Your daily news update for January 30th, the day Peter Leko became the world’s youngest-ever grand master in chess.

Name That Creek!

Wouldn’t it be neat to have a waterway named after your great great great Uncle Walter Raleigh III or your pet Shnookums? For so long, I’ve always wondered how rivers and creeks got their names. Now, I know. Kinda.

Enter RiverLink, an Asheville-based group devoted to economic and environmental revitalization of the French Broad River and its tributaries. Founded in 1987 out of a need for rezoning and renewing the French Broad riverfront, RiverLink helps promote the local waterways’ public access and recreational opportunities as well as the issues surrounding water quality. RiverLink also helps name previously unknown streams and creeks that feed into the French Broad watershed, an ongoing program called Name That Creek.

RiverLink is asking the community for suggestions on what to name the creek that runs through Westwood Place in East West Asheville, N.C. The stream runs through the neighborhood and into the New Belgium Brewing site on Craven Street.

Think you have a killer name for the creek? Check out RiverLink’s form on their website or email suggestions to volunteer@riverlink.org.

Updates on the Chemical Spill in West Virginia

Over 300,000 West Virginia residents are left without clean water this month thanks to a Freedom Industries tank that leaked coal-processing chemicals into the Elk River on January 9th. Initially, Freedom Industries reported that only 7,500 gallons of the chemical 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (also known as MCHM) were released, but last week the company changed that number to 10,000 gallons and admitted to a second chemical’s presence, a mixture of polyglycol ethers known as PPH.

On Tuesday, three U.S. senators met in Washington, D.C., to introduce legislation that would prevent locals from dealing with contaminated drinking water in the future. The legislation would require proper inspection of factories by state officials and would put into place effective disaster response procedures for any future incidents. This legislation will hopefully serve as a solid foundation for holding coal companies in the state accountable for their environmental impact. However, with the recent news of Freedom Industries claiming bankruptcy and having their assets claimed by the newly created Mountaineer Financing LLC, it appears that Freedom Industries is trying to avoid taking any financial or ethical responsibility for the spill (see video for details).

Although the ban on tap water was lifted as of January 18th, officials still discourage pregnant women from drinking the local water and have adopted a “drink at your own risk” rule. Local businesses, schools, and private residences are still experiencing unpleasant aromas and discoloration in the water, and many have continued to boil water for bathing and cleaning purposes while using bottled water for drinking and cooking.

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has called for the Freedom Industries storage facility to be torn down, and for a full remediation of the site.

Bell Built Trail Building Contest Launched

Have an idea for a trail system on the East? Maybe you think your town needs a pump track or a bike park, maybe some gravity singletrack or flowing trails for all levels. Whatever and wherever you want it, Bell Helmets and IMBA have a solution for you.

From January 13 until February 28, Bell will be accepting applications for bike-specific projects, selecting twelve finalists from across the United States. Finalists will then be asked to submit photo, video, and graphics to help promote their project. Fellow mountain bikers and members of the outdoor community will then have the opportunity to vote for their project of choice, culminating in the selection of three winners, one from each region (West Coast, Central and East Coast). Bell Helmets will grant $100,000 in technical assistance to fund the three projects to completion.

Are your wheels a-turnin’? What do you have to lose? It’s a win-win situation. Even if your project doesn’t get selected, the mountain biking community walks away with three new trail systems across the States, and that’s good for everyone. Check out the rules and application form here.