4 U.S. Cities With the Most Extreme Weather

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

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4 U.S. Cities With the Most Extreme Weather

Many U.S. cities experience extreme temperatures, sometimes changing as much as 50 or even 65 degrees in a day. The honor for the hottest place ever recorded in the U.S. goes to Death Valley, California, with a whopping temperature of 134° F recorded in 1913. You’ll find the coldest place in the U.S. in the tiny northern Alaska town of Prospect Creek — temps fell to -80° F in 1971. The following four cities can claim some of the largest temperature variations within a year.

Waterloo, Iowa

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The Midwest experiences some of the greatest temperature variations between winter and summer. In Waterloo, Iowa, you’ll see temperature differences averaging about 57.5 degrees. Winter temps average 10° F to 27° F and summer highs reach the mid-80s. Waterloo residences enjoy a recently revitalized downtown area along the Cedar River that includes a riverwalk trail, plaza, splash pad, amphitheater, DekHockey rink, shopping, dining, cultural entertainment and nightlife. You can tour the John Deere factory here, which builds large and small tractors, farm equipment, lawnmowers and more. Guided tours will take you through each step of the manufacturing process, from the first steel cut to the final product.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

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Head to Sioux Falls, which sees annual temperature differences averaging 59 degrees. Winter temps range from 7° F to 26° F, with summers reaching comfortable highs in the low 80s. Named for the falls along the Big Sioux River that flow through the city, Sioux Falls is home to the U.S. Geological Survey’s EROS (Earth Resources Observation and Science) Data Center. In contrast to modern satellite-image processing, you’ll find ancient Native American ceremonial burial grounds dating back 1,600 years in the South Dakota town. If you happen to visit in late summer, you can attend one of the U.S.’s largest outdoor music festivals, the LifeLight Festival.

St. Cloud, Minnesota

Credit: Anh Luu/Shutterstock

Minnesotans must become accustomed to extreme low temps in the winter, seeing some of the coldest temperatures of any place in the U.S. outside of Alaska. Fifteen of the top eighteen cities with the greatest temperature differences are found in Minnesota. Annual temperature variations average 61 degrees in St. Cloud, a small city in central Minnesota located at the junction of the Sauk and Mississippi rivers. St. Cloud residents experience average winter lows between 2° F and 18° F. By summer, temps increase to a comfortable 82° F. If you happen to visit during the warmer summer months, be sure to visit the beautiful Munsinger and Clemens Gardens, which overlook the Mississippi River.

Fargo, North Dakota

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Long before the 1996 blockbuster film Fargo hit cinemas, North Dakota’s largest city was famous for topping the list for the broadest annual temperature differences of any U.S. city — 63.8 degrees. Fargo residents must bundle up in January, with lows averaging around 0° F and highs only about 18° F. However, come July, residents are able to head out in shorts and t-shirts with highs in the low 80s. If you’re a fan of the movie, you can have your picture taken with the actual wood chipper used in the infamous murder scene at the Fargo Moorhead Visitor Center.

High school students find hidden cameras in Minnesota hotel rooms during school trip

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

 

High school students find hidden cameras in Minnesota hotel rooms during school trip

A staff member at Madison East High School in Wisconsin was placed on leave “as a precautionary measure,” the district said.
By Juan Anguiano and Minyvonne Burke

Wisconsin high school students on an out-of-state school trip in Minnesota said they found hidden cameras in their hotel rooms, sparking a police investigation.

A staff member at Madison East High School who accompanied the students on the three-day trip earlier this month was placed on leave “as a precautionary measure” and in accordance with district protocol, a spokesperson for the Madison Metropolitan School District said in a statement.

A district official said in a letter to parents that Minneapolis police were notified of the cameras after students reported finding the devices in their rooms at the Minneapolis Hyatt Regency while attending a conference.

School officials were notified of the cameras on Dec. 8.

“Out of respect for the students and families affected, and in the interest of preserving the integrity of the police investigation, I am unable to share many details with you at this time,” the interim principal, Brendan Kearny, said in the letter. “I want you to know that we will continue to do everything we can to protect our students and to see that anyone responsible for harming them is held accountable.”

