first_imgClick on the links above for more details on each clinic and registration forms. All clinics will take place in a positive and hardworking environment where the main goal is to make you a better player. Space is limited for each clinic, so register early! We look forward to you joining us this winter! Print Friendly Version 2016-17 Rich Calvert Winter Softball Clinics ScheduleDecember 18th, 2016 The Bulldog Elite Skills clinics for grades 8-12th will take place on December 18, 2016 and January 8, 2017 following the pitching/catching clinics. The hitting portion will include drills and techniques focusing on tee work, swing breakdown, hitting to all fields and mental approach. The defensive portion will cover footwork, angles, glove work and throwing technique. The cost is $90 to attend. The Bulldog Elite Pitching and Catching clinics for grades 8-12th will be offered on December 18, 2016 and January 8, 2017. The pitching portion will be geared towards teaching proper technique and pitching fundamentals while touching upon different pitches, including fastball, change-up, drop ball and rise ball. The catching portion will focus on receiving, blocking, communicating and fielding the position. Pitchers and catchers will split into their own group to focus on learning position-specific skills and will then come back as a group to further develop these skills together.  Pitchers DO NOT need to provide their own catcher. The cost is $75 to attend. For those wanting to attend both a pitching/catching clinic and an elite skills clinic there is a discounted rate of $150 for the two clinics. Bulldog Elite Pitching & Catching – 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. – (Grades 8-12) – $75 Bulldog Elite Skills Clinic – 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. – (Grades 8-12) – $90January 8th, 2017 Bulldog Elite Pitching & Catching – 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. – (Grades 8-12) – $75 Bulldog Elite Skills Clinic – 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. – (Grades 8-12) – $90The Drake University softball program is excited to invite you to sign up for our Rich Calvert 2016-17 winter clinics! This winter we will have many different options available to enhance your pitching, hitting, catching and defensive skills. Our goal is to make you a better overall softball player!last_img read more

first_imgTonight is the first round of the NFL Draft, the day every team has the chance to redefine itself. That’s a more pressing desire for some teams than others and with the second pick, the Niners fall into that camp after a 4-12 season.With such a high-leverage pick coming, let’s take a look back at the three biggest draft picks in 49ers history:The 1979 draft1-2: James Owens (bust), Joe Montana (boon) It’s not often you see a colossal washout selected in the same draft as a …last_img

first_img4 July 2007South Africa is to spend R22-billion over the next seven years on upgrading and expanding the freeways in its busiest province, Gauteng. Construction is expected to begin in the first half of 2008, following an environmental impact assessment.According to the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral), growth in vehicle ownership in Gauteng has led to heavy congestion, especially on the N1, where over 180 000 vehicles travel between Johannesburg and Pretoria daily.The agency said congestion on main routes has affected the amount of time families spend together, productivity in the workplace, individual levels of frustration and stress on the environment due to excessive emissions.“We hope to finance the whole scheme through tolling. Therefore, all upgraded freeways will be tolled,” said Sanral’s northern region project manager, Alex van Niekerk.Sanral communications manager Priya Pillay told BuaNews that new technologies such as electronic toll collection systems would be used to allow for a smoother flow of traffic“[Its] just like a pillar across the road that bills you automatically when you drive past,” she said, adding: “We are still busy working it out and the price is not yet finalised.”Pillay said the toll would only be implemented after 2010, and the agency was sure there would be discounts for regular usersAccording to Sanral, they are working with the Gauteng provincial government and the three metropolitan municipalities of Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane to optimise movement of freight and road-based public transport.“The current priorities [for upgrading] are the N1 from Soweto to the N4 in Pretoria, the N12 between Gillooly’s and Benoni, and the R21 airport road,” Van Niekerk said.Intelligent transport systemsHe added that some routes did not require widening at the moment, such as the N4. However, the freeway would be equipped with intelligent transport devices such as cameras and electronic signs, as seen on the N1 between the Brakfontein and Buccleuch interchanges, as well as more lighting.The project also entails the construction of an interconnected network of inner and outer ring roads around the three metros, extending over 500 kilometres, which are to be completed in time for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.Part of the project includes the implementation of inter-modal transport hubs to surface and rail based public transport facilities.Sanral will also promote concepts such as travel demand management through the provision of dedicated, high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes and associated infrastructure.Van Niekerk said, however, that the HOV concept would be different from previous experiments, as when existing lanes between the Buccleuch and Allandale interchanges were converted into HOV lanes.“The lanes added to the freeway will become HOV lanes,” he said.The construction of new freeways such as the PWV 14, PWV 9, PWV 5 and N17 will go ahead after 2010, the agency added.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

