ZAP Fitness elite runners will compete for top marathon title this weekend 

The California International Marathon will host the US Marathon Championships this weekend in Sacramento, California. The event is the national championships for marathon running in the United States. Winners take home the title of the American National Marathon Champion and a purse of $20,000. The diverse field of runners includes seasoned veterans and marathon newcomers. ZAP Fitness, a training center for Olympic hopefuls in Blowing Rock, NC will send 5 athletes to compete in the race. Joanna Thompson is coming off a 10thplace finish at the Boston Marathon in April. Andrew Colley, Matt McClintock, Joe Stilin and Josh Izewski are each making their marathon debuts and have sub-64-minute half-marathon personal bests.

 

The oil and gas industry renews push for offshore drilling despite a ban by Florida voters

Florida voters recently approved an amendment to the state Constitution banning offshore drilling along the coast. In response, the Florida Petroleum Council released a report detailing a projected $2.5 billion in revenue that could be made possible from personal and corporate income tax, property tax and sales tax as a result of offshore drilling. Opponents of offshore drilling point to industrial disasters like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that dumped 184 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and produced massive losses in Florida’s tourism and seafood sectors. Opponents also point out that oil represents a very small portion of Florida’s economic activity.

 

Rare Mandarin duck inexplicably makes home in Central Park

 A rare and colorful Mandarin duck native to East Asia has recently been spotted at the Central Park Pond in New York City. It’s presence baffles birders because the Mandarin duck does not live in the US outside of zoos. Theories on the bird’s arrival in Central Park include a daring escape from a local zoo, though no zoos have reported a missing Mandarin duck, or an escape or dump by a private owner. Observers note that the duck has a black bank around its leg, indicating that it was once privately owned. No matter its origin story, the New York Postreports that the duck is integrating well with its surrounding wildlife, including mallard ducks—a staple on the Central Park duck scene.