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Brent Raymond named Director of the Vermont Global Trade Partnership

first_imgThe Agency of Commerce and Community Development today announced that Brent Raymond has joined the state agency as the new director of the Vermont Global Trade Partnership. Raymond will be directing the work of the agency’s international trade office.  The office assists Vermont businesses of all sizes with international trade-related educational seminars, trade show participation, technical assistance and one-on-one consulting services.   The office provides funding to help Vermont businesses access international markets. ‘A top priority of the Shumlin administration is to increase the export of Vermont-made products in Canada and overseas, and we are delighted to have Brent on our team working with Vermont’s many world-class companies,’ said Commerce and Community Development Secretary Lawrence Miller.’We are fortunate to have funding available to help companies get started and grow their export business, and Brent’s expertise will be a tremendous asset.’ The Vermont Global Trade Partnership (VGTP) has a strong reputation for excellent customer service and quality technical assistance.   VGTP also works closely with the U.S. Commercial Service to promote export opportunities around the globe. Raymond started his new post Dec. 12. A native of Swanton, Raymond most recently served as Rep. Peter Welch’s Business Liaison after 10 years in Vermont’s financial services sector. Raymond was a Vice President of TD Bank’s Wealth Management Group and subsequently worked as a Vermont-based financial advisor for Merrill Lynch. He served in the U.S. Air Force for four years, earning several medals and commendations, and later served in both the Vermont Air National Guard and the Vermont Army National Guard. A summa cum laude graduate of Hunter College, he graduated with a double major in history and an honors interdisciplinary studies program. Raymond lives in Williston with his wife, Leyla, and their three-year-old son, Brodyn.last_img read more

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In Defense of Monogamy

first_imgGiven our current tell-all culture, I feel obligated to use this forum to update my status. Graham Averill is in a relationship. Yes, I’m still happily married to my beautiful wife, but there’s another in my life. She’s a small forest at the bottom of my neighborhood with a beautiful little six-mile trail system winding through a hardwood canopy. This is where I sneak off to day after day for 45 minutes of sweating and heavy breathing. I guess in the classic sense, you could call this trail system my mistress. But not the sort of cheap mistress that Americans have. She’s more like the mistress of a French politician. The kind you buy villas for and take to state dinners.Not only are we in a relationship, but I’ll go a step further and say we’re monogamous. I don’t like to run anywhere else. Sure, I’ve had dalliances with other trails. I lust after exotic singletrack just like any red-blooded American runner. Thin strips of dirt winding sinuously through dank foliage. Rocky, rough tread that rises over bare mountains. I’m tempted by skinnier trails. Trails with foreign accents. I’ve been known to ogle glossy magazine spreads. I’m human. When I travel, I occasionally even find myself lacing up my shoes for a jaunt on other paths, but it’s meaningless. It’s just exercise.A run on my home system, we’ll call her Betty, is more than exercise. It’s a sacrament, like marriage or a Saturday afternoon of SEC football. And though I may lust after other trails, I find myself loyal as ever to Betty, that lovely mix of singletrack, doubletrack, and paved road connectors that completes me.Where’s the sense of adventure in running the same trail over and over, you may ask. Where’s the sense of discovery?I may not be notching conquests in my GPS like some other runners, but devoting my running life to the same system comes with its own sense of adventure.Peruse our history together: This is the trail where I took my golden retriever running almost every day of his adult life. This is the trail that I ran for two hours, crying the whole time, the day that same dog died. This is the trail I ran the day I heard my wife was pregnant. Then again when I heard we were having two babies instead of just one.  This is the trail where I trained for my first ultra. I stashed water bottles in these bushes! It may sound boring, but I know every inch of this trail. I can knock out a winter night run just by the light of the moon. I know what stretches are flat enough for speed. I know I need to conserve a bit of energy for that last road climb back to my house. I know Betty’s secrets, the way I know my wife secretly likes trashy vampire TV shows. I know how long she takes to dry out after a rain (the trail, not my wife). I know where she’s expanding from overuse. I know that bizarre tree sculptures are hidden behind certain bushes. I know on Wednesday afternoons, a strange-but-friendly man does tai chi while listening to Bon Jovi in a corner of the forest. I know if I can run a certain loop in under 30 minutes, I’m in shape. If I have to walk a certain hill, I’ve been watching too much SportsCenter.It helps that Betty is a kick-ass trail system. Monogamy is a little easier when you’re married to a supermodel who can cook. My “one true run” has a little bit of everything. A couple of miles of easy doubletrack, some super-tight singletrack that twists like an intestine, and steep road climbs connecting it all. There’s even a track near the middle for speed work. Please, don’t think me crass when I say this trail system has curves. But she’s not just about flow. She’s complicated too, with algebraic rock gardens and quick pitches almost too steep to run. Even after years of use, a run there can still be exciting. I typically come out of a run even more devoted to Betty than before. It’s like going to church and coming out more in love with Jesus.With more than half of marriages ending in divorce, an argument could be made that monogamy doesn’t work. Feel free to discuss that with your significant other. But in trail running, monogamy is necessary. Sure, jumping from one hot piece of dirt to the next sounds fun, but look closer and you’ll see it’s actually just exhausting. You summit new mountains, but where’s the deeper connection?Runners need familiar ground. We need consistency. Running the same trail over and over establishes a union that goes beyond the superficial, a rhythm that you can tap into when you know the ground so well. What I’m talking about here is understanding. My trail and I have a beautiful rapport, the sort of back and forth you can only find in a committed relationship or an Aaron Sorkin movie.By all means, play the field. Spend some time experimenting with various trails to see what you like. Be promiscuous. But eventually, choose a partner. Settle down. Find yourself a Betty. Run her over and over. Take care of her, and she’ll take care of you.last_img read more

