Whoever could make two ears of corn or two blades of grass to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country than the whole race of politicians put together – Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s TravelsMy Ajee passed away last week in New York City. By sheer coincidence I’d already written my article published last week on my reaction to the death of an elderly patient on my watch – “First Crash”, when my father received word that his mother, my Ajee, had to be rushed to the hospital and she was critical. I wrote, “It’s impossible, I think, to be in that place and not think about your own loved ones. It’s impossible to avoid reflecting on whether you’ve spent enough time showing the people you love that you love them while you still have them in your life.” My Ajee was one of those persons I’d thought about.My Ajee, aged 30Since she lived in New York and I in Guyana, I only met her when we visited each other. With ten children, twenty-six grandchildren and sixteen great grandchildren I wondered how she remembered all their names much more their tiniest details, which she did. Of recent, she would faithfully read my articles in the New York edition of the paper – and complain bitterly on those weeks when they weren’t carried! She was a tad partial!But while I may not have been as lucky as my cousins and siblings residing in New York, we’re a family that’s constantly repeating the narratives handed down to us from our parents, and I do believe I knew her so well. As someone interested in history and the role of females in constituting that history, I’ve always been intrigued as to how she transitioned from her mother’s generation where females supposedly had much more “agency” and independence since they worked for wages of their own and were out of the home to one where she was “just a housewife”.But it seemed the times were changing and she and her parents were changing with it. She would gleefully regale us about how she “turned down” the offer from the family of a young goldsmith-to-be for my Aja, who was “tall and good looking” and who would (by sheer coincidence!) pass by her home every afternoon, just when she was “washing wares” at their outdoor sink. Her parents went along with her choice.She was determined to make her life a success and worked together with her husband to make their dreams a reality. She was a quiet woman but with a will of steel and was not deterred by her economic circumstances. She simply did what she had to do. She had thirteen children by the time she was thirty five, ten of them who survived. She scoffed at the “younger generation” of females making a fuss about childbirth!While she only went to primary school, she was determined that her children would receive an education and made great sacrifices to ensure that was accomplished. My Cha Cha’s and Poowas all recount the effect she had on them about imbibing good values with her stories taken from the Ramayan – but more so from her actions. She was very proud and never saw herself as “poor” even though by the official statistics she and her family were so defined. She would never accept a handout and made sure her debts were always paid.She was very bitter that conditions became so difficult during the seventies that most of the gains she had painfully made were wiped out. She was proud of the success she and my Aja carved out for themselves in New York, as well as the success of her children and grandchildren.My Ajee taught me a career is important to a woman but raising a family can also be fulfilling and merging the two can be achieved. She was a good role model for the modern woman.
With 75 days to the deadline of registration of candidates in the FIFA Presidential Bid, Liberia’s football chief, Musa Bility, has revealed that 13 countries have assured him of his nomination to replace Sepp Blatter.Mr. Bility said instead of the traditional five recommendations from member countries, he has received a surprise support of 13 countries up to yesterday and claimed that he is a potential candidate.Though, he failed to reveal the nations that pledged support to his nomination, as part of his pioneering strategy, he said they are from Europe and the Caribbean.He made the disclosure yesterday at the Headquarters of the LFA, attended by scores of sports journalists.“I received support and I’m surprised of it – I need five countries in writing – but up now I have support from 13 countries – and I don’t want to expose these countries as part of our strategy,” Mr. Bility said.“I am running for FIFA president that wouldn’t change – some people have limited vision and they want me to also have that limited vision – it’s good to think big and I’m running for FIFA President.”“There would be stumbles, but I wouldn’t be deterred, but would try to do whatever it takes – but the only painful thing is what comes out of my country,” Bility indicated.The LFA president stated that he is and strong confident and wouldn’t change his presidential bid.Mr. Bility, 48, said that he knows the “math and know what to go for the kill,” arguing that he has always been on the winning side.In the 2006 and 2011 Presidential Elections, Mr. Bility supported the Unity Party led government of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and in the latter was the chairman of the mobilization campaign for Montserrado County – and in both elections, President Sirleaf won.In the 2014 Special Senatorial Elections, Mr. Bility campaigned against the UP in favor of Sen. George Weah.Mr. Bility reiterated that his meeting with CAF, which was declined – was not about CAF endorsing him.Bility said the CAF meeting was an honor to gain their moral support, because their support cannot translate into votes.He stressed that it was merely a privilege to have had the opportunity to talk to the entire CAF Executive Committee, to answer questions – concerns, admirations – all the issues that are wrong with football, – but it was considered only an opportunity to explain his platform for the football top post.