W. Virginia Questions FirstEnergy Plan to Buy Another Coal Plant FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Andrew Brown for the Charleston Gazette-Mail:First Energy, the parent company of MonPower and Potomac Edison, is facing tough questions about the company’s future energy plan in West Virginia.The Public Service Commission staff sent a request to First Energy officials last month asking them to explain why they believe buying another coal-fired power plant in the near future is the best way to provide electricity to its 520,000 customers in the Mountain State.The line of questioning by the PSC staff comes two months after First Energy provided the commission with its integrated resource plan — a 15-year forecast that is meant to outline the lowest cost options for electricity in the future. It marked the first time electric utilities were required to disclose those planning documents in West Virginia.While many electric utilities throughout the country have moved toward lower-priced natural gas and other renewable energy sources, MonPower’s and Potomac Edison’s resource plan suggests the companies would seek to buy another coal-fired power plant in the region.In 2013, the PSC allowed the state’s largest electric utilities to buy large coal-fired power plants from their parent companies, which were capable of providing more electricity than their customers in West Virginia used. Opponents of those purchases criticized the plans as bailouts for the parent companies’ shareholders by electric users in West Virginia.The utility companies had argued that they could sell excess electricity onto the regional grid, helping to cut the cost of those coal plants for West Virginia customers. But natural gas plants have largely become cheaper than coal power in recent years, meaning West Virginia’s power plants are called on less by the regional grid, known as the PJM Interconnection.As the rest of the country is benefiting from low-priced natural gas, West Virginians are required to get the vast majority of their electricity from coal.First Energy’s plan to further invest in coal power in West Virginia is being sharply analyzed by the PSC staff members.The four-page inquiry sent to the company questions many of the most fundamental cost and market calculations that are laid out in First Energy’s report.The PSC staff asks why coal-fired generation is the only option being considered, whether the company factored in possible regulations on carbon pollution and how First Energy actually came up with the estimated cost of other fuel sources like gas, solar and wind, all of which were priced substantially higher than coal in the company’s report.The staff also asked company officials how they came up with the reported growth rate in customer electricity usage, which First Energy estimates to be around 2.2 percent annually between 2015 and 2020. As part of the questions, the PSC staff ordered the company to submit the data they relied on for their calculations.In response, First Energy maintained that an exiting coal plant would be the cheapest energy option for customers, even compared to new combined cycle gas turbines.Meanwhile, First Energy continues to idle some of its largest coal-fired plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania because of the low prices those electric generators were receiving in the market, and MonPower is considering retrofitting the Harrison Power plant near Clarksburg to burn natural gas.Full article: First Energy being questioned about future plans
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Marketplace:We begin on this Wednesday with some energy news, the subtext of which is market is gonna do what the market wants to do. We are talking coal specifically here, and some new numbers from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showing coal consumption this economy is on track to hit a near 40-year low. That’s despite President Trump’s winning campaign promise to save the American coal industry by rolling back environmental regulations and therefore making it easier for mines and power plants to do business. There are some new rules and updates coming out from the Environmental Protection Administration this week, we are told, to continue on that deregulatory path. But as Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams reports, that may not be enough to change the energy economy’s mind:Coal is still a major source of energy in the United States. But coal consumption is on track to hit a near 40-year low in 2018, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. And economists and industry watchers say that decline is likely to continue, because of competition from cheaper alternatives like natural gas, because new technologies are increasing energy efficiency, and because renewable energy sources like wind and solar are more competitive in the energy marketplace.The National Mining Association declined comment, and the American Coal Council didn’t have anyone available to talk today about the latest energy report. For the industry, there are more challenges than cheap natural gas and regulatory hurdles. New technologies are increasing energy efficiency and making wind and solar more competitive. Seth Feaster is with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis:Feaster: “The economics in this – at the present time are so powerful that the transformation is happening in this industry regardless of what the policies are coming out of Washington.”More: New U.S. coal consumption figures show industry’s decline Markets continue to prevail over U.S. coal industry
