On Valentine’s Day, Syracuse-based hip-hop band Sophistafunk released Real Vibration, their newest collection of material, featuring seven high-quality cuts as well as their seven corresponding instrumentals. The trio, made up of keyboardist/bassist Adam Gold, drummer Emanuel Washington, and MC Jack Brown, have made a name for themselves in a live music scene that appreciates–though often doesn’t heavily feature–hip-hop by taking an eclectic approach to their music. Explains Brown, “Our style blends funk, soul, and jam music with East Coast hip-hop flows, which are known for wordplay, rhyme schemes, and lyricism. The music is about similar themes as Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, Talib Kweli, and Rage Against the Machine, among others, and hopefully it inpires more people to get down with the message of peace and unity.”The group has kept busy over the past few years touring with funk and jam bands like The Motet, Orgone, EOTO and Dumpstaphunk, among others, helping cement themselves as a sort of “hip-hop band for the jam fan.” As Brown explains, “You know, back in the day on the northeast scene, you always had hip hop artists collaborating with the jam bands and funky musicians of the era. I think it’s because the positive, conscious message of underground hip hop has always resonated with the psychedelic music community. For example, there were groups like Granola Funk Express that spawned on the festival circuit and carried the torch for both movements. [Adam Gold] was a teenager going to the Wetlands in NYC around this time. Through the years over there you’d have The Roots playing downstairs, or Soulive, and so many others laying the foundation for what we now consider ‘jam,’ ‘live EDM,’ and ‘neo-soul’. Remember, the so-called ‘genres’ that people buy on the internet are not born independently. This was all happening at the same time, often in the same rooms, on the live music scene, which was – and still is – a living, breathing organism.”Real Vibration perfectly embodies Brown’s assessment of Sophistafunk’s unique sound, featuring seven tracks worth of blunt-ride beats and Internet-age paranoia and resistance. Funky protest track “Translucent” offers itself as a “musical solution to mass pollution,” with Brown delivering biting bars that evoke the style of heady underground MCs like Atmosphere‘s Slug. “This Life” sees Brown shine some light on the outfit’s musical DNA–part funk and jam, part beats and bars–as he proclaims “I love live music” over a 90s-style back beat.The socially conscious “No More War” dips into the chaotic paranoia of our social media society, as sparse funk interspersed with digital fills mirrors the chaos of today’s world, before well-placed horns bolster the song’s “we gotta love each other” refrain.“Make Em Clap” continues on the album’s conscious themes, as Brown proclaims, “I’m not a rapper, I’m an activist”–though lines like “esoteric eloquence/Still I stay relevant” show that there’s room for him to be a bit of both.“Duke of Errl” tells the saga of “dabs,” sampling sound bytes of TV news PSA’s warning parents about the perils of marijuana concentrates. Toking-up is far from an unusual topic in hip-hop, but few artists have hit the relatively new wax trend head-on like Sophistafunk does on this track. They approach the topic with equal parts enjoyment for its pros and restrained caution for its cons, with extra pep added by layered horn fills courtesy of Andy Frasco & The U.N.‘s Ernie Chang. Brown even earns extra “heady points” shouting out The Lot (“You can find me on Shakedown Street”).The album rounds out with title track “Real Vibration,” a slow jam laden with enthrallingly spacey synths. It serves as an appropriate coda for the LP: laid-back vibes, mindful rhymes, and THC-infused good times. Take a dab and press play. This is one session you definitely want to get down on.
