2 Ohio River islands donated to West Virginia Land Trust


2 Ohio River islands donated to West Virginia Land Trust

WHEELING, W.VA.

Two Ohio River islands have been donated to the West Virginia Land Trust, which plans to turn them into nature preserves and venues for recreation.

The properties, Upper Twin Island in Ohio County and Gallipolis Island in Mason County, were recently donated to the trust by private landowner Michael Hoeft, according to media reports.

The islands, essential habitats for wildlife, will service local communities and tourists once they are restored and opened for public use, West Virginia Land Trust spokeswoman Jessica Spatafore said.

Gallipolis Island was once 88 acres, but erosion has whittled it to 1.5 acres, trust spokesman Ashton Berdine said. In the 1840s, the island was the site of a park with picnic tables, beaches and a playground.

Upper Twin Island is mostly submerged because of a nearby dam.

The islands will eventually become part of the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Berdine said.

Airline travelers’ antitrust lawsuit moves ahead

A lawsuit by airline travelers who accuse the nation’s biggest carriers of colluding to keep prices high has cleared its first hurdle.

Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., filed an opinion last month rejecting a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

She said the plaintiffs in the suit, travelers who bought airline tickets starting in 2009, offered enough evidence to move forward with the suit.

The order by Judge Kollar-Kotelly doesn’t mean that she has taken a side in the case, only that the dispute will be settled in court.

The accusations were made in 23 antitrust lawsuits that were consolidated and brought before Judge Kollar-Kotelly. The lawsuits contend that, starting in 2009, United, American, Southwest and Delta airlines conspired to limit the number of new seats they added to raise airfares despite lower fuel costs.

The lawsuit noted that executives from the four airlines made similar comments about exercising “capacity discipline” during earnings reports and airline conferences.

TSA PreCheck suffers a setback, halts expansion

The Transportation Security Administration has set a goal of registering 25 million Americans for a security program that lets fliers who submit to a government background check use an expedited screening line at U.S. airports.

But the TSA has enrolled only 4 million travelers into the program – dubbed TSA PreCheck – and now it has halted plans to employ new private vendors to help register passengers for the program.

In a note to potential vendors, TSA said it was halting the expansion “in light of the increased and evolving cybersecurity risks over the past year.”

The note suggested that the TSA is worried about cybercriminals getting the passenger information that would be used to test new vendors wanting to work with TSA to collect background information on travelers.

The agency said it plans to issue a new request for private vendors soon that will “align with [Department of Homeland Security] cybersecurity best practices.”

TSA critics have blamed the shortcomings of the PreCheck program, in part, for the long security lines that bogged down airport checkpoints this year.

Combined dispatches

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