In the News…

The Blue Ridge Parkway snakes around Grandfath...
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Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation receives grant to fight childhood obesity

With a unique blend of talent and resources, the National Park Service, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation are focusing on a national epidemic – childhood obesity.

A grant of $200,000 over two years will pilot a multi-dimensional program expected to eventually span the entire length of the 469 mile long Blue Ridge Parkway.

The objective is to engage children and their families in activities that increase physical activity, improve nutritional choices, and increase awareness of the Blue Ridge Parkway as a recreational resource. The program will pilot initially in the Asheville, spearheaded by Olson Huff, M.D., who has a distinguished career in children’s health. He also co-chairs the Task Force on Obesity and Nutrition of the N.C. Health and Wellness Trust Fund Commission. Huff, the NPS, and the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation have convened a regional advisory board to maximize the program’s effectiveness with Dr. Huff serving as board chairman.

Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation receives grant to fight childhood obesity | CITIZEN-TIMES.com | Asheville Citizen-Times.

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TN Editorial: A big win for clean air

North Carolina’s federal court victory requiring the TVA to reduce emissions from its dirtiest coal plants is not only good for folks in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s an important precedent that could force Congress and federal regulators to address the issue of pollution that crosses state lines.

“This certainly is a groundbreaking case and one that is important for the health and economy for our state,” North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said. “Many people will also view this as a positive step nationally because it holds a public utility accountable for its pollution.”

The case is a big victory for North Carolina, and nowhere bigger than here in the mountains. We have said many times in these columns that clean air is critical not only to our physical health; it’s crucial to our economic health.

TN Editorial: A big win for clean air | BlueRidgeNow.com | Times-News Online | Hendersonville, NC.

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Flu causing some Texas schools to close | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

It’s not the bird flue but it’s already causing havoc…Is this what we have to look forward to in the near future? That appears to be what the CDC was telling us when they published their recent “Guidelines“.

DALLAS — With flu widespread in Texas now, a handful of schools are reporting enough absences due to flu and other illnesses that they’ve decided to close.

Flu season in Texas generally runs from October to March, with February usually being the height of the season, said Emily Palmer, a spokeswoman with the Texas Department of State Health Services. She said that flu has been considered widespread in Texas since the week ending Jan. 27.

Source: Flu causing some Texas schools to close | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Walking the Berkshires: Not Just Another Brick in the Wall

Talk about a neat idea. All you folks burning wood might want to keep a few boxes on hand for emergencies…

Bio Bricks, a product that is clean burning, produces just 1% ash, is renewable and utilizes low value forest products.   A Connecticut producer makes fifty tons of these a day and can’t keep up with demand.  In fact, the biggest challenge facing this entrepreneur is a steady supply of dry wood chips of the appropriate size and consistency (ideally not more than 8% moisture content).  The chips are fed into a hopper and compressed into bricks that are held together by the heated lignants in the wood.  Bio Bricks have no additives and use chips and sawdust from clean wood (not pallets).  You only need three of them to make a fire in your wood stove or fireplace, they are bug free, and can be stored indoors. 50 packages of these bricks are the equivalent of 1 1/2 cords of wood and are competitively priced.

Source: Walking the Berkshires: Not Just Another Brick in the Wall