Olympics: Kenya to investigate missing Rio kits

first_imgThe inquiry will also look into the management of accreditations and usage of expenses, with Kenyan athletics hit by further troubles after team manager Michael Rotich was sent home from the Olympic village in a doping bribe scandal.In light of the recent turmoil, some politicians have called for the resignation of sports minister Hassan Wario.“The continued mismanagement of sports at the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Arts has brought shame and dishonor to the nation as demonstrated in the current fiasco at the country’s Olympic camp in Rio,” said one official.Over the past three years some 40 Kenyan athletes have failed doping tests, shredding their reputation for probity and laying bare the reality behind their reputation as the most dominant middle to long distance running nation in the world.The government only this month passed anti-doping legislation so that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) could take Kenya off its non-compliant list. Nairobi, Kenya | AFP | The Kenyan government announced on Thursday it had opened an investigation over the alleged disappearance of Olympic kits worn by athletes at the Rio Games.Each Kenyan athlete was supposed to receive three different kits from the country’s equipment supplier, with one for training, another for competition as well as a leisure outfit.However some athletes claimed to have received only part of their kits, while others said they had received nothing at all.On Sunday, Nike complained to the Kenyan government about the misuse of the sportswear giant’s equipment, a repeat of a problem that surfaced at London 2012.“We are aware of the concerns that Kenyans have raised on the matter of Olympic kits, accreditation and overall mismanagement of our Olympic team,” said government spokesperson Eric Kiraithe. Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Raiders release J.J. Nelson, promote Marcell Ateman

first_imgALAMEDA — The Raiders released wide receiver J.J. Nelson Thursday and signed Marcell Ateman, who made a U-turn from the waiver wire back to the 53-man roster.Nelson, signed in the off-season to provide a downfield receiving threat, missed the last two games with an ankle injury and coach Jon Gruden appeared to be growing frustrated with the inability of the wide receiver to be available for practices and games.After a strong training camp and exhibition season, Nelson was played in Week 1 …last_img

Proudly flying the Blue Flag on SA beaches

first_imgSouth Africa’s coastline sparkles! No less than 41 South African beaches and five marinas have been awarded international Blue Flag status for the 2013/14 season for excelling in safety, cleanliness, provision of amenities and environmental information and management. The programme also provides environmental accreditation to whale-watching boats, as well as commercial and private boats. In 2013, for the first time, marine protected areas (MPAs) were included in the International Blue Flag Criteria. Blue Flag is the prestigious, voluntary eco-label for beaches, marinas and boats that is recognised as a trusted symbol of quality. It is regarded by the World Tourism Organisation as the most well-known international eco-label and gives local and foreign visitors the knowledge that their beaches are clean, environmentally sound and adhere to international safety and other tourist standards. The Blue Flag website offers information on each beach’s location, number of lifeguards, parking, average water temperature, special birds or animals that can be seen, as well as available facilities. South Africa joined the campaign in 2001 as the first country outside Europe to participate. Four beaches were awarded Blue Flags that year. Now 41 beaches have been awarded Blue Flag status. And five South African marinas have also been awarded full certification: Thesen Island in Knysna; the Yachtport in Saldanha; Granger Bay Water Club and False Bay Yacht Club in Cape Town; and the Royal Alfred Marina in the Ndlambe Municipality in the Eastern Cape. The voluntary eco-label is given to beaches that meet 33 main criteria spanning four aspects of coastal management: water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety and services, which include excellent life-saving standards, top-rate parking and sparkling ablution facilities. Local authorities report a number of spin-offs from being awarded Blue Flag status, including an increase in visitors, improved behaviour on the part of beach-goers, property prices rising for homes near Blue Flag beaches – and visitors enjoying a well cared-for and managed beach.South Africa’s Blue Flag beaches 2013/14 Eastern Cape Northern Cape Boknes Beach, near Port AlfredDolphin Beach, Jeffrey’s BayHumewood Beach, Port ElizabethKariega Beach, Kenton-on-SeaKelly’s Beach, Port AlfredKings Beach, Port ElizabethMiddle Beach, Kenton-on-SeaKleinemonde Beach Alkantstrand, Richards BayLucien Beach, South CoastMarina/San Lameer Beach, South CoastSouthport, South CoastTrafalgar Beach, South CoastUmzumbe (Pumula) Beach, South Coast McDougalls Bay Beach, Port Nolloth (Richtersveld) Blue Flag whale-watching boats: Whale Whisperer (Gansbaai) and Damara, Gaia (Plettenberg Bay). Blue Flag commercial boats: Robberg Express (Plettenberg Bay) Blue Flag private boats: Yacht Fling (Port Elizabeth) Visit the Blue Flag website for more information on the awarded beaches: Western Cape Eastern CapeKwaZulu-Natal Northern CapeWestern Capecenter_img KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife and Environment Society of SA: wessa.org.zaDepartment of Environmental Affairs: www.environment.gov.za Bikini Beach, Gordon’s BayBrenton-on-Sea, near KnysnaBuffalo Bay beach, near KnysnaCamps Bay Beach, Cape TownClifton 4th Beach, Cape TownDe Bakke, Mossel BayGouritsmond, near Mossel BayGrotto Beach, HermanusHartenbos Beach, Mossel BayHawston Beach, near HermanusKeurboomstrand, near Plettenberg BayKleinbrak Beach, near GeorgeKleinmond Beach, near HermanusLappiesbaai Beach, StilbaaiLlandudno, Cape TownMnandi Beach, Cape TownMuizenberg Beach, Cape TownNatures’ Valley, near Plettenberg BayPreekstoel, near Still BayRobberg 5th, Plettenberg BaySantos Beach, Mossel BaySilwerstroom, Cape TownStrandfontein Beach, near Cape TownStrandfontein Beach, Vredendal, West CoastWilderness Beach, near GeorgeWitsand Beach, mouth of the Breede River Blue Flag South Africa: blueflag.org.za History of the Blue Flag in SA The Blue Flag initiative was born in France in 1985, with the first coastal municipalities awarded the Blue Flag on the basis of sewage treatment and bathing water quality. The concept has since grown to include other criteria, and there are now almost 4 000 Blue Flag beaches and marinas in 41 countries around the world. Blue Flag is managed in South Africa by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa, in partnership with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and participating coastal authorities under the department’s Coast Care programme. Coast Care gives financial and technical help for coastal development projects aimed mostly at poor communities, as well as offering education, training and research services. SAinfo reporter Reviewed: December 2013 Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

