More worries of further contamination of food from China

Friday, September 26, 2008

The World Health Organization (WHO) is warning that more food imported from China may be contaminated with melamine, a chemical used in the manufacturing of plastics. Melamine, although nontoxic in very small amounts, can cause severe kidney problems in large doses.

Guanshengyuan, a Chinese company that makes children’s candy, has stopped selling its popular brand White Rabbit, which is sold nationally in China, after tests confirmed the presence of melamine. Bright foods owns the candy company. Earlier their powdered milk was found to contain melamine which sickened over 53,000 people and was responsible for the deaths of at least four infant children. Guanshengyuan has stopped exporting their goods to the nearly 50 companies overseas that buy them.

Melamine has also been found in Hong Kong in baby cereal and vegetable formula made by Heinz. It has also been found in wasabi crackers which are manufactured by the Chinese company, Silang House.

Another Chinese food company called Marudai Food Co. has also halted the sales of several items such as meat buns, cream buns and corn crepes made with cream over fears that melamine laced powered milk has contaminated their products. So far there have been no reports of any illnesses associated with Marudai Foods.

Further items recalled or other products that feared to be contaminated with melamine are Mr. Browns Instant Coffee and tea products, along with their powdered milk.

The first report of contamination came last week when the Chinese health ministry confirmed that the companies responsible for producing the milk were trying to repair their damaged public image by increasing output using melamine. The Chinese Health Ministry has stated that most of the tainted milk was produced by Shijiazhuang Sanlu Group Co.

The WHO says that women with infants should consider breast feeding for the time being on infants aged at least six months, until the contaminated milk can be removed from the consumption chain.

“WHO recommends that all infants should be fed exclusively with breast milk for the first six months of life. No other liquid or food, not even water, is needed during this period. Thereafter, infants should receive adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues up to two years of age and beyond,” said the WHO in a statement on their website.

In 2007, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed the presence of melamine in pet food that was imported from China. Samples indicated that wheat gluten, used as an ingredient in the pet food, was contaminated with the chemical. As a result of the contamination, the FDA said some of the contaminated gluten entered the human food chain. At least 45 people ate contaminated pork which was traced to pigs from a farm in California. The pigs had eaten feed that had been contaminated. There were no reports of deaths or illnesses.

Nine firefighters killed in South Carolina blaze

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Nine firefighters were killed on Monday while battling a massive fire at a furniture warehouse in Charleston, South Carolina.

Firefighters were called to the scene of a massive blaze at the Sofa Super Store in Charleston, S.C. at around 6:30 p.m. EST. At around 7 p.m., nine firefighters were sent inside the inferno to rescue people who were trapped inside the building. They rescued two before the ceiling collapsed on top of them. All nine firefighters who were inside the warehouse died. They are:

  • Capt. William Hutchinson, 48
  • Capt. Mike Benke, 49
  • Capt. Louis Mulkey, 34
  • FF Mark Kelsey, 40
  • FF Bradford Baity, 37
  • FF Michael French, 27
  • FF James “Earl” Drayton, 56
  • FF Brandon Thompson, 27
  • FF Melven Champaign, 46

The disaster recalls Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse fire that killed six firefighters on Dec. 3, 1999, in Worcester, Massachusetts. The chief of the Worcester Fire Department flew down to South Carolina for the memorial service.

UK’s Financial Conduct Authority drop inquiry into culture of banking

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Financial Conduct Authority, one of Britain’s banking sector regulators, indicated it has decided to drop an inquiry into banking culture, including practices and payment of banking staff. The inquiry was intended to review “whether culture change programmes in retail and wholesale banks are driving the right behaviour, in particular focusing on remuneration, appraisal and promotion decisions of middle management, as well as how concerns are reported and acted on”.

A spokesman for the Financial Conduct Authority stated: “A focus on the culture in financial services firms remains a priority for the FCA[…] There is currently extensive ongoing work in this area within firms and externally. We have decided that the best way to support these efforts is to engage individually with firms to encourage their delivery of cultural change as well as supporting the other initiatives outside the FCA.”

The Shadow Chancellor, Labour’s John McDonnell, said shutting down the inquiry would be a “dangerous and costly mistake” and said: “This will be a huge blow to customers and taxpayers who are all still paying the price for the failed culture in the banking sector that’s been widely attributed to be among the main causes of the crash and the scandals over Libor and price-fixing”.

