FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — A panel of federal appellate judges expressed concerns about ordering revisions to a government watchlist of roughly 1 million individuals labeled as “known or suspected terrorists,” despite a lower court finding that the list was constitutionally flawed. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, heard arguments Tuesday on the constitutionality of the watchlist. Government lawyers urged the judges not to intervene in the list’s administration. They argue that the problems encountered by those on the list, like enhanced screening at airports, were too insignificant to merit intervention on constitutional grounds. Opponents of the watchlist say the burdens are significant for those who must live with them and that most are on the list for no good reason.
Beech Mountain Opening Day 2012-13 from Blue Ridge Outdoors on Vimeo.In the past few years, North Carolina’s Beech Mountain Resort has positioned itself to be a powerhouse in the realm of four season outdoor recreation. Beech went all in with downhill and cross-country mountain biking, becoming one of the best places to gravity ride on the East Coast — and this is saying something in a state as well known for singletrack as it is for basketball. The mountain hosted the Gravity Nationals in 2011 and 2012 and was the scene for the Collegiate Nationals in 2013, hosting the best college riders from around the nation (and by around the nation, we mainly mean Colorado). With the recent development of the Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park, Beech Mountain and the greater Boone area is rapidly capitalizing on the growth of mountain biking and downhill riding in particular.Despite this influx of biking infrastructure, however, Beech Mountain Resort remains a skier’s mountain. Conveniently nestled on a sliver of land surrounded by national forest just north of Linville, Beech is the highest ski area in the eastern U.S. with an elevation of 5,506 feet at the summit, with 95 skiable acres, 830 feet of vertical, and 16 trails served by 7 lifts. The mile-high elevation means if there is snow in the area, it is falling at Beech, but this is still North Carolina so the battle against Mother Nature is constant. For the 2013-14 ski season, Beech has made significant improvements to its snowmaking capabilities, says the mountain’s Talia Freeman.“This summer we added an additional 12 new SMI Super PoleCat snow guns,” she said. “That ups our snowmaking system to 40 total SMI guns, so this gives us a pretty sophisticated snowmaking system. This is the largest modification of our snowmaking capabilities that we’ve ever had and it completely replaced our old compressor system.”Beech boasts snowmaking on 100 percent of their trails, so if the temperature cooperates, the slopes will be open.Speaking of open slopes, another big change at Beech for this year involves a scheduling change. Previously, Beech closed to groom the slopes between the day session and night session, but no more. The slopes will be open from 9am to 9pm on weekdays and 9am to 10pm on weekends.“We think that the streamline hours will allow us to provide a longer and more enjoyable experience for our customer base,” said Freeman. “We aren’t doing a session break anymore. It will be a nice addition for our customer base.”This will allow more skiers and boarders shred one of Beech’s terrain parks designed by Director of Operations Ric Wilkinson, now in his second year at the helm. Freeman says big improvements were made in that department last season, and this year Beech features two parks – one advanced and the other a progression park where youngsters can learn new tricks. Freeman also says there is a continuing commitment at the mountain to get first timers and local kids on the slopes through learn to ride programs and clinics throughout the year.On the events and amenities side, Beech is bringing back its very popular Totally 80’s Retro Weekend at the end of February featuring parties, costume contests, and a banked slalom race. There is also a new facility at the top of the mountain: a skybar/lounge/snackshack called 5,506.“It’s a really cool facility. The deck in front of the lounge area is about 2,200 square feet, it’s really large. The view up there is incredible. It’s kind of like a little glass round house, so we’ll have food and drinks and snacks up there, and then the viewing deck is really cool. It will be a nice addition to the top of the mountain and something we can use year-round.”There’s that term again: year-round. Beech may be expanding its clientele into all four seasons, but with the improvements geared toward the winter, Beech remains committed to skiers and boarders. They know where their bread is buttered.
By WVUA 23 Reporter Ivy Ervin and WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Savannah BullardThe countdown to Thanksgiving is on, and there are only three days left until Turkey Day. To guarantee maximum safety this holiday season, the Northport Fire Department and Publix teamed up to offer tips on how to keep a call to the fire department out of this year’s Thanksgiving plans.On Nov. 17, Northport firefighters held their sixth-annual “Turkey Frying Gone Wrong” demonstration. They used fast and loose turkey frying techniques to demonstrate how using the frying method can lead to a devastating holiday.“What we did today is a demonstration that shows what can go wrong when you try to fry a turkey,” chief Jason Norris said.The U.S. Fire Administration says cooking fires in residential buildings occur more often on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year. Norris said turkey fryer fires are often caused by the same few issues.“We did the two things that a lot of people do wrong,” Norris said. “We had too much grease in the cooking pot, and the turkey was not completely thawed.”If frying a turkey is non-negotiable for Thanksgiving, it is important to follow the steps to make sure the process is done safely, or consider having a professional do it instead. Otherwise, you might have the fire department showing up on Thanksgiving day, and it will not be a happy occasion.“We don’t recommend you frying one at home,” Norris said. “If you want to fry a turkey, we recommend that you find someone, a restaurant or some professional to fry it for you for safety reasons.”After the demonstration, which featured an explosion fit for an action movie, firefighter Forrest Harvey explained how far that fire could travel at someone’s house if they tried to fry a half-thawed turkey with too much grease.“I mean, it would just follow the water, you know, it would just spread with the grease, and then there’s not much you can do at that point because it’s just out of control then,” Harvey said. “Then obviously we’d have to show up and distinguish it.”Norris gave some advice to those who are still set on frying their turkeys.“You check the oil level by putting water into your pot to begin with,” Norris said. “Dip the turkey in it to see how much the liquid rises, and that way you can determine the appropriate amount of oil to put in it so it doesn’t overflow.”So remember, check the temperature, don’t use too much grease and thaw the turkey completely. Or, find a professional to take care of the dirty work instead.Another tip is once the turkey is thawed, pat it dry and get rid of excess water to prevent grease from splattering. At the end of the day, a successful Thanksgiving is one without the fire department involved.