“I would love for CAF to endorse me but if on the 28th of October, CAF doesn’t support me, I would only salute them and move on,” Mr. Bility said. Meanwhile, Bility said though President Sirleaf endorsed his candidacy evidence of the appeal by Deputy Information Minister Isaac Jackson to Liberians to rally their support for him, there are many Liberians who think he shouldn’t run for the presidency.“There are many of you who don’t want me to dream my own dream – it’s my right to run, but most Liberians think I’m running to represent the country, so I shouldn’t run – but it’s wrong – I am running as Musa Bility from Liberia,” Bility said.Meanwhile, besides Bility, four persons have also registered their interest, they include: Michel Platini, President of UEFA; Netherlands Football Federation president Michael van Praag; Chung Mong-joon, former Fifa vice-president and Luis Figo, former Real Madrid Player.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded cardWilmont provided the spark in the first half after Indiana fell into an early 11-point hole. Killingsworth scored 20 of his 23 points in the second half and also had 12 rebounds, one assist and four blocks. But Wilmont was every bit as impressive. He tied a season high with 17 points, matched his career-high with nine rebounds and sparked an 18-0 first-half run that gave Indiana the momentum it needed. After the game, Hoosiers fans poured onto the court, setting off a celebration that even Killingsworth joined. “I jumped right in there because I ain’t used to seeing that,” said Killingsworth, a fifth-year senior who transferred to Indiana from Auburn. “So I jumped in there with them.” For Illinois, it was a rare bad night. The Illini entered Tuesday with 55 wins in their last 57 regular-season games. They’d beaten Indiana five straight times and have now lost to only four Big Ten teams since Jan. 24, 2004 – Iowa, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Indiana. Shaun Pruitt led the Illini with a career-high 17 points. Brian Randle had 15 and James Augustine 11. Dee Brown, Illinois’ top player, was limited to five points but had 11 assists before fouling out. Illinois has now lost two of its last three, while Indiana has won 11 straight conference games at home. “Marco’s a good player and sooner or later he’s going to get some things,” Illinois coach Bruce Weber said. “In the first half we did a good job fighting him, but it’s tough. He’s just good.” At No. 5 Texas 80, Texas Tech 46 LaMarcus Aldridge scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the Longhorns. Brad Buckman recovered from his latest leg injury to add 16 points and nine boards for Texas (15-2, 3-0 Big 12), which has won seven straight. Jarrius Jackson led the Red Raiders (10-8, 2-2) with 21 points. Tech coach Bob Knight is 2-8 against Texas in his five seasons with the Raiders. At No. 8 Villanova 73, Seton Hall 64 Randy Foye scored 19 points, Kyle Lowry had 14 and the Wildcats survived another tight one. Villanova (12-2, 3-1 Big East) got 12 points from Will Sheridan, the only true frontcourt player in its four-guard starting lineup. At No. 12 West Virginia 64, Providence 48 Kevin Pittsnogle scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to help the Mountaineers win their 11th consecutive game. It is the school’s longest streak since winning 22 in a row during the 1988-89 season. West Virginia (13-3, 5-0 Big East) is also off to its best start in the league since joining 11 years ago. Mike Gansey added 18 points for West Virginia. At St. John’s 68, No. 17 Louisville 56 Eugene Lawrence matched his career high with 18 points and the Red Storm shook off a horrid first half to beat the Cardinals. Lawrence scored the Red Storm’s first 12 points of the game and he had 14 at halftime as the Cardinals took a 32-28 lead despite St. John’s shooting just 25 percent (5-for-20). No. 21 Boston College 63, at Holy Cross 53 Craig Smith scored 19 to surpass the 2,000-point milestone, and had a career-high 17 rebounds at the Eagles recovered from his slow start to beat the Crusaders. Smith, the school’s first preseason All-America selection, came into the game with 1,998 career points. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “I didn’t even think he could go,” Davis said. “But he fought through it and played a great second half.” The Fighting Illini (16-2, 2-2) had no answer for the Hoosiers’ tandem. BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Mike Davis wasn’t even sure Marco Killingsworth could play Tuesday night. Fortunately for Indiana, Killingsworth’s back proved strong enough to carry the Hoosiers. Killingsworth overcame pregame back spasms to dominate the middle in the second half, and Roderick Wilmont scored 17 points as the 13th-ranked Hoosiers upset No. 7 Illinois 62-60.