The hotel said it searched its property for hidden cameras but did not find any devices besides the ones located in the high schoolers’ rooms.

“As confirmed by local authorities at this time, it does not appear that anyone associated with the hotel is involved in the situation,” Hyatt said in a statement.

A spokesman for the Minneapolis Police Department said the hotel gave authorities the electronic devices and investigators are analyzing them “to see what their capabilities are.”

So far, no arrests have been made.

6 Largest Churches in the U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

6 Largest Churches in the U.S.

Many people travel for an important reason: to savor new experiences that delight all of the senses. If you’re an experienced traveler, you often appreciate destinations of social, cultural, and historical significance. That said, a visit to a religious venue can be one way to explore your fascination with culture and history. Whether you love churches for their stunning stained-glass windows or historical artifacts, you’ll want to check out these churches below. Why? They are the six largest churches in the U.S.

Cathedral of St. Paul (St. Paul, Minnesota)

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The skyline of St. Paul, Minnesota, hasn’t been the same since the Cathedral of St. Paul held its first mass in 1915. On the exterior, you’ll marvel at the cathedral’s impressive dome, which measures a whopping 120 feet in diameter. The dome is made of steel beams, which are overlaid with clay tile and copper. Meanwhile, a 30-foot lantern sits at the apex of the dome. In all, the cathedral spans 306 feet in height, from its base to the top of the lantern.

The interior is no less impressive. The spacious sanctuary is the focal point of the cathedral and boasts a seating capacity of 3,000. Meanwhile, the marble altar is surrounded by an ornamental canopy called a baldachin. This majestic structure is supported by six columns of black and gold marble, each extending 24 feet high.

The building of the church was commissioned by Archbishop John Ireland in 1904. Emmanuel Louis Masqueray, a French architect trained in Paris, was chosen to design the Cathedral of St. Paul. Although the structure was usable in 1915, renovations weren’t fully completed until 1941.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral (New York City, New York)

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St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City is the largest Gothic-style cathedral in the United States. The cathedral is approximately 405 feet long and 274 wide, and it seats around 2,200 parishioners. Its stunning spires rise 330 feet above the street.

Construction on St. Patrick’s began in 1858 under the direction of Archbishop John Hughes, who commissioned American architect James Renwick to design the structure. However, the cathedral didn’t open its doors until May 1879 due to a pause in construction during the Civil War.

Throughout the years, additional elements such as the West Front towers, the Lady Chapel, and the great organ were added to make St. Patrick’s the awe-inspiring vision it is today. St. Patrick’s is also known for its Pieta statue of the Virgin Mary and Christ, which is three times larger than the Pieta in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Each year, more than three million people visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral to light a candle, attend mass, or simply gaze in wonder at its impressive edifice.

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (Los Angeles, California)

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Of the largest churches in the U.S., Our Lady of the Angels is the newest. Work began on the modern 11-story cathedral in May 1999 and was completed in early 2002.

Our Lady of the Angels is not only famous for its size but also its contemporary design, which was conceptualized by Spanish architect José Rafael Moneo. Our Lady of the Angels is also famous for its 300-foot nave and largest single use of alabaster windows in the U.S., which admits around 33,500 square feet of natural light on any given day.

Washington National Cathedral (Washington, District of Columbia)

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It took more than two centuries to complete the Washington National Cathedral. However, the result is a majestic Gothic structure. Nestled atop Mount Saint Albans, the cathedral sits 400 feet above sea level, making the top of its tower the highest point in Washington, D.C.

In 1792, George Washington set aside a plot of land for a national church in Washington, D.C. However, nothing happened for 100 years. Construction on the church, designed by Frederick Bodley (a British architect for the Anglican church), finally began in 1907 after President Theodore Roosevelt presided over its dedication ceremony. Although major construction work was completed and the first chapel opened for service in 1912, Washington National Cathedral didn’t come into its full glory until 1990.