first_imgRay Maota Greenpop will plant 5 000 indigenous and fruit trees in Livingstone, Zambia, to reforest a country with the world’s second highest rate of deforestation. Misha Teasdale, co-founder of Greenpop said that they will be planting 1 000 trees in one day. (Images: Greenpop) MEDIA CONTACTS • Misha Teasdale  Greenpop: Co-founder  +27 21 461 9265 RELATED ARTICLES • Adopt a tree in Africa • Using exotic woods to tackle poverty • Green charcoal to save forests • Kyoto Protocol extended at COP17Greenpop, an NGO based in Cape Town, will be planting more than 5 000 indigenous and fruit trees in Livingstone, in Zambia, in an effort to help reforest a country that has the world’s second highest deforestation rate.The planting will take place over three weeks in July 2012, when Greenpop will join forces with other volunteers to plant trees that are being grown at the Zambezi Nkuku nursery.Zambezi Nkuku is a chicken farm that works to improve the environment in Livingstone by collecting organic waste from markets and teaching people what organic waste consists of and why it is important. Its nursery section helps to scupper deforestation in Zambia.Lauren O’Donnell, the co-founder of Greenpop, said: “Greenpop’s mission is to make tangible change and get everyone excited about trees.”The reforestation efforts are under the banner, Trees for Zambia: Climate Education Action, and Greenpop is calling its reforestation efforts a treevolution. Since it was established in September 2010, the organisation has planted 8 512 trees in 150 locations around sub-Saharan Africa, and has 1 075 volunteers signed up.The Zambia missionWhile in Zambia, the NGO will also be hosting workshops at schools, teaching pupils about trees and their benefits.“We have met the Department of Education in Livingstone and have 20 schools on board. Prior to July, we’ll be sending up educational material all about trees and during the campaign, volunteers will be planting with kids and facilitating fun workshops to teach the uses of trees and all their amazing benefits,” said O’Donnell.The schools have already received some of the trees. “We have received some pictures from enthusiastic teachers showing us how well their trees are growing.”Greenpop will also be passing on skills to subsistence farmers.“We’ll also be working with the Conservation Farming Unit in Zambia to teach and implement sustainable farming techniques with subsistence farmers,” said Misha Teasdale, a co-founder of the organisation. “Part of this initiative will see some of these farmers joining our micro-nursery enterprise programme and growing Faidherbia albida trees that we will buy back from them a year later to replant.”Buying back the trees would be a financial incentive for the farmers. They would also be able to learn about crop fertilisation and how the Faidherbia albida tree was important for soil rejuvenation, she explained.“One of our big planting days will see 1 000 trees planted in a day just a stone’s throw from the magnificent Victoria Falls in the Peace Park – practically right in the spray of the falls. We’re really excited for this,” Teasdale added.Volunteering to helpGreenpop is seeking volunteers to help in the reforestation efforts, which will run from 1 July to 22 July 2012.The volunteers, who will be camping at Maramba Lodge in Livingstone, will spend their days planting trees at schools and in forests; undertaking environmental education workshops; and learning about conservation efforts from local and international environmental experts.“I can’t wait to get up there and start planting, but I’m also really looking forward to all the side events that’ll be going on while in Zambia,” said Jeremy Hewitt, another co-founder of Greenpop. “It’s going to be an epic adventure and I can’t wait to share it with such a diverse group of people.”Volunteers can stay with the project for one, two or three weeks. This means they will fly out on Sundays 8, 15 or 22 July. Volunteers pay US$625 (R4 700) for one week; $1 185 (R9 000) for two weeks and $1 735 (R13 000) for the whole three-week stay.These prices include everything that will be on their itinerary during their stay, but does not include personal items and flights to and from Livingstone International Airport.Deforestation in AfricaForest Day was held at the COP17 climate change conference held in Durban in December 2011. On the day, experts spoke about the new wave of deforestation happening in Africa.Deforestation was killing wildlife and threatening the resilience of ecosystems to withstand the effects of climate change, they said.Tina Joemat-Pettersson, South Africa’s minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, said at the event: “Climate change threatens to undermine many of the development objectives of countries in Africa and in the rest of the developing world, in particular in the areas of water, energy, health, agriculture