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April 25, 2018

'Once Upon a Time' recap: 'Darkness on the Edge of Town'

Superhero franchises tend to follow a familiar, tried-and-true pattern. They launch with origin stories catalyzed by personal tragedy; they feature love interests who are pert and plucky and not granted very much screen time; they increasingly focus on quests to snatch an All-Powerful Glowing Thingie from the bad guy who wants to use it to take over the world, at least if they take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They also tend to make one assumption as they age: The more villains that can be crammed into a sequel, the better.

Often, but not always, this is a strategy that reaches its apotheosis in the franchise’s threequel. Spider-Man 3 didn’t think Harry Osborn breaking bad would be enough to sustain an entire story, so it also threw in Venom and Sandman for good measure. (The movie was not very good.) X-Men: The Last Stand crammed in a whole legion of brand-new bad guys, including The Juggernaut, Multiple Man, and Quill. (Everyone involved with X-Men likes to pretend this movie never happened.) The Dark Knight Rises couldn’t make do with Bane and a semi-evil Catwoman alone, so it tossed Talia al Ghul into the mix as well. (Nobody liked the movie as much as The Dark Knight.) Superman III provided a shaky blueprint for all of those films, mucking things up by forcing the Man of Steel to contend with not only the villainous Ross Webster, but also his own evil double. (It wasn’t as poorly received as Superman IV, but it didn’t exactly garner rave reviews.) Other franchises—think The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Iron Man 2—play the Too Many Villains card earlier, usually to just as mixed results; still more franchises don’t really go nuts until the fourquel (i.e. Batman and Robin, which is a mess for many reasons, but mostly because the titular heroes have to contend with Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy and Bane and a Batsuit with nipples).

But despite all those cautionary tales, Villain Creep continues to plague cinemas—maybe because franchises naturally tend toward excess as they age, maybe because a good bad guy is often more fun to watch than a good good guy… so it naturally follows that two good bad guys should be twice as fun. Mostly, though, Villain Creep probably persists because storytellers worry that sequels won’t pack the same punch as their predecessors unless they raise the stakes, and adding multiple antagonists is the easiest way to up a story’s ante.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying that, after multiple arcs that have focused on taking down one major baddie—Cora, Peter Pan, Zelena, the Snow Queen—Once Upon a Time too has decided that a single Big Bad (in addition to shades of grey like Regina, Rumplestiltskin, and Hook) just won’t do. Enter season 4B’s trio of terror: Kristin Bauer von Stratten’s Maleficent, Merrin Dungey’s Ursula, and Victoria Smurfit’s Cruella de Vil.

On one hand, it’s exciting to see the show get back to its roots by introducing characters from stories older than the year 2013. On the other, Once has never exactly suffered from a dearth of characters, and it seems like it’ll be impossible to give each of these ladies the attention they deserve when they’re all constantly fighting against one another—not to mention the billions of other personalities already in Once’s Disney vault—for screen time.

We’ll put an evil pin in that thought for now, though—because tonight’s midseason premiere is all about simply getting its wicked ducks in a row, poised for future mayhem. The fairyback explains how the Mistress of All Evil, a mysteriously be-legged sea witch, and a Gatsby theme party reject came to know each other in the first place; the present-day story line focuses on how two of them find their way to Storybrooke. And naturally, both plotlines hinge on string-pulling courtesy of Once’s chief meddler: Rumplestiltskin.

The Dark One is, of course, the one who first calls Cruella, Maleficent, and Ursula together for a Random Villain Caucus. (Timeline nerds: This fairyback apparently takes place earlier than episode 411’s fairyback.) As Rumple reveals, he needs their particular set of skills to help him secure a dark curse. What’s in it for them? He promises said curse will help each of the three ladies achieve their own personal happy endings. (If you drank every time someone said “happy endings” tonight, I’m assuming you’re reading this recap from a hospital bed.) As of now, it’s unclear whether the hex they’re stealing is the same Dark Curse Regina will eventually use to create Storybrooke—didn’t Rumple create that one himself?—but either way, the spell is currently being hidden deep below Hogwarts in the Cave of Wonders inside of a place called Bald Mountain, guarded by a series of “lethal magic obstacles.”

Those obstacles, in order, are: some bugs that Cruella disperses via magical halitosis (sick superpower, De Vil), a ring of dragon fire Maleficent sucks up with her staff, and… a short distance. (Ursula foils that one by reaching across it with one of her tentacles.) Um, maybe “lethal” means something different in the Enchanted Forest than it does here. Also, Rump: You, uh, couldn’t just do any of this yourself?

