,” she explains, her eyes reflecting the shimmering blues of the Damascus horizon, “my only job is to walk, stay dry, hydrated, and sane. To take pictures. To carry a journal. Each step will be rooted and stabilized in the simple act of breathing. I’m looking forward to waking to the misty sunrises, to fellowship with the trees and the wind, to scaling the ancient peaks, to staring down into valleys, to hiking in the moonlight.”From Damascus to Harperʼs Ferry, she’s purchased her ticket. Now comes The Ride.–Eric J. Wallace is a freelance writer and journalist roaming the state of Virginia. For more info, email him at drericjwallace@gmail.com.–To follow Annie’s adventure more closely, visit www.instagram.com/621_studios where, each morning, she will be posting a photo, documenting her progress, and offering behind the scenes shots of the self-portrait project she will be undertaking along the way. For additional info., bookings, print-sales, upcoming projects, newsletters, or just to say hello, visit 621studios.com.brom.2 (1)last_img read more

What if “ABSURD!” was a good thing?

first_img 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Sean McDonaldBeing good at your business isn’t enough. There, I’ve said it. In order to compete, you need to go way way way beyond good. You need to go way way way beyond great. You need to go way way way beyond excellent. In fact, you need to reach the realm of the ABSURD! But doesn’t ABSURD! mean crazy or insane? Sure, if you only use it in negative contexts. But ABSURD! has another meaning and we’re going to redefine it.How so? Well, for one, consumers simply don’t accept mediocre (that is, good) anymore. They want fabulous, ground-breaking, and out-of-this-world. If you don’t believe me, listen to the consumers themselves. They’re telling us exactly what they expect – they’re talking to the press, they’re talking to your competitors, and they’re even telling you. But are you listening? If you are, you know that they want absurd!Here are 4 things that should be ABSURD! at your organization.Commitment – Absurdly committed professionals are top of the line, hard to get, and even harder to keep. They have a definite outcome in mind when they start out. The very act of committing to a task or initiative is sacred to them. They treat commitments very seriously and they are at their best when teamed with like-minded colleagues. continue reading »last_img read more

Battle lines are drawn in fiduciary regulations fight

first_imgby: Todd BerghuisLong ago, in distant elementary and junior high school days, some of the most galvanizing words on the playground or in the neighborhood were heard in the battle cry “Fight…fight..”  Brawls major or minor have always had the power to stir the blood and draw a crowd.  Back then, the motivation was likely to be nothing more serious than someone’s wounded pride, pecking order conflicts, or the mistaken belief that the opposite sex was impressed by such macho behavior.  Times change, and we hopefully outgrow the need for those juvenile tests of strength and will.  But that doesn’t mean that the appetite for combativeness goes completely away.  It’s a part of everyday life, from the competitiveness of business to the sparring of politics and policy making.  We’ve been treated to a classic demonstration of this combativeness in the aftermath of the Department of Labor’s April release of proposed regulations on – how apropos – “conflicted investment advice,” much better-known as fiduciary definition regulations.The avowed intent of these regulations is to assure that those saving for retirement receive investment advice that is in their best interest, not advice biased in some manner that favors the advisor over the saver.  Proponents believe some version of these regulations will do this.  Opponents believe the rules as proposed will result in such advisor anxiety over possible fiduciary liability that smaller investors – particularly IRA investors – will be left without the investment advice they need. continue reading » 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Guide for SMEs: how to pivot your business model

