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    Othithiya is still the place to be – Truth, for its own sake. – New Era - December 18, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Obrein Simasiku

    OMUTHIYA - The atmosphere is hyped up in Oshikoto as revellers continue indulging midway into the festive season, with Othithiya water spring emerging as the most preferred recreational spot attracting hordes of people from all the four northern regions.

    Upon approaching the place, one is welcomed by the fauna and flora of the environment coupled with a cool breeze. Its also commonly known for sundowners overlooking the Okashana grazing land and salt pans. It has become an intertwined area where both human and wildlife coexist in harmony.

    Having existed for decades, the fountain which has water running all year round through a tiny opening has proven to be an ideal place for friends and families to sit, catch a cool breeze overlooking the King Nehale conservancy, presenting an opportunity to interact with nature.Others descend to braai and enjoy the serenity with ice-cold beverages. The area is situated roughly 10 kilometres south of Omuthiya en route to Etosha National Park through the King Nehale conservancy, thus also makes it accessible to tourists visiting the park.Far end revellers have already started preparing camping chairs, tents and cooler boxes, as its a norm people camp at the open area towards Christmas leading to New Years Eve to secure space.As much as the area is admired by many, the masses feel more improvements should be done to make it an extraordinary place of relaxation.Among such, the residents appeal to Omuthiya town council to install electricity to cater for those willing to stay up late, as well as provide tap water.The need for flushing toilets was raised while bemoaning the few dilapidated pit latrines. This is a great idea for sure.We need to upgrade this hotspot, a town council refreshments shop would do, they can start with a container. Security is also becoming a necessity since we have heard a few robberies there lately. A few lights for those who wish to spend extra time is also needed, remarked Omuthiya resident Salomo Ndeshimona.Extra garbage bins and more shades are a must. A volleyball court in the sand may as well do. Then deepening it a little for better cooling off, perhaps even paving the area north-eastern close to the main fountain so that it appears cooler, provided that it does not disturb the birds sanctuary southwestern of the main pond, further suggested Ndeshimona.Another resident Selma Namgongo feels it would be nice to fence off the area for better management, in terms of cleaning and maintenance. She, however, feels fencing might also interfere with nature, as its within the conservancy and its a source of water for wildlife.Making his voice heard Johannes John from Otavi and who is planning to come to spend time at Othithiya this festive, suggests the road should be tarred as it leads to a national park thus this can attract many people to visit.Its such a unique place, it, therefore, needs an investment to change the face of it so it can be seen beyond the borders of the country and as a national attraction site, he noted.Former councillor of Guinas Betty Kaula wishes the swimming pool is constructed using the same water from the fountain, while on a long term one can consider constructing a lodge to provide accommodation and boost tourism and hospitality

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    Othithiya is still the place to be - Truth, for its own sake. - New Era

    The truck had a lot of potential, but GMs move to back out of building it has resulted in its death – Top Speed - December 10, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Nikola Badger Is Dead Before It Was Even Born

    Nikola had conceptualized the truck, but it was to be brought to life by General Motors.

    Earlier this week, Nikolas meeting with the auto giant resulted in a new Memorandum of Understanding that had no mention of GMs commitment to build and validate the Badger. The company said in a statement, As previously announced, the Nikola Badger program was dependent on an OEM partnership.", "Nikola will refund all previously submitted order deposits for the Nikola Badger,". Well, its confirmed that Nikola doesnt want to partner with any other automaker.

    Back in June when the company revealed details about the Badger, it also said that the truck would debut at the Nikola World 2020 event that was to be held on December 3 and 4, 2020. Here we are on D-Day, mourning for the truck instead of being all excited about its launch. Well, some things are not meant to happen.

    Did you have your hopes pinned on the Nikola Badger and were looking forward to its debut, or did you think it was too good to be real? Also, hypothetically speaking, if Nikola went scouting for a new partner-automaker, who would its first choice be to build the Badger? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

    Source: Cnet

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    The truck had a lot of potential, but GMs move to back out of building it has resulted in its death - Top Speed

    Michael Hughes Arrested After Shots Fired In Direction Of Several Police Officers In Fountain – Yahoo News - December 10, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    National Review

