Champlain Valley Fair has ‘Awesome’ year

first_imgESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. – The 84th annual Champlain Valley Fair lived up to its theme of ‘Awesome’ with 290,128 people — down from 2004 — coming through the gates from Aug. 27 to Sept. 5. The slight dip in attendance from last years 299,168, may be due to the dramatic effects of Hurricane Katrina and resulting increase in gas prices, fair officials said this week.Still, visitors from 45 states and as far away as New Zealand, California and Hawaii attended the 10-day fair, concert series and agricultural competitions.There were plenty of smiles to go around, especially for fair food venders who saw their sales rise by about 3 percent, making it the best year ever at the Fair for purveyors of fried dough, corn on the cob and cotton candy. This was an awesome fair overall, said David F. Grimm, general manager of the Exposition. We had excellent weather almost every day; one of the strongest fair concert line-ups anywhere in the Northeast; an array of fresh attractions and great new modern facilities that were enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people over the course of the Fair.Some of the nicest comments were heard over and over from our visitors was about how clean and family-friendly the Fair was again this year. And thats all because of a great staff, dedicated department superintendents, their hard-working crews and the volunteers who come to help because they love the Fair. Everyone gives 100 percent and more for 10 days so that our fairgoers have the best experience possible, he added. While there was only one rainy day in the middle of the Fair as the remnants of Hurricane Katrina passed through New England, its effects were felt through the busy Labor Day weekend by fairgoers traveling longer distances to attend the event, Grimm noted. That may be why our overall attendance numbers are down a bit, he said.To aid in the disaster relief effort, fair officials invited the local American Red Cross to bring its bloodmobile to the fair and collect donations for hurricane victims at its gates and before and after the sold-out Tim McGraw concert Sunday. More than $20,000 was collected from fairgoers, according to the Red Cross. Radio station WOKO 98.9 helped get the word out and several performers and fair vendors contributed a portion of their proceeds to the relief effort.Sparking many of the changes this year was a new partnership with Progressive Insurance as the Fairs presenting sponsor. With Progressives support there were daily prize giveaways and a grand prize of $1,500 in home improvement prizes; additional picnic tables, plastic shopping bags, an art show and new signage at the Fair this year. Our relationship with Progressive as a presenting sponsor is unique in the fair industry and we are looking forward to having them back again next year for our 85th anniversary celebration, Grimm noted. The Fairs Grandstand series of concerts – topped by country headliner Tim McGraw – received rave reviews for their showmanship and entertainment value. Shows by country star Alan Jackson and comedian Larry the Cable Guy were nearly sold out. Other Budweiser True Music concerts included The Allman Brothers Band with .38 Special (featuring a surprise guest, Trey Anastasio of Phish); American Idols star Clay Aiken; and disco-era favorites K.C. and the Sunshine Band and Village People. Motor sports fans enjoyed Land Airs Extreme Freestyle Motorcycle Show; JM Productions Figure 8 racing and the Windshield Doctors Demolition Derby; and Add-ons NTPA Grand National Tractor and Truck Pull on Labor Day.The Reithoffer Show midway and carnival featured 40 rides and attractions and the one-of-a-kind Speed – a 135-foot-tall ride that spins and twirls riders at 60 mph. It is the only ride of its kind currently operating in the United States, according to Pat Reithoffer. Overall numbers were down by 3.5% on the midway, Grimm said, again reflecting the lower attendance numbers.Free daily entertainment at the Fair drew daily crowds for a high dive show, daily appearances by Spider-Man, a science show, free video game arcade, a juggler, mime, hypnotist, caricature artist, racing pigs, petting zoo, Elvis impersonator, musicians and an authentic cowboy chuck wagon. Many entertainers and animals were featured in the daily parade through the grounds. New this year was the Burlington Free Press Awesome Zone in the State Building which along with daily shows for children and a YMCA Fitness Challenge, featured the Big Heavy World Concert Series – a nightly showcase for local high school and college bands. Approximately $75,000 in competition premiums and prize money was awarded during the fair. Significant increases in entries to the art and photography department were seen this year; including a special art show presented by Progressive Insurance from its corporate art collection in Cincinnati, Ohio. Home crafts reported a record-number of quilts and other crafts sold during the fair.This years heavyweight pumpkin, grown by Kevin Companion of Huntington, weighed in at 960.5 pounds and was displayed in the new Expo North Greenhouse, along with fruits, vegetables, flowers, bonsai and Christmas trees. Expo North also featured the 53-ton giant sand sculpture featuring Harry Potter characters, displayed indoors for the first time at the fair. More than 100 people, including Vt. Gov. James Douglas, were on hand to honor the 2005 inductees into the Vermont Agricultural Hall of Fame at the Champlain Valley Exposition in a ceremony held during the Fair. This years inductees were: U.S. Sen. James M. Jeffords; dairy farmer Harold J. Howrigan, Sr. of Fairfield; Morgan Horse steward Dr. Donald Balch; and a posthumous award to former Vt. State Rep.Stephanie Bourdeau. Vermont Dairy of Distinction awards were presented midweek to numerous Vermont farms and a reception was held for Vermont Legislators and past directors of the Exposition. More than 1,300 animals were on display or competing for top honors in their class at the Fair. Contests ranged from horse and oxen pulling competitions, the Gymkhana invitational horse show with a top prize of $1,000, 4-H horse and cattle shows, and the sheep to shawl competition in the Sheep tent. The Read and Win summer reading program, sponsored by the International Association of Fairs and Expositions and Champlain Valley Exposition, saw approximately 1,000 children complete the assignment of reading at least three books over the summer to earn free admission to the Fair. Several hundred students in grades K-5 and their families from five northern Vermont counties attended a special reception on Aug. 29 and received free books and ride tickets. Later in the week, more than 600 students, teachers and parents from Vermont schools visited the Fair as part of the annual educational field trip day to visit the agricultural and animal exhibits. Students from the University of Vermonts Agriculture and Animal Science programs also toured the fair as part of their studies.Significant improvements to the fairgrounds and facilities over the summer included the addition of Expo North to the Robert E. Miller Expo Centre; relocation of the cashiers office building, repaving of several roads, improved lighting in the agriculture area, and updates and renovation of numerous food vendor buildings. We are a not-for-profit organization. It would be impossible to make these kinds of improvements and put on a quality fair of this size without the strong backing from local and national businesses. We had more than 50 fair sponsors, in addition to Progressive, this year and we cant thank them enough for their continued support, Grimm said.Plans are already underway for the 2006 Champlain Valley Fair, Aug. 26- Sept. 4, that will mark the events 85th anniversary. Photos from this years fair, results from many of the blue-ribbon competitions and more information about other upcoming events this fall at the Champlain Valley Exposition at is external). For additional information, call (802) 878-5545.last_img read more

