Alec Michael RyanKlein Oak High School (Houston, TX)Ryan may or may not have stolen his voice from a 38-year-old baritone. Has anyone checked in on Steven Pasquale lately? Ryan showed off his comic timing in a medley, by responding to Javert’s (um, spoiler alert) suicide with some wise words from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: “It’s important to be artful in your exit.” He gave us charm and smarm as Laurence, but it wasn’t until his finalist solo, “Who I’d Be” from Shrek, that he was fully able to let out his developed vocals. Taking on the paternal role of Dan in Next to Normal, as shown above, doesn’t even seem like a stretch. View Comments Marla LouissaintThe Beacon School (New York, NY)Before the show started, we combed through the list of contenders and their respective roles. One in particular stood out: Caroline of Caroline, Or Change. The part is, as Louissaint said in her acceptance speech, is “a beast.” But the recent high school grad took hold of the heavy material, and when she sang the lyrics “39 and still a maid” with high schoolers playing Mary Poppins on each side, no one thought twice. For her solo, she again demonstrated her grasp on complex characters with The Color Purple’s “I’m Here.” And there she was, head up, shoulder back, looking us straight in the eye and singing out. Drayton Maclean MayersGermantown High School (Memphis, TN)Mayers had the unusual challenge of performing in a medley with two other actors there for the same role: Edward Bloom in Big Fish. Like Quick, he had competed last year (in a dress, mind you, as Hairspray’s Edna). But this time around, he was the hero of his story in a memorable performance. He brought things down a notc with “Beautiful City” from Godspell in the second act, proving that whether given an upbeat or a ballad, he has no trouble captivating audiences with his sincerity. So it was no surprise when he was awarded the special Spirit of the Jimmy Awards trophy. Anthony SkillmanOrange Lutheran High School (Mission Viejo, CA)In the first act, he hopped around the stage as Tarzan. Then, as a finalist, he stood tall as Parade’s Frankie with a fiery delivery of “It Don’t Make Sense.” In both, he gave us a story with very little context to rely on. Two very different performances from one exceptionally talented young actor. Here he is performing a medley of Pippin’s “Corner of the Sky,” “Fly Me to the Moon” and Spring Awakening’s “Left Behind.” Lots of belting; lots of falsetto. Skillman showed true diversity between playing a jungle denizen or a Civil War-era avenging teen. Marnie QuickPittsburgh Barack Obama Academy (Pittsburgh, PA)Quick is no stranger to the Jimmy Awards, having competed last year as a sophomore for her Gene Kelly Award-winning performance as the Tinman in The Wiz. You read that correctly; check it out above. She returned this year for her performance in SHOUT! The Mod Musical, and in the first act, she served up a fun, sassy take on the ‘60s tune “Wishin’ and Hopin’.” It earned her a spot in the finals, in which she took a sharp left turn with the emotional “With You” from Ghost. We have no idea what she’ll do next, but whatever it is, we’re confident she’ll nail it. Morgan HigginsSt. Margaret’s Episcopal School (Mission Viejo, CA)Higgins earned her spot as a finalist for her performance as Eponine, but that clearly wasn’t the start of her Les Miserables journey. Take a look at her “I Dreamed a Dream.” Sure, it’s nearly three years old, but even then she sported a gorgeous mix. Now, after wowing audiences nationwide on Rising Star, she’s returned to musical theater. Only this time, she’s on the Broadway stage. For her solo, Higgins belted up a storm as a particularly spunky Grace, singing the Pirate Queen anthem “Woman.” Oh, and did we mention her belt? Our favorite day of the year (well, besides the Tony Awards) was worth the wait: The seventh annual National High School Musical Theatre Awards, also known as the Jimmy Awards, took place on June 29 at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre. 52 talented students from around the country took the stage to showcase the roles that had already won them local awards. If their extreme passion for musical theater doesn’t warm your heart, the ample belting will. Take a look below at six powerhouse performers who wowed us at the ceremony: winners Marla Louissaint and Anthony Skillman, plus the four runners-up. Look out for these names on future Broadway marquees!
