18 Dec

World Coaches Academy at Wits

first_imgThe University of the Wiwatersrand has aproud tradition of football, and is home tothe “Clever Boys”, the Bidvest Wits FCPremier Soccer League team.(Image: Wikipedia)MEDIA CONTACTS• Shirona Patel, communications managerUniversity of the Witwatersrand+27 11 717 1019Shironal.Patel@wits.ac.zaRELATED ARTICLES• From Football to Fly the Flag• Top marks for SA’s World Cup• Out of Africa, something new• A legacy of harmony and pride• World Cup: 97% of SA ‘more proud’ Thato MokhouSouth Africa’s Johannesburg-based University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and the Netherlands government have joined forces to create a World Cup legacy programme to develop social and football skills in the southern African region.Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond (KNVB), the Dutch football association, saw the need to revolutionise school-level football development in South Africa and decided to make Wits the home of the first World Coaches Academy in the country.As part of conditions set for the Netherlands team to use the university as a training camp for its 2010 Fifa World Cup preparations, the team was required to present a legacy project that would run long after the tournament. The team formulated two projects. The first was to extend the World Coaches Academy to southern Africa, and the second the laying of a brand new astro pitch to develop Wits’ youth programme in Johannesburg’s inner-city area of Hillbrow.“The Wits World Coaches Academy will see 1 000 coaches in the southern African region trained as life-skills mentors and coaches,” says Yunus Ballim, the Wits vice-chancellor in charge of academic affairs.“The academy is a well-established programme in Holland and it seeks to improve the relationship between football and social development. The World Coaches programme launching at Wits has a new dimension and that is the life-skills element.”The university has a proud tradition of football, and is home to the “Clever Boys”, the Bidvest Wits FC Premier Soccer League team.Wits academics Ruksana Osman, Norman Duncan, Eric Worby and Demitri Constantinou have partnered with colleagues from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands to develop a curriculum for the life-skills component of the initiative.Ballim will meet with the deputy vice-chancellors from the Universities of Zambia and Mozambique this week to get their institutions involved in the project.“Our intention is to focus on soccer as social development rather than develop players who will play for premier leagues around the world,” Ballim says. “And that is why we are going to try and focus on teachers in rural and township schools who will become the coaches trained by the World Coaches programme.”The primary aim is to see teachers going back to their schools to develop the lifeskills of their students. The skills taught will include how to deal with crime, poverty and social power relations, and how to take advantage of opportunities for learning.“If we can reach 1 000 coaches in four years, I think we can make an enormous contribution,” Ballim says. Wits will be the academic coordinator and base for the training programme. There will, however, be delivery sites that will reach out to the 1 000 people throughout the southern African region.KNVB have proposed to lay an astro pitch at Sturrock park stadium where the coaches from Wits will be trained and will also improve facilities where the lifeskills lectures will take place.“Sturrock Park will become a soccer-knowledge precinct. In other words, it will be about the knowledge about soccer and also knowledge about the role of soccer in community development,” says Ballim.The programme will also be used as a research, learning and teaching structure, and Ballim encourages Wits students to take part in the initiative.last_img read more

