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Delta Airlines Sky High on Roanoke Region

Delta Airlines Sky High on Roanoke Region
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Delta’s in-flight entertainment magazine Sky profiled the Roanoke Region for their April issue, which features Richard Branson on the cover.

Split into three parts over 30 pages, the profile features the best the Roanoke Region and the New River Valley have to offer in the realms of business and tourism. Beautiful photos of the area are spread throughout, interspersed with “My Roanoke” sidebars featuring quotes from locals such as Carilion Clinic CEO Nancy Agee, Roanoke Mayor David Bowers, musician Nicole Yun, and Robert Kulp and Mike Whiteside of Black Dog Salvage .

The feature begins by touting the region’s rebound from the Great Recession and its diverse economic turnaround in a section titled “Virginia in the Vanguard.” Roanoke’s health care industry, higher education, branding of the outdoors, and other factors, were cited as reasons for the region’s resurgence over the past decade.

The second segment of the profile focuses on the tourism industry, outdoor access, and cultural amenities of the region. Along with recommending a trip up Mill Mountain and a ride on the greenway, author Jenny Kincaid Boone lauded the growing craft beer and farm-to-table restaurant scenes, proving Roanoke is ahead of the cultural curve.

Grow Salad In Your Kitchen Inside This Sleek Sensor-Driven Cabinet

Grow Salad In Your Kitchen Inside This Sleek Sensor-Driven Cabinet http://ht.ly/vVNB8

It started with an aquaponics system in a frat house. Now the two MIT grads want to scale the idea and make it easy to grow veggies right in your kitchen.

There’s plenty of excitement about urban farms using aquaponics and hydroponics. The idea of growing food closer to consumers means less fossil fuels burned, fewer chemical inputs, and fresher food. But logic says it should be possible to go further. Why stop with a farm somewhere on the edge of town? Why not bring it to the home and have even fresher food?

There are several home hydroponic systems on the market, such as this Internet-connected home garden, and even some involving fish. But what Grove Labs is talking about is more like an appliance, just like your fridge or washing machine.

To test out the OS, Blanchet and Byron are currently working with controlled-environment commercial farms in the northeast. Later this year, they’ll start prototyping the cabinet and piloting it in a few homes. The final product should be ready by the end of next year, Blanchet says. Grove has taken pre-orders.

How the U.S. Navy will turn seawater into fuel

How the U.S. Navy will turn seawater into fuel http://ht.ly/vHdKV Navy destroyers burn through a thousand gallons of fuel an hour. No wonder researchers have been feverishly working towards alternatives. the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has spent years researching the possibility of extracting liquid hydrocarbon from seawater to power its ships. In addition to H20 and salt, ocean water is rich in carbon dioxide. (Make that very rich: Navy scientists say the CO2 concentration is 140 times that of air.) So the Navy built a large system including a catalytic converter that extracts hydrogen and carbon dioxide from the water with 92 percent efficiency and then — via a reaction with a metal catalyst — transforms those gases into a liquid hydrocarbon fuel that the ship’s existing engines can burn. In a proof-of-concept test held last week, naval researchers made enough of the stuff to fly the model plane with its small off-the-shelf engine. With the test flight a success, the Navy now must prove it can produce sea-based fuels in mass quantity. Researchers will start by setting up test production facilities on land. Eventually, the goal is to turn the catalytic converter into something no larger than a car that can live aboard a ship and supply its fuel by processing seawater.

N.H. city alderman sees need for Wellness Coordinator

N.H. city alderman sees need for wellness coordinator
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As city health costs soar, ‘wellness’ post pushed in Manchester

A member of the Board of Mayor and Alderman says he thinks the city can spend less on health coverage for employees by hiring a $48,000-per-year wellness coordinator to make sure municipal workers eat right, exercise and receive preventive medical care.

Alderman Garth Corriveau will renew his bid Tuesday to convince colleagues to create the position of city health and wellness officer in the Health Department.

The city is self-insured for most health claims and contracts; reinsurance companies cover excess coverage claims.

Corriveau said the goal for the new city job is to move city worker health plans from a system that pays fees for health care services to one that rewards good health. The wellness officer will try to teach city workers about the importance of good health practices and assist employees in working with the health insurance system.

”I believe with $40 million in annual spending, we can find massive amounts of savings; we can be more cost-effective,” Corriveau said. “I now believe this is an initiative we can’t afford not to do.”

The original 2010 proposal from Corriveau came soon after city Public Health Director Tim Soucy issued a “concept paper” on creation of an Employee Health and Wellness Program.

Soucy said at the time that a city wellness program could be constructed to look into “evidence-based practices that demonstrate reductions in municipal health care costs and improved health outcomes of city employees.”

Can Cities and Suburbs Work Together?

Can Cities and Suburbs Work Together? http://ht.ly/vE1uS
One Arizona mayor argues it makes more sense to fund cities and their suburbs as large metro areas, rather than as politically separate entities.

The federal government has all the money, states have all the power and cities have all the problems. This is a favorite saying of former District of Columbia Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi (now a Governing Institute senior fellow) and the complaint has been getting louder recently among big city officials. They say cities can no longer function well in a financial model that pits them against their surrounding counties.

Scott Smith, mayor of Mesa, Ariz., argues that it makes more funding sense to think of cities and their neighbors as part of metropolitan areas, rather than as separate entities. The post-World War II model for cities as self-enclosed economic centers is outdated, he said.

“They’re no longer suburbs – they’re more like villages in this entire metro area,” Smith said of his region during a recent visit with Governing’s editorial staff in Washington, D.C. “Those systems have not caught up with reality and now there’s a frustration among cities that other levels of government have sort of been dinosaurs.”

Smith said that in an ideal world, federal funding for programs wouldn’t filter through states, metro areas would instead have a direct line to the source. It’s a longshot – distributing such funds to 50 states is much easier than distributing them to hundreds of metro areas.

And that sort of mentality would also require a more unified effort between cities and their suburbs – perhaps an even longer shot.

“We haven’t done a great job of conveying that message,” said Smith. “It’s always been about us, us, us.”

The Bugs In Your Stomach Define You As Much – If Not More – Than Your Genes

The Bugs In Your Stomach Define You As Much–If Not More–Than Your Genes
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Every creature on earth has their own microbial community. This internal ecology determines how we digest food and resist disease and can even affect behavior or how often mosquitoes bite us. Rob Knight, a microbial ecologist, has concluded that microbes are as critical as the brain–they make each of us who we are.

“The three pounds of microbes [we carry] may be more important for some health conditions than every gene in our genome,” Knight says. We share 99.9% of our DNA with the people around us, but our microbes share only 10% similarity. The diversity in our microbial communities is astonishing and can help us differentiate health based on our genetic makeup from our health based on the way in which we developed as children.

Knight’s most recent project is called American Gut, an initiative to map the unique microbe makeup of individuals around the country to discover how our lifestyle and diet affect our health. But his discoveries have already unfurled exciting possibilities in understanding our bodies. This “microbial GPS” has the potential to transform human health from the early stages of life onward.

Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative – Resilience & economic empowerment one bicycle at a time

Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative – Resilience and economic empowerment sustainably built one bicycle at a time.
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Founded by a female entrepreneur, the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative trains and employs women with limited access to education to manufacture bicycles out of bamboo. In one fell swoop, this remarkable organization is providing Ghanaian women with a sustainable source of income while addressing wider challenges like traffic congestion, migration between urban and rural areas, and ever-increasing carbon emissions

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