    As Democratic Senate Candidate Raphael Warnock tries to assure Jews that he is a friend, new video has surfaced of the Georgia Baptist preacher again linking Israel to apartheid.In the video, purportedly from a Palm Sunday sermon in 2015, Warnock also likened Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to former segregationist Alabama governor George Wallace.Warnock made the statements shortly after the 2015 Israeli elections, won by Netanyahus Likud Party. On the final day of the campaign, Netanyahu announced his opposition to a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine, walking back previous support.In his sermon, Warnock described the Israeli and Palestinian region as a land of violence and bloodshed and occupation, and said he heard a very clever politician running for re-election as prime minister suddenly announce No two-state solution, he said.Thats tantamount to saying, occupation today, occupation tomorrow, occupation forever, Warnock said, using phrasing mirroring Wallaces racist call in 1963 for segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.> During his 2015 Palm Sunday Sermon, Dem. Raphael Warnock explicitly called Israel an Apartheid State, describing it as a land of violence and bloodshed and occupation and he referred to Israeli leaders as clever politicians, and accusing them of being racist and vicious.> > -- Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) December 10, 2020Warnock urges his parishioners to consider the Middle East demographics. There are more Arabs in the region that Jews, he said. Without a two-state solution, the Jews in the region would need undemocratic apartheid-like policies, or risk being overwhelmed at the polls.The state will either be Jewish, or it will be a democracy, he said. It cant be both if you dont have a Palestinian state. You would have to have apartheid in Israel that denies other citizens, sisters and brothers, citizenship.Warnock also took aim at a statement Netanyahu made in the lead-up to voting when he warned that his right-wing government was in danger, and urged his supporters to vote because Arab voters are heading to polling stations in droves. Warnock described Netanyahus statement as kind of racist and vicious language.Warnock is one of two Democrats in Georgia trying to defeat Republican incumbents in a January runoff election. If both win, Democrats will take over the Senate.This wasnt the first time Warnocks past statements about Israel have come back to haunt him. Last year, Warnock was part of a group of African American church leaders who toured the Middle East and released a statement accusing Israel of engaging in tactics similar to those previously used by apartheid South Africa and communist East Germany patterns that seem to have been borrowed and perfected from other previous repressive regimes.In a 2018 sermon, after a Hamas terrorists stormed the Israeli border, Warnock accused the Israeli government of shooting down unarmed Palestinian sisters and brothers like birds of prey like they dont matter at all.As a Senate candidate, Warnock has attempted to walk back his apartheid allegations, and released a position paper asserting that he is a friend of Israel.I will stand with Israel and the Jewish people to protect their interests, advocate for the human dignity of the Palestinian people and their position in the world, promote peace, and ensure the U.S. remains economically strong, safe, and secure.

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    Michael Hughes Arrested After Shots Fired In Direction Of Several Police Officers In Fountain - Yahoo News

    Only Black Elected Official in Texas County Made to Sit Next to Where Segregated Water Fountain Once Sat – Inside Edition - November 21, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The only Black person to be elected to office in Ellis County, Texas this year is questioning how he became notonly the only person left without a private office during the buildings reshuffling, but also made to sit next to an archway that used to house a segregated water fountain.After the reshuffling occurred, Texas Constable Curtis Polk Jr. said he found himself seated next to an archway that used to house a colored only water fountain. The area still has a sign up thatreads negroes.

    I understand that it was part of the history of this courthouse, but I just feel its another disgrace for me to have to see it daily, Polk said, according to KTVT.

    This comes as Ellis County embarked on a plan to install a new courtroom, which meant reshuffling offices in the building.

    Despite every other elected official in the county receiving their own private office, Polk ended up in the basement, with his filing cabinets placed in a public stairwell. He also shares an office with two sheriffs deputies who guard the office.

    I felt pretty upset, he said. I have documents that dont need to be accessible to the public.

    Outside his shared space is an archway that once included a segregated water fountain that Black people were barred from using. As of Tuesday afternoon, the word negroes was crossed out in spray paint, yet still visible.

    But Polk refuses to let the signs get to him. I have a duty to fulfill, he said.

    I am saddened Constable Polk was hurt by this office relocation process. That was not the intent, Ellis County Judge Todd Little said in a video statement recorded under the arch. He said there was no political or racial motivation behind the move and added that the move was temporary and they will look for more appropriate office space.


