Long Trail stewards welcome new executive director

first_imgThe Green Mountain Club today announced the choice of Will Wiquist as the organization’s new executive director.  Wiquist is the first new director in more than a decade for the 101-year old, 10,000 member club which maintains Vermont’s Long Trail network and seeks to promote the role of the mountains in people’s lives.Wiquist previously served for more than three and a half years as press secretary for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).  Among other public relations responsibilities, he managed the senator’s highly active social media presence including leading the way in building the largest Facebook page in the U.S. Senate. “We are really pleased to have Will Wiquist as our new Executive Director,’ said Marge Fish of Londonderry, president of the Green Mountain Club. ‘He brings great energy and enthusiasm to the job. He has already shown that he can review and absorb large amounts of information, interact with a diverse group of people, and triage the most important issues to work on. We look forward to a long and productive association with him.”Prior to working for Sanders, Wiquist worked as compliance director for now-Rep. Peter Welch’s 2006 campaign for Congress and a senior analyst for the Federal Election Commission. He also has extensive campaign experience in volunteer organizing.  Wiquist has a Masters in Public Policy from American University and an undergraduate degree from Franklin and Marshall College.‘The Green Mountain Club is a wonderful Vermont institution led by dedicated volunteers and a talented and experienced staff.  It is a great honor to be a part of this community,’ Wiquist said. Following the highly-successful tenure of Ben Rose as director, Wiquist began work Monday in the club’s Waturbury headquarters and visitor center on Route 100 headed into Stowe.  Open seven days a week during the hiking season, and five days a week the rest of the year, the visitor center was completed in 2009 and is open to the public for maps, merchandise, hiking expertise and even free coffee.The Green Mountain Club is recognized by the state of Vermont as the “the founder, sponsor, defender, and protector” of the Long Trail system.  With its 273-mile footpath, 175 miles of side trails, and nearly 70 primitive shelters, the Long Trail is the oldest long distance trail in the United States. In addition to the 445-mile Long Trail System, the club also maintains much of the Appalachian Trail and other hiking trail systems in Vermont in partnership with organizations including the U.S. Forest Service, Vermont Department of Forest, Parks and Recreation, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.Source: Green Mountain Club.last_img read more

Chilean, US Special Forces Strengthen Interoperability

first_imgBy Guillermo Saavedra/Diálogo March 26, 2019 The United States and Chile formed a multinational force to combat a terrorist group whose actions destabilized peace and created insecurity in Latin America. Their units deployed air and land assets to swiftly neutralize the threat and rescue kidnapped service members, while minimizing the impact on the population. The scenario was one of the simulations carried out as part of exercise Northern Star 19, which, for the third time, gathered units of the Chilean and U.S. special forces on the U.S. Gulf Coast. The exercise took place January 15-30, at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, Mississippi. More than 110 special forces service members from the United States and 54 from Chile took part in Northern Star 2019. Special forces units of Canada, the Netherlands, and Uzbekistan also joined the exercise to form the multinational force. U.S. troops included personnel from Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH) and the U.S. Army’s 3rd and 20th Special Forces Groups. For its part, Chile sent elements from the Army Special Operations Brigade “Lautaro,” special forces units of the Navy and the Marine Corps, and representatives of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (EMCO, in Spanish). “The objective of Northern Star 19 was to improve the interoperability and capacity of the U.S. and Chilean special forces units,” U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Andrew Sarria, noncommissioned officer of Southern Cone and Andean Ridge Operations at SOCSOUTH, told Diálogo. “In addition, the [exercise sought to] promote bilateral relations and strengthen bonds of friendship between the two countries to maintain a solid relationship with our strategic partners.” Standardizing procedures At Camp Shelby, participants focused on training techniques for the fictitious exercises. The goal was to assess unit capabilities, exchange knowledge, and standardize procedures. “For example, fast rope drops from helicopters, advanced procedures in convoys, assistance to the injured, location data entry, personnel rescue,” Chilean Army Major Pedro Mayorga, commander of the Special Forces Group, a unit of the Special Operations Brigade “Lautaro,” told Diálogo. “These enable us to note tactic and technique differences between one unit and another and to standardize these aspects.” Once the multinational force was created, participants received information about the terrorist group and its activities to develop strategies and counter the threat in different areas. Then, participants began their missions on the ground, planning and conducting operations day and night, requiring coordination and synchronization. “[Objectives] began to materialize in a fictitious story, which was the setting for the mission,” said Maj. Mayorga. “In this type of mission, the main stressor is a short timeline that implies rapid coordination of all elements to achieve the objective effectively.” Participants confronted diverse situations, such as rescuing a kidnapped pilot, collecting sensitive information, and observing long-distance targets. Service members also conducted urban warfare exercises, close combat, and air and tactical operations in small units, among others. “Some of the main activities of the exercise included a shooting range for long- and short-range weapons, day and night combined assault, joint close combat training, and joint planning,” said Pedro Wasserman, SOCSOUTH’s senior Operations and Intelligence integrator. “We [Chile and the United States] are engaged in constant collaboration through joint and combined training exercises, which gives us the opportunity to achieve the necessary synergy to obtain positive results.” A powerful tool Northern Star sprang from the combined exercise Southern Star, which EMCO and SOCSOUTH conduct in Chile since 2007. Partner nations conduct the Northern Star exercise every other year in the United States since 2015. Both countries benefited from the exchange of experience and knowledge in the operational and logistics fields during the exercise. The use of techniques and capabilities that can transfer to humanitarian operations is “a powerful tool,” said Maj. Mayorga. “The main gain was the update of procedures,” said the Chilean officer. “For example, information management and interagency work in the United States are important experience for us [in Chile].” For his part, Sgt. 1st Class Sarria highlighted the evolution of the exercise and Chilean troops’ capabilities to perform and understand new techniques in a limited time. “The Chilean Armed Forces’ professionalism, ability to adapt under stress, and positive attitude during the various phases of the exercise [were remarkable].” “We managed to consolidate; we’ve been working for many years to reach this level,” said Chilean Army Colonel Ricardo Santander, head of EMCO’s Special Operations Department and general coordinator of Northern Star 19. “We want [this exercise] to grow stronger in the coming years, with the participation of more patrols, troops, and resources.”last_img read more

