“Appalachia Rising” To Rise Up in D.C.

By Jillian Randel

A weekend of mobilizing will take place in Washington D.C., September 25-27, designed to help citizens learn what they can do to help end mountaintop removal coal mining.

The Voices of the Mountains Conference, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, will feature workshops and panel discussions about Appalachia, civil disobedience, and the issues surrounding the destruction of waterways, mountains and communities as a result of the controversial mining practice.

The event will culminate on Monday, the 28th,with an Appalachia Rising Day of Action. There will also be a National Lobby day on Tuesday the 29th.

Event coordinators hope to draw policymakers, coalfield residents, miners and other citizens to the event.

Visit appalachiarising.org for more information or to sign up.

Gee, Haw! Husky Assist Program Sleds Into Virginia

The Husky Assist sled team, compiled of seven dogs, five of which are Siberian Husky rescues, trains on the Virginia Creeper Trail in the fall of 2009. “Gee” and “haw” are common dog sledding commands for right and left turns. Photo courtesy of Siberian Husky Assist

By Megan Naylor

The last thing that comes to mind when thinking of Virginia is the Siberian Husky, a popular high energy, cold weather breed of dog. That is, until now.
Siberian Husky Assist, a safe haven relief program started in 2003 and based in Bristol, Va., educates the public about the unique breed and rescues neglected Siberian Huskies across the South.

The program rescues dogs from shelters and homes that cannot support them and places them into safe foster homes until they can find permanent relocations.

Their coverage area for rescues ranges from Roanoke, Va. to Knoxville Tenn.

According to Marcia Horne, president of Siberian Husky Assist the goal of the program is to find the dogs loving “forever homes.”

Horne first got involved with Siberian huskies when she was searching for a good therapy dog.
“I adopted a husky from the Blountville, Tenn., shelter to be used as a therapy dog and wondered why these dogs were in shelters,” “so, I set up a rescue with the guidance of Sidney Sachs of sled dog rescue in Spring City,Tenn.,” Horne said.

Since that day, she has worked diligently to give abandoned huskies a second chance by facilitating rescues, fosters and adoptions while juggling a barrage of daily calls and emails about dogs in need of placement.

“It takes us weeks to months to find a good home for our huskies,” Horne said.

Currently, Siberian Husky Assist lacks the land and funds needed to help a large number of dogs.

“This is why I’m driven to set up a sanctuary and dog sledding facility,” Horne said. “We and our dogs work to earn our fundraising dollars.”

In addition to acting as a facilitator for husky halfway houses (foster homes), the organization has their own sled dog team, which participates in demonstrations and fundraising events.

They also teach dog sled training sessions for beginner and intermediate mushers, offering the public a taste of what Siberian huskies have been trained to do for thousands of years.

They encourage owners to bring their own dogs to the classes with the understanding that they
must be up to date on all shots and friendly with humans and other canines.

Husky Assist plans to open the South’s first ever Husky Sanctuary and Dog Sledding Facility, located at the Blue Heron Resort in Saltville, Va., as soon as funds are available to begin building.

The new facility will provide opportunities for further outreach, education and fundraising and serve as an area for dogs to stay when foster homes are in short supply.

The facility will include a Siberian Husky, Northern Breed and Handicapped sanctuary as well as an educational facility for dog sledding classes and outreach.

Horne believes that public outreach and education on Siberian Huskies is essential in finding a good fit for long-term adoption.

“Our goal is to find these special rescued Siberians a home where we feel there is a match made in the characteristics of the dog and the family that adopts them, to ensure they will be there forever.”

To get involved, visit SiberianHuskyAssist.com.

The Little Wonders Project: Biking for Bikers

By Parker Stevens

In August, a crew of Boone-based bike enthusiasts began a trek across the country to raise awareness about bicycle safety. The project started with Brandon McKeever, who is riding in memory of two cycling teammates–avid bikers Garret Wonders and Adam Little–who were both killed by motorists.

One of Wonders’ life goals was to bike across the county. Since he never got the chance, McKeever decided to make that trip, raising awareness for bike safety along the way.

“It’s sad that it happened, but I think things like this happen for a reason,” McKeever said. “I’ve already seen a lot of good come out of it.”

McKeever will be joined by Josh McCauley, Ben Rollins and at least four others. Members of the crew have sold their cars and belongings in order to buy an old school bus, which they have converted to run on used vegetable oil.

The trip began in Charleston, S.C., and will end in San Francisco, Calif. Along the way, they will be working on organic farms and hosting bike safety events for children and adults.

The team will also be raising money for the Garret Wonders Memorial Fund, a nonprofit that provides cycling scholarships for students at the University of Ohio.

