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More sports in brief

first_imgOlympiakos beat Panionios to extend record ATHENS, Greece (AP): Olympiakos continued their perfect start in the Greek league by beating Panionios 3-1 away yesterday, extending their record run of consecutive wins to 16. Alejandro Dominguez, Felipe Pardo and Brown Ideye all scored in the second half for Olympiakos. Spyros Risvanis scored a short-lived equaliser for Panionios. Czech Republic beat Hewitt, Australia team BRISBANE, Australia (AP): Lleyton Hewitt lost just weeks away from his retirement as Czech Republic beat the Australia Gold team at the Hopman Cup mixed-teams event yesterday. Jiri Vesely defeated Hewitt, who will retire after the Australian Open, 6-3, 6-7 (1) 6-4, before Karolina Pliskova came from 3-1 down in the second set to beat Jarmila Wolfe Gajdosova 7-5, 6-3 at Perth, Western Australia. The Czech team won the later mixed doubles 6-2, 7-5 to sweep the match 3-0. Sub Simons hits brace in 7-1 rout LONDON (CMC): Bermudian teenager Rai Simons struck twice as Chesterfield won their first English League One match since late October by crushing fellow strugglers Shrewsbury Town 7-1 at the Proact Stadium on Saturday. Striker Simons, who turns 20 in nine days’ time, came on as a substitute in the 72nd minute with his side 3-1 up and got on the scoresheet a minute later when he punished some poor defending to notch his fourth goal of the season with a right-footed shot from 18 yards. Simons added to his tally when he struck again in the 88th minute after Shrewsbury had been reduced to 10 men when Junior Brown was sent off in the 81st minute for two yellow cards.last_img read more

Parika: A bridge to the heart of Essequibo

first_imgLocated in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), Parika is the gateway to the Essequibo coastlands.Known as a port township, as it is popular for its ferry service to Supenaam, Bartica, and the islands such as Leguan, Wakenaam, Hog Island, etc; Parika was also in talks of becoming a town.Having over 4000 inhabitants, the community is also famous for its Saturday night-Sunday morning market, as well as being a commercial hub due to its central location.Up to 500 individual merchants set up their stalls containing various produce. These produce includes banana, coconut, plantain, cassava, watermelon, etc. It is also known for its exotic pet trades including parrots and various birds.Parika is also known as a vast fishing community, as fishers would go out to sea from the wharf and return to ply their trade on a daily basis.It is also a major hub for land transport, since it is a route terminal for minibusses.The community is also known to be one of the central business areas in Region Three, housing more banks than any other region. The fact that Republic Bank, Scotia Bank, Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry, and Demerara Bank are located in Parika is testament to the commercial viability of the village.Parika is also home to Guyana’s first two-tiered parking facility. The parking lot known as the S&R Parking Lot, is located at 162 Parika, East Bank Essequibo.The multimillion-dollar structure leads the way countrywide in terms of single parking spaces.The construction of the steel structured parking lot commenced in 2010 and can accommodate 102 vehicles.The parking complex is convenient for persons travelling to the islands and only costs $500 a day.Parika also houses many schools, a health centre, a Police Station, and many businesses, which is one of the main reasons for the daily hustle and bustle on the streets.The community contains much more than what is seen on the surface. Driving into the backlands, alias the ‘backdam’, there is much more to be seen.The backdam is widely known for its ground provision cultivation and poultry rearing.These farmers supply provisions, such as plantain, eddoe, cassava, yam, sweet potato, etc to various parts of the country; the same is done with the poultry.The people of Parika however, are the highlight of what the community stands for: Unity is visible in the close-knit community.Speaking with a few villagers, they all talked about the comforts of living in the community.Some proclaimed that “we are all like family here”, which says much about them.It is a custom for loud music to be heard when traversing through the community since weddings and parties are held regularly.According to villagers, one does not need an invitation to these events, since as long as you live in Parika, you are welcomed.The sunshine village is continuously developing and is expected to be a greater attraction in years to come.A section of wharfParika Post officeParika’s Police StationS&R Parking Lot and Taxi ServiceParika’s Health CentreOne of the banks in ParikaA section of the marketlast_img read more