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Hike the Southeast

first_imgThe county’s most popular hike, The Devil’s Bathtub, is located within the Jefferson National Forest. Choose from two different hikes—a seven-mile round trip along Devil’s Fork Loop or the two-mile trek to the Bathtub. Be prepared with the right shoes for 13 creek crossings and slippery rocks.   Experience the natural areas of Charles County on the Indian Head Rail Trail. Hikers, bikers, and nature lovers alike will enjoy passing through a variety of ecosystems on this 13-mile paved trail. Enjoy Thomas Stone National Historic Site to witness 109 species of birds within their natural habitat.  Take in the high elevation views at the Highland Wildlife Management Area. Photo by Meghan Marchetti/DWR Après Hike LakeHartwellCountry.com When you get off the trail, check out the local restaurants, breweries, and wineries in the nearby towns of St. Paul, Lebanon, Honaker, and the community of Castlewood. Getaway and hike all day in Russell County, Va.  Hike the Appalachian Trail to Dragon’s Tooth, McAfee Knob, and Tinker Cliffs for three of the most iconic viewpoints in Virginia. Photo by Rochelle Masudal Take in the wonder that is the Natural Bridge when you visit Lexington. Photo courtesy of Lexington Explore the region by way of the Roanoke Valley Greenways. More than 30 miles of trails connect Downtown Roanoke, parks, and nearby waterways. These paved and natural surface trails are perfect for a casual walk, run, or bike ride close to town. Stop at Green Hill Park for picnic spots and access to the Roanoke River.  Tucked away in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of South Carolina, Lake Hartwell Country is home to sweeping vistas, powerful rivers, and refreshing lakes.  Located on the bank of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, Muse Vineyards is the perfect fall getaway in Virginia. Enjoy a flight of five different wines or order a bottle as you soak up the views of the Shenandoah Valley. From the tasting room and patio to the swinging bridge and river, take the 1.8-mile self-guided tour through the vineyard.   Combine the award-winning wines from Muse Vineyards with the abundance of nearby hiking trails for a relaxing vacation in the mountains.MuseVineyards.com Bland County, VA Whether you’re looking for an easy day hike or an overnight backpacking experience, Green Ridge State Forest has more than 50 miles of hiking trails to explore. Photo courtesy Allegany County Tourism Located on the bank of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, Muse Vineyards is the perfect fall getaway in Virginia. Photo by Appeal Photography LLC. Straddling the Virginia-Kentucky border, you’ll find an additional 25 miles of hiking trails at Breaks Interstate Park. Referred to as the Grand Canyon of the South, take in the wonder of the Russell Fork running through the five-mile gorge. Discover other activities in the park, including mountain bike rentals, geocaching, fishing, and more. Reserve the Muse Vineyards Farmhouse so you won’t have to walk far when you’re ready to turn in for the night. From the screened porch to the in-ground pool, find your spot to relax and unwind in this 225-year old restored farmhouse.  In the southwestern corner of Virginia, Hungry Mother State Park features more than 17 miles of trails open all year for hiking and biking. As one of the original six state parks, Hungry Mother is known for its woodlands and a peaceful mountain lake. Climb through the rhododendron, ferns, and wildflowers up the switchbacks on Molly’s Knob and Vista Trail to the stunning 180-degree views at the top. Clyburn Ridge Loop Trail is a four-mile, multi-use trail offering an amazing view of Hungry Mother Lake. when you’re done on the trails, paddle the 108-acre lake or fish for bass, channel catfish, walleye, and more. Reserve a cabin, lodge, yurt, or campsite throughout the park for an overnight stay.  Muse Vineyards, VA Satisfy your sweet tooth with a scoop from Landon’s Ices and Creams, serving up delicious homemade ice cream flavors like snickerdoodle and red velvet cream cheese. Or enjoy fall specialty cupcakes, including caramel apple, maple bacon, and chocolate peppermint, from Michelle’s Cakes. Then take a  shopping break at the St. Charles Towne Center Mall. End your day with a refreshing drink and mountain views. Visit some of the area’s award-winning wineries, breweries, and distilleries on the Mountain Maryland Tap and Pour Craft Beverage Tour, and be sure to visit the many area restaurants, including theopen-air dining in downtown Cumberland.  Conveniently located a short drive from major East Coast cities like Pittsburgh, Pa., Baltimore, Md., and Washington, D.C., hike all day in Allegany County, Md., this fall.  From mountain creek trails to sweeping high-country scenic vistas, Scott County offers a variety of hiking options in the southwestern tip of Virginia.  The Virginia Triple Crown is a must-see while you’re in the area. Hike the Appalachian Trail to Dragon’s Tooth, McAfee Knob, and Tinker Cliffs for three of the most iconic viewpoints in Virginia. They are the perfect spots for a challenging hike with views of the changing leaves.  Conveniently located at the interchange of Interstate 81 and 64, Lexington, Buena Vista, and Rockbridge County sit at the southern gateway to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. VisitVBR.com | VisitSalemVA.com An iconic local landmark, hike House Mountain for sweeping views of the mountains and valleys. Walk or run the Chessie Trail as it parallels the Maury River for seven miles from Lexington to Buena Vista. Hike seven miles of trails at Natural Bridge State Park and bring the kiddos to the new Children’s Discovery Area and Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom. Grab a bite to eat at one of the county’s many iconic restaurants, such as the Hob Nob, Campus Drive-in, Teddy’s, ChuBeez, or Front Porch Store and Deli. No trip to Scott County is complete without a visit to The Family Bakery for the world’s best cupcakes. Hike for a few hours or days on the Appalachian Trail as it traverses the ridges and valleys of the county. Summit Chestnut Knob for stunning views of Burke’s Garden or stop by the Brushy Mountain Outpost for a delicious meal right off the trail. The Wolf Creek Indian Village and Museum is open for walking tours with short trails and picnic shelters around the village. Climb the 100-foot tower at Big Walker Lookout for views of five states, plus load up on local jams, coffee, and ice cream.  Take the time to check off some bucket list items with a hike on the Appalachian Trail or a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Head to Walkabout Outfitter, Lex Running Shop, and Journey Outdoors for all of your outdoor needs while in town.  From open fields and beaches to wooded areas and steep terrain, Maxwell Hall Park has 14.2 miles of diverse trails on the Patuxent. The tranquil Port Tobacco River Park features an additional three miles of walking trails and several observation platforms to take in the local flora, fauna, and Bald Eagle’s Nest.  Just down the road, take a scenic walk, and enjoy the quaint Friendship Farm Park along the Nanjemoy Creek.   Après Hike Virginia State Parks Bordered by the Potomac River to the west and Patuxent River to the east with more than 20,000 acres of parkland and miles of trail to explore, Charles County, Md. is a hiker’s paradise.  