The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) has revealed that eastern St Thomas is one of the areas singled out for special attention. The Gleaner team came up on a contingent of JDF personnel at the Airy Castle Post Office in the Port Morant division of eastern St Thomas, but they were quick to point out that it was just a roving patrol. “Any area that holds more than one polling station; the larger ones we felt that those needed some attention and also tips from the police on areas that they deem as hot spots or concerns raised by their own intelligence. We factored that in too as to where we put soldiers,” Major Everton Morgan said. “St Thomas eastern is one such area and we have chosen around six polling stations where we have had static soldiers from start to finish.” Morgan said he and his team has been visiting the polling stations in the constituency that are not being manned by soldiers. “We are making sure that everything is OK as it relates to security and citizens can feel free to come out and vote and things are orderly and the rule is maintained and there is no congregation at the entrance of the polling station,” Morgan said. “We are pretty satisfied with what we have seen so far.”
…accuses AFC of being vindictiveOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo is calling on the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) to look into the recent arrest of People’s Progressive Party (PPP) candidate Shafraz Beekham, as he accused the Alliance For Change (AFC) party of being vindictive.Opposition Leader Bharrat JagdeoBeekham was arrested by Police about an hour after there was an alleged fire at the home of an AFC member in Berbice on Wednesday evening; a move, which Jagdeo believes is an act of vindictiveness on the part of the AFC.The Opposition Leader posited that if there was indeed an arson attempt then the matter must be condemned. He however urged that there be a full investigation into the incident, since Beekham was the one who mounted a legal challenge against the AFC’s Whim/Bloomfield list of candidates for the upcoming Local Government Elections (LGE).Further, Jagdeo pointed out that when the case was filed several weeks ago, the Chairman of the AFC, Khemraj Ramjattan, who is also the Public Security Minister, went on television in Berbice threatening to deal with the litigant.ERC Chairman John Smith“[So] we believe that it is all contrived by the AFC to gain sympathy and to act as an intimidation as they know now that an appeal has been filed – that will go probably all the way to the CCJ (Caribbean Court of Justice) – that will expose the shenanigans of the AFC in that area and therefore, they have to go, we believe, against the person who filed it. And compounding this, the Minister of Public Security threatened this gentleman to deal with him weeks ago on television. All this must be fully investigated because it smacks of political gimmickry again by the AFC,” the Opposition Leader contended.The legal challenge was dismissed last week by High Court Judge, Justice Navindra Singh, who found that there was no evidence of fraudulent names on the AFC’s list. As such, Beekham, through his attorneys, have since appealed the High Court decision.Independent reviewNevertheless, Jagdeo is of the view that the issue should be looked into by an independent agency. In fact, he noted that efforts should be made to get the tape from Ramjattan’s appearance on television where he made the threat against Beekham.“We need someone to commandeer this tape and it cannot be the GNBA (Guyana National Broadcasting Agency) and it can’t be the Police because they will take instructions, Ramjattan will bully them,” Jagdeo asserted, adding that Opposition Members of Parliament (MP) overheard the Minister giving certain instructions while at Parliament on Wednesday night that probably lead to the arrest of Beekham.To this end, he called on the ERC to probe this act of vindictiveness by the minority party in the coalition Government.“Imagine the other people may never want to come forward because they fear victimisation. We believe its victimisation [because] an hour after this event allegedly took place, they picked up this guy. So we have to get an outside investigation into this… In fact, the only body I can think about right now is the Ethnic Relations Commission, to look urgently into this matter,” the Opposition Leader stated.Woman’s claimsMeanwhile, the AFC member, Rashree Permaul, is claiming that the PPP activist attempted to set fire to her Bloomfield home on Wednesday night at about 21:45h.The woman, told Guyana Times that she is a candidate of the AFC for the Whim/Bloomfield Neighbourhood Democratic Council. However, a check of the list reveals that she is not one of the seven candidates the AFC has advertised for that NDC.The 35-year-old woman said she smelt what seemed at be a lighted cigarette but added that, “a couple seconds after I saw a big flame outside through the window and I smelt like something burning…” She said she rushed to the upper flat of the house and woke her eldest daughter. When they ran out of the house, she said she saw a lighted carton box next to a concrete post and also discovered that kerosene was thrown on two wooden posts.Permaul admitted that she did not see anyone in her yard. The man was released from Police custody at about 18:00h after Permaul never showed up at the Police Station when a confrontation was arranged by the Police. However, Beekham was asked to return to the station on Monday.Only recently, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan appeared on a public televised programme aired in Berbice, entitled “Alliance on the move” and threatened Beekham saying that he will “fix” him.On the programme, the Public Security Minister said Beekham had several fish pounds and he was going to, “give him trouble”.
