‘Beautiful building’ recognized

first_imgHarvard University’s newest residential building at 10 Akron St. in Cambridge has won the Harleston Parker Medal for 2011 as “the single most beautiful building or other structure” recently built in metropolitan Boston.The annual honor, bestowed on notable buildings built in the past decade, is co-sponsored by the Boston Society of Architects and the city of Boston. The Harvard building was selected from nearly 100 projects and cited by jurors for its contextual, compelling design, its unexpected public spaces, and its strong sense of balance. According to the jurors, “The building continues to surprise and delight even after repeated viewing.”“We partnered with architect Kyu Sung Woo to create a simple but elegant building suited to its prominent location along the Charles River,” said Lisa Hogarty, vice president of Harvard Campus Services. “Contemporary and highly sustainable, this building also respects the architectural traditions of Harvard and the neighborhood surrounding it. We are honored by this award and delighted to count 10 Akron St. among the most beautiful buildings in Boston.”This is the 14th time that a Harvard building has been awarded the medal.Situated along the Charles River at the corner of Memorial Drive, 10 Akron is a LEED Gold-certified property that contains 151 apartments for Harvard graduate students, faculty, and staff, along with common areas to support the Graduate Commons Program, which fosters intellectual collaboration and social interaction among students from various academic disciplines.From the riverside, the six-story brick block building with glassy bay windows is scaled to Memorial Drive and the waterfront. Along Banks Street, the siding on the low-rise, wood-clad building refers to adjacent three-story, wood-frame houses and complements nearby Peabody Terrace, which was designed by Josep Lluís Sert. The composition of 10 Akron’s two-building elements forms a courtyard that opens toward a new three-quarter-acre public space along the river. The city of Cambridge built the public open space on land that Harvard granted to the city through an easement. Together, the courtyard gesture and the public space establish a contemporary and welcoming gateway. The housing and open space configuration was the result of a comprehensive public process that included many Cambridge officials and neighbors.The Harvard project was designed by Kyu Sung Woo Architects, built by BOND, and project-managed by Jones Lang LaSalle. The project also included the construction of 39 affordable housing units (33 for home ownership and six for rental) for Cambridge residents, as well as underground parking. The project completed a multiyear effort by the University to provide housing for half of its graduate student population and had the ancillary benefit of reducing pressure on the local housing market.Radcliffe’s Alice Longfellow Hall was the first Harvard building to receive the Harleston Parker Medal, in 1934. Other recipients include the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard, the Cambridge Public Library, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, and the John Hancock Tower.last_img read more