Photo courtesy Charles County Government The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) maintains more than 225,000 acres of public land on 46 Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) around Virginia. More rugged and “wild” than a state park, a WMA offers excellent opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing, and experiencing nature.  Get Out and Play Outfitters is your one-stop shop for all things adventure in Allegany County. Sign up for canoe and kayak rentals and bike shuttles to make the most out of your trip. For all things biking, including rentals, maintenance, and transport, Cumberland Trail Connection has you covered. They also supply everything you need to brew your own beerat home.  At 19 miles, the Chief Benge Scout Trail creates the perfect tour of the High Knob land formation. Starting at the High Knob Lookout Tower near Norton and ending at the Hanging Rock Recreation Area, the trail passes everything from sweeping 360-degree vistas of five states to rugged mountain stream gorges, waterfalls, two high elevation lakes, and dense hardwood forests. Après Hike RockbridgeOutdoors.com Located in central Virginia in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, James River State Park provides 22 miles of hiking through quiet forests and along the river. Tye River Overlook, a trail made of smooth, crushed gravel, leads to the park’s most iconic view of the James River. River Trail parallels the river for 3.1 miles. Keep a lookout for deer, beavers, otters, and various waterfowl along the water and in the wetland. Tye River Overlook, Green Hill Pond Trail, and the fishing pier are wheelchair-accessible. Test your mountain biking skills on the well-maintained trails or float eight miles of the river. Choose from a primitive campsite, cabin, or lodge for a night near the James River.  Take in the grandeur of the Blue Ridge Escarpment, or the Blue Wall, where the mountains drop a dramatic 2,000 feet in less than half a mile to the foothills below. Due to this drastic change in elevation, the area has a higher concentration of waterfalls than anywhere else in the country. Choose from a variety of hikes, ranging from easy to strenuous, to see the tumbling cascades up close.  At just a half mile, Tank Hollow Falls is a great hike for all skill levels to enjoy Russell County. Photo by Preston Ball Photography, courtesy of Russell County  From mountain streams and waterfalls to the peaks of nearby mountains, hike miles of trail at Table Rock State Park. Encounter wildlife and quiet mountain trails at Oconee State Park. Both parks provide additional access for fishing, paddling, and camping. Traverse the escarpment along the Foothills Trail, a 77-mile trail connecting the Table Rock and Oconee state parks. Along the way, you’ll cross through the Jocassee Gorges where streams cut these rugged gorges over thousands of years.  While you’re in the area, take some time to watch the elk from one of the public wildlife viewing shelters near the Southern Gap Visitor Center. In 2012, 71 elk were reintroduced to the area after an almost 100-year absence. Today, that population has expanded to several hundred elk. The best time to visit is sunrise or sunset when these magnificent animals are the most active. Don’t forget about the Southern Gap Elk Fest, celebrating all things wildlife and mountain culture, October 14-17, 2020.  Head into the town of Grundy at the end of the day for a variety of delicious dining options. This fall, immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of “Wild” Buchanan County and experience the natural wonder of the mountains.  In Northwest Virginia, Highland WMA is located in Highland County, which is generally regarded as having the highest average elevation of any county east of the Mississippi River. The management area offers an array of trails for hikers, 20 miles of road, and a cable suspension footbridge across the Bullpasture River at Bullpasture Gorge just north of Williamsville. On Virginia’s coast, York River State Park protects a rare estuarine environment where freshwater and saltwater meet. Designated a Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, hike more than 30 miles of trails to experience the diverse delicate ecosystems and marine life for yourself. Backbone Trail to Riverview Trail is a longer hike to the York River with a lookout at the end. Look for ospreys and great blue herons at one of the observation decks along Taskinas Creek Trail. Search for signs of the past at Fossil Beach and walk over marshes on Mattaponi Trail. Horseback riders of all abilities will enjoy the fields of wild flora and secluded forests along the Meh Te Kos Bridle Trail or can take on the difficult terrain on the Challenge Loop.    Refuel at one of the laid-back eateries, including JJ’s Meat Shack, Pink Cadillac Diner, Salerno Wood Fired Pizza & Taphouse, and TAPS. Follow the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail for a post-adventure craft beer or visit a vineyard or cidery. For a bit of nostalgia, catch a movie at Hull’s Drive-In through October. Check into The Georges, a restored 200-year-old inn offering designer accommodations, for a restful night’s sleep.  From the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay to the peaks and valleys of the Appalachian Mountains, discover the best hiking trails at a Virginia State Park. With 38 parks around the commonwealth, you can find a trail that fits your speed. Whether you prefer challenging mountain climbs or nature strolls perfect for the whole family, get outside this fall at a Virginia State Park. After time spent climbing mountains, head underground at Dixie Caverns for views of unique, towering formations. Stop into the antique store and rock shop for a souvenir to remind you of your trip.  Allegany County, MD Find information, including descriptions, WMA maps, facilities available, and more at VirginiaWildlife.gov/wma Rockingham County, VA For an overnight stay, check out Appalachian Mountain Cabins, Estilville Bed & Breakfast, Roberts Mills Suites, Boone Pointe Cabins, or Happy Trails Cottage. Or pitch a tent along the Clinch River at SomeThing Squatchy or Camp Clinch. Lake Hartwell Country, SC ExploreScottCountyVA.org Après Hike In George Washington National Forest, hike to the High Knob Fire Tower on the Virginia-West Virginia border for views of the valley. Photo by Lori Mier Après Hike In George Washington National Forest, hike to the High Knob Fire Tower on the Virginia-West Virginia border for views of the valley. In Shenandoah National Park, Bearfence Mountain, Blackrock Summit, and Hightop Mountain provide a variety of trail lengths and difficulties featuring rock scrambles and panoramic vistas. Located just seven miles from the Appalachian Trail, stop by Appalachian Trail Outfitters for all of your apparel, footwear, and gear needs out in the woods.  ExploreCharlesCounty.com Relax at Eupepsia Wellness Resort, voted the number two health and wellness resort in the nation. Their restaurant offers lovely al fresco dining with meals made from vegetables grown on-site. Grab a delicious meal for you and your furry friend from Harners Old Country Store.  Less than a mile down the road, discover the beauty of Seven Bends State Park. Follow the seven bends of the Shenandoah River or hike the trails up the western slope of Powell Mountain. Talus Trail connects with Massanutten Trail for an additional 70 miles of hiking in George Washington National Forest. Paddle three miles of the river or wade into the water to fish for smallmouth bass.  