Merrychristmas.co.uk to support Great Ormond Street Hospital

first_img AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis The valuable merrychristmas.co.uk domain is this year helping raise funds for the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children. The site says it is donating 80% of its income from services to the charity in the run-up to Christmas.Services on offer that will generate income for the charity include an address book, a reminder service, a Christmas calendar, and the facility to send for £5 an unlimited number of animated e-cards for Christmas.The site is run by Ecelebrations and was developed by agency Wax. Advertisement About Howard Lake Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world’s first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of GoodJobs.org.uk. Researching massive growth in giving.  39 total views,  1 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis Howard Lake | 19 December 2001 | News Merrychristmas.co.uk to support Great Ormond Street Hospital Tagged with: christmas corporatelast_img read more

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House Ag Committee Holds Illinois Farm Bill Hearing

first_img By Andy Eubank – Mar 25, 2012 SHARE Facebook Twitter Home Indiana Agriculture News House Ag Committee Holds Illinois Farm Bill Hearing Facebook Twitter House Ag Committee Holds Illinois Farm Bill Hearing Friday, the House Agriculture Committee held a field hearing in Galesburg, Illinois, with the purpose of gathering input in advance of writing the 2012 Farm Bill. Members took testimony from Midwest producers of corn, rice, soybeans, wheat, sorghum, specialty crops and beef.  Witnesses expressed the importance of developing policy that appreciates and recognizes the risks involved with growing food and fiber.Producers stressed the need for an effective safety net and a choice of risk management tools so farmers can continue to produce a stable food supply and compete in the global marketplace. Committee Chairman Frank Lucas emphasized – it’s important to understand how we can write policy that works for all of agriculture.The hearing was held in Illinois’ 17th District, Represented by Robert Schilling, who said, – this field hearing is a wonderful opportunity for our area’s farmers to lay out their priorities for the next Farm Bill to my colleagues on the Agriculture Committee and me.Source: NAFB News Service Previous articleFDA Ordered to Move on Drug BanNext articleFarmers Should Still Keep Tillage Passes to a Minimum Andy Eubank SHARElast_img read more

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Breaking news – Rescue mission underway off Malin Head

first_img Previous articleLetterkenny JPC seeks detailed analysis of crime increase figuresNext articleUpdate – Six fishermen airlifted to safety News Highland Pinterest Facebook By News Highland – October 7, 2011 The emergency services are involved in a major incident in the waters off Donegal.A fishing vessel began taking on water, and has now sunk 15 miles north of Malin Head. All six crew members are in a liferaft. They are wearing survival gear and emergency beacons have been activated.The Lough Swilly  and Portrush lifeboats are en route, and should be on scene shortly after 11.30, the Sligo based Coastguard helicopter is over the scene and monitoring the situation. RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR News Further drop in people receiving PUP in Donegal Twitter Facebook Pinterest 75 positive cases of Covid confirmed in North center_img Twitter WhatsApp 365 additional cases of Covid-19 in Republic Google+ WhatsApp Breaking news – Rescue mission underway off Malin Head Main Evening News, Sport and Obituaries Tuesday May 25th Man arrested on suspicion of drugs and criminal property offences in Derry Google+ Gardai continue to investigate Kilmacrennan firelast_img read more

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Front window smashed in weekend attack in east Donegal

first_img Twitter Facebook Nine til Noon Show – Listen back to Monday’s Programme Facebook Front window smashed in weekend attack in east Donegal RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Twitter Loganair’s new Derry – Liverpool air service takes off from CODA Important message for people attending LUH’s INR clinic By News Highland – July 28, 2020 News, Sport and Obituaries on Monday May 24th Google+center_img Pinterest The front window of a house has been smashed during a weekend incident in Raphoe. Gardaí in Letterkenny are investigating the incident of criminal damage which happened on Friday the 24th of July shortly after 2.30am.The window of a house at Meeting House Street was smashed with a rock.If anyone was in that area and noticed anything that would assist with enquiries or if any other residents in the area heard or observed anything then we would ask them to contact Gardai in Letterkenny on 074-9167100. Previous articleGardai reissue appeal over Letterkenny crashNext article‘Not feasible’ for school buses to operate with limited capacity News Highland Pinterest WhatsApp DL Debate – 24/05/21 WhatsApp Google+ Arranmore progress and potential flagged as population grows Homepage BannerNewslast_img read more