South Korean thermal coal imports likely to fall to 10-year low in first quarter FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:South Korea’s first-quarter thermal coal imports are set to fall to a decade-low due to stricter air pollution measures, while the coronavirus outbreak has reduced the country’s demand for electricity.South Korea, the world’s No. 4 coal importer, is expected to import around 19.85 million tonnes of thermal coal for the first three months, down 19.2% year-on-year, according to Reuters calculations based on customs data and ship-tracking data from Refinitiv Eikon.That would be the country’s lowest first-quarter imports since 2010 when it imported 19.55 million tonnes. Demand is normally high during the quarter, which covers the winter months, running at 24-26 million tonnes over the past three years.The drop in imports comes after South Korea imposed tougher restrictions on coal-fired power from December through March, halting nearly half of the country’s 60 coal power plants by March as part of efforts to improve air quality.Meanwhile, analysts said the coronavirus outbreak had reduced demand for electricity as business and factory activity slows. South Korea has faced the region’s biggest COVID-19 epidemic outside of China, with over 9,000 cases.[Jane Chung]More: South Korea first quarter thermal coal imports set for 10-year low on anti-pollution measures
U.K. government okays country’s largest battery storage project FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Energy Storage News:The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in the UK has given the green light to the country’s biggest ever battery storage project.InterGen has gained planning permission for a 320MW/640MWh lithium-ion battery site at DP World London Gateway, a new port and logistics centre on the Thames Estuary in Essex, south-east England. The £200 million (US$267 million) project will also have the potential for further expanding, as far as 1.3GWh.Fluence is providing the technology for the site, having worked in partnership with InterGen for the past two years following a competitive tender process. The companies initially signed an exclusivity agreement for another project at Spalding, which was since been extended to the Gateway project.According to the company, this puts it at 10 times the size of the largest battery currently operating in the UK. Indeed, it will dwarf the UK’s biggest active project so far, the 50MW/75MWh Thurcroft battery storage site in South Yorkshire, which was recently acquired by stock exchange listed specialist fund Gresham House Energy Storage.In terms of international context, the world’s largest battery project already under development is Vistra Energy’s Moss Landing project in California, which is permitted for an eventual 400MW/1,600MWh, to be built in phases. The world’s largest project in operation today is the Gateway project developed by LS Power, also in California. That project is currently at 230MW output and 230MWh capacity, as of August, with a further expansion to 250MW/250MWh already underway. Australian utility AGL recently said it is planning a 250MW battery storage project with up to 1,000MWh of capacity, while The Red Sea Development Company, developing a huge luxury resort in Saudi Arabia said last week that it plans to use 1,000MWh of battery storage to integrate local renewable energy resources.Construction of the DP World London Gateway is expected to get under way in 2022, and the battery to become operational in 2024. Additionally, InterGen is looking to develop another large scale battery project at its site in Spalding, Lincolnshire. This would be a 175MW/350MWh site, and planning permission is already in place. The Edinburgh-headquartered independent energy generator currently supplies around 5% of the UK’s generating capacity, with natural gas sites in Coryton in Essex (800MW), Spalding in Lincolnshire (1,250MW) and Rocksavage in Cheshire (810MW).[Molly Lempriere]More: U.K.’s largest battery storage project at 640MWh gets go ahead from government
Over the last 10 years PROBAR has transformed from a six-door mom and pop label to a nationally ranked sports nutrition and natural food company. PROBAR’s rise has been essentially meteoric, with double digit growth each year since its inception. What’s especially impressive is that they’ve managed to do this in a crowded energy-bar market where local start-ups commonly rub elbows with large national companies. Tour de France team Tinkoff-Saxo recently came to PROBAR asking them to serve as a nutritional sponsor in a rare no-cash endorsement deal.Early days at PROBAR.They’ve achieved this success in no small part due to their focus on employees. Their new company headquarters in Salt Lake City feature an organic garden and bicycle locker as the tip of the employee-amenity ice burg, and the annual company trip to Moab, Utah, features hikes, bike and foot races, and rock climbing for the entire company. Having happy employees is just part of PROBAR’s dedication to wellness for everyone, and going the extra mile when it comes to quality.Work hard, play hard. PROBAR company retreat.That dedication is exemplified in PROBAR’s president, Jules Lambert. Hired at the company’s inception as the first employee, he is credited with the impressive grassroots effort which put the then fledgling PROBAR on the map. Lambert spent 18 months with his wife and three young children in an RV, going from retail shop to retail shop and signing up vendors for the original PROBAR. It’s a humble start that underscores the human connection and emphasis on company values that still hold true today.PROBAR founder on the grassroots circuit.Cooking whole foods on a company retreat.Not one to rest on their laurels, PROBAR is rolling out new flavors for their classics for summer, with a special new product announcement coming later in the year. The CORE bar is even getting a new name. Starting in July, CORE bars will become BASE bars, with White Chocolate & Peanut Butter and Chocolate & Supergreens joining the long list of flavors already on offer. Not to be outdone, the MEAL Bar is getting a pair of new flavors as well, Strawberry Bliss and Almond Crunch.The evolution of PROBAR packaging (L to R).Ten years ago PROBAR hit on a real need in the outdoor community for quality nutrition, and they’ve filled it ever since. Between the company’s innovation and its dedication to the craft, we’ll be looking forward to enjoying these bars for another 10 years.
