Mountain Biking the Heart of Appalachia

first_imgThe Heart of Appalachia region offers a variety of mountain biking trails and backroads perfect for road trips.  These biking opportunities provide low valley roads through valley farms, rolling hills and historic places.The new Spearhead Trails System are now open for Mountain Bike enthusiasts.   The trails opened for Mountain Biking include Mountain View in St. Paul, Original Pocahontas in Pocahontas, Stone Mountain in Pennington Gap, Coal Canyon in Vansant and soon will include Ridge View in Haysi.  Visit www.spearheadtrails.com for directions and details of the routes.A mountain bike trail follows the historic Wilderness Trail from the Wilderness Road State Park to the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park in Lee County.  Mountain biking is an option in the Jefferson National Forest and Natural Tunnel State Park along their trail system in Scott County.  Pathfinders Outdoor Adventure is an experienced outfitter providing rental bikes, guided tours and mapping services to plan your biking trips in the region.  Breaks Interstate Park has extreme Mountain Biking Trails aptly called Cardiac, Rattlesnake and a somewhat easier trail named Ladies Loop.  Easier mountain biking along the ridge and overlooks of the Breaks is more suited for families.  The Guest River Gorge Trail is a 5.8-mile trail built upon an old railroad grade. Many curiosities exist along the trail, including an old railroad tunnel, bridges using the remaining railroad trestles, waterfalls, rock outcroppings and a deep rock corridor that is a scenic wonder. The Sugar Hill Trail in St. Paul provides a mountain biking adventure to an historical French Settlement.  The new Mountain Biking Trails outside of the City of Norton provides an opportunity to see the Woodbooger, (our mountain Big Foot Creature) and offers exciting mountain biking experience.  The trail begins near Flag Rock and High Knob Recreation Areas.   Scenic biking along roads in the region includes the designated bike path from Gate City to Fort Blackmore along Veteran’s Memorial Highway.  The scenic Heart of Appalachia Bike Trail leads cyclists through valleys and rolling farm land from the Guest River Gorge to Burke’s Garden.  The Trans American Bike Trail enters the region on Route 80 at the Breaks Interstate Park and travels through Haysi and Honaker the crosses the Clinch Mountain Range.  The locals are prepared to welcome bikers and points of rest are provided in local towns. Burke’s Garden near Tazewell, known as the “Garden Spot of the World,” is Virginia’s highest valley and Virginia’s largest rural historic district.  This bowl-shaped valley carved out of the top of a mountain offers the most breathtaking scenery this side of New Zealand, with verdant farmland, abundant wildlife, rare bird watching, peaceful biking, and adventurous hiking on the Appalachian Trail. Visit The Burke’s Garden General Store (restrooms and wireless service available) and enjoy lunch on the porch. Park your car at the mill dam and bike around the “loop,” twelve miles of flat land and rolling hills.last_img read more


70 senators sign NAFCU-backed CFPB exemption letter

first_img 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr A bipartisan group of 70 senators signed a NAFCU-supported letter delivered to CFPB Director Richard Cordray today urging him to use the bureau’s Dodd-Frank Act authority to exempt credit unions from certain rulemakings.The letter, spearheaded by Sens. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Ben Sasse, R-Neb., urges CFPB to grant credit unions relief through its authority under Section 1022(b)(3)(a) in the Dodd-Frank Act to grant exemptions on a rule-by-rule basis to “any class” of entity from its regulatory requirements. NAFCU has repeatedly pressed the bureau to use that authority more effectively.“We thank Senators Donnelly and Sasse for their leadership on this issue, and all of the senators who signed the letter, for their recognition of the overwhelming regulatory burden facing today’s credit unions,” said NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler. “Given that 329 House members sent Director Cordray a similar letter earlier this year, it is clear that Congress intends for CFPB to use its Dodd-Frank Act exemption authority to better tailor its rules to credit unions.” continue reading »last_img read more


