The Constitution in Braille: A Revolutionary Idea Long Overdue

first_imgLiberia’s blind have called on government to produce the Liberian Constitution in Braille so that they will have the opportunity to read it.Braille is a series of raised dots that can be read with the fingers by people who are blind or whose eyesight is not sufficient for reading printed material.In their frank exchange with the CRC last week, representatives of the blind and visually impaired lamented, “Considering the way we are treated, we don’t feel as though we are part of this country.”We consider this a serious indictment of the way we do things in Liberia. The CRC’s mandate is to include ALL citizens of Liberia.The representatives told the CRC, “Now is the time to reflect on treatment of the blind and visually impaired by providing them with copies of the nation’s most important document in Braille. It is just as important for us to read as it is for those with sight.”We pray that the CRC will pay keen and active attention to this community, which in Liberia number at least 35,000, or one percent of the population.  According to recent statistics, three percent of our people are visually impaired.These are significant numbers of people that must be included not only in the constitutional review process, but in the broader spectrum of national affairs.  Their exclusion is unconstitutional, since the Constitution, the basic law of the land and the nation’s most important document, is what guides citizens as they participate in the process of governance.  A citizen’s knowledge of the Constitution empowers him or her to play a more effective and more meaningful role in national affairs and hopefully makes a better citizen.The CRC is, therefore, called to recommend immediately to government the production of the Constitution in Braille, even as the Committee continues its work.  This will enable the blind and visually impaired to participate NOW, while the Review process is ongoing.  GOL could contact the Braille Institute of America, based in Los Angeles, California, or other Braille institutions in neighboring countries or in Europe, for advice and assistance. Perhaps one of development partners interested in the constitutional review process could be approached to assist in this endeavor.But the CRC should not wait, as time is of the essence.  The year 2015, when the CRC should be completing its work, is now only months away.  If the CRC is proactive and swift, treating this matter with urgency, the Constitution in Braille should be ready within the next three months and placed in the hands of these citizens.Another matter of urgency which, not just the CRC but more so the national government should immediately address is the matter of access to buildings for our physically challenged people.For too long, these unfortunate brothers and sisters of ours have complained about access, especially to public buildings and educational institutions.  The time is long past when we as a nation should DO something about this problem, by reaching out to these people and giving them access to places they need to go.The government will, hopefully soon, begin renovating the E.J. Roye and completing other unfinished buildings.  In this process, the physically challenged should be remembered.  Architects and engineers involved in the renovation and construction need to visit the Japanese Friendship Hospital at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center and see what has been done there giving complete access to pregnant mothers and other people in peculiar circumstances. The government also needs to put in place mandatory measures to ensure the efficient maintenance of elevators in buildings that have them. For example, when last did anyone–even the Ministers whose office was on the sixth floor–use the elevators in the old Ministry of Education on Broad Street?That building was totally off limits to our physically challenged, many of whom are teachers.We hope government will act NOW to protect access of ALL the people to buildings in Liberia, most especially government ones.  GOL should make it mandatory that BEFORE a construction permit is given for ANY building now or in the future, access by the physically challenged should be assured.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Rage to host golf tournament to kick-off new season

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I’m staying in England, says departing Toure

first_img0Shares0000Yaya Toure set to exit England. Photo/TEAMTALKLONDON, United Kingdom, May 9 – Yaya Toure has revealed that he plans to stay in England following his departure from Manchester City at the end of the season, while his agent said he is “desperate” to stay in the Premier League.Toure, 34, has spent eight years at City, winning three Premier League titles and scoring 62 league goals in 229 appearances to date. A move to another English club could well see Toure line up against City, but according to the BBC, the midfielder has suggested he would have no qualms with that.“Yes. Definitely,” he reportedly said when asked if he was staying in England.“I love the challenge and the difficulty. Some fans were asking ‘are you retiring?’ I said no. I have, maybe, two more years at a high level.”Toure has the backing of City manager Pep Guardiola, who according to Goal said: “I am not the right guy to say to him what is the best. He will choose.”When Guardiola was asked whether or not Toure could still contribute in the Premier League, he said: “Yeah, he can.”Meanwhile, Toure’s agent, Dimitri Seluk, revealed to Sky Sports News that Toure would be willing to pay back half his wages should his new club find his performances unsatisfactory.“Yaya is fit and desperate to prove he’s still the best central midfielder in the Premier League,” he said.“He’s happy to accept a one-year deal to stay in England. And if his club are not satisfied with his performances, he will pay back half his wages, or the club can cancel his contract immediately, with no compensation.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