Throughout the decades, the cathedral has hosted numerous funerals for U.S. presidents, such as Woodrow Wilson, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. Washington National Cathedral also hosts prayer services when new Presidents are inaugurated.

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Washington, District of Columbia)

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The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is the largest Catholic church in the United States. It’s 459 feet long, 240 feet wide, and reaches a height of 329 feet. Construction on the church began in 1920, but reports in Massachusetts newspapers suggest that the idea for constructing this massive church was conceived in the 1840’s.

The church held its first public mass on Easter Sunday in 1924. Today, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception serves as a gathering place for Catholics from all over the world. Mother Teresa frequently visited the shrine, and many Popes have made trips when in the U.S.

Cathedral of St. John the Divine (New York City, New York)

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St. John the Divine is an Episcopal church and the largest cathedral in the world. It stands at an impressive 601 feet and is 232 feet wide; the church also boasts a spectacular 120,000 square feet of floor space. Today, the cathedral houses the third largest rose window in the world; The Great Rose Window in the Cathedral’s western wall is constructed from 10,000 pieces of glass.

Construction of the cathedral began in 1892, after multiple bishops broached the idea for construction in the late 1820’s. Although the cathedral is more than 120 years old, it remains unfinished. Despite that, St. John the Divine held its first services in 1899 and continues to be an active place of worship today.

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine also holds a special place in history for hosting ecumenical services during the Civil Rights era of the 1950s and 1960s. In fact, Martin Luther King preached at the church in 1956, and more than 6,000 people attended a service in 1964 to call for an end to racial segregation.

10 Healthiest Cities in the U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

10 Healthiest Cities in the U.S.

With quality of life, recreation and active lifestyles on everyone’s radar in terms of where to live, work and play, we often wonder where are these pockets of health — and what factors make them so healthy? As with many best and most lists, varying criteria create different outcomes. So depending on what source you choose, different cities may pop up. The most complete and stringent set of factors are employed for the annual American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) American Fitness Index.

The Fitness Index uses strong community fitness — which is easier to gauge — as a proxy for the individual, personal fitness of residents. The top-ranked index cities have more resources that support health and fewer challenges to a healthy lifestyle. Based on the Index outcomes, following are the 10 healthiest U.S. cities.

Boise, Idaho

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Hiking, mountain biking and outdoor adventure pursuits in general keep busy Boise residents in shape — enough so for the population to comprise the country’s tenth-healthiest city. No wonder. The capital city of Idaho is home to the Boise River Greenbelt, a series of tree-shaded trails and parks hugging the banks of the Boise River. With a section of river rolling directly through downtown, the greenbelt trail is prime terrain for urban workouts. Serious trail running is also a serious pursuit in and around Boise. Picturesque, punishing runs await at the forebodingly named routes Harrison Hollow, Five-Mile Gulch and Military Reserve, all highlighted expertly on the Boise section of Rootsrated.com.

San Jose, California

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San Jose is a major Bay Area technology hub, and it happens to have the ninth-fittest population in the nation. So when they aren’t behind computer screens, residents spend quality time outdoors exercising in beautiful natural surroundings. The Visit San Jose webpage for outdoor recreation  provides great tips on the best sites, such as Alum Rock Park in town or nearby at Castle Rock State Park in neighboring Los Gatos, California. Active San Jose citizens can add Zen meditation or a calming jog to their health routine at the city’s Kelly Park Japanese Garden.

Saint Paul, Minnesota

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The state capital of Minnesota, Saint Paul is the other half of the “Twin Cities” along with neighboring Minneapolis. Both cities share a penchant for healthy living, and you’ll find Minneapolis elsewhere on this list. For its part, Saint Paul’s fit crowd enjoys utilizing the Gateway State Trail for biking, running or simply strolling in nature. The 18-mile trail takes advantage of a former rail line between Stillwater and Saint Paul, now a paved path. Generally level thanks to its railway roots, the Gateway route winds northeast through Maplewood, North St. Paul and Oakdale, then continues through Washington County before ending at Pine Point Regional Park.

