Election day 2016 was off to a slow start at some polling stations visited by The Gleaner in East Portland. At Ken Wright Primary, voting was delayed despite the polling station opening on time. Election day workers along with the police were on location; however, the presiding officer was absent and ballot papers along with other documents had not yet arrived. Among those arriving early to vote was Lurline Dowie, who complained that she was unable to cast her ballot, as they were unable to accommodate her due to the absence of ballot papers, ink and other material. A similar situation also existed at a centre at Breast Works, where the voting process was delayed for more than 30 minutes. It was somewhat different at Boundbrook Primary, Port Antonio High, Hill Preparatory, Port Antonio Primary and Norwich Primary, where polling stations were opened on time and voting was progressing smoothly. Both candidates for the area, Linvale Bloomfield of the Peoples National Party (PNP) and Derron Wood of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) coasted their votes at Drapers All Age. Bloomfield is confident of victory and predicted that his margin of victory will be larger than in 2011 when he defeated Patrick Lee by 1246 votes. Wood on the other hand has indicated that he will create a major upset. EAST PORTLAND CONDADATES JLP: Derron Wood PNP: Linvale Bloomfield
Anne Frank was an inspiration to Nelson Mandela during his imprisonment on Robben Island. In celebration of Mandela Month, see this video where Mandela shares how the experience of a young Jewish girl gave him hope and encouragement. Anne Frank and seven others were in hiding in the secret annex on the Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam. It’s become the Anne Frank House, a museum that commemorates her life. (Image: Wikipedia)Media Club South Africa reporterIn an interview conducted shortly after he was released, Nelson Mandela told Dutch filmmakers that Anne Frank had been his inspiration. He drew courage from her book, The Diary of a Young Girl as she faced injustice during the turbulent World War II.Mandela is often remembered as a reader, an analyst and a man who never stood still in his thinking. He had read Anne’s posthumous diary before going to prison, but when he read it behind bars again, he saw the work differently. He said that he never lost hope in returning as a free man [from Robben Island] because he knew he could follow in the footsteps of great fighters for human rights like Anne.About Anne Frank“Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.” ― Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young GirlAnne died at the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp in February or March 1945, before the camp was liberated. She was just 15. Her diary, which she began writing while she was in hiding with her family, was found by her father, Otto, and published in 1947.During the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, the Jewish Frank family hid in a secret annex of Otto’s manufacturing business. Sharing the space with two other families, Anne used her diary to write about the world she was not able to enjoy any longer.Watch this interview from the Anne Frank House:Watch Tobey Krafft give a tour of The Secret Annex here:Mandela MonthThis year the Mandela Month campaign focuses on education and literacy, food security, shelter and the environment. International Mandela Day is celebrated on Mandela’s birthday, 18 July. South Africans and international supporters are called to take action and inspire change throughout the month in commemoration of Mandela’s life.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The rumble of the engines, the belching black smoke and the undeniable power of pulling competitions make them a staple of many fairs and events through the summer and fall months. Diesel fuel powers the machines but it is the spirit of competition that fuels the events, said Joe Singer, president of the Darke County Tractor Pullers Association.“It’s like a drug. Once you get that in your system to be a competitor, you are going to do it — ‘black smoke ‘til I’m broke.’ It’s an addiction, within reason. I’m not saying that it is bad, but you can get hooked on it. When I pulled a little, we took four antique and farm stock tractors. All four tractors won the championship of their classes two years in a row. It was all about the competition. That’s what makes the world go ‘round,” Singer said. “When you start talking about the national level competitions, it is the same bunch of people that run the circuit. You run into them at each national event, and even some regional events over and over again. A lot of the good competitors travel all over the country to compete against each other. Some even share trailers and they may be the best of friends off the track but they try to beat each other on the track at every event. They loan parts off of their vehicles to help a fellow competitor out, but they are still focused on competing. That is just the way it is. It is a good bunch of people.”Of course, the trucks, tractors and drivers get all of the attention at the pulls, but the excitement would not be possible without the sleds. Singer is the owner of Singer Sled Rental in Darke County and has a fairly unique perspective on pulling competitions in the region after a lifetime around tractor pulls and decades of working behind the scenes.