Docklands growth dominates strategy

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OPINION: Have those backing reform thought through the implications for construction worksites?

first_imgMore cannabis use not what the construction sector needsStuff co.nz 11 September 2020Family First Comment: “The 2019 Civil Contractors NZ annual report highlighted legalised cannabis as an issue looming over the construction sector with 65 per cent of respondents saying it would negatively impact their operations as businesses were already struggling with staff recruitment due to substance abuse – in effect removing them pending a clear drug test.From a health and safety perspective, construction sites are hazardous and dangerous work areas, and require employees to be alert.”Of course!OPINION: The upcoming general election and the referenda, including the proposed legalisation of cannabis, pose a concerning dilemma for the construction industry.The construction industry is one of New Zealand’s largest employers and anecdotally we suspect that many of our 250,000 workers already routinely abuse drugs like alcohol, methamphetamine and, to a lesser degree, cannabis.Unlike alcohol, cannabis can stay in the human body for several weeks. If employees return a positive drug test in that time they are unable to work and contribute to society.Medically it is acknowledged that the active psychedelic ingredient in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which produces the “high” effect, also impairs and affects people’s judgement because it alters the way information is processed by the brain.This impairment occurs over the time that THC stays in the fatty tissues of a person’s body and can impair motor performance, cause loss of balance and coordination, decrease attentiveness and alertness, prolong response time to stimuli and danger, and decrease the ability to judge distance and space.If recreational use of cannabis is allowed in the September referendum, then construction companies will also be required to introduce pre-selection drug testing of employees – many are already doing this – and the issue then also becomes one of finding and hiring enough drug-free workers who can pass the pre-employment screening.The legalisation of cannabis in the referendum is a simple yes or no question and so most people being asked to make a very critical decision on a powerful drug will be unaware of the potential consequences for the New Zealand workplace, including the construction sector.Perhaps the question should be asked if cannabis is legalised will the Government pay businesses compensation for employees who are unable to work following a positive drug test or change the employment legislation allowing for faster failed drug test dismissals without any recourse to personal grievance procedures?There will be both social and economic impacts arising if there is a legalisation of cannabis. But have our legislators fully thought through all of the implications if a larger proportion of the construction workforce is unable to work at a time of economic recovery where keeping jobs and growth in a post-Covid-19 environment will be paramount? Hopefully the voting population are smarter than that.Gary Walker is chair of the Construction Strategy Group and general manager, Fletcher Construction, buildings.READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/opinion/300104507/more-cannabis-use-not-what-the-construction-sector-needs?cid=app-iPhonelast_img read more

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Rising Sun Softball Team Outshines Batesville

first_imgThe Rising Sun Lady Shiners beat The Batesville Lady Bulldogs 12-2 in Varsity Softball action.Batesville vs. Rising Sun Softball (5-12)The Lady Bulldogs will be back in action Tuesday Night (5-13) at East Central to battle The Lady Trojans in EIAC Play.  1st Pitch will be at 5:30 PM.Submitted by Batesville Coaches Jody Thomas and Mike Ploeger with Max Preps.last_img

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Why MLB needed the Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa home run race then — and must celebrate it now

