An Insider’s Guide to Exploring West Virginia’s Cranberry Wilderness

first_imgThe 47,815-acre Cranberry Wilderness located in Monongahela National Forest is not for the faint of heart. It’s called Wilderness for a reason; sundered only by unmarked trails, this seemingly endless temperate jungle of Appalachian hardwoods and red spruce is bestrewn with moss-covered rocks and dappled with wildflowers. Undeniably lovely, dark and deep, these could very well be the woods that Frost was describing. Did I mention the Cranberry Wilderness is a designated black bear sanctuary? It’s the largest Forest Service Wilderness Area in the eastern United States, and rather mountainous too, with elevations ranging from 2,400 to over 4,600 feet. If you feel like getting lost, or simply having an unforgettable adventure, the Cranberry Wilderness may just be the place for you. Whether you’re looking to day hike, backpack, fly fish, or whitewater paddle, here’s what to expect for your venture into the untamed Cranberry Wilderness. Day Hiking and Backpacking There are oodles of excellent trails available throughout the Cranberry Wilderness for your day hiking and backpacking pleasure. You’ve got countless options for day hikes, but a good start would be the 5-mile Black Mountain Trail, #412 along the Highland Scenic Highway. If you’d like to spend a few nights in the forest, try out a beloved 22-mile loop that begins at the North- South Trailhead on WV 150 and takes 3 days to complete. The loop winds from the North-South Trail, which runs between Middle Fork Williams and North Fork Cranberry Rivers, onto Laurelly Branch Trail, Big Beechy Trail, and finally the very rugged North Fork Trail, before concluding back at the trailhead.Just in case things go awry during your adventure, you are encouraged to fill out a registration form at the trailhead or Nature Center before beginning a trek into the wilderness. Upon entrance, you must beware: aside from signs at trail junctions, there are no blazes or markings to indicate the trails as you make your way through the wilderness, so be vigilant about remaining on designated paths. As you delve into the forest, the wilderness may begin to elicit a more rambunctious and less civilized side of you. However, be careful not to make a racket. Minimizing your impact on the experiences of other visitors is imperative. Many hikers and backpackers enter the wilderness seeking the tranquility that nature invariably provides. Ensure the peace of yourself and others by choosing a campsite at least 200 feet from any roads, streams, or trails. This should be fairly easy as there are a great number of picnic areas and campgrounds throughout the Cranberry Wilderness. It is highly recommended that you use a lantern and a cook stove instead of building a campfire due to the harsh, negative effects that fire can have on the natural world. Alas, if you must, be sure to choose a site that has already been impacted, keep it small, use only dead and down wood, and scatter the ashes at least 100 feet from the campsite. Needless to say, always practice Leave No Trace techniques. The Cranberry Wilderness does have an abundant black bear population, so unless you intend to share your grub with some very big, furry omnivores, be sure to store all food in a bear resistant container suspended 10 feet above the ground. Bicycles and groups of over 10 people are prohibited in the Wilderness. Fly Fishing The Cranberry River is a confluence of its North and South Forks which rise on Black Mountain and Cranberry Mountain, respectively. In the past, naturally acidic water made the Cranberry River almost unlivable for warm water species. Thanks to the Department of Natural Resources’ addition of limestone to the water in recent years, the river’s PH levels have risen and its waters are now rife with wildlife, namely, trout. In fact, the Cranberry River holds more trout per acre than any other stream in West Virginia.The river consists of two sections; the easily accessible lower section and the remote backcountry section, which is the real crown jewel for anglers. Deep in the wilderness and unreachable by vehicles, the 16-mile backcountry section is well worth the hike. The Backcountry includes both the North and South forks as well as Dogway Fork, the river’s glorious 6-mile stretch designated for “Fly Fishing Only”. All three forks are excellent for brook trout fishing, but the backcountry section fosters plenty of rainbow and brown trout. It’s very likely you won’t be ready to head home after just one day, so check out the shelters available along the water for overnight trips. Whitewater Paddling Within the Cranberry River exists a steep, 6-mile section of rapids perfect for the intermediate or advanced whitewater paddler hankering for a ridiculously fun challenge. Paddlers, I proudly present to you the Middle Cranberry. The Middle Cranberry consists of class III and IV rapids, an 80-feet-per-mile gradient, and numerous blind drops, including the especially tricky S-Turn. Due to frequent and unexpected variations in the route, there’s no doubt that this whitewater adventure requires constant awareness and a great deal of technical maneuvering. Despite the Middle Cranberry’s action-packed and attention-demanding nature, there are plenty of opportunities to take a breather along the ride thanks to boogie water and a few small pools. Plus, you should be able to scout rapids and other obstacles from the shore. A paddling adventure on the Middle Cranberry should take approximately 4 hours to complete, but don’t stop there; the Cranberry Wilderness has plenty more to offer after you’ve (victoriously) risen from the water. Spend a while exploring the terrain—you might just discover what exactly makes West Virginia so wild and wonderful.last_img read more

