Democratic progress in Africa threatened by security measures

first_img Organisation December 5, 2013 – Updated on January 25, 2016 Democratic progress in Africa threatened by security measures RSF_en Newscenter_img Reporters Without Borders urges France, African countries and international organizations to include journalists’ safety and respect for freedom of information in their talks on peace, security and development in Africa during the two-day Elysée Summit that begins in Paris tomorrow.A total of 54 representatives from African countries, as well as United Nations, European Union and African Union officials are to attend the summit, which is being hosted by France.“As a result of the crises in Mali and Central African Republic, piracy in the Gulf of Aden, terrorism by Somalia’s Al-Shabaab and Nigeria’s Boko Haram, and the prolonged conflicts in Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan, Africa is a continent where western and African governments regard peace and security issues as a priority in order to maintain regional and international stability,” Reporters Without Borders said.“But these governments also know that immediate security requirements do not allow them to neglect medium and long-term needs – the transitions to democracy and reinforcement of fragile states that are on the agenda of all multilateral peace talks.“The medium and long-term needs have to be addressed now. It is illusory to think that the countries that are sacrificing freedoms to security legislation today will adopt democratic measures tomorrow. Discussion of security issues at this summit must not ignore long-term democratic considerations, which include the development of a free press and freedom of information.“There is a growing trend in African countries to adopt security legislation that curbs freedom of information. National security and the need to combat terrorism must not be used as pretexts to restrict democratic debate and shield the actions of their leaders from legitimate public scrutiny and criticism.”Security groundsIn many African countries, journalists continue to be the victims of persecution and armed violence despite being protected internationally by UN Security Council Resolution 1738, the Geneva Conventions and the UN General Assembly resolution of 26 November 2013. The UN Plan of Action also requires governments to “effectively investigate and prosecute crimes against freedom of expression.” In other words, they have a duty to guarantee the safety of journalists and their ability to work.Nonetheless, in its annual round-up for 2012, Reporters Without Borders had to report a “carnage” among news providers, with no fewer than 88 journalists and 47 citizen-journalists killed worldwide, 22 of them in Africa, without systematic investigations into their deaths.Reporters Without Borders has also found that governments are increasingly resorting to the law and the courts to persecute journalists. “Security” needs are often used against journalists and are cited as grounds for implementing repressive policies.Governments abuse and misapply laws on terrorism, treason, national security and state secrets to harass and deter journalists in flagrant violation of their international obligations, including article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.While protecting national security may constitute legitimate grounds for restricting freedom of expression, such grounds are admissible only under certain conditions including the foreseeable nature of the relevant law’s effects, proportionality and need.As UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression Frank La Rue has said: “The protection of national security secrets must never be used as an excuse to intimidate the press into silence and backing off from its crucial work in the clarification of human rights violations.”There is no shortage of examples of security being cited as grounds to restrict freedom of information. Worse still, it is usually countries “at peace” that use security to justify repressive legislation and behaviour.Ethiopia’s 2009 anti-terrorism law is used as a pretext for jailing anyone critical of the regime. Ironically, the spokesman of an Ethiopian journalists’ union even defends this situation. “We are proud that in Ethiopia no journalist is imprisoned for their professional activities,” he said. In fact, four journalists are imprisoned for their professional activities in Ethiopia although all were convicted under the anti-terrorism law.In Sierra Leone, two journalists are currently charged with sedition for an editorial critical of the president.In Chad, newspaper editor Samory Ngaradoumbé is being prosecuted on a charge of defaming the Chadian armed forces in an article about discontent within the military.In Burundi, articles 14 and 18 of a draconian media law that was passed in the spring of 2013 identify 20 subjects that journalists must not tackle. Matters relating to “national unity,” “public order and security” and “national sovereignty” obviously head the list.Regulatory excessesAfter the Westgate shopping mall siege and the start of the trials of its two most senior officials before the International Criminal Court, Kenya is considering a bill that would allow its media regulator, the Kenya Media Council, to modify laws on the status of journalists at will, including the tone the media should use and the way they cover certain security-related events.In Republic of Congo, the High Council on Freedom of Communication suspended two Brazzaville-based newspapers earlier this week, in one case for “insulting the national police and manipulating opinion” in an interview with a victim of police violence and in the other for “insulting the armed forces” in an article critical of the military. Cameroon’s National Council for Communication, whose president is close to the government, has initiated proceedings against a newspaper for allegedly violating “defence secrecy” by referring to an attempt to repatriate presumed Boko Haram members that resulted in several civilian deaths.This harder line can be seen throughout Africa. Tanzania, Gambia, Rwanda and Somalia all proposed or adopted laws this year that cite security concerns as grounds for restricting new coverage.After a statement by UN experts on 3 December voicing alarm about the growing tendency to suppress civil liberties in Africa, it is more important than ever that freedom of information should not be sacrificed. Help by sharing this informationlast_img read more

