More storms likely today

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Thursday’s giant storm dumped .44 inches of rain on a Los Angeles County rain gauge near Division and Avenue K in central Lancaster. Wind knocked down trees, damaged mobile homes and snapped power poles. At one point Thursday, more than 15,000 homes and businesses in the Antelope Valley were without power, and Southern California Edison crews and private crews hired by the utility were still working Friday repairing damage. Steve Keller, whose home south of Avenue L and west of 20th Street West had its power knocked out Thursday night, said he was concerned that it took so long for electricity to be restored, and fears what would follow an Southern California earthquake or other major disaster. “For 51/2 hours we sweltered. Fortunately, we had candles and such,” Keller said. At the most Thursday, about half the 130 traffic signals in Lancaster were either flashing red or dark. By Friday morning, about 30 still were flashing and two were still dark. This came about even though Lancaster had installed backup batteries intended to keep signals functioning when power goes out. The backup batteries have worked properly in past electrical outages, but Thursday’s storm caused power surges that destroyed signal controllers’ computer cards or sent water into the controller cabinets, Public Works Director Randy Williams said. In some cases power was out so long the batteries ran down so low they would not recharge automatically, he said. City workers were called in on overtime to try to get the rest of the signals working, Williams said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LANCASTER – More lightning, rain and wind are expected in parts of the Antelope Valley today. Heavy rain and lightning dropped on Pearblossom and the San Gabriel Mountains on Friday, but the storm mostly spared Lancaster, where residents and work crews were still cleaning up from the previous day’s powerful storm. “Things have started to die down up there for the time being. It died off before it tracked over where yesterday’s (storm) went,” National Weather Service meteorologist Jamie Meier said. The weather service said thunderstorms remain possible today, as well as temperatures up to 113 in parts of the Antelope Valley, with slightly cooler temperatures and more thunderstorms into next week. last_img read more

Mayor, publisher at odds

first_img“He kept insisting and I got close \, which was wrong,” Bagwell said. “In hindsight I should have brought the reporter into the office and closed the door.” Robles declined to comment until the investigation is complete. Emotions were already running hot at Tuesday’s special meeting after Bagwell and council members Norma Lopez- Reid and Jeff Siccama voted to fire City Attorney Marco Martinez. Bad blood between Bagwell and Robles dates back to when Bagwell voted – along with Lopez-Reid and Siccama – to remove Robles from his position as a planning commissioner on Jan. 25. Robles had been appointed by a different council majority Sept. 14, before the November elections shifted power to the current majority of Bagwell, Siccama and Lopez-Reid. “It looks like a person who’s looking f or a cause,” Bagwell said. Detective Sgt. Dave Rodriguez confirmed Robles had filed the report, but he would not comment further. MONTEBELLO – Local newspaper publisher Chris Robles filed a police report Tuesday alleging Mayor Bob Bagwell gave him a shove to the belly following a special City Council meeting, police said Wednesday. Bagwell denied physically attacking Robles in any way, although he acknowledged tensions were high between them. “My waistline is bigger than my pride, I must say,” Bagwell said. “I just walked up to him, and yes, I got close, but it was a brush, not a push, but that’s because my stomach sticks out further than it should. An egg wouldn’t have broken between us.” According to Bagwell, things became heated when Robles tried to interrupt an int erview Tuesday between Bagwell and a Montebello Comet reporter in an attempt to ask a question. Robles publishes the Montebello Community News. Once all the findings are in, the case will be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office to determine whether a formal complaint will be issued, Rodriguez said. pam.wight@sgvn.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029160Want 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

