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ND students cheer Irish on to victory

first_imgJunior Pat Vinett, who transferred to Notre Dame from Wake Forest, returned to Winston-Salem, N.C. for Saturday’s game hoping for an Irish victory. Vinett said he was cautiously optimistic about Notre Dame’s chances, even more so than many of the Wake Forest fans he spoke to. “I know talking to kids down there, they were expecting to lose by like 40. I thought it was going to be pretty close, that we were going to underestimate the ACC,” Vinett said. “I knew we’d win, but I thought it’d be difficult.” Despite the Demon Deacons’ stadium being less than half the size of Notre Dame’s, Vinett said the level of excitement was impressive. “I ended up in the student section, so I don’t know about general admission, but compared to whenever I’ve been there before, it was really loud,” he said. “They had fireworks going when they scored, it was pretty good considering the size of the stadium. It was packed.” While it was a farther trip from South Bend than Purdue or Michigan, Vinett said the Notre Dame turnout was surprisingly large. “There were a ton of ND people,” he said. “I’m not going to say there were more ND people [than Wake Forest fans], but I’d say it was pretty even cheering.” Despite having a friend on the Wake Forest team, Vinett cheered for the Irish throughout. “I was cheering for ND the whole time,” he said. “My buddy’s one of the wide receivers [for Wake Forest] … I was happy when he was doing well, but I was happy ND won.” Vinett said the highlight of the game was senior receiver Michael Floyd’s third quarter touchdown. “It completely sucked the life out of the Wake student section,” he said. Sophomore Ashley Barraza turned down the long drive in favor of on-campus game watch and said she was expecting the Irish to quickly lock in a victory. “I thought the game was going to be a blowout,” she said. “I thought we were going to go in there and dominate, that they’d put it away in the first half like the Navy and Air Force games.” She said the decidedly less impressive victory was due to a series of minor errors. “I thought the two interceptions were pretty bad, especially the one where they were in Cover 3 [zone defense] and Tommy [Rees] threw it anyway,” she said. “Just a bunch of fundamental mistakes we could have avoided … Wake’s not that great a team so we could recover, but if it were a better team it could have cost us.” Junior Andy Boes was also confident in Notre Dame’s odds at the beginning of the game. “We’re athletically superior to them,” he said. “It was just a matter of how much we would win by.” After struggling in the first half, Boes said the defense coming together later in the game was crucial for the victory. “The defense came up with some plays that were pretty important,” he said. Boes said he was happy with the win, despite the close score. “I would have liked to see a bigger point differential, but a win’s a win,” he said. “I’m hoping next week it’s not as close as it was this weekend, but I’m glad we can continue with some momentum.”last_img read more

Montpelier designated as a state growth center

first_imgThe Vermont Downtown Development Board today announced that the City of Montpelier has been awarded Growth Center Designation. In action taken Monday by the Vermont Downtown Development Board, the designation comes after several months of discussion between Montpelier, the Downtown Board and its advisory group. Growth Centers were enabled by the legislature in 2005 to encourage communities to plan for denser and mixed use development in areas surrounding the state s downtowns and village centers. I am very pleased that Montpelier has received this designation, which will help support the City in its planning efforts, Governor Jim Douglas. This is why I signed the Growth Center bill, to encourage communities to create more compact and dense mixed use development in appropriate areas.Montpelier s Growth Center is located in the area surrounding and including the City s Designated Downtown. Designated Growth Centers have several important benefits that help support increased development. Of particular importance is that housing and mixed use projects that include an affordable housing component may not need Act 250 review. In addition, the City may also more easily meet the requirements for a Tax Increment Financing District, which would allow it to access state funding to support investment in water, wastewater and transportation in the district.To gain this designation the Town had to show the Downtown Board that it had met state standards including:The Growth Center meets the statutory definition, is included in the Town Plan and is implemented in the Town s bylaws;The Town has or has planned for the roads, water and wastewater systems, and other infrastructure necessary to support the planned growth;The Growth Center be adjacent to an existing Designated Downtown or Village Center, and that the Growth Center support such areas;It protect natural and historic resources both within and outside the growth center;It be designed to accommodate a majority of growth anticipated by the municipality over the next twenty years; andIt include a mix of uses, including affordable housing. This is very consistent with the Governor s promotion of growth in these targeted areas, and with the legislature s Growth Center bill passed in 2005, said Kevin Dorn, Chairman of the Downtown Board and Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. At the same time, we will be reducing development pressures on important natural resource lands outside the designated areas.Several other communities are working toward Growth Center Designation, including Hartford and St. Albans City.For more information about the Growth Centers Program, please visit: http://www.dhca.state.vt.us/Planning/GrowthCenters.htm(link is external).Source: State of Vermont.last_img read more