    Vatican Investigating Pope Francis Instagram Account After It Likes Models Sexy Photo

    Trump Fires Cybersecurity Director After Agency Calls Election the 'Most Secure in American History'

    Miami Plastic Surgeon Alleges Kardashian Doc Simon Ourian Hired a Russian Firm to Give Him Bad Reviews

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    It’s the island on everybody’s lips. So what’s the deal with Madeira? – Gay Times Magazine - November 21, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Hotels, too, run another gamut, from the simple, covers all your bases, penny price-wise like Pestana Quinta do Arco, to the ones that make their own wine. Guess which one Im going to harp on about? Quinta das Vinhas is right there, on a slope in the balmy south-west, gazing down at the ocean, defying gravity, its inclines covered in OCD-pleasing vines, churning out the good stuff. And you get to try the very good stuff of their labour, in a flight (its a wine-y term!) going from the just-squished (there is also a word for this but I was already several sheets to the Atlantic wind) to the refined, even better stuff, which is fortified for your pleasure. Its this oomph that gives Madeira wine its USP, and who are we to argue. Shakespeare was fond of it, apparently, and he wasnt exactly an under-achiever.

    And we barely got to Funchal, the capital of our fabled isle, did we? And Funchal Old Town really is a funky ol town, worthy of a long weekend or a shorter one, what with the door-to-door stats being one of the myriad attractions of this island with its overflowing markets, cobbled streets paved with cafes and cute boutiques, restaurants that range from local and dinky to international and hip, and a cluster of very cool indeed hotels; the just-opened Savoy Palace is your go-to for mega-glam, Reids Palace for old-school ritz, while Quinta da Casa Branca, Castanheiro and The Vine are more boutique, more intimate, perhaps more you. But well leave that for another time. Christmas, maybe, when all the pretty lights make the old place pop. And the temperature hovers around 20 Celsius, so you can get those lovely Lindas out and everything, no matter what Santa says.

    Because thats Madeira. Some people go to do glorious nothing, some people to do it all. From Mary and David to the bright young things, from mindfulness in the clouds to bouncing up and down mountains in a four-wheel drive, to lunches with views to rocking the Old Town in all the right sunglasses and-who-gives-a-damn what was once the reserve of sun-seeking snow birds in Lorraine Kellys autumn/winter collection spending the supper of their lives watching Highway to Heaven marathons is now vibrant terrain for anyone/everyone/even us. Madeira is a revelation. Tell all your friends.

    madeiraallyear.comInstagram @visitmadeira Facebook @visitmadeiraofficial

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    It's the island on everybody's lips. So what's the deal with Madeira? - Gay Times Magazine

    ‘Hydroponics Farms Are the Complete Solution to Our Food Desert Crisis’: Feed Our Soul Organization Works to Reset the Table In Urban Neighborhoods -… - November 21, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    A Los Angeles womans idea for a simple food giveaway is a staple of one South L.A. community.Adrienne Wilsons cheerful face greets volunteers every Friday at Norman O. Houston Park in South Los Angeles.

    We collect gleaned produce from different agencies around Los Angeles and we bring it to South Central L.A. and we give it away.Thats free and it gives healthy and delicious food to people who need it the most, Wilson said to Atlanta Black Star in a recent interview. I did not think that this would become as big as its become now.

    This food giveaway, which Wilson started in April is just one part of the nonprofit she founded called Feed Our Soul. Feed Our Soul, we are a restorative organization, so we focus on closing the gap on bringing access to fresh and organic foods to people in South Los Angeles and in urban neighborhoods, Wilson said.

    COVID-19 hit, it was such a drastic change for all of the communities here in South Central, so I decided to hit up some of the farmers and gardeners and community organizations that I work with and glean food that wasnt able to come to the supermarkets or farmers markets, but they wanted to give the food away because it was going to go bad.

    A chef by trade, Wilson brought her passion to Feed Our Soul in other ways as well.

    Ive been working in the hospitality industry for about 12 years now, and I really wanted to learn how to grow my own food, but also teach people how to cook the food they were growing, Wilson said.So Feed Our Soul has a curriculum where we install hydroponic farms and gardens into schools, churches and community centers, and then we teach through educational workshops how to grow from that hydroponic garden as well as cook from it. So we also teach nutritional literacy, environmental science and food entrepreneurship.

    Hydroponic gardening is essentially soilless gardening, Wilson explains.Plants are grown strictly from water and direct air and sunlight.

    There are these towers that have a reservoir usually that are on the bottom, and it has a timer in there that shoots up water just like in a fountain, Wilson explains.Then it trickles down, creating an automatic irrigation system that feeds all of your plants. Then the water then falls back into the reservoir and is recirculated.

    Wilson believes this is the solution to the food desert crisis.It is 100 percent sustainable and uses 90 percent less water and 90 percent less land than traditional agriculture. If we were able to install hydroponic farms or even small hydroponic greenhouse gardens in South Los Angeles, then were able to feed so many people with fresh, organic, local produce. I believe hydroponics farms are the complete solution to our food desert crisis, she said.

