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Portland Area Oregon Beaches –

 Beaches  Comments Off on Portland Area Oregon Beaches –
Apr 302016

The majority of north Oregon coast beaches are within two hours drive of Portland. The spectacular coastline has much to offer its visitors – breathtaking views of unspoiled beaches, sand dunes, and rocky cliffs and miles of nature and hiking trails. Although the north coast waters are too cold for most people to swim, wet-suit surfing is a popular sport on some beaches.

Seaside Beach Seaside is the favorite beach destination of many locals. This popular family-friendly town features a promenade and boardwalk along the beach. The downtown streets are lined with clothing shops, candy stores, arcades and the usual coastal trinket shops.

Cannon Beach Cannon Beach is a more upscale version of Seaside with boutiques, art galleries, coffee shops, and restaurants featuring fresh seafood lining both sides of the main street. Cannon Beach is also home to Haystack Rock – one of the largest monoliths in the world.

Lincoln City Lincoln City is known as one of the top kite-flying destinations in the world. Thousands of people come to this seaside town to watch the gray whales migrate in early spring and again in fall and early winter. Other favorite pastimes are beach-combing, deep-sea fishing, antiquing, and shopping at the Tanger Outlet Mall.

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Portland Area Oregon Beaches –

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Freedom, PA – Freedom, Pennsylvania Map & Directions – MapQuest

 Freedom  Comments Off on Freedom, PA – Freedom, Pennsylvania Map & Directions – MapQuest
Mar 212016

Freedom is a borough in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, United States, along the Ohio River 25 miles (40km) northwest of Pittsburgh. In the early years of the twentieth century, the chief industries were the production of oil, caskets, and monuments. In 1900, 1,783 people lived in Freedom; in 1910, 3,060 people lived there. The population was 1,763 at the 2000 census. In 1824, the Harmony Society returned to Pennsylvania, from Indiana. The society settled in what is now Ambridge, Pennsylvania, five miles (8km) up the Ohio River. One of the reasons the society left Indiana was because of harassment for their abolitionist activities. Their settlement was in Beaver County along the Ohio River. There they founded “konomie,” now better known as Old Economy Village. Here the Society gained worldwide recognition for its religious devotion and economic prosperity. The Harmonites were abolitionists, and began placing signs along the Ohio River with one word, “FREEDOM”. The Harmonites selected this location because the river curves at this point. The river is actually flowing North, so runaway slaves from the South would be traveling up the river. The FREEDOM sign on the river bank was to let runaway slaves know that they had reached freedom (and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania). If the runaway slaves were still in Illinois, Indiana, or Ohio, then slave hunters from Kentucky or Virginia could legally cross the river and capture them. Once in Pennsylvania, the slaves were free.

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Freedom, PA – Freedom, Pennsylvania Map & Directions – MapQuest

Hubble Space Telescope finds most distant galaxy yet – CBS News

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Mar 172016

38 Photos

This image shows the position of the most distant galaxy discovered so far within a deep sky Hubble Space Telescope survey called GOODS North (Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey North). The remote galaxy GN-z11, shown in the inset, existed only 400 million years after the Big Bang, when the Universe was only 3 percent of its current age.

NASA, ESA, and P. Oesch (Yale University)

The Hubble Space Telescope just calculated the distance to the most far-out galaxy ever measured, providing scientists with a look deep into the history of the universe.

The far-away galaxy, named GN-z11, existed a mere 400 million years after the Big Bang, or about 13.3 billion years ago. Because the light from such a distant galaxy must travel huge distances to reach Earth, scientists are seeing the galaxy as it looked over 13 billion years ago. You can see the galaxy in this video from the Hubble Telescope team.

“We’ve taken a major step back in time, beyond what we’d ever expected to be able to do with Hubble. We managed to look back in time to measure the distance to a galaxy when the universe was only 3 percent of its current age,” Pascal Oesch, an astronomer at Yale University and lead author of the research paper announcing the new measurement, said in a statement from the Hubble European Space Agency Information Centre in Germany. [Celestial Photos: Hubble Space Telescope’s Latest Cosmic Views]

19 Photos

For more than 20 Years, the Hubble Space Telescope has been shooting up the universe

Measuring the distance to an extremely far-off cosmic object poses many challenges to scientists, including the fact that the universe is expanding, and has been expanding for nearly all of time. Any distance measurement must take into account exactly how much the space between objects has stretched since an object’s light left and traveled to Earth.

This can get quite complicated. So instead of talking about the distance to cosmic objects in terms of miles, astronomers and astrophysicists will more often refer to when the object existed in the history of the universe.

To determine this for GN-z11, scientists measured the degree to which the light from the galaxy has been shifted by the expanding universe, known as redshift. A higher redshift indicates a more distant object. Previously, the highest redshift ever measured was from the galaxy EGSY8p7, whose redshift was 8.68. The GN-z11 galaxy’s newly measured redshift is a whopping 11.1.

The Dark Ages

If GN-z11 existed 400 million years after the Big Bang, then it belongs to the very first population of stars and galaxies to form in the cosmos. At that time, the universe was just emerging from a period known as the Dark Ages.

“The previous record-holder was seen in the middle of the epoch when starlight from primordial galaxies was beginning to heat and lift a fog of cold, hydrogen gas,” said Rychard Bouwens from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands and a co-author on the new paper. “This transitional period is known as the re-ionisation era. GN-z11 is observed 150 million years earlier, near the very beginning of this transition in the evolution of the Universe.”

This illustration shows a timeline of the universe, stretching from the present day (left) back to the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago (right). The newly discovered galaxy GN-z11 is the most distant galaxy discovered so far, at a redshift of 11.1, which corresponds to 400 million years after the Big Bang. The previous record holder’s position is also identified

NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI)

GN-z11 is 25 times smaller than the Milky Way galaxy and has only about 1 percent the total stellar mass of the Milky Way, observations by Hubble at the Spitzer Space Telescope have revealed, the statement said.

“It’s amazing that a galaxy so massive existed only 200 million to 300 million years after the very first stars started to form,” said Garth Illingworth of the University of California, Santa Cruz, a coauthor on the new research paper. “It takes really fast growth, producing stars at a huge rate, to have formed a galaxy that is a billion solar masses so soon.”

GNz11 is forming stars at 20 times the current rate of the Milky Way, the statement said, which is part of why the distant galaxy is bright enough to be observed by telescopes like Hubble and Spitzer.

Marijn Franx, a member of the team from the University of Leiden, said in the statement that previous work suggested galaxies as bright as GN-z11 should not have been able to form at such an early point in the universe’s history.

“The discovery of GN-z11 showed us that our knowledge about the early universe is still very restricted,” said Ivo Labbe, also of the University of Leiden and a co-author on the paper. “How GN-z11 was created remains somewhat of a mystery for now. Probably we are seeing the first generations of stars forming around black holes.”

Researchers said the find provides a hint at the new information that will be revealed by the James Webb Space Telescope, which is set to launch in 2018. The primary mirror on JWST is 16.4 feet (5.4 meters) wide, compared to Hubble’s 7.8-foot-wide (2.4 m) mirror.

The new research paper will be published in the Astrophysical Journal.

Follow Calla Cofield @callacofield. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on All rights reserved.

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How to Open an Offshore Bank Account in Singapore

 Offshore Banking  Comments Off on How to Open an Offshore Bank Account in Singapore
Mar 132016

Posted on: January 26, 2010 by editor IMPORTANT UPDATE!

Since the publication of this article, it has become a great deal more difficult to open an account in either Hong Kong or Singapore. To find out which jurisdictions are now better options for you, please read our Practical International Banking Guide, in which you will find the names and contact details of individual personnel within banks all around the world.

Singapore is a convenient destination to protect and add value to your international wealth according to the website of one of the 205 banks operating in Singapore today. I couldnt have put it better myself!

Singapore has developed in recent years into a sophisticated private banking and wealth management base for Asia. But besides targeting their traditional but fast growing market of wealthy entrepreneurs in Asia, the best offshore banks in Singapore today are also developing products and services tailored for North Americans, Europeans and Australians, including multi currency accounts.

UPDATE 2015 For the Latest information, names, addresses and contacts, see the latest Offshore International Banking Guide 2015

If this sounds like you, read on to find out about some of the advantages and disadvantages of opening an offshore bank account in Singapore, and learn how to open an offshore bank account as a non-resident. Is Singapore the best offshore banking country for the new decade?

Singapore Banks Among The Best

Typical investors from this latter group are looking for first-world banking services, delivered over the internet in English, in a country that is outside the zone of influence of the United States and the European Union.

One of the worlds most prosperous countries, Singapore today boasts a prominent financial centre and highly developed economy. Its flexible regulatory framework, independent judiciary and practical English-inspired legal system have become the foundations of the countrys success.

In common with most offshore financial centres, interest earned by individuals on bank deposits and foreign sourced income including foreign sourced dividends received on non-Singaporeans securities is exempt from Singapore taxes. Singapore also has no capital gains tax nor estate duty on bank deposits and investments.

Accounts can freely be maintained in all major currencies. These multi currency accounts provide an excellent hedge for those of us who foresee major devaluations of currencies like the dollar and the euro in the months and years ahead.

Accounts may also be opened in the name of foreign entities like corporations, trusts and LLCs, achieving even greater privacy and asset protection benefits, and sometimes legally sidestepping any requirement to report assets as personal holdings.

All these benefits are delivered in a strong bank secrecy regime, helping account holders to protect their investments from prying eyes inside or outside the country. Banking secrecy in Singapore is not just laid down by law, but is part of the national business culture. Indeed, tax authorities in Singapore are specifically blocked from having any access to individual bank accounts.

As in Asia in general, a lot of business in Singapore has traditionally been carried out in cash. This is epitomised by the $10,000 bill, the largest bank note in the world: at current exchange rates (January 2010) one of these bills is worth more than seven thousand US dollars. These days, however, as restrictions on cash are becoming tighter, sophisticated internet banking is becoming the norm.

So, if you are not resident in Singapore how can you access these banking services? Everything starts with opening a basic current, savings or checking account the basis of your banking relationship.

One of the disadvantages of banking in Singapore is that you will need to go there to open an account. Banking regulations do not permit the opening of accounts by mail, unless the client is already known to the bank. The only possible exception to this is opening an account at one of the many banks in Singapore that send officers to visit their wealthier clients in their overseas homes, or have associated offices in other countries. HSBC clients, for example, may be able to open accounts at HSBC in Singapore via their local offices. The above process, however, is not advisable if banking secrecy is important to you since it leaves permanent records of your accounts accessible in other jurisdictions. In any case I always recommend visiting at least once so you can get to know your banker personally.

Apart from that, opening your account should be relatively straightforward. There are few complications. If you choose one of the commercial banks such as DBS Bank or United Overseas Bank, a few hundred dollars will be enough to open an account. If you want a higher level of personal service and are prepared to make a higher deposit, lets say over a hundred thousand dollars or equivalent (bank policies vary widely), contact one of the more discreet private banking operations. I recommend you go for one of the lower profile ones, since they tend to offer the best privacy protection.

A full list of banks operating in Singapore is available on Wikipedia, and you can contact them directly. It is always easier, however, if you have an introduction from a regulated professional who is known to the bank, such as a lawyer, accountant or company formation agent.

My firm can help with that, for example, if you are a Q Wealth member. Membership starts at just $99 per yearso wont break the bank!

In terms of documentation needed to open an offshore account, you will be expected to provide proof of who you are (a copy of your passport), where you live (such as a utility bill) and most importantly of all, proof that the funds come from a legitimate source. For example, if the funds you are depositing were obtained from a real estate sale or from an inheritance, you would show the relevant legal documents to prove this. Finally, it is advisable to take a letter of reference from your bankers at home, introducing you as a responsible account holder. This bank reference may be addressed to whom it may concern.

Note: Peter Macfarlane is editor of the Practical Offshore Banking Guide, an annually updated guide available free to readers of The Q Wealth Report. If you havent got yours yet, sign up today to access this information.

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Freedom | Article about freedom by The Free Dictionary

 Freedom  Comments Off on Freedom | Article about freedom by The Free Dictionary
Feb 272016


1.the quality or state of being free, esp to enjoy political and civil liberties

3.Philosophy the quality, esp of the will or the individual, of not being totally constrained; able to choose between alternative actions in identical circumstances


the human capacity to act in accordance with aims and interests, relying on a knowledge of objective necessity.

In the history of social thought, the problem of freedom was traditionally reduced to the question of whether people have free willin other words, whether their intentions and actions are governed by external circumstances. The materialist conception of history rejects the idealist view of individual freedom as individual consciousness independent of objective circumstances. Marxism also opposes the metaphysical belief that there is an antithesis between freedom and necessitya view that was widely held by philosophers and natural scientists of the 17th through 19th centuries, including T. Hobbes, P. H. Holbach, J. O. de La Mettrier, P. S. de Laplace, and E. Dhring. The Marxist conception of freedom in dialectical interaction with necessity is opposed to voluntarism, which asserts the arbitrary willfulness of human actions, and to fatalism, which regards actions as predetermined. Unlike the idealists, including Hegel and the existentialists, who limit the problem of freedom to the realm of consciousness, Marxism argues that without the possibility of realization, the consciousness of freedom is merely an illusion.

In their everyday activity people encounter not an abstract necessity but its concrete, historical embodiment in existing social and economic relations that determine the range of peoples interests, as well as in the material means for achieving desired goals. People are not free to choose the objective conditions in which they function, but they do possess a certain freedom in their choice of goals, since at any given moment there are usually several real possibilities of varying feasibility. Even when there is no alternative, people are in a position to forestall undesirable developments or hasten desirable ones. In addition, they are more or less free in their choice of the means for attaining a particular end. Thus, freedom is not absolute but relative, and it is made real through the choice of a definite plan of action. The degree of freedom increases as people grow more aware of their real possibilities, as they gain greater access to the means of attaining desired goals, and as their interests coincide more with the aspirations of many other people and especially with those of entire social classes, as well as with the objective trends of social progress.

Based on these considerations, Marxists define freedom as the known necessity. According to this point of view, the freedom of an individual, a group, a class, or an entire society does not consist in an imaginary independence from objective laws but in the ability to choose and to make decisions with knowledge of the subject (F. Engels, Anti-Dhring, 1966, p. 112). The individuals historically relative but practically effective freedom to choose a line of action under various circumstances makes him morally and socially responsible for his actions. Moreover, negative freedom, or freedom from deprivation, exploitation, and social and national oppression is a condition for positive freedom, which is associated with creative work, self-determination, and the comprehensive development of the individual.

Freedom does not mean arbitrary choice. Mans freedom in thought and action does not involve freedom from causality, and freedom is not negated by the causal determination of thoughts, interests, intentions, and actions, because these human capacities are not determined in identical ways. Regardless of the origin of their aims and intentions, people enjoy freedom to the extent that they have the real possibility of exercising a choice or preference that objectively corresponds to their interests and to the extent that external circumstances do not force them to act against personal interests and needs. Abstract freedom does not exist. Freedom is always concrete and relative. Depending on the objective circumstances and the specific situation, people may enjoy freedom or be totally deprived of it. They may have freedom in some spheres of activity but not in others. Moreover, the degree of freedom may vary greatly, from freedom in the choice of goals to freedom in the choice of means or to freedom only to adapt to reality.

In reality, freedom exists in necessity in the form of an unbroken chain of past free choices that have resulted in the present condition of society. Necessity, which exists within freedom in the form of objective circumstances, can only be realized through free action. Consequently, historical determinism does not deny freedom of choice in social action but presupposes it, including it as a result of such action.

According to Marx definition, free conscious activity is a species characteristic distinguishing humans from animals, and the freedom enjoyed in a particular historical epoch is a necessary product of historical development. Engels wrote: The first men who separated themselves from the animal kingdom were in all essentials as unfree as the animals themselves, but each step forward in civilization was a step toward freedom (ibid). Despite all its contradictions and its antagonistic character, social development has generally been accompanied by an expansion of the limits of individual freedom, and ultimately it will result in the liberation of humanity from social restrictions on freedom in classless communist society, where the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 4, p. 447). If the extent of human freedom is considered a measure of social progress, the pace of social progress depends on the degree of freedom people possess.