MLB Top Prospects: Pitcher sleepers for fantasy baseball dynasty/keeper leagues

first_imgDOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Ultimate 2019 cheat sheetMLB Top Prospects: PitcherAtlanta’s Touki Toussaint (No. 34 in our prospect rankings) started slowly this spring but was dominant when I saw him in Florida last week and looks set to win a rotation spot in Atlanta. At his best, Toussaint has a big fastball, plus curve, and solid changeup. His command has been an issue, but this spring he’s been attacking the strike zone and throwing more quality strikes. His fastball/curve combination is good enough to overpower hitters, and if he can maintain the command gains he’s shown this spring he could eventually be a No. 2 starter in the majors. As a rookie, he’ll probably have nights when he looks like a front-line starter and other nights where he loses command and struggles. Regardless, he’ll post high strikeout numbers and should log 10-12 wins this year while pitching for a high-quality Braves club.Top MLB ProspectsCatcher | First | Second | Third | Short | Outfield | Top 50Chris Paddack (No. 40) has been a revelation in Padres camp this spring and should open the season in the San Diego rotation. There’s even been talk of having him start on opening day. Paddack has exceptional command and has only walked 20 batters while striking out 230 in 177.2 minor league innings. His mid-90s heater is a plus pitch, and his sinking change is a nasty put-away offering. His curve has looked better this spring and could add a third weapon to an already impressive arsenal. Right now, he profiles as a quality No. 3 starter. If his curveball continues to develop, he could be a No. 2.Japanese free-agent signee Yusei Kikuchi will be a part of the Mariners rotation this season and appears ready to contribute solid numbers right away. A polished lefty with good command, Kikuchi looked good when I saw him in Arizona this spring. He threw four pitches for strikes, dialed his fastball up to 95 mph, and showed a consistently plus slider. There’s nothing exceptional about Kikuchi, but his combination of above-average stuff, good command, and ability to mix pitches should allow him to post 12-plus wins, notch an 8.0 K/9, and log an ERA around 4.00.2019 Fantasy Baseball Rankings:  Catcher | First | Second | Third | Short | Outfield | Starter | Reliever | Top 300The Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara posted a solid 3.44 ERA in six big league starts last season and should begin the 2019 campaign in the Miami rotation. Alcantara has a big mid-90s fastball, but his command and secondary stuff are both inconsistent. The rebuilding Marlins will probably let him learn on the job, which means there’s a good chance that he sticks in the rotation all year even if he doesn’t perform all that well. If he can improve his command and sharpen his off-speed pitches, he could be a mid-rotation starter. As a rookie, he should post good strikeout totals but probably won’t win many games pitching for a weak Marlins squad.Injuries to the Yankees’ rotation mean that Jonathan Loaisiga should open the year as New York’s No. 4 starter. Loaisiga has not looked good this spring and he was merely average in a brief big league cameo last year, but the depleted Bombers don’t have many starting pitching options at the moment. Loaisiga actually has quality stuff, including a mid-90s fastball, above-average breaking ball, and solid change. He also typically shows good command, pounds the zone, and generates lots of ground balls. If he can return to form this spring, he could be a successful back-end starter. However, right now he’s a risky play.Merrill Kelly has emerged as a contender for the Diamondbacks’ rotation after pitching for the past three seasons in the Korean professional league. Kelly has been solid thus far in Cactus League play and could be an effective back-end starter. Kelly shows good command of three pitches (fastball, curve, change) and demonstrates an ability to mix pitches and set up hitters. He’s a bit of a wild card, but he’s a guy worth tracking if he can continue his recent success (three hits, six Ks in his past 8.2 innings).2019 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers:  Catcher | First | Second | Third | Short | Outfield | Starter | Each teamThe Padres have three rookie pitchers who are still in the mix for the fifth starter role. Jacob Nix was the leading candidate before arm