    The food from the hydroponic gardens, especially herbs like basil, mint and oregano are sometimes part of the Friday giveaway, as well as rich tomatoes, avocados, bananas and peppers.The giveaway is especially important as the holidays approach.

    What this means for the holidays is that people can relax. They dont have to wait and stand in line at the store and they can get as much food as they like for their families so they can have a relaxed, grateful and thankful Thanksgiving, Wilson said.

    But the recipients of the food arent the only souls being fed.The volunteers are big fans of this effort. They are doing a great job, said Khalid Abdulrahman, a regular volunteer. I enjoy coming over to help them because of the work they do. Im hoping I can get some of the same blessings theyre getting, but they should be blessed for what theyre doing, he added.

    Meanwhile, Wilson is happy the small seeds she planted have moved mountains. I did not plan it further than lets just pick up food and bring it to this park, and it has grown and grown and grown every week, and Im so proud.

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    'Hydroponics Farms Are the Complete Solution to Our Food Desert Crisis': Feed Our Soul Organization Works to Reset the Table In Urban Neighborhoods -...

    What is a computer virus? Here’s how to spot signs of viruses and avoid them – Business Insider – Business Insider - November 21, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Now that personal computers have been a part of everyday life for about 30 years, computer viruses aren't as mysterious as they once were. Simply put, a virus is a kind of malware that has the ability to replicate itself. Once activated, it can install itself on a computer, infecting the PC and enabling the virus to continue to spread to other computers.

    Depending upon its payload, the virus can have no other effect on the PC other than copying itself, or it can be designed to cause a wide variety of damages anything from holding the files on the computer for ransom (this is called ransomware) to deleting files, crippling Windows, or turning the computer into a resource for hackers to conduct distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

    Viruses have been around for decades (the first virus was created in 1971) and is so synonymous with the concept of malware that some people refer to any malware as a virus. That's not really true there are many kinds of malware, and viruses are just one.

    Unlike other kinds of malware, a virus lies dormant until it's activated it's unable to execute itself on its own. (This is in contrast to a worm, for example, which can execute on its own with no human intervention. That means you might accidentally download a virus to your PC, but it won't do anything until you run the file or open the document it's embedded in.

    At that time, the virus' code is activated, it can execute its payload, which might include stealing passwords, emailing itself to the contacts in your address book, or taking over your PC in a ransom attack.

    There are a number of different kinds of viruses you can be infected with. While this might seem unimportant why should it matter since you're already infected it's important to know since each virus can affect your PC differently. Here are the most common varieties:

    The symptoms of a computer virus can vary dramatically because not all viruses are engineered to do the same thing. But if you are concerned you are infected with a virus, here are some things to watch for:

    If your PC runs much more slowly than it used to, a virus can be using your PC's resources.

    Many viruses are poorly written and can cause a lot of unexpected crashes and failures.

    You might start to see unusual pop-up windows in your web browser or elsewhere. They might be requests to go to websites, or your browser might open windows to other websites without your permission. Ironically, many viruses also open pop-up windows asking you to install antivirus software, which is additional malicious software.

    You might see programs you don't recall installing starting up with Windows.

    This is a sign the virus is trying to replicate itself through your contacts.

    The good news is that viruses pose a small shadow of the risk they once posed in the 1990s and 2000s. Thanks to dramatic improvements Microsoft made to Windows, large-scale virus infections are much less common than they were a decade or two ago, and few people ever encounter viruses when using computers for normal, routine tasks. Even so, it pays to be vigilant by following these tips:

    Make sure your computer's operating system is up to date with the latest Windows and security updates.

    This can include the security software built into Windows 10 or a third-party antivirus app. Regardless of what you choose, one of the main reasons people don't have to worry about viruses today is because they're automatically protected by Windows and anti-malware software. Disable those protections, and you've thrown yourself back to 2005.

    You've no doubt heard this advice before, but that's because it's so important: Never click anything you don't trust. That includes both links and attachments in email if you don't know the sender, or if the email's legitimacy seems questionable don't open anything inside it. The same is true for following links on websites of questionable quality.

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    What is a computer virus? Here's how to spot signs of viruses and avoid them - Business Insider - Business Insider

    Ask Catie: What’s going on with the empty lot on Floresta Drive and Port St. Lucie Boulevard? – TCPalm - October 10, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder


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    Candice James lives within walking distance of the Floresta Drive and Port St. Lucie Boulevard intersection.

