Life inside Limerick Prison

first_imgNewsLocal NewsLife inside Limerick PrisonBy Alan Jacques – November 13, 2014 7847 Limerick Prison has been part of life in the city since 1821 and has always perked the curiosity of Limerick Post reporter Alan Jacques. In the first of a two-part series, he takes a fly-on-the-wall peep around the jail to catch a glimpse of what life is like on the inside.by Alan JacquesSign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up [email protected] Mandela believed that no one truly knows a nation until they have been inside its jails. A nation, he said, “should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones”.This philosophy is one that undoubtedly rings true with the staff and management of Limerick Prison. Its mission policy is ‘to provide safe and secure custody, dignity of care and rehabilitation to prisoners for safer communities’. While its vision is simply for ‘a safer community through excellence in a prison service built on respect for human dignity’.It’s a great mantra and looks impressive on the wall of the Governor’s office but is it just empty words or do the people that run the Mulgrave Street-based prison really believe and live by these words?Absolutely and unequivocally, I would argue after getting a glimpse of what daily life is really like behind its imposing walls.Ever since I was a small child I was curious about the fortress-like jail with its army turrets and soldiers carrying machine guns. Limerick Prison would capture my imagination without fail every time I passed it on family visits to relatives living up on that side of town.The soldiers with machine guns are long gone but that childhood curiosity has remained. It always fascinated me how this large, grey, imposing building could stand in the centre of the city and yet most of us know very little about what actually goes on behind its gates.So, without a criminal record, and only TV and movies to fill in the gaps, I’ve usually been guilty of letting my imagination run a muck and picturing the very worst. I’ve always imagined the skewed and violent ‘Midnight Express’ vision of life behind bars, to the fluffier and more uplifting ‘Shawshank Redemption’ version. But, I’m actually told that the hit seventies sitcom ‘Porridge’ starring Ronnie Barker is in fact, the closest to the reality of prison life. Barker’s character Norman Fletcher, you might remember, used to chuckle that his wife told neighbours that he was away “doing missionary work in Scotland”.During my recent three-hour tour of Limerick Prison, accompanied by hearty assistant governor Mark Kennedy, he confessed, “‘Porridge’ is probably the exact same thing as we do here, we’d just be a bit more modern. That show was probably the closest to the reality of prison. The environment is the same. It’s the same ranking system and there’s a bit of banter.”Despite a lifetime’s curiosity I have to admit being a little apprehensive before my visit to the prison. And my work colleagues, all experts thanks to ‘Love/Hate’, did not help matters as they playfully offered portentous safety tips like warning me to stay clear of the infamous showers.So, I was relieved to now have the image of the quick-witted and ultimately kindhearted Norman Fletcher to replace the more deranged Hannibal Lecter type fiends that filled my dreams the night before, as I entered Limerick Prison.After producing my passport as identification at the main entrance I was then ushered towards the security screening process for a full security check. “It’s just like going away on holidays,” one of the prison officer’s remarked.I was frisked, I put my keys and coins in a little tray and went through the exact same process we do at airports, only sadly, there wasn’t two weeks in the Algarve after a flight on the other end of it.After clearing security, I was met in the prison courtyard by assistant governor, Mark Kennedy, who tells me that he used to pass Limerick Prison every day on his way to school in CBS Sexton Street when he was younger. Now with 23 years experience in the prison service, I find I am in very safe hands for my trip through Ireland’s second oldest prison (Cork being the oldest).Opened in 1821, Limerick Prison is a high security sentence and remand prison capable of housing around 260 prisoners. It is one of the oldest working prisons in Europe and an exact replica of St Joseph’s Hospital across the street. Probably something they won’t thank me for publicising, but the prison, St Joseph’s Hospital, the former army barracks in Costello’s Yard, and the hospital across the road, now the site of Limerick College of Further Education, were once all linked by tunnels.