Sports: The Battle for Nouakchott on Sunday

first_img– Advertisement – Lone Star leaves for Mauritania todayCoach James Salinsa Debbah may be asking himself so many questions as his boys failed to “show their juice” last Sunday in the first leg of the African Cup of Nations at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium.With a two goal advantage, the local Lone Star players and Coach Debbah may have realized that once the battle was not won at home in the first leg, it may darn near be impossible to win away.That position comes from the team’s poor away history; that is if they have one. The regular Lone Star that is filled with Liberian professionals is yet to find one, as the past away games never produced wins.And that makes the task on Sunday in Nouakchott, the Mauritanian capital, a difficult assignment for the Liberian side. Although they may be the underdogs, they may have the trump card for the game.Having lost 0-2 and wasted a penalty, the Liberian side will be fighting, as if for their lives, like a man who is drowning.“The one who is down fears no fall” is an adage that clearly fits the situation. It is veteran coach Josiah N. Johnson, credited to have said that “football is like a biscuit,” that should be quoted here. Ever tried to break a little portion of a biscuit when you were a kid to share with a friend or sibling? It broke at an unexpected angle, didn’t it? And that is somehow what happens in sports, as veteran coach Johnson (Masayo) has noted when he coached the national team for 15 years.For many who think Lone Star’s trip to Mauritania would amount to a disgrace, the players know that it is in such difficulties that they should put up their best performance.Since they showed a lot of disorganization in the first leg, they should now approach the game in Mauritania with caution and with much better organization. Pushing the ball from one player to another must be done with a purpose, and the strikers should be prepared and ambitious when the ball is lobbed in their direction.The Mauritanians reportedly prepared for at least four months for this particular game, while our players trained for a week.While many of us are not convinced that our boys can score more than three goals against their opponents, Coach Debbah should come up with a plan that would make the Mauritanians appreciate our kind of football at the end of 90 minutes of play on Sunday.All we can wish for the boys is a good game; and therefore, good luck!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Coach Debbah is expected to design a strategy to demand respect from the Mauritanians in Sunday’s matchlast_img read more

Redondo breaks through

first_imgThat was the predicament for North Torrance and Redondo Thursday night at Redondo, where the two teams looked for answers in each other in a nonleague game. In what turned into a duel between a pair of running backs – one of whom normally isn’t a running back – Redondo found just enough to stop its slide for a 28-13 victory. Redondo senior running back Hayward Gray rushed 26 times for 288 yards and scored three touchdowns. He outdueled North’s Kyle Cryer, who in a spot start at tailback, rushed 13 times for 244 yards. Those two players represented the vast majority of the offense for their respective teams, but it was Redondo that made fewer mistakes. Though Redondo (1-2) didn’t exactly dominate defensively, it did enough to stop North (0-3) when it mattered most. “This basically gave us momentum,” Gray said. “We have something to work with now. The first game got away from us and the second game we came close. I think this is definitely going to help us.” Redondo didn’t help itself on its first series, botching a punt attempt that gave North possession on Redondo’s 22-yard line. It took Cryer two plays to establish that he would be the focal point of his team’s offense. He scored on a 7-yard run to give North a 7-0 lead. Redondo responded with a meticulous 13-play, 80-yard drive. Instead of using a no-huddle offense, Redondo went back to a traditional huddle, and seemed to find a new comfort level, executing the drive without a penalty, capped when quarterback Erik Wilson scored on a 1-yard dive. With running back Chris McDaniel unavailable, Cryer – normally a standout receiver – moved to running back. He proved durable and dependable, but North couldn’t finish enough drives. Two dropped passes on third and fourth down killed the Saxons’ second drive. That gave Redondo quality field position, allowing room for Gray to break off a 61-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that gave Redondo a 14-7 halftime advantage. With Gray established as a big-play threat, it gave North less room for error. But the Saxons fumbled on their first possession of the third quarter, and Redondo converted it into a 10-play, 40-yard drive capped by Gray’s 6-yard run to build a 21-7 lead. “We stopped making so many penalties, like jumping off the ball,” Gray said. “We went into a huddle and that helped us a lot.” North helped itself on its next possession, going 12 plays and 80 yards, capped by B.J. Denker’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Ramon Hurtado. But Redondo came back with another impressive drive, punishing the North defense until it was soft as cheese. Gray said Redondo still has work to do. “I say, right now, yes,” he said. “I think we could have been sharper on defense. We could have been sharper offensively, but overall, we feel like we played great today.” Cryer said North needs to step up. “We’re all making mistakes,” he said. “We’re getting better, but we’re still not where we should be. It’s something new everytime we take care of something old.” A 244-yard output from Cryer wasn’t something North expected, though it gladly took it. North coach Todd Croce said he was surprised Cryer accumulated so many yards. “I couldn’t say I knew 250 yards rushing was in him alone, but I knew he could get that number in all-purpose yards,” Croce said. “That’s a big accomplishment for us,” Cryer said. “We’re just trying to put together a season. “We’ve got five guys on the line and that’s it.” john.klima@dailybreeze.com160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! RUNNING WILD: Gray gains 288 yards and scores three TDs to negate Cryer’s 244 yards for North. By John Klima STAFF WRITER The only thing worse than being winless after two weeks is being winless after three. last_img read more