Massanutten Resort offers outdoor recreation and relaxation opportunities around every corner. Hike Massanutten Ridge Trail for views of the mountain, resort area, and central Shenandoah Valley. Bring your mountain bike for the lift access bike park or ride the backcountry trails at the Western Slope. Explore the rest of the resort with ziplining, go-cart racing, and more. Choose from a number of lodging options to stay close to the action.  Head into one of the seven small towns within the county for a meal and a drink at the end of the day. From biscuit mixes to some of Virginia’s finest ham, Fulks Run Grocery stocks everything you need to make a delicious dinner. Order specialty burgers and sandwiches from Cracked Pillar Pub or build your own burger at Old 33 Beer & Burger Grill. center_img Charles County, MD The best time to see the elk in Buchanan County is sunrise or sunset when these magnificent animals are the most active. Photo courtesy Buchanan County The Coal Canyon Trail System offers 114 miles of multi-use trails. Hikers, bikers, and UTV drivers can expect a variety of easy, moderate, and hard trails to get outside and test their skills. This system boasts a total of more than 200 connected miles of trail around the county and surrounding area for multiple full days of fun.  Paddle Lake Jocassee in the fall for views of the changing leaves. Photo courtesy Lake Hartwell County Buchanan County, VA Find peace and adventure in the land by the Blue Wall when you getaway to Lake Hartwell Country. South Carolina is just right!  Après Hike At the end of the day, head into the City of Salem for family-friendly patio dining at El Jefe Taqueria or Mac and Bob’s. If you’re looking for craft beer and good times, stop by Olde Salem Brewing Company and Parkway Brewing Company for a taste of the mountains.  Plan your next hiking trip at a Virginia State Park to experience the best the commonwealth has to offer.  Take Virginia’s Blue Ridge Stay Safe Pledge when you visit the area to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by following social distancing guidelines and wearing a mask when around others.  WildBuchanan.com  You’ll find seven trails of varying lengths and difficulty at Natural Tunnel State Park. The most popular, Lover’s Leap, is only .36 miles and provides hikers the opportunity to gaze down to the that was naturally-carved through a limestone ridge over thousands of years. Additionally, the park offers great camping sites and four primitive yurts. A hike to Little Stony Falls is a photographer’s dream. With three waterfalls, this 2.8-mile trail follows Little Stony Creek through a 400-foot deep and 1,700-foot wide gorge featuring large outcrops, rock ledges, and boulders. The highlight of the trip is the 27-foot waterfall at the top, offering the perfect swimming hole or spot to cast a line for trophy trout. Dive deep into Rockingham’s lore at Elkton Brewing Company where the craft beers are named for local landmarks and stories. Located on a sixth generation-owned farm, try one of the seasonal beers on tap at Cave Hill Farms Brewery.  Finish up your day with a taste of the South Carolina mountains. Order a craft beer from Jocassee Valley Brewing Company or Appalachian Ale House as you snack on pub food and listen to live music. Head to Lazy Bear Winery and Victoria Valley Vineyards for a wine tasting or a bottle to go.  With a location in Downtown Roanoke and the Valley View Mall, Walkabout Outfitters is a one-stop-shop for everything you need out on the trail. Whether you’re looking for something you forgot to pack or need tips on the best hikes in the area, these local outdoor enthusiasts have you covered. Conveniently located near Carvins Cove, Just the Right Gear Bike Shop has you covered for a day in the saddle, including gear, apparel, and advice.  When you’re done on the trail, fish Lake Shenandoah for largemouth bass, channel catfish, and musky. Head underground at Endless Caverns and Grand Caverns for one of a kind geological formations like the Cathederal Room and the Rainbow Room.  Through the end of October, jump into some fall fun at Back Home-on the Farm, including a corn maze, pumpkin patch, and campfires. Pick out the perfect pumpkin from Every Soul Acres, plus freshly picked sunflowers.  Après Hike BlandCountyVA.gov As one of the most beautiful areas in the world, discover all that the mountains of southwestern Virginia have to offer when you hike Russell County. The Cleveland Barrens, Pinnacle, and Channels natural area preserves provide a gateway to one of the top biodiversity hotspots in the country. View unique geological formations, rare species, and the Clinch River from the winding trails.  In southwest Virginia, spanning Smyth, Washington, Russell, and Tazewell counties, Clinch Mountain WMA is the most biologically diverse WMA in Virginia. It encompasses 25,477 acres of mountain forest along Clinch Mountain, contains Laurel Bed Lake, and spans elevations from 2,200 feet along Big Tumbling Creek to its highest point at 4,700 feet on Beartown Mountain. The naturalist can wander through mature-growth forests predominantly wooded by oak and hickory, rhododendron thickets, beaver ponds, a lake, meadows, shrublands, managed forests and prescribed burns, and even red spruce forest atop Beartown Mountain. Between the Alleghany and Blue Ridge mountains, Rockingham, Va. rests just minutes from the George Washington National Forest and Shenandoah National Park. Nestled in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, you’ll find plenty to do just two hours from Washington, D.C. Whether you’re planning for a day, weekend, or week-long trip, immerse yourself in the outdoors, cultural amenities, inviting small towns, historical attractions, and farm-to-table dining opportunities that abound in Rockingham County.  Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Bordered by the Potomac River to the west and Patuxent River to the east with more than 20,000 acres of parkland and miles of trail to explore, Charles County, Md. is a hiker’s paradise.  Virginia’s Blue Ridge Scott County, VA MDMountainSide.com Lexington, VA Charles County has plenty of parks and outdoor recreation for you to enjoy. Experience the wonder of the marshes and coastal woodlands at Chapman State Park. This park offers a scenic vista of the Potomac, making it a great location to fish for largemouth bass, sunfish, or birdwatch in an Important Bird Area. Just down the river, Smallwood State Park offers a little bit of everything for visitors. The park has a marina, hiking trails, boat ramp, picnicking facilities, campsites, and rich history dating back to the Revolutionary War. Chapel Point State Park is another pristine park that offers more than 3,000 feet of shoreline to view the Port Tobacco River.  Regardless of the type of terrain you like, there’s a WMA to suit—coastal plains, mountains, and in between. Many of them also host portions of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail (VBWT). In the coastal areas, on WMAs like Hog Island and Princess Anne, bird-watching is quite popular. The Mockhorn Island WMA is an Atlantic coastal island of over 7,000 acres of prime tidal marsh and includes a loop of the VBWT. In Fauquier County, the Thompson WMA features seven miles of the Appalachian Trail. Thompson WMA is famous for a remarkable display of large-flowered trilliums that blanket almost two square miles of forest floor in the spring, accessible via the Trillium Trail. Whether you’re looking for an easy day hike or an overnight backpacking experience, Green Ridge State Forest has more than 50 miles of hiking trails to explore. The trail system connects with the C&O Canal Towpath, a 184.5-mile trail from Georgetown to Cumberland, Md., and part of the National Park System. Follow the loop around Lake Habeeb at Rocky Gap State Park for beautiful views of the changing leaves. The park offers plenty of other paddling, fishing, and mountain biking opportunities, plus campsites, cabins, and yurts for an extended stay. Find additional fishing, picnicking, and camping spots at Dans MountainState Park.  