Minnesota cattle no longer listed as TB-free

first_img Cattle from the five herds found to be infected have been culled, BAH said. The USDA has paid for the killing of almost 4,000 cattle from those five herds; federal money also has been used to pay for removal of 180 exposed cattle. Mycobacterium bovis causes bovine TB, which is a respiratory disease of cattle, according to the BAH. It is a chronic, slowly progressive disease but does not spread easily. Infected cattle may transmit an infection to other animals, even when they appear asymptomatic. Bovine TB can affect all warm-blooded vertebrates, according to APHIS. State and federal officials are also testing wild deer, according to a story in the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald. A deer shot by a hunter last fall near the site of the first infected herd was found to have TB. State officials haven’t determined if that case is a harbinger of a larger outbreak among deer, the paper said. Pasteurization of milk and improved inspection and hygiene virtually eliminated human illness cases linked with bovine TB. However, a series of 35 human cases in New York City prompted the federal government last year to warn against eating soft cheeses made from raw milk. With the change come more restrictions on cattle sales across state lines, BAH said in a news release Jan 30. USDA requires all sexually intact cattle to be tested for bovine TB within two months of shipment. Certain cattle are exempt from testing, including those crossing state boundaries directly to slaughter, those going to an approved feedlot, and those from a TB-accredited herd. State rules for shipping cattle vary, so producers must contact destination states for details. Minnesota had been deemed free of bovine TB from 1976 until the discovery of the disease in a cow from a Roseau, Minn., herd in February 2005 prompted an investigation, according to the BAH. Since then the state has quarantined 65 herds for bovine TB. Tests on 39 of the herds showed no sign of infection, prompting their removal from quarantine. Twenty-six herds remain under quarantine today. “This is not a food issue,” said Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson, as quoted in a Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper story yesterday. “This is really an economics issue for cow producers.” “The state can apply for TB-free status 2 years after the last infected herd is depopulated, so it’s vital that we expedite depopulation of any infected herds,” said Bill Hartmann, state veterinarian and executive director of the BAH. APHIS information about bovine tuberculosis The Minnesota BAH, in conjunction with APHIS, is offering free bovine TB testing to farms within 15 miles of an infected herd. However, the recent downgrade in status affects all Minnesota farmers, which means many will have to pay for testing on their own. Besides Minnesota, states currently classified as other than free of bovine TB are Michigan, New Mexico, and Texas, according to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The Minnesota Board of Animal Health (BAH) announced on Dec 8 that the USDA would drop the state’s TB status a notch, from TB-free to “Modified Accredited Advanced.” The reduction in status took effect Jan 30. Minnesota cattle producers who plan to ship cattle to other states must follow both federal and state testing rules. With few exceptions, farmers must pay for the testing. See also Feb 1, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Minnesota cattlemen are facing an economic blow from a once-banished nemesis: bovine tuberculosis. Mar 17, 2005, CIDRAP News story “Raw-milk cheese implicated in 35 TB cases”last_img read more

O’Neill likely to experiment with team tonight

first_imgThe Derby and Ireland playmaker will sign subject to passing his medical.Hendrick has also been linked to Hull in recent days. Ireland start their World Cup qualification campaign next Monday in Belgrade against Serbia.Kick off this evening is at 7.45Meanwhile, Jeff Hendrick could become a Burnley player today.last_img