City leaders to taxpayers: Gimme more

first_imgMore hikes in electric and water rates. A ballot scheme to save the phone tax. A plan to tax Los Angeles property owners to pay for gang intervention and prevention programs. The people of Los Angeles are City Hall’s targets even as city workers have gotten recent double-digit salary increases and the city budget has soared nearly 60 percent to $6.8 billion in just seven years. To some, the trend is evidence that the nation’s second-largest municipality is in trouble. “The hole just keeps getting deeper all the time,” said David Fleming, chair of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. “So much of the tax money goes out in salaries that are significantly higher than people get in the private sector. It didn’t start out that way 50 years ago … but to encourage people to stay, they gave a pension system no one could afford. “This whole system is upside down.” The issue was spotlighted last week as details emerged of Los Angeles officials’ deal with six unions that would give most of the city’s 22,000 workers a 23 percent raise over five years. The deal was announced a day before the Department of Water and Power’s board approved another round of water-rate increases: 3.1 percent next July and another 3.1 percent in July 2009. Power rate increases also were approved and await action by the City Council and mayor. City officials defend the proposed hikes and salary deals as needed to maintain city services and pay workers a decent wage. City Administrative Officer Karen Sisson said the city’s budget is being squeezed, and the council and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa are working to create a tax and fee schedule that better reflects what it costs to run the city. “The city has taken action to slowly recover the costs of its services,” Sisson said. “The city provides a number of services, from the Planning Department to building plan reviews, to fire inspections. … The law allows us to recover the cost of the services we provide. We’re not getting a profit.” Among fees that have been increased to recover service costs: Ambulance rides up from $161 to $610, brush-clearing administrative fees from $668 to $982, and various planning fees up 15 percent in August. Sisson said utility rate increases also are a reflection of cost-recovery efforts because power rates haven’t risen since 1992. Councilman Greig Smith said the city is facing several major money decisions. “I think it’s terrible timing, all these financial issues coming to a head at the same point,” he said. Still, Smith said he supports the proposed city-union contract because the employees had agreed to forgo pay raises during a tough budget year in 2004. “We have to remember these guys did the right thing. Now they just want to be treated fairly.” And Smith said the city is still struggling to appease employee unions that want to match the salaries for DWP workers, which are the highest in the city. “These unions are feeding off each other, and the council needs to put its foot down. But not with this contract,” Smith said. “We have to stop it at the Department of Water and Power.” Councilman Bernard Parks also said he backs the contract, noting that it reflects cost-of-living increases and that the unions have agreed to give up later wage increases if needed. “It’s the first time in my history that unions have agreed to help fund their increases,” Parks said. Parks said the city also has to keep city employee contract issues separate from the telephone user tax debate and the DWP rate increase plans. “You can’t tell an employee, `Sorry, the (telephone tax) came up, so you don’t get paid.”‘ Since voter-approved Proposition 13 capped property tax increases in 1978, the city has looked to other sources of revenue to stem rising costs driven by salary increases and other compensation. City records show salaries for civilian, police and fire employees have climbed nearly 30 percent just this decade to about $2.9 billion. Costs for civilian salaries have risen to more than $1.7 billion. Those who have been fighting cities’ efforts to circumvent Proposition 13 by adding more fees and user taxes are critical. “I think it’s one of the most poorly managed cities in the country,” Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, said of Los Angeles. “They collect boatloads of revenue but have very little oversight and management. We see that over and over again. The city leadership is far too beholden to the public employee unions – so much so that it’s impacted the ability to deliver public services in a cost-effective and timely manner.” Still, Bob Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies, said the city’s problems stem from deteriorating infrastructure and public demands for services when key revenues – $30 million from DWP’s water revenue fund, and $270 million in annual phone use taxes – are in jeopardy. “They really have a dilemma,” Stern said of city officials. “When you rely on streams of income and they’re being cut off, maybe panic is too strong of a word, but at least you’re concerned. This is big money you’re talking about. “If that money is not available to you, where do you go to get it or what do you cut?” And Stern said the public bears some of the responsibility. “The public wants all these services, and they’re not willing to pay for them. The chickens are coming home to roost.” Ultimately, city officials are wrestling with balancing myriad demands at a crucial time for Los Angeles. “We need to be fair with our employees,” said Councilman Dennis Zine, who heads the council’s personnel committee. But he said he was not familiar with the details of the proposed contract. “When you have a contract with employees, you have labor peace. You want to maintain stability in the city and with a contract, you can do that. “Can we afford it? I don’t know. That’s what we have to figure out.” beth.barrett@dailynews.com (818) 713-3731160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