Après Hike Russell County, VA VirginiaStateParks.gov Hike for a few hours or days on the Appalachian Trail as it traverses the ridges and valleys of Bland County. Photo courtesy Bland County Head into the mountains near the Virginia-West Virginia border to Douthat State Park, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Ranging from easy to difficult, hike more than 40 miles throughout the park to waterfalls and scenic overlooks. Most trails are also open to mountain bikers. Mountain Top Trail follows several ridges to a lookout while also connecting visitors with more miles of trails in the George Washington National Forest. Blue Suck Falls Trail offers beautiful views of the falling water and whirlpool at the base of the waterfall. Kids will enjoy the special fishing area just below the dammed section of Wilson Creek as they try their hand at catching trout before moving up to the 50-acre Douthat Lake for largemouth bass, sunfish, and crappie. Spend the night at one of the park’s cabins or campsites.  Completely surrounded by forestland, experience fall at Bark Camp Lake in Scott County. Photo by Pam Cox. Stop by the new visitor center for interactive wildlife displays and an observation deck with panoramic views of the mountains. Additionally, several all-purpose trails start from the parking lot, giving nature lovers the chance to watch for the 220 bird species that call the county home and beautiful views of the night sky. Cabins, RV hookups, and campsites are open for those who want to stay close to the action. Get outside and soak in the allure of Charles County, Md. with great outdoors and waterways.  Traverse an open bald, walk past blooming wildflowers, and take in panoramic views on the Sugar Hill Loop Trail. Piece trails together to experience more natural wonders in the town of St. Paul and Bluebell Island Preserve within the larger trail system. Choose from a steep climb or a gravel service road to take in the incredible sights from the Mendota Fire Tower and Overlook. For a longer excursion, the Brumley Mountain Trail is a 14.6-mile route marked by towering boulders, slot canyons, and switchbacks through a unique landscape.  This fall, visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge to take in the stunning fall colors from the soaring mountain peaks surrounding the Roanoke Valley. This metro mountain destination will keep you busy all day with more than 1,000 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and paddling. Head out on your favorite hike this fall or discover some new ones with this guide to 13 of the top hiking destinations in our region. When you’re done on the trail, scout out the best spots in town to grab a drink. Please check with locations prior to travel to make sure it is safe to visit or use this guide to plan future trips when we can all be together again. Delight in the views of more than 130 species of wildflowers in bloom at Nine Times Preserve. In the spring, keep your eye out for the rare Oconee Bell flowers at Devils Fork State Park. Cross the natural bridge and take in the views of the lake at Keowee-Toxaway State Park.   The entire family will enjoy an outing to Creation Kingdom Zoo, an interactive habitat for rare and endangered species. This fall, kids will also enjoy a trip to the Punkin’ Patch for a stroll through the corn maze or ride on the hay wagon. Après Hike ExperienceRussell.com Try Belle’s Bistro for a midday meal featuring delicious sandwiches and cheeses made in house. Grab a slice of artisan pizza to go from Humble Pie. Sample a little bit of everything at Pumpkintown Mountain Opry, from smoothies and local roasts to mouthwatering barbecue.  There are so many other spots to explore when you visit Lake Hartwell Country, including paddling Lake Jocassee, Keowee, and Hartwell, whitewater rafting the Wild and Scenic Chattooga River, and driving the picturesque and winding backroads. Stop by the Chattooga River Fly Shop for gear rentals, flies, and more while you’re in the area.  Après Hike The waters of Buchanan County offer a variety of recreational opportunities. Head to the Levisa River for some terrific smallmouth bass fishing from the river’s banks or Dismal Creek for stocked rainbow trout. Kayak or whitewater raft sections of the Russell Fork that feature class V rapids on the weekends of October.  Located in the mountains of southwest Virginia and surrounded by Jefferson National Forest, immerse yourself in the scenic vistas of Bland County.  For farm to table cuisine with a taste of southern Maryland, The Charles is the place to be with mouthwatering choices on-the-go or in their expansive terrace. Experience the rolling hills of the local Serenity Farm and buy fresh produce and meats. The farm offers a variety of fall activities, including hayrides, a petting zoo, face painting, hay bale maze, and a pumpkin patch.  Take a trip to the Mountain Side of Maryland where you’ll find hundreds of miles to hikein Allegany County. Situated among the Appalachian Ridge and Valley province and Allegheny Mountains, there are plenty of places to play as 60,000 acres, or one in every four acres in the county, are public land.  WanderLove is calling you to Scott County, Va. While primarily known as biking trails, the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath are also great options for hiking as the two long-distance trails meet in Cumberland, Md. There are hundreds of miles of rail trails to explore from Pittsburgh, Pa., to Washington, D.C. The nearby Potomac River offers several river access points for fishing, paddling, and floating. For a more primitive backpacking experience, the Great Eastern Trail is a 1,600-mile hiking trail stretching from Alabama to New York. Pass through Maryland by way of the C&O Canal Towpath and Green Ridge State Forest trail system before crossing into Pennsylvania. VisitRockingham.com Cover photo courtesy Getty Images From the scenic mountains and lush forestland to the flowing waters, Buchanan County, Va. is the perfect fall getaway for hiking and wildlife viewing.  Climb through the rhododendron, ferns, and wildflowers up the switchbacks on Molly’s Knob and Vista Trail to the stunning 180-degree views at the top. Photos courtesy Virginia State Parks Several hostels in the area, including Lickskillet Hostel and Weary Feet Hostel, provide a place to rest after a long day of hiking. Rent a room at Big Walker Motel or a full cabin from Dismal Falls Trading Co.  Discover more trails on foot or bike at Carvins Cove. Known as one of the best mountain biking trail systems in America’s East Coast Mountain Biking Capital, you’ll find more than 60 miles of trail, ranging in difficulty, to ride. You can also fish or paddle the 600-acre reservoir for a new perspective of the natural reserve.  WMA lands are purchased and maintained with funds from the purchase of hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses and through Wildlife Restoration Funds. To access a WMA, you’ll need to have purchased one of the following: a Virginia hunting, fishing, or trapping license; a Virginia boat registration; a DWR access permit; or a DWR Restore the Wild membership. Keep in mind that some WMAs are open for hunting at certain times of the year.last_img read more