South African art: a history

first_imgSouth African art has always taken on the unique flavour of the country, from the 4 000-year-old cave paintings of the San Bushmen – the richest collection of rock art in Africa – to the homegrown conceptual art movement that sprang up as apartheid came to an end in the 1990s.Elephants Charging over Quartos Country (1870) by Thomas Baines (1820-1875)Sections in this article:The 4 000-year-old galleryColonial art The 20th century and apartheidImpact of African forms Emerging black artistsThe outsiders’ viewApartheid in crisis: 1970s and 1980sConceptual art of the 1990sCrafts: the reinvention of traditionUseful links The 4 000-year-old gallerySan Bushman rock painting in the Drakensberg range of mountains.The San Bushmen, Africa’s oldest hunter-gatherers, lived in the massive Drakensberg range of mountains from 4 000 years ago until they were driven out by colonialists in the 19th century. Over that time, they created a vast body of art on the walls of caves and rock shelters – the largest and most concentrated group of rock paintings in sub-Saharan Africa.This rich collection prompted the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organisation – Unesco – to inscribe the Drakensberg as a mixed natural and cultural world heritage site in 2 000. The paintings, Unesco said, “represent the spiritual life of the San people” and are “outstanding both in quality and diversity of subject”.“The San people lived in the mountainous Drakensberg area for more than four millennia, leaving behind them a corpus of outstanding rock art, which throws much light on their way of life and their beliefs,” Unesco said.“The authenticity of the paintings, and their shelter and cave settings, as a reflection of the beliefs of the San peoples, are without question.”Watch: The world heritage San Bushman rock art of the Drakensberg:Colonial artDuring the early colonial era, white South African artists tended to concentrate on depicting what they saw as a “new world”, in accurate detail. Artists such as Thomas Baines travelled the country recording its flora, fauna, people and landscapes – a form of reporting for those back in the metropolis.Towards the end of the 19th century, painters Jan Volschenk and Pieter Hugo Naudé and the sculptor Anton van Wouw began to establish a locally rooted art. Their work – the first glimpse of an artistic vision that engaged with life as lived in South Africa – marked the moment the country began to acquire its own national identity, with the 1910 Union of South Africa marking the formal end of the colonial era.The 20th century and apartheidAn Extensive View of Farmlands by JH Pierneef (1886-1957)In the first decades of the 20th century, the Dutch-born painter JH Pierneef brought a coolly geometric sensibility to the South African landscape; he also, in a way that fed into Afrikaner nationalist ideology, found it bereft of human inhabitants.By the 1930s, two women artists, Maggie Laubscher and Irma Stern, brought the techniques and sensibilities of post-impressionism and expressionism to South African art. Their bold colour and composition, and highly personal point of view, rather scandalised those with old-fashioned concepts of acceptable art. Yet younger artists such as Gregoire Boonzaier, Maud Sumner and Moses Kottler were rejoicing in this new spirit of cosmopolitanism.The apartheid years (1948-1994) witnessed a great diversity in South African art – ranging from landscape painting to abstract art. There was engagement with European and American currents, but also a fiercely local sense of what it meant to be an artist in this country during troubled times.Inevitably, black artists were largely neglected. It was left to white artists, endowed with training, resources and supportive galleries, to build a corpus of South African art.After World War II, returning soldiers and some immigrants brought European ideas to the local art world. In the 1940s, Jean Welz, for instance, born in Austria in 1900, brought a detailed, nuanced and sophisticated style to still lifes, portraits, nudes and landscape paintings. Maurice van Essche, born in Belgium in 1906, applied the modernist techniques of his teacher Matisse to specifically African subject matter.Impact of African forms This detail of a mural by Walter Battiss in the foyer of the Pretoria city hall reveals the influence San Bushman rock painting had on his work.Meanwhile, African forms themselves began to have an impact on the work of white artists. An awareness of art forms ranging from those of the ancient Egyptians to San Bushman rock art increasingly influenced South African artists from the 1950s onwards.Walter Battiss, for one, had developed an interest in rock art long before he became an artist in the 1930s. Until his death in 1982, Battiss returned repeatedly to the motifs and styles of San rock art. In Symbols of Life (1967), for instance, San-type figures and patterns become stylised into a kind of symbolic alphabet.Other artists found different ways of interacting with the visual stimuli of Africa, whether by adapting its outward forms or finding ways to incorporate its textures into the work.Alexis Preller, for instance, created fantastically detailed canvases influenced by the European surrealists of the 1920s and 1930s. Beginning in the late 1940s, Preller painted African scenes and themes such as The Kraal and Hieratic Women, but these were not realistic portraits of African life: instead, they were reinvented by Preller’s startling visual imagination.Cecil Skotnes, by contrast, took a leaf from Picasso’s book – the European art revolution instigated by the great Spaniard had, in part, been generated by his appreciation of African masks. Skotnes became South Africa’s master of the woodcut, bringing European modernism into fruitful collision with African styles.Meanwhile, a host of white artists were engaging with the South African landscape in interesting ways – though such formalism was increasingly criticised during the struggle against apartheid for its detachment from the political situation.Emerging black artists Song of the Pick (1947) by Gerard Sekoto (1913-1993)By contrast, black artists such as Gerard Sekoto and George Pemba concentrated on depicting their realities and environments in a direct, though forcefully expressionist, manner.From the 1930s onward, Sekoto portrayed urban African life in places such as Sophiatown and District Six, vital and tumultuous hotspots of an emerging though unacknowledged black culture.In Sekoto’s works of the early 1940s, such as Street Scene, bustling African figures are placed in the context of their often denuded environment, while Yellow Houses (the first work by a black artist bought by the Johannesburg Art Gallery), reduces the human presence, focusing instead on the environment itself. In Song of the Pick, naturalism gives way to severe stylisation: a rank of workers wield picks in unison, forming a powerful image of African labour; a white overseer’s figure is dwarfed, even threatened, by this phalanx of diggers.In 1947, Sekoto left for Paris. Illness and intermittent impoverishment meant that his work never again reached the heights it had in South Africa.George Pemba, by contrast, stayed in the township of Motherwell near Port Elizabeth, living into his 90s and patiently continuing to paint despite the lack of public acclaim. His often naïvely styled work focused on the simple lives of poor black people, humbly and sometimes humorously evincing their fundamental humanity, though he also treated themes such as the story of the Xhosa prophetess Nongqawuse of the 19th century.Increasingly, and inevitably, black artists began to give voice to a political sensibility that left behind the realist depiction of township life. Lack of resources meant that many had to rely on media other than oil-painting, but making a virtue of necessity gave added force to their work. Dumile Feni (known as Dumile), for instance, became a master of drawing, often in ballpoint pen.Dumile’s sense of anger and despair fed into work of extraordinary power; his distorted figures seemed to have been physically deformed by the very forces of society. Called “the Goya of the townships”, he painted his own version of Picasso’s Guernica, a cry of pain at human suffering. Dumile went into exile in 1968 and died in New York in 1991.Black artists such as Azaria Mbatha and John Muafangejo also made striking use of the accessible and relatively cheap medium of the linocut. In the 1980s and 1990s, artists such as William Zulu, Vuyile Cameron Voyifwa, Cyprian Shilakoe and others extended linocut work into what has become practically a subgenre of its own.The outsiders’ view The Rice Lady by Vladimir Tretchikoff (1913-2006).Meanwhile, the idiosyncratic Jackson Hlungwane, discovered by the mainstream community only late in his life, produced a vast body of sculpture in wood and built environments expressing his own highly individual religious world. It contains a multitude of creatures both mythical and real, as well as a large cast of characters.In this he has something in common with another “outsider artist”, Helen Martins, who obsessively peopled her small-town home – known as the Owl House – with sculptures of concrete and found objects, up to her suicide in 1976.Yet South Africa’s most successful “outsider” artist is perhaps the Russian émigré Vladimir Tretchikoff, who developed a distinctive style in which arch sentimentality was rendered with virtuoso formal exactitude.Tretchikoff had considerable commercial acumen, turning paintings such as The Dying Swan and Chinese Girl (also known informally as The Blue Lady) into prints and selling millions around the world. To the post-modern eye, Tretchikoff’s work, long scoffed at as the peak of kitsch, now has a distinctive ironic charm.From the 1960s on, many South African artists responded to developments in American and British art. The severe yet sensual work of Cecily Sash showed the impact of post-painterly abstraction and later “op art”; the playful surfaces of Helmut Starke and Kevin Atkinson opened the dialogue with pop art.A wide range of styles and modes were now available to South African artists, and the likes of Judith Mason and Andrew Verster extended the traditions of oil painting into personal expressions of life, society and the world around them.Apartheid in crisis: 1970s and 1980s The Conservationists Ball (1985) by William Kentridge (1955-)As the apartheid state became more repressive in the 1970s and 1980s, many artists faced the harsh realities of South African life, sometimes obliquely, sometimes head-on.In the early 1980s, for instance, Paul Stopforth made a series of works dealing with police torture – the cause of the death of resistance heroes such as Bantu Steve Biko. And Robert Hodgins satirised figures of power in paintings that turned leaders into sinister but laughable echoes of Alfred