and forestry.”About the importance of trees, Frances Seymour, the director-general of the Centre for International Forestry Research, said: “It is urgent to safeguard Africa’s forests, not only because they slow climate change but also because they act as a final barrier to creeping desertification, underpin sustainable agricultural production, and support the livelihoods of tens of millions of rural poor.”A global research programme devoted to forests and agro-forestry would look into deforestation, it was announced at the event. The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research’s research programme on forests, trees and agro-forestry has a budget of US$233-million (R1.7-billion) for its first three years.Agro-forestry is agriculture incorporating the cultivation and conservation of trees.last_img read more

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Elizabeth WilliamsDTN Special CorrespondentINDIANOLA, Iowa (DTN) — A 67-acre tract of farmland in Sioux County, Iowa, brought $18,300 per acre at auction earlier this month.In September, Hertz Farm Management had 10 sales at $10,000 or more per acre and eight sales above $11,000 per acre for corn and soybean ground, CEO Randy Hertz told DTN.These sales may be isolated cases in today’s market, but the trend of steady-to-slightly higher land values is not. Farmland brokers report sales around the Midwest continue to attract strong buying interest, primarily from farmers.Farm profits have been hard to come by in recent years and are no longer the driving force of the land market. Instead, farmland values’ stability has helped farmers weather the storm of low commodity prices. But with little change seen to agriculture’s economic outlook, DTN takes a look at what’s holding land values up — inventory, interest rates, income and investment — and what it would take for them to tumble in this two-part series, Land’s Linchpin.LOW INVENTORY MEETS LIMITED INCENTIVE TO SELLFarmland owners have few incentives to sell.In the old days, a retiring farm couple would sell the farm, buy a house in town and live comfortably in retirement. They didn’t necessarily want to rent their farm because the prevailing crop share leases were risky.In contrast, today’s cash rents are relatively risk-free, and it doesn’t take a large number of rental acres to generate a secure retirement income for a frugal farm couple. For an older couple looking for a safe investment, renting out a farm is attractive, providing a 2.5% to 3% return in annual cash rental income compared to the less than 2% return they’d earn on a certificate of deposit at a bank.In fact, 60% of the farmland in Iowa is owned by people 65 years and older.“People like owning land,” said Winnie Stortzum, a farmland broker with Farmers National Company in Arcola, Illinois. “They know the investment. They like the investment, and they are comfortable with it.”Stortzum said he spoke with a 73-year-old investor who bought a farm for $10,550 per acre this spring.“He has never been married; has no heirs, no nieces or nephews. He said, ‘I know I shouldn’t be buying land at this age, but I just like the investment.’ And he is looking into charities to leave his land to,” Stortzum said.Tax laws also disincentivize farmland sales. If you hold your land until you die, your heirs get a step-up in basis and do not have to pay capital gains tax on the farmland if they sell it for market value at the time of your death. If, however, you sell that land while you are alive, you pay tax on all the capital gain since you bought or inherited the ground. Consequently, most farmland sales today are estate sales.Another reason farm owners aren’t selling: They don’t need to. Eighty-two percent of Iowa farmland is owned free of debt, according to a 2017 survey by Iowa State University. This is up from 62% in 1982 and 78% in 2012.“That provides huge stability in the land market,” Hertz said.Despite lower farm profits and declining working capital, lenders are not pressuring for a large number of land sales because many farmers have adequate net worth to weather lean times. A recent report by USDA’s Economic Research Service that looked at measures of solvency, liquidity and repayment capacity found that only 10% to 15% of farms were classified as being under financial stress.It’s important to remember that not all farmers are losing money, either, said Howard Halderman with Halderman Farm Management and Real Estate Services, based in Wabash, Indiana. “Farmers have had the opportunity to sell over $4 cash corn and over $10 soybeans the past three to four years and over two to three weeks” each time, he told DTN.The tough growing season has also created regional basis opportunities.“And this fall, cash basis for corn in southern Minnesota was 5 to 10 cents over the Chicago futures price when it’s usually 40 cents under the Chicago price,” said Moe Russell with Russell Consulting Group in Panora, Iowa. That’s because buyers are worried about availability of quality grain, he said.“Farmers who are good marketers have been able to hold their own financially, even in these tough times,” he said.Also, not all places had crop failures or lower-than-average yields this year. Corn yields in the area of that eye-popping farmland sale this year are over 200 bushels per acre while soybeans are yielding 50-70 bpa.Farmers aren’t selling, and they are doing most of the farmland buying.