“We found one last year,” I am told.But, before any jail-breakers get the notion to go looking for these underground passages, they have since been concreted off.Prisoners come in through the main gates on Mulgrave Street and their warrant is validated. Once inside their photo is taken in front of the kind of stark mug-shot backdrop that we’ve come to know so well from reports of Justin Bieber’s miscreant escapades. A photographic record is then held of each inmate and valuables are handed into a safe for the duration of their stay.One of many myth’s that went up in a puff of smoke for me during my visit was the old TV chestnut of new prisoners being stripped down to their birthday suit and power hosed to within a scalded inch of their dignity. It doesn’t happen!But, here’s one prison statistic that will undoubtedly knock you off your feet. Out of every 15 committals to Limerick Prison under sentence in 2013, 12 were for non-payment of court ordered fines.A spokesperson for the Irish Prison Service said that people who are convicted for non-payment of fines such as their television license usually serve between a couple of hours and a couple of days in jail.Limerick Prison’s assistant governor said he is hopeful that new fines legislation will soon put an end to jailing people for non-payment of fines.“The vast majority of these would be ordinary people. At any one time we probably have 160 prisoners on temporary release for fines. They come in and they’re processed administratively and then they are discharged,” Mr Kennedy explained.“It’s no secret that people who come in on fines are here about two hours, they rarely spend an overnight in prison. Sometimes they might spend an overnight but they rarely see a proper accommodation cell. It’s a difficult experience for them at the same time. It’s not natural to be going through metal detectors,” he adds.“It’s probably safer in the prison than it is outside. You see all walks of life. We’ve had solicitors in, rugby internationals, ordinary Joe Soaps. Normally it’s for a small fine, probably less than €1,000, and they are here for under 15 days.You have people here doing a month to life. We have 15 lifers at the moment. You would have the highest crimes down to the lowest crimes and whatever society deems in between. Ninety nine per cent of them are sound.It’s a medium security prison, but it is high security. It’s a safe environment and prisoners see it as safe. We’re lucky in the Limerick staff are very mature. The vast majority work here over ten years.”I was quickly struck by the holistic approach to care and rehabilitation within the prison. There’s a huge focus on community and families, and not long after passing through its ominous façade do I start to see a very different type of prison emerge to the one I’ve grown accustomed to from TV and films. In the last 12 months Limerick Prison has taken striking steps to “softening” the prison experience for the inmates and, in particular, their families.“Once you come in past the drug dogs and screening and security on the outside we then come back into humanity inside these doors,” Mr Kennedy tells me with great pride.The bright and colourful murals, painted by inmates, in the visiting area, strike me instantly. I expected it to look drab and oppressive, but instead I am wowed by how warm, welcoming and conducive to human interaction it feels. In a female visiting room children’s toy are placed in one corner while family members wait anxiously to visit with a prisoner and loved one.As I discovered myself on entering Limerick Prison, it really is a nerve-wracking experience, and the bright colours and furnishings, certainly go some way to softening this heavy blow.“The easy thing for us to do would be to have concrete walls and not paint them, that would be the cheapest way. But you have to soften the blow for people because you have children, wives, daughters and sons coming in here. It’s not as soft as we want it to be and it is going to get softer,” the assistant governor vowed.One prison initiative that brought a tear to my eye was one where a parent serving time for a crime can record a CD telling a bedtime story which is then passed on to their children. Limerick Prison is also hoping in the future to install a more free-modelled style of visiting facility to include more open style visits, in outdoor areas to make it feel more “normal” for the prisoner and their family members.“The prisoner is here and their liberty is taken aside but the visitor coming in needs to feel comfortable. It’s important to keep that family link too,” Mr Kennedy insists.A committee was set up last year looking at the effects of prisons on families and one interesting point that came out of their findings was the idea of not treating visits as just coming to see someone, but as an intervention, an actual definite part of the whole rehabilitation process.“The big thing with prisoners is communication with the outside. When phone calls came in back in 1996 or 97, they got one phone call a week. Now they get one phone call a day for six minutes. If you work within the prison and you engage with everything you get two phone calls and it can go up and down that scale then. So that’s a big incentive and it’s good to see that a prisoner values their phone calls because they value the communication with their family if there’s a communion or a birthday at home. There’s that link with the community all the time.