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A roundup of things newsworthy
and noteworthy in your neck of the woods

October 8, 2010

Illinois – Round and round

This past spring, a group of bicyclists jumped on an idea that seemingly “rose from their toes.” Ten friends who donned the name GYMRAT (Get Your Mind Right America Traverse) decided to expand their well-treaded paths to cross the nation. The group took 52 days to bicycle from Jacksonville, Fla. to San Diego, Calif. Throughout the trip, friends and family supported them online through Facebook® and blogs. They all returned safely home on May 6.

Indiana – River remake

IndianaThe Grand Calumet River that flows into Lake Michigan is getting a makeover. For decades the river has been a dumping ground for pollutants, sitting at the top of the Great Lakes Areas of Concern. The good news is that the EPA has begun to restore areas of high biodiversity along the river. For more information on this clean-up and others, visit

Maryland – Glory be!

Once voted the best fall festival by MSN, the 43rd Annual Autumn Glory Festival took place Oct. 6-10, 2010. It mixed mountainous, folksy fun with contemporary charm and was home to the Maryland State Fiddle and Mandolin Championships, as well as an Oktoberfest celebration, parades and antiquing, buggy rides and art exhibits. It just may have gotten its number one status from the annual No Hands Ice Cream Eating contest.

New York – Art with athletes

New YorkThe annual Musselman triathlon that happens in Geneva, N.Y., every July came with an extra lap this year, over to a wall in the Seneca Street parking lot where athletes were given a paintbrush and paint. Their last task, if they so chose, was to fill in the section of a mural labeled with the last digit of their bib number. The mural pictured is a triathlete cartoon character named Frazz, designed by artist Jef Mallet. The activity was coordinated with other theatrical and artistic activities that took place on the same day.

North Carolina – Mountain music

Mountain MusicToe River campground was home to the 25th annual Music in the Mountains folk festival on Oct. 2. Folks that remember the good old days joined in at the Burnsville, N.C., campsite to revel in the authenticity of down-home tunes. The festival prides itself on its authentic roots and the respect for the old ways that is far from rusted out. It was a classic celebration of the preserved mountain music culture, complete with story-telling and sing-alongs.

Ohio – Artful cure for community

The Short North neighborhood in Columbus is really shaping up. What was once considered a ghost neighborhood is now a thriving art community, with the help of one colorful tradition: a “Gallery Hop” that takes place on the first Saturday of every month. Art galleries stay open later to welcome “hoppers,” while street performers and musicians entertain outside. To learn more about this eclectic custom, visit

Pennsylvania – Presidential place

This fall, Philadelphia will unveil the President’s House Commemorative Site, where George Washington and John Adams resided before our nation’s capital moved to D.C. On Independence Mall, in front of the Liberty Bell’s new home, remains of the original Executive Mansion have been excavated and will be displayed for the public to see. Panels and video will tell the stories of the first two Presidents, and include detailed biographies of the nine enslaved people who served in Washington’s household. To learn more, go to

Tennessee – Transport tune-up

TennesseeThe National Governor’s Association (NGA) has selected Tennessee to partake in its Policy Academy for Shaping a New Approach to Transportation and Land Use Planning. For 10 months, the NGA will consult the state on ways to develop and implement a plan to improve its transportation system. The academy will help create a new planning framework that addresses the state’s unique needs and concerns for mobility, accessibility, emissions, financial stability, demographics, climate and topography.

Virginia – Celebrating a century

Boy ScoutsAlmost 40,000 Boy Scouts from across the nation gathered this summer at Fort A.P. Hill to celebrate the Boy Scouts of America’s first 100 years at the 2010 National Scout Jamboree. For 10 days, Scouts discovered high-adventure activities, worked on more than 100 merit badge subjects, and met real-life heroes. The celebration continues at



Washington, D.C. – Scene for science buffs

The USA Science and Engineering Festival will hold its inaugural celebration in the most appropriate place — the National Mall. The fest, from Oct. 10 to 24, will host more than 500 of the nation’s leading organizations of the trade. The best part will be a two-day expo that is free of charge and fun for the whole family. From Oct. 23 to 24, science lovers can build an underwater robot, find out the magic behind Hogwart’s Academy or pick the brain of a Nobel Prize winner.

West Virginia – A wonder under

Lost WorldsA National Natural Landmark and treasure that holds a world record lies in Lewisburg. Old tales have drifted out of the Lost World Caverns of prehistoric bears and Bat Boys for decades. Over a mile of passages wind through the caverns, reaching 235 feet below surface. The cavern holds its place in the Guinness Book of World Records since 1971, when Parkersburg man Bob Addis sat atop the 28 foot tall “War Club” stalagmite for nearly 16 days.

Wisconsin – Going green

More than 250 businesses have become certified in the Travel Green Wisconsin Project, which launched in 2004. The “ecopreneurial” initiative is for the tourism industry to promote sustainable business practices. Qualifying for the Travel Green certification involves an eco-friendly list that businesses choose from to best fit their operation. A few focal points are energy efficiency and conservation, air quality, purchasing and wildlife and water conservation. For more information, visit


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