LETTERKENNY U16’S CONTINUE FINE RECENT FORM WITH EXCELLENT WIN OVER DUNGLOE TOWN

first_imgLetterkenny Rovers U16’s continue three game winning streak with a fine away victory against Dungloe Town. Conor O’Donnell in action for Letterkenny Rovers U16 team.Letterkenny travelled to The Shore Front to take on a hungry Dungloe side who were looking for what would be only their second win in the league.Paul Browne’s side started quickest with a large sum of the opening ten minutes possession, but the letterkenny men didn’t put much pressure on the Dungloe goal. After the opening ten minutes the Dungloe side began to get into the game but Letterkenny striker Devine Okoroji relieved the pressure on his side with a low strike from the edge of the box which put Letterkenny 1-0 up.Letterkenny side pushed from there with Zach Gorman striking a close range effort just wide and Jeaic Mckelvey having his long range effort tipped over by the Dungloe goal keeper.Dungloe were awarded a penalty with seconds left in the half when defender Conor Faul was penalised for a hand ball inside the area.Dungloe midfielder Daniel Ward struck the penalty low and hard to the goalkeepers left leaving him no chance. The sides went in level at the half 1-1.Dungloe started the second half strong and it only took them three minutes to put themselves ahead through a quick counter attack and Daniel Ward set up his striking partner to take the lead 2-1.Dungloe sat back after taking the lead and invited pressure from the visitors.Letterkenny’s Tarlach O’Boyle came close with his effort that was blocked on the line.With fifteen minutes remaining the visiting team got back to level terms through striker Zach Gorman who slot home a close range effort. Letterkenny continued to push on and with only five minutes left on the clock Letterkenny midfielder Jeaic McKelvey got his head to Conor Scanlon’s cross to put Letterkenny in the lead for the second time.With seconds left on the clock Dungloe were pushed up and on a quick counter attack substitute Clement Jnr bagged all three points for the visitors with a neat finish from two yard.Letterkenny continue their winning streak to three while Dungloe remain in the lower regions of the league.LETTERKENNY U16’S CONTINUE FINE RECENT FORM WITH EXCELLENT WIN OVER DUNGLOE TOWN was last modified: November 5th, 2014 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Letterkenny RoversNoticessoccerSportlast_img read more

WORLD CUP? ALL EYES ON THE SUMMER CUP IN TULLYVINNEY!!