Formatting Video-Centric PostsWe have given our video posts a facelift! Check out how to spruce up your moving picture post here.1. Follow all of the above-mentioned steps for formatting a normal post.2. To replace your featured image with a video: Change your post from “standard” to “video” in the “Format” box on the righthand side of your WordPress page under the “Publish” box. Hit the drop down menu under 15Zine Post Format: Video (#1 in the screenshot below) and select “Replace Featured Image.” Copy and past the embed code of your video in the area below the gray box titled “Video Embed Code” (#2 in the screenshot below). If this is primarily a video post and not a longer article with a video component, make your video playable from the homepage by copying and pasting the video URL in the upper righthand corner of your WordPress page in the box titled “Featured Video” (#3 in the screenshot below).3. Make sure to click the “Video” category, NOT THE BRO-TV category. If you do not do this, your post will not register under the video homepage.4. Scroll down to the 15Zine Post Options beneath your Yoast SEO box. Under “Featured Image Style,” select “Screenwidth” and make sure “Ignore Global Override” is checked. So you’re a WordPress n00b, huh? Or maybe you’re Matt Mullenweg’s offspring. Makes no difference to us. There are a few items we’d like to review before creating your first post.Adding PostsOn the lefthand side of your WordPress dashboard, hover over “Posts” and select “Add New.” In the upper righthand corner of the screen, you’ll see a box that says “Screen Options.” Let’s format that for starters, so that you have all of the same options as our full-time staff. Click the down arrow and make sure the following options are selected: Featured Video, Yoast SEO, 15Zine Post Options, Excerpt, Slug, Author, Related Posts, Format, Categories, Tags, Featured Images. Once you set this on your dashboard, you shouldn’t have to do it again.1. Create your title in the space marked “1” in the screenshot above. This does not have to be particularly creative but should capture the essence of the article and contain the SEO keyword(s) you choose in the Yoast SEO box. Keep it succinct.2. Enter your body copy in the space marked “2” in the screenshot above. You can either copy and paste from a Word document or simply write in WordPress. Note: If you are planning to copy and paste from Word, you must paste the content into the “Text” tab of the box (see the area labeled “3” in the screenshot above). In the upper righthand corner there is a tab that says “Visual” (which is what the post will look like online) and “Text” (which will contain code and backend type treatment not visible to the public). Once you have copied and pasted into the “Text” tab, switch back to the “Visual” tab. You will need to redo any spacing and type treatment like bold, italics, underlines, etc., as those will not transfer from Word to WordPress.3. Add relevant imagery. In the space below the number “1” in the screenshot above, you will see a camera and music icon that reads “Add Media.” Click here to upload images. See checklist below for details regarding image size and proper crediting. If your image is too big, it may not be able to upload.4. Select appropriate categories. The default category is set to “Go Outside,” so if you are unsure of which other categories to select, you can leave this selected and move on. You will see many, many categories with months and years — ignore these. Here are the categories you should choose from: Go Outside, 48 Hours, Biking, BRO TV, Climbing, Fly Fishing, Hiking, Paddling, Running, Snowsports, BRO Athletes, Music, Road Team, Video. DO NOT CREATE MORE CATEGORIES. See screenshot below for an example of proper category use (number “1”). Note that “March 2017” is selected here because this article originally appeared in our March 2017 issue. More than likely, this will not apply to you.5. Select appropriate tags. You must have a minimum of one state and one activity for tags. Please only use tags that are in all caps. See screenshot below for example. The post is a story about Charlie Engle, an ultrarunner based in North Carolina. The proper tags for this are “NORTH CAROLINA” and “TRAIL RUNNING.” Here are the only tags you should be using (many of which can be found under “Choose from the most used tags” by number “2”): States: ALABAMA, GEORGIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, NORTH CAROLINA, TENNESSEE, KENTUCKY, VIRGINIA, WEST VIRGINIA, MARYLAND, PENNSYLVANIA; Activities: ADVENTURE RACING, BACKCOUNTRY CAMPING, BOULDERING, CANOEING, CAR CAMPING, CASCADING, CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING, DAY HIKING, DOWNHILL SKIING, FLATWATER PADDLING, FLY FISHING, MOUNTAIN BIKING, ROAD CYCLING, ROAD RUNNING, ROCK CLIMBING, SEA KAYAKING, SNOWBOARDING, SNOWSHOEING, SUP, SWIMMING, THRU HIKING, TRAIL RUNNING, TRIATHLON, WHITEWATER PADDLING.DO NOT EVER CREATE MORE TAGS OR WE WILL HUNT YOU DOWN AND GIVE YOU TO THE WITCHES. You think I’m kidding? Ask little Johnny. Oh wait. You can’t. Because Johnny created the tag “Appalachian Trail,” so we gave him to the witches, who put him in a cauldron and made a potion out of his eyes. Poor, poor, Johnny. 