Light at the end of the tunnel: the 21st century and Plan Patriota

Demobilization Concomitantly, a demobilization program was established in 2001 under the auspices of the Ministry of National Defense. The objective of the Program for Humanitarian Attention to the Demobilized (PAHD) was to encourage members of illegal armed groups to voluntarily and individually turn themselves in, lay down their weapons and demobilize from their illegal activities in exchange for state support ensuring them and their families a safe transition to civilian life. “More than 26,700 former members of terrorist organizations have demobilized individually [through the program] since 2002,” Colombian Army Brigadier General Germán Saavedra, coordinator for the PAHD, told Diálogo in October 2013. “Many of them have collaborated with information that led to heavy blows against these structures, including rescuing kidnapped hostages, deactivating mined territories, turning in war material, seizing narcotics, destroying laboratories, demobilizing entire structures, and neutralizing strategic high value targets,” he added. Demobilization, which includes disarming, demobilizing and reintegrating into civilian life, remains a major player of the current war plan, “it remains above captures and deaths of guerrilla insurgents during military operations,” said Brig. Gen. Saavedra. “That’s why Minister of National Defense Juan Carlos Pinzón has established campaign advisory groups to develop the demobilization strategies for each division and task force in the country.” Though the disarmament and demobilization phases reside under the auspices of the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace, the third phase covering the reintegration process of guerrillas to civilian lives is achieved through the Colombian Agency for Reintegration. Continued on part 3: Colombia makes huge leaps forward in its search for enduring peace Fortunately, the 21st century brought forth positive change in Colombia. The United States increased its aid to the country through Plan Colombia, a counter-drug and counterterrorist strategy that peaked from 2000-2007, making Colombia the Western Hemisphere’s number one U.S. aid recipient and one of the top seven U.S. military and police aid recipients even today, according to an analysis by the Washington Office on Latin America’s Senior Associate for Regional Security Policy, Adam Isacson. Conceptually, the Plan’s objective was to reduce the cultivation of illegal coca plants through fumigation, eradication and alternative crop initiatives. Initially, an aerial herbicide fumigation program was expanded to spray entire rural and jungle areas without needing to have a government presence on the ground. But the illegally-planted territories were so deeply immersed in hard-to-reach areas controlled by insurgents and drug lords that they needed to be secured before manual eradication and alternative programs could be executed, so Plan Colombia also funded the creation, equipping and training of specialized mobile military units such as the Counter-Drug Brigade in the Colombian Army, to deploy to those areas. A strong counter guerrilla offensive followed in 2002, with President Álvaro Uribe’s election, resulting in a nearly doubled military force with a budget that tripled between 1998 and 2010, according to Isacson. Major reforms in how Colombia pursued its enemy followed, allowing the military to focus strategically and directly on the conflict. According to an analysis by the Brooking Institution, a U.S.