Coaches tap Linney, Neller as most outstanding cagers

first_imgSt. John Vianney High School’s Katelyn Linney and Christian Brothers Academy’s Brian Neller have been named the Players of the Year by the Shore Conference basketball coaches. Linney, a senior guard, led St. John Vianney to the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions crown this winter. The Lancers defeated Colts Neck High School on March 23 in the Tournament of Champions final at the Izod Center in East Rutherford. Neller, a senior forward, sparked CBA to the Shore Conference Tournament championship and to the NJSIAA Non-Public A South state sectional crown. Linney heads a powerful All-Shore Girls First Team that includes Rumson-Fair Haven’s Kate Miller, Neptune’s Shakeena Richardson, Colts Neck’s Lauren Clarke, Freehold’s Shannon Mayrose and Middletown South’s Danielle Pankey. Miller’s Rumson Bulldogs won the NJSIAA Group II state title while Clarke’s Colts Neck Cougars won the NJSIAA Group IV crown and advanced to the Tournament of Champions final against St. John Vianney. Richardson led Neptune to the Shore Conference Tournament crown and to the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III title and Pankey led Middletown South to the Central Jersey Group III final where the Eagles lost to Neptune. Mayrose was named the Most Valuable Player of Freehold’s Jack Kuhnert Holiday Tournament triumph and averaged 21 points and 11 rebounds per game for the season. Colts Neck’s Brooke Hampton heads up the All-Shore Girls Second Team. St. John Vianney freshman Michaela Mabrey, Raritan’s Alexa Ryan, Neptune’s Syessence Davis, Southern Regional’s Kristen Sharkey and Manchester’s Camille Valmo completed the team. The All-Shore Boys First Team includes Neller and his CBA teammate Pat Light. They are joined on the first team by Neptune’s D.J. Gutridge, Monmouth Regional’s Joe Willman, Manasquan’s Matt Vadas and Central Regional’s Ibn Moyer. Light and Neller helped to make Colts the Shore Conference’s top team. Gutridge led Neptune to the Central Jersey Group III title and Vadas fueled Manasquan’s drive to the Central Jersey Group II crown. Willman had Monmouth Regional ranked No. 1 in the conference before a broken wrist cut his season short. The Falcons wound up sharing the Shore Conference B North Division crown with Neptune. Moyer helped to lead Central Regional to a state tournament berth. Matt Devine, who had a 42-point outburst in the state tournament during Freehold Township High School’s run to the Central Jersey Group IV championship game, tops the All-Shore Boys Second Team. Freehold’s Christian Garcia, CBA’s Roy Mabrey, Monmouth Regional’s Neil Thompson, Point Pleasant Boro’s Patrick Hart and Point Pleasant Beach’s Jarelle Reischel complete the squad. Neptune’s John Brown finished first in the poll for Girls Coach of the Year, edging out St. John Vianney’s Dawn Karpell and Middletown South’s Tom Brennan. CBA’s Geoff Billett was selected as the Boys Coach of the Year. Neptune’s Ken O’Donnell was second in the voting and Freehold’s Ben DiBiase was third. The Division Coaches of the Year awards for the girls went to Bennan in A North; Karpell in A Central; Rachel Goodale of Jackson Memorial and Vicki Gillen Toms River North in A South; Brown in B North; and Darren Ault of Mater Dei and Kevin Flynn of Keyport in B Central. The Division Coaches of the Year awards went to Billet in A North; Joe Nappo of Red Bank Catholic in A Central; Ed Sarluca of Brick Memorial in A South; DiBiase in B North; and Phil Recco of Keyport in B Central.last_img read more

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Russian police evacuate hotel, bars, restaurants, after bomb threat