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New Tactics to Combat Terrorism

first_img This situation entails a big and controversial dilemma regarding the governments’ direct responsibility, imposed by the current vulnerable status of human safety. This is a matter of selecting priorities, resulting in political and institutional frictions, regardless of the choice. Without a doubt, the 21st Century terrorism is different than the terrorism of the 2000s, which was characterized by major attacks sponsored by international networks, resulting in many deaths. Currently, this new form of terrorism has been increasing in many countries and it represents a complex situation to government security agencies, in regard to the possibility of early detection and neutralization. The biggest challenge resides in the lack of trails that can be monitored by traditional methods, such as the purchase of suspect material, property rentals, group meetings, and constant traveling to particular regions or any indication that may lead to or raise suspicion. Likewise, the new technologies, especially the internet and the social networks, with undeniable public and private utility, help facilitate and to some extent cover up their intentions, due to the communication confidentiality agreement existing in democratic regimens. In this respect, although it is a step backwards, one of the most efficient ways to detect and neutralize future terrorist actions is to intercept and monitor personal data of certain individuals through online cross-checked information using key words that lead to establishing a criminal profile. By Dialogo June 18, 2013 With the Al Qaeda dismantlement, the most important international network linked to the Islamic extremism, and the death of their main leaders, the terrorist acts were substantially reduced, to the point that some analysts believe that their main nucleus has finally been eliminated. Many of these attacks have occurred due to opportunities driven by the occasion or the moment, lacking the detailed planning or study of escape routes, because some of the perpetrators live in the communities where the actions occur. For instance, this is the case of the recent attacks in Boston and in London. They were partially correct. The beginning of the current century was marked by small attacks, led by supporters of extremism, not members of any established group or international cells, performing individual actions, using rudimentary materials. They were called “lone wolves,” and their actions were similar to traditional crimes, such as that of gangs and criminal organizations linked to the drug trafficking. *André Luís Woloszyn, Strategic Intelligence Analystlast_img read more

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Common Core Critics Blast Cuomo’s Latest Comments On ‘Deeply Flawed’ Program

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a statement Thursday reiterating what he described as his longtime belief that the implementation of the controversial Common Core education reform by the State Education Department “has been deeply flawed,” announcing it “must be fixed,” and calling for the creation of a “comprehensive review” of the program.His remarks kicked off a fresh firestorm of criticism from longtime anti-Common Core activists and opposition groups, who deem the governor’s recent comments little more than politically motivated backpedaling and an ill-fated attempt at appeasement.“A growing chorus of experts have questioned the intelligence of SED’s Common Core program and objective educators across the state have found the implementation problematic, to say the least,” Gov. Cuomo declared in his Sept. 3 statement. “The new Commissioner of Education has inherited this problem and I understand has been meeting with parents, educators and students, and has heard the same concerns. Recently, SED has made comments about organized efforts to have parents choose to opt out of standardized tests. While I understand the issue and SED’s valid concern, I sympathize with the frustration of the parents.“The fact is that the current Common Core program in New York is not working, and must be fixed,” the governor continues. “To that end, the time has come for a comprehensive review of the implementation of the Common Core Standards, curriculum, guidance and tests in order to address local concerns. I am taking this action not because I don’t believe in standards, but because I do.”Officially adopted in New York State in 2010, Common Core—the Obama administration’s education reform policy—has been a lightning rod of complaints from scores of parents, teachers and students alike. These critics have been extremely vocal about their concerns, too, flooding public forums across the state to discuss ways to both cope with its practices and mobilize political opposition to fight back and eventually have it repealed. Their loudest protest culminated in the Opt-Out Movement, in which record-breaking numbers of parents throughout the state refused to have their children even take the exams. Last spring, 225,000 students “opted out” of state mandated tests, with that number expected to grow next year.Created by the National Governors Association and the Council of State School Officers, Common Core aims to make American students globally competitive, with skills that promise college and career readiness, accomplished through standardized testing in English Language Arts and Math beginning at grade three. Its dual purpose is to hold teachers accountable for students’ achievement, using high-stakes test scores to determine teachers’ effectiveness.Some local education advocates, who have been on the frontlines in the battle for quality education in New York State and against what they perceive as a punitive and punishing Common Core-based new teacher evaluation law Cuomo passed as part of the 2015-16 state budget, are questioning the sincerity of the governor’s latest positioning on the effects of Common Core.“The blame game continues in NY,” blasts Jeanette Deutermann, a Long Island mother who co-founded New York State Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE)—a coalition of 50 parent and teacher organizations who oppose the standardized tests—and created the popular “Long Island Opt-Out” Facebook page. “Governor Cuomo, the mastermind behind the evaluation system tied to Common Core assessments that is ripping our schools apart, now claims to want to play the role of hero.“What Governor Cuomo doesn’t understand is that that role has already been filled: by the hundreds of thousands of parents that have taken a stand against the high-stakes testing machine built upon Cuomo’s corporate reform agenda,” she slams. “As more talk of commissions and committees continue, our children, who have already slogged through four years of a reform nightmare, are facing yet another year of test prep, countless hours of assessments, and this failed CC experiment.“If the Governor was truly intent on saving our children, he would reverse his own laws immediately, and put the brakes on before another class of students is subjected to this insanity,” adds Deutermann.As for a commission review of the current system, Carol Burris, former principal of Southside High School in Rockville Centre and current executive director of the Network for Public Education Fund, is not convinced.“It is laughable,” she tells the Press via email. “Does the governor not remember that he had a Common Core Commission in 2014? It issued a preliminary report in March after meeting twice. His commission never issued a final report; and after those two meetings, the governor shut it down.“This is political posturing to try to curry favor with parents who are fed up with his education reforms,” continues Burris. “It is shameful. He is as responsible as any member of SED for the mess we are in today.”Mark Naison, professor of history and chair of African and African-American Studies at Fordham University and co-founder of the anti-Common Core coalition Badass Teachers Association, aka BAT, views Cuomo’s latest stance as a testament to the strength of the parent-led Opt-Out Movement.“The Cuomo statement reflects a sober recognition that the parent-led Opt-Out Movement is not only too strong to suppress, but that it is response to serious inequities, inequities and injustices surrounding testing in New York State,” he explains. “While the governor recognizes that some of these issues arise from the content of the Common Core standards, it is deeply troubling that he never mentions the toxic influence of using testing for the purposes of teacher evaluation.“The statement is therefore both incomplete and designed to drive a wedge between parents and teachers,” adds Naison. “Nevertheless, it is a testimony to the power of the Opt-Out Movement. It is a response to serious inequities, inconsistencies and injustices.”The battle for an efficient and effective education system in New York is far from over, the anti-Common Core activists warn.“On to the great Opt-Out 2016,” Deutermann proclaimed to “Long Island Opt-Out” members on the group’s Facebook page.last_img read more