    As James passed by the empty lot on the northeast corner where the roads met, she was puzzled by the changing landscape.

    The City of Port St. Lucie had cleared out the overgrown trees and planted new ones a few years back. Recently, the lot was cleared out again a waste of tax money, James thought, when one adds up the cost of materials, machinery and manpower required.

    So, what's going on?

    Renovating the empty lot has long been in the works for 15 years now as part of theFloresta Drive Improvement project, said city spokesperson Sarah Prohaska.

    As part of the Floresta Drive Improvement project. the City of Port St. Lucie is renovating a cleared lot on the corner of Floresta Drive and Port St. Lucie Boulevard to use as a stormwater treatment area.(Photo: CONTRIBUTED BY SARAH PROHASKA)

    Three lots on the northeast corner were acquired by the city in 2005 to eventually be used as a stormwater treatment area, Prohaska said, but the money to do so didn't become available for a long time.

    In 2017, the city used leftover funds to improve the overall landscape of the area, clearing out the lot and planting new foliage, Prohaska said. Contractors used guidance from a 2006 master plan when designing the new landscape to minimizefuture removal.

    Theone-half cent sales tax approved by Port St. Lucie residents in the 2018 election atax increase from 6.5%to 7% to pay for building more sidewalks, improving roads and water-quality projects kickstarted the Floresta Drive Improvement project again, Prohaska said.

    Design plans for Phase 1were completed this past spring, she added, and the landscape of the northeast lot had to be revisited.

    The new design required alarger stormwater treatment area, or manmade pond, than anticipatedto improve water quality prior to discharging to the North Fork of the St. Lucie River, Prohaska said.

    So, the city had to remove the vegetation planted in 2017.

    "It was definitely not the citys intent to have to remove the recently planted trees, but the new design implemented to improve water quality required it," she said.

    Contractors are trying to save as much of the landscape as possible, Prohaska added, relocating the trees that can't be saved within the Floresta Drive Improvement project.

    The city plans to plant new foliage on the lot, install afountain in the middle anddecorative walls on the north and east sides of the pond, she said.

    A groundbreaking ceremony to commence Phase 1 was held on Sept. 14, and the entire project's timeline can be found

    Want more?Check out the entire "Ask Catie" collection

    Catie Wegman is a community reporter who also produces "Ask Catie," an occasional feature to find answers to your burning questions about anything and everything the more bizarre the better.Support her work with a TCPalm subscription.Contact her at or 772-221-4211 and follow her @Catie_Wegman on Twitter and @catiewegman1 on Facebook.

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    Ask Catie: What's going on with the empty lot on Floresta Drive and Port St. Lucie Boulevard? - TCPalm

    FloWater Set To Replace Water Coolers In America’s Workplace With Fully ‘Touchless’, Self-Sanitizing Water Refill Stations – Club Industry - August 13, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Club Industry was not involved in the creation of this content.

    New CDC Guidelines Call for Changes as Business Reopens with Heightened Health and Safety Awareness

    Denver, COJuly 7, 2020--With the CDC recommending that office building employers, building owners and managers, and building operations specialistsreplace high-touch communal items, such as water coolers, in Americas workplaces, FloWater announces the addition of a foot pedal mechanism to its already self-sanitizing FloWater Refill Stations, making them fully touchless.

    FloWater CEO and Co-Founder, Rich Razgaitis, sees a workplace where new tech, fully touchless and self-sanitizing water refill stations replace traditional water coolers. There is no need for offices, hotels, gyms and retail outlets to return to the expense and plastic waste involved in bringing back the single-use plastic water bottle, says Razgaitis. There is a far better and less costly way to provide unlimited and continuous access to clean, purified, and hygienic drinking water for your employees, guests and customers.

    Already in place at the likes of Google, Microsoft and RedBull, the FloWater Refill Stations award-winning design and advanced technology include:

    The FloWater technology also alkalizes and oxygenates the water and adds electrolytes for better hydration. Surveys show a 2-5X increase in water consumption where FloWater Refill Stations are in use and a reduction of 50% for consumption of coffees and sugary drinks. According to the CDC, proper hydration is essential for a healthy immune system to optimize our bodies natural defenses for maximum protection against COVID-19. A carbon coconut filter finishes the chilled water for a great taste.