“I never really did a lot of pulling but I have always had an interest since I was really little. My dad always made sure we’d go watch. He never pulled but he liked to spectate and help put the event on,” Singer said. “We were putting on an event and a sled operator came in and asked if I knew anyone who wanted to purchase a sled. I made him an offer and it went from there and before long I owned a worn out, older pulling sled. That was in 2000 and it allowed me to get started. We have since rebuilt and purchased other sleds. That first one cost $30,000, but today if you buy one they are $300,000 for a new one and that doesn’t include weights, the truck to pull it, scales or any of that.”Singer farms full time with his brother and spends his winters hauling grain and scheduling events. The majority of his summers are spent on the road at pulls in Ohio, Indiana and surrounding states.“We have 108 events booked for this year. Scheduling is tough because we do all that from December through April. You have to not only book the dates but you have to see if you can physically make it from one event to the next one and back to another one. Some events I can get there, but I can’t get back in time,” he said. “It gets tough in the spring because of planting season. Scheduling events in May and the first of June is always hectic, but you need to schedule events then to make the business work. In July we have a lot of pulls during the week because it is prime time fair season. My son runs a sled too. He drives truck for a living and works for a very understanding company. They allow him to take a large number of days off work so that he can be running a sled. I have four other people, with full-time jobs too, that help run the machines as well. I can’t do it alone, I’m too busy. Last year I went 10 miles outside of Wheeling, to the suburbs of Chicago, then to a few miles outside of Tennessee, and finally to Bowling Green, Ohio. I appreciate everyone that helps both on and behind the scenes.”In addition to the logistics of simply getting from place to place, Singer also must constantly monitor the details required for maintaining the sleds and hauling heavy loads over many miles.“Most places we take one sled, but there are some venues that take two sleds. Sometimes we take a sled and someone else brings others,” Singer said. “You have to look stuff over after the shows so you are ready to go the next time. Sometimes things break, you can’t help it. You just buckle down, be prepared to fix things and do it all over again the very next day.”The sleds hook up like a detachable gooseneck trailer.“I’ve got several semis for this and I use them for the farm work also. A sled weighs 32,000 pounds empty and every weight weighs 2,000 pounds. We carry eight to 11 weights while we are traveling to an event,” Singer said. “An unlimited modified tractor or super semi takes 13 or 14 weights to get them stopped. We can’t carry enough weight legally to stop some of this stuff. Normally if you’re at an event with that type of vehicle, there are two sleds there so you can borrow weights back and forth.”Though the appeal of pulling has always been the power and competition, there have been changing trends through the years.“Pickup trucks are very popular. The kids today didn’t grow up on John Deere 4020s and International 806s like we did, but they can relate to that pickup truck. Every kid, boy or girl, in rural America drives a pickup truck to school or wants one. They relate to trucks,” Singer said. “Personally, I like the tractors the best, but that is what I grew up with. Even the kids on farms that plant beans with a four-wheel drive tractor don’t relate that to a pulling tractor going down the track. But they relate to that pickup truck they drove home with. That is the trend of the future — trucks.”The agricultural economy also has a significant influence on the popularity of pulls.“There is a lot of agriculture involved with pulling. When agriculture is good, pulling is very good. When prices are lower, like now, numbers fall off,” he said. “Events, competitors, and audiences change from year to year and you just have to adapt.”The high dollar game of pulling competitions also depends on the success of the events that hold them.“For fairs, it can be tough to draw spectators during the week and it takes spectators to pay the bills. Fairs need to make as much money as possible to pay the bills, and the way they do that is by getting people through the gate,” Singer said. “There are sponsorships, which are great and are helpful, but they do not cover everything.”And while the crowd is cheering the pullers on the track, Singer enjoys the satisfaction of seeing his sleds perform the way they should night after night.“I love the speed and the competition and trying to get the machines set so the fans, pullers, and promoters get the results they want. It’s a delicate balance. If it is a 300-foot track I need to get them stopped in that range. You don’t want them stopping at 180 feet or 400 feet, so you have to know how to set your machine for each class that’s pulling. We have standard settings that we use and then we go from there changing the gears, changing the drop on the pan, adding a weight or taking a weight out,” he said. “That is what my job is to get that desired result for the track.”And once the smoke clears and the dust settles Singer loves to be a part of pulling because of the people.“It is in my blood. My son was born going to pulls right away. My wife goes to some events and helps and thinks it is fun,” he said. “There are so many family and friends that help out along the way I couldn’t do it without them, from late night mechanical work, to the laser measurers who can’t move all day, and the numerous secretarial duties, everyone is greatly needed and appreciated. My best friends are in the pulling community, whether they are officials or competitors. These are people I know, people I like and this is where my family and friends are.”