With the good weather forecasted over the next few days, the sun will be shining on volunteers who will be out again as part of the Big Donegal Clean CleanupsClean ups are planned for Ballyliffin, Clonmany, Carndonagh, Glenties, Falcarragh and the Glebe Letterkenny.“This year’s response to the Big Donegal Clean Up has once again been outstanding. The work done by communities across Donegal is tremendous and the results are there for everyone to see” says Suzanne Brogan Waste Awareness Officer with Donegal County Council. A few of the volunteers from the Lurgybrack Text Alert Group who took part in their big Clean up at the weekend.“I would ask those that drop litter without a second thought or dump rubbish illegally, to think again and to remember that every piece of litter dropped or bag of rubbish dumped is not only illegal but is an insult to the great work that is done by people all over Donegal and causes serious damage to our wildlife and environment.“We have been inundated with requests from groups and individuals to take part and it just shows the great sense of pride that people have in their own areas.“We would encourage everyone to do their bit and get involved in a local clean-up. The Council provides bags, pickers and high vis vests and then collects the rubbish from designated points at agreed times”.Some young volunteers who took part in the Big Fanad Clean Up at the weekend which was organised by the Fanad Clean Coasts Group and Fanad Community Group.This weekend’s clean-ups will take place as follows: • Ballyliffin Tidy Towns Friday 19 April, starting at 11am meeting at Pollen Beach Car Park.• Clonmany Tidy Towns are having a big clean up of Urris, Dunaff, Leenan and surrounding areas on Friday 19 April and there are two meeting points; St. Marys Hall, Clonmany and Tiernasligo, Urris at 10am.• Carndonagh Tidy Towns on Friday 19 April, meeting in the Carndonagh Council Offices Car Park at 11.00am• Glenties Tidy Towns and Market Hall Group, are having a their Big Annual Good Friday Clean up on 19 April meeting at the Market Hall, at 10.00am• Falcarragh Clean Coasts are having a clean-up and planting Marram Grass on Drumnatinney Beach on Saturday 20 April at 12.30pm. • Glebe Residents Association is having a clean-up on Sunday 21 April meeting at 11am.Some of the volunteers that took part in a Clean up in Gortahork at the weekend.Sun set to shine on community clean-up volunteers this weekend was last modified: April 18th, 2019 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:cleanupscouncildonegal
Picture an evolutionary anthropologist and a Biblical theologian sitting on a park bench having a lively discussion. The theologian claims the scientist believes in evolution because of pride that came through sin at the Fall. “Your conscience and innate knowledge of God has been corrupted,” he asserts, “therefore you choose belief systems that rationalize your desire to live autonomously from your Creator.” The scientist counters that the theologian only believes in God because religion was naturally selected in a primitive ape-like ancestor. “Deep in prehistory, early hominin populations reinforced beliefs in supernatural beings that provided comfort against natural mysteries,” he claims. “But now science is shedding light on those mysteries and undermining those primitive beliefs.” Whose position should have privileged status in a society? Should the scientist’s explanation automatically be granted epistemic privilege by a culture simply because he is a scientist? Perhaps some recent examples of evolutionists at work trying to explain human behavior can inform the discussion.Altruism: PhysOrg printed a press release from UC Davis debating which kind of evolution – cultural or genetic – explains the human propensity for altruism (sacrificial charity). “Why do people willingly to [sic] go to war, give blood, contribute to food banks and make other sacrifices often at considerable risk to themselves and their descendents? Evolutionary explanations based on both genes and culture have been proposed for this human behavior, which is unique among vertebrates.” The article went on to argue for social vs. genetic causes, but the statement makes it clear that non-evolutionary explanations were completely off the table for consideration. The report in Science Daily spoke of an “equation… that describes the conditions for altruism to evolve.” Sometimes the explanation mixes causes and results in a “gene-culture coevolution of human prosocial propensities.” Similarly, National Geographic News tried to show chimpanzees expressing a form of altruism, saying “this adds to evidence that chimps are more similar to humans than previously thought.” Altruism even applies to amoebas, wrote Science Daily: “In Amoeba World, Cheating Doesn’t Pay.” It becomes clear looking at their explanation that altruism has no external essence, but is a mere manifestation of selection