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How To: Damascus, VA

first_imgDamascus is unlike any town you’ll ever visit. Its unique characters and close proximity to some of the best outdoor opportunities on the East Coast make it stand out above all other Appalachian towns. Steep, lush mountains tower above pristine creeks and rivers that hold some of the most rare and biodiverse creatures on earth. Damascus is a quiet mountain town where one visits to escape the hustle-bustle of everyday life. You will feel warm and welcomed when you visit. The mountains surrounding the town call to people like the Sirens in the Odyssey with a similar captivating lure. If you visit Damascus, Virginia be warned, part of you will always remain there.img_6319dsc_0573PlayThere’s a reason Damascus is known as “Trail Town USA.” The Appalachian Trail, Iron Mountain Trail, and the Virginia Creeper Trail can all be accessed from Main Street. The Appalachian Trail literally is the centerpiece of town, though the VA Creeper Trail probably draws the most attention. This 38-mile rail-trail connects Whitetop Mountain to the town of Abingdon, VA, by way of a well-maintained gravel superhighway (human-powered traffic only). You can even get a shuttle from one of the many shuttle services in town that will hook you up with a bike and a lift to whichever trailhead you wish to ride from.If you are a boater, Damascus is the place to be. The South Fork of the Holston River runs right through town and is fed by Beaver Dam Creek, Whitetop Laurel Creek, and Tennessee Laurel Creek which are all excellent to paddle when the water is here. The South Fork of the Holston has reliable flow almost year round with the exception of late summer when the levels usually drop below 200 cfs. Within two hours from town you can access some of the best whitewater in the Southeast, including Watauga River, Russell Fork River, Nolichucky, French Broad, Guest River, New River, Doe River, and Wilson Creek.dsc_0745-2 dsc_0747-2If you are a climber you won’t have to look far either. About a five-minute car ride from town, just over the Tennessee/ Virginia border, sits Backbone Rock. There are a few lines to top rope here, so for the most part this area serves well as a place to learn anchor building and basic climbing techniques.Hidden Valley, however, is about 40 minutes from town, but offers excellent sandstone climbing on a wide range of bolted sport routes. The climbing here seems almost too good to be true given its close proximity to Abingdon and Damascus. Hidden Valley is beautifully positioned and a resource folks in this region are lucky to have._mg_6261Grayson Highlands State Park is about 45 minutes from Damascus and offers world-class bouldering. The quality of problems is complimented wonderfully by their exposure and setting amongst the Grayson Highlands backdrop. You can spend months here and never have to climb the same problem.img_0417StayDamascus is visited by a lot of people just passing through. There are multiple bed and breakfasts, hostels, and camp spots around town. The Lazy Fox Inn, the Old Mill Inn, and the Hiker’s Inn are all nice, quaint accommodations right in town. There are camping spots north or south on the AT about a mile either way. There are car camping spots up 58 next to Whitetop Laurel Creek and dispersed camping along the Virginia Creeper Trail (any place that isn’t marked with a No Trespassing sign, of course). You will quickly learn that everyone in town is extremely laid back and if you plan to camp, please do so responsibly so that resources last. EatMojo’s Trailside Café has great coffee and breakfast options and recently started serving gourmet dinners Thursday thru Sunday. It has a comfortable, cozy feel and is on the AT (so don’t be surprised to see a crowd of thru-hikers when you go). Bobo McFarland’s is an Irish-style pub with pizza, salads, burgers, and beer, also situated directly on the AT. Damascus also has its own brewery, aptly named The Damascus Brewery. The taproom is always packed with people, and live music echoes into the streets.last_img read more

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Combined Strategies, Technologies Help IED Fight

first_img As the number of improvised explosive device attacks rises in Afghanistan, a combination of strategies and technologies are being used to halt the harm they cause to troops and civilians, Army Lt. Gen. Michael L. Oates said. Oates, director of the Joint IED Defeat Organization, known as JIEDDO, spoke with reporters during a Dec. 6 briefing at the Foreign Press Center in Washington. “We are essentially attempting to find a fertilizer-based bomb, so it has very low or no metallic content, and it is buried in an unimproved road, in the dirt,” Oates said. Military-grade munitions are harder to come by in Afghanistan than they are in Iraq, he said, and an abundance of fertilizer is available for use in homemade explosives. “It’s easier and it works,” Oates said, “so there’s no particular reason to change that model.” But detecting fertilizer-based devices “requires a very sophisticated combination of factors,” he added. Metal detectors don’t work against these crude but efficient devices, which have risen from only a few in the first seven years of the war in Afghanistan to 1,300 to 1,400 events a month over the past 18 months, as the number of coalition troops has surged there. Instead, Oates said, coalition forces have had some success in detecting the residue of homemade explosives before they are buried underground. “Dogs are very successful at locating most forms of explosives, and so we have increased the number of explosive-detection dogs in theater,” he said. There are more unmanned aerial vehicles in Afghanistan now than there ever were in Iraq, Oates said, noting the “significant volume of UAVs” in the air there with remote-sensing capability. Airborne platforms also can help detect disturbances in the earth that may give clues about the locations of IEDs, he said. For example, if a command wire is used in the IED detonator, that may be detected from the air. Ground-penetrating radar also offers an ability to see things buried beneath the surface. “We still have more work to go on that technology,” Oates said, “but it is providing some useful help.” A range of other radars also are being explored to look for devices buried underground. “What was new in Afghanistan this year was the introduction of what we call persistent ground surveillance, PGS, and persistent threat detection [system], PTDS,” Oates said. Persistent surveillance includes a range of functions, but the newest capabilities, he said, include a blimp that can rise to a height of about 3,000 feet with a long-range camera that watches the roads day and night through most weather conditions. Cameras mounted on towers do the same thing. “We’ve put almost 50 of these systems into theater and we have more coming,” Oates said. “All of these things are either currently in theater or moving there as soon as we can get them there,” he added. But Oates said he doesn’t want to oversell the ability of technology alone to detect IEDs. “This is a very difficult bomb to detect using technology. We find that well-trained soldiers armed with dogs tend to be the most effective in finding IEDs, but they are facilitated with other forms of technology,” he said. “The airborne platforms allow you to understand what is going on within the enemy network and that’s helpful to understanding where to look for the bomb. Our other intelligence capabilities allow us to do the same,” he said. “But unless you employ all of these capabilities, it is very, very difficult to find these explosives,” Oates said. By Dialogo December 10, 2010last_img read more