KWAKU YEBOAH: Afriyie Acquah’s ‘Jezebel’ Amanda lesson to wasteful Ghanaian ‘ballers

first_img‘Ateyie ma awerεfire’. This popular Akan adage literally translates as “good conditions elicit forgetfulness”. That is the only basis for which a Ghanaian footballer who starts life on a dusty community pitch faced with all the challenges of life in this abandoned continent of ours, would spend his hard earned dollars lavishly on women as if he were the first son of computer magnate, Bill Gates.Great Ghanaian football talents namely Arthur Moses, Bashiru Gambo, Emmanuel Duah, Michael Essien, Odartey Lamptey (pictured below with ex-wife) and so on have once upon a time been victims of dangerous money-chewing Safari women who go after the wallets of innocent footballers.Like boa constrictors in the jungle, these clingy women will start out silently and misleading. At first, it begins with showing her best side. She’ll get close, flirt and be a wildcat in the sack. They are all around our dollar-making Black Stars players so much so that they almost suffocate them with their coils.  Not even advice from King Solomon would urge these players to sit up until they are hit hard by the realities of life. Unfortunately such lessons are learnt the hard way – by which time all the dollars might have vamoosed.  A fool and his money are soon parted. The average Ghanaian foreign-based player would spend profligately on fleets of cars, women, and friends forgetting that there is tomorrow. How could Afriyie Acquah, allegedly nicknamed ‘monkey’ by his own wife as heard on the viral tape, have put himself in such a mess? From humble beginnings of playing for the Glentoran Academy in the Brong Ahafo Region, Afriyie temporarily moved to BA United but had to leave camp without notice after having some problems with the team’s officials. Fortunately for him, Oliver Arthur’s Bechem United were lurking in the corner. Little did Acquah know that God was going to open an opportune door for him during a Bechem United tour in Italy. Palermo took him on, and the rest of the story is public knowledge.Having got the opportunity to play for the Black Stars under coach Kwesi Appiah, mother luck smiled on him when he scored on his debut for the team in Malawi.Despite putting up a solid performance, he was dropped from the Black Stars squad at South Africa 2013. But by dint of hard work and support from the local media, Acquah finally broke into Avram Grant’s starting XI.The football public was therefore taken aback when news broke that in spite of all these bitter experiences that life had offered Afriyie, he could only find a wife in a certain Amanda, a divorcée. How could it be that a young  man starting life would marry a divorcée? Those who attended the grand wedding between Acquah and Amanda had to console themselves with the fact that love is blind. Sometimes, whether a woman is crazy, clingy, reckless, or just can’t stop having sex with other people, you won’t care because she’s hot.After all, dating is like a safari – but on a safari you have qualified guards who know the lay of the land and the predators. In the dating world, however, your only guide is the man downstairs, and he might lead you in the wrong direction.But even those of us with no gift of clairvoyance foresaw that the marriage was not going to work! Barely six months after, a sex tape from Amanda went viral. The sort of venom she spewed against her ex-husband, the business mogul Kenpong, were indescribable. A year into the marriage, the same Amanda – who was praising her current husband – in the first leaked sex tape, is now claiming the Black Stars midfielder is impotent. Among other things, she says on the leaked tape:  “Jordan [Ayew] slept with me for four years not four days. If he was going to tell my husband, he would have done it by now. Since I met monkey [referring to Acquah], I have never cheated.”“[Jordan] was begging me to come back. He even asked me what I saw in this village boy [Acquah] that made me leave him [Jordan].”“Afriyie even asked if Jordan loves me. [Jordan] never wanted to speak to me when he saw me in Ghana with Afriyie. But, we [Amanda and Jordan] were childhood friends.””Afriyie is very jealous, I swear. Whenever Afriyie sets his eyes on us [Amanda and Jordan] having a chat or hanging out, he quickly gets furious and stops talking to me until I apologise,” Mrs. Acquah said. “Afriyie used to complain about his ailing relationship with Jordan Ayew. Afriyie once recounted that they travelled to Amsterdam and only Dede spoke to him but Jordan didn’t. He asked for Jordan’s contact but [Jordan] refused,” she added.Amanda is indeed the chimera – a mixture of dangerous women all rolled up into one. Probably, her beauty made Afriyie disregard common sense and good advice sounded like a siren’s call.The bigger picture is that she has set Jordan Ayew and her husband on a collision course and this might have far-reaching consequence for the Black Stars team as a whole.They say pieces of advice don’t change man, but calamities do.  This is a big lesson to the current crop of Black Stars players namely: Asamoah Gyan, Andre Ayew, Kwadwo Asamoah, David Accam and the likes. That is, if what happened to Arthur Moses, Odartey Lamptey and the other senior colleagues in their encounters with women could not serve as deterrent.It’s about time some of you invested properly and stopped the idiocy.–Dan Kwaku Yeboah is sports editor at Accra-based Peace FM and editor-in-chief of Ghana Sports Online.last_img read more