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Letters to the Editor for Friday, June 28

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionWitness to Israeli army using violenceI’m responding to Matt Cutler’s June 21 letter (“Anti-Israel letter full of inaccuracies”). I’m filmmaker from Albany, I lived and filmed in Hebron, Palestine for part of two years.Concerning  the issue of a colonial endeavor, ”From its inception, Zionism was both a nascent national movement and a colonial enterprise in search of a metropolitan sponsor” Rashid Khalidi.Of the two massacres in Hebron, one in 1929 and the other in 1994. In 1929, 64 Jews were killed, it was caused by a rumor that Jews in Jerusalem were going to control the Temple Mount.The rumor spread to Hebron, where Jews and Arabs had been living together peacefully.According to Rabbi Kaplan, who was studying at the Yeshiva, many Jews were hidden by the local Arabs.In 1994, Baruch Goldstein, a fanatical Zionist entered the Abraham mosque in Hebron, killed 29 Palestinians and wounded over 100.The killing and arrests of innocent civilians is a daily occurrence in Palestine.I filmed a family whose unarmed father was killed by Israeli soldiers. I interviewed a woman whose 65-year-old husband was killed sleeping in his bed. The last time I was there, a young girl was murdered at a checkpoint because an Israeli soldier thought she was reaching for a knife in her bag.As far as the use of human shields, according to the October 6, 2005 Guardian, “The Israeli high court yesterday ruled that the army’s long-standing practice of using Palestinian civilians as human shields in combat is illegal under international law.”Ellie BernsteinAlbanyPlacement of ad and article inappropriateI’m contacting you about the very nicely written article by staff reporter Jeff Wilkin, that appeared on the front page of The Daily Gazette’s Sunday June 16 edition, regarding two local priests serving the Schenectady community.With anticipation I then turned to page 8 to finish reading the wonderful story, only to discover at the bottom half of the page, an ad notice by a New York City law firm soliciting business related to the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse fiasco.For the record, nothing disappoints or disgusts me more than the poor and inadequate way the church has been handling this situation.However it was insensitive to place that ad on the same page where you had printed great stories about these two local men who have been committed to their priestly/deacon vocation for many years, and on Father’s Day no less.It certainly appears that the layout editor and staff was asleep-at-the-wheel and The Daily Gazette should be ashamed at this lack of professionalism.You can and should be doing a better job.Richard S. ZazyckiRotterdamEDITOR’S NOTE: The circumstance the writer describes was purely coincidental. The copy editors who edit and lay out the newspaper at night do so with limited if any knowledge of the content of advertisements. Ads are placed on the page after all editorial content is placed. Similarly, the editorial staff doesn’t coordinate with the advertising staff in order to allow advertisers to request placement of their ads next to specific editorial content. More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

London City Airport reopens as UK slowly wakes up

first_img“Both blanket Foreign Office advice not to travel abroad and the mandatory two-week quarantine for all arrivals into the UK should be limited to the highest risk countries,” the London First business lobby said on the airport’s website.Britain’s official death toll of 42,589 is Europe’s highest and third globally behind the United States and Brazil.But health officials lowered the alert level to three on a five-point scale on Friday — a signal the government needed to take a more business-friendly approach.Britain’s pubs and restaurants are most upset about a requirement for everyone to stay two meters apart in public at all times.Business owners complain that the restriction means they will never be able to seat enough people to turn a profit.The measure is also partially being blamed for the government’s inability to keep its promise to reopen schools before the summer break.British newspapers and business figures have been waging a war against it for weeks.Prime Minister Boris Johnson — his approval ratings dropping as the economic toll of the health disaster climbs — is expected this week to give the formal go-ahead for pubs and restaurants to start seating clients on July 4.Some hair salons have also started taking bookings for July in anticipation.But most will be watching to see what he has to say about the two-meter requirement — an issue that some critics view as emblematic of Johnson’s incongruous response to the crisis.His top ministers gave every indication this weekend that the rule would be relaxed.”There are all sorts of mitigations that can put in place to be physically closer than two meters but not have the transmission of the virus or the risk of spreading the coronavirus,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC.Finance minister Rishi Sunak said a slightly smaller gap between people “will make an enormous difference I think to many businesses who are keen to see a change”.But public frustration at the government’s response to the crisis is becoming clear.A YouGov poll showed Johnson’s approval rating slipping into negative territory for the first time since he took control of the government last July.”How can it be that it looks like we are going  to end up with a higher death toll, a longer lockdown and a worse economic hit? How does that happen?” a Sky News presenter asked Hancock on a popular Sunday morning politics show.”Well, there will be a time for this sort of analysis and it’s very important in terms of insuring all the lessons are learned,” Hancock replied. They announced a deep cleaning and posted the results of a survey showing that most people — 72 percent — would like to fly again when it was safe.”This clear early demand from our passengers to get back to flying is really encouraging,” airport chief executive Robert Sinclair said.But the first routes will be domestic because of international travel restrictions and only a handful of destinations will be served in the first weeks.London businesses are also unhappy with the government’s divisive decision to impose 14-day quarantines on most people arriving in Britain. London City Airport awaited its first flight in nearly three months Sunday as Britain moved another step closer to fully emerging from its coronavirus lockdown on July 4.The main air hub for London’s once-bustling Canary Warf and City financial districts was expected to welcome a short-haul flight from the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea on Sunday evening.Airport officials sounded thrilled.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Anthony Joshua, Okolie plot world title double