The degree of freedom enjoyed in a specific historical epoch is generally defined by the level of development of the productive forces, the extent of peoples knowledge of the objective processes in nature and in society, and the social and political structure of the society. The freedom of the individual always represents merely a portion of the freedom enjoyed by an entire society. In this sense, as Lenin pointed out when he repudiated anarchistic, individualistic conceptions of the freedom of the individual, one cannot live in society and be free from society (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 12, p. 104).

In antagonistic class society the division of labor, private ownership of the means of production, and the division of society into antagonistic classes result in the domination of particular interests and the spontaneous operation of processes that are beyond peoples control and that are accompanied by social cataclysms. Under such conditions, the reverse side of the freedom of the ruling class to dispose of property, material wealth, and knowledge is the necessity for the exploited class to labor for the enrichment of others and to obey the will of others. In the relations between individuals, the individual freedom of some is eroded by the arbitrary power of others to do as they please. The measure of individual freedom is the extent of private property, which is the main determinant of opportunities for enjoying material and cultural goods. Under these conditions, the freedom of the overwhelming majority is restricted, and at the same time, there is a colossal waste of material and human resources in a society.

Seeking to expropriate for its own use as much as possible of the total freedom potentially available to society as a whole, the ruling class in antagonistic class society has always imposed maximum regimentation on the behavior of the rest of the population by means of various social norms, such as caste systems, social estates, and other hierarchical and legal systems. Such legalized limitations on the behavior of the majority become the condition for the freedom and arbitrary rule of the privileged minority.

Regardless of its ideological form, the peoples struggle against social restrictions on their freedom has been a powerful, driving force for social progress throughout history. Demands for freedom and equality have fueled each other, although they have been justified in different ways by the ideologists of various classes. On the eve of the bourgeois revolutions in Western Europe and North America, these demands took the form of an assertion of the natural right of all people to partake equally in the benefits of civilization, to dispose equally of the fruits of their labor, and to determine their own fate. Under the slogan Liberty, equality, and fraternity, the progressive bourgeoisie led the masses in the struggle against feudalism. However, these principles could not be realized in capitalist society.

The history of capitalism refuted the bourgeois doctrines of freedom, especially the popular, 19th-century liberal ideas of A. Smith, J. Bentham, and J. S. Mill, who argued that maximum restrictions on government, the freedom of the individual to dispose of his private property, and the individuals pursuit of rational self-interest would lead to universal well-being, with the result that the individual freedom of all members of society would flourish. Even in the most advanced capitalist countries, individual freedom is largely a formality, and reactionary forces constantly infringe on the rights won by the masses through stubborn struggle (for example, freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of organization, and freedom of assembly).

Because it is irresistibly attractive to the broad masses, the slogan of freedom is widely used by bourgeois ideologists for propaganda purposes. For precisely this reason, the phrase the free world is used to designate the capitalist West, and the most reactionary organizations promote their own interests by using the word freedom in a wide variety of contexts. Many bourgeois ideologists, including M. Friedman, H. Wallich, and C. Whittaker, openly counterpose freedom to equality. At the same time, various technocratic and behaviorist theories, which denigrate and even openly reject the freedom of the individual, have become popular in the West. For example, the American social psychologist B. F. Skinner and his followers deny individual freedom and justify the manipulation of peoples consciousness and behavior. With the crisis of bourgeois individualism, with the increasing restriction of individual freedom and disregard for human dignity by the state-monopoly bureaucracy, these theories are attractive to members of the ruling class who wish to suppress democratic rights and strengthen bureaucratic control over the masses. At the same time, these theories are shared by representatives of the liberal intelligentsia and the radical youth, who have become so disillusioned with the traditional values of bourgeois civilization that they are inclined to regard all individual freedom as a sham. From a long-term historical perspective, however, the expansion of freedom is a dialectical, irreversible process moving toward the consistent social and national emancipation of mankind.

The objective conditions for genuine freedom can be realized only through the elimination of the antagonistic relations that private property fosters between people. When planned development replaces the spontaneous processes in society, eliminating most unforeseen economic and social consequences, peoples social activity becomes genuinely free, conscious, creative historical action. According to Engels, in communist society the objective, external forces which have hitherto dominated history will pass under the control of men themselves. It is only from this point that men, with full consciousness, will fashion their own history; it is only from this point that the social causes set in motion by men will have, predominantly and in constantly increasing measure, the effects willed by men. It is humanitys leap from the realm of necessity into the realm of freedom (Anti-Dhring, 1966, p. 288). At the same time, if the maximum degree of individual freedom is to be attained, the goals set by each individual must be consistent with the interests of the rest of the members of society. Thus, every member of society receives genuine opportunities for the comprehensive, full development of his inherent abilities and talents and free access to mankinds storehouse of knowledge, experience, and other cultural values, as well as the leisure time to master this legacy.

The socialist revolution has laid the foundation for the emancipation of people in all spheres of social life. This process has been accelerated by the rapid growth of the productive forces, the development of the scientific and technological revolution, the improvement of social relations, and general cultural progress. In communist society freedom will be embodied in the creation of all the necessary conditions for the comprehensive, harmonious development of the individual. As Marx pointed out, under communism, beyond the realm of necessity (beyond the limits of material production), begins that development of human energy, which is an end in itself, the true realm of freedom, which, however, can blossom only with this realm of necessity as its basis (in K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 25, part 2, p. 387).

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Freedom | Article about freedom by The Free Dictionary

Maryland Route 26 – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Liberty  Comments Off on Maryland Route 26 – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Feb 242016

Maryland Route 26 (MD 26) is a state highway in the U.S. state of Maryland. Known for most of its length as Liberty Road, the state highways runs 44.10 miles (70.97km) from U.S. Route 15 (US 15) in Frederick east to MD 140 in Baltimore. MD 26 connects Frederick and Baltimore with the highway’s namesake of Libertytown in eastern Frederick County, the suburban area of Eldersburg in southern Carroll County, and the western Baltimore County suburbs of Randallstown, Milford Mill, and Lochearn. The highway also serves as a major thoroughfare in the western part of Baltimore, where the street is named Liberty Heights Avenue. MD 26 is maintained by the Maryland State Highway Administration outside of Baltimore and by the Baltimore City Department of Transportation within the city.

MD 26 follows much of the course of three turnpikes established in the 19th century. The Maryland State Roads Commission marked the portion of the highway from Baltimore to Eldersburg for improvement as one of the original state roads in 1909 and reconstructed the old turnpike in the early to mid-1910s. The FrederickLibertytown segment of Liberty Road was reconstructed in the early 1920s. The remainder of MD 26 between Libertytown and Eldersburg was built in the mid- to late 1920s and early 1930s. MD 26 was one of the original state-numbered highways designated in 1927; however, the FrederickLibertytown portion was marked as MD 31 until 1933. Improvements to the highway at the Baltimore end began in the late 1910s and continued periodically through the 1950s. MD 26 was reconstructed from Frederick to Eldersburg throughout the 1950s, with major work concluding in the early 1960s. Many bypassed portions of the old road became parts of MD 850. MD 26 was extended west to modern US 15 in the late 1950s as a divided highway. That divided highway was extended east to MD 194 in Ceresville in the late 1990s.

MD 26 is a part of the National Highway System as a principal arterial in three separate sections: from US 15 in Frederick east to Israel Creek east of Ceresville; from Emerald Lane west of Eldersburg to Liberty Reservoir east of Eldersburg; and from Lyons Mill Road in Randallstown east to MD 140 in Baltimore.[1][3]

MD 26 begins at a partial trumpet interchange with US 15 (Catoctin Mountain Highway) on the north side of the city of Frederick. There is no access from southbound US 15 to eastbound MD 26. MD 26 heads east as a four-lane divided highway through a mixed commercial and industrial area. The state highway has an intersection with Wormans Mill Road and Routzhan Way and a directional intersection with the northern end of Market Street that allows access to and from MD 26 east. The first intersection, which was formerly MD 355, provides the missing movements from the Market Street intersection. MD 26 intersects Monocacy Boulevard, a partial circumferential highway of Frederick, and passes between a pair of residential subdivisions before crossing the Monocacy River on a pair of dissimilar bridges, the westbound one a through truss bridge. East of the river, the state highway meets the southern end of MD 194 (Woodsboro Pike) at the hamlet of Ceresville. The divided highway continues north as MD 194 toward Woodsboro and MD 26 turns east onto a two-lane road.[1][4]

MD 26 continues east through farmland where it crosses Israel Creek and passes through the village of Mount Pleasant. The state highway forms the main street of Libertytown, where the highway meets the southern end of MD 550 (Woodsboro Road), intersects MD 75 (Church Street), and intersects the western end of MD 31 (New Windsor Road) at the east end of the village. MD 26 crosses Dollyhyde Creek and several branches of the North Fork of Linganore Creek while passing to the north of Unionville and to the south of the historic Pearre-Metcalfe House. The state highway enters Carroll County at its intersection with Buffalo Road where the highway is paralleled by the first of many segments of Old Liberty Road, MD 850, to the south. MD 26 is paralleled by a second section of MD 850 as the highway enters the hamlet of Taylorsville, where it intersects MD 27 (Ridge Road). Two more segments of MD 850 parallel MD 26 through Winfield, which is the home of South Carroll High School.[1][4]

At the west end of the expansive suburban area of Eldersburg, MD 26 is paralleled to the south by the easternmost section of MD 850 and the mainline highway has an interchange with MD 97 (New Washington Road) that consists of a two-way ramp between the two highways in the southwest quadrant of the junction and an exit ramp from westbound MD 26 to MD 97. MD 26 is paralleled by several county-maintained sections of Old Liberty Road as it approaches the center of Eldersburg. West of Wesley Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church, MD 26 expands to a five-lane road with center turn lane. East of the highway’s intersection with MD 32 (Sykesville Road), the highway parallels a few more stretches of Old Liberty Road and passes to the north of the community of Carrolltowne, which contains the historic Moses Brown House. At the east end of Eldersburg, MD 26 reduces to two lanes and crosses a branch of Liberty Reservoir, which is an impoundment of the North Branch of the Patapsco River. The state highway passes through the hamlet of Shervettes Corner, which contains the final segment of Old Liberty Road and Branton Manor, before crossing the mainstem of Liberty Reservoir into Baltimore County.[1][4]

MD 26 passes through the hamlet of Harrisonville and expands to a five-lane road with center turn lane at Deer Park Road at the west end of Randallstown, where the highway passes the Choate House next to Wildwood Park. The state highway intersects Old Court Road before entering the suburb of Milford Mill, where the highway meets Rolling Road. MD 26 expands to a divided highway shortly before its partial cloverleaf interchange with Interstate 695 (Baltimore Beltway). The state highway has a center turn lane within Lochearn, where the highway crosses Gwynns Falls and enters the city of Baltimore. Here, the highway’s name changes to Liberty Heights Avenue.[1][4] MD 26 meets the western end of Northern Parkway and passes through Powder Mill Park just east of the city line. The highway passes Howard Park P.S. 218 in the Howard Park neighborhood and Forest Park High School in the Forest Park area of the city, where the highway expands to a six-lane divided boulevard and continues through Ashburton, the site of Hanlon Park and Lake Ashburton. MD 26 crosses over CSX’s Hanover Subdivision just west of Druid Park Drive and Baltimore City Community College. The highway passes between Liberty Square and the Mondawmin neighborhoodthe latter the site of Mondawmin Mall, the Mondawmin station of the Baltimore Metro Subway, and Coppin State Universitybefore reaching its eastern terminus at MD 140 (Reisterstown Road). Liberty Heights Avenue continues east as an unnumbered street to MD 129 (Auchentoroly Terrace) at Druid Hill Park. There is no left turn from eastbound MD 26 to northbound MD 140; that movement is made via Liberty Heights Avenue and MD 129 or by Druid Park Drive.[2][4]

Much of Liberty Road in Baltimore and Frederick counties originated as a trio of turnpikes. The Frederick and Woodsboro Turnpike ran from its split with the Frederick and Emmitsburg Turnpike north of Frederick east to Ceresville. In Ceresville, the highway split into the Woodsboro and Frederick Turnpike, which headed toward Woodsboro, and the Liberty and Frederick Turnpike, which terminated in Libertytown. The Baltimore and Liberty Turnpike ran from the city of Baltimore west to the Patapsco River.[5] This turnpike was surveyed and reconstructed in 1861, at which time the turnpike’s original bridge over Gwynns Falls was repaired. That bridge lasted until 1868, when it was destroyed by a flood and replaced by the turnpike company with a higher timber bridge.[6]

In 1909, Liberty Road was marked for improvement between Baltimore and Eldersburg as one of the original state roads by the Maryland State Roads Commission.[7] The first section of the highway improved was in Baltimore County from the existing city limit of Baltimore near what is now Grenada Avenue west to what is now Rogers Avenue; that section was constructed as a 16-to-18-foot (4.9 to 5.5m) wide tarred macadam road in 1911.[6][8] The portion of Liberty Heights Avenue from the city line east to Callaway Avenue was reconstructed in 1915 as a 50-foot (15m) wide street with vitrified brick and sheet asphalt surface.[6] The section between Callaway Avenue and Reisterstown Road was underway by 1914 and completed shortly after 1916; this section included a bridge over the Western Maryland Railway with a roadway width of 40 feet (12m).[6][9]

Construction on Liberty Road outside of Baltimore continued in 1914, when a new concrete arch span was constructed over Gwynns Falls as part of the 14-foot (4.3m) wide macadam section from Rogers Avenue west to Old Court Road completed in 1915. Another 14-foot (4.3m) wide macadam road was built from Eldersburg to the Patapsco River, with a new reinforced concrete bridge over the river, in 1915.[6] The state road from Baltimore to Eldersburg was completed shortly after 1916 with the addition of a 3-mile (4.8km) concrete road from the Patapsco River to the west end of Randallstown and macadam resurfacing of the old turnpike through Randallstown to Old Court Road.[9][10]

At the west end of Liberty Road, the highway from Frederick to Libertytown was paved in macadam by 1921.[10] This highway was originally marked as MD 31 when the Maryland State Roads Commission first numbered state highways in 1927.[11] The portion of MD 31 west of Libertytown became an extension of MD 26 by 1933.[12] The gap between Eldersburg and Libertytown was gradually constructed as a concrete road. The highway was constructed from Eldersburg to Dorsey Crossroads, the site of the modern MD 97 junction, by 1923.[13] MD 26 was extended through Winfield in 1924 and 1925.[11][14] The concrete road was extended to just east of Taylorsville in 1928, the same year a new section of the highway was paved through Unionville.[15] The road to Taylorsville was completed and the Unionville concrete road was extended east in 1930.[16][17] The final sections of MD 26 between Baltimore and Frederick were completed in 1933, the same year a steel through truss bridge was constructed over the Monocacy River to replace the vulnerable old bridge at Ceresville.[12][18]

Widening of MD 26 began shortly after the first sections were built. Liberty Heights Avenue was widened with 3-foot (0.91m) concrete shoulders starting in 1918.[9] Concrete shoulders were added to Liberty Road through Baltimore County and west to Eldersburg by 1926; the highway’s macadam surface was also widened from US 15 to Ceresville in that time span.[14] MD 26 from Baltimore to Randallstown had been widened again, to 20 feet (6.1m), by 1930, and was recommended to be widened again to 30 feet (9.1m) in 1934.[16][18] The highway was widened to 22 feet (6.7m) in width in 1945.[19] MD 26 received a new steel beam bridge with a 26-foot (7.9m) wide roadway over the Patapsco River at North Branch in 1938.[20] That bridge was replaced in 1954 when Liberty Reservoir was filled; the highway was also widened and resurfaced from Randallstown to the bridge in 1952.[21][22]

Modernization of MD 26 in Frederick County began in 1949 with a pair of projects on either side of Libertytown.[23] The highway was rebuilt with relocations through Mount Pleasant in 1950 and a bypass of Unionville, replacing what is now Unionville Road, was completed in 1951.[24] MD 26 was widened and resurfaced through Libertytown starting in 1954.[21] Reconstruction work continued into Carroll County when the highway was rebuilt from Liberty Reservoir west to Eldersburg starting in 1954 and from the eastern end of the Unionville relocation to Taylorsville beginning in 1956.[25] In 1957, work began on relocating, widening, and resurfacing MD 26 through Eldersburg and between Taylorsville and Winfield.[26] The final section of MD 26 in Carroll County to be placed in its modern form was from Winfield to Eldersburg, which was completed in 1962 with a grade separation and interchange ramps at the MD 97 junction.[27] Sections of the old Liberty Road became segments of MD 850 as they were bypassed.

