6 U.S. Cities With the Cleanest Air

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

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6 U.S. Cities With the Cleanest Air

The American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report reveals the U.S. cities with the cleanest air. According to data from 2015 to 2017, all of these cities had zero days when ozone and particle pollution reached unhealthy levels. If you want to enjoy some clean, crisp air on your next stateside vacation, consider one of these cities.

Bangor, Maine

Credit: Luboslav Tiles/ Shutterstock

The city of Bangor in south-central Maine ranks 23rd for cleanest U.S. cities for year-round particle pollution and also had no days with unhealthy levels of ozone or short-term pollution.

Bangor’s success, unfortunately, isn’t replicated throughout the state, which has one of the highest rates of asthma in the country — approximately 10% among adults and 11% among children. Experts suspect that a critical factor affecting the state’s pollution levels is contaminants sweeping into the region on ocean and air currents from upstream urban areas.

In Bangor, however, you can breathe freely. Work your lungs with a hike through nearby Acadia National Park or take a more leisurely stroll along the city’s Penobscot River Walkway.

Lincoln–Beatrice, Nebraska

Credit: Katherine Welles/ Shutterstock

Lincoln ties with Bangor at 23rd for year-round pollution with zero days of unhealthy ozone and short-term pollution.

If you find yourself in the Midwest, take advantage by visiting some of its many outdoor attractions. The Sunken Gardens, recognized by National Geographic as one of the 300 best gardens in North America, are full of vibrant year-round flora. Meanwhile, the Pioneers Park Nature Center boasts hiking trails with informative exhibits on the area’s ecology. You’ll also find information on the factors that contribute to the city’s fresh air.

If you’re in Beatrice, you’ll want to visit the pristine Homestead National Monument of America, where you can hike among the prairie grasses and browse the outdoor exhibits depicting the history of American homesteading.

Finally, the Lincoln–Lancaster County Health Department has monitors that provide air quality data to residents so those with respiratory conditions can stay safe and healthy.

Wilmington, North Carolina

Credit: Gary C. Tognoni/ Shutterstock

Wilmington, North Carolina, is another city to be congratulated for its air quality. Known as the Port City, Wilmington is recognized for everything from its nearby beaches to the country’s largest movie studios outside of California. The city is also home to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Diligence vessel.

Wilmington’s residents have benefited from statewide environmental initiatives such as the 2002 North Carolina Clean Smokestacks Act. The city’s air also got a boost when Duke Energy, the regional electricity provider, converted the energy source of its Wilmington–adjacent plant from coal to natural gas.

If you visit Wilmington, you’ll want to take advantage of its nearly two miles of Riverwalk along Cape Fear River. The pedestrian boardwalk also connects to the Sea Bikeway and East Coast Greenway.

Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville, Florida

Credit: TDKvisuals/ Shutterstock

Tied with Wilmington for the 13th lowest year-round pollution — and the same zero days of dangerous ozone or short-term pollution — is the metro area of Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville in central Florida.

The region is also known as the Space Coast, due to the presence of the John F. Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral. Anyone interested in the history of our solar system will enjoy visiting the Space Center with its interactive tours and exhibits. You’ll breathe easy knowing that all that rocket exhaust hasn’t overwhelmingly increased pollution in the region.

Meanwhile, enjoy more clean air at the renowned Cocoa Beach or browse the wildlife at Brevard Zoo. You can also explore the various downtown districts, each of with its own unique character and the same pollutant-free atmosphere.

Burlington, Vermont

Credit: Sean Pavone/ Shutterstock

With no days of unhealthy ozone or particle pollution levels, the metro area of Burlington–South Burlington ranks 12th overall for year-round particle pollution and is another American city with the cleanest air in the country. As the largest city in the state, Burlington is home to the University of Vermont and is rightfully considered one of the most beautiful college towns in the country.

In 2015, Burlington became the first American city to run entirely on renewable electricity, which has undoubtedly played a role in its clean air success. Along with biomass, solar, and wind power, its largest energy source is hydro, thanks to its use of dams and its location on Lake Champlain.

Burlington also has an ongoing “Great Streets Initiative,” a municipal project aimed at enhancing the city’s sustainability. From a new City Hall Park to improved bike lanes, the various changes make Burlington a vibrant place to visit and explore — with the added bonus of pollutant-free air.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Credit: Izabela23/ Shutterstock

Tied for the lowest year-round particle pollution, in addition to zero days of dangerous ozone or particle pollution levels, Honolulu has some of the cleanest air in the country. While the Hawaiian islands are known for their natural beauty, what is remarkable is that the state has managed to preserve its fresh and vibrant atmosphere even in its urban capital — and largest city — of approximately 350,000 people.