There is, however, one more thing protecting the curse Ursula has just handed over to Rump: the Chernabog, a.k.a. the winged hellspawn first introduced in this utterly traumatizing Fantasia segment.

Fun fact: According to the Disney wiki, Walt himself thought this guy was “the most horrible Disney villain.” How horrible? “If all the Disney villains held a contest to see which was the most truly, purely, evil, Chernabog would just throw them into the fires of hell.” Now I’m a little bummed Once didn’t keep him around longer, revealing in three episodes or so that Chern’s only aggressive because of his strained relationship with his father. In this scenario, his father is Shere Khan.

NEXT: Evil takes the front door

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'Once Upon a Time' recap: 'Darkness on the Edge of Town'

Eagle Scout using goats to attain scouting honor

WARRENVILLE, Ill. (WLS) —

What do you get when you mix together an award-winning Boy Scout and 38 goats? You get a story about poison ivy and huge appetites.

A beautiful day at Blackwell Forest Preserve near west suburban Warrenville. A beautiful day for people, and for goats eating enough to bust their bellies. It’s a 10-hour day for these vegetarian, nonstop leaf munchers. And it’s all because of Eagle Scout Gavin Burseth.

“We have 38 goats eating poison ivy,” he said. “They’re eating all the other invasive plants here today. And they’ll be fertilizing the land also and bringing back the native vegetation.”

Burseth is already an Eagle Scout and he’s now working for one of the scout’s highest honors, The Hornaday Award. He has already completed two conservation projects towards that goal this is the last part of his big test.

“It’s a really hard award,” Burseth said. “Last year only five scouts got this award last year. So it’s really hard to win.

This is a favorite spot for campers in this DuPage County Forest Preserve. They camp here, they hike here and yes there’s lots of poison ivy.

“The poison ivy was pretty extensive through this area and we really wanted to control it,” said Burseth.

He is working with his older brother Derek, who owns a company called “Thor Goats Eco Lawn Care” and together the brothers and the goats are an environmental super team.

Goats, as you probably know, can eat almost anything. Their stomachs are like Kevlar, bulletproof. So these are the perfect employees for this job.

“They’ll never take a break until the sun sets. Even after that they’d probably work the whole night through,” Derek Burseth said.

There is a low voltage fence to keep the goats in and people out, so no goat-napping, please.

(Copyright ©2014 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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Eagle Scout using goats to attain scouting honor

Scientists weed out pesky poison ivy with discovery of killer fungus

Much to the chagrin of gardeners, hikers, and virtually anyone enjoying the outdoors, one of the hazards of summer is picking up an itchy poison ivy rash.

But researchers in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have found an effective way to kill poison ivy using a naturally occurring fungus that grows on the fleshy tissue surrounding the plant’s seed, potentially giving homeowners and forest managers the ability to rid landscapes of the pernicious pest. Their findings could make the maddening itch of the summer season a thing of the past for the untold millions who are allergic to the plant.

The study was published this week in the journal Plant Disease and is a first of its kind on a plant that affects millions but has had surprisingly little research done on it.

John Jelesko, an associate professor of plant pathology, physiology, and weed science, began studying the plant after experiencing a nasty poison ivy rash himself while doing some yard work. Much to his surprise, there was scant research focused on the plant itself. Most of the work was centered on urushiol, the rash-causing chemical found in the plant’s oils. Urushiol is extremely potent. Only one nanogram is needed to cause a rash, and the oil can remain active on dead plants up to five years.

But rather than focusing on urushiol, Jelesko set about studying ways to kill the plant itself. He worked with Matt Kasson on the project, a senior research associate in the same department.

“This poison ivy research has the potential to affect the untold millions of people who are allergic to poison ivy,” said Jelesko, a Fralin Life Science Institute faculty member. “We have the makings of a nonchemical way to control an invasive plant that can be used by homeowners and others who manage outdoor sites.”

Their work is especially valuable in light of the fact that a 2006 study showed that as the planet warms, poison ivy is predicted to grow faster, bigger, and more allergenic, causing much more serious reactions that could send an increasing number of people to the doctor for prescription medications.

“When poison ivy can’t be treated with over-the-counter treatments and requires an outpatient visit, then we are talking about a public health concern that is very real,” said Kasson.


The research team discovered the killer fungus in their initial attempts to generate microbe-free poison ivy seedlings to use in their studies. Jelesko noticed that not only were some of the seeds failing to germinate, but on the seedlings that did germinate, there was a blight wiping out the young seedlings. Jelesko enlisted the help of Kasson to isolate what he suspected was a fungus causing disease in the plants. The team discovered that the fungus was growing on all the plants that died and the seeds that didn’t germinate.