When it comes to choosing fruit, most people reach for the biggest piece. Titan™, a new blueberry variety bred by a University of Georgia scientist, makes that an easy task. It produces berries two to four times the size of average blueberries.“People like big strawberries and big blackberries. Now they can get big blueberries,” said Scott NeSmith, the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences researcher who bred the new variety. The UGA Research Foundation has applied for a plant patent for Titan™.For commercial and homeowner useTitan™ was designed for both commercial and homeowner use. NeSmith says backyard growers will like the berry size and so will visitors at pick-your-own farms. “Common sense tells you that picking blueberries by hand takes a long time. Not with Titan™,” he said.Average blueberries are usually a little smaller than a dime. NeSmith has seen Titan™ berries grow as large as a quarter. A rabbiteye blueberry, Titan™ is well suited for growing in Georgia and produces well in USDA hardiness zones 6a through 9a. Released in 2012, Titan™ hasn’t been added to Georgia blueberry farmers’ fields yet, but it is available in limited supplies for homeowners.“Right now, most nurseries have waiting lists for Titan™ plants. That’s how popular it is,” Nesmith said. “They have more orders than they do plants.”Ask stores to stock TitanHe encourages homeowners to contact their local garden center and request the variety. “If enough people ask for it, hopefully the big box stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot will start carrying it,” NeSmith said.Titan™ is officially available through the following licensed nurseries: Ken James Greenhouses (www.jamesgreenhouses.com); Cornelius Farms (corneliusfarms.com/nurserydivision.html); andOregon Blueberry (www.oreblueberry.com).No matter which blueberry variety you add to your home landscape, Nesmith says to set aside the first year as a growing year for the plant. “You may see a small amount of fruit the second year, but the third year will bring a good blueberry crop,” he said.While some varieties are self-fruiting, NeSmith advises planting two or more varieties to insure good pollination and fruit set. Two additional homeowner varieties that have been recently released are Summer Sunset™ and Blue Suede®.Award-winning blueberry breederBased on the UGA campus in Griffin, Ga., NeSmith has been researching blueberries in Georgia since 1990. He was recently awarded the UGA Inventor’s Award for his research efforts that include the release of 10 new patented commercial blueberry varieties and two patented ornamental blueberry varieties. The award is presented each year by the UGA Researrch Foundation to recognize an inventor for a unique and innovative discovery that has impacted the community, state and/or world. UGA-developed blueberries are grown around the world on all continents except Antarctica. Blueberry production has surpassed peaches as the No. 1 fruit crop in Georgia. “Nationally, we may be close to number one in acres now, and we are second or third in production,” NeSmith said. Georgia farmers use about 21,749 acres for blueberry production, and the farm gate value was more than $254 million in 2011, according to the Georgia Farm Gate Value Report.For more information on how to add blueberry plants to home landscapes, visit the UGA CAES publication website at caes.uga.edu/publications.
Presenting your services with a product description and cost isn’t appealing to anyone. It’s about asking the right questions, then offering what makes sense in the right way for that member.I’m not going into selling here (we’ve talked about that many times in the past). Ok, maybe I am. Again, because it’s so important! Let me repeat: Selling is helping. And you are helping, right?Your car buying service helps save members time and money. Explaining its benefits and how to best take advantage isn’t selling.GAP helps a member avoid thousands in unexpected costs after an insurance settlement. Sharing the exact “GAP curve” that member experiences isn’t selling.VSCs are expensive up-front, but how might a surprise $2000 repair affect your member, their job, family, and financial stability? VSC helps your members keep their car on the road (and reduces repossessions, which are often caused by unaffordable vehicle repairs). HIghlighting this isn’t selling.Your Member Walked Into A Dealership…That looks appetizing…The dealer your member visits will present all of these services. You know they’ll be more expensive, and who knows if they are even the best fit?But if it’s the first time your member hears about them, that’s a huge opportunity missed for your credit union.And it’s a disservice to your member.On the other end, it’s important the credit union recognize the partner status of the dealers. They have the “cool” part of auto loans. Just because you need them doesn’t mean they have to hold all the cards. Welcome to Part 3 of what became the Unseen Credit Union Competition series. The first part highlighted what members receive in the mail from not-to-your-standards protection services. Did they know you could help them more effectively, at a lower cost?Then we saw “A Credit Union Member Walks Into a Car Dealership…” This revealed the necessity of positive, mutually-beneficial relationships with car dealers. It also raised the question of what your CU offers alongside that loan. You may know. Do your members?This post continues right from