Denver, Colorado

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As a base for nearby Rocky Mountain skiing, mountain biking and hiking adventures, Denver is a mecca for active lifestyle seekers. As such, it’s no surprise to find Colorado’s capital at number seven for fitness. With the Mile High city indeed sitting at 5280 feet, residents don’t have to head for the mountains for high-altitude exertion. Just consider the bike trail descriptions at Denver.org. These are no short jaunts. Instead there are miles and miles of rides on paved bikeways that let you roll from Denver to outlying towns. For example, the Cherry Creek Regional Trail starts in Confluence Park and continues beside Cherry Creek for more than 40 miles before terminating near Franktown. Similarly, the Greenway Trail is nearly 30 miles of paved bike path along the banks of the South Platte River, connecting a series of pristine parks. As a bonus, the river played such a big role in local history that the Colorado Historical Society has placed along the route some 20 signs with photos and illustrations detailing important places and events.

Seattle, Washington

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With Mt. Rainier National Park in its backyard and the waters of Puget Sound on its front porch, Seattle is a magnet for outdoors enthusiasts, earning it the number six ranking among healthy metros. While the city is surrounded by water, mountains and towering conifer forests, within its limits it contains thousands of acres of parkland. Among the best and most picturesque are 530-acre Discovery Park and the 230-acre grounds of the Washington Park Arboretum. As home to REI, of course hiking, camping, backpacking and climbing are everyday pursuits here, rain or shine. But biking is also a big deal. To that end, The Burke-Gilman Trail wends its way some 27 miles through the city’s northern neighborhoods. Seattle Cycling Tours, meanwhile, offers a 2.5-hour guided bike trek through central city landmarks and neighborhoods including Pioneer Square, South Lake Union and the Seattle Center.

Portland, Oregon

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Spread out in the shadow of snow-capped Mount Hood, Portland is known for its parks, bridges and bike lanes — and for its generally green attitude. It’s no surprise then, that the number five fittest city has myriad recreational pursuits for Portlanders. Surrounding mountains and forests offering hiking, mountain biking and climbing at every emerald-green turn of the trail. Oregon’s largest city sits directly on the Columbia and Willamette rivers, so paddling is a prime pursuit for fitness within the urban core. Another in-city outdoor highlight, Washington Park features both the city’s Japanese Garden and the Oregon Zoo.

Madison, Wisconsin

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Consider the winters in Wisconsin when noting the ingenious nature of the Sett Recreation Center at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Part of the three-story student union building, with the Sett Pub located conveniently on the lower level, perfect cold-weather activities occupy the rest of the space with live music, dancing, bowling, billiards and indoor rock-climbing. It’s not all about the indoors, of course. Madison, which lies just east of Milwaukee, is the Wisconsin state capital, and the city’s Capital City State Trail is a favorite urban exercise outlet. The picturesque paved path winds past Monona Terrace, a lakefront convention center designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, providing an architectural treat along with exercise options.

Washington, D.C.

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Hemmed in by the bordering states of Maryland and Virginia and known for its imposing neoclassical monuments and government buildings, our nation’s capital at first glance doesn’t scream fitness. Yet the population of Washington, D.C., is serious about staying in shape, it seems, ranking at number three among healthy metros. The city actually helps with that, providing myriad free outdoor activities, many of which can be found at Washington.org. D.C.’s favorite outdoor exercise space is no doubt Rock Creek Park. It’s 4.4 square miles encompass multiple hiking and biking trails, plus riding stables and tennis courts. Hikers, bikers and runners also enjoy long stretches of the C&O Canal Towpath, with 180-plus miles of accessible trail along the scenic Potomac River between Georgetown and Cumberland, Maryland.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Minneapolis, the major Minnesota metro that forms the “Twin Cities” with the neighboring state capital of Saint Paul, consistently ranks among the nation’s best read cities. It’s per capita bookstores, libraries and degreed denizens help earn that title. Smarts and staying in shape apparently go hand in hand, with Minneapolis sitting at number two for healthiest cities. Bisected by the Mississippi River, the city is full of serene parks and lakes, all of which make for great outdoor recreation. For example, within city limits more than 10 miles of trails traverse famed Minnehaha Park and its environs. One popular recreation route starts beneath 53-foot Minnehaha Falls, from where hikers, bikers and runners can follow the tree-shaded trail through dense woods to bluffs overlooking the mighty Mississippi River, then loop back to the falls.

