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Big City Mountaineers: One Mountain at a Time

first_imgAn unquenchable thirst for adventure has taken my life to incredible places. My passion for these wild places and even wilder ways of exploring them has given me a life time of treasured memories and experiences. But aside from bringing a few great friends along on the occasional adventure, I had become comfortable in the fact that these wilderness forays were self fulfilling. A couple years worth of these selfish great times had floated by before I was given the unique opportunity to add some meaning to my travels.GOPR4433Big City Mountaineers is a budding charity based out of Colorado that takes at risk youth across the nation on wilderness mentoring adventures. Statistically, 83 percent of the kids Big City Mountaineers work with live well below the poverty line and would likely never experience the great outdoors without a miracle of sorts. They run the “Summit For Someone” program as their main fundraising vehicle, allowing any level adventurer to turn a frivolous pursuit into a worthy cause by raising money for BCM through Mountaineering and Climbing Expeditions. When I heard about this opportunity, the ambitious feeling inside grew instantly, and I knew I needed to be a part of the Summit For Someone program!BootScoot3Big City Mountaineers has developed major sponsors and connections through out the outdoor industry. They currently have hubs in Denver, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Chicago and the Boundary Waters Canoe area. I would love to see them keep expanding and include an East Coast Hub one day as well. To raise massive amounts of awareness and money they partnered with Backpacker Magazine and The North Face to hold the largest outdoor fundraiser ever conducted on U.S. soil last Spring on Mt. Whitney.Backpacker held a contest for readers to be a part of the event and I was lucky enough to be selected as one of the readers chosen to join. For months I trained like an animal, raised funds any way I could think of and then drove from the Appalachians out to California to test my merit above 14,000ft. The training and fundraising paid off for myself and everyone else. Nearly every member of our group reached the Summit with the help of our incredible guides from Sierra Mountaineering International. More important than our Peak Experience was the fact we raised $280,000 to provide all kinds of kids with the opportunity to have a peak experience of their own!Lucky ShotTime spent in the wilderness has given me a confident yet humble approach to the daily grind. Long strenuous trips that challenged my mind and body have created a vivid picture of the things that truly matter in life. For instance, A cool drink of water after a long day on a trail is no doubt one of life’s richest pleasures. Good companions and relationships are things to be nurtured and cherished in stride. Shelter from the weather, a healthy diet and a warm, comfortable place to sleep at night are our purest pursuits.When the youth of Big City Mountaineers participate in a mentoring trip they get the chance to incorporate all of this knowledge along with the set of life skills associated with a happy camper back into their own lives. Aside from learning these wilderness “life Hacks” the kids learn a great deal about themselves through the aid of a mentor. For many the opportunity to spend a week in seclusion with a positive adult mentor will provide more positive guidance than they have received collectively during their entire life. The kids get a chance to discuss their living situations as well as their thoughts and feelings about anything the wish with someone who is willing to listen and capable of giving sound advice.The bulk of BCM’s trips offer an amazing 1:­1 ratio of five adult mentors and five youth venturing together on a week long adventure. The trips will physically challenge the kids in different ways such as backpacking, climbing or traveling by canoe and certainly broaden their outdoor horizons. For these reasons and many more a week in the wilderness with Big City Mountaineers is considered a transformative experience for the kids and sometimes even more so for the adult volunteers who participate.Sam3After having such a great time on Mt. Whitney I was thrilled to learn that this year the Summit For Someone program was partnering up with Backpacker and The North Face again to climb Mt. Shasta in Northern California. I was honored again to receive an invite to join the climb and excited to keep raising awareness for the cause. The second time around provided a sense of comfort for me in both training and fundraising.I knew what worked and what did not work after riding the learning curve of our first expedition. With the help of some generous folks all across the outdoor community we were able to hold a fundraising party in Waynesville, NC. A local brewery furnished a killer venue free of charge for us to have a band, show a movie from Mt. Whitney and to auction off thousands of dollars worth of donated gear, outdoor adventures and some incredible Photographs. The night was incredible and our small Appalachian community was more than generous for the nationwide charity. A few weeks ago I had the time of my life on Mt. Shasta on our three day climb. As always I met great new friends and nourished my appetite for adventure on a beautiful mountain. The Mt. Shasta area is particularly special.These picturesque mountains covered in evergreens are dotted with Alpine Lakes and streams and they gently roll to the base of Mt. Shasta which promptly rises 10,000 vertical feet above the valley to a height of 14,192ft. With such staggering prominence above the surrounding area Shasta looks massive and the view from the top reminded me of looking out the window of a airplane! The Shasta Expedition was another staggering success with the help of Shasta Mountain Guides and collectively our group brought in $200,000 and counting for Big City Mountaineers!G0024418The Summit For Someone program has expanded to include 20 iconic Mountaineering Expeditions and climbs around the world. The program will also provide you a vehicle to raise funds for Big City Mountaineers in your own special way. If you wish to through hike a long trail, go peak bagging or set a FKT at your favorite spot they can help turn your passion into a philanthropic adventure! The program provides such a unique opportunity to give your outdoor life style a sense of merit. Believe me from my experience, this makes your endeavors more valuable and more memorable than you could ever imagine.I hope some of you reading this are in the same position I was a few years ago. I had just finished the SB6K challenge and felt like I wanted a taste of Big Adventure when the Summit For Someone program came into my life. Awesomeness is out their waiting for you and Big City Mountaineers can help make it happen!For more information check out bigcitymountaineers.org and summitforsomeone.org.–Follow author and Blue Ridge native Steven Reinhold on Facebook.last_img read more