    FloWater Refill Stations are free-standing and easy to install, connecting to any potable water line within 10. The new FloWater Touchless foot pedal activation device will be available in July 2020 for both new FloWater Refill Stations and for the over 5,000 units already in place in offices, hotels, stores, gyms, and schools across the country.

    About FloWater

    Recognized by Inc. and the Financial Times as one of Americas fastest growing companies and honored by Fast Company as a World Changing Idea, FloWater is the worlds first company building a comprehensive platform of water purification products. The FloWater team is passionate about eliminating plastic waste and providing safe, great-tasting drinking water to everyone, wherever they are. Today, some of the worlds best brands hydrate with FloWater, including Hyatt, Google, Red Bull, Play Station, Specialized Bikes, Microsoft, Club Pilates, Hulu, Urban Remedy, and ONeill. FloWater delivers meaningful impacts for health and well-being, boosting hydration 200-500% while reducing the consumption of coffee and sugary beverages by 50%. Since the companys launch, FloWaters Refill Stations have saved over 300 million plastic water bottles from entering the environment and are on target to hit one billion by the end of 2022. For more information, and follow FloWater on Facebook and Instagram.

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    FloWater Set To Replace Water Coolers In America's Workplace With Fully 'Touchless', Self-Sanitizing Water Refill Stations - Club Industry

    Shopper News blog: Luke Akard hiked every trail in the Smokies, almost 900 miles. He’s 12. – Knoxville News Sentinel - August 13, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Knoxville artist Paris Woodhull is one of at least 10 women artists painting murals across Tennessee for the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Knoxville News Sentinel

    What's new in your community? Find out here at the Shopper-News blog. We'll have updates on people, places, businesses, schools and sports in your community. Check back throughout the week.


    John Shearer, Shopper News

    While many families have grown restless being stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic, the Akards of West Knoxville have taken the opposite route.

    Kevin Akard and his 12-year-old son, Luke, have been outside,completing all of the roughly 800-900 miles of trails inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

    Luke Akard is shown on his very first hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2012 shortly after he turned 4.(Photo: Submitted)

    They have literally taken the term like father, like son to a new and inspiring level.

    Although the National Park Service does not keep records or tallies about such accomplishments, his father believes Luke might be about the youngest ever to complete the feat.

    For the youngster, though, the multi-year journey was just as rewarding as the destination. Just getting to spend time away from civilization and being able to get out and experience nature and have time with Dad was nice, said Luke.

    According to father Kevin, a mechanical engineering professor at Pellissippi State who developed an early interest in hikingin the Boy Scouts in Bristol, they started hiking together in the Smokies in 2012, not long after Luke turned 4.

    I thought it might be something he would be interested in and would give us time together, he said.

    However, he said they did not initially start with any goal in mind other than enjoyment. They actually were very sporadic the first few years and did not hike there in either 2014 or 2016.

    After they began setting a goal of hiking somewhere in the Smokies once a month in 2018, they were on their way to covering some distance and enjoying some accomplishments.


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    Through some multi-day hikes, they realized at the beginning of 2020 they were about two-thirds of the way to hiking all the trails. But they still did not think it was possible to achieve the goal this year.

    That was in part because they had a spring break cruise planned with wife and mother, Kathy, to enjoy their otherinterest of scuba diving.

    But then the pandemic began sweeping the country, and they realized they would have to traverse the countryside closer to home. However, even the outdoors was affected by the coronavirus, as the national park was closed for several weeks during the spring.

    That did not dampen their enthusiasm, though. When it reopened in May, we were there on the morning it reopened, said Kevin.

    They covered 161 miles in May through multiple day and overnight hikes, 70 in June and about 120 in July.

    They saved the 72 miles of the Appalachian Trail through the park for last, finishing the five-day route from Fontana Dam at the south end to the Davenport Gap area near where Interstate 40 crosses into North Carolina on July 29.

    For young Luke, reaching the completion point of an eight-year journey offered mixed emotions.

    It was happy but at the same time kind of sad, said the youngster, who is entering seventh grade at West Valley Middle School and was featured in the Shopper News in 2018 for a patch he designed that won a trip to the International Space Station. But when I got there, it was awesome.

    A representative of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park 900 Miler Club for those who have completed all the trails told the family that they also dont keep detailed information, but that she knew of only two teenagers who have completed it.

    We dont know for certain, but we are pretty confident he is the youngest one to do it, said Kevin.

