1 year after Blaze Bernstein’s killing, parents look to turn alleged hate crime into ‘movement of hope’

first_imgKABC(LOS ANGELES) — Blaze Bernstein was a bright student, loyal friend and passionate culinary aficionado who spent the fall of 2017 as a sophomore taking pre-med courses at the University of Pennsylvania and acting as a managing editor of the school’s culinary magazine, friends and family recalled.“He was always so involved in ‘Penn Appétit’ and he absolutely loved food,” said classmate Rachel Prokupek. “He always got super passionate and in-depth into whatever he was writing about.”Gideon Bernstein, Blaze’s father, said his son had a “gift for creative writing.”“He applied and auditioned to get into a performing arts and creative arts charter school called Orange County School of the Arts,” he told ABC News this month. “That’s really where he got a lot of his development for his amazing writing skills, which was really how he was able to get into the University of Pennsylvania.”But just a couple of weeks after completing his third semester at school, Blaze Bernstein’s promising life was cut short back home in California.Wednesday will mark a year since Bernstein, 19, who was gay and Jewish, was stabbed to death in an alleged hate crime while home for winter break.His devastated parents said they’ve spent the year battling the “uncharted grounds of losing a child” as they struggle to come “to grips of being the victims of an incredible tragedy” that captured the nation’s attention.As their son’s former high school classmate prepares to go on trial for murder, the Bernsteins say, amid their grief, “We’re trying to take a moment of hate and turn it into a movement of hope.”Through a campaign encouraging people to participate in acts of kindness, Gideon Bernstein says, “We want his name to be remembered as somebody who reminds people of the hope for the future.”A week-long searchThe hard-working teen was home in Southern California with his family for winter break when he vanished on Jan. 2, 2018.His worried parents reported him missing the next day.Blaze Bernstein was last seen driving with a friend to Borrego Park in Foothill Ranch, authorities said initially.Over the next week, Orange County Sheriff’s Department officials combed through the park. A group of professional and amateur drone users even offered to help in the search.Blaze Bernstein’s body was found on Jan. 9 in the brush surrounding Borrego Park, the sheriff’s department said.His body was left near his elementary school, where he’d play soccer and the library he used to visit, his mother said.An alleged hate crimeIt was Sam Woodward, a former classmate of Blaze Berstein’s from the Orange County School of the Arts, who had allegedly picked up the teen from his parents’ home that night, Orange County prosecutors said.At some point, prosecutors believe Woodward stabbed Bernstein 19 times and buried his body in the dirt.Woodward, then 20 years old, was arrested on Jan. 12 and charged with murder.Woodward’s cell phone allegedly revealed racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic thoughts and intentions, prosecutors said. He was linked to a neo-Nazi organization, according to a source close to the case.Woodward is accused of targeting Blaze Bernstein because of his sexual orientation. A hate crime sentencing enhancement was added to the murder charge in August.Woodward, who has pleaded not guilty to murder, also faces a sentencing enhancement of personal use of a knife; he has denied both enhancements.Robert Kohler, a public defender who is defending Woodward, confirmed his client pleaded not guilty but did not comment to ABC News on the ongoing case.For Gideon Bernstein, it’s “been hard to be able to come to grips with” the “realization” that “there’s still a lot of people out there that just have some reason to hate.”The number of sexual orientation-based hate crimes reported in 2017 increased 5 percent from 2016, according to FBI data, said Michael Lieberman, Washington counsel for the Anti-Defamation League. Beyond sexual orientation, hate crimes overall increased 17 percent from 2016 to 2017, FBI data showed, according to Lieberman.One of the most monumental steps to combat sexual orientation-based hate crimes was the 2009 signing of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which added crimes motivated by the victim’s gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion and disability to the federal hate crime law.“There has been tremendous progress on addressing hate violence since the passage of the Matthew Shepard Act in 2009,” said Lieberman, who was involved in the push to pass the act.It was named after 21-year-old Matthew Shepard, who in 1998 was abducted, tied to a fence and fatally beaten in Wyoming for being openly gay. It was also named after James Byrd Jr., a black man murdered by three white supremacists in Texas in 1998.“It took us 13 years to pass the Matthew Shepard Act,” Lieberman said, “because we insisted that sexual orientation be included. Sexual orientation is always the third or second most frequent hate crime behind race and religion.“There has been improved training, education awareness of sexual orientation crimes since Matthew Shepard,” Lieberman said.He stressed, however, that “it would be really important to have complementary federal initiatives to prevent bullying” because “the best way to address hate crimes is to prevent them.”Lieberman said the Trump administration has “taken their eye off the ball on the prevention side,” something he hopes to fight in 2019.‘We can’t bring him back’As Woodward’s case inches toward trial, the Bernsteins haven’t attended the court appearances.The slain teen’s mother, Jeanne Pepper Bernstein, said she’ll only go if it will help bring justice.“As far as we’re concerned, there’s nothing that … will come out of us being there,” she told ABC News. “It will not fix the problem. And the problem is my son is gone. We can’t bring him back. So whatever happens, I just want the resolution to protect the safety and welfare of our community, so that this person, if it is found that he did this, that he is not allowed out in our society again to hurt anyone else.”Woodward, now 21, returns to court on Jan. 25. If convicted, Woodward faces life in prison without the possibility of parole, prosecutors said.‘A movement of hope’Instead of focusing on the crime, Jeanne Pepper Bernstein said her family is “focused on things that we can fix, and things that can improve the quality of life for everyone, which includes tolerance education.”“We’re trying to take a moment of hate and turn it into a movement of hope,” Gideon Bernstein said. “That’s hope for humanity, and hope for other people to help to make this world a better place now that our son is no longer here. And we’ve been doing everything in our power to try to focus on that.”The Bernsteins consider one of their most significant accomplishments this year the “Blaze it Forward” campaign, which aims to honor their son by encouraging people to participate in community service and other acts of kindness.On the “Blaze it Forward” Facebook page, participants share their good deeds in Blaze’s memory and to inspire others.One woman recounted how she and her mother bought gloves and socks for a young homeless man they often see near their home.“We handed him all these items and told him the story of Blaze and reason for why we wanted to do this for him. We left him speechless,” she wrote in the December post. “Thank you Blaze for the inspiration to do good for all mankind.”Another woman wrote, “Inspired by the stories here, I decided to sell my glass artwork during the holidays and am sending 100% of the proceeds to support cancer organizations.”In addition, the Blaze Bernstein Memorial Fund was launched to support charities that protect kids from violence and other charities Blaze would have been involved in. A scholarship in Blaze’s name has also been started to support local, college-bound students who have overcome struggles and contributed to their community.“We want his name to be remembered as somebody who reminds people of the hope for the future,” Gideon Bernstein said. “What was taken from us, that they have to replace that by doing other things to help people out and make this world a better place. And that keeps us going.” Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Volunteers and credit unions make free tax help possible