“This way you have a more positive impact on the prisoner and the prisoner and their family get a better quality of visit and they know the benefits. When we talk about things like incentivise regimes, giving prisoners incentives like improving their quality of visits, it make people behave and makes life better for everyone.”Limerick Prison is very much a community within a community. It mirrors life on the outside with prisoners spending their days working, training or in education, the same as we do outside its gates. I expected to be greeted with shouting and violence at every turn and prisoners banging pots and bedpans off their cell bars. Instead, I passed prisoners on the landings and different parts of the prison coming and going as they went about their daily business. Most wore their own ordinary clothes but even the prison uniform of a red shirt and faded blue jeans proved a softer garb than the harsh striped-jumpsuits I had expected to see.The place was silent other than a droning hum of activity for a soundtrack as normal everyday business was carried out within Limerick Prison’s walls.One prisoner officer even asked inquisitively as I passed his landing, “what do you think of our little city?”Assistant governor Mark Kennedy, who has worked in every Irish prison over the past two decades, sees his role as managing relationships. A friendly and approachable man, he moves confidently through the prison and interacts with every prisoner he meets on a first name basis. He is cognisant that Limerick Prison is a “community within a community” and there’s no doubt to me after a short time in his company that the prison’s mission statement and vision is something that Mark believes very passionately in.“Limerick Prison is part of the community since 1821. It’s an exact replica of Limerick City. You have doctors, solicitors, nursing, you have dentistry and psychiatry. You have everything inside here, but it’s behind a wall. It’s a community within a community. We are conscious of building relationships because we have learned from the past that you have to work with the community in Limerick because it’s so small and everyone knows each other,” he insists.The prisoner’s living quarters were compact in size with small creature comforts such as a jug kettle and TV, as well as stereos and PlayStation 2 in many of the cells. Magazine posters of buxom pin-ups and photographs of smiling children looked down from the walls and while space and light were in short supply the cells looked well liveable and appeared to be treated by their inhabitants with the utmost of respect and care.“This is someone’s cell. It has in-cell sanitation, a small kettle, TV and he has a PlayStation 2. We have a catalogue of games in the library and he can bring them back then and play them here. Now what we could do, is if someone doesn’t have the funds, we do a kind of hire purchase. We bought about 100 PlayStations when they were just going out of date. This is a typical cell and it’s nice and clean, because this is where he is living,” Mr Kennedy points out.A spokesman from the Irish Prison Service who joins us on our walkabout of the jail is quick to say that prisoners not only pay for their crimes but they pay for their TV and game consoles too. Inmates get a daily gratuity payment ranging from 95 cent to €1.70 up to €2.20 depending on their participation in structured activities such as education or, work and training, and the quality of their behaviour. The objective is to provide real incentives to encourage prisoners to participate in structured activities in Limerick Prison and to reinforce good behaviour. Prisoners out of their gratuity payment pay for comforts such as TVs and radios and game consoles themselves.The Irish Prison Service spokesman explained, “Ultimately people are sent to prison as punishment, not to be punished. We need to work with them to address the issues that caused them to be sent to prison in the first place. We need to work with offenders to rehabilitate them and make society safer.”Prisoners on D-wing are also rewarded for good behaviour with use of two Xbox game consoles in their recreation room.Mr Kennedy also tells me that the introduction of televisions into prisoners’ cells in 2002 has helped drastically reduce the rate of suicides and self-harm in Irish prisons.