March 26, 2013

Grand Teton National Park     Photo: IDAK/Shutterstock

Cuts Will Slow Grand Teton Rescues

Sequester's impacts emerge

Stricken climbers and hikers in Grand Teton National Park will find themselves waiting longer for help this year due to budget cuts, park officials say. Grand Teton expects to lose $700,000 from its budget due to the sequester, about half of which will be taken out by reducing the number of seasonal rangers on staff by 26, or about one-sixth.

"We know there will be delays in responding to search and rescue, as well as medical emergencies and law enforcement," said Superintendent Mary Gibson. Our responsibilities I take very seriously on both employee and visitor safety. We are trying to maintain those functions to the degree we can."

Grand Teton search and rescue crews respond to between 70 and 75 incidents every year, from technical rescues to searches for lost hikers.

Via National Parks Traveler

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    Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Russians Begin Hoarding Snow for Sochi

Stockpiles to be kept under blankets

Fearing another season of mild temperatures, organizers of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi have begun creating massive stockpiles of artificial snow. The Sochi organizers will attempt to defy creation itself in commissioning more than 400 snowmaking cannons to blast streams of pre-fab corduroy around the clock with the goal of amassing 500,000 cubic meters of snow for next year’s games. The mounds of snow will be covered with insulated blankets to protect them from the summer heat.

Organizers fear a repeat of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, where unusually mild temperatures and slushy conditions led to multiple delays. The city of Sochi (pictured), which sits on the Black Sea, is far milder than frigid Vancouver and has an average February temperature of 50 degrees.

While up to half of the stockpiled snow is expected to melt by next Winter, organizers say they could still conduct the events with the remainder even if no natural snow falls.

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Lost dive photo     Photo: Lindsey Scallan via Hawaii News Now

Lost Camera Floats From Hawaii to Taiwan

Found six years later

A China Airlines employee walking along a Taiwanese beach found a Georgia woman's camera six years after she lost it while on vacation in Hawaii.

"I just was floored that it was my camera and it was all my old pictures and it was amazing," Lindsey Scallan of Newnan, Georgia, told Hawaii News Now.. "I just couldn't believe it had floated so far, so long ago and the memory card was still intact."

In 2007, Scallan lost the camera—a Canon Powershot in an underwater housing—on a night dive near Kaanapali, Maui. The China Airlines employee found the camera this February and shared the images in hopes of finding the owner. Scallan saw the images after a friend E-mailed her a Hawaii News Now article that had published the photos.

Scallan's luck didn't stop after the camera was found. China Airlines offered to fly her to Taiwan to reclaim her gear. She said she's not sure she can go, because she just started a new job—a decision that lends itself to the most unfathomable headline in this strange series of events, "Georgia Woman Refuses Free Trip to Taiwan."

For more, read "Owner of Camera Lost on Maui Found After Six Years" and "Help us find owner of camera lost on Maui in 2007 that drifted to Taiwan."

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