6. Fill out SEO. Your goal here is to get a “green light” rating for your SEO (that’s search engine optimization). This is a pretty easy goal to achieve if your SEO keyword appears in your title, your URL (which is created automatically based on your title), your body copy (early on and consistently throughout the piece), and your excerpt. For example, the article about Charlie Engle, the ultrarunner from North Carolina, is titled “Charlie Engle is Running Man.” I chose the words “Charlie Engle” as my SEO keywords because a) his name is in the title and, thereby, the URL, his name is mentioned repeatedly in the article itself, and his name is mentioned in the excerpt (which you can edit by scrolling all the way to the bottom of the page).7. Set featured image, being sure to adhere to proper formatting and crediting, the details of which are listed below. If you would like a fancy parallax or screen-width featured image, you can select those options in the “15Zine Post Options,” but be sure to select “Ignore Global Override” in order for that image treatment to take place. To insert your featured image credit, you will need to add that in the “15Zine Post Options” box under “Featured Credit Image Line.”8. Create excerpt in the box below 15Zine Post Options. This can and should be creative, but make sure your SEO keyword appears in the copy and keep it short and to the point. Your SEO rating can go down if your excerpt is too long.9. Save your post as a draft. You can do this by returning to the top of your screen (see very first screenshot, number “4” in the “Publish” box). Once you have saved your draft, send an email to our digital content manager [email protected] to notify him that your draft is ready to be reviewed. Please provide the title of your article so that Travis can quickly locate your draft.Formatting PostsTo help us keep the look and feel of our digital posts consistent, please go through the following checklist before submitting your final draft to the digital content manager.1. If your article is longer than 500 words, break up the body content with the use of an image, a subhead, or blockquote (for the blockquote, simply hit the quotations box in the toolbar next to the bold, italics, and list treatments). Subheads should be treated with Heading 2 which can be selected by clicking the drop-down menu labeled “Paragraph” in the top left corner of the toolbar.2. Make sure your images are formatted properly. All images should be at 72 dpi, 750px width x 500px height. If you want a featured image that is screen-width or parallax style, make sure the photo is at 1400px width x 600px height to avoid pixellated resolution.3. For any images that are not yours, please credit appropriately with “Photo by______.” You can edit this by clicking on the image and selecting the pencil icon that says “Edit” when you hover over it. See screenshot below.4. If you do not have any images of your own and have not had any images submitted to you for the article, you may use Flickr images so long as they have a creative commons license. To search for images with a creative commons license, enter the keywords in the search bar on Flickr and hit enter. When your results appear, hit “Advanced” in the righthand corner (see number “1” in the screenshot below). From there, you will select “Any license” on the lefthand side of the page, still above the image results, and select “All creative commons” (see number “2” in the screenshot below). The image search will automatically refresh. Please make note of Flickr usernames to credit in your article.5. We follow the Associated Press guidelines regarding grammar, punctuation, abbreviations, etc. Please make sure you are familiar with those. For example, state abbreviations in AP style are different than postal abbreviations. “Virginia” is not VA, it is Va. “Tennessee” is Tenn., “Georgia” is Ga., and so on and so forth.6. Make every effort to hyperlink, either crosslinks or backlinks. Crosslinks are hyperlinks to content that already exists on our site. You may not know of relevant articles that we have previously published, and that’s okay. However, if you yourself have written an article about a similar topic, please be sure to provide a crosslink. Backlinks hyperlink to other websites. Always, always, always provide a backlink to websites of organizations, brands, businesses, and events. In some cases, there may be