16 Dec

A Custom Builder’s First EarthCraft House

first_imgRELATED CONTENTGBA Encyclopedia: EarthCraft HouseAdvanced Framing Sealed crawl spacesNews:A Green Evolution in Western VirginiaBlog:Green Building Program RoadkillQ&A:A question concerning termite treatments What is a safe termite spray?Sometimes it’s too late to change the specsWe met with our third-party verifier — a great guy who really knew his stuff. While reviewing the Earthcraft checklist, we learned what he would be looking for and how to document what we were doing.Since we had been building custom homes for a number of years, we were already building a pretty good house — for example, we were paying close attention to flashing details. Once again, we were pretty surprised that we had enough points to qualify for a Tier I Earthcraft House without changing our specifications very much beyond the components we had already decided to include: the spray foam, conditioned attic, and sealed crawl space.We were even thinking, “We’re not really learning anything new or improving anything if we don’t end up changing the way we are doing things.” We wanted to try to get to Tier II or III and incorporate some new things in the mix. But by then, construction had already started, and we had used a traditional termite spray on the foundation. Under the Earthcraft program, you can’t achieve Tier II or III certification unless you use an alternative method for controlling termites — so were stuck at a Tier I.Lesson learned: you can’t make it up as you go along! One of the most important aspects of green building is thinking and planning ahead.Tentative steps toward advanced framingI think the biggest thing that we had to change was our framing techniques. Before we started down the green path, we took a great deal of pride in the fact that our homes were overengineered — so incorporating advanced framing techniques was hard for us to handle. Since we had to include three advanced framing techniques to get our certification points, we chose items that didn’t make us uncomfortable. We decided to use ladder “T wall” intersections, two-stud corners, and insulated headers.All of these techniques made sense to us — after all, removing lumber and adding insulation is a good thing. On a large custom home, we did not feel quite as comfortable with single top plates or 24-inch-on-center framing, so we chose not to cross that bridge quite yet.Our first steps towards advanced framing techniques represented a very small bump on our otherwise smooth journey to green.Inviting the public to watchWe intended to use our first EarthCraft house as a tool to educate people about green building. By now we had learned that the green building focuses on the process, the details, and the performance of a home — in other words, things that are hidden behind the walls. We wanted to prove that you could build a traditional-looking house and still build it green.We hosted several groups, walking them through the house during construction. To spread the green news, we also entered the house in the North Carolina Sustainability and Solar Home Tour.A disappointing HERS IndexWe passed all our inspections (including the blower door test and the Duct Blaster test) on the first try. Unfortunately, when our house was only half-built, our third-party rater decided to leave his company. Since his replacement was not nearly as knowledgeable, the verification process wasn’t as smooth as usual during the home stretch.However, these glitches weren’t anything that we couldn’t overcome. It also took a very long time to finally receive our certification — over two months. We never found out whether this was the fault of the verifier or the people at SouthFace who run the Earthcraft program. (I suspect it was our verifier.)Our HERS Index was a 69 — a bit of a disappointment. Since the house incorporated many new expensive techniques, including spray-foam insulation, we were hoping to do a little better than that. The HERS Index of our first certified green home was only slightly better than that of our first Energy Star home.Looking back, instead of installing expensive spray foam in 2×4 walls, we probably should have put the money towards 2×6 exterior walls, increasing the overall R-value of the assembly.Besides the high cost, another drawback of spray foam is the amount of extra foam that is shaved off the wall and ends up in the Dumpster. The scraps end up in a landfill where they remain forever. We were trying to reduce waste and recycle our trash to divert it from the landfill, but we ended up using a product that is inherently wasteful.The extra costs for the closed crawl space, spray foam insulation, certification, and other details added up to about $20,000 more than we typically would have spent.Unfortunately, when it came time to sell the home, nobody seemed all that impressed with our green building certification. That made it hard to charge extra for.We still learned a lot during the process, and overall was a positive experience. But we need to educate the masses.Danny Kelly is a co-owner of Kelly McArdle Construction in Charlotte, North Carolina. Having completed an Energy Star house, we wanted to take the next step in our “walk, jog, run” model. We were ready to jog – we decided to enroll a house in one of the many programs that certifies green homes.By this time, our knowledge had grown, and we felt like we were up to speed on all the new products and techniques of green building. The NAHB had formalized its Green Building Guidelines; we had read them and attended a brief seminar.Trying to decide which program to follow was a tough decision. We thought the LEED for Homes program had the best name recognition, but we were put off by the fact that the program required any fireplace to be equipped with glass doors. We knew none of our customers would want this, and we didn’t want to risk doing something in a spec home that could turn someone off.We decided to build a house that would meet the Earthcraft House certification. We wanted to go the extra mile with this house: we wanted spray foam insulation, a conditioned attic, and closed crawlspace. We were thinking green in a big way! Part 1: The Journey BeginsPart 2: Energy StarPart 3: EarthCraft Part 4: LEED and NGBSPart 5: Comparing the Systemscenter_img OTHERS IN THIS SERIESlast_img read more

