Month: July 2019

  • Disabled athletes and their families have given ev

    first_imgDisabled athletes and their families have given evidence to MPs about widespread cheating within the Paralympic classification system.The committee has been told of one swimmer whose father bought her a wheelchair on eBay to try to mislead the officials who would be classifying her – in a bid to compete against slower swimmers – while others took cold showers “to help stiffen their muscles” before they were examined.The written and oral evidence has been submitted as part of the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee’s inquiry into sports governance.The classification system is run by the national governing body of each Paralympic sport, while athletes competing internationally also have to submit to testing by international classifiers.The process includes medical evidence, physical examinations and assessment of how the athlete functions in that sport, as well as observation of them in competition.The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) defines classification as grouping athletes into different classes according to how much their impairment “affects fundamental activities” in that sport and discipline.But misleading classifiers – known as intentional misrepresentation – can allow athletes to compete against those whose impairments have a greater negative impact on attributes such as speed, coordination and strength.Giving evidence in person to the committee this week, Michael Breen, the father of Paralympic athlete Olivia Breen, said he had been trying to raise concerns about the classification system since 2013.He said he believed the system was “not fit for purpose” and that it needed a “root and branch review”.Although he did not believe abuse was “absolutely widespread”, he said there was “a significant issue at the moment that needs to be addressed”.He added: “I think it’s not difficult to address it. I am just not convinced that the people in charge at the IPC have any interest in addressing it.”He said he believed IPC was “in complete denial” about the problem because they “want to protect the brand and they don’t want – because they think their sponsors won’t want – to have stories being written about their mistakes in classification”.In a written statement to the committee, IPC says three British athletes that Breen complained about in May 2016 were investigated and found to be “appropriately classified”.And it said that it remained “deeply concerned” about the “wellbeing of those athletes who have been subjected to third-party allegations of improper classification” and that “such unfounded allegations are causing undue stress and tension to these athletes”.IPC said it was “not unusual” for it to receive complaints about classification in the run-up to a major competition, such as the Rio 2016 Paralympics, and that “every single complaint” was investigated.On the same day that Breen gave evidence, the committee published written statements from a string of other witnesses.Former sprinter Kyle Powell said in his statement that after several years in the sport he began to realise that many of the “heroes” he had been “inspired” by appeared to be “at an unfair advantage gained due to the flaws of the classification system”.He added: “I lost trust and belief in the system and ultimately ended up quitting, partly due to not wanting to be a part of a sport with so many false idols.”Ian Jones, who competed as an athlete in the Beijing Paralympics, described in his statement how problems with the classification system also caused him to quit the sport.He said: “The whole experience had a major impact on me, practically, financially, emotionally and psychologically.“In my experience, classification has always been open to manipulation and has never been fit for purpose. It needs to be completely overhauled to make it safe and fair.”Charlie Bethel, who until July was chief executive of British Wheelchair Basketball and is himself a qualified classifier, said in his statement that when he told the chief executive of another national sports governing body that he had learned about a Paralympic athlete’s “inappropriate” classification behaviour, he was told that “everyone was at it”.Bethany Woodward (pictured) said in her written evidence that she believed that a “weak classification system together with a ‘gold medals’ at any cost mentality is excluding many disabled people from the sport and that this