“If you have someone who comes in here in bad shape you can’t engage with them in a proper way. That’s all part of the process, getting them healthy, putting on weight. If they come in and they don’t feel safe you can’t do anything for them.Once they get the safety thing into there head, ‘I am safe in Limerick Prison’, and the vast majority of prisoners here would feel comfortable, you can start working with them. Comfortable is probably a word people on the outside don’t want to hear but prisoners are comfortable in the prison,” said Mr Kennedy.The prison cells are unlocked every morning at 8.15, when prisoners collect their breakfast and return to their cells. The cells are then locked for breakfast and unlocked again at 9.10am as inmates head off for school, work, outdoor exercise, family visits or cleaning duties. Lunch is served at 12 noon and prisoners are locked back in their cells again until 2.10pm again when they return to work and education. Being Catholic Ireland and a Friday, boiled potatoes and fish were on the menu the day I visited the prison.Tea is then served at 4pm and prisoners are locked back in their cells until 5.20pm when they are allowed two hours recreation or outdoor exercise before being locked back in their cells for the night at 7.30pm.The prison yard with its barbed wire and netting to catch any items thrown from outside into the jail was the most prison-like setting in the whole compound. It serves as a stark reminder of the grim reality of incarceration and lacked the “softer” more humane feel now evident elsewhere in Limerick Prison.The women’s cells situated in the older part of the prison built back in 1821 felt more Dickensian. It was dark and felt less habitable compared to the male side of the prison. Earlier this year peace activist, Margaretta D’Arcy, described the conditions for Limerick women prisoners as “inhuman”, after serving part of a second sentence over her opposition to the US Military use of Shannon Airport. While last month a Review of Penal Policy published by the Department of Justice was critical of the lack of progress in redeveloping the women’s section of Limerick Prison. Governor Patrick Dawson, who believes in a “more humane prison regime”, is well aware of the issues in the women’s wing and is confident that they will be put to rights with the new build. Mr Dawson told the Limerick Post that this work will be done under the ongoing capital project with the Irish Prison Service and for now insists that prison staff and management do “their best to treat all prisoners with respect and dignity”.Limerick Prison is well versed in receiving its fair share of negative and more sensationalized press coverage down the years and therefore shies away from publicizing the many positive and inspiring projects that take place within its walls. Woodworks students at the prison continually produce woodcraft items for a range of charities including benches for the Alzheimer’s Association and cribs for Bedford Row Family Centre. Limerick Prison also have six teams comprised of four to five prisoners, which is sent out to do various work including painting for local charities.“We don’t do positive publicity very well. We do it but we don’t publicize it.We send work parties into the community and we have a workshop that makes garden furniture for charities. It’s far sexier to write about some prisoner getting a thump off another fella,” Mr Kennedy suggested.“We’d be in the papers, probably every week, for the wrong reasons. There’s a wealth of stuff going on across the board – positive things — in the prison. We’re very much cognizant of the fact that we don’t replicate what a commercial entity is doing outside. So we just go straight in and do purely charitable work. We don’t do someone out of a contract and it’s not five fellas in boiler suits chain-ganged on the road. It’s a softer and healthier approach. It’s about going in and helping local communities and this helps prisoners make reparations too,” he concluded. Advertisement TAGSAlan JacquesfeaturedIrish Prison ServicelimerickLimerick Prison Twitter Limerick’s National Camogie League double header to be streamed live Email Vanishing Ireland podcast documenting interviews with people over 70’s, looking for volunteers to share their stories Limerick Artist ‘Willzee’ releases new Music Video – “A Dream of Peace” Linkedincenter_img WATCH: “Everyone is fighting so hard to get on” – Pat Ryan on competitive camogie squads Print Previous articleThe Telescopes play LimerickNext articleBusiness owners terrorised by racists in Limerick Alan Jacqueshttp://www.limerickpost.ie Facebook Predictions on the future of learning discussed at Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival Limerick Ladies National Football League opener to be streamed live WhatsApp RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHORlast_img read more

A commercial real estate apocalypse?! Part 3: Branches, the real estate factor