where we left off, finishing the buying process. We’ll look at how your credit union compares on the “easy scale” for loan closing, protection offerings, funding, and more. Remember, it’s always about getting the member what they really need…easily!Be Confident! Credit Unions Can Compete.What do you mean that’s not you and your dealer partners?What’s your loan team’s relationship with auto dealers? In the previous post, we saw the range from best buddies to mortal enemies, with everything in-between.Unless you are able to meet all your lending goals through tent sales, you’re going to need to work with dealers. That doesn’t mean you have to be a pushover!Explain to your dealer partners how members sent there may receive information about your ancillary services and financing. If the member wants to learn about dealer offerings, that’s their choice.Some members will just do everything at the dealer. Perfect for your indirect program, if you have one.Others will want to do it all on their phone before ever visiting the dealer. And stopping at a branch? Fat chance! Thus, how can you help accommodate this scenario? Does your technology allow it?Credit Unions Can Sell. Really!It shouldn’t matter how members choose to conduct their car search, financing research, and buying process. You simply need to provide the tools to make it easy.An unlikely, though fun, communication medium.Which leads us right into talking about your products! Ok, maybe not talking, but some form of member interaction, whether chat, clean website/app, or something else. It’s for them as much as for you!This is where you guide members through what you can offer. Explain why each matters to them (Big Data comes in handy here) and how you are helping reduce their risk, expenses, while preserving peace of mind.It sounds like selling. Maybe you’re not about selling to members. Then let’s change the word: Helping. Would you be willing to help your members choose what services make the most sense for their situation?Since you’re not always doing it in-person, yes, that means some pretty awesome site and mobile app design. You can do it!I was “sold” GAP by my credit union like this:“Ok, so your loan is approved. Do you want GAP? It can pay the difference between your loan and insurance payout in the event of your vehicle being totaled. It’ll be $$ more per month.”I declined. Shocked?I’m Just BrowsingIf you’re at a store and someone asks if you need help, what do you say? “No thanks. I’m just browsing.”In this case, I’m just browsing the ancillary services. If you present them as I expect, ie. selling, I won’t be interested. Yet maybe it’s actually perfect for me! Creating a beneficial relationship for all parties means the experience is better for your members (and the credit union, too!).Then there’s the question of “selling”. There are two extremes. We covered one in the first part: Companies trying to sell your members questionable products they may or may not even need.The other extreme is not mentioning anything to a member. You probably fall somewhere in the middle, and that’s a great place to start.Now, it’s up to you to make sure you provide the best everything for a member. And ensure it’s clear and easy for them!Because isn’t “serving members the best” what your credit union is all about? 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Joe Winn What do you get when you mix auto loan programs with a desire to help others? Well, approaches that make a difference, of course. So what do you get when … Web: credituniongeek.com Details
Salzburg have found the going tougher since losing Haaland and Japan’s Takumi Minamino to Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool respectively.Both were outstanding in Salzburg’s Champions League campaign as they impressed against Liverpool and Napoli.Haaland, the 19-year-old Norwegian, scored 28 goals in 22 games before joining Dortmund and netting nine in his first eight German Bundesliga appearances.“He is a freak, he physically is gifted in ways that very few people are. There is very little that he can’t do in terms of the requirements of the game at the highest level,” Marsch says.“You could see in every training session and every test game, he had moments that were like ‘wow’, and those ‘wow’ moments got to be more and more until sometimes it would be a 90-minute performance.”If losing Haaland and Minamino in the winter was a blow, Marsch points out that youth development is central to the strategy of a club who have also polished players like Sadio Mane and Naby Keita.– In defence of US women –Salzburg gave him an opportunity too, to make a name for himself as an American coach in Europe.“This is an experiment for me to see if my way of thinking, my way of leadership, of relationships, can function in the most competitive world of our sport here in Europe, although I understand Austria is not the highest level in Europe.”He still keeps a close eye on goings-on at home, though, and has been supportive of the US women’s national team who recently had their case to be paid the same as their male counterparts thrown out by a federal judge.“I just felt like those women earned more than the respect of everybody to be treated like heroes and with full respect,” he says.