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Old Country Christmas “wondrous” success

first_img Email the author Latest Stories Print Article Troy falls to No. 13 Clemson Around the WebMd: Do This Immediately if You Have Diabetes (Watch)Blood Sugar BlasterIf You Have Ringing Ears Do This Immediately (Ends Tinnitus)Healthier LivingHave an Enlarged Prostate? Urologist Reveals: Do This Immediately (Watch)Healthier LivingWomen Only: Stretch This Muscle to Stop Bladder Leakage (Watch)Healthier LivingRemoving Moles & Skin Tags Has Never Been This EasyEssential HealthRemember Them? I’m Sure Their New Net Worth Will Leave You SpeechlessbradofoThe content you see here is paid for by the advertiser or content provider whose link you click on, and is recommended to you by Revcontent. As the leading platform for native advertising and content recommendation, Revcontent uses interest based targeting to select content that we think will be of particular interest to you. We encourage you to view your opt out options in Revcontent’s Privacy PolicyWant your content to appear on sites like this?Increase Your Engagement Now!Want to report this publisher’s content as misinformation?Submit a ReportGot it, thanks!Remove Content Link?Please choose a reason below:Fake NewsMisleadingNot InterestedOffensiveRepetitiveSubmitCancel You Might Like Roby gains ground in Congressional session U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-AL, has wasted no time making her voice heard as the 114th Congressional session began Monday,… read more “But it should be,” Jackson said. “The words convey a message that we need to hear at Christmas. ‘Sweet little Holy Child, we didn’t know who you was. We didn’t know you had come to save us, Lord, to take our sins away’ but as the song says, ‘Jesus done taught us how,’ even when He was dying on the cross.“We walk by faith not by sight and Jesus taught us how we should live–in peace and in love. And, that’s what you experience at Old Christmas, peace and love and in a simple place without all of trimmings that we think we have to have at Christmas. Jesus was a simple man and at Old Christmas we celebrate his birth in a simple way.’Mike Amos has missed only a few Old Christmas celebrations and he said, too, that it’s the simpleness of the celebration that warms his heart.“Old Christmas prolongs the Christmas season,” he said. “It takes Christmas past the hurry and rush of the season to a simple place. What I like so much is the reverence of the celebration and the coziness of that old wood church. I get a blessing every time.” Published 3:00 am Thursday, January 8, 2015 Old Country Christmas “wondrous” success Pike County Sheriff’s Office offering community child ID kits Hunter Compton and Amber Shirley portrayed Joseph and Mary at Old Christmas at Clay Hill Tuesday night at historic Clay Hill Church. The service is held annually on January 6, which is Old Christmas Day. The service celebrates the birth of the Christ Child and the arrival of the Wise Men to worship him.MESSENGER PHOTO/JAINE TREADWELLLong before the Old Christmas at Clay Hill program began Tuesday night, the lanterns were flickering and the cider was steaming.The historic one-room church was decorated with cedar, pine and berries. The setting was one of simplistic beauty, said Shelia Jackson, a featured singer at the annual celebration the birth of the Christ Child and the arrival of the Wise Men to worship him.Old Christmas is celebrated on January 6 each year at Clay Hill Church in Pronto. For most who come, it is a tradition. For those who come for the first time, it is a “wondrous” experience.center_img Next UpJackson said “wondrous” was the word she heard over and over following the service.“And, it is exactly that,” Jackson said. “I remember the first time I went to Old Christmas. It was a wondrous experience and it was again last night. Old Christmas is a service that touches your heart. It’s what Christmas is all about. It’s a celebration of the true meaning of Christmas.”Jackson sang “Sweet Little Jesus Boy,” which is a spiritual not often sung at Christmastime. Amos said Old Christmas is unique to other Christmas services.“What I enjoy, too, is the variety of the music. The congregation sang a lot of the familiar Christmas songs like Away in a Manger and Silent Night and there was bluegrass music and spirituals and folk music. It was all wonderful and, of course, we heard the reading of the Christmas story and the candlelight service is the perfect way to close the Old Christmas service.”Hot apple cider and homemade teacakes are served as the worshippers leave the church and Amos, laughingly, said that puts the icing on the cake.Old Christmas at Clay Hill will be on January 6, 2016. All are invited. Plans underway for historic Pike County celebration By Jaine Treadwell This Video Will Soon Be Banned. Watch Before It’s… By Secrets Revealed Sponsored Content Book Nook to reopen Remember America’s heroes on Memorial Daylast_img read more

