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Thousand Islands goes cold in second half, loses 56-32 to Watkins Glen in Class C regional – Syracuse.com

By Pat Spadafore | pspadafore@syracuse.com on March 11, 2017 9:36 PM, updated March 11, 2017 9:53 PM

The Thousand Islands girls basketball team was able to figure out the Watkins Glen first half press, but had trouble scoring in the second half, losing 56-32 in the girls Class C basketball regional on Saturday at Tompkins Cortland Community College.

The Vikings (21-2) overcame three first quarter 10 second back court violations and trailed just by two points, 12-10 when the first quarter ended. Courtney Evans-Eppolito scored seven of her team-high 22 points in the second quarter as Thousand Islands trailed 28-19.

But the shots failed to fall in the second half for the Vikings, who didn’t make a basket until there were four minutes left in the game. Thousand Islands finished with just three buckets in the second half, all from Evans-Eppolito.

Watkins Glen (20-2) was led by Amanda Pike with a game-high 30 points. The Senecas leading scorer converted on 13 of 15 free throws in the game.

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Thousand Islands goes cold in second half, loses 56-32 to Watkins Glen in Class C regional – Syracuse.com

Indonesia declares more outermost islands – Jakarta Post

In an effort to protect the country’s border areas against foreign territorial claims, the government has declared 111 outerislands, which include some previously not stated as border areas.

Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti welcomed Presidential Decree No. 6/2017 on outermost islands, the new regulation signed by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo,which revises a 2005 decree that only named 92 islands.

The newly mentioned islands include Bintan and Berakit in the province of Riau Islands and Nusa Penida in Bali.

The enactment of these [111] islands is to prevent issues of occupation or claims of possession by other nations, said Susion Saturday, as quoted bytribunnews.com.

(Read also:Indonesia to secure ownership of 111 islets)

The latest government move comes after several disputes over peripheral islands with neighboring countries Malaysia and Singapore.

Last year, Indonesia was also involved in a spat with China over fishing activities in waters near Natuna Island.

(Read also:Jokowi inaugurates new airport terminal in Natuna)

The government, according to Susi, will keep close watch over the 111 islands to prevent activities like drug smuggling, human trafficking andillegal fishing.

The minister also expressed her hope that natural resources in the outermost and remote islands could be utilized in the interest of the local people and the government. (mrc/wit)

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Indonesia declares more outermost islands – Jakarta Post

Chick magnets save Gulf Islands National Seashore birds – Pensacola News Journal

Melissa Nelson Gabriel , mnelsongab@pnj.com Published 6:03 a.m. CT March 12, 2017 | Updated 3 hours ago

National park ranger Renee Jones hands out chick magnets at the entrance to Fort Pickens on Wednesday, March 8, 2017.(Photo: Gregg Pachkowski/gregg@pnj.com)Buy Photo

Gulf Islands National Seashore Superintendent Dan Brown wanted to make park visitors aware of the dangers speeding cars pose to baby shorebirds when he dreamed up the idea of chick magnets back in 2014.

Brown had no idea how popular the car magnets, which featurebaby birds encouraging drivers to slow down, would become.

“I can drive 100 miles away from here and see cars with those magnets,” he said. “I think people like the name;it’s a fun thing that catches their attention.”

New chick magnets are available at park entrance gates and the Fort Pickens visitors center.

Related content:Shorebird nesting season begins

The 2017 chick magnets feature a snowy plover chick with the message “Save a chick #drive 25.”

Superintendent Dan Brown discusses how he came up with the idea for the chick magnets at the Fort Pickens National Park. Wednesday, March 8, 2017.(Photo: Gregg Pachkowski/gregg@pnj.com)

Renee Jones, a park service employee who was workingat the Fort Pickens entrance gate last week, said she already had gotten requests from people wanting the new magnets.

“People love them,” said Jones, who has had the magnets stolen from her car in past years.

The release of the new magnets marks the start of shorebird nesting season, which stretches through September.

Related content:Pensacola Beach sand dunes getting new walkovers

Park biologist Kelly Irick said the park’s birds often nest near the road and the flightless chicks are attracted to the pavement during the heat of the day when bugs swarm the hot asphalt. The chicks can also be hit by cars when people walk into nesting areas, causing the birds to flush.

Less than 10 percent of snowy plover eggs hatched in the park make it to becomefledgling birds, Iricksaid. In 2016, park officials documented about 100 shorebird deaths from cars.

In past years, the chick magnets have encouraged motorists to drive 20 miles per hour. The park upped the suggested speed limit for 2017 to 25 miles per hourto make it consistent with the speed limits throughout Gulf Islands National Seashore.

Despite the high mortality rate of newly hatched shorebirds, Brown said the chick magnet program appears to be making a difference.

“We have noticed more and more people obeying the speed limit signs and paying attention,” he said.

Related content:Fort Pickens asphalt removal project complete

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Chick magnets save Gulf Islands National Seashore birds – Pensacola News Journal

Meet Diego, the Centenarian Whose Sex Drive Saved His Species – New York Times


New York Times
Meet Diego, the Centenarian Whose Sex Drive Saved His Species
New York Times
CHARLES DARWIN RESEARCH STATION, Galpagos Of all the giant tortoises on these islands, where the theory of evolution was born, only a few have received names that stuck. There was Popeye, adopted by sailors at an Ecuadorean naval base.

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Meet Diego, the Centenarian Whose Sex Drive Saved His Species – New York Times

RCSAA plans Oct. 1-7 trip to Cape Cod and the Islands – Asheboro Courier Tribune

ASHEBORO Randolph County Senior Adults Association and Premier World Discovery have planned a trip to Cape Cod and the Islands on Sunday-Saturday, Oct. 1-7.

The highlights of this trip are visits to Cape Cod, Boston, Nantucket Island, Marthas Vineyard, Newport, Rhode Island, Plymoth Rock, a New England lobster dinner and more.

Trip cost is $2,145 per person for double occupancy and $2,795 per person for single occupancy.