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Inner City

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Devcorp’s new luxury development is drawing buyers to Brisbane city

first_img Inside the spacious kitchen and living areas at Lume Kangaroo Point.Ms Anstey said she was thrilled to see the vision come to life.“Our vision for Lume was to forge a particular lifestyle for our residents that encompasses all of the luxuries of absolute city living,” Ms Anstey said.“We wanted to redefine residential development for southeast Queensland”.Lume is positioned on the corner of Shafston Ave and Main St in the iconic riverside suburb which will soon have the added benefit of a direct pedestrian access to Brisbane City via a new footbridge. The remaining one, two and three bedroom apartments are available with a variety of floor plans and priced from $450,000 to $1,695,000. Enjoy the views of Brisbane City from Lume Kangaroo Point.The project ticked all of the boxes for buyers Greg and Jo-Anne Clarke who sold their property in northern NSW to re-embrace a cosmopolitan lifestyle.“We were looking for a prestigious inner-city apartment in Brisbane to relocate from our Bangalow property and immediately fell in love with Lume,” Mr Clarke said. Won over by the quality of build and meticulous design, the couple were quick to secure a secondary apartment as an investment.“Devcorp’s attention to detail was so impressive, we looked at the plans in the morning and signed up for two apartments by the afternoon,” he said.The Clarkes bought a three-bedroom terraced apartment that features 150sq m of outdoor entertaining space.The couple are among several rural and coastal owner-occupiers who have purchased in Lume with a “city luxe’’ upgrade in mind. Attracted to the resort-style amenities, buyers are swarming to Brisbane’s city fringes, switching acreage for accessibility. Lume Kangaroo Point.A wave of rural and coastal owner-occupiers is snapping up apartments at Kangaroo Point’s newest “crown jewel’’ Lume.Drawing buyers backs to Brisbane city living, developer Devcorp’s luxury residential development features 2.7m high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling glass and floorplans that create a seamless flow from indoor to outdoor. center_img Lume Kangaroo Point has been developed by Devcorp.Currently 76 apartments have sold from a total of 115.Devcorp’s sales manager Brittany said managing director Murray Thornton made a decision mid build to amalgamate a series of units, identifying a gap in the market for downsizers who did not necessarily require three bedrooms but found the living spaces in most two bedroom apartments were significantly condensed. “With this in mind, he amalgamated two one-bedroom apartments that look over toward New Farm, still with city views,’’ she said.“This has allowed for the inclusion of little luxuries such as a butler’s pantry in the kitchen, large study, cross ventilation with two balconies as well as master and guest bedrooms on complete opposite sides of the apartment to allow for optimal privacy.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus10 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market10 hours ago“It has also created extremely generous dining and living spaces – ideal for the empty nesters who love to entertain.’’last_img read more

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Trade Deadline

first_imgHere are some of the trades that were made in major league baseball before the trading deadline yesterday afternoon.  A couple of them have local interests.Alex Meyer of Greensburg was traded from the Minnesota Twins to the Los Angeles Angels.  Jay Bruce was finally traded by the Reds to the New York Mets.  Hopefully, Meyer will get a chance to start for the Angels and Jay Bruce will have his chance to get into the playoffs this year.Here are some more notable trades:  The Chicago Cubs acquired Aroldis Chapman from the Yankees and Mike Montgomery from Seattle.  The Miami Marlins got 2 pitchers–Castner and Ray.  Washington Nationals acquired Mark Melancon from Pittsburgh, and the Cleveland Indians picked up Andrew Miller from the Yankees.There were many more trades, but I thought these were some of the more important ones and also trades for some of the area teams.P.S.  Happy Anniversary to my wife, Sally!last_img read more

