Gladys Porter Zoo in Texas announces rare birds displayed

The Free Press WV

Two rare endangered tropical birds named Petey and Millie have a new home at a South Texas zoo.

Officials with the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville have announced the rhinoceros hornbills are now on display. Officials say it’s been 45 years since the zoo had any rainforest-dwelling rhinoceros hornbills, known for the hollow horn-like feature above their beaks.

The Brownsville Herald reported Monday that the male and female birds were provided by the Sacramento Zoo. The pair arrived Oct. 27 at the Gladys Porter Zoo and spent time in quarantine before settling in at the Indo-Australian Aviary.

Associate curator Natalie Lindholm says the Gladys Porter Zoo is getting back to working with some exotic species that haven’t been at the facility in a number of years.

WVDA Soliciting Vendors for Winter Blues Farmers Market

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) is now taking applications for vendors who wish to participate in the Winter Blues Farmers Market.

The market will take place Saturday, February 16, 1-5 PM at the Charleston Coliseum and Conference Center.

The Winters Blues Farmers Market originally took place in 2009 as a way to increase access to fresh foods outside the growing season.

“The Winter Blues Farmers Market is a great event that highlights West Virginia food and agriculture-based artisan and crafted products,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “As innovations allow farmers to extend the growing season, climate is becoming less of a factor on what and when we can eat locally. This is a great opportunity for producers to showcase their businesses.”

Applications are available on the WVDA’s website at

Vendors in years past sold everything from just-bottled maple syrup to heirloom popcorn, farm-fresh eggs to goats’ milk soap.

Producers will also have fresh vegetables grown in greenhouses and high tunnels in the middle of winter.

Craft items must use materials produced or grown in West Virginia. Booths are $75 per vendor.

“We have to get folks to start treating agribusiness like any other. Part of that is an awareness that agricultural products are available even in the colder seasons,” Leonhardt said. “We hope to expand on past successful markets and have an even larger group of vendors this year.”

Last year’s Winter Blues featured 59 vendors, thousands of shoppers and $36,000 in sales.

All the money went straight to the producers. T

his year, organizers hope to feature even more West Virginia Grown products. 

For questions or more information, contact Connie Tolley at 304.558.2210 or ‘’. 

How to See the World for Free (or Almost Free)

The Free Press WV

Credit card rewards can be your ticket—literally your plane ticket—to a dream destination. But even if you’ve earned what you need to get to where you’re going, the accommodations could be a different story. What do you do if you don’t have enough points or miles left for lodging? You can slash those costs, too, if you’re willing to get out of your comfort zone, the AP reports. That might mean couch surfing with locals, agreeing to a home exchange or signing up for housesitting. Websites and apps can help you connect with frugal options domestically and abroad. You may be able to stay for free, or nearly free, if you’re flexible with dates and can abide by house rules. Read on for four ideas:

  • COUCH SURFING: This option works for solo travelers or couples looking to make new friends over a few nights. Since you’re staying in someone’s home, you’ll likely need to “check in and out” at reasonable hours and clean up after yourself. Check out
  • HOME EXCHANGES: This option offers more privacy since you’ll swap your home temporarily with someone else. Check out the GuestToGuest website, which charges about $11 a night or around $147 annually (and you’ll have to pay a damage deposit). The host may also include additional charges or requests, but you can offset the costs of such services by cooking in the kitchen to save money on meals. Some homeowners even let you borrow their car.
  • HOUSESITTING: If you don’t mind pets or a few chores while you travel, you can see the world for less. Check out, which also has an app and charges $119 for an annual membership.
  • OTHER IDEAS: Join a hotel loyalty program, or consider applying for a hotel credit card. The right one can earn you rewards toward future stays, and many cards even offer a free anniversary night, usually in exchange for an annual fee.

Traveling in 2019? These Airlines Are the Safest Bet

The Free Press WV

The world’s safest airline for 2019 is also the industry’s most experienced, according to The website, which monitors the safety records of 405 airlines worldwide, considered industry and government audits; crash and incident reports; profitability; safety initiatives; and fleet age in coming up with the 20 safest airlines for 2019, putting Australian airline Qantas at the top of the heap due to its “amazing record of firsts in operations and safety” over its 98-year history. Specifically, “Qantas was the lead airline with real-time monitoring of its engines across its fleet using satellite communications, which has enabled the airline to detect problems before they become a major safety issue.“ All airlines honored (in alphabetical order):

  • Air New Zealand
  • Alaska Airlines
  • All Nippon Airways
  • American Airlines
  • Austrian Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific Airways
  • Emirates
  • EVA Air
  • Finnair
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • KLM
  • Lufthansa
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Scandinavian Airline System
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Swiss International Air Lines
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin Group (Atlantic and Australia)

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