Phish Dusts Off The Cobwebs At 2017 Summer Tour Opener In Chicago

first_imgLoad remaining images Photo: Keith Griner After six long months off the road, Phish finally returned to the stage tonight in Chicago, kicking off their 2017 Summer tour with a fiery performance at the Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island. This show marked the first of three nights in the Windy City, and the first of only eight shows this summer that aren’t part of the eagerly-anticipated Baker’s Dozen residency at Madison Square Garden. Phish came out of the gate swinging in set one, showing that their week of rehearsal at Milwaukee’s BMO Bradley Harris Center was well worth the effort. However, an uneven second set left a little to be desired, as the mix of new songs, lackluster jams, and minimal experimentation left the show firmly cemented in “warm-up show” territory.Surprisingly, the Siket Disc fan-favorite “What’s The Use?” started things off in set one, the first time that it’s ever appeared in the show-opening slot. The song continues to evolve in 2017, going from epic rarity to reliable rotation favorite over the past few tours. While the song is typically associated with wild moments of ambient improvisation, this version was short and to the point, while the band was still able to achieve the blissful space that makes the song so revered. Big Boat‘s breezy “Breath & Burning” followed, and Phish certainly exceeded expectations while delivering a fun and ambitious version of the song. “Breath & Burning” wasn’t necessarily every Phish fan’s favorite song from the 2016 album, but the band is starting to harness the song’s powers, inserting a short-but-sweet improv section towards the end of the track.The beloved “Wolfman’s Brother” appeared in the three hole, which allowed for the band to truly let loose for the first time of the show, as they locked in for some jamming that featured interesting work on the snare drum by Lincolnville, Maine’s newest Selectman, Jonathan Fishman. Anastasio kicked into second gear when Fishman returned to the main groove, and he used his tension/release talents to full effect as the band worked their way through their first jam of the tour. Three songs in and the band already appeared to be firing on all cylinders.Oddly enough, the band followed up “Wolfman’s” with the debut of a new a capella cover, a song called “In The Good Old Summer Time,” which dates back to 1902 and composer George Evans. Guitarist/vocalist Trey Anastasio took a moment to express how much fun he and the band had performing that new song before they launched into “Everything’s Right,” a new song that was debuted by Anastasio with his Trey Anastasio Band this past April at Wanee Festival. The vocal harmonies were a little rough–keyboardist Page McConnell and bassist Mike Gordon don’t quite match the vocal prowess of Jennifer Hartswick and Natalie Cressman in TAB–but the song fit right in with the Phish catalog and provided a nice opportunity for some ambient jamming out of the song’s main form. The band settled in nicely, and they quickly found themselves in a comfortable groove, with Anastasio’s patient playing vibing well with McConnell’s use of his electronic piano and synthesizer elements. Anastasio then took back over with his soaring guitar piercing through the dissonance. This is one of the most impressive debuts by the band, at least in terms of improv potential, in many years. At the peak of the jam, the band dropped back into the song’s driven, funky beat while Anastasio applied a “plinko” feel, reminiscent of the band’s jamming earlier in the 3.0 era.The brief “plinko” jam fizzled out into the familiar opening chords of “Limb By Limb”. The song’s exploratory jam section was the perfect fit for the moment, allowing the band to blow off some steam after building the tension tremendously with the previous song. This version of the song felt triumphant, as Anastasio led the band from one peak to another before the song was brought to its natural conclusion. Bluegrass classic “Nellie Kane” by Hot Rize. “Theme From The Bottom” came close on its heels, to the delight of the Chicago audience. “Theme” has turned into one of Phish’s go-to classics in the 3.0 era, and the band turned in another powerful version in Chicago. “Blaze On” emerged out of the final notes of “Theme.” It wasn’t a particularly memorable version of the song, with a mediocre piece of