first_imgVolunteering comes in many forms. Some folks enjoy working with children and donate their time at schools or churches. Others volunteer their time at nearby food pantries and in effort to feed the hungry. One unique opportunity credit unions have embraced, speaks to those that are good with numbers, decent with computers, and, most importantly, want to help others by working with families and individuals directly.Since 1971 volunteers across the U.S. have helped others with free tax preparation, donating a few months of their time with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. These volunteers provide free tax preparation and filing services through credit unions and other organizations to those with low-to-moderate-incomes. Montana Credit Unions for Community Development(www.montanacreditunions.coop) is the charitable arm of the Montana Credit Union Network and leads a statewide partnership that gives the state’s credit unions an opportunity to set up (and administer) VITA sites and work with local organizations that provide direct services in their communities. That partnership, funded in part with an Internal Revenue Service grant, brings this important service to some of our state’s more rural areas that otherwise would go without. Last year, volunteers with the Montana VITA Partnership (MVP) completed 6,600 tax returns and returned about $6 million in federal refunds back into the pockets of residents.Carin McClain oversees VITA through Montana’s credit unions, and said this free service in invaluable because it provides a necessary service helping modest-earning citizens maximize their returns. She credits the commitment of both credit unions and volunteers to the program’s success.Most volunteers say it’s less about financial or tax knowledge and more about having the time and inclination to help others. Clay Gohr is a volunteer tax preparer at SEG Federal Credit Union in Laurel, Montana. He said volunteering with VITA just takes somebody who is willing to help someone else and can commit to the time. Gohr finds being a VITA volunteer especially rewarding, because people have such a tenuous relationship when it comes to taxes.“The thing about taxes is everyone is intimidated by the IRS and afraid to make mistakes,” he said, adding that having a friendly volunteer assisting can be comforting.“It’s not like [volunteers] are accountants — it’s just math, adding and subtracting — most of our stuff is pretty simple,” Gohr said. “We have so much help and support and the courses and training you receive give you a good idea of what’s going on. You are never in a position where you have to make a decision by yourself.”Park Side Credit Union hosts a VITA site at their branch in Whitefish, Montana, and Rob Lefkowicz, the credit union’s Chief Operations Officer, says he loves the fact that volunteers are the bread and butter of the program.“Most of us pay someone else to do our taxes, but the volunteers do it with VITA and they are special people for sure,” Lefkowicz said.Some VITA sites are completely run by volunteers and others have a mix of volunteers and credit union staff, and such is the case in Circle at McCone County Federal Credit Union.Manager Emily Guldborg said everyone at the credit union is wildly supportive of the program because it makes staff more knowledgeable about tax issues. This not only benefits the taxpayer using the VITA program and the community in general but also members of the credit union.Volunteer training has started in Montana, and serving folks across more than 147,000 square miles is no small feat. Year after year we are touched by the commitment from humble, hard-working volunteers at the credit unions and other host sites that make this program a success and it’s inspiring to see the credit union philosophy of “people helping people” in action.For more information visit www.montanafreefile.org 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Alana Listoe Alana Listoe is an award-winning journalist who joined the Montana Credit Union Network to help spread the good word about the credit union movement. She has been a credit union … Web: www.mcun.coop Detailslast_img read more