DONEGAL MUM FORCED TO DRIVE PARAMEDIC TO HOSPITAL – MINISTER ADMITS IT IS ‘UNACCEPTABLE’

first_imgHEALTH Minister James Reilly has admitted it was unacceptable that a Co Donegal mother had to drive her sick son and a paramedic to hospital because no other ambulance staff were available.Mr Reilly was responding to questions from Sinn Fein TDs in the Dáil following a story first revealed by Donegal Daily last month.Speaking on the matter, Donegal South West TD Pearse Doherty said: “I asked the Minister if enhanced ambulance and paramedic services will be made available in County Donegal, in light of growing concerns among members of staff in the ambulance service and the general public, that cutbacks to frontline services mean that staff struggle to respond appropriately to emergency situations “I welcome the introduction of the Intermediate Care Service in Sligo and Letterkenny, to provide routine and non-emergency patient transport in order to free up emergency resources for emergency calls and I look forward to this service being fully operational in 2013.“I also welcome discussions with Minister Edwin Poots MLA regarding cross border co-operation on this matter. Such an initiative is, in my view, long overdue.“However, I feel that more needs to be done to ensure that the ambulance service in this County is adequately resourced. For the past number of months, I have heard several reports of staff working excessively long hours and backup being unavailable in several instances, to the extent that lives may be put at risk.“Just last month, the shocking situation came to light whereby a mother drove her unconscious child and a paramedic to Letterkenny General Hospital, highlighting just how close to the bone the service is currently operating at. “I commend my colleague, Sinn Fein spokesperson on Health, for questioning the Minister directly in relation to this shocking incident and I am glad that the Minister agrees that this situation was “utterly unacceptable” and I hope that he will now take immediate action to ensure such a situation does not occur in future.“I welcome the commitment given by the Minister that he will investigate this matter and I call on the Minister to treat this matter as a priority and recognise the clear need provide reassurance the public that the Ambulance service in the County will be adequately resourced to respond to emergency situations.“Our ambulance service is not a luxury – it is there to provide an essential emergency health service and there should be no compromise on the level of resources provided to ensure the service operates effectively.”Minister Reilly responded: “This is a serious matter and I intend to have it investigated. It makes no sense to me that an ambulance would go out on its own and the paramedic would therefore be unavailable.”Full Text of the exchange is provided below Deputy Pearse Dohertyasked the Minister for Health if enhanced ambulance and paramedic services will be made available in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57017/12]Deputy James Reilly:Emergency ambulances from all stations across Donegal are used in a dynamic manner, to maintain emergency cover and respond to calls as required. Ambulance stations across the county and adjacent counties support each other, and the nearest available resource responds to an emergency call, regardless of where it is based. I would be the first to acknowledge the geographical spread in County Donegal. The National Ambulance Service has enhanced the delivery of ambulance services in the north west through the recent introduction of a new intermediate care service in Sligo and Letterkenny. The purpose of the ICS is to undertake routine and non-emergency stretcher-based patient transport, such as inter-hospital transfers, in order to free up emergency resources for emergency calls. Once again, we are back to the patient being treated by the right person in the right place at the right time, which carries for ambulance services as well. This service will be fully operational in early 2013 with 19 intermediate care operatives. At the moment it operates in a limited number of areas, which includes Letterkenny. The NAS is also assisted in the west by a pilot emergency aeromedical service which was established in June 2012 and which is based in Custume Barracks, Athlone. This dedicated resource provides emergency transport where transport time is critical and where certain clinical criteria are fulfilled. I have had discussions with Minister Edwin Poots, MLA, in the North on how we can co-operate on air ambulance services as well and in community services on either side of the Border, a hospital service. Radiotherapy services in Altnagelvin are a case in point.The ambulance service is also progressing training of additional advanced paramedics and a number of staff from the north west, including Donegal, are included in this programme.In addition to the above, a paramedic upskilling programme is currently being progressed across the country, which will enhance the delivery of care to patients.Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin:There was a situation where a distraught mother had to drive her unconscious child to hospital while a paramedic tended to the child in the back seat of the car. If this was an isolated incident, it might not have been raised in this way, but I am told there are other reported instances where ambulances have been told only one paramedic was available to both drive and tend. With the child needing to be attended to and brought to Letterkenny General Hospital, the paramedic could not drive the ambulance. The situation is serious and I am drawing it to the Minister’s attention because there is a fault line. That is not to question the role of individual ambulance drivers and-or paramedics but certainly it is to question the decision making of those who oversee the service or who have issued governance rules to those entrusted with that oversight.We were told by the article, and inquiries I have made on the back of it, that the paramedic in this instance sought additional support through the channels he would report to and people were available with the necessary skills, other paramedics and ambulances drivers, but permission to engage those available professionally trained personnel was refused. This is a serious matter and was of significant concern to the paramedic concerned and to his fellow professionals in the ambulance service in Donegal. I ask the Minster what steps he will take to assure the people of Donegal that a situation such as that described will not reoccur.Deputy James Reilly:This is a serious matter and I intend to have it investigated. It makes no sense to me that an ambulance would go out on its own and the paramedic would therefore be unavailable. Given the choice between driving or caring for the patient, it does not make any sense. I went around the country and met the staff, including ambulance staff, in the regions about the future plans for the health service. One of the paramedics raised an issue with me that I intend to address. Sometimes these very experienced individuals are sent to a house and when they arrive, having examined the patient, they see no reason to bring him or her to hospital but they have no other option. They cannot bring the patient to the out of hours doctor on call, or advise them to wait until the follow morning to see his GP. I believe, however, that should be the case; these are highly qualified individuals.That is not quite what the Deputy is talking about but what I am trying to say is we have a wonderful resource here and we should allow them give of the knowledge they have in a complete fashion and not just corral them into narrow spaces. I undertake to investigate this and come back to the Deputy with a report. To my mind, this was utterly unacceptable.DONEGAL MUM FORCED TO DRIVE PARAMEDIC TO HOSPITAL – MINISTER ADMITS IT IS ‘UNACCEPTABLE’ was last modified: December 20th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