Jarry’s mad king Ubu.In paintings, lithographs and sculpture, Norman Catherine developed the playful sensibilities of Walter Battiss into a disturbing private menagerie of threatening and threatened theriomorphs and larger-than-life human figures.The crowded collages, pastels and charcoals of Helen Sebidi spoke of the struggle of human life; her figures seem to battle upwards, towards the picture plane, as though they were drowning.William Kentridge used expressionist drawings and highly developed personal metaphors, symbols and characters to expose the hypocrisies and ironies of white South African life. More recently, he has employed his powerful drawing technique in “animated” films and installations, and the set design of Mozart’s The Magic Flute.Penny Siopis tackled femininity and history in dense, allusive paintings, and in installations, photographs and other conceptual works.In the 1980s, “resistance art” was increasingly recognised as a genre of expression directed at the white elite’s oppressive exercise of power. For example, trade union posters and T-shirts used imagery that had something in common with the Russian constructivists as well as African art. And anonymous artists placed images of state violence (or bewildering dream reflections) at traffic intersections.Conceptual art of the 1990s The Butcher Boys by Jane Alexander is one of the most famous contemporary sculptures to come out of South Africa. (Photo: Laurent Chicoineau, Flickr)Conceptual art in South Africa seemed to come into its own in the 1990s. Events such as the two Johannesburg Biennales (1995 and 1997) contributed to a new dialogue between local artists and currents from other countries. Media such as video, performance and installation took the place of painting.Jeremy Wafer, for instance, used photography, earth, and fibreglass sculpture to tackle issues such as borders and boundaries.The complex installations of Sue Williamson used found and reworked materials to speak of memory and history. Sandile Zulu made paintings out of the unpredictable marks of fire on surfaces, or created sculptural tableaux from natural materials.Even refuse was turned into suggestive assemblages and collages by Moshekwa Langa. Steven Cohen made drag into a form of sculpture-performance that addressed identity and marginality, while Kendell Geers interrogated the very process of artmaking itself.Other artists put a conceptual spin on traditional artforms: Jane Alexander, for example, took sculpture into new realms with disturbing figures that place the human form in extremis or subject it to frightening transformations, while Jo Ractliffe worked with photography to investigate personal and familial memory, death, decay and love. Hentie van der Merwe also used photographs, taken or found, to talk about the body in an age of HIV/Aids.Crafts: the reinvention of tradition The elaborate beadwork of the Ndebele tradition. (Image: Media Club South Africa. For more free photos, visit the photo library.)While the “high art” continues to blossom in South Africa, the market for crafts has expanded to include every possible form of traditional artwork.There is a host of work in traditional media on the market. Artists are constantly developing the repertoire of African crafts – from intricate and near life-size beaded wire sculpture to tableware, ornaments and embroidered cloth, to stunning costume jewellery, welded cast-iron objects, folk painting and more.At the same time, the status of the traditionally anonymous maker of craft works is changing: “folk art” has made inroads into “high art”. For example, in the 1990s the work of late ceramicist Bonnie Ntshalintshali went well beyond the confines of traditional African pottery, yet her exquisite creations could conceivably still be used at the dinner table.The Ndebele tradition of house-painting exploded with the advent of commercial paints, giving rise to artists such as Esther Mahlangu, whose adaptations of the highly coloured geometric designs adorned everything from cars to aeroplanes.Notwithstanding the appearance of celebrity “folk artists”, ordinary craft continues to thrive – the main examples being beadwork, pottery, basketry and wooden carving.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at [email protected] linksArtThrobArtslinkAfrican Art CentreContemporary Art in South AfricaDavid Krut Publishing and Arts ResourceJohans Borman Fine Art GallerySouth African Rock Art Digital ArchiveSouth African Virtual Art GalleryArtist websitesIrma SternGerard SekotoGeorge PembaDumile FeniNorman CatherineMajor art galleriesAlliance Française (Johannesburg)Andrew Walford Shongweni Pottery Gallery (Durban)Art on Paper (Johannesburg)Art.b (Cape Town)Artists Under the Sun (Johannesburg)ArtSpace Durban (Durban)Association for Visual Arts (Cape Town)Bag Factory (Johannesburg)BAT Centre (Durban)Bell-Roberts Art Gallery (Cape Town)Cape Gallery (Cape Town)Carmel Art Original (Cape Town)Carnegie Art Gallery (Durban)Cherie de Villiers Fine Art Gallery (Johannesburg)Everard Read Gallery (Cape Town)Everard Read Gallery (Johannesburg)Gallery Momo (Johannesburg)Goodman Gallery (Johannesburg)Greatmore Studios (Cape Town)Irma Stern Museum (Cape Town)Johans Borman Fine Art Gallery (Cape Town)Michaelis Collection (Cape Town)Pretoria Art Museum (Pretoria)Rose Korber Art Consultancy (Cape Town)South African National Gallery (Cape Town)Standard Bank Gallery (Johannesburg)Tatham Art Gallery (Durban)last_img read more