UK’s FCA targets fiduciary management on price, performance

first_imgIt also raised concerns about conflicts of interest when investment managers provide fiduciary management services, and said it was proposing to introduce greater standardisation of price and performance of fiduciary managers.It said the performance and fees of fiduciary managers “appear to be among the most opaque parts of the asset management value chain”.It added: “A lack of publicly available, comparable performance information on fiduciary managers also makes it hard for investors to assess value [for] money.”The FCA’s comments were welcomed by Richard Dowell, head of clients at Cardano, who said the FCA’s plan for better disclosure of fiduciary management performance was “a much needed and positive step”.“Much work has previously been conducted around costs and charges, but little focus has been placed on the transparency of performance,” he said, calling on the FCA to agree a standardised approach to performance measurement.“This will help to ensure trustees can easily and accurately compare, review and select their providers,” he said.James Trask, partner at pensions specialist Lane Clark & Peacock, said the FCA’s concerns about conflicts of interest in fiduciary management came as no surprise.“The conflict is clear,” he said. “In a fiduciary relationship, the consultant is ‘marking his own homework’, as it was put to me recently. Clients really must get independent advice on the performance of their fund manager.”However, he questioned some of the findings and associated recommendations reported by the FCA, such as that consultants are infrequently changed and that there should be compulsory re-tendering of mandates.He also challenged the FCA’s finding that consultants did not help smaller institutional investors negotiate on investment management fees, saying that LCP “frequently negotiate[s] favourable rates to apply across our client base”.Danny Vassiliades, head of investment consulting at actuary and actuarial consultancy Punter Southall, did not address fiduciary management but welcomed the FCA’s attention to competition in the investment consulting sector, suggesting that, to increase competition, the FCA should “consider in more detail ways in which schemes can assess the performance of their consultant and determine whether their fees have been justifiable”. Big player pushback  Some of the largest investment consultancies said they welcomed the FCA’s interim report but also defended their work.Tim Giles, senior partner and head of the UK investment consulting practice at Aon Hewitt, named by the FCA as one of the players dominating a concentrated market alongside Mercer and Willis Towers Watson, suggested the FCA and Aon Hewitt had the same aims and that “[t]herefore, anything that encourages competition to ensure investment advice delivering better outcomes has our wholehearted support”.He acknowledged Aon Hewitt had a large share of the market but said “that is because clients have decided to work with us, as they recognise our size provides the range of services and choice that may not be available elsewhere”.He added: “Our clients choose between us and a wide range of competitors in the market.”On conflicts of interest, Giles said “[all] providers and decision makers in the market have potential conflicts” and that Aon Hewitt “[takes] all possible steps to understand our clients’ needs and to manage our potential conflicts”.He said: “We note that the FCA has not found any evidence of failure to manage potential conflicts.”Ed Francis, EMEA head of investment at Willis Towers Watson, said the company welcomed the FCA’s interim findings but cautioned that “any further regulation” should not impose higher costs on investors.He said advice on portfolio strategy should be regulated “to help trust-based pension funds to get a minimum standard of advice on these matters”, and that this advice could have a bigger impact on a pension scheme’s finances than advice on manager selection.On fiduciary management, Francis said the firm was “acutely aware of the need to provide clients with an unrivalled level of transparency on fees and performance” and that it “fully support[s] transparency, measurement and the reporting of meaningful performance figures for fiduciary managers”.He noted steps taken by Willis Towers Watson to disclose figures showing the performance and track record of mandates run on a fiduciary-management basis, saying that these “clearly demonstrate” the materially positive impact fiduciary management can have on pension scheme’s financial health. Some of the largest investment consultants to UK pension schemes have welcomed efforts by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to encourage competition in the market but also defended themselves in response to concerns raised by the regulator about fiduciary management services.  The regulator today presented the interim findings of its study into the asset management market, as part of which it said it had found concerns about the way the investment consultant market operated.It has provisionally decided that there should be a market investigation into competition in the sector and also called for it to be granted regulatory powers over investment consultants.The regulator said “an in-depth investigation” was required given the potential detriment arising in this part of the value chain, the impact this advice has in determining future returns, the lack of regulatory oversight and the difficulty institutional investors face in assessing this service.last_img read more

