Vivacious Zenobia Baumgarten and her husband Herman (right) accept the prize for winning the Total Eco Pioneer Challenge. (Image: Total South Africa) A cheerful environment is more stimulating for young minds. Baumgarten’s church courses have been well attended. The colourful hand puppets are also used to educate children about issues such as HIV and tuberculosis, on a level to which they can relate.(Images: Zenobia Baumgarten) MEDIA CONTACTS • Lizette Stokes Account director, Jenni Newman PR +27 82 322 5162 or +27 11 506 7354 RELATED ARTICLES • How does Mandela Day inspire you? • Let’s learn and honour Children’s Act • SA artist revitalises Woodstock • A better SA, one baby at a time • Primary schools get a helping handJanine ErasmusZenobia Baumgarten is not only a woman with a zest for life, but she loves to share that zest with others.Baumgarten is the 2012 winner of Total South Africa’s Eco Pioneer competition – and a handy R20 000 (US$2 400) – for her use of natural and recycled materials to decorate her home. In her spare time she plays her part in the community by decoratively painting childcare facilities, no matter how humble they may be, and helping caregivers to more creatively keep their little charges occupied and educated. The Total Eco Pioneer initiative was launched at the end of October 2011 to coincide with the release of the company’s new ultra low sulphur 95 octane unleaded fuel.The campaign was run entirely through social media, and the six finalists were chosen from nominations gathered via Facebook and Twitter. Until voting closed on 31 January, fans were allowed to cast a vote a day for their favourite.Baumgarten fought off competition from a honey and beeswax initiative; a company that makes bricks for fuel from recycled paper; a bag-making venture; an eco-school; and a company that recycles waste into packaging.But in the end her quirky knack for transforming unlikely objects into interesting and useful pieces won the day.“Although we weren’t well off, I still wanted to be one better than the rich ladies,” said Baumgarten, wearing a brooch fashioned from a vintage cookie cutter, at the prizegiving ceremony in May. “We appreciate everything, especially the environment, so much more, and we’ve passed those sentiments on to our children too.”Doing unto othersBaumgarten and her family live in Bothaville, a Free State farming town located near the Vaal River. By her own admission, there’s not much around, no big shopping centres or busy retail districts, so she and her family have had to draw the most out of the resources around them.To make ends meet while raising their children, Baumgarten and her husband Herman used natural and recycled materials as well as their own craftwork to build and decorate their home.Her innovation caught the attention of the popular Tuis magazine and its English counterpart Home, both of which offer hints, tips and advice for the house, kitchen and garden. In April 2011 the magazines featured Baumgarten’s home on their covers and in a feature inside.Not content with beautifying her immediate environment, Baumgarten became driven to do the same for others in her community. She decided to focus on schools, and with her creative streak was keen on using paint to brighten these sometimes cheerless institutions, including the exterior and interior, and even the blackboards.“It probably stems from the fact that I love kids, and I was a nursery school teacher for four years,” she said. “It started with our little farm school, and when I finished it I thought I’d look around for others I could tackle. You don’t need a big sponsor or lots of money to be able to do something good.”Baumgarten soon found herself venturing into the nearby townships, where children are often cared for during the day in shacks that can’t be distinguished in any way from the hundreds that surround them.“The only way you can tell that it’s a nursery school is if there are lots of kids around,” she said. “But although these day mothers have had no formal training, they’re helping the working moms and they’re earning a bit of a wage.”She recalled one particular structure which was too small for all the children, and she told the lady in charge that she would gladly paint it if it was expanded. The next time she visited, the crèche was more than double its former size.“I’m sure that lady asked everyone around her to donate a piece of metal sheeting,” said Baumgarten,”but she managed to make it bigger.” The paint job was done, and the crèche given a new lease on life.Having a cheerful place in which to spend their day, said Baumgarten, gives the children pride and makes them feel like they belong, especially when they’ve had a hand in improving their surroundings.Caring for the caregiversInspired by the success of the décor project and wanting to do more, she began showing caregivers how to make enchanting hand puppets to entertain the children with songs and stories.“Many of these caregivers go out to homes and look after sick parents, as well as the children,” she said. “Now they even use the puppets to educate the children about tuberculosis and HIV, and the children get so wrapped up in the stories that they speak to the puppets as if they were real people – they identify completely with the puppets, and this helps them to understand why their mom and dad are sick.”She then held a few courses at local churches where caregivers could learn more educational techniques, and was thrilled to see men attending the second course.To date, she estimates she’s painted around 50 nursery and primary schools in the area – which is just about all of them. She carries all the costs herself, and asks only for help with the paintwork from the teachers, mothers or children. As if that wasn’t enough, Baumgarten has also secured a t-shirt sponsor which enables her to have t-shirts printed for each nursery school, to give the children more of a sense of unity.Baumgarten jokes that where other men might buy flowers for their wives, especially after a tiff, Herman will buy her paint.“And that works for me.”