first_imgGuide to SMEs_Article image_long[3],This is part of our free series, Guide for SMEs, which aims to provide practical, actionable advice for small food and drink brands impacted by the coronavirus crisisWhen lockdown hit, many bricks and mortar food and drink businesses had to overcome the roadblock that had landed on their route to market by pivoting their business model.To find out how it’s done, and what needs to be considered when you make the switch, we spoke to Stefano Cuomo, MD of Faversham food hall Macknade, which introduced its first delivery service while in lockdown to keep the tills ringing. Are there any considerations small businesses should take into account before they decide to pivot?For the hospitality sector, particularly food and beverage retailers, the main consideration is whether to offer delivery or takeaway options. In the short term, delivery and takeaway services can work well as they can be scaled up or down, and the approach allows businesses to maintain a positive rapport with their customers.However, the overheads for retail and delivery are very different, which should be an important concern influencing the decision to pivot into delivery. For small and medium-sized retailers, whilst it’s important to be dynamic, innovation needs to be carried out in a way that doesn’t result in extra overheads or your business won’t benefit. The best strategic approach is to review measures regularly to ensure that they can be fulfilled.Another huge consideration is the health and safety of both employees and customers. Understanding the current health and safety guidelines is crucial; we work with a support organisation for SMEs, Locate in Kent, to help unpick the requirements, and I believe in other parts of the UK, there are similar support services.What work must be done ahead of changing your business plan?Considering your margins is a major part of creating a strategic plan. Thanks to the government furlough scheme, we have been given some headspace to revisit our business model with the burden of extra overheads taken away.From March to July, we have been able to relook at our model and start to pivot. These changes in our approach aren’t just to help us to remain profitable now, but allow us some wiggle room to examine our business model in depth to make sure it’s still going to be relevant in two years’ time.Naturally, this is challenging in the current climate as there are still a lot of unknowns, but having a central strategy to guide you, that is flexible enough to be adapted as we progress through the crisis, will be key for SMEs to ensure the success of their business.How will pivoting impact taxation?It comes back to margin. Businesses have been able to defer a lot of their overheads thanks to government measures, but there is going to be some unpicking to be done in the coming months as businesses start to look at bringing those costs back in, and what the impact is going to be.Additionally, from a cashflow perspective, businesses need to ensure their deferred payments are being planned for. ‘Having a central strategy to guide you, that is flexible enough to be adapted as we progress through the crisis, will be key for SMEs,’ says Cuomo What kind of support is available for SMEs who are considering diversification?I’d encourage SMEs to look at the organisations that work with their local council as a starting point, as well as identifying the main areas of support you would benefit from.In Kent, where Macknade is based, we have organisations like Locate in Kent, Visit Kent and Produced in Kent that provide fantastic resources for SMEs. These agencies are partners of the local council and offer business support services. There is also funding available from Kent County Council, in the form of 0% loans, to support businesses already in Kent or those looking to relocate there. Finding and meeting other businesses that are similar to yours is helpful too. We find that connecting with other SMEs and sharing information to support each other can make a lot of difference. When should an SME communicate the switch to customers?The approach should be the same as any other trading period: keep having continual dialogue with your customers with clear messages about what you’re doing. It’s important to explain the approach you’re taking and reassure customers that your product and its quality remains the same.Now more than ever, communication is key to maintain your customer relationships, and adopting a transparent and inclusive manner with your customer communications – keeping them updated on the progress of your plans and how your business is faring – will help to keep them engaged with your business.Do staff contracts need to be changed?At the moment, the formal employee contract will remain the same, in terms of being an overview of responsibilities and expectations of the team member. Although, as the situation in the UK changes, it is likely that contracts are going to need to adapt in line with the ‘new normal’.As we start to move forward towards a more flexible way of working, this is going to have to be contracted in. Are there any popular switches for businesses operating in certain markets?The obvious one for food and drink businesses has been delivery. This shift, however, can only come with an understanding of who your core customers are, as no business can service everyone.At Macknade, our customer age demographic is 60-plus. When we look at this core customer, the chances are they were isolating earlier than other age groups and are likely to continue to prioritise home delivery options.Delivery therefore makes strategic sense in the context of our customer base. I think that is the main point to consider – understand who you are targeting and how your business can pivot to suit your customer base.last_img read more