Google Waves Goodbye To MySQL In Favor Of MariaDB

first_imgRelated Posts Tags:#Android#Google#Java#MariaDB#MySQL#Oracle 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now In physics, the law of conservation of energy holds that energy can neither be created or destroyed, it can only be transferred from one form to another. In business terms, this natural law can also apply: do a company wrong and someday that company may come back to bite you on the butt later.That will never be the official reason why search engine Google is moving all of its Oracle MySQL relational database systems to MySQL’s forked descendant MariaDB, but even the unintentional, karmic implications against Oracle are blindingly obvious.After all, Oracle has spent a lot of time and legal effort over the past few years attempting to establish that Google had committed copyright infringement by copying portions of Java code into Google’s Android operating system, including 37 application programming interfaces that tap into the Java programming language. Google won that in federal court, though Oracle has appealed. Still, Google apparently has a long memory.The revelation that Google was dumping MySQL for the MariaDB database came from Google Senior Systems Engineer Jeremy Cole in a presentation at the Extremely Large Databases conference at Stanford University this week.According to The Register, Cole revealed during the presentation that Google was working with the MariaDB Foundation to patch and update MariaDB 10.0 and get it ready for Google to migrate thousands of MySQL instances to MariaDB.“We’re running primarily on [MySQL] 5.1 which is a little outdated, and so we’re moving to MariaDB 10.0 at the moment,” Cole said…Google later confirmed the plan in a statement to The Register:Google’s MySQL team is in the process of moving internal users of MySQL at Google from MySQL 5.1 to MariaDB 10.0. Google’s MySQL team and the SkySQL MariaDB team are looking forward to working together to advance the reliability and feature set of MariaDB.The work to make this migration apparently began at the beginning of the year, but outward signs of the plan didn’t get noticed until last month, when it was noticed that Google was assigning a full-time engineer to work at the MariaDB Foundation.See also: MySQL Vs. MariaDB: Power Plays By Expanding CommunitiesAt the time of this move, speculation focused on Google trying to strengthen MariaDB in order to keep diversity within the MySQL community alive. Since Oracle gained control of the MySQL database in 2010 when it purchased Sun Microsystems, the MySQL database community has had to contend with an Oracle that admittedly was putting in some solid technical work to the popular open-source database, but letting very few contributions from outside Oracle into the MySQL codebase.This frustrated users of MySQL who wanted to see their changes placed into the main line of MySQL development (known as the “trunk”) as well, and not have every technical change within MySQL dependent on the whims of Oracle.Bullet points on Cole’s slides from his presentation laid out his (and apparently Google’s) position on Oracle MySQL:Continuing to do good development, but often without much public visibility until release.Ignores bugs, feedback, communication from communityThis lack of community participation was a big part of the reason why MySQL creator Monty Widenius forked the MariaDB project away from MySQL in the first place: to give MySQL users a version of the MySQL database where many could contribute.According to Cole, Google will specifically be migrating to an in-house branch of MariaDB 10.0, which incorporates Google-specific changes and will be the equivalent of MySQL 5.6. This is not a true fork, though, as it will still maintain a code-sharing relationship with the MariaDB trunk. Cole told the audience that Google was going this way so they could still maintain absolute control over the development of the MariaDB branch.These are all perfectly valid reasons for Google to move away from MySQL, which has seen a steadily increasing declination across all of its user base since Oracle took the project over.Even though it’s easy to suggest that this mass migration from MySQL to MariaDB is some sort of comeuppance for Oracle, the truth probably lies in the history of Oracle’s handling of the MySQL community to date—Oracle has made its bed of spikes with the MySQL community, and now it has to lie in it. And this mass migration of thousands of MySQL servers will make a lot of current and future MySQL customers take a good, hard look at alternatives like MariaDB. IT + Project Management: A Love Affaircenter_img Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… brian proffitt Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…last_img read more