Classes bursting at the seams

first_imgJay Gussin is an idealistic, passionate teacher who, for more than two decades, has believed his is a noble profession and that educators can shape students’ lives. Until this year. With nearly 40 students crowded into each of his science classes at Robert Frost Middle School in Granada Hills, Gussin fears he can do no better than perform “educational triage” – focusing only on the students with the best chance of success. “What you have to do is make perfectly terrible choices on how you run the classroom and on who gets educated and who doesn’t. I can’t save everybody, so I just have to plow along,” he said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe joys and headaches of holiday travel: John Phillips“It makes me want to stop working because it makes me feel I’m supporting something that is bad for kids.” Gussin’s complaint is common among teachers in California, who average 40percent more students than their counterparts nationwide. Officials fear the high student-to-teacher ratios will dramatically affect performance, especially in high schools, where students have to take college-preparatory classes and pass achievement tests to graduate. Officials locally and nationally blame overcrowding on a lack of money to build and staff more classrooms. And crowding is even more critical in Los Angeles Unified, where a multibillion-dollar school construction program is finally beginning to ease a critical shortage of classroom space. “In California education, the broad climate is framed by a climate of scarcity – when there just aren’t enough resources to go around. That creates a context in which well-meaning educators have to engage in these triage responses, which directly contradict state and federal policies, which are calling for more attention to students who have greater needs,” said John Rogers, associate director of UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education and Access. “I think it’s the responsibility of every elected official and every educator to speak truth in a system that is upholding high stakes for students,” he said. “They need to name the fact that there’s just not enough resources.” Set to take greater control over Los Angeles Unified beginning Jan.1, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa sees class size as one of his greatest challenges in trying to improve achievement for the district’s 727,000 students. And while he will do what he can by reorganizing the nation’s second-largest district, he also plans to turn to state lawmakers for help. “It’s one of the most important things we can do to raise achievement in our schools, and yet we have one of the largest class sizes in America,” he said. “Our hope is to focus on cutting bureaucratic waste and redirecting that money to teachers and classrooms. But ultimately, if you want to fundamentally impact the issue of class size, we’ve got to go to the Legislature for the funding to do that.” Nightmarish task For now, the challenge of maintaining district-imposed class-size averages falls to assistant principals at each campus. It’s a nightmarish task because the averages vary widely, depending on type of school, grade level and even the subject. The district’s 11th and 12th grades have the largest classes, with academic classes averaged or “normed” at 40.5 students in most schools. Campuses in which racial minorities comprise more than 70percent of the student body generally have smaller classes than those in what the district calls “desegregated” schools, budget director Roger Rasmussen said. For instance, elementary classes are normed at 30.5 students in heavily minority schools and 36 in desegregated campuses. The state mandates that grades first through third have an average of 20 students. “I think that the board and the district would prefer to be able to reduce class sizes, but it depends on two things – space and cost,” Rasmussen said. “We have to have enough classrooms built to reduce class sizes further, and class size competes with other issues in the budget for how we spend our money.” Los Angeles Unified is wrapping up a $19.2billion construction program. When it’s completed in 2012, there will be enough additional space to reduce class size by two students in grades four through 12. Gussin recalls when the district increased the middle school “norm” to 38.5 students in 2001 because the size of his classes spiked dramatically. “Nobody wants to talk about that. It’s the dirty little secret,” Gussin said. “I want to see classes of 36. Thirty-six is a lot different from 39 and 40. It’s the difference between being able to run a class and being able to handle a class.” Mayor has plans Villaraigosa said that even though he’s going to be held accountable for turning around the district’s lowest-performing schools, he also has plans for those that fall in the middle of the pack. Parents send their children to successful public elementary schools such as Colfax, Carpenter and Studio City, but then they put them in private schools or move from the area once they reach middle school because the quality of the secondary schools diminishes dramatically, Villaraigosa said. “The schools in the middle – that’s where this war’s going to get fought. The lower-decile schools and higher-achieving schools we’re going to put a lot of focus and effort on, but the real battle’s going to get fought in the middle,” he said. “I want to put a plan together to reclaim the middle and high schools for these kids. We’ve got to bring middle-class students back.” But for now, teachers in the trenches are trying to achieve a modicum of success with more than three dozen students in each classroom. Eric Gallagher, who teaches seventh-grade English at Reed Middle School in North Hollywood, said he has to plan every minute or his 38-student classes will spin out of control. He also spends as much time as possible working with individual students during nutrition and lunch breaks and after school to compensate for the lack of one-on-one time in class. But Gallagher said if the administration did not support him, giving him resources when needed, his job would be impossible. “If I didn’t have that, I wouldn’t be able to operate at all,” he said. A first-year teacher at Hamilton Middle School in Los Angeles, Sara-Jean Lipmen has 34 students in most of her history classes – although one has 37 – and two Spanish classes of 40 students each. “It’s impossible for me to keep track of which ones are the special-needs students, who’re the seniors and the freshmen. I probably have dozens of kids who are having issues, and I haven’t had time to sit down and talk to them about it,” said Lipmen, 23, of Sherman Oaks. “I’ve got 10 months to get to know 200 people really well, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it.” Not surprised Lipmen wasn’t surprised when she saw the size of the classes she had to teach because she’s a product of LAUSD. She remembers being in a calculus class with 54 other students at Van Nuys High – the only semester she ever failed a class, which she blamed on the class size. Large classes affect how teachers provide instruction and assess student learning and development – everything from grading papers to providing a shoulder to lean on. “The difference between 36 and 40 students may not sound like a lot, but that’s an extra 11percent students, and hence each student is losing direct time with the teacher,” said Rogers, the UCLA education expert. “And when you have huge class sizes, you make it difficult for new teachers and you undercut the ability of really outstanding teachers to have a powerful impact.” Rogers said he thinks the mayor may be able to leverage additional resources from philanthropic foundations, as well as the state Legislature. “What’s critical is to document how these additional resources are used and, hopefully, demonstrate those additional resources can make an impact on young people,” Rogers said. “The mayor has special relationships in Sacramento that gives him a sense of efficacy members of the school board may not have.” Gussin is looking forward to the mayor’s expanded role as spelled out under Assembly Bill 1381, which was signed into law two weeks ago. But he thinks the class-size numbers will change only if the district is pressured to do so. “It’s going to be parents who change this. Even if they drop the norm by one, you would find teachers who’d be ecstatic about it. “It would be a great way to change things,” he said. “But nobody’s talking about it.” naush.boghossian@dailynews.com (818) 713-3722160Want 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

