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The Importance of DR

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A couple of years ago I thought making a 2:00 a.m. approach to an unmarked, unlit cut between a couple of the smaller islands flanking Tortola in the British Virgin Islands would have been uneventful, particularly given modern satellite positioning systems. But today, I'm beginning to realize just how wrong I was. Maybe a few anecdotes will help you understand my new outlook.

In the final stages of a delivery from New England to the Caribbean, I knew that we would be able to get a bearing from the lights on low-lying Anegada, the northernmost of the British Virgin Islands. And failing that, we expected our GPS, radar, depth sounder, and the high-powered spotlight to be able to get us through the darkness and safely past a couple of low-lying islands that were separated by only a mile and a half of Caribbean Sea.   more...

 

 



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The Long Way Back

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As we approached the south coast of Bermuda on a starless, overcast night, a late spring cold front swept towards us with a fierce display of lightening, rainsqualls, and gusty southwest winds. I gazed hypnotically at the main squall line on the radar screen with the nervous single-minded attention of a soldier tracking an incoming missile. When the menacing black band reached the two-mile range, I snapped out of my trance, and like presenting a white flag of surrender, jumped on deck and pulled down all sail. Moments later a west wind shrieked and drummed in the rigging and pushed us clumsily before it at four knots. Dawn came clear and cold and nearly calm as we passed through the narrow cut in the rocks guarding Bermuda’s St. Georges Harbour.  more...

 



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Ridge visits Port Huron area

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PORT HURON, Mich. -- Small border communities can't be forgotten when it comes to protecting the United States from terrorists, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Friday.

Ridge made the comments after touring the Blue Water Bridge, Port Huron's main border between the U.S. and Canada, with members of Michigan's congressional delegation and St. Clair County as well as American and Canadian officials. Earlier in the day, he met with a variety of city, county and law enforcement officials to talk about their security needs.

Ridge said a helicopter tour of the region helped open his eyes to the unique needs of the Port Huron area, which is across the St. Clair River from Canada. He said he was amazed to see just how narrow the river is between the two countries.    more...

 



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Michigan trails prepped for skiers

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The Detroit area got some snowfall in recent days, and the weatherman is calling for a few inches more in the next week, which means that excellent cross-country skiing should be available in many of the Huron-Clinton Metroparks.

A spokesman at Kensington Metropark near Milford said that park had four or five inches of snow, enough for the groomers to lay out about seven miles of trails along a loop that runs from the golf course to the farm center.

Kensington is a good family skiing area because it offers something for everyone, from flat trails where beginners can develop their ski legs to hills where experts can kick up the cardiovascular effort.

Stony Creek, Hudson Mills, Huron Meadows and Willow metroparks also have ski trails, and rental cross-country equipment is available on weekends.  more...

 



SNOW  

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Ice-goers beware

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CHEBOYGAN - With ice fishing enthusiasts already traversing some frozen lakes and rivers in the area, the U.S. Coast Guard is warning people to exercise caution and use common sense in doing so.

"Ice is unpredictable and unforgiving," said Lt. j.g. Samuel Kasten of the U.S. Coast Guard Base Sault Ste. Marie. "Beneath what appears to be solid ice hides moving and frigid water. Once you enter the 30 to 35-degree water, the effects of hypothermia are immediate and restrict the movement of your muscles and your ability to make sound decisions."

Before venturing onto frozen waters, individuals should let others know where on the ice they will be, the route they will take to get there, and when they plan to return, Kasten advised. The safety gear being carried and the clothing worn onto the ice should also be known by someone on shore.   more...


 



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EPA, Sierra Club Settle With Walnutdale Farms on Water Pollution

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 and the Sierra Club recently reached an agreement with Walnutdale Farms Inc. -- a dairy in western Michigan -- and owners Ralph and Kevin Lettinga of Wayland, Mich., to settle alleged water pollution violations resulting from the discharge of manure and other pollutants to public waterways. Separate EPA and Sierra Club lawsuits against the dairy were consolidated by the court.   more...

 





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Toboggan adventure ends in icy water

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SISTER LAKES -- When a neighbor loaned them his toboggan Wednesday, third-graders Andrew Cobe Jr. and Spencer Kinzie planned to toboggan all afternoon.

But thin ice on Magician Lake turned their fun into a dangerous rescue.

The snow near the Kinzie house on Maple Island was too wet and sticky for good toboganning, so Jeanine Kinzie suggested the boys try sliding down the fire lane about 100 feet from the house. She did not realize the packed snow had turned to ice.

Andrew, 9, went down the hill first. The toboggan slid much faster than he expected. He jumped off just before it slid onto the lake.  While the boys were in class at Grace Christian School in Watervliet earlier that day, an ice film had formed on the lake. The toboggan came to rest on it a few yards off shore.

Spencer thought he could reach the toboggan from a low pier. When he could not, he tried to walk onto the ice to retrieve it.   more...

 



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A year later, families try to move on from drownings

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TRAVERSE CITY - Tina Swanson will spend today preparing for her son's fifth birthday party, while best friend Kimberly Wyn readies her young family for a short Florida vacation.
      The two are staying focused on the good things in life, though they're just a year removed from life-altering tragedy.
      It was one year ago tonight when their husbands, Matthew Wyn and David Swanson, died when their snowmobiles plunged into open water during a late-night ride on partially-frozen Long Lake.
      Just two days later the Long Lake community suffered another loss when local insurance man Martin Selby, 58, drowned after his snowmobile went through the ice.   more...


