Hiker escapes cougar by hitting it with an axe A hiker in British Columbia who was stalked by a mountain lion escaped by hitting it with an axe, officials say. The man was hiking in a remote area that has little public access and was not on a hiking trail when the cougar began following him. The hiker reportedly jumped over a log to escape and that’s when the cougar came after him and the man hit it with a hatchet. The man left the scene quickly but when he looked back the cougar was still there, though it did not follow him down the mountain. Conservation officers with a dog team searched the area the following morning and did pick up on the cougar’s scent but could not locate the animal. Officials say that it is rare for cougars to approach people and the cougar may have just been curious. The hiker was not injured.Hiking trails at Congaree National Park should open again soonHiking trails in South Carolina’s Congaree National Park have been closed for two months due to flooding from the Congaree River but that should change shortly, park officials say. Water levels at the park are finally dropping and hiking trails will soon be accessible to the public again. The water damaged a part of the boardwalk and maintenance crews are assessing and working to repair the boardwalk, which will remain closed. In the meantime, hikers are encouraged to use the elevated boardwalk and the Sims trail to access the park’s other hiking trails. Panel to discuss Smokies 900-Miler Trail ChallengeGreat Smoky Mountains National Park has nearly 900 miles of hiking trails. Completing every single trail in the park is known as the ‘Smokies 900-Miler Challenge.’ On Tuesday, February 19 at 7pm, Friends of the Smokies and Nantahala Brewing’s Asheville Outpost will host a panel discussion featuring three hikers who have completed the 900-mile hiking challenge. Attendees will hear the stories of how each panelist succeeded at the challenge, and gain insight into how people of all walks of life and ability levels can tackle the trails of America’s most-visited national park. For the entire month of February, proceeds from Nantahala Brewing’s Dirty Girl Blonde will benefit Friends of the Smokies. Nantahala Brewing is located at 747 Haywood Road in Asheville.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Nassau County police arrested an alleged murder suspect in Uniondale just minutes after he fled the scene of the slaying Monday, police said.Acting on a ShotSpotter notification alerting them to the scene and 911 calls from witnesses, two officers spotted the vehicle fleeing south on Uniondale Avenue and apprehended 35-year-old Joel Arquimides Ayala Deras of Westbury, police said. He was charged with second-degree murder.The two First Precinct officers—Christopher DiGregorio and Gary Butt—also discovered shotgun casings and a .44-caliber handgun on the floor of the car. A subsequent search turned up a shotgun that police believe was used in the slaying, along with a .380-caliber handgun. The victim, 37-year-old German Ismael Saravia Melendez, was fatally shot in the head and back, acting-Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said at a press conference at police headquarters in Mineola Wednesday. Melendez was pronounced dead by an ambulance technician 20 minutes after the shooting.Krumpter credited the two officers for their “keen” observations while racing toward the scene of the shooting.“ShotSpotter is a great tool but without the great police work by the officers involved, the keen observation, road conditions were pretty horrific…they were able to respond in a timely fashion,” said Krumpter, who was flanked by police brass and officers Butt and DiGregorio.Investigators have yet to determine a motive for the shooting, Krumpter said. But officials did say that the two men were acquaintances and had an ongoing dispute. Neither have gang ties.The shooting occurred at 9:44 p.m. Monday, police said. Authorities were alerted to the vicinity near Macon Place and Irving Place by the ShotSpotter alert, which is activated when gunshots are registered in communities where the technology is installed. Calls to 911 and the ShotSpotter alerts came in almost simultaneously, police said.Witnesses provided police with a description of the car, and the two officers were able to act on that information almost immediately.“ShotSpotter didn’t jump off the telephone pole and arrest the defendants,” Krumpter told reporters. “In this case it was the police officers who were responding to the scene; the adrenaline’s pumping, and they’re responding to a shots fired and they were paying attention to what was going on around them on Uniondale Avenue where they observed the vehicle fleeing the scene.”Krumpter defended the department’s perceived failure to adequately alert the public to a homicide, saying the primary responsibility of the department is to conduct probes without compromising investigations.Police did not release details of the fatal shooting until late Tuesday.This is the first homicide in Nassau in 2016. The first fatal shooting in Suffolk was Jan. 17 in North Bay Shore, police said. In that case, 44-year-old Marcelo Argueta Chicas’ lifeless body was discovered with a gunshot wound. The shooting, which also registered on ShotSpotter, remains unsolved.Deras will be arraigned Wednesday at First District Court in Hempstead.
LONDON, England (CMC) – The track and field world is set to bid farewell to the greatest sprinter of all-time in Usain Bolt when the IAAF World Championships gets going here this weekend.Jamaican Bolt, a legend of the sport, will race for the final time at the August 4-13 showpiece before calling time on a decorated career that has brought him multiple World and Olympic titles over the last decade.An 11-time World champion, Bolt, despite winning the men’s 200m at the last four World Championships, will only settle for the 100m this time around.And despite having only three 100m races this season and a season-best of 9.95 seconds, the irrepressible athlete told journalists he was ready and that the headline after tomorrow’s 100m final would read “unbeatable, unstoppable Bolt”.“I am not worried. It’s a championships, it’s a final, so it’s all about who can keep their nerves,” said the three-time Olympic sprint double champion.“If I show up for a championships, if I am here, you know I am fully confident and ready to go.“The last race I ran 9.95 and it showed I am going in the right direction, so after these two rounds leading up to the final, which always help me then for me I am going forward.”Jamaican Elaine Thompson and Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo are two other Caribbean headliners for the meet.The 24-year-old Thompson, the reigning Olympic sprint double champion, will also run only the women’s 100m, which gets going tomorrow.Miller-Uibo, the Olympic Games 400m champion, takes on the 200/400m double but according to her, special focus will be on the one-lap event.“I think I am pretty ready. Everything is going well,” Miller-Uibo said yesterday.“The main thing is the 400m so once I get done with the 400m, the 200m is just there for play. I just want to go out there and have fun with it.”Meanwhile, seven other Caribbean athletes will be in action on today’s opening day.Antigua and Barbuda’s Chavaughn Walsh will be in the preliminaries of the men’s 100m, along with Barbadians Mario Burke and Ramon Gittens, and Bahamian Warren Fraser.They are challenging for a place in the heats, the stage at which Bolt enters later in the evening.In the men’s discus, Jamaicans Fedrick Dacres and Traves Smikle are down to contest the opening round. The 23-year-old is the world number two with a throw of 68.88 metres.Damar Forbes and Ramone Bailey, both Jamaicans, will be the English-speaking Caribbean’s representatives in the men’s long jump.The opening day’s activities will end with the men’s 10 000m final.