By Dialogo July 03, 2012 The Central American presidents agreed on June 29 to double their efforts to obtain financial aid and fight organized crime, at a biannual summit at which they also signed an unprecedented commercial and political partnership agreement with the European Union. “What we (the presidents) agreed is to be more expeditious, more aggressive in acquiring funds in order to succeed in financing the regional strategy” to fight crime, said Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes, who acted as an informal spokesperson for the heads of state or government of the eight countries. The participants in the Central American Integration System (SICA) summit agreed “concretely to construct a regional strategy for the (management of) financing of the plan to fight crime.” Funes recalled that the United States, Canada, and Australia, among others, have offered Central America up to 2.5 billion dollars to finance 22 programs targeting four security issues. The United States, represented by the top American diplomat for Latin America, Roberta Jacobson, attended this SICA summit for the first time as an observer. Jacobson was there to reiterate U.S. support through the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), for which Washington has committed 361 million dollars. The summit was organized under the slogan “Everyone’s Fight: The New Security Approach in Central America.” Security, especially in relation to drug trafficking, is Central America’s primary challenge. Estimates are that 90 percent of the cocaine consumed in the United States passes through the region. At the summit, Honduran President Porfirio Lobo transferred the group’s rotating presidency to his Nicaraguan counterpart Daniel Ortega. Guatemalan President Otto Pérez, Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes, Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla, and Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli also attended. Belize was represented by Energy Minister Audrey Joygralt, and the Dominican Republic by Foreign Minister Clara Quiñónez.
RAY PFEIFFER/Herald PhotoThe Badgers offense was a major concern coming into the 2006 season, but those concerns have officially been put to rest.If UW head coach Bret Bielema needed any more affirmation of this — besides watching his team enjoy back-to-back 500-yard games — it came when running back P.J. Hill became the second Badger to earn the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week award in as many weeks, with quarterback John Stocco winning it last week.Hill shared the honor with Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith. Last weekend, Hill carried the ball 35 times and ran for 249 yards — including a 60-yard run for a touchdown on the second play of the game.One of the concerns that Bielema addressed at his weekly press conference Monday was Hill’s ability to withstand the physical wear and tear of having a large number of carries week in and week out.”There are certain things that we have done during the course of the week and made certain adjustments during practice of the things that he goes through or doesn’t go through,” Bielema said. “Also, we limit the contact that he goes through from our own players during the course of the week. Our players also realize that we are a better team when P.J. is playing.”Hill split Bielema’s choice for UW offensive MVP of the week with tight end Travis Beckum, who quietly hauled in eight catches for 107 yards, both game highs, against the Wildcats.”I thought [Travis] made a giant step forward, not only in the passing game, but some of the things that he was able to do in the running game,” Bielema said.On the defensive side of the ball, cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu and defensive end Matt Shaughnessy were named the co-defensive most valuable players. According to Bielema, Ikegwuonu has been playing very well the last few weeks and had a very good game against Northwestern, even though he has not put up stellar numbers.”[He] doesn’t have as many stats as we would like to see, but this is because they are not really coming his way,” Bielema said. “There are certain things that he is doing [well], not only on defense, but also on special teams.”Take a numberThe Badgers made their debut in the rankings this week. They are now ranked No. 25 in the nation in this week’s Associated Press Poll, receiving 86 votes.However, Bielema was not flattered by the national recognition. Instead, he said he looks at it as somewhat of a distraction to his players.”I really appreciate the ranking and everything that comes into it,” Bielema said. “I knew it would become an issue, not just from the media and the questions that they were going to be asked, but now they are going to walk into the classroom and people are going to make reference to it.”He emphasized that the players must keep working hard and maintain Bielema’s mentality.”The reason we are in this situation is the focus that we have had and we have kept the ‘1-0’ mentality,” Bielema said. “If we falter off of that, we can lose that same position as fast as we earned it. “No rest for the wearyThe question arose of the Badgers not having a bye week this season. Wisconsin has hit the halfway point of a grueling 12-game stretch in consecutive weeks. This could have a big impact not only on the health of the players, but also keeping the “1-0″ mentality that Bielema has been pushing on his players and his coaches.”What we try to do is understand where we are with our players,” Bielema said. “Some guys, no matter what you do to them during the course of the game, they’re always going to come back on Sunday, and especially giving them Monday off, are going to come back on Tuesday for a strong practice.”Bielema didn’t say either way definitively whether he would prefer to have a bye week or would he rather just keep on moving through the season.”I have nothing to compare it to as a head coach,” Bielema said. “As an assistant coach, you always look forward to those off-weeks because you look forward for your players to have a chance to get healthy.”Hubbard, O-line updatesOne of the major health issues that Bielema addressed was the injury that Paul Hubbard sustained last weekend. Hubbard has been a large contributor to the young receiving core. He has had 19 receptions for 313 yards and two touchdowns on the year.”Sunday’s practice, we didn’t practice him,” Bielema said of Hubbard, who appeared to be knocked out with a concussion Saturday. “But we expect him to go out there [Tuesday] and be able to bounce back.”One of the concerns that some have had was how good the offensive line would be. The O-line lost four starters from last year, which created some skepticism among critics and fans.However, Bielema feels that they have made a lot of progress, not only from last spring, but this year as well.”This was probably the best performance this past weekend in overall pass protection from first quarter to fourth quarter,” Bielema said. “I can’t say enough positive things.”
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisALPENA, Mich. — Britt Flood, an artist from North Carolina was chosen to be a part of Downtown Alpena’s Fresh Waves Initiative. This is the third mural produced from the program, which is meant to bring exciting artwork to the area.Flood began working on Aug. 24 on the side of the Thunder Bay Theatre’s warehouse. Four days later, and the work she calls “Together Again” is finished. “It’s based on embrace and community and connections,” said Flood. “So, just reminding everyone to give that passion and that community feeling, which I definitely felt from everyone this week.”Over the past few days, Flood has received praise from members of the community. Executive Director of the Alpena Downtown Development Authority, Anne Gentry said she was amazed with the finished product and is glad they were able to do two murals this summer instead of one. “With everything going on in the world right now, especially with the pandemic, we thought it was more important now than ever to invest in something so bright and colorful that people can drive by and walk by every day,” she said. “We’ve heard a lot of positive comments, as the artist has, from different community members just thanking us for bringing something that’s so joyful to our community in these times.”This will be the last mural for the summer, but Gentry said they’re already looking forward to next year.“We’ll probably do another application process for both artists and downtown locations. We brainstormed, do we want to do a more temporary mural somewhere, do we want to do one location, two locations again next year? We hope to continue bringing more to our community.”The new mural can be found on the Fletcher Street side of the Thunder Bay Theatre warehouse.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThis Tags: Alpena Downtown Development AuthorityContinue ReadingPrevious Driving test safety precautionsNext United Way implements 21-day equity challenge
MASON CITY — A powerful spring storm system raking the Midwest left thousands without power in north-central Iowa and damaged some homes and businesses.Nearly 19,000 Alliant Energy customers were without power by midday Thursday in the area, including the communities in and around Britt, Garner, Forest City, Mason City and Northwood. Over 1000 customers are still without power this morning according to Alliant’s website, with the areas of Kensett, Joice, Leland and Thompson showing all but a few customers are without service.Heavy rain, hail and high winds gusting to 60 mph pummeled the area Wednesday night into Thursday.Interstate 35 northbound near Latimer and Hanlontown was closed for a time Thursday morning after winds blew semitrailers over. The canopy of the Casey’s General Store in Lake Mills was blown over by the strong winds. (The Associated Press contributed to this report)