first_imgAUTHOR’S NOTE: I presented a speech on this topic in early December 2019, before Covid-19 was part of our daily news. Now, with the introduction of Covid-19 and everything it introduced into our world (such as social distancing and shuttered bars and restaurants), the long-term outlook for most commercial sectors turned from questionable to bleak. This series presents a likely scenario for commercial real estate, as well as actions you should take to prepare your credit union.In Part 1, I predicted that certain Commercial Real Estate (CRE) sectors would face an Apocalypse, brought in part by Amazon, Big Money, technology (5G and Artificial Intelligence), and changing consumer habits.  We discussed how these factors may drive certain CRE sectors down in the next 5-7 years, and to a level from which they won’t recover. In Part 2, we discussed the neighborhoods in which your branches reside, and the outlook for those different neighborhoods.  In this article, we’ll discuss the value of your branches, and different options to minimize the downside, maximize the upside, and create new value.Hold for the near-term, unload in the long-termLet’s imagine you believe your branch will be useful for 10 or so years, but are concerned about traffic and the value of your branch after that period.  That branch is a perfect candidate for a sale-leaseback.Have you ever visited a Dollar General store?  You might be surprised to learn that Dollar General doesn’t own their stores.  Dollar General builds their stores, sells them to an investor, and leases them back for a long period (usually 20 years). As the name implies, Dollar General has sold their property and then leased it back: a sale-leaseback. Why would a company do such a thing?  Well, most companies that do sale-leasebacks believe they can better deploy their capital in opportunities other than their buildings.  Others are unsure of the future value of their properties and want to unload that risk on another party.I believe this is particularly relevant for certain branches – most typically those that are not our flagship branches.  You likely have seen traffic reduction over the years.  Over the past several months, your members have learned to perform much more banking without visiting a branch. As you consider these recent consumer habit changes and the new technologies on the horizon, not to mention younger members’ affinity toward non-human contact, it’s easy to see that branch volumes will continue to diminish.  In a basic sale-leaseback, you sell your property to an investor, and then lease it back under a NNN (triple-net) lease.  You maintain maintenance, insurance and taxes (the three “nets”) and control of your property, with the only real difference being that you now cut a monthly rent check to your landlord.  After an initial ten-year lease, you may choose to extend for five years, or simply walk away. Granted, this isn’t necessarily appropriate for every credit union, and certainly not every branch. But it may be a great strategy for ancillary branches that are not a “flagship” location but instead are “filler” branches – branches that will be useful for the near-term, but not the long-term.With the low interest rate environment, investors are clamoring for real property with a credit tenant (such as credit unions).  A sale-leaseback gives you the ultimate flexibility to stay in your branch for 10 to 20 years, while at the same time passing to the investor the risk of the branch being worth less in the future than it is today.One of the first questions from credit unions I work with on sales-leasebacks is whether the transactions are financially favorable for the credit union.  In almost every case, the answer is a resounding yes!  Our sale-leasebacks financial model considers numerous variables and calculates the cost of continued ownership compared to sale-leaseback under a variety of scenarios.  In nearly every situation, even considering that branch property values rise (which I firmly believe will not be the case for many branches), the net present value from reinvestment of the sales proceeds less lease costs far exceeded the value from owning the property outright. As icing on the cake, credit unions can deploy the proceeds from the sale into new initiatives including loan funding, technology, and promotion.Options to drive additional trafficIt’s hard to turn on the TV without seeing one of the many ads from Capital One and their Capital One Café.  Their strategy of building a convening area within a branch is clever.  They’ve created a gathering space, and people gathering in that space are likely to become their customers. You need not recreate the Café; in fact, you likely shouldn’t. You should create whatever matches the needs of the community surrounding your branch. Maybe your community would benefit most from a community room.  Maybe a co-working space makes sense, where budding entrepreneurs or members working from home can gather for fellowship and a latte.  Some credit unions have partnered with national brands or their franchisees. Personally, I would steer you toward a local or regional brand. The local feel is less corporate and more community minded.  