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Press release: All possible measures to be taken before schools and colleges close

first_imgThe updated CONTAIN guidance sets out four tiers of restrictions for education settings, for use as an absolute last resort in areas subject to local restrictions.All schools, colleges and other education settings are opening for the start of term, with all those in areas subject to local restrictions currently at Tier 1 – fully open to all pupils full time, with face coverings required in corridors and communal areas for pupils in Year 7 and above.Local authority leaders and directors of public health, alongside national government, would be at the centre of any decision making to move out of Tier 1 for education settings.They would take all other possible measures, including implementing restrictions on other sectors, before considering restricting attendance in education.If all other measures have been exhausted, Tier 2 would advise secondary schools and colleges in a restricted area to use rotas to help break chains of transmission of coronavirus, while primary schools remain open to all pupils.Tiers 3 and 4 introduce remote learning full time for wider groups of pupils, with vulnerable children and children of critical workers continuing to attend.The government asked schools in July to ensure they were able to provide high quality remote education that mirrors in-school education, in case any pupils were required to self-isolate or local restrictions were needed. These plans should extend to rotas if ever required.All children are due to return to school for the autumn term and schools have been putting in place protective measures to reduce the risk of transmission.School staff have been working to implement increased hygiene and handwashing with children remaining in consistent groups, using measures such as staggered break times to keep groups apart.To further reassure parents and teachers that all proportionate measures are being taken to make schools as safe as possible, the government has announced that in areas of the country currently subject to enhanced restrictions, staff and pupils in secondary schools should wear face coverings in communal areas where social distancing cannot be maintained.From this week, schools and colleges have begun receiving home testing kits, each receiving a pack of 10 tests, with more available to be ordered if needed. The home testing kits are to be used in exceptional circumstances such an individual with symptoms who may have barriers to accessing a test elsewhere and the home kit would significantly increase their chance of getting tested. This will enable schools and colleges to take swift action to protect others if the test result is positive.Schools are also receiving packs of PPE to use in the very limited circumstances it may be required, such as when it is not possible for a staff member to maintain 2m distance from a pupil with a suspected case of coronavirus.This week the Chief Medical Officers from all four nations in the United Kingdom made it clear that the risks to children contracting Covid-19 in school or college is extremely low and that the risks associated with not being in school or college outweighs that of not being there.The Department for Education has also published further guidance to help schools plan for potential Tier 2 restrictions, which will involve secondary year groups operating a rota system in order to reduce pupil numbers on-site. Today (28 August) the government has published detailed guidance for schools on contingency planning for areas with local lockdowns in place.The guidance sets out that all possible measures should be taken before any restrictions are imposed on schools to maintain consistent education for children and young people.Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: Our primary focus remains supporting all schools to welcome back all pupils for the start of term and we thank teachers and staff for their hard work in preparations We hope that we won’t have to implement the guidance set out today because the local lockdown measures we have introduced so far are working. Changes to school attendance will only ever be an absolute last resort. However, it is important that both government and schools prepare for a worst case scenario, so this framework represents the sensible contingency planning any responsible government would put in place.last_img read more

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Phish Lays Down One Of Their Best Jams Ever On ‘Waves,’ Five Years Ago Today

first_imgWarming up for a three-night stand at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel Woods, NY, Phish got into town one night early to set themselves up for the musical mayhem. The group proceeded to play a soundcheck that lasted for hours, weaving through their catalog with musical fluidity. Among the great jams from that session, one stands alone: the 5/26/11 “Waves.”Released by archivist Kevin Shapiro on his “From The Archives” series, the version of “Waves” is something to behold. The band works in “A Love Supreme” themes and gets quite melodic throughout the soundcheck. Without the crowd to please, the band takes extra musical liberties throughout, and the result is simply sublime.Without further ado, the 5/26/11 “Waves.”last_img

