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New York officials: It's 'too cold' for Ice Festival

By Daniel Uria   |   Feb. 13, 2016 at 1:03 PM
| License Photo

NEW YORK, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Officials in New York City cited cold weather as the reason to cancel the annual Central Park Ice Festival.

The Central Park Conservancy announced the Valentine's weekend event would be cancelled due to "extreme temperature and high winds" in the area.

The free annual event typically features lights and music as well as ice sculptures carved by local artists. The festival's ice-sculptor-in-chief Shintaro Okamoto told the New York Times the cancellation is "a bummer" and insisted that similar events have been carried out despite extremely cold weather.

"We've done exhibitions and competitions in the past where it was negative 20s, negative 30s up in Fairbanks, Alaska and Ottawa, Canada," Okamoto said.

The Central Park Conservancy stood by its decision to cancel the festival, which will not be rescheduled despite forecasts of temperatures in the high 40s as early as Tuesday.

"Safety is of the utmost importance to the Central Park Conservancy," spokeswoman Jordan Jacuzzi said. "We have to take all things into consideration."

A polar vortex sweeping across the northeastern United States has placed New York and several other states under Wind chill advisories, with New York City potentially facing its coldest Valentine's day since 1916.

The Central Park Ice Festival was the second Winter-themed event to be cancelled due to poor weather. Park officials canceled the Winter Jam event in January before a blizzard dumped inches of snow in the city.

© 2016 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.

Sea lion shows off habitat using selfie stick

By Daniel Uria   |   Feb. 12, 2016 at 4:43 PM

LONG BEACH, Calif., Feb. 12 (UPI) -- A sea lion at a a California aquarium used a selfie stick to give viewers a brief firsthand look at its environment.

The 14-second video uploaded to YouTube was captured by Milo, a sea lion at Aquarium of the Pacific, using a GoPro mounted to a selfie stick created by a volunteer named Hugh.

"Just for fun I made a selfie stick for the sea lions," Hugh wrote in a blog post on the aquarium's website. "Why? I just thought it would be neat to see a swimming sea lion from the same selfie stick perspective that surfers and other action sports athletes use to give a 'you are there' feel to their shots."

The pole was constructed using an pipe with a float on the end that canceled out the weight of the camera.

Hugh worked with Milo who quickly adapted to holding the selfie stick and was able to capture the brief tour of his pool habitat.

© 2016 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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