Included in the price is roundtrip airfare from Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, six nights in one hotel, nine meals (six breakfasts and three dinners), daily sightseeing, professional tour director, deluxe motorcoach, baggage handling and hotel transfers.

Amanda Speer with Premier World Discovery will be at the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Adult Resource and Education Center, 347 W. Salisbury St., Asheboro, on Thursday, April 13, at 5 p.m. to make a presentation on this trip.

If interested or for more information, contact Bill Craig at 336-625-3389 or 1-800-252-2899, ext. 232.

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RCSAA plans Oct. 1-7 trip to Cape Cod and the Islands – Asheboro Courier Tribune

Cook Islands justice ministry strike averted – Radio New Zealand

Cook Islands Ministry of Justice Photo: RNZI / Mary Baines

Strike action by staff at the Cook Islands Ministry of Justice appears to have been avoided, for now, after discussions with Justice Minister Nandi Glassie.

This week, the Office of the Public Service Commissioner recommended that salary bands across the board at the ministry be reduced by as much as US$9,000.

Angered by the prospect of their pay being cut by between US$1,300 and $4,000, the ministry’s 68 staff had threatened to take strike action, which would have caused widespread disruption.

The secretary of justice, Tingika Elikana, said he could understand the frustration, as many staff were struggling to make ends meet and, in many cases, had to work second jobs.

However, government heavyweights have rejected any notion of paycuts.

Mr Glassie, Prime Minister Henry Puna, and the head of the commission, Russell Thomas, have all said that salary reductions will not be made for current staff.

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Cook Islands justice ministry strike averted – Radio New Zealand

Scattered sheep, horn honking and a backyard burn | Sheriff’s Log – Islands’ Sounder

The San Juan County Sheriffs Office responded to the following calls.

March 1

A vehicle was stopped for having their registration expire in March 2016. The driver had no license or proof of insurance.

A Lopez Island man was stopped at cited for speeding on Hummel Lake Road.

A Lopez Island deputy was sent to check on sheep in the roadway. The sheep were out in a pasture when the deputy arrived. Nearby residents were contacted to help determine the owner.

At 5:05 p.m. Peace Island Medical Center staff contacted the sheriffs office in reference to a dog bite. A deputy responded and took a report of the incident.

A deputy was dispatched to the Port of Friday Harbor Spring Street Landing regarding the report of a trespass violation. The reporting party observed that the alleged trespasser drove a silver van which was parked in the lower parking lot. Upon the deputys arrival, the deputy observed the same silver colored van leaving.

March 3

Deputies were dispatched to a domestic dispute in Friday Harbor. After further investigation, it was found to be verbal only and parties separated with no further incident.

San Juan County deputies recognized a subject that had warrants in Eastsound. The subject was arrested. A controlled substance was found on the person. The subject was booked into jail due to the warrant and felony possession of drugs.

A victim contacted the sheriffs office in Friday Harbor in reference to fraud. The victim was part of a data breach at a local business. Personal information about the victim and a child were accessed. An informational report was taken for documentation.

March 4

A San Juan Island deputy responded to the report of an intoxicated male who was found in a familys driveway, in their van, drunk and honking the horn. The male was contacted and arrested and booked into jail, pending court.

At approximately 6:35 p.m, a San Juan Island deputy arrived at the intersection of Beaverton Valley Road and Scheffer Drive in reference to a non-injury two vehicle collision. One driver was issued a criminal citation for driving with a suspended license in the third degree. A police traffic collision report was completed.

March 5

A Bellingham man reported a suspicious looking man on the south end of Lopez Island. The subject was gone when the deputy arrived. No further action was necessary.

At approximately 1 p.m a brown bifold wallet was turned into dispatch at the San Juan County Sheriffs Office in Friday Harbor. The wallet contained a Washington State Enhanced Drivers License, an insurance card, a Costco Card, and a Mastercard Debit Card.

Deputies were dispatched to a domestic incident in Eastsound. One of the parties was removed and a report was taken.

At 6:37 p.m a deputy in Friday Harbor received a report of an assault. The victim was punched several times causing injury to his face. The suspect was arrested for assault in the fourth degree and was booked into the jail.

March 6

A Lopez Island deputy contacted a resident about a noncompliant backyard burn. Information was provided to the resident on what materials are appropriate to burn and others that should be disposed of by other means. The resident promised to be in compliance with the rules in the future. No further action necessary.

A Lopez Island woman reported an abandoned vehicle near her workplace. A deputy identified the owner of the vehicle, who agreed to remove the vehicle later in the day. No further action necessary.

A San Juan County Deputy and Orcas Fire and EMS crews responded to a rollover collision near Eastsound. Field tests were performed and the driver was not believed to be impaired. He was cited for driving with a suspended license and for violating his ignition interlock requirement. An ignition interlock is a device that is often required by the state if someone is charged with a DUI. It works like a breathalyzer and prohibits the car from starting if alcohol is detected.

A Lopez Island resident requested information on how to have an abandoned vehicle removed from private property. A deputy inspected the vehicle in question and provided suggestions for removal.

A Lopez deputy was dispatched for sheep-at-large in a residents yard. A likely owner was identified and attempts were made to contact him.

March 7

A Decatur Island resident reported feral sheep being killed. A report was taken.

A deputy initiated a traffic stop in Friday Harbor and the driver was issued an infraction for speeding.

Lopez deputies responded to a rollover crash on Lopez Sound Road. The driver had minor injuries and was transported to the clinic by EMS responders.

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Scattered sheep, horn honking and a backyard burn | Sheriff’s Log – Islands’ Sounder

Ties with islands important, says Amhaouch of CDA – The Daily Herald (press release)

By Suzanne Koelega

THE HAGUE–Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Mustafa Amhaouch of the Christian Democratic Party CDA is relatively new to the Kingdom Relations portfolio, but he is committed to the Kingdom, as is his party. The connection with the islands is important.