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A night of fun, fellowship — and math

first_imgSebastian Alvarez squinted in concentration as he played the card game War with another fourth-grader in his classroom at the Gardner Pilot Academy (GPA). Instead of traditional playing cards, the ones in his deck depicted colorful fractions.“It’s a math game,” he explained. “The person whose card has the bigger fraction wins both cards.”The point? “It makes math more fun!” he said.Alvarez was one of more than 150 students and family members participating in Family Math Night at GPA. The card game that he was playing was just one of the hundreds of classroom materials the Harvard Achievement Support Initiative (HASI) has provided to the teachers, after-school staff, and families as part of SmartTALK, a program that supports exceptional learning for children at school and at home.Playing games that emphasized math skills was just one aspect of how GPA and Harvard support the academy’s students. Principal Erica Herman designed Family Night to rally University and community partners, teachers, students, and families to support students’ long-range academic achievement.  It’s a model that has served the academy well.Lisa Moellman, co-manager of HASI, talks to teachers in a professional development class at Gardner Pilot Academy. Harvard has been a GPA partner for the past eight years, during which HASI staff have provided professional development training and supported family engagement goals through activities like Family Night. HASI is a University program that aids teaching and learning in certain Boston schools through training, professional development, and research-based learning resources and strategies.But Harvard’s engagement with the academy extends well beyond HASI.  The support includes grants that fund the participation of academy students and families in after-school programs, summer enrichment, adult education, and basic English sessions. After-school students are mentored by Harvard undergraduates at the Harvard Education Portal, and many enjoy field days at Harvard, in addition to scholarships to Harvard camps and activities.On the afternoon before Math Night, GPA teachers analyzed their students’ math proficiencies and gaps in preparation for MCAS testing. Then, they met with Lisa Moellman, co-manager of HASI, to learn more about the new resources Harvard provided, the hundreds of games and activities for every classroom in the school, from kindergarten through fifth grade.“It is so important that students have opportunities to experience mathematical ideas in many ways: using objects, making pictures, and playing games with their peers,” said Moellman. “These varied experiences help build a comprehensive, in-depth understanding of the subject.”Teachers explored the resources and discussed ways to integrate them into their teaching. Then teachers returned to their classrooms to provide some of the new materials to students and their families.“Any given day at the GPA shows that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” said Christine Heenan, vice president of Public Affairs and Communications, which oversees HASI.  “By fostering a range of partnerships that support more than two dozen programs at the GPA, the school is able to deliver holistic support to its students and their families. The multifaceted programs the GPA adopts to engage students and parents during in- and out-of-school times epitomize the kinds of programming HASI supports in all of our partner schools. Harvard is proud to be part of the GPA’s winning equation.”“Our school is really used as a hub of the community to think about the needs of the child, and the child’s family, in all domains,” said Herman.  “That includes their academic, health, and mental health needs, recreational and enrichment needs, even their family supports, and connecting them to the outside community.”Students attend traditional classes from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., but GPA also provides extended learning opportunities before and after school. Students can start their education at 7:30 a.m., and continue their studies later in the after-school program, which runs until 6 p.m. A third of GPA’s students participate in the after-school program. Parents and members of the community also come to GPA for evening adult education classes, such as English as a second language or advanced computer skills, until 8 or 9 p.m.