Unai Emery’s injury woes worsen as Sokratis is ruled out for a month

first_imgArsenal have provided an update on the fitness of their centre-backs Sokratis and Laurent Koscielny.Unai Emery has been handed another injury blow as Greek international Sokratis has been sidelined for approximately a month after falling awkwardly on his ankle during his side’s 3-1 defeat to Manchester United. Lukaku accidentally caught Koscielny on the side of the head on Friday evening LATEST ARSENAL NEWS FUNDS NEEDED A brilliant Arsenal line-up with new signings, including World Cup star Perisic wow Sokratis has been ruled out for a month LATEST Arsenal bid for Brazilian, Spurs boost, Man United and Liverpool rivals for striker 3 Let me go After the game, Emery did not believe the injuries to his defenders were serious.He said: ”I think they weren’t big injuries for Sokratis [his ankle]. Maybe Laurent Koscielny is going to hospital to [analyse] what injury he has. Maybe he’s broken [his cheek or jaw] but I hope not.”Meanwhile, the Gunners still remain without Danny Welbeck, Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding who have long-term injuries.Henrikh Mkhitaryan, however, is being “integrated back into full training”. Arsenal target asks to leave current club after Gunners have loan bid rejected center_img denied gossip 3 ‘We will listen’ – Club confirm Arsenal transfer target has asked to leave SENSE OF HUMOUR ‘They haven’t got enough’ – Ex-Chelsea ace thinks Emery must spend at Arsenal 3 Arsenal ‘approach’ World Cup finalist over deal, plus Nkunku and Suarez updates The club have announced he is “expected to return to full training by the end of February.”There is better news, however, on the fitness of the other centre-back Koscielny.The Frenchman took a blow to the head from the boot of Romelu Lukaku, and had to be replaced midway through the second half of the fourth round tieArsenal have said there is “bruising and soft tissue swelling” to his face and jaw, and although the injury is seemingly not serious, it will  be “reviewed on a daily basis”. Alexis Sanchez mocks former club Arsenal with brilliant social media post Emery has been handed a fresh injury blow with Sokratis ruled out for a monthlast_img read more