3 signs that the state of the middle class needs help

first_imgby: Eric McWhinnieThe U.S. economy and financial markets just finished another solid year of positive headlines. Gross domestic product posted its best quarter in a decade, jobless claims reached their lowest weekly average in 14 years, the unemployment rate fell below 6% for the first time since 2008, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed higher for the sixth consecutive year, and the S&P 500 rose by double digits for the third straight year. Yet millions of Americans with stagnant wages feel like the recovery never occurred.In last night’s State of the Union address, President Obama highlighted the struggles of the middle class. “Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?” He later added, “That’s what middle-class economics is — the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.”The middle class will likely remain a focus as the average American and everyone else not dining on caviar keeps falling further behind on wealth accumulation. In December, a new analysis published by the Pew Research Center found that the median wealth of the nation’s upper-income families ($639,400) was nearly seven times the median wealth of middle-income families ($96,500), the widest gap in recorded history.Of course, this trend does not apply to everyone. Some members of the middle class continue to find ways to improve their personal financial situations. However, as a whole, compensation growth is dismal or outright depressing. Let’s take a look at three charts from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) signaling that the middle class is overdue for a pay raise. continue reading » 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

The next big idea for the credit union industry

first_imgOften, a credit union will purchase multiple additional modules from their core vendor in the hope of achieving some measure of data integration. This strategy yields limited results since most credit unions use software from many vendors. Predictive Analytics – Predictive analytics are “forward-looking” analyses and reports that can be used for predicting next best product, basket analysis, personalized marketing, more competitively priced loans, and much more.Unfortunately, no single credit union (with the exception of Navy) has enough data to effectively execute predictive analytics. Furthermore, the cost of a data scientist and the time and cost required to build predictive models is beyond the reach of most credit unions.The ADM enables collaborative data pools in which credit unions can contribute enough data to increase the accuracy of the models and get back information that can be used to improve their internal business processes.The creation of the Analytic Data Model will likely be the work of another collaborative innovation of the credit union movement, Credit Union Service Organizations (CUSOs). Wikipedia describes a CUSO as organizations that, “Provide avenues for innovation and creativity that would not typically occur within the confines of a credit union”.The CUSO model is an ideal way for the development of the ADM to occur. By bringing together the best collaborative energies of the credit union movement, the critical mass necessary to drive Big Data/Analytics initiatives can be achieved. Luckily, Big Data/Analytics CUSOs are already starting to form and are well on their way to transforming credit unions into Analytic Competitors positioned to win in the next 10 years. There are many vendors with “analytic” solutions focused on specific areas such as loan portfolio analysis or teller efficiency. These tools usually do little, if anything, to integrate all of the data a credit union needs to generate analytics that are broadly meaningful and relevant. These vendor products are simply not designed to be enterprise-level data integration solutions.If these approaches are insufficient, what is the alternative for credit unions interested in developing a Big Data/Analytics capability?Filene research ( recently conducted a study focusing on the increasing importance of Big Data when dealing with credit union members.“Companies as varied as Amazon, Google, Walmart, and Wells Fargo are turning to “big data” for customer insights that will help them serve clients and capture market share. Big data is the analysis of huge data sets, and while individual credit unions may not have the resources of a corporate giant, advances in data storage and software tools mean that credit unions can start using similar tools and deriving similar value.” “A prerequisite for developing these (predictive) and other models is a well-maintained database with as much transactional detail as possible. The credit unions that can capture transaction types and locations will come out ahead, because transaction origin correlates highly with credit scores and helps to predict future financial products.”A few credit unions have tried to build this capability themselves but have found it to be much more complex, expensive, and time consuming than originally thought. The five year cost of building and maintaining a data warehouse and analytics infrastructure is about $2.0 million dollars. Most credit unions lack both the expertise and the budgetary appetite required to build and maintain a “home grown” Big Data/Analytics solution.Yet, the seemingly overwhelming task to build a Big Data/Analytics capability is not beyond the reach of the average credit union. The “Next Big Idea” will leverage the special collaborative culture of the credit union movement to manage the huge investment of time and cost.Analytic Data Model Imagine an industry standard “Analytic Data Model” (ADM) connecting to any