first_imgRussian police said early on Wednesday they had received multiple bomb threats in the World Cup host city of Rostov-on-Don, causing bars and restaurants to be evacuated across the city.“On June 26, police received a series of phone calls about explosives planted at locations in Rostov-on-Don,” local police said in a statement.“Police forces made all the necessary checks and no dangerous objects were found,” the statement said. “Currently, all the venues are operating normally.”Increasingly isolated on the global stage, Russia is keen to use the World Cup to project an image of stability and strength. Authorities have vowed to host a safe event and any security incidents involving fans could jeopardise Moscow’s efforts.A policeman at the Topos Congress-Hotel in Rostov-on-Don, which was evacuated at around 2000 GMT on Tuesday, said 16 venues had been evacuated across the city as part of a drill.On the other side of the city, a manager at the Luciano Italian restaurant said staff had been told to evacuate the building for around two hours after receiving a bomb threat.“There was a phone call, an anonymous phone call, they said there was a bomb in the building,” said the manager, who declined to give their name because they were not authorised to speak to the media.A spokesman for soccer’s world governing body FIFA was not immediately available for comment.The Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, some 955 km (593 miles) south of Moscow, has so far hosted four matches in the World Cup, including Croatia’s 2-1 win over Iceland earlier on Tuesday. The next scheduled match at the venue is on Monday.The city is just a short distance from Russia’s border with eastern Ukraine, where rebels backed by Moscow have been fighting Ukrainian troops since 2014, and its close proximity to the conflict had caused security concerns ahead of the tournament.The Topos Congress-Hotel is listed as an official World Cup hotel by FIFA, but none of the competing teams are staying there, according to official documents.Police at the scene said the hotel had been evacuated due to a bomb threat and sniffer dogs were seen entering the building, a Reuters witness said.Security services were seen questioning people on the street outside the hotel, next to emergency vehicles and a crowd of around 60 evacuated guests who had not yet been allowed back into the building.Russia was subject to a wave of hoax bomb threats last summer, causing disruption at businesses and public buildings in towns and cities across the country.The Russian Federal Security Service said in October it had identified four Russian citizens behind the hoax campaign, who were living abroad and using internet phone services to call in the threats anonymously.last_img read more

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Nicole Richie free; served 82 minutes of four-day jail sentence

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The co-star of TV’s “The Simple Life” and daughter of singer Lionel Richie was arrested Dec. 11 after driving her Mercedes-Benz SUV the wrong way on the Ventura (134) Freeway in Burbank. Richie told authorities she had smoked marijuana and taken the prescription painkiller Vicodin, a CHP officer said at the time. No drugs were found on her or in the car. Richie took the plea deal to avoid up to a year in jail for a second DUI conviction. Socialite and reality TV star Nicole Richie served just 82 minutes of her four-day sentence this afternoon for a DUI conviction after she turned herself into county sheriff’s custody. Richie, who pleaded guilty last month for driving under the influence of drugs, was booked into the Century Regional Detentional Facility in Lynwood about 3:15 p.m., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Johnie Jones said. Richie, 25, who is roughly four months pregnant, was released at 4:37 p.m., according to the sheriff’s department’s inmate information Web site. A Glendale Superior Court commissioner last month sentenced her to four days in jail. last_img read more

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On stump for bond, lawmakers join forces

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsVillaraigosa praised Schwarzenegger – comparing him to former Gov. Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, who spearheaded a massive public works program in the 1960s. “This will go down as one of the most important measures ever to come before voters,” Villaraigosa said. “We are asking this generation to shoulder the burden so the next generation can live better lives.” Schwarzenegger, who raised the prospect of a massive public works bond package in his State of the State address this year, said the four separate measures – funding transportation, housing, education and flood protection – are critical to modernizing the state. “I talked about that we must rebuild California,” Schwarzenegger said. “California now has a population of 37 million people and we are designed for 25 million people.” The measures would generate $20 billion for transportation programs, $10 billion for school construction and renovation, $4 billion for levee repairs and $3 billion for affordable housing. If approved, the measures are expected to cost $2.6 billion a year. Flanked by Democratic and Republican leaders, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger launched a five-month campaign Monday to win voter approval for a $37 billion bond package designed to modernize the state’s infrastructure. Arriving on a private jet with Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez, Senate President Pro Tem Dom Perata and others, Schwarzenegger said the measures approved last week showed what lawmakers could do when they collaborate. “This is a very historic occasion,” Schwarzenegger said. “How often do you see us traveling together?” Also joining were several staunch Democratic officials such as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, as well as Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, a Republican, and the GOP legislative leadership. Nuñez and Perata said the Legislature came together when they decided that – even with it being an election year in which Schwarzenegger is seeking re-election – they would try to develop a program they all agreed was needed. “I think people are tired of the partisanship,” Perata said. “And, I think if we didn’t do something, they would have thrown us out of office. We don’t need partisanship to tell us people are angry when they’re stuck idling on the freeway.” Nuñez said he was pleased with the package because of what it provides Los Angeles for education programs. “This is the largest investment in public education we have ever had,” Nuñez said. “People come here to live the California dream and we want to make that possible for them.” The officials said they were beginning the early campaign – voters still have the June 6 primary to get through – to try to focus attention on the bipartisan nature of the measures and their need. The mayor said he was particularly pleased with the transportation money that was included, which will help in his plans to build a subway to the Pacific Ocean. “When we started with this there was not one quarter for transportation in these measures,” Villaraigosa said. “I’m glad to see that the state listened to us about what our needs are.” Schwarzenegger would not be drawn into questions about how the measures would affect him politically in a race against either Democratic state Treasurer Phil Angelides or state Controller Steve Westly. Angelides and Westly have endorsed the bond proposals. The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce said it is backing the measures to help the state economy. “This bond is exactly what we need,” chamber Chairman Dave Nichols said. “The chamber sent 100 business leaders to Sacramento this March with a clear message: Our aging and overburdened transportation system is running on empty and needs investment now.” rick.orlov@dailynews.com (213) 978-0390160Want 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