Arlington, Virginia

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Aerobics, aquatics, seated exercise classes, strength training, core strength, boxing, tai chi, yoga, pilates, walking clubs, tennis and biking are among the programs offered by Arlington Parks and Recreation. And those are just the senior activities. There’s a reason Arlington landed at number one in the nation for fit populations. Active pursuits are provided for every age and fitness level through the municipal recreation department, which also makes it easy to get involved with accomodations for income level and disabilities. At least a part of the population is getting their blood pumping with more extreme pursuits. The adrenaline crowd here is serious about mountain biking, and the Arlington Single Track Tour is an exciting, two-county ride to get in some exercise.

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

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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

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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 U.S. Cities With the Most Extreme Weather

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

U.S. Cities With the Most Extreme Weather

Many U.S. cities experience extreme temperatures, sometimes changing as much as 50 or even 65 degrees in a day. The honor for the hottest place ever recorded in the U.S. goes to Death Valley, California, with a whopping temperature of 134° F recorded in 1913. You’ll find the coldest place in the U.S. in the tiny northern Alaska town of Prospect Creek — temps fell to -80° F in 1971. The following four cities can claim some of the largest temperature variations within a year.

Waterloo, Iowa

Waterloo, Iowa

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The Midwest experiences some of the greatest temperature variations between winter and summer. In Waterloo, Iowa, you’ll see temperature differences averaging about 57.5 degrees. Winter temps average 10° F to 27° F and summer highs reach the mid-80s. Waterloo residences enjoy a recently revitalized downtown area along the Cedar River that includes a riverwalk trail, plaza, splash pad, amphitheater, DekHockey rink, shopping, dining, cultural entertainment and nightlife. You can tour the John Deere factory here, which builds large and small tractors, farm equipment, lawnmowers and more. Guided tours will take you through each step of the manufacturing process, from the first steel cut to the final product.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

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Head to Sioux Falls, which sees annual temperature differences averaging 59 degrees. Winter temps range from 7° F to 26° F, with summers reaching comfortable highs in the low 80s. Named for the falls along the Big Sioux River that flow through the city, Sioux Falls is home to the U.S. Geological Survey’s EROS (Earth Resources Observation and Science) Data Center. In contrast to modern satellite-image processing, you’ll find ancient Native American ceremonial burial grounds dating back 1,600 years in the South Dakota town. If you happen to visit in late summer, you can attend one of the U.S.’s largest outdoor music festivals, the LifeLight Festival.

St. Cloud, Minnesota

St. Cloud, Minnesota

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Minnesotans must become accustomed to extreme low temps in the winter, seeing some of the coldest temperatures of any place in the U.S. outside of Alaska. Fifteen of the top eighteen cities with the greatest temperature differences are found in Minnesota. Annual temperature variations average 61 degrees in St. Cloud, a small city in central Minnesota located at the junction of the Sauk and Mississippi rivers. St. Cloud residents experience average winter lows between 2° F and 18° F. By summer, temps increase to a comfortable 82° F. If you happen to visit during the warmer summer months, be sure to visit the beautiful Munsinger and Clemens Gardens, which overlook the Mississippi River.

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Fargo, North Dakota

Fargo, North Dakota

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Long before the 1996 blockbuster film Fargo hit cinemas, North Dakota’s largest city was famous for topping the list for the broadest annual temperature differences of any U.S. city — 63.8 degrees. Fargo residents must bundle up in January, with lows averaging around 0° F and highs only about 18° F. However, come July, residents are able to head out in shorts and t-shirts with highs in the low 80s. If you’re a fan of the movie, you can have your picture taken with the actual wood chipper used in the infamous murder scene at the Fargo Moorhead Visitor Center.