Despite its favorable ranking, however, Honolulu’s air quality has suffered dramatic swings thanks to the existence of “vog,” the island term for volcanic smog. When Kilauea erupted on the Big Island in 2018, winds spread the resulting sulfur dioxide to other islands in the archipelago, including Oahu, on which Honolulu is located. When vog levels are high, residents — and visitors — can experience symptoms ranging from eye/skin irritation to coughing, headaches, and fatigue.

However, when the winds are favorable, the islands do indeed have the best air in the country. The city’s outdoor attractions are also perfect for visitors who prize clean air and pristine environments. From outdoor gems like Waikiki Beach to the Honolulu Botanical Gardens, this beautiful Hawaiian city certainly offers plenty of value for all tourists.

6 U.S. Cities With the Cleanest Air

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

6 U.S. Cities With the Cleanest Air

The American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report reveals the U.S. cities with the cleanest air. According to data from 2015 to 2017, all of these cities had zero days when ozone and particle pollution reached unhealthy levels. If you want to enjoy some clean, crisp air on your next stateside vacation, consider one of these cities.

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Bangor, Maine

Bangor, Maine

Credit: Luboslav Tiles/ Shutterstock

The city of Bangor in south-central Maine ranks 23rd for cleanest U.S. cities for year-round particle pollution and also had no days with unhealthy levels of ozone or short-term pollution.

Bangor’s success, unfortunately, isn’t replicated throughout the state, which has one of the highest rates of asthma in the country — approximately 10% among adults and 11% among children. Experts suspect that a critical factor affecting the state’s pollution levels is contaminants sweeping into the region on ocean and air currents from upstream urban areas.

In Bangor, however, you can breathe freely. Work your lungs with a hike through nearby Acadia National Park or take a more leisurely stroll along the city’s Penobscot River Walkway.

Lincoln–Beatrice, Nebraska

Lincoln–Beatrice, Nebraska

Credit: Katherine Welles/ Shutterstock

Lincoln ties with Bangor at 23rd for year-round pollution with zero days of unhealthy ozone and short-term pollution.

If you find yourself in the Midwest, take advantage by visiting some of its many outdoor attractions. The Sunken Gardens, recognized by National Geographic as one of the 300 best gardens in North America, are full of vibrant year-round flora. Meanwhile, the Pioneers Park Nature Center boasts hiking trails with informative exhibits on the area’s ecology. You’ll also find information on the factors that contribute to the city’s fresh air.

If you’re in Beatrice, you’ll want to visit the pristine Homestead National Monument of America, where you can hike among the prairie grasses and browse the outdoor exhibits depicting the history of American homesteading.

Finally, the Lincoln–Lancaster County Health Department has monitors that provide air quality data to residents so those with respiratory conditions can stay safe and healthy.

Wilmington, North Carolina

Wilmington, North Carolina

Credit: Gary C. Tognoni/ Shutterstock

Wilmington, North Carolina, is another city to be congratulated for its air quality. Known as the Port City, Wilmington is recognized for everything from its nearby beaches to the country’s largest movie studios outside of California. The city is also home to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Diligence vessel.

Wilmington’s residents have benefited from statewide environmental initiatives such as the 2002 North Carolina Clean Smokestacks Act. The city’s air also got a boost when Duke Energy, the regional electricity provider, converted the energy source of its Wilmington–adjacent plant from coal to natural gas.

If you visit Wilmington, you’ll want to take advantage of its nearly two miles of Riverwalk along Cape Fear River. The pedestrian boardwalk also connects to the Sea Bikeway and East Coast Greenway.

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Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville, Florida

Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville, Florida

Credit: TDKvisuals/ Shutterstock

Tied with Wilmington for the 13th lowest year-round pollution — and the same zero days of dangerous ozone or short-term pollution — is the metro area of Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville in central Florida.

The region is also known as the Space Coast, due to the presence of the John F. Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral. Anyone interested in the history of our solar system will enjoy visiting the Space Center with its interactive tours and exhibits. You’ll breathe easy knowing that all that rocket exhaust hasn’t overwhelmingly increased pollution in the region.

Meanwhile, enjoy more clean air at the renowned Cocoa Beach or browse the wildlife at Brevard Zoo. You can also explore the various downtown districts, each of with its own unique character and the same pollutant-free atmosphere.

Burlington, Vermont

Burlington, Vermont

Credit: Sean Pavone/ Shutterstock

With no days of unhealthy ozone or particle pollution levels, the metro area of Burlington–South Burlington ranks 12th overall for year-round particle pollution and is another American city with the cleanest air in the country. As the largest city in the state, Burlington is home to the University of Vermont and is rightfully considered one of the most beautiful college towns in the country.

In 2015, Burlington became the first American city to run entirely on renewable electricity, which has undoubtedly played a role in its clean air success. Along with biomass, solar, and wind power, its largest energy source is hydro, thanks to its use of dams and its location on Lake Champlain.