Four teams ready for last premiership slot

first_imgWith two slots already taken, four Division One teams will begin the competition for the last Premier League place this weekend.Berekum Arsenals, B.A. United, Real Tamale United, who are all former premiership sides will be joined by Wa African United in the promotion contest to the top-flight league after qualifying from their divisions in Zone I.The Robert Mensah Stadium in Cape Coast and the Essipon Stadium in Sekondi will host their play-offs.The winner of the three-game series will secure the third qualifying slot to play in next season’s premiership after Great Olympics and Feyenoord booked their places. The action begins at the Robert Mensah Stadium on Saturday with Berekum Arsenals meeting B.A. United while RTU take on Wa African United in the other fixture in Sekondi.Zone I Fixtures Match-day-1: Saturday, July 12 Arsenals v B.A. Utd – Cape CoastWa African Utd v RTU – EssiponMatch-day-2: Wednesday, July 16B.A. Utd v RTU – Cape CoastArsenals v Wa African Utd – EssiponMatch-day-3: Saturday, July 19RTU v Arsenals – Cape CoastWa African Utd v B.A. Utd – Essiponlast_img read more

Dodgers eke out a run and it’s enough to beat the Cubs

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error LOS ANGELES >> You don’t spend most of a century as ‘lovable losers’ and completely forget how that works.The Chicago Cubs cracked first in a scoreless game, bungling the day’s only run into the Dodgers’ laps in an eighth inning that featured no hits and only two balls put in play by Dodgers hitters. That run gave the Dodgers a 1-0 victory Sunday afternoon.The win (the Dodgers’ second 1-0 win in the past five games) gave the Dodgers two of three in the series against the team with the best record in baseball — and a sweep was only a wild pitch away. The Cubs won Friday night in extra innings after an errant cut fastball from Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen led to a blown save.“Couple miscues in that inning … fortunately we took advantage of them,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of the decisive eighth inning. Sunday’s game was scoreless into the bottom of the eighth inning when Cubs reliever Trevor Cahill hit pinch hitter Andrew Toles with a pitch. That put the go-ahead run on base with one out.Cahill compounded his mistake with an even bigger one. Howie Kendrick chopped a ball into the grass to the left of the pitcher’s mound. With Kendrick running hard down the first-base line, Cahill fielded it and rushed his throw to first base, sending it into right field. That allowed Toles to go to third and Kendrick to second.After an intentional walk of Corey Seager loaded the bases, reliever Carl Edwards Jr. replaced Cahill and struck out Justin Turner. With two outs and the bases loaded, the Cubs were shifted to the right side for Adrian Gonzalez. He hit a ground ball to the shortstop spot where third baseman Javier Baez was playing.It should have ended the inning. But instead of throwing to first to get the slow-footed Gonzalez, Baez surprised second baseman Ben Zobrist by going to second for the force out.“I completely forgot about who was running down the line,” Baez told reporters after the game.Zobrist had been playing on the outfield grass against Gonzalez and was late getting to the base. Seager’s foot beat him to the base by a hair. Seager was safe (a call confirmed by replay review), allowing Toles to score the only run of the day in an inning that featured no hits and only two balls put in play.“It’s one of those plays where you see Chase (Utley) run hard every time so that’s what you do,” Seager said. “You see him do that over and over again – it rubs off.“Jansen closed out the combined four-hit shutout that began with rookie right-hander Brock Stewart pitching five scoreless innings.Stewart came into the game with an 0-2 record and 11.25 ERA after two previous starts (and a relief appearance) did not go very well. But he was terrific against the Cubs. He retired 12 of the first 14 batters, eight on strikeouts (including six consecutive batters at one point), and held the Cubs scoreless on two hits and two walks while striking out eight in his five innings.“I thought it was a playoff atmosphere,” Stewart said from the perspective of his four big-league appearances. “I don’t really know any better. But it felt like it.”center_img “When you start playing very good teams, you have to take advantage of every opportunity. The other night, they took advantage of a miscue with us and they won that game. We knew we matched up well with that club and we played them toe to toe.”Believing they matched up well with the Cubs heading into this weekend must have been a theoretical exercise on the Dodgers’ part. They lost three of four to the Cubs in Wrigley Field back at the end of May and beginning of June.Things have changed since then, seeds planted by the first-year manager and changes in the roster beginning to show fruit now in the type of plays that decided Sunday’s game.“Completely different,” Roberts said, comparing the Dodgers of early June to the current group. “I don’t know who was on our roster then. It doesn’t really matter. But I know the way our guys have come together. It’s completely different. The focus, the attention to detail – completely different club.”last_img read more