1 The former Premier League referee is now the technical director for the IFAB The introduction of video replays to help referees could be the “most significant change” in football’s history, according to David Elleray.The former Premier League referee is now the technical director for the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the game’s law-making body that announced last year a two-year period of “live experiments” to trial video assistant referees (VARs).Thirteen countries signed up to take part in those trials, with three more, including England, following their progress closely.Speaking to reporters at Wembley this week, Elleray said the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and there is every chance VARs will be used at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.“It’s pretty daunting but it’s also exciting because it could change the face of football – it’s potentially the most significant change to football ever,” said Elleray.“It’s not a panacea but it could put an end to injustices like the (Thierry) Henry and Maradona goals, so it is a clear benefit.“We’re not looking for perfection but the 10 worst decisions of my career could probably have been changed pretty quickly with video.“All referees live with the scars of their worst decisions on their back; this will remove some of those scars.”The “Henry and Maradona goals” he referred to are two of football’s more memorable controversies, with clear handballs missed in crucial goals against Ireland in 2009 and England in 1986 respectively.Henry controlled a free-kick with his hand before teeing up William Gallas to score in a play-off and send France to the 2010 World Cup, while Maradona punched the ball past Peter Shilton at the 1986 finals in Mexico.As well as Elleray answering questions about the benefits of giving officials more assistance, the 62-year-old Englishman explained IFAB’s “minimum interference – maximum benefit” approach and how VARs will work in practice.The VARs themselves will be current or recently retired referees watching the action either in an on-site video room or truck, or at a central location, as is common in American sport. They will have access to at least six different camera angles and will view and review contentious incidents as the match progresses.They and the assistant referees will be able to recommend an official review but only the referee will be able to initiate one, which he or she will do by drawing an imaginary TV screen with their hands, just as in cricket and rugby.The referee must give a decision before a review can be made and he or she must always stay in sight. The review will take as long as it takes to get it right and will only reverse the original decision if it is a clear mistake.Elleray said the VARs are not intended to replace referees or break the flow of the game, so only decisions on goals, penalties, straight red cards and incidents where the wrong player has been penalised will be reviewed.FIFA has already trialled VARs at the 2016 Club World Cup in Japan and will do so again at the U-20 World Cup in South Korea in May, this summer’s Confederations Cup in Russia and the next Club World Cup in December.Last week, the Football Association said it was keen to start using VARs from the third round onward of next season’s FA Cup.Elleray added that VARs will never be “imposed” on any country or league, it will be an option. But he believes video reviews will improve player behaviour – in terms of foul play, simulation and interaction with the match officials – and even be a weapon against match-fixing.He also said referees should not worry about their bad decisions being corrected, as the experience from American football’s NFL is nobody remembers the original call as long as the right call is made in the end.
“We want to take him everywhere before he goes, to explore different countries,” she said. Along with Noonan and the Jarquin brothers, two other American youngsters will be participating in Santa Fe Springs’ annual Sister City exchange program, as well as seven from Santa Fe Springs’ third sister city, Navojoa, Mexico. Jesus Dario Salvadorlepro, a high school student from Navojoa, said through Selenia Noonan’s interpretation that the most exciting part of the trip was “to get to know another culture, to get to know Germany’s history.” Salvadorlepro said he was very excited in general to get to go to Europe for the first time. Carbajal said that this year’s trip marks the 20th anniversary of the exchange program, which will be celebrated with a reunion party when they return in August. “After we get back home, there will be a reunion dinner and dance on Aug. 18 for everyone who has participated for the last 20 years,” she said. She said the sister cities program was started by President Dwight Eisenhower, “to promote peace through people coming together.” The exchange program has similar goals. “Our students get the opportunity to meet new people, explore new places, see things that they may never see again,” Carbajal said. Beannette De La Cruz is an embodiment of the program’s goals. She is excited to go to Germany to see her German friend, who she met when she stayed with the De La Cruz family last summer. “We still talk through the Internet,” she said. “This time I’m going to stay with her in Germany.” Carbajal said that students raise funds for a year or two in order to raise the money needed for the trip, by putting on pancake breakfasts, selling trips to Las Vegas or holding car washes. De La Cruz and fellow traveler Melissa Torres said they have been fundraising for two years. Torres is looking forward to taking in the scenery. “I really, really want to see Notre Dame, so I hope we go there,” she said, referring to a weekend trip to France the group will take while there. “I like all the sites. I’m going to take a lot of pictures.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Noonan, who just graduated from Southeast Academy, a military school, is excited both about going to Europe for the first time and about traveling with his cousins. “I’ll have people that I know that I’m traveling with. We’re really close and we get along,” he said. The older of the two brothers, Mario, participated in the exchange last summer. “I liked it a lot,” he said. “I’m glad I’m going again. It’s different but in a good way. There are buildings there that are older than our country.” Noonan has signed up for the Army and will be leaving for boot camp in September, his mother, Selenia Noonan said. SANTA FE SPRINGS – Amid piles of suitcases, smiles and hugs, the 12 youngsters heading for Tirschenreuth, Germany, excitedly milled around, hugging family members and shouting goodbyes outside Santa Fe Springs Town Center on Friday. Some of them have more in common than destination. This year’s trip is something of a family affair. Of the five Americans who headed for Tirschenreuth on Friday, three are closely related. Two brothers, Mario and Joel Jarquin, and their cousin, Joshua Noonan, will be traveling together. “We’ve had family members attend the program, but never at the same time,” said Francis Carbajal, the exchange program’s adviser. She added that the two Jarquin brothers are fluent in German.