Burlington also has an ongoing “Great Streets Initiative,” a municipal project aimed at enhancing the city’s sustainability. From a new City Hall Park to improved bike lanes, the various changes make Burlington a vibrant place to visit and explore — with the added bonus of pollutant-free air.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii

Credit: Izabela23/ Shutterstock

Tied for the lowest year-round particle pollution, in addition to zero days of dangerous ozone or particle pollution levels, Honolulu has some of the cleanest air in the country. While the Hawaiian islands are known for their natural beauty, what is remarkable is that the state has managed to preserve its fresh and vibrant atmosphere even in its urban capital — and largest city — of approximately 350,000 people.

Despite its favorable ranking, however, Honolulu’s air quality has suffered dramatic swings thanks to the existence of “vog,” the island term for volcanic smog. When Kilauea erupted on the Big Island in 2018, winds spread the resulting sulfur dioxide to other islands in the archipelago, including Oahu, on which Honolulu is located. When vog levels are high, residents — and visitors — can experience symptoms ranging from eye/skin irritation to coughing, headaches, and fatigue.

However, when the winds are favorable, the islands do indeed have the best air in the country. The city’s outdoor attractions are also perfect for visitors who prize clean air and pristine environments. From outdoor gems like Waikiki Beach to the Honolulu Botanical Gardens, this beautiful Hawaiian city certainly offers plenty of value for all tourists.

5 U.S. Camping Destinations With the Best Views

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 U.S. Camping Destinations With the Best Views

There’s nothing like a camping trip to disconnect from everyday life and get out into nature. Whether you’re looking for an adventurous camping trip or just a leisurely long weekend to unplug and unwind, you’ll want to take a look at these five U.S. camping destinations that have the best views.

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Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park, Maine

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They don’t call Maine the Pine Tree State (yes, that’s a real thing) for nothing. Step into any park inside the state and you’ll find yourself surrounded by gorgeous pine trees. Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island in Maine is no exception. Located on the Atlantic coast, you can get views of not just trees, but the Atlantic shoreline.

What’s really stunning is the view from the top of Cadillac Mountain. If you hike there at sunrise, you can enjoy the thrill of being the very first person in the country to see the sunrise, since that’s the easternmost point of land in the United States. This fact alone makes the trek worth it.

There are three campgrounds inside the park. Blackwoods is closer to the town center and is better for those of us who prefer to camp in a secluded area but enjoy knowing there’s civilization just a short drive away. If you want a more rustic camping experience, you’ll want to stay at Seawall. On the other hand, if you want to enjoy views of the water from your campsite, then you’ll want to check out Schoodic Woods. Know that you can hike anywhere you want in the park, but these are the only three designated areas where you’re allowed to set up camp.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

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When you’re standing in the middle of Washington, D.C., on a busy day, it’s nearly impossible to imagine that just 75 miles away lies an oasis that’s as serene as the D.C. metro is crowded. Shenandoah National Park has over 500 miles of trails. Many of them take you through several miles of quiet and peaceful wilderness, leaving you alone with your thoughts. Others take you to beautiful waterfalls or stunning viewpoints overlooking the trees and Appalachian Mountains in the distance.

The park sits on 200,000 acres of protected land. It allows backcountry camping for the truly adventurous who want to get off the beaten path and away from everyone. If you’re up for a challenge, take the eight-mile hike up Old Rag Mountain. This is the most popular route because of the stunning views at the peak. You can camp in one of four campgrounds during every season except winter. If you want to backcountry camp, you’ll need to get a permit (it’s free).

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, Montana

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As one of the few places in the country where you can still see glaciers, Glacier National Park in Montana is open year-round to visitors. It features a shocking 1,009 campsites within 13 separate campgrounds, but they’re spread out enough that the park can be full and you’ll still feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere (which, for the record, you are). There are over 700 miles of trails, making it the perfect destination for avid hikers. You’ll traverse through forests, meadows, and mountains while seeing spectacular views of lakes and, of course, glaciers.

If you’re up for a drive through the mountains, the 50-mile stretch known as Going-to-the-Sun Road runs through the middle of the park and connects the east side to the west side. While it’s a good way to get from one end of the park to the other in a relatively short amount of time (one way takes about two hours), the view from the highest point is the real highlight. Logan Pass is the highest point on the road, and it sits at 6,646 feet. From this point, you get a panoramic view of the majesty around you, including the glaciers below. You’ll probably also run into some animals, including mountain goats and bighorn sheep. Note that portions of the road can close at any time for weather, particularly for snow in the winter.