improvisation coming out of the song’s jam section before the band completed the song, took their bows, and left the stage. While the ending may have been slightly lackluster, the set as a whole was full of energy, and showcased a band that was simply ready to get the show on the road.After a lengthy setbreak, Phish led off set two with the funky “No Men In No Man’s Land.” The song’s “happy that we’re here” lyric got a big cheer from the crowd while the band made quick work of the song and used it as a platform for improvisation. McConnell made expert use of his arsenal of synthesizers, moving back and forth between different boards to create a call-and-response effect with himself, while Anastasio used his delay loop pedal to great effect. Trey eventually turned off the effect and started playing some Jimmy-Page-esque guitar stabs, screeching out into the night sky. Phish kept the jam going for a few more minutes, and, when no other clear direction emerged, the band moved swiftly into “Fuego.” “Fuego” featured a brief jam with a few quality moments (but nothing too special) before moving on to the sinister “My Friend, My Friend.” It was a typically rocking version of “MFMF”, before the band eschewed the “myfe” ending for the intro to the Chilling, Thilling Sounds of the Haunted House favorite, “Your Pet Cat.” McConnell was on fire during this version, slapping the clavinet while dropping samples and sound effects from the song’s narration throughout like a madman.“Your Pet Cat” transitioned smoothly into TV on the Radio‘s “Golden Age.” Just as the band was moving into the song’s jam section, they dropped back into “Your Pet Cat,” complete with “Golden Age” teases. After a few more minutes of speed-funk jamming, the band finished up this fun section and started up another new song, the soft ballad “Leaves.” “Leaves” fits well with many of the newer soft-rock songs in Phish’s catalog, which means many of the band’s hardcore fans will have strong opinions about it when they get to hear it tomorrow or over the course of the summer. Only time will tell if “Leaves” becomes a live staple for the band, but for now, consider that a lukewarm debut at best.Fishman’s tom-drum intro to “Harry Hood” brought the energy back up, as the band started up one of their most beloved songs. Anastasio delivered some bluesy playing reminiscent of the Allman Brothers Band‘s “Mountain Jam,” before linking up with the rest of the band for a soaring reprise of “What’s The Use?” in the middle of the jam. The band emerged from the “What’s The Use?” reprise and went right into the euphoric peak of the “Harry Hood” jam, capping off the improvisational highlight of the evening.The band caught their breath before starting up “Shine A Light” from The Rolling Stones‘ Exile on Main Street. Phish delivered a spirited take on the classic ballad, before moving on to a set-closing blues-rocker known as “Julius.” Julius was high-0octane as usual, but by all means this was a standard version of the song.For the encore, the band turned in their fourth debut of the night, a reggae-tinged ballad called “Love Is What We Are,” before closing things out with one of their earliest songs, “Golgi Apparatus.”In the end, tonight was an up-and-down show. There were some fun jams–namely, the “Everything’s Right” jam, “Your Pet Cat”->”Golden Age”->”Your Pet Cat”, and “Harry Hood” with “What’s The Use?” teases all stick out–however, overall, this show left something to be desired for hardcore Phish fans. With that in mind, it was your typical “first show on tour,” a show that will quickly fade into the ether while Phish builds momentum over the remaining twenty dates they have scheduled for this summer. Phish returns to Northerly Island Saturday evening for night two at the Huntington Bank Pavilion.Check out the gallery below, by Keith Griner of Phierce Photo | IG: @phiercephotoPhish | Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island | Chicago, IL | 7/14/2017I: What’s The Use?, Breath & Burning, Wolfman’s Brother, In The Good Old Summer Time*, Everything’s Right* > Limb By Limb, Nellie Kane, Theme From The Bottom > Blaze OnII: No Men In No Man’s Land > Fuego > My Friend, My Friend > Your Pet Cat -> Golden Age -> Your Pet Cat, Leaves*, Harry Hood^, Shine A LightE: Love Is What We Are*, Golgi Apparatus*Debut^”What’s The Use?” JamPhish | Northerly Island | Chicago, IL | 7/14/2017 | Photos by Keith Grinerlast_img read more