16 Dec

Democrats Seek Extension of Tax Breaks for Renewables

first_imgFederal tax credits for wind and solar systems are to be phased out beginning next year as part of a 2015 deal that ended a ban on crude oil exports. Now, a group of Democrats in Congress would like rework the plan and keep the subsidies in place, Bloomberg reports. The 2015 agreement was a boon for renewables. A production tax credit for the wind industry, which had expired, was reinstated with a five-year phase-out to end next year. A 30% investment tax credit for photovoltaic systems also was given an extension, with a gradual reduction to begin in 2020 and go to zero in 2022. But changes in the political landscape have prompted more than 100 Democrats to sign on to a letter urging that the tax benefits be given more time.RELATED ARTICLESAfter a Long Boom, an Uncertain Future for Big Dam ProjectsA Fight Ahead For Solar Equipment Tax CreditsBill Proposes New Incentives for Electric VehiclesDitch the Tax Credits for RenewablesEnergy Tax Credits and the Fiscal Cliff The April letter, addressed to the Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, said that investments in clean energy would help the country address threats posed by climate change. It criticizes parts of the tax code that provide billions of dollars in subsidies, “many with no discernible rationale,” while leaving renewable energy companies high and dry. Among the requests: Continued incentives for wind and solar energy as a way of helping the country transition to 100% clean energy. Clarify the tax code for energy storage technologies, which lawmakers said is key to modernizing the grid. Encourage the spread of electric vehicles and vehicles that run on alternate fuels by revising a cap on subsidies for manufacturers that currently kicks in when sales top 200,000 vehicles. Support the use of biomass and wood pellets for home heating. Support policies that would continue development of the next generation of biofuels. “We are cognizant that Congress last extended many of these clean-energy tax credits with the understanding that they would eventually be phased out,” the letter reads. “However, for many of us who served in 2015 when that bipartisan agreement was reached, the facts on the ground have now changed demonstrably.” The extensions were supposed to serve as a bridge to the implementation of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, but the Trump administration has “fundamentally altered the framework by which the 2015 agreement was reached,” it says. Reaction was mixed. Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat, said he favored an extension of the incentives. Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, does not. He said that he assured opponents of the wind tax credit in 2015 that he wouldn’t be back for another extension if they went along with it then.last_img read more

3 Dec

180 relief camps in flood-hit Tripura

first_imgTripura government has set up 180 relief camps to accommodate thousands of flood-affected people in the state. Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Wednesday made an aerial survey in north Tripura to take stock of the situation.Mr. Deb also visited Kailashahar in Unakoti district, the worst hit in the current floods. Numerous areas in Khowai, Dhalai and South Tripura districts were also submerged, rendering people homeless.Three people died and several injured over the past two days owing to incessant rains and landslides. The Chief Minister announced ex-gratia payment for the kin of the deceased.Officials said 6,054 families from submerged areas of the state were housed in the camps. “The state government has opened 180 relief camps in seven districts of Unakoti, North Tripura, Dhalai, Khowai, West Tripura, Gomati and South Tripura,” Sanjay Kumar Mishra, Officer on Special Duty to the Chief Minister, told The Hindu.last_img read more

29 Nov

Muguruza beats Garcia again to advance to Dubai semifinals

first_imgBrace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC AFP official booed out of forum Muguruza next plays Russian Daria Kasatkina, who defeated compatriot Elena Vesnina 7-6 (5), 6-1.Top-seeded Elina Svitolina moved to within two matches of retaining her title with a 6-2, 6-4 win over wildcard Naomi Osaka of Japan.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutWaiting for Svitolina in the semifinals is the resurgent Angelique Kerber. The sixth-seeded German defeated third-seeded Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-3 in a 74-minute encounter.Third-ranked Muguruza had finished her round of 16 match at 1:50 a.m. local time but, if she was tired, she did not show any effects. Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving The first set was evenly contested, with games going with serve. Muguruza then applied immense pressure and had three break points in the ninth game. That lasted just shy of 10 minutes before Garcia held on but she was broken in the 11th game.Garcia was making more mistakes because of her aggressive mindset and her tendency to go for the lines. Muguruza was solid throughout, and broke her opponent twice early in the second to go 4-1 up.“I felt much better in this match than the one we played in Doha. It’s always difficult because we played almost in the same week twice,” Muguruza said. “But when you play a top-10 player, and you beat her second time in a row, it gives me a good sign that what I’m doing is right.“I was a little bit upset because it was very late (last night). I ended up sleeping at 4 a.m. But there’s nothing I can do, I have to accept it.”Kerber secured her 15th win of the season and reached her third semifinal in four tournaments. She broke early in both sets and lost just eight points on her first serve.ADVERTISEMENT Kings take shot at bringing NBA All-Star game to Sacramento Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games PLAY LIST 00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Garbine Muguruza of Spain returns the ball to Caroline Garcia of France returns the ball to during a quarter final match of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Second-seeded Garbine Muguruza overcame Caroline Garcia 7-5, 6-2 Thursday to seal her place in the semifinals of the Dubai Championships.Muguruza defeated the fifth-seeded Frenchwoman in their second quarterfinal in two weeks, with the Spaniard also winning after being a set down in Doha. On Thursday, she needed just two sets but they stretched over 108 minutes.ADVERTISEMENT Winner of two Grand Slams in 2016, Kerber did not win a single title in 2017 and dropped to No. 21 in the rankings.“I don’t know exactly what happened last year,” said Kerber. “I was still trying my best.” Read Next Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosa Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatus LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexico MOST READ John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH View commentslast_img read more