first_imgRelatedPosts Tyson Fury to Anthony Joshua: Don’t risk fighting Usyk Anthony Joshua wants Tyson Fury, Wilder fight Anthony Joshua denies romance with Mahrez’s wife Anthony Joshua and Lawrence Okolie could both be in world title action on December 12 if plans currently in the pipeline come to fruition.Joshua and Okolie are set to face Kubrat Pulev and Krzysztof Glowacki respectively, two weeks before Christmas. Promoter Eddie Hearn has penciled in the date in question for a show at The O2 in London.If secured, the event could be one of the first in the United Kingdom to accommodate a larger portion of fans.Matchroom Boxing is seeking advice from officials over what kind of capacity from the 20,000 available they could fill by that time.At present, pilot schemes involving crowds at sports are on hold.On Monday, the government issued guidelines that they intend to keep in place for the foreseeable future to keep the coronavirus from spreading out of control. If successful in the coming weeks, all sports will have the chance for some crowd presence from the end of October onwards.The main event sees Joshua put his four world heavyweight title belts up for grabs in an IBF mandatory defence.Pulev steps up after initially becoming number one in 2017.As for Okolie, the undefeated cruiserweight gets the chance at the WBO version after amassing a 14-0 record.— Tags: Anthony JoshuaEddie HearnKrzysztof GlowackiKubrat PulevLawrence Okolielast_img read more

Kramaric set for Foxes

first_img Press Association The 23-year-old has agreed a three-and-a-half year deal with the Foxes, who are bottom of the Barclays Premier League. Chelsea were interested in the Croatia international, who has two goals in four appearances, but failed to strike a deal with Rijeka. Striker Andrej Kramaric has completed his switch from Rijeka to Leicester, subject to a work permit, the Croatian club have confirmed.last_img read more

Gayle wants 400-run score before leaving Test cricket

first_imgWest Indies star batsman Chris Gayle still has hope of returning to Test cricket and has targeted making 400 runs as one of the objectives to be met before retiring from the sport.Gayle has not featured in the longest format of the game for the regional team since 2014 against Bangladesh. The absence is in part due to a dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the player has instead, opted for the shorter formats of the game. The 37-year-old, however, insists he is not quite finished with Test cricket.“I will play again,” Gayle said.“I want to score 400 runs in a Test match. I’ve done two triples, I think I can push it to four [hundred].“A lot of people want to see me back in test cricket, a lot of people. That’s one of the reasons why I haven’t announced I’ve retired because wherever I go, people want to see me play Test cricket, to give it one more shout, that’s why I’m holding out.”Over the last few years the big left hander has become far more recognizable for his heroics in Twenty20 cricket, but remains one of the world’s most accomplished in all white gear.In 103 Tests matches Gayle has scored an impressive 7214 runs at an average of 42.18, having blasted 15 hundreds, including the pair of triple centuries.last_img read more