Amhaouch (46) was installed as a Member of the Second Chamber in January 2016. He runs as number 15 on the CDA slate for the elections coming Wednesday. Amhaouch, born in the Netherlands of Moroccan descent, filled the void in the Second Chambers Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations left by Madeleine van Toorenburg (CDA) due to other commitments in Parliament.

A visit to the Dutch Caribbean in January this year as part of the Dutch delegation for the Inter-Parliamentary Consultation for the Kingdom IPKO, Amhaouch was able to obtain first-hand experience on the islands, in this case Curaao and Bonaire, and to get a more in-depth view on the issues affecting the Kingdom.

He noticed the challenges in the relations between the Dutch Caribbean part and the Netherlands part of the Kingdom. He took note of the struggles of the islands, such as poverty and the lack of economic development, but he also saw opportunities; room for improvement.

The islands can function as a hub between Europe and Latin-America, which creates a win-win situation for all countries of the Kingdom. According to Amhaouch, the Dutch Government often perceives the relations with the islands too much in abstracts. More interaction and open-mindedness would positively contribute to these relations.

As for the frequent tensions in the relations within the Kingdom, Amhaouch said there are two sides to the medal. The Dutch Caribbean countries claim their autonomous position, while at the same time they lean on the Kingdom.

Amhaouch made reference to CDAs election programme, which dedicates ample attention to the islands. The Netherlands has been tied to the Kingdom parts in the Caribbean through many centuries of shared history. He said these were no hollow words for his party. We have a responsibility to make something of this together.

Aruba, Curaao and St. Maarten carry their own weight as autonomous countries, but for the Dutch public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba the situation is different. We have a special responsibility for these islands, said Amhaouch.

Aside from stimulating the infrastructural and economic development, there is a task for the Netherlands to assist with the eradication of poverty on the three smaller islands. Amhaouch, who studied measurement science and control engineering at Fontys Hogeschool in Venlo, and worked 20 years in a management function at the highly successful Dutch technical company ASML, sees possibilities for (more) agriculture.

Stimulating agriculture on the islands would reduce the need to import expensive food items and would at the same time make the islands more self-reliant. He recently submitted written questions to the Dutch Government to get more attention for this matter.

Amhaouch also sees a responsibility and a role for the public entities to take initiative and come up with their own plans and wishes for The Hague. The Second Chamber is also your Parliament. The municipality in Limburg, where I live, drafts its own plans if it wants to get something done. The islands should do the same. In that way we as Parliament can address and support these plans.

Democracy and the level of government are vital issues and they are related. Democracy starts with an agile, integer government. The stronger that basis is, the better it is for the trust between the countries within the Kingdom. Unfortunately, these factors have been lacking in Curaao, St. Maarten and St. Eustatius, said Amhaouch. Aruba, Bonaire and Saba were doing a lot better.

Integrity is the basis of the public administration, and an issue that is highly important to the CDA party. The criminal undermining teams that have been active on the islands, with the support of the Netherlands, are bearing fruit and should be maintained. This remains necessary for the future, said Amhaouch.

Integrity is specifically mentioned in CDAs election programme: As part of the Kingdom, the countries have a serious responsibility to guarantee integrity in government and for an effective law enforcement and border control.

Good governance is also part of that programme. There is a joint responsibility for good governance. The islands where this is going well can execute more tasks, closer to the citizens. Where this is not going well, the Netherlands will take its responsibility seriously in the interest of the citizens.

Amhaouch will very likely remain in the Second Chamber after the March 15 elections, as his party is expected to secure around 20 seats. Though this is a decision of his party, Amhaouch said he would like to stay on as spokesperson for Kingdom Relations. Continuity is important.

The Member of Parliament (MP) urged people to go out and vote on March 15. The Second Chamber is there for the entire Netherlands, and that includes the public entities. The votes from the islands are important, as they very well could be game changers for some parties.

Amhaouch said it is important for voters to give their mandate to a party that is involved with the islands, and which has local participation. The CDA has its own candidate in electoral district number 20, the Caribbean Netherlands, in the person of Koos Sneek of St. Eustatius.

As a former Member of the Municipal Council of Helden (Limburg) from 1997 to 2006, and as Chairman of the CDA department Peel and Maas for six years until 2016, Amhaouch knows how important it is to allow people to participate and to listen to them. We should not talk about the people, but with the people.

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Ties with islands important, says Amhaouch of CDA – The Daily Herald (press release)

Channel Islands bald eagle lays egg – Ventura County Star

This is a photo from 2014 showing a bald eagle landing on a nest.(Photo: PETER SHARPE/IWS)

Let the hours of nest watching begin.

After a long fall and winter, a pair of bald eagles is back in the Sauces Canyon nest on Santa Cruz Island.

The National Park Service posted on social media that an egg had beenlaid Thursday, and a day later, the egg seemed to be doing well.

Even though Santa Cruz is about 20 miles offVentura, thepublic can get a bird’s-eye view of the nestthrough a live webcam.

Last year, people watched in their kitchens and their classrooms asbald eagle chicks hatched, grew and fledged on Santa Cruz, part of the Channel Islands National Park.

Some even posted online when they felt a baby chick got too close to the edge of a nest or when it seemed to take too long for a parent to come back with food.

Officials have said it’s just one of the ways that they can bring the five-island park to people who might not get a chance to visit in person.The webcam reach has grown through a partnership between the park and explore.org.

DDT contamination took a steep toll on the Channel Islands bald eagle and peregrine falcon populations, along with many other birds.

Contamination led to egg shells being so thin that they would break in the nests. While the pesticide was banned in the 1970s, its effects off Southern California lasted for decades.

Recovery efforts that ranged from releasing young birds on the islands to artificially incubating eggs outside of the nests have helped both birds make comebacks.

In 2006, a pair of bald eagles successfully bred naturally on Santa Cruz Island. It was the first time in 50 years that had happened on one of the islands.

As of last year,officials said 124 bald eagle chicks hatched naturally and fledged from nests on the Channel Islands since then.