    Luke Akard stands atop a rock at Charlies Bunion along the Appalachian Trail a couple of days before he and his father, Kevin, completed all the trails inside the park.(Photo: Submitted)

    Also along the way, almost as many memories as miles were secured. Besides all the breathtaking views, they also had their breaths taken away once when they realized a black bear had been outside their tent after they cooked and ate inside due to rain. They also saw plenty of birds, chipmunks and squirrels, and an occasional snake.

    Luke said his favorite path was probably Old Settlers Trail between Gatlinburg and Cosby.

    It is pretty long but very flat for the Smokies, and before the park was made, there was a community there, he said, adding that ruins of old houses and cabins are still visible.

    As far as new goals, the father and son might look at going down into the water instead of up some mountains by scuba diving in all 50 states, even though the youngster has already set foot in all of them.

    For that adventure, Luke is game once again. I havent experienced a whole lot of scuba diving, so that would be fun, he said.


    Nancy Anderson, Shopper News

    Most places you can have it quick, cheap or done right. If you are lucky you get to pick two. At this place you pleasantly get all three. Punctuality, quality, and value, wrote Scott Toomey in a Google review about Asian Auto Specialists at 7130 Oak Ridge Highway.

    Owner Kenny Allison checks out an engine at Asian Auto Specialists at 7130 Oak Ridge Highway. Monday, Aug. 3, 2020.(Photo: Nancy Anderson/Shopper News)

    Many other reviews added a fourth pillar, honesty.

    Ive worked at five or six different shops over the years and Ive seen the way people are overcharged or oversold on parts, said owner Kenny Allison.

    We dont do that in this shop. Giving honest service is the only way I can sleep at night. We dont have a service writer who is paid commission. Its me and my word, which means a lot to me.

    I want customers to come back. If you maintain your client base, you dont have to spend a lot of money on advertising and you get to know people.

    I dont have people coming back to me saying they were overcharged or the repair wasnt done correctly. Thats the last thing I want.

    Allison opened the shop April 1, 2019, and specializes in Asian imports. He said he does work on American cars too, but prefers not to work on European models.

    Owner Kenny Allison, lead mechanic Tony Smith and shop assistant Trevor Allison all say they are proud of their work at Asian Auto Specialists at 7130 Oak Ridge Highway. Monday, Aug. 3, 2020.(Photo: Nancy Anderson/Shopper News)

    Ive been working on all the imports for more than 33 years. European cars have gotten a lot more technical and require specialized tools. Imports are more straightforward.

    Allison said he tries to repair a car quickly.

    Scheduling is really hard, because you never know if the problem is as simple as a belt or as complicated as replacing an engine. It could take a couple of hours or three days, but we work hard to get the cars back out the door as soon as possible. Its still got to be done right, so you do have to take your time and make sure of that.

    He said he doesnt hold up small jobs in favor of the big expensive ones.

    If someone needs a belt or something simple, I dont let that sit on my lot for days, I get that done quickly.

    He said it didnt take long for the shop to see a fair amount of customers. He and his customers posted on social media, which seemed to do the trick.

    Lead mechanic Tony Smith said its satisfying to repair a vehicle and get it running just right at Asian Auto Specialists at 7130 Oak Ridge Hwy. Monday, Aug. 3, 2020.(Photo: Nancy Anderson/Shopper News)

    When I first opened, I did a lot of advertising, which did nothing. It really is all about reputation and word of mouth.

    The shop has two full-time mechanics, including Allison, and a shop assistant. While the sign on the door says the shop closes at 5:30 p.m., Allison finds himself staying late often.

    He has big plans.

    Id like to have five or six bays with mechanics for each. Someday Id like to just work the office or maybe even not have to be here at all, just stop by and make sure things are going smoothly.

    Info: Contact Asian Auto Specialists at 865-240-3004.


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    Carol Z. Shane, Shopper News

    Fred Mister Rogers famously extended his mothers advice, during times of crisis and fear, to his young viewers. He said, Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.

    Ben Maney is a helper.

    June Hopper and Ben Maney, married since 2008, now both work at home because of the coronavirus pandemic. Its nice! says Maney. I feel like I have an office mate as well as a life mate. Feb. 20, 2017.(Photo: Carol Z. Shane/Shopper News)

    The Lincoln Park resident, who teaches piano at the Community School of the Arts, Green Magnet Academy and in his private studio, is well known in Knoxville as one of the citys finest jazz pianists and composers.

    He says he generally feels extremely lucky during this time of financial uncertainty. His wife, June Hopper, who investigates credit card fraud for TVA Credit Union, is able to work at home, and Maney has continued with almost all of his students in virtual lessons. Though hes lost income from evening gigs hes a regular at The Bistro at the Bijou he says he and Hopper are pretty secure.