dynamic is adversely affecting the involvement of athletes at a grassroots level”.Woodward, who won a 200m silver medal at London 2012, described how she had “lost confidence in the integrity” of the classification system after watching other athletes in her class in the warm-up area before races and realising that “the nature of classification was changing and that it was excluding more disabled athletes”.And she said that her “greatest concern over the last two years has been the unwillingness of any of the three main umbrella Paralympic organisations [British Athletics, the British Paralympic Association and the International Paralympic Committee] to meet me and find out my concerns”.Woodward says in her evidence that British Athletics sent legal letters to media organisations that attempted to report her concerns last year.She spoke to BBC’s File on Four in September about her concerns and told the programme that she wanted to hand back a relay medal she won in the 2014 European Championships because she doubted whether one of her team-mates should have been in that category.Steve Long, father of Paralympian swimmer Jessica Long, who won six medals, including a gold, at Rio 2016, named two swimmers – one British and one Australian – in his statement who he believed were guilty of intentional misrepresentation.He said: “In the Paralympic world, doping is an extremely rare occurrence, but only because there is a better way to cheat.“This method of cheating, as some Paralympic swimmers have discovered, has no penalties for the athlete even when their dubious methods are discovered.“The swimmers have discovered that they can intentionally conduct themselves in a way that misrepresents the severity of their disability.“By doing this, they are able to scam the classifiers and compete in the wrong disability class.“There are swimmers that exaggerate their disabilities in the hope of being classed down to a class where they can dominate.”The father of swimmer Levana Hanson said he was aware of methods used by other swimmers to “mislead/misrepresent their disability to gain lower classification”.Mark Hanson named British and international swimmers in his statement, and said the International Paralympic Committee knew that such “misrepresentation” was happening, while officials from British Swimming were “complicit” in such practices.He said he knew of one swimmer whose father had bought her a wheelchair on eBay “for the purpose of misleading the classifiers”, while other swimmers took cold showers “to help stiffen their muscles prior to being examined”.The British Wheelchair Athletics Association (BWAA) raised concerns in its statement about the process of international classification.The BWAA statement said that a senior British athletics classifier had said that “if you want an easy classification – go to Dubai”, which BWAA said “would seem to be true”. It also backed concerns raised by athletes such as Woodward about the increasing number of athletes with neurological conditions other than cerebral palsy (cp) who were being allowed to compete against athletes with cp and had an unfair advantage.Pauline Betteridge, herself an international classifier – although not in athletics or swimming – told the committee in her written statement that many current classifiers “do not appear to have much clinical experience”, which means “it is easy for those determined to cheat to get away with it”.She said: “I am aware of a situation where coaching staff know that their athlete is far more able than demonstrated at assessment but did nothing about it as they were winning medals.“The fact that sport is now dependent on winning medals to gain funding means that sport is not encouraged to be honest. Pressure to perform is huge.”But Professor Nick Webborn, the British Paralympic Association’s chair, and himself a former athlete and chief medical officer for London 2012, defended the classification system in his written evidence to the committee.He said that it was “vitally important” that the classification system was “open and transparent and as scientifically based as possible”.He said: “There will always be someone just above or just below the cut-off threshold between classes who may feel advantaged or disadvantaged by this decision; however, that is the reality.”He said he did not believe there was “widespread wrongdoing within the movement and it would be inappropriate to portray it so without evidence to the contrary”.last_img read more