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Channel Islands bald eagle lays egg – Ventura County Star

Policy Summit Focuses On Agenda For Cape And Islands – CapeNews.net

More than 200 Cape and islands residents participated in a policy summit at Cape Cod Community College’s Tilden Arts Center on Saturday, March 4. State Senator Julian A. Cyr (D-Truro), who represents the Cape and Islands District that includes Mashpee, hosted the event.

“Communities on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket face unique challenges,” Sen. Cyr said in a release Monday, March 7. “To move forward on housing affordability, wastewater, the opioid epidemic and so much more, we need innovative policy solutions, outside-of-the-box thinking and public participation.”

The policy summit featured six working sessions centered around living, working, raising a family, aging, serving and preserving natural resources on the Cape and islands. Each session, facilitated by a local leader, featured a panel of industry experts, activists, elected officials and nonprofit directors.

The nonpartisan gathering highlighted panelists across the political spectrum, including Sen. Cyr’s general election opponent, retired Air Force Brigadier General Anthony E. Schiavi.

Sen. Cyr spoke about how the challenges facing residents of the Cape and islands require inventive solutions and strong partnerships between local communities and elected officials.

“My hope is that participants are introduced to people and work they didn’t know about,” Sen. Cyr said. “I want every person here today to commit to one tangible action they can do to become more involved in their local community and in the policy-making process.”

Sen. Cyr encouraged attendees to commit to helping a community organization, attend pending town meetings and run for public office.

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Policy Summit Focuses On Agenda For Cape And Islands – CapeNews.net

Forecast: Light Snow Around Boston, More On South Shore And Islands – WBUR

wbur

March 10, 2017Updated 03/10/2017 11:59 AM

By David Goldbaum

A fast moving storm will move off the Mid-Atlantic coast today. The Boston metro area will be on the northern edge of the system, and a period of light snow can be expected, with an inch or 2 of accumulation. Higher amounts will be confined to parts of Cape Codand the Islands, where up to 7inches of snow could fall.

This storm will intensify well to our east Saturday with gusty northwesterly winds and a reinforcement of arctic air in its wake. Sunshine will prevail Sunday with temperatures moderating slightly as winds diminish.

Next week looks interesting, as another storm develops to our southwest and makes its way to the coast. Indications are that it blossoms into a major noreaster Tuesday into Wednesday. Its still too early to determine the exact strength or track, but it has the potential to bring significant snow accumulations to much of the Northeast.

Meteorologist Dave Goldbaum is in for WBUR’s David Epstein.

Today: Morninglight snow, tapering to flurries this afternoon. High: 35.

Tonight: Few evening snow showers andsqualls. Clearing andwindy overnight. Lows: 10-15. Wind chills around 0.

Saturday: Partly sunny, breezy. High: 23.

Saturday Night: Clear, very Cold. Lows 5-10.

Sunday: Mostly sunny, cold. High: 26.

Monday:Mostly sunny. High: 30.

Tuesday:Cloudy with snow possibly changing to rain. Highs in the 30s.

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Forecast: Light Snow Around Boston, More On South Shore And Islands – WBUR

Bigger plane for Blue Islands – Jersey Evening Post

BLUE Islands is to offer more seats on its peak inter-island services from the end of this month, when it introduces a larger aircraft.

The airline is due to replace its 46-seat ATR 42, which operates the peak morning and evening flights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, with an ATR 72, capable of carrying up to 68 passengers.

Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham, who has previously raised concerns over the state of inter-island travel, welcomed the arrival of the new aircraft, which is due to come into service on 28 March.

JEP Extra is more than just your daily newspaper. Its multimedia package which delivers the paper to your door, your mobile and your tablet or PC daily

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Bigger plane for Blue Islands – Jersey Evening Post

Man accused of raping CSU Channel Islands student – KEYT

CSUCI student charged with raping…

CAMARILLO, Calif. – A California State University Channel Islands student is charged with raping a fellow student.

On Friday his arraignment was postponed and he was released from jail after posting $100,000 bail.

Cal State University Channel Islands student Jonathan Henry-Walker is charged with felony forcible rape. He was placed on interim suspension from the Camarillo campus, after three female students reported he had raped them in the fall.

There were three separate female students, Channel Islands Students, who reported that they had been raped. They were all separate incidents, and each of the three students named the same male student as the accused, said Lt. Michael Morris with the CSUCI Police Department.

The alleged rapes took place between September and October, officers say one happened off-campus, the other two happened in on-campus dorms.

What we are prepared to say is that we have information that the victims were incapacitated at that time. Whether it was drugs or alcohol or a combination there of, it is under investigation, said Morris.

Henry-Walker transferred to Channel Islands in the fall of 2016. The 23-year-old student was living on campus and majoring in psychology when the rape accusations were made.

Since the accusations he has been living at his home in San Bernardino, where he was arrested without incident on Thursday.

Students we spoke to say, they are pleased with the way the school handled the situation. They also commented that the news of the alleged rapes has not changed their opinions about living on campus.

I did hear about it because the school sends out emails from the police department, said CSUCI Junior, Joseline Centolalla. I still do feel safe in this school. The school is pretty safe at all times. You see the police cars going around at all times even at 2-3 in the morning.

I remember getting emails about this months ago about how to be safe and ways to not get in that situation. I feel really good here, and do not feel I am less safe because of it, said CSUCI Freshman Emma Thompson.

Henry-Walker remains on interim suspension while the investigation is on-going. The Ventura County District Attorneys office says it does not plan on filing additional charges against him unless it gets new information.

If Henry-Walker is convicted he would face 8 years in prison. He would also be required to register as a sex offender.

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Man accused of raping CSU Channel Islands student – KEYT

Message in bottle from Cayman Islands reaches Galveston – Fort Worth Star Telegram


Fort Worth Star Telegram
Message in bottle from Cayman Islands reaches Galveston
Fort Worth Star Telegram
The Galveston County Daily News (http://bit.ly/2mr5STW ) reports the message wasn't anything substantial it just contained Garza's name and contact information but he stuffed it in a Tabasco bottle and tossed it off the coast of the Cayman Islands.