Share Submit Share StumbleUpon Ohad Narkis, PlayOJOCan an operator’s ability to remain as open and transparent as possible become a unique identifier within the online casino industry?Ohad Narkis, Co-Founder of Maple Marketing, has bet big on ‘player responsibility’ with the launch of new online casino PlayOJO. Will his gamble pay off?Launching a new online gambling property will always test the hardest of stomachs, as leadership is faced with a gruelling terrain in which to conduct business, especially with raising costs, greater competition and increasingly stringent regulatory policies.Adding further worry, operators have seen compliance failures make national media headlines in 2017. For example, 888, one of Britain’s biggest online gambling firms, was ordered to pay a record penalty package of over £7.8m for what the Gambling Commission described as ‘serious failings’ in its handling of vulnerable customers.Nevertheless, Narkis believes that social responsibility can be used as a commercial driver for online casino PlayOJO, launched in March 2017. He is straight to the point about PlayOJO’s take on the UK market, stating that his firm will take a ‘no nonsense approach to its brand, voice, and proposition’.“We were made for the player, and believe in being as open and transparent with them as possible,” said Narkis. “That means no shifty small-print, no lengthy T&Cs, and no ridiculous wagering requirements attached to bonuses and prizes. We just offer real money and real play. It’s as simple as that.”Narkis admitted that 2017 has been a consequential year for social responsibility, and one in which high profile incidents have tainted the online casino industry’s reputation.“Online casino should be all about maximising the fun factor, but players also want to know that the money they win or are awarded in bonuses and prizes is their money,” he said. “However, because this is often not the case, the online casino industry has a bad reputation when it comes to fair play.“This has not been helped by the Commission’s decision to slap 888 with a £7.8m fine for dropping the ball when it comes to responsible gambling measures. It is another reason why we have taken the approach we have; we want our players to be healthy and happy.”Not satisfied with marketing and messaging transparency, Narkis and Maple Marketing have invested deep resources into developing the most ‘fair play’ online casino destination.He explained: “Our system, OJOplus, pays players money back on every bet, win or lose. And when we say money, we mean money, paid immediately, directly into their accounts, with no restrictions.“Of course, this is not a ground-breaking idea. We are simply replicating what happens in land-based casinos; players simply take their chips or winnings receipt to the cage and collect their cash. They are not required to wager it 20x before leaving the casino.”Looking forward to new challenges faced by PlayOJO, Narkis states that a key corporate goal will be to win the ‘trust lost’ between gambling consumers and bigger online casinos.“Players are not naïve, and are becoming increasingly frustrated with online casino sites that do not put them first,” he concluded. “They want greater control over their play, the limits they want to impose on it – as well as the marketing collateral they receive – and the bonuses and prizes they are awarded. Operators need to take this on board and make changes.”With Narkis’ no nonsense approach, PlayOJO may well be the brand to follow in 2018.
1 Chelsea goalkeeper Marco Amelia Chelsea goalkeeper Marco Amelia has revealed he is in talks with the club about extending his stay at Stamford Bridge.The veteran Italian joined Chelsea in October on a short-term deal to provide cover for the injured Thibaut Courtois.Despite not making an appearance for the first team, Amelia became a popular member of the Chelsea dressing room and has apparently settled to life in London.Incoming Chelsea boss Antonio Conte wants the 34-year-old to stay and work with the club’s academy goalkeepers and the pair are set to hold talks when he takes over in July.“I am talking with the club to continue here,” Amelia told Radio Deejay. “I am happy with the experience in [England].”