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Dry weather today. But, we are on the cusp of a significantly wetter weather pattern compared to what we have seen recently. The southern half of the state will be drier than the north, but we could see harvest effectively come to a longer term stop after today in parts of the state for at least 10 days. If you are in the field today, go as long as you can as hard as you can on harvest. Yesterday’s precipitation makes it difficult and more of a location by location kind of set up. Rains move into the state tomorrow. Rains tomorrow will be from .1”-.75” with coverage at 80% of the state, and then rains Friday will be from a few hundredths to a tenth or two with 30% coverage. There is no change in our outlook for these two days this morning. Unfortunately, we are putting rain in our forecast on Saturday, but holding its arrival off until late afternoon and evening. A slight positive will be that we are only looking for those rains over parts of the state, mostly from I-70 northward. South of I-70, there is no rain threat Saturday night. We will put rain totals at half an inch or less in the northern half of the state, with coverage at 70%. All action should be winding down by shortly after midnight. Dry for the balance of the weekend and the first part of next week, Sunday through Tuesday, statewide. We should see good dry down as temps stay normal to above normal, but we don’t think the drying can overcome the likely rain totals we see combined before we get there, at least over the northern half of the state. If we do dry down, it will take into at least Monday afternoon to get things right in the wettest areas. A very wet period kicks off Wednesday of next week. We can see rains 4 days straight from Wednesday through next Saturday. The heaviest rains come Thursday and Saturday but combined we can see half to 2.5” with coverage at 100% of the state. This will shut harvest down for a bit longer. Temps also drop behind that system, moving to normal and below normal levels. The map at right shows rain totals through the coming 10 days, ending with next Saturday. The rest of the extended period goes drier, as Canadian high pressure settles in over most of the corn belt. We should be dry from next Sunday on through the following Thursday, at least a 5-day dry stretch. But, it will be needed after all the rain the second half of next week, and with cooler temps, we likely take longer to dry down and evaporate that moisture too.So, as we said at the start…go as hard as you can today, if you can after yesterday’s moisture. Opportunities for fieldwork become tougher to find after today.