ATHLETE RUNS BALLYLIFFIN COASTAL CHALLENGE 10-MILE RACE – BACKWARDS!

first_imgWHO says there’s no going back?Well Carndonagh athlete Garett Doherty returned to his Inishowen roots today – and ran the Ballyliffin Coastal Challenge 10-mile race….backwards.Of course Garret is actually a world champion at Retro Racing as it’s called. And today he was able to show off his incredible athleticism on the route of the world’s most spectacular race.This traditional Easter Saturday event on the Inishowen peninsula was once again a credit to the local organising committee.With 670 starters in the main event walking /running and a further 120 youngsters participating in the Childrens 1k Beach Run adding to the family element of the event it goes from strength to strength with many participating for the charity of their choice.This year’s race winner was Derry man Pius McIntyre from local man John Harkin, the race winner two years ago. There was also an impressive women’s winner in Karen Alexander of Sperrin Harriers.Full results within the next few hours here on Donegal Daily.   ATHLETE RUNS BALLYLIFFIN COASTAL CHALLENGE 10-MILE RACE – BACKWARDS! was last modified: March 31st, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:ATHLETE RUNS BALLYLIFFIN COASTAL CHALLENGE 10-MILE RACE – BACKWARDS!BallylffinCarndonaghlast_img read more

Pension cuts ruin dreams, change lives

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake By evening, the windows of the plant on Overland Avenue were dark, the gates were padlocked and a sign hung from the chain-link: “Closed Until Further Notice.” The shutdown was so sudden and unexplained that even the following Monday, 90 of Ajax’s 138 employees showed up for work. Necastro’s job was gone, but that was hardly his only worry. Somewhere behind the padlocks, alongside the stilled machines and vacant desks, could his pension be in there too? — A pension is a promise. And through the years, Ajax’s workers had no reason to doubt the word of the company’s owners, three men who knew each worker by name. In the years after World War II, thousands of companies made a promise to their workers: Invest your most productive years with us, and we’ll take care of you with a pension when your working days are over. In recent years, though, hundreds of thousands of workers and retirees have seen those promises broken. This is the story of how that happened at one small Ohio company. — HOWLAND, Ohio – It had been another tense week at Ajax Magnethermic Corp. But after 35 years at the struggling company, Jim Necastro was glad just to have his job, especially with retirement a few years away. Certainly that was worth a toast on this June afternoon. He cracked open a cold beer and stretched out on his backyard patio. Then Don, a neighbor who worked for a local security company, came trotting across the lawn. “Hey, Jimmy,” the neighbor half-shouted. “My guard just called me from Ajax. He said they just closed and he’s supposed to lock the gates.” But then the company changed hands. And changed hands again. And then again. By 2002, Ajax was owned by a subsidiary of Citigroup Inc., the nation’s biggest bank. And when Citigroup decided to walk away from Ajax, that promise was lost. Nobody ever explained to Ajax workers nearing retirement just how that could be the case. They would have to figure it out on their own. It would take three years of waiting, of sifting through clues and wrestling with bureaucracies. Three years to learn that thousands of dollars they’d been counting on would not be coming. — Necastro was just 22 when he returned home in 1967 after serving on an aircraft carrier off Vietnam. He had been back a week when he found work in the test lab at Ajax. The company, housed in a former military tank factory – a box of red brick and murky glass just outside the manufacturing town of Warren, Ohio – employed a hundred or so people then. Its president, John Logan, and his two partners often strode the plant floor, greeting workers by name. “You could talk to those guys,” an Ajax veteran, Art Racco, said. “They knew what you built. They knew how complicated it was.” The company wasn’t big, but it played a key role in the Mahoning River Valley’s gritty, thriving economy, making electric melting equipment for the area’s steel mills. Necastro didn’t expect to stay long. But it was a comfortable place where co-workers became his closest friends, sharing poolside barbecues and Caribbean cruises together. Long after Necastro’s first marriage failed, his friendships at Ajax remained strong. But by the time he finished a third decade at Ajax, things were changing. Most of the steel mills in this valley 50 miles southeast of Cleveland had been shuttered. Many storefronts east of Warren’s historic courthouse square had gone dark. Logan and his partners were gone too, selling out to a British conglomerate, BBA Group PLC. And by the 1990s, business was flagging. But a venture capital company owned by Citigroup Inc. looked at Ajax and saw opportunity. In 1998, with a few Ajax executives as minority partners, it bought the company with $135 million borrowed from a consortium of banks, and put the debt on Ajax’s books. The plan: build the business, pay down the debt, and sell the company at a profit. At the time, Ajax was still a going concern. But could it do well enough to survive this huge new debt? As the months dragged on, office workers who got glimpses of Ajax’s books whispered that