first_imgWho will be crowned the Tullyvinney Summer Cup champions this weekend??We’ve enjoyed the competition now for the last three weeks, we’ve witnessed some great goals, great saves and some truly great attacking play.Free flowing expansive football has been on show throughout the competition and that brand of football has thrilled those in attendance.While some great sides have exited the competition and have had to return home, for the sides still left in the hat, this week represents the ‘business end’ of the Tullyvinney Summer cup competition. The quarter finals, semi finals and final of the Tullyvinney Summer cup are on this week and it promises to be a cracking week of football.There is another competition reaching its conclusion somewhere in Brazil this weekend, but if you want to see ‘real football’ then get yourself to Tullyvinney this weekend for your ‘footie fix’.The rules of the competition are as follows.Games must be finished on the night. There will be no extra time and it will go straight to penalties if required.Top goalscorer chart after the group stages are:Ryan Carlin – Convoy – 5 goalsRonan Tourish – Galacticos – 4Blain Curtis – Kildrum – 4 Mark Carlin – Galacticos – 3David Shovlin – McGee’s – 3Monday 7th July:Quarter finals: 1 – 7pm – Galacticos v Everton2 – 8.20pm – Knock United v ConvoyTuesday 8th July:Quarter finals:3 – 7pm – McGee’s Raphoe v Charlies Bar4 – 8.20pm – Ballybofey United v Kildrum TigersThursday 10th July:Semi Finals:7pm – Winners of Quarter final 1 v Winners of Quarter final 28.20pm – Winners of Quarter final 3 v Winners of Quarter final 4Saturday 12th July:7pm – Final.Presentation of top goalscorer, player of the Cup and €500 prizemoney, Cup and medals to the winning side afterwards in Brownes Bar, Crossroads, Killygordan.WORLD CUP? ALL EYES ON THE SUMMER CUP IN TULLYVINNEY!! was last modified: July 7th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:competitionnewssoccerSportTullyvinney Summer Cuplast_img read more

Liverpool and Tottenham reportedly battling to sign Wembley youngster

first_imgLiverpool and Tottenham are battling to sign Jacob Murphy from Norwich City, the Sunday People say.The 21-year-old from Wembley has been linked with a number of Premier League clubs in recent months.And the People claim that Liverpool will make an offer for him and agree to loan him back to Norwich for the rest of the season.Embed from Getty ImagesThe Reds believe this will help them beat Tottenham to the signing of Murphy, it is claimed.The same newspaper recently suggested that Everton would make a move for both Jacob and Josh Murphy during this month’s transfer window.The twins were snapped up by Norwich as schoolboys and have been with the East Anglian club for more than a decade.   Ads by Revcontent Trending Articles Urologists: Men, Forget the Blue Pill! This “Destroys” ED x ‘Genius Pill’ Used By Rich Americans Now Available In Netherlands! x Men, You Don’t Need the Blue Pill if You Do This x What She Did to Lose Weight Stuns Doctors: Do This Daily Before Bed! x One Cup of This (Before Bed) Burns Belly Fat Like Crazy! x Drink This Before Bed, Watch Your Body Fat Melt Like Crazy x Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Spinning Solar System Objects to Keep Them Old