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Ant Anstead Jokes About Christina Anstead Divorce After She Files

first_imgHe still has his sense of humor! Ant Anstead joked about his professional and personal life amid his divorce from his estranged wife, Christina Anstead.The 41-year-old mechanic announced his exit from Wheelers Dealers, which he’s starred in since 2017, on Monday, November 2. He subsequently opened up about his departure with costar Mike Brewer and his replacement, former Formula One mechanic Marc “Elvis” Priestley.- Advertisement – “For me, I’m sad because you and me have got an amazing bromance,” Brewer told Ant in a clip shared via his Instagram Stories. “There’s no, you know … People are gonna say ‘Brewer can’t hold onto these mechanics’ and all this nonsense.”Ant Anstead Jokes About Not Being Able to Hold Onto a Job or Wives After Christina Anstead Files for DivorceAnt Anstead Can Nguyen/ShutterstockAnt quipped back, “People say that about me and my wives!”Us Weekly confirmed in September that Christina, 37, and Ant called it quits after less than two years of marriage. The duo, who wed in December 2018, share son Hudson, 13 months.- Advertisement – “Ant and I have made the difficult decision to separate,” the Flip or Flop star wrote on September 18 via Instagram. “We are grateful for each other and as always, our children will remain our priority. We appreciate your support and ask for privacy for us and our family as we navigate the future.”Nearly two months later, Christina made it official and filed for divorce at a courthouse in Orange County, California, on Tuesday, November 3. A source previously told Us that the duo’s inner circle is surprised by the news.Ant Anstead Jokes About Not Being Able to Hold Onto a Job or Wives After Christina Anstead Files for DivorceChristina Anstead Courtesy of Christina Anstead/Iinstagram- Advertisement – – Advertisement – “Christina and Ant have been very private about this and friends are shocked to hear the news because they seemed happy together publicly and while in front of others,” the source said in September.The HGTV star was previously married to Tarek El Moussa. The pair, who finalized their divorce in 2018, share daughter Taylor, 10, and son Brayden, 5. El Moussa has since moved on with Heather Rae Young, whom he proposed to in July.“Tarek is sad that Christina is going through a hard time,” a second source told Us. “But [he] did not think that Christina and Ant would last.”Ant, for his part, was previously married to Louise Herbert for 12 years. The former spouses share Amelie, 17, and son Archie, 14.Listen to Us Weekly’s Hot Hollywood as each week the editors of Us break down the hottest entertainment news stories!last_img read more