What researchers learnedA DOE presentation of the findings and the Builder Online report made these points:Windows were consistently better than required by code. No state had more than three observations where windows didn’t meet code requirements.Compliance with lighting efficiency requirements was inconsistent. The 2009 IECC requires 50% high-efficacy lighting, which includes fluorescent and LED fixtures. Observers found some homes had all high-efficacy lighting, and about the same number having none; the rest fell somewhere in the middle.The amount of wall insulation was almost always exactly compliant with code, R-13 to R-20, depending on the Climate Zone.New houses met or exceeded the requirements for airtightness in all states, with a “high percentage” of observations ranging between 4 and 6 air changes per hour at 50 pascals (the 2009 IECC standard is 7 ach50.)No area was consistently worse than code.The Builder Online report was written by Ryan Meres, whose organization, the Institute for Market Transformation, collected information in Alabama.He wrote: “Overall, the initial data and analysis coming out of DOE’s Residential Energy Code Field Study demonstrate the success of energy codes as an effective policy tool for driving energy efficiency in the single-family residential housing market. It also demonstrates the diligence of builders and local building officials in ensuring compliance with the energy codes adopted in their states.”The findings suggest that builders should be paying particular attention to the type of lighting they install, and to requirements for duct and building envelope tightness, which get tougher with new versions of the code, Meres said. Preliminary results of a four-year Department of Energy (DOE) field study show that new single-family homes are, on average, meeting or exceeding the requirements set by local energy codes.The findings cover six of eight states that are included in the Residential Energy Code Field Study. The study will span four years, beginning with a baseline field study in the first year, followed by training in years two and three, and a follow-up field study in the final year.Preliminary findings released by DOE last month suggest that while previous studies showed low compliance with energy codes, this time around most new homes are doing better than expected on a number of fronts, according to a summary of the findings posted by Builder Online.Over the past 12 months, data collectors visited new, unoccupied houses in eight states: Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. They gathered information on lighting efficiency, window U-factors, window solar heat gain coefficients, envelope airtightness, duct leakage, and insulation levels in framed walls and foundations.The baseline code in most of the states was the 2009 version of the International Energy Conservation Code. (Only Maryland has adopted the 2015 version of the IECC, and North Carolina uses a state code.) The number of houses that researchers visited ranged from a low of 133 in Texas to a high of 249 in North Carolina.
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Jim Kelly NFL DraftJim Kelly, former Miami Hurricane and Buffalo Bill great, has just stolen the show at the NFL Draft – and for good reason. Friday night, Kelly, who has battled squamous cell carcinoma (a form of jaw cancer) the past few years, made his way to stage to announce the 50th overall pick in place of commissioner Roger Goodell. Before he announced Buffalo’s selection of Ronald Darby, he received a standing ovation and was serenaded with chants of his last name. It was incredibly heartwarming.If the above clip doesn’t work, click here to view it on YouTube.It’s great to see Kelly back on his feet, cancer-free. Let’s hope it stays that way.
zoom Leasing companies are tightening their stranglehold over container equipment ownership as ocean carriers cut back on new purchasing and sell older inventory for leaseback, shipping consultancy Drewry said.But the lessors’ rapid expansion has come at a price as the combination of low borrowing costs and competitive pressures has had an adverse impact on lease rates and accompanying investment returns.Lease rates slumped to a new low in 2015 and although the improved market climate since has prompted some recovery, they remain well below the long-term average. The pressure on hire rates is not just confined to the dry sector, as reefer and tank leasing rates have suffered in a similar way.“Dry freight per diems are expected to remain under pressure as the top leasing firms vie for market share, while the underlying initial cash investment return (ICIR) is expected to remain flat. Similarly, we anticipate reefer rate levels to hold close to their recent level,” Andrew Foxcroft, Drewry’s lead analyst for container equipment, said.As shipping lines cut back, the lease sector ended up taking 54% of deliveries in 2016, expanding its fleet by 7%. The lines’ weaker commitment could be attributed to renewed fiscal problems, which resulted in several high-profile merges being concluded and the bankruptcy of Hanjin, which has further undermined the confidence of the box shipping sector.“Most shipping lines are again favouring lease instead of direct investment, as it has been the case since the recession of 2009,” Foxcroft added.“Sale and leaseback is expected to remain a popular option for lessors and lines alike, while leasing firms will also account for at least half of all new container investment through 2017-19. As a consequence, the leasing industry is forecast to maintain its stronger rate of fleet expansion through 2017-19 while transport operators will largely stand still.”Meanwhile, annual container production fell by 25% in 2016 to reach its lowest level since 2002, excepting the recession blighted year of 2009. Although some increase in production is predicted for 2017, the total is unlikely to match previous years, Drewry said. The trend towards more high-cubes and a bigger share owned by the lease sector looks unstoppable for the rest of the decade.