1967: Ray Clemence moved from Scunthorpe for £18,000 – Liverpool appear to have a thing for signing great players when the year ends in seven, beginning with Clemence, who is regarded as the greatest goalkeeper in Liverpools history. He was present for their era of dominance in the 1970s and 1980s during which the club won five league titles and three European Cups. He actually won every major honour except the Cup Winners Cup and missed just six games in his 11 years at Anfield. 1987: Liverpool paid Watford £900,000 for John Barnes – He arrived with Peter Beardsley and John Aldridge and had an incredibly huge impact. At the end of his first season, Barnes won a league title and both the PFA and Football Writers Association Player of the Year awards thanks to his fantastic displays of skill, and ability to score stunning goals. He was considered one of the most exciting players in Europe and won another league title in 1990 where he top scored with 22 goals. Liverpool have found a quality goal scorer, in the shape of summer signing Mohamed Salah.Bought from Roma in 2017 for £34million, the forward has scored more than 40 in all competitions in his first season.And the Reds have a history of great buys in the year ending in seven, as talkSPORT points out.Scroll through the gallery to see 50 years of great signings. 6 1997: Academy graduate Michael Owen makes his Liverpool debut – Newcastle had no answers for Owen’s brilliance 6 1977: Kenny Dalglish signed from Celtic in a £440,000 deal – Dalglish arrived as Kevin Keegans replacement in 1977, with Liverpool paying Celtic £440,000 for the privilege. He started with a goal on his debut against Newcastle and in 515 games, he scored 172 times. Known as King Kenny, he struck up a brilliant partnership with Ian Rush and later moved into the dugout. Dalglish won three league titles as Liverpool manager to go with the six he won as a player along with the three European Cups. The no.7 shirt is now iconic at Anfield. 6 getty 6 2017: Mohamed Salah was signed from Roma for £34m – A lot of money was spent on Salah in the summer, but right now he looks worth every penny. You think of the great goalscoring wingers, and if he’s here for three or four years then he’s on the verge of eclipsing them all, Jamie Carragher has said. In his first 18 games he scored 14 goals and manager Jurgen Klopp said he is already meeting expectations. “It’s all good so far. I like Mo, I really like his goals but I don’t have to talk too much about them because they are in the past. “I’m more interested in his statistics tomorrow night. But in our games, it’s not luck that he scored, he made really fantastic goals. He can build confidence off this.” 2007: Fernando Torres was signed from Atletico Madrid for £20m – Torres, 23 at the time, joined to much fanfare given his prolific reputation in Spain. He spent three and half years at Anfield and scored 81 goals in 142 games before agreeing to join Chelsea for £50m in 2011. However, in his first season on Merseyside he hit the back of the net 33 times and later struck up a great partnership with Steve Gerrard. He was the clubs best foreign signing before Luis Suarezs arrival. 6 6
The annual Leitrim Supporters’ Club launch takes place in the Celtic Suite of Croke Park on Thursday, January 18, at 7.30pm sharp. RTÉ’s Marty Morrissey will be the special guest at the hugely popular annual event for anyone with a Leitrim connection in the capital and surrounding counties.This year’s gathering also includes a special recognition by the Leitrim Supporters’ Club of the three Leitrim legends who, 60 years ago this year, won Railway Cup medals in 1958: Columba Cryan, Packy McGarty and Cathal Flynn. All three played for Leitrim in the most talked about game of them all, the famous 1958 Connacht final v Galway.Continuing the strong vein of talent to entertain at the gathering will be super-group Garadice, a collection of some of Leitrim’s finest musical exponents. MC on the night will once again be former Leitrim player Colin Regan, and he spoke to Ocean FM’s Darragh Cox on Sunday Sport.Organised by the Dublin Branch of the Leitrim’s Supporters Club, last year’s event drew 160 attendees and proved another highlight in the year’s social calendar.More used to interviewing than being interviewed, Marty Morrissey will find the tables turned as Leitrim Observer columnist and MC for the night, Colin Regan, puts the Clare man through his paces in a wide-ranging chat that will touch upon his stellar broadcasting career, his time as a player and a manager, and most recently, his turn on RTE’s hit show ‘Dancing with the Stars’.Prior to this, Leitrim senior team manager, Benny Guckian will outline his plans for the year ahead while County Chairperson, Terrence Boyle, will offer an update on all Leitrim GAA activities.The night will conclude with a special performance from Garadice. This exceptional quartet features Eleanor Shanley, one of Ireland’s foremost singers since her first