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Message in bottle from Cayman Islands reaches Galveston – Fort Worth Star Telegram

Universal Studios: Skull Island: Reign of Kong review – USA TODAY

Arthur Levine, Special for USA TODAY 7:48 a.m. ET March 10, 2017

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The attraction ends on an animatronic Kong character encountering guests, a next-gen theme park marvel. The vehicle lingers for more than half a minute within eight feet of the character, giving guests time to take in his subtle facial expressions and booming, basso profundo growls.(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort)

Everything about the new Skull Island: Reign of Kong attraction at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure theme park is massive. Enormous gates open to let 40-foot-long, 50,000-pound, 72-passenger trackless vehicles onto the mysterious island. Humungous dinosaurs threaten to attack the passengers and send them hurtling over a cliff until an even larger, more menacing King Kong comes to their rescue. After he saves the day, the big galoot 18 feet wide, 30 feet tall from mid-chest to the top of his Escalade-sized head, a roar louder and more sternum-vibrating than anything Katy Perry could ever hope to replicate stares down the puny human survivors.

Despite the mind-boggling scale of the attraction, there’s something oddly intimate about the experience. “We want you to be up-close and personal with Kong,” says Mike West, executive producer at Universal Creative and lead designer of the ride. After encountering the colossal ape, I wouldn’t exactly consider him my new BFF. But I would say we shared a special moment and forged a unique bond.

The journey begins in the park’s Jurassic Park land. The two intellectual properties are distinct, but since they both share incongruous dinosaurs, the juxtaposition works. Guests are transported to the early 1930s and join the Eighth Wonder Expedition Company to explore the tropical island’s strange happenings. “You’re here to discover species of unknown origin,” West says. “Which you soon discover would be better left unknown.”

The long queue includes temple ruins and artifacts from the expedition’s encampment. At the base, a vintage radio broadcasts ominous news reports about Skull Island. To help build suspense, live actors dressed as natives and hidden in the queue scare and surprise guests. (Note that while the ride has a height limit of 36 inches, the content is decidedly rated PG.) Universal, which presents the limited-run, acclaimed Halloween Horror Nights each season at its parks in Hollywood and Florida, is a master of haunted mazes. But this is the first time it has incorporated the “scareactor” concept into the queue of one of its regular attractions.

At the end of the queue, there is an animatronic native elder, which Adam Rivest, a Universal show producer, refers to as a “shawoman.” She performs a ritual in which she apparently invokes Kong and warns visitors to hightail it out of there. So, of course they make their way to load onto the expedition vehicles that will take them to Skull Island.

The vehicles are quite impressive. They mark Universal’s first use of trackless ride technology. Rivest says the system helps drive the narrative. “By removing the track, there’s nothing between you and the story.” Passengers literally don’t know where they’re going as they head out across the island.

The autonomous vehicles are also driverless, although in the context of the story, one of five fictitious characters supposedly drives and narrates each ride. Among them are a native island woman and Will Denham, a young sailor. According to the backstory conjured by Rivest and his colleagues, Denham later tells his uncle, Carl, about the peculiar goings-on at Skull Island. That inspired the expedition that was the basis for the original 1933 King Kong movie and the 2005 remake starring Jack Black.

Ruts and other intentional impediments along the vehicle’s path make for a bumpy ride. On the other side of the island’s gates, huge winged prehistoric creatures attack one of the scientists. Giant earthworm-like baddies then spray icky goo onto passengers, and the vehicles race farther into the island to escape the onslaught.

Universal Orlandos Skull Island: Reign of Kong now open

Universal uses a concept known as an immersion tunnel to envelop guests in the madness that follows. The vehicle is locked onto a motion base that moves in sync with action projected in 3D onto a long wraparound screen. While they are actually standing still, passengers feel as if they are careening at high speed. Kong and the T-rex brigade battle it out on both sides of the vehicle.

It’s a giddy, engaging sequence that has passengers pivoting their heads back and forth to keep up with the frantic action. This part of the attraction is an update of the King Kong experience that Universal Studios Hollywood incorporates into its Studio Tour. West says that the scene is essentially the same, but Universal reanimated and re-rendered all of the media at a high-speed of 60 frames per second and in 4K ultra-high-definition. Compared to Hollywood’s lower-resolution footage, the Orlando version looked noticeably brighter and sharper to me.

Whereas the California park presents Kong in the context of filmmaking and production, the goal in Florida is to immerse visitors into the world of Skull Island. In addition to the scenes that precede the fight sequence, the Islands of Adventure attraction tacks on a coda in which an animatronic Kong character encounters guests. It is reminiscent of the robotic Kongs that used to stalk guests at a defunct attraction in sister park, Universal Studios Florida, and in Hollywood before a fire on the studio’s backlot destroyed the big ape.

This Kong, however, is a next-gen theme park marvel. “I think he’s more advanced than any figure that’s ever been created,” West says. The vehicle lingers for more than half a minute within eight feet of the character, giving guests time to take in his subtle facial expressions and booming, basso profundo growls. “We really wanted to bring out his personality,” adds West.

With a legacy dating back over 80 years, Kong is an icon in movies and at theme parks. Perhaps he’s not as warm and cuddly as his rival, Mickey Mouse, but he’s every bit as legendary. He’sfeatured in another blockbuster titled (synergistically enough) “Kong: Skull Island” that opens today.

Universal Orlando’s Reign of Kong pays homage to the big guy in grand style. Should you make your own trek to Florida to join the expedition to Skull Island, I predict you’ll go ape.

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Universal Studios: Skull Island: Reign of Kong review – USA TODAY

05:03Mosquito Transmission of Zika Reported in US Virgin Islands – Sputnik International

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AFP 2017/ MARVIN RECINOS

“Women who are pregnant should not travel tothe US Virgin Islands,” the release stated onFriday. “If you must travel, talk toyour doctor first and strictly follow steps toprevent mosquito bites.”