“In our farm sales this year, 70% to 75% of the buyers were operating farmers,” Halderman said. “It’s been closer to 50-50 farmers to investors the past few years.”INTEREST RATES DRAW ACCOLADESIn agriculture, you can’t say enough good things about low interest rates.“It keeps interest expenses low for operating farmers,” said farm consultant Russell.“When interest rates on bank CDs are frustratingly low, farmland investment is attractive,” said Stortzum.“People look at hard assets that retain value [rather than invest in financial instruments],” noted Texas A&M economist Charles Gilliland.Low interest rates make borrowing for land purchases more affordable and keep the cost of servicing debt payments low.“I borrowed some money to buy some farms and locked in 3.25%, fixed for 10 years,” said Murray Wise, a farmland broker and investor. “I kind of felt sorry for the banker.”The general economy also benefits from low interest rates, he said, by forestalling a recession. “The prime rate at 5 and moving down is a positive sign for the economy. And all the big banks are making phenomenal money with a rather conservative portfolio.”SAFETY NET PAYMENTS HELP CASH FLOWOhio State University ag economist Barry Ward said the safety net in agriculture is pretty strong.“Subsidized crop insurance helps put a floor in place. ARC-PLC government payments aren’t that high now, but still protect a significant downside. And Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments and the prevent plant program this year have helped farmers with cash flow,” Ward explained.USDA authorized $14 billion for MFP payments this growing season that will be divided up into three payments, the first of which farmers have already received. The remaining two are dependent on the status of trade negotiations, with USDA currently planning on cutting checks in November and January.Farmers with prevented planting claims this year will also be paid an additional 10% under a disaster assistance bill.Ward said the unfortunate part of that arrangement is there’s no knowing how long support will continue since both of those are ad hoc programs.That uncertainty, along with other challenges to corn demand, could lead to tighter incomes over time.“There’s a question mark on the ethanol industry, so we’ll see what happens there,” Ward said.SECTION 1031 TAX-DEFERRED LAND EXCHANGES FACILITATE DEVELOPMENTFarmland continues to be converted to suburban houses and business sites. A recent study by the American Farmland Trust found that 31 million acres were lost to development between 1992 and 2012, including 11 million acres of the nation’s best agricultural land.For perspective, that’s 175 acres per hour of agricultural land lost to development, or 3 acres per minute.In the Texas Panhandle, as around the U.S., these exchanges are helping to prop up farm and ranch values, Gilliland said.“Landowners surrounding cities, such as Lubbock, look for other ag property to exchange into and avoid paying high capital gains taxes on land they sold for development,” he said.Land exchanges are not a huge portion of land sales, but they are still significant. The Iowa chapter of the Realtors Land Institute estimated in 2019 that potential buyers using 1031 Exchanges influenced up to 20% of the farmland auctions, either by buying or bidding.(KM/ES/AG)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.last_img read more

first_imgFor Indian sports fans in Qatar, the last day of the 2006 Doha Asian Games was for celebrating with the bronze medal-winning Indian women’s hockey team. However, they were amazed to learn that six of the team members were all from one place: Shahbad Markanda near Ambala in Haryana. The,For Indian sports fans in Qatar, the last day of the 2006 Doha Asian Games was for celebrating with the bronze medal-winning Indian women’s hockey team. However, they were amazed to learn that six of the team members were all from one place: Shahbad Markanda near Ambala in Haryana. The ‘Super Six’ of Shahbad. Ritu Rani, Suman Bala, Surinder Kaur, Rajwinder Kaur, Jasjeet Kaur and Joydeep Kaur.were only outdone at the September 2006 World Cup in Spain where seven of its girls had donned the Tricolour. Ritu, 14, was the youngest in that event.STARS ARE BORN: The Super Six WORLD AT HER DOORSTEP: Surinder Kaur is the teams Goal Machine of Shahbad at the ground where they learnt how to be championsShahbad Markanda is today called the ‘Sansarpur of women’s hockey’ a reference to the village near Jalandhar which produced 14 hockey Olympians between 1932 and 1980. In the patriarchic milieu of Haryana’s Jatland, notorious for the second-worst sex ratio among all states, the girls have not only put the sleepy town of 30,000 on the country’s hockey map but also given it its most celebrated claim to fame. The girls have also effected a turnaround in the socio-economic status of their families by winning huge financial rewards.Indeed, the non-descript town’s emergence as the powerhouse of women’s hockey is an instructive lesson for Indian hockey bosses on how to nurture young talent at the grassroots level. The credit for scripting such a trail-blazing success story goes to intrepid hockey coach Baldev Singh. Adopting a hands-on approach combined with hard work, Baldev has single-handedly made hockey the defining leitmotif of this town.STANDING TALL: Suman Bala built a three-storey house with her cash rewardsHockey legend Pargat Singh, director