Duo confident of Euro qualification

first_img “It’s going to be tough but with the extra teams going through this time it’s got to be the best chance we’ve had for a long time. “It’s important we get off to a good start in the group. The other teams will be thinking of that as well, especially Greece, given that they were in the World Cup but they aren’t, with respect, a Spain or a Germany. “But you don’t get to the World Cup knockout stages without being a good side, so everyone expects them to qualify from the group. There is second and a play-off place up for grabs though. “This campaign is going to be big for everyone. I want to contribute and have a successful campaign but it’s down to improving results on the pitch.” Two of Northern Ireland’s biggest frustrations in recent years have been their poor form on the road and Brunt’s disappointing goals record – just one goal in 46 caps. A result against Hungary would quickly turn around the first of those issues, but Brunt warned his own search for a second goal may be one of the sacrifices along the way. “Of course you want to score more goals, but if you take away David Healy then you could probably say it’s a problem for most of us in the camp. “It’s a different responsibility at international level away from home. A lot of times away from home with Northern Ireland we’re under a lot of pressure, but we often defend really well and that can impact on us in an attacking sense. “If getting a result means more defending I’ll take it. It really doesn’t matter who scores though, even if (goalkeeper) Roy Carroll smacks one in.” For Hughes, this is the second qualifying campaign since he reversed his retirement. It is widely assumed it will also be his last but having called it a day once and changed his mind he is no longer willing to predict his future. “That question is always going to be around when you’re at the age I’m at, especially after making the U-turn a couple of years ago, but regardless of whether this was my second campaign or my last this is as good a chance as we’ve had in a long time. “I’m taking each game as it comes now and not looking past Sunday. “Look at the guy in the World Cup (43-year-old Colombia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon), it’s always possible.” Northern Ireland stalwarts Aaron Hughes and Chris Brunt are cautiously optimistic of emerging from a “wide open” Euro 2016 group. The pair are among their country’s most experienced campaigners, sharing 136 caps and a combined 26 years of international football, but both are still searching for a first major tournament appearance. There are unlikely to be too many more chances, with Hughes 34 and Brunt approaching his 30th birthday, and the one in front of them is as enticing as they have experienced. There are no heavy-hitters in Group F – they start against Hungary on Sunday and also face Romania, Finland and the Faroe Islands – and the play-off on offer for the third-placed side seems an achievable aim. Hughes and Brunt have been around long enough to temper any undue enthusiasm with a shot of realism, but spirits remained high as they touched down in Budapest. “I think we can do it, but all the other teams will be saying the exact same thing,” said Hughes. “In our World Cup group a lot of people would have said Russia and Portugal will be the top two and the rest are fighting for order but it’s very hard to predict this one. “Greece are consistent and know what it takes to get through but everyone else on any given night can beat each other. “That throws the group wide open and we have to be confident we can do it.” West Brom captain Brunt echoed those sentiments, sensing a real chance to take Northern Ireland back to the big stage for the first time since the 1986 World Cup. “You’ve got to be confident going in,” said the midfielder. Press Associationlast_img read more

Trial Ends for the City of Alpena and the Alpena Township

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisTrial finally ended late Thursday afternoon, and an agreement was made for framework to determine how much the Township owes the City for pass bills.A tentative deal was finally made after three days of headaches for the City verses the Township.Most of the day was closed sessions as both sides once again tried to negotiate rates to move forth with the pending 2014 lawsuit and for the future.Taking a moment from the long day, Township Attorney, John Brennan provided details on a motion that the Township proposed to the City.As of noon Judge Mack made a recommendation that the City and Township discuss the proposal the Township presented and try to make some kind of agreement.The final agreement develops a process in, which will avoid future conflicts between both parties for the next 10 years. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisContinue ReadingPrevious Possible Armed Suspect Forces Alpena Public Schools to go on lockdownNext Ella White Ensures Teachers and Students are safe after yesterday’s scarelast_img read more