Sexual transmission ofZika virus is also possible, so couples should use condoms or not have sex duringa trip to, or followinga visit to, the Virgin Islands, the release explained.

Earlier onFriday, the CDC added Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Maldives and the Solomon Islands tothe list ofcountries tobe avoided because ofZika. A full list ofnations and territories infected withthe birth-defect-causing disease is available onthe CDC website.

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05:03Mosquito Transmission of Zika Reported in US Virgin Islands – Sputnik International

Equialt plans to bulldoze, replace some rundown Davis Islands rentals – Tampabay.com (blog)

DAVIS ISLANDS There are weeds growing out of the overhang above the front door. An upstairs window is left open. The gutters are covered with streaks of black dirt.

The green, grime-covered house has been vacant for months, but seemingly neglected for years.

Yet there it is on Davis Islands, the community of about 5,500 people just across the water from downtown Tampa and on Davis Boulevard even, the main drag with bars, restaurants, cafes and small shops. Davis Islands is home to Tampa General Hospital doctors, lawyers, Derek Jeter and for one glorious stint in 2016, Beyonc.

The median price of a single-family home sold on the island during the last six months approached $1 million.

But many of the smaller rental units remain in poor shape. So one island resident, Brian Davison, collected $3.95 million from investors on the West Coast and bought five multifamily homes the one on Davis Boulevard, three in the 200 block of Columbia Drive, and one on Bahama Circle.

His company, Equialt, will bulldoze, replace and rent out as one- and two-bedroom “modern Key West”-style units of roughly the same size.

“All the development has stayed out of the center of the islands,” Davison said. His company has been operating in the area for several years, buying and reselling hundreds of Tampa Bay homes, townhomes and condos at auction after people failed to pay taxes on them.

A community where everyone seems to know each other, Davis Islands has seen local opposition to new developments, especially when it comes to zoning adjustments.

“Some people are dead-opposed to anybody doing anything,” said homeowner Stephen Stanley, former president of the Davis Island Civic Association and still an active member. Stanley agreed with Davison that some smaller multifamily rental houses have fallen into disrepair but said he would be opposed to replacing them with larger buildings.

“There’s already a lot of traffic now compared to where it was,” Stanley said. “If they’re not doing more units and they’re doing bigger units they may want to go higher so you’ve got an issue in height, making it more of a canyon effect. The charm of (Davis Islands) isn’t high-rise.”

The company has no renderings of what the new construction will look like, Davison said. Current tenants may be offered buyouts or will remain through their lease terms.

Asked if this would price some lower-income families off the island, he said the units will still be affordable.

“We’re capped by the market,” he said, with an average rent of $1,200 to $1,400. Units in some of the older buildings are renting for closer to $900 for a one-bedroom but they lack central air, washer and dryer units.

“The tenants deserve better,” said senior portfolio manager Tony Kelly. Still, Kelly said, the company has “no intention of creating $2,000 or $2,500 rentals.”

Contact Alli Knothe at aknothe@tampabay.com. Follow @KnotheA.

Equialt plans to bulldoze, replace some rundown Davis Islands rentals 03/10/17 [Last modified: Thursday, March 9, 2017 3:32pm] Photo reprints | Article reprints

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Equialt plans to bulldoze, replace some rundown Davis Islands rentals – Tampabay.com (blog)

A Guide to Visiting California’s Channel Islands – Travel+Leisure

California isn’t short on natural beauty. Beyond its iconic coastline, the Golden State is home to 28 parks and sites managed by the U.S. National Park Service. Stretching from San Diego nearly to the Oregon border, these protected settings range from the remote desert of Death Valley to Yosemite’s vast wilderness and the ancient volcanic features of Lava Beds National Monument. What’s more, California’s parks include two World Heritage Sites and nine wild and scenic rivers, and are home to 92 threatened and endangered species.

Yet the Channel Islands, located between Santa Barbara and Ventura, still stand out. Among the youngest national parks, this marine sanctuary was established in 1980 and includes five islands and the six nautical miles surrounding each. It’s also one of the least-visited national parksin part because visitors must travel there by boat or small planeand remained largely undisturbed for centuries. As a result, the park is a prime example of the coastal Mediterranean ecosystem, found in just five places on earth. In fact, 145 species inhabiting the Channel Islands are found nowhere else.

Thinking about visiting one of California’s national parks? In the Channel Islands, these experiences can make your trip.

The magic of the Channel Islands is found on and in the water: kayaking, swimming, surfing, and some of the world’s most incredible snorkeling and diving are all possible. For the most options, head to Santa Cruz Island, which has more habitat diversity than any other island in the park. Scorpion Beach, on the eastern shore, offers clear, swimmable waters, and sprawling kelp forests where divers and snorkelers can spot feeding dolphins, porpoises, and whales. You can even dive into underwater caves and caverns, some reached by kayak and teeming with colorful sea creatures. Conditions shift, so heading out with a park-authorized guide is recommended.

Trails wind through each of the Channel Islands and the year-round Mediterranean climate makes the park a hiker’s dream. That said, terrain and weather conditions do vary from island to island. If you’re up for a challenge, head to San Miguel Island, a former bombing range where high winds can combine with rugged, canyon terrain. Gentler slopes are found on Anacapa, the nearest island to the mainland, where you can visit a lighthouse built in 1932, and follow the moderate climb to Inspiration Point for views to Santa Cruz Island.

Anemones, sea stars, and periwinkles are just a sampling of what you might uncover in one of the park’s incredible tide pools. The islands were undisturbed for thousands of years, allowing for some truly peculiar species (just look at the chitons) to make their homes in these fragile spaces between land and sea. Frenchy’s Cove, only reachable by boat on Middle Anacapa, is one of the best.