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Tourism will take at least a year to recover from COVID-19 outbreak: Economists

first_imgTopics : Faisal said that when Indonesia’s tourist destinations were hit by natural disasters, such as Lombok’s earthquake in 2018, tourists needed time before traveling there again. Even six months after the Lombok earthquake, tourist numbers had not yet returned to normal.He predicted that COVID-19 would have a deeper impact than natural disasters, as people could not predict when the pandemic would be totally over. “Thus, the tourism outlook this year will really depend on how this virus spreads. If the virus subsides in the third and fourth quarter this year, we predict that the tourism sector will recover in 2021, but it will not be fully recovered yet,” said Faisal.Indonesia Travel Agent Association (Astindo) general secretary and director of Elok Tour, Pauline Suharno, said even if the outbreak slowed down in June, the after effect on the industry would continue, as it needed time to recover.A Flourish chart Indonesia’s tourism sector, the industry hardest-hit by COVID-19, is projected to take a long time to recover, although the pandemic is expected to slow down in the third quarter this year, economists and business players estimate.Economist and director of the Center of Reform on Economics (CORE) Mohammad Faisal said the tourism sector really depended on the people’s psychology, and was very sensitive to safety and security aspects. In the recovery period, regaining people’s trust to travel again after the pandemic would be a challenging task, he said.“During the recovery period, unlike other business sectors, tourism will take a longer time to return to normalcy because tourists need to ensure that the situation is really safe and secure before they travel again. So it will take time,” Faisal told The Jakarta Post on April 2.center_img “We will not be able to sell [tourism packages] right away. It really depends on the economic situation as well. With the economy disrupted, it also reduces people’s desire to travel,” she said.COVID-19 has hit tourism and left tourist destinations across the county empty of visitors. Some popular tourist sites are temporarily closed, such as Borobudur Temple in Central Java and Komodo National Park in East Nusa Tenggara. Statistics Indonesia data show that Indonesia had only 885,067 foreign tourist arrivals in February, a 28.85 percent decline from February last year. Meanwhile, from January to February, Indonesia recorded 2.16 million foreign tourist visits, an 11.8 percent drop from the 2.45 million tourists recorded during the same period last year.“Visitor numbers in February have declined at all entrance points. Considering the current situation, tourist visits are predicted to drop further in March than in February,” said Statistics Indonesia head Suhariyanto on Wednesday.  Suhariyanto said that almost all tourists from countries known as Indonesia’s main tourist markets such as China, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia fell in February. Tourist visits from China alone fell by 93.5 percent to only 11,780 people in February from 199,960 tourists in the same period last year.Astindo recorded a 90 percent drop in sales following booking cancellations in March with potential losses expected to reach Rp 4 trillion, the same amount they reported losing in February. With the current situation, many travel agents have been forced to lay off their non-permanent workers such as drivers and office boys.“The contracts of most non-permanent workers will not be extended. Travel agents also experienced difficulty to pay operational costs and wages in February and March. If there is no help from the government, many businesspeople [travel agents] will not be able to pay employees’ salaries in April,” said Pauline.The PHRI reported the country’s hotel overall occupancy rate had fallen to 30 to 40 percent since early January. PHRI chairman Hariyadi Sukamdani reported last week that 698 hotels across Indonesia had closed due to COVID-19.To help the tourism sector and all businesses recover quickly after the pandemic, the chairman of the Indonesia Tourism Intellectuals Association (ICPI), Azril Azahari, shared several actions that must be carried out such as disinfecting major tourist destinations.“Perform the disinfection at all tourist destinations including hotels, in order to regain people’s trust that tourist destinations and accommodation in Indonesia is all free of COVID-19, so they can feel safe,” stated Azril in its statement.A Flourish chartHe also called on the government to provide financial incentives in the form of loan repayment relaxation to business players in the tourism sector, especially small and medium enterprises, and give cash assistance to employees working in the tourism sector.COVID-19 will severely affect tourism globally. The UN World Tourism Organzation estimated that international tourist arrivals could decline by between 20 and 30 percent globally in 2020, from 1.46 billion tourist arrivals in 2019 to only 1.02 to 1.17 billion tourists this year. This could lead to financial losses of US$300 billion to $450 billion in international tourism exports.last_img read more