MD 26 was extended west as a divided highway from Market Street in Frederick to modern US 15 when that highway was completed in 1959.[28] MD 26 was reconstructed as a divided highway from Market Street (then part of MD355) in Frederick to Ceresville between 1997 and 1999.[29][30] This work involved the construction of a parallel bridge across the Monocacy River to complement the old truss bridge.[31] In addition, the MD26MD194 intersection was reconfigured so the primary movement through the intersection is between MD26 to the west and MD194 to the north; the southernmost portion of MD194 became an extension of the MD26 divided highway.[30] This configuration was chosen because two-thirds of traffic passing through the intersection was between Frederick and Woodsboro.[30]

Route map: Bing / Google

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Caribbean – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Islands  Comments Off on Caribbean – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Feb 172016

Caribbean Area 2,754,000km2 (1,063,000sqmi) Land area 239,681km2 (92,541sqmi) Population (2009) 39,169,962[1] Density 151.5/km2 (392/sqmi) Ethnic groups Afro-Caribbean, White Caribbean, Indo-Caribbean, Chinese Caribbean,Middle Eastern-Caribbean,[2]Arawak (Kalinago, Tano) Demonym Caribbean, Caribbean person, West Indian Languages Spanish, English, French, Dutch, French Creole, English Creole, Caribbean Hindustani, among others Government 13 sovereign states 17 dependent territories Largest cities List of metropolitan areas in the West Indies Santo Domingo Havana Port-au-Prince Santiago de los Caballeros Kingston Santiago de Cuba San Juan Holgun Cap-Hatien Fort-de-France Port of Spain Internet TLD Multiple Calling code Multiple Time zone UTC-5 to UTC-4

The Caribbean ( or ; Spanish: Caribe; Dutch: Caraben(helpinfo); Caribbean Hindustani: (Kairibiyana); French: Carabe or more commonly Antilles) is a region that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (some surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and some bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean), and the surrounding coasts. The region is southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America, and north of South America.

Situated largely on the Caribbean Plate, the region comprises more than 700 islands, islets, reefs, and cays. (See the list.) These islands generally form island arcs that delineate the eastern and northern edges of the Caribbean Sea.[3] The Caribbean islands, consisting of the Greater Antilles on the north and the Lesser Antilles on the south and east (including the Leeward Antilles), are part of the somewhat larger West Indies grouping, which also includes the Lucayan Archipelago (comprising The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands) north of the Greater Antilles and Caribbean Sea. In a wider sense, the mainland countries of Belize, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana are also included.

Geopolitically, the Caribbean islands are usually regarded as a subregion of North America[4][5][6][7][8] and are organized into 30 territories including sovereign states, overseas departments, and dependencies. From December 15, 1954, to October 10, 2010 there was a country known as the Netherlands Antilles composed of five states, all of which were Dutch dependencies.[9] While from January 3, 1958, to May 31, 1962, there was also a short-lived country called the Federation of the West Indies composed of ten English-speaking Caribbean territories, all of which were then British dependencies. The West Indies cricket team continues to represent many of those nations.

The region takes its name from that of the Caribs, an ethnic group present in the Lesser Antilles and parts of adjacent South America at the time of the Spanish conquest.[10]

The two most prevalent pronunciations of “Caribbean” are KARR–BEE-n, with the primary accent on the third syllable, and k-RIB-ee-n, with the accent on the second. The former pronunciation is the older of the two, although the stressed-second-syllable variant has been established for over 75 years.[11] It has been suggested that speakers of British English prefer KARR–BEE-n while North American speakers more typically use k-RIB-ee-n,[12] although not all sources agree.[13] Usage is split within Caribbean English itself.[14]

The word “Caribbean” has multiple uses. Its principal ones are geographical and political. The Caribbean can also be expanded to include territories with strong cultural and historical connections to slavery, European colonisation, and the plantation system.

The geography and climate in the Caribbean region varies: Some islands in the region have relatively flat terrain of non-volcanic origin. These islands include Aruba (possessing only minor volcanic features), Barbados, Bonaire, the Cayman Islands, Saint Croix, the Bahamas, and Antigua. Others possess rugged towering mountain-ranges like the islands of Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Dominica, Montserrat, Saba, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Thomas, Saint John, Tortola, Grenada, Saint Vincent, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Trinidad & Tobago.

Definitions of the terms Greater Antilles and Lesser Antilles often vary. The Virgin Islands as part of the Puerto Rican bank are sometimes included with the Greater Antilles. The term Lesser Antilles is often used to define an island arc that includes Grenada but excludes Trinidad and Tobago and the Leeward Antilles.

The waters of the Caribbean Sea host large, migratory schools of fish, turtles, and coral reef formations. The Puerto Rico trench, located on the fringe of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea just to the north of the island of Puerto Rico, is the deepest point in all of the Atlantic Ocean.[16]

The region sits in the line of several major shipping routes with the Panama Canal connecting the western Caribbean Sea with the Pacific Ocean.

The climate of the area is tropical to subtropical in Cuba, The Bahamas and Puerto Rico. Rainfall varies with elevation, size, and water currents (cool upwellings keep the ABC islands arid). Warm, moist tradewinds blow consistently from the east creating rainforest/semidesert divisions on mountainous islands. Occasional northwesterlies affect the northern islands in the winter. The region enjoys year-round sunshine, divided into ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ seasons, with the last six months of the year being wetter than the first half.

Hurricane Season is from June to November, but they occur more frequently in August and September and more common in the northern islands of the Caribbean.Hurricanes that sometimes batter the region usually strike northwards of Grenada and to the west of Barbados. The principal hurricane belt arcs to northwest of the island of Barbados in the Eastern Caribbean.

Water temperatures vary from 31C (88F) to 22C (72F) all around the year. The air temperature is warm, in the 20s and 30s C (70s, 80s, and 90s F) during the year, only varies from winter to summer about 25 degrees on the southern islands and about 1020 degrees difference can occur in the northern islands of the Caribbean. The northern islands, like the Bahamas, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and The Dominican Republic, may be influenced by continental masses during winter months, such as cold fronts.

Aruba: Latitude 12N

Puerto Rico: Latitude 18N

Cuba: at Latitude 22N

Greater Antilles

Lesser Antilles

All islands at some point were, and a few still are, colonies of European nations; a few are overseas or dependent territories:

The British West Indies were united by the United Kingdom into a West Indies Federation between 1958 and 1962. The independent countries formerly part of the B.W.I. still have a joint cricket team that competes in Test matches, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals. The West Indian cricket team includes the South American nation of Guyana, the only former British colony on the mainland of that continent.

In addition, these countries share the University of the West Indies as a regional entity. The university consists of three main campuses in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, a smaller campus in the Bahamas and Resident Tutors in other contributing territories such as Trinidad.

Islands in and near the Caribbean

Maritime boundaries between the Caribbean (island) nations

The Caribbean islands are remarkable for the diversity of their animals, fungi and plants, and have been classified as one of Conservation International’s biodiversity hotspots because of their exceptionally diverse terrestrial and marine ecosystems, ranging from montane cloud forests to cactus scrublands. The region also contains about 8% (by surface area) of the world’s coral reefs[22] along with extensive seagrass meadows,[23] both of which are frequently found in the shallow marine waters bordering island and continental coasts off the region.

For the fungi, there is a modern checklist based on nearly 90,000 records derived from specimens in reference collections, published accounts and field observations.[24] That checklist includes more than 11250 species of fungi recorded from the region. As its authors note, the work is far from exhaustive, and it is likely that the true total number of fungal species already known from the Caribbean is higher. The true total number of fungal species occurring in the Caribbean, including species not yet recorded, is likely far higher given the generally accepted estimate that only about 7% of all fungi worldwide have been discovered.[25] Though the amount of available information is still small, a first effort has been made to estimate the number of fungal species endemic to some Caribbean islands. For Cuba, 2200 species of fungi have been tentatively identified as possible endemics of the island;[26] for Puerto Rico, the number is 789 species;[27] for the Dominican Republic, the number is 699 species;[28] for Trinidad and Tobago, the number is 407 species.[29]

Many of the ecosystems of the Caribbean islands have been devastated by deforestation, pollution, and human encroachment. The arrival of the first humans is correlated with extinction of giant owls and dwarf ground sloths.[30] The hotspot contains dozens of highly threatened animals (ranging from birds, to mammals and reptiles), fungi and plants. Examples of threatened animals include the Puerto Rican amazon, two species of solenodon (giant shrews) in Cuba and the Hispaniola island, and the Cuban crocodile.

The region’s coral reefs, which contain about 70 species of hard corals and between 500700 species of reef-associated fishes[31] have undergone rapid decline in ecosystem integrity in recent years, and are considered particularly vulnerable to global warming and ocean acidification.[32] According to a UNEP report, the caribbean coral reefs might get extinct in next 20 years due to population explosion along the coast lines, overfishing, the pollution of coastal areas and global warming.[33]

Some Caribbean islands have terrain that Europeans found suitable for cultivation for agriculture. Tobacco was an important early crop during the colonial era, but was eventually overtaken by sugarcane production as the region’s staple crop. Sugar was produced from sugarcane for export to Europe. Cuba and Barbados were historically the largest producers of sugar. The tropical plantation system thus came to dominate Caribbean settlement. Other islands were found to have terrain unsuited for agriculture, for example Dominica, which remains heavily forested. The islands in the southern Lesser Antilles, Aruba, Bonaire and Curaao, are extremely arid, making them unsuitable for agriculture. However, they have salt pans that were exploited by the Dutch. Sea water was pumped into shallow ponds, producing coarse salt when the water evaporated.[34]

The natural environmental diversity of the Caribbean islands has led to recent growth in eco-tourism. This type of tourism is growing on islands lacking sandy beaches and dense human populations.[35]

The Martinique amazon, Amazona martinicana, is an extinct species of parrot in the Psittacidae family.

At the time of European contact, the dominant ethnic groups in the Caribbean included the Tano of the Greater Antilles and northern Lesser Antilles, the Island Caribs of the southern Lesser Antilles, and smaller distinct groups such as the Guanajatabey of western Cuba and the Ciguayo of western Hispaniola. The population of the Caribbean is estimated to have been around 750,000 immediately before European contact, although lower and higher figures are given. After contact, social disruption and epidemic diseases such as smallpox and measles (to which they had no natural immunity)[36] led to a decline in the Amerindian population.[37] From 1500 to 1800 the population rose as slaves arrived from West Africa[38] such as the Kongo, Igbo, Akan, Fon and Yoruba as well as military prisoners and captured slaves from Ireland, who were deported during the Cromwellian reign in England.[39] Immigrants from Britain, Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark also arrived, although the mortality rate was high for both groups.[40]

The population is estimated to have reached 2.2 million by 1800.[41] Immigrants from India, China, and other countries arrived in the 19th century.[42] After the ending of the Atlantic slave trade, the population increased naturally.[43] The total regional population was estimated at 37.5 million by 2000.[44]

The majority of the Caribbean has populations of mainly Africans in the French Caribbean, Anglophone Caribbean and Dutch Caribbean, there are minorities of mixed-race and European peoples of Dutch, English, French, Italian and Portuguese ancestry. Asians, especially those of Chinese and Indian descent, form a significant minority in the region and also contribute to multiracial communities. All of their ancestors arrived in the 19th century as indentured laborers.

The Spanish-speaking Caribbean have primarily mixed race, African, or European majorities. Puerto Rico has a European majority with a mixture of European-African (mulatto), and a large West African minority. One third of Cuba’s (largest Caribbean island) population is of African descent, with a sizable Mulatto (mixed AfricanEuropean) population, and European majority. The Dominican Republic has the largest mixed race population, primarily descended from Europeans, West Africans, and Amerindians.

Larger islands such as Jamaica, have a very large African majority, in addition to a significant mixed race, Chinese, Europeans, Indian, Lebanese, Latin American, and Syrian populations. This is a result of years of importation of slaves and indentured labourers, and migration. Most multi-racial Jamaicans refer to themselves as either mixed race or Brown. The situation is similar for the Caricom states of Belize, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. Trinidad and Tobago has a multi-racial cosmopolitan society due to the arrival of the Africans, Indians, Chinese, Syrians, Lebanese, Native Amerindians and Europeans. This multi-racial mix has created sub-ethnicities that often straddle the boundaries of major ethnicities and include Chindian, Mulatto and Dougla.

Spanish, English, French, Dutch, Haitian Creole, and Papiamento are the predominant official languages of various countries in the region, though a handful of unique creole languages or dialects can also be found from one country to another.

Christianity is the predominant religion in the Caribbean (84.7%).[45] Other religious groups in the region are Hinduism, Islam, Buddhist, Rastafari, and Afro-American religions such as Santera and Vodou.

Caribbean societies are very different from other Western societies in terms of size, culture, and degree of mobility of their citizens.[46] The current economic and political problems the states face individually are common to all Caribbean states. Regional development has contributed to attempts to subdue current problems and avoid projected problems. From a political and economic perspective, regionalism serves to make Caribbean states active participants in current international affairs through collective coalitions. In 1973, the first political regionalism in the Caribbean Basin was created by advances of the English-speaking Caribbean nations through the institution known as the Caribbean Common Market and Community (CARICOM)[47] which is located in Guyana.

Certain scholars have argued both for and against generalizing the political structures of the Caribbean. On the one hand the Caribbean states are politically diverse, ranging from communist systems such as Cuba toward more capitalist Westminster-style parliamentary systems as in the Commonwealth Caribbean. Other scholars argue that these differences are superficial, and that they tend to undermine commonalities in the various Caribbean states. Contemporary Caribbean systems seem to reflect a “blending of traditional and modern patterns, yielding hybrid systems that exhibit significant structural variations and divergent constitutional traditions yet ultimately appear to function in similar ways.”[48] The political systems of the Caribbean states share similar practices.

The influence of regionalism in the Caribbean is often marginalized. Some scholars believe that regionalism cannot exist in the Caribbean because each small state is unique. On the other hand, scholars also suggest that there are commonalities amongst the Caribbean nations that suggest regionalism exists. “Proximity as well as historical ties among the Caribbean nations has led to cooperation as well as a desire for collective action.”[49] These attempts at regionalization reflect the nations’ desires to compete in the international economic system.[49]

Furthermore, a lack of interest from other major states promoted regionalism in the region. In recent years the Caribbean has suffered from a lack of U.S. interest. “With the end of the Cold War, U.S. security and economic interests have been focused on other areas. As a result there has been a significant reduction in U.S. aid and investment to the Caribbean.”[50] The lack of international support for these small, relatively poor states, helped regionalism prosper.