Today Central Desktop launched the Spring 2007 Release of its collaboration platform. Of most interest in this release is that Central Desktop is introducing “a turnkey Intranet” for its enterprise subscribers. Key features of the turnkey intranet include easy setup (without coding or “wikifying” it), a company directory and calendar, password protection for documents, Office 2007 document index support, workspace archiving, an auto-save feature while editing documents, and a dynamic interface that displays personalized data for each user.Central Desktop is a web-based groupware product which currently has 30,000+ users worldwide. See our review of the product in February, at which time Central Desktop announced an online spreadsheets feature using EditGrid. At that point I compared the product to 37Signal’s Basecamp – as it had features including collaborative document editing (wikis), Web and audio conferencing, discussion threads and versioned file tracking. But with the latest announcement of a turnkey intranet, it seems that Central Desktop is becoming more like Google Apps.Isaac Garcia, CEO of Central Desktop, says in today’s press release:“Right out of the box, users will have a powerful, fresh Intranet that complements their project-centric workspaces and wikis. Our research showed that most of our customers were already using Central Desktop as a departmental or team Intranet to share bookmarks, files and company announcements, so we decided to make it easier for them.”Is this the Age of Instant Intranets?I’ve used the term “instant intranet” a few times before, to describe Web-based office products. In particular when it was discovered last September that Google had a Personalized Start Page for Enterprise product in the works. It turned out it was a part of Google’s “Apps for your Domain” office package, which then morphed into a more fully-fledged Office Suite called Google Apps – which includes Google Docs & Spreadsheets. While I admit it’s stretching it to call even Google Apps an instant intranet, my main point was (and still is) that it is very easy to set up an office intranet using Google’s web-based office tools – or for that matter Netvibes, Pageflakes and other start pages.Coming back to Central Desktop’s news, they make the point that their product can be used to house “dynamic content such as company announcements, workspace activities, RSS Feeds, popular bookmarks and favorite links [that] “bubble up” from the various workspaces – creating a real-time, “always fresh” company Intranet.”Part of my background is as a Web Manager for enterprises, where I was in charge of building the intranets of my employers. Back then (before the days of RSS, so we’re talking ye olden days here!) the best way to build Intranets was to custom code them. Then a little later it was all about implementing heavy-duty – and very complex – Intranets using a CMS like Vignette or Interwoven TeamSite. But nowadays it seems a whole lot easier – and much more lightweight and painless – to use turnkey browser-based solutions like Central Desktop or Google Apps.PollDo you agree that the age of Instant Intranets has well and truly arrived? Take part in this week’s Read/WriteWeb poll and let us know your thoughts in the comments. Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#enterprise#Polls#web richard macmanus
TagsTransfersLoan MarketAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Watford winger Williams due to leave Wycombe Wanderersby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveWatford winger Randell Williams is set for a fresh loan move.The Mirror says Williams is being lined up for a January switch.The 21-year-old has been on-loan in League One Wycombe Wanderers and has impressed for Gareth Ainsworth’s side.Watford are ready to let Williams leave and Wycombe would like to keep him on a permanent basis – but there is big interest form elsewhere.Brentford, Bristol City and Portsmouth are all believed to have spoken to Watford about a potential deal for the former Crystal Palace wide-man.