first_imgIf you remove the obligation to think in billions of years, many phenomena in the solar system make more sense.PlutoMore anomalies on Pluto look young. “Pluto is coloured red by ammonia spewing from underneath its surface,” writes Leah Crane for New Scientist. That should sound baffling for an object assumed to be 4.5 billion years old.In space, ammonia doesn’t last long – it is easily broken up by ultraviolet light and charged particles from the sun, as well as cosmic rays from elsewhere in the galaxy.“Ammonia is a fragile molecule in a space environment, so the fact that we see it exposed on the surface means that it was put there recently,” says New Horizons team member Dale Cruikshank at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California. “I don’t mean last Thursday, but maybe 100 million years ago.”In context, 100 million years represents only 1/45th the assumed age of the solar system. And there’s a lot of the ammonia present. Unexpected findings like this require auxiliary hypotheses to keep them old. Try as he might, Cruikshank can’t stretch the age out far enough:Because the ammonia is spread over such a large area, it probably emerged in spurting fountains of ice particles as well as by oozing, Cruikshank says. He and his colleagues calculated that this activity must have taken place at most one billion years ago for the ammonia to still be detectable, though it may be more recent.So how and why did it start spurting in the last 1/5th of the assumed age? Quick! Change the subject! “This does not mean that life is present — and we have not yet found it — but it indicates a place where we should look,” another planetary scientist says in an article on Space.com. The paper in Science Advances, however, cannot get 4.5 billion years [4 x 109] out of Pluto.At times when Pluto’s atmosphere is 10% transparent to Lyman-α photons, this flux corresponds to a time scale of ~4 × 105 years [450,000 years], indicating a geologically short lifetime. At times of lower atmospheric transparency, the equivalent lifetime for the ammonia is ~4 × 108 years [400 million years].Ultima ThuleAnother surprising body in the outer solar system is Ultima Thule, the Kuiper Belt object that New Horizons encountered in January two years after its Pluto flyby. Space.com drew attention to “mystery mounds” that the discovery team found. Listen to the sound of scientists gasping when the two lobes of the body were found not to be spherical:“That caught us by surprise,” Stern added. “I think it caught everybody by surprise.”New Horizons imagery also revealed a number of abutting mound-like features on the larger of the two lobes, which mission team members call Ultima. (The smaller lobe, naturally, is Thule.)“They seem to be raised, but exactly what causes them we’re not sure,” Stern said. “It’s still early days.”An early hypothesis held that the mounds resulted from convection of low-temperature ice, which was driven by the heat generated by the radioactive decay of aluminum-26. But further work suggests that this is an unlikely scenario, Stern said. The team now thinks the mounds may be the retained outlines of the small planetesimals that came together to form the Ultima lobe long ago.“But there could be other processes as well,” Stern said. “So, this is an active topic of debate.“NeptuneAnother object showing activity is Triton, Neptune’s largest moon. When Voyager 2 flew by in 1989, scientists were astonished to see evidence of cryovolcanoes and nitrogen geysers. An article on Phys.org tries to explain which gases are likely responsible (N2 and CO), but dodges the question of whether its activity could have been occurring for 4.5 billion years. This article also changes the subject, saying of nitrogen (an inert gas in its diatomic molecular form), “Its abundance in the outer Solar System is an important key to life’s origins, as it is an important part of the building blocks of life.” But the scientists admit Neptune and Triton most likely do not have life. The statement titillates the public with an irrelevant supposition in order to dodge the question of age.SaturnWith Cassini data safely archived on Earth, scientists will be combing through its findings for years or decades. In a recent paper in Geophysical Research Letters, the main findings from Cassini’s last year at Saturn have been summarized. All of them sound too dynamic to last for billions of years.New discoveries examined in this issue include tiny ring particles with complex hydrocarbons streaming into Saturn’s atmosphere, methane from the rings feeding Saturn’s upper atmosphere, electric currents flowing between Saturn and its rings, and a new inner radiation belt. Saturn gravity and magnetic field measurements detected deep winds and differential rotation in its upper layers. Results from Cassini’s final orbits turned out to be more interesting than we could have imagined. Understanding the interior of Saturn and the interplay between the rings and planet will provide insights into how our solar system formed and evolved and the role of gas giant planets in exoplanet systems.Scientists often mask their surprise at false predictions by calling the findings “interesting” while issuing more promissory notes about how the findings will “provide insights” into “evolution” of this or that phenomenon.The SunAren’t we lucky to have a star that spins slowly? That’s uncommon. In fact, the planets have far more of the solar system’s angular momentum than the sun does. That seems backwards. New Scientist describes how lucky Earth was in the sun’s early history:[Prabel] Saxena and his team used data from the Kepler Space Telescope on other sun-like stars to build three models of the young Earth and moon, each with the sun rotating at a different rate. The faster the young sun rotated, the more often it would have experienced flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), blasting huge plumes of plasma into space and battering the inner solar system.They found that for the fast- and even medium-rotating models, there were too many CMEs. Even if the sun rotated just about once every week, there could be tens of CMEs a day, enough to erode away all of the moon’s potassium and much of its sodium – volatile elements that we know still exist there today.In reporter Leah Crane’s headline, “The young sun spun slowly, which could explain why we are here.” Count your lucky stars.Two false assumptions are holding back real science about the solar system: (1) the moyboy mindset, and (2) secularism. Think of how liberating it would be to see our extremely special Earth as a product of intelligent design not that long ago.From a philosophy of science standpoint, there is no obligation for scientists to spin observations into a preferred timeline. Suppose, for instance, each scientist were to just look at processes occurring on a moon—say, the geysers on Triton or Enceladus—and make reasonable upper limits about how long that could have been going on. Why not call that number the maximum age of the moon, and leave it at that? Why all the spin doctoring to force-fit the age into the 4.5 billion years belief?Taking the supposition further, why does the 4.5 billion year age, derived from meteorites, take precedence over everything else? Why couldn’t that age bow to younger ages of other objects? Or, to think even more outside the consensus box, why couldn’t each object in the solar system have its own age?You know the answer. Secular scientists want a comprehensive, materialistic world view from big bang to man. They want galaxies to evolve, stars to evolve, planets to evolve, life to evolve, and human minds to evolve. Everything has to fit that vision, so everything has to evolve in the right order. Plus, Darwin needs those billions of years for life to evolve. It’s irritating to have objects show up out of their spot in the timeline. If Pluto looks too young, it must be artificially aged via storytelling!But what if it is young? Just asking. (Visited 428 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