“After the lawsuit getting thrown out, yeah I have emotions for that too, because I would like to see them treated fairly.” Share on: WhatsApp The first American to coach in the Champions League, Red Bull Salzburg’s Jesse Marsch is excited about football returning after the coronavirus shutdownParis, France | AFP | Having become the first American to coach a team in the Champions League and overseen the remarkable rise of Erling Braut Haaland, it was already an unforgettable season for Jesse Marsch before the coronavirus pandemic came along.Now the coach of Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg is preparing his team to return to action after a two-month shutdown.Salzburg have already been back training in small groups but are set to resume collective training on Friday before the Austrian Bundesliga picks up again in early June.“We had to all get tests today again to make sure that nobody had the virus. This is the second time that we have had tests,” Marsch told AFP on Wednesday in a phone interview.“We will still have to keep distances in the locker room, and we will wear masks in the building. Even on the bench we will have to keep distances of one metre between players and coaching staff.”Unlike in Germany, where the league resumes this weekend, teams in Austria have not been forced into quarantine training camps.Indeed, if Germany has coped well enough with the pandemic to be able to bring back football, Austria has arguably done even better.With its population of almost nine million, it has registered only 624 deaths from under 16,000 cases and began easing its lockdown in mid-April.“If you were here and you saw how people have followed the rules, how they wear masks, how they respect each other’s space, it would give you a lot of confidence that the virus is well contained,” says Marsch, who was assistant coach at RB Leipzig in Germany before moving to Salzburg last year.The 46-year-old Wisconsin native spent lockdown in Salzburg with his wife and two sons. Their 18-year-old daughter stayed in Leipzig to finish high school but returned to the family before the border between the countries closed.Salzburg have not played since March 8. While in lockdown, Marsch focused on “family, friends and football” and — like everyone it seems — “did a lot of Zoom calls”.Now the season is returning, and Salzburg’s first game is set to be the Cup final against second-division Austria Lustenau in late May.Then it will be back to the league, as the Red Bull club try to catch leaders LASK Linz and claim a seventh straight title. They are currently three points behind.“Right now there is a lot of optimism and excitement,” admits Marsch.– Haaland: ‘A freak’ –
In this May 20, 1994, file photo, New York Knicks Charles Smith (54) tries to drive past Chicago Bulls’ Scottie Pippen during Game 6 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal in Chicago. (AP Photo/John Swart, File)Dennis Rodman has named a team of former NBA players including former Pitt and NBA star Charles Smith to participate in an exhibition basketball game in Pyongyang, North Korea.Rodman leads a team that includes former NBA All-Stars Kenny Anderson, Cliff Robinson, and Vin Baker. Craig Hodges and Doug Christie are on the team, as well. They will play against a top North Korean Senior National team on Jan. 8, marking Kim Jong Un’s birthday.Smith, who played for Pitt and the New York Knicks, said he was looking forward to the game with Rodman.“Dennis and I are total opposites but we work very well together,” Smith said. “Dennis is one of the few people I know that doesn’t just talk but actually lives a culturally diverse life. We have traveled everywhere together so I was not surprised with his first visit to North Korea.“Cultural exchange is about sharing. Sharing ideas and thoughts on education, culture and life.”Rodman is the highest profile American to meet Kim since the leader inherited power from his father in late 2011.Rodman calls the game his version of “basketball diplomacy.”“My previous travels have allowed me to feel the enthusiasm and warmth of fans,” Rodman said. “The positive memories and smiles on the faces of the children and families are a testament to the great efforts we have put into fulfilling our mission wherever we go voiding any politics. We are all looking forward to arriving in Pyongyang, meeting the citizens, visiting various charities and using the opportunity to develop new relationships that result in our annual return.”FILE – In this Oct. 25, 2013, photo, former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman poses for photographers during a news conference to promote a TV program in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayash, Filei)Rodman made his latest visit to North Korea shortly before Christmas to train the North Korean basketball team, though he did not meet with Kim. Rodman, known as much for his piercings, tattoos and bad behavior as he was for basketball, traveled to the secretive state for the first time last February with the Harlem Globetrotters for an HBO series produced by New York-based VICE television. Rodman has called Kim a “friend for life.”He said his trips would not be affected by the recent execution of Kim’s uncle.Rodman has been criticized for not talking about North Korea’s human rights record, described as one of the world’s worst by activists, the U.S. State Department and North Korean defectors. The defectors have repeatedly testified about the government’s alleged use of indiscriminate killings, rapes, beatings and prison camps holding as many as 120,000 people deemed opponents of authoritarian leader Kim Jong Un, the third generation of his family to rule.