More Logging for Daniel Boone Forest

By Jillian Randel

The U.S. Forest Service has announced plans to log 365 acres in the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky. The proposed area is part of a forest that has just begun to reach maturity, with half of the trees aged 70 years or older.

The forest also includes numerous springs, several species of orchids and a variety of flora. The forest service has also proposed constructing temporary roads and using herbicides to kill unwanted native trees and invasive species.

The area in question previously experienced substantial quarrying and logging and is the site of significant clearcutting by the Forest Service about 20 years ago.

For more info, visit kyheartwood.org or email kentuckyheartwood@gmail.com.

Tennessee Wild Dedicated to Wilderness

By Ray Zimmerman

On June 8, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) sponsored and introduced the Tennessee Wilderness Act, cosponsored by the Senator Bob Corker (R-TN). If adopted, the act will add 20,000 acres to the designated wilderness areas in Cherokee National Forest.

According to Jeff Hunter, director of the coalition Tennessee Wild, the act will protect sensitive wilderness areas that would otherwise be available for timber harvest, mining, oil and gas development and road building.

Hunter calls this proposal “a window of opportunity to permanently protect these beautiful areas for their significant recreational value and for the ecosystem services these areas provide.”

Tennessee Wild has worked to expand the wilderness designation for Big Frog, Little Frog, Joyce Kilmer Slickrock, Big Laurel Branch and Sampson Mountain Wilderness areas.

According to Hunter, the “gem” of this proposal is the Upper Bald River Wilderness Study Area. “It’s a virtually intact watershed with beauty rivaling just about anything you can find in the Smokies,” he said.

Eight conservation groups have joined with Tennessee Wild, including the Wilderness Society, the Tennessee Chapter of the Sierra Club, Campaign for America’s Wilderness (part of the Pew Environmental Group), Cherokee Forest Voices, Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition, Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning, Smoky Mountains Hiking Club, and the Southern Environmental Law Center.

These groups encourage citizens to write their representatives in Congress to support the Tennessee Wilderness Act.

Hunter extended an invitation to individuals who want to help more.

“Come hike or maintain a trail with us,” Hunter said. “We lead regular outings to the Cherokee. Seeing these places is the best way to understand why Tennessee Wild exists.”

All trail maintenance is done with hand tools; no chain saws are permitted.

Visit TNWild.org to find a list of their upcoming events.

Solar Now Cheaper Than Nuclear in North Carolina

A report from Dr. John Blackburn, Duke University’s former chancellor and economics department emeritus chair, found that in an “apples-to-apples” comparison in the state of North Carolina, solar electricity can be produced for 14 cents per kilowatt-hour, while the same electricity produced by nuclear power plants would cost between 14 – 18 cents per kilowatt-hour. Read the report in its entirety at ncwarn.org/?p=2290.

Coughing up Kudzu

According to atmospheric scientists at Harvard University, kudzu—the tenaciously invasive species spreading across the southeast—is a major contributor to ozone pollution.

As kudzu releases isoprene and nitric oxide, these chemicals combine with nitrogen in the air and form the greenhouse gas. Ozone formation close to the earth’s surface is extremely hazardous to human health and the growth of many plants, threatening both air quality and agricultural production.

With a growth rate about three times as fast as trees and other vegetation, kudzu is exceedingly difficult to control. Some measures being used to control the vine include livestock grazing, burning, mowing and herbicides.

Cooking Up Solutions

By Megan Naylor

Appalachian Alternative Agriculture, a nonprofit group based in the town of Annville in Jackson County, Ky., recently opened their kitchen doors to regional farmers.

The newly completed processing kitchen, which has been 8 years in the making, was designed to have a high output capacity. It will provide local farmers an opportunity to increase the market value of their produce by allowing them to sell their goods on a retail basis.

“It will serve as an incubator type facility for farmers and entrepreneurs that have a product they would like to produce and market,” Agriculture Natural Resource Agent Jeff Henderson said.

The cost for using the processing facility will be minimal so that small farms can afford to participate and have the chance to use industrial sized equipment.

In addition to the kitchen itself, there will be a docking station for Kentucky State University’s mobile chicken processing unit and a pavilion where farmers market days will be held.

East Kentucky Power Cooperative donated the land for the facility, while funding was provided by a collaboration of partners.

Crazy Quilt Project Still Accepting Patches

Floating Lab Collective is still accepting patches for their crazy quilt project designed to document local artists’ responses to mountaintop removal. Simply create a patch of any size or shape and dedicate it to a mountain you love.

Include the name of the honored mountain somewhere on the fabric and a written description of a personal memory with the mountain.

Patches will be accepted through Spring 2011 and can be mailed to Kate Clark 5308 39th St. NW Washington, D.C., 20015.


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