Recognizing Veterans Day in Pennsylvania (VIDEO)

first_img  SHARE  TWEET By: Governor Tom Wolf The Blog,  Videos November 11, 2016 Today we come together to recognize all our distinguished veterans whose service has allowed our nation to prosper and has allowed us all to live in freedom.Our veterans disregard personal well-being and act with incredible honor to preserve for us, the citizens of this great nation, a gift of unapproachable magnitude: our freedom.We owe an inexpressible debt to our distinguished veterans, and today in special recognition of their courageous efforts, I would like to honor these brave men and women and encourage all citizens to celebrate and thank these American heroes of the past and present.On behalf of all Pennsylvanians, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to all veterans for their selfless service to this country. Thank you.center_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf Recognizing Veterans Day in Pennsylvania (VIDEO)last_img read more

Solar energy for Africa by 2030

first_imgFOCAC: Clean energy projects in Africa Obama Africa Investment The British Government has launched a new campaign to help achieve universal energy access across Africa by 2030. Part of the initiative involves removing some of the barriers to installing small, self-contained solar energy kits into homes and businesses, which are operated on a pay-as-you-go system.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tURvdw7QNIMRelatedcenter_img INTERVIEW: AfDB Africa energy initiativelast_img

Canyon snaps up chance

first_img But it was a bittersweet result for the champion trainer as the much-anticipated debut of Allez Colombieres ended prematurely when he was pulled up early on by Ruby Walsh with what subsequently turned out to be a fatal pelvic injury. With the evens favourite out of the contest, former John Gosden-trained dual Listed winner Nichols Canyon (7-2) took full advantage, clearing away going to the final flight and winning by five lengths despite a clumsy leap. Willie Mullins added another Grade One prize to his collection when Nichols Canyon won the Bar One Racing Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse in impressive style. Paul Townend rode the winner, who was following on from his jumps debut victory at Cork and was quoted at 12-1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle by BetVictor, while Boylesports go 14-1 and Paddy Power 16-1. Townend said: “He did it nicely. No one likes to see a horse like Allez Colombieres pulling up, but he was a deserved winner. “He was a good Flat horse and stays well. On the whole he jumped better than he did in Cork. He’s learning and I think he has an engine as well.” Mullins said: “His jumping has improved as he was untidy the last day. Paul said there was plenty left in the tank if anything came to him. “He’ll go the normal two-mile route and will probably run next at Leopardstown after Christmas.” The trainer initially spoke of his hopes that the injury to Allez Colombieres might not be too serious, but that proved not to be the case. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he did not lie over Danny Welbeck injury

first_img Press Association Arsene Wenger has urged Arsenal fans to focus on getting behind the current players and not why the club failed to sign a replacement for injured forward Danny Welbeck before the transfer window shut. “I have made more than 300 transfers and every time it’s a decision to make. Do you buy the player because he strengthens his squad or not? The solutions we had were not convincing at all.” The Arsenal manager insisted there was nothing untoward surrounding Welbeck’s surgery and the timing of the announcement coming after the closure of the window. “I am surprised that people accused me of lying when I was in the press conference on Friday morning, I did not know Welbeck had a bad setback. I did not lie to you, I gave you the information I had,” he said. “I heard late on Friday night that his condition had not evolved as well as we thought it was and he had needed specialist and needed further investigation. Apart from that, if we did not find someone [to sign], we did not find them.” Midfielder Jack Wilshere will not return as expected from a hairline fracture in his fibula following the international break as planned after what Wenger described as a “little setback”, but German defender Per Mertesacker could be in contention again following illness. Arsenal, meanwhile, are to donate £1 for every ticket sold against Stoke to help the Syrian refugee crisis. England forward Welbeck is expected to be out until at least Christmas after he underwent surgery on a knee problem which caused him to miss the end of last season and the FA Cup final victory over Aston Villa. With the decision to operate having come ahead of the September 1 deadline, there would have still been time for Arsenal to move in the transfer window to bolster the attacking options. Both Karim Benzema at Real Madrid and Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani from Paris St Germain were reported targets. Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson said to have only added veteran goalkeeper Petr Cech, who arrived earlier in the summer from Chelsea, “cheats the fans”. Wenger hit back when s peaking ahead of Saturday’s Barclays Premier League match against Stoke, insisting he had not lied about the situation when addressing the issue at the time. The Gunners boss remains confident there is enough attacking talent within the squad to cope. “To support the club and support them team is to stand behind the players – it is not always expecting someone coming down from heaven to sort out all your problems. Support is believing in the players in the squad and this is a good opportunity to do that for our supporters,” he said. Wenger continued: “I am confident I have enough cover and enough quality. “We have Alexis (Sanchez), we have (Olivier) Giroud, we have (Theo) Walcott and it is always a similar problem – when you have many strikers people say how do you keep them all happy? It is about the efficiency and quality of our game, we can score goals I am not worried about that.” Wenger rebuffed suggestions he should have just raided the Emirates Stadium bank vault regardless, given Arsenal were the only side in Europe’s top five leagues not to bring in an outfield player this summer. “You have to be convinced that it is not just to please people, that it is an efficient solution, and the efficient solution didn’t turn up. As well you have to be brave enough to say no,” Wenger added. last_img read more