Facebook151Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Adopt-A-PetMeet Snoop Dog! He is a happy, super-smart, one-year-old, German Shepherd/Rottweiler mix who is in search of his own active and loving family. He has lived successfully with another dog and enjoys playing with mellow dogs (with supervision and after proper introduction). Because of his size (87 pounds) and high energy level, children in his home should be older, dog-savvy, and gentle. Snoop Dog enjoys leash-walks (the more the better), playing tether ball, inventing his own tennis ball games, and swimming.Besides being such a cool dude, he is considered handsome by the volunteers here at the shelter. Volunteers say that his chestnut-colored neck hair really sets off his black muzzle and pearly whites. If you are looking for a very nice dog, and can provide him with love, exercise, further training to satisfy his desire for knowledge, good chow, and a fenced yard, then perhaps we should set a “get-to-know” each other date.If you have further questions or would like to schedule an appointment to meet Snoop Dog in person, please contact the adoption team at Shelton Adopt-a-Pet. Emails are the preferred method of communication.Adopt-A-Pet has many great dogs and always need volunteers. To see all our current dogs, visit the Adopt-A-Pet website, our Facebook page or at the shelter on Jensen Road in Shelton. For more information, email [email protected] or call 360-432-3091.
Favorite summer flowering plant hit by disease Lush, beautiful impatiens in pinks, purples, brilliant white and deep oranges are a favorite annual of almost any gardener with a shady growing area. But this year, nurserymen, garden centers and growers are advising against planting them.Impatiens walleriana has been hit with an emerging disease called downy mildew that infects the plants and results in leafless stems that then collapse. The disease was first seen in Florida a number of years ago and has been on the move ever since and is now in more than 30 states, including the Garden State.The good news is that there are lots of other showy plants that do well in the shade that garden centers and landscapers in the area are stocking this growing season.Paul Molzon of Molzon Garden Center in Lincroft, called impatiens downy mildew “a terrible thing.“There’s no actual cure for it,” he said. “Most of the growers just aren’t growing it because people aren’t going to buy it. Most of the landscapers are just going to switch to using other plants.”Impatiens downy mildew only infects the Impatiens walleriana, not New Guinea impatiens or sunpatiens, which look remarkably like the impacted variety of impatiens, or other plants.Plants that are infected will get a fuzzy, white growth on the underside of the leaf.“That’s the first sign,” Molzon said. “The next step is a lot of the foliage will fall off. There might be just a few small leaves left with a few flowers on the top. The next step is … the stems will just fall down as if they had melted,” he said.“The big problem is (growers and experts) don’t know how long this will last in the soil. It’s out there. It handles the cold; it overwinters in the soil. So, if you had a problem, you don’t want to plant impatiens there again because you’ll definitely have the problem again.”The Master Gardeners at Sickles Market in Little Silver have assembled a collection of hearty, colorful alternatives to impatiens, making selections that are particularly suited to conditions at the Shore. The easy-to-grow, shade tolerant and fungus-resistant plants include New Guinea impatiens, sunpatiens, angel wing begonias, torenia, angelonia, ivy geraniums, caladium and coleus, and they will prove a worthy replacement to the fungus-prone impatiens.“These substitute plants are so easy to care for and give a wider range of colors and textures that were lacking with impatiens,” said Natale Siclare, garden center manager.Molzon also is recommending substituting impatiens with such plants as begonias.“There are tons of great begonias that will handle the shade … They come in all different colors” and varieties, including common garden begonia that come in flats, the dragon wing begonias and a variety called “Big” that grow to about 24-inches tall, he said.Coleus, which come in a variety of vivid colors, lobelia and New Guinea impatiens and sunpatiens are also recommended to take the place of the annual favorite.Molzon has been proactive about letting his clients know about the problem by sending information weeks ago in his newsletter and putting it on his Facebook page. “I’m going to have a few impatiens in but have a big sign on them to educate people,” Molzon said.“All the large seed companies are working on this like crazy because it will be a big hit,” he said.