Update on the latest in sports:

first_imgThe proposal will allow schools that schedule 28 regular-season game to participate in one multiple-team event of up to three games. Programs with 29-game regular-season schedules can participate in a multiple-team event with up to two games.A team that does not participate in a multiple-team event can have up to 29 regular-season games.MLB-DODGERS-LAWSUITDodgers sued over parking lot attackLOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers are being sued for negligence by a man who was attacked in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium and left with brain damage. — Triathlon’s world series grand final in Edmonton, Alberta, in August has been canceled because of the pandemic. The decision was inevitable after the Canadian province’s chief medical officer extended the provincial ban on all gatherings of more than 15 people through summer. Edmonton’s triathlon was scheduled for Aug. 17-23.— The International Olympic Committee is allocating more than $25 million to cover extra athlete and team costs related to the one-year postponement of the Tokyo Games. The IOC says an extra $15 million will go to a program helping 1,600 athletes from 185 less well-funded countries prepare for the games in 2021. More than $10 million is available for national Olympic bodies to cover additional operational costs such as travel and accommodation for officials.— FIFA (FEE’-fuh) says advance payments of $500,000 are being sent to member associations to cover running costs during the coronavirus pandemic. Each of the 211 member associations is entitled to $6 million from FIFA spread over the four-year World Cup cycle. International soccer’s governing body says the next installment due in July will now be paid in the coming days along with other payments due from last year. FIFA president Gianni Infantino says the soccer body has a duty “to be there and support the ones that are facing acute needs.”— The German Cup soccer final has been postponed indefinitely and will likely take place without fans. The German soccer federation says the final will no longer be played on May 23 in Berlin as planned but it’s still sticking to a June 30 deadline to finish the season. There are no dates for the postponed semifinals, which were originally scheduled to be played this week.— A tropical island in the South Pacific is likely to be the only venue in the world hosting a competitive cricket final on Saturday, as most international sport remains shuttered around the globe. Vanuatu (vah-noo-AH’-too) Cricket Association chief executive Shane Deitz is inviting anyone missing live action to tune in to a live stream. Vanuatu went into lock down late last month as a precaution during the coranavirus pandemic, and was then hit hit by a destructive cyclone on April 6. The lockdown and closed borders meant there were no reported cases of COVID-19 in Vanuatu. — The Cape Cod League executive committee has announced the cancellation of the 2020 season, saying the unanimous vote was based on the health concerns and safety needs of all involved. The 10-team league is the top summer competition for college baseball players and was scheduled to run from mid-June until August. The league was founded in 1885 and had not missed a season since 1945, the last year of World War II.— A Summer X Games stop in Minneapolis scheduled for July has been canceled due to the coronavirus. The action-sports event in Minneapolis was to be the fourth and final go-around in the city. The deal was originally for 2017 and ’18, but two more years were added after a successful first year. The X Games plans to bring regular and original programming through the World of X Games TV series and on digital and social channels. They will kick off an event called “Real Street” in May. It’s an all-video, all-street skateboarding competition shown on XGames.com.— The rest of the Dutch soccer league has been canceled without a champion declared. Ajax was level on points with second-placed AZ Alkmaar but ahead on goal difference when the league was suspended on March 12. The Dutch soccer federation added it will allocate Champions League and Europa League spots by the current standings. The federation’s decision sparked instant complaints from clubs who felt they had lost out.— Manchester United vice chairman Ed Woodward has told fans there will be reduced spending on players due to the financial consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. English Premier League games have not been played for more than six weeks and stadiums are due to be closed to fans when the season resumes in June at the earliest.— The U.S. Junior Amateur and the U.S. Girls’ Junior golf championships have been canceled. That makes six USGA championships that have been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Junior Amateur was to be played July 20-25 at Hazeltine National outside Minneapolis. The U.S. Girls’ Junior was scheduled for July 13-18 in Colorado Springs, Colo. The USGA says it wouldn’t be able to hold qualifying for its two premier junior championships because of health guidelines. State associations were to hold 100 qualifying events in 41 states between May and July. NFL-NEWSGoff creates cap room for Rams to sign Floyd, RobinsonUNDATED (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams announced the signings of linebacker Leonard Floyd and defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson on Friday after quarterback Jared Goff restructured his contract to create salary cap room.Floyd and Robinson agreed to join the Rams as free agents several weeks ago, but the announcements of their deals were delayed because they hadn’t been able to complete their physical exams because of the pandemic.Goff agreed last year to a four-year contract extension with an NFL-record $110 million guaranteed. The extension doesn’t begin until the 2021 season, but Goff agreed to restructure the deal’s money distribution to create breathing room for the Rams. The first night of this week’s NFL draft averaged 15.6 million viewers on television, easily shattering the record set six years ago.The first round was aired on ABC, ESPN, the NFL Network and ESPN Deportes. Viewership peaked from 8:45-9 p.m. EDT when 19.6 million people tuned in, according to Nielsen. That is up 37% over last year’s 11.4 million.The previous high was 12.4 million in 2014, when the draft was held in early May.The draft was the first live U.S. sporting event since the coronavirus pandemic. The draft originally was to be held in Las Vegas but is taking place virtually.The second and third rounds are being held today. The seven-round draft will conclude tomorrow. April 24, 2020 In other NFL news:— The Texans have agreed to a three-year, $66 million contract extension with left tackle Laremy Tunsil, according to a person familiar with the situation. He had one year left on his current contract that will pay him more than $10 million this season. Tunsil was named to his first Pro Bowl last season after being acquiring from Miami in August.