“Harvard has a tradition of supporting GPA,” Herman said. Because of the University’s involvement, more students and families are tapping school resources, and the quality of teaching is enhanced.  “Our surround-care teachers are going really deep into understanding their practice. The weekly coaching sessions for our teachers, the tons of resources for professional development, the guest speakers —  HASI is ensuring that quality learning is happening during that after-school time,” continued Herman.“This is about a belief in what schools should look like,” she said. “It’s about more than learning reading, writing, and math. It’s about supporting kids and families to be happy and healthy throughout their lives. We’re about providing the supports necessary for families to get there.”What’s the benefit of such in-depth involvement? Karen Mapp, director of the Education Policy and Management Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, explored that question in her 2002 publication titled “A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family and Community Involvement on Student Achievement.” Mapp found that familial engagement brought extensive, long-term results. Students whose families were deeply engaged in their education not only earned better grades and enrolled in higher-level programs, but also maintained higher graduation rates, and were more likely to enroll in postsecondary education.In addition to University partnership, outreach efforts and parent involvement in events such as Family Math Night are key factors in the GPA equation for success. Since 1997, the school has raised the parent attendance rate at events from 25 percent to 98 percent in 2011.Boxes of supplies that were donated by Harvard are unpacked and distributed at Gardner Pilot Academy.For Alvarez’s mother, Jennifer, who sat nearby as he played with his new fraction cards, Math Night provided a chance to spend time with what she called “our family.”“Everyone knows everyone else,” she said. “I know the teachers, they know me, and I’m very active in the school. He has been in the after-school program for five years, and it has helped him a lot. He’s already taking advanced classes in math, and his reading level is very high. He had the opportunity to go to an advanced school program (at another school), but I’m not taking him out of GPA.”“Events like Family Math Night enable families to connect what their children are learning in school and give them opportunities to share that learning at home,” said Lauren Fogarty, the director of extended learning time at GPA. “It enables families to see teachers engage with students, give students hands-on ways to engage with math, and then the students go home with a math game the whole family can play. We even make sure to serve dinner for families as part of the event. Harvard allows us the financial opportunity to supply dinner, as well as the math resources for the kids to take home.”Joan Matsalia, co-manager of HASI, points to the importance of school-University partnerships focused on student success. “Providing a family meal and [sharing] fun math games to take home aren’t simply ‘nice touches,’ ” Matsalia said. “These are tangible and important things that build bridges between school and home, and those bridges are vital for student success.”During Math Night, Harvard graduate students also witnessed the partnerships in action.  Mapp brought 75 Harvard graduate students from her class called “The Why, What, and How of School, Family, and Community Partnership” to visit. It was Mapp’s third year bringing her students.“The students are reading about community partnerships and collaborations, and it’s great for them to see that at work,” Mapp said. “One of the reasons we like coming to GPA is their culture of collaboration with families and community members. The staff at GPA knows that family engagement and community partnerships are key to student success. It’s not just something that they do part-time or when they have time. It’s in their strategic goals.”When Mapp heard of Jennifer Alvarez’s statement that the school “felt like a family,” she nodded. “Exactly. In my research on family engagement, I was looking at schools that do this well,” she said. “When parents say that they feel like members of a ‘school family,’ that’s the tip-off. When I hear people say that, that’s when you know that the school is welcoming and honoring families.”— Lauren Marshall contributed to this story.last_img read more

