By Steve CraigPortland Press HeraldAUGUSTA — The number of Maine high schools playing eight-man football is likely to more than double this fall, continuing the transition from the traditional 11-man game at many of the state’s smaller schools.Eight-man football, which debuted in Maine last fall with 10 teams, could expand to 21- 24 teams next season. Eleven schools have indicated to the Maine Principals’ Association they are seriously considering making the switch from the 11-man version of the sport, with three other schools viewed as potential candidates. If 24 teams were playing eight-man football, that would represent nearly one-third of all Maine high school football programs.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textEleven schools have indicated to the Maine Principals’ Association they are seriously considering making the switch from the 11-man version of the sport, with three other schools viewed as potential candidates. If 24 teams were to play eight-man football, that would represent nearly one-third of all Maine high school football programs.The overriding factor for schools switching to the eight-man game, which reduces three starters on both offense and defense, is that they can’t attract enough players to play the 11-man version safely and competitively.The growth of eight-man football has been so rapid that the MPA Football Committee voted unanimously Monday to recommend making it a two-class sport with separate championships for large-school and small-school teams.The committee set a Feb. 28 deadline for schools to declare their intentions on playing eight- or 11-man football. That will allow time to prepare a 2020 set up for review at the March 9 meeting of the MPA Classification Committee.The number of boys playing high school football in Maine declined by 8 percent from 2014 to 2018, in part because of declining high school enrollments and growing concern over the risk of head injuries. Some 11-man football teams in recent years had rosters that dipped below 20 players, forcing school administrators to cancel varsity seasons out of concern for player safety.Four of those schools — Sacopee Valley, Traip Academy, Boothbay and Telstar — opted for eight-man football last fall. There were no forfeits among the eight-man teams in 2019, and several programs reported increased participation. Many of the eight-man schools were able to play sub-varsity games for the first time in years.Eight-man football is played without two interior linemen and one back found in the 11-man version of the game. The field is 40 yards wide instead of 53 1/3 yards, though the length remains 100 yards. Having fewer players on the field benefits teams with smaller rosters sizes, particularly when it comes to conducting meaningful practices.Mount Desert Island head coach Mark Arnold gives his team a pep talk during the second half of a high school football game against Old Town on Sept. 20 at Old Town High School. MDI announced last month that it will be joining the eight-man ranks in 2020. FILE PHOTOMike Burnham, the MPA’s executive director for interscholastic activities, said all 10 of the original eight-man schools will be back this fall. Three schools have fully committed to switch to eight-man football: MDI, Morse and Spruce Mountain, Burnham said. In addition, Camden Hills Athletic Director Jeff Hart has said publicly that Camden will play eight-man.“We’re making this decision because it gives our program the best chance to succeed at this time,” Hart told the Village Soup. “Factoring into that is the fact that all the schools that I talked to that went to it this past year were really happy with their decision.”Waterville and Mount View were scheduled to seek school board approval on Monday. Washington Academy administrators will recommend switching to eight-man to their school board on Thursday. Mountain Valley was set to begin the process with an informational meeting on Tuesday.Houlton and Stearns, two teams from Class D North, also are expected to make the switch to eight-man, but have not officially committed, Burnham said. Nokomis, Lake Region and Orono are three more programs that have been pegged as eight-man candidates.“Last year, a similar amount of teams showed interest and then backed away for public-relation reasons or just wanted to see how it played out,” said Dean Plante, the football coach and athletic director at Old Orchard Beach, which advanced to the inaugural eight-man championship game in November. “Positive growth from a good product and allowing schools of equal size to compete for some state championships.”Most of the teams that are considering the switch to the eight-man game are from rural areas in central and northern Maine, where many schools have smaller enrollments. If all 14 of the prospective programs make the switch to eight-man, the two-class system would have 13 large-school teams and 11 in the small-school division.The large-school teams would consist of Mount Ararat (709 students), Camden Hills (693), Gray-New Gloucester (596), Nokomis (583), Morse (583), Lake Region (535), MDI (531), Waterville (516), Yarmouth (509), Ellsworth/Sumner (483), Washington Academy (404), Spruce Mountain (402) and Mountain Valley (375).The small-school division, for schools with fewer than 375 students, would consist of Mount View (374), Maranacook (361), Orono (338), Houlton (336), Sacopee Valley (310), Traip (255), Old Orchard Beach (243), Dirigo (219), Telstar (199), Boothbay (192) and Stearns (168).The MPA Football Committee also recommended that the 11-man Class D, for schools with 419 or fewer students, should be a statewide class in 2020, with eight teams (nine if Orono opts to return to 11-man varsity status).