For bigger eye candy, keep your eyes peeled for gray, blue, and humpback whales wherever you are in the park, or join a whale watching expedition departing from Santa Barbara, Oxnard, or Ventura harbors. California sea lions and harbor seals are also regular Channel Islands visitors, but Point Bennett on San Miguel Islandreached by a ranger-guided 15-mile hike in the summeris the best place to spot rare species like Guadalupe fur seals and Stellar sea lions.

Pitch a tent on any of the five islands year-round, and wait for the crashing waves to lull you to sleep. Or, to experience California as the Chumash Indians did, gear up for backcountry beach camping along the 55-mile coastline of Santa Rosa Island, available from mid-August through December. While you’re there, hike along the flat Coastal Road to see the island’s unique Torrey pine subspecies (one of the rarest pines anywhere in the world). Just be sure to come prepared with snacks and supplies, as there are no stores or equipment rentals in the park. Water is only available at campsites on Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz Islands.

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A Guide to Visiting California’s Channel Islands – Travel+Leisure

Paradise found: 12 crowd-free Asia island escapes – CNN

As zealous souvenir hawkers follow busloads of tour groups to Asia’s most famous islands, discerning travelers must look farther afield for more authentic getaways.

The good news? Whether your idea of paradise involves a tropical beach framed by palm trees, or wildlife encounters in the woods, Asia has an island for you.

From Indonesia to India, we’ve singled out a dozen of the best throw-back islands — places where traditional cultures and unspoiled landscapes will transport travelers back in time.

Hidden away off the coast of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Rong feels like a trip through time.

The low-key island offers a glimpse of what Ko Samui was like 30 years ago.

While both the American and French versions of “Survivor” TV show were filmed in Koh Rong, the island is still far from the typical tourist track.

With 23 beaches, Koh Rong offers plenty of options for sun, sea and sand, while the heavily forested interior beckons those in search of raw nature.

A tiny island off the west coast of Malaysia, Pangkor is overshadowed by heavyweight destinations like Penang and Langkawi.

But that’s a good thing for anyone who longs for a more authentic experience.

Pangkor’s east coast is spangled by stilt houses in old-fashioned kampong villages, where fishing and boat-building are still the main occupations.

Meanwhile, the gorgeous west coast offers white-sand stretches wrapped around turquoise bays.

Among local landmarks are the ruins of the 17th-century Dutch Fort and Fu Lin Gong Temple, with its extravagant Taoist sculptures and miniature version of China’s Great Wall.

The area is teeming with wildlife, running the gamut from pangolins (like small, scaly anteaters) to colorful hornbills, flying foxes, “dugong” manatees, sea turtles and dozens of coral and tropical fish species.

In addition to wildlife, Lampi is also a refuge for the Moken “sea gypsies” — one of Myanmar’s smallest ethnic groups — who have lived on the island for generations.

Within the national park boundaries are five Moken villages, as well as several related spiritual and cultural sites.

The largest Moken village is located on neighboring Bo Cho island — part of Myanmar’s first marine national park, established in 1996.

The institute maintains a research station on Bo Cho with a small museum dedicated to Lampi’s flora, fauna and Moken heritage.

Framed by the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, the Andaman archipelago is a mash-up of modern mainland India and old-world keepsakes — not to mention countless beaches, bays and coral reefs.

In this tropical backwater, visitors can mingle with the early morning cows and fishermen on Corbyn’s Cove Beach, or scuba in the warm waters of Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, and soak up the exotic sights and smells of Aberdeen Bazaar in Port Blair — the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Once a far-flung bastion of the British Empire, the Andamans are flush with colonial relics.

Explore the jungle-shrouded ruins on Ross Island, the gallows on Viper Island and the infamous Cellular Jail — where murderers and political prisoners were once incarcerated.

Anchoring the southwest corner of the Philippines, Palawan is a largely undeveloped island that channels the wild vibe of nearby Borneo, in Malaysia.

The island’s natural treasures include eerie Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River and the pristine coral gardens of super-remote Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park — both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Along the northwest coast, Long Beach near San Vicente is the longest white-sand strand in the Philippines — eight miles (13 km) of pristine shoreline that’s so far unsullied by anything resembling a high-rise hotel or modern resort.

That’s not to say there aren’t cool places to crash nearby.

One of the Amami islands south of the Japanese mainland, Tokunoshima is known for its bloodless bullfighting.

The bovine equivalent of sumo wrestling, the events see massive bulls try to push one another out of a ring surrounded by cheering farmers — many of whom placed bets on the beasts.

Aside from quirky past times, Tokunoshima also draws those in the know to its pristine coral reefs — as one of the most secluded places to scuba or snorkel in the western Pacific.

Empty beaches, weird coastal rock formations and obscure World War II landmarks add to the island’s offbeat allure.

Tokunoshima is famous for yet another reason: longevity.

The island is home to the world’s highest percentage of people living beyond 100 years.

Japanese centenarian Shigechiyo Izumi (1865-1986), who reached the age of 120, claimed a daily swig of shochu — local sugarcane wine — was the secret to his ripe old age.

Southeast Asia meets the South Pacific in this exotic archipelago, located off the west coast of New Guinea in far eastern Indonesia.

Considered one of the world’s top dive spots, Raja Ampat is home to largely untouched coral reefs that are teeming with biodiversity.

Above the surface, Raja Ampat’s dramatic karst topography — think southern Thailand without a thousand hotels — is ripe for jungle walks and rock climbing.

But it takes some work to reach this scuba divers’ paradise.

Floating far out in the Sea of Japan, this remote volcanic island can only be reached by ferry.

Despite its isolated position about 75 miles east of mainland South Korea, Ulleung-Do has been inhabited since 300 BC.

Today, the island sustains a thriving fishing community and budding tourist industry.

Adventure travelers appreciate the island’s silver magnolia forest and steep volcanic terrain.

There’s also a 43-mile (70 km) bike path, as well as an opportunity for scuba diving and sea kayaking along the dramatic sea cliffs.

Ulleung draws a following for its unique culinary traditions too.