-based private non-profit independent research organization, “American aid included signals intelligence assistance, precision-guided bombs for targeting insurgent leaders and drug lords, and helicopters for mobility so that the armed forces could get around the battlefield as needed”. Uribe’s offensive dovetailed with the U.S. aid package to create a front that would be hard for the guerrillas to withstand. Included in his incentive was strengthening the military’s ties with local communities as a way to gather intelligence about the enemy and make attacks more precise and effective. The military’s increased mobility and capabilities facilitated the removal of guerrillas from highly-populated areas and main roads. National homicide rates were reduced by half between 2002 and 2010. And although there was also a clear reduction in coca cultivation between 2001 and 2003, it became apparent that it would take more than a military presence to finish the job. The rural areas being sprayed aerially and eradicated manually were largely ungoverned, so local farmers either disguisedly continued to grow coca crops or moved elsewhere to do so. By Dialogo December 19, 2013 Plan Patriota In order to have greater reach than Plan Colombia’s counter-drug strategy, a second phase called Plan Patriota took over in late 2003 as an offensive to bring thousands of troops to the large rural and ungoverned territories that the FARC dominated. Their mission: to target high-value FARC leaders, forcing the guerrillas out of strongholds in southern and eastern Colombia and establish civilian control over those territories. The Colombian Army established military units in their place, but a full state presence had not been considered, and the areas remained ungoverned. According to a 2012 analysis by geopolitical intelligence and strategic analysis firm Stratfor, “the plan successfully reduced the FARC’s capabilities and membership. There were about 16,000 murders in 2008, down from nearly 30,000 in 2002, and the FARC’s membership was reduced from about 17,000 to 9,000. The FARC was also driven away from traditional base camps closer to coca and cocaine production sites and forced to look for new routes and base camps.” Furthermore, a series of public policies were put in place to counter illicit crops. A campaign called Forest Ranger Families was initiated in 2005 as a conduit to manual eradication of illicit coca crops in areas where aerial spraying couldn’t be achieved. In addition to removing illicit crops, it was a state overture toward local farmers that had been involved or risked involvement in the cultivation of illicit crops as a means to survive. In October 2013, Javier Florez, current Colombian director of the current Counter Illicit Crops Program under the country’s national consolidation strategy, said that alternative development programs have helped 160,000 families in the last decade, specifically by reaching out to each family in order to help them purchase their land to grow legal crops. “Because of budgetary limitations a maximum of 6,000 to 10,000 were serviced every year, but last year we reached 33,000 families, resulting in a 25 percent decrease in illegal crops cultivated nationally,” he added. The experience left behind the realization that a whole-of-government approach with a full state presence to govern these areas, incorporate the state’s civilian institutions, and bring social services, economic development and opportunity was necessary to improve the life of the locals and truly take over for illegal armed groups, the illegal drug trade and other illegal activities. This is the second article of a three-part series. Previous article: An integrated road to Colombian peace read more