Residents urged to be cautious with rising fire danger rating

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Though the Peace Region was exempt from the province’s campfire ban, the Prince George Fire Centre is still issuing residents to use caution when having a fire.With the fire danger rating climbing between moderate and high in the Peace Region, any unattended fires could lead to something much worse.Fire Information Officer Amanda Reynolds explained that with rising temperature there is potential for lightning hold over fires. “There is always the potential for lightning hold over fires but were not anticipating lightning in the next couple of days,” said Reynolds.Reynolds added that lightning hold overs occur when an area experiences hot temperatures and gets struck by lightning, causing a blaze.Reynolds went on to say that there are no new fires in the Fort St. John area and if residents are careful there won’t be for an extended amount of time.Current Fire Danger Rating. Photo by the Government of British Columbia.last_img read more

Calling all entrepreneurial spirited youths for the 2019 Junior Dragons Den Competition

first_imgThese chosen competitors then work on refining their business concept into a comprehensive one-page business plan with detailed financial statements. The competitors will be assisted in creating a live business pitch to use at the live competition for an opportunity to compete for cash prizes at the final Competition on April 29, 2019.Submission Deadline is March 15, 2019To participate in the 2019 Junior Dragons Den Competition, or to download an application follow the direct link; CLICK HERE Junior Dragon Den’s FB Page; CLICK HERE FORT ST. JOHN, B.C.- This year’s Junior Dragons Den is gearing up by looking for applicants to enter the 2019 Junior Dragons Den Competition for the Northeast B.C. Region.If you know a youth that has a business or business idea and needs help developing their concept. Students in grades 7 – 12 and post-secondary students are welcomed to submit their concept for a business, business idea or expansion of a current business with an expression of why they should be chosen to participate in the competition.Once applications have been received and reviewed, five applicants from each category will advance to the regional competitions in Dawson Creek and Fort St John. Each student will be assigned a Mentor from their local community and these Mentors will assist their assigned student with everything from start-up considerations and marketing, to coaching and presentation skills.last_img read more