RELATED ARTICLES Transforming Stimulus-Funded Weatherization into a National IndustryGreen Building Appraisal and Financing Issues A relatively new home financing option — the energy efficient mortgage — can let home buyers qualify for larger loans than they might otherwise, while improving their homes with environmentally friendly, cost-cutting upgrades that can reduce energy bills.An energy efficient mortgage (EEM) is a great way to help a family improve their home and save money while doing good for the environment, and securing one is a lot simpler than you might think. You need a HERS ReportSince the money from a green mortgage is intended to be used to improve the energy efficiency of a home, most EEM mortgages are used for air sealing and insulation improvements. In some cases, an EEM can also be used for other types of retrofit work, including the installation of replacement windows, a new HVAC system, or chimney repairs. An EEM can be used for energy-generation equipment (for example, a rooftop solar array), although this type of work is usually prohibitively expensive considering the federally mandated cap on EEM size.Most of the time, if you obtain an EEM, you cannot choose which upgrades to invest in. After talking with your lender, you will be visited by an energy rater who will examine your home and present you with a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) report. This report analyses the energy performance of your home and makes suggestions for improvements based on considerations such as climate, existing insulation levels, and the performance of the existing heating and cooling systems. This report costs about $500, though this amount is often either paid by the lender or rolled into the cost of the mortgage.The HERS report includes a wealth of information about your home, its energy performance before and after suggested upgrades, the cost of those upgrades, and the energy savings expected from each of them. You can use these figures to help guide your decisions about how large an EEM you want and which projects you want to undertake.You will have about 90 to 180 days after the loan closes to contact professionals to perform the improvements you have chosen to undertake. Finally, an inspection is done to verify that the improvements have been made properly, and the money from the EEM is paid to the borrower.For more information on EEMs, see FHA: Energy Efficient Mortgages and Energy Star: Energy Efficient Mortgages. Why should I pay for improvements with an EEM?There are two primary benefits to using an EEM to make your home more energy efficient. First, while the EEM is technically distinct from your main mortgage payment, it is rolled into the same bill when you pay it: that is, you will still only have to pay one bill every month for your mortgage payment. If you finance the upgrades some other way, you’ll have to make two payments every month, reducing your payment flexibility.Second, an EEM retains the tax characteristics of your mortgage — in other words, the interest payments on the green mortgage are tax-deductible. This reduces your tax burden for the year compared to paying for the improvements some other way.Often, EEMs are taken out by homeowners who are facing high energy costs in their current home but do not wish to move. Refinancing your home while including an EEM can allow for more and higher quality upgrades than the homeowner would otherwise be able to undertake, without a significant out-of-pocket cost or a significant increase in the mortgage payment. Why should I worry about energy efficient improvements at all?In most homes, between 50% and 70% of the energy costs of a home go to heating and cooling. The most common types of energy retrofit work are air sealing improvements and insulation improvements. According to NAIMA (the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association) over 60% of United States homes lack adequate insulation. Many of the changes that an EEM is likely to pay for are not particularly intrusive or expensive, but pay dividends in energy savings. How can I get an EEM?The vast majority of mortgage lenders offer EEMs through secondary mortgage markets like Fannie Mae and federally insured programs like the FHA. As you should when securing any mortgage, talk to several lenders to find your options and decide which EEM is best for you and your energy-improvement goals.Qualification is rarely a concern. If you qualify for a normal mortgage, you usually qualify for an EEM instantly – though this does not automatically roll the green mortgage into your normal mortgage. The only requirement for that is that the improvements you make to the home are cost effective. For example, if a new HVAC system and ductwork will cost $4,000 to install, then over the life of the system the improvements should be projected to save over $4,000 in energy costs. How many types of EEMs are there?Most mortgage lenders will offer three different kinds of energy efficient mortgages (known colloquially as “green mortgages”):Conventional EEM. This type of mortgage is offered by lenders who sell their mortgage loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and allows you to borrow an additional 15% over the appraised value of your home to make the improvements.Federal Housing Administration EEM. This type of mortgage only allows you to borrow an additional amount equal to at least $4,000 and up to either 5% of your home’s value or $8,000, whichever is less. While the mortgage is smaller than a conventional EEM, this route lets you take advantage of Federal Housing Administration financing options.Veteran’s Association EEM. This type of mortgage is similar to an EEM from the FHA, but is only available for past and present military personnel. It grants an additional $6,000 on your mortgage regardless of your home’s value. Brentt Taylor writes for Mortgage Loan, owned by Mortgageloan Directories and Information LLC. The site provides information, tools and up-to-date news about mortgage and financial-related matters.