Other Sports Valtteri Bottas pips Lewis Hamilton to pole position in historic Chinese Grand Prix

first_img Shanghai: Valtteri Bottas pipped Lewis Hamilton to pole position for Sunday’s milestone Chinese Grand Prix in a dominant Mercedes front-row lockout. Sebastian Vettel was third-fastest for Mercedes’ arch-rivals Ferrari for the race in Shanghai, the 1,000th grand Prix in Formula One. Bottas, who leads the world championship by a point ahead of title-holder Hamilton after two races, scorched to the best time of one minute 31.547 seconds. That was just 0.023 secs ahead of Hamilton, the Briton who has been wrestling with his Mercedes and has voiced concern about Ferrari’s superior straight-line speed.Mercedes though appear to have the edge on the corners.    “The car has been really good this weekend and Lewis also improved a lot in qualifying, it was super close,” said the flying Finn Bottas, who is beginning to climb out of the shadow of his more famous team-mate.RELATED    Vettel, the four-time world champion who has been in the spotlight after a series of unforced errors stretching back to last season, was 0.301secs off Bottas.    The German this time got the better of his decade-younger Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc, who is fourth on the grid and failed to so far to match his performance last time out in Bahrain. Fifth was Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and sixth his team-mate Pierre Gasly.    The young Dutchman Verstappen was infuriated after traffic prevented him from clocking a final, flying lap, and made his anger clear in an expletive-filled message over his radio.    Seventh and eighth were the Renault duo of Daniel Ricciardo — last year’s victor in China — and Nico Hulkenberg.    Bottas though is the man in form, going fastest in the last two practice sessions after Vettel topped the times in first practice.    Bottas had also gone quickest in Q1, but five-time world champion Hamilton was marginally faster in Q2. Hamilton, who snatched victory in Bahrain after Leclerc’s Ferrari failed, said that he had been “struggling with the car so I was just battling the thing”, despite joining Bottas on the front row.    “Valtteri was particularly quick in the first sector so I was experimenting throughout the session,” said the 34-year-old, a five-time winner in Shanghai.Hamilton conceded that “Valtteri’s been stellar all weekend”.    Bottas took a clear victory in the season-opening race in Melbourne and grabbed a bonus point for the fastest lap to take the edge in the early standings.    Albon smash     A notable casualty in Q2 was former world champion Kimi Raikkonen, the Alfa Romeo veteran who is a crowd favourite in China. Earlier, Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon lost control and smashed at high speed towards the end of final practice, so did not take part in qualifying.    The 23-year-old rookie climbed gingerly out of his wrecked car, but only after a huge scare that drew gasps from the crowd in Shanghai.    The Thai-Briton, who is in his first season in F1, careened into a wall as he entered the straight with less than 10 minutes left of third and final practice.    His car was badly mangled and there was a frantic call from engineers asking if he was okay.    He was later given the all-clear but missed qualifying because his ruined car could not be fixed in time.    Albon said that he had been “a bit too greedy”. “I was obviously pushing, trying to find the limits, but it should have been in qualifying, not FP3 (third practice),” he said. highlights The Chinese Grand Prix will be the 1000th race in Formula One history.Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari was third.Valtteri Bottas won the Australian Grand Prix.center_img For all the Latest Sports News News, Other Sports News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

