Headlines: February 2013

30 Jan 13
Mountain Biking

Statesville, N.C. now boasts 30 miles of new singletrack. Photo courtesy of Chase Lyne

Extending the A.T. – Atlanta, Ga. 

A conservation group is working on a plan to extend the Appalachian Trail all the way to the Gulf of Mexico via the Chattahoochee River. The Trust for Public Land has already secured acreage in an effort to create a new route from the headwaters of the Chattahoochee near the southern terminus of the A.T. down to the Gulf of Mexico by combining riverside footpaths and designated blue trails for canoers and kayakers. The Trust has already acquired 17,000 acres of land that touch 76 miles of the river, and partners have also expressed interest in neighboring Florida, where the Chattahoochee becomes the Apalachicola River and flows into the Gulf.

Recycled Lighthouse – Mount Nebo, W.Va.

There’s an interesting story behind the new 104-foot lighthouse that was recently erected above a corner of scenic Summersville Lake, near West Virginia’s New River Gorge. The lighthouse, which sits on the property of Steve and Donna Kebelesh, was made from a recycled wind turbine—salvaged after it was damaged during installation at the nearby Beech Ridge wind farm project. The Kebeleshes purchased the 72,000-pound tower portion of the turbine and had it hauled to their campground. Local community then banded together to make the lighthouse a reality. Two engineers working on the wind farm provided structural advice, while faculty and students from two nearby technical schools helped build a lamp room and weld a 10-story staircase. Operators of the Summersville Airport provided an old beacon light, and finally a crane dropped the lighthouse into a new concrete foundation. With 122 steps to the top, the tower now provides vast views of the lake and nearby Gauley River Recreation Area. A grand opening ceremony will take place this summer.

Walmart Rafters Rescued – Frederick, Md. 

A few weeks following Hurricane Sandy, news reports started surfacing about two men who were rescued during an attempt to raft down the flooded Monocacy River shortly after the storm. Marvin Lee Kingsbury and Charles Kent Bowers told the Frederick County Sherriff’s Office the mission was to float to a local Walmart for some post-hurricane shopping. Unfortunately the waters were too rough, and the duo’s inflatable raft capsized, forcing the men to cling to trees above the rushing river until being rescued. The men were also toting a cooler with whiskey sours that they were planning to drink in celebration of reaching their discount-shopping destination. Alas, the victory toast never came.

Crossing the Sea with a Cluster – Raleigh, N.C 

Raleigh’s Jonathan Trappe calls himself a cluster-balloonist. So far the 38-year-old adventurer has had impressive success covering great distances with clusters of balloons filled with helium. He’s crossed the English Channel and holds records for crossing the Alps and flying the most cluster balloons. This summer, though, he’ll attempt his boldest feat to date, as Trappe is planning to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a lifeboat dangling from 365 balloons. He will float between 18,000 and 25,000 feet while wearing a suit with UV protection. His plan is to leave from Maine and head to Paris. Trappe is currently trying to raise $300,000 to cover the cost of his helium.

Statesville Singletrack Scene – Statesville, N.C. 

Looking for a new place to ride? Consider checking out the recently completed 30-mile Itusi Trail that was made specifically with mountain biking in mind. The trail, located in Lake Norman State Park between Charlotte and Statesville, was built thanks to a variety of grants and donations and the diligent leadership of trail coordinator Jeff Archer, who hand-built many miles himself. Archer, an avid rider, owns First Flight Bicycles, a shop in downtown Statesville that he also uses to house the Museum of Mountain Bike Art and Technology. It’s all amounted to a small fat tire scene in an unsuspecting area that’s quickly gaining traction.

Beyond the Blue Ridge

Bike Thief Gets 14 Years – Boise, Idaho

Here’s a pound of the gavel to make bike thieves think twice. At just 19 years old, Michael Lawrence was recently sentenced to 14 years in prison for stealing 13 bikes from a Boise motel, just ahead of the Exergy Tour back in May. The rigs, valued at $110,000, belonged to Team TIBCO, a women’s pro cycling team. Lawrence cut the lock on the team’s trailer and stole just over a dozen high-end bikes, including some Specialized Amira road rides.

Piercing Problems – Greeley, Colorado 

Firefighters received a rather unusual call to help a woman swimming in a shallow pool at the Greeley Family Funplex. The female swimmer’s belly button ring piercing became entangled in the pool drain, and the woman was unable to free herself. According to the Associated Press, the pool was partially drained before the firefighters could release the woman from her own piercing.

Attention Shoppers: Deer Coming Through – Coralville, Iowa

Shoppers at a Kohl’s in Iowa were treated to some unexpected wildlife viewing in November, when three deer strolled through the store’s automatic doors. A doe and two fawns entered the store but caused little disruption. A news story said the fawns stayed close to the entry vestibule and left the way they came, while the doe pranced through the store and exited through a back door after employees opened it.

—Jedd Ferris

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