AB de villiers has given up South Africa’s Test captaincy with immediate effect and has backed team-mate Faf du Plessis to take over the role on a permanent basis.”Following the squad’s performances in Australia, it is in the greater interests of the team that Faf should be confirmed as Test captain,” de Villiers said.”I have missed two series and I am still in doubt for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka. The interests of the team must always outweigh the interests of any individual, including me,” he added.Moreover, the Proteas team manager also confirmed that an injured de Villiers will be unavailable for the Test series against Sri Lanka starting December 26 but will try to return for the one-dayers at the end of January.Subsequently, Cricket South Africa have also confirmed du Plessis to take over from de Villiers. “It is no surprise that the CSA Board has confirmed Faf du Plessis as the Test captain to take over from AB,” CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat said.”AB has always carried himself as a true team player and his decision to step down confirms his attitude to put the team first,” Lorgat also said.De Villiers took over the Test captaincy in January after Hashim Amla stepped down and led South Africa in two Tests against England. However, he had to miss the tours of New Zealand and Australia due to an elbow injury.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bryce Harper swag is going, going and just about gone before he takes a swing in Philadelphia.Phillies merchandise stores and ticket vendors are certainly getting their hefty cuts thanks to Harper hype.Harper has Phillies fans spending stupid money on his No. 3 jerseys, tees and caps, and the franchise has set records with ticket sales headed into the March 28 opener.Billboards welcoming Harper to Philly line the interstate headed to Citizens Bank Park — and it’s Harper driving retail traffic at a record clip.No. 3 gear is No. 1 in Philadelphia.“I can’t wait to be a part of the Phillies for a long period of time,” Harper said. “I’ve grown to love playing in Philly, love playing in Citizens Bank Park.”When Harper looks in the stands on opening day — and over the remainder of his record $330 million, 13-year deal — he’ll see thousands of fans wearing his jersey.Fanatics said Harper’s No. 3 Phillies jersey was the all-time best-seller for any athlete during the first 24 hours of launch. Aramark, which manages the Phillies New Era Team Store at the ballpark, said “interest is high and sales are brisk” and new waves of merchandise arrive daily. MLBShop.com offered free shipping on all U.S. orders over $39 — a walk in the park for fans buying the $119 Harper batting practice waffle pullover hoodie or $44.99 for the Harper toddler official cool base player jersey.How’s this for a sign that Harper Mania has come out of left field? A notice was posted on the team store this week the store ran out of letters and did “not have any more R’s for Adult Home and Road Jerseys .”The die-hards haven’t balked at the $145 jerseys and $35 T-shirts and shoppers are leaving with the bags full. One fan even sold the first Topps Bryce Harper Phillies baseball card for $199.99 on eBay — no stale stick of gum included.Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper walks to the batting cages during baseball workouts Sunday, March 3, 2019, at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Fla. (Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)Fanatics, an online retailer, declined to reveal sales numbers but said New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was the top seller last season and Harper, wearing No. 34 for the Washington Nationals, was 12th.Harper already is a hit on the field, with a home run Wednesday in his first scrimmage with the Phillies.Harper could make a case for MVP to stand for Most Valuable Purchase.The Phillies once had the toughest ticket in baseball shortly after Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004 and the franchise set an NL record with 257 straight sellouts from 2009-12. The Phillies drew 3,777,322 fans in 2010 but failed to reach 2 million in any season from 2015-17. They were in the playoff hunt until August last season and drew 2,158,124 fans, though tickets flooded the secondary market at less than $10 a pop.The Bryce Boon has formed old-school lines at the ticket window.John Weber, the Phillies senior vice president of ticket operations, said the team sold 100,000 tickets last Thursday when the team signed Harper and another 80,000 tickets the next day. The Phillies sold 50,000 tickets over Saturday and Sunday and 45,000 more on Monday. Philadelphia sells face value tickets ranging from $20 to $140 — but opening day tickets started at $103 (before fees) Wednesday on StubHub.Weber said full season ticket equivalents have jumped from 9,500 to 12,300, thanks to the additions of Harper and four other All-Stars.