vendor system and integrating its data at the transaction level. In effect the ADM becomes a universal translator for systems from multiple vendors covering multiple subject areas.The ADM accomplishes this by defining a common data standard for credit union Big Data/Analytics. For example, every loan system has an ID field uniquely identifying the loan instrument. Some systems call this Account ID while some call it Loan Number. The ADM maps both into a common standard data definition called “Loan ID”.The ADM could be installed “in-house” or “hosted” depending on the preference of the credit union. With this industry standard ADM in place, credit unions would be able to achieve significant economies of scale in several ways:A Single Source of Truth – The ADM provides credit unions with a single source of truth through the automated integration of transaction level data from disparate systems. This avoids the problem of the same metrics reporting different values because the data was sourced from separate, “siloed” systems. Interchangeable Applications – In today’s world of reporting and analytics report developers spend many hours creating hundreds of reports that overlap with those created by other report developers in the same industry (e.g. – Loan Application Analysis).With the ADM in place, the collaborative culture of credit unions would lead to the creation of applications, reports, and dashboards that can be accessible by others in the industry. Furthermore, industry vendors could also be invited to write applications that connect to the ADM for any credit union could use. This would also allow the creation of an “Application Market” in which applications could be made available for sale across the industry. 66SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Paul Ablack Paul started OnApproach to specialize in leveraging data to support better decision making and drive profitability at various organizations. Prior to starting OnApproach, Paul was Vice President/General Manager of … Web: Details Analytic (Business Intelligence) Tool Agnostic – Analysis is greatly complicated if the underlying data is scattered among various sources with propriety names and formats. Very expensive analytics tools themselves sometimes have data integration functionality. However, it is not unusual that each new analysis requires a unique data integration. For tools without data integration functionality, the analyst must either manually integrate the various sources or skip integration entirely. The ADM provides a complete, consistent, and easy-to-access platform that allows the analyst to focus on performing analysis. with: Peter Keers, PMP and Engagement Manager at OnApproachThe credit union industry is on the cusp of significant challenges with the potential to disrupt the financial services landscape as we know it. Big Data and Analytics is driving a new breed of competitor into what has been a very traditional marketplace. The industry will need to envision and build out the “Next Big Idea” for credit unions to stay competitive and successfully navigate the next 10 years.Today, credit unions are seriously lagging other industries (e.g. – retail) when it comes to the use of Big Data and Analytics to better serve members. The industry urgently needs to find a means of becoming proficient in Big Data/Analytics or face the threat of being disrupted in the same way that Borders Book Stores, Blockbuster, and most recently, the taxi industry (currently under attack by UBER) have all been disrupted.One reason for the lag has been the lack of an industry standard solution capable of integrating transaction level data from the many disparate data sources used daily by credit unions. Enterprise-level data integration is a prerequisite for establishing a viable Big Data/Analytics capability.In an attempt to address the data integration issue, credit unions have devised a number of tactical approaches:The number one “data integration” tool for over 95% of credit unions is the Excel spreadsheet. While convenient, this alternative is labor intensive, error-prone, and by no means an enterprise-level tool. In using Excel, it is common that credit union managers spend 80% of their time on report preparation and only 20% on the actual analysis needed for decision-making.last_img read more

3 money mistakes women can’t afford

first_img 41SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Myriam DiGiovanni After writing for Credit Union Times and The Financial Brand, Myriam DiGiovanni covers financial literacy for FinancialFeed. She is also a storytelling expert and works with credit unions to help … Web: Details With reports that women earn less than men and often outlive men by a few years, the financial stakes have never been higher.Here are three common money mistakes (regardless of gender) that can have a bigger impact on women’s financial lives.Not saving enough for retirement: Don’t underestimate how much you need for retirement. Make your retirement contributions a priority. Aim to increase your contribution rate each year.Not factoring health care costs: Studies find that women pay more than men for healthcare and that’s a concern, considering their life expectancy is higher. Ensure your savings plans include funding future healthcare expenses and long-term care. Do research to find out if a Health Savings Account is an option for you.Prioritizing kids and grandkids over saving: This is a matter of putting yourself first, THEN taking care of the kids. Secure your retirement and healthcare and other financial care needs before gifting large sums of money to others. Think of it as ensuring you’ll never be a financial burden on your children when they are older.last_img read more