    But from the start of the coronavirus pandemic, hes been acutely aware that not all of his colleagues have fared so well.

    I noticed that there were professional musicians that I knew who were out in the cold, as well as other gig workers restaurant and bar workers. And I was also starting to worry about some of my students especially some that I had been working with at Green Magnet. I wanted to do something.

    Community School of the Arts teacher Ben Maney helps student Joshua Washington become fluent in the musical language of jazz. October 3, 2017.(Photo: Photo courtesy Community School of the Arts)

    So he did a virtual benefit concert. Then he did another. Maney donated the proceeds to his friends in need and to Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee (CAC).

    Hes also released an album with local musician, composer and producer Matt Honkonen, who runs Pitchwire, a music production company. Available on Bandcamp, its called A Space for Us. All proceeds will benefit the Community School of the Arts, which provides after-school music and art lessons to underserved children and teens.

    Now, six months after the start of the pandemic, Maney is concerned about the mood of the nation. Something has changed, he says.

    In the initial stage, I thought maybe people will galvanize over this. Maybe well all work together. Its a virus; its not political; it affects everyone. But that hasnt happened.

    So Maney whose humanitarian instinct is every bit as big as his talent has decided to do another virtual concert. This time, its just for the joy of playing and lifting peoples spirits. Unlike the fundraisers, its free, though Maney wont turn away tips. So everyone, near and far, can hear one of Knoxvilles jazz luminaries from the comfort of home.

    In pre-pandemic days: Ben Maney helps his student Makaia Gray get in a festive mood to practice her piece for the 2016 Community School of the Arts Holiday Concert. Sept. 26, 2016.(Photo: Carol Z. Shane/Shopper News)

    Our government is in shambles and its failing people, says Maney. Its hard to live in this pressure chamber and find places to decompress. He hopes his concert will provide that. Were all trying to navigate through this.

    You can hear A Solo Performance by Ben Maney on Facebook Live at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14. Go to for more info. Buy the album A Space for Us at


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    Al Lesar, Shopper News

    After more than a dozen tries, Carolyn Duffey knew it was right. She had found the connection she sought.

    Carolyn Duffey and Ayah, her PTSD support dog, are ready to share their training secrets with other support dogs.(Photo: Submitted)

    Duffey, who moved to Powell from south Texas more than three years ago, suffers from Post-traumatic stress disorder that stemmed from an abusive relationship. She was in search of a service dog that would help her deal with the tough times. Two years ago, she was scouring area animal rescues until she found Ayah.

    The day I met her, I knew she was the right one, Duffey said. We just had an instant connection.

    At the time, Ayah was a 6-month-old Mountain Cur pup, looking a lot like a bulldog.

    I was looking for an older dog, but when its right, its right, she said.

    Duffey and Ayah went through a year of training. The results have been impressive.

    We can go to a restaurant now and shell quietly sit under the table, Duffey said. That wasnt always the case. Its nice to have people who knew her before come up to me and say how well behaved she is.

    Duffey has turned the experience she had with Ayah into a business of her own. In June she started Duffeys Dog Training, which is available for any dog but can specialize in PTSD service dogs.

    Rosie and her handler Terry are one of Carolyn Duffey's training clients in July 2020.(Photo: Submitted)

    Not long ago, Duffey said she was cooking dinner when she felt a panic attack coming on. She turned off the stove and went to her room to lie down. As always, Ayah followed.

    She saw me lie down and she knew something was wrong, Duffey said. She went to me, then she went to my husband (in another room) and barked, went back to me, then went to my husband and barked. He finally came.

    Duffey said the bond between her and Ayah is strong.

    Shes like a toddler. Wherever I go, she goes. If I put my hands over my face, shell come up to me and put her face in mine. She understands when Im having a tough time.

    While in a shoe store recently, Duffey said there were several young boys doing what young boys do. Ayah completely ignored the commotion and stayed right by Duffeys side, which is a quantum leap from the limited focus she had had just months earlier.

    Ayah is a sensitive dog, Duffey said. You can tell the progress shes made.

    One of the important parts of training for a support dog is to stay calm amid chaos.(Photo: Submitted)

    If theres one noise that dogs dont like to hear, its coins rattling around in a tin can.

    See the rest here:
    Shopper News blog: Luke Akard hiked every trail in the Smokies, almost 900 miles. He's 12. - Knoxville News Sentinel

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