The must-try dishes include fresh-off-the-boat raw seafood, organic barbecued beef bulgogi from island-bred cows, and “sanchae bibimbap” — steamed rice served with wilds herbs, vegetables and roots foraged on the island.

Once a penal colony known as the Devil’s Island of French Indochina, this 16-island archipelago off the Mekong Delta has turned to more peaceful pursuits in modern times.

History buffs will revel in the island’s role in the age of ocean exploration — Marco Polo allegedly stepped ashore at Con Dao on his long return journey to Venice.

To learn more about the island’s war-plagued past, travelers can explore the Revolutionary Museum — located in the former French commander’s residence — or tour the old prisons on the main island.

The best way to get around Con Dao is via motorbike, easy to hire from most hotels or a local rental outfit.

Con Dao is a haven for outdoorsy types too, with plentiful scuba, snorkeling and fishing opportunities.

Between May and October, visitors can watch sea turtles lay their eggs, while the infants hatch and scramble into the sea.

Thailand’s beach scene is constantly changing, as resort areas expand to accommodate increasing tourist numbers.

But one island that continues to retain its retro past is Koh Phayam, off the coast of southern Ranong province in the Andaman Sea.

There is much debate about whether the island — when seen from above — resembles a giant manta ray or a massive kangaroo kicking its feet into the air.

But one thing is for sure: Koh Phayam is blissfully empty compared to Thailand’s better known islands.

Phayam has a year-round population of just 500 people — and there aren’t many tourists either.

Most of the action centers around crescent-shaped Aow Yai Bay — also known as Long Beach or Sunset Beach.

It’s the go-to venue for beachfront dining, as well as after-dark parties.

Between May and October, the Indian Ocean churns up surfable waves along Aow Yai.

No matter what the time of year, Koh Phayam offers scuba and snorkeling, cycling, motorbiking, kayaking and surf fishing.

A stop on Southeast Asia’s old hippie trail, Samosir Island in north-central Sumatra offers a trip through time to the 1970s and ’80s.

The volcanic island is known for its stunning location — in the middle of Lake Toba, the largest volcanic lake in the world.

The lakeside cafes, bars and bungalows of Tuk Tuk village cater to a mix of young backpackers and intrepid older travelers, fhe latter in search of a place that summons snippets of the days when Bali had a similar carefree — and budget-friendly — vibe.

Samosir is also a stronghold of local Batak tribal culture, as well as a great place to hire a scooter for a cruise through the nearby rice paddies.

A meandering coastal road leads north from Tuk Tuk to the megalithic monuments of Ambarita — an ancient Batak tribal village — and the museum complex in Simanindo, where travelers can catch daily Batak dance performances.

While much of Japan’s huge northern island has been developed, a few corners of Hokkaido still offer a wild, untouched atmosphere.

Inhabited by brown bears, sea eagles and a host of other creatures, the island’s diverse landscape features snow-capped volcanoes, hot springs, lakes and temperate northern forests.

The trees explode with color each fall and shed a sea of blossoms each spring.

Another draw is the traditional Japanese onsen — hot spring — culture.

Hokkaido boasts 23 hot spring areas and 11 different types of onsen, from simple thermal and sulfur to lesser-known radium, ferruginous (iron oxide) and cupriferous (copper) springs.

Joe Yogerst is a freelance travel, business and entertainment writer based in California.

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Paradise found: 12 crowd-free Asia island escapes – CNN

Tiwi Islands Sistagirls return home after their first Mardi Gras – ABC Online

Updated March 10, 2017 11:40:56

Stairs are lowered from a ferry onto the rocky red beach of Bathurst Island, and a group of Sistagirls descend, waving like royalty.

“From drag queen to drag suitcase,” says Jason De Santis wryly, as he and Sistagirl Nicole Miller lug their suitcases up the beach.

“I feel like we’re walking up the bloody hill of Oxford Street now. I’m glad I’ve got thongs on. And they’re on my feet!”

Also known as drag queen Foxy Empire, Mr De Santis supported the Sistagirls Tiwi Island trans women at their first Mardi Gras, and was part of the group of about 30 who travelled the 6,000-kilometre round trip to strut their stuff in Sydney for their debut at the city’s iconic Mardi Gras parade last Saturday.

“It just went fabulous, we was all overjoyed, we couldn’t even think that we was there,” Ms Miller said.

“My heart was trembling, I couldn’t believe it, I was over-excited.”

The group spent several months crowdfunding so they could afford to strut their stuff down Oxford Street and show off their unique blend of LGBTIQ and Tiwi culture.

“The vibe as we were getting ready, it was quite exciting,” Mr De Santis said.

“It wasn’t until the girls actually got into the line with the float that they realised how big this was, and that there were people lined on the streets waiting just to see them.”

Ms Miller said she felt embraced by the community as the Sistagirls paraded down Oxford Street.

“I was really happy with that too and all my other girls, the support and people around us, that was just explosive, I couldn’t believe my eyes,” she said.

“I’m glad I’m back home, it’s just like I’m bringing Sydney back here.”

The girls are already looking ahead to next year’s march.

“I’m really looking forward to the following years of Mardi Gras and seeing how this NT float will grow and what it’s going to look like, because the difference between now and three years ago when it started is huge,” Mr De Santis said.

“I don’t think the Sistagirls are never going to not be on a float now.”

And he’s extending a hand to the rest of the LGBTIQ community to join them.

“This year was about the Sistagirls, we set the bar now, but we want more of those people from the community,” he said.

“From the desert to the sea, if you want to put your hand up do it, this is the introduction to the world out there that can support us.”

But for now, the exhausted but happy group are back home on the island and keen to begin their recovery.

“After doing the golden mile in eight-inch heels, my feet are so sore,” Mr De Santis said.

“I just can’t wait to be eating fish, oysters, crab, anything that swims in the sea, I want it to be in my belly.”

Topics: gays-and-lesbians, people, indigenous-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander, darwin-0800

First posted March 10, 2017 11:30:10

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Tiwi Islands Sistagirls return home after their first Mardi Gras – ABC Online


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