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Blade doing Tennessee waltz

first_imgYou better believe it was a tough decision this past summer for former Canyon High football defensive coordinator Scott Blade to leave his beloved Cowboys for his first head coaching job – all the way across the country at Hillsboro High in Nashville, Tenn. But, oh, has it been worth it. Blade, 33, has never been happier, leading Hillsboro to a 10-0 regular-season record and a No. 2 ranking in its region this week heading into the first round of the Tennessee 4A playoffs, which is the state’s second-largest division. “I really like it here,” Blade said. “I like everything about it, even though Nashville is so different than L.A., especially the weather. I’d never felt humidity like here, which is much different than the dry heat at Canyon. At Canyon, you get a nice sun tan, but in Nashville the humidity just zaps the water right out of you. There have been a lot of changes for me and my family, but they’ve all been positive.” Amazingly, two years earlier Blade had wanted to remain close to home but was spurned by Golden Valley High’s administration when he asked for a job. The Grizzlies have since won two games in two seasons, including an 0-8 record this year. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECalifornia’s bungled $1 billion accounting system “I sent (Golden Valley Principal) Jacque Snyder a letter of inquiry asking about the application deadline, and let’s just say I didn’t get the warmest feeling back,” Blade said. “I wanted to be Golden Valley’s first coach, and I thought I should have been given consideration. I told them I already had a staff in place for Golden Valley, and had even designed uniforms and T-shirts. They decided I wasn’t what they were looking for.” Snyder said Monday that she could not recall Blade’s interests. So Blade, who played at Canyon and briefly coached at Glendale College and College of the Canyons before returning to his alma mater when head coach Harry Welch came out of retirement in 2001, searched far and wide for a program willing to provide an opportunity for someone who had proven himself as an underling but had no head-coaching experience. Frankly, Blade never expected a second look from Hillsboro, which had nearly 30 applicants – many with long track records of successes – who applied to be the new coach. Yet Principal Bob Lawson was willing to take a chance on him. “I was particularly impressed with Scott’s presence and his plan,” Lawson said. “I also had a long chat with Harry Welch, and he was very positive about what Scott had done as Canyon’s head assistant, and that Scott was ready to be a head coach.” When he got the job, Blade was in such a time crunch that he hired all of his assistants over the phone. Then Blade did what came naturally, which was to convert Hillsboro, which had averaged 12 victories over the preceding six seasons (including three consecutive section championship appearances from 2001-03,) into a mirror image of Canyon. Hillsboro had run a conservative wing-T offense and man-to-man defense, but Blade switched to a Canyon-style one-back spread offense and a zone defense. “It’s the same Canyon offense, defense and special teams,” Blade said. “We kind of turned everything upside-down from what the kids had done before, but they’ve really bought into it. It’s the same stuff you see at Canyon, but no one sees it out here.” It’s working, big time. Hillsboro is averaging nearly 35 points per game and has won by an average margin of more than 23 points. “Actually, a lot of the points we’ve given up have been at the end when the outcome already was decided,” Lawson said. “I think twice the other team scored on the last play.” Matt Arent had passed for more than 1,500 yards and 19 touchdowns, and Jacquese Seward has rushed for nearly 1,300 yards with 25 touchdowns. “We even totaled 400 yards in the rain last week,” Blade said. “I think the best thing about this team is they keep on wanting to get better every week.” Blade, his wife Shari, twin daughters Lauren and Alexis, 7, and daughter Brooke, 4, are loving every minute of it. “It’s been a big challenge but we’re really enjoying it,” he said. “Depending on who we play, we get at least a few thousand at every game, and the press coverage is pretty good, too. I’ve been interviewed on TV in the main news five times, and last Wednesday they had me in the studio. The principal and everyone else had made me feel like a million bucks, and they continue to do that every day. Football is king out here.” Reluctantly, Blade admits he sometimes feels a bit homesick, but he’s never been happier. “I still miss the Canyon kids and the community, and I miss working with Harry Welch,” he said. “But it’s OK because I keep up and still talk with Harry about twice a week.” Blade isn’t the only one with local football ties who’s made an out-of-state impact. Former Hart High receiver Taylor Embree, who moved to Kansas for his senior year, has emerged as quite a player for Blue Valley West High in Stilwell. Embree has 27 receptions for 354 yards and five touchdowns despite missing nearly three full games for Blue Valley West (5-4), which begins the playoffs this week. “Taylor is an outstanding player,” Blue Valley West coach Scott Wright said. “We knew he was great as a junior at Hart, and he’d probably have a lot more receptions for us if he didn’t miss those games and we didn’t have a great corps of receivers who also have a lot of catches.” Embree, who’s 6-foot-3, is being heavily recruited and might commit soon to Missouri or Kansas. Meanwhile, Hart (4-4) has had its struggles without Embree, who was the team’s only experienced returning receiver. “Embree is really doing that well out there? Oh, don’t tell me that,” Hart coach Mike Herrington said with a smile. The big football game this week is Canyon (5-2, 2-0) vs. Saugus (5-3, 2-0) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at College of the Canyons. Defending Div. II champion Canyon, idle last week, can clinch the Foothill League title, while Saugus can prove itself with its first victory this season over a .500 opponent. Like Blade, Saugus coach Jason Bornn, who’s in his fourth season, is a former Canyon assistant under Welch. Can the pupil teach a little something to the master? We shall see. “Canyon is by far the best football team we’ll face all year,” Bornn said. “They’re physical, and they do what they do extremely well.” Saugus has won three in a row but is a 22-point underdog, according to calpreps.com. “Twenty-two points? It should be more than that,” Bornn said. “Canyon almost beat Notre Dame (of Sherman Oaks), and Notre Dame drilled us. You have to look at the teams we’ve beat, but our goal remains the same: to win the Foothill League championship. It would be kind of cool to beat Canyon, huh?” Winter baseball competition begins next month, and it should prove interesting to see how Hart’s team shapes up because the Indians, who return several top pitchers, should be the league favorite over defending champion Valencia, which has graduated nearly every key starter after winning a school-record 25 games last season. In the meantime, Hart’s players have kept busy with various baseball activities. Donny Williams and Jenzen Torres are playing club ball, and Michael Montgomery and Danny Susdorf are playing for pro scout teams. In other Hart baseball news, former standout Tyler Fick, who enjoyed a solid season at Cuesta College last spring after turning his back on a Cal State Northridge scholarship, is recovering from arm surgery two months ago. He’s working hard in rehab and could be back for the season opener. Gerry Gittelson’s column appears in the Daily News three times a week. He can be reached at (661) 257-5218 or gerry.gittelson@dailynews.com. 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