USC Football has broken discipline system

first_imgNick Saban has not been afraid to discipline players despite ongoing investigations – Photo courtesy of Library of CongressWhen head coach Clay Helton was hired, there was a sigh of relief from fans who expected him to be the one to clean up the football program. Ever since the Reggie Bush debacle sent USC into a full-blown tailspin it has yet to recover from, there have been innumerable issues including the arrest and suspension of former tight end Bryce Dixon for second-degree robbery and the suspension of former cornerback Josh Shaw who lied about the cause of injuries sustained from leaping from a balcony.Helton is not this type of guy. He is a down-to-earth, blue-collar coach who I expected to instill a strong sense of moral obligation to the University and a dedicated work ethic.Of course, the blame for this year’s incidents does not solely fall on the shoulders of Helton, but the tone is set at the top and Helton has the power to make an impression on the young Men of Troy.Already this year, four football players have been suspended. Cornerback Isaiah Langley did not play in the Alabama game, serving a suspension rendered in July after Langley was arrested for suspicion of trespassing, intoxication and resisting arrest at a fraternity party at UCLA in May. Langley was disciplined later in the month for violating team rules.In Saturday’s game against Alabama, linebacker Jabari Ruffin was ejected immediately after he stomped on Alabama player Minkah Fitzpatrick’s groin. His punishment for this offense — a suspension for the first half of the game against Utah State and a required letter of apology. I would love to read the letter from the guy who has been on circulating videos from SportsCenter of the “Top 10 Cheap Shots of All Time.”More notably, linebacker Osa Masina and defensive end Don Hill have been suspended for both the Alabama game and the Utah State game for their involvement in sexual assault investigations. Both are allowed to practice with the team and attend their classes. Given the sensitivity of this particular accusation, this is the area where discipline enters a gray area. It would be easy to take one side or the other and say that clearly these two players need to be disciplined more harshly, or that they have the right to be treated as normal citizens because they are innocent until proven guilty.I do not think the answer is as clear cut.In all of these situations, the argument could be made that Helton has missed his chance to come in as a new coach and set a strict tone of what is and is not acceptable, but Helton hasn’t done anything that isn’t considered standard protocol across college football.In comparison with Alabama, the top team in the country this year and several years running, there has been an equally disturbing trend of crime among football players, but half-hearted disciplinary measures.Alabama’s All-SEC left tackle Cam Robinson was arrested on drug and weapons charges in May, but the case was dropped by the district attorney citing insufficient evidence. After what head coach Nick Saban described as internal discipline, Robinson played in the season opener against USC last weekend. He was even named one of the 10 impact players for Alabama by their coaching staff. However, even though the charges were dropped eventually, Robinson was suspended indefinitely by the football team, proving that just because the university says the athlete is allowed to attend class does not mean the team is required to keep him around.Alabama indefinitely suspended another player, Alphonse Taylor, after he was arrested and charged with drunk driving in July. In August, Saban allowed Taylor to begin practicing with the team, and he served a one-game suspension last weekend, and is now eligible to compete for a starting spot.While many may argue that these punishments are not severe enough, the main difference I would like to highlight between Alabama’s handling of their disciplinary matters and USC’s is that with Alabama, the players were suspended indefinitely before their charges were fully processed, whereas USC responds with allowing two men accused of rape to practice with the rest of the team.Just because they have not been found guilty does not mean they are people who should be representing the University. Athletes should be held to a higher standard than regular students because they are in a more high-profile situation where outsiders automatically associate the quality of the university based on the football team. It also hurts the situation of other football players and athletes, most of whom are normal, kind and morally responsible people.I admire the bravery of Nick Saban to suspend some of his star players just because of the association between the athlete and the crime. When the facts are settled and the dust has cleared, Saban still has the wherewithal to adjust the punishment as necessary, but removing the athlete from the team for an indefinite amount of time is the better option for the team as a whole.Hailey Tucker is a junior majoring in broadcast and digital journalism. She is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. Her column, “Tucker Talks,” runs Thursdays.last_img read more