“We need to protect Class D, especially for 2020, to make sure those small 11-man schools are protected,” said Joel Stoneton, athletic director at Winthrop and a committee member.There is no intention to reclassify across the state. No schools from Class A or Class B have indicated a desire to switch to eight-man. The committee also concluded that the current Class C would be able to achieve workable schedules even if Nokomis and Lake Region are added to the expected losses of MDI and Waterville in the North and Morse in the South.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest We were very fortunate this past week. We finally received a measurable amount of rain. We had good coverage over all of our farms and it is really going to make a difference. Prior to that the crop was reaching a critical stage of plant development when it was dry. Now with the rain, I believe the crop can get back on track. Rainfall amounts on our farms ranged from an inch to 1.4 inches so it was a good general rain last week. We missed several rains prior to that and it was getting bad.As far as plant stress we really didn’t see the corn rolling, but the plants were just shutting down and they virtually stopped growing. There was no vegetative growth taking place above the ground and the roots were just trying to sustain the plant to keep it alive.Clearly there was a benefit to replanting the affected corn acres when we did. We did not have a good stand established before that. Even though the corn is behind in growth, the uniformity of the stand should ultimately perform better than the thin stand we would have if we had not replanted.This last week we finished applying anhydrous. We ran some prescriptions of variable rate anhydrous. We used DuPont Encirca services for that decision.The management zones that were developed were a combination of past yield history and soil types along with soil tests prior to planting to establish nitrate levels in the soil. The prescriptions that were developed had a wide range of applications. We defined high and low rates of nitrogen for the prescriptions. We will track these fields through harvest to see if we have a favorable response to the treatment.We also applied FeXapan to our Roundup Ready2 Xtend soybeans last week. This is new technology for us on our farm. We are excited about the possibilities this technology brings for additional options in controlling difficult broadleaf weeds. By following the label, we have no concerns at this time about spray drift or volatilization of the dicamba. We’ll be watching and monitoring this very closely in the coming weeks.I’m always interested in trying new technologies on our farm. It’s one way to stay one step ahead in the game of farming. Ultimately we’re looking for a competitive advantage from bottom line performance.
Prem trio join race for Barcelona midfielder Denis Suarezby Ansser Sadiq10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveDenis Suarez is not short on suitors.The Barcelona midfielder, who is unhappy at what little playing time he has received, is being linked with a loan move in the transfer window.And Sport claims that three English clubs have an interest.West Ham, Everton and Watford are the teams mentioned.An earlier report in the BBC had suggested that Arsenal may also look at Suarez as a short term option, should they lose Aaron Ramsey this month.Sport also suggests Barca would prefer a permanent transfer with a fee higher than €10 million. TagsTransfersAbout the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your say
The maritime grant-making and campaigning charity Seafarers UK has published a new infographic that shows the UK’s reliance on seafarers.According to the information provided, 120,000 people from the UK work at sea, 95% of UK imports and exports are carried by ship, and many seafarers work at sea for more than nine months every year.Seafarers UK’s data also shows that the UK’s most valuable food export is chocolate, while the country imports 465,000 tonnes of potatoes every year.Take a look at the infographic below for more interesting details:CLICK TO ENLARGE