COLUMN: US Soccer needs to invest in its future

first_imgGrowing up, I idolized Mia Hamm.When my mom dropped me off for third grade soccer practices, she told me to play like Mia. It didn’t matter that I spent most of my time sucking on orange rinds and kicking at dandelions or that I wasn’t particularly fast or outrageously talented with the ball. I loved soccer, and that meant that I wanted to be like Mia.I fell out of love with soccer in middle school, then fell rapidly and suddenly and irrevocably back into it during the 2012 London Olympics. Our men’s team, as usual, didn’t earn an appearance, but the U.S. women’s national team was at one of its many peaks, riding the tandem of Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan to a redemptive victory over Japan.It doesn’t take much for most sports fans to fall in love with particular teams — a single player or game or year, or sometimes even just a jersey. All it took was the 2012 Olympics to get me stuck on women’s soccer.I followed the sport through the birth of the National Women’s Soccer League in 2012 and screamed my way through the 2015 World Cup final. I fumed along with my favorite players as they lodged demands for equal pay rights. In short, I became that typical obnoxious superfan. I understand the ins and outs of the U.S. team’s lineups, injuries and controversies better than I understand any of my linguistics homework due this Thursday.Which is why last summer’s loss in the quarterfinals of the Olympics, when the highly favored USWNT crashed out against Sweden, didn’t come as a shock to me. For anyone following the team, the loss was, in fact, a long time coming for a variety of reasons.For too long, the United States Soccer Federation has centered its women’s program around a few stars who have become household names. First it was Hamm, then Wambach and Megan Rapinoe and now Morgan. These stars built the program and the fanbase that followed. But the federation’s dependence on this handful of players has also built the possibility for future disaster for U.S. soccer.Before I continue, let me get a singular part of this discussion out of the way — U.S. women’s soccer is U.S. soccer. The women sell more tickets and jerseys, draw in more viewers and win more trophies than the men. Period. So with that being said, the success of U.S. soccer relies strongly on the success of its women’s team.It’s an anomaly in sports, really, to have a women’s program be the frontrunner of a sport — except when you look at the Olympics, where American women dominate the podiums and the viewership in gymnastics, tennis, swimming, track and a plethora of other events. But the U.S. women’s soccer team is different in that it is making the sport a profitable industry in America.Not yet, of course. The NWSL isn’t able to offer livable salaries to full rosters yet, and there’s been a recent shift in American players signing with European clubs during their offseasons, driving attention across the Atlantic. But between record ticket sales for the national program, a new club team opening in North Carolina and a reasonable TV deal with Lifetime, the sport is coming alive rapidly.It’s not the NFL. But it’s something, and for women’s sports, that’s saying a lot.But although women’s soccer has done well in regard to profit margins and salary advancements in recent years, the U.S. team is coming off its worst performance in almost a decade. After riding the hype of a record-breaking World Cup victory, the team fell to Sweden in the 2016 Rio Olympics, dashing dreams of becoming the first-ever program to win back-to-back World Cup and Olympic titles.Some called it shocking, but most fans saw it coming from a mile away.The coaches and managers at the USSF have often clung to veteran stalwarts long past their prime. That was evidenced throughout the World Cup every time that Wambach, who used to be one of the most powerful players in the world, trudged around the field for a compulsory 20 minutes each game.At the time, Wambach wasn’t even participating in full practices with the rest of the team. She acknowledged her poor physical shape, which kept her from producing useful touches or opportunities and left a weak side during transitions.Head coach Jill Ellis cited Wambach’s leadership as the reason for her continuation with the team, and that made sense during the 2015 World Cup due to its extended roster of 23 players. But for all her ability to lead, Wambach’s presence on the field was — for lack of more tactful words — useless.I know what you’re going to say here: Didn’t the U.S. go on to win the World Cup in thrilling style, climaxing in a thorough 5-2 devastation of Japan? Yes. Yes they did, and it was awesome, and I cried for about 68 percent of it.But Ellis followed that poor decision with another: the Olympic roster, which included a barely healthy Rapinoe who wasn’t even cleared to play full games when the Americans touched down in Rio.In the final minutes of the match against Sweden, Ellis played Rapinoe in place of a healthy and more skilled Tobin Heath in that game against Sweden, forcing Heath to rotate into defense in place of Kelley O’Hara, an actual defender. And the Americans lost in penalty kicks. It was brutal. It was sad. But it wasn’t shocking in the slightest.This mistake was a repetition of the same pattern from the previous year: calling up a player who isn’t physically prepared to compete due to their star status — and disguising that star status as “leadership ability.”It’s not necessarily the fault of Ellis or the federation, though I can passionately complain about the ineptitude of both. Rather, it’s a pattern of sticking to the “old guard,” the group of players who made this team and therefore, it is assumed, will break this team if not present on the field.As the USWNT kicks off a new year of play on Wednesday with a friendly against Germany, the program must keep the pain of that loss fresh in order to keep looking toward the future rather the past. Today’s roster is more promising than the one presented in Rio. Rapinoe isn’t listed, and a quarter of the players are young hopefuls who have been groomed well by their college or club teams.This type of turnover is the core necessity of the team’s ability to continue to improve. It’s the ability to continue moving toward a better future for women’s soccer that will keep competition fresh and prevent our team from becoming stagnant.Mia and Abby and Rapinoe will always be our stars. But the federation’s foremost goal should be to honor their legacies by molding new stars, both on our field and on our crest.Julia Poe is a sophomore studying print and digital journalism. She is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. Her column, Poe’s Perspective, runs on Wednesdays.last_img read more