5 types of apples, once thought extinct, are rediscovered

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Courtesy photo
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David Benscoter, who located the trees, stands by a century-old apple tree on an abandoned homestead near Steptoe Butte, in this 2014 file photo. (Courtesy photo)
Updated 06 March 2018
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5 types of apples, once thought extinct, are rediscovered

LEWISTON, Idaho: Five types of apples, once thought to be extinct, have been rediscovered in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.
The Lewiston Tribune newspaper reported Monday that “apple detective” David Benscoter located the trees growing near a butte in the rolling hills of the vast Palouse agricultural area.
Benscoter worked with apple experts at the Temperate Orchard Conservancy in Oregon and Fedco Seeds in Maine to positively identify the apple types. They were compared to written descriptions from old books and antique watercolor paintings.
The newly rediscovered apples include the Shackleford, Saxon Priest, Kittageskee, Ewalt and McAffee varietals. An estimated 17,000 named apple varieties are thought to have originated in North America, but Benscoter says only about 4,000 still exist today.
“I just love the history of these old apples and what they meant to the first homesteaders that arrived here in eastern Washington and northern Idaho,” Benscoter said. “The apple was the most important fruit you could have, and it could be used in so many ways.”
He first became interested in hunting down the almost-gone and nearly forgotten fruit when he helped a neighbor with chores on her property. He found an old apple tree and began to search the Internet to try to figure out what variety it bore.
By checking old county fair records in Whitman County, Washington, he discovered several apple types that were listed as extinct.
Since that time, he has discovered more than 20 varieties of apples that were once considered lost. He’s hoping area residents will let him know if they have old apple trees in neglected orchards or growing in back fields that he can examine.
“Those apples have been forgotten about in the back of someone’s field or an old orchard nobody has taken care of in a hundred years,” Benscoter said. “I’m hopeful, and obviously the search has been somewhat successful, and so I think there are still many apples out there that can be found.”
Apples have as many 50 different identifiers, including stem length, shape, size, color and structure.
Benscoter thinks he’s found an additional seven apples in the region that were also thought to be extinct or extremely rare, but they have yet to be confirmed.
Those include the Autumn Gray, Surprise No. 1, Flushing Spitzenburg, Republican Pippin, Bogdanoff Glass, Flory and Early Colton.
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Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com


What’s your status? Ten facts to mark the 30th World AIDS Day

A woman walks by the Pyramid of Cestius is illuminated in red for the World AIDS Day, in Rome, on Friday, Nov. 30 2018. (AP)
Updated 01 December 2018
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What’s your status? Ten facts to mark the 30th World AIDS Day

  • The first cases of AIDS are reported among gay men in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York
  • The disease is found in several European countries, including Britain and France

LONDON: The global campaign to end AIDS has made significant strides but the epidemic remains one of the world’s leading public health challenges, affecting almost 37 million people.
Campaigners say one of the biggest challenges in the fight to end AIDS is encouraging people to get tested and making them aware of treatment and prevention services.
The theme of the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day, which shows support for people living with HIV and commemorates those who have died, is “Know your Status.”
Here are 10 facts about HIV/AIDS.

- About 35 million people have died from AIDS- or HIV-related illnesses since 1981, including 940,000 in 2017.
- Increased awareness and access to antiretroviral drugs have more than halved the number of AIDS-related deaths since 2004.
- An estimated 77 million people have become infected with HIV since the start of the epidemic in 1981, including 1.8 million in 2017.
- Every week, almost 7,000 young women aged between 15 and 24 are infected with HIV.
- In sub-Saharan Africa young women are twice as likely to be living with HIV than men.
- South Africa has the world’s highest HIV prevalence, with almost one in five people infected.
- One in four people, about 9 million, are unaware that they are HIV-positive.
- UNAIDS wants nine in 10 people to know their status by 2020.
- Almost 22 million people were accessing antiretroviral drugs in 2017, compared with 8 million in 2010.
- Eight out of 10 pregnant women living with HIV received treatment in 2017, compared with less than half in 2010. Sources: UNAIDS, World Health Organization, Avert, HIV.gov