Japan’s ‘mosh pit’ trains spark fear of new coronavirus cases

first_imgAs Japan returns to work from coronavirus restrictions, its notoriously crowded trains – almost a symbol of its celebrated work ethic – are raising fears about a resurgence of infections.Authorities in Tokyo had hoped to solve the problem of crowded commuting with staggered hours and remote working but the trains appeared almost back to normal on Thursday, days after the lifting of a coronavirus emergency.Health experts and politicians have blamed night spots and concert venues, known as live houses, for cultivating clusters of infection and have advised them to stay closed. The Tokyo Metro subway is taking steps to prevent infections with open carriage windows and the disinfecting of ticket machines, spokesman Hisao Asano said.But it has no plan to limit passenger numbers or insist on spacing, he said.”Given the various needs of our customers, we’re not thinking about such a blanket restriction,” Asano said.But a study by one of Japan’s top research institutes indicated it may have to. The Riken Center for Computational Science found that even with open windows, the air flow concentrated above passengers’ heads on crowded trains.Government infection expert Shigeru Omi said crowded trains could no longer be an everyday reality.”The train is the symbol of Japanese workaholic society,” Omi told reporters. “This is an opportunity for Japan to address this issue of overcrowded trains by, first of all, staggered working hours and remote work.”Topics : But while no coronavirus cases have been linked to trains, many Tokyo residents say they are just as packed as any nightclub.”It’s such a contradiction that crowded trains are OK but live houses still can’t open,” said Twitter user Rimiken.”Crowded trains are like a music festival. They’re a festival mosh pit.”Tokyo recorded 34 new infections on Tuesday, the highest daily increase since early May.last_img read more

JetBlue gets a new home in Puerto Rico

first_imgPhoto credit: leeloveshotttrends.comSAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — JetBlue Airways, Puerto Rico’s largest carrier, has reached an agreement with the Puerto Rico Ports Authority to move its operation in San Juan’s Luis Munoz Marin International Airport to Terminal A from Terminal C. The move, scheduled for the end of May, will allow the airline to operate within the new and larger facilities with additional counter space and gates. The move will also allow JetBlue to efficiently accommodate its future growth at the Luis Munoz Marin Airport. “We’re always looking for state-of-the-art facilities that allow us to deliver the same great experience we do in the air, on the ground,” said Rich Smyth, vice president of corporate real estate for JetBlue Airways. “The brand-new Terminal A, right next door to where we are now, will greatly improve our customers’ experience while accommodating our projected growth over the next decade.”“We support and welcome JetBlue’s commitment for growth in Puerto Rico. JetBlue is definitely a trend-setter and we will continue to work with them to facilitate their growth and provide world-class service to travelers at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport,” indicated the governor of Puerto Rico, Luis Fortuno. “JetBlue’s move into Terminal A and their announcement of route expansions last year are both very good news for our tourist sector and consistent with the economic policies of our administration.” Meanwhile, the Puerto Rico Ports Authority (PRPA) also expressed satisfaction and will work closely with JetBlue in order to reach the late May deadline. Bernardo Vazquez, executive director of PRPA, added, “It was time to put Terminal A into use, and there is no other better alternative than to allow the fastest growing airline in Puerto Rico to occupy this facility. JetBlue’s move into Terminal A makes sense for everyone; not only will it allow the accommodation of the growth of JetBlue for years to come, but also allow for effective utilization of airport space. We will continue to work with JetBlue to facilitate its transition and avoid disruption to travelers.”JetBlue will be able to increase its gate positions and counter space to better serve its customers. It will also feature modern technology including a TSA In-line Baggage System and an advanced ticketing office created and operated by JetBlue. The carrier’s international flights will continue to arrive at Terminal C.JetBlue started flying to Puerto Rico nearly 10 years ago, on May 30, 2002. Today, JetBlue serves San Juan, Aguadilla and Ponce with service to 11 non-stop destinations, including seven within the continental US (Boston, Hartford, Fort Lauderdale, New York, Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa) and four within the Caribbean (Santo Domingo, St Maarten, St Thomas, and St Croix). JetBlue will continue its growth in Puerto Rico when it begins new service from San Juan to Newark, beginning on April 25, 2012 and to West Palm Beach, beginning May 15, 2012. Further, the carrier recently filed with the United States Department of Transportation a “capital-to-capital” application for a slot exemption to launch new nonstop service from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to San Juan, Puerto Rico.Caribbean News Now Tweet LifestyleTravel JetBlue gets a new home in Puerto Rico by: – March 16, 2012 Share Sharecenter_img Share Sharing is caring! 29 Views   no discussionslast_img read more