Legendary folk singer Joan Baez and world-renowned artist Ai Weiwei – both committed activists – will be the joint recipients of Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2015.Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award is the organization’s top honour, recognizing those who have shown exceptional leadership in the fight for human rights, through their life and work.The Award will be presented at a ceremony in Berlin on 21 May 2015, with speakers including singer-songwriter Patti Smith.“The Ambassador of Conscience Award is a celebration of those unique individuals who have used their talents to inspire many, many others to take injustice personally. That is why both Joan Baez and Ai Weiwei make such worthy recipients; they are an inspiration to thousands more human rights activists, from across Asia to America and beyond,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.Today is the 50th anniversary of Joan Baez’s performance to the Selma to Montgomery civil rights march in Alabama. She performed at the “Stars for Freedom” rally alongside fellow artists including Harry Belafonte (who was awarded the Ambassador of Conscience Award in 2013), Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Paul & Mary and Nina Simone.Joan Baez has dedicated most of her life to non-violence, and civil and human rights activism. She has participated in marches for civil rights alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; advocated against the death penalty; campaigned for peace and against human rights abuses in Vietnam; defended the rights of California’s migrant farm workers; attended anti-torture rallies; and supported gay and lesbian rights campaigns.She helped establish local Amnesty International groups in the San Francisco Bay area in the early ‘70s, and went on to perform in support of the organization during the groundbreaking “Conspiracy of Hope” music tour on Amnesty International’s 25th anniversary in 1986.“With her mesmerizing voice and unwavering commitment to peaceful protest and human rights for all, Joan Baez has been a formidable force for good over more than five decades,” said Salil Shetty.On learning of the announcement, Joan Baez said: “Amnesty International attracted me because of its founding principle that all human rights abuses and the suffering they create are unacceptable. The process of eliminating those abuses, even one step at a time, has created a compassionate, non-partisan, powerfully effective movement. I’m lucky to be part of it and proud to be honored with this Award.”Ai Weiwei is a world-renowned artist and frequent critic of the Chinese government’s policies. His acclaimed work often explores the limits placed on the right of people in China to express themselves, as well as his personal experience of incarceration. His activities and work frequently deal with sensitive issues that the Chinese government would prefer were not raised.In 2010, Ai Weiwei was briefly detained and severely beaten by security officials just before he was due to testify for the defence during the trial of Tan Zuoren, an environmental activist who, along with Ai Weiwei, had documented the names of thousands of children who died during the May 2008 Sichuan earthquake.After persistent harassment from the authorities, Ai Weiwei was detained in 2011 for 81 days without charge. A company he founded was later convicted of tax evasion by the Chinese authorities. Ai Weiwei remains under surveillance and is unable to leave the country.His recent work includes an exhibit at Alcatraz, California, highlighting the plight of modern day political prisoners.“Through his work Ai Weiwei reminds us that the right of every individual to express their self must be protected—not just for the sake of society, but also for art and humanity,” said Salil Shetty.On learning of the announcement, Ai Weiwei said: “I am very privileged to receive this special honour, and shall not fail the encouragement and profound expectation of me with this Award.”
OTTAWA – Even with reassuring trade news out of the United States, a senior Bank of Canada official warned Thursday of serious consequences related to steel and aluminum tariffs as he sent signals the bank’s in no rush to raise interest rates.Deputy governor Timothy Lane said in a speech that the central bank is closely watching the uncertainty surrounding global trade tensions, competitiveness issues and the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement.But even as he underlined the many significant economic unknowns, Lane also delivered an upbeat message about the health of the Canadian economy and its positive outlook, in general.Lane’s appearance at the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade came shortly after Canada learned it was getting relief from U.S. penalties on steel and aluminum for an undetermined period. Canada is one of only two countries getting a provisional exemption from heavy tariffs that are aimed at the rest of the world.The prospect of tariffs, and the possibility they could cause a global trade war, have added to an already murky context for Canada that includes worries over NAFTA’s renegotiation and fears over competitiveness, following corporate tax cuts in the U.S.