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Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Credit: Anton Foltin/Shutterstock

Deep in the heart of red rock country lies Capitol Reef National Park in Utah. While we’ve talked before about how desert vacations can be relaxing, this trip is more adventurous. The really cool thing about this park is the Waterpocket Fold, which is a geological wrinkle (officially termed a geologic monocline) on the surface of the Earth that was formed somewhere between 50 million and 70  million years ago. Capital Reef happens to sit at the most scenic part of the fold. The park extends nearly 100 miles and includes canyons, bridges, domes, and cliffs for hikers and adventurers to explore.

Backcountry camping is available with a permit. If you prefer traditional campsites, you can stay at the Fruita campground, which is a developed campground that holds 71 sites. More remote campgrounds are also available if you prefer roughing it. Cedar Mesa and Cathedral Valley don’t have water but they do have pit toilets.

The national park sits on a historic site that has been inhabited since at least 500 B.C. You can even see petroglyphs etched into stone along with some painted pictographs. These remnants of the people who used to live on the land have been preserved as much as possible.

Little Beaver Lake Campground, Michigan

Little Beaver Lake Campground, Michigan

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Michigan’s Upper Penninsula (or simply “up north” to Michigan natives) is an often overlooked place of natural beauty. Little Beaver Lake Campground is particularly noteworthy for its views of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. You’ll enjoy unbelievable lake views and can take your boat around to see the famed pictured rocks. If you’re more of a hiker, you’ll enjoy hiking through the forests surrounding the campground. Backcountry camping is available with a permit, or you can stay at one of three rustic campgrounds.

This campground is open year-round. While summer brings tourists who like to kayak, boat, or do other water sports, wintertime allows for snowmobiling, ice climbing, winter camping, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. If you’ve never seen a frozen waterfall before, consider making a trip to Little Beaver Lake Campground in the winter. Bring your climbing gear and make sure to pack your warmest clothes, and be prepared for snow. Lots of it. The area can get up to 200 inches of snow during the winter.

6 Towns to Explore on the U.S.-Canada Border

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

6 Towns to Explore on the U.S.-Canada Border

The United States of America is the world’s fourth largest country and Canada is the second largest. It is hardly surprising then that the two share the world’s longest land border between two nations. Scattered along the 5,525 miles are hundreds of cities, towns and villages in addition to islands, lakes, national parks and waterfalls. Here’s six towns that will brighten up any journey along this immense frontier.

Derby Line, Vermont

Derby Line, Vermont

Credit: Cynthia Gauthier/Shutterstock

Derby Line, and its Canadian neighbor Standstead, Quebec, are one of the finest examples of a border town. The two share several streets, although the names change into French once you get into Canada. Rumor has it that officials were inebriated when mapping the border, and today it zigzags around houses and through public buildings. The best instance of this is at Haskell Free Library and Opera House, where the entrance is in the U.S. and the books in Canada. This is also the only place in the world to have a stage in one country and the audience in another.

Eureka, Montana

Eureka, Montana

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Just nine miles south of the border crossing between Montana and British Columbia is Eureka, a gateway to superb outdoor adventures. There’s great hiking on the Pacific Northwest Trail, which travels along the Tobacco River at the edge of town. Drive south on the Lake Koocanusa Scenic Byway with tall pine forests on one side and views across the Kootenai River to Kootenai National Forest on the other. The fishing is superb at the Ten Lakes Scenic Area, as is the skiing at Whitefish Mountain Resort. Eureka is also only a 90-minute drive from the heart of Glacier National Park.

International Falls, Minnesota

International Falls, Minnesota

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International Falls has the cult claim to fame of being the inspiration for Frostbite Falls, the hometown of the protagonists from The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends. The city lies on the opposite side of the Rainy River from Fort Frances, Ontario, and at the point where the river meets Rainy Lake. A major attraction of the town is the opportunity to view the aurora borealis (northern lights) from Voyageurs National Park. Across the river, Fort Frances is a starting point for cross-country skiing, ice-fishing and snowshoeing in Ontario.

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Lubec, Maine

Lubec, Maine

Credit: Bill Florence/Shutterstock

A bayside setting and clapboard houses surrounded by white picket fences give Lubec a quintessential New England charm. Interestingly, for geography fanatics at least, this is the closest point of the U.S. mainland to Africa. While here you can visit the McCurdy Smokehouse Museum, which retraces the town’s once booming smoked fish industry. South of town, the picture perfect West Quoddy Head Lighthouse has great views over the Bay of Fundy. Passport in hand, cross the Lubec Narrows waterway and visit Roosevelt Campobello International Park, an island retreat and former summer residence of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Niagara Falls, New York

Niagara Falls, New York

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Straddling one of the world’s most impressive waterfalls are two cities that go by the same name and are linked by the arched Rainbow International Bridge. The Niagara Scenic Byway brings you into New York State’s Niagara Falls, the home of the Niagara Falls State Park. Come here to ride the Maid of the Mist boat and descend slippery wooden walkways to the Cave of the Winds. With amusement arcades, quirky museums, an observation wheel, and vibrant nightlife, the Canadian Niagara Falls is somewhat of mini theme park. There’s unbeatable views of Horseshoe Falls, too, and the fascinating Journey Behind the Falls attraction. Not bad for a 30-minute drive from Buffalo or 90-minute car journey from Toronto.

Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

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Until 1812, Sault Ste. Marie, and its namesake sister city in Ontario, were one city that sat on either side of St. Mary’s River. Today the aptly named Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge connects the two. In Michigan’s version, history fanatics flock to the Museum Ship Valley Campto learn about the wrecked SS Edmund Fitzgerald. The Tower of History affords uninterrupted views of ships arriving at the river’s canal locks. A 40-minute scenic drive from downtown is Point Iroquois Lighthouse, the place where Lake Superior flows into St. Mary’s River. Over the bridge you’ll find a pretty 19th-century red sandstone storehouse at Sault Ste. Marie Canal and riverside walking trails at Whitefish Indian Island Reserve.

4 Overlooked U.S. Beach Towns to Visit This Summer

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

4 Overlooked U.S. Beach Towns to Visit This Summer

When summer heat hits, a tranquil beach getaway is just what the doctor ordered. Avoid getting someone else’s sand on your blanket and plan a visit to one of these overlooked beach towns this summer, where relaxation is high and crowds are low.

Gloucester, Massachusetts

Credit: Lorna Wu 2/Shutterstock

This hidden gem is well-known by locals and art lovers alike. Gloucester calls itself the “oldest working art colony in North America” and has no shortage of artistic representation. Visit one of the beach town’s many art galleries or pop on over to the weekly Cape Ann Farmers Market for some fresh produce and live music. Home to America’s oldest seaport, the cuisine in Gloucester is a seafood lover’s dream. Summer is also the best time to spot whales on one of the many whale-watching tours that depart from the town’s port.

Jensen Beach, Florida

Credit: Dex Sightseeing Photography/Shutterstock

Share the beach with turtles instead of tourists at Jensen Beach, Florida, where the sands every year are home to a huge number of nesting sea turtles. During the months of June and July, visitors can even go on guided sea turtle walks each night led by the Florida Oceanographic Society. Jensen Beach Causeway Park is a popular spot for a picnic or a kayak launch, and offers great fishing as well as beach access. Grab a quick drink or a vitamin-packed açai bowl at the Bunkhouse Coffee Bar and enjoy the local wildlife — which in this case means wild birds and manatees.

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Credit: Gloria V Moeller/Shutterstock

Located right next to the popular Pebble Beach, Carmel-by-the-Sea is much less crowded but no less beautiful than its neighbor. Enjoy the flavors of Monterey County at one of its many wine tasting roomsor take in the gorgeous views on a wildlife hike. The Carmel River State Beach has launch spots for kayaking and scuba diving and is a great location to spot various wild bird species preening by the lagoon. No matter what your style, this fairytale village has something to suit everyone — and at only one square mile, it’s easy enough to explore everything this romantic little town has to offer.

Harpswell, Maine

Credit: Remo Nonaz/Shutterstock

If you’re longing for a glimpse into seacoast life, look no further than Harpswell, Maine. Situated about 45 minutes outside of bustling Portland, this historic region is made up of almost 200 tiny islands, some of which are only accessible by boat. Learn to sail, take a kayak tour or relax on a yacht as you explore the coast. With fewer attractions than other coastal towns, Harpswell is perfect for those who want to relax in solitude and enjoy the area’s natural beauty. Join in the Harpswell Hiking Challenge on the first weekend of June to hike the views of Casco Bay or simply relax and take in the calm ambience of rural Maine.

A Marine Super Cobra Landed On A Baseball Field So The Pilot Could Pick Up His Phone

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TASK AND PURPOSE MAGAZINE)

 

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A Marine Super Cobra Landed On A Baseball Field So The Pilot Could Pick Up His Phone

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“Gear accountability” is a long-standing maxim in the military, and it was probably on the mind of one Marine attack-helicopter pilot when he made an unorthodox landing on Nov. 18 in a public park on Mount Desert Island, Maine, to pick up his lost cellphone.

Jess Witherell, a server at The Thirsty Whale pub, located in the town of Bar Harbor, on the northern side of the island, received an unusual phone call from Hancock Airport in nearby Trenton, according to the Mount Desert Islander. After a group of Marines visited the restaurant for lunch earlier in the day, one of then apparently misplaced their cell phone —  and the caller was wondering if a pub employee could pop on over to the nearest stretch of green to drop it off.

When Witherell asked if the Marine would be walking or driving, the caller responded: “We’re landing a helicopter at the ball field.”