The fungus caused wilt and chlorophyll loss on the seedlings just by placing it at the junction of the main stem and root collar of the plant at three weeks post-inoculation. At seven weeks post-inoculation, all but one of the plants had died.

Though herbicides are available to kill poison ivy, Jelesko and Kasson said that if this fungus were developed into a commercial application, it would not only be more effective than its chemical counterparts, but also have the benefit of being completely natural.

“We have to keep in mind that the chemicals used to control poison ivy are general herbicides, meaning that they will affect and probably kill many other plant species, so their use in large areas is not always practical,” said Thomas Mitchell, associate professor of fungal biology and molecular genetics at Ohio State University who is familiar with the research but not affiliated with it. “This work shows promise for an alternative approach to the use of chemicals and has great potential as a biological control alternative. This type of approach, using native pathogens to control noxious and invasive plants, is gaining more much deserved recognition.”

Kasson, whose research is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, believes it would be relatively simple to develop a soil granular to spread on top of poison ivy-infested areas in yards and recreational areas such as campgrounds to naturally infect the plants and kill them.

After Kasson successfully isolated the fungus in pure culture from infected , a DNA analysis revealed that the fungus—Colletotrichum fioriniae—is also widely known as an insect pathogen that kills an invasive bug that infests and kills hemlock trees.

In all of the natural world, only humans are allergic to poison ivy and its itch-inducing oil, urushiol.

“Humans appear to be uniquely allergic to urushiol,” said Jelesko. “Goats eat it, deer eat it, and birds eat the seeds, all to no ill effects.”

Jelesko and Kasson have filed for a patent disclosure of their current findings, and say that this research just scratches the surface of possible avenues for the study of poison ivy.


Explore further:

Fungus may help stop invasive spread of tree-of-heaven

More information: “First Report of Seedling Blight of Eastern Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) by Colletotrichum fioriniae in Virginia.” M. T. Kasson, J. R. Pollok, E. B. Benhase, and J. G. Jelesko, Plant Disease 2014 98:7, 995-995. dx.doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-09-13-0946-PDN

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Scientists weed out pesky poison ivy with discovery of killer fungus

Hapten Sciences, Inc. and Particle Sciences, Inc. Partner to Bring Hapten's Poison Ivy Product Into Clinical Trials

BETHLEHEM, Pa., Jan. ;28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — ;Particle Sciences, Inc. a drug delivery Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO), has partnered with Hapten Sciences, Inc. to progress Hapten’s lead product into the clinic. ;The product is a vaccine developed to lessen or eliminate contact dermatitis from Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac exposure. ;According to Raymond Hage, CEO of Hapten, “Experts report that 50 to 85 percent of the population in the United States is sensitive to urushiol and, when adequately exposed, will suffer an allergic reaction. Aside from the actual physical discomfort, these reactions cost the federal government and private business millions each year in lost workdays. ;For instance, in the western US, annually, about one third of US Forest Service Firefighters will leave a fire as a result of exposure to Poison Ivy, Oak or Sumac.” ;Particle Sciences will be manufacturing the Phase I/II materials of Hapten’s first human studies scheduled for 2014. ;According to Mark Mitchnick, MD, Particle Sciences’ CEO, “We have worked with Hapten in the past and are delighted to be helping them bring this important product to market. ;This a great use of our sterile solution manufacturing capacity: ;producing and filling a novel product along with providing complete analytic (service info) and release testing (service info). ; We have steadily expanded or cGMP manufacturing capacity with a focus on sterile and otherwise challenging products and have several in the queue already for early 2014.”

Particle Sciences, Inc. is an integrated pharmaceutical CDMO. ; Particle Sciences focuses on BCS II/III/IV molecules, biologics and highly potent compounds through a variety of technologies including emulsions, gels, micro and nano-particulates, drug/device combination products, solid solutions and others. Particle Sciences is FDA registered and DEA licensed. Through a full range of formulation, analytic, and manufacturing services, Particle Sciences provides pharmaceutical companies with a complete and seamless development solution that minimizes the time and risk between discovery and the clinic. ; The company was founded in 1991 and is headquartered in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. ; Visit www.particlesciences.com, email info@particlesciences.com or contact us at (610) 861-4701 for information.

Hapten Sciences, Inc. is a privately held biopharmaceutical company based in Memphis, Tennessee. The company’s mission is to identify and efficiently develop novel, early-stage products that will significantly contribute to the health and well-being of people around the world. ; The company’s initial product is a small molecule that acts like a vaccine to prevent the extremely painful itching and rash (contact dermatitis) caused by exposure to urushiol (yoo-ROO-she-ol) oil in poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac plants. The development of the this product is progressing and Hapten intends to begin clinical trials this year.