profits were not increasing fast enough to pay it down. As months ticked by without a sale of Ajax, workers nearing retirement started worrying whether that might affect their pensions. The company tried to reassure them. “There have been a number of rumors and discussions circulating regarding the possibility that either Ajax or its new parent, Citicorp Venture Capital, might modify the pension plans,” it told workers in a 1999 memo. “It is important that each of you be aware that … plan benefits earned as of any given date (known as accrued benefits) cannot be eliminated, changed or removed by any company.” But the rumors persisted. So in 2001, David Holmquist, a company lawyer, gathered workers in the Ajax lunchroom to soothe concerns. One worker captured it on videotape. “What happens if we go bankrupt?” a worker shouted from the back of the room. Holmquist paused, as if pondering his answer. “Our bankruptcy lawyers will do just fine,” he said. “The company has no right to any of the money in the pension plan except if the plan is terminated and there are more funds than needed to give everybody … all the money that they have earned.” At the time, Holmquist assured them, money the company had set aside for their pensions was sufficient to pay them what they had coming to them. That was true, in part, because much of the pension money was invested in the stock market, which had been booming. But what had gone up would soon come down. Meanwhile, workers found new reasons to worry. In 2002, the company shut Ajax’s satellite plant in Richmond, Ky. “What about our retirement benefits?” workers there wrote to the CEO. “Will we be left with nothing?” Dave Hanton, a midlevel manager in Howland, began stopping by the desks or calling the homes of co-workers over 55, asking them to chip in to hire a lawyer to check on their pensions. About 100 workers kicked in $50 each. A few workers, including Tom Kearney, who had 28 years with the company, asked if they could get the value of their pension in a lump sum if they retired immediately. As Kearney remembers it, the answer was no. Then, more bad news. In May 2002, the company announced it was scrapping severance pay. Two days later, nearly 60 employees were called into the cafeteria and told they were terminated. Two weeks later, the company announced that “due to unforeseen events” it was eliminating health insurance. Finally, on the afternoon of June 28, Ajax ran out of rope. It was out of cash and its lenders would give it no more. “I and a few others sniffed it out,” says Lou Moliterno, a former Ajax vice president. “At 3 o’clock, I actually threw together a box of some stuff … and rushed it out to my car.” By evening, the gates were shackled. “Ajax Magnethermic,” says Tom Illencik, then an Ajax middle manager, “closed and ceases to exist.” — Abandoned employees puzzled over what to do. “Not sold. Not bankrupt? How do I get pension?” Necastro scribbled in a note to himself. As it turned out, money set aside for the pensions was still safe, but there wasn’t as much of it now. The stock market had plummeted and interest rates had dropped, leaving the pension accounts holding less than half of what was needed to pay promised benefits. With Ajax shuttered, who was responsible for making up the difference? In their search for answers, workers flocked to Mother Ajax, an Internet discussion board set up by Mike Smith, a salesman who lost his job in the May layoffs. That’s where many first heard about a deal to resurrect Ajax. It was complex, and some elements of it are still unclear. But the paper trail – contained in county court papers, state incorporation records, federal pension files obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, and securities filings – tells much of the story. The banks that were Ajax’s main creditors decided to get out of the business with what they could. In July 2002, they sold the right to collect the debt for pennies on the dollar. Park-Ohio Holdings Corp., a Cleveland company, was the buyer, in a deal that essentially gave it control over how Ajax would be liquidated. Park-Ohio reopened the plant, gradually rehired many workers and then acquired Ajax’s equipment and assets. But Park-Ohio did not buy Ajax itself – so it had no legal responsibility for the promised pensions. Those responsibilities remained with Ajax, now an empty vessel, still owned almost entirely by Citigroup’s venture capital company. But not for long. Citigroup sold most of its interest in Ajax to a shell company set up just for that purpose by Jerry Crawford, brother of Park-Ohio’s chairman and CEO. When the deal was done, ownership in Ajax was dispersed, with no one owning 80 percent of it. The figure is important. Under federal law, no company could be held responsible for funding the $9 million pension shortfall unless it owned at least 80 percent of Ajax. That raises some questions: Why was a shell company formed to buy control of a worthless Ajax? Was the sale structured intentionally to avoid responsibility for funding the pensions? Crawford wouldn’t answer and referred the questions to an attorney who did not return phone calls. His brother Edward, the Park-Ohio CEO, also declined to comment. So did a spokesman for Citigroup, and a spokesman for Credit Suisse First Boston, the lead lender to Ajax. Structuring a deal specifically to evade responsibility for pensions is illegal. The federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, which