Following the Cold War another issue of importance in the Caribbean has been the reduced economic growth of some Caribbean States due to the United States and European Union’s allegations of special treatment toward the region by each other. [clarification needed]

The United States under President Bill Clinton launched a challenge in the World Trade Organization against the EU over Europe’s preferential program, known as the Lom Convention, which allowed banana exports from the former colonies of the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP) to enter Europe cheaply.[51] The World Trade Organization sided in the United States’ favour and the beneficial elements of the convention to African, Caribbean and Pacific states has been partially dismantled and replaced by the Cotonou Agreement.[52]

During the US/EU dispute, the United States imposed large tariffs on European Union goods (up to 100%) to pressure Europe to change the agreement with the Caribbean nations in favour of the Cotonou Agreement.[53]

Farmers in the Caribbean have complained of falling profits and rising costs as the Lom Convention weakens. Some farmers have faced increased pressure to turn towards the cultivation of illegal drugs, which has a higher profit margin and fills the sizable demand for these illegal drugs in North America and Europe.[54][55]

The European Union has also taken issue with US based taxation extended to US companies via the Caribbean countries.[when?] The United States has not been in favor of shutting off the practice yet, mainly due to the higher costs that would be passed on to US companies via taxation.[citation needed] Caribbean countries have largely countered the allegations by the OECD by signing more bilateral information sharing deals with OECD members, thus reducing the dangerous aspects of secrecy, and they have strengthened their legislation against money laundering and on conditions under which companies can be based in their nations.[citation needed] The Caribbean nations have also started to more closely cooperate in the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force and other instruments to add oversight of the offshore industry.

One of the most important associations that deal with regionalism amongst the nations of the Caribbean Basin has been the Association of Caribbean States (ACS). Proposed by CARICOM in 1992, the ACS soon won the support of the other countries of the region. It was founded in July 1994. The ACS maintains regionalism within the Caribbean on issues unique to the Caribbean Basin. Through coalition building, like the ACS and CARICOM, regionalism has become an undeniable part of the politics and economics of the Caribbean. The successes of region-building initiatives are still debated by scholars, yet regionalism remains prevalent throughout the Caribbean.

The President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez launched an economic group called the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), which several eastern Caribbean islands joined. In 2012, the nation of Haiti, with 9 million people, became the largest CARICOM nation that sought to join the union.[56]

Here are some of the bodies that several islands share in collaboration:

Coordinates: 143132N 754906W / 14.52556N 75.81833W / 14.52556; -75.81833

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Georgia Barrier Islands – Georgia Island Beaches

 Islands  Comments Off on Georgia Barrier Islands – Georgia Island Beaches
Feb 142016

The segment of the Georgia Barrier Islands runs along the east coast of the state, from the St Mary’s River bordering Florida and Georgia to Tybee Island where the Savannah River and Atlantic Ocean meet. Barrier Islands are found along most of the Eastern seaboard from Florida to Maine with the Georgia islands totaling fourteen.

The Georgia Islands begin with Cumberland Island and also include Little Cumberland, Jekyll, St. Simons, Sea Island, Little St Simons, Wolf, Sapelo, St. Catherine’s, Ossabaw Island, Wassaw, and Williamson Islands. The northernmost island in the chain is Tybee Island, one of the most popular beach destinations in the state.

Little St. Simons is also a premier vacation destination for vacationers wanting to get away from it all and enjoy a private vacation along Georgia island beaches. The privately owned island encompasses 10,000 acres and is home to a variety of trees and plant life, along with endangered and threatened species of birds. Dolphins, otters, and whales can sometimes be seen in the waters around the island.

A vacation to the Georgia Barrier Islands provides dramatic ocean views, luxury hotels, fine dining, spas, relaxation, and privacy. You can also spend time on the sugar-white Georgia Island beaches for quiet strolls, horseback riding, and romantic sunsets. Guests can arrange for a day trip to the island from the mainland for hiking, touring, or boating, and there are also options for overnight stays. Make plans ahead of time when traveling to Little St. Simon’s Island, however, as only a limited number of guests are allowed on the island at one time.

Cumberland Island, at the southern base of the Georgia Barrier Islands chain, is home to a diverse natural ecological setting with hardwood forests of oak trees and pine in the north, along with saltwater marshes supporting numerous species of fish and birds. There are seventeen miles of white Georgia Island beaches along this lovely island, making it a perennially popular destination in Georgia.

At nearby Crooked River State Park, the 500 acres provide hiking trails that will take you through areas filled with wildlife, including assorted birds, turtles, and alligators. Saltwater fishing, kayaking, boating, and miniature golf are available at the park, and RV and trailer camping is available along with individual rental cottages, making it an excellent fit for travelers who want to spend several days on the Barrier Islands.

The northernmost area of the Georgia Islands is Tybee Island, situated along the Savannah River. There are numerous things to do at Tybee for vacationers interested in outdoor excursions, due to the 100-acre Tybee National Wildlife Refuge providing birdwatchers and hikers with plenty of opportunities for sightseeing. The Tybee Island Pier & Pavilion is a great place for picnics and fishing, and at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center, you can take a one-hour guided walk along the beach to learn about the local environment. Those interested in history can also visit the Tybee Lighthouse, built in 1736 and still in use today.

At Jekyll Island, vacationers will have miles of Georgia island beaches and dunes to explore. In the nineteenth century, the island was a retreat for the rich and famous, and today visitors can tour the Jekyll Island Historic District. The district encompasses 240 acres of restored homes, chapels, cottages, and stables, displaying examples of Victorian and Gothic architecture, as well as Tiffany stained glass. In August, the island holds the annual Beach Music Festival, which lasts for three days and includes music, barbecue, dancing, wine tasting, and a golf tournament.

Whichever one you choose to visit, the Barrier Islands in Georgia are an excellent vacation destination for travelers who want to spend time outside and enjoy the beautiful beaches and coastline of this part of the US.

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Georgia Barrier Islands – Georgia Island Beaches

NSA Annapolis

 NSA  Comments Off on NSA Annapolis
Feb 132016

Welcome to Naval Support Activity Annapolis! NSA Annapolis is located across the Severn River from the US Naval Academy and is charged with delivering base operating support services to tenant commands. These include the United States Naval Academy, North Severn complex, Chesapeake Bay Detachment in Randle Cliff, MD, and Navy Operational Support Center in Baltimore, MD. NSA Annapolis includes over 1,500 acres and more than 400 buildings.

The Fleet & Family Readiness (FFR)Programs at NSA Annapolis can help you make the most of your visit or choice of relocation in the Annapolis area. Whether you’re here for just a short time or more permanently, we know you’ll enjoy working and recreating in this beautiful area. FFR facilities are here for use by active duty, retired military, active reservists, current and retired Department of Defense civilian employees (Civil Service and non-appropriated), active duty Coast Guard, family members in all of these categories, Midshipmen at the Naval Academy and USNA DoD contractors. We hope you’ll visit our facilities and take advantage of the many and varied activities and services we offer. FFR programs include Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR), Child and Youth Programs, Fleet and Family Support Program, Family and Bachelor Housing, and Navy Gateway Inns and Suites. We hope that you will become active in our FFR programs at NSA Annapolis. The staff at our facilities welcome you!

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Channel Islands of California – Wikipedia, the free …

 Islands  Comments Off on Channel Islands of California – Wikipedia, the free …
Feb 122016

The Channel Islands of California are a chain of eight islands located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California along the Santa Barbara Channel in the United States of America. Five of the islands are part of Channel Islands National Park, and the waters surrounding these islands make up Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. The islands were first colonized by the Chumash and Tongva Native Americans 13,000 years ago, who were then displaced by European settlers who used the islands for fishing and agriculture. The U.S. military uses the islands as training grounds, weapons test sites, and as a strategic defensive location. The Channel Islands and the surrounding waters house a diverse ecosystem with many endemic species and subspecies.

The eight islands are split among the jurisdictions of three separate California counties: Santa Barbara County (four), Ventura County (two), and Los Angeles County (two). The islands are divided into two groupsthe Northern Channel Islands and the Southern Channel Islands. The four Northern Islands used to be a single landmass known as Santa Rosae.

The archipelago extends for 160 miles (257km) between San Miguel Island in the north and San Clemente Island in the south. Together, the islands land area totals 221,331 acres (89,569ha), or about 346 square miles (900km2).

Five of the islands (San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara) were made into the Channel Islands National Park in 1980. The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary encompasses the waters six nautical miles (11 kilometers) off Anacapa, Santa Cruz, San Miguel, Santa Rosa, and Santa Barbara islands.

Santa Catalina Island is the only one of the eight islands with a significant permanent civilian settlementthe resort city of Avalon, California, and the unincorporated town of Two Harbors.

Natural seepage of oil occurs at several places in the Santa Barbara Channel.[1] Tar balls or pieces of tar in small numbers are found in the kelp and on the beaches. Native Americans used naturally occurring tar, bitumen, for a variety of purposes which include roofing, waterproofing, paving and some ceremonial purposes.[2]

The Channel Islands at low elevations are virtually frost-free and constitute one of the few such areas in the 48 contiguous US states. It snows only rarely, on higher mountain peaks.

Separated from the California mainland throughout recent geological history, the Channel Islands provide the earliest evidence for human seafaring in the Americas. It is also the site of the discovery of the earliest paleontological evidence of humans in North America.[3] The Northern Channel Islands are now known to have been settled by maritime Paleo Indian peoples at least 13,000 years ago. Archaeological sites on the island provide a unique and invaluable record of human interaction with Channel Island marine and terrestrial ecosystems from the late Pleistocene to historic times. Historically, the northern islands were occupied by the island Chumash, while the southern islands were occupied by the Tongva. Scott O’Dell has had a book written about the indigenous peoples living on the island, Island of the Blue Dolphins. Aleuts hunters visited the islands to hunt otters in the early 1800s. The Aleuts purportedly clashed with the native Chumash, killing many over trading disputes. Aleut interactions with the natives were also detailed in O’Dell’s book.[4]

The Chumash and Tongva were removed from the islands in the early 19th century, taken to Spanish missions and pueblos on the adjacent mainland. For a century, the Channel Islands were used primarily for ranching and fishing activities, which had significant impacts on island ecosystems, including the local extinction of sea otters, bald eagles, and other species. With most of the Channel Islands now managed by federal agencies or conservation groups, the restoration of the island ecosystems has made significant progress.Several of the islands were used by whalers in the 1930s to hunt for sperm whales.[5]

In 1972, the Brown Berets seized and claimed the islands for Mexico, citing the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, a treaty between Mexico and the USA by which Mexico lost more than half of its territory, and arguing that the treaty does not specifically mention the Channel Islands nor the Farallon Islands. Though the United States had occupied them since 1852, the group speculated that Mexico could claim the islands and seek their return through litigation before the International Court of Justice. However, a detailed analysis of its situation puts in doubt the likelihood of Mexico winning the case at the International Court of Justice.[6]The Channel Islands National Park’s mainland visitor center received 342,000 visitors in 2014. The Channel Islands itself attracts around 70,000 tourists a year, most during the summer.[7] Visitors can travel to the islands via public boat or airplane transportation. Camping grounds are available on Anacapa, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara Islands in the Channel Islands National Park. Attractions include whale watching, hikes, snorkeling, kayaking and camping.[8]

The United States Navy controls San Nicolas Island and San Clemente Island, and has installations elsewhere in the chain. During World War II all of Southern Californias Channel Islands were put under military control, including the civilian-populated Santa Catalina where tourism was halted and established residents needed permits to travel to and from the mainland.[9] San Miguel Island was used as a bombing range[10] and Santa Barbara Island as an early warning outpost under the presumed threat of a Japanese attack on California.[11] San Clemente Island was used to train the Navy’s first amphibious force to prepare for Pacific combat against the Japanese in World War II.[12] San Nicolas Island has been used since 1957 as a launch pad for research rockets. San Nicolas was considered out of eight possible locations as the site of the Trinity nuclear test.[13] Santa Rosa Island was used in 1952 as a base for the USAF 669th AC&W Squadron and they operated two Distant Early Warning FPS-10 radars from the hilltops there. In 1955 another FPS-3 search radar was added, and in 1956, a GPS-3 search radar was installed. A new MPS-14 long-range height-finder radar was installed in 1958. The base was shut down in March 1963, when the 669th was moved to Vandenberg AFB In Lompoc, California. The islands still house US Navy SEALs training facilities and continues to use the Naval Auxiliary Landing Field located on San Clemente Island.[12]

The Channel Islands are part of one of the richest marine ecosystems of the world. Many unique species of plants and animals are endemic to the Channel Islands, including fauna such as the Channel Islands spotted skunk, ashy storm-petrel, Santa Cruz sheep, and flora including a unique subspecies of Torrey pine.

Flora on the Channel Islands include a unique subspecies of pine, oak, and the island tree mallow. Santa Rosa Island holds two groves of the Torrey pine subspecies Pinus torreyana var. insularis, which is endemic to the island. Torrey pines are the United States’ rarest pine species.[14] The islands also house many rare and endangered species of plants, including the island barberry, the island rushrose, and the Santa Cruz Island lace pod. Giant kelp forests surround the islands and act as a source of nutrition and protection for other animals.[15]

Invasive species, such as the Australian blue gum tree, olive tree, sweet fennel and Harding grass threaten native species through competition for light, nutrients, and water. The Australian blue gum, for example, releases toxins in its leaf litter which prevents other species of plants from growing in the soil surrounding it. The blue gum, as well as other species including the Harding grass, are much more flammable and better adapted to wildfires than native species.[16]

The Channel Islands and the waters surrounding hold many endemic species of animals, including fauna such as the Channel Islands spotted skunk, island scrub jay, ashy storm-petrel, Santa Cruz sheep, San Clemente loggerhead shrike, San Clemente sage sparrow. Many species of large marine mammals, including pacific gray whales, blue whales, humpback whales, and California sea lions breed or feed close to the Channel Islands. Current occurrences, if still happen, of the critically endangered North Pacific right whales, and historically abundant Steller’s sea lions in these areas are unknown. Seabirds, including the western gulls, bald eagles, pigeon guillemonts, and Scripps’s murrelets use the islands as well for shelter and breeding grounds. The endemic island fox is California’s smallest natural canine and has rebounded from its near extinction in the late 1990s. Several endemic reptile species including the island fence lizard, island night lizard, and Channel Islands slender salamander live on the islands.[17]

Conservation efforts are being made to maintain the islands’ endemic species. Feral livestock, including pigs, goats, and sheep, pose a threat to many of the species, including the San Clemente loggerhead shrike and Channel Islands spotted skunk. The National Park Service eradicated the feral pigs on Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz islands during the 1990s and on Santa Catalina Island in 2007.[4][18] Introduced pathogens have devastated island species due to isolation from the mainland. In 1998, an outbreak of canine distemper swept through Santa Catalina Island severely reducing the island skunk and fox populations. Rabies and distemper vaccination programs were initiated to protect the island’s wildlife. Canine distemper is thought to have been brought to the islands on a stowaway raccoon or a domestic dog.[19]

In the 1950s, bald eagles and peregrine falcons on the Channel Islands became locally extinct after widespread use of pesticides such as DDT.[20] The birds ingest contaminated fish and seabirds which poisons the adults and weakens their eggs. Golden eagles, which are natural competitors of other birds of prey, do not primarily feed on these animals and were able to colonize the islands in the early 1990s. In the early 2000s, golden eagles were live trapped and relocated.[21] In 2002 and 2006 breeding pairs of bald eagles were reintroduced to the northern islands.[22] Later in 2006, the introduced adult eagles hatched chicks on the islands for the first time since their extinction. The Channel Islands National Park established a bald eagle webcam on their website in 2007.[4]

Coordinates: 340058N 1194814W / 34.01611N 119.80389W / 34.01611; -119.80389

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Atheism – Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Atheism  Comments Off on Atheism – Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Feb 072016

Atheism is rejecting belief that there is a god.[1][2] It is the opposite of theism, which is the belief that at least one god exists. A person who rejects belief in gods is called an atheist.

Atheism is not the same as agnosticism. Agnostics say that there is no way to know whether gods exist or not.[3] Being an agnostic does not have to mean a person rejects or believes in god. Some agnostics are theists, believing in god. The theologian Kierkegaard is an example. Other agnostics are atheists.