Members of the Treasury Select Committee have also been critical of the cancellation of the review. On Twitter, Labour MP John Mann stated the “FCA surrender to big banks today is entirely from pressure from Treasury and Osborne”. Conservative MP Mark Garnier, told the BBC: “There has always been this great argument that perhaps the Treasury is having more influence over the regulator than perhaps it ought to and certainly, if I was looking for a Machiavellian plot behind what’s happened here and the tone of the regulator, then I suppose I would start looking at the Treasury.”

Richard Lloyd from the consumer group Which? expressed disappointment at the cancellation of the report: “It’s disappointing that the regulator has decided against publishing this report on the culture of banking. Cultural change doesn’t happen overnight, so despite signs of improvement, the FCA must not take their eye off the ball and should continue to clean up the industry”

The FCA has had no leader since Martin Wheatley resigned in July following an expression of no confidence by George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Bushmen given 10 days to leave their reserve in Botswana

Friday, September 16, 2005

Armed police and officials entered the Central Kalahari Game Reserve on September 12, giving the Bushmen there ten days to leave. Some Bushmen are reported to have fled into the Reserve and are evading capture.

In 1996 the central government of Botswana adopted a policy of evicting the Bushmen from the Central Game Reserve, an area originally set aside for them to inhabit. A constitutional amendment is also pending in Parliament to revoke the right of Bushmen to live in the Reserve in perpetuity. The government has expressed concern with several issues surrounding their continued presence in the reserve, including the need to supply them with water, the expense of educating them and providing them with health care, and their effect on the animals in the Reserve. They also say that it is in the Bushmen’s best interest to join civilized society.

Critics of the relocation, including the groups Survival International and Botswanian Centre for Human Rights, allege very different motivations. Some believe that the government is moving the Bushmen out of the region to encourage tourism and diamond mining. Others argue that the government is acting out of compassion, but is making the wrong choice; they say that the Bushmen should be left to their hunter-gatherer ways, and that attempting to integrate them into modern Botswania will destroy their identity. They also state that the resettlement camps they are placed in are in bad condition, with rampant alcoholism and prostitution.

A court case has been in progress for three years against the government for moving them out of the Reserve, and is currently being heard. In August 2005 the United Nations urged Botswana to work with the Bushman to settle the dispute. It is estimated that some 250 Bushmen remain in the Reserve, having evaded eviction or infiltrated back after having been removed.

At press time, there were six days left on the government’s ultimatum.

Liberal leadership hopeful Ken Dryden outlines vision for Canada

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Liberal leadership hopeful Ken Dryden outlined his vision of the country today. He wants Canada to be a fair, global, environmental and learning society.

“What I’m trying to focus on is the educational systems as part of a whole piece of what I call a learning society,” Dryden told CTV’s Canada AM this morning. “We learn from the day we are born and we learn until the day we die.”

“The challenge is finding ways of enhancing learning through a national system of early childcare and a proper mix of scholarships and government help, such as grants and tax incentives,” said Dryden.

Dryden admitted during a news conference that he doesn’t know whether Canadian troops should withdraw or stay in Afghanistan or whether a carbon tax should be part of any climate change plan. He has now called for a thorough debate and examination of the issue.

Other leadership hopefuls are planning big policy announcements this week as they head into the few weeks before delegates are chosen to attend to leadership convention in December.

Author Amy Scobee recounts abuse as Scientology executive

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wikinews interviewed author Amy Scobee about her book Scientology – Abuse at the Top, and asked her about her experiences working as an executive within the organization. Scobee joined the organization at age 14, and worked at Scientology’s international management headquarters for several years before leaving in 2005. She served as a Scientology executive in multiple high-ranking positions, working out of the international headquarters of Scientology known as “Gold Base”, located in Gilman Hot Springs near Hemet, California.

One year on: Egyptians mark anniversary of protests that toppled Mubarak

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Across Egypt hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets for the day, marking exactly one year since the outbreak of protests leading to 83-year-old longstanding ruler Hosni Mubarak’s downfall. The country’s decades-long emergency rule was partially lifted this week; meanwhile, a possible economic meltdown looms and a newly-elected parliament held their first meeting on Monday.