5 State Nicknames That No Longer Make Sense

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5 State Nicknames That No Longer Make Sense

Coming from someone who grew up in the “Bluegrass State,” I will be the first to tell you some state nicknames don’t make sense — or are at least misleading. The state got this nickname from early settlers who named a certain type of grass “Bluegrass” because of the blooms on the top, which were slightly blue. But this grass isn’t as common as the state nickname would lead you to believe. Here is a look at five other state nicknames that no longer make sense.

Wisconsin — The Badger State

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Wisconsin’s state nickname no longer makes sense — and technically never did — because there are no more badgers in this state than there are anywhere else. The nickname “The Badger State” comes from the 1820s, when thousands of miners flocked to the Midwest. They made homes for themselves by digging caves in the rock under the ground, much like badgers do. For this reason, these miners became known as “badgers” or “badger boys.” There were so many of them (or maybe the nickname was just so funny) that the whole state became known as the Badger State.

Minnesota — The North Star State

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It is not clear why Minnesota was ever called the North Star State, unless it was just due to its position as one of several northern states in the contiguous United States. The name comes from the translation of the state’s French motto “L’Etoile de Nord,” but the state isn’t particularly well-known for its eoile (star) or being in the nord (north). This nickname has been especially misleading since Alaska joined the United States in 1959, making that state the northernmost in the country.

Utah — The Beehive State

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Like Wisconsin, this is another nickname that is more misleading than “wrong.” With a nickname like “The Beehive State,” you would expect Utah to be a leader in honey sales or production, but it is actually 24th in the nation when it comes to that industry. So why is it called the Beehive State? According to historians, Utah has used the beehive as its state symbol for hundreds of years, as it stands for “hard work and industry.” In fact, Utah values industry so much that its state motto is simply “Industry.” So the busy bees in the Utah beehives are not real bees, but hard-working people.

Alaska — The Last Frontier

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Space is the final frontier, according to Star Trek, but Alaska has long been known as “The Last Frontier,” due to its unsettled areas and its general wildness. Many people take this nickname to mean that it was the last territory to be settled in America, and this is no longer true. While both Alaska and Hawaii officially became states in 1959, Alaska achieved statehood in January, while Hawaii didn’t become a state until August. In this case, maybe Hawaii is the real last frontier.

New Jersey — The Garden State

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Anyone who has ever been to New Jersey, especially the northern part, can tell you there is not much garden to be found in this “Garden State.” A good portion of the state is bustling with businesses, people and traffic. The origin of the nickname actually comes from a speech given by Abraham Browning in 1876. He said that “our Garden State is an immense barrel, filled with good things to eat and open at both ends, with Pennsylvanians grabbing from one end and New Yorkers from the other.” How that translates to a garden, I’m not sure, but it makes a great example of a state whose nickname no longer makes sense.

4 U.S. Cities With the Most Extreme Weather

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

4

U.S. Cities With the Most Extreme Weather

Many U.S. cities experience extreme temperatures, sometimes changing as much as 50 or even 65 degrees in a day. The honor for the hottest place ever recorded in the U.S. goes to Death Valley, California, with a whopping temperature of 134° F recorded in 1913. You’ll find the coldest place in the U.S. in the tiny northern Alaska town of Prospect Creek — temps fell to -80° F in 1971. The following four cities can claim some of the largest temperature variations within a year.

