January News from the Blue Ridge and Beyond

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Quick Hits

CHICKAMAUGA BATTLEFIELD MARATHON WINNER DISQUALIFIED

FORT OGLETHORPE, GEORGIA

At the finish line of last fall’s Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon, Tabatha Hamilton appeared to be the race’s female winner with a respectably speedy time of 2:55:39. The next day, though, co-race director Sheryl Johnson started getting emails that questioned Hamilton’s time. Upon further review, it was revealed that Hamilton crossed the timing mat at the halfway point in 2:06:51. According to a story in Chattanooga’s Times Free Press, race officials determined there was no way Hamilton could have covered the race’s final 13.1 miles in 49 minutes, so she was immediately disqualified. Hamilton talked to the newspaper and insisted the disqualification wasn’t justified, but a little digging revealed that some of her previous marathon times from 2009 and 2011 ranged from 4:25:08 to 4:48:47.

NEW A.T. DOC

Sam Hengar started hiking around his east Tennessee home when he was a kid. Now he’s combined his outdoor passion with a filmmaking hobby to make a new documentary, The Appalachian Trail: An American Legacy. The film focuses on the trail’s scenic beauty, hiking culture, and lengthy history, including rare footage of an old interview with trail founder Benton MacKaye. The film was made with the blessing and assistance of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and the nonprofit opened its archives to enhance the project. Check it out: atlegacyfilm.com.

FOUR-YEAR-OLD BOY CLIMBS 50 FEET UP TREE

DOTHAN, ALABAMA

Get this kid a harness and some rope. Four-year-old Parker Clark had to be rescued from a tree after climbing up 50 feet on a dare from his older brother. The Associated Press is reporting that the preschooler was brought down in a bucket truck by a tree crew, after realizing he was too high to climb back down. Fortunately he wasn’t hurt, and hopefully his parents will let him try sandstone when he gets older.

JADED DUDE SENDS EX A BOX OF LIVE CHICKS

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Another odd news item came from the Associated Press in mid November when it was reported that a disgruntled man mailed his ex-girlfriend a box with 15 live baby chicks. When the woman opened the package and found the baby birds, along with a note telling her there are plenty of other chicks out there, she told her mailman the box was headed for the trash. The postal worker decided to save the birds and took them to the Washington Humane Society. The little chicks are now residing at the Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in Poolesville, Md., as well as another sanctuary in Winchester, Va.

Beyond the Blue Ridge

ROCKET-POWERED BIKE BREAKS 200 MPH

SOUTH OF FRANCE

Back in November, French daredevil Francois Gissy broke his own speed record on a rocket-powered bicycle when he blasted off to an insane speed of 207 miles per hour, which was reached in 4.8 seconds. The previous year Gissy got his rocket bike to reach 177 mph, but thanks to help from Switzerland’s Exotic Thermal Engineering, who helped outfit his standard-looking push bike, he was able to up the ante during his record-breaking run at Circuit Paul Ricard in the South of France. Gissy told Gizmag a new design is in the works that should push him to 249 mph.

VOTERS SUPPORT LAND CONSERVATION

Based on the results of November’s mid-term elections, it appeared voters were seeing more red than green. But some surprising results revealed big support for land conservation, as a record $13 billion was approved for preservation measures in a handful of states including Florida, New Jersey, and California. The Sunshine State approved a state constitutional amendment that will allocate $9 billion over the next 20 years for conservation efforts that include investments in the Florida Everglades. By a wide margin of 65-35%, New Jersey voters decided to dedicate $2.15 billion to conservation efforts over the next two decades with a portion of the money coming from corporate business taxes.

BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING VICTIM HAS POSITIVE ATTITUDE ABOUT LOSING LEG

RICHMOND, TEXAS

Rebekah DiMartino’s life changed forever when she decided to watch the Boston Marathon with her boyfriend and son on April 15, 2013. After the horrific bombing near the marathon finish line, DiMartino had 17 surgeries to repair her leg, but eventually pain and other complications, including a bone infection, proved to be too much. Back in November, a year and a half after the incident, DiMartino had the lower part of her left leg amputated. Despite some consistent struggles, DiMartino has kept a positive attitude about her experience and relied on humor as a coping tool. Just before her surgery, she threw a party called her “Left Leg Last Hurrah.” She told NBC News: “This is a new beginning for me. This is when the rest of my life starts. I’ve been in a limbo state for so long now that it really is going to be what pushes me forward and what allows me to be able to live my life to the fullest.”

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