first_imgMcGwire vs. Sosa came at a time when baseball was getting lost on the map, and re-established the game as a capital city. While the franchises with bigger fan bases dominate the landscape in 2020, it’s been hard to make baseball as cross-country compelling. Like college football is to the northeast, baseball can become a sports blind spot for much of America without one unifying national storyline involving the same scale of individual magnetism.For those who think McGwire and Sosa committed the ultimate Cardinal and Cub sin with their PEDs, consider that issues involving owner vs. player, diversification, adaptation and marketing are obstacles toward increasing the popularity of the game in 2020, well removed from the steroid era.McGwire vs. Sosa wasn’t just a band aid that created a bandwagon. It was the type of rare phenomenon baseball desperately needed then and could use much of now. Keeping with what those two guys and those home runs meant, maybe a different kind of work stoppage will lead to a similar revitalization. https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/6/38/mcgwire-sosa-sncoverjpg_sp2ac8chsold1kfydm8uh0m7g.jpg?t=-1452195478&w=500&quality=80McGwire vs. Sosa were the right superstars, despite their wrongsWhen the steroid revelations came to light, there was major irreparable damage to the reputations of McGwire and Sosa. When the collective ignorance went away, it also revoked all of the innocence involved with the dreamlike state of their home run race.As flawed as they were as players, it’s their personalities which explain why McGwire vs. Sosa still conjures fond memories, in St. Louis, Chicago or elsewhere. A long 22 years later, there are few times when those strong feelings toward baseball resurface, most recently with Giancarlo Stanton vs. Aaron Judge trying to re-created some of that magic in 2017.Mike Trout, Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts are considered the best position players in the game in 2020. But consider that in ESPN’s World Fame 100, ranking the biggest, most famous names in sports worldwide in 2019, only one MLB player, Bryce Harper, made the list at No. 99. MORE: Ranking the top 10 unbreakable baseball recordsMcGwire ended up edging Sosa 70-66 as both shot past Maris in the record books before Barry Bonds reset the mark to 73 just three years later. ESPN’s latest “30 for 30” sports documentary “Long Gone Summer” couldn’t come at a better time (8 p.m. ET, Sunday), during a summer of longing for baseball.Here’s why McGwire vs. Sosa was so important to baseball then and what lessons the game could still learn from it now.McGwire vs. Sosa made baseball larger than lifeWhen the players’ strike put an end to the final two months and postseason in 1994, it soured many of the game’s most loyal fans. The Yankees’ return to dominance as a World Series dynasty and the Red Sox starting to rise were key to helping the healing with two storied franchises having budding success at the same time. That was great for big American League markets on the East Coast, but MLB needed something the entire country could embrace, too.Enter the National League, and the ultimate rivals in America’s heartland, McGwire’s Cardinals and Sosa’s Cubs. That it was St. Louis vs. Chicago as well as McGwire vs. Sosa made it extra special.  It didn’t matter that the Cardinals and Cubs finished well behind the Astros in the then NL Central and the latter limped into the playoffs as a wild card. Baseball had the equivalent of October drama play out from March through September, with McGwire and Sosa trading majestic bomb after majestic bomb. At some point, they stopped becoming very good power hitters and turned into part classic mythical figures, part comic-book superheroes enjoying their own version of a summer blockbuster MLB or Hollywood couldn’t have written a better script in an attempt to erase all the negative vibes from four years earlier. Consider that in ’98 the NBA had its “Last Dance” with Michael Jordan’s Bulls and the NFL had yet to see its great modern QB era ushered in by Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.The stars aligned for baseball to get back to being “America’s Pastime,” a status it has struggled to maintain since. No stars were built to be better or brighter for the moment than McGwire and Sosa. (SN cover) Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/d6/5b/19981007sosamcgwire-sn-embedjpg_1g4fj4qtdfy8211kkffoaddq25.jpg?t=-1219585739&w=500&quality=80McGwire vs. Sosa challenged our thoughts and discussions on raceFor Cardinals and Cubs fans, there wasn’t much conflict for whom to root to break Maris’ mark. But for some, there was taking sides on their favorite hero or villain between McGwire and Sosa. Unfortunately, some of that was related to McGwire being a white Californian and Sosa being a black Dominican.For some, McGwire, at 6-5, 215 pounds, represented the ideal image, often associated with baseball’s past, to replace Maris atop the list. For others, Sosa, with his energy and more flamboyant home run trots, was indicative of baseball future’s with the Latin influx about to change the faces of the sport.What helped is that McGwire and Sosa genuinely liked each other, laughing and smiling all the way through their heated but friendly competition. They were making baseball fun for others and, unlike Maris, who had a tough grind to 61 while being overshadowed, personality- and stature-wise by teammate Mickey Mantle, McGwire and Sosa were having a blast while blasting balls into the stands.Two guys with very different backgrounds found their common ground and that did help to make the race less about race. Many of those tracking their daily exploits may have thought otherwise, but McGwire and Sosa also played an important role in bringing many together and working to break some stereotypes.MORE: 10 single-season MLB feats we’ll never see againMcGwire vs. Sosa delivered must-see TV for casual fansA few years before there were “Survivor,” “American Idol,” and “The Bachelor” leading the boom of intense, popular reality competition series, television had a natural such program play out like never before in sports, often in prime time. Every time McGwire and Sosa came up to the plate, they were drop-everything-and-just-watch moments. Incredibly, McGwire and Sosa often lived up to the tension, with line-drive beauties and tape-measure shots to victimize many intimidated pitchers.The biggest highlight came when the Cardinals and Cubs started a two-game set at Busch Stadium on Labor Day. McGwire, up 60-58 on Sosa, hit the Maris-tying home run on the holiday afternoon, following by the record-breaker Tuesday night in front of a national audience on Fox. Sosa was right there after McGwire circled the bases to join in the rejoicing.Baseball is more about numbers than any of the other major North American team sports, and there can be paralysis and overanalysis. But the basic emotions that come with the game are what truly make it a great, and nothing still does that better than a home run.McGwire vs. Sosa was like two NFL QBs or two NBA scorers dueling with the backdrop of team, but also with the direct individual athletic appeal of boxing, tennis, golf or the Olympics. At the time, the home run race was the best of all sports, including baseball, which is what allowed it to transcend sports. McGwire vs. Sosa both demanded and commanded or attention, and even with the aftermath, that was much more for the better than for the worse. Given what all is known now about Major League Baseball’s epic home run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in 1998, it might be hard to respect what they did together for the game for one magic season. But as time heals, it’s never been worthier of honor and celebration.Ignorance was bliss in ’98 as the nation was captivated by McGwire and Sosa’s battle to break Roger Maris’ single-season record, 36 years after he smashed 61 homers for the Yankees in 1961. While McGwire’s admission of using performance-enhancing drugs and Sosa’s adamant denial of doing the same thing have kept both sluggers out of the Baseball Hall of Fame, there’s no question MLB needed to embrace the fairytale reality of them combining for 136 homers. (SN cover)last_img read more