Waterloo, Iowa

Waterloo, Iowa

Credit: Amdizdarevic/Shutterstock

The Midwest experiences some of the greatest temperature variations between winter and summer. In Waterloo, Iowa, you’ll see temperature differences averaging about 57.5 degrees. Winter temps average 10° F to 27° F and summer highs reach the mid-80s. Waterloo residences enjoy a recently revitalized downtown area along the Cedar River that includes a riverwalk trail, plaza, splash pad, amphitheater, DekHockey rink, shopping, dining, cultural entertainment and nightlife. You can tour the John Deere factory here, which builds large and small tractors, farm equipment, lawnmowers and more. Guided tours will take you through each step of the manufacturing process, from the first steel cut to the final product.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Credit: Steven Frame/Shutterstock

Head to Sioux Falls, which sees annual temperature differences averaging 59 degrees. Winter temps range from 7° F to 26° F, with summers reaching comfortable highs in the low 80s. Named for the falls along the Big Sioux River that flow through the city, Sioux Falls is home to the U.S. Geological Survey’s EROS (Earth Resources Observation and Science) Data Center. In contrast to modern satellite-image processing, you’ll find ancient Native American ceremonial burial grounds dating back 1,600 years in the South Dakota town. If you happen to visit in late summer, you can attend one of the U.S.’s largest outdoor music festivals, the LifeLight Festival.

St. Cloud, Minnesota

St. Cloud, Minnesota

Credit: Anh Luu/Shutterstock

Minnesotans must become accustomed to extreme low temps in the winter, seeing some of the coldest temperatures of any place in the U.S. outside of Alaska. Fifteen of the top eighteen cities with the greatest temperature differences are found in Minnesota. Annual temperature variations average 61 degrees in St. Cloud, a small city in central Minnesota located at the junction of the Sauk and Mississippi rivers. St. Cloud residents experience average winter lows between 2° F and 18° F. By summer, temps increase to a comfortable 82° F. If you happen to visit during the warmer summer months, be sure to visit the beautiful Munsinger and Clemens Gardens, which overlook the Mississippi River.

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Fargo, North Dakota

Fargo, North Dakota

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Long before the 1996 blockbuster film Fargo hit cinemas, North Dakota’s largest city was famous for topping the list for the broadest annual temperature differences of any U.S. city — 63.8 degrees. Fargo residents must bundle up in January, with lows averaging around 0° F and highs only about 18° F. However, come July, residents are able to head out in shorts and t-shirts with highs in the low 80s. If you’re a fan of the movie, you can have your picture taken with the actual wood chipper used in the infamous murder scene at the Fargo Moorhead Visitor Center.

Inclusion Is Not Always A True Possibility

Inclusion Is Not Always A True Possibility

 

I am compelled to write this article tonight because of some of the events that have occurred with a few of the newly installed members of the U.S. Congress this past two months. The Democratic Party as a whole are learning the realities of trying to be the “All Inclusive Party” in the attempt to broaden their youthful Base of all colors, creeds, faiths while at the same time trying to not anger the old folks of the Party. One of the issues that the Party Leadership must make a decision on is Israel, are they going to support the Nation of Israel or are they going to be the definition of, Anti-Semitic? Two months ago a young lady was elected to Congress from the beautiful State Minnesota. This particular new Congresswoman Ms. Omar is a lady whom is a believer and follower of the Islamic Faith. Ms. Omar is not the only new Congressperson who has been causing conflict within the Party Leadership, there are several others also but in trying to stay true to the title I will narrow this article to issues being raised within the Congress as they have already felt the need to rebuke her twice.

 

Ms. Omar to the shock and awe of the Party Leadership has been daring to go as far as to not kiss the Ring of former President Barack Obama. She has gone as far as to openly ridicule Mr. Obama for his handling the “Islamic Wars” and his treating of Muslims and the “Islamic World”. Ms. Omar, true to her Faith has made several negative comments about Jews and about Israel, I am not at all shocked, are you? To me, it honestly seems that most of the politicians who say they are Democrats are either Atheist or just an empty shirt Follower of the ‘Faith’ they claim to believe in. Republicans on the other hand tend to say they are ‘People of Faith’ but they just never seem to walk that talk.