On the Water – 2020 Southern Paddling Guide

first_imgBest Stretches: Foley is a big fan of El Horendo, a visibly impressive Class V rapid in the Gorge section. “It cascades into several drops over about 25 feet of verticality,” he said. “You have to make some moves in there. You have to actually maneuver and navigate through the rapid.” Beyond the challenging Class V whitewater, paddlers also experience the beauty of the high alpine forest of the Canaan Valley as the river drops into Blackwater Canyon, showing off the mountain laurel, rhododendron, and tannic water. Art Barket paddles the Blackwater every chance he gets. When it rains, he’s checking the levels, usually between 250-550 cfs, and putting his crew together.  Bald Cypress swamps and island beaches characterize the scenery surrounding South Carolina’s Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie. Bordered by national and state parks and forests, in addition to a few wildlife management areas, and connected by a canal, the lakes are surrounded by bald eagles, white-tailed deer, dense forests, and fields of aquatic flowers.  As summer heats up, there’s no better way to cool down than exploring the waters of the Blue Ridge. With increased access to the outdoors hopefully on the horizon, we’ve rounded up some of the most exciting and unique paddling spots in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. From extreme whitewater rapids to calm and peaceful lakes, we’ve provided plenty of options to inspire your future water adventures.  Paddle the Palisades on the Kentucky River “Counties and cities are not just thinking of the greenways and trails like back in the day,” said Deidre Hewitt, a regional program manager for the National Parks Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program, which is supporting community-led conservation and outdoor recreation projects across the country. “[They’re saying] ‘We have a river. Can we bring people to the river? We have this great marsh system or creeks that have high water. Can we figure out if we can connect those?’” Best Stretches: Although there are a lot of memorable rapids on the Blackwater, Regan particularly enjoys My Nerves Are Shot And I Can’t Take It Anymore, a three-part Class V near the end of the Upper. “It’s where the river changes from a boulder, ledgy riverbed to bedrock,” he said. “It slides, it’s really fast, accelerates, and has a really good kicker launching into the second part of the slide. It’s super dynamic and a super pretty rapid up against the right wall.” Visitors shouldn’t let the idea of paddling with alligators scare them away from this gem. “Alligators are just like every other reptile,” Fonda said. “They don’t want anything to do with people. I’ve been there over 70 times and I’ve only seen an alligator twice. People have this misconception that it’s like south Florida.”  Best Stretches: Stick to the front by the visitor’s center or follow the water trail through the woods. Take advantage of the campsites, including some paddle-in only sites, for an extended trip. Canoe rentals are available on site if you don’t want to haul a boat with you.  Low Country Splendor on Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie  Barket said first timers, even experienced paddlers, should always go with someone who knows the river. “Many of the rapids have different pathways that lead to undercuts and sieves if you go the wrong way,” he said. “You need a good knowledge of the river. There are a lot of dangerous obstacles, but there are also clean lines through all the rapids.” “It’s beginning to become a big trend because not everybody can get to a lake,” Hewitt said. “I think that’s a great idea to show people in urban areas that would not think to go out in the woods to experience that. It’s something fun, quick, and it’s not like you have to be out all day on the water. I think those opportunities have gotten a lot more interest in drawing people to see their resources.” The Youghiogheny River snakes its way through West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, offering variety for paddlers of all levels in each of its sections. “The middle is laid-back, a lot more of a scenic tour out there,” said Andy Hiss, who’s been guiding on the river with Laurel Highlands since 1998. “The Lower Yough is a great step up. You get to start to run a lot of the moves you’re going to make on the Upper. Then the Upper Yough is everything whitewater.” Best Stretches: Paddlers hit the Yough for beloved rapids like National Falls, Dimple Rock, and Entrance Rapid.  Stunning Scenery and Whitewater Variety on Tennessee’s Caney Fork  The calm and shallow waters are perfect for beginner and casual paddlers looking for a new spot to explore. “Most of the places are four feet deep or less, which makes for a great paddling experience because you don’t have to deal with currents and waves,” Deal said.  Whether you’re looking to park and play, run some Class II-IV rapids, or go for a peaceful extended paddle, the Caney Fork River has something for everyone. Mack O’Rear, a self-described 19-year-old in a 72-year-old’s body, didn’t start paddling until he was in his 50s. After getting involved with the Tennessee Valley Canoe Club, he started making trips out to the Caney Fork at Rock Island State Park.  Paddling Trails in the Blue Ridge As the river flows northwest through Tennessee, there is some excellent flatwater paddling behind the Center Hill Dam. Andrea White, the Tennessee State Director for the American Canoe Association, said the Caney Fork is more than a playboater’s paradise. “There’s a new access [point] at Big Bottom [in White County],” she said. “Just some gorgeous paddling back there if you just want a really casual, flatwater paddle that doesn’t really take any kind of experience or skill.” For further exploration of the area, try the watershed’s numerous other waterways, including the Congaree, Santee, and Cooper Rivers and Wadboo, Quinby, and Huger Creeks.  Before you go: Watch the dam release schedule before you visit Rock Island. There’s a significant difference between 3,000 cfs and 12,000 cfs in how much water is processing past a single point. “They’ve had a number of swiftwater rescues there lately because there’s so much water,” White said. “I really encourage people to wear their lifejackets, even if it’s just a casual summer day.” Before You Go: All paddlers must register with the state park in case of emergency. Blackwater Falls is off limits and running the falls will jeopardize access for all paddlers.   Before you go: Check the water levels before paddling the Russell Fork. “With the recent rains we’ve had, it’s running at 4,000 cfs, which is the upper end of what anybody has ever ran it,” said Foley. “It would be difficult to even get to a bank at this flow.” Hiss prefers the Yough to better known whitewater rivers like the Gauley in West Virginia because of the range of options. The lower section offers some good holes and waves to park and play. When water levels get low, it’s a great spot to practice your attaining, a reason it became the site for the annual Upstream World Championships.  Before you go: When planning a long-distance paddling trip, make sure to research weather and water conditions before you go. Plot your camping spots and places you might need to portage.  “Even though the Russell Fork has this reputation where folks should really watch themselves, there’s really more options out there,” he said. “The Russell Fork has different personalities at different levels.” Before you go: “Mind the etiquette out there,” Hiss said. “If you know people are racing down through and you’re taking your time, give them a moment while they pass by. And vice versa. If you’re racing, slow up or run a different line to not mess with the newbie that’s already overwhelmed with all of the different moves they’re expected to learn eventually.” “It’s a totally different environment,” said Kevin Fonda of Adventure Kayak Tours. “Instead of just being on a river traveling down, you kind of just wander around the forest. You can come around the corner and run into an alligator floating or whitetail deer out there in the middle of the millpond. All kinds of turtles, snakes, butterflies. It’s really pretty scenery, especially in the summer when it looks like a jungle or the fall when the leaves change over.”  Rare Landscapes at North Carolina’s Merchants Millpond State Park  Best Stretches: Ed Deal, owner and guide for Blueway Adventures, recommends Sparkleberry Swamp on the western end of Lake Marion. This 16,000-acre flooded forest is full of hidden creeks and wildlife in a remote wilderness. “The population here isn’t what the Charleston population is, so we don’t get the big crowds,” Deal said. “If you want some alone time, this is a good place to come.”  