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Predicted – How the Championship table will finish in 2019/20 *October update*

first_img Getty Images – Getty rookie error Getty Images – Getty 7 7 LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS Getty Images – Getty Getty Images – Getty 7 Ian Holloway thinks Arsenal have made a mistake in hiring Mikel Arteta What every Premier League club’s fans dream of this Christmas 1. Leeds United (Promoted as champions) appointed Strugglers Wigan hold Blackburn to goalless draw in Championship BIG PRESENTS UP TOP stalemate Steve Round reveals how Mikel Arteta convinced him to join Arsenal staff Top scorer in 2019: Messi, Mbappe and Sterling trailing Europe’s top marksman 7 We are already a fifth of the way through the Championship season and already it looks like it will be another tight season.Just four points separate first place West Brom and Fulham in 10th with the lead changing hands several times already.The early favourites, Leeds and Swansea, have both slipped up in recent matches and have left the table wide open. 24. Barnsley23. Reading22. Millwall21. Wigan Athletic20. Luton Town19. Huddersfield18. Stoke City Getty Images – Getty Getty Images – Getty center_img targets Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds are currently fourth in the Championship Lee Bowyer guided Charlton back to the Championship last season 7 Nathan Jones is in danger of losing his job at Stoke 7 Tony Cascarino backs Everton to sign two strikers for Carlo Ancelotti Slaven Bilic’s West Brom have only lost one of their first 10 games 17. Birmingham City16. Hull City15. Preston North End14. Middlesbrough13. Sheffield Wednesday12. Brentford11. Blackburn Rovers10. Charlton Athletic 9. Cardiff City8. Queens Park Rangers7. Derby County6. Fulham (Play-offs)5. Swansea City (Play-offs)4. Bristol City (Play-offs)3. Nottingham Forest (Play-offs) Spurs investigation into alleged racial abuse of Rudiger is so far ‘inconclusive’ on target There are still plenty of games left for everything to change and it is setting up to be another classic season.We have fired up the talkSPORT Super Computer to find out just what is going to happen.You can see the results and the predicted Championship table below. 2. West Bromwich Albion (Promoted) statement Liverpool transfer news live: Star man wanted by Real Madrid, Mbappe latest and more 7 latest Charlton are the surprise packages of this season and up in sixth place after Lee Bowyer masterminded a win over his former club Leeds.At the other end of the table, it is perhaps a surprise to see Huddersfield and Stoke occupying the last two places without a win to their name in nine games.Last season’s play-off finalists, Derby, are in turmoil following a nightmare week that saw two of their players arrested on suspicion of drink driving and captain Richard Keogh ruled out for 15 months with a knee injury from a car crash. Nottingham Forest have made a flying start Leeds lost out in the play-offs last seasonlast_img read more