pressures – a “characteristic” that can be observed from ameba to man. They did not consider the converse hypothesis. Is it possible that the scientists are imputing human moral characteristics on non-sentient beings and interpreting animal actions in terms of internally-assumed abilities? If altruism is a physical trait, why is not the act of explanation? Why aren’t chimpanzees and amoebas writing papers on human behavior?Leadership: Science Daily reported on a paper from Current Biology called “The Origins and Evolution of Leadership” that puts Darwin in the lead. The authors “argue that due to ‘a hangover from our evolutionary past’ factors like age, sex, height and weight play a major part in the determining [sic] our choice of leaders.” Here’s what Dr. Andrew King (Zoological Society of London) had to say:Evolution has fashioned principles governing leadership and followership over many millions of years. We need to ground the complex, even mystical, social phenomenon of leadership in science. Through empirical observation, theoretical models, neuroscience, experimental psychology, and genetics, we can explore the development and adaptive functions of leadership and followership. This analysis of data, combined with an evolutionary perspective on leadership, might highlight potential mismatches so we can see how evolved mechanisms of leadership are possibly out of kilter with our relatively novel social environment.Dr. King failed to explain how science escapes being an evolved mechanism or gains any power over evolutionary “principles.” His co-author Dr. Dominic Johnson (University of Edinburgh) thinks it’s about time evolutionary biology tackles this overlooked question, “arguably one of the most important themes in the social sciences.” He sees overlap between human and animal leadership behaviors that point to evolutionary origins. He said, “By identifying such origins and examining which aspects are shared with other animals offers us [sic] better ways of understanding, predicting and improving leadership today.” His evolutionary approach goes beyond explanation, therefore, and advocates social action.1 Sex and war: In Science this month,2 Hillard Kaplan, an anthropologist at University of New Mexico, reviewed Sex and War: How Biology Explains Warfare and Terrorism and Offers a Path to a Safer World by Malcolm Potts and Thomas Hayden (BenBella, Dallas, 2008). The book explores the “phylogenetic origins of human warfare” and describes armed conflict, no matter the players or their causes, in strictly evolutionary terms. The scope of their explanatory project must be considered when evaluating every conflict from withstanding playground bullies to decisions to liberate Nazi Germany. Kaplan opened, “They argue that group aggression by males is a fundamental feature of human evolutionary history, whose roots are well developed in our closest living relative, the chimpanzee.” This would seem to eliminate any rationality for the concept of a “just war,” e.g., an altruistic rescue of an oppressed people (since altruism also falls within the domain of evolutionary explanation). One can sense the tension between morality and determinism in their explanation:The book begins with Potts’s own experiences in 1972, attending to (and providing abortions for) women who had been raped and abused during the war in Bangladesh. He recounts the cruelty enacted by groups of men, united in an armed struggle for power, on thousands of women. He then presents the book’s main thesis: such acts of violence are far from isolated incidents and modern aberrations due to extreme conditions—rather they are the norm for our species. What Potts calls “behavioral propensities to engage in male coalitional violence” are products of a long evolutionary history, in which males who engaged in such behavior produced more genetic descendants than males without such propensities. He further argues that coalitional violence by groups of males evolved at least as far back as the common ancestor before the chimpanzee-human divergence and is a direct manifestation of sexual selection on male-male competition. Such behavioral propensities did not evolve in females of either species. The term “behavioral propensity” is used throughout the book to highlight the idea that a propensity can be controlled by cultural and social means. Propensities to form coalitions among males against other males are in some sense genetically programmed into chimpanzee and human psychology, but there are also norms for culturally appropriate behavior as well as social institutions that can serve to counteract those propensities. In fact, the solution to decreasing violence and warfare in modern times comes from the recognition that our biological heritage has produced very different behavioral propensities in human males and females.The book makes the point that the males’ evolutionary propensities to be violent can be