The Yough: ‘A Creek Learner’s Paradise’ Winter and spring are the river’s high-level seasons for more experienced paddlers, but in the summer it caters to a broader range of skill levels, when water levels get significantly lower. The river’s different sections also have their own distinct features. The upper section starts in Virginia as a wild river with a dam on the other end. From there, the river runs through the Russell Fork Gorge and Breaks Canyon with some Class III and V sections. Meatgrinder (Class III+) on the Lower Russell Fork. Photo by Kentucky Whitewater, Kyle Koeberlein – Photo Landmark  Raging Rivers Davis fell in love with the lake all over again when she and her husband picked up paddling. “The beauty of it is you just get in your boat and start paddling,” she said. “It’s very relaxing. For a day trip, you can’t beat it.”center_img When kayakers first started paddling the Blackwater in the mid-80s, John Regan was one of the first down the river. “There were very few people paddling hard whitewater, let alone the Blackwater,” he said. “Back then it was a way different ballgame than it is nowadays. When I was first running the Blackwater, we were paddling boats we made out of fiberglass and composites.” “I was born in Tennessee, traveled through Tennessee, did a lot of outdoor stuff in Tennessee, and I’ve never seen anything quite like Rock Island,” he said. “It’s just phenomenal. It’s this beautiful river gorge, almost like the Grand Canyon through there. There’s this massive, unbelievable waterfall like something you’d see in Costa Rica and Hawaii.” Paddlers explore the Bonneau Beach section of Lake Moultrie. Photo by Deb Mims, Blueway Adventures “It’s an epic experience every time we go,” Barket said. “Right off the bat, it starts out intense. Right away, you have to make a ferry into 100 Yard Dash, which is one of the harder rapids on the run. You have those butterflies when you put on. After you get through that rapid, you can kind of calm down. The river eases for a while before it ramps up in the heart of it.” Big Water on West Virginia’s Blackwater River  Raging Rapids on the Russell Fork  The park includes hiking and biking trails, a zipline with views of the gorge, and rock climbing. If you’re looking for a calmer paddle, check out the pedal boat and canoe rentals on Lake Laurel.  Best Stretches: Putting in at the Twin Falls Overlook, it’s less than a half-mile paddle to the play wave at the base of Twin Falls. “A lot of paddlers don’t appreciate it because they’re used to going on these four- or five-mile whitewater trips,” O’Rear said. “But there’s about a mile stretch of unbelievable waterfalls and gradients. Picture the most beautiful wave you’ve ever seen in Hawaii, and it never ends. It just runs constantly. Playboaters love it in their technical boats nowadays, doing spins, flips, tricks, and surfing that wave.” Relaxed Exploration on Philpott Lake  Cover Photo: Rock Run in Ralston, Pennsylvania. Photo by Scott Martin With efforts additionally assisted by state and local partners to create maps, add signage, and develop camping spots for the route, a number of new projects are being developed, including the Southeast Coast Saltwater Paddling Trail, an 800-mile trail up the coast from Georgia to North Carolina through a series of connecting waterways; the Neuse River Blueway Plan, also an alternate route to the Mountains-to-Sea Trail in North Carolina; and Tennessee RiverLine, a 652-mile continuous route along the Tennessee River for paddlers, hikers, and bikers.  Flatwater Fun He also stressed boaters should be prepared before paddling the Blackwater. “It’s not a forgiving place,” Regan said. “There have been some deaths on the river, and the rescue squad has been called on multiple occasions. Respect the difficulty and the wilderness aspect of this run.” Philpott Lake is a 2,880-acre reservoir controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and power generation. Without any residential houses on the shoreline, it’s a peaceful escape about an hour outside of Roanoke that can be accessed by one of several boat ramps around the lake. For overnight trips, many campgrounds dot the Philpott shoreline, while a more primitive option is Deer Island, a paddle-in only campsite.    Best Stretches: One of Davis’s favorite spots is Calico Rocks, a 200-foot cliff you can view from an inlet where cellphones don’t work. “It’s just beautiful, all the little coves you can go in and be off of the main channel,” Davis said. “There’s not a lot of traffic on it because people can’t live there. It’s preserved. You can go for however long you want to and maybe not even see anybody.” The river also passes by Breaks Interstate Park on the state border. “Breaks is probably one of the hidden gems as far as outdoor recreation and parks,” Foley said. “It’s out in the middle of nowhere and you have to really be making that your destination. It is such a beautiful place. I can’t even explain how great Breaks is.”  Those looking for faster water can put in at the base of Philpott Dam and paddle the Smith River to Bassett or access more outdoor adventures at nearby Fairy Stone State Park.  Before you go: This is a big lake with much to explore. Pack enough water and food to keep energy levels up while out in the sun, and also bring sunscreen to avoid a burn on the exposed sections.   Merchants Millpond State Park holds one of North Carolina’s rarest landscapes, where paddlers can glide among towering Cypress and Gum trees covered in Spanish Moss. The Upper Blackwater starts below the falls at Blackwater Falls State Park. This two-mile run is chock full of Class IV and V rapids as the river drops 250 feet per mile. The Lower Blackwater starts at the North Fork Confluence where the river widens up. You’ll still see some big drops and solid whitewater for the next seven miles until the river peters out to Class II. Paddlers who regularly run the Blackwater recommend doing all nine miles together to avoid the painful straight uphill climb out of the river at the confluence.  “The Upper Yough, with its flowing waters, is just a creek learner’s paradise,” Hiss said. “When it gets higher, it gets a little sketchy and gets your heart running a little bit. If you’ve got the Upper Yough dialed in, you’re good to go for a lot of creeks out there, like Big Sandy.” Having lived in Franklin County, Va., her entire life, Robin Davis has long considered Philpott Lake a local treasure. During the summer, her family would spend their days swimming in the lake and camping by the water. “We didn’t have fancy trips to the beach,” she said. “That was our go-to place on the weekend because we could be there within 45 minutes.” A growing number of paddling trails, like the 50-mile Swamp Fox Canoe & Camping Trail in South Carolina, are being developed in the Southeast. In November 1985, huge rainstorms and major flooding caused by remnants of Hurricane Juan swept through the Mid-Atlantic and changed the river forever. “Before the flood, the handful of folks that were on the river then were the only ones that ever paddled that river,” Regan said. “In that spring of 1986 when we went back, it was like exploring a whole new river again. It was in the same canyon and had the same gradient, but it definitely had different features.” The Kentucky River—a wide and scenic 260-mile tributary of the Ohio—offers calm and serene paddling options with consistent water throughout the summer. The river winds into remote sections of the mountains and the Daniel Boone National Forest, but it also meanders past Kentucky’s capitol with a stretch through downtown Frankfort. Before you go:  Although it’s only a 750-acre millpond, it features a maze of forest, making it easy to get lost. Consider packing a GPS to help you navigate.  Before you go: Contact Canoe Kentucky (canoeky.com) for more information on put-ins, guided trips, and boat rentals.  And it tends to run at a consistent level. “The Caney is one of the only places in the summer that has a dam release river for casual paddlers,” White said. “When the other rivers dry up during the summer, it still has water.” The rugged Russell Fork River, located in the primitive country on the southwest Virginia/eastern Kentucky border, is best known among paddlers for the Class V craziness that comes via dam releases every October, culminating with the annual Lord of the Fork race. But Jason Foley, who’s been paddling the Russell Fork for almost two decades, first as a kayaker and later as the owner of Kentucky Whitewater, says the river isn’t just for experts. “A misconception of Rock Island is they think you’ve got to be Eric Jackson level, jump in at 3,500 cfs, and get your butt handed to you on a silver platter,” O’Rear said. “It’s sweet, gentle surf at 1,800, hardcore at 3,500, but it can go up to 50,000.”   Paddlers looking for a multi-day trip can try the Swamp Fox Canoe & Camping Trail,whichruns 50 miles through both lakes. With five camping spots located on the route, you can get in a week of paddle-filled days and nights around the campfire. Longer paddling trails like this are becoming more popular across the Blue Ridge (see sidebar).  Best Stretches: Stunning scenery awaits in the Kentucky Palisades, a majestic 100-mile section of the Kentucky River that features a meandering stretch of steep cliffs, deep gorges, limestone ledges, and tucked-away caves. Rock Island attracts boaters of all abilities, including world champion kayaker Eric Jackson and his family of pro paddlers, who established their home base near Rock Island. Depending on the number of generators running upstream at the dam, paddlers will see a variety of levels at the wave. last_img read more