Players have ‘something wrong in their heads’ if not motivated by Spurs’ new stadium

first_img Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions REPLY Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham’s players are sure to be inspired by the atmosphere inside their new stadium, having finally played their first match at the stunning ground.Spurs returned home after a six-month delay to open the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Wednesday evening, with Crystal Palace the first visitors – and losers – at the £1billion structure.After an opening ceremony that involved choirs, tenors and fireworks the game itself took a while to spark into life – Heung-min Son writing his name in the history books with the first goal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium before Christian Eriksen wrapped up a 2-0 win. While securing victory on their big night was important, the three points also sees Tottenham move into third having picked up their first Premier League win since February 10.Where other clubs have struggled to adjust to new homes in the past, Pochettino believes his side will not suffer the same fate as they battle for a top-four finish.The Argentine is so sure his players will be motivated by the atmosphere in the new stadium, he suggests those NOT inspired must have ‘something wrong with their heads’.“I feel so proud,” he said. LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS tense Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won BEST OF 1 ADVICE Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card Berahino hits back at b******t Johnson criticism – ‘I was in a dark place at Stoke’ Heung-min Son opened the scoring at Spurs’ new ground – aided by a massive deflection Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? Ronaldo warned Lukaku how hard scoring goals in Serie A would be before Inter move center_img Southampton vs Liverpool (Friday, 8pm) – talkSPORTNorwich vs QPR (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2Huddersfield vs Leicester (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2Manchester City vs Brighton (Saturday, 5:30pm)Coventry vs Bristol Rovers (Sunday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2Watford vs Wolves (Sunday, 4pm) – talkSPORT Boxing Day fixtures: All nine Premier League games live on talkSPORT huge blow “I am so happy and it is difficult to describe, the emotions and it was very emotional before the start of the game. It was very emotional, all the build-up of the game.“For sure for the opponent it is going to be difficult. If like me I am the manager of Tottenham or I am playing for Tottenham, you adapt so quickly in this atmosphere and I think it was amazing.“It is impossible not to be affected by your fans, the energy and emotion to be there and run, shoot, save and tackle.“If you are not motivated to play in this type of atmosphere something wrong happened in your head. For sure it is going to be tough for the opponent. Green reveals how he confronted Sarri after Chelsea’s 6-0 defeat at Man City gameday cracker REVEALED shining Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester stars LIVE ON talkSPORT REVEALED no dice talkSPORT is your home of live football! Here’s what’s coming up on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2… “That is our second day at the stadium for us and the players but it starts to feel like home, it is going to be such an important place for the future and of course I think we were right to move here.“With all the risk, of course, but I think in football if you want to achieve important things you need to be brave and we were brave moving and starting to play this season.”Roy Hodgson’s side left north London with nothing to show for their battling performance, though they will forever go down in history as the first team to have played at the stadium.“It is outstanding,” Hodgson admitted of the ground.“I can understand why there has been so much hype around it – they must be extremely proud to have created a stadium like this for their team to perform in.”last_img read more

Pogba demands pay rise, Liverpool linked with Everton star, Benitez to leave?