You may even be able to assist the business with whom you partner by providing a commercial loan – after all, you’ll be able to keep a really close eye on their business, and you know they have a great landlord!As we work with credit unions across the nation, we are accumulating a list of local and regional partners who value the credit union difference and make great partners.  If you have any local or regional partners – such as coffee shops, co-working space providers, bakeries, etc. – we’d love to learn about them so we can add them to our network and benefit other credit unions. E-BranchOne option being considered by many banks and credit unions is converting to an e-branch. While the upfront investment can be significant, so is long-term payback.  A few important considerations and notes:Adoptability – Consider how your current and prospective members will embrace (or not) the conceptFlexibility – Technology evolves quickly, so it is incredibly important that you ensure the technology – both the hardware and the software – can evolveIntroduction – As you launch your e-branch, expect to spend a great deal of time “training” your members.  You will likely want 1 or 2 team members greeting members at the door and introducing them to the new technology. This will be a small price to pay for the long-term paybackBranches you wish to sellMaybe you’ve found the best decision is to sell your branch. What determines the value of your branch? As the old saying goes, “location, location, location!”  We looked at the location factor in our second article.Another consideration is alternate uses.  Clearly, for your branch the “best use” is as a branch. Some branches can be more easily converted to other uses, namely business offices or health offices; some may be converted to coffee shops, restaurants, or co-working space. The more difficult (i.e. costly) it is to convert, the less valuable your branch is.Finally, you should see if your branch is in the Land of OZ.   No, not that Oz, but the OZ that stands for “Opportunity Zone.” Opportunity Zones (OZs) were created with The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.  These OZs are valuable vehicles for investors, particularly those looking to invest 1031 exchange funds, as the OZs allow an investor to delay or reduce taxable gains.  OZs are “economically-distressed communities,” so clearly fewer branches reside in OZs. However, you may be surprised like we have been that some great properties are within OZs; if you’d like to find out if your branch is in an OZ, feel free to contact me.  Look for our final installment in this series, when we discuss ideas to protect your commercial loan portfolio from this CRE apocalypse. To be clear, there are impacts on your commercial loan portfolio even if you don’t make CRE-backed loans! 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Joe Karlin Joe Karlin has worked with or at credit unions his entire career.  Starting as a CPA with Deloitte and Touche, he audited credit unions, corporates, and leagues.  Joe spent nearly … Detailslast_img read more

Thornton takes opening night feature win at Race For Hope 74

first_imgDefending race winner Ricky Thornton Jr. topped the Wednesday night qualifier for IMCA Modi­fieds at Batesville Motor Speedway’s Race For Hope 74. (Photo by Mike Spieker)By Mike SpiekerBATESVILLE, Ark. (Sept. 26) – Picking up where he left off last year, Ricky Thornton Jr. raced to the opening night feature win of Mark Martin’s Race For Hope 74 at Batesville Motor Speedway.Thornton, who is the defending champion of the Race For Hope 74, led all 30 trips around the high-banked three-eighths mile clay oval en route to the Wednesday evening IMCA Modified win.“The car was really good tonight. I was able to jump out front and really run my own race,” said Thornton after the race. “We’ll probably make a few small changes for Saturday but we are ex­cited to roll from the pole.”The top eight finishers in the Wednesday qualifier are locked into Saturday’s $20,000-to win, 74-lap main event. Those drivers include Thornton, Cayden Carter, Jason Hughes, Justin Kay, Drew Armstrong, Ken Schrader, Zack VanderBeek and Joel Rust.Armstrong ran in the runner-up position until the lap 12 restart when Hughes snuck underneath him in turns one and two. On the following circuit, 10th place runner Jake O’Neil made heavy con­tact into the turn two outside retaining wall to bring out the caution again. O’Neil was OK but done for the night.Thornton opened up a somewhat comfortable lead as the race resumed, but lapped traffic in the closing laps enabled Hughes and Carter to close in.Hughes pulled up to Thornton’s left rear quarter panel with four laps remaining but just as he did, Thornton cleared himself of traffic. Hughes and Carter raced for the runner-up position behind lapped traffic, which allowed Thornton to check out. Thornton cruised to the win as Carter stole the second spot from Hughes coming to the white flag.