— Patriots center David Andrews says he is ready to return after missing all of last season with blood clots in his lungs. He says he’s excited to have the opportunity to play again, whenever and however the NFL season begins. Andrews has played four seasons for New England. In 2018, he started every game and participated in 99% of the offensive snaps.— Tua Tagovailoa (TOO’-ah tuhng-ah-vy-LOH’-ah) now knows where he’ll play next, but he still doesn’t know when. The Dolphins selected him with the fifth overall pick in Thursday’s draft and are willing to wait until 2021 while Tugavailoa continues to recover from a major hip injury. Tugavailoa says doctors have indicated he’s on schedule for a return this year. General manager Chris Grier said the Dolphins are comfortable about Tagovailoa’s health, despite a long injury history.— The older brother of Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has died. Jace Prescott was 31. The Cowboys confirmed the older Prescott’s death yesterday in a brief statement. There was no information on how or where he died. Jace Prescott was an offensive lineman a decade ago at Northwestern State, where he played three years and started all 11 games in his final season. Lawyers for Rafael Reyna and his wife announced the suit, which contends that the stadium lacked adequate security.Rafael Reyna was attacked while walking to his car shortly after midnight following a Dodgers game against Arizona on March 30, 2019. Reyna suffered a brain injury when his head hit the pavement.The suit says he spent days in a medically induced coma and still suffers effects of the injury.A team spokesman said the Dodgers had no comment on the suit.COLLEGE FOOTBALL-WASHINGTON STATE-PLAYER DEATH Coroner says Cougars player died of acute intoxicationPULLMAN, Wash. (AP)— The Whitman County coroner says acute intoxication was the cause of death for a Washington State football player last month.Coroner Annie Pillers said Friday that 22-year-old Bryce Beekman died after consuming a combination of fentanyl and promethazine. She ruled the death as accidental.The senior defensive back from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was found dead in his Pullman apartment March 23.Beekman started all 13 games last season for Washington State after transferring from Arizona Western College. The Anderson Survivors Legal Team says its clients include Robert Stone, the first to speak publicly about allegations of abuse against Anderson, and female accusers.BASEBALL-OBIT-DALKOWSKIFlame-thrower Dalkowski diesUNDATED (AP) — The hard-throwing, wild left-hander whose minor league career inspired the creation of Nuke LaLoosh in the movie “Bull Durham,” has died.Steve Dalkowski died Sunday at the Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain. His sister, Patricia Cain, said Friday he had several pre-existing conditions that were complicated when he became infected with the new coronavirus. Dalkowski had been in assisted living for 26 years because of alcoholic dementia.center_img Update on the latest in sports: COLLEGE BASKETBALL-NEWSAchiuwa turning proUNDATED (AP) — Memphis freshman Precious Achiuwa has announced he will enter the NBA draft, saying he has dreamed of “playing in the NBA since I picked up the game.” The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Nigerian-born star is projected as a likely first-rounder and possible lottery pick. Achiuwa became the first player in the American Athletic Conference named both player and freshman of the year, averaging 15.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game after arriving as one of the nation’s top prospects.In other college basketball news:— Texas has landed top basketball recruit Greg Brown III, who had listed the G League as a possibility before decided to attend the college where his father played football. The 6-foot-9 forward from Austin is expected to play just one year in college before turning pro. He had long listed Texas among his top college choices but in the last few days had listed the G League as a possibility. COLLEGE BASKETBALL-SCHEDULENCAA OKs 28- or 29-game schedules for upcoming hoops seasonINDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA is giving teams new scheduling options for the 2020-21 season.The Division I Council has approved a proposal to give men’s basketball programs choices with 28- and 29-game schedules.The council vote still must be reviewed by the NCAA Board of Directors and won’t be considered final until the conclusion of its board meeting on Wednesday. UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN-DOCTORU. of Michigan facing more legal action over alleged abuseANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A legal team that says it represents more than 100 people who allege they were abused by a University of Michigan sports doctor on Friday announced the first step in filing a lawsuit against the school.The Anderson Survivors Legal Team said it has filed 20-plus notices of intent to sue the Ann Arbor school, its board and Dr. Robert Anderson’s estate. A lawsuit would be among a rising wave of legal action against the school, which is investigating allegations of decades of sexual abuse by Anderson.The university has acknowledged some campus employees were aware of accusations against Anderson before a 2018 complaint that led to a police investigation. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditNFL-DRAFTFirst night of NFL draft draws record 15.6 million viewersUNDATED (AP) — Housebound football fans gave the NFL a huge boost on Thursday. Associated Press VIRUS OUTBREAK-SPORTSNationals manager expects a 2020 seasonUNDATED (AP) — Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo expects there will be a 2020 major league season. In a conference call Friday, Rizzo said: “I’m optimistic, as is the commissioner, that we’ll have baseball in 2020.”The GM said the team’s owners have committed to giving Nationals employees full salary and benefits through the end of May. Baseball has been on hold since last month because of the coronavirus pandemic.In other developments related to the pandemic: Dalkowski never reached the major leagues but was said to have thrown well over 100 mph. According to “Bull Durham” director and writer Ron Shelton, Ted Williams told him Dalkowski was the fastest he ever saw after facing the southpaw during batting practice at spring training in 1963.,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6last_img read more