Some Iowa Hospitals could close even with federal coronavirus help

first_imgDES MOINES — A new report projects Iowa hospitals could lose $1.4 billion between March and September due to COVID-19.The report found 90% of the state’s hospitals operated in the red during March and April, largely due to not being able to perform non-essential procedures. Marty Guthmiller, CEO of the Orange City Area Health System, says even with millions in state and federal support, some rural hospitals will close.Guthmiller says, “While it’s difficult to predict, it’s relatively certain that we will lose some hospitals in Iowa simply because they do not have the capacity to withstand a downturn in revenue.” Guthmiller says the CARES Act funding his rural hospital has received so far has only covered operating expenses for 36 days.While much of the financial impact is tied to revenue lost when the state halted non-elective procedures, there are other expenses. UnityPoint Des Moines CEO David Stark says his hospitals are still losing a lot of money due to COVID-19 from doing things like staffing entrances to screen for the virus.“We’re staffing every one of our facilities 24 hours a day and taking temperatures and asking screening questions,” Stark says. “For our organization alone, that’s a $2 million expense that we certainly didn’t plan on.” Stark says his hospital is losing revenue as it continues to limit procedures and set aside beds for COVID-19 patients.The report was done by a Minneapolis accounting firm and was commissioned by the Iowa Hospital Association.last_img read more

Mistake by the lake

first_imgLate Sunday morning when photographer Tom Sabol and I pulled into the parking lot at Cleveland Browns Stadium, Steelers fans were tailgating at warp speed. One inebriated fan wearing a very seasoned number 92 shirt along with flip-flops and a Siberian fur hat, grabbed a hot sausage sizzling from a “smoking grill.” You can visualize what happened next. The suspect said aw, sh-t after dropping the volcanic piece of smoldering meat onto the semi-frozen turf. He took some bottled water, rinsed the meat off, threw it back onto the grill to sterilize it and gobbled it down a few minutes later.Bragging Pittsburgh fans fondly refer to Cleveland as the “mistake by the lake.” Alas after five fumbles, and three interceptions by Steelers starting QB Charlie Batch they should henceforth forever more refer to the fiasco at the Browns “crib” as the “mistakes by the lake.” I have covered the Black and Gold in the 80s, 90s and the new millennium. However I cannot at least in my long term memory recall a single contest in which the Steelers had eight turnovers.I am very much aware that the Steelers running backs fumbled five times, but I must say this. In past seasons Batch provided a viable option subbing for Ben Roethlisberger. But hear this. This is not a critique of a disgruntled, player hater, grizzled sports writer. What I am about to say to you are mere facts. I like Charlie Batch as a humanitarian, philanthropist and role model for urban youth. His communal spirit should not be questioned but football is football and facts are facts. At this stage of his career, Batch does not deserve an NFL paycheck. He was beyond horrible, he was downright terrible. You have rookie quarterbacks that read and react to defenses better than this “seasoned” veteran. Ninety percent of the time he was ultra “skittish” in the pocket appearing to be dazed and at times confused. The offensive playbook of the Steelers should not have to be scaled back or watered down to accommodate Batch. He has been around long enough to do what he is supposed to do when called upon. It is not acceptable for Batch to throw three picks in 34 attempts with a quarterback rating of 38.7. I am puzzled. Even though Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden is technically a rookie at age twenty nine I can still stomach him being less aware of various defensive schemes than the Steelers veteran.I was not surprised at the veracity of the Browns young and hungry defense. However, I was perplexed at the performance of the Pittsburgh offense. Don’t wah, wah, wah, whine, whine, whine about injuries because hey, they play in the NFL; everybody has injuries.After the ugly loss, Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton had this to say on the subject of injuries: “Guys get healthy, and if they don’t get healthy we have to find a way to win. You can’t count on guys if you don’t know if they’re going to be there or not. We have a good enough football team to win those types of games and we have to do it. We have to take care of the ball; we have to force more turnovers on defense. Just like they got how many turnovers they got, we have to do a better job of getting turnovers ourselves.”Steelers’ tight end Heath Miller who was one of the bright spots had this to say in regards to moving on to the next [thing] game: “I think certainly after this loss, I think everybody should have a resolve about themselves to play better. I think sometimes it’s harder to do when you win a few games; you play well, it’s easy to overlook some things. I don’t see how we can overlook what we need to do to get better at this point. We dropped two in a row now, both division games. We have to get ourselves together in a hurry and figure out a way to get some wins.”The defense was awesome because their offense gave up 8 turnovers and the Steelers still only lost by six points, 20-14. James Harrison said it best in regards to the defense: “Once we (the defense) get out there we have to do a better job of stopping them and holding them to three points and not letting them kick threes when they are further out.” According to Chris Strauss of USA TODAY, “the Steelers became the first team to commit eight turnovers in a game since the St. Louis Rams did it in 2001.” I said it before and I’ll say it again I thought it was an ill-advised personnel decision to allow their young and healthy backup quarterback Dennis Dixon to depart the hallowed halls of Heinz Field. The great “Tarmac” has a vision. The Steelers had better, pick this “game” up off the turf, brush the dirt off and kiss it up to God and eat it.(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: [email protected]­ or 412-583-6741. Bruce can also be heard on the ‘Odd Couple Sports Show’ where he is the AFC North and NFL analyst. The show is hosted by Adam Ragle streaming live on the WCWA Fox Sports Toledo 1230AM. Bruce is featured on Tues. from 10-11 a.m. Listen to Aubrey’s archived “Odd Couple” segments on:­speak­ click on ‘Fair Catch’)last_img read more