For most folks, that’d probably raise some eyebrows, but the staff figured that the helicopter crewman who lost the phone belonged to LifeFlight, an air ambulance service used by the island for evacuations in the case of medical emergencies, according to the Mount Desert Islander. But when pub dishwasher Bryce Lambert arrived at the field, there wasn’t an air ambulance waiting for him, but a AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter with a UH-1Y Venom circling overhead.

One of the pilots ran from the helo, met up with Lambert and, in exchange for his phone, “pulled the [velcro] patch off of his jacket and handed it [over]” to say thanks, Lambert told the Islander.

RELATED: MISCHIEVOUS NAVY PILOT IN HOT WATER FOR DRAWING ENORMOUS PENIS IN THE SKY »

The impromptu landing, while likely entertaining to many, is currently under investigation by the Marine Corps. The aviators belonged to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 773, a New Orleans-based reserve unit, and were in the area for a training exercise, according to Maj. Andrew Aranda, a spokesman with Marine Corps Forces Reserve Public Affairs.

“Marine Aviators are required to follow strict Federal and Department of Defense aviation procedures so this event is being looked into seriously,” 2nd Lt. Stephanie L. Leguizamon, a spokeswoman with Marine Corps Forces Reserve, told Task & Purpose.

That said, an unexpected trip to a baseball field in an attack helicopter is probably less of a nightmare for a unit commander than having to explain why there’s a phallus-shaped smoke trail in the sky. As for why the aviators decided not to drive? The airport is a half hour’s journey to The Thirsty Whale, Popular Mechanics reports. But by helo, that’s just a few minutes. Maybe instead of a Super Cobra, they should call it an Uber Cobra.

UPDATE: This article has been updated with additional information from Marine Corps Forces Reserve Public Affairs. (11/21/2017; 4:43 p.m. EST)

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Introduces Bill to Legalize Marijuana in Canada

 

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME)

 

Justin Trudeau Introduces Bill to Legalize Marijuana in Canada

3:51 PM ET

(TORONTO) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government introduced legislation Thursday to let adults possess 30 grams of marijuana in public — a measure that would make Canada the largest developed country to end a nationwide prohibition on recreational marijuana.

Trudeau has long promised to legalize recreational pot use and sales. U.S voters in California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada voted last year to approve the use of recreational marijuana, joining Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska.

The South American nation of Uruguay is the only nation to legalize recreational pot.

The proposed law allows four plants to be grown at home. Those under 18 found with less than five grams of marijuana would not face criminal charges but those who sell it or give to youth could face up to 14 years in jail.

“It’s too easy for our kids to get marijuana. We’re going to change that,” Trudeau said.

Officials said Canadians should be able to smoke marijuana legally by July 1, 2018. The federal government set the age at 18, but is allowing each of Canada’s provinces to determine if it should be higher. The provinces will also decide how the drug will be distributed and sold. The law also defines the amount of THC in a driver’s blood, as detected by a roadside saliva test, that would be illegal. Marijuana taxes will be announced at a later date.

The Canadian government closely followed the advice of a marijuana task force headed by former Liberal Health Minister Anne McLellan. That panel’s report noted public health experts tend to favor a minimum age of 21 as the brain continues to develop to about 25, but said setting the minimum age too high would preserve the illicit market.

Canadian youth have higher rates of cannabis use than their peers worldwide.

“If your objective is to protect public health and safety and keep cannabis out of the hands of minors, and stop the flow of profits to organized crime, then the law as it stands today has been an abject failure,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told a news conference. “Police forces spend between $2 billion and $3 billion every year trying to deal with cannabis, and yet Canadian teenagers are among the heaviest users in the western world … We simply have to do better.”

Goodale said they’ve been close touch with the U.S. government on the proposed law and noted exporting and importing marijuana will continue to be illegal.

“The regime we are setting up in Canada will protect our kids better and stop the flow of illegal dollars to organized crime. Our system will actually be the better one,” Goodale said.

But Christina Grant, a professor of pediatrics at McMaster University in Ontario, worries the government is conveying the message that marijuana is not harmful. She fears usage will go up because concerns about its safety will dissipate.

“One in seven youths who have used cannabis will develop an addiction to cannabis and that impacts your life, schooling, job prospects, social and emotional relationships,” she said. “And there is the risk of developing psychosis if you start using cannabis as a teenager. The more you use and the younger you start, you have up to four times the risk of developing some kind of psychotic illness.”

Former Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, who is the parliamentary secretary to the justice minister, said officials learned from the experiences from other jurisdictions like Colorado and Washington state.

While the government moves to legalize marijuana, retail outlets selling pot for recreational use have already been set up. Trudeau has emphasized current laws should be respected. Police in Toronto, Vancouver and other cities raided stores earlier last month and made arrests.