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‘Emery’s decision smacked of poor leadership’ – Arsenal boss slammed

first_imgNonetheless, the German was restored to the starting XI on Saturday, but he failed to make a noticeable impact in north London as Raul Jimenez cancelled out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s opening goal to secure Wolves a point.And Emery made a huge error selecting Ozil, Cascarino claims, with the decision made entirely to appease fans rather than for any tactical benefit.“Unai Emery’s decision to start Mesut Özil against Wolves smacked of poor leadership,” writes Cascarino in The Times.“If the Arsenal manager genuinely believed Özil was the man to lift his faltering team, he would have used him more than twice in the Premier League this season. LIVE on talkSPORT Mesut Ozil was named in Arsenal’s starting line-up on Saturday for only the second time this Premier League season – and Unai Emery should be criticised for the decision, according to Tony Cascarino.The former Chelsea and Republic of Ireland forward claims Emery caved into fan pressure by starting Ozil, a player the Spaniard is clearly not keen on having outcast him this campaign.Ozil had started only one league game before Saturday’s draw with Wolves – the 2-2 draw at Watford in September – with his two other appearances in 2019/20 coming in the Carabao Cup. PEP TALK Liverpool transfer news live: Mbappe latest, Lille star wants to join Reds in future appointed stalemate Strugglers Wigan hold Blackburn to goalless draw in Championship Pep Guardiola gives Man City injury update and talks Christmas schedule LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS Spurs investigation into alleged racial abuse of Rudiger is so far ‘inconclusive’ AFP or licensors Chelsea fan arrested for allegedly racially abusing Heung-min Son LATEST Steve Round reveals how Mikel Arteta convinced him to join Arsenal staff Ian Holloway thinks Arsenal have made a mistake in hiring Mikel Arteta update Stoke vs West Brom (Monday, 8pm) – talkSPORT 2Borussia Dortmund vs Inter (Tuesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT 2Vitoria Guimaraes vs Arsenal (Wednesday, 3:50pm) – talkSPORT 2Red Star Belgrade vs Tottenham (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORTAtalanta vs Manchester City (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT 2Lazio vs Celtic (Thursday, 5:55pm) – talkSPORT 2Chelsea vs Crystal Palace (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORTNottingham Forest vs Derby (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2Southampton vs Everton (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2Leicester vs Arsenal (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORTCardiff vs Bristol City (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2 Top scorer in 2019: Messi, Mbappe and Sterling trailing Europe’s top marksman rookie error 1 Tony Cascarino backs Everton to sign two strikers for Carlo Ancelotti on target statement targets Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Ndidi bid, targets named, Ozil is ‘skiving little git’ “Instead, his selection seemed motivated by a desire to appease the Arsenal fans.“If Emery is to turn things around at the Emirates, he needs to do more than simply pick a fan favourite.”With Emery under real pressure in north London, various contenders to replace the Spaniard in the dugout have been named in the media – with former Chelsea and Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho allegedly in the running.However, Cascarino told talkSPORT on Sunday that a current Premier League coach is the perfect option for the Gunners. latest Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week Some Arsenal fans are not happy about the way Emery has treated Mesut Ozil “Man United job, Arsenal job – Chris Wilder? Absolutely,” Cascarino said.“There would be a snobbery around football that would go for [Massimiliano] Allegri or Mourinho. But I’m like, ‘No, I’d rather go with Chris Wilder’.“He knows football, he’s a proper football person. Like Sir Alex Ferguson, Jurgen Klopp at Mainz, Pep Guardiola at Barcelona B – he’s shown what he can do.“I believe there are managers in lower league football who are very gifted and deserve an opportunity. Chris has gone through the whole lot.”last_img read more