Cincinnati recognized as a ‘Top Destination’ for Oktoberfest

first_imgCincinnati, Oh. — WalletHub says Cincinnati has earned the #3 spot on the list of the top 20 Oktoberfest celebrations in the nation. New York and Portland, Oregon claimed #1 and #2 respectively.A link to the full story and fun facts is here.last_img

New Diversity & Inclusivity Group Forms in Batesville Area

first_imgPictured (front row, left-right): Cassie Holtel, Steven Harmeyer, Sarah Garvin, Jordan Miller, Amelia Kubicek, Angela Byers, Kayla Meyer, Jocelyn Xenophontos (back row, left-right): Paul Satchwill, Brent Schebler, Mary Meyer, Dawn Koch. Not pictured: Guadalupe Blanco, Hillary Layne.Batesville, IN —A new group focused on creating positive community change has formed in Batesville. Batesville Area for Inclusion and Diversity is a citizen’s coalition with a mission of “collaborating within our community for a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable culture of belonging where all are welcomed, valued, and empowered.” This group will work toward bringing meaningful, educational, and impactful programming and events to Batesville and the surrounding area.“BAID is a group of people who want to have a positive impact on our community in regards to inclusion and diversity,” says member Paul Satchwill. “We want to make sure that all voices in our community are heard, valued, and represented. It is important to discuss these large issues no matter where you live. BAID is excited to engage with our community on such important topics.”BAID is accepting programming suggestions and volunteers for future events and initiatives. If interested, you can contact for more information.last_img read more

Maine football team beats Weber State to reach FCS semifinals

first_imgELLSWORTH — The University of Maine football team will play in the Football Championship Subdivision semifinals after defeating Weber State 23-18 in Friday’s quarterfinal showdown in Ogden, Utah.After going most of the first half without scoring a touchdown, Maine took a 7-3 lead over No. 2 Weber State (10-3) with 2 minutes, 5 seconds left in the first half when Jaquan Blair caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Chris Ferguson. The Black Bears then went ahead 14-3 with 13:32 left in the third quarter when Ferguson connected with Earnest Edwards for a 67-yard strike.Weber State cut the seventh-ranked Black Bears’ lead to 14-12 with 1:55 left in the third quarter, but four second-half interceptions would become the home team’s undoing. Maine (10-3) added a 45-yard touchdown run from Ramon Jefferson and long field goal from Kenny Doak to take a 23-12 lead, and a Weber State touchdown pass as time expired was little more than consolation prize.With the win, Maine advanced to the semifinals for the first time in program history. The Black Bears will face No. 6 Eastern Washington (11-2) on the road at 2 p.m. Eastern Time next Saturday, Dec. 15, in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN2.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textlast_img read more

Syracuse men’s basketball game day: Everything to know about Notre Dame matchup

first_img Published on January 21, 2017 at 8:44 am Contact Paul: | @pschweds Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse (11-8, 3-3 Atlantic Coast) visits South Bend, Indiana, to take on No. 15 Notre Dame (16-3, 5-1) on Saturday at noon. The Orange still has yet to pull off a marquee win and a victory away from the Carrier Dome this season. Saturday presents a chance for SU to do both after winning three of its last five and treading water with a .500 record in the ACC. Notre Dame, meanwhile, is coming off a three-point loss to No. 10 Florida State on Wednesday, its first ACC loss of the year.Here are answers to your most pressing game day questions.How can you watch the game? Syracuse-Notre Dame will be broadcast on ESPN. Class of 2010 SU alumnus Mike Couzens will have the play-by-play duties and Doris Burke will be the color commentator. Here are channel listings based on provider in the Syracuse area.• Time Warner: 300 or 24 for non-digital subscribers• DirecTV: 206• Verizon Fios: 570 (HD) or 70 (SD)• Dish Network: 140• New Visions: 757 (HD) or 70 (SD)What is Tyus Battle working on improving? Battle has improved driving to the basket recently. After a hot start shooting well from deep, he’s been able to maximize more driving lanes.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhat does Battle do the night before road games? He often lifts weights in the hotel.Who on Syracuse is a key cog in its 2-3 zone? After receiving minimal playing time at points earlier this season, Tyler Roberson’s proven his value as a result of his athleticism and experience on the defensive end.What does Andrew White want to do at this point in the season? He wants to diversify his offensive game and rely less on 3-pointers.What do our beat writers think will happen? Find out, here.Anything else to know about Notre Dame? Here’s a preview of the Fighting Irish. Commentslast_img read more