Strikes, gales and gravestones

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Olympia Harbor Days Tugboat Races & Festival Schedule

first_imgFacebook118Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Olympia Harbor DaysOnly at Olympia Harbor Days, an Olympia Kiwanis Event this weekend August 30 – September 1,  will you find over 20 vintage tugboats of the Puget Sound for a climb aboard show Saturday and races on Sunday.  Final plans for this free and family friendly festival are headed for the finish line, making way for the 46th Annual Edition of Olympia Harbor Days Vintage Tugboat Festival and Races, South Sound’s largest maritime festival at the Olympia waterfront.  Over 55,000 are expected to attend.   The award winning event is presented by the Olympia Kiwanis Club with title sponsor the Squaxin Island Tribe.  “46 years and we keep growing – bringing new and exciting features and landside activities as well as increasing the tugboat and harbor ship participation.” says Executive Director Carol Riley.By Sea:  Tugboats and Ships of the Harbor ships of all shapes and sizes will join Tug Sand Man and start filling the docks at Percival Landing starting Thursday.  Expected are 20 tugboats which are open for dockside touring Saturday, August 31 and racing in the channel of Budd Inlet on Sunday, September 1.  One tug will also be hosting live music on deck on Saturday.  Joining the tugs will be retired Coast Guard Cutter and WWII floating museum Tug Comanche.  On Tuesday of this week the Tall Ship Lady Washington will arrive at the Port Plaza dock and is open for touring and excursion sailings.  One of the last remaining historic Mosquito Fleet ships, the Virginia V will arrive Friday with 120 passengers on board, most of whom will spend the weekend in Olympia.  The Kiwanis want to  thank Capital Heating & Cooling, the Ships of the Harbor sponsor.By Land: Kick off Friday, August 30 with a Walk-About the Harbor with the Capitol Volkssport Club.  Registration starts a 2pm at Batdorf and Bronson Tasting Room on Market Street.  Olympia Harbor Days officially opens at 5pm with a tribal blessing followed by a great show by Rich Wetzel and his Groovin Higher band and some fun circus performers nearby.  A great assortment of vendor booths line the boardwalks and Columbia Street.  Seafood lovers will enjoy the offerings of salmon, oysters, lobster, fish tacos and more at the Percival Landing Food G’Alley .  On Saturday starting at 10am find the 2-day Harbor Display built of Legos and create your own tug, train, plane or pirate ship, thanks to sponsor Heritage Bank.  Kids will love Olympia’s award winning Hands On Children’s Museum’s  Rumble Tug  make, race and take activity.  Also find remote control model tugboats and robotics displays.  The festival is offering for the first time a maritime sea school for teens.Sand at the Harbor continues its third year with a giant sand carved display created by the professional sand carvers of Form Finders.  Watch them compete in a quick carve contest Sunday at the Midway Stage near the Marinas.The Squaxin Island Tribe, title sponsor, will again offer tribal arts and cultural activities at the Port Plaza.   Come learn about the culture and tribal history of the South Sound, watch tribal carvers and shop the Native American arts booths, all weekend at the Squaxin Island Salish Seaport at the Port Plaza.  The area also hosts a beer/wine/cider garden, roasted corn and the famous Kiwanis Hot Dog Stand.A wide array of music will be found on Washington’s Lottery Main Stage and Midway Stage at Percival Landing.  Enjoy Sea Shanties, the Army’s First Corps Jazz Band, and many of Olympia’s classic rock bands.    Kids will enjoy nearby Pirates, Balloon Artists, Face Painters, Caricatures, and so much more.  There is even a Treasure Chest at the Harbor House for those kids that come to the festival dressed like a pirate.“We have enjoyed our many years at Olympia Harbor Days (OHD). We started doing OHD because our daughter lived down that way and she helped us every year. Now they have their own business so we have passed the torch.” Randy Yaple, Yaple Kettle Corn.Riley wants to thank the many community businesses and maritime partners for continued and new sponsorship to keep the tugs and ships coming to Olympia and allowing the expansion of land side offerings.  “Without the support of the community and sponsors, this festival would not have been able to become what it is today” says Riley.For a complete schedule and all festival details or for more information, please visit www.HarborDays.com.  While the festival is free, they do ask for a suggested donation of $5 per person or $10 per family.  Net proceeds and donations support Kiwanis scholarships and activities that benefit kids and their families.last_img read more