first_img IN DEMAND 3 Paul Pogba has reportedly demanded a pay rise to £500,000-a-week to stay at Manchester United, amid continued links with a move to Real Madrid. (The Sun)Cardiff City boss Neil Warnock is considering leaving the club – even if they avoid relegation from the Premier League. (The Sun)Man United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to bring more British players to Old Trafford, with West Ham’s Declan Rice, Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi and Crystal Palace defender right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka on his radar. (The Times)Solskjaer is also keen on signing England and Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho and is willing to spend up to £100m on the 19-year-old. (The Independent)Paris Saint-Germain are willing to match David de Gea’s £350,000-a-week wage demands, with the Spaniard’s Man United future uncertain. (The Independent) Pogba has reportedly told United to give him a bumper deal to keep him at Old Trafford 3 moving on Tony Cascarino backs Everton to sign two strikers for Carlo Ancelotti 3 The biggest market value losers in 2019, including Bale and ex-Liverpool star targets LATEST TRANSFER GOSSIP ON talkSPORT.COM Liverpool’s signings under Michael Edwards – will Minamino be the next big hit? Everton’s star striker Richarlison has been linked with a sensational move to red rivals Liverpool. The 21-year-old Brazilian has 13 goals this season. (Esporte)Real Madrid are contenders to sign United’s out-of-favour centre-back Eric Bailly for around £35m this summer. (The Sun)Bournemouth and Scotland winger Ryan Fraser has said he is flattered to be linked with a move to Arsenal. (Sky Sports)Frank Lampard says Mason Mount is good enough to play for Chelsea and England next season. The 20-year-old has impressed on loan for Derby this season, and has been linked with a move to RB Leipzig. (Derby Telegraph) Man United joined by three other clubs in race for Erling Haaland center_img Cavani ‘agrees’ to join new club and will complete free transfer next summer Kevin De Bruyne ‘loves Man City and wants to keep winning’, reveals father REVEALED LIVING THE DREAM Could Brazilian ace Richarlison swap Everton blue for the red of Liverpool this summer? LATEST targets Where every Premier League club needs to strengthen in January talkSPORT.com rounds up all the latest gossip from Friday’s newspapers and online… Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Ndidi bid, targets named, Ozil is ‘skiving little git’ TOP WORK Fulhamare resigned to losing Ryan Sessegnon this summer following the club’s relegation from the Premier League. Tottenham are interested in the 18-year-old. (Evening Standard)Jermain Defoe says he will stay at Rangers next season and will not cut short his 18-month loan move from Bournemouth. (Daily Record)Rafael Benitez has apparently approached an agency to help him find a job in Ligue 1, as he considers his future at Newcastle. (L’Equipe)Tim Sherwood is said to be Queens Park Rangers’ number one target to replace axed manager  Steve McClaren. (Evening Standard)last_img read more

Gerrard apologises for saying he pulled hamstring while ‘rifling’ fan’s mum

first_img latest Chelsea fan arrested for allegedly racially abusing Heung-min Son Ian Holloway thinks Arsenal have made a mistake in hiring Mikel Arteta Steve Round reveals how Mikel Arteta convinced him to join Arsenal staff Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 2:00Loaded: 8.27%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -2:00 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreen stalemate Liverpool transfer news live: Star man wanted by Real Madrid, Mbappe latest and more LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS BIG PRESENTS UP TOP Man United transfer news live: £17m bid for Barca wonderkid, English starlet linked update What every Premier League club’s fans dream of this Christmas targets Gerrard’s comments have landed him in hot water Spurs investigation into alleged racial abuse of Rudiger is so far ‘inconclusive’ Strugglers Wigan hold Blackburn to goalless draw in Championship appointed 1 rookie error Anthony Gerrard is the gift that keeps giving pic.twitter.com/15RdmYNUX4— kyle (@Kyle_SP7) September 14, 2019He then called the same supporter out, adding: “You’ve got far too much to say for yourself fella, come to the ground on Tuesday and voice your opinion while your (sic) standing in front of me, rather than acting brave behind your phone, look forward to seeing you.”The pair went on to trade further back and forth.The supporter added, “Does 8am suit you?”, with Gerrard responding: “Say 9[am], let my full English settle.” deals Chesterfield defender Anthony Gerrard has apologised for writing on social media that he suffered an injury while ‘rifling’ a fan’s mother.Gerrard, 33, joined Chesterfield earlier this year and played in six successive matches before missing last weekend’s defeat of Torquay due to injury. on target Chesterfield confirmed shortly after that they were investigating the matter, and the club announced on Tuesday that it has been dealt with internally.A statement read: “Following comments made by Anthony Gerrard which appeared on social media over the weekend, the matter has been dealt with following an internal disciplinary procedure.”Gerrard also apologised for his actions, saying: “I accept that I was wrong to respond to messages sent to me via social media. It was not my intention to bring the club into disrepute and I would like to apologise to anyone who was offended by my comments.“I have the utmost respect for this club and the people associated with it and will do everything I can to help improve the club’s standing, both on the pitch and by representing Chesterfield FC in the community.” Getty Images – Getty Tony Cascarino backs Everton to sign two strikers for Carlo Ancelotti statement Michael Owen discusses his move to Real Madrid from LiverpoolWhen asked by supporters on social media why he had to sit out the game, Gerrard replied with the joke which has now landed him in hot water.One fan asked Gerrard, a cousin of Liverpool legend and current Rangers manager Steven: “What’s your excuse this week, fat boy?”And the former Walsall and Cardiff man wrote back: “Pulled my hammy last Saturday night while I was rifling your mother, hope that clears that up.” Top scorer in 2019: Messi, Mbappe and Sterling trailing Europe’s top marksman last_img read more