appearance as the singer with traditional group De Danann, Padraig McGovern (who was taught uilleann pipes by master piper P.J. Flood and developed his music as a member of the Ceolas Céili Band), Dave Sheridan (whose playing style has been described as “free flowing and fluid, with sound technique and solid driving rhythm” and who has recorded two highly acclaimed solo albums as well as recordings with De Danann and Téada) and guitar and fiddle player John McCartin who has played with many noted bands including Lúnasa and Dervish.The night, of course, kick-starts a fundraising campaign without which the Leitrim County Board simply couldn’t continue its high level of work and investment in Leitrim teams on and off the field. Leitrim Supporters Draw Tickets (which this year include a prize of a trip to New York for the championship encounter in May) will be for sale on the night and all who buy one will also be entered in a raffle on the night containing some exceptional Leitrim-themed prizes.The event will take place on Thursday, January 18, in the Celtic Suite of Croke Park with parking available in the Cusack Stand car park (accessed through the GAA museum entrance off Clonliffe Road).Doors will open at the slightly earlier time of 7pm this year with the addresses and entertainment starting at 7.30pm sharp. Light refreshments will be provided at the interval with the night concluding at 9.15pm sharp. All are welcome to this free event and please let anyone with a Leitrim connection know it’s happening.
Luepke, Zschernitz win sectional titles, Ackman also moves on to stateBy Paul LeckerSports ReporterAMERY — The Spencer/Columbus Catholic wrestling team will have three athletes compete at next week’s state tournament after their performance at the WIAA Division 2 individual wrestling sectional Saturday at Amery High School.Spencer/Columbus junior Hunter Luepke won the 195-pound sectional title to qualify for the WIAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament for the third-straight season.Luepke (36-2) pinned Ty Sanford of Prescott with one second remaining in the first period to win the championship match.Sophomore Logan Zschernitz and freshman Ashton Ackman will be making their first appearances at the state meet, which will be held Feb. 23-25 at the Kohl Center in Madison.Zschernitz (37-3) won the 285-pound title match, beating Nick Rueth of Neillsville/Greenwood/Loyal 5-1.Ackman (35-7) ended up second at 106 pounds. He won the third place match by technical fall over Andrew Olson of Osceola 17-2 and won the second-place wrestleback by injury default.Spencer/Columbus’ fourth sectional qualifier, Bryce Shaw, came up just short of a state bid. Shaw (19-10) lost a third-place match to Dalton Smith of Stanley-Boyd/Owen-Withee 6-4.Ackman will face Quintin Gehrmann (33-5) of Jefferson in a Division 2 preliminary round match Thursday night. By virtue of their sectional titles, Luepke and Zschernitz earned byes into the quarterfinals on Friday afternoon.(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)2017 WIAA Division 2 Individual Wrestling SectionalFeb. 18, at Amery High SchoolTeam scores: 1. Ellsworth 204; 2. Melrose-Mindoro/Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau 93.5; 3. Spencer/Columbus Catholic 71; 4. Prescott 49; 5. Medford 44; 6. Amery 42; 7. Bloomer/Colfax and Rice Lake 38; 9. Neillsville/Greenwood/Loyal 37; 10. Stanley-Boyd/Owen-Withee 34; 11. St. Croix Central 29; 12. Baldwin-Woodville 28; 13. Spooner 27; 14. Chetek-Weyerhaeuser/Prairie Farm 24; 15. Barron 23.5; 16. Hayward/Northwood 18; 17. Northwestern 15; 18. Luck/Frederic/Grantsburg/Siren, Osceola and Somerset 11; 21. Abbotsford/Colby and Ashland 0.*Top three finishers in each weight class qualify for WIAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament, Feb. 23-25 at Kohl Center, Madison106 poundsChampionship: Charlie Stuhl (ELL) def. Ethan Tulip (PRES) by injury default.Third place: Ashton Ackman (SC) won by technical fall over Andrew Olson (OSC) 17-2.Second-place wrestleback: Ackman (SC) def. Tulip (PRES) by injury default.113 poundsChampionship: Dane Higgins (MED) def. Jack Marley (MMGET) 7-3.Third place: Jacek Nickowski (BW) def. Matthew Peterson (ELL) 3-0.120 poundsChampionship: Sawyer Storm (ELL) def. Julian Purney (MMGET) 6-2.Third place: Mike Smith (AM) def. Alex McCray (BW) 13-11.Second-place wrestleback: Purney (MMGET) pinned Smith (AM) in 2:47.126 poundsChampionship: Owen Matzek (ELL) pinned Steven Moncada (SOM) in 0:57.Third place: Les Lakey (MMGET) def. Jordan Bonte (BW) 6-3.Second-place wrestleback: Lakey (MMGET) def. Moncada (SOM) 6-5.132 poundsChampionship: Sam Stuhl (ELL) pinned Mitchel Harmon (BC) in 1:16.Third place: Calen Kirkpatrick (NW) pinned Jacob Summers (MMGET) in 0:44.Second-place wrestleback: Harmon (BC) def. Kirkpatrick (NW) 10-5.138 poundsChampionship: Jared Lansing (ELL) def. Tim Coyne (HN) 6-4.Third place: Dalton Smith (SBOW) def. Bryce Shaw (SC) 6-4.145 poundsChampionship: Cole Skelton (ELL) def. Shawn Waalen (AM) 7-5, SV-1.Third place: Noah Massie (BAR) def. Preston Carlson (MED) 6-0.152 poundsChampionship: Chase Schmidt (RL) def. Sam Burzynski (SBOW) 9-6.Third place: Jeff Maynard (MMGET) won by technical fall over Chase Melton (SPO) 17-2.Second-place wrestleback: Burzynski (SBOW) def. Maynard (MMGET) 11-4.160 poundsChampionship: Anders Lantz (ELL) def. Kolten Hanson (MED) 3-2, TB-1.Third place: William Waldofski (BAR) def. Eric Hoofstatter (SBOW) 8-6.170 poundsChampionship: Stephen Buchanon (NGL) def. Sam Newell (CWPF) 12-7.Third place: Carl Oman (AM) def. Matthew McNurlin (PRES) 2-0, SV-1.Second-place wrestleback: Newell (CWPF) def. Oman (AM) 7-6.182 poundsChampionship: Jacob Singer (ELL) pinned Cole Olson (BC) in 4:00.Third place: Dakota Schultz (LFGS) def. Daniel Chuchwar (CWPF) 7-6.195 poundsChampionship: Hunter Luepke (SC) pinned Ty Sanford (PRES) in 1:59.Third place: Ryan Larson (SCC) def. Cole Toenjes (ELL) 5-2.220 poundsChampionship: Dakotah Daffinson (MMGET) pinned Joshua Carroll (SPO) in 0:49.Third place: Jacob Bugella (RL) pinned Dillon Kimmen (PRES) in 3:09.Second-place wrestleback: Carroll (SPO) pinned Bugella (RL) in 3:47.285 poundsChampionship: Logan Zschernitz (SC) def. Nick Rueth (NGL) 5-1.Third place: Mike Freund (ELL) pinned Hunter Schmidt (SCC) in 1:43.
South Africans are tipped to access affordable internet.(Image: Bongani Nkosi)Broadband pundits are predicting internet connection rates in South Africa to drop by between 20% and 25% in the next 12 months. Most of the executives who spoke at the My Broadband conference in Midrand, north of Johannesburg, on 20 October forecast that prices will drop significantly in the next year, citing new infrastructure developments and escalating competition in the industry.Broadband wholesaler and network operator Neotel forecast price cuts of about 20%. Underwater cable operator Seacom’s Suveer Ramdhani said they expect international rates to drop by between 20% and 25%.South Africans who are connected to networks are now using more broadband, a trend that’s a plus to the growth of the young industry. “You’ll see costs dropping in the next 12 months. People are using more bandwidth,” said communications company Telkom’s managing executive Steve Lewis.Since the introduction of the Eassy and Seacom fibre optic cables, rates are said to have come down by about 40%. Eassy came online this year, while Seacom has been operational since 2009.“It’s great to see that prices have come down,” said Ryan Sher of Eassy. “There’s now more competition,” he added.“As an industry we’ve been keen to bring down prices,” said Sameer Dave of mobile provider MTN.There has certainly been an upsurge of mobile internet usage across the country. More and more South Africans now have Facebook accounts. Thousands of youngsters use Mxit and other chat sites. This is a prevailing trend even in rural areas where broadband connectivity is limited, and is aided by a range of data packages offered by all of South Africa’s mobile networks.“Prices are coming down, it’s a continuous evolution,” said mobile operator Vodacom’s CEO Pieter Uys.A great number of South Africans are currently without access to broadband connectivity. Of the estimated population of 47-million, between one and four million are said to be connected. This is blamed on inaccessibility to fibre optic networks in many areas, and excessively high rates for both internet service providers and consumers.“Local tariffs are still high, they have to drop,” said Uys.Infrastructure being improvedMobile service provider Cell C has embarked on a campaign to broaden its HSPA+ 900 network across the country. It’s already covered most of Port Elizabeth, where it started in September, and is aiming to have 34% of the country on the network by the end of 2010, with 64% connectivity by 2011.“We’re really serious about bringing the internet to the 45-million have-nots,” said Cell C’s CEO Lars Reichelt.The provider’s services have become the fastest in South Africa at 5.23 Mbps, surpassing other internet service providers including Telkom, Mweb, Vodacom, MTN and Internet Solutions. “Cell C is number one in terms of speed,” said Reichelt.He predicts that South Africa’s broadband capacity will improve within the next 12 months. “The amount of fibre that we have coming up is unbelievable. It is good news and we have to be smart about embracing it.”The West Africa Cable System fibre optic infrastructure is scheduled to go live by mid-2011. The 14 000km-long submarine network is predicted to be the next most exciting broadband connectivity development for Africa.Vodacom’s Uys said the group has also improved its infrastructure, having replaced all their equipment in Johannesburg over the last 18 months.The state-owned Broadband Infraco will launch in the third week of November, opening its fibre optic network for usage by internet service providers, which include the likes of Vodacom, Cell C, iBurst, MTN and a range of others. Infraco