in the news

Nasty Irma


Irma … a sweet name but not when it comes to a category five hurricane..  This one looks like the nastiest to hit the Atlantic Ocean ever. Even if ‘her’ path is not confirmed yet and still might change, Florida, coastal Georgia and the Carolinas might feel the impact with more or less devastating consequences.  Listen to your local authorities.  Here is a list of the few important agencies:

  • The Florida Division of Emergency Management Emergency:  Information Line 1-800-342-3557 | http://www.floridadisaster.org | Facebook: FloridaSERT | tweets @FLSERT
  • The Georgia Emergency Management & Homeland Security Agency: www.gema.ga.gov
  • The South Carolina Emergency Management Division: www.scemd.org |  Facebook: @SCEMD | National Guard on Facebook: @SCGuard | Hurricane Guide 2017
  • The North Carolina Emergency Management, part of NC Public Safety: www.ncdps.gov | Facebook: @NCEmergency
  • At the federal level, coordination is done by the Federal Emergency Management Agency: www.fema.gov | ready
  • National Hurricane Center: www.hurricanes.gov | www.nhc.noaa.gov
  • Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available in your area, search the Internet with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.”

Both Florida and South Carolina are already in state of emergency!  Some places have also received evacuation orders.   Prepare your survival kits: purchase food and water, keep your gas tank full and phones charged at all time, have candles and/or flashlight & batteries, put your precious belongings and important documents in ziplock bags, get some cash,  secure your yard equipment, make sure you have an adequate of your medication [if needed], become familiar with local evacuation zones, locate the nearest hurricane evacuation routes, make a personal property list of valuables, electronics and furniture, …

Think about where to go in case of evacuation and agree upon a meeting point for your family in case you would be separated.  Make sure that all your kids know – by heart – your cell phone number and/or an emergency number. For the little ones, tuck in their pocket an ID card with relevant information, again, in case you would be separated. Same for the elderly and people with disabilities.

Don’t forget your pets … leave their collar day and night and make sure a pet tag is attached with his/her name and your contact information.  Remember that a scared pet might escape in panic …  Make sure that you have enough food for them as well.

And finally, if you haven’t done so yet, register your family with your Consulate General in Atlanta. For the Consulate General it is useful to know the situation and the whereabouts of the Belgians in its jurisdiction. Don’t hesitate keeping us informed via atlanta@diplobel.fed.be.

Let’s hope that José (already close to hurricane strength) is not going to follow suite!  Remain vigilant, be careful and stay safe!

Note: The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15 and ends November 30. | Interesting guide: Hurricane Guide perhaps for SC but plenty of useful information!

 

Advertisements

a good read about dutch and belgian wines


Many of you have met Cathy Huyghe, wife of our beATLe Chris, during our blind wine tasting or, more recently, the Belgian waffles tasting … Cathy is a dynamic media professional with a special interest in wine and the spirit of hospitality.   She is the author of the award wining book Hungry for Wine: Seeing the World through the Lens of a Wine Glass and currently writes for Forbes.com.

And here is what this posting is all about!  Cathy, deeply interested in the evolution of wine from the Low Countries of Belgium and the Netherlands, recently wrote an article – on Forbes – exploring Discover Dutch Wine: Interviews, Wines, Vineyards, Restaurants, a book by Mariëlla Beukers and Irene de Vette, now translated in English.  Okay, The Netherlands is not Belgium … but close enough.  And since her article clearly spells out ‘Oud-Heverlee‘ – which is undoubtedly in Belgium –  it’s a good read!

 

 

Belgian honored by Pieter De Crem


Yesterday evening during the re-launch reception of Delta’s non-stop services to Brussels, our compatriot Anton Mertens, an Immigration Partner at Burr & Forman LLP and President of the Belgian American Chamber of the South, has received from the hands of Mr. Pieter De Crem, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade of Belgium, former Minister of Defense of Belgium, the prestigious Knight’s Cross of officer in the Order of Leopold signed King Philippe, King of the Belgians.  A well deserved medal for 20 years of services to our country.

The Order of Leopold (Leopoldsorde, Ordre de Léopold) is one of the three current Belgian national honorary orders of knighthood and is awarded by royal decree.

Congratulations Anton!  We are so proud of you!

 

 

harvest of war



Harvest of war” is the latest book by Florida-based Belgian author Jan Smolders. I had the pleasure to meet Jan during his recent book presentation. Soberly dressed all in black, totally contrasting with his white hair, his piercing eyes and sparkling smile illuminated the room.  He is very jovial and you can only imagine him as a little boy as ‘een echte kapoen‘.

His 7th book takes place in his hometown of Ramsel and while, non fiction, the story is mostly based on historical facts related to the end of World War II when the village is still under Nazi occupation.  In the summer of 1944, Jan was a 5-year old boy who still today recalls many of these events described in his book… one of the main characters is Dr Van Dam, based on his own doctor who treated him when he contracted polio at the age of 6.  Together they braved the illness… allowing Jan to run 23 marathons!

