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Article Published: Jan. 14, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

A response team from Boone-based relief organization Samaritan's Purse is en route to Haiti to aid earthquake victims. Image courtesy of Samaritan's Purse

Samaritan's Purse dispatches aid to Haiti

Boone-based relief organization Samaritan's Purse dispatched a response team Wednesday morning to aid earthquake victims in Haiti.

On Tuesday, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake caused thousands of buildings to collapse in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, trapping untold numbers. The numbers of dead or injured have not been released.

Samaritan's Purse immediately dispatched supplies, such as 4,800 blankets, 160 rolls of plastic to create temporary shelter, 2,200 solar-powered flashlights, two water filtration systems units, 1,152 jerry cans for fuel and 1,440 hygiene kits.

On Wednesday, a 10-person, highly-trained disaster response team was sent. The team consists of medical response leader Dr. David Gettle, team leader David Torres, a water engineer and other members who will coordinate the distribution of temporary shelters, clean water and hygiene kits.

Samaritan's Purse is a non-profit organization that provides immediate, no-red-tape response to the physical and spiritual needs of individuals in crisis situations-especially in locations where few others are working. Samaritan's Purse has worked in more than 100 countries to provide aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine and persecution.

Mountaintop removal expansion OKed by EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the expansion of the nation's largest existing mountaintop removal coal mine located in West Virginia.

The announcement of the decision occurred only days before a study by members of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that mountaintop removal's impacts are "pervasive and irreversible."

In lieu of the expansion approval, advocates of mountaintop removal's end are questioning the words spoken by the Head of State.

"It's about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it's inconvenient - especially when it's inconvenient," President Barack Obama stated in an interview with Politic.

In 2009, the Obama Administration supported the development of a multi-agency plan to strictly enforce laws that regulate mountaintop removal but would not prohibit the practice.

Aired on National Public Radio during the Diane Rehm Show, the EPA stated that it does not have authority to stop permitting mountaintop removal activity. Advocates of banning the practice note that legal avenues, which would halt the destruction of Appalachian mountaintops, have been overlooked.

"The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 ... requires companies to return mine sites to 'approximate original contour.'

"...There are bills in both the House and Senate Clean Water Protection Act and the Appalachia Restoration Act that are gaining a lot of momentum," said Dr. Matthew Wasson, ecologist for the environmental non-profit group Appalachian Voices.

The title of the study released is "Mountaintop Mining Consequences" and is published in this week's edition of Science Magazine. The study can be obtained from Science Magazine or found at your local library.

One of the major arguments being forwarded by mountaintop removal opponents is the downstream water quality's corruption. The process of removal involves clearing hardwood forests and blasting large portions of mountain tops to reach coal seams. The removed trees and sediments are sometimes moved to the valleys nearby. As rainfall occurs, nutrients that would have been absorbed by the native forests wash into the streams and rivers of the valleys.
Excess watershed also washes byproducts of the mining process into local streams, and studies have shown that it can drastically effect groundwater purity.

"This study shows that mitigating and regulating wholesale destruction of Appalachian Mountains is just not effective," Wasson said.

Further information on effected communities and insight into the process and history can be found at

25 Years Strong
WYN celebrates decades of mentoring

January is National Mentoring Month and the Western Youth Network is celebrating 25 years of mentoring in the High Country.

In 2009, volunteers spent more than 2,900 hours of one-on-one time with youth through WYN, but a youth waiting list continues to grow for adult participants.

Adults are paired with a youth, age 6-12. The program's requires mentors to spend at least two hours per week with the child and be at least 18 years of age. The purpose of the mentoring program is to improve young people's attitudes toward their parents, peers and teachers; encourage students to stay motivated; provide a positive way for young people to spend free time; and help adolescents through daily challenges.

WYN has partnered with several local businesses to celebrate National Mentoring Month.

Spirit Night will be held at Backyard Burger on Jan. 19 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., with a percentage of the evening sales to be donated to the program.

Stickboy Bread Company will be partnering on Jan. 21 from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. with Warm up for WYN. Every beverage purchase will benefit WYN.

All day on Jan. 28, Primo's Pizza, Pasta and Subs will be donating a percentage of sales to the mentoring program.

Appalachian State University Farthing Auditorium donated 20 tickets to Pirates of Penzance to be used by mentors and youth.

The local Web site, Todd's Calendar, has selected WYN as the featured non-profit of the month and will be posting all Mentoring Month events at

Boone mayor Loretta Clawson is expected to make a proclamation declaring January as Boone Mentoring Month on Wednesday.

"The High Country community is encouraged to embrace volunteerism and consider mentoring a child. There is always a long waiting list of boys hoping for mentors," said Angela McMann, WYN mentoring program director. "January is a perfect time to start off the new year with a new adventure in mentoring."

For more information visit, or call McMann at (828) 264-5174.

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