Retired DuPont Pioneer president and his wife give Drake $5 million

first_imgDES MOINES — A former DuPont Pioneer president and his wife are giving Drake University $5 million.Paul Schickler is a Drake University graduate who began working at Pioneer Hi-Bred in 1974. He served a decade as president of DuPont Pioneer until he retired in 2017. Schickler and his wife, Claudia, are donating $2 million to Drake to address the challenges facing rural America. The Ag Law Center at Drake will take the lead on that initiative.The rest of the couple’s donation will support Bulldog athletics. A million dollars will go to the Drake men’s basketball program and another $2 million from the couple will go to improvements at the Knapp Center where the men’s and women’s basketball teams play.The Knapp Center was built in 1992 and seats more than 7,000. Drake University officials say enhancements to the facility are being developed and details will be released later.last_img read more

Sanders takes Luck, Newton early in Pro Bowl draft

first_imgPro Football Hall of Famers, Jerry Rice, right, and Deion Sanders, left, square off before the start of the NFL Pro Bowl Draft, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, Kapolei, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)KAPOLEI, Hawaii (AP) — NFL great Deion Sanders took quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Cam Newton with his first skill position picks in the Pro Bowl draft Wednesday, going for passers early before focusing on defense in building a team for one win.Jerry Rice chose New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham and then Philadelphia running back LeSean McCoy with his first two picks, giving active player captain Drew Brees his top target early to go along with two Saints offensive linemen picked Tuesday.“I wouldn’t rather be with anybody else, obviously,” Graham told reporters after being picked. All five Saints in the Pro Bowl ended up on Rice’s team.Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84), left, and Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson chat during the NFL football Pro Bowl draft, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, in Kapolei, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)The picks kicked off the three-hour process of divvying up 60 players for Sunday’s all-star game. The draft played out on a beachside estate used for weddings and luaus on Oahu’s west side, adjacent to the plush Ko Olina resort where the players are staying for the week with their families.About 1,000 fans attended the draft, which had cheerleaders, mascots, lei for each player and colored surfboards used as draft boards.The game is being played in an “unconferenced” format for the first time, straying from its usual AFC vs. NFC teams. Sanders and Rice picked captains and their first 11 players each on Tuesday.The new format is meant to liven up the Pro Bowl, which has been criticized by fans and even Commissioner Roger Goodell for the quality of play.The draft embraces the popular hobby of fantasy football and put many players in the interesting situation of having to watch two of the NFL’s biggest personalities pass them up.“It looks like I’m waiting,” Chicago wide receiver Brandon Marshall said after watching four receivers come off the board — including his teammate, Alshon Jeffery. “This is sad — real sad.”Sanders retorted: “Somebody get him some aspirin.”Eric Weddle, a San Diego safety who was the third safety picked, said he didn’t mind having to wait in a lounge area with the other players while Sanders and Rice took 2 minutes each to make picks, with breaks for commercials in the live telecast.“It doesn’t really matter — just chilling 17 hours in here right now,” Weddle said. “When it comes to Sunday, I’ll be on the field in the fourth quarter and ready to wreck shop.”Defensive end Mario Williams became the first player to be assigned when he was the last player at his position off the board.“Just be careful where you throw the ball,” Williams told Brees afterward.Williams said things played out largely how he anticipated, with teammates picking one another and Sanders playing mind games.Other players assigned included Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle and New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski to Rice. Sanders was assigned tight ends Jordan Cameron of Cleveland and Jason Witten of Dallas, along with Jacksonville linebacker Paul Posluszny.“There’s been some questionable picks,” Posluszny said.Quarterbacks Nick Foles and Alex Smith were the last players taken. Sanders selected Foles, and Smith was then assigned to Rice as the final pick — nine years after being the top choice overall in the NFL draft.Rice then forced a trade on Sanders as allowed under the rules, taking Sanders’ sixth-round pick of Indianapolis linebacker Robert Mathis, sending back Brian Orakpo.Rice had said since being named captain that he wanted Mathis on his team, while Mathis and Sanders have traded jabs on Twitter after Sanders asserted he only wanted young players on his team.Sanders picked wideouts Dez Bryant and A.J. Green, while Rice chose Josh Gordon along with Jeffery.Luck playing for Team Sanders puts him on the same team led by his head coach in Indianapolis, Chuck Pagano. Luck said that will help him as players get accustomed to Pagano’s style.Beyond McCoy going second to Rice on Wednesday and Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles being a captain for Sanders, neither manager took a running back early, preferring to pick defenders and receivers. Rice later took DeMarco Murray and Matt Forte, while Sanders took Eddie Lacy and was assigned Washington’s Alfred Morris.___AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org___Oskar Garcia can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/oskargarcialast_img read more