Atheists often give reasons why they do not believe in a god or gods. Three of the reasons that they often give are the problem of evil, the argument from inconsistent revelations, and the argument from nonbelief. Not all atheists think these reasons provide complete proof that gods cannot exist, but they are reasons given to support rejecting belief that gods exist. Some atheists think there is no evidence for any god or gods and goddesses so believing any type of theism means believing unproved assumptions. These atheists think a simpler explanation for everything is methodological naturalism which means that only natural things exist. Occam’s razor shows simple explanations without many unproved guesses are more likely to be true.[4]

The word atheism comes from the Greek language. It can be divided into a- (), a Greek prefix meaning “without”, and theos (), meaning “god”, and recombined to form “without gods”[6] or “godless”. In Ancient Greece it also meant “impious”.

Starting in about the 5th century BC, the word came to describe people who were “severing relations with the gods” or “denying the gods”. Before then, the meaning had been closer to “impious”. There is also the abstract noun, (atheots), “atheism”.

Cicero transliterated the Greek word into the Latin atheos. This word was often used in the debate between early Christians and Hellenists. Each side used it to label the other, in a bad way.[7]

Karen Armstrong writes that “During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the word ‘atheist’ was still reserved exclusively for polemic … The term ‘atheist’ was an insult. Nobody would have dreamed of calling himself an atheist.”[8]Atheism was first used to describe an openly positive belief in late 18th-century Europe, meaning disbelief in the monotheistic Abrahamic god.[9] The 20th century saw the term expand to refer to disbelief in all deities. However, it is still common in Western society to describe atheism as simply “disbelief in God”.[10]

In many places, it is (or was) a crime to be make public the idea of atheism. Examples would be to claim the Bible or Qur’an could not be true, or to speak or write that there is no god.[11]

Muslim apostasy, that is becoming an atheist or believing in a god other than Allah, may be a dangerous act in places with many conservative Muslim people. Many religious courts have punished and some still punish this act with the death penalty. Many countries still have laws against atheism.[12][13][14]

Atheism is becoming more common,[15] mainly in South America, North America, Oceania and Europe (by percentage of people that had a religion before and started to be atheist).

In many countries, mainly in the Western world, there are laws that protect atheists’ right to express their atheistic belief (freedom of speech). This means that atheists have the same rights under the law as everyone else. Freedom of religion in international law and treaties includes the freedom to not have a religion.

Today, about 2.3% of the world’s population describes itself as atheist. About 11.9% is described as nontheist.[16] Between 64% and 65% of Japanese describe themselves as atheists, agnostics, or non-believers,[17][18] and up to 48% in Russia.[17] The percentage of such people in European Union member states ranges between 6% (Italy) and 85% (Sweden).[17]

People disagree about what atheism means. They disagree on when to call certain people atheists or not.

Atheism has sometimes been described as someone not believing in God. This is very general. It includes people who have never heard about God, but would believe in God if they did learn about God.

George H. Smith created the expressions “implicit atheism” and “explicit atheism” to describe the difference between different types of Atheism. Implicit Atheism is when you do not believe in God because you do not know about God. Explicit Atheism is when you do not believe in God after learning about God.

In 1772, Baron d’Holbach said that “All children are born Atheists; they have no idea of God”.[19]

In 1979 George H. Smith said that: “The man who is unacquainted with theism is an atheist because he does not believe in a god. This category would also include the child [who is able to] grasp the issues involved, but who is still unaware of those issues. The fact that this child does not believe in god qualifies him as an atheist”.[20]

These two quotes describe Implicit Atheism.

Ernest Nagel disagrees with Smith’s definition of atheism as an “absence of theism”, saying only explicit atheism is true atheism.[21] This means that Nagel believes that to be an Atheist, a person needs to know about God and then reject the idea of God.

Philosophers like Antony Flew,[22] Michael Martin,[10] and William L. Rowe[23] have looked at strong (sometimes called positive) atheism against weak (sometimes called negative) atheism. According to this idea, anyone who does not believe in a god or gods is either a weak or a strong atheist.[24]

Strong Atheism is the certain belief that no god exists. An older way of saying Strong Atheism is to say “Positive Atheism” Weak atheism is all other forms of not believing in a god or gods. An older way of saying Weak Atheism is to say “Negative Atheism” These terms have been used more in philosophical writing[22] and in Catholic beliefs.[25] since at least 1813.[26][27] Under this definition of atheism, most Agnostics are Weak Atheists.

Michael Martin says that agnosticism includes weak atheism.[10] Some agnostics, including Anthony Kenny, disagree. They think being an agnostic is different from being an atheist. They think atheism is no different from believing in a god, because both require belief. This overlooks the reality that agnostics also have their own belief or “claim to knowledge” [28]

Agnostics say that it cannot be known if a god or gods exist. In their view, strong atheism requires a leap of faith. The mathematician W. K. Clifford wrote an essay called The Ethics of Belief.[29] In this essay, Clifford shows some examples how people can believe in things which go against what they see or feel. One of these examples is a story of a ship captain who transports immigrants. The immigrants have to pay to be able to go on the ship. The ship is old and needs to be fixed badly. The captain thought about fixing the ship, but then decided not to. The captain told himself that the ship has safely made many trips and survived many storms before. The captain thought the ship would be okay without being fixed, so he had no need to be scared. Unfortunately the ship sinks, and all die. The shipowner is greedy and takes the money the insurance pays for the ship. According to Clifford, the captain did something that is wrong. When he made himself believe there were no problems with the ship, he did this because he is greedy. Even if the ship had made its trip safely, the captain would have done something that is wrong. According to Clifford, it is always wrong to believe something without enough reasons.[3]

Atheists usually respond by saying that there is no difference between an idea about religion with no proof, and an idea about other things[30] The lack of proof that god does not exist does not mean that there is no god, but it also does not mean that there is a god.[31] Scottish philosopher J. J. C. Smart says that “sometimes a person who is really an atheist may describe herself, even passionately, as an agnostic because of unreasonable generalised philosophical skepticism which would preclude us from saying that we know anything whatever, except perhaps the truths of mathematics and formal logic.”[32] So, some popular atheist authors such as Richard Dawkins like to show the difference between theist, agnostic and atheist positions by the probability assigned to the statement “God exists”.[33]

In everyday life, many people define natural phenomena without the need of a god or gods. They do not deny the existence of one or more gods, they simply say that this existence is not necessary. Gods do not provide a purpose to life, nor influence it, according to this view.[34] Many scientists practice what they call methodological naturalism. They silently adopt philosophical naturalism and use the scientific method. Their belief in a god does not affect their results.[35]

Practical atheism can take different forms:

Theoretic atheism tries to find arguments against the existence of god, and to disprove the arguments of Theism, such as the argument from design or Pascal’s Wager. These theoretical reasons have many forms, most of them are ontological or epistemological. Some rely on psychology or sociology.

According to Immanuel Kant, there can be no proof of a supreme being that is made using reason. In his work, “Critique of pure reason”, he tries to show that all attempts of either proving the existence of God, or disproving it, end in a logical contradictions. Kant says that it is impossible to know whether there are any higher beings. This makes him an agnostic.

Ludwig Feuerbach published The Essence of Christianity in 1841.[37] In his work he postulates the following:

The following phrases sum up Feuerbach’s writing:

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Gainesville, GA Internet Marketing Company | Full Media

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Feb 052016

Headquartered in Gainesville, Georgia, Full Media is an Internet marketing company that focuses on professional website design and search engine optimization (SEO) services. We help companies and organizations of all sizes increase their online exposure through SEO, e-mail marketing, online advertising, responsive web design and custom programming.

As a local Internet marketing company, we are committed to driving real results for our clients through these areas of expertise:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Whether your need an SEO audit or monthly engagement to drive more qualifed traffic to your website, Full Media can help. Our Internet marketing experts work with small and mid-sized businesses to leverage their online presence to increase leads and grow their business.

Responsive Design Gainesville’s small and mid-size businesses deserve affordable, professional website design and custom programing. From an e-Commerce design or aninformation-based website that discusses your services and competitive advantage, our team of graphic designers, project managers and website programmers can help.

Located in the heart of Gainesville at 427 Oak Street NW, we take pride in personally knowing many of our clients and driving by their place of business. Our doors are always open to anyone throughout North Georgia who wants to receive more qualified website leads.

If you are ready for a professional approach to your website and online marketing, contact us today and speak to one of our team members about how Full Media can help.

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Florida Beaches – Best Beaches in Florida

 Beaches  Comments Off on Florida Beaches – Best Beaches in Florida
Feb 032016

As the only state with two coasts, the Florida beaches are a dime a dozen. A beach in Florida can be a bit of heaven. Many who visit Florida and Miami Beach travel to enjoy the azure surf and palm beaches that are like nowhere else on earth. From Americas #1 Beach to a nude beach favorite of supermodels, the top beaches here have it all.

Best Florida Beaches

Some of the best beaches in Florida are on the East side of the state as Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Daytona Beach are located there. Known for its open and uncluttered beaches, Fort Lauderdale offers a beach community that is great for those who love to stroll on the beach or lay on the sand. The map of Florida beaches shows the great array of places to relax during a trip to the Sunshine State.

Miami Beaches

The heart of Florida tourism is Miami Beachs trendy South Beach. Supermodels and celebrities who visit Florida sunbathe at Lummus Park Beach, a swath of star-studded white sands from the citys 5th to 15th Street. The 12th Street stretch is a very popular gay and muscle beach area. To get an all-over tan, head further north to the clothing-optional Haulover Beach.

Florida Beaches

Key to Paradise

In Miamis Key Biscayne youll find the key to paradise at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, rated as one of Americas top swimming beaches, with over a mile of beautiful sandy beach, nature trails, and a historic lighthouse. The lighthouse has a cultural complex that offers guided tours and other activities for visitors.

Shoreline fishing from the seawall requires a Florida license. Shaded picnicking is available under covered pavilions, and you can moor your boat overnight. Pets are restricted in some areas.

Nearby Virginia key is another secluded gem, a deserted key where you can get away from it all.

However, don’t dismiss the West Florida beaches. The Florida Keys beaches are frequented by travelers around the world and don’t forget Clearwater.

Best Beach in Florida and America

Dr. Stephen Leatherman, otherwise known as “Dr. Beach” authors an annual list of Americas Best Beaches, and at the top is North Beach at St. Petersburgs Fort DeSoto Park. This natural jewel is a long, wide, sugar sand beach with great shelling and thriving natural dunes.

Along with being a wonderful place to swim, there’s fishing, boating, canoeing, kayaking, bird watching, biking, walking, and even a dog park. The beach offers modern changing rooms and restrooms and plenty of parking.

The free park, located on Mullet Key at the mouth of Tampa Bay on the Gulf of Mexico, is made up of five islands with a total of over 7 miles of beaches, 4 miles of trails, a 2.25-mile canoe trail, and a 900-acre bird, animal, and plant sanctuary.

Its namesake 105-year-old Spanish-American War-era fort is listed on National Register of Historic Places, and has a museum that’s open daily from 9am to 4pm. Park rangers conduct nature and history tours. You can also rent canoes and kayaks to explore the winding mangrove channels along the bay side. The park’s campground sites beside Tampa Bay are some of the most lovely in Florida.

Clearly Marvelous

North of Clearwater, Caladesi Island State Park is on a 3.5-mile islet, accessible only by ferry. The park is made up of soft sand dunes covered in sea oats and palmettos, and is brimming with wildlife. Offshore dolphins and sea turtles swim offshore. On shore, where pets are restricted, youll find shore birds, rabbits, raccoons, snakes, and armadillos from the parks nature trail.

This is among the best beaches in Florida and an ideal spot for bird watching, shell collecting, and saltwater fishing. Amenities include picnic pavilions, bathhouses, refreshment concessions, and an overnight marina.

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NATO – Vikipeedia, vaba entsklopeedia

 NATO  Comments Off on NATO – Vikipeedia, vaba entsklopeedia
Feb 012016

Phja-Atlandi Lepingu Organisatsioon (ingl North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), pr Organisation du Trait de l’Atlantique Nord (OTAN)) on sjaline liit, millele pandi alus 4. aprillil 1949 Phja-Atlandi lepingu ehk Washingtoni lepinguga. NATO krgeim organ on Phja-Atlandi Nukogu, mida juhib NATO peasekretr. Organisatsioon phineb kollektiivkaitsel, lbi mille liikmesriigid nustuvad vlise rnnaku korral vastastikust kaitset osutama. NATO peakorter asub Brsselis. Viimati laienes NATO 2009. aastal, kui liitusid Albaania ja Horvaatia. Lisaks liikmesriikidele osaleb NATO rahupartnerlusprogrammis veel 22 riiki. NATO liikmesriikide kaitsekulutused kokkuliidetuna moodustavad le 70 protsendi kogu maailma kaitsekulutustest.[1] Igal liikmesriigil on kohustus investeerida SKT-st riigikaitsesse vhemalt kaks protsenti, peale Eesti tidavad seda reeglit veel Kreeka, USA ja hendkuningriik.[2]

Kuni Korea sjani oli NATO peaasjalikult poliitiline organisatsioon. Militaarstruktuur ehitati les USA juhtimisel. Klma sja kigus tekkinud vastasseis viis 1955. aastal rivaalitseva organisatsiooni, nn Varssavi pakti ehk Varssavi Lepingu Organisatsiooni asutamiseni, mis oli Ida-Euroopa kommunistlike riikide sjalis-poliitiline organisatsioon. Samal ajal olid Euroopa riikide ja USA vahelised suhted ebastabiilsed ning kaheldi NATO kaitses Nukogude Liidu rnnaku korral. Need kahtlused viisid Prantsusmaa iseseisva tuumarelvastuse vljaarendamiseni ning 1966. aastal vljus Prantsusmaa jrgmiseks kolmekmneks aastaks NATO sjalisest tiivast. Prast Berliini mri langemist 1989. aastal oli organisatsioon segatud Jugoslaavia lagunemisse, NATO esimesed sjalised operatsioonid toimusid Bosnia sjas aastatel 19921995. Endiste Varssavi pakti riikidega tekkisid aga head suhted ning paljud neist astusid 1999. ja 2004. aastal NATO-sse, nende hulgas ka Eesti.

NATO artikkel 5, mille kohaselt ksitletakse he liikme rndamist rnnakuna kogu alliansi vastu, on aktiveerunud vaid hel korral prast 11. septembri terrorirnnakuid 2001. aastal USA-s[3] ning NATO ved saadeti Afganistani. Prast seda on NATO lbi viinud mitmesuguseid operatsioone, niteks osalenud Liiba-vastastes hurnnakutes ja piraatlusevastastes operatsioonides. Artikkel number 4, mis tagab kikidele liikmesriikidele iguse sjalisele konsultatsioonile, on kivitunud neljal korral: 2003. aastal kivitas selle Trgi seoses Iraagi sjaga, 2012. aastal kivitas Trgi selle kahel korral seoses Sria sjaga ning 2014. aastal kivitas artikli number 4 Poola seoses 2014. aasta Krimmi kriisiga.[4]

NATO peasekretr on alates 1. oktoobrist 2014 Jens Stoltenberg. Enne teda oli 20092014 peasekretr Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Aastatel 20042009 oli NATO peasekretr Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

NATO lepingu eelkijaks loetakse 1948. aastal Belgia, Hollandi, Luksemburgi, Prantsusmaa ja hendkuningriigi vahel slmitud Brsseli pakti, mis viis samal aastal Lneliidu loomisele, mis oli sjajrgse Euroopa esimene sjalis-poliitiline organisatsioon.[5] Aga USA osalust peeti oluliseks ning lbirkimised uue sjalise liidu loomiseks algasid peaaegu kohe. Phja-Atlandi leping (ehk Washingtoni leping) allkirjastati 4. aprillil 1949 Washingtonis ning leping justus sama aasta 24. augustil. Lisaks Brsseli pakti viiele osapoolele osalesid ka USA, Kanada, Portugal, Itaalia, Norra, Taani ja Island.[6] Osapooled leppisid kokku, et rnnakut neist he vastu ksitletakse rnnakuna nende kigi vastu. Rnnaku alla sattunud liikmesriiki pidid kik teised abistama, kuid konkreetne meetod ji igahe enda otsustada: leping ei ninud tingimata ette sjalist aktsiooni agressori vastu.[7]

Toona ei olnud NATO-l poliitilist struktuuri, htset sjalist juhtimist ja spetsiaalselt alliansi kaitseks mratud vgesid, kuid Korea sja puhkemine 1950. aastal ilmestas ohtu, mida kujutasid koosttavad kommunistlikud riigid, ning see sundis NATO-t vlja ttama konkreetseid sjalisi plaane.[8] Seda td alustati 1951. aastal Dwight D. Eisenhoweri juhtimisel.[9] 1952. aastal peeti Lissabonis kohtumine eesmrgiga leida vahendid NATO kaitseplaanide titmiseks. Sama aasta septembris algasid esimesed NATO sjalised ppused, kus harjutati Taani ja Norra kaitsmist merel.[10] Samuti astusid 1952. aastal alliansi liikmeteks ka Kreeka ja Trgi.