is focused on widening connectivity to provinces that are currently underserved.DOC and Icasa urgedThe industry called on the Department of Communications and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa to play more decisive roles in regulating the telecommunications industry. “We need a strong DoC and a strong Icasa,” said John Holdsworth, CEO of telecoms group ECN.Icasa “should stand up and take control” over the current 89 cents charged for interconnection between mobile networks, Holdsworth said. “The interconnection rate is too high.”Internet rates in South Africa remain high compared to that of many countries, despite recent industry developments.8.ta bringing competitionIntroduced on 18 October, Telkom’s new mobile network 8.ta promised to “disrupt” the telecommunications industry. 8.ta became the fourth mobile network operator in South Africa, thereby increasing competition.Like the three other network operators, MTN, Vodacom and Cell C, 8.ta is also offering data services. Industry analysts have predicted tough times ahead as the new network attempts to penetrate the market, given that Cell C, which became a third mobile network operator in 2001, is yet to reach its maximum customer base.Virgin Mobile relies completely on Cell C’s network, therefore isn’t considered a mobile network operator but a units reseller.Telkom is confident of the network’s prospects. “We really believe this will succeed,” said Lewis.The network already enjoys a nationwide connectivity through its 800 new base stations. Telkom also signed agreements with Vodacom and MTN’s to roam on their infrastructure. “We’re starting to disrupt the market,” Lewis said.He added that they want to make broadband more affordable.More competition is good for consumers, the experts agreed. “We embrace competition. It’s good for everybody, for us and the consumers,” said Uys.
Toddlers at the celebrations in Swellendam,Western Cape province, get stuck intoopening their gifts.(Image: Santa Shoebox) Thousands of pairs of willing hands havepacked Santa Shoeboxes according to aset of guidelines, and with more than adash of love and care, for South Africa’sneedy children this Christmas.(Image: Fiona McRae)MEDIA CONTACTS • Janie van der SpuyFivestar PR+27 21 462 1677Fiona McRaeThanks to an innovative community project, some of South Africa’s underprivileged children will be able to experience the joy of Christmas.In a heart-warming display of the festive season spirit of caring and sharing, a plethora of presents and a whole lot of love have been carefully packed into shoeboxes to provide almost 32 000 needy children with a gift this Christmas.The Santa Shoebox Project was established in Cape Town in 2006 by Dee Boehner, director of the public benefit organisation then known as From the Children, To the Children.The organisation has since changed its name to the Kidz2Kidz Trust, but its principle of providing privileged children with an opportunity to do something for their not-so-fortunate peers, thereby teaching them the importance and the joy of giving, remains the same.The project’s first outing five Christmases ago saw 180 personalised gift boxes pledged, packed and delivered for distribution to needy youngsters. The following year’s total reflected a strong growth to 2 000 boxes, which burgeoned to more than 8 000 in 2008.Last year’s donations grew even more to see Santa’s bags at collection points around the country stuffed with more than 16 000 beautifully decorated shoeboxes, which were distributed to more than 200 children’s homes, childcare facilities and places of safety.The target for 2010 was initially set at 16 000 boxes but strong support saw this figure revised upwards to 28 000.In a thrilling indication of how the project has captured the imagination of a caring nation, a phenomenal 31 663 boxes were eventually pledged and have been dropped off at the 15 collection points around the country.This year, for the first time, the project is also extending into neighbouring Namibia, with a collection point in Windhoek.Spreading the spiritOne of those who took part this year for the first time was Lauren Collier of Port Elizabeth. She heard of the initiative from friends in Cape Town who had previously supported it.While Collier was wondering how she would be able to get her box to one of the drop-off points in the Mother City, she learnt that the project was coming to Port Elizabeth this year for the first time thanks to the initiative of local co-ordinator Kim Keen. After also learning of the venture while on a visit to Cape Town, Keen was determined to see it implemented in her home city.And the response has “completely blown me away”, she says.She started her planning with a very conservative and, she hoped, reachable target of 150 boxes. Within a week of online pledges opening nationally on 1 September, all of these Port Elizabeth boxes had been snapped up and Keen was inundated with calls from would-be donors eager to deliver.As word of