Leafs get sniper Jamie Vlanich back from BCHL

first_imgVlanich, coming to Nelson in the off-season from Castlegar along with Travis Wellman, had been one of the main reasons why Nelson is leading the league with a 13-0-1-1 record.Langley scouts saw the fine play of Vlanich during Nelson’s first road Okanagan road trip, prompting the Rivermen to come calling.But the experiment didn’t work out.However, the 5’9”, 160 poundTrail native, with 147 points in 130 career KIJHL games with Golden, Castlegar, Fernie, and Nelson, will be a welcome edition to the lineup after Nelson lost three times last weekend — the final blow a 9-3 pasting at the hands of the Creston Valley Thunder Cats.“(Jamie) will join us this weekend,” Maida confirmed after the Rivermen released Vlanich.Vlanich will be a welcome addition to a Leaf team still reeling from a tough weekend.“I think we got to high on ourselves,” said Leaf center Linden Horswill when asked about the three-loss weekend. “At the beginning of the games we were a little too loose and things just unraveled (Sunday) in Creston.”Despite the slump, Nelson remains on top of the Neil Murdoch Division with a 15-1-1-3 record, six points in front of Beaver Valley.Next home game for Nelson is Wednesday when Grand Forks visits the NDCC Arena. According to Elite Hockey Prospect stats, the experiment lasted two games.But at least now Jamie Vlanich can put behind any “What If?” thinking as the Trail native is expected to return to the Green and White Friday when the Leafs travel to Princeton to meet the Posse in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League action.Vlanich rejoins the Leafs for the two-game swing through the Okanagan Conference, concluding Saturday in Osoyoos against the Coyotes, after being released from the by the Langley Rivermen of the BCHL.“Jamie brings us back another great leader on the ice,” said Leaf coach Frank Maida when asked about the return of the Vlanich, who left Nelson after scoring 12 goals and 25 assists for 37 points.“I feel we have a great group of leaders on the ice and look forward to have Jamie back in the lineup this weekend,” Maida added.last_img read more