soreness shelved him last week. Logan Allen and Cal Quantrill now stand an outside chance of taking the fifth starter spot, although neither has been particularly effective. If Nix can return to the mound quickly, he could claim the role. His fastball-curve combo is above-average, and he shows solid command. He probably won’t be anything more than a back-end starter, but pitching in San Diego will bolster his stats. Allen has better stuff and projects as a mid-rotation starter despite the need for more seasoning against advanced hitters. Quantrill is a bit overrated and shows average stuff and command. Whether he can stick as a starter is an open question.Dakota Hudson is still battling for the Cardinals’ fifth starter role and has pitched well in Grapefruit League action. Hudson has plus stuff, but it’s inconsistent, as is his command. At his best he throws a lively mid-90’s fastball that generates lots of ground balls. His slider will flash plus, and his cutter can induce weak contact. If he can tighten his command and execute his pitches more consistently, he could be a mid-rotation starter. Right now he’s a risky back-end guy.The Cardinals’ Alex Reyes (No. 16) will probably begin the season in the bullpen, but he has electric stuff and looked dominant when I saw him in Florida last week. Reyes missed most of the past two seasons due to injury and is being eased back into regular use. Reyes has been up and down this spring, but in the inning I saw he was unhittable. Reyes has four plus pitches (high-90s fastball, slider, curve, and changeup) and, at his best, toys with hitters by mixing speeds and locations. He’ll need some time regain his consistency and command, but, if he can avoid injury, he’s almost certain to get a shot at the rotation sometime in 2019.The pitching-rich Braves have enough big league ready prospects to fill two starting rotations. In addition to Toussaint, Kyle Wright, Mike Soroka, and Bryse Wilson are all solid starters who could get a shot in Atlanta this season. Wright (No. 37) has been the most impressive of these five this spring and would probably be first in line for a call-up in Atlanta. Wright looked good when I saw him last week in Florida, and thus far he’s posted a 3.00 ERA with 16 strikeouts and only two walks in 12 Grapefruit League innings. Wright has struggled with command as a pro, but he’s cleaned up his delivery and looks much more consistent this year. Wright has the stuff (four quality pitches, including a plus mid-90s fastball that he’ll also cut or sink) to be a No. 2 starter if he can maintain the command improvements he’s shown this spring.Soroka (No. 32) performed well last year in five big league starts before a shoulder issue derailed his 2018 campaign. The issue flared up again this spring, but he’s reportedly feeling better and could resume game action in the next few weeks. Soroka shows consistently good command of three above-average pitches and profiles as a No. 3 starter. If he can return to health, he could get another big league shot by midseason.Wilson looked great when I saw him in Florida last week. His plus fastball was sharp, and his changeup was much improved. Wilson’s plus stuff, good command, and aggressive approach should allow him to eventually win a spot as a mid-rotation starter. This spring he’s shown that he can succeed against big league hitters, and he could be in line for a call-up sometime this season.Meanwhile in Houston, top prospect Forrest Whitley looks big league ready, while Josh James and Framber Valdez may also contribute in 2019.Whitley (No. 3) has been electric this spring in Grapefruit League action and appears ready to make his big league debut sometime this season. The Astros rotation has some question marks this year, and a hot start at Triple-A could launch Whitely to the majors. Whitley has the dominant stuff of a front-line starter (mid-90s fastball, plus curve, plus change, and quality slider). He commands all four pitches well and has improved his pitch execution from year to year. Whitley is currently the best pitching prospect in baseball and should be successful even as a rookie.James (No. 39) was in line to compete for a rotation spot with Houston, but a quadriceps strain sidelined him until last Saturday, when he made his first spring appearance. The Astros might keep him in the bullpen to open the season, but he has the stuff (mid-90s fastball, above-average change; above-average slider) to