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Those Airport Security Trays Harbor a Lot of Cold Germs

The Free Press WV

You probably wash your hands after using the airport bathroom—but what about after going through the security line? You might want to start, because a new study from the UK’s University of Nottingham and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare found that those trays you put your belongings in as you go through security had more cold germs on them than airport toilets, the New York Times reports. Researchers analyzed a variety of surfaces at Finland’s Helsinki-Vantaa airport during peak flu season in 2015-16 and found evidence of respiratory viruses (including the common cold, influenza, and others) on 10% of them, CNN reports. But researchers highlight the security trays as the biggest risk, with 50% of them having respiratory virus germs on them.

Respiratory virus germs were also found on surfaces in the children’s play area, payment terminals, stair handrails, and a desk and divider glass at the passport check area. No respiratory virus germs were found on toilets—a finding referred to as “interesting” in a press release. “People can help to minimize contagion by hygienic hand washing and coughing into a hankerchief, tissue or sleeve at all times but especially in public places,“ says a researcher. “These simple precautions can help prevent pandemics and are most important in crowded areas like airports that have a high volume of people travelling to and from many different parts of the world.“ Researchers also suggest airports install hand sanitization stations near areas of “intense, repeat touching of surfaces.“

Children Now Banned From Major Cruise Line

The Free Press WV

Viking Cruises says it has listened to its customers and given them what they asked for: no children. The Switzerland-based company, which restricted its ocean voyages to people over 18 when it launched the service in 2015, says it will no longer accept bookings for children on its river cruises, which had previously allowed those 12 and over. This gives the company one of the strictest age policies in the industry, though since it already had very few children on its cruises, which are generally marketed to people over 50, it is unlikely to cost it much business, Orlando Weekly reports.

“Viking has always offered experiences that are designed for travelers who are 50 and older, with interests in history, art, culture and exploration. It’s what we’re known for,“ a company spokesperson said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “Previously, we had allowed a degree of flexibility in the minimum age for travel, but increasingly our guests have told us how much they appreciate an environment where they can travel without children.“

Scientists Trying a Cow Trick: Adding Seaweed to Feed

The Free Press WV

University of California researchers are feeding seaweed to dairy cows in an attempt to make cattle more climate-friendly, per the AP. UC Davis is studying whether adding small amounts of seaweed to cattle feed can help reduce their emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that’s released when cattle burp, pass gas, or make manure. Livestock operations are a major source of methane emissions. In a study this past spring, researchers found methane emissions were reduced by more than 30% in a dozen Holstein cows that ate the ocean algae, which was mixed into their feed and sweetened with molasses to disguise the salty taste.

“I was extremely surprised when I saw the results,“ said Ermias Kebreab, the UC Davis animal scientist who led the study. “I wasn’t expecting it to be that dramatic with a small amount of seaweed.“ Kebreab says his team plans to conduct a six-month study of a seaweed-infused diet in beef cattle starting in October. Researchers worldwide have searched for ways to reduce cattle emissions with various food additives such as garlic, oregano, cinnamon, and even curry—with mixed results. If successful, adding seaweed to cattle feed could help California dairy farms comply with a state law requiring livestock operators to cut emissions by 40% from 2013 levels by 2030.

Elk Management Project Tours begin at Chief Logan Lodge in September and October 2018

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources will be leading 20 guided tours of the state’s elk reintroduction site in Logan County in September and October. Public tours will start at Chief Logan Lodge and include a visit to the Tomblin Wildlife Management Area, where elk from Kentucky and Arizona were released in 2016 and 2018.

West Virginia’s last native elk was seen in Webster County in 1875. About 90 free-roaming elk make up the growing herd. The tour is four hours and includes a program about the elk, their habits, habitat, and the challenges and future of elk management, led by Chief Logan State Park naturalist and biologist Lauren Cole.

“There is a good chance tourists will see an elk or even hear a bull bugle,” said DNR Director Stephen McDaniel. “But even if they don’t, these tours are still something you don’t want to miss. The program is fun and informative, and the location and terrain of southern West Virginia is amazing.”
Morning or evening tours are offered at 5:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Advance registration is required and participation is limited to 13. The tour costs $30 for adults and $27 for kids 15 and younger. Tickets include breakfast or late lunch, the educational program, transportation and a tour souvenir. An overnight package is available at Chief Logan Lodge for $170 (double occupancy) and includes tour tickets and dinner for two.

Ticket dates and times are not transferable for other dates. Program and tour is rain or shine. Participants must wear sturdy closed-toe shoes or boots and long pants. Participants may want to wear a light jacket and bring a walking stick and binoculars.

For reservations, call Chief Logan Lodge at 304-855-6100. For ticket and tour questions, send an email to . Chief Logan Lodge is near Chief Logan State Park in Logan County. The facility features a 75-room lodge, restaurant and conference center.

Scheduled dates and times for the 2018 Elk Management Project Tour programs are:

  Saturday, September 08 — Morning
  Sunday, September 09 — Morning
  Saturday, September 15 — Morning
  Saturday, September 15 — Evening
  Thursday, September 20 — Evening
  Sunday, September 23 — Morning
  Tuesday, September 25 — Evening
  Saturday, September 29 — Morning
  Saturday, September 29 — Evening
  Sunday, September 30 — Morning


  Saturday, October 06 — Morning
  Saturday, October 06 — Evening
  Sunday, October 07 — Morning
  Thursday, October 11 — Evening
  Saturday, October 13 — Morning
  Saturday, October 13 — Evening
  Sunday, October 14 — Morning
  Saturday, October 20 — Morning
  Saturday, October 20 — Evening
  Sunday, October 21 — Morning

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