Where Have All The Crafty Pitchers Gone

After Moyer’s retirement, the reigning kings of slow-pitch became Jered Weaver of the Angels and Mark Buehrle of the White Sox and Blue Jays. Buehrle especially belongs squarely among the crafty lefty lineage, alongside Moyer and Glavine; however, he retired after the 2015 season. Over the past two years, in particular, we’ve seen a distinct lack of outlier starters at the bottom of the velocity rankings, the place where the craftiest of pitchers once lurked.To call a pitcher “crafty” is a kind of backhanded compliment. After all, if a guy has overwhelming velocity or electric stuff, we would just talk about that as an explanation for him getting hitters out. (Strikeouts may be fascist, but they are also impressive.) However, Moyer, Buehrle, Hudson and — especially — Maddux and Glavine worked the formula out to perfection. In fact, the 1990s were a heyday of sorts for finesse pitchers, with perfect games from Kenny Rogers and David Wells to go with regular All-Star appearances from the likes of Andy Ashby, Brad Radke and Charles Nagy. None were big strikeout artists, but all were very good pitchers nonetheless thanks to a combination of sharp control, smart situational pitching and keeping the ball in the ballpark.Yet as baseball’s overall velocity bar has raised and preventing home runs has become more difficult, there’s evidence the control-and-command approach has progressively lost its effectiveness. While breaking pitches such as sliders and curves are moving more sharply than ever, it’s not the crafty junkballers of yore who are benefiting most from it.Bill James once broke pitchers into equally sized “power,” “finesse” and “neutral” groups based on their rates of strikeouts plus walks per inning (theorizing that high-velocity pitchers get lots of strikeouts and walks — think Nolan Ryan — while our crafty group doesn’t record much of either). If we do that for qualified starters each season since 1950, we can see the balance of leaguewide pitching wins above replacement1Averaging together the values from FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference.com. has tilted strongly in favor of power pitchers since the early 1970s: Pitching has always been about throwing a baseball really hard — there’s a reason so much of the game’s mythology grew around how quickly hurlers like Walter “Big Train” Johnson and Bob Feller could get the ball from the mound to home plate. But for those who lack overwhelming stuff, there’s another core aspect to pitching: the art of throwing strikes and tricking batters into getting themselves out. Velocity makes a pitcher’s life easier, of course, but plenty of greats from history have thrived on guile instead of a dominating fastball.The craft of finesse pitching, however, might be a dying one in today’s game. A few, such as Arizona’s Zack Greinke and the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks, have managed to remain effective with a slow fastball and pinpoint control. But the number of star pitchers following that formula has dwindled in recent seasons, in conjunction with the ever-increasing velocity of the average pitch across Major League Baseball. Just a decade ago, we saw Jamie Moyer gutting out complete-game shutouts with an 81-mile-per-hour fastball at age 47 (!) — but are the Moyers of 2019 now getting squeezed out of the sport?Moyer, the southpaw formerly of the Phillies and Mariners (among other teams), was plainly a special pitcher no matter how you measure him. He won only 34 games by his 30th birthday yet still managed to finish with 269 total victories before retiring in 2012 at the age of 49. But Moyer also exemplified a very particular kind of hurler: the prototypical “crafty lefty” who gets by on smarts and makes the best of less-than-stellar velocity readings. In 2002, the earliest year of pitch-speed data at FanGraphs, Moyer — then a youthful 39 — averaged just 82.8 miles per hour on his fastball. (He and Tim Hudson were the only non-knuckleballers with an average fastball under 83.) It was a radar reading that only went down with the passage of time.Back then, though, 11 percent of qualified starters clocked in under 85 mph on average, and 70 percent threw under 90 mph. Moyer even had Hall of Fame company at the bottom of the velocity list, including the likes of Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine. But things changed by the mid-to-late 2000s, when Moyer was perennially the only qualified starter anywhere near the low 80s. In 2010, roughly 1 percent of qualified starters averaged under 85 mph, and only 29 percent were even averaging under 90 mph. Today, nobody averages below 85 mph — Hendricks is baseball’s softest-tossing qualified starter at 86.7 mph — while 16 percent of starters are above 95 mph on their average fastball: Aside from briefly closing the gap a few times over that span — specifically in the mid-1980s and the late 1990s, aka the Moyer and Maddux eras — the finesse pitchers have consistently lost ground value-wise to the hard throwers. The 2017 and 2018 seasons were the first two since 1950 in which the net gap in WAR share between power- and finesse-type starters was at least 18 percentage points in consecutive years. Of the 20 most valuable starters of 2018 by WAR, only one (Miles Mikolas of the Cardinals) was classified as a finesse pitcher; the other 19 were all either power (12) or neutral (7) pitcher types.What accounts for the trend? For one thing, balls in play are at an all-time low, setting a new MLB record for the fewest per game in each of the past five seasons. (We’re down to just 24 balls in play per contest in 2019 so far.) Although most pitchers have little to no control over hits allowed on balls in play during a given season, there are legitimate differences in skill that emerge over entire careers. And part of the crafty-pitcher archetype involves inducing a disproportionate amount of weak contact that fielders can more readily turn into outs.“I didn’t really have swing-and-miss stuff,” Maddux told Dan Patrick in an interview this year. “I wasn’t really worried about giving up singles, but I did what I could to keep the ball in front of the outfielders, not walk anybody and make them get three singles to score.”When there are fewer balls put in play to be had, that formula has less of an effect.There’s also the matter of teams turning to increasingly younger pitchers in recent seasons. Since just about every indicator of power pitching — from pure velocity to strikeouts — is strongly correlated with possessing a younger arm, it makes sense that as young pitchers account for a larger share of the value across MLB, so too will a larger share of WAR be associated specifically with power pitchers (and a smaller share associated with finesse pitchers). Which direction does the causation run? It isn’t totally clear, but it doesn’t especially matter. Whether teams are prizing youth or velocity, it’s squeezing out pitchers who lack either (or both) attributes.“If you look at pitching these days, everything is max effort,” Moyer told the Orange County Register in January. “Look at the younger generations — high school, college, minor leagues, everybody’s trying to light up a radar gun, throw 100 mph. Our bodies aren’t made to perform in this game as a pitcher at max effort.”Although Bartolo Colon, who pitched last season at age 45 as another exemplar of craft triumphing over stuff, the game is generally trending against pitchers like him and Moyer, in many ways.With all of this, it’s fair to wonder whether it would even be possible to dominate with an arsenal resembling, say, Maddux’s, in the modern game. The two-seamer, Maddux’s bewildering weapon of choice, has fallen quickly out of favor in the last decade or so, and a peak-era fastball that barely scraped 90 would rank among the slowest in the league today. Maddux’s specialty, changing speeds, can still be as disruptive as any tactic (just ask Cincinnati ace Luis Castillo). But it’s telling that Maddux himself recognizes what worked in his era might not be as effective now.“I was taught to throw strikes and get hitters out in the strike zone,” Maddux told Patrick. “And now, pitching has kind of turned the other way, where they try to get hitters out outside of the strike zone. I don’t know if I would have adapted to that or not. I’d like to think I could, but who knows what would have happened?”Perhaps the craft of pitching is making something of a comeback this season, with more finesse-oriented pitchers such as Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Dodgers and Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees off to great starts already. Certainly, there always will be a place for pitchers who can transcend the radar gun with intelligence and skill. But just the same, the obsessive quest for velocity in today’s game will probably continue to squeeze out the soft-tossing finesse archetype of yesteryear. Sadly, that means it will be harder than ever for crafty, Moyer-esque pitchers to carve out a place in baseball.Check out our latest MLB predictions. read more