be a mid-rotation starter. He’ll need to tighten his command to reach his potential, but a return to health and a hot start to the season could put him back in the rotation mix.Valdez was also competing for a rotation slot this spring but poor command has torpedoed his chances. Valdez has a plus sinking fastball and a solid curve. As a two-pitch guy he is more likely to end up in the bullpen, but the Astros continue to give him opportunities to start and he could be serviceable as a back-end guy.Fantasy Baseball Rankings Tiers, Draft Strategies Catcher | First | Second | Third | Short | Outfield | Starter | CloserKeep an Eye OnOakland’s Jesus Luzardo (No. 7) has been lights-out in Cactus League action, but he’ll certainly begin the season in the minors. Luzardo is one of baseball’s top pitching prospects with excellent command of three quality pitches: a plus fastball, plus change, and above-average breaking ball. If he carries over his spring performance into the regular season, he could get a midseason promotion. If he can improve his pitch sequencing and tighten his curve, he’ll soon reach his potential as a frontline starter.Brent Honeywell (No. 17) is coming off Tommy John surgery and has yet to throw a pitch for the Rays this season, but he’s been tossing bullpens and is on track to return to game action in May. The rebuilding Rays have no incentive to rush Honeywell’s return, but he could get a late-season call-up. Honeywell shows good command of five quality pitches, including a fastball that reaches the mid-90s, a plus change, and a nasty screwball. He attacks hitters, mixes well and the stuff and makeup to be a No. 2 starter.Pittsburgh’s Mitch Keller (No. 19) will open the season in Triple-A, but he should finish the year in the majors. Keller shows good command of a mid-90s fastball, a plus curve, and above-average changeup. He’ll need to be more consistent to fully realize his potential as a No. 2 starter, but he has all the tools to be a very good big leaguer. A hot start in the minors could get him a quick promotion to Pittsburgh. Pitching is always the most unpredictable part of baseball — and, as such, fantasy baseball. Injury risk is high among pitchers and, as a result, end-of-the-year rotations often look very different than opening-day rotations. This frequent chaos often creates unexpected sleeper opportunities for young hurlers. At the same time, rookies are no less prone to injuries themselves. Last year saw three top-50 pitching prospects miss the season due to injuries (Brett Honeywell, Alex Reyes, and A.J. Puk), and this year two top guys have already been slowed by health concerns (Mike Soroka and Josh James). That’s in addition to keeper/dynasty league favorite, Michael Kopech, who went down at the end of last year and won’t be back until 2020.This season, there is already a sizeable number of rookie pitchers who are projected to win rotation spots. Right behind them are several dozen others who could see significant big league time this year. Oakland’s A.J. Puk (No. 29) missed last season due to Tommy John surgery and will begin this year in the minors. Puk has battled command issues as a pro, but before getting hurt last spring his stuff and his control were both much improved. When healthy, the big lefty shows an electric fastball and wipeout slider. If he can throw consistent strikes when he returns to game action this season, he’ll be in line for a promotion to Oakland where he has the upside of a No. 2 or 3 starter.White Sox righthander Dylan Cease (No. 30) will open the season at Triple-A but could crack the big league rotation by midseason. Cease has plus stuff, including a high-90s fastball and a plus curve. Last season, he improved his command and posted impressive numbers in a season split between High-A and Double-A (2.40 ERA with 160 strikeouts in 124 innings). He’ll need to improve his changeup to reach his potential, but he has the stuff to be a No. 2 or 3 starter.Seattle’s Justus Sheffield (No. 33), didn’t make the opening day roster, but he showed well in big league camp and should be in lineup for a call-up sometime in 2019. At his best, Sheffield has an overpowering fastball/slider combination, but his release point can be inconsistent and his command can waver. This spring his changeup seems sharper and his command has been better. If his command remains solid and his change is effective, he profiles as a No. 2 or 3 starter.last_img read more