“You always at least want to make the show, especially after winning it here last year,” said Thornton.The “B,” “C” and “D” mains were all postponed due to rain.Racing continues Thursday at Batesville with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. The consolation features for Wednesday night’s program will be run at 5 p.m. with the regularly scheduled pro­gram starting at 7 p.m. Grandstand tickets purchased on Thursday are good for both the makeup consolation features and the regularly scheduled program.Feature results – 1. Ricky Thornton, Jr.; 2. Cayden Carter; 3. Jason Hughes; 4. Justin Kay; 5. Drew Armstrong; 6. Ken Schrader; 7. Zack VanderBeek; 8. Joel Rust; 9. Timmy Culp; 10. Kyle Strickler; 11. Richie Gustin; 12. Cade Dillard; 13. Kurt Kile; 14. Tim Ward; 15. Jason Wolla; 16. Rodney Sanders; 17. Jesse Dennis; 18. Kyle Brown; 19. Shawn Walsh; 20. Steven Bowers Jr.; 21. Chase Allen; 22. John Burrow Jr.; 23. Randy Weaver; 24. Wendell Wallace; 25. Jake O’Neil; 26. David Stremme; 27. Brint Hartwick; 28. Chad Mallett; 29. Tyler Stevens; 30. Terry Phillips.last_img read more

The Latest: Seahawks give options to season ticket holders

first_imgThe Latest: Seahawks give options to season ticket holders ___The plan to have fans at the World Golf Championships event in Memphis has been scrapped.Officials announced Thursday that the FedEx St. Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind will not have any spectators due to what they call “an abundance of caution.” Tournament officials have been talking extensively with both the PGA Tour and local and state health officials. Executive director Darrell Smith says they had a safety plan for limited spectators but ultimately felt it was best to host without any fans. Ticket purchases will be refunded automatically.The PGA Tour and the Memorial announced Monday a reversal of their plan for a limited amount of spectators next week in Dublin, Ohio, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that every PGA Tour event through at least July will be held without fans since play resumed June 11 in Texas. North Carolina State says five people tied to Wolfpack sports have tested positive for the new coronavirus.Athletics spokesman Fred Demarest said Thursday those positives came after the school tested 315 athletes, coaches and staff starting May 29. That’s a positive rate of roughly 1.6%.N.C. State athletic director Boo Corrigan had announced in early June that the school had begun a schedule of allowing athletes to return in phases to campus.That plan started with testing of members of the football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball programs who live locally. Athletes who were cleared were then allowed to participate in voluntary workouts in small groups.On Wednesday, rival North Carolina said it was pausing football workouts for at least a week. That came after 37 positive results among 429 tests administered to UNC athletes, coaches and staff as they returned to campus in phases starting in June. ___Brazil’s soccer confederation said Thursday its main national championship will be played between Aug.9 and Feb.21. The Brasileirāo tournament usually starts in May and ends in December but was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The confederation also said it expected World Cup qualifiers to be played in the same dates decided by FIFA. The earliest fixtures are scheduled for September. More than 68,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Brazil, and another 1.7 million are confirmed to have the disease. ___The Atlantic Coast Conference is putting fall competitions on hold until at least Sept. 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic, a move that won’t affect football as of now.The league announced the decision Thursday impacting non-revenue sports such as soccer, volleyball, field hockey and cross country. North Carolina State and Louisville meet on Sept. 2 in the first football game involving any league teams.Schools won’t be able to hold exhibitions or regular-season competition before that date, and it will be up to the schools to determine whether to reschedule any affected events. But the ACC isn’t barring teams from holding workouts and preseason practices “in anticipation of a fall season.”___ In a letter to season ticket holders on Thursday, the team said choosing to pause a season ticket will release the seats for the 2020 season only, and the ticket holder will be able to purchase the same seat again in 2021.Fans who choose to keep their tickets for the 2020 upcoming season will have priority if there are schedule changes or changes in stadium capacity.The Seahawks did not say how many fans would be allowed inside CenturyLink Field. Earlier this week, the Baltimore Ravens said they’ll seat fewer than 14,000 fans at M&T Bank Stadium.