The master of the makarapa

first_imgThe man behind makarapas, Alfred Baloyi,and his gear A Bafana Bafana makarapa designed byAlfred Baloyi Alfred Baloyi with fellow Kaizer Chiefssupporter and friend, Masilo Machaka.(Images: Bongani Nkosi)MEDIA CONTACTS• Alfred Baloyi+27 82 835 8933• Grant Nicholls+27 11 022-5920/1/2/3info@makarapa.comRELATED ARTICLES• Soweto’s football derby frenzy• New take on iconic vuvuzela• Colourful vuvuzelas – from kelp• Viva the vuvuzela orchestra!• Football – South Africa styleBongani NkosiScan the crowds at any major football match in South Africa and what will immediately stand out are the elaborately carved and colourfully decorated plastic hard hats settled on fans’ heads.Known as the makarapa – isiXhosa for the migrant workers who wore hard hats on the mines – this iconic adornment is, with the noisy vuvuzela trumpet, an important part of the local football matches’ festival atmosphere. But it is not a fly-by-night commercial gimmick; it’s the brainchild of a highly talented artist who invented it not just for show, but for safety.The idea came to Alfred Baloyi, now 51, in 1979 at a local derby in Soweto, South Africa’s largest township, in the southwest of Johannesburg. Soweto derbies, traditionally played by top local teams Kaizer Chiefs, Moroka Swallows and Orlando Pirates, are tense affairs, and crowds can become unruly. At this particular match Baloyi saw a bottle flying through the air about to hit another fan’s head. At that moment, the idea for the makarapa hit Baloyi.“We used to go to the stadium without wearing anything on our heads and it was dangerous,” he said. “I realised that these hard hats could protect me.”Baloyi, an ardent supporter of Kaizer Chiefs, known locally as Amakhosi, started collecting plastic helmets, painting them in his team’s yellow and black colours and adding its emblem. Initially, these were only for himself.With only primary school education, Baloyi was employed as a municipal bus cleaner in Pretoria at the time, but soon became totally focused on his new-found art. His work didn’t stop at hats either: he began painting workmen’s overalls in the Amakhosi colours, transforming them into vivid and gaudy fan gear.Other football fans started to notice, and asked him to sell his makarapas on the spot, and gave him their overalls to paint.Makarapas mean business “Supporters taught me business. They used to say, ‘This is beautiful. Sell it to me’,” Baloyi said.By the 1980s Baloyi was starting to make money from his makarapas, which he sold for R7 apiece. But he never stopped thinking up ways to craft a better product.I caught up with Baloyi at his small shack in an informal settlement in Primrose, east of Johannesburg. The shack is like most in the area: there’s little light inside and barely enough space to do any sort of work.But this is where Baloyi, known as “Magistrate” or “Professor” to his fans and friends because of his impressive skills, creates the beautiful helmets.In his work room, which reeks of paint, there is a display of finished and unfinished products, and his personal archive of newspaper clippings and photos. One article, written by Don Makatile and published by Drum magazine in 1999, is prominently placed.It was in 1990 that Baloyi started carving pieces out of the plastic hard hats and manipulating them so they stood upright, changing the headgear’s traditional shape. As he recalls, it was at the request of his friend and fellow football trendsetter, Saddam Maake.Now one of the defining features of the makarapa is its many intricate protrusions, which make the hat appear far larger and taller than it really is. The outward pieces are sometimes fashioned into horns, emblems of local or international sports teams, or expertly cut into the shape of football players dribbling a ball.Baloyi started out by selling his makarapas at stadiums and taxi ranks, but business has taken off, so he now takes orders. Some of these come from large South African companies such as Absa and Vodacom, who buy the headgear for their staff to wear at matches.