the project spread rapidly, local pledges kept pouring in until there were 1 125 boxes, enabling Keen to increase the initial list of four beneficiary facilities in Port Elizabeth to 18. Supporters even drove in from the neighbouring centres of Grahamstown and Port Alfred, more than 100km away, to drop off their boxes, she says.But it did not end there. East London, some 300km further up the Eastern Cape coast, got wind of the project and collected 60 boxes for its needy children – despite having no official co-ordinator. Keen roped her mother, a Buffalo City resident, in to help. “She didn’t know what had hit her,” she laughs.Another Eastern Cape town, the surfing mecca of Jeffreys Bay, collected 70 boxes, while a supporter from George, on the Garden Route, approached Keen to volunteer as co-ordinator for next year, to see the project also implemented there.An easy way to contributeBut what is it about this particular project that has caused an interested South African public to so generously open their hearts, and their wallets, for the country’s children?“I always like to do something for those less fortunate at Christmas, and this seemed an ideal way to contribute,” says 23-year-old Collier, who has just completed her studies as a primary school teacher.What especially appealed to her were the very clear guidelines for packing a box, which she found on the project’s website“This makes it so much easier than trying to figure out what is appropriate to give – and all the children at any one facility then get more or less the same sort of things, making sure no one is disappointed when they open their box.”Another aspect that appealed to Collier was the personalised gift-giving. Project supporters can select the age and gender of the child (or children) for whom the box is intended, and receive a gift label with the child’s name to be attached to it. They also know the organisation through which the child will be reached.Keen agrees that this is one of the project’s most appealing aspects – that supporters can know exactly where their donations will be going and who will benefit. However, generic boxes are accepted when the number of boxes donated exceeds the number of children whose names have been provided by the beneficiary organisations.The project, on its website, explains that many people want to contribute to their community or do their bit for charity, but often do not know where to start.“The Santa Shoebox Project takes pride in channelling all that positive energy and goodwill into something that is credible, achievable, makes a real difference in a specific child’s life and leaves the donors feeling really good about themselves,” it says.Gift guidelinesThe website indicates a list of items that must be packed into each box – and those to be avoided. Boxes are required to contain a toothbrush and toothpaste, soap and a facecloth, an item of clothing, educational supplies, sweets and a toy. This carefully thought-out list ensures the child gets something to use, to wear, to do, to eat and to love.Gift ideas for each category are provided, with further ideas for boxes for babies and teenagers. All gifts must be new and age-appropriate. The organisation also warns of items which should not be packed into the box, such as fragile objects, electronics, medicines or violence-related toys such as guns or soldiers.Creativity is encouraged in both gift selection and decorating of the boxes, which can then become special keepsake boxes for the children – many of whom might never previously have had anything they could claim as exclusively their own.Volunteers at the designated drop-off points receive the boxes for distribution – this year to about 350 child-care facilities throughout the country, usually at Joy of Giving celebration parties.And Keen found plenty of local businesses only too happy to come to the party this year – all of Port Elizabeth’s celebration events have been sponsored by local companies, further enhancing the children’s Christmas experience.For her, being involved in “this amazing project” has been a humbling experience, Keen says. “It has been absolutely fantastic to realise how many genuine, caring and wonderful people filled with humanity there are out there.”And she has indeed seen the joy that both giving and receiving can bring. “Parents have really encouraged their children to get involved and make this project their own,” she says. “So youngsters have arrived beaming and proudly bearing their boxes – to be given to ‘a little boy’ or ‘a little girl … just like me’.”And the excitement and joy that opening a box holds for the receiver are something to behold, she says. “We had one young boy of about 10 who nearly went into orbit with delight when he unpacked his box to find a really cool Ben 10 t-shirt inside.”So, while it might not yet be the night before Christmas, Santa’s ever-growing band of helpers is already out there, hard at work delivering the goods.Swellendam Santashoebox Celebrations