Quick News Hits from the Blue Ridge and Beyond

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Bold Bike Trail Plan Passes in Virginia

Chesterfield County, Va.

After hosting the UCI Road World Championships in September, the city of Richmond is certainly solidifying its bike-friendly reputation. Now a surrounding county is following suit by green lighting a bold 50-year plan to build a 360-mile network of bike trails. In late November, the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors narrowly voted to enact the plan that will carry an estimated $360 million price tag. The plan passed by a 3-2 vote after a six-hour public hearing that included spirited debate between cycling and alternative transportation advocates and those weary of the high cost to taxpayers.

Maryland Campers Fined for Killing and Grilling a Snake

Cumberland, Md.

Four friends camping in the Green Ridge State Forest thought they scored some free dinner when they killed a timber rattlesnake with a BB gun and proceeded to grill it. It turns out, though, that the meal cost them each $200, after the guys were fined for destroying a state-protected species. After pleading guilty, the four snake eaters, Austin Golas and Travis Luedtke, both 18, and Paul Lafon and Erick Reffitt, both 19, received probation and fines of $200 each. An AP report said a fifth defendant had a trial scheduled in December, after press time.

Thief Steals Same Bike Twice

Altoona, Pa.

If at first you don’t succeed, try again. That was Brandon Graham’s attitude when it came to stealing a fellow student’s mountain bike at Penn State-Altoona. In the fall, Graham was charged with stealing the bike, valued at $465, twice in less than a month. Graham first took the bike while parked unlocked on campus on September 14, but the owner retrieved it the next day. He then grabbed it again on October 6 and tried a spray-paint disguise. After a friend of the owner saw Graham riding the bike, police questioned him and he admitted to stealing the painted rig.

Fall Forest Fires Burn in West Virginia

Charleston, W.Va.

Rampant forest fires in the wild lands of the West have become common headlines in recent years, but last fall the blazes came closer to home in the West Virginia counties of Kanawha, Boone, and Raleigh. In the first half of November a combination of high winds, warm temperatures, and layers of fallen dry leaves caused 202 wildfires that burned a total of 7,631 acres, according to the West Virginia Division of Forestry.

Bear Cub Rescued After Getting Head Stuck in Can

Frederick County, Md.

In late fall a black bear cub was rescued after pulling a Winnie the Pooh and getting its head stuck in a metal milk can. Spotted at Cunningham Falls State Park and documented with a viral Twitter photo, the struggling cub, which weighed an estimated 200 pounds, was quickly assisted by Maryland wildlife officials. After being tranquilized and freed, the bear soon after was able to wander back into the forest.

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