US seems to be skating in mud at speedskating oval

first_imgShani Davis of the U.S. gestures in dejection after competing in the men’s 1,000-meter speedskating race at the Adler Arena Skating Center during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)SOCHI, Russia (AP) — More than an hour after the latest disappointment at Adler Arena, the bigwigs of U.S. speedskating huddled glumly in the empty stands, talking urgently among themselves, trying to figure out what to do now.This team came to the Sochi Olympics with such high hopes.So far, it looks like they’re skating in mud.“I’m at a loss for words,” said Ryan Shimabukuro, head coach of the American sprinters. “For whatever reason right now, we are getting skunked.”While Zhang Hong gave China its first gold medal ever in speedskating Thursday, and the Dutch added two more medals to what will surely be a record-breaking haul, the Americans are still seeking a medal of any color.The way things are going, the third shutout in the history of the storied U.S. program seems very, very possible.“We’ve all prepared as much as we could,” said Heather Richardson, who failed to make the podium in her two top events. “We gave it our best.”At least the Americans don’t have to worry about another flameout Friday — it’s an off day at the oval.Unless things change dramatically, it’s hard to envision anyone making the podium over the next week.Sure, Shani Davis is a two-time silver medalist in the 1,500, but he struggled to an eighth-place showing in the 1,000, an event he won at the last two Olympics.Brittany Bowe had done well on the World Cup circuit in the women’s 1,500. Then again, she’s the world-record holder in the 1,000 — and finished eighth in that event on Thursday, one spot behind teammate Richardson.Richardson was the top-ranked skater in the 1,000, winning three of four World Cup races this season (with Bowe taking the other), but she finished more than a second off Zhang’s winning time of 1 minutes, 14.02 seconds.“You’ve got to just take it for what it is,” Bowe said. “Obviously we haven’t had the outcomes that we had wanted or predicted, but that’s the games. We still have a long way to go.”The Americans came into Sochi with 29 speedskating golds — more than any other country — and 67 medals overall, the most of any U.S. Winter Olympics program.The only times the U.S. failed to win a speedskating medal were in 1984 at Sarajevo and the 1956 Games, where there were just four men’s races.This team thought it had a chance to do something special, given some impressive World Cup results this season and new high-tech suits from Under Armour, which got an assist in the design from aerospace giant Lockheed Martin. Now, there’s plenty of grumbling that the suits are actually slowing the skaters down in Sochi.“I’m not going to comment on that,” Shimabukuro said. “We have to race in the suits.”Through six of 12 events, the Americans haven’t finished better than Richardson’s seventh-place showing in the 1,000.“I’m obviously disappointed,” said Bowe, a former inline skater and college basketball player who quickly made the adjustment to ice. “It is my first Olympics, but I came here wanting to get a podium finish in that particular race. I didn’t, but all is good. I left it all out there on the track.”Zhang, who had not done much on the World Cup circuit this season, skated in the seventh of 18 pairs based on her middling results. Her time broke the track record and just missed the Olympic mark set by Chris Witty at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.“She hasn’t had a podium finish yet this year,” Bowe said. “That’s what the Olympics are all about.”Many fans didn’t even see the gold-medal performance, drifting in late since the supposed big guns were all set to go in the second half of the session. Zhang was merely a spectator after the ice was resurfaced at the midway point, but her smile kept getting bigger as no one came close to beating her.The Netherlands took the other two spots on the podium, with Ireen Wust winning silver and Margot Boer the bronze.The Flying Dutch ran their medal haul to 12 and are on the cusp of breaking the previous record for most speedskating medals by a country at a single Olympics — East Germany’s 13-medal showing at the 1988 Calgary Games.Appropriately, most of the seats at Adler Arena are orange, the color of the Dutch team.That’s where the American officials and coaches sat Thursday night, trying to sort out if there’s any hope left for these games.___Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at read more