1954. aastal avaldas Nukogude Liit soovi NATO-ga hineda, tagamaks rahu Euroopas. See ettepanek lkati tagasi, kuna selles nhti soovi alliansi nrgestada.[11]

17. detsembril 1954 veti vastu dokument nimega MC 48, milles stestati, et sja puhkedes Nukogude Liiduga vib NATO kasutada aatomipommi, kskik kas Nukogude Liit kasutab seda esimesena vi mitte. See andis NATO Euroopa liitlasvgede lemjuhatajale (SACEUR Supreme Allied Commander Europe) samasugused igused tuumarelvade ksitlemiseks nagu olid USA hujudude lemjuhatajal.

Lne-Saksamaa inkorporeerimist NATO-sse 9. mail 1955 kirjeldas Norra tollane vlisminister Halvard Lange kui “meie kontinendi ajaloo otsustavat prdepunkti”.[12] Selle otsuse peamine phjus oli see, et ilma Saksamaata poleks Nukogude Liidu invasioonile olnud piisavalt judu vastu astuda.[13] Otsese vastusena sellele kigule loodi Varssavi pakt, mille allkirjastasid 14. mail 1955 Nukogude Liit, Ungari, Tehhoslovakkia, Bulgaaria, Poola, Rumeenia, Albaania ja Ida-Saksamaa. Klma sja osapooled olid seega vlja joonestatud.

1957. aastal korraldati alliansi siiani kige ambitsioonikam sjaline ppus: kolmel samal ajal toimunud operatsioonil osales htekokku le 250 000 mehe, 300 laeva ja 1500 husiduki Norrast Trgini.[14]

NATO htsus pandi proovile Prantsusmaa presidendi Charles de Gaulle’i valitsemisajal.[15] De Gaulle protesteeris USA juhirolli vastu ning selle vastu, mida ta tlgendas Ameerika hendriikide ja hendkuningriigi eriliste suhetena. President Dwight D. Eisenhowerile ja peaminister Harold Macmillanile saadetud kirjas 17. septembril 1958 nudis ta alliansi kolmepoolset juhtimist, kus Prantsusmaa oleks Ameerika ja Suurbritanniaga vrdvrsel positsioonil.[16] Kui reageering ji de Gaulle’i jaoks ebarahuldavaks, otsustas ta hakata Prantsusmaa kaitsejude arendama lejnud alliansist sltumatult. De Gaulle’i eesmrgiks oli vimalus sjaolukorras idablokiga eraldi rahu slmida, kaasamata end laiemasse NATO ja Varssavi pakti riikide vahelisse stta.[17] Mrtsis 1959 veti NATO vejuhatuse alt ra Prantsuse Vahemere laevastik ning keelduti lubamast rajada Gallia pinnale tuumarelvade ladu.

Kuigi Kuuba kriisi ajal 1962. aastal nitas Prantsusmaa lejnud NATO suhtes les solidaarsust, jtkas de Gaulle iseseisva kaitse planeerimist. 1966. aastal viis Prantsusmaa kik oma ved NATO integreeritud sjalise juhtimise alt ra ning kigil NATO vrvgedel paluti riigist lahkuda. Prantsusmaa ji siiski NATO liikmeks. Aastast 2001 on Prantsusmaa osalenud Afganistani operatsioonis ning hakanud taas liikuma tieliku integreerumise suunas.

Klm sda ei viinud kunagi reaalse relvakonfliktini NATO ja Varssavi pakti riikide vahel. 1969. aasta lpul algasid Helsingis lbirkimised strateegilise relvastuse piiramise le. Lbirkimiste tulemusena valmisid kaks kokkulepet, millest ks ksitles raketitrjessteemide rajamist ja teine strateegilise relvastuse piiramist. Mais 1978 defineerisid NATO liikmesriigid alliansi kaks eesmrki: tagada turvalisus ja taotleda pingeldvendust vastaspoolega. See pidi thendama ka vidurelvastumise edasist ohjeldamist.[18] 1979. aastal Varssavi pakti tuumavimekuse suurenemise valguses vttis NATO vastu otsuse sjatandri tuumajudude kahesuunalise kasutamise kohta.[19]

1990. aasta juulis kuulutati Londoni tippkohtumisel klm sda lppenuks ning NATO kaotas de facto peamise vaenlase. Organisatsiooni eesmrk ja olemus vajasid mberhindamist, Londonis visandati ettepanekud koost vljaarendamiseks Kesk- ja Ida-Euroopa riikidega poliitilises ja sjalises tegevuses. Jrgmise aasta tippkohtumisel Roomas kiideti heaks alliansi strateegiline kontseptsioon, mis ngi ette sltuvuse vhendamise tuumarelvadest ja oluliste muudatuste tegemise NATO hendvgedes.[20]

Aastatel 19941997 NATO laienes ja uuendas oma tegevusvaldkondi, niteks loodi koostprogramm “Partnerlus rahu nimel” ning alliansiga kutsuti liituma sellised endised idabloki riigid nagu Poola, Tehhi Vabariik ja Ungari. Praha tippkohtumisel 2002. aastal kiitsid NATO liikmesriigid heaks alliansi ajaloo suurima laienemise, kus esitati kutsed liitumislbirkimistele seitsmele riigile, sh Eestile.

Prast 2001. aasta 11. septembri terrorirnnakuid kuulutas NATO vlja artikkel 5 operatsiooni USA toetuseks. Sellega muudeti NATO kohalikest, liikmesriikide maa-ala kaitsmise hendusest leilmsete (globaalsete) eesmrkidega liiduks, mille philesandeks sai sjaliste operatsioonide lbiviimine vljaspool oma maa-ala. Seetttu pole NATO valmis liikmesriikide maa-ala kaitsmiseks ning Venemaa kasvava sjalise ju tasakaalustamiseks Ida-Euroopas ja Baltikumis.[21]

2009. aastal sai heakskiidu Brsselis toimunud NATO kaitseministrite kohtumisel NATO reageerimisjudude (NATO Responce Force, NRF) NRF-i mudel, mis phineb suurel mral Suurbritannia initsiatiivil varem vlja pakutud NRF-i sisese kriisireguleerimisksuse ASF (Allied Solidarity Force) olulistel elementidel hine planeerimine ja vljape, solidaarne rahastamismudel, suur nhtavus avalikkusele ning usutav heidutusvime. NRF-i tuumikuks sai ligi 13 000-meheline ksus, mis on 510 pevaga valmis siirduma kriisipiirkonda. Lisaks sellele mratavad liikmesriigid tiendavad 1030-pevases valmisolekus olevad veksused[22].

Seoses majandussurutisega seisis NATO ksimuse ees, kuidas silitada kaitsevimet kokkuhoiu oludes. NATO peasekretr Anders Fogh Rasmussen ti kasutusse “targa kaitse” miste, mis thendab kaitsestruktuuride tihedamat integreerimist. Selle niteks on ka Balti riikide huturve.[23]

2012. aasta Chicago tippkohtumise heks pevakorrapunktiks oli NATO laienemine. Praegu ootavad seda neli riiki: Bosnia ja Hertsegoviina, Montenegro, Gruusia ja endine Jugoslaavia Makedoonia Vabariik.[23]

Prast Eesti taasiseseisvumist 1991. aastal iseloomustas olukorda riigikaitselise kogemuse puudus. Alustati alles sjaveliste struktuuride loomist, millest esimesena taastati kodanikualgatuse korras Kaitseliit.[24] Aga paika tuli panna ka laiemad visioonid. Riigikaitse peatkk veti peaaegu muutmata kujul le 1938. aasta phiseadusest, kuid arutati isegi Eesti muutmist demilitariseeritud riigiks. Tnapeval arvavad phiseaduse asjatundjad, et tollal ei osatud hinnata kollektiivse enesekaitse thtsust rahvusvahelistes suhetes.[25] 1992. aasta valimiste jrel moodustatud valitsuse poliitika oli idast lnde mberorienteerumine. 1994. aastal ksitles president Lennart Meri oma knes esmakordselt Euroopa Liidu ja NATO-ga integreerumist. Siiski ngid paljud poliitikud pdlusi NATO-ga liituda kui perspektiivitut projekti, mis rikuks Eesti neutraliteeti.[25]

Eesti alustas osalemist rahvusvahelistes operatsioonides 1995. aastast.[26] Kaitsejudude rahvusvaheline koost sai raamistiku NATO vlja ttatud rahupartnerlusprogrammiga, mis oli meldud Kesk- ja Ida- Euroopa riikidega poliitilise ja sjalise koost arendamiseks. Esmakordselt fikseeriti NATO-ga liitumise eesmrk 1996. aastal. 1999. aastast hakkas Eesti titma NATO liikmesuse tegevuskava ning 2002. aasta novembris Praha tippkohtumisel esitati Eestile kutse liitumislbirkimistele NATO-ga hinemiseks.[24] Liitumislbirkimised algasid 2003. aasta jaanuaris ning sama aasta mrtsis allkirjastasid NATO liikmesriigid Eesti Phja-Atlandi lepinguga liitumise protokolli. 10. mrtsil 2004 ratifitseeris Riigikogu NATO Phja-Atlandi lepingu koos kigi lisadega. Eestist sai NATO tieiguslik liige 29. mrtsil 2004, kui hinemiskirjad anti Ameerika hendriikide valitsuse ktte hoiule.[27]

2007. aastal esitas Eesti soovi korraldada NATO vlisministrite mitteametlik kohtumine. Kohtumine toimus 22.23. aprillil 2010 Tallinnas, kohtumisel osalesid teiste hulgas USA riigisekretr Hillary Clinton ja Euroopa vgede lemjuhataja Stavridis. Kohtumisel langetati otsus anda Bosnia ja Hertsegoviinale liikmesuse tegevusplaan.[28]

Prast 2007. aasta aprillirahutusi toimunud kberrnnakud Eesti veebiserverite vastu tstsid esile NATO riikide haavatavuse kommunikatsioonissteemide kaudu ning arutama hakati NATO kberkaitse poliitikat. 14. mail 2008 asutati Tallinnas NATO kberkaitsekoost keskus.[29]

Seoses Venemaa agressiooniga Ukrainas 2014. aastal paigutati NATO liitlasved Ida-Euroopa piiririikidesse. Eestisse saabus 150 USA maavelast ning Taani hvitajad baseeruvad psivalt Eesti lennubaasis. See on esimene kord, kui NATO liitlased Eestisse pikemaks ajaks jvad. Peaminister Taavi Rivase snul on Eesti valmis vrustama tiendavaid NATO vgesid.[30][31][32][33]

Praegu hoolitseb Eesti huruumi valvamise eest Saksamaa lennusalk.[34] Eestisse on paigutatud kolm radariposti, mille radarid katavad kogu Eesti ja Eestit mbritseva huruumi htse radaripildiga. Seda peetakse heks Eesti pikaajalise sjalise kaitse arengukava olulisemaks arenduseks.[35]

Juulis 2006 teatas NATO peasekretr Jaap de Hoop Scheffer Euroopat kaitsva raketikilbi rajamise kavatsusest. 18. septembril 2006 slmiti esimesed lepingud raketikilbi komponente tootvate firmadega.

Raketikilbi eesmrgiks on Iraanist ja Phja-Koreast tulevate raketirnnakute trjumine. Venemaa juhtkonna arvates on raketikilbi lepe suunatud Venemaa vastu ja on hvardanud sjaliste meetmetega raketikilbi rajamise korral Venemaa piiride lhedale.

20. augustil 2008 kirjutasid Ameerika hendriikide riigisekretr Condoleezza Rice ja Poola vlisminister Radek Sikorski alla lepingule millega Poola nustus lubama oma pinnale USA globaalse raketitrjessteemi komponente. [36]. 2009. aastal teatas USA president Barack Obama siiski, et raketikilbi osasid Poola ja Tehhi Vabariigi territooriumile ei tule.[37] Uus plaan neb hoopis ette Poola territooriumile AEGIS ssteemidega laevade paigutamise.[38]

Lisaks liikmete kaitsmisele sjalise rnnaku korral on NATO osalenud ka konfliktide ohjeldamises mujal maailmas, niteks Jugoslaavia kodusjas. Samuti toimub dialoog ja koost riikidega, mis ei ole NATO liikmed.

Alates 1. aprillist 2009 on NATO liikmeid 28.

Liikmesriigid liitumisaastati:

NATO krgeim organ on Phja-Atlandi Nukogu (North Atlantic Council, NAC), mille esimees ja organisatsiooni poliitiline juht on NATO peasekretr, kes koordineerib liikmesriikide tegevust, on organisatsiooni peamine kneisik ning juhib NATO sekretariaadi td.

Peasekretr on ka:

Kui traditsiooniliselt valitakse peasekretri ametisse Euroopa esindaja, siis NATO Euroopa liitlasvgede lemjuhataja mravad Ameerika hendriigid.

NATO sjaline vestruktuur koosneb liikmesriikide alaliselt vi kindla operatsiooni jaoks NATO ksutusse antud sjalistest ksustest ja staapidest. NATO sjaline juhtimisstruktuur katab strateegilise ja regionaalse tasandi ning on meldud eelkige liikmesriikide eri veliikide hendoperatsioonide juhtimiseks, siis vestruktuuri koosseisu kuuluvad taktikalise tasandi staabid, mis on meldud he veliigi operatsioonide juhtimiseks.

Vestruktuur koosneb kaht tpi ksustest: paiksed ksused (In-Place Forces, IPF) ja mberpaigutatavad ksused (Deployable Forces, DF). mberpaigutatavad ksused on meldud kigiks NATO operatsioonitpideks ja on valmis tegutsema kogu alliansi territooriumil ning ka vljaspool seda. Paiksed ksused on meldud kollektiivkaitse operatsioonideks oma riigi piirides vi selle lhedal.

Vestruktuuri kuuluvad veosad on grupeeritud vastavalt nende valmisolekule reageerimiseks:

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Swimming Beaches in Illinois | USA Today

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Jan 242016

See city views while swimming at a Chicago beach. (Photo: Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images )

Whether your travels take you to the city of Chicago or beyond, spend a warm summer day swimming at one of several destinations across Illinois. From the city beaches on the shores of Lake Michigan located within walking distance of many urban amenities to the 600-foot beach on Lake Le-Aqua-Na in rural northwest Illinois, swimming enthusiasts have many choices of places to make a splash.

In the city of Chicago (, swim for free at one of several beaches located along 26 miles of lakefront shoreline. With lifeguards on duty during the summer season, swimming is permitted in 15 designated areas. Parking is limited or requires a fee at most beaches, so city officials advise using public transportation whenever possible. North of the city, visit Leone Beach near Evanston or Montrose Beach near Chicago Lakeshore Hospital. Swim near the heart of downtown Chicago at North Beach at Lincoln Park or 12th Street Beach near Soldier Field. Other city swimming beaches include Fargo; Foster; Calumet; Howard Street; Jarvis Avenue; Oak Street; Rainbow; and South Shore Beach. Dogs are permitted at four beaches within the Chicago Park District.