About the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your say Tomori hails Willian as leader for Chelsea youngstersby Ansser Sadiq2 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori has praised the leadership of senior players at the club.Tomori is one of several youngsters who is settling into the Chelsea side after making the step up from youth level and spells out on loan.He credits his manager Frank Lampard for aiding that transition.But he also believes senior players like Willian give confidence to all the young players.”For many of us, this is our first season in the Champions League and the whole team has been guiding us through games and training sessions,” Tomori said at a press conference.”It’s been a good start for us, integrating the younger players with the more experienced players, and I think that we’re just going to get stronger.”Someone like Willian, who has played at the highest level not only in club football but internationally as well, is a big help. “Having that sort of experience is vital for the team. He not only talks to us off the pitch but on the pitch he plays by example and shows what we need to do to get to the level he’s been at.”
NFL commissioner Roger GoodellThe NFL Players Association is not accepting commissioner Roger Goodell’s harsh suspensions in the New Orleans Saints bounty program case — or his seemingly all-encompassing power. Indeed, the union is fighting back.The Players Association filed a pair of grievances Thusday challenging Goodell’s authority to suspend four players for their involvement in Saint’s bounty system.In the first, filed with arbitrator Shyam Das, the NFLPA argues that Goodell is prohibited from punishing players for any conduct prior to August 4, when the current collective bargaining agreement took effect.“In connection with entering into the 2011 CBA, the NFL released all players from conduct engaged in prior to the execution of the CBA, on August 4, 2011,” the grievance says.The section of the CBA cited by the union is a covenant not to sue — an agreement in which the NFL and its teams pledged not to file lawsuits against the union and its members “with respect to conduct occurring prior to the execution of this Agreement.”But the league said that section of the CBA was not intended as an agreement to excuse player conduct that put player safety at risk, or conduct detrimental to the NFL.The NFLPA further argues that even if that argument fails, the appeal of the player suspensions should be heard by Ted Cottrell and Art Shell, the hearing officers for on-field conduct violations, rather than by Goodell as an off-field conduct issue.In the second grievance, the NFLPA argues that arbitrator Stephen Burbank, who serves as the “system arbitrator” for the league and its players’ union, has the authority to rule on the players’ conduct, rather than Goodell.According to the NFLPA grievance, the bounties, as non-disclosed payments to players, are a collective bargaining issue under the jurisdiction of the arbitrator and not Goodell.
Clemson 12-015757%77% ▲ 2114% Ohio State 11-16230%16% ▼ 6a4% Iowa 12-04122638%40% ▲ 213% Oklahoma 11-1331100%99% ▲ 2142% North Carolina 11-11091543%14% ▲ 212% Stanford 10-2761148%13% ▲ 212% College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings as of Dec. 1. Playoff probability changes are since Nov. 29; only changes greater than 5 percentage points are shown. The top five teams were unchanged in Tuesday evening’s College Football Playoff committee rankings. Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma, Iowa and Michigan State remain entrenched in the No. 1 to No. 5 spots, and all control their own destiny. So no news there. But shifts in the rankings of Stanford, Ohio State and North Carolina sent important signals as to how the committee thinks.First, though, the four major conference championship games must be played Saturday. And FiveThirtyEight is here to provide some probabilistic guidance, if not omniscient assurance, as to how the playoff picture will be affected come Saturday night. Here are our projections of which teams the committee will include in the playoff with its final rankings on Sunday: TeamCFPEloFPIConf. TitlePlayoffNat. Title RankingProbability of … The playoff picture is quite simple if Alabama and Clemson win the SEC and ACC titles, respectively. Both are locks for the playoff if that happens. So is the winner of the Big Ten championship game between Michigan State and Iowa; that game amounts to a quarterfinal. Oklahoma, which won the Big 12 championship and is done with its regular