Despite the new parliament, military rule introduced following Mubarak’s fall last spring remains. Echoing the demands from a year ago, some protesters are demanding the military relinquish power; there are doubts an elected civilian leader will be permitted to replace the army.

The brief unity against Mubarak has since fragmented, with Secularists and Islamists marking the revolution’s anniversary splitting to opposing sides of Cairo’s famed Tahrir Square and chanting at each other. Initial demonstrations last year were mainly from young secularists; now, Islamic parties hold most of the new parliament’s seats — the country’s first democratic one in six decades.

Salafis hold 25% of the seats and 47% are held by the Muslim Brotherhood, which brought supporters to Cairo for the anniversary. Tahrir Square alone contained tens of thousands of people, some witnesses putting the crowd at 150,000 strong. It’s the largest number on the streets since the revolution.

Military rulers planned celebrations including pyrotechnics, commemorative coins, and air displays. The Supreme Council of Armed Forces took power after last year’s February 11 resignation of Mubarak.

Alaa al-Aswani, a pro-democracy activist writing in al-Masry al-Youm, said: “We must take to the streets on Wednesday, not to celebrate a revolution which has not achieved its goals, but to demonstrate peacefully our determination to achieve the objectives of the revolution,” — to “live in dignity, bring about justice, try the killers of the martyrs and achieve a minimum social justice”

Alexandria in the north and the eastern port city of Suez also saw large gatherings. It was bitter fighting in Suez led to the first of the revolution’s 850 casualties in ousting Mubarak. “We didn’t come out to celebrate. We came out to protest against the military council and to tell it to leave power immediately and hand over power to civilians,” said protestor Mohamed Ismail.

“Martyrs, sleep and rest. We will complete the struggle,” chanted crowds in Alexandria, a reference to the 850 ‘martyrs of the revolution’. No convictions are in yet although Mubarak is on trial. Photos of the dead were displayed in Tahrir Square. Young Tahrir chanters went with “Down with military rule” and “Revolution until victory, revolution in all of Egypt’s streets”.

If the protestors demanding the military leave power get their way, the Islamists celebrating election victory face a variety of challenges. For now, Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi — whose career featured twenty years as defence minister under Mubarak — rules the nation and promises to cede power following presidential elections this year.

The economy is troubled and unemployment is up since Mubarak left. With tourism and foreign investment greatly lower than usual, budget and payment deficits are up — with the Central Bank eating into its reserves in a bid to keep the Egyptian pound from losing too much value.

Last week the nation sought US$3.2 billion from the International Monetary Fund. The IMF insists upon funding also being secured from other donors, and strong support from Egypt’s leaders. IMF estimates say the money could be handed over in a few months — whereas Egypt wanted it in a matter of weeks.

The country has managed to bolster trade with the United States and Jordan. Amr Abul Ata, Egyptian ambassador to the fellow Middle-East state, told The Jordan Times in an interview for the anniversary that trade between the nations increased in 2011, and he expects another increase this year. This despite insurgent attacks reducing Egyptian gas production — alongside electricity the main export to Jordan. Jordan exports foodstuffs to Egypt and has just signed a deal increasing the prices it pays for gas. 2011 trade between the countries was worth US$1 billion.

The anniversary also saw a new trade deal with the US, signed by foreign trade and industry minister Mahmoud Eisa and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. President Barack Obama promises work to improve U.S. investment in, and trade with, nations changing political systems after the Arab Spring. Details remain to be agreed, but various proposals include US assistance for Egyptian small and medium enterprises. Both nations intend subjecting plans to ministerial scrutiny.

The U.S. hailed “several historic milestones in its transition to democracy” within a matter of days of Egypt’s revolution. This despite U.S.-Egypt ties being close during Mubarak’s rule.

US$1 billion in grants has been received already from Qatar and Saudi Arabia but army rulers refused to take loans from Gulf nations despite offers-in-principle coming from nations including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. Foreign aid has trickled in; no money at all has been sent from G8 nations, despite the G8 Deauville Partnership earmarking US$20 billion for Arab Spring nations.