The news that Canada was soon going to announce the law was noticed online last month by Snoop Dogg , who tweeted “Oh Canada!” Canadian folk singer Pat Robitaille released a “Weed song” to coincide with the government’s announcement.

A Quarter of American Beer Drinkers Say They’re Switching to Pot

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

(POT IS A STEP DOWN DRUG, NOT A STEP UP DRUG. LEGAL POT IS A THREAT TO THE ALCOHOL AND PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIES AS WELL AS TO THE PROFITS OF DRUG CARTELS, POLICE DEPARTMENTS AND TO THE STATE AND FEDERAL PRISON FOR PROFIT SYSTEMS. THIS IS THE MAIN REASONS THAT POT IS STILL ILLEGAL, THAT AND PEOPLE LIKE THE AG JEFF SESSIONS WHO ARE TOTALLY IGNORANT OF KNOWLEDGE AND OR TRUTH OR SIMPLY DO NOT CARE WHAT THE TRUTH IS.) (THIS COMMENTARY IS BY TRS)   

A Quarter of American Beer Drinkers Say They’re Switching to Pot

11:34 AM ET

As legalization of marijuana grows throughout the United States, so does its popularity with beer drinkers.

About one in four Americans are now spending their money on marijuana instead of beer, new research from Cannabiz Consumer Group found. Twenty-seven percent of beer consumers are legally purchasing cannabis instead of beer, or suggested they would purchase it instead if it were legalized in their state. The research group surveyed 40,000 Americans last year.

About 24.6 million Americans legally purchased pot in the U.S. last year and that number is expected to grow, according to the study. Numerous states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, and a smaller number of states have legalized it for recreational use. The Department of Justice under the Obama Administration relaxed federal enforcement of marijuana laws in states where it is legal, but the Trump Administration may reverse that trend.

Still, the group predicts the cannabis industry will grow to $50 billion. The U.S. beer market sells over $100 billion in beer each year, according to the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

If marijuana were legalized nationally, the beer industry would lose more than $2 billion in retail sales, the Cannabis Consumer Group says. The group anticipates the cannabis industry will take just over 7% of the beer industry’s market.

Other studies have supported this concept. As Money reported in 2016, the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, Oregon and Washington state contributed to beer sales falling in those states, according to research firm Cowen & Company.

Most recently, Massachusetts, Maine, California and Nevada passed measures to legalize the recreational use of marijuana late last year. More than half of U.S. states permit the medical use of marijuana.

Trump Promises 1 Trillion Boost In Infrastructure Spending Then Cuts 13% From Transportation Dept

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘THE HILL’ NEWS IN D.C.)

Trump budget proposes 13 percent cut to Transportation Dept

The department’s funding would be cut by 13 percent, to $16.2 billion, according to the proposal released early Thursday.

“The Budget request reflects a streamlined DOT that is focused on performing vital Federal safety oversight functions and investing in nationally and regionally significant transportation infrastructure projects,” the budget document says.

“The Budget reduces or eliminates programs that are either inefficient, duplicative of other Federal efforts, or that involve activities that are better delivered by States, localities, or the private sector.”
The budget limits funding for the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment program, eliminates funding for the Essential Air Service program and ends federal support for long-distance Amtrak trains.

The blueprint also eliminates funding for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program, which was set up by the Obama administration’s 2009 economic stimulus package to provide an extra injection of cash for surface transportation projects.

The grants are appropriated by Congress every year but were never authorized. The proposal estimates that scrapping the program would save $499 million annually.

TIGER grants are a popular funding tool among cities and states. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao expressed support for TIGER grants and the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan program during her confirmation hearing.

But the program has drawn the ire of Republicans, who have sought to eliminate or reduce the grants in previous spending bills.
“If [TIGER grants] were to be cut, then it’s big time trouble,” Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), ranking member on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, told The Hill last week.

“Department of Transportation TIGER grants are something that are considered essential to rehabbing our infrastructure.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who chairs the Senate Appropriations transportation subcommittee, has promised to protect the grants in any spending bill.

Trump vowed as a candidate and after winning the White House to improve the nation’s infrastructure, calling for repairing U.S. roads, bridges and airports.

“Crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and railways gleaming across our beautiful land,” Trump said during a joint address to Congress last month.

“To launch our national rebuilding, I will be asking the Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in the infrastructure of the United States — financed through both public and private capital — creating millions of new jobs.”
This report was updated at 10:16 a.m.

If You Think Voting For Mr. Trump Is A Good Idea: Check Out Maine’s Governor First

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BENJAMIN L. COREY BLOG)

Yo, America: Maine Already Tried The Whole Trump Thing. It Didn’t Work.

lepage

Maine DOE, Flickr

So listen, America.