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It Takes Two to Tanzu

first_imgJanuary is the month for a fresh start. Especially after this past year, many of us resolved to reduce stress and simplify. If you’re like me and the millions of others who hope to make our lives easier in 2021, there is good news from Dell EMC PowerEdge and VMware. vSphere with Tanzu Basic is available through Dell Technologies, so you can easily and quickly get started with Kubernetes on PowerEdge servers. So, while VMware Tanzu may not be able to shovel your driveway, help your son with his virtual book report or tackle that pile of your laundry in your dining room, it CAN simplify your container management. And that’s a huge win right there.Whether you’re brand new to containers or are looking for a way to simplify and secure the process, PowerEdge and VMware can help you quickly and more easily get started with Kubernetes and position you to future-proof your infrastructure.Kubernetes = the Future of Modern ApplicationsModern applications are increasingly built using containers. However, as these applications grow to span multiple containers, operating them gets more and more complex. This is where Kubernetes comes in. Kubernetes helps by managing clusters of virtual machines, grouping containers into pods, and scheduling containers to run based on available resources. It brings operations and software development together, simplifying the entire process.Although containers have been around longer, Kubernetes is only about five years old (still a wee preschooler in tech years). But during that time the growth has been exponential — and there are no signs of slowing down. Consider:Gartner predicts that by 2025 more than 85% of global organizations will be running containerized applications in production – a significant increase from fewer than 35% in 2019.¹and…By the same year more than 80% of independent software vendors (ISVs) will offer their application software in container format (up from less than 10% today).²Additionally, according to the VMware State of Kubernetes 2020 Report, Kubernetes use grew to 48% in 2020, up from 27% in 2018. Interestingly, the same report (which surveyed 247 individuals actively using Kubernetes) found that 60% of the time Kubernetes was deployed on-premises. Which means that organizations are taking advantage of existing infrastructure and established virtual environments to get started with Kubernetes.For organizations still considering getting on the Kubernetes train, 2021 is the year many will jump on board.Running Kubernetes Doesn’t Have to Be ComplexIf you’re reading this, there’s a good chance your organization is already using, or at least considering using, containers — and you realize the need to support them. Wouldn’t it be great to embrace the newest technology and still manage the containerized applications using your existing tools? Fortunately, VMware Tanzu Basic enables you to do this securely, so you can quickly get started with Kubernetes.VMware Tanzu Basic simplifies Kubernetes operation on-premises, uniting VMs and containers to offer a single application platform. It gives you everything you need to run Kubernetes using what you already know and love: vSphere.vSphere 7 embeds Kubernetes in the vSphere control plane, which benefits both operators AND developers. Operators gain access to Kubernetes capabilities through a familiar set of tools and scripts, while developers can access cloud resources using Kubernetes APIs.There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when you can use tools you’re already familiar with.  Not only is this approach less daunting for anyone on the fence about using Kubernetes, but it’s more efficient and makes it easier to quickly get started. Which is important, considering enterprises are predicted to build over 500 million logical apps using cloud native tools and methods over the next five years (equal to the total number of apps built over the last 40 years!).³PowerEdge & VMware PartnershipTo maximize performance, it’s no secret that great software runs best on great hardware. Together, PowerEdge and VMware combine best‑in‑class hardware and software to help you expand your modernization efforts. For over 20 years, we’ve worked closely to integrate our technology, solutions and support. With a focus on performance, scalability and security we work together to bring the best solutions to our joint customers.Dell was one of the first to implement vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) when it was released as part of vSphere 7, bringing together firmware and software updates for simplified lifecycle management. When used with the OpenManage Integration for VMware vCenter (OMIVV) plug-in, you can simplify management in a familiar environment. Together, OMIVV and vLCM help organizations complete hypervisor and firmware updates in under 4 minutes (versus 3.5 hours manually) for an 8‑node PowerEdge cluster.4Additionally, we have the support you need. Dell has over 1,800 VMware-certified Dell Support professionals ready to help, so most hardware and software issues are resolved with a single phone call.Dell offers Tanzu Basic OEM both as a standalone license as well as bundled together with vSphere 7 Enterprise Plus. To learn more about the benefits of running  Tanzu on Dell EMC PowerEdge Servers, view this PowerEdge and vSphere with Tanzu infographic or visit our solutions page.¹ Source: Gartner (July 2020): CTO’s Guide to Containers and Kubernetes: 10 Frequently Asked Questions² Source: Gartner (July 2020): CTO’s Guide to Containers and Kubernetes: 10 Frequently Asked Questions³ Source: IDC FutureScape: Worldwide IT Industry 2020 Predictions, Doc # US45599219, Oct 20204 Source: Principled Technologies report commissioned by Dell EMC, “New VMware vSphere 7.0 features reduced the time and complexity of routine update and hardware compliance tasks,” August 2020.last_img read more