is responsible for enforcement, investigated, filing an administrative subpoena in late 2002 for access to company files still held in the Howland Avenue building. For reasons that are still unclear, the PBGC was not able to see the records for 15 months. The agency found no evidence of evasion. It’s very difficult to prove, said spokesman Gary Pastorius. However, a PBGC staffer who worked on the later stages of the case, said the agency apparently was unaware that the shell company that bought the largest share of Ajax was owned by the brother of Park-Ohio’s CEO. That might merit a second look, he said. The PBGC has a big stake in how this all turns out. Its main role is to insure pensions, covering the shortfall when companies default on their obligations. That has been happening with increasing frequency, pushing the agency into record deficits. In just the past year, the agency has shouldered 120 terminated pension plans, assuming responsibility for the benefits of 235,000 workers and retirees. The problem has grown so serious that the Bush administration and Congress have been working to craft a law that would require companies to fully fund their pension plans. So, former Ajax workers “started calling the PBGC and started clamoring for what was going to happen,” said Moliterno, a former Ajax executive. The answer was a long time coming. — Almost 2 1/2 years after Ajax closed, letters from the PBGC arrived in the mailboxes of the oldest Ajax workers informing them it would begin paying their monthly pensions. Part of the money would come from $7.9 million the agency recovered from Ajax pension accounts – of $16.7 million owed to workers. Taxpayers will cover the rest. But that does not mean the former Ajax workers will get all the retirement income they had been counting on. The PBGC provides workers only with the benefits they earned before their pension plan was terminated. But in most pension plans – including Ajax’s plan – much of a worker’s pension is accumulated in the last few years of his working life. For the many Ajax workers who were near, but not yet at, retirement age, the loss is considerable. Necastro was expecting to retire at 65 with a pension of $1,600 a month. Instead, he gets $785.70. Hanton, a manager, was expecting $2,300 monthly or a $344,000 lump sum. Instead, at 63, the PBGC is sending him $1,305.85 a month. In the time spent waiting for the first check, he burned through much of his savings. The floor plans he and his wife drew up for a retirement home have been shelved, and talk of travel together has been put aside. The scaling back of expectations has been hard to accept, and not everyone has been able to let it go. For some workers, the pursuit of Ajax is no less than an obsession. “It’s become a vendetta,” Racco acknowledges. Hunched over his kitchen counter, he fingers papers in a binder full of documents from the case as if it was a holy text. The fight for pension dollars has so consumed him that it nearly wrecked his marriage, he says. “Six months ago we went to a counselor,” he says, his voice breaking. “I watched her cry. I watched her say ‘I just want my husband back to the way he used to be.’ That’s when I said ‘I’ve got to change.”‘ But things keep happening that make it impossible to put aside his anger. He badgered Citigroup about his pension and finally got this reply in August of 2004: “I have confirmed with counsel that Citigroup Inc. did not acquire the assets or liabilities of the Ajax Magnethermic Corporation Employees Pension Plan … You might want to contact the PBGC…” And earlier this year, Racco tracked down a lawyer whose name is on top of the pension termination papers filed with the PBGC. Yes, the attorney confirmed, he was the one who formally threw in the towel on Ajax’s pension plans. “Who hired you?” Racco asked. “That’s privileged information,” the lawyer replied. Smith, the former Ajax salesman who was among those fired without notice, is another who couldn’t walk away. For three years, he has pursued a lawsuit demanding severance pay. In July, a federal judge ruled that he and other workers may have grounds for a claim against the banks that made loans to Ajax. But suing a former employer has made it impossible for him to find another job, he says. He spends most days helping out at his brother’s heating and air conditioning business. His savings and unemployment checks tapped out, he filed for bankruptcy last year. “It’s something you try to push toward the back of your mind,” he says of the past 3“ years. “Otherwise you’d go crazy.” — While a few of Ajax’s former workers continue to battle, most say they are trying to move on. Kearney started his own business. Necastro is savoring the time to fish and watching his dollars until he qualifies for Social Security next year. Hanton is doing odd jobs for neighbors and repairing old tractors, a longtime hobby. Still, some wonder if there isn’t a lesson in what happened to their company and their pensions. Sitting at his kitchen table, Hanton shakes his head and smiles, recounting the sermon on financial planning he preached recently to one of his sons and the response it drew. “He said Dad, look at you. You did all the things that you were supposed to do and look what happened to you,” Hanton recalls. “And, you know, I couldn’t give him an answer.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Bulldogs Ready For New Season After A Successful 2017-18 Campaign