 



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Polluter fight lacks muscle

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A planned overhaul of Michigan’s anemic system for enforcing clean water rules won’t include the money officials say they need to catch and prosecute polluters.

Without an influx of cash, state officials warn, they will be unable to conduct the inspections and issue the penalties needed to stem rampant water pollution violations that helped propel a recent increase of toxic dumping in the Great Lakes.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s administration said last year the Department of Environmental Quality needs an additional $4.5 million to improve enforcement, to be paid for by holders of pollution permits. Lawmakers trimmed that increase to about $700,000.

Environmental officials say that money isn’t enough to patch enforcement systems that regularly let polluters flush more toxins into the state’s surface and ground water than the law allows. Businesses and other organizations that would have been forced to pay for the additional enforcement said the cost was too high.   more...

 





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Bottler taps into trouble in Michigan

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The bitter fight over Perrier's plans to pump spring water into plastic bottles and ship it to grocery stores all over the Midwest isn't really over.

The battle, which pitted environmentalists worried that such an operation would harm area wetlands and waterways against economic boosters thirsty for Perrier's jobs, has spilled into Michigan.

And a judge's recent ruling there indicates that the Wisconsin conservationists' fears might have been dead-on.

Perrier dumped Wisconsin in favor of a Michigan site in May 2001 after fierce public opposition to its proposal to draw as much as 720,000 gallons a day from a spring in Adams County, near Wisconsin Dells.   more...

 



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Lawsuit alleges NIPSCO waste tainted town's water

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SOUTH BEND -- Two women from the town of Pines and an environmental group sued the Northern Indiana Public Service Co. on Thursday, trying to force the energy utility to provide clean water to residents of the northwest Indiana community.

The federal lawsuit alleges that NIPSCO disposed of 1 million tons of coal combustion waste in a landfill near the town of Pines. The complaint says that waste is now polluting the ground water around the small community near Lake Michigan.

"This contamination renders the water supply for the citizens of the town of Pines and others undrinkable because of the threat of dangerous constituents harmful to human health in the drinking water," the lawsuit says.   more...

 



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Passion drives MacArthur on personal quest for perfection

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Britain's round-the-world yachtswoman is a celebrity in France and a sensation in Australia but a sideshow in Britain.

As the warm Australian summer evening closes in, Ellen MacArthur is sitting in a restaurant with a stunning view over Sydney Harbour Bridge. She is pondering what had seemed to be a straightforward question: where is home? Is it Whatstandwell in Derbyshire, where she spent her childhood and where her parents still live? Is it Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, where she has a flat? Or is it France, where she has spent much of her time on land in recent years and where the public have taken "la petite anglaise" to their hearts after her stirring exploits in the French-dominated world of ocean racing?

"None of them. Home is out there," MacArthur says, pointing beyond the spectacular light show that is illuminating Australia's most famous landmark. "The sea.   more...



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Racing yachts heading to Key West waters Jan 19-23

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Nearly 3,000 sailors and more than 300 racing yachts are expected to drop anchor in Key West during the third week of January to compete in one of the world’s most prestigious international sailing regattas.

Terra Nova Trading Key West 2004, presented by Nautica, is scheduled for Jan. 19-23 in waters surrounding the island city.

Sailors from 20 countries and across North America plan to participate in the regatta, in its 17th year. Crew will race boats ranging in size from 24 to 75 feet in daily challenges on four courses set over a 10-mile area of the Atlantic Ocean just off Key West’s shore.

Unlike most sailing challenges, the Terra Nova regatta allows amateur sailors to pit their skills against professionals.   more...



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2003 ROLEX YACHTSMAN AND YACHTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR

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PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (January 8, 2004) %u2013 Augie Diaz of Miami, Fla., and Hannah Swett of New York, N.Y., today were named the 2003 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year, respectively. A panel of sailing journalists selected the two accomplished sailors for the distinction from a shortlist of seven nominees for the Rolex Yachtsman and five nominees for the Rolex Yachtswoman (click here for previous release). Established in 1961 by US SAILING and sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A. since 1980, the Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year Awards recognize outstanding on-the-water achievement in the calendar year just concluded. The winners will be honored and presented with specially engraved Rolex timepieces at a February 6, 2004, luncheon at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan.   more...





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Emma Richards and Mike Sanderson link with Colin Montgomerie

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Record breaking British round-the-world yachtswoman, Emma RICHARDS, today announced plans for her next major sailing challenge, the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-06. Richards, 29, is teaming up with America's Cup star Mike SANDERSON, and at the launch of their campaign in London, they announced an unexpected addition to their team in golfing legend, Colin MONTGOMERIE.

Montgomerie, star of Europe's victorious 2002 Ryder Cup team, is a keen follower of sailing and will join Richards and Sanderson's crew for one of the legs of the 30,000 nautical mile race. The 40-year old Scot, who headed the PGA European Tour's Volvo Order of Merit for seven years in a row, will also be lending his support to the team's search for sponsorship. They are currently in talks with a variety of multi-national companies in the hope of securing a £12 million three-year sponsorship deal.  more...



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