restrained by “empowering women to be leaders in cultural, social, and political spheres.” This seems to beg the question of the origin of morality. Why would the products of an evolutionary process restrain what the process produced? The reviewer and the authors differed only on the methods likely to be most effective. Kaplan said, “We still lack a definitive understanding of group-level violence and its variation in different societies and during different historical periods. But I agree with Potts that such an understanding will likely require a joint theory of our biology and social history.” In evolution, though, is there a difference?PhysOrg also reported on “When Being a Cuckold Makes Evolutionary Sense.” We’ll leave it as an exercise whether or not “evolutionary sense” is an oxymoron.1. Science can say, “The earth appears to be warming.” Explanation says, “The earth is warming because of human industry.” Activism says, “Because humans are warming the earth, we need to redistribute the wealth and start a depression.”2. Hillard Kaplan, “Anthropology: Sex and War (and Ecology),” Science, 9 October 2009: Vol. 326. no. 5950, pp. 232-233, DOI: 10.1126/science.1176071.These three examples (plus one) can be considered representative of a long history of evolutionary speculation about why we act the way we do. A strong underlying assumption is that these evolutionary explanations are somehow better than the old Biblical ones because they fall within the domain of “science,” and only “science” leads to “understanding.” The gaps don’t matter; though we “still lack a definitive understanding” of this or that aspect of a phenomenon, someday we will, because “science” is in the business of explaining. Science explains everything. When you hear about the evolution of war, the evolution of leadership, or the evolution of altruism, you “understand” it. Now, using your rationality, you can “control” it. The inherent tension and contradiction in that mindset should be evident in the above examples. As we have pointed out numerous times, these scientists are plagiarizing Judeo-Christian presuppositions to engage in the act of explanation. Rationality refers to concepts that lie outside of naturalism. Naturalism is impossible. To explain something, you have to believe that your sensations correspond to external reality. You have to assume that your explanation contains the possibility it may be true. How can anyone believe anything, including one’s own brain, that is the product of an unguided process like evolution? To believe in truth, furthermore, you have to exercise morality – the assumption that truth is good. None of these things come with the evolutionists’ explanatory toolkit. If they are there, they were stolen. In fact, the whole toolkit was stolen. Using stolen implements, they construct impossible arts and humanities: tales of millions of years of monkey screeching and pounding morphing into Bach (10/17/2009), opera extolling a world without violent males, with moral leaders, with charity for all. (They forget that Milton wrote the libretto to Paradise Lost, not Darwin.) Here again we find that explanation is the domain of theology. The bigotry of modern science is to exclude the contractors who own the tools. Theologians have answers to why males tend to be violent, why we share traits with chimpanzees, why we are attracted to strong leaders, and why we care about the suffering of our fellow human beings. None of these phenomena have escaped the notice of great theistic scholars. None of them lie outside the domain of Scripture. In our day, imposters have usurped the role of theology. Evolutionary scientists presume to engage in explanation using tools they did not and could not manufacture. It’s not clear from any philosophy of science if scientists can, or should, try to explain anything, or how they would do so. Bas van Fraasen rejected explanation as a function of science. It should be noted that “folk psychology,” the common-sense version we all practice that attributes reasonings and feelings to our fellow human beings as causes of their actions, works just as well, if not better, than any advanced scientific explanation – thus the popularity of Dr. Laura Schlesinger (who, by the way, advises from an Old Testament presuppositional foundation). We all assume explanation is what scientists do because we were taught simplistic positivism in middle school. It’s time to graduate to the real world. Science does best trying to cure cancer, imitate design in nature, predict earthquakes and the weather, explore space, measure, observe, study, classify, organize, falsify, predict, learn, find relationships, derive equations, and inform technology. Anyone presuming to explain nature without a theological premise is engaging in self-refuting nonsense. Go re-read those three entries above in that light. Now it all makes sense. They engage in counterfeit explanations because they are prideful, irrational sinners, in rebellion against their Creator. If scientists really want to understand human nature, if they want to do something about war and brutality, and increase levels of charity, nothing can beat the record of transforming lives by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ: Example 1: from gang banger to soulwinner; example 2: from proud evolutionary biologist to joyful Christian; example 3 from terrorist to liberator of souls; example 4: from genocide torturer to repentant follower of Christ. Don’t look to science for results like this. Open the Operations Manual and get people back on track, one life at a time.