Dube solar project in time for COP17

first_imgWhen complete, the rooftop solar systemwill be the biggest in Africa.(Image: Dube TradePort)MEDIA CONTACTS • Vincent ZwaneDube TradePort marketing and PR+27 32 814 0000Emily van RijswijckThe first phase of a massive rooftop solar energy project is currently underway in Durban. KwaZulu-Natal. The project was launched just ahead of COP17, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change talks which began in the harbour city on 28 November.Once both phases are completed in April 2012, the project will be Africa’s biggest rooftop solar installation, generating in excess of 600 kilowatts peak (kWp) – this is sufficient to power two fresh produce packing and logistics facilities.The project is located in the massive new multi-use Dube TradePort development, 30 kilometres north of Durban.About 990 solar panels will be attached to the roofs of two warehouses in the AgriZone, the trade port’s agricultural hub.In the first phase, the project will generate 220 kWp in total, equivalent to supplying 150 households with electricity.“With the completion of the second phase, an additional 400 kWp will be produced, making this the largest roof mounted photovoltaic system in Africa,” confirms AgriZone project executive Mlibo Bantwini.The solar panels have capacity to provide power for all the needs of the energy-intensive fresh produce pack houses. In the first phase alone carbon emissions will be reduced by 294 tons per year.Using the latest solar technology, little or no maintenance will be required other than to clean the panels from time to time.“This system will not require any major further investment for the next 20 years and will bring about considerable reduction in carbon emissions,” says Bantwini.Looking to the futureThe Dube TradePort is a 60-year master development plan consisting of several complementary and interconnected developments.The completed development will comprise the new King Shaka International airport, the Dube TradeZone linked to the Dube cargo terminal, and Dube City, a property development which will serve aviation and local communities. The plan is to make the city into a green precinct.The first phase of the airport, cargo terminal, trade zone and Dube City has been completed and is fully operational.The AgriZone is one of the key components of this multibillion-rand project, and includes the most advanced greenhouse hydroponics facility in Africa. Through its climate controlled greenhouses it already produces 50 000 cucumbers and three tons of tomatoes per week for large retailers.A sophisticated tissue culture facility with the capability to propagate three-million plants per year is also located here.A separate greenhouse for cut flowers and pot plant production will be developed in 2012. The project currently employs more than 100 local people.Aviation and cargo clusterDube City is the first purpose-built aviation orientated city in Africa. On completion, the 24-hectare facility will include a mix of hotels, conference and entertainment venues, retail stores, and company head offices.Speed and turnaround times are key to freight handling. According to Bantwini the Dube cargo terminal has the most sophisticated ramp-handling equipment available in South Africa.A fully automated air bridge conveyer system provides direct access to air freight forwarding companies in the adjacent TradeZone. A major advantage is that Customs, the Department of Agriculture, Department of Port Health, South African Revenue Service and South African Border Police are all housed within the cargo terminal, says Bantwini.“For the first time in South Africa, customs services are fully integrated with cargo terminal operations, providing one-stop regulatory, all-hours service for the convenience of shippers and forwarders.”Addressing challenges of climate changeThe Dube TradePort as a company also views itself as a responsible developer which responds proactively to climate change in all aspects of its business. To realise its vision Dube TradePort is working together with Swedish climate consultancy and carbon offset company Tricorona Climate Partner.“In response to the challenges of climate change and as the host city of COP17, we would like to accelerate our efforts in lowering our climate impact, and develop a more sustainable business model in the aviation and trade port business” says Rohan Persad, Dube TradePort CEO.Rainwater harvesting, recycling and converting green waste into compost are just a few of the strategies to be implemented in the future.“A rehabilitation program over three years will revive 619 hectares of the grounds while the cargo terminal’s paperless trade program has already been initiated, and will in time dramatically reduce its own paper use as well as that of its related customers and service providers,” Bantwini adds.Eskom goes solar In the meantime, Eskom, South Africa’s national power utility has launched the first of its three solar photovoltaic pilot projects at the Lethabo Power Station near Vereeniging in Gauteng. Kendal in Mpumalanga and Eskom’s head office at Megawatt Park in Gauteng will likewise be fitted with solar panels.The entire project will cost about R90-million (US$11-million) and will supply electricity for internal use at the two power stations and at the head office. The expected reduction in the company’s carbon footprint is about 2 845 tons a year.The lessons learned from the pilot projects will support the rollout of these systems across all Eskom’s coal-fired stations over time, the utility confirmed.The total electricity generated from all three solar plants will be about 1.55 megawatts (MW).Eskom was also looking to other renewable sources.“We have undertaken to invest in renewable energy projects and in cleaner coal technologies and these solar panels are an important first step towards that,” said Eskom CEO Brian Dames at the launch of the project.The utility’s Sere Wind Farm near Koekenaap in the Western Cape province will, on completion, generate 100 MW of power, with construction planned for early 2012.last_img read more