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The Mile High Club

first_imgThe sun is just beginning to set on the hills west of Gatlinburg as I stand naked on the side of the road, examining two giant blisters on my bare feet (one on each big toe). They’re bulbous, opaque, and large enough to look like I’ve suddenly grown a sixth and seventh toe. My trail shoes began to rub me wrong around mile 13. The blisters aren’t even number one on my list of concerns. I ran out of water two miles back, I’m famished, and I’m already sore in places I didn’t know could get sore. In other words, it was a good day in the woods. Not just a good day. A big day in the woods, which is exactly what I needed.Okay, technically, I’m not naked. I have a towel wrapped around my waist as I stand beside my car changing from my hiking clothes into something clean enough to wear in public. It’s a dance I’ve done countless times before, but thanks to my close proximity to downtown Gatlinburg and the heavy drive-by traffic, I’ve never felt this exposed. People honk. Perverts. I’m in a hurry to change because there’s moonshine waiting for me and maybe an all-you-can-eat pancake dinner. This is the beauty of adventure on the edge of Gatlinburg. Any wild expedition can immediately be followed by any sort of Appalachian-style decadence you can imagine. Fried chicken palaces? Check. Go-kart racing? Check. Moonshine distillery? Check.I’ve spent the better part of the day running and hiking up the side of Mount LeConte, a 6,593-foot mountain on the western edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and I have a hankering for a fantastically large meal and some homegrown liquor.Judge a mountain strictly by its height and LeConte isn’t that impressive. Sure, it’s a 6,000-footer, higher than most mountains in these parts, but there are five other mountains with loftier summits. LeConte isn’t even the highest mountain inside the GSMNP. That title belongs to Clingman’s Dome (6,643’). But what LeConte lacks in overall height, it makes up for in sheer vert. While it’s not the highest mountain around, Mount LeConte is widely recognized as the tallest mountain in the East, with the greatest vertical rise from its immediate base (1,292’) to its summit (6,593’). Ascend the western flank of LeConte, and you’ll climb more than a mile of elevation, a feat that can’t be duplicated anywhere else on the right side of the Mississippi. Even climbing some of Colorado’s famed 14,000-foot peaks won’t get you 5,000 feet of elevation gain. There’s even more elevation gain on the trip up LeConte than there is up the side of the famous Long’s Peak, a fourteener on every peak-bagger’s to-do list that nets a mere 5,000 feet of vert in a 15-mile round trip hike.Translation: LeConte is legit. And climbing a legit mountain from the bottom to the top is exactly the kind of adventure I need at this point in my life. I’m not sure how it happened, but one day, I woke up and I was a 35-year-old out-of-shape dad. My formerly adventurous lifestyle–once filled with multi-day mountain bike trips, afternoon-long trail runs, and the occasional rock climbing excursion–has transitioned into trips to the playground, mommy and me classes,  and work deadlines. And I can’t find my abs. I wouldn’t say I’m chubby, but I’m definitely soft. I blame the kids. And the wife. And the job. And TV. And chicken wings. Definitely chicken wings.What I need is a dramatic adventure that will kick-start a new direction. I want to shock my body and mind back into the mountain lifestyle. Climbing LeConte will signify a new me. No more beer and chicken wings. No more Seinfeld marathons. More singletrack. More night rides. More dawn patrol. Goodbye soft me. Hello new hardcore me.The shortest route to the top of Mount LeConte is via the dramatic Alum Cave Trail. In just over five miles, you’ll pass through a massive rock house, teeter on the edge of a cliff, and soak in some of the biggest views inside the park. Alum Cave is without a doubt the best way to summit LeConte, but it gains less than 1,000 feet of elevation from beginning to end. In order for my summit expedition to be truly epic, I need to bag the full mile of elevation. To do that, you have to climb the western face of the mountain, starting essentially on the edge of downtown Gatlinburg, and traverse a total of 20-odd miles of singletrack, doubletrack, and road. Twenty miles and 5,300 feet of elevation gain is a big day for a person in good shape. For a person of my current stature, it’s borderline suicidal.In order to give myself the best chance at finishing the summit, I planned on beginning the jaunt at 7am. After trouble with the kids back at home, a “quick” stop for my traditional pre-adventure egg and cheese McMuffin breakfast, and a detour to the Sugarlands Visitor Center because I left my map at home, I don’t set foot on a piece of dirt until 11am. That gives me roughly seven hours to run/hike 20 miles up and down the East’s tallest mountain.The adventure begins on Twin Creek Trail, a mossy-rock lined piece of singletrack that starts on the edge of town and follows a small creek that parallels the Roaring Fork Motorway. Twenty feet into the run, I trip over a rock and land head-first. I’m nervous because of the late start. Also, the 3D relief map of the park inside the visitor’s center has me on edge. I spent a few minutes ogling over the bumpy landscape while picking up the trail map. LeConte rises so steeply, and so independently from the valley floor, it looks like the cartographer made a mistake.CabinI catch glimpses of great rock walls, hand stacked about waist high as I