(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra slammed the Uttar Pradesh government on Monday for allegedly blocking a party march in support of the student who has accused former Union minister Chinmayanand of rape, saying the BJP dispensation was destroying democracy in its “arrogance of power“.About 80 Congress workers were arrested on Monday while holding a public meeting ahead of the march they had planned in support of the student.Also Read 80 Congress workers arrested ahead of rally in support of jailed law student in Uttar Pradesh Accusing the Uttar Pradesh police of blocking the march, the Congress said its leaders, including former Union minister Jitin Prasada, were detained. The borders of Shahjahanpur district were blocked from all sides, the opposition party said on its official Twitter handle.Congress leaders have planned a 180-km march in support of the student from Shahjahanpur to Lucknow.“In the arrogance of power, the BJP government is destroying democracy. It can go to any extent to save a rape accused and suppress the voice of the daughter of Shahjahanpur,” Ms. Gandhi said.In a tweet in Hindi, she described the Bharatiya Janata Party-led regime in Uttar Pradesh as a nervous government.“As soon as they get to know that there is going to be a demonstration against them, they impose (section) 144 (of the CrPC),” the Congress general secretary in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh said. The voice of the people cannot be suppressed, injustice and tyranny cannot be hidden. The more they try, louder will be the demand for justice. Give justice to the girl from Shahjahanpur. Stop saving your minister,” she wrote on twitter.Earlier, she had alleged that criminals in Uttar Pradesh had the protection of the government so that they could intimidate the rape survivor.“The UP BJP government wants to suppress the voice seeking justice for the daughter of Shahjahanpur. The padyatra is being stopped. Our workers and leaders are being arrested. What is there to be afraid of?,” she wrote.The student was arrested on Wednesday on charges of extortion and sent to judicial custody for 14 days. Hours later, her bail plea was rejected.Chinmayanand, sent to judicial custody after his arrest, has been booked under section 376C (intercourse by superintendent of jail, remand home etc.) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), a charge with a lesser punishment than in case of rape.
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man Utd boss Solskjaer: De Gea save best I’ve ever seenby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hailed David de Gea’s wonder save for victory over Huddersfield.United won 3-1, though De Gea’s intervention came at a crucial moment.Solskjaer said, “The result was great. Obviously, you win the game and get three points. I think we started off slowly and maybe [it was] the whole occasion, we took one touch too many, we didn’t create too many chances early on but, after we got the first goal, I think we settled down, we passed it quicker. “There was a period just before half-time when you thought we would get the second here and it will be game over. In the second half, the first seven or eight minutes, I think we struggled then David’s save was the key moment for us. “You know every team, whatever game you are playing, if you are at home or away, they will get a chance because there is quality in all Premier League teams and that save must be one of the best I have seen – probably the best.”
TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Pochettino declares he could stay with Spurs ‘for 20 years’by Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveTottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has declared he could stay with the Londoners for 20 years.The 46-year-old Argentine has guided Spurs to fifth, third, second and third in his four completed league seasons since joining from Southampton in 2014.”I hope, or I wish to be here 20 years, and decide to leave or to finish my career here,” said Pochettino.”I am so focused here, and want to help the club to achieve what the club want to be in history.”He added: “It would be fantastic. I am so happy to be here. I am so happy to work in that pressure. Why not?”