Dundee United granted permission to speak to Raith boss Ray McKinnon

first_imgRay McKinnon is to have talks with Dundee United over the managerial vacancy at the Tannadice club.The Raith Rovers boss is United’s top target to replace Mixu Paatelainen after the Finn was sacked following the club’s relegation from the Premiership.United made an approach to speak to McKinnon after Raith lost in their play-off second leg against Hibernian on Saturday but that was rejected. However, the clubs have now agreed on a compensation figure should McKinnon leave and the former United player will now have talks over returning to Tannadice as manager.Raith say that they still hope to keep their manager and have said they will do all they can to persuade McKinnon to stay. A statement was released through the club’s official website on Sunday evening. It said: “Having rejected an initial compensation offer made by Dundee United FC earlier today, an increased offer has now been accepted which allows our manager Ray McKinnon to meet with United chairman Stephen Thompson.Commenting on the situation, Chief Executive Eric Drysdale said, “The RRFC board met pre match at Easter Road yesterday. Raith Rovers supporters should also be aware that Chairman Alan Young and I have met with Ray on Thursday, post match yesterday and again this afternoon and we are doing all we feasibly can to retain the services of our manager. “However, we understand that Ray wants to listen to what Dundee United have to say and we have agreed to allow this, having reached agreement on a compensation figure should United offer him the post and Ray accepts.”last_img read more

Local racers honored at NASCAR Championship Awards ceremony

first_imgBy Kris LeonhardtEditorMARSHFIELD – Two local racers were honored at the NASCAR Night of Champions celebration Dec. 8 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina.Derek Kraus, who races in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, received a trophy for finishing third in the K&N West standings.Kraus – a 16-year-old from Stratford – was also honored with the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award in the series and the Sunoco Rookie of the Race Award for 2017.Kraus had one win, one pole, nine top-five, and 10 top-10 finishes in the series. He was the top finishing rookie in seven of the 14 races.Also honored at the ceremony was Spring Lake Speedway, Unity, Champion Chris Oertel.Oertel was recognized, along with 58 other 2017 track champions that are sanctioned under the NASCAR banner as part of the Whelen All-American SeriesIn eight starts at Spring Lake Speedway, Oertel had three wins, seven top-five finished, and finished in the top ten in all eight races.“This is our eighth championship, but the first time under the NASCAR sanction,” Oertel explained.“I didn’t know how big of a magnitude this banquet would be. In years past, we’ve gone to national banquets to receive our state championship award. We used to race under the Wissota and that was up in St. Cloud (Minnesota.) This was just so much more elaborate. There were 1,200 people there (and) drivers from all over the country, all over the world.“It was really neat to be showcased at such a major venue.”last_img read more