“I am having more and more companies putting in orders,” Baloyi said. “Individuals are also ordering.”Baloyi’s work is sold through Makarapa Integrated Marketing, a company he founded with sports marketing expert Grant Nicholls, and his production rights are protected under the trademark “Baloyi Makarapa”.The current makarapa price ranges between R300 ($47) and R500 ($67), depending on the accessories Baloyi adds – some customers have special requests. He’s now able to create at least two a day.His makarapa earnings have allowed Baloyi, a father of five, to build a “big and fine” house for his family in Kgabyane village in Limpopo province, as well as to send his 20-year-old daughter, Calphina, to college to study graphic design.“My dad’s art is special,” Calphina said. “He did not learn it in school, but he’s making interesting things. I would like to take over from him one day.”For Baloyi, it’s all about family. “I want to give my family a better life,” he says. “I have to grow it [the makarapa brand] and leave a legacy for my children.”World Cup feverNicholls and Baloyi plan to build a factory that will employ young artists to produce thousands of makarapas in a month – this has always been Baloyi’s dream.Other companies and individuals are picking up the makarapa craze and beginning to make their own, but Baloyi isn’t worried. “I’m not scared by the competition I now have. My makarapas are different because I use my hands to make them and I paint them very well.”Baloyi is a busy man and his phone hardly stops ringing, with old and new customers placing orders.While I was there two calls came through, one from a Golden Lions rugby supporter, and the other from a Coca Cola employee – identified only as Lerato. She was making plans to fly him to Cape Town on 4 December, apparently for the 2010 Fifa World Cup draw.Baloyi is expecting business to boom in the months leading up to the tournament, which kicks off on 11 June 2010. “I know most orders will come next year before the World Cup,” he said. “I will have to work very hard.“When people come to South Africa next year they must come to Primrose to see the father of makarapa. Going back to their countries with a makarapa would be the only way to show that they were indeed in South Africa.”Celebrity football fansMost of the regular, well-known football fans in South Africa – especially in Gauteng province – proudly wear Baloyi’s makarapas. Their headgear, together with their impressive dance moves, singing and vuvuzela-blowing, always attract television cameras and help to get the crowd going.These regulars try to attend as many matches as possible and often pool money so they can travel across the country to work their magic.World Cup visitors are likely to hear some of their names and nicknames, including Baloyi himself, Saddam, Masilo Machaka, Mdokies, Mzioni Mofokeng, Gladys Bailey and uNtshebe. These fans will be seated in the front row of 2010 matches to stir up the atmosphere and drum up support for South Africa’s national squad, Bafana Bafana.Machaka, also a staunch Chiefs fan, says he has never worn and never will wear a makarapa made by anyone other than Baloyi. “Baloyi’s makarapas are different, and that’s why we call him Professor,” he said.“This is the best man for the job. When people want makarapas, especially international supporters coming to South Africa next year, they must go to him.”last_img read more