Tough pitchers await in three-game series

first_imgWith fresh legs after a week off, the Wisconsin softball team will hit the road again to warmer weather against two teams that finished above them.This time, the Badgers (4-1) travel to Orlando, Fla., where they will take part in the Diamond 9 tournament, playing against Georgia Southern (6-3) and Boston University (0-0).The structure of the tournament is similar to the style of play UW experiences in the Big Ten. During the weekend, the team will face each of their opponents three times, playing each once over several days. During conference play, the Badgers compete under the same three game series format.“It’s really going to feel like Big Ten play,” Wisconsin head coach Yvette Healy said. “Seeing a team three times a lot of people say ‘it’s not fun for the fans,’ but for us it’s going to be a real test of strategy.”Wisconsin faced Georgia Southern in nonconference play last season and will once again have to face standout ace Sarah Purvis on the mound. Purvis, a junior from Warner Robins, Ga., is the reigning Southern Conference Pitcher of the Year after recording a 1.56 ERA and going 23-11 in 2012, becoming the first 20-game winner in Georgia Southern history.But the Badgers are used to facing great pitching already in 2013, as the team is fresh off of facing one of softball’s best in Notre Dame’s Laura Winter, whom the team defeated twice.“Coming off two wins from Notre Dame, it put an emphasis on how our season is going to be,” junior infielder Michelle Mueller said. “We’re going to have to battle, we’ll be behind in some games, but overall our team’s tenacity to just battle back is amazing.”“I mean [Notre Dame] was No. 26 in the country and those wins for us are big,” junior outfielder Mary Massei said. “It just pumped up our team even more to know that we can do this and can attack even better teams.”Wisconsin will throw out against Purvis and the offense led by the mighty bat of Massei, batting .474 after three games and already amassing three home runs after recording just four in 2012.New faces are getting it done as well for UW with the bats. Freshmen Steffani LaJeunesse and Katie Christner combined for 10 hits and five runs scored during the Badgers’ first tournament.Healy had especially strong praise for Christner, who hit a home run against Notre Dame to tie the game at 2-2 in the eight inning of an 11-inning thriller Wisconsin managed to win.The head coach sees the performance of Christner as emblematic of her team’s hunger this season to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time in several years.“From how they approach the game, I think they are a tenacious group,” Healy said. “Every year we really focus in on that and stress ‘keep fighting, keep battling.’ The person hitting the home run is a freshman this year, so Katie Christner puts it into extra innings, that’s a big deal.”Boston University, which hasn’t played a game so far this season, enters the season as the favorite once again to win their conference, the America East. Last season, Boston went 41-16 and returns 12 letter winners from their NCAA tournament team in 2012.The Terriers are also paced by solid pitching, with junior arm Holli Floetker returning to lead the pitching after posting a 19-4 record in 2012 and a 1.54 ERA. BU’s No. 2 option on the mound isn’t too shabby either, with senior Whitney Tuthill returning after recording a 15-6 record and 1.77 ERA for the team a year ago.It will once again be another solid test for a Wisconsin team that returns all but one starter from a 2012 team that smashed several program records for offense, including team batting average.The biggest difference now for the Badgers is the fact that they’re no longer a young, upset-minded team. 2013 has seen UW turn to a favorite to compete for the B1G title, especially with the group’s core players being almost entirely composed of upperclassmen.With a group of upperclassmen, like Mueller, who have been under Healy for two years, it has made the learning curve easier for the underclassmen and the expectations that much more clear that it’s a “win every game” mentality, even in the nonconference portion of the schedule.“We compete together,” assistant coach Randy Schneider said. “That’s a big thing that I think is different from when we first got here. It’s moving in the right direction. Our upperclassmen are doing a good job, working hard and are well-liked.” With fresh legs after a week off, the Wisconsin softball team will hit the road again to warmer weather against two teams that finished above them.last_img read more