A total of US$7 billion was promised from the Gulf. The United Kingdom pledged to split £110 million between Egypt and Arab Spring initiator Tunisia. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development says G8 money should start arriving in June, when the presidential election is scheduled.

The African Development Bank approved US$1.5 billion in loans whilst Mubarak still held power but, despite discussions since last March, no further funding has been agreed. The IMF offered a cheap loan six months ago, but was turned away. Foreign investment last year fell from US$6 billion to $375 million.

Rights, justice and public order remain contentious issues. Tantawi lifted the state of emergency on Tuesday, a day before the revolution’s anniversary, but left it in place to deal with the exception of ‘thuggery’. “This is not a real cancellation of the state of emergency,” said Islamist Wasat Party MP Essam Sultan. “The proper law designates the ending of the state of emergency completely or enforcing it completely, nothing in between.”

The same day, Amnesty International released a report on its efforts to establish basic human rights and end the death penalty in the country. Despite sending a ten-point manifesto to all 54 political parties, only the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (of the Egyptian Bloc liberals) and the left-wing Popular Socialist Alliance Party signed up. Measures included religious freedom, help to the impoverished, and rights for women. Elections did see a handful of women win seats in the new parliament.

The largest parliamentary group is the Freedom and Justice Party of the Muslim Brotherhood, who Amnesty say did not respond. Oral assurances on all but female rights and abolition of the death penalty were given by Al-Nour, the Salafist runners-up in the elections, but no written declaration or signature.

“We challenge the new parliament to use the opportunity of drafting the new constitution to guarantee all of these rights for all people in Egypt. The cornerstone must be non-discrimination and gender equality,” said Amnesty, noting that the first seven points were less contentious amongst the twelve responding parties. There was general agreement for free speech, free assembly, fair trials, investigating Mubarak’s 30-year rule for atrocities, and lifting the state of emergency. A more mixed response was given to ensuring no discrimination against LGBT individuals, whilst two parties claimed reports of Coptic Christian persecution are exaggerated.

Mubarak himself is a prominent contender for the death penalty, currently on trial for the killings of protesters. The five-man prosecution team are also seeking death for six senior police officers and the chief of security in the same case. Corruption offences are also being tried, with Gamal Mubarak and Alaa Mubarak accused alongside their father Hosni.

The prosecution case has been hampered by changes in witness testimony and there are complaints of Interior Ministry obstruction in producing evidence. Tantawi has testified in a closed hearing that Mubarak never ordered protesters shot.

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Hisham Talaat Moustafa, an ex-MP and real estate billionaire, is another death penalty candidate. He, alongside Ahmed Sukkari, was initially sentenced to death for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Lebanese pop star Suzanne Tamim. A new trial was granted on procedural grounds and he is now serving a fifteen-year term for paying Sukkari US$2 million to slit 30-year-old’s Tamim’s throat in Dubai. Her assassin was caught when police followed him back to his hotel and found a shirt stained with her blood; he was in custody within two hours of the murder.

The court of appeals is now set to hear another trial for both men after the convictions were once more ruled unsound.

A military crackdown took place last November, the morning after a major protest, and sparking off days of violence. Egypt was wary of a repeat this week, with police and military massed near Tahrir Square whilst volunteers manned checkpoints into the square itself.

The military has pardoned and released at least 2,000 prisoners jailed following military trials, prominently including a blogger imprisoned for defaming the army and deemed troublesome for supporting Israel. 26-year-old Maikel Nabil was given a three year sentence in April. He has been on hunger strike alleging abuse at the hands of his captors. He wants normalised relations with Israel. Thousands have now left Tora prison in Cairo.

Elite Boston Marathon runner Emily Levan discusses life and running

Saturday, April 23, 2005

The interview below was conducted by Pingswept over the phone with Emily Levan on April 21, 2005. Levan lives in Wiscasset, Maine, with her husband and daughter, and she ran in the Boston Marathon women’s race on April 18, 2005.

To summarize for our readers, you recently came in 12th in the Boston Marathon, right?

That is correct.

You were the first American finisher.

Yes.

There was also a Russian woman who lives in the US who finished ahead of you.

You know, I believe it is, I’m not actually positive, but I think you’re right. There’s often a lot of foreign runners that live and train in different parts of the US for a variety of reasons. Some live in Colorado and might train at high altitude, or they might have coaches in the US.

