New Appalachian Trail shelter opens in N.C.

| Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012, 8:56 p.m.

New Appalachian Trail shelter opens in N.C.

Appalachian Trail hikers have a new place to rest in North Carolina.

The U.S. Forest Service says the Long Branch Shelter in the Standing Indian Basin in the Nantahala National Forest has opened.

The shelter is at the head of the Long Branch Drainage along the trail, slightly more than two miles north of Forest Service Road 83. It's about 17 miles from the city of Franklin.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy paid for the supplies.

The Nantahala Hiking Club provided labor, and local contractor Goshen Timber Frames provided the timbers and helped with assembling the frame. Employees of the Nantahala Ranger District provided heavy machinery and logistical support.

The trail is a marked hiking trail of about 2,200 miles that stretches from Georgia to Maine.

National math museum opens in NYC

There is wonder in numbers, and the curators of a new museum in New York City's Manhattan hope to prove it.

The National Museum of Mathematics is aimed at ages 8 to 13, and curators have given the place a playground feel.

The 40 exhibits include a “wall of fire” made up of laser lights that teaches kids about geometry and a square-wheeled tricycle that still manages to produce a smooth ride thanks to a wavy track.

Founder Glen Whitney says the idea is to show people the “fun, beautiful” things done with mathematics.

The museum is in an office tower across from Madison Square Park at 11 E. 26th St.

Tickets are $15; $9 for children.

The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Airlines boost 3Q baggage fee collections

Airlines are raking in more baggage fees.

U.S. airlines collected $924 million in baggage fees in the third quarter, up almost 3 percent from the same period last year, the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported Monday.

United Continental Holdings reported some of the biggest gains. United collected $187.3 million in bag fees in the third quarter, up 10.8 percent from a year earlier.

Delta Air Lines Inc. is the second-biggest airline by traffic, but it had the top spot for baggage fees. It has collected $662.8 million so far this year.

Baggage fee collections fell sharply at American Airlines, which is reorganizing under bankruptcy protection. It took in $138.3 million in the most recent quarter.

Even Southwest Airlines Co., where passengers can check two bags for free, has collected $104.3 million in baggage fees so far this year. That's mostly because its AirTran subsidiary does charge for baggage.

In fact, AirTran raised its bag fees Friday.

Airline profits jumped almost 55 percent to $1.39 billion in the third quarter, compared to $902.2 million during the same period last year, the government reported.

— Wire reports

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