PGA Championship Opens: Woods in Early Struggle

first_imgThe 14-time major champion found water with his second shot and made a double-bogey six at 11 while McIlroy and Thomas, who opened with a par, birdied, the Northern Irishman sinking an eight-footer to reach level par.Woods briefly led in the final round of last month’s British Open, but he hasn’t won a major since the 2008 US Open or any title since 2013.Four-time major champion McIlroy, whose last major triumph came in 2014, dropped his approach on his opening hole inches from the cup but it bounded into a bunker and he missed a par putt.Topping the early leaderboard was England’s Ian Poulter with three birdies on his first six holes on the back nine, with New Zealand’s Ryan Fox and US Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk on two-under-par over the 7,316-yard, par-70 layout.Many players teed off with a heavy heart after Wednesday’s death of Australian Jarrod Lyle, a former tour player who lost his battle with leukemia at age 36.“The courage shown through his battle is an inspiration to all of us. He made the world a better place. RIP mate,” McIlroy tweeted.Second-ranked Thomas, who opened with a par, comes off a victory at last week’s WGC Bridgestone Invitational. He could become the first player since McIlroy in 2014 to make the PGA his second win in back-to-back weeks and join Woods as the only men since 1937 to win consecutive PGAs.“We lost a great one today. RIP, Jarrod,” Thomas tweeted. “We will all be thinking about him and his family this week.”Lyle, whose best US PGA Tour finish was a share of fourth in 2012 at Riviera, played in two major tournaments, sharing 48th at the 2008 US Open and missing the cut at the 2006 British Open.“Incredibly sad news about Jarrod Lyle,” tweeted British Open champion Francesco Molinari of Italy. “Tough times for everyone on tour losing someone so special.”Molinari was set for an afternoon start over the 7,316-yard, par-70 layout alongside this year’s other two major winners – Americans Patrick Reed from the Masters and Brooks Koepka from the US Open.“You were and always will be a fighter and will be missed by so many people. Rest In Peace Jarrod,” Reed tweeted.Lyle played in 121 PGA events from 2006 to 2016 and won two developmental Web.com Tour events. He was diagnosed with leukemia as a youth and twice thought he had beaten cancer only to have it return last year.“Deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend Jarrod Lyle,” tweeted world number 10 Jason Day. “Jarrod will forever be an inspiration to us all.”Australian Day, the 2015 PGA Championship winner, makes a morning back-nine start with five-time major winner Phil Mickelson and 2011 PGA winner Keegan Bradley.Day opened with three pars while 48-year-old left-hander Mickelson, hoping to qualify on points for a 12th consecutive US Ryder Cup squad, sank a 23-foot birdie putt at the par-4 11th only to bogey 12, three-putting from 12 feet.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Tiger Woods stumbled badly at the start while Rory McIlroy opened bogey-birdie in Thursday’s first round of the 100th PGA Championship, the superstar pairing struggling early in the year’s final major showdown.McIlroy, Woods and defending champion Justin Thomas began off the 10th tee at Bellerive Country Club with thousands of spectators lining the fairway, standing 10 deep in spots just to catch a glimpse of the master shotmakers.Woods, making a comeback after spinal fusion surgery, punched out of the right rough, reached the edge of the green in three and sank a nervy five-foot putt for bogey.last_img read more