“Recent developments with respect to steel and aluminum, despite the encouraging news … alongside heightened protectionist rhetoric, can potentially carry quite serious economic consequences,” Lane said in his address, which kicked off a new initiative by the bank to schedule speeches following rate decisions that are not accompanied by news conferences.Lane elaborated on his comments about the steel and aluminum tariffs during a news conference that followed his address.“It’s still a pretty fluid situation and I would say we’re not in a situation of calling all clear. I would say there’s still a significant degree of uncertainty around the future trade regime,” he said.But Lane noted that the presence of considerable trade uncertainty didn’t prevent the bank from raising the rate in January.His remarks came a day after the central bank maintained its interest rate at 1.25 per cent as it cited trade policy developments as important, growing sources of uncertainty for the global and Canadian economies.He said the central bank is dealing with a situation where it doesn’t know when the NAFTA talks or other trade disputes will be concluded, nor does it know how governments or industries will react.“The range of possibilities is quite wide and that means that trying to quantify any scenario in advance would not be useful for monetary policy purposes,” Lane said.The speech also pointed to the positives for an economy that just delivered impressive growth in 2017 and, while it’s expected to moderate in 2018, it is still projected to continue expanding above its potential.“While the future is subject to notable uncertainties … trends over the past few quarters have been quite encouraging,” Lane said.“The trends have been broad-based across regions and sectors.”Lane also used the speech to applaud the bank’s gradual approach to raising rates, a process that has seen three hikes since last summer.The go-slow strategy, he said, has enabled the bank to carefully analyze data and avoid undermining growth by moving too quickly.TD senior economist Brian DePratto wrote in a note Thursday that while Lane’s speech offered a lot more nuance beyond the bank’s statement Wednesday, “the key message seemed to be the same: a ‘wait and see’ approach remains the best option given the plethora of factors obscuring the underlying economic picture at present.”That said, DePratto added the Bank of Canada isn’t going to stay on hold until it has clarity on all elements. “We continue to expect another hike around mid-year,” he said.Following Wednesday’s policy decision, experts pointed to several other arguments the bank raised to support its patient approach on interest rates. Among the examples, the bank pointed to weaker-than-expected growth in the fourth quarter and the need for more time to assess the economic impacts of new housing-market policies, including recent changes to mortgage rules.Many experts now predict Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz will wait until the second half of the year before raising the rate again, while some say the next hike might not come until 2019.Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitter
CALGARY, A.B. – Crude oil prices in Western Canada remain elevated as Alberta’s government-mandated oil production curtailments come into force.Calgary oil brokerage Net Energy says the difference between Western Canadian Select bitumen-blend heavy oil and New York-traded West Texas Intermediate oil prices was about US$12.50 per barrel on Wednesday afternoon, an improvement over the US$17.52 per barrel average for spot contracts signed last month for January delivery.The WCS-WTI discount peaked at more than US$52 a barrel in October but recovered to traditional norms or better after Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced Dec. 2 that the province would impose curtailments of 325,000 barrels per day as of Jan. 1 on larger producers to relieve a glut of oil in Western Canada and free up export pipeline space. Tom McMillan, a spokesman for oilsands producer Pengrowth Energy Corp., says his company is complying with curtailments it was asked to make after using unspecified “options” provided by the government to reduce the impact.He says better prices are helping Pengrowth and the province has been “responsive” in addressing his firm’s concerns but he still hopes the cutbacks end as soon as possible.CEO Andrew Phillips of PrairieSky Royalty Ltd. says the recovery in price has had a “huge impact” on his firm’s bottom line and negative impacts have been negligible.He says the company, which holds petroleum mineral rights on millions of hectares in the four western provinces and earns a percentage of production from any wells drilled there, has seen its realized price for heavy and light oil increase dramatically.