Harrisville approves marijuana ordinances

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisHARRISVILLE, Mich. — The City of Harrisville approved three ordinances pertaining to legal marijuana within the city limits Monday night.Following the unanimous votes both medical and recreational marijuana facilities will be allowed within the city limits.In addition council approved a zoning ordinance that laid out all of the rules and regulations needed for new marijuana businesses.According to Harrisville Mayor Jeffrey Gehring there will now be a 15-day waiting period before full legalization takes place.Gehring added that with some communities in Northeastern Michigan struggling financially, he did not want to miss out on an opportunity to bring additional revenue into Harrisville.“It’s not a ton of money, and I’ve explained to people that the streets of Harrisville are not going to be paved in gold. But, again it’s going to be a stepping stone to develop things economically in Northeast Michigan and in Harrisville.”Gehring says that he has already been approached by groups that are interested in investing in the marijuana industry within the city.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThis Tags: Harrisville, MarijuanaContinue ReadingPrevious Twenty-two arrested in mid-Michigan sting operation to catch child predatorsNext Police needs help locating two missing trailerslast_img read more

Ghana Premier League team Bechem Utd begin ambitious animal farming drive for players, fans

first_imgWhen Ghanaian towns proudly display their stock in trade, what they are known for and what makes them tick, it’s natural for Bechem to speak of agriculture. After all, the inhabitants have been involved in various crop and animal ventures since the turn of the 20th century. The area is famed for its location as a key transit point for agric produce from smaller villages to the market centre that is Techiman.And also for its stratefgic location to the Brong-Ahafo regional capital, Sunyani.But just’s a backdrop to what is turning out to be an intriguing story.The capital of Tano South district is also home to Bechem United, who play in the top flight of the Ghana Premier League. They finished 12th last season, a far better finish than they managed four years ago when they first featured in the league.That season – 2011/12 – they were relegated. A key factor in their relegation was a lack of resources, which hurt their talent acquisition plans and also saw them frequently owing their players. Last season, things were slightly better.These problems are very familiar to many small, non-traditional teams – and even the big ones. Things have become marginally better because a few years ago, someone came up with a great idea, one that is slowly yielding dividends.CONCEIVING THE DREAMAs the district capital for the Tano South Constituency, Bechem attracts the attention of the small towns and villages surrounding it. When Bechem coughs, the adjoining areas catch a cold. And it’s no shock that when Bechem United, a few years ago, contrived a simple idea to transform the lives of many, it quickly got approval of the local population.The idea was animal farming.In an area that has borne the brunt of Ghana’s harsh economic conditions, increasing government cuts to subsidies and dwindling support for agric, unemployment has taken an alarming hold. And with it, a lack of patronage for Bechem United’s home games simply because fans don’t have money to get tickets.When Joy FM’s sister station, Asempa Sports, broke the news a year ago that the Brong Ahafo-based team is seeking to cut down on the cost of feeding the club’s players and also help their supporters to be financially sound by undertaking a mixed farming initiative, many did not take notice.But it’s becoming a big deal, especially at this time that the league is on break and no one knows when the new season begins.  EMPOWERING FANSFor the team, animal farming is an indirect way of empowering fans to troop the Nana Ofosu Gyeabour Akoto II Park whenever the team is playing at home. The farming project goes with the catch-line ‘changing lives through football’.This initiative, which has already started, will see the club providing fans with technical support in Bechem and its environs to invest in animal farming. Bechem United (club house pictured below) has its own poultry, pig and fish farms. The club is also putting up a soccer academy and a library to cater for the new generation of talent and labour in the locality and beyond.But why is Bechem United into animal farming? Is it because Bechem is known to be an agricultural development area? Or because the club is not financially sound? Club owner, Kingsley Owusu-Achau (below, pictured) explains why the club has embarked on this project.