 

Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party are starting to learn a lesson here with Ms. Omar and a few of the other rookie Congressperson’s. To me the lesson is simple, it’s not a truth, a reality, that I like, yet truth, is truth, it shows no favorites toward the left nor the right. The reality that must be realized, recognized and addressed is that of pure hatred. You cannot put wolves in a Henhouse for a long period of time and not expect the wolves to feast just as you cannot expect the chickens to subdue the wolves turning them into Vegans. Somethings cannot be put together for any period of time simply because of the hate and or beliefs of one or more of subjects in question. In recent decades the Democratic Party ‘to me’ has become the “Anti-G-d” Party whom does seek to represent our Nation’s minorities such as Blacks, Hispanics, and Asian. I totally believe that we must all be treated equally by each other yet I am realistic enough to realize this will not be so in our lifetime. The Democrats (the anti-religion party) in their ignorance has looked upon people of the Islamic Faith as though they are just another minority and this mistake will do nothing but further divide their Party and our country.

Michigan Doctor Charged With Performing Female Genital Mutilations

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC)

APR 13 2017, 8:22 PM ET

Michigan Doctor Charged With Performing Female Genital Mutilations

A Michigan doctor has become the first to be charged under federal law for allegedly performing female genital mutilation on several girls, ranging from 6 to 8 years old, officials said Thursday.

A federal complaint lodged against emergency room physician Jumana Nagarwala alleges the doctor was performing the procedure, where part or all of the female genitalia is removed, on numerous girls out of a medical office in Livonia, Michigan.

Nagarwala is charged with female genital mutilation, a five-year felony, and transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, a 10-year felony, according to the complaint.

Related: Hospital Shut Down After Egyptian Girl Dies During Circumcision

This is believed to be the first case brought under a law passed in 1996 and amended in 2012, which criminalizes female genital mutilation, according to the Department of Justice.

“Female genital mutilation constitutes a particularly brutal form of violence against women and girls. It is also a serious federal felony in the United States,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch in a statement. “The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law.

According to the complaint, federal officials launched an investigation after being tipped off that Nagarwala performed the procedure on two 7-year-old girls who were brought by their families from Minnesota for the procedure.

The Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building in Washington. Andrew Harnik / AP file

Phone records and surveillance tapes linked the families of the girls to Nagarwala, and when questioned the girls’ parents admitted to law enforcement that they traveled to see the doctor for “extra cleansing of skin.”

A medical examination on the girls showed abnormal genitalia, and one of the girls said “her parents told her that the procedure is a secret and she is not supposed to talk about it,” the complaint alleges.

Further investigation found other children in Michigan were also seen by Nagarwala from 2005 to 2007, according to the complaint. Some of the parents of those children have admitted to having the procedure done by the Michigan doctor.

Nagarwala, who couldn’t be reached for comment, allegedly told investigators she was “aware the procedure was illegal” but denied ever performing them.

“The allegations against the defendant in this investigation are made even more deplorable, given the defendant’s position as a trusted medical professional in the community,” said Special Agent in Charge Francis in a statement.

Nagarwala is listed on staff at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit Michigan, but the hospital said the physician was on “administrative leave” in a statement on Thursday.

“The alleged criminal activity did not occur at any Henry Ford facility. We would never support or condone anything related to this practice,” said David Olejarz, a hospital spokesman.

Image: Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit
Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit Benjamin Beytekin / dpa via AP

Female genital mutation is performed to make a girl more acceptable in certain communities and is thought to increase her eligibility for marriage by ensuring her virginity in many cultures, according to human rights organization Equality Now.

An estimated 200 million women and girls have been subjected to the procedure, according to the World Health Organization. The practice is more prevalent in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, but has picked up momentum in the United States.

“Approximately 513,000 women and girls in the United States were at risk for [genital mutilation of circumcision] or its consequences in 2012 which was more than three times higher than the earlier estimate, based on 1990 data,” according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Related: Horrific Taboo: Female Circumcision on the Rise in U.S.

“This is a form of child abuse,” said Shelby Quast, director of Equality Now’s Americas Office. “We are encouraged seeing a doctor charged with FGM, because this will have a big impact on others who are performing this illegal act,” she said.

“This sends a message to other doctors that if you violate the law, you will be arrested, and you will be prosecuted.”

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