Legal with Leah: New budget includes nuisance lawsuit protections

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest  Leave a CommentSome aspects of the new two-year state budget will better protect farmers from nuisance lawsuits. Ohio Farm Bureau Policy Counsel Leah Curtis visits with Ohio Farm Bureau Director of Media Relations Ty Higgins about the language included in the budget and its importance to agriculture.Listen to Legal with Leah, a podcast featuring Ohio Farm Bureau’s Policy Counsel Leah Curtis discussing topics impacting farmers and landowners.TranscriptionTy Higgins: In mid-July, Ohio legislators passed a new two-year, $69 billion state budget. It was signed by Governor DeWine shortly thereafter. The budget, as you might expect, mostly consists of a lot of numbers, adding some funds to programs, taking away funds from others. There’s also some language in the new budget that will be better protecting farmers from nuisance lawsuits. That’s our topic for this week’s Legal with Leah. Along with Ohio Farm Bureau Policy Counsel Leah Curtis, I’m Ty Higgins and Leah, you and I visited about there being an affirmative defense for farms enrolled in an ag district with some caveats. That came up not long after Toledo voters passed the Lake Erie Bill of Rights back in February. How does this budget address issues like LEBOR?Leah Curtis: So what the budget did was it changed the nuisance protection just slightly so it does still apply to those who are enrolled in an ag district but also now would apply to those who are qualified and enrolled in the Current Ag Use Valuation program which a lot of people are going to do because it does make their taxes a little better. And so it just expands it a little bit and reduces a little bit of that paperwork burden. If you’re already enrolling in CAUV, you don’t have to also necessarily enroll for the affirmative defense in the ag district. It removed a couple of the requirements as well, so it should be a little bit easier to take advantage of and that way farmers will be able to use the defense when a nuisance lawsuit comes around. Now again as we’ve always said with the LEBOR situation, we don’t know for sure that those lawsuits would be considered nuisance and whether this defense would be the slam dunk. But as I always say as lawyer, I want every farmer to have every tool in the toolbox that they can and so if there’s any chance it would work, we want farmers to be able to use this and have this at their disposal as needed.Ty Higgins: And there are other tools. What are other affirmative defense examples that can apply for farmers?Leah Curtis: So there’s a few. If you have a concentrated animal feeding operation permit through the large livestock program at ODA and you are acting in accordance with that and the best management practices in that permit, there is an affirmative defense under that. There’s also one for any claims that are related to the spreading of fertilizer, so long as you have an approved NMP (nutrient management plan) and you’re acting in accordance with your plan. That happened in compliance with the fertilizer certification program. And then lastly if you are sued for a nuisance claim related to manure, and again you have an approved NMP and you’re acting in accordance with it, then there also may be an affirmative defense available for you in that case.Ty Higgins: The one thing we really want to stress here to our members is that affirmative defense in all of its forms doesn’t prevent someone from suing you.Leah Curtis: Yes. So a lot of people will say this is a complete defense. I don’t like the word complete because the fact is that a defense…you can use it once somebody sues you but you can’t stop somebody from filing a lawsuit. That would violate their constitutional rights to access the courts. So it is there, once the lawsuit is filed, to help get that lawsuit taken care of in a more quick manner, hopefully reduce the need for lots of attorneys fees and get you out of the courthouse as quickly as possible.Ty Higgins: Leah Curtis is policy counsel with Ohio Farm Bureau. This has been Legal with Leah. Thanks for listening. I’m Ty Higgins. We’ll see you down the road.  Leave a Commentlast_img read more