RB Hears Plan For Replacement of Hubbard Bridge

first_imgHubbard Bridge, which connects REd Bank to the River Plaza section of Middletown, is next on the list of two river bridges to be replaced. RED BANK — With the Oceanic Bridge currently under construction, and the Sea Bright-Rumson bridge being considered for work in the near future, county engineers now are turning their attention to the West Front Street Bridge–much to the appreciation of Mayor Pasquale Menna.Monmouth County Engineer Joseph Ettore and Jon Moren, the county’s principal bridge engineer and project manager, appeared before the governing body on Wednesday Feb. 22 l to explain what is going to be done on the bridge that  links Red Bank to the River Plaza section of Middletown, across the Swimming River.This project will be completely funded by federal transportation dollars, Ettore said, noting that the project is expected to cost between $12 and $12.5 million.The county-owned and maintained two-lane bridge, S-17, dates back to 1921 and is approximately 340 feet long, according to county information. It underwent some emergency repairs in 2004 when workers installed a deck replacement because it had become so deteriorated.Following that work, county engineers and state transportation officials conducted some additional scoping work to determine what should be done to the badly aging bridge.Red Bank officials had reservations about what was being proposed at that time. For one thing, said Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels, the bridge that was originally proposed was to have a sidewalk on only one side, which the borough opposed because of the amount of foot traffic on the west side.The new bridge proposal calls for six-foot sidewalks on each side and will comply with federal handicap access requirements. The new design also includes a four-foot shoulder on the approach to the bridge, allowing pedestrian and bicycle access, the engineers said.Those working on this project, Menna said, have remedied the the boroug’s original concerns. “Most of all,” Menna added, “I want to thank you for having someone pay for us.”And because the new bridge will be constructed alongside the existing bridge, the amount of time that traffic will have to be diverted will be minimal.Construction would be about 18 month to two years. “The actual closure of the bridge won’t happen until very late in the process,” Ettore said, estimating that won’t happen until  late in 2014.County engineers are hoping to, “minimize the disruption to the businesses,” Ettore said, noting that the bridge would be closed to traffic for three or four months.The architecture of the bridge will be consistent with the area. “We think of this as a landmark,” Ettore added.The project will likely mean the county will have to acquire a small amount of private property. Representatives have been negotiating with the property owners, as the county has an official policy of “willing seller, willing buyer negotiation,” according to Ettore.County engineers plan to advertise bids for the contract by fall 2012, with construction beginning in late winter 2012 or spring 2013.County officials are planning to conduct a public hearing on the proposal sometime in April, which will probably take place in the borough municipal complex on Monmouth Street.Menna commended the engineers for retooling the project to minimize borough concerns. “They actually spent time and listened to us,” he said afterwards.last_img read more

Tsetsi steps into the ring

first_imgTsetsi Davis, one of the crowd favourites over the years in the Wray & Nephew Contender boxing series, makes his debut tonight against American Courtney McLeave at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium.Davis has been able to fight as both a welterweight and a middleweight in the competition and has actually been a finalist.At age 38, he now has what is regarded as his last chance to take the top prize of $2 million this year and has said repeatedly since being selected that he believes that this will be his time to shine.He enters the ring with a record of 14 victories and five losses, while his American opponent McLeave, is a 21-year old boxer who has been a professional for a year, and has a one-win and two-loss record. Based on these figures, Davis goes into the fight with a huge advantage as he has much more experience than his opponent.SEEDING METHODThe method of determining the fights in the preliminary round this year is by a draw. Previously, there were challenges in which two teams competed and a boxer from the winning team was allowed to select his opponent. This year, the boxers on both teams were seeded and the top four seeds draw an opponent from the bottom four of the opposing team.By this method, unless there is an upset, the better boxers go on to the quarter-finals and challenge each other for the semi-final and then final spots. The runner-up in the competition takes home $500,000, while third gets $250,000 and fourth $200,000.The first week of competition saw that fight end in only 55 seconds after the young American, Xzaviar Ford, tore a tendon in his right shoulder and could not continue to fight. There was great disappointment in the auditorium after this premature end.Last week, spectators saw a much better fight as highly rated Demarcos Corley defeated Iwan Azore from Guyana on points, by using his superior boxing skills and ring savvy to good advantage.McLeave’s camp is confident that their fighter can hold his own against the more experienced Davis, while the Davis camp is quietly confident.”We have seen his record and will be going into the fight confident of victory, but we are not taking anything for granted. We want a win and that is what we are going for. We just have to wait to see what he brings to the table,” a representative from their camp said.Jamaica at 9:30 p.m.last_img read more

Virgin and Singapore named best airlines

first_imgVirgin Australia has won Domestic Airline of the Year at the Roy Morgan 2012 Customer Satisfaction Awards. The announcement was made at a dinner in Melbourne on Wednesday night. The award for International Airline of the Year went to Singapore Airlines, while, for the second time in a row, Crowne Plaza was recognised as Hotel and Resort of the Year. Addressing the audience, Roy Morgan Research CEO Michele Levine said: “We all know the Australian tourism industry is a tough place to be. “With the GFC, the high Australian dollar and Australians’ increasing international outlook, domestic tourism is down and overseas travel is up – only Melbourne is bucking the trend,” she said. “Keeping Australians holidaying at home means that for this sector, satisfaction is crucial.” The awards, which are in their second year, acknowledge Australian businesses who led their industry in customer satisfaction last year. They cover more than 30 categories, recognising sectors such as travel, banking, retail, motoring and hospitality. Roy Morgan Research collected satisfaction ratings through its 2012 Consumer Single Source survey of over 50,000 Australians and its Business Single Source survey of 22,000 decision makers.last_img read more