  • Housing Startup Managed SRO Damaged in Fire

    first_img 0% Tags: Department of Building Inspection • displacement • firefighters • Fires • sf • tech Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% Up until the five-alarm fire damaged the Graywood single room occupancy hotel and left 58 tenants without a place to live, the SRO was managed by a housing startup that matches roommates and manages co-living spaces for young professionals.Under its management, the Graywood’s tenants began to include tech workers and others able to pay up to $1,400 a month for a room, compared to the $681 a month the building’s traditional low-income tenants were paying. After the fire, the Graywood’s landlord, Dipak Patel, ended the hotel’s lease with Alon Gutman and Danny Haber’s housing startup, Negev. The two-year-old company has a history of leasing SROs and renting some, if not all, of their rooms to young professionals, students, and entrepreneurs. Patel said he took over management from Negev so that he could begin repairs, which are now underway.center_img Several tenants who rented through Negev said that the company’s management was unresponsive to their inquiries and confusion arose over access to units in the hotel.“They are not talking to us,” said one younger, newer tenant,  who booked his room on a three-month contract through Negev. In San Francisco for an internship, the tenant declined to give his name, but said he only spent a week at the hotel before fire struck. Attempts to contact Negev on Monday to gain access to the building led nowhere for the intern. He said he was told by a resident manager who lives on site and “moves tenants into the SRO rooms for Negev” that he would be let into the building at 9 a.m to retrieve some of his belongings.But by 2 p.m., the displaced tenant was still waiting for the management to show. “I think the managers have as much info as we do — nothing,” he said.Carlos Velasquez, the resident manager, on Tuesday that he indeed had been unable to reach Negev. “Many tenants are asking me if they will get their rent back. I don’t know what to tell them.”Following multiple calls to Negev, a representative offered to put the intern up at one of the company’s other locations. The representative offered him a 20 percent discount on a $1,400 room that came with three roommates.The intern, who was paying $1,200 for his own room at the Graywood, said he declined the offer.The option to relocate was not extended to other Graywood tenants who rented with Negev. Instead, some said that they received emails announcing that they would be billed for June’s rent.“I wrote them and said ‘don’t charge me because the building burned down,’” said a student who resided at the Graywood for less than a week and also requested to remain anonymous. “They emailed me back and said I had to write a more formal cancellation email.” The confusion continued on Wednesday, when the SRO tenants were permitted to enter the burned building for the first time under the supervision of building inspectors. Neither Gutman or Haber were present to answer questions about the tenant’s contracts.Housing for Young ProfessionalsOn its website, Negev offers five locations throughout the city with rooms renting between $900-$2,000. The hotels come with descriptions like “social, ambitious and driven interns,” aiming to match tenants with similar interests and personality types.“People who are paying those prices are also being duped, believing that they are coming into  [tech or student] housing,” said Chirag Bakhta, who works for the Mission SRO Collaborative, a nonprofit that advocates for SRO residents.Instead, the now burned-out SRO with 26 rooms housed a mix of long-term tenants, fixed-income renters, seniors, families and formerly homeless tenants. The intern and the student said they stepped into a reality that was quite different from what was advertised.“The way they promoted it, it sounded like it was was all students living together,” said the student.Some longterm tenants of the Graywood who were “inherited” by Negev after the company took over the hotel’s management roughly two years ago said that they had been offered buyouts ranging from $2,000 to $3,000. “They offered to buy me out several times,” said Kimberly Walley, a Graywood resident of five years. “I told them that [money] did nothing for me.”Paul Miranda, a U.S. Marines veteran, and his partner, Michelle Thompson, were also offered a buyout two years ago. The couple had been living at the Graywood for some four years and paid $681 for their room. “They were trying to be a co-op thing,” said Miranda. “The refurbished rooms come with bunk beds and futons. They don’t look like our rooms.”Thompson said that the hotel is not the “cleanest,” and that she feels for the newcomers. “This place is run down, its not operated right. I wouldn’t pay $1,200 for a room here.”In recent years, Negev has faced a lawsuit over attempting to buy out long term tenants after a fire. Negev has a second location in a former religious mission dedicated to serving and housing the homeless. That location became embroiled in more trouble when the city discovered the landlord and Negev had allegedly been renting the rooms at market rate, counter to the stipulations of an interest-free loan from the city that came with the condition that the hotel be rented to low-income residents only.Earlier this year, Negev moved to purchase an Oakland SRO, where Haber told the Business Times he would do his best not to displace any low-income tenants.Under city regulations, SRO rooms may be rented at market rate to tenants beginning new leases, just like any other rent-controlled apartment. But because many consider them a last resort resource for people either on the brink of homelessness or trying to escape it, some see Negev’s conversions as questionable. “Ethically this company is taking advantage of the housing market by renting low income rooms at high prices,” said Bakhta, adding that companies like Negev are capitalizing on a trend of flipping SRO rooms by “fancying up” vacant rooms and renting them at market rate.“They’ll put in a new fancy sink, a microwave, fresh paint and a flat screen,” said Bakhta, then rent the refurbished rooms “under the veneer of housing young professionals.”When reached by phone, Gutman said that Negev aims to provide “places where you can live with friends.”“We help them find people they want to live with,” he said about his service, but declined to comment further. Haber could not be reached for comment.Graywood Owner Takes the ReinsIn April of last year, Walley, who is formerly homeless and also paid $681 for rent, said Negev attempted to evict her for a late payment on her rent.“They gave me a three days notice into the weekend. It was given to me on a Friday,” said Walley. “When I got there on Monday [I was told] they ain’t excepting my money because I’m four days late.”Walley believes she and other long term residents were targeted by the company. “They didn’t want us here, I know that for a fact.”Sanyika Bryant, a tenant counselor at Causa Justa, advised Walley and another long-term Graywood tenant facing eviction. “What’s cold about [Negev] is they are using [SROs] to fill residential units with tourists and taking away from the housing stock.”Patel, the property owner, said he is ending Negev’s lease and attempting to remedy the confusion among tenants about coordinating post-fire recovery efforts.On Thursday, five days after the fire, Patel said he would begin repairs to the building and was actively reaching out to the tenants to prorate their rents. As is mandated by law , Patel said he would give Graywood residents who contact him with the desire to move back the right to return.Patel owns several properties around San Francisco, at least one of them another SRO. He said he knew nothing about the attempted evictions of Walley or the other long-term tenant. last_img read more