“We have come out with these projects because we, the management of Bechem United, want to change lives of our beloved supporters, the people of Bechem and its environs, as the people of Ghana”. “Our aim is create employment for our supporters to be financially sound so that they will not sit at home when we have home matches”“Apart from that, we feed our players twice a day so the poultry and piggery products will be used to feed them, while the grown birds will hit the market to complement our finances.”Poultry farmWith the kind of the system Bechem is planning to put in place, the number of birds keep increasing. Currently, there are about 1000 birds, since it started in October, 2015.Fish farm This project started four years ago and at the moment the pond contains about 3000 fishes and are already on the market.Pig FarmThis started in August 2015. The pigs are just 24 in number but an expected increase is imminent.Acquiring of land for the projectThe paramount chief of Bechem traditional area, Nana Akwasi Ofosu Gyeabour Akoto II has donated 100 plots of land to the management of the club. This will enable them build a library for the students in the area.The club intends to use the same land for its soccer academy and also the pitches where the players will be training.Heavy equipment are on the site, pulling down big trees and weeds to pave way for the project to kick-start. To show how serious this venture is, the sod-cutting has already been done.STARTING THE DREAMBechem United’s management, with assistance from the chiefs of the area, cut sod for the construction of a library complex and training field last Sunday.The ceremony, which was graced by the Goasomanhene Nana Kwasi Bosomprah I, afforded the Bechem club to also inaugurate its academy. The three training fields to be developed on the land will consist of one natural grass turf and two AstroTurfs.During the function, Domeabramanhene Nana Kwasi Oboadum I promised 200 bags of cement towards the library project and also pledged to stock it with books when completed.SUPPORTERS’ KEY ROLEBechem are serious about modelling themselves as a professional club. And as with every such venture, supporters are key.The supporters of the club, according to management, will be playing a major role in bringing these dreams into reality by forming supporters’ unions that will receive financial support from the club’s coffers. This support will enable them start their own farming programmes that will dovetail into the existing infrastructure.Owusu Achau tells Asempa Sports that apart from the fact that Bechem United will benefit directly, the bigger picture is to ender a massive, loyal support base especially for the future.“Since we are doing football and our theme is ‘changing lives through football’, we believe getting our wonderful supporters on board can help us achieve our goals.”  “Don’t forget that football fans do not get winning bonuses so this is the only way we can reward them.” The club also plans to reward those who cannot do farming and that’s why the Bet90 initiative is also on the cards.Bet90 will allow supporters who buy tickets for home games to enter into a raffle draw. Lucky winners will take home electrical appliances, mobile phones and farm products.And so, with the right support and focus, the next time a native of Bechem is asked what their neck of the woods is known for, don’t be surprised if they mention two things: Bechem United, and animal farming.It’s happening sooner, and faster, than many think.–Follow Immortal on Twitter @ImmortalAcheampong and Gary @garyalsmith. Get more updates on Facebook/Twitter with the #JoySports hashtaglast_img read more

Dauda Mohammed wants Kotoko to keep on improving

first_imgKumasi Asante Kotoko striker, Dauda Mohammed, says the mood has changed in the club’s dressing room and amongst the fans following their impressive performances in the Ghana Premier League.Dauda’s brace against Dwarfs last Sunday ensured the Porcupines have picked up 12 points out of the possible 15 under the guidance ofCoach Micheal Osei ably supported by his technical team.But the striker believes they must continue working hard to keep winning.“We have to continue picking the victories, you can’t get carried away and we must continue working in order to keep winning,” he told Adom FM Sports.“The feeling around the team now is great so we must do everything possible to make the supporters and the team owner Otumfour Osei Tutu happy all the time.” When quizzed about his goal scoring form in the last five matches, Dauda was optimistic about maintaining the standard. “I am not liberated at all because l can score more for the team and myself.”Dauda is currently with the Black Satellites preparing for next week’s Africa Youth Championship qualifier against Ethiopia and could missKotoko’s next league game against Bechem United in Bechem on Wednesday. – Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @JoySportsGH. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more