season, is a shoo-in, by our model’s estimation.But should either Alabama or Clemson (or both) lose on Saturday, it’s anyone’s guess who gets in.Ohio State, which moved up to No. 6 in the latest rankings, saw its playoff odds decline to 16 percent from 22 percent. (Our model has consistently liked the Buckeyes better than the committee has, in part because of their high Elo rating, so they’ve tended to fall slightly when new committee rankings are released.) Still, Ohio State remained ahead of Stanford in the committee standings.In theory, that would make Ohio State next in line in the event of a Clemson or Alabama loss.1Ohio State is ranked sixth, but either Iowa or Michigan State will lose next weekend, which would presumably move the Buckeyes up to No. 5. Thus, by this simplistic math, they’d be in the top four if Clemson or Alabama also lost. The problem is that other schools have more of an opportunity to impress the committee this weekend. Although our model gives Stanford a 13 percent shot at the playoff — slightly lower than Ohio State’s — that’s because the Cardinal face a tough opponent in USC for the Pac-12 championship. Stanford is more likely than Ohio State to make it in if it wins that game, however; another quality win plus a newly minted conference title would probably be enough for it to leapfrog the Buckeyes, according to the model.A trickier case is North Carolina, which is hanging around with a 14 percent shot. Even if the Tar Heels beat Clemson, they’re not assured of much; our model gives them only about a one-in-three shot at the playoff if they win the ACC title. UNC, ranked No. 8 in the AP poll, didn’t receive any favors from the committee, which slotted it in at No. 10 because of concerns over its weak schedule. The committee will have an opportunity to reconsider if the Tar Heels win, but the team may need to beat Clemson convincingly to up its odds.Finally, don’t write off Clemson — which could have an opportunity to make it in even with a loss. In the event that it falls to UNC, Clemson would have a résumé similar to Ohio State’s as a one-loss non-champion — but with a stronger schedule, an additional win (Clemson would be 12-1 to Ohio State’s 11-1), and victories over Notre Dame and Florida State.For those of you who want more nitty-gritty details about our projections, check out our original methodology manifesto, as well as last month’s methodology update. Florida 10-218222326%<1% ▲ 21<1% Alabama 11-121274%79% ▲ 2125% Michigan St. 11-1541462%61% ▲ 217%
In 2006, the NBA implemented an age limit of 19, ending the era of high school basketball players going directly to the pros. While this rule has treated the fans of college basketball to the likes of Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, Derrick Rose and John Wall, the truth is that the rule hurts the growth and quality of college basketball. This is why I propose the NBA change its age-limit rule and follow the lead of the NFL and MLB by mandating that if a player chooses to attend college, he must stay three years. However, if a player wants to enter the NBA straight out of high school, he should be allowed to have that choice.The aforementioned names had no business playing college basketball. Instead, they should have been in the league in which basketball is a business — the NBA. The fact is that it was in the best interest of these superstars to get to the NBA as fast as possible, not only because they had NBA-ready skill sets but because they would have been high draft picks.Chances are that Kevin Durant did not vastly improve his jump shot during his brief stint at Texas and I doubt John Wall will learn the art of the pick and roll in what will likely be his only year at Kentucky.In fact, many players who spend just one year in college end up being more trouble than they are worth.Early last month, USC announced it would penalize itself by forfeiting victories and money, forgoing postseason play and limiting recruiting in response to allegations that former player and current NBA star O.J. Mayo received improper cash and gifts during his only year as a Trojan.Last August, the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions declared that the University of Memphis must vacate its ‘07-‘08 NCAA runner-up finish and 38 wins because Rose was ineligible, thanks to an invalid SAT score.Apart from attracting serious NCAA infractions, the so-called “one-and-dones” have put college basketball programs in quite a bind. Ohio State is no exception.The last three seasons, Ohio State has lost three big men to the pros, each of whom spent