OK, but as far as you know, for straight up Americans, people who were born here, who have lived here for long periods of time and are not going anywhere special to train, you were the first finisher.

That is correct.

So congratulations, that’s very impressive. In the rest of your life, my understanding is that you are going to nursing school.

I am. I’m at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. and I have been going to nursing school for a couple years now. I’m just going part time right now because of the baby and other things going on in my world.

Your baby is currently one and a half?

She’s fifteen months.

Fifteen months, so one and one quarter. 1.25, sure.

Hopefully I’ll finish up nursing school in December. That is the tentative plan.

So you’re almost done.

I just have a couple classes left.I’ll take one class this summer and two classes in the fall.

You ran the Boston Marathon originally two years ago?

Actually, I ran it for the first time in 99. I’ve run it four times.I did run it two years ago as well.

You ran it two years ago, and you also came in twelfth then, if not the top American finisher then. You were the fourth?

I think third or fourth. I can’t remember exactly.

How long were you actually training for this marathon in particular?

I’d say about 4 months. I typically try to train about four months for each race. It depends a little bit on what kind of shape I’m in leading up to the training. Four months is usually the time frame I shoot for.

And how many miles a week were you doing–I assume you peaked somewhere right before the marathon.

At the peak, I have a month or six week period where I’ve built up to my peak training, and I was probably doing between 90 to 100 miles a week.

Was there a lot of variation in your day to day mileage, or was it pretty much you’re doing 1/7th of that mileage every day?

There’s definitely variation, probably more so in the type of workout that i did each day. For example two days a week I would do a speed workout, so I might be doing mile repeats, which just means that I do a mile in a specific time, and then I might jog for a couple minutes and then another one and another one. I’d do a series of eight mile repeats on that specific workout day. My other speed workout would be a marathon pace run, so I might run 8 or 10 miles at my marathon pace. If my marathon pace is 6 minute miles, I’d do a two mile jog warm up, and then I might do 8 or 10 miles at a six minute pace, and then a two mile cool down.

So you maybe end up running 14?

Sometimes what I would do on those speed workout days– on those days I might end up with about 14 miles. On some other days, I might run twice during the course of the day. Say in the morning, I might run eight miles, and then in the afternoon I might do six or eight more miles.

Wow.

Those days tend to be a little bit more mellow. More of kind of a maintenance run, a little bit of a recovery day. I try to have a recovery day after every hard workout.

Do you think that all of your training could fit into four hours a day? Do you think that’s true?

You mean the workouts for a specific day? Probably even less than that. Depending on the day a little bit, probably between 2 or 3 hours. Usually on Sunday I would go out and do a long run, and that would be a 20 or 22 mile run, all in one fell swoop and that usually takes two and a half hours.

So that explains how you’re able to do this, as well as go to nursing school, as well as have an extremely young child. I assume you talk to your friends occasionally.

I try to at least– have some sort of social life. This is not a job, so it’s not something that I do 8 hours a day. It’s something that I fit in with all the other obligations, things that I like to do too. I like to be able to pursue other interests as well.

You live on a road with no one else near by. Do you pretty much just run from your house every day?

The winter is harder because with the baby, I often end up running with a treadmill down in the basement. Brad, my husband, has pretty long hours at the farm, and especially in the winter months, it’s hard to find daylight when he’s able to watch Maddy, so I ended up running a lot on the treadmill this winter, as opposed to last summer, I would take her with me. I have one of those baby joggers, and that was great. I could just leave right from the house, and I could take her. She would be pretty happy to go eight or ten miles with me. Typically what I do when I go outside, I just go right from the house. The roads are so pretty around here. We’re pretty secluded, so I don’t have to worry too much about crazy drivers.

Do you ever try to go find big hills to run up and down?

I do. In the past, I have done a hill workout as a part of my training, usually early on in the training during the first six weeks or 2 months of the training I do a hill workout and I would find some place close by that I could find a warm up jog and run to and then do a hill workout. If I couldn’t find one within a couple miles, I would drive to it. It’s a little bit harder now with Maddy because I don’t have as much leeway and freedom with when I go running and where I go running. I’m a little more limited.