By Bruce Fuhr,The Nelson Daily Sports EditorThomas Abenante scored his second goal of the game on a penalty shot to spark the visiting Fernie Ghostriders to a 4-2 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League victory over the Leafs Saturday night at the NDCC Arena in Nelson.It was the second game of the weekend Nelson played without head coach Chris Shaw, suspended by the KIJHL for using “non-approved” players. Shaw, watching the game from the NDCC press box, was handed a three-game sit and will miss Nelson’s next game of the season, Wednesday night at home against Spokane.Abenante was awarded the penalty shot when a Leaf defenceman closed his hand on the puck while it was in the air over the goal crease. Abenante calmly skated toward the Leaf goal before snapping a low wrist shot past Marcus Beelsey.Mark Stachan added an insurance goal for the Eddie Mountain leaders.Twice the Leafs rallied from one-goal deficits. Abenante gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at the first intermission break. Fernie dominated the frame, at one point out shooting the Leafs 12-0.Tanner Burns tied the game in the second, scoring on the power play before Mike Weist regained the lead for Fernie with a power play marker. The lead stood up until Colton Schell worked a pretty three-way passing play with teammates Gavin Currie and Cameron Dobransky with three minutes remaing in the frame.Fernie, undefeated in six games, dominated the Leafs for most of the game, holding a commanding 32-20 margin in shots and an 18-5 advantage in the first period.The loss snapped a brief two-game winning streak by Nelson, which started the season 0-4. The Leafs opened the weekend with an 8-3 trashing of Grand Forks Friday in the Boundary City thanks to a four-point performance from Currie and two goals by Schell.The win gave Nelson some payback after the Bruins blasted the Green and White 6-2 earlier this season.After the teams traded goals, a power play marker by Currie put the Leafs ahead for good. Colton Malmsten gave Nelson a 3-1 lead before the period ended.Zachary Thompson beat Marcus Beesley in the Leaf nets to pull the Bruins to within a goal six minutes into the second frame. But Nelson outscored Grand Forks 3-1 in the late stages of the period to take a commanding 6-3 advantage after 40 minutes.Connor McLaughlin and Schell scored in the third to pad the Nelson lead.Dallon Stoddart, Marcus Dahl and Adrian Moyls also scored for the Leafs. Thompson led the Bruins with two goals while Nick Van Damme added the final marker.The Bruins out shot the Leafs 34-30. Rookie Walker Sidoni and Leaf captain Taylor O’Neil were involved in fights for Nelson.The Leafs return to action tonight at 7 p.m. at the NDCC Arena when Fernie Ghostriders pay a visit. The Ghostriders, 5-0 to start the season, dumped Creston Thunder Cats 3-1.BLUELINES: The official word by the KIJHL for suspending head coach Chris Shaw was due to the Leafs using “non-approved – by Hockey Canada – players.” Twice Shaw used ineligible players and received a one-game suspension for the first offence (the Sept.18th contest against Grand Forks) and a two-game (during the Sept.19th game against Penticton) sit for the second. Assistant coaches Jason Rushton and Sean Dooley handled the coaching duties . . . Nelson was also without the services of defenceman Raymond Reimer. The 6’4”, 205-pound rearguard was suspended for one game for receiving a game misconduct in the final ten minutes of Sunday’s 3-2 Nelson win over Penticton Lakers. Reimer missed Saturday’s game due to family commitments. Forward Cody Abbey and defenceman Tyler Parfeniuk also missed the weekend games due to [email protected]
“We’re always looking for a new piece, but we’re not going to change anything drastically right now. We like what we’ve got. The key thing is we have a good off-ice group and a good on-ice so we don’t want to disrupt it too much but if there’s something that makes sense to help we’ll certainly add the piece.”You said the Leafs need to land a goal scorer. Where are you hoping to find any new players?“It could be in our league, the KI, it could be in the BC Hockey League or other junior leagues we’re looking. I’m making sure I’m contacting people on the regular basis to let them know what we’re looking for and if they have a player whose fallen through the cracks at the high level. And there’s still a potential at the Western Hockey League player coming in our direction as well.”Tuesday, against Grand Forks the Leafs jumped to a 3-0 lead early in the first period, but were unable to close. What happened?“It was one of those games where we maybe let it get away from us . . . up 3-0 right away. Junior players sometimes lose their focus of what we were trying to do. Give Grand Forks credit, they battled back to get themselves back into the game. . .. Their two goals were a result of our mistakes, bad decisions of pinching on the puck . . . but ultimately we won the game, which was mainly our focus. Anytime you can win at this level, it’s good.What makes you the most happy about the Leafs?“I really like the camaraderie of the team and we’re close to one of the best defensive teams in the league, which always has been a focus of mine. I want us to be good from our own zone, out. And I’m really happy with that aspect of our team and our hard work overall, in practice and in games. Work ethic, as coaches, is something we’re pushing . . . we want to out work our opposition and we’re happy with that so far.”Any disapointing factors?