The Canadian Press OTTAWA — A preliminary estimate of the federal books says Ottawa ran a budgetary deficit of $500 million through the first three months of the current fiscal year, compared with a $4.3-billion surplus during the same period a year ago.The Finance Department’s fiscal monitor says the combined shortfall for the April-to-June stretch came as growth in program spending and debt-servicing costs outpaced an increase in revenue.The report says spending during those three months climbed 10.3 per cent — or $7.3 billion — compared with a year earlier, mostly due to increases in direct program expenses as well as transfers to individuals and other levels of government.Year-over-year, public debt charges were up 11.5 per cent — or $700 million.During the same period, government revenues rose four per cent — or $3.2 billion.The Liberal government’s spring budget forecasted a deficit of $19.8 billion for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
OSU sophomore outside hitter Luisa Schirmer (5) during a game against Purdue on Oct. 16 at St. John Arena. Credit: Christopher Slack, Lantern PhotographerDespite going into two road matches as heavy favorites to win both, the Ohio State women’s volleyball team was able to come away with just one victory this weekend.On Friday, the No. 12 Buckeyes had their losing streak extended to three in a surprising upset loss to Maryland (13-15, 3-11) before rebounding against Rutgers (4-22, 1-12) on Saturday for their 20th win of the season.OSU’s loss to the Terrapins — just its second in program history — came by way of a three-set sweep, but the game was more closely contested than the final score indicated as each set was decided by only two points (25-23, 28-26, 27-25).The loss came despite the best efforts of senior outside hitter Katie Mitchell, who came off the bench to lead her team with 12 kills. Junior middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe (nine kills, three blocks) and senior outside hitter Elizabeth Campbell (nine kills, two blocks) also broke the double-digit point barrier.In place of freshman Taylor Hughes, who sat out both weekend games as she continues to nurse a left elbow injury, senior setter Emily Ruetter contributed 35 assists. Maryland’s redshirt senior outside hitter Adreene Elliott was a thorn in the side of the Buckeyes all night, leading all players with 22.5 points on 18 kills, four service aces and one block assist.Serving proved to be an area of difficulty for the OSU once again, as it committed 12 service errors against only three aces.Defensively, the Scarlet and Gray weren’t as sharp as usual, allowing Maryland to hit at a .270 attack percentage, which is well above the .163 mark that OSU had allowed to opponents entering the game.OSU raced out to a 9-6 lead in the first set, but Maryland came charging back with a 6-0 run to take the lead. The Terrapins would extend their advantage to as much as five before the Buckeyes charged back to level things at 21. From there, the home team retook momentum, ultimately squeaking out the narrow win to take an early lead in the match, despite being out-attacked .216 to .114 in the opening set.Maryland led most of the way in the second set, but OSU grabbed multiple late leads at 22-20 and 24-23, threatening to even the match at one set apiece. The Buckeyes couldn’t finish the job, though, as they fell in extra points after several costly errors.In the final set, the Buckeyes were the ones who held the lead for most of the way, but much like set two, they couldn’t finish the deal even though they attacked at a .385 clip. With a 24-22 lead and a chance to extend the match, Maryland again forced extra points and overcame the late deficit to complete the upset.A date with last-place Rutgers proved to be what OSU needed to snap its three-game losing streak, as it ran away with a sweep (25-13, 25-16, 25-19). The three-set victory is the Buckeyes’ third in as many games over the Scarlet Knights since they joined the Big Ten last year.Mitchell again led the way with 12 kills, while freshman outside hitter Audra Appold added 10. OSU was able to get back on track from the service line, racking up eight aces — led by Campbell’s three — against five errors.After going down 3-2 early in the first set, the Buckeyes went on an 11-0 run to take a commanding lead and would not trail again for the remainder of the match, coming away with decisive victories in all three frames. Led by Ruetter’s 35 assists, the Buckeyes attacked consistently throughout the match, putting up at least a .360 attack percentage in each set en route to a .372 rate for the contest.Meanwhile, Rutgers’ offense was held to a .138 hitting percentage on the evening and hit above .100 in just one of three sets, partly thanks to five blocks by Sandbothe.With six games left in Big Ten play, OSU now has a 9-5 conference record, leaving them tied with Purdue for fifth place in the conference standings.The Buckeyes are set to return to their home court on Wednesday, looking to complete a season sweep of No. 18 Illinois. The match is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.