first_img2017-18 certainly was a banner year for your Drake Bulldogs. Since my arrival almost eight months ago, we have talked about developing champions in the classroom, in competition and in our community. I’m so proud of what I witnessed during 2018 and have been very impressed by the character and talents of our student-athletes, coaches and staff that comprise our Drake University athletics department.It is still very much summer in Des Moines, but Drake student-athletes will soon be returning to campus and beginning preparations for the upcoming academic and athletic year. Before we officially turn the page to the 2018-19 school year, let’s celebrate a remarkable 2017-18 season by Des Moines’ Hometown Team that saw student-athletes excel with record-setting flair in competition, in the classroom and in our community.The Bulldogs laid claim to five regular-season conference titles and three teams advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Drake’s five male Academic All-Americans also tied for tops in the nation with Navy. Across the board, Drake distinguished itself against its MVC peers as the Bulldogs amassed a .793 winning percentage against MVC foes in sports with head-to-head competition (volleyball, basketball, soccer, tennis, softball). That percentage was 134 points higher than the next winningest program in those sports.In addition to those team accomplishments, Drake student-athletes earned a total of 80 individual all-conference honors and three earned conference Player of the Year accolades. Additionally, softball’s Nicole Newman became the program’s first NFCA All-American after leading the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament.  Print Friendly Version Many of those honored during the 2017-18 season are looking to maintain and build upon that success as the Bulldogs turn the page primed for a successful 2018-19 that begins in earnest Aug. 17 when women’s soccer officially opens its season followed closely by men’s soccer, volleyball, cross country and football.Your support of our student-athletes is very much appreciated by all of us at Drake, and we encourage you to assist in our continued growth in Central Iowa. There is much to be proud about at Drake University and I love the momentum and energy we are building together. This is a great time to be a Bulldog and I look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming sporting events.Let’s Go Drake!Brian HardinDirector of Athletics During the 2018 spring semester, the Bulldogs had a collective GPA of 3.35, the second-highest in department history and 65 percent of Drake’s teams posted their best semester GPA in the past four years during the 2018 spring semester.Finally, a total of 70 student-athletes earned their degree in 2017-18 during fall and spring commencement ceremonies.Drake Spring Semester GraduatesDrake Fall Semester Graduates At the conference level, 65 Drake student-athletes earned academic All-Conference honors and two­ – men’s basketball’s Reed Timmer and women’s basketball’s Sara Rhine – were named their sport’s MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Timmer’s honor was the third of his career.center_img • Women’s soccer was the first of five squads to hoist a title, doing so with an unbeaten 6-0-1 mark in Missouri Valley Conference action.• Women’s basketball maintained its streak of dominance with its second-straight undefeated MVC season and a perfect 18-0 league record before steamrolling through the MVC Tournament to earn the program’s 12th NCAA Tournament appearance.• Both men’s and women’s tennis earned their respective conference titles with the men winning the Summit League Tournament title to make its 11th NCAA appearance and its seventh in the last eight years.• Softball posted a 24-1 record in MVC games en route to the league’s regular-season and tournament titles to become the fifth Drake team to earn an NCAA berth in 2017-18. The team earned two wins over BYU to record the program’s first NCAA Tournament victories and appeared in the regional championship series against host Oregon. All 18 of Drake’s teams posted a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better in 2017-18 and 16 recorded a team GPA of 3.25 or better. The average Drake student-athlete posted a 3.29 GPA during the year with 25 recording perfect 4.0 GPAs. However, those athletic superlatives pale in comparison to the wins the Bulldogs racked up academically. In the recently announced MVC Academic Awards, 192 Bulldogs earned a spot on the MVC Honor Roll with 13 being named to the President’s Council, which requires a minimum 3.8 cumulative GPA. An additional 77 were named to the Commissioner’s list for having a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher.In between winning titles and racking up academic honors, the Bulldogs also stepped off campus to give back to the Des Moines community with nearly 4,000 hours of community service in 2017-18. That total was 1,000 more hours than the department completed in the previous year as Drake’s teams and student-athletes continued to ingrain themselves in the Des Moines. Coaches and staff also added to this total throughout the year and with the department’s first ‘515 Day’ in which nearly every department staff member spent May 15 (5/15) engaged in community service at various locations throughout Des Moines and Central Iowa.  Those impressive academic and athletic performances helped make Drake one of the national leaders in Google Cloud CoSIDA Academic All-America selections. The Bulldogs’ eight Academic All-Americans tied for the fifth-most in the nation with the U.S. Naval Academy.The Bulldogs eight Academic All-Americans put it ahead of all Ivy League institutions, who had a total of 15 honorees as a conference. Drake’s eight were also well ahead of regional peer institutions such as Creighton (4), DePaul (3), Marquette (1), Bradley (3), Butler (2) and Valparaiso (1).last_img read more

