Trump administration kills rural Job Corp program, leaving 1,100 federal employees out of work

The Trump administration has announced that they will pull out of a Forest Service program that trains disadvantaged youth from rural areas to become wildland firefighters. The move will result in 1,100 layoffs—the largest federal job cuts in a decade. Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers, located in Montana, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Virginia, Washington state, Kentucky, North Carolina and Oregon, train more than 3,000 students in rural areas a year. Nine centers will close completely and 16 others will be taken over by private entities or possibly states. The closures are meeting resistance from members of Congress in both parties.

In North Carolina, employees and students at the Schenck Civilian Conservation Corp in Brevard are bracing for impact. The program hosts the Davidson River Initial Attack Crew who work alongside other Region 8 and Southeast job corps centers to provide much of the prescribed fire and wildfire suppression work that happens in the region each year. Most national forests in the region do not have the staffing to complete prescribed burns without bringing in crews like Davidson River Initial Attack Crew.

Scientists discover that bedbugs date from the time of dinosaurs

Research shows that bedbugs have been making travelers paranoid since the beginning of humankind. There are 100 species of bed bugs, some which live in caves and never come into contact with humans, feeding on bats and birds. Recently, scientists drew blood from 30 species of bed bugs to create the first bed bug line of heritage and found that the insects are much older than anyone thought, dating back to the time of dinosaurs—about 115 million years. Three or four species of bed bugs have switched to human hosts over the course of time and more are likely to follow, scientists say, adding that a new species of bed bug develops a taste for human blood every half a million years. It looks like we’ve all got something to look forward to.

Nearly 800 cyclists completed the Assaults on Mt. Mitchell and Marion

The 44th annual Assaults on Mt. Mitchell and Marion had another successful year. Nearly 600 cyclists made the 102.7-mile grueling climb up Mt. Mitchell and 200 riders completed the tough 74.2-mile ride to Marion, completing one of the premier cycling experiences in the Southeast. Moorseville, N.C.’s Seth Jones clocked the fastest time this year, completing the Assault on Mt. Mitchell in 05:06:13. Ina Pfuhler, from Cincinnati, OH, had the fastest female time at 07:01:50. Other notable riders included 13-year-old Ben Allen from Charlotte, NC who finished with a time of 09:37:37 and Michael Davis from Albemarle, NC who completed the Assault on Mt. Mitchell for the 39th time (09:59:40.)