Belton Park duo pick up PING Women’s Fourball Betterball Plate

first_img Congratulations to Jacqui Barson and Julie Beanland, of Belton Park Golf Club, who have won the PING Women’s Fourball Betterball Plate Final 2019.After an amazing day of Golf in Gainsborough, the duo won by 2 points with an overall score of 44, scoring 25 points on the front 9 and 19 points on the back 9.Barson and Beanland only met in January 2019 but play together regularly, they’ve become good friends and now are beginning to win competitions together.After a great front 9, the team were able to relax and enjoy the rest of the round, and, playing against another friendly pair, there was a nice pace of play and the duo we’re able to sail through the back 9 to secure an impressive victory.“We’re completely astounded and overjoyed,” said Jacqui Barson, “It’s unbelievable… we’re still shaking – it’s just surreal.”Congratulations to everybody who took part in the PING Women’s Plate Final – all eyes now turn to today’s Grand Final. You can keep up with all the action as it unfolds throughout the day here.Following the Finals this week (w/c 2nd September) the prizes have now been sent to clubs. 4 Sep 2019 Belton Park duo pick up PING Women’s Fourball Betterball Plate last_img read more


No-till message important around the world

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Whether talking to farmers in France, Ghana or southern Ohio, Rafiq Islam’s message is consistent: tilling the land does more long-term damage than good.As an Ohio State University soil scientist, Islam is among the disciples in the movement to convince farmers that plowing their fields before they plant or after they harvest harms the health of the soil and its ability to spur growth and resist erosion.Soil plowed repeatedly can lose key ingredients that enrich it, including carbon, which can evaporate as carbon dioxide gas into the air. Left undisturbed, soil can maintain that carbon, and the dry decaying stalks in an untilled field add to the organic materials in the dirt.After crops such as soybeans or corn are picked, a farmer can plant a cover crop in a field instead of plowing it. The cover crop isn’t harvested for food but instead keeps the soil covered and porous and contributes carbon to it, Islam said. Land left bare is more susceptible to erosion and cannot absorb water from rain or snow as efficiently as when cover crops are planted on it.Last month, Islam was part of a team of soil specialists who traveled to France to host four workshops on climate change, soil health, cover crops and no-till farming, events sponsored by two farm organizations in France. More workshops are planned for the summer in Ukraine and China, in the fall, in Uzbekistan and in the winter, in Ghana.In most parts of the world, the majority of farmers regularly plow. So it’s not easy to convince long-time conventional farmers or even younger farmers not to plow their land, said Islam, who is the soil, water and bioenergy program leader at Ohio State’s South Centers in Piketon.“You try to open their eyes by showing them the actual field results and demonstrating the user-friendly field tests and tools,” Islam said. “It’s tough. Farmers are businessmen. Some don’t want to take risks.”To many, tilling makes sense. Running a disk or plow through the land breaks up the soil and helps mix in fertilizer to ready the field for new seeds. But, say Islam and other proponents of no-till and cover crop farming, plowing the land can kill some of the crucial beneficial microorganisms in the soil. Even on fields crowded with the dry remains of last season’s crop, new seeds can be sown using drill attachments to planters. And the root system of cover crops helps break up the soil to make room for the roots of newly planted seeds. In other words, Mother Nature can take care of the plowing.And when Mother Nature performs the work, farmers can save on the fuel and time it would have taken them to do the job.Protecting the health of soil is critical given the expected worldwide population doubling by 2050 and the challenge of feeding everyone, especially those in developing countries, Islam said.“The health of soil is important to human health,” he said. “We have to do some proactive measures to improve our soil health, control air pollution, minimize water pollution and feed the growing population in the world.”No-till farming does come with tradeoffs. Farmers can’t just leave their plows in the barn and expect the same results as when they used them. If farmers choose to leave fields untilled, they likely will need to purchase attachments to their planters, such as a drill, that will assist them in sowing seeds.Initially, fields left untilled may not yield as many bushels until the earthworms and other organisms in the soil have had the time to build up, increasing the biological diversity and efficiency of the soil, said Alan Sundermeier, director and agriculture and natural resources educator in OSU Extension’s Wood County office. Sundermeier was on the team of OSU soil specialists who traveled to France to lead the workshops there.Cover crops planted on unplowed fields can help improve the performance of the fields within a few years.No-till farming “takes more management, understanding and patience,” Sundermeier said.But, he pointed out, over time the productivity of a field left untilled will equal, if not surpass, that of a plowed field.last_img read more


10 months agoKlopp insists ‘hungry’ Liverpool ready for Man City

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Klopp insists ‘hungry’ Liverpool ready for Man Cityby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveJurgen Klopp says Liverpool will leave no stone unturned when they face Manchester City on Thursday.The Reds have a great chance to extend their lead at the top of the table with a win over Pep Guardiola’s side. And Klopp says his players will be giving their all to win three points.”We are [hungry],” he told liverpoolfc.com.”We don’t think about the gap, not for a second. What we think about is 54 points – unbelievable, to be honest. That’s really strange and feels strange.”All we can do is keep going; recover first of all, that’s very important, and then prepare the next game.”We all know, wow, Man City are a fantastic football team and an away game at City – who can go there and think ‘Probably we will win’? No team in the world, not even us.”So we have to go there and try everything to get a result. That’s what we will try.” last_img read more


24 days agoMan City boss Guardiola praises Dani Olmo over ‘courageous’ Dinamo Zagreb move

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man City boss Guardiola praises Dani Olmo over ‘courageous’ Dinamo Zagreb moveby Paul Vegas24 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester City boss Pep Guardiola has praised Dani Olmo over his move to Dinamo Zagreb.Guardiola admits he’s impressed by the former Barcelona junior.He said: “He was in the youth of Barcelona and normally who plays there is a good player. “He had the courage to move to Croatia and it was a good choice. “He was one of the best players of the European Under-21s with an incredible performance.” last_img


Video: Michigan State’s Breslin Center Is Packed, Welcoming Spartans Back After Final 4 Berth

first_imgMichigan State fans pack Breslin Center to welcome Spartans after Final Four berth.They’re throwing quite a celebration party at the Breslin Center tonight. Michigan State’s men’s basketball team, which clinched a berth into the Final Four earlier this afternoon with a victory against Louisville in the Elite Eight in Syracuse, is back in East Lansing. Tom Izzo’s squad was welcomed home by thousands of roaring fans at their arena.   Michigan State is set to face Duke in the Final Four in Indianapolis on Saturday.last_img