You’d have to load up the cart, er, the carriage into the car.

I’ve done that sometimes. Sometimes it’s easier to go straight from home.Running with the jogger up hills is not an easy thing to do.

When you’re in the race, you feel like, “Hey, I’m not even pushing a kid anymore.” Heartbreak Hill without the kid is substantially easier, I suppose.

Yeah.

Do you know most of the elite runners in the race? You know who they are, but are you friends with them, or not really?

It’s funny–I know who people are, but I don’t run that many races to really get to know that many of the runners. If you’re a professional runner, and that’s your job, a lot of those people travel in the same circles. They run the same races and they have the same schedules in terms of when they compete. I pick out a couple of races each year to focus on and because of that, I don’t get to know as many of the runners. As time goes on, you do get a little bit you do get a little more familiar with people.

During the race, do you talk to the other runners, or do you just run along and think things like, “I wish I were at the end right now”?

I think that really depends I find that if I’m feeling good and the run is going well, then it’s easier for me to talk to people, just because you’re feeling strong, and you’re not focusing so much on “I’m not doing so great.” I might talk to some folks along the way. Sometimes if someone passes me, I’ll encourage them and say “Good job, go get them,” and just stuff like that. I certainly find I’m not carrying on lengthy conversations with people because you’re expending energy that should be focused on the race itself. I enjoy getting to know folks along the way and knowing what pace they’re hoping to run.

In races other than the Boston Marathon do you find that you have good competition? I don’t really know what the running scene in Wiscasset, Maine, is like at all, but I imagine that being the fastest female marathon runner in the United States, you might not find a whole lot of competition. You say that you encourage people when they pass you, but having read some of the other interviews with you on the web, it doesn’t seem like people pass you very often.

It definitely depends on the race. Like I said before, I don’t run that many races. At this point, what I’m trying to do is to find races that are competitive so I can be pushed by competition. For example, when I ran the Maine Marathon last fall, there wasn’t a whole lot of competition. That just gets hard. I ran alone for most of the race. Running 26 miles at a fast pace all by yourself without anyone around you to help push you and motivate you, can be pretty hard. Because of that, as I’ve been looking toward the future and thinking about which races I want to do, I’ve been targeting races that will have a little more competition. That’s why Boston was one that I wanted to shoot for and I’m thinking about in the fall going to Chicago because they’ve got a pretty competitive marathon. It’s also a pretty flat course, so people tend to run pretty fast times there.

Most people run a couple of minutes faster in Chicago, right?

Yeah, exactly. And I’ve heard good things about the race too, so I’m looking forward to that.

Have you thought about running internationally?

Not at this point, no. It’s hard to find the time to travel to races, and It gets expensive too. A lot of my family members say, “Wouldn’t it be great to do the London Marathon or the Paris Marathon,” because they like coming to watch. At this point, I think I’m going to stick closer to home. I’ve got a few races, like I was mentioning Chicago, here in the States that I’d really like to do. Maybe once I’ve done those, I might think about something else, it really just depends. A lot of it’s a time issue, because I have other things that I’m pursuing and it gets hard to spend too much time traveling off doing different races.

Do you know Alan Culpepper?

Oh, yeah, yeah.

You at least know of him, right?

Yes, exactly.

Have you ever been in any races against him?

This was the first race that I had run in that he ran in. He was the fourth overall male finisher. That’s a really good showing for an American male. I’ve read a lot about him in different running magazines and just heard a lot about him through running circles.But this was the first time that I’ve actually seen him run. It was neat because in this particular race, they start the women’s elite group about 25 minutes ahead of the rest of the start.

29 minutes actually, I believe.

That’s right, 29 minutes. So, I didn’t see a male runner until pretty close to the end, so it was really neat to see–I think I saw the top five male finishers because they passed me in the last couple miles. It was really interesting–there’s all these cars and press and motorcycles, policemen, so I could tell when the first male was coming up behind me because there was a lot more going on on the course. Alan Culpepper was one of the ones that passed me in the last mile or two. It was pretty neat to see him finishing strong.

You might not be able to beat him in a race but do you think you could maybe, I don’t know, beat him in a fist fight? He’s pretty skinny, right? He only weighs 130 pounds.

I don’t know. I don’t know. I wouldn’t make any bets on it at this point.

