You’re probably familiar with North Carolina’s national forests, state parks, and national parks, but what about the privately-owned conserved lands that are open to the public? The Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy has introduced a hiking challenge to introduce the public to their impressive portfolio of protected lands. Complete eight hikes on lands like Bearwallow Mountain, a bald overlooking Hickory Nut Gorge, and the Foothills Spur Trail in the East Fork Headwaters preserve, and you’ll get a patch and free hiking gear. While most of the properties on the CMLC hiking challenge list are still privately owned, Dupont State Forest is also on the docket. Dupont is now North Carolina’s first state recreational forest, and CMLC was instrumental in bringing the 10,000 acre park into public ownership.See more details about the challenge and the individual hikes here.
Athletes and sports federations look at the postponement of the 2020 Olympics as a blessing in disguise despite having to wrap their heads around revised training programs and budgets, as it gives them another year to hone their skills and prepare for competition on the biggest stage.Veteran weightlifter Eko Yuli Irawan was not discouraged when he heard that the Tokyo Games were postponed to sometime next year, no later than summer 2021. He is still hopeful to come out on top at the sporting event to bring home Olympic gold.“One thing is certain; the preparation time will be much longer,” Eko told The Jakarta Post on Thursday. “It also does not affect me mentally; I will keep adhering to the [training] program.” Having participated in three Olympic games since 2008, the Indonesian has collected one silver and two bronze medals. Silver, which he won in the men’s 61-kilogram category at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, is his highest achievement so far.At the age of 30, which by occupational standards can no longer be considered young, Eko and the Indonesian Weightlifting, Powerlifting and Bodybuilders Association (PABBSI) will now have to design a training program that is suitable for maintaining him at his prime as they push ahead with the year-long preparation for 2021.Indonesia weightlifting team manager Alamsyah Wijaya said the postponement had forced him to review all training programs, but he insisted the association would continue to train athletes who had been preparing for the Tokyo Games.“We will ask the Youth and Sports Ministry not to stop the training program. [With this delay] we will be entering the halfway period of our preparations at the end of this year,” Alamsyah said on Friday. “Like it or not, […] we are entering the performance maintenance period again.” The PABBSI has secured two spots for the Tokyo weightlifting event, one for Eko and the other for youngster Windy Cantika Aisah, who competes in the women’s 49-kg category.The association has received Rp 10 billion (US$616,142) from the ministry for its 2020 training programs, which include preparations for the Olympics. But now that the Summer Games have been moved back to 2021, Alamsyah said the PABBSI would talk to the ministry about shifting some of the funds previously allocated for tryouts and overseas training camps toward keeping the Olympics training program afloat for the remainder of the year.So far, plans to participate in a tryout in Romania and a tournament in Kazakhstan have been scrapped because the events were canceled, while training camps also had to be postponed in light of Japan’s decision to push back the Games over fears of exposing people to a risk of COVID-19 contagion.Based on the team manager’s calculations, the 2020 funds should be enough to cover training until the end of the year, including wages for the athletes and coaches.“Our program mustn’t stop. If it is stopped right now because the government doesn’t have enough funds, for instance, we’ll lose three months’ worth of preparations,” he said, adding that an official letter would be sent to the sports ministry soon to find the best solution.“When we summon athletes back to the training camp, they can’t immediately get back to their usual level of performance. If the government’s budget is limited, we’ll adjust our program – so long as we can continue with training.”Similarly, the Indonesian Shooting Association (Perbakin) said it would also coordinate with the government to ensure it can continue preparations for the deferred Summer Games.The association has had to nix several plans for oversea tryouts, including the Shooting World Cup in India, tournaments in Germany and Azerbaijan and the Olympics test event in Tokyo.“Because there have been a number of canceled events, some of the allocated funds can no longer be accounted for,” Perbakin secretary-general Firtian Judiswandarta said on Friday.“We’ll consult with the Youth and Sports Ministry on how to shift those funds into our training program,” Firtian told the Post. Perbakin received Rp 7.9 billion for its 2020 training fund.On the bright side, the delay also gives the association time to book more places for Tokyo.The Indonesian shooting squad had booked one spot in the Tokyo Games through Vidya Rafika Rahmatan Toyyiba. The 18-year-old secured her spot after finishing 14th overall in the women’s 10-meter air rifle qualifier during the 2019 Asian Shooting Championship in Qatar.Now it could also prepare Vidya for a place in the women’s 50-m rifle three-positions category, and another spot in the 10-m air rifle mixed team category, with fellow shooter Fatur Gustafian, Firtian said.Topics :
Syracuse club men’s ice hockey coach Nicholas Pierandri learned to grind out every single minute during his playing days at Boston College.Then again, he didn’t really have a choice.Surrounded by future NHL players like Brian Gionta, Marty Reasoner and Brooks Orpik, the Connecticut native had to fight for ice time. Whether that meant simply killing penalties or playing through his junior season with a broken wrist, he did whatever it took.Respect was earned, not given, and he wasn’t afraid to throw his weight around in order to abide by that principle.“I knocked out Orpik in practice. They had to bring the smelling salts out,” Pierandri said with a chuckle. “He was a freshman, and I was a senior. He tried to step up on me.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textPlaying for Eagles head coach Jerry York, now the winningest coach in NCAA history, he learned how to play like a champion on and off the ice.“Life lessons,” Pierandri said when asked what he learned from York. “How to handle situations, how to be cool under pressure, how to rise to the occasion when you get to the big games, and how to perform at your peak level.”Now, Pierandri brings those lessons to the bench as the new head coach for the Syracuse club men’s ice hockey team.“He is incredibly passionate about hockey and has brought the energy to a whole other level,” team captain Russell Suskind said. “All around, we look really, really solid.”However, Pierandri’s ultimate task is building the squad into a nationally-recognized program. One of his goals is to produce the first NHL player from SU.