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Mel Berry

first_img When Mel Berry captained Wales at the 2002 World Cup as a 20-year-old, there was clearly something a bit special about the youngster who former England international Sue Day calls “one of the best defensive back-row players” ever to play the game.Having made her debut in 1998 as a teenager, Berry went on to win 93 caps for her country, leading Wales for most of her career until retiring in 2010.Perhaps one of the best ways to highlight how important Berry was to Wales over those years was the fact that she played in six different positions – all across the back row, at scrum-half and in both centre spots – although she is probably best known for her barnstorming efforts from the back of the scrum.“She was a tremendous player and a tremendous captain in all senses,” said Jason Lewis, who coached her with Wales. Major teams: Newcastle, Wasps, Worcester, Auckland MaoriPosition: Back-row/centre/scrum-halfCountry: WalesTest span: 1998-10 Now working in sport full-time across Yorkshire, Berry has an appetite for coaching where her versatile playing years will surely make her a dead cert for success at whatever level she chooses.For the latest Rugby World subscription offers, click here. Her club career took in stints with Wasps, Worcester and Newcastle and she also spent time learning her trade in Auckland – even featuring for the Auckland Maori side.Berry experienced highs and lows with Wales throughout her career. She describes Wales’ failure to qualify for the 2006 World Cup as the most heart-breaking moment she ever had in the game, but she was also a key member of the team that beat England in 2009 for the first time ever.In fact, some of her best memories will have come from games against England. Berry led Wales at U18 and senior level to wins over the English while she was also part of the 2006 Wales Sevens squad that beat the same nation to the European title.center_img LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS TAGS: The Greatest Players last_img read more

PARK AND PLAY: The Rise of Urban Whitewater Parks

first_imgImagine living in a place where a river always flowed and there was no such thing as “paddling season”—you could get your whitewater fix seven days a week, 52 weeks a year if your shoulders held.By and large, that place exists right here in the Southeast. Between rainforest-like springs, summer releases, wet falls, and winter snowmelts, river running is available year round. That’s certainly more than the boaters out West can claim. Their paddling season is short, inconsistent, at the whims of their fickle weather.But it’s perhaps this unpredictability that is responsible for a growing number of whitewater parks in states like Colorado and Montana, an idea that is just now starting to gain traction in the East. Paddling hubs like the Adventure Sports Center International (ASCI) in Maryland and the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) in North Carolina are the stomping grounds for some of the world’s stoutest kayakers and, it’s worth noting, some of the earliest sites for artificial river features here on the East.So what is a whitewater park exactly? Think of it as a skate park for kayakers, an entirely man-made series of features that either require the creation of an artificial river from scratch or the modification of an existing one. Whitewater holes and waves that are placed into a natural river, like the NOC’s permanent freestyle feature, are costly investments and require the use of bulldozers and heavy machinery. But money and equipment aside, taking these projects to fruition also eats up years of jumping through bureaucratic hoops, acquiring permits, persuading community leaders, and ensuring that the environment is not damaged in the process.akorn-AUSNWCFourthOfJuly0714-1037_FIXStill, it’s not impossible. Colorado alone has more than a dozen whitewater parks and play features scattered throughout the state with plans in the works for more. The benefits of integrating this concept into small communities are numerous. At the top of the list? The economic impact that comes from introducing outdoor recreation as a sustainable means of local revenue.For kayakers, Denver, Colo., wasn’t always an appealing place to live. But after a flood ravaged the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River, leaving the surrounding industrial area abandoned and littered with oil tanks and storage containers, the city decided not only to do something to prevent flooding in the future but also to make that section of river recreation friendly.Now, nearly 40 years after that flood, Confluence Park attracts kayakers, inner tubers, and dog walkers alike. It’s become a source of pride for the community.Here in the East, where arguably the best paddling in the country exists, what need is there for whitewater parks? And more importantly, how on Earth will it ever be possible to convince local governments fueled by decades of natural resource extraction to turn the wheels and drop hundreds of thousands of dollars (at the very least) all for the sake of a bunch of river lovin’ hippies?“It starts by thinking a little bit larger than yourself,” says Risa Shimoda, a seven-time paddler on the U.S. National Freestyle Team and a fixture within the paddling community.Shimoda’s spent the better part of her life dedicated to the sport of paddling, from securing river access to promoting rodeo, but her work now with the McLaughlin Design Group focuses specifically on helping local paddling communities take their vision of a backyard whitewater feature from dream to reality.“Who’s going to spend a million bucks on a bunch of kayakers?” Shimoda adds.Well, to be perfectly honest, no one. Unless, that is, you’re a bunch of kayakers who happen to share the river with a diminishing species of fish, like the American shad.“We had some perfect storms that helped us, and in any other situation it would have been extremely difficult to create a dialogue with the power company,” says Matt Samms, a 40-year-old kayaker from Safe Harbor, Penn., who has spent nearly his entire life on the waters of the Susquehanna.Samms was one of the key players who helped ensure that PPL Electric Utilities followed through with its promise to build whitewater features below Holtwood Dam after the plant applied for a relicensing that would have taken away 264 hours of recreational release time from paddlers. In short, thanks in part to over 60 years of efforts to help the Susquehanna shad make its annual upstream river passage as well as the heavily involved presence of American Whitewater (AW) and the local Lancaster County paddling community, the kayakers got what they wanted and PPL took a loss—a $4 million dollar loss, at that.“It’s world class whitewater,” Samms says of the big volume Susquehanna. “We’re hoping to have a world championship event here which would bring international paddlers. That would be huge.”Perhaps Shimoda wasn’t necessarily thinking about fish when she advised paddlers to think larger than themselves, but there’s no question that a world championship event at Holtwood Park would draw much-needed attention to the local businesses and area attractions that Lancaster County has to offer and help establish that slice of Pennsylvania as a whitewater destination on par with the Bryson Cities and Deep Creeks of the East.The land surrounding Holtwood lends itself to further development, something perhaps that might resemble the U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC) in Charlotte, N.C. Though on the larger end of the whitewater park spectrum, the USNWC embodies exactly Shimoda’s sentiments on play parks, that they need not only cater to kayakers but to the area’s residents in general.“There’s something out here for everybody. The Olympian in-training is going to come out on the water the same day a family comes out to enjoy rafting for a day or to get dinner and listen to live music,” says Eric Osterhus, the brand manager for the USNWC.With over 20 miles of trails, rock walls, zip lines, and a boat conveyor belt, your backyard play feature will likely look nothing like the USNWC. But according to Shimoda and Samms, with a little passion, a lot of patience, and a helluva lot more persistence, anything is possible.last_img read more