Contact:
Maureen Grieco
Maureen.Grieco@particlesciences.com ;

SOURCE Particle Sciences, Inc.

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Hapten Sciences, Inc. and Particle Sciences, Inc. Partner to Bring Hapten's Poison Ivy Product Into Clinical Trials

Hoosiers protect themselves from Mother Nature’s dangers

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Hoosiers protect themselves from Mother Nature’s dangers

What Everyone Should Know About Poison Ivy Rash

Poison ivy rash – Anyone who grew up in the eastern United States or Canada will undoubtedly have several colorful stories to tell about toxicodendron radicans, otherwise known as poison ivy. This poisonous North American plant is a small and unobtrusive green leafy shrub or vine that would probably go completely unnoticed, except for its dramatic effect on humans. While some people are naturally immune, most of us will develop a painful itchy rash whenever bare skin comes into contact with this plant. This is because of a liquid compound called urushiol found in the plant’s sap.

Upon contact with urushiol, an allergic reaction forms in 70-85% of people. The first sign is severe itching and bumps. This will usually happen within a few hours after contact. As the reaction runs its course, these bumps will begin to blister and ooze. Eventually the abrasions will dry and scab over. In most cases, symptoms will clear up after 1-4 weeks, during which an itchy sensation is strong and persistent. The vast majority of cases occur from passing contact while walking in areas where the plants thrive. More severe effects can occur when the plant is burned or eaten as urushiol will bind with the interior of the mouth, throat or lungs and can lead to dangerous respiratory problems. The best way to avoid outbreaks is to avoid contact with poison ivy altogether. As the old words of wisdom state: ‘leaves of three, let it be.’

Poison Ivy Rash

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poison ivy rash

Poison ivy is more prevalent now than it was in the past, mostly because of the accidental expansion of the plant’s desired habitats. The shrubs like direct sunlight, and love border areas where open spaces meet patches of woods. The edges of yards and fields, rock walls, and wooded paths are perfect habitats for poison ivy. This means that suburban North America has unwittingly become a dream habitat for this plant. These days, the plant is so common in many regions that to walk near woods without shoes and socks is an open invitation for a poison ivy rash.

Poison Ivy Rash

Most children in the eastern US and Canada learn to identify the plant at a young age. Even so, this unassuming plant can be hard to spot amidst the undergrowth. It is characterized by groups of three leaflets that are green turning to red in the fall. The surface of the leaves are slightly shiny and can have serrated edges or not depending on the sub-species. This plant can grow as a shrub up to a foot high, or as a creeping vine on tree trunks and rocks.

The active itching agent present in the plant will remain active long after the plant has died or is no longer present. This means that even touching dead and dried leaves and stems is likely to lead to a reaction. What’s more, sap can easily become attached to animal fur, tools, or clothing. Special precautions should be taken to wash clothes, animals, and so on that may have come into contact with poison ivy.

poison ivy rash

In most cases, allergic reaction is annoying but not overly dangerous. Left alone, the effects will go away by themselves. It it always best not to scratch a poison ivy rash if possible to avoid damaging the skin and causing healing to take longer. Contrary to popular belief, a poison ivy rash is not transferable by contact with oozing skin. The liquid that seeps from cracked blisters is created by the body and is not urushiol. If oozing is especially problematic, it can be reduced by cooling the affected area.

While there is no way to eliminate a poison ivy rash after contact, there are ways to reduce discomfort. On of the most popular is to apply calamine lotion to the area. This reduces itching and helps to dry the area. Another popular cure is to apply common under-arm deodorant. This has a similar effect to calamine, drying and cooling the area.

Jewel weed is an effective herbal cure that has been scientifically proven to reduce itching and eliminate the effects of a poison ivy rash more quickly. For this remedy, a 1:4 compound of jewel weed is applied to the affected area frequently. This can shorten the full course of the allergic reaction by several days or even weeks. While most people will find exposure to poison ivy annoying and uncomfortable, it will only be dangerous in extreme cases. Certain individuals will have stronger reactions and will need to be especially careful to avoid contact.

Although annoying, this eastern pest is not likely to go away any time soon. Instead, it will most likely continue to flourish as eastern North America continues to undergo subdivision. The best way to avoid contracting a poison ivy rash is to learn how to correctly identify the plant and avoid contact. It is also wise to avoid walking though forest undergrowth with unprotected feet, and to be especially vigilant in border areas around yards and fields.

poison ivy rash

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Poison Ivy Rash

Poison Ivy Rash

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