Allderdice wins boys, girls City League track and field championships

first_imgRAKEYLA LITTLE of Obama Academy lands in the sand as she wins the Triple Jump eventPaige Phillips of Allderdice won four gold medals to lead the Dragons to the Girls title at the City League Track Championships, Phillips won the 100 and 300 meter hurdles, 200 meter dash and the Long Jump eventSAUNDRIA JACKSON of Westinghouse won the 400 meter dash event. (Photos by William McBride)GOLDEN GIRL—Paige Phillips of Allderdice won four gold medals to lead the Dragons to the Girls title at the City League Track Championships, Phillips won the 100 and 300 meter hurdles, 200 meter dash and the Long Jump eventEDDIE HARRIS of Obama Academy ran away from the field to win the 100 and 200 meter dashes.DISTANCE KING—Floyd Nichols of Allderdice won the 800, 1600 and 3200 meter races to lead ” The Dice” boys to the City League Track ChampionshipDISTANCE QUEEN—Kerianne Hensel of Allderdice won the 800, 1600. and 3200 meter races to help the Dragons win the City League Girls Track Championship.last_img read more

Middletown Arts Celebrate Town and New Café

first_img“Without the unwavering support of the township, this arts center would not have been possible,” O’Brien said. “We’re so excited to reach this 10-year milestone. We’re look- ing forward to many more years of bringing the community and the arts together.”The next event at the Middletown Arts Center is Saturday, Sept. 16, when Legends Promotions presents A Night of Music & Comedy. Vito Picone & the Elegants will enter tain, along with Just Friends, singing classic hits of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. Stand-up comedian Tommy Gooch will host the event.Tickets are $35 and $40 and are available by calling the box office at 732-706-4100. For more information, visit addition to events at the arts center, Middletown Day will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 23 at Croydon Hall, 900 Leonardville Road in Leonardo.The event will include a business and community showcase, park exhibits, hayrides and fire department displays in a fire safety smoke house.Vendors will be on hand selling jewelry, clothing, kitchenware, candles, home décor, pet items and much more. Items at the food court will include fried chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, sausage and peppers, funnel cake, fried Oreos, mac and cheese balls, kale bowls, smoothies, ice cream and Italian ice. There will be a petting zoo, pony rides, carnival games, bounce houses, arts and crafts and sports contests for the kids. Live entertainment will be provided on stage all day, with music by the Middletown VFW Jazz Band, Dee & the Swagmatics, Waiting on Mongo and the Moondance Big Band. The event will take place rain or shine. For more information, visit and entertainment writer Mary Ann Bourbeau can be reached at [email protected] This article was first published in the Sept. 14-21, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times. By May Ann Bourbeau | MIDDLETOWN – Middletown is the place to be in the next few weeks, with several events taking place in the township.Café Capri is due to open this month in the Middletown Arts Center on Church Street. The café will serve coffee, tea, bagels, pastries, sandwiches and more. It will be open at 5:30 a.m. to serve the early morning train commuters, and will stay open until 6 p.m.“We’ve been talking about opening a café for a long time,” said Maggie O’Brien, director of the Middletown Arts Center. “We’re right next to the train station so it seemed like a natural fit.”Café Capri, which will be situated on the right side of the lobby, will also be open in the evenings in tandem with arts center events.“We have a lot of programs and events where parents drop off their children and wait in the lobby,” O’Brien said. “The New Jersey Youth Orchestra rehearses here on Thursday nights. We have about 100 kids that are driven here and a lot of the parents stay and wait. They can grab a cup of coffee, go on the Internet and listen to rehearsals.”The addition comes just as the arts center celebrates its 10th anniversary. A celebratory gala for that milestone is planned for Oct. 14 from 7 to 11 p.m. The $75 admission will include music, dinner and dancing. Local individuals and businesses will be honored, one of which will be the Seraph Players from Mater Dei Prep, who will provide entertainment at the gala. Other honorees include longtime supporters Joan and Bob Rechnitz and Rosemarie Peters, who spearheaded the campaign to convert the Banfield Moving and Storage Company into an arts center.“This was really her vision,” said O’Brien.The Township of Middletown will also be recognized at the gala.last_img read more