“You hope you have a price that is fair for the ups and downs as best you can,” Weber said. “It’s not perfect. But we’re not raising prices $20, $30 dollars. Let’s get our fans here and let them enjoy the game as we move forward.”Marsha Zisling, of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, was a season ticket holder during the World Series seasons and gave them up once the team bottomed out in the NL East. Zisling held a shopping bag with a Harper authentic jersey as she stood in line this week at the ticket window and browsed potential dates. She even tuned into to a local sports radio station on the way to the park because she knew Harper would be a guest on the show.“It’s just been an exciting time to finally have enthusiasm about the Phillies,” she said. “He was just on the radio, and I swear I started to cry listening to him. He’s just so genuine and really sincere about coming here and making the city his home.”Nancy Hatfield, of Philadelphia, said Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen was actually her favorite player but she had to splurge on Harper merchandise. She held a couple of Harper T-shirts on her stop at the stadium to pick up her tickets. Hatfield has been a season ticket holder since 1996 and said Harper has energized the fanbase perhaps even more than the Ryan Howard-Chase Utley-Jimmy Rollins glory years.“We’ve been waiting for something good to happen,” she said. “Now we just hope he doesn’t get injured. That’s the Philly Curse. It’s been sad, all the empty seats the last couple of years.”Peggy McBreen makes a Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper baseball shirt at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Monday, March 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)Not everyone is on board with Harper’s arrival.Let’s check in with Elias, the guitar-strumming WWE bad guy, of course, and not the source of baseball statistics and historical data.“But you really want to know how I know I’m in Philly,” he sang at Monday’s WWE show . “Because the children here have no future no matter how hard they try. But you really want to know how I know I’m in Philly. Because Bryce Harper told me this was where his career would go to die.”The fans erupted in boos toward anyone who would dare slander their newest All-Star. Many fans were already wearing No. 3 T-shirts.But Phillies fans may want to slow the spending spree and save some of their cash for a rainy day.After all, Mike Trout is a free agent in two years .By: DAN GELSTON AP Sports WriterTweetPinShare0 Shares
Staples, the back-to-school specialty store, is teaming up with Jessica Alba to help students succeed in the upcoming school year with a scholarship sweepstakes and in-kind donations to support classroom projects on DonorsChoose.org.Together, Staples and Jessica Alba hope to spark the imaginations of the next generation of big thinkers.Staples plays a proud role in millions of teachers’ and families’ back-to-school shopping rituals providing the expertise they need to kick-start their year of educational discovery. As a busy mom of three, Jessica relies on Staples and its in-store specialists to help find the right tools for her kids’ backpacks and school supplies, and she values the quality time spent with her children during their annual back-to-school shopping trip.“What I love about Staples is they have incredibly accommodating in-store specialists that helps parents get their kids ready for the school year,” says Jessica. “Back-to-school is a special time for my kids because it signifies a milestone in their lives. It makes it even more meaningful that Staples is partnering with DonorsChoose.org because my children get to experience an important lesson in giving back while we shop for their back to school essentials.”“Jessica Alba represents the parents who are visiting our stores in search of the supplies their students need to succeed. Her influential voice will propel our charitable efforts and help us create a greater impact in the classroom,” says Steve Matyas, Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Retail, Staples. “Teachers play a crucial role in motivating and inspiring the next generation and as the back-to-school specialty store, Staples is committed to supporting teachers and students through DonorsChoose.org and the Staples for Students scholarship sweepstakes.”“Staples has been a generous and valued partner for five years, and we’re so thankful for the brand’s continued support of our mission, which helps bring learning to life for thousands of teachers and students in classrooms nationwide,” said Charles Best, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of DonorsChoose.org. “We also appreciate Jessica Alba’s support, and thank her for calling on the public to help classrooms in need across the country.”Shoppers who make a purchase of $25 or more can enter the Staples for Students scholarship sweepstakes to win one of five education prizes: a $50,000 grand prize scholarship presented by Jessica Alba, or one of four $25,000 first-prize scholarships.This year, shoppers can donate to classroom projects in their local areas at Staples stores, and Staples will match donations raised during the back-to-school season.Together, Staples and DonorsChoose.org have funded more than 700,000 classroom projects for teachers and positively affected more than 18 million students across the country.Parents, students and teachers can visit local Staples stores or Staples.com to support a classroom project or enter to win the scholarship today.