___Dartmouth is eliminating five varsity sports teams and several staff positions. July 9, 2020 Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___The Seattle Seahawks are allowing season ticket holders the option to pause their season tickets and receive a refund for the upcoming NFL season or keep a credit in their account for the 2021 season. Planning for a season they acknowledge will be “very different,” the Cleveland Browns told their season-ticket holders they can opt out of the 2020 season without penalty and other plans related to the COVID-19 virus and its impact on the NFL.The Browns sent a letter to their fans on Thursday that outlined some new policies due to the pandemic. Anyone attending a game at FirstEnergy Stadium will have to follow physical-distancing guidelines and wear “mandated facial coverings.”The team did not say how many fans will be allowed in the 67,000-seat stadium, which has been the Browns’ lakefront home since 1999.Earlier this week, the Baltimore Ravens said they’ll seat fewer than 14,000 fans at M&T Bank Stadium. The Browns are scheduled to open the season there on Sept. 13. If Cleveland season-ticket holders decide not to attend games in 2020, they can retain their same seat location in 2021. Associated Press ___Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane says forward Vinícius Júnior will need to have another coronavirus test after an initial test result came out “wrong.”Zidane says “the doctor informed me that the test had come out wrong and we were going to repeat it.”Zidane says the Brazilian’s test was not positive. He says “sometimes there are errors. It wasn’t negative or positive.”Spanish league players have undergone regular testing since the competition resumed last month. The Ivy League school announced Thursday that men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s golf, and men’s lightweight rowing, have been cut, effective immediately. That drops to 30 the number of varsity teams and will reduce the number of recruited athletes in incoming classes by 10%. A total of about 110 student-athletes are affected. Jobs for 15 staff, including eight coaching positions, also will end.The change in the number of teams does not alter the college’s compliance with federal Title IX regulations, which require equal opportunities for women and men in varsity athletics, Dartmouth President Philip J. Hanlon said in an email to faculty, students, staff, and undergraduate families.Dartmouth also is permanently closing its Hanover Country Club, which has deficits expected to swell to $1 million a year.The cuts are projected to save more than $2 million as the school addresses a projected $150 million deficit caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.___ Some players and staff members at Valencia and Alavés tested positive in March. They have all recovered. No player has tested positive since the competition resumed in empty stadiums.Madrid leads the Spanish league with four games left.___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sportslast_img read more

2017 AfroBasket: Nigeria’s D’Tigresses Draw Senegal, Egypt

first_imgThe national women’s basketball team, the D’Tigresses have been drawn against perennial rivals and defending champions, Senegal, Egypt, Guinea, Mozambique and a yet to be determined representative of Zone 4 in Group B for the 2017 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket.According to the official draw held on Saturday in Bamako, Mali, teams drawn in Group A are host Mali, Cameroon who hosted the last edition in 2015, Tunisia, Cote d’Ivoire and  Angola. The last spot in the group has been reserved for a wild card team.The Nigerian ladies who were bronze medallists in the 2015 edition were incidentally in the same group with Senegal who they beat but lost in the crucial semi final to Cameroon. They however, beat the 2013 champions, Angola for the bronze.FIBA stated that the 12-team competition will take place from August 18 through 27 at the Palais des Sports Salamatou Maiga in Bamako. It also serves as a qualifier for the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2018 holding in Spain.The First-phase will be played in a round-robin format, with every team taking on its five (5) opponents in its respective groups. The top four (4) teams from each group will advance to the Second-phase.The tournament will be played in a knockout format from the quarter-finals onwards. The Third-place game and the Final will be played on the last day of the competition on Sunday, August 27.The FIBA technical report for the 2015 edition stated that “if statistics are anything to go by, then Nigeria were the better team in the competition (because they) scored more points per game (76) than any other team, they averaged tournament-highs (48.9 rebounds and 17 assists per game) and recorded the highest efficiency rate of 81.9.The report however, said that unlike Senegal, Scott Nnaji’s team paid the price for allowing Cameroon to come back in the Semi-Final after leading for most of the contest, and that breakdown proved costly.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more