A new practice court at the Schottenstein Center. The new $19 million OSU basketball facilities were unveiled to the media Sept. 3. Credit: Eric Seger / Sports editorThe new men’s locker room at the Schottenstein Center was unveiled to the media Sept. 3. Credit: Eric Seger / Sports editorOhio State men’s basketball coach Thad Matta called the new $19 million basketball facility “something that’s been needed” for his program.The OSU Athletic Department officially opened the new gym at the Schottenstein Center Tuesday, even though it is not fully complete. Construction on the new facility began after the 2011-2012 season and it was built as an extension to the west side of the Schottenstein Center. It was not all that got a facelift, though, as the old practice courts were also replaced, along with the locker rooms. New shot clocks and bleachers were added as well.A lounge area is available for players on both the men’s and women’s squads, complete with a kitchen area and pingpong table. Players and coaches also have access to a team film room, where they have the option of sitting at brand-new desks as they study.Matta said is was “amazing” to see the finished product and thanked OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith and his staff for all that went into the project.“You gotta give Ohio State, Gene (Smith) and his staff and the people that raised the money and the people that designed it tremendous credit because it’s just a magnificent place,” Matta said. “In terms of the locker rooms, to the training room, to the new weight room, this gymnasium is amazing.”Initially, the project was going to cost OSU just $13 million, Smith said. After getting input from the coaches regarding what they wished to see be a part of the new facilities, however, the price tag went up.“It started at $13 (million) and it escalated to $19 (million) once I involved the coaches,” Smith said. “It went up to $19 (million), and it was the right thing to do.”Smith said the improvements would not have been possible had it not been for a series of external donors, many of whom are former players.“We’ve been blessed,” Smith said. “Michael Redd stepped up and he helped us in a great way and we’ve had a lot of different donors that stepped up.”Redd, who played for the Buckeyes as a guard from 1997 to 2000, donated more money than any other donor, giving $500,000 toward the project. Matta said having former players get involved once they leave OSU is something that is a focus for him and his staff.“I think that is something that, from the outset, we wanted to try to build here is bring back our former players and getting them involved,” Matta said. “For those guys monetarily to contribute — Michael (Redd) has the largest gift ever given by an Ohio State athlete to the university at a half a million dollars.”Another player who has shown support for OSU is Ohioan and current Miami Heat star forward LeBron James, who has his own locker at the new facility. OSU has worn James’ “L23” logo since 2007, and was the first school to do so. Matta said James is a good person to associate with the school, but if he was to suit up for the Buckeyes this winter, he would have to put the work in just like everyone else.“I think that he’s going to have to earn his stripes,” Matta joked. “He’s done a lot of things in his time, but I think from a standpoint, we always want to pay our respects to him for what he did for us in ’07 in terms of us being the first LeBron school. Obviously we get tremendous product from him and I know he’s very proud of what he does for us.”Despite the facility being officially open to the players, Smith said additional funding is still needed to finish the overall project, which is expected to be finished prior to the start of the 2013 season.“We have to finish off the graphics in the facility,” Smith said. “We’ll probably send off an RFP (request for proposal) to hire a company to help design what it looks like. Then we’ll fundraise the dollars for that to try and finish that off.”Smith said the new facility “compares very well” to others at top-notch programs across the country, as OSU took some ideas from both Nebraska and Georgia after seeing each respective place.“We went to Nebraska because they were designing a new facility and Georgia because we heard about the circular locker rooms and we wanted to see what that actually looked like,” Smith said. “We looked at places, but didn’t go overboard. I think one of our principles and philosophies is to do what we need to do, make it exciting but not be ostentatious. And I think we’ve done that here.”Agreeing that having such first-rate facilities can help with recruiting, Matta said he wants young people to come to OSU for more than just athletics.“I don’t want a young man to come here because we have a nice practice facility,” Matta said. “I want him to come for the university. I want him to come for hopefully who we are as people.”Women’s basketball coach Kevin McGuff, who is entering his first season at the helm, agreed with Matta but said having separate gyms for both teams gives them the opportunity to practice whenever they want.“For us to have the flexibility to practice whenever we want allows us to help them (student-athletes) really strive to be the best they can be in the classroom also,” McGuff said.Matta said it allows them to not “be as concerned with class schedules.”“From the standpoint of gym availability and that sort of thing, this just gives us a lot more,” Matta said. “It gives us more of the ability to do what we need to do for our players.”Matta said the new practice facility is just another reason he is fortunate to be in the situation he is at OSU.“I consider myself the luckiest person in the world to be here,” Matta said. “It’s my 10th year now, and I’m still blown away at times by what this place stands for and the commitment that they’ve made to us in terms of following through with what they said is very important to me and very important to our players.”