“Consistency, mainly. We strive to have our players really push forward on systems play. Players are not all the time sure of what we’re asking, so once we get more consistent, and understand, especially our forecheck . . . we’ve been hemming teams in for a long time when our forecheck works but when it doesn’t we get two goals scored against the flow of the play like we did against Grand Forks.”Back to work Friday for a two-game weekend home stand. What do you expect?“I like that we’re seeing teams coming to play us here at the top of the standings. I expect Kimberley and Sicamous to provide some solid opposition for us. Early in the year, for us as coaches, we want to play against tough teams so we can see what we need to improve on and work through.”LEAF NOTES: Kimberley arrives in Nelson undefeated in three games and one point behind Eddie Mountain leader Golden Rockets. Meanwhile, Sicamous is tied for second in the Doug Birks Division, one point in back of Revelstoke Grizzlies. Game time Friday is 7 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. start time Sunday. . . .Nelson is tied with Osoyoos Coyotes and Princeton Posse for allowing the least amount of goals in the entire KIJHL, with 13. . . . Surprisingly, that solid defence is leading the team in offensive stats as defencemen Robson Cramer (4 goals, 3 assists), Patrick Croome (3 goals, 2 assists) and Darnel St. Pierrie (1 goal, four assists) sit tied for first and tied for second, respectively, in Leaf scoring. Rayce Miller (4 goals, 3 assists) and Nelson Minor Hockey product Nolan Percival (2 goals, 3 assists) are the forwards in the top mix. Leaf coach Dave McLellan continues to work his magic with the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League franchise.The Green and White currently hold down top spot in the Murdoch Division with a 3-0-1-1 record — one point in front of the surprising Spokane Braves.However, before the PR department starts organizing any championship parade down Baker Street, let’s realize this is September and not April.And make sure everyone realizes the fact Nelson has played four of the five games this season at home in the friendly confines of the NDCC Arena.So four weeks in the season, how does coach Dave McLellan rate the club?“If you would have told me during training camp this far into the season we were in first place in the division, I’d would have been surprise so it couldn’t be better.”Are there any changes pending on the horizon?“No changes, but I’m actively looking at improving the team all the time. I’m currently in the process of acquiring a player right now . . . but it’s early in the process so we’ll see what happens.”So is the game plan to keep the team the same until a player or two comes down the pipeline?
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 2, 2016)–Forever Darling attended the pace set by favored Pretty N Cool, took command a sixteenth of a mile out and held off the late run of Code Warrior to take Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Ynez Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Trained by Richard Baltas and ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Forever Darling prevailed by a half length while covering the 6 ½ furlong distance in 1:16.25.Idle since well beaten in the Grade I, 1 1/16 miles Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on Oct. 31 at Keeneland, Forever Darling, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Congrats, was the third choice in a field of seven and paid $10.20, $5.00 and $3.20.“I had a good position from the beginning,” said Bejarano. “I knew one of Baffert’s horses would try to go straight to the lead so I just tried to figure out which one. I saw Martin (Garcia) go with Pretty N Cool and I knew she was the horse to beat, so I put us in right behind them and went from there.“I knew pressure was coming by the three eighths pole and I just tried to keep going…I thought she was much better today running six and a half.”Owned by Baltas, Hebert Bloodstock and J K Racing, LLC, Forever Darling, who broke her maiden going 6 ½ furlongs at Santa Anita on Sept. 26, got her second win from four starts. With the winner’s share of $120,000, she increased her earnings to $155,400.“We thought she displaced in the Breeders’ Cup and we found she had an ulcer on her soft palate when we did surgery on her,” said Baltas. “He (Bejarano) had to ride her hard, but she just fought it out. She has a lot of determination and you can’t teach that to a horse. I’m just glad that I own a piece of her and I train her. It’s just a great day for me.”Trained by Manny Badilla and ridden by Anne Sanguinetti, Code Warrior came to Santa Anita for the first time on the heels of a three-race winning streak and was finishing well as the 5-2 second choice. Finishing a neck in front of Pretty N Cool, she paid $4.60 and $3.00.“She ran huge,” said Badilla, who is based at Golden Gate Fields. “We’re going to hit the (California) Oaks next at Golden Gate (Feb. 6th). It’s a mile and a sixteenth and it’s our last shot with those fillies up there. We’ll be back down here again soon, no doubt.”Off at 2-1, Pretty N Cool, who carved out fractions of 22.48, 45.57 and 1:09.84, paid $2.60 to show.Run as Saturday’s third race, the Santa Ynez is the first of three graded stakes to be run this afternoon.