crosslink potential for the same organizations, brands, businesses, and events, so feel free to do a quick search on BlueRidgeOutdoors.com to check before resorting to a backlink. Note: If you are hyperlinking with a backlink, please select “Open Link in a New Tab.” This is not necessary for crosslinks.Here is an example: According to a recently released report by Blackburn Consulting Services (backlink), the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will not only disrupt iconic views (crosslink) along the Appalachian Trail but also increase landslide potential.7. Please make sure the font has not been changed.8. DO NOT CREATE CATEGORIES OR TAGS. Nuff said.9. Do not publicly publish your article. Our digital content manager will approve, publish, and promote your article at his discretion. Pending review, your content is also subject to change based on our internal editorial guidelines. That’s all for now! Have questions? Feel free to email Travis Hall at [email protected], Craig Snodgrass at [email protected], or Jess Daddio at [email protected]
Health officials are warning people to stay out of the French Broad River after thousands of gallons of petroleum leaked into the waterway from an above ground storage tank located on the property of Mountain Energy Bulk Fuel at 288 Lyman St. near the River Arts District of Asheville, North Carolina.According to the Asheville Citizen Times, the incident occurred on Sunday afternoon and firefighters with the Asheville Fire Department (AFD) were first on the scene.AFD spokeswoman Kelley Klope told the Citizen Times that firefighters attempted to contain the flow of the leak by applying a magnetic patch to the compromised tank and placing salvage drums below the leak.“We got it to a very slow drip and allowed Mountain Environmental Services to offload the rest of the fuel into two other trucks,” she said.According to Klope and the AFD, the tank spewed approximately 4,000 gallons of oil into the French Broad—a river popular with paddlers, tubers, and anglers alike—before the leak was contained.But Laura Leonard, spokeswoman with the North Carolina Division of Waste Management, gave a conflicting estimate of the damage, saying that spill was closer to 1,000 gallons.Regardless of the amount of oil that was leaked, multiple agencies, including the Buncombe County Health and Human Services, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health and N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Water Resources, are urging the public to steer clear of the French Broad for the foreseeable future.This includes the section of the river from the Amboy Road Bridge near downtown Asheville north to downtown Marshall.Health officials are also advising people to refrain from walking dogs and other pets near the banks of the French Broad as ingestion of even small amounts petroleum can cause severe health issues.Anyone who spots what appears to be an oil-like substance on the surface of the river is asked to contact the Division of Environmental Quality at 828-296-4500. For health and safety questions, call Buncombe County Health and Human Services at 828-250-5016.
In an email to the Washington Post, Drew Caputo, a lawyer for the environmental group Earthjustice, said that the administration “almost treat the public like an inconvenience that might slow down or get in the way of them passing out special interest favors to their friends in the industry.” He added, “That’s anti-democratic, and it shows what they really think about the public. It’s also illegal, which is one of the reasons they keep losing environmental cases in court.” Hiking out of Dalton Lake in Idaho – Photo from Getty Images A judge in Idaho put a stop to nearly 1 million acres of oil and gas leases on federal lands, after the Trump administration limited public input on the leases, the Washington Post reports. The ruling came in on February 27, after environmentalists challenged the leasing policy as part of an effort to stop drilling in greater sage-grouse habitat. The Trump administration lifted protections for the sage-grouse last March, in order to provide more leasing opportunities for oil, gas and mining industries, the Washington Post says. The ruling was made by U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Ronald E. Bush, who called the policy limiting public input “arbitrary and capricious.” That policy rolled out in January 2018, after the Bureau of Land Management sent out an instruction memorandum to “simplify and streamline the leasing process to alleviate unnecessary impediments and burdens, to expedite the offering of lands for lease, and to ensure quarterly oil and gas lease sales are consistently held in accordance with the Mineral Leasing Act…” Due to the court ruling, the 30-day public comment period has now been reinstated.