SA shines at world travel show

first_img2010 host city Cape Town and the other eight host cities featured prominently at the recent World Travel Market in London. (Image: MediaClubsouthafrica.com)South Africa featured prominently at the recent World Travel Market in London, showcasing its diverse natural beauty and world-class facilities that will guarantee an unforgettable experience for visitors to the 2010 Fifa World Cup.Some 135 exhibitors – ranging from tourism boards and safari companies, to the luxurious Rovos Rail and Blue Train – represented the country at the event, which ran from 9 to 12 November at the ExCel Centre.As the world’s biggest travel trade show, it attracted nearly 5 200 exhibitors and more than 200 travel and media agencies from Asia, Europe and the Americas.The South Africa Tourism stand, with UK country manager Lebohang Mokhesi at the helm, promoted each of the country’s nine host cities for the upcoming World Cup spectacular. Host city Polokwane, in Limpopo province, also had its own stand.With a little under seven months to go, the long-awaited football tournament, second only to the summer Olympic Games in scope, was one of the main themes of the South African exhibit, which aimed to build excitement and anticipation ahead of the 11 June kick-off.“In addition to some stunning, world-class football, visitors to South Africa can look forward to an unforgettable holiday in one of the world’s most culturally and geographically varied countries,” said Mokhesi.Fresh ideasThe exhibition is a trade-only event and is not open to the public, but welcomes travel-related professionals such as journalists, hospitality providers and tour operators.Various seminars, conferences and networking events provided opportunities to form business associations while staying up to date with the latest developments in the industry.The 2009 theme was “Sports Tourism Takes Poll Position” and travel agents were encouraged to visit the South African exhibit to get fresh ideas for their 2010 tour packages.The national pavilion featured a huge screen that enticed show-goers with sweeping scenes of wildlife and natural beauty. The 2010 mascot Zakumi, a spotted leopard with green hair, was there to welcome visitors to the stand.Delegates were also treated to demonstrations of the energetic Diski Dance with its football-inspired moves and infectious rhythm.South Africa is readyDeputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Sue van der Merwe attended the event, promoting the country as the first-ever African Fifa World Cup host.Van der Merwe is also an alternate director on the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and attended the travel exhibition in this capacity.The deputy minister spoke out strongly about South Africa’s readiness to host the world’s biggest football event, describing government’s extensive investment into infrastructure upgrades, safety and security and communication technology, as well as justice and accommodation.She addressed issues such as the steps taken to ensure airport security and prevent illegal immigration during the World Cup, and the legacy that the tournament will leave, not just for residents of South Africa, but for all African people.She also participated at a round table discussion hosted by the UK’s Financial Times.Van der Merwe was accompanied by LOC CEO Danny Jordaan and football star Lucas Radebe. Radebe is a former Bafana Bafana captain, but is popular amongst Britons because of his highly successful five-year stint as captain of Leeds United. He recently accepted the post of 2010 ambassador for South Africa Tourism.Jordaan and Radebe took part in the theme seminar, sharing the platform with Fifa’s executive director of competitions Jim Brown, and Mark Howell, who is Visit London’s 2012 director, among others.Other South African representatives included Dawie de Villiers, former Springbok rugby captain and currently chair of the International Task Force for the Protection of Children in Tourism, speaking at the seminar on advances in travel philanthropy.Heidi Keyser of the Cape Town branch of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism, and Roshene Singh, South Africa Tourism’s chief marketing officer, participated in other seminars.Showcasing the countryMany of South Africa’s biggest players in the tourism sector, as well as some smaller ones, were on show at the World Travel Market.Travel and safari companies promoted packages to suit every taste and take full advantage of South Africa’s diversity of landscapes, offering cycle tours and wellness retreats, white shark cage diving and gentle seaside locations.Many of the country’s most outstanding hotels were there to show off. They included Cathedral Peak in the Drakensberg mountains; the Twelve Apostles in Cape Town; the prestigious Relais et Châteaux group; the &Beyond group which operates lodges in several African countries as well as India; and the distinguished Oyster Box in Umhlanga, north of Durban.Provincial tourism authorities and regional airline operators – including Air Namibia, British Airways and Comair, and South African Airways – were also on hand to round off a comprehensive presentation of everything South Africa has to offer.last_img read more

Top award for South African TV drama

first_img5 October 2010South African television drama Hopeville scooped a Rose d’Or award for best drama and miniseries in Lucerne, Switzerland last week, beating 10 shortlisted programmes from a total of 85 international entries in the process.The awards, celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, are among the most prestigious in the international television industry, celebrating the highest standards in TV productions from around the world.First broadcast on SABC2 in 2009, and since made into a full-length feature film, Hopeville tells the story of Amos, a reformed alcoholic on a mission to forge a relationship with his estranged son Themba.When father and son arrive in the dusty town of Hopeville, they discover a community where apathy, fear and suspicion are the order of the day. When Amos decides to restore the public swimming pool – both for the local kids and for his son’s swimming career – he is met with scepticism and resistance.Through patience, determination and courage, Amos’ act ripples through Hopeville, inspiring others to take action and to do what they know is right.A co-production between Heartlines and SABC Education, Hopeville was produced by Curious Pictures and filmed in the picturesque town of Waterval Boven in Mpumalanga province.The six-episode series was directed by John Trengove, with Harriet Gavshon and Mariki van der Walt as executive producers, and features some of South Africa’s top actors, including Jody Abrahams, Desmond Dube, Leleti Khumalo, Fana Mokoena, Themba Ndaba and Terry Pheto.NGO Heartlines, in partnership with SABC Education, commissioned the series as part of its work of using television and film to help South Africans strive towards the values of humility, compassion, responsibility, perseverance, and other positive goals, in their lives.SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