climb slowly, but steadily through the valley floor. I don’t have time to explore because I’m trying to beat the sunset. After a few miles of gradual climbing, I hit the Rainbow Falls Trailhead and the junction for Bullhead Trail, which is where the climbing really begins. Bullhead gains 4,000 feet over seven miles. Much of that elevation comes up front as the trail passes through your typical rhodo tunnel. Eventually, the trail turns into a sidecut path that cuts through boulderfields with massive rock crags and the occasional small rock house shelter. Once the trail climbs to a skinny ridgeline, it becomes flat and runnable and offers a great view of downtown Gatlinburg. You can see the replica of the Space Needle and everything. Driving through Gatlinburg, the town can seem overwhelming and larger than life, with its carnivalesque atmosphere. From above, it all looks so tiny. From this vantage point, you can see how the forest creeps right to the edge of town. There’s no real suburban buffer around Gatlinburg, like with most towns. Here, it’s just wilderness right against kitschy neon.Say what you will about Gatlinburg, it could be the only place in the country where you can start a monster hike that gains a mile of elevation just a few blocks from a laser tag/putt putt complex.I run as much of the ridgeline as I can before the climbing starts in earnest again. I’m wearing the most cushioned trail shoe on the market because I have knee and hip problems. There, I said it. My hip hurts. I’m getting old. Eight miles into the run/hike (rike?) I begin to wonder if my doctor would have cleared me for this adventure.The wind is howling over the trees and there’s two inches of snow and ice lingering on the ground as I approach the summit of LeConte. With a mile of elevation separating the summit and the valley, it’s a completely different season up here. A completely different ecosystem too, one dominated by evergreen spruce and fir. There’s a lodge at the top–a handful of cabins and a mess hall that’s closed for the winter but bustling with guests during the warmer months. The closest road to the lodge is six miles away, so the caretakers have supplies hauled up by llamas.I wander past the gray and weathered buildings looking for some sort of view, a dramatic reward for climbing a full mile of vert just for the hell of it. I find Cliff Tops, an outcropping with a broad view into the park to the east. I can see slopes draped with evergreens and the spines of rocky ridges below.The climb up LeConte was difficult, but not brutal. The brutality is saved for the run down the mountain. After ditching the summit view, I have just over nine miles of trail and road to traverse before I’m back at my car and headed into town for post-adventure grub. On a good day, I could knock that out in a couple of hours. Today, the ice and snow on Rainbow Falls Trail slows me down considerably. Plus, my knees are killing me, I’m chafing in delicate areas and my hip pops on every other step. The descent is way more painful than the climb. I have trouble mustering the energy to run the final four miles once I’m back in the valley, but the dropping sun gives me enough reason to push harder. Plus, there’s moonshine waiting for me. Maybe a trip up the fake Space Needle. Gatlinburg, Tennessee, with its main street of mini theme parks, over-the-top restaurants, and ninja sword shops, is one of the most surreal little towns in the country. And I mean that as a compliment. Think Appalachian Las Vegas.After changing clothes on the side of the road, I head straight for Ole Smoky Distillery, one of the South’s first legal moonshine crafters which has a tasting room on Gatlinburg’s strip. The moonshine tastes better than it should, so I ask the overall-clad gentleman behind the bar to take me “around the world” with the free samples: a little Apple Pie, a little Grape Lightening, a little of the Original, perhaps a moonshine-soaked cherry or two.I eschew the pancakes for a Mexican feast, largely because the Mexican restaurant has an escalator to the second-floor dining room and I’m in no shape to climb stairs. It also has a mechanical donkey. I contemplate signing the waiver and giving the robotic jackass a go, but my legs and back are already starting to ache. I’m going to pay for this adventure for the next week.It’s hard for me to reconcile the fact that just a few hours ago, I was slogging through a 20-mile hike with 5,200 feet of vertical gain, much of which was packed with ice and snow, and now I’m sitting next to a mechanical donkey, drinking a giant margarita and staring at a glowing strip of lights. But that’s the charm of this corner of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The wild and the garish practically hold hands. Personally, I think it’s the perfect place to kickstart my healthy new adventurous life. Now, another fish taco and margarita. •Join the Mile High ClubTo gain the full 5,300 feet, you need to start on the edge of downtown Gatlinburg, walking Cherokee Orchard Road until you meet the Twin Creeks Trail. Pay $5 at one of the lots near the Space Needle to park all day. Give yourself a full day to knock out the 19-20 mile hike. Combine Twin Creeks Trail with Bullhead and Rainbow Falls Trails for a lollipop loop.Gear UpThe Nantahala Outdoor Center has a large outfitter on Gatlinburg’s main drag not far from where the hike begins.noc.com/noc-gatlinburgDrink UpOle Smoky Moonshine is a bit campy, but the shine is good. If you want something easy to handle, go with the Apple Pie. olesmokymoonshine.comlast_img read more

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