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Stolen pride flag inspires colorful change in Johnson City

first_imgThe support from the community, he said, is what reminds him why he put the flag up in the first place. He explained it isn’t easy coming out, and any show of support can help someone who went through some of the same struggles he has. “I was like you know what if I put this flag out and one kid that walks by just feels like they’re seen in some way it’s a win,” Lord told 12 News. Ray Lord told 12 News he noticed his pride flag was missing from the front of his home on Sergeant Street. When he checked his surveillance cameras, he could see someone had stolen it in the middle of the night. If you’re interested, email jcprideflag@gmail.com. He asks that you send a picture once your flag is up. “When I had first noticed someone had taken it I was infuriated,” said Lord. His attitude about what happened, however, would soon change. JOHNSON CITY (WBNG) — June is Gay Pride Month, typically a time to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, but for one Johnson City resident it was off to a discouraging start. “I had posted and I had such a great response from the community I honestly want to thank that person for taking that flag because we wouldn’t be here and I’ve already had four people order flags for me,” he said. After posting about his stolen flag on Facebook, he received a flood a positive comments, even several people offering to replace the flag. What happened inspired him to give out pride flags to anyone in the community who wants one. last_img read more

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Pension costs taking a chunk out of UK plc profits: report

first_imgSource: Barnett WaddinghamOne of the only factors acting to reduce liabilities was mortality, Barnett Waddingham said. According to work by the UK’s Continuous Mortality Investigation released earlier this year, longevity has not improved overall for the country’s population since 2011.Barnett Waddingham estimated that, if this data had been used in financial statements last year, it would have reduced the aggregate deficit by roughly £10bn.Despite the gloomy outlook, Nick Griggs, partner at Barnett Waddingham, said: “It is also worth bearing in mind that if equity returns continue at the levels seen in the last few years, long-term interest rates rise more than expected and longevity increases do not provide any nasty surprises, the pension deficit problem could solve itself.“We must remember that the deficit is essentially the difference between two much bigger numbers and a few gentle economic triggers could completely change the picture. This is why many companies are not rushing to clear deficits quickly with additional cash contributions.”Barnett Waddingham’s report also found that the aggregate deficit increased as a proportion of total market capitalisation in 2016, despite the equity market’s strong performance. Source: Barnett WaddinghamIn separate research also published today, JLT Employee Benefits found that the UK’s 100 largest listed companies had combined DB liabilities of £681bn at the end of last year, an increase of £95bn in 12 months.Of those companies, 16 had liabilities in excess of £10bn, while 10 had liabilities bigger than their market capitalisation.JLT’s research showed that measures such as closing to new and existing members had made little difference to DB obligations. Provisions fell by 12% in 2016, the company said. The aggregate shortfall across FTSE350 defined benefit (DB) pension schemes was equal to 70% of 2016 pre-tax profits at the end of last year, according to Barnett Waddingham.In the consultancy and actuarial firm’s latest annual Impact of Pension Schemes on UK Business report, Barnett Waddingham said the aggregate DB deficit across the UK’s 350 largest companies rose by £12bn (€12.9bn) to £62bn. This compared to the companies’ combined £88.9bn in pre-tax profits generated last year.Changes in actuarial assumptions such as discount rates had led to the aggregate deficit remaining broadly unchanged since 2009, Barnett Waddingham reported, despite £70bn being paid into schemes in that period (see chart, below).“Based on the substantial amount of deficit contributions paid by FTSE350 companies since 2009, an aggregate surplus was expected to have materialised by this point,” Barnett Waddingham said in its report. “However, the sharp fall in corporate bond yields since 2009 (and the corresponding drop in IAS19 discount rates) has put paid to these expectations.”center_img Discount rates used in 2016 were on average 3% a year lower than those used in 2009, the firm said, increasing the cost of meeting liabilities by more than 70%.Cumulative actuarial losses amounted to £63bn between 2009 and 2016, the company said.last_img read more