Obituary: Hansie Cronje

first_img3 June 2002The tragic death of former Protea cricket captain Hansie Cronje, at age 32, stunned South Africa and the cricketing world alike. Cronje was one of South Africa’s most successful cricket captains before his involvement in a betting scandal brought a premature and controversial end to his career.His death in an aircraft accident on June 1 has united South Africans in shock and forgiveness for Cronje’s part in the scandal.A born leader, Cronje, the son of former Free State cricketer Ewie Cronje, was tagged as a future national cricket captain while still at school at Bloemfontein’s renowned Grey College. He played three years for Free State Schools and two years for the South African Schools team, captaining the side in 1987 with his close friend Jonty Rhodes as vice-captain.In the same year, he made his debut for the senior Free State team against Transvaal in Johannesburg.Cronje quickly established himself as a player to be reckoned with, and when South Africa made its foray back into international cricket in 1991 in India, he was chosen to accompany the side for the experience.Cronje at the commission of inquiry into match-fixing in cricketRising to the challenge of the international game, Cronje turned in a series of domestic performances that could not be ignored, and was chosen to represent South Africa in the 1992 World Cup in Australia. His one-day international debut came in a nine-wicket thrashing of the hosts.Cronje’s Test debut came in a one-off match against the West Indies in the same year, and in December of 1992 he hit his first Test century, scoring 135 out of a South African first innings total of 275 in Port Elizabeth. His stay at the crease was typical of his determination and drive, lasting almost nine hours, and it played a pivotal role in a South African victory that led to a series win.In late 1994 Cronje took over the national captaincy from Kepler Wessels, but in his first Test in charge the Proteas were beaten by New Zealand at the Wanderers. South Africa levelled the series in Durban and then, led by centuries from Cronje and Dave Richardson, sealed a series triumph in Cape Town.Earlier in the same year, Cronje achieved his highest ever first-class score, a magnificent 251 for Free State against Australia in Bloemfontein that included 28 fours and six sixes. The few witnesses to that magnificent knock will undoubtedly never forget it.Cronje led the Proteas until the match-fixing scandal that would end his career broke in 2000. During that time South Africa achieved some notable victories, including Test series triumphs in both India and Pakistan – something that not even the all-conquering Australians managed.Cronje played in 68 Tests for South Africa, leading his country on 53 occasions. He scored 3 714 runs at an average of 36.41 and captured 43 wickets – but it was the intangibles of his leadership and toughness that really stood out.Few who saw him take on the world’s finest spin bowlers, Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan, can forget his devastating “slog sweep’ that often resulted in the maximum of six runs. As a captain he faced up to the challenge of all comers, helping lift the team to second in the world Test rankings and first in the one-day rankings.The Hansie I knewI knew Hansie personally, having faced him many times on the cricket field, and also having been privileged enough to play together with him for Free State Schools and in club cricket. He was a very easy person to like, and playing cricket either with or against him was always a tough and enjoyable experience.Hansie had a tremendous sense of humour and loved playing practical jokes. He was also always a gentleman, and maintained his humility even with all the pressures that went along with being national cricket captain. Nobody worked harder at cricket than he did, and his example inspired others.When playing under Hansie, I always felt that the team had an extra confidence and an advantage over the opposition. I, like many others, never had anything but the greatest respect for him.To demonstrate the kind of guy he was: It was December 1996 and I had just begun a job as a sports reporter with a radio station in Durban. The Proteas were facing India in the first test, and it came as a great surprise to Hansie when I walked in to interview him at the team hotel the day before the start of the Test.We had a good chat, and he told me to wait next to the stairs leading to the change rooms after play finished the next day.As it happened, he was at the crease and not out when play came to a close. Still in pads and sweating heavily in the humid climate of Durban, he nonetheless signalled to me to join him around a corner hidden from the sight of others, and there he gave me an exclusive interview – something he was not supposed to do – long before he had showered and attended the official press conference.That was the Hansie I knew, and I hope that people will begin to see that the good in the man far outweighed the bad, and that his contributions to this country, its people and its cricket were indeed immense and worth so much more than the mistakes he made.Sadly, Hansie was just beginning to fight back from the devastating blow of his life ban from cricket when his life was cut short. Tributes to him have flowed in from across South Africa and across the world, and former President Nelson Mandela, for one, believed that he would have still managed to play a big role in South Africa’s future.Mandela said in a statement: “Here was a young man courageously and with dignity rebuilding his life after the setback he suffered a while ago. The manner in which he was doing that, rebuilding his life and public career, promised to make him once more a role model of how one deals with adversity.”Former South African captain Bob Woolmer, with whom Hansie spent many successful seasons, said: “He was the best captain I had the pleasure of working with. He was a real leader of men. They would have walked off Table Mountain for him. He was a man destined for greatness.“I will miss him enormously … He has gone to a better place, and I hope he does well in God’s cricket team. To all of us who knew him, this is a terrible day.”Cronje leaves behind his wife, Bertha.last_img read more