No?

No.

OK. Have you thought about doing things longer than a marathon? Like a 50 K or a 100 K?

At this point, I haven’t because I’ve gotten into the marathon, and I’ve really been enjoying that so far. I feel like I still have some room to improve and grow in the marathon, but I think at some point I’d really like to do one of those ultra-type races. For the next several years, I’ll stick towards the marathon distances. Once that competitive part of my life is over, I might move on to something different.

Based on your age, are you likely to peak around now, or you maybe have a few years to go before your legs start to fall off?

Before I can’t walk anymore? I don’t know. It’s really interesting because for marathoning you’ve got a longer life span than in a lot of competitive sports. The fifth place female finisher in Boston this year was over forty. You can still be competitive into your forties. I’m not sure if I’ll keep doing it that long– at least another 3 years or so. One thing in the back of my mind looking at is the Olympic Trials for 2008. I’m looking at that time frame right now. If I want to keep running competitively after that, then I’ll assess things from there.

That sounds good. When you came in as the first American finisher, did you get any certificates or cash or a medal or anything like that?

Yeah, actually, I won $2100.

Oh, great– two thousand bucks!

Which is pretty nice.

That’s a lot of baby clothes.

I know– or a lot of shoes. The shoe expense is pretty expensive, and I’ve been trying to find a shoe company that might give me some shoes.

I would think–couldn’t you just call up New Balance and say, “Hey, look, I’m pretty good, why don’t you give me some shoes?”

Well, this past November, after I ran New York– I usually wear Asics or New Balance– I wrote to both of those companies. I sent them a little running resume. I said I’d be interested in pursuing some sort of sponsorship opportunity, and they both wrote back and said, “Sorry, we don’t have any space or funds available at this time.” I was a little disappointed by that, because I was hoping to at least get someone to help me out with my shoes.

Yeah, at least some sneakers.

But in addition at Boston, they do have these crystal vases that they give out for the top 15 finishers, so I got a little piece of hardware there too.

So you get to put flowers in that.

I had some flowers in it; they’ve wilted so I decided to compost them.

Oh, that’s good.

Yeah, send them back to the earth, you know.

Has anyone else tried to interview you? Local paparazzi following you?

I hide in my car for most of the day. I did some local interviews–with the local NBC affiliate, and I’m going to do an interview tomorrow with the ABC affiliate in Portland, and some affiliated newspaper interviews as well.

You’re officially famous, then.

I don’t know. I guess. It’s been pretty busy.

Has anyone asked you for an autograph yet?

No. No autograph seekers yet, no.

Maybe in the Yellowfront Grocery in Wiscasset? “Hey, I know you!”

“I saw you on TV!” No, not yet.

That’s surely coming. The Chewonki Foundation, which is where you live, recently had Eaton Farm donated to it.

Yes.

And they’re planning on making a 12 mile long trail that runs from approximately your house to Wiscasset.

Oh, you know more about this than I do, that’s great.

I don’t know if it’s going to start right at your front door; you might have to cut through the woods a little bit.

That’s OK, I can do that.

Have you run on trails at all, or is it just, “I want to run on the pavement because I don’t want to twist an ankle”?

I’m not a big trail runner. Maybe it’s because I’m not used to running on trails. Now it would be much more difficult, because I have the baby with me. The baby jogger has some nice wheels on it, but I don’t know if it could handle trail running.

Yeah.

It’s a nice change of pace every once in a while. I don’t worry too much about twisting an ankle–you just have to be careful. I figure I can walk out my door and step in a pothole and twist my ankle, so I don’t worry too much about that. That goes along with being alive in our world. We’ll see. I’m going to have to look into that 12 mile trail.

Because 12 miles, you do that there and back, you’ve got a marathon on your hands.

There you go.

What’s your next target? Can you walk right now?

If I train well, I’m usually not sore. Especially on the long runs, my body gets used to running for that length of time and sure, I’m running faster during the marathon than I do on my long runs, but I think my body tends to adjust to the rigors. It’s usually a good sign if a few days afterwards I don’t have any major soreness. I certainly feel like I’ve done something significant.

Yeah, I can imagine feeling too.

No major aches or pains.