Having left the corporate world [Bekaert & Lockheed] and toured most of the world,  Jan and his wife Lut are now living in Boca Raton, FL where he turned into a writer 5 years ago.

His other books: Viral Games,The Bridge of Whispers, The Convenient Fund, Ripping the Veil, Tennessee Tremors, Alone in Boca Raton are either thrillers or related to corporate devious manoeuvering. His eight book is ready to be published and #9 is in his mind …

Processed with VSCO with s1 preset

Quintuple Taz


Sit down because you will feel terribly exhausted by the end of this article!

Some of you may know Johan ‘Taz’ Desmet, a super lean 49-year old Gentenaar, living in Cumming with his wife Helene and multi-trophies-holder Stella, their German pointer.  They have a simple, cozy and discreet life, spending a lot of time outdoors.  So far so good, right?  What differentiates Taz from all of us is probably is ironclad determination.  Only a few days ago, at the bucolic Lake Anna State Park in Spotsylvania, VA, our compatriot succeeded to be the only Belgian in the whole world to finish the Quintuple Anvil Ultra Triathlon more than 24 hours before the cut off time.  I guess I lost you … Keep reading because his exploit is pretty exceptional!

The Quintuple Anvil Ultra Triathlon is an ultimate endurance event, over the course of 5 days, comprising 3 disciplines in direct consecutive order:

  • 12 mile (19 km) swim
  • 560 mile (900 km) bike
  • 131 mile (211 km) run

The total distance equals five (5) back-to-back Ironmans [3.86 km (2.40 mi) | 180.25 km 112 mi) | 42.2 km (26.2)]…. Just saying.

So how does it work?  Within 5 days, the triathlete must digest 703 miles (1130 km) starting with the swimming part at 7 am on the Monday morning and crossing the finish line no later than the Saturday at 7 pm.  Nevertheless to say that our friend Taz had an amazing performance by completing the event in 107 hours and 19 minutes (translate it as 4 days, 11 hours and 19 minutes), with only 12 scattered hours of sleep… He finished second but is the first Belgian ever to accomplish such feat…

Taz is no stranger to competing in multiday endurance races, having been involved in the endurance scene for some time:

  • 2016/15: Florida Double Anvil (finish 6th place in 2015)
  • 2015:  Virginia Triple Anvil (finish 3rd place)
  • 2014: Oregon Double Anvil (finish 3rd place)
  • 2013: Virginia Triple Anvil (finish 2nd place)
  • 2013 Pinhoti 100 Mile Ultra Run
  • 2013 Vineman 140.6
  • 2012 TACA 126.2 Miler
  • 2012: Virginia Double Iron (finish 7th place)
  • 2012/11: Pinhoti 100 Miler
  • 2011 Guts Reactor Run 100 Miler
  • 2011: IM Louiseville
  • 2008-2011: 35 ultra runs, 3 Iron, numerous 50 & 100 milers, 13 marathons …

Inspired?  Start your 20-25 hours weekly all-year-round training [after a visit to your physician]!  And don’t forget to congratulate Taz for his extraordinary performance and result!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

the race to the White House


‘De race naar het Witte Huis’ (publisher Van Halewyck NV) is a book from Belgian author Bart Deelen – for now, only available in Dutch from September 9th, 2016.

Het boek is een bevoorrechte oogetuigenverslag van de vijf campagnes sinds de millenniumwisselen en geeft een heldere blik op de amerikaanse presidentsverkiezingen met eigen reflecties van een vlaming die sinds 1999 in Washington woont. Bart werkt voor de Belgische ambassade; eerder was hij verbonden aan de International Foundation for Election System (IFES) en de KUL.

In De race naar het Witte Huis helpt hij de lezer om de huidige wedloop naar de Oval Office te begrijpen. Hij geeft een antwoord op een aantal veelgestelde vragen: welke hindernissen moeten de kandidaten overwinnen voor ze een gooi kunnen doen naar het hoogste ambt? Wat zijn de spelregels tijdens de voorverkiezingen? Waarom duren die zo lang en zijn ze zo duur en complex? En waar komt de revolte binnen de Republikeinse partij, met Donald Trump als exponent daarvan, vandaan?
De race naar het Witte Huis biedt een terugblik op vijf verkiezingen, trends, terugkerende thema’s en de factoren die winst of verlies bepalen. Komen aan bod: de controversiële verkiezingsuitslag in 2000, de impact van 9/11 op de campagne van 2004, de historische overwinning van Barack Obama en het verrassende verloop van de huidige campagne. Maar het boek graaft dieper en staat ook stil bij verklarende factoren zoals de toegenomen politieke polarisatie, de opbouw van een campagne, de registratie en mobilisatie van kiezers … Alles wat de kritische Europese lezer nodig heeft om de Amerikaanse verkiezingsrace te doorgronden.