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Five vessels from Philippines, Vietnam caught fishing illegally in Indonesian waters

first_imgThe arrests were conducted by three vessels of the directorate general in two different locations that were monitoring the area. He said the intensity of monitoring remained the same despite the coronavirus pandemic, as the ministry aimed to uphold the sovereignty of fisheries management in the country.“We are prepared for any increase in illegal vessels operating in [Indonesian waters] amid the spread of COVID-19. That is why we are not decreasing our operations as illegal fishing is still rampant,” he said in a statement on Sunday.In Sulawesi waters, the three Philippine-flagged vessels raised Indonesian flags to trick patrols, but personnel managed to detect them, he added. Officials apprehended 34 Filipino crewmen from the three vessels.Six Vietnamese crewmen were apprehended from two Vietnam-flagged vessels caught in the North Natuna Sea.The arrests came just a week after the ministry arrested two illegal foreign vessels from Vietnam in the North Natuna Sea.Edhy explained that the arrests were the result of cooperation between personnel of the directorate general’s control center and the technical unit, which monitor and inform the location of illegal foreign vessels to the joint Supervision Unit that conducted the raids.As part of efforts to strengthen protection of the country’s maritime resources, Edhy said he was considering adding operating days to eradicate illegal fishing.Topics : The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry has seized five foreign-flagged vessels caught fishing illegally in Indonesian waters as sea patrols remain vigilant during the COVID-19 pandemic.The ministry’s Marine and Fisheries Resources Supervision Directorate General seized three Philippines-flagged vessels and two Vietnamese-flagged vessels in the North Natuna Sea and Sulawesi Sea on Saturday, Minister Edhy Prabowo said.last_img read more

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Iraq lawmakers approve government of Prime Minister-designate Kadhimi

first_imgKadhimi’s candidates for Cabinet posts including interior, defence, finance and electricity passed with votes from a majority of lawmakers present.Voting on the oil and foreign ministries was delayed as the parties failed to agree on candidates. They rejected the incoming premier’s picks for justice, agriculture and trade.”The security, stability and blossoming of Iraq is our path,” Kadhimi wrote on his Twitter account after parliament voted for his Cabinet.He said he would make tackling the coronavirus pandemic, of which Iraq has suffered more than 2,000 cases and more than 100 deaths, a priority and hold to account those who had killed protesters in previous months of anti-government unrest.Iraqi officials say Kadhimi is acceptable to both the United States and Iran, whose battle for influence over Iraq has boiled into open confrontation in the past year.The United States killed Iranian military mastermind Qassem Soleimani and his close ally the Iraqi paramilitary leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a drone strike next to Baghdad International Airport in January.Iran responded with its first ever direct missile attack against US forces at a base in Western Iraq several days later but did not kill anyone.Washington accuses paramilitary groups backed by Tehran of carrying out a series of rocket attacks on other bases in recent months, one of which killed three troops in the US-led military coalition based in Iraq.Rockets have regularly been fired near the US embassy in Baghdad. None of the rocket attacks have been claimed by known Iran-backed groups.Kadhimi’s government must deal with an impending economic crisis precipitated by the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused the prices of oil – Iraq’s principal source of revenue – to plummet.It also faces a growing Islamic State insurgency as the extremist group steps up attacks on government troops from hideouts in remote areas of northern Iraq.Iraq risks being caught up in any regional conflagration between Washington and Tehran, as militia groups vow revenge for the killing of Soleimani and Muhandis and President Donald Trump continues his bellicose rhetoric against Iran. Topics : Iraqi lawmakers approved a new government on Wednesday after six months without one as parties squabbled until the last minute over Cabinet seats in backroom deals.Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Iraq’s intelligence chief and a former journalist, will head the new government. He will begin his term without a full Cabinet, however, after several ministerial candidates were rejected.US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed the new government in a call with Kadhimi, the US State Department said in a statement. It also said Washington would renew for 120 days a waiver allowing Iraq to import electricity from Iran “to help provide the right conditions for success” of the new government.Former prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, who has been leading a caretaker government, resigned last year as anti-government protesters took to the streets in their thousands, demanding jobs and the departure of Iraq’s ruling elite.They accuse the political class that took over after the 2003 US invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein of corruption that has driven the country into dysfunction and economic ruin.The battle over government portfolios since Abdul Mahdi’s resignation in November prevented two previous nominees for prime minister from forming a Cabinet.last_img read more