  • CONGRATULATIONS to Blackbrook Royals u12s and u13s

    first_imgCONGRATULATIONS to Blackbrook Royals u12s and u13s for winning their respective Lancashire Cup finals on Sunday October 13 at Widnes Vikings.Blackbrook u12s beat Leigh Miners Rangers 25-6 with Danny Eden (2), Jack Welsby (2) and Brandon Scully grabbing the tries.Aaron Hughes and Ryan Forshaw added the conversions whilst man of the match Ryan Forshaw tagged on a drop goal.The club’s under 13s took the spoils over Newton Storm 22-0.Lewis Martin bagged two tries and won man of the match whilst Nathan Beckett and Mathew Ellaby added others.Joel Lyon with the conversions.last_img read more

  • NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher offers free admission on MLK Day

    first_imgNative fish are just one of the many exhibits you’ll find at the aquarium. (Photo: Ashley Sturm/WWAY) KURE BEACH, NC (Press Release) — The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher invites you to enjoy a day at the Aquarium for free on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, Monday, January 15.Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is one of two holidays each year the N.C. Aquariums offer visitors free entry. The other is Veterans Day in November. All N.C. Aquariums also offer a discount throughout the year to active duty military and retired military (with ID).- Advertisement – The Aquarium will be accepting non-perishable food to benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. Appropriate items include canned fruits, vegetables, meats, beans soups; canned pasta with meat, mac and cheese, granola bars, fruit cups, individual juice or milk boxes, individual sandwich crackers, mixed nut packets, peanut butter, infant formula, No glass, expired items or junk food please.last_img read more

  • School system tests app that allows you to track childs bus ride

    first_imgNEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — School districts are finding ways to improve the school bus system.In New Hanover County, tracking your child on the school bus and even lowering the shortage of bus drivers is a top priority.- Advertisement – Imagine if your child’s school bus trip could be in the palm of your hand.“I think it would be extremely helpful for both parents, bus drivers, babysitters, whoever is getting the kids that day,” babysitter Samantha Scott said.New Hanover County Schools is in the testing phase of adding a device to the buses. New Hanover County Director of Transportation Ken Nance said it will let the drivers put in their routes and show where the bus is at all times.Related Article: Castle Hayne mom battling cancer receives free HVAC unit“We’ll have to see how the testing goes, but hopefully it works as well as we hope it will and we’ll be able to put it in place in the fall,” Nance said.But even with this new device it is not a resolution to bus driver shortages.“It’s always been an issue, but it’s a bigger issue now then I’ve ever seen. And again it’s a common issue in North Carolina and through out the United States,” Nance said.The school board recently passed that newly hired teacher assistants will be required to get their CDL and drive a bus.“I mean that’s what we really want because no matter if you have this system or not if the buses are late, they’re still late and they’re still late getting the kids to school each day and they’re missing part of their educational opportunity,” Nance said.Meanwhile, parents are hopeful the device will be approved.“I think the idea of the bus having a GPS allowing parents to track it is a great idea,” parent Donna Kaiser said.Nance say getting additional drivers will hopefully offer a little relief that kids will get picked up and dropped off on time.Right now they have ordered two of the tablets for their testing. If approved, Nance said it will be sometime in the fall, but the biggest concern is the bus driver shortage.last_img read more

  • Grocery stores slowly reopening deliveries on the way

    first_img Lowes Foods has trucks and food vendors arriving on Wednesday. A Lowes Foods representative says they will be well stocked with bread today.Not all Lowes Foods are open, though. The stores in Murraysville and Southport are still closed. The Leland location opened at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.Other Lowe’s will be open with limited hours.Pine Grove: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.Monkey Junction: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.South College Road: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.Ocean Isle Beach (limited staff): 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.Oak Island (limited staff): 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.Hampstead: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.Related Article: NCDOT urging drivers not to return to Wilmington area, for nowLowes will provide updates here.Walmart stores in Leland, Southport, Whiteville, Burgaw and Hampstead remain closed. The company did not have a time frame on when supplies will arrive.Open Aldi stores:9410 Ploof Road, Leland, NC 28540 (Brunswick County) – Modified store hours, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Closure due to local curfewFood Lion have not yet responded.Publix has reopened their stores at Ogden Market Place, Pine Valley, and Surf City. Long lines at the Harris Teeter in Leland on September 15, 2018 (Photo: WWAY) SOUTHEASTERN NC (WWAY) — Customers frustrated with bare grocery store shelves will soon get some relief, as delivery trucks are making their way to southeastern North Carolina.All Harris Teeter stores are open. A company spokeswoman says trucks had been trying to get to Wilmington and finally made it last night and today. Shelves are now being restocked.- Advertisement – last_img read more