The Impact, Profile, and Reputation of South Africa on the African Continent

first_imgEY Africa Attractiveness Survey 2015SA is the top destination for FDI projects – the country attracted 121 projects in 2014/15SA was the favourite destination for Chinese projects, securing 34.4% of total Chinese investment on the African continentNorth Africa rebounds as inflows to Southern Africa falter: Egypt comes second with 71 projects; Morocco comes third with 67 projectsThe above are actual greenfields investments, and does not account for flows in the financial markets – which – if included will show that SA is the top destination for FDI and financial market activity in AfricaContext: Africa’s share of global FDI grew from 3.6% in 2003 to 7,7 in 2012, and the continent more than doubled its share of global FDI flows from 7.8% in 2013 to 17.1% in 2014Global FDI flow indicators on SA: OutboundEY – Africa Attractiveness Survey (2015)South Africa is the second largest source of FDI into the African continent (53 projects launched in 2014).SA is the leading intra-regional investor in the financial services sector (16 projects launched in 2014.Outbound Investment2013 budget speech of then minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, indicated that during the 2008-2013 period the South African Reserve Bank approved nearly 1000 large investments by South African corporations into 36 African countriesNDP underlines critical importance of boosting intra-African trade and integration of regional marketsJohannesburg Stock Exchange currently ranked the 19th largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalisation and the largest exchange in AfricaIndustrial Development Corporation (IDC) has investments in 60 projects across 20 countries that creates a cumulative African investment portfolio of R7.5 billion by March 2014With so many SA and multinational corporates that operate from Joburg into other African markets, the city’s logistical, air, inland port, and related soft infrastructure provides a solid base for corporates to establish regional headquarters.Brand SA Fieldwork ResearchTHE SA INC SERIESRationale:SA’s reputation is shaped by foreign policy; trade interactions as well as a divergent sets of relationships & interests (governmental, non-governmental, and business)Objectives:Development of framework of analysis that considers all elements of SA’s strategic economic, diplomatic, multilateral, and peace & security engagements on the continentIntegrated view of SA’s footprint on the continent for strategic marketing, communications, and reputation management projectsThe SA Inc. Project: FieldworkCycle 1 – 2014/15: Kenya, Nigeria, GhanaCycle 2 – 2015/16: Russia, Angola, DRC, SenegalBrand SA’s Africa strategy: development of SA presence & reputation in select markets/multilateral environmentsSouth Africa In(c) series research reports based on:direct fieldwork studiesdesktop researchSA Inc. Project: Kenya – South Africa Bilateral TradeTotal Bilateral Trade (2015)Kenya Imports from SA: R 7 778 157 829SA Imports from Kenya: R 214 882 875Total Bilateral Trade: R7 993 040 704SA Inc. Project: Kenya Key FindingsChallenges & opportunities for interaction between the countries:SA’s reputational strengths:SA democratic transition, strong institutionsMajor interest in SA music & cultureSA’s reputational challenges:SA seen as losing competitive edge, & not promoting internal developmentSA character/personality perceived as imposing & aggressiveSA companies losing to local competition due to poor market entry strategies and ‘know it all’ attitudesSA Inc. Project: Nigeria – South Africa Bilateral TradeTotal Bilateral Trade (2015)Nigeria Imports from SA: R 7 524 647 002SA Imports from Nigeria: R 35 016 713 902Total Bilateral Trade: R 42 541 360 904SA Inc. Project: Nigeria Key FindingsSA’s reputational strengths:SA highly visible & respected (more than 150 companies active in market)SA’s democratic transition, institutional & infrastructural profile appreciated & referenced as key attractiveness featureInterest in business & investment interactions as well as cultural, music, tourism & related experiencesSA’s reputational challenges:Despite major business & investment footprint, concerns about SA character & business cultureWith Nigeria’s rebased GDP, SA considered to be losing competitive edgeSA character/business persona can be perceived as imposing & aggressiveSA co’s losing to local competition due to quick adaptation & learning and not woking with local partners in market entry, maintenance & expansion strategiesSA Inc. Project: Ghana– South Africa Bilateral TradeGhana Imports from SA: R 4 102 457 867SA Imports from Ghana: R 175 234 249Total Bilateral Trade: R4 277 692 116SA Inc. Project: Ghana Key FindingsSA’s reputational strengths:SA’s corporate governance, managerial, technical, & other expertiseStrong people-to-people relations & potential for expansion in creative spheres, e.g. design, music, visual artsSA corporates & their products & services widely known & utilised in marketGhanaians prefer ‘international brands’, incl. those from SAPotential in building deeper social & cultural relations via music, arts, design and cultural diplomacySA entrepreneurs use Accra as regional base/hub for West African business operationsSA Inc. Project: Angola– South Africa Bilateral TradeTotal Bilateral Trade (2015)Angola Imports from SA: R 8 034 823 695SA Imports from Angola: R 15 372 088 529Total Bilateral Trade: R23 406 912 224SA Inc. Project: Angola Key FindingsSA and Angola have a ‘bi-polar’ history…Therefore critical that interested parties carefully select expats and South African experts to be deployed in the marketAngolans describe themselves as arrogant, and South Africans are also criticised as being arrogant – need for increased cultural contact and building of mutual understandingUnderstand political & administrative context and “do homework”! Invest adequate resources (time and money) in preparing to enter the marketTake time & invest in relationship-building; identify reliable local partnerRecognise importance of language and (business) culture, e.g. Portuguese South Africans play a constructive role in several SA corporates in the marketLeverage off strong bilateral political relationsApproach Angolan government with ‘what can we do for you’ rather than ‘we are great at this and will bring it to you’SA Inc. Project: DRC– South Africa Bilateral TradeTotal Bilateral Trade (2015)DRC imports from SA: R 11 925 581 263SA Imports from DRC: R 1 145 732 485Total Bilateral Trade: R 13 071 313 748SA Inc. Project: DRC Key Findings‘The Congo is open for business!’ – unlike other markets, former colonial power doesn’t enjoy privileges in terms of exploiting business opportunitiesAcknowledge local business culture & need for “courting” – relationship-building is key, both with government and business, if one is reap any rewards from engaging in the market.When entering DRC, SA corporates must take caution not to be perceived as arrogant by expecting host to adapt to their ways of doing businessAgriculture is key competitive strength – SA recognised for its expertise in sector. Given that DRC only utilises ≈10% of its 80m hectares of arable land, there’s enormous potential for SA to play a role hereSouth Africa’s Lieutenant General Derrick Mbuyiselo Mgwebi, Force Commander of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO)“The Congo is a big country with a relatively small budget and many priorities”Great expectations, ample opportunities and overwhelming prioritiesSA to utilise well-established footprint in DRC to promote SA investmentsOnly one, albeit critical challenge:Political instability and insecurity and continued conflict in the KivusSA Inc. Project: Senegal – South Africa Bilateral TradeSenegal imports from SA: R 1 296 609 007SA Imports from Senegal: R 238 916 730Total Bilateral Trade: R1 535 525 737SA Inc. Project: Senegal Key FindingsAt political, business, art and societal level, Senegal is extremely open to the idea of increased interaction between the countriesRelatively low level of knowledge about South Africa, particularly about the country’s development post-1994;Potential for significant linkages such as the twinning of Goree Island and Robben IslandOpportunity to focus on 30 years since the 1987 meeting on Goree island between the ANC and a delegation of AfrikanersSenegal challenges SA to play more pro-active & leading role in promoting Africa’s developmentExpanded business interaction through increased contact with chambers of commerce, e.g. Dakar Chamber of CommercePotential for expanded agriculture sector interactionsAcademic contact and exchange, esp. Universite Du Sine Saloum Elhadj Ibrahima NiassThe SA Inc. Project: Key Findings 2014The Nation Brand concept & marketing strategy depends on stakeholder interactions, and challenges Brand SA to be open to changing domestic and international environmentsUnique nation brand reputational strengths: culture, music, business sophistication, infrastructure, political management of democratic transitionsChallenges: South Africans perceived as imposing, aggressive, and unwilling to listen to local adviceSA business to adopt market entry strategies that pay more attention to soft factors, e.g. local business culturePolitically, SA seen as progressive, with strong institutions, & democratic credentials.Internal developmental challenges cause for concern, e.g. xenophobia, misplaced perceptions about African expats in SA (esp. Kenya & Nigeria)SA music, art & cultural products well-received & followed, with continued interest in expanded interactionThe SA Inc. Project: Russia / BRICS 2015Activities and OutputsFieldwork Russia, July 2015Research Report, The Ufa Declaration and its Implications for the BRICS Brand, published 30 September 2015Dissemination at Roundtable, 30 September 2015Theme: Deepening the relationship between Brazil, Russia, India, China and South AfricaPanellists:Prof Garth Shelton, University of WitwatersrandMs Catherine Grant-Makokera, Tutwa ConsultingCounsellor Eric Sogocio, Head of the BRICS Section, Embassy of BrazilMr Yaroslav Shishkin, Deputy Head of Economic Section, Embassy of the Russian FederationMr. Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General of India‘The Ufa declaration and its implications for the BRICS brand’Highlights:Successes of BRICS in implementing Summit decisionsImplications of increased formalisation/institutionalisation for development of BRICSDevelopment of BRICS reflects positively on global governance capability of the five member statesThe SA Inc. Project: Publications (2014-2015)A lesson for Brand SA from Nigeria – Be bold, keep it real, and make it quick – a conversation on the art of Nollywood success. 23 August 2014, Brand South AfricaResearch Note. By: Dr Petrus de KockResearching the Nation Brand – background to the concept, and initial findings from fieldwork in Kenya and Nigeria. 18 September 2014. South Africa In(c) SeriesResearch Report #1 By: Dr Petrus de KockAfrican market entry strategy – learning to listen & listening to learn. 12 December 2014. Brand South Africa Research Note #2. 2014. By: Dr Petrus de KockDeveloping an SA Inc strategy for the Nation Brand, 28 July 2015, Brand South Africa Research Report, By: Dr. Judy Smith-Höhn & Dr Petrus de KockThe Ufa Declaration and its Implications for the BRICS Brand, 30 September 2015, Brands South Africa Research Note, By: Dr. Petrus de KockSA Inc Project: Angola Fieldwork Research Report, 16 November 2015, Brand SA Fieldwork Report, By: Dr. Petrus de Kock & Dr. Judy Smith-HöhnPrepared by Brand SA ResearchContact:Dr Petrus de Kock, GM – [email protected] Judy Smith-Höhn, Research [email protected] Petersen, [email protected]last_img read more