Commentary Ohio States LaQuinton Ross still not ready for primetime

It feels like depth has always been an issue for Thad Matta-coached basketball teams. It’s not that the Ohio State players who are on the bench aren’t talented, but more that those players on the bench stay on the bench. Matta has a tendency to find a few guys that he really trusts, usually five or six guys, and rotate that small group instead of giving them a rest and letting younger players grow. Although Matta’s success here at OSU can’t be questioned, his system has started to show its weakness in recent seasons when fatigue begins to set in during the NCAA Tournament. This year though, that formula has changed out of necessity rather than revelation. Matta has been swapping about eight players consistently, with three players – junior guards Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. and junior forward Deshaun Thomas – averaging about 30 minutes a game. But outside of Thomas, the Buckeyes don’t have a consistent second scoring threat. A few players have stepped into the role on a game-by-game basis (like Craft, Smith Jr. or sophomore forward Sam Thompson) but aren’t able to keep it up over an extended stretch. It is a perplexing problem, but many fans think they have the solution. Sophomore forward LaQuinton Ross has been singled out by some fans for his natural scoring ability as the obvious choice to take some of the pressure off of Thomas’ shoulders. Against Wisconsin Tuesday, Ross totaled eight points on 3-of-4 shooting. For the most part, Matta has remained defiant and Ross continues to sit on the bench for many of OSU’s contests this season. Ross is only averaging 17 minutes a game, despite being second on the team behind Thomas in terms of scoring efficiency. And while, relatively, Ross’ time on the court isn’t anything to snicker at, it’s not reflective of a player with the potential to be an elite scorer. But why wouldn’t Matta play Ross if OSU is so desperate for a second option? Thomas can’t carry the team on his own forever. Although the fans have a point about Ross being a talented scorer, the problems with Ross might outweigh the rewards. As good as Ross is on offense, he is equally bad on defense. It is hard to imagine that on an OSU team, a squad that has been known for its defense since Matta took over the program in 2004, that someone who is such a defensive liability would get significant playing time. Notice during the final five or so minutes how rare it is for Ross to receive minutes. He might aid in games during the middle stretches, but never starts and never closes, a sign of Matta’s lack of trust in the young forward. Although his outing against the Badgers shows marked improvement, it is still not enough to convince Matta to give Ross a more significant role. He might see more playing time come his way during certain games this season, but don’t expect for him to play vital minutes against Michigan Tuesday or Indiana on Feb. 10. For the Buckeyes to make a run in the NCAA Tournament similar to last season’s, they need someone to come out of the woodwork to help Thomas. Ross might be that guy someday. But for now? He’s not quite the answer. read more