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Tina Walters to headline major gospel splash in Dominica

first_img Tweet 28 Views   no discussions Sharing is caring! Tina WaltersTina Walters has been nurturing a musical talent ever since she impressed her school friends with her first impromptu performance. The reggae artiste, seeking higher, gave her life and her earthy honest voice to God on the 23rd of December, 2007. Her songs evoke an evangelical passion and tell the tale of God’s presence in her everyday life. She was born in Jamaica on 24th February, 1986 and resides in Antigua.Even when Tina examines topics such as the battles we all face, her charm and sincerity of her smile lets you know that with God all is well.Tina uses her talent to break down Satan’s strongholds by ministering the word of God through a style of gospel music that appeal mostly to the youth.“Singing for me is more than entertainment, it is ministering the word of God” she said. Tina will be making a ministerial call on Dominica in the month of August along with fellow Jamaican Disciple 1, according to officials at Tribal Services.Dominica Vibes News Sharecenter_img Share LocalNews Tina Walters to headline major gospel splash in Dominica by: – April 27, 2012 Sharelast_img read more

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Cordes collects September Spectacular checkers at Independence

first_imgBy Ryan ClarkINDEPENDENCE, Iowa (Sept. 17) – Troy Cordes topped a field of 35 Xtreme Motor Sports IMCA Modifieds to take the win in the Albert Auto September Spectacular at Independence Motor Speed­way.The victory earned Cordes $1,000 and a spot on the 2017 Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot.From his second row start, Cordes took the lead on the first lap and then quickly pulled away from traf­fic. He led the entire 25-lap distance on his way to the win ahead of Darin Duffy and Kaleb Bent­ley.In just his third night behind the wheel of the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car he bought from regular sea­son champion Tom Schmitt, Cole Mather beat Schmitt to the checkers for his second career win in the division. Jay Schmidt finished third.Tony Olson raced to his 29th win of the season in the 20-lapper for Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods. Olson took the lead just prior to midway and then drove away to victory ahead of Jake Morris. Tyler Soppe started last on the 27-car grid and raced to a third place finish.Quinton Miller won a race-long battle with Benji Irvine in that 20-lap main. Justin Hanson ran third.Feature ResultsModifieds – 1. Troy Cordes; 2. Darin Duffy; 3. Kaleb Bentley; 4. Joe Docekal; 5. Scott Hogan; 6. Zach Less; 7. Brandon Maitland; 8. Ryan Maitland; 9. Austin Emry; 10. Johnny Walker; 11. Tony Snyder; 12. Rich Smith; 13. Dennis Betzer; 14. Mark Schulte; 15. Dustin Smith; 16. Trent Jochimsen; 17. J.D. Auringer; 18. Mitch Morris; 19. George Spence III; 20. Devon Havlik; 21. Bill Roberts; 22. Steve Johnson; 23. Russ Hall; 24. Jason Morehouse.Stock Cars – 1. Cole Mather; 2. Tom Schmitt; 3. Jay Schmidt; 4. John Oliver; 5. Jerry Miles; 6. Roger Ciesielski; 7. Lucas Short; 8. Jarod Weepie; 9. Jake Ludeking; 10. Matt Picray; 11. Rick Milks; 12. Scott Beauregard; 13. Tony Schimmels; 14. Austin Evens; 15. Johnny Spaw; 16. Chris Luloff; 17. Scott Pippert; 18. Jason Brimeyer; 19. Jeff Roete; 20. Matt Burmeister; 21. Jerry Schip­per; 22. Corey Brown; 23. David Sirens; 24. Mike Galli; 25. Scott Hampton; 26. Scooter Dulin.Northern SportMods – 1. Tony Olson; 2. Jake Morris; 3. Tyler Soppe; 4. Brian Kauffman; 5. Doug Burkhead; 6. Tristan Cordes; 7. Jim Buhlman; 8. Rance Powell; 9. Darren Clendenen; 10. Rick Baxter; 11. Chuck Lewis; 12. Mike Mitchell; 13. Sean Vogt; 14. Scott Meyers; 15. Steve Wimer; 16. Mike McDonald; 17. Andy Hunter; 18. Kyle Olson; 19. Gage Neal; 20. Timmy Current; 21. Troy Burkhart; 22. Christian Jordan; 23. Brandon Tharp; 24. Dakoda Sellers; 25. Jake Salis­bury; 26. Nate Smith; 27. Brian Hilbert.Hobby Stocks – 1. Quinton Miller; 2. Benji Irvine; 3. Justin Hanson; 4. Neal Miller; 5. Brian Hap­pel; 6. Shawn Kuennen; 7. Rob Twaites; 8. Scott Michaelis; 9. Jerome Wilson; 10. Justin Ginther; 11. Jerome Wilson; 12. Andrew Torkelson; 13. Bubba Hall; 14. Jacob Floyd; 15. Chad Mannion; 16. Kyle Dulin; 17. Luke Bird.last_img read more

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Cliff McBride April 9, 1942 – July 30, 2020

first_imgCliff McBride, age 78 passed away in his home in Williamsburg, Ohio Thursday, July 30, 2020. He was born on April 9, 1942 in Morehead, Kentucky and was the son of Odus and Susan (Tary) McBride.He worked as a machinist for Lunkenheimer and was a member of Union #105 of Cincinnati, OhioCliff is survived by his children Faith (Steve) Clark, Ricky (Emma Lee) McBride, Pamela McBride, Markey McBride, Tricia (John) Jones and Michael (Melissa) McBride. Grandfather to Sabrina (Dennis) Fordyce, Ricky (Rachel) McBride, Ryan (Chaylyn) McBride, Amber (Brad) McBride, April (Corey) McBride, Nathan (Krystal) McBride, Benjamin McBride, Samantha (Cody) Nelson, Heather Nelson, Joshua McBride, Kristina McBride, Hannah Jones and Alyssa Jones. Great grandfather to Dennis Jr. and Logan Fordyce, Gracelyn and Ricky Asher McBride, Alexa McBride, Jamie and Nylah McBride, Patricia McBride and Theodore Alig. Brother to Dorothy Woods, Shirley Smith and Diane (Bobby) Cook. Also survived by his children’s mother Alice Vernatter and daughter in law Dianne McBride.Preceded in death by his parents Odus and Susan McBride, his wife Connie McBride, his children Katherine McBride, Rodney McBride and his 10 siblings including his twin brother Clifton McBride.Visitation will be Tuesday, August 4, 2020 from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. with Funeral Services at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday August 5,2020 all at Jackman Hensley Funeral Home 215 Broadway Street Harrison, Ohio 45030. Burial will follow at New Harmony Cemetery.Memorials may be directed to Heartland Hospice and/or American Cancer Society c/o the funeral home.last_img read more

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