“I want to bring tradition to the club,” Pierandri said. “I want them to build their own tradition. There’s no question in my mind that Syracuse can be like a Boston College in hockey.”After playing travel hockey as a kid, Pierandri developed into a promising athlete in high school. Playing for the Salisbury School in Connecticut, he was named an All-Prep School first-team selection in hockey during his senior year.At that point, Pierandri thought his only opportunity to play collegiate hockey would be at the Division III level.That all changed during a Christmas tournament.“Marty was on the team that I was playing against, and Jerry happened to be at the game,” Pierandri said. “We were the only team to beat Marty’s team that whole year. I had two goals that game, and we ended up beating them in a total upset.”York saw enough to offer him a spot on the Eagles as a recruited walk-on in 1995. After playing only eight games as a freshman, he was able to work his way into a consistent spot in the lineup the following three seasons.The Eagles reached two Frozen Fours during that time, both of which ended in heartbreak.But rather than mope about those defeats, he continues to use them as motivation.“It does drive me, the fact that I didn’t get to win a national title and other guys did,” he said. “It’s something that’s a burning flame in there.”Although he never played professionally, Pierandri has found a new passion in coaching. Since 2008, he has coached the Perinton Blades travel team and at Pittsford High School in New York.“I like teaching kids the game. I like bringing the experiences I’ve had to them,” he said.In the same way that he has seen his players grow and develop, Pierandri is hoping to see Syracuse rise to prominence. He has already held the team to a high standard during conditioning and tryouts, naming the four practice squads after Ernie Davis, Larry Csonka, Floyd Little and Jim Brown.“I’ve been here three years, and tryouts were the most competitive they’ve ever been,” senior center Aaron Witzel said. “He’s pretty intense, but he knows what he’s doing.”At the same time, Pierandri understands that on-ice results won’t be the most important measure of his success.Much like his former head coach, he hopes to build a group of winners away from the rink.“College hockey is an experience for them that should be enjoyable, but they all need to graduate and go on and start their lives,” Pierandri said. “How you can take the game and translate that into how to live your life, that’s the important thing.” Comments Published on September 16, 2013 at 1:13 am Contact Tyler: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+
When the LAUSD rolled out its Diploma Project in August 2006, the goal was to track about 20,000 at-risk students – even so far as going to their homes to get acquainted with the kids and their parents. This year, district officials said they were able to reduce that to about 17,000 students. Ultimately, district officials hope to reduce the LAUSD’s dropout rate every year, including by 5 percent this year. District dropout rates have been estimated at anywhere from 23 percent to more than 50 percent. Under the program, the LAUSD has 80 Diploma Project advisers at 45 high schools and 34 middle schools to work with teachers and at-risk students to determine how to keep them in school – including through independent study, adult education classes or off-campus learning centers. “The message is come back. Come back to school,” Superintendent David Brewer III said. “Do not stay out there and become a statistic in our society.” At Watts’ Jordan High School, where the district held the press conference Monday morning, there were about 20 students that the dropout counselor was able to bring back to school. Rene Ahal, a diploma project adviser at Reseda High School, said the biggest challenge is that most at-risk students are so far behind in credits by the time they reach high school they feel helpless. But Ahal said most also don’t know about the options available to them – including making up credits at community college or adult school. And Ahal said she also talks to them about how much money they can make and what kinds of jobs they can aspire to with high-school degrees. “We expect to see changes, but the program’s only been in effect for the past year,” Ahal said. “Over time it’s going to make a big difference.” Saul Hernandez, 19, said that although he had trouble with drugs in the ninth and 10th grades, he realized he needed to graduate from high school to have a better future. Now, he said, he hopes to tell his story through the Internet to help others who aren’t sure whether they want to get a high school diploma. “I knew that if I wasn’t going to get a good education, I wasn’t going to make it in life,” said Hernandez, a father-to-be who wants to work at a body shop and will graduate in June. “It could make a change for other students. They can see us as an example to not be a dropout.” [email protected] (818) 713-3722160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! More than a year after rolling out a $10 million effort to keep at-risk students in school and re-enroll those who have left, Los Angeles Unified’s dropout rate has seen little improvement. But the nation’s second-largest school district announced Monday that it will expand its anti-dropout efforts to the Internet and radio airwaves and send even more counselors door-to-door. The new program – “My Future, My Decision” – is a broad effort that includes spots on KPWR-FM (105.9), a text-messaging campaign and interaction through popular social networking Web sites MySpace and Facebook. While district officials said they are still waiting for full-year dropout data to be released, the most recent numbers – which include two months under the anti-dropout campaign – show a dropout rate of 25.5 percent or about 1.4 percentage points higher than the year before. “We’re getting a lot of good information from principals and local district superintendents so I would expect to see the (dropout) numbers come down,” said Debra Duardo, the LAUSD’s director of dropout prevention and recovery. “We don’t have the statistics for this year to report to measure how successful it’s been. … We’ll see in a couple of months … the impact of their work.” Duardo said the dropout rate increased in the most recent measures because it was the first year in which the state’s Exit Exam was a requirement for graduation, so 12th-grade performance brought down the total average. The ninth, 10th and 11th grades all experienced significant improvements in the dropout rate, but 12th-graders had 52 percent more dropouts compared with the year before. District officials on Monday said they did not know how much the new efforts would cost, but said it would come out of the $10 million already allocated to the program.