By Dialogo August 02, 2010 Comic book heroes, from Green Lantern to Wolverine, perform superhuman feats in order to save lives. While they may not be gifted with supernatural powers, the extraordinary efforts of the Honduran government, Joint Task Force-Bravo and the Ruth Paz Foundation recently saved the life of a 16-year-old Honduran boy. Eli Arevalo was doing construction work on his house June 18 when he stepped on a high voltage cable. He suffered electrical burns over 100 percent of his body surface, the worst being the third-degree burns on his right leg. According to doctors at the Medical Element here, patients with 60 percent surface burns rarely live through it. The teenager was taken to Hospital Escuela in Tegucigalpa, Honduras’ capital, to get treatment for his wounds. While the hospital staff there did all they could for him, including saving his leg, Eli was in such a condition that he had to have a pediatrician bedside 24 hours a day, said Dr. Ricardo Avilés, a medical liaison officer with the MEDEL here. He needed a transfer. Enter Dr. Omar Mejia, the chief of plastic surgery for Hospital Escuela and the president of the Foundation for Burnt Children. He saw that Eli needed more significant treatment, Dr. Avilés said, and contacted the Permanent Contingency Committee of Honduras, or COPECO, which is the equivalent of the U.S.‘s Federal Emergency Management Agency. From there, Iris Moncada, of COPECO, coordinated with JTF-Bravo to move Eli from his hospital in Tegucigalpa. While all of this was going on, the Ruth Paz Foundation worked on getting donors to fund a medical evacuation for Eli from San Pedro Sula, which is 107 miles from Tegucigalpa, to the Shriners Hospital in Boston, Mass., which had agreed to receive the teen. Due to weather and sometimes the time at which the air ambulance has to land, the pilots prefer coming to San Pedro Sula, said Peggy Kipps, the executive director of the Ruth Paz Foundation. “We have been helping burned children (in Honduras) since Mrs. Paz, a U.S. citizen, started this about 40 years ago from her home,” said Ms. Kipps. “Last year we sent 56 children to the USA to receive medical treatment.” As the evacuation to Boston was being finalized, COPECO sent a request June 23 to JTF-Bravo civil affairs to evacuate Eli via helicopter so he could safely and quickly make it to San Pedro Sula. That’s when Dr. Avilés took charge. “This would not have been possible without Dr. Avilés and his coordination,” said Maj. Patricia Jaeckel, the former MEDEL operations officer. “He put all the organizations involved in synch. It blows my mind.” Dr. Avilés coordinated efforts between the JTF-Bravo leadership, 1-228th Aviation Regiment, COPECO, Ruth Paz Foundation and Hospital Escuela to ensure the safe evacuation of Eli. But, just as in any good superhero story, it wasn’t easy. First, once the request was put in for the helicopter support, Dr. Avilés had to verify that Eli’s condition warranted using JTF-Bravo resources. “If the life, limbs or eyes are at risk, JTF-Bravo can launch a helicopter,” the doctor said. “For Eli, his limb was definitely at risk and his life might have been at risk in 48 hours.” By June 24, the helicopter evacuation was approved by JTF-Bravo leadership and the 1-228th was put on stand-by to launch June 26. The second challenge came, however, with the arrival of Tropical Storm Alex. At 10 a.m. June 25, the notice came down that the 1-228th had a five hour window in which to move Eli. They had to beat the bad weather, which moved in like a villain trying to thwart the heroes’ plans. The aviation regiment was ready by noon. “The 1-228th was phenomenal,” said Major Jaeckel. While the 1-228th worked with the Honduran Air Force to land at the airport in Tegucigalpa, the third challenge came in the form of the World Cup, said Dr. Avilés. Vehicles and people filled the streets, slowing down the ambulance bringing Eli from Hospital Escuela to the airport. A drive that should have been less than 20 minutes now took almost an hour. Eli was kept in stable condition, though, and made it to the evacuation point without incident. Once en route to San Pedro Sula, Dr. Avilés and the JTF-Bravo team coordinated with the Honduran Army’s 105th Infantry Brigade to allow them to land the helicopter at a soccer field around the corner from the National Public Hospital. A landing at the San Pedro Sula airfield would have meant more traffic and a 30 minute drive. Even though the evacuation team now had Eli in place for his move to Boston, the weather continued to be a factor they had to contend with. The plane which was to transport Eli to the U.S. was supposed to be in place by 2 p.m., but was delayed until 10 p.m. And though Eli remained stable and everyone was ready to get him aboard, the rain was coming down too hard to move the teen from the airport to the plane. “We brought in a bunch of umbrellas,” Dr. Avilés said. “That was enough to cover him until we got to the plane.” By 11 p.m. June 25, Eli was on his way to Boston and the specialists of the Shriners Hospital. He is still in very critical condition, Ms. Kipps said. “(The doctors are) trying to save his leg,” she said. “(The burns have) destroyed all his muscle on the leg … they are trying really hard to save it.” Eli’s story is not yet over, and neither is the mission of medical personnel here. Working hand-in-hand with Honduran government and medical agencies, as well as local and international non-profit organizations, the Medical Element, 1-228th Aviation Regiment and all of Team Bravo are sowing the seeds of friendship and reaping the benefits of good relationships, Major Jaeckel said. “That’s why we’re here,” she said. “People give their time and talents to benefit others. “It’s exciting,” she added. Just like any good superhero story.