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Sobriety checkpoint in Ripley County this weekend

first_imgRIPLEY COUNTY, Ind. — Troopers from the Indiana State Police Versailles Post will be conducting a sobriety checkpoint at an undisclosed location in Ripley County this weekend.Drivers passing through the checkpoint area should have their licenses and registrations ready to present to troopers and will only be detained briefly while troopers determine whether further investigation is necessary.The purpose of sobriety checkpoints is to remove those motorists from the highways who are alcohol or drug impaired and pose a danger to all who use the roadways.Impaired drivers are responsible for billions of dollars in property damage, person injury, and death annually.last_img read more

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PSG get sponsorship deal

first_imgRelatedPosts Neymar risks seven-game ban, Gonzalez 10 Neymar, four others sent off as Marseille grab rare win at PSG Neymar ‘super happy’ to return to training with PSG French football champions Paris Saint-Germain announced on Monday they have signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with Chinese consumer electronics and home appliances company Hisense.The deal comes as Europe’s top football clubs all look to increase their foothold in the lucrative Chinese market. Sébastien Wasels, Asia Pacific managing director for PSG, said: “We are proud to be working with such a leading global brand from Asia Pacific.“This is a meaningful partnership for the club, demonstrating our growing commitment to the region.”Reuters/NAN.Tags: HisenseLigue 1Paris Saint-Germainlast_img read more

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Stoke’s Jack Butland: We knew Xherdan Shaqiri would come good

first_imgAfter leaving Manchester City “embarrassed” at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday, Jack Butland believes Stoke’s Xherdan Shaqiri finally announced his arrival in English football. Press Association Goalkeeper Butland never doubted Shaqiri would eventually come to the fore and was delighted to see him do it against the side who started the day as Barclays Premier League leaders. “We’ve been waiting for him to really turn up and really show everybody what he’s about – he did that,” said the England international. “Marko’s been brilliant, Bojan (Krkic) has been good but we’ve just been waiting for that spark of Shaqiri. He was really good. “We knew it was there and it was going to take him some time to adjust to the Premier League but that was a really eye-opening performance and one that we knew he was capable of.” The scoreline hardly reflected Stoke’s dominance and Manuel Pellegrini’s visitors were fortunate to escape a drubbing like the one they received against Liverpool as Butland’s rival Joe Hart experienced a far busier afternoon in the battle of the England keepers. “I think they were probably quite embarrassed at the end,” Butland declared. “We just played really well, even with the conditions, we still got the ball down and played some really, really good football and they actually couldn’t live with us. “I’m really proud of the lads that they played that well – it’s been a while.” Hughes’ selection drew parallels with the tactics Jurgen Klopp deployed in guiding Liverpool to their stunning 4-1 success over City a fortnight earlier, with Bojan Krkic fulfilling a similar centre-forward role to the one Roberto Firmino occupied. And they were not the only team Stoke looked to emulate as they plotted the demise of Pellegrini’s men. “Full credit to the management for changing things up, it’s slightly different to the way we performed before,” added Butland. “The way we went, it worked, it caused problems. We haven’t worked on it much so it’s great credit to the lads who have taken it on board. “We’ve looked at teams that have caused Manchester City trouble – Liverpool being one of them, Southampton to a certain extent, Tottenham. We took it on board and put in a very good performance.” Mark Hughes was seen to have pulled off a huge coup when he landed the signature of former Bayern Munich and Inter Milan midfielder Shaqiri at the end of August, yet prior to this weekend there was little evidence of the form he had shown on the continent. That all changed at lunchtime on Saturday, though, when Shaqiri was City’s tormentor-in-chief in the Potters’ 2-0 victory, laying on both goals for Marko Arnautovic in a man-of-the-match display. last_img read more

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Jurgen Klopp sees Chelsea, Arsenal in EPL title hunt

first_imgMadrid: Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp said he was not excluding Chelsea or Arsenal from English Premier League (EPL) title contention despite trailing the Reds by 11 points in the standings.Liverpool is set to end the first round of the 2018-2019 EPL season atop the standings since it has a four-point advantage over second-place Manchester City, with one match to go before the second round, reports Efe.“Nobody should feel safe,” the German coach said in a press conference on Monday, two days before taking on Newcastle in matchday 19.“I saw the game against Everton — who played absolutely more than OK — and then they (Spurs) hit pretty much everything and it was really impressive how Tottenham did,” Klopp said, referring to the Spurs’ 6-2 win over Everton.“The same will happen to Arsenal and Chelsea.”“For me, they (Tottenham) were never out, so why should people be surprised they are now in?” Klopp said in response to Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino, who picked Liverpool and the Citizens as the favorites to clinch the title,” he added.“A lot of teams are in whatever you call the title race, and that is how it should be.”Liverpool appears on its way to sealing the title as it has secured the trophy eight times out of 10 when it was atop the standings by Christmas.They saw their bid for the English Premier League title fall short despite leading the league at that time of year in the 2008-2009 and 2013-2014 seasons. IANSAlso read: Sports Newslast_img read more