With 39,600 feet of beach access, Illinois Beach State Park ( has the longest public swimming area of any state park. The 4,160-acre park located on the shores of Lake Michigan has picnic areas for spreading out a meal after a day in the water and nearby hiking trails extending up to five miles. Lifeguards are not present at the park’s beaches, but parking is plentiful for visitors planning to spend the day swimming. Overnight camping at 241 sites is open to visitors of Illinois Beach State Park, and a resort also offers overnight accommodations for swimmers planning a multiday stay.

Travel to Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Park ( to swim on a 600-foot beach on the shores of the 40-acre lake in northwest Illinois. Olson Lake Beach is open to visitors to 3,092-acre Rock Cut State Park, with the 50-acre Olson Lake ideally suited for swimming. In central Illinois, head to 9,300-acre Clinton Lake State Recreation Area to spend the day swimming on a 1,000-foot white sandy beach bordering the lake. A designated swimming area is also open to visitors at 1,687-acre Moraine View State Recreation Area at the Black Locust picnic area on Dawson Lake. In southern Illinois, visit 1,302-acre Sam Dale Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area to swim on a large beach on the west side of the lake.

Swim at one of four public beaches on 11,100-acre Lake Shelbyville ( in central Illinois for a nominal daily fee. The Dam West Recreation Area, Sullivan Beach and Wilborn Creek Recreation Area all provide public swimming access to the lake, which is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ( Wolf Creek State Park ( also provides swimming access on the northeastern shores of the lake and has picnic tables and barbecues located nearby. An outdoor aquatic center is also open during the summer months in Forest Park near the lake’s southwestern shores.

Michelle Hornaday lives in Edmonds, Washington and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Washington State University and a Master of Education from Northern Arizona University. She is currently a freelance writer for various websites.

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Crestview, FL – Crestview, Florida Map & Directions – MapQuest

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Jan 222016

Crestview is a city in Okaloosa County, Florida, United States. Crestviews name was chosen because of its location on the peak of a long woodland range between the Yellow and Shoal rivers which flow almost parallel on the east and west side of the City. It is the county seat of Okaloosa County. With an elevation of 235 feet (72m) above sea level, it is one of the highest points in the state; it receives 65 inches (1,700mm) of rainfall annually, the second-most of any city in the state of Florida, next to Fort Walton Beach with 69inches. The town was once known as “the icebox of Florida”, due to it having the coldest winters in the state. Today it goes by a more popular nickname as the “Hub City” of Northwest Florida. According to the U.S Census estimates of 2010, the city had a population of 18,987. Crestview is one of Florida’s fastest growing cities, residential developments, shopping, and land area to grow. It has, as of July 2007, become the largest city in Okaloosa County. In 2007, George Whitehurst, who had been mayor for nearly 20 years, resigned, leading to the election of David Cadle. Cadle had recently retired as the long-time director of the Crestview High School band, The Big Red Machine. As part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure round, Crestview will experience further population growth as the U.S. Army’s 7th Special Forces Group relocates from Fort Bragg, North Carolina to a newly built cantonment facility on the northern end of the Eglin Air Force Base reservation, approximately six miles south of the city.

Crestview, FL – Crestview, Florida Map & Directions – MapQuest

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Plymouth County Beaches | Plymouth, MA | Destination …

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Jan 182016

Plymouth Beach

137 Warren Avenue

Take Rt. 3A south from Plymouth Center, about 2.5 miles. The Beach entrance is on your left just after passing Plimoth Plantation (137 Warren Ave). Restrooms and snack bar are located on the beach. There are signs posted regarding the area dogs are allowed in. No lifeguards after Labor Day. Read more about Plymouth Beach

Sandwich Street South end of Waterfront (off Union Street)

Stephens Field is located in Downtown Plymouth with entrances on Sandwich and Union streets. The park features playground, basketball court, baseball field and four tennis courts. Visitors can sit by the duck pond and enjoy a picnic, or take advantage of the small boat launch. Read more about Stephen’s Field Park

Standish Street

Great for lounging and walking. However, be mindful that this beach is extremely rocky. There is a port a potty off the beach and a small snack bar. Lifeguards Snack Bar Restrooms Basketball Courts Resident Stickered Parking Non-resident parking $10 daily, $15 weekends & holidays Read more about Rexhame Beach

Scusset Beach Road

Scusset Beach is located on Cape Cod Bay at the east end of the Cape Cod Canal. It is a popular swimming and year-round camping area. There are 98 sites with water and electric utilities for RV campers and 5 tent only campsites. For salt water anglers, the area offers a popular fishing pier, a 3000 foot breakwater and 1 1/2 miles of frontage along the canal. Read more about Scusset Beach

Taylor Avenue

This is a beautiful public beach, however there is very limited parking and a resident parking sticker is needed, no lifeguards, no dogs allowed and no restrooms. Please plan accordingly. Hours open are 9am-5pm. Take Rt. 3A south to Rocky Hill Road. Take a left onto the road, follow to end, take a left. Read more about White Horse Beach

State Road Route 3A

Ellisville Harbor offers views of a barrier beach, a sphagnum bog, forested upland, open meadows and, sometimes, small fishing boats. Recreation activities include walking, bird watching, beach combing, swimming and sightseeing. In fall and winter, harbor seals can often be seen just offshore. Read more about Ellisville Harbor State Park

Duxbury Beach Duxbury, MA

Coming from the north or south – Rt 3 to exit 11- take a right off the ramp- go straight onto Rt 139 past the Duxbury police station at the fork in the road bear left for 2 miles. At the intersection, go straight across, go 3 miles- there will be a large green highway sign on your right with an arrow pointing to Duxbury Beach- go right- follow to the end of the road.

213 Nantasket Ave

Open year-round, dawn to dusk. Lifeguards on duty from late June to early September. Nantasket Beach has been a popular summer destination for city dwellers since the middle of the 19th century. The historic Paragon Carousel evokes memories of the area’s amusement park history. Read more about Nantasket Beach

182 Onset Avenue Exit 1 off Rte. 25

Onset Beach, located in the Onset section of Wareham is a smooth, sandy beach with warm Buzzards Bay water. This area is popular, so be prepared for crowds. Amenities consist of a bandstand for summer events. Lifeguard – Food concession – Restrooms – Parking charge Read more about Onset Beach

3031 Cranberry Hwy

Its family fun for everyone at Southern New Englands only water park. Water Wizz! Surfs always up at the Muscle Beach Wave pool. Get wet n wild at Captain Kids Island! Or relax on the Lazy River. For the more adventurous, take the Pirates Plunge, challenge yourself on Squid Row or fly down Hurricane Hill. Only an hour from Boston and Providence. Near Buzzards Bay. 5 minutes off Rts. Read more about Water Wizz

Beach Street & Bay Ave

Lifeguards Resident Stickered Parking. Beach Street extension, Post office (dirt lot), Avon Street Beach accessible by Beach Street extension via boardwalk. Porta Potties Read more about Green Harbor Beach

Nelson Street Waterfront area (North end of Water Street)

The newly renovated Nelson Memorial Park is a popular destination for many Plymouth residents and visitors. Families with children will enjoy the playground and picnic area. There is also a new “splash pad” area where kids can cool off on hot summer days. Other features include a new small boat ramp and a bike path that follows the harbor to Hedge Road in North Plymouth. Read more about Nelson Memorial Park

Funding, in part, by the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, Plymouth County Development Council and the Town of Plymouth Promotions Fund.2012 Destination Plymouth County. All rights reserved. Powered by Shields Design Studio, Plymouth MA

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Beaches Near Pittsburgh, PA | USA Today

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Jan 162016

Pittsburghers looking for a beach escape have several options relatively close by. (Photo: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images )

Situated in the mountains of southwestern Pennsylvania, the city of Pittsburgh doesn’t immediately bring to mind images of a day spend lounging on the sand. Fortunately for beach-craving Pittsburghers, however, several scenic lakefronts are located within close range of the city, and the boardwalks of the Jersey Shore and tranquil resorts of Delaware are an easy half-day’s drive away.

Drawing more than 1 million visitors a year, Moraine State Park is home to one of the finest lake beaches in Western Pennsylvania. The park is located just an hour north of Pittsburgh. Its biggest attraction, Lake Arthur, sports two sandy beaches along its 42 miles of shoreline. Swimming, windsurfing, and boating are all popular beach activities and boat rentals are available during the summer season. Even closer to Pittsburgh is Butler County’s Raccoon Creek State Park. Just 30 miles to the west of the city along Route 22, the park is home to a 500-foot, ADA-accessible lakefront beach open for swimming during the summer season.

Located 131 miles to the north of Pittsburgh along Interstate 79, Lake Erie is home to Preque Isle State Park, rated one of the country’s Top 100 Swimming Holes by “Conde Nast Traveler” magazine. This honor is hardly undeserved. The park’s seven miles of lifeguard-protected beaches offer some of Pennsylvania’s finest swimming, with family-friendly facilities like picnic tables, grills and changing rooms. The nearby ecological protection zone, crisscrossed by hiking paths, is home to 320 species of birds.

Delaware’s Atlantic coast offers sun-craving Pittsburghers an easy ocean escape. Rehoboth Beach, 350 miles to the southeast of Pittsburgh, is too far for a day trip but close enough for a long weekend at the shore. The most popular beach in Delaware, Rehoboth offers an oceanfront boardwalk, quaint shopping and a variety of accommodations ranging from from ocean-side condos to traditional clapboard cottages. Just south of Rehoboth, Dewey Beach draws a younger crowd with its renowned nightlife and party vibe.

The Atlantic coast of southern New Jersey is, like Delaware’s beaches, an approximately seven-hour drive from Pittsburgh. The Jersey Shore offers a diverse range of beaches, from Atlantic city’s famous casinos and urban boardwalk to Wildwood’s amusement parks and the calm Victorian beauty of Cape May. Visitors looking to escape signs of human development will appreciate the Sandy Hook Gateway National Recreation Area, which offers some of the area’s most pristine swimming and nature-watching beaches.

Paul Katz has been writing professionally since 2006. His diverse experiences include reporting on budget travel destinations for “Let’s Go Europe,” researching colonial American art for the Harvard Art Museums and publishing political commentary for Israel’s “Ha’aretz” newspaper. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and literature from Harvard.

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A Beach Within Reach – Pittsburgh Magazine – July 2005 …

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Jan 162016

Find a beach vacation within reach. Here are several with drive times under five hours.

By Roberta Mintz Levine

June 22, 2010

Photos by Michael D. McCumber and UnitedStatesEnvironmentalProtectionAgencyGreatLakesNationalProgramoffice

Squinting over endless sparkling water, the gulls swooping in for a snack; treading in gentle waves that tickle the shore; brushing sand from a peanut-butter sandwich; smelling that distinctive aroma of sun block; taking a long sunset walk, your feet sinking as you avoid sand castles that seem to disintegrate as soon as theyre built.

You dont have to drive all the way to the Jersey shore, Cape Cod or Myrtle Beach to experience the wonderful sensations of a lazy day at the beach. Theres big water much closer to home. Sand beaches on Lake Erie, the closest of the five Great Lakes, can be reached by car in as little as 2 1/2 hours from the Pittsburgh area, short enough for a day trip and interesting enough to inspire a longer trip along the shorelines in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and even southern Ontario, Canada. There are as many days worth of beaches and charming resort towns to explore as you can spare.

OK, the Great Lakes are fresh-water, not salty like the Atlantic Ocean. So theres no salty smelland you probably dont get as sticky when you swim in a Great Lake. You also dont have to worry about a shark attack (there are none) or a jellyfish sting. Waves, too, are more family-friendly, gentlerunless, at least on the southern shores of Lake Erie, theres a big wind coming from the northwest that can drum up 10- and 12-foot waves.

Which brings up another lake-versus-ocean topic: There is surfing on Lake Erie and the other lakes. Insiders understand the conditions that can create surfable waves on these vast, inland fresh-water seas. Info:

Lake Erie is getting cleaner, notes Jane Beathard, a spokeswoman at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Lake Eries 9,910-square-mile surface area makes it the 11th largest lake in the world. Its also the most shallow of the Great Lakes (average depth 62 feet), and its the warmest. The warmth combined with high nutrient levels means Lake Erie also is a fine fishery. Perhaps the most important fact: Lake Eries shoreline is a whopping 871 miles long.

From our Southwestern Pennsylvania neighborhood, the most obvious way to Lake Erie is a beeline north on Interstate 79, a jog left of the city of Erie and a right onto the naturally occurring peninsula of Presque Isle State Park (translation from the French: presque isle means almost an island; scientific research has suggested that the peninsula moves one-half mile eastward each century, due to the forces of wind and water). Its a gorgeous day-use state park offering 10 guarded beaches that are open from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. Some have views of Eries industrial shoreline while others have views of the horizon, interrupted only by ships passing in the distance and splashing kids and adults close to shore. Each guarded beach has at least some of these amenities: parking, concession stands, bathrooms and changing areas. Other attractions include miles of trails for hikers and bikers, a 13.5-mile flat-loop multipurpose trail around the park thats particularly good for in-line skating. And then theres Presque Isles acclaimed sunset. Its pretty incredible, says Miranda Crotsley, environmental-education-specialist supervisor at Presque Isle. Something about the way the peninsula juts out into the lake gives Sunset Point, near Beach 10, a perfect, uninterrupted view.

People do come from all over to catch the sunset, Crotsley says.

Every Wednesday night through July 27, the Sunset Concert Series is presented on Beach 10 from 6:30 to 9 p.m., rain or shine. Featured acts include Mambo, Bruce Johnston, Jazz Trio and Sam Highman.

Other features of special interest include the historic Presque Isle Lighthouse, a 74-foot tower built in 1872 that flashes a white light. Nature lovers can enjoy the Isle, too. The peninsulas slow eastward movement has created a fascinating and diverse landscape that works as a natural laboratory for watching geological forces in motion.

At Stull Interpretive Center (817/833-0351) near Barracks Beach (Beach 1), exhibits show the way the sand spit is continuously shaped. Also there are displays of the birds (more than 320 species have been recorded) and other flora and fauna of this special region. Info: 814/833-7424 or

Just in case you cant bear to leave our Keystone State, theres another public beach on Lake Erie: Freeport Beach in North East Township (Halli Reid Park, Freeport Road-Route 89; township office, 814/725-8606). For swimming and picnicking, try the nearby North East Marina (814/725-8244,, operated by the state Fish and Boat Commission. And this is wine country: Five wineries and their vineyards are in the township (Info: 814/725-8606).

Want to be on a real island? Head northwest to Ohio, where you can board ferries to several islands on Lake Erie. Kelleys Islandat more than 4 square miles, the largest American island on Lake Eriecan be reached by a 20-minute ferry ride (419/798-9763, from a dock in Marblehead, Ohio.