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Iowa parts ways with strength coach accused of mistreating players based on race

first_imgFerentz has been under scrutiny since the suspension, and he addressed those concerns at a press conference Friday. Ferentz, who took over at Iowa in 1999, is the longest-tenured coach in the FBS.”The biggest question to me is, why the blind spot?” Ferentz said Friday. “And I think every person has a blind spot. I’m sure every leader has a blind spot. The former players were very forthcoming. They were very direct, and just pointed out some things that perhaps gave me a new awareness.”Iowa also has hired a Kansas City law firm to conduct an independent review of issues and allegations relating to racial disparities within the program. Raimond Braithwaite will serve as the interim strength and conditioning coach. Iowa parted ways with strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle on Monday.Doyle had been accused of mistreating football players at Iowa because of their race. He had been placed on administrative leave on June 6 after several former players shared social media posts detailing alleged mistreatment while playing for the Hawkeyes. Doyle had been an assistant with the Hawkeyes under Kirk Ferentz since 1999.MORE: Clemson’s Dabo Swinney shares message of support for Black Lives Matter protestsAs part of the separation agreement, Doyle will receive 15 months of base salary, which equates to “two separate lump sum payments of $556,249.50,” according to the university. He had been the highest-paid strength coach in the country, making $800,000 a year.He released a statement following the announcement:”Iowa City has been home to our family for 21 years,” Doyle said. “I am grateful Iowa football provided an opportunity to work with incredible players, coaches, and support staff. I have worked diligently to make a positive impact on the lives of student-athletes, support them as they speak out, and look forward to continued growth. I am confident that my record and character will be confirmed in the course of the independent review. The university and I have reached an agreement and it is time to move on from Iowa football. My family and I are looking forward to the next chapter.”last_img read more

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