only one year in college. The defections of Oden, Kosta Koufos and B.J. Mullens have left a major void in the post for the Buckeyes this season. Adding insult to injury were the departures of freshmen guards Mike Conley and Daequan Cook after Ohio State’s run to the National Championship Game in 2007.While it is true that coaches make the decisions on whom they recruit, the fact is that with my rule coaches would not have to choose between a potential “one and done” or a four-year player. Coaches could convince their high-profile recruit with potential “baggage” to come to campus, thereby securing the player for three years. Or, they could recruit a guy like Evan Turner, and watch the player potentially blossom from role player to National Player of the Year candidate.Not only does my rule improve college basketball on the court, but off the court as well. Forcing players to stay for three years would almost certainly increase graduation rates since most college basketball players take classes year-round, allowing them the opportunity to graduate in three years instead of four.Last March, for the first time in as long as I can remember, the consensus amongst my friends and I was that the quality of the NCAA Tournament paled in comparison to the NBA playoffs. By putting my rule into action, college basketball can improve as a whole and fans of both the NCAA and NBA can enjoy a better brand of basketball.
The Ohio State women’s volleyball team advanced to the regional semifinals of the 2010 NCAA Tournament on Saturday. The Buckeyes opened tournament play with a 3-1 win over Lipscomb (24-7) on Friday in the Frericks Center at the University of Dayton. Senior outside hitter Katie Dull led the Buckeyes in scoring with 16 points, including 12 kills against Lipscomb, while sophomore outside hitter Emily Danks added 15.5 points with 13 kills. The Buckeyes returned to action in the Fredericks Center on Saturday and earned a victory over 13th-ranked Dayton (24-8), winning 3-2 and snapping the Flyers’ 23-match winning streak. Dull led the Buckeyes with 26.5 points and tied a career-high with 25 kills in the upset. Senior outside hitter Anna Szerszen and junior middle blocker Kelli Barhorst each added 17 points for the Buckeyes with Barhorst recording a career-high 16 kills. With the wins, the Buckeyes (24-11) advance to the Dayton regional semifinals in the University of Dayton Arena on Friday against second-ranked and third-seeded Stanford (26-3). This marks the 12th regional semifinal appearance in OSU history. The Buckeyes have a record of 3-8 in regional semifinal matches.
With two games remaining in Ohio State football’s 2012 campaign, Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller is considered one of the top candidates for the Heisman Trophy, college football’s highest individual honor. Miller joined the media on a Monday evening teleconference to talk about his Heisman chances and the improvements he’s made this season. Miller on personal improvement With a trip to Wisconsin on Nov. 17 and the home finale against Michigan remaining on OSU’s schedule, Miller’s sophomore season is already statistically better than his freshman campaign. With 1,166 yards and 13 touchdowns, Miller is just the third different Big Ten quarterback to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a single season. Miller said, however, that his greatest improvement can’t be found in a box score. “(I think it’s my) leadership,” Miller said. “Coming from last year, I didn’t really know how to take that role. But this year I’m building on it and getting better at it each and every week.” Troy Smith on Miller During a sideline interview with an ESPN reporter during last weekend’s Illinois game, Smith, who won the Heisman in 2006, said that Miller had potential to be the best quarterback in program history. On Monday, Miller said he was flattered by Smith’s praise. “Before I came here, I was watching (Smith) play all the time,” Miller said. “He was an all-around quarterback, he was a complete quarterback. Coming from him, it means a lot.” Miller has accounted for 27 touchdowns this season, four shy of the school record shared by Smith. He is also on pace to set a new OSU record for total offense per game. The sophomore quarterback modestly said that he tries to avoid paying attention to his numbers individual accolades. “I really don’t pay attention to that,” Miller said. “I try not to talk about it, I don’t really like talking about myself.” Kickoff for OSU’s Nov. 17 game against Wisconsin is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.