Panama and Costa Rica Debate Strategies to Confront Organized Crime

first_imgBy Dialogo October 28, 2011 Panamanian and Costa Rican authorities met on October 26 in search of strategies for the fight against organized crime operating on the two countries’ shared border, a Costa Rican source announced. “Crime problems are common to our two countries, so that meetings of this kind serve to strengthen our ties of cooperation at all levels,” Costa Rican Deputy Public Safety Minister Celso Gamboa declared. “We support close cooperation between Panama and Costa Rica through the handling and exchange of information,” his Panamanian counterpart Alejandro Garuz said in a statement, for his part. According to Garuz, despite the efforts made, technological advances, communications, and investments, “it’s necessary to confront the various conditions under which transnational terrorism is abusing the Costa Rican-Panamanian border.” The authorities discussed drug trafficking, human trafficking, prostitution, smuggling, drugs, and tax evasion, among other topics. Panama “is a fundamental strategic ally in the fight against crime, and we want to improve relations in order to succeed in making an effective impact,” Gamboa said, adding that in his country “there are concerns” about the penetration of drug trafficking on the border at Paso Canoas. The meeting in the Panamanian city of David concluded on October 27.last_img read more

Making the world a more predictable place: Which CECL model is best for your credit union?

first_imgCurrent Expected Credit Loss, or CECL, is an important upcoming accounting requirement that requires financial institutions to attempt to predict the expected losses on loans and other debt securities over the entire life of the loan. Large retailing banks and credit unions of all sizes can benefit from an accurate CECL model as both entities provide much of the same services to their customers and members, respectively.The two main metrics you have to consider when choosing the right CECL model should be accuracy and procyclicality. If a loss model lacks accuracy and consistency, what’s the point of spending all that time, money, and effort in a meaningless implementation? A good CECL model will be adequately equipped to better track credit losses. There is a strong correlation between the credit cycle and the economic cycle. Models that account for implied volatility better estimate the timings and severity of economic recessions and manage to do so in a timely manner.In the webinar, “Which CECL Model Should You Use”, Dr. Joseph Breeden, Chief Scientist and COO, at Deep Future Analytics and Prescient Models LLC, talks about the various types of CECL models. He clarifies the key differences between simple “spreadsheet” models and more advanced statistical models and how they can directly benefit credit unions with improved predictability. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

Sunflower of rural tourism: The action of evaluating the best has started

first_imgU okviru ovogodišnjeg projekta ocjenjivanja i promocije najboljih poduzetnika i programa u ruralnom turizmu, očekuje se više od 150 prijava iz čitave Hrvatske”Suncokretom ruralnog turizma promoviraju se tradicijski sadržaji, povezuju se najznačajniji projekti, proizvođači, događaji i zanimljivosti, te se uz očuvanje izvornosti stvaraju novi proizvodi ruralnog turizma“, ističe mr. sc. Dijana Katica, predsjednica Hrvatske udruge za turizam i ruralni razvoj „Kluba članova Selo“, inicijatora i organizatora pete nacionalne nagrade koja u fokus stavlja ruralni prostor Hrvatske i jedina se u zemlji njime sustavno bavi.U projekt su uključeni poduzetnici, obrtnici, OPG-i, zadruge, udruge iz cijele Hrvatske kao i jedinice područne i lokalne samouprave te turističke zajednice. Dok nominacije još uvijek pristižu, komisija je već krenula u prvi krug obilaska. „Akcija obilaska traje nekoliko mjeseci. Moraju se posjetiti i po jasno razrađenim kriterijima ocijeniti svi nominirani, a najboljima će se na svečanosti proglašenja krajem godine uručiti Zlatne, Srebrne, Brončane plakete i Posebna priznanja u šest kategorija: Turistička seljačka gospodarstva, Poduzetnici u ruralnom turizmu, Ruralno-turistički projekti, Ruralno-turističke manifestacije, Tradicijska ruralna gastronomija i Vinski turizam“, kaže Stjepan Cukor, predsjednik ocjenjivačke komisije.U protekle četiri godine u projektu je sudjelovalo oko 400 proizvođača, turističkih projekata i poduzetnika s ruralnih područja, a nagrade je dobilo njih 130.last_img read more