EPA to investigate after lorry spills vegetable oil at Barnesmore

first_imgThe Environmental Protection Agency has launched an investigation after an articulated lorry spilt a load of vegetable oil into a river at Barnesmore Gap.The 40-foot lorry landed on its side and slid into a roadside drain at the picturesque site between Donegal Town and Ballybofey.The driver managed to escaped with cuts and bruises. However, a quantity of the reprocessed oil, which was being transported in buckets and drums, ended up in the Lowerymore River.Donegal County Council immediately launched a salvage operation and engaged two private contractors to assist with the clean-up operation.The clean-up was headed up by a specialist pollution response and remediation company engaged by the insurers of company who owned the material spilt.Inland Fisheries Ireland was also alerted to the spillage which took place at 3.30pm on Wednesday afternoon. Officers then deployed booms in the river to catch any material released downstream and to monitoring its impact.A spokesman said there has so far been no evidence of fish deaths as a result of the spillage.Council staff and the various specialist contractors worked quickly to contain the oil emerging through the culvert from the vehicle’s load.The operation continued the early hours of Thursday to unload the truck, retrieve and collect any vegetable oil released and ensure that only minute traces of the vegetable oil entered the river.The vehicle was lifted and removed at approximately 3am, with the assistance of An Garda Siochana to manage traffic flow, and the clean-up continued until all materials were removed. The operation was concluded on Thursday afternoon, although booms remain in place in the Lowerymore river, at a number of strategic locations, to provide continued protection from residual material which may remain lodged in vegetation along the course of the river.Inspections of the lower parts of the river has indicated that the clean-up operation has been a success.There has been no evidence of any traces of the vegetable oil in Lough Eske and the River Eske as it flows out of the lake.The incident has been reported to the Environmental Protection Agency and ongoing monitoring and investigation continues. EPA to investigate after lorry spills vegetable oil at Barnesmore was last modified: October 13th, 2017 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:BarnesmoredonegalInland Fisheriesspilllast_img read more

Warriors mailbag: How will Warriors fare against Portland in Game 3?

first_imgPORTLAND, Ore — Unlike in the regular season, Warriors fans appear more interested in talking about the actual games than all the off-season speculation.No doubt, Warriors fans will have questions about Kevin Durant’s pending free agency. But they also have questions on Durant’s injury, too. They are also intrigued on how the Warriors will fare against the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. Lots of good messages to clear out of the inbox.I’ll …last_img read more

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