  • McCabes showcase whimsical natural garden

    first_imgWILMINGTON,NC (WWAY) — For more than 21 years, the McCabes have been enjoying outdoor living in their whimsical garden that overflows from the front to the back of their home.This is not a manicured lawn with neatly trimmed boxwood. The McCabes’ garden is casual with native and pollinator friendly plants. The couple says they are committed to designing an enjoyable yard to relax in. Beyond the plants, their garden includes two outdoor showers, a sauna, a hot tub and a fire pit.- Advertisement – “We’ve got butterflies done by Paul Hill, who is a local artist, and we’ve got two whimsy flower sculptures that were on display at Airlie Gardens a couple of years ago apart of the imagination exhibit,” Laura McCabe said. “We’ve also got 3 water features, beehives and chickens.”The garden also features a tandem bicycle ‘ribbet’ sculpture. As avid cyclists, this unique piece is the perfect addition to their garden.last_img read more

  • Two people killed in crash in Pender County

    first_imgPENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Two people are dead after a crash near Burgaw Tuesday morning.According to Trooper Sutton with the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the crash happened just before 8 a.m. on U.S. 117 near Old Savannah Road.- Advertisement – Sutton said a Dodge Ram pickup heading north on 117 crossed the center line and hit a Chrysler 300 head on.Trooper Sutton said the driver of the Dodge Ram, Lisa Nixon Mcmillan, 45, and the driver of the Chrysler 300, William Donnell Bryant, 44, both died in the crash. He said there were no other passengers involved.Trooper Sutton said speed and alcohol were not factors in the crash and the investigation is complete.Sous Chef William Bryant (Photo: Thyme Savor Catering)Related Article: Two area stores fined for overcharging customersThyme Savor Catering posted on Facebook Tuesday saying William Bryant was a sous chef for the company.“We lost one of our own friends and Sous Chef William Bryant in a tragic car accident on his way to work. If you knew Will you immediately loved him and his personality,” the Facebook post said. He was a special person to all of us in so many ways. He loved working a A Thyme Savor and it showed in his work ethic and attitude everyday.”last_img read more

  • 2 men injured in driveby shooting in Wilmington

    first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Police are investigating after a drive-by shooting in broad daylight that left two men injured Saturday.According to a news release, the shooting happened around 4:30 p.m. near New Centre Dr. and Kerr Ave. while one car was passing another. Police say someone fired multiple shots from one vehicle injuring two men in the other vehicle. Both men were driven to New Hanover Regional Medical Center and treated for non-life threatening injuries.- Advertisement – Police ask anyone with information on this shooting to please use Text-a-Tip or call (910) 343-3609.last_img read more

  • Most liked pages on Facebook

    first_imgAdvertisement One of the best ways to learn how to deal with social media is to look at the industry leaders, there are so may pages on Facebook and more are being created each and every other day.The No. 1 and No. 2 spots are still held by Facebook’s own company pages.  Facebook for Every Phone is the official page for Facebook’s feature phone app.#NameTotal Likes 1   Facebook for Every Phone231,611,4912   Facebook91,095,6043   YouTube73,705,1774   Texas HoldEm Poker70,073,0985   Rihanna69,960,0856   Eminem69,480,0747   Shakira64,027,5268   The Simpsons63,696,3719   Coca-Cola63,409,93710   Harry Potter61,298,88511   Michael Jackson58,393,35012   Lady Gaga56,822,92013   Cristiano Ronaldo56,769,01514   Justin Bieber52,927,45215   Katy Perry52,802,06016   Family Guy52,214,46117   Linkin Park52,213,65918   AKON46,883,69719   Beyoncé46,374,16520   South Park45,986,98521   Leo Messi45,009,00422   Lil Wayne44,671,71923   MTV44,476,63624   Will Smith44,028,25825   Disney43,798,69726   House43,330,30127   Bob Marley42,748,10628   SpongeBob SquarePants42,623,44129   Selena Gomez42,262,55230   Taylor Swift42,173,944Credit: PageDatalast_img read more