Kelleys Island, part of Lake Erie Islands State Park, is quieter and more family-oriented than its neighbor town Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island, a popular summer resort. Kelleys Island has a swimming beach, six miles of hiking trails, summer nature programs, boating, fishing and campgrounds. Info:, or You dont actually have to leave Marblehead to get to a beachOhios East Harbor State Park on Marblehead peninsula contains the state systems largest campground and a 1,500-foot-long swimming beach. Info: 419/734-4424,

For an even more exotic island adventure via Ohio, go to Canada: Pelee Island in Lake Erie is the southernmost point on Canadas mainland, in Ontario province. A ferry runs May through September from Sandusky to Pelee Island; be sure to call the ferry service at 800/661-2220 or 519/724-2115 when planning your trip. The island boasts a host of fun and interesting sights and activities, including an organic farm; a winery; nature reserves with rare species, including the blue racer snake; a restored 1833 lighthouse; great bird-watching, excellent fishing; and miles of beaches. Info: 866/889-5203,, or

Back to Earthor the Ohio shoretraveling east toward Erie, you might take sample dips on beaches along the coast such as Century Park and Lakeview Beach in Lorain County. Or stop for a swim ingasp!Cleveland. Its an urban beach experience at Cleveland Lakefront State Park. Three swimming beachesEuclid Beach, 650 feet with a scenic observation pier; 900-foot Villa Angela, with bathhouse, scenic boardwalk and fitness trail; and adjacent Wildwood Park, which has a concession standrun along the Lake Erie shoreline. You can bike along a mile-long path between Euclid Beach and Villa Angela, and another half-mile to Wildwood. Info: 216/881-8141,

The shore goes on and on. Traveling east, shoreline highlights include Headlands Beach State Park near Mentor, Ohio, with its mile-long natural sand beach and, thanks to long-ago glacier activity when this was the continental East Coast, its dunes are inhabited by plant species typically found only on the Atlantic seaboard. Recreational opportunities include hiking, fishing, a childrens playground and a sand beach amenable to beach-volleyball games. Headlands Dunes Nature Preserve at the east end of the park is a fine example of Lake Erie beach and dune communities in Ohio. Along the southern end of the park is Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve, a National Natural Landmark with 644 acres of marsh-swamp-forest that includes a 5-mile hiking trail. Next to that is the 450-acre Mentor Lagoons Nature Preserve and Marina, the states newest nature preserve with more than five miles of nature trail and 1 1/2 miles of wild beachMentor Marsh Lagoons Beacha chance to see what Lake Eries shoreline would looked like if it had remained untouched. Info: 216/881-8141,

Geneva State Park has a beautiful 300-foot-long sand beach, and fishing and boating. You can enjoy the back-to-nature experience of camping there, or stay in style in the parks new Lodge at Geneva, operated by Ashtabula County, a lodge and conference center with a panoramic view of the lake, full-service restaurant and more than 100 rooms. Info: 800/801-9982, 440/466-8400,

For more action, the lodge is within a short walk of the resort town of Geneva on the Lake, which calls itself Ohios oldest resort. Summer activities include lakefront concerts, amusement-park rides on the entertainment strip and local winery tours (there are 17 wineries in Ashtabula County). Info: 800/862-9948,

The Lake Erie shoreline knows no boundaries. In other words: Its also in New York state, where youll find a few spots of sand before you get to Buffalo. Near Dunkirk, N.Y., is Lake Erie State Park, where high bluffs overlooking the lake afford breathtaking views of the lake, and migrating birds stop before they take off across the lake. The shoreline is more than three-quarters of a mile long; options include camping, hiking and a playground, among other amenities. Info: 716/792-9214,

Continuing northwest on the other side of Dunkirk is Evangola State Park, with an arc-shaped shoreline and natural sand beach edged by low shale cliffs. If you need a break from the water, theres camping, picnicking, baseball and soccer fields and tennis and basketball courts. Info: 716/549-1802,

The coast of Lake Erie takes a hairpin curve near Buffalo, where you can cross the Peace Bridge into Canada at the mouth of the Niagara River and explore the opposite shores of Lake Erie. Port Colborne, Ontario, a town of 19,000 thats about 30 minutes drive from Buffalo, is at the southern terminus of the Welland Canal and was built around the fishing and marine industry. The city also promotes its quaint charms and summer fun: golf courses, marinas and water sports, as well as events like a waterfront festival with tall ships, fireworks and heritage displays in August. Info: 905/835-2900,

Beaches here include: Sherkston Shores, which calls itself the ultimate beach resort, has more than 2 1/2 miles of sand beach, including Wyldewood Beach, and lots of recreation, such as mini-golf, a giant water slide and horseback riding. On Nickel Beach, with more than a mile of white sand, theres swimming, windsurfing, picnic areas and a concession stand. Other beaches include Centennial (Cedar Bay) Beach, which has an on-site washroom, and Long Beach in the Long Beach Conservation Area on Lakeshore Road, Wainfleet, which has an admission charge.

Then theres that other lake. From Buffalo, you could take a whole new tactic and head north to the next-nearest Great Lake: Lake Ontario. Although its the smallest of the Great Lakes in surface area, Lake Ontario is the second deepest, with an average depth of 283 feet. The name means beautiful lake in Iroquois, and its largely rural shoreline (except for a few large urban areas like Toronto) hosts many scenic resort areas. Lake Ontario is 325 feet below Lake Erie, not far from the base of Niagara Falls, so to get to Lake Ontario, you have to pass this Natural Wonder of the World. True, Niagara Falls is no place to swim, but it is awe-inspiring.

On the Canadian side as you head north, Lake Ontario makes its first appearance near the lovely Victorian town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, home of the Shaw (theater) Festival and many historic monuments and historic sites. A swimmable beach, however, can be rare on these shoresLake Ontario is usually very cold. Info: 905/468-1950.

If youre going to Canada, have two forms of identification, at least one with a photo ID and a proof of citizenship, such as a passport or birth certificate. Resident aliens must have a residency card. Have birth certificates for each child in the vehicle. If traveling with a child who is not in your immediate family, have a note or proof that the child has permission to cross the border with you.

A popular site for outdoor recreation is Port Dalhousie, pronounced de-lucy, near St. Catharines, a quaint old village about 20 minutes from Niagra-on-the-Lake with harbors, marinas and a beachfront mainly promoted as a place to walk, jog or swim. Info: 905/937-4783,

If you head west, youll find one of the best Lake Ontario swimming areas: Fifty Point Conservation Area in Stoney Creek, near Hamilton, Ontario. Some human intervention has created one of the warmest and cleanest beaches on the western end of Lake Ontario. Facilities include changing rooms, campgrounds, full marina facilities and the Landing Restaurant. The fishing is good, too: Try salmon fishing in Lake Ontario; charters are available. Info: 905/525-2187,

If you stay in the States, there is a string of state parks along the shores of Lake Ontario as you travel across the top of western New York toward Rochester. These include Fort Niagara, Four Mile Creek and Lakeside Beach (no swimming allowed) state parks, each with a variety of outdoor activities and amenities. Only Hamlin Beach State Park in Hamlin, N.Y., promotes swimming in the lake, with its clear-water, sandy beaches and a bluff area known as Devils Nose. Info: 585/964-2462,

These destinationsfrom Marblehead, Ohio, in the west; to St. Catharines, Ontario, in the north; to Hamlin, N.Y., in the eastmay feel like another world. But you can reach these exotic localesincluding wonderful beaches on sparkling endless waterin less time than it takes to get to most parts of the Atlantic Coast. Theres a reason these big bodies of water are called Great Lakes.

Even Closer to Home: Beaches on Little Waters

An afternoon at the beach? No sweat. Just point your vehicle in almost any direction from Pittsburgh and be basking on a sandy shore in an hour or two.

Lake Arthur, a 3,225-acre lake in Moraine State Park (225 Pleasant Valley Road, near Portersville, Butler County; 724/368-8811, has two swimming beaches: Pleasant Valley Day Beach on the south shore is a 1,200-foot-long turf and sand beach; and Lakeview Beach on the north shore is a 550-foot sand beach. Lifeguards at Lakeview Beach through Labor Day, showers, changing facilities and food concessions are at both beaches.

Go a little farther north, and you can swim in a 150-acre spring-fed glacier-formed lake: Sandy Lake (off Franklin Road, Stoneboro, Mercer County; Info: 724/376-3541). Its privately owned, but accessible for a small fee. Amenities include four diving boards, docks and boat launches for fishing or waterskiing, changing rooms and a small concession area.

Raccoon Creek State Park (3000 State Route 18, Hookstown, Beaver County; 724/899-2200, includes 101-acre Raccoon Lake, with an 800-foot, handicapped-accessible sand and turf beach thats lifeguarded to Labor Day; bathhouse and refreshments nearby.

Laurel Hill State Park (1454 Laurel Hill Park Road, Jefferson and Middlecreek townships, Somerset County; 814/445-7725, has a 1,200-foot sandy beach on its 63-acre Laurel Hill Lake, which is surrounded by pristine state forest lands. The beach is lifeguarded through Labor Day, and theres a snack bar nearby.

Crooked Creek Lake (7 miles south of Kittanning on Route 66, Bethel Township., Armstrong County; 724/763-2764, 724/76-3161, is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The lake has a sandy peninsula beach at Tunnelville.

This year, we honor three people who represent vital aspects of our city’s heart while helping to propel it forward in three very different arenas: Karen Wolk Feinstein, Billy Porter, and Morgan O’Brien.

Enlightening, visually riveting and at times hauntingly beautiful, this collection of photos provides a multidimensional picture of pollutions effects on our environment and economy.

A solid menu, welcoming service and hip design make The Vandal one of the Top Openings of 2015.

Brandon Baltzley and his team of local and traveling chefs will collaborate for two nights of pop-up meals, both homage to classic red sauce Italian dishes.

Fences is the second of August Wilson’s works to be turned into a film.

A by-the-numbers (and nomenclature) look at winter weather in the ‘Burgh.

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A Beach Within Reach – Pittsburgh Magazine – July 2005 …

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Waldorf, Maryland – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Jan 142016

Waldorf is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Charles County, Maryland, United States. It is 23 miles (37km) south-southeast of Washington, D.C. The population of the census-designated area (now including the large planned community of St. Charles) was 67,752 at the 2010 census.[1] Waldorf was settled before 1900 as a rural crossroads with a train station and was called “Beantown” after a local family.

Waldorf’s original name was Beantown. During his post assassination flight, John Wilkes Booth told a road sentry he was headed to his home in Charles County near Beantown and was allowed to proceed.[2] In 1880, the General Assembly of Maryland by an act changed the name to “Waldorf” in honor of William Waldorf Astor (18481919), the great-grandson of John Jacob Astor (17631848), who was born in Walldorf, Palatinate, Germany.[3] On July 29, 1908, the city of Plumb Valley in Waseca County, Minnesota, changed its name to Waldorf after Waldorf, Maryland.[4]

Once a tobacco market village, Waldorf came to prominence in the 1950s as a gambling destination after slot machines were legalized in Charles County in 1949. The boom lasted until 1968 when gambling was once again outlawed.[5] Its subsequent substantial growth as a residential community began with a 1970 loan package from the Department of Housing and Urban Development which fueled the giant planned community of St. Charles, south of Waldorf.

St. Catharine, or the Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.[6]

Waldorf is predominantly a bedroom community for many residents who commute to work at other points in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, especially personnel at Andrews Air Force Base. Waldorf’s local jobs are primarily in the service and sales industry. Nearby St. Charles Towne Center, a 2-story shopping mall, opened in 1988[7] and was remodeled in 2007. St. Charles Towne Center draws shoppers and diners from several Maryland counties, Washington, and parts of Virginia, causing Charles County to be promoted as the “shopping capital of Southern Maryland.”[citation needed]U.S. Route 301, the main highway through the town, boasts the “Waldorf Motor Mile,”[citation needed] with car dealerships located primarily along the northbound side. In 2005, Waldorf opened its third public high school (North Point High School),[8] which has advanced science/technology programs; the Capital Clubhouse 24-hour indoor sports complex and ice rink also opened that year.[9] A fourth public high school opened in 2014 called St. Charles High School.[10] Thomas Stone and Westlake High Schools are also located in Waldorf. Waldorf has a branch of the College of Southern Maryland. In 2006, plans were announced to build two more shopping centers, including one with high-end stores and an attractive “lifestyle” town center design layout.[citation needed] Ground was also broken to build an office park with mid-rise office buildings at the intersection of Western Parkway and Route 228 (Berry Road); the Residence Inn opened there in 2010, and another new hotel has opened across the road.[citation needed] The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs baseball team is also in Waldorf.

Waldorf is located at 383846N 765354W / 38.64611N 76.89833W / 38.64611; -76.89833 (38.646173, -76.898217).[11]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 36.5 square miles (94.5km2), of which 36.2 square miles (93.8km2) is land and 0.27 square miles (0.7km2), or 0.72%, is water.[12]

Most of Waldorf is flat, particularly the eastern part of the city. There are small hills to the west, and much of the southern and eastern parts of the city are wetlands, featuring very diverse wildlife in ponds and streams. Waldorf is forested, mostly with oak and pine trees.

Even though Waldorf is a rapidly developing urbanized area, the community is surrounded by farms. These farms include:

Tobacco, once a dominant crop in Southern Maryland, has nearly disappeared as a crop grown by farmers, since most area farmers accepted buy-outs during the 1990s from the Maryland state government.

Waldorf’s neighbors are as follows: Prince George’s County (north), Bennsville (west), La Plata (south). On the east, from north to south there are Cedarville State Forest, Malcolm and Bryantown.

The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Kppen Climate Classification system, Waldorf has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated “Cfa” on climate maps.[18]

As of the census[20] of 2000, there were 22,312 people, 7,603 households, and 5,991 families residing in the CDP. In the CDP, the population density was 1,746.0 people per square mile (674.1/km). There were 7,827 housing units at an average density of 612.5 per square mile (236.5/km). The racial makeup of the CDP was 61.11% White, 31.98% African American, 0.54% Native American, 2.59% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.88% from other races, and 2.88% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.91% of the population.

There were 7,603 households out of which 45.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.6% were married couples living together, 15.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.2% were non-families. 14.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.93 and the average family size was 3.24.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 30.6% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 36.4% from 25 to 44, 20.7% from 45 to 64, and 4.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 94.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.8 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $68,869, and the median income for a family was $71,439 (these figures had risen to $86,901 and $94,432 respectively as of a 2007 estimate[21]). Males had a median income of $45,293 versus $35,386 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $24,728. About 2.7% of families and 4.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.4% of those under age 18 and 2.2% of those age 65 or over.

The major routes in Waldorf are:

The Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge on Route 301 provides a road connection from Waldorf to Virginia. Although the bridge is outmoded and narrow (2-lane), it is nevertheless used by some long-distance East Coast through-motorists as a travel alternative to Interstate 95/495 which often has major traffic backups (see Woodrow Wilson Bridge). In the years to come, due to traffic concerns, a bypass may be built through either western or eastern Waldorf, or the highway may continue on the same route through Waldorf with overpasses.[citation needed] This will give an interstate feel to the Waldorf area and ultimately take away traffic congestion to the north-south routes in Waldorf.

Public transportation is provided by Van-Go, a bus system administered by Charles County for most of the county, including Waldorf, and interconnecting to nearby St.Mary’s County Transit System buses.[22]MTA Maryland has four commuter routes (901, 903, 905, and 907, all operated by Dillons Transportation except the 903 which is serviced by Keller Transportation) that takes commuters to and from downtown Washington, D.C., and ridership is rapidly growing.[citation needed] Waldorf has seven park & ride lots served by MTA Maryland routes: two at St. Charles Towne Center, one at St. Charles Towne Plaza, one at Smallwood Drive and US 301, one on Mattawoman Beantown Road, one at Smallwood Village Center, and one at Regency Furniture Stadium.

Vehicular traffic in Waldorf is usually congested, and the state is still evaluating options for a U.S. Route 301 bypass around western Waldorf. Through Virginia and Maryland, US 301 along with U.S. Route 17 are used as alternate routes from I-95, due to I-95 vehicular traffic congestion.[citation needed] Due to Waldorf’s bedroom community nature and lack of any significant hometown industry, its highways can become very congested in the morning commutes north to Washington, and also on Friday through Sunday in every direction due to shoppers, many of them visiting from other counties. Much of the congestion is seen at the intersection of Route 228 and 301 and Community Drive, on Berry Road going westward to Western Parkway, near St. Patrick’s Drive, on Mall Circle surrounding St. Charles Towne Center, and on Smallwood Drive near the neighborhood of Carrington. Most vehicular traffic is in the southern areas of Waldorf.

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Waldorf, Maryland – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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