When it comes to luring a tournament to town, it helps when the mayor is a big tennis fan.At least it helped the new partners in Atlantic Station decide that tennis in the city was something they should take seriously.The result is the BB&T Atlanta Open, which runs from July 14 to July 22 on six courts in the former steel mill, now a mixed-use property just off 17th Street in Midtown.The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tournament is sanctioned by the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) Southern region and features many of the world’s top players.It is the third year the professional tennis event has taken place in the Atlanta region, but the first time it has been situated downtown.“I don’t know if I’ve ever been on the court and looked up and saw the city skyline,” said player Tim Smyczek, who played in the tournament when it was held north of downtown in a more rural setting.“When I heard they were going to do this in this area, I thought this is going to be interesting, being right in the middle of the city,” Smyczek said.“Part of what makes this unique is that it’s an outdoor event in the middle of the city,” said tournament director Bob Bryant. “Typically the only real estate available for tennis is going to be in an arena somewhere downtown.”Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle, CBS Atlanta
OSU women’s ice hockey coaches including head coach Jenny Potter (third from right), pose for a picture. Credit: Courtesy of OSU AthleticsWhen the Ohio State women’s ice hockey team dropped the puck to open its season on Friday, it did so with several new faces but perhaps none more significant than its four-time Olympian head coach.Jenny Potter was named the third head coach in program history less than one month after the resignation of Nate Handrahan, who coached the team for four seasons before stepping down on March 11.“Obviously, you think about the long history of athletic tradition, and I am excited to be a part of trying to win here,” Potter said.Potter, 36, played collegiate hockey at Minnesota-Duluth and was most recently the head coach at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, for two seasons. While there, the Bantams won the 2015 New England Small College Athletic Conference championship, their first in program history. Now she is at a much larger university, albeit with a less storied hockey program, in OSU.However, Potter is looking forward to instilling her brand of hockey right away in the team’s 16th season.“I know there are expectations, and I’m not sure that we’re going to be the most talented team. But we will be the hardest-working team on the ice, and I’m expecting us to compete every whistle,” Potter said.Potter is one of the most decorated coaches to ever be hired by OSU, winning six gold medals in international competition and leading the United States in scoring at the 1999 International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship. However, she said coaching after retiring from play does not bother her.“I always knew I was going to stay in hockey and coach in hockey when I was playing,” Potter said. “I’ve spent my whole life in it.”The stability that comes with a hockey life is important for a team that experienced turnover in more areas than just its coaching staff. In addition to Handrahan’s resignation, the team graduated all three of its captains last spring and welcomed five freshmen to the 2015-16 squad.“We’re looking for some of these young women to step up, but I know that they can, and I think we can expect to see that right away,” Potter said.Perhaps the program already has. In the first weekend with Potter at the helm, the team won its first two games against Lindenwood, scoring a combined eight goals, including five in the first game and two from senior forward Kendall Curtis. Last season, the team scored more than four goals in just three games.Potter said she hopes the team’s play so far this year is out of respect for the coaching staff, not out of reverence. “I hope I can teach these young women,” Potter said. “I think we’re all interested in just building a winning tradition here.”The building will continue this weekend when the Scarlet and Gray travels to Madison, Wisconsin, to face the Badgers in its Western Collegiate Hockey Association opener. Puck drop is set for 3:07 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
The Ohio State men’s hockey team gathers prior to the start of the game against Wisconsin on Feb. 23 in the Schottenstein Centern. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for DesignOhio State is ranked No. 1 in the 2018-19 Big Ten hockey preseason coaches’ poll, which was announced Monday as part of the Big Ten Hockey Preseason Honors.Joining the Buckeyes in the poll were fellow 2018 Frozen Four participants Michigan and Notre Dame, who ranked second and third respectively. Minnesota, Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan State rounded out the rest of the conference rankings.Additionally, Ohio State is ranked third in the nation in the USCHO Preseason Men’s poll, which was also released Monday. The Buckeyes are behind No. 2 Notre Dame and the defending national champions, Minnesota Duluth, who came in at No. 1 with 44 first-place votes.Ohio State, Notre Dame and Michigan, who is ranked No. 4, each received two first place votes.Senior forwards Mason Jobst and Dakota Joshua, as well as junior forward Tanner Laczynski, were all listed on the 2018-2019 Big Ten Preseason Watch List. Ohio State had three selections out of the 15 players named, tied with Michigan and Michigan State for the most in the conference.This is Jobst’s third appearance on the Big Ten Preseason Watch List. Last season he was given 2018 Second Team All-Big Ten honors and enters this season as the NCAA’s active leading scorer with 128 points.This is the first appearance for both Laczynski and Joshua on the list. Laczynski scored a career high 47 points last season and earned 2018 First Team All-Big Ten and 2018 Second Team All-American honors. Joshua was named to the 2018 NCAA Midwest Regional All-Tournament Team and has a point in 12 out of his last 19 games.The Buckeyes kick their season off with a series at Arizona State on Oct. 12-13th.