of Punjab sports department, regularly cites Baldev’s accomplishments to motivate coaches, calling him an “instructor worth emulating”. Since 1992, the coaching centre established and run by Baldev, now the deputy director of Haryana sports department, has produced as many as 26 international women hockey players.all hailing from the Shri Guru Nanak Pritam Senior Secondary School (SGNP) in the heart of this chaotic town. While local girls form more than half of the Indian Railways team, they make up virtually the entire women hockey squads of Haryana in all categories. Such has been Shahbad’s dominance that there is not a single women’s hockey tournament, at the state or national level, in which they haven’t triumphed in the last decade. “We have stopped counting the tournaments our girls have won,” says Manmohan Singh, vice-80 president of the school management.”The victory streak has whetted their hunger for success.”advertisementBALDEV SINGH, HOCKEY COACHIncredibly, hockey was alien to Shahbad’s predominantly Punjabi community until the mid-1980s when Baldev, himself an accomplished player at the university level, first set up a coaching centre at the local Arya School. Among the first lot of players, three.Sandeep Kaur, Bhupinder Kaur and Sanjiv Kumar.made it to the international level. Impressed with his coaching credentials, SGNP persuaded him to run the hockey centre at the school in 1992. Until then, the all-girls school had no tradition of the game.WORLD AT HER DOORSTEP: Surinder Kaur is the teams ‘Goal Machine’Baldev discovered it would be a double challenge. First, getting the girls to play and then, moulding them into professional players. After much persuasion of parents, he took 20 girls, all less than 10 years old, under his wing. Next, they fashioned a playground for themselves by clearing an uneven stretch of land of bushes and hedges in the backyard of the two-and-a-half acre school. All the trainees came from poor socio-economic strata. Surinder’s father, for instance, was a farm labourer. “I then didn’t even know what hockey was,” recalls Sukhdev, now the proud father of an international player nicknamed the ‘Goal Machine’.A hard taskmaster with an uncanny knack of spotting talent, Baldev set about honing their precocious skills. For the first two years he set a rigorous regimen of seven hours a day, without any holiday or break. Of the initial lot, eight dropped out, unable to cope with the pressure. But the rest shaped into talented players, and nine of them later went on to play at the international level. Surinder was the first, participating in the 1998 Asian Games. Prior to that, the team had tasted its first major success in the 1993 Nehru Girls’ Hockey (under-17) Tournament where it emerged second.THE WIZARD: Talent-spotter Baldevs tough regimen has worked wondersThe turning point, however, came in 1994, the year the local team won a prize money tournament. Its impressive winning spree at the national level earned the players a windfall of scholarships from the Sports Authority of India and Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL). The financial spin-off not only boosted the players’ confidence but also changed the attitude of parents over the years. Suman’s father was a humble farmer till she earned nearly Rs 40 lakh in cash rewards in eight years. Her family has built a three-storey home in place of a brickand-mud dwelling and sent her younger brother to college in Australia. Then there is Surinder. Her family was living in a one-room shanty when she started playing hockey in 1993. Today, they own eight acres of land, a house and a dairy with a dozen cattle. Her latest gift to her parents before she left for Doha was a DTH dish antenna. Meanwhile, offers of lucrative deals from coaching centres in other states and jobs from the Railways and SAIL have started pouring in. “The victory streak has whetted their hunger for success,” says 57-year-old Baldev.INSPIRED: Young girls in Shahbad are now inspired to take up hockeyOn a roll all these years, the Shahbad juggernaut has been steadily gaining momentum. Consider this. In 2006, it won the All India Sub-Junior Tournament, the National Championship of Schools and the National Senior Women’s Hockey Championship, wresting the title from the Railways after 19 years. The Haryana team has also romped home in the All India Nehru Hockey Tournament (under 17) nine times in the past 13 years. Besides, it has been making a clean sweep of the prize money at Surjit Memorial Hockey Tournament for the past several years. “Now, the organisers have stopped inviting us,” says Suman in jest.While the international players are now treated as local idols, their success has inspired parents to initiate their daughters into hockey. The coaching centre at present has 60-odd trainees-the youngest being sixyear-old Reet. “Hockey has lifted the status and esteem of the girls,” says principal Surinder Kaur. Baldev, too, has set his sights high despite the lack of regular sponsorship and the callousness of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF). The IHF, he says, “failed to recommend a single Shahbad girl for the Arjuna Award despite the team’s sterling performance and has never used my services at the national level”. Clearly, the goalposts have shifted, but tragedy is, the organisation entrusted with promoting the sport poses the toughest hurdle.advertisementlast_img read more