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MRT Jakarta drafts new business model amid falling ridership

first_imgCity-owned public transportation company PT MRT Jakarta is reviewing plans to switch to a new business model after suffering a dramatic fall in ridership during large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) for the COVID-19 outbreak.“[The new business plan] will provide new business values for MRT Jakarta. This is what we call ‘business beyond normal’,” MRT Jakarta president director William Sabandar said during a press briefing on Thursday.He added that the model would combine three business components he referred to as “beyond ridership, beyond physical mobility and beyond transport network”. The beyond physical mobility component will focus on virtual mobility to develop digital businesses, including the use of websites and social media for advertising and other commercial purposes.The operator recently launched MRTJ accelerator with aims to collaborate with start-ups in its digital activities. The program was slated to start between August and September.“MRT Jakarta is inviting local start-ups to help us develop digital ecosystems along MRT Jakarta routes and MRT Jakarta TOD areas,” William said, referring to the transit-oriented development.Read also: MRT Jakarta delays phase 2 construction amid COVID-19 outbreakThe approach is in line with the beyond transport network component, which will focus on not only developing more routes but also connecting areas around MRT stations for urban regeneration, especially in the upcoming second phase of the MRT Jakarta, which stretches from the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta to Kota in West Jakarta.The number of MRT Jakarta passengers dropped dramatically during the implementation of PSBB measures between April and June. The operator served an average of 90,000 to 100,000 passengers daily between January and mid-March, but the number dropped to 5,000 in April and 2,000 in May.Since the city began easing restrictions on Monday, the number of passengers has slowly risen to 13,000 a day.“However, the increase is yet to be significant because some businesses and malls have yet to resume operations until [June 15],” William said, projecting the figure to rise to 60,000 to 70,000 in July.Topics : As the MRT operator can no longer rely on ridership as a business parameter, it will prioritize non-farebox income in its beyond ridership scheme while promoting the branding value of living a healthy lifestyle.Read also: MRT Jakarta back to normalcy, but with limited capacityEmpty spaces in MRT stations will be used for coworking spaces equipped with various features, including video conferencing.In addition, MRT Jakarta will push for the development of mobile ticketing, smart vending machines, cashless retail transactions, online training for start-ups and small and medium-sized businesses as well as delivery services.last_img read more

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MLS champ Atlanta United wants ‘exciting football’ from new boss amid Marcelo Bielsa links

first_img“We now have an amazing fanbase in Atlanta, a stadium that’s the best in the world, a training ground that’s one of the top ones in the whole of North America. From that perspective, we’re in a much better position in terms of looking for the new coach.”He added: “The reality is that we’re in a situation that is slightly different to 2 1/2 years ago, when we hired Tata, in that we are firmly on the map.”That name recognition is a factor, but it’s not something that’s going to be an absolute must-have.” Atlanta United president Darren Eales says it is imperative that the club appoint a new coach who plays “exciting, attractive football” amid links to Marcelo Bielsa. Tata Martino guided Atlanta to the MLS Cup title in 2018 but is departing, with several high-profile candidates reportedly in the running.  And Bielsa, the Leeds United boss, has been suggested as a potential replacement for his fellow Argentinian having inspired a generation of coaches — including Martino and Mauricio Pochettino — as well as drawing huge praise from Pep Guardiola. Eales would not comment on any alleged interest in Bielsa while he remains in the Leeds job, but acknowledged that any new Atlanta United coach will have to entertain the team’s fans at opulent Mercedes-Benz Stadium. “I may have missed something, but I thought [Bielsa] was at Leeds,” Eales told Omnisport. “I would say that Marcelo Bielsa is incredible. “I had Mauricio Pochettino when I was at Tottenham and that Newell’s Old Boys tree that’s come from Bielsa is pretty incredible. He’s got a lot of people and a lot of coaches who have been inspired by him. “The reality is we’ve got a style of play in Atlanta where we score the most goals in the league, we were title-winners this year and we play an exciting, attractive style. “I think it’s important that the coach who comes in has a similar pedigree of playing that way. That, for us, is the most important thing.” El profe. El Tata.He just had to hammer that Golden Spike one last time pic.twitter.com/XOPJsgyDJ0— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) December 10, 2018Boca Juniors coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto and former Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli have also been mentioned, and Eales believes Atlanta United is recruiting from a position of strength. “Tata has been fantastic as our first head coach,” Eales said. “He won a title in our second season but also played an attractive style of football. “The exciting thing for us is that, when we hired Tata, we had no stadium, no training ground and no players. It was literally a blank sheet of paper. last_img read more