By Dialogo April 13, 2011 In the hot, rugged central Pacific beach towns of the Puntarenas province in Costa Rica, improved maritime security is a welcome thing. As Costa Rica and much of Central America amp up their efforts to combat drug-trafficking throughout the region, residents in the port city of Caldera were pleased to see some much-needed assistance had arrived. On 7 April, the Costa Rican government inaugurated a new 3,200 square meter Coast Guard station off the central port in Caldera. The station, which includes a new communications center, docking strip, ship repair station and a lengthy pier, was made possible through assistance from the U.S. Southern Command. “This was a tremendous effort we put forth to allow the Coast Guard to have this facility which will be able to support three Costa Rican 40-foot high-speed intercept boats, as well as barracks and administration facilities for operational support,” said COL Norberto Cintron, chief engineer for USSOUTHCOM. “This pier will enhance the Coast Guard’s capabilities and enable collaboration between the U.S. and Costa Rica to deter drug trafficking.” At the inauguration ceremony, Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla, who considers security a top priority, reminded on-lookers of some of the current criminal issues facing the nation and how the new Coast Guard station will aid in combating the problems. “My government is executing an integral citizen security policy. We are working diligently to fight drug trafficking and delinquency, and to scourge those that are attacking our society,” Chinchilla said. “I recognize the work that our police, judges and criminal courts are doing. This donation will allow us to improve the vigilance of our coasts.” In September of 2010, the U.S. government released a revised list of the world’s 20 major drug trafficking and producing countries. For the first time in its history, Costa Rica was included on the list. Since the announcement, Chinchilla’s administration has taken an assertive role to increase national security on the coasts and borders, improve national police training, and heighten screening measures at airports and seaports. Other residents of Caldera also were encouraged by the sight of a new Coast Guard station near the main port. Several citizens say that the amount of drugs that are making their way to Caldera and Puntarenas has increased dramatically during the last 10-15 years. “You can get drugs in this town in about 10 minutes if you ask the right people,” said Yolanda Arguedas, a restaurant owner about 50 meters from the central port. “It’s easy. If someone brings it in on ships, there isn’t anybody to stop them from coming in. Just walk right straight from the boat to the street and sell it in the community. Ten years ago you’d hardly hear about drugs. Now you can’t walk to the corner store without seeing people using them.” Arguedas said she was happy to see that the country is making good on their promises to increase maritime security, though she still thinks more help will be needed. “It looks great and should intimidate someone who is thinking about trying to bring drugs to this area,” she said. “But the ocean is big and there are a lot of places to dock boats around here. I think if the government really wants to try to control this like they say they do, they’d need about 10 of these stations.” Chinchilla also mentioned in her speech that the dock was “a first step” in improving maritime security on the Pacific coasts. She said that the next step needed to continue to improve coastal security was for the national Legislative Assembly to permit U.S. ships to dock in Costa Rica. Currently, the Legislative Assembly is blocking a Joint Patrol Agreement between Costa Rica and the U.S. which allows U.S. Navy vessels to enter national waters. The agreement, which was signed in 1999 to slow drug-traffic in the region, is currently being reviewed in Costa Rica’s Supreme Court. “The government of Costa Rica and the government of the U.S. must be able to collaborate to effectively fight drug-trafficking,” she said. “The U.S. is a government that is a friend of Costa Rica and is attempting to assist us in the fight against drugs. At this time, we are not allowing them to help us and have prolonged the entrance of their naval ships. If we are serious about fighting drug-trafficking, the Legislative Assembly must assist in doing so.” While the new Coast Guard station is considered a “first step”, Chinchilla and Anne Andrew, the U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica, mentioned that the two governments are already developing plans to establish more Coast Guard and security stations along the nation’s Pacific and Caribbean coast.