Official Tallies Show Narrow Wins in Two Municipal Races

first_imgShe thanked O’Neil for “a great race” and said she was honored to have been chosen by the voters. Broullon said she is the second female mayor in Highlands history, as well as the first openly gay mayor in Monmouth County. “I’m deeply humbled to show all our citizens you can do anything you set your mind to accomplish. I recently heard a woman say, ‘Kids need to see what they can be.’ It’s a great quote and words to live by.” How important is yourvote? In last week’s election,one municipal race was wonby a single vote and anotherby three. Liu said the campaign experience was very tough for her, starting in January and especially through the primaries. “It just got even harder,” she said. But she will take her positive experience from sitting on the school board for 10 years and bring it to the township committee. While it is a different type of public service, her “heart and passion” for it is still the same. Broullon said she hearda recount may be requestedby her opponent. O’Neil didnot respond for comment bypress time. Santhana said he and his team are considering filing for a recount, but that decision is not final. On Election Day, unofficial results gave him a 26-point lead. “If I were to lose by three, I’d like to understand why it happened,” he said. All the while, the clerk’s office waits for results and then posts them to the website. Now that official results have been posted, they show that Weber will be taking a seat on the dais alongside Liu, not Santhana, after Liusurpassed him by three votesas of Tuesday, 2,082 to 2,079.There were 17 write-ins. The updated results also show scales tipping in Holmdel Township for Republican candidate Chiung-Yin Cheng Liu. She and incumbent Republican Mayor Eric Hinds were down in the polls on election night, with Cathy Weber and Prakash Santhana leading the way on Independent tickets. “There’s always a town in Monmouth County that is close and oftentimes we have a recount. Sometimes the results change and sometimes they stay the same,” said Hanlon.center_img Official results were posted Tuesday, Nov. 12, by the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office, which now includes late mail-in and provisional ballots. Candidates have until Friday, Nov. 22 to ask for a recount, according to Christine Giordano Hanlon, the county clerk. According to Hanlon, there are three offices involved in the election process in Monmouth County. The Superintendent of Elections Office is responsible for counting out provisional ballots and determining whether or not the sender is eligible to vote in the county, without opening the envelopes. The office counted over 3,000 provisional ballots this season, Hanlon said. “I stayed strong and that is very difficult. I’m so proud of myself. I reached it and passed the finish line,” Liu said with enthusiasm Wednesday morning. She expressed appreciation for her campaign team and for the voters of Holmdel who believe in her and said she is very excited about the results. “The closeness of the race speaks to multiple factors,” said Broullon. “We are literally living a civics lesson right now. All elections matter and all voices should be heard.” Election officials denote their findings on the outside of the ballot envelope. Those findings are then given to the Monmouth County Board of Elections for counting. The board makes the final determination on whether or not the ballot is valid and decides what will be counted and what will be voided. The board of elections also counted late mail-in ballots both on Election Day and Friday, Nov. 8, and made determinations of write-in candidates. She said close elections are normal in the county and that year after year, some elections come down to fewer than five votes. “It is not unusual to have a close election in Monmouth County. We have 53 municipalities and it happens regularly,” said Hanlon. In Highlands, Councilwoman Carolyn Broullon defeated the incumbent mayor of the town, Rick O’Neil, by one vote, 603 to 602. There were four write-ins. last_img read more