Blue crabs make a comeback in the Chesapeake Bay

Blue crab populations rose 60 percent in the last year to reach an estimated 594 million crabs, the highest in seven years, thanks to strict harvesting restrictions and pollution regulations enacted in Maryland and Virginia in 2008 after the blue crab population fell to dangerously low levels. 

That’s Some Expensive Sh*t

The organization Kentucky for Kentucky is selling the excrement of a former Kentucky Derby winning horse. The turds of former Derby winner Silver Charm, who won the race back in 1997, are being hocked for $200 a pop. Collected by artist Coleman Larkin, the droppings are preserved in clear epoxy and packaged in nicely decorated 16-ounce mason jars. Proceeds benefit Old Friends Farm in Georgetown, Ky., where Silver Charm now lives. 

Oskar Blues vs. Guns ‘N’ Roses

This spring, Guns ‘N’ Roses filed a lawsuit against Oskar Blues Brewery, the popular craft brewery started in Colorado that also has a large outpost in the western North Carolina mountain town of Brevard. Ticked about an Oskar Blues beer called Guns ‘N’ Rose—an ale brewed with prickly pear and hibiscus to resemble a rose style of wine— Axl, Slash, and company are claiming trademark infringement and attempting to get the beer pulled off shelves. Oskar Blues has submitted a new name for the beer: Rose All Day. The label has a secondary tag with the less-than-subtle dig, “Heavy Metal Banned.” 

Biking for Bluegrass

Traveling to a festival doesn’t require a car full of gear. Just ask Atlanta resident Nick Collins, who back in the spring biked 200 miles from his home to the Aiken Bluegrass Festival in South Carolina. It marked the third straight year that Collins traveled to the popular event on two wheels.

Asheville Ranks 2nd in Breweries Per Capita

Asheville, N.C., finished behind Portland, Maine in a ranking of cities with the most breweries per capita. with 17 breweries per every 50,000 residents, while Portland has 18 breweries per the same number of residents. The firm only counted breweries within the city limits and included cider makers, too. Greenville, S.C., ranked seventh; Charleston, S.C., ranked sixteenth, and Lancaster, Pa. landed in the 24th spot.

$266,000

Amount of the fine Mountain Valley Pipeline will pay for more than 20 environmental violations, including water contamination, dating back to April 2018. Since the project started, its cost has ballooned beyond initial estimates to approximately $4.6 billion, and a completion date is still not set.

Endangered Species Act Is Endangered

The Trump administration is preparing to announce a broad rule change to the Endangered Species Act that will emphasize economic factors when weighing whether to list a species as threatened or endangered. 

Kayaker killed on Cheat River

A Maryland man was killed on West Virginia’s Cheat River after a tree fell on him during a kayaking trip. A group of three men were paddling the river from Parsons to Macomber over the weekend when severe weather rolled through. The men took shelter, but a tree fell on two of the men in the group resulting in a severe head injury to one of the men, which led to his death. Another man suffered broken bones from the falling tree.

Hiker missing in Hawaii found alive after 17 days

Amanda Eller, 35, a physical therapist and yoga teacher, went missing after heading out on a short hike in Hawaii’s Makawao Forest Reserve on May 8. Her car, keys, wallet and cell phone were found in the parking lot of the reserve, but Eller had disappeared. Police ended their search for the missing woman after a week, but friends and family kept looking, staging a massive manhunt while combing through thick forest and jungle in search of Eller. A helicopter pilot spotted her on Saturday lying in a creek bed between two waterfalls, suffering from a leg fracture and injured ankles, but otherwise alert and in good condition. Eller says she got turned around after taking a break while walking on the trail and wandered farther into the forest in search of her car. She survived by eating wild berries and guava and drinking clear water.

Grandmother moves into tree to Block Pipeline

A grandmother in Montgomery County, Va., has taken up residence in a tree near Elliston, Va., to protest the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Crystal Jean Mello, a mother of two and grandmother of one, has lived in Southwest Virginia for most of her life and is concerned about the destruction caused by the pipeline. Recent pipeline protests have resulted in felony charges against the activists. “They want to call these young people terrorists? Well, I’m Nana, and a cleaning lady, and I stand with them,” Mello told Appalachians Against Pipelines. “They want us to be hopeless and feel like big business will always win. But we can all do little things and create big change together. Change that can beat this pipeline. We are still here.”

Florida woman smuggleS an alligator in her yoga pants

When police officers in Florida pulled over a pickup truck after it blew through a stop sign in the middle of the night, the driver of the truck, Michael Cody Clemons, told officers that he and his girlfriend had been collecting frogs and snakes from under a nearby overpass. Possession of many types of wildlife is illegal in Florida, so the officer asked the couple to open their backpacks so he could see what had been collected. Clemons’s girlfriend, Ariel Michelle Marchan-Le Quire, had 43 small turtles inside of her backpack. When the officer inquired if they’d collected anything else, she then pulled a foot-long alligator from her yoga pants. The couple was cited for violating state wildlife laws, and the animals were seized and released back into the wild. 

The endangered Florida panther is being shot more than originally thought

The Florida panther is protected under federal law as an endangered species– but that hasn’t stopped people from shooting them. Officials at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission say that 36 Florida panthers have been illegally shot by people in the past four decades. Officials have successfully closed only four of the cases. The Florida panther population reached an all-time low in 1995, when only 30 known panthers existed in the wild. The population has since rebounded to around 200 panthers.

Diver to the deepest place on earth finds plastic

Victor Vescovo, a retired Army veteran, made the deepest dive into the ocean ever by a human in a submarine. He traveled nearly 36,000 feet below sea level into the Mariana Trench, the deepest place on Earth, only to discover plastic litter on the ocean floor. Each year, an estimated 18 billion pounds of plastic waste ends up in the ocean.

TVA contractor sued over coal ash cleanup

The contractor hired by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to clean up the nation’s largest coal ash spill is being sued again for allegations that they did not do enough to protect cleanup workers from the toxins and carcinogens in coal ash and dust. Jacobs Engineering was hired to oversee cleanup efforts of the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal fly ash slurry spill, which released 1.1 billion gallons of coal fly ash slurry into the Emory River and surrounding landscape in 2008. Among other things, they did not provide HazMat suits or any protective gear for the workers who spent 12-hour days deep in toxic coal ash.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 119 cleanup workers and their families and five workers who died before the lawsuit was filed. Autopsies have shown that at least one cleanup worker died from black lung disease even though the man had never worked in a coal mine. Jacobs Engineering denies the claim, saying testing at the site showed that cleanup workers were not exposed to dangerous levels of silica found in concentrated coal dust.

Pennsylvania Governor hikes the closed Glen Onoko Falls trail to bring attention to his infrastructure plan

Governor Tom Wolf hiked the beloved and recently closed Glen Onoko Falls trail this week to make the case for his $4.5 billion infrastructure plan. Without approval of his plan, the Glen Onoko Falls trail, and others like it, will remain permanently closed, officials say. The Glen Onoko trail cannot reopen without at least $4 million to refurbish the eroded trail where 15 people have died and many others have been injured. Governor Wolf is pushing for a severance tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas production to finance capital projects like the one needed to reopen the Glen Onoko Falls trail. Wolf has attempted to tax shale drillers every year since he has been in office, but the gas industry has pushed back and the GOP-controlled legislature has continually rejected the idea.