That’s great. What’s your next race? Do you have one targeted? Is it Chicago?

Yeah, I think the next marathon will be Chicago in the fall. there’s a 10 K race, the Beach to Beacon, you may have heard of it.

In Portland?

It’s actually in Cape Elizabeth. It’s put on by Joan Benoit Samuelson. It’s in August, so I’ll probably do that one and then shoot for the fall marathon.

Well, I think that’s all my questions.

Nice, well, thanks for calling. I appreciate it.

Sure, well, thanks for running so fast.

No problem.

Pool Safety Cleaning: The Acid Wash Guidelines

By Mike Lang

A pool has to be safe at all times. Of course safety is not without hard work. A pool has to be routinely cleaned and sanitized for it to be completely protected. Now, a pool requires much more that a soap and scrub wash. With the intensity of the bacteria and algae present on it’s every corner, there is a need to exercise a stronger way of cleaning. This is called acid washing.

Most pool owners opt to pay professionals to acid wash their pool. That is great but you can save the extra cash by doing it yourself. Yes you read it right. You can do it by yourself. The term acid washing scares a lot of people. They think that there is so much to be done to be able to acid wash a pool. This is not true. Acid washing is actually done in our bathrooms too. When our toilet, walls and floor are dirty; we apply muriatic acid to clean it right? Acid washing a pool is practically the same thing. It’s only done in a larger scale.

You will need:

1 A shovel

2 A big trash bag

3 Chemical resistant rubber gloves

4 Respirator

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5 Goggles

6 Chemical Pump Sprayer

7 Chemical resistant hard bristled brush

8 A bottle or two of high quality Muriatic Acid

Procedure:

1. You will need to drain your pool to be able to acid wash it properly. This usually takes a day or two.

2. You are now left with your waterless pool. You will spot leaves, debris and other dirt particles that are left suspended on the pool floor. Scoop them up with a shovel and put in your trash bag. Be sure to get as much as you can so that you’ll be able to wash your pool successfully.

3. Put on your gear. This consists of your rubber gloves, your respirator and goggles. It may look silly but it is highly necessary. Muriatic acid is a deadly substance. Merely inhaling its odor can send you to the emergency room. And we wouldn’t want that now would we?

4. Refrain from wearing bare clothes like sleeve-less garments and shorts. Suit This acid can burn your skin. Research shows that muriatic acid is contained in the lava secreted by the volcano. Be extra careful.

5. Put the acid in your chemical pump spray.

6. Spray the liquid on your pool surface. Work with one surface at a time.

7. Scrub it down with your brush.

8. Hose it down with water.

9. Do these steps until you have encircled the whole pool.

10. Clean it a second time to make sure that is safe to use. Remember, acid washing your pool is a monthly routine so make sure that it is thoroughly clean.

Acid washing a pool doesn’t have to be difficult. Save the money and do it yourself. With the right tools and chemicals, you can do nothing but succeed in this task. Just follow these steps and you’d be doing it like a pro in no time at all.

About the Author: This writer for Pool Prodigy focuses on

salt chlorinator

treatment and more specifically in

salt water chlorinator

care.

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=780720&ca=Home+Management

North American roads suffer from dramatic thaws and freezes

Monday, January 8, 2007

Major city roads across North America are suffering from an early surge in potholes due to the dramatic freezes and thaws this month, some several feet across and inches deep. The potholes are caused by water seeping into cracks during warm weather, and pushing concrete apart when it freezes. Traffic erodes chunks of concrete from the cracks to form holes that continuously grow larger.

While car repair shops are experiencing a boom in business, city budgets are being hit with the costs of patching potholes. Thierry Larivée, an infrastructure spokesman in Montréal, Canada, says about 20 pothole patrols are working throughout the city. They are expected to continue work until at least Friday.

Craig Bryson, spokesman for the Road Commission for Oakland County in Michigan, United States, reports problems on unpaved roads as well. “The warmer weather is also playing havoc with gravel roads; the top layer of dirt thaws, but remains frozen about 10 inches below the surface. Surface water has no place to go. This creates a rutted, soupy road, especially in low-lying areas.”

Environment Canada meteorologist René Héroux attributes the unseasonable thaw to warm winds from the southwest. Environment Canada predicts a new cold front on Thursday.