We, the people of Maine, have some wisdom to share with you. I’m sure some of you are unaware that we even exist– we basically live in Canada even though we’re technically one of the 50 states. We live quiet lives up here, and most of us tend to like it that way. We are home to brilliant fall foliage, the famous Maine lobster, moose crashes (got plenty of those), and a coastline that is among the most beautiful you will ever see.

We’re simple people who don’t boast of knowing much that the rest of the country doesn’t know, but we do have some unique knowledge and wisdom to pass onto the rest of you:

We already know what it’s like to have a President Trump, because we have a Governor LePage.

One of the smartest things we can do in life (well, up here we’d say “wicked smahht”), is to learn from the mistakes of others. And Holey Moley, we’ve made a wicked big mistake. Twice.

After years of our quiet existence, we elected one of the only leaders who can be legitimately compared to Donald Trump. This unlikely Governor took control of our state after a failed attempt to step beyond the two-party system. While the attempt was valiant and noble, throwing votes to 3rd parties and independents ended up in LePage getting elected the first time with just 37.6% of the vote in what was a 5-way race, and won him re-election with just 48.2% of the vote the second time around.

And let us tell you, it’s been a wicked headache for us ever since.

Like would be the case with a President Trump, our Governor has been so busy tending to his chronic case of diarrhea of the mouth that he has been completely unable to govern the state. Not only has his governorship been functionally a disaster for our state, it’s made us a national embarrassment time and time again.

While we’d all like to just get back to being known for our lobster, the rest of the country would do well to learn from our mistake. Let me just briefly fill you in on some of the things we’ve been dealing with.

Like Donald Trump, Governor LePage is a white supremacist who is constantly dividing us along racial lines. The examples of his racist behavior are so numerous that it would be difficult to detail all of them in a single post, so here’s a few highlights of what America can look forward to if our experience is any predictor:

Governor LePage recently claimed that Maine’s drug problem is the fault of “black and brown” people who come into our state to sell drugs and “impregnate white girls.” When he held a news conference to convince people his comments were not racist, he actually said that black and brown people are “the enemy.” He went on to claim that he had a binder full of the photos of all the drug dealers arrested in Maine and that 90% were black or brown– yet, when the binder was turned over due to a Freedom of Information request, the truth the binder told was that the majority of drug-dealing arrests were actually white people.

What else? Let’s see…

Oh, there was the time he refused to participate in an MLK celebration, and when he was called out on it he told the NAACP to kiss his butt. There was the time he was speaking with high school children and told one of the kids that he wanted to kill the child’s father. Or the time when he said he wants President Obama to go to hell. Or the time he said we need to bring back the guillotine and have public executions… Or the time he warned that asylum seekers in Maine were bringing in the dangerous ziki-fly, even though no such thing exists. Or, who could forget the time he called up a state lawmaker and left him a threatening voicemail riddled with homophobic epithets, warning the lawmaker that “I am after you”?

And I’ll tell you what, America, these are just the first few examples that pop into my head as I write this. The reality of what we’ve been dealing with in Maine has been such a predictable and consuming part of the daily news cycle, that it’s earned our governor the title of “America’s Craziest Governor.”

Sure, you may think voting for someone who “says what they’re thinking” is cute and refreshing, but you’ll only think that if you’ve been living outside of Maine for the last few years. For us, it’s not cute or refreshing at all, but is a daily reminder that it’s all fun and interesting to watch a person like this on the television, but is far less amusing when they hold executive power.

Governor Paul LePage has been so busy creating controversies, leaving nasty voice mails, and threatening to kill people, that he lost all ability to govern long ago. He’s barely able to work with his own party, let alone work with Democrats. The functional reality is that we don’t have a governor at all– we just have a Trump-like controversy maker occupying the position, keeping Maine in the news for all the wrong reasons while refusing to step aside so that the business of government can continue.

Beyond the reality that Governor LePage is unable to govern, I can’t think of a single person in Maine who thinks someone with Paul Lepage’s temperament should have access to weapons of mass destruction, or have one of the world’s largest militaries at his disposal. If you’ve lived in Maine these past few years, you’ll know that such an idea defies all common sense. It doesn’t even matter who the opposition in the election is– anyone would be a safer choice than someone who lacks self-control as both LePage and Trump do. And when I say “anyone” I actually mean, anyone.

If you want to know what the next 4-8 years would be like with a President Trump, just google “Paul LePage” and read a few things that come up. People with uncontrolled temperaments might be amusing to watch, but they are completely incapable of effectively leading– we tested the theory, and know how it all works out.

Trust us, America. This is a really, really, really bad idea that has no immediate solution… it could be a loooooooonnnnnggg 4-8 years.

I can appreciate that people might get tired of the status quo and long for change, but please, America, learn a lesson from the people of Maine. We’ve already tried the whole President Trump thing, and it’s an absolute disaster.

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