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Secretary of State Lawson visiting Washington County today

first_imgThe Salem Rotary Club meets at Noon on Mondays at the Stevens Memorial Museum. Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson is speaking at the Salem Rotary Club as the keynote speaker on Monday, February 23.She will speak with members of the Rotary about Indiana’s new crowd funding rules, the Business One-Stop project and her ongoing efforts to improve financial literacy.last_img

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LISTEN BACK: Hugh McFadden

first_imgDonegal footballers Ryan McHugh and Hugh McFadden will once again host their multi-activity summer camps in Killybegs (August 7-11) and Kilcar (August 14-18) this month. Hugh spoke to Ocean FM’s Darragh Cox on Sunday Sport.last_img

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WCU, Morris Broadband partnering to provide high-speed internet to Cullowhee Valley

first_imgThe availability of high-speed internet service is among the main factors potential new business and industry consider when determining where to locate as well as for WCU faculty, staff and students trying to decide where to live, said Rich Price, director of economic development for Jackson County. Under the agreement, Morris Broadband will install broadband distribution lines and other equipment on poles owned by Western Carolina Power, with the project scheduled for completion within the next 18 months. “This project exemplifies creative thinking and use of existing assets to further the proliferation of high-speed broadband throughout our county and region,” he said. “We are grateful for our partners at Western Carolina University and Morris Broadband, along with the North Carolina Broadband Infrastructure Office, for working collaboratively to make this deployment project a reality.” “We hope the public-private sector cooperation implicit in this deal can be a springboard for similar projects throughout Western North Carolina,” he said. “We were looking at the possibility of getting out of power distribution because that’s not really part of a university’s core mission,” Byers said. “But then we realized that the need for broadband internet access today is similar to the need for electricity many years ago, and that we could perhaps find a private partner who could make use of our existing utility poles to bring reliable, high-speed internet access to rural areas around campus.” “The university originally got into the business of providing electrical service because it had to, and it wanted to ensure a reliable source of electrical power in Cullowhee back in the day,” Byers said. “The university originally generated hydroelectric power at a dam on the Tuckaseigee River to provide electricity to the campus and also to private homes and businesses near campus.” “Morris Broadband is excited to partner with Western Carolina Power to extend broadband services, with speed packages initially ranging from 25 megabytes to 500 megabytes per second, to more than 700 homes in underserved and nonserved areas in Cullowhee and Jackson County. Customers in the new service area, as well as Morris Broadband’s existing Jackson County subscribers, will benefit from our upgraded infrastructure,” Carter said. The project began a couple of years back, as university officials began a study to determine whether WCU should keep its electrical power distribution system, said Mike Byers, vice chancellor for administration and finance. Today, the university provides electric service to more than 3,350 customers in the Cullowhee Valley area, and high-speed internet access will be available to all those customers once the installation is completed by early 2020. Over the years, the university ceased generating its own power and began purchasing it from Nantahala Power & Light Co. and later Duke Energy for use on campus and distribution to those off-campus customers it had been serving historically. Eric Boyette, the state’s chief information officer and secretary of the Department of Information Technology, called the partnership effort “an important step in helping to bridge the digital divide and level the playing field” between parts of rural Western North Carolina and more urban areas of the state. “A very large swath of central Jackson County may now become more attractive for commercial and residential development because of the access to high-speed information sharing, not to mention that those currently residing or working in that footprint will have the opportunity to engage in a more competitive and more expeditious manner than ever before,” Price said. “Without access to the vast resources so readily available to those who live in bigger cities, residents of the rural parts of our state risk being left behind by those who have more robust digital access,” Boyette said. “Our department encourages public-private partnerships of this type to ensure more widespread access to high-speed internet and the educational, social, cultural and economic benefits it can provide.” Late last year, the university issued a request for proposals for the project. That’s where Morris Broadband comes into the picture, reaching agreement with WCU in mid-July. The company expects to invest $1.5 million in the project, said Tony Carter, Morris Broadband general manager. Western Carolina University has reached an agreement with Morris Broadband to expand high-speed internet service to rural, underserved areas of the Cullowhee Valley area near campus through the use of existing power poles owned by the university’s electricity distribution service.last_img read more

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