Rabat- The house of representatives (lower house) adopted, on Wednesday in a plenary session, the second reading of the 2014 appropriation draft bill. The draft bill was adopted by a majority of 186 votes, versus 59 votes against it.The House of Advisors rejected, last Thursday in plenary session, the draft bill by a majority vote (87 votes for, 33 against), which required to submit it to the House of Representatives for a second reading. The Minister of Economy and Finance Mohamed Boussaid, said in a statement to MAP, at the end of the vote, that it was necessary to take into account the particular political, economic and financial juncture during which the bill was elaborated, adding that new and important amendments were introduced during the debates in both Houses of Parliament, which will likely contribute to preserving financial stability, promoting the opening of new horizons for the national economy and strengthening institutions.These amendments, which he described as “very important”, tend to strengthen enterprises and increase the resources of the Social Cohesion Fund. The main amendment that sparked heated debates concerns amnesty on assets and property held illegally abroad, the minister said. The opposition groups deemed that the 2014 appropriation draft bill does not respond, despite the amendments, to the social and economic demands dictated by the current juncture.
A long drive, deep over the outfield wall … without a boost from performance-enhancing drugs.It’s an old-time ideal that Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers has played out over and over again. Earlier this week, he smashed two home runs, closing in on a relatively exclusive honor: membership in the 400 home run club. (Beltre needs one more dinger to become a card-carrying member.)In our view, and according to advanced stats, Beltre should be a Hall of Famer someday. But we worry that he won’t be because his conventional stats lack that Cooperstown shine.Why do we think Beltre should be enshrined alongside the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Bill Mazeroski (more on him in a minute)? Beltre is a rarity — a player who excels at both offense and defense. And in both cases, that excellence is best illustrated using sabermetric measurements.1His offensive bona fides are also clear from such traditional statistics as home runs, of course. Among third basemen, Beltre, with his nearly 400 long balls, ranks fifth all-time; three of the four ahead of him are either already in Cooperstown or are locks to make it someday (Chipper Jones).For instance, in terms of per-plate appearance rates, Beltre ranks in the 80th percentile of his peers2Qualified hitters (according to Fangraphs’ leaderboard) who played between 1998 and 2015. in isolated power, the 70th percentile in contact rate, the 50th percentile in speed and the 82nd percentile as an overall hitter. (His only real offensive weakness is a 27th-percentile walk rate.) And those are just the rate statistics; Beltre’s durability has also seen him notch the second-most at-bats of any active player and the 53rd-most of any player ever.That longevity is a big reason why Beltre ranks ninth all-time in offensive wins above replacement (oWAR) among third basemen. Only one non-Hall of Famer, the easily forgettable Toby Harrah, ranks higher, and Beltre should pass him (plus Home Run Baker) this season, assuming that Beltre’s 2015 oWAR resembles his yearly output over the past five seasons. In fact, based on projections from Baseball Prospectus, there’s a good chance that the only players ahead of Beltre in oWAR by the end of his career will be offensive juggernauts Wade Boggs, George Brett, Chipper Jones, Eddie Mathews and Mike Schmidt.And defensively, Beltre’s advanced numbers are among the best ever. Per defensive WAR (dWAR) and defensive runs saved above average (DRAA),3Defense is harder to measure than offense, and traditional measurements have a way of propping up horrible defenders (see Jeter, Derek). But advanced statistics such as dWAR and DRAA (which is based on video-tracking data for recent seasons and estimated “zone ratings” for years before that) seem to capture defensive skill well. All modern players in the top 10 for DRAA have won at least one Gold Glove, and all but two have won at least four. Beltre is the second-best defensive third baseman in baseball history. Only Brooks Robinson, whom Reds manager Sparky Anderson had nightmares about after Robinson’s unforgettable defensive performance in the 1970 World Series, ranks better. According to dWAR, only 19 other players (across all positions) in baseball history were more valuable defensively than Beltre has been.The defender most like Beltre at this point is Mazeroski, who made it to the Hall almost entirely on his defense. Beltre, by contrast, combines Mazeroski-like defense with vastly superior offensive stats and greater durability.Yet, we worry about Beltre’s fate because his traditional measurements lag behind his advanced ones. The case against Beltre starts by saying that his nearly 400 home runs may be somewhat devalued by the steroid era — more than half of the club’s 51 members hit the majority of their home runs in the 1990s or 2000s — even if Beltre has never been implicated for steroid use. And Beltre’s other impressive credentials (four Gold Gloves, four Silver Sluggers and four All-Star Game nods) are good, but not great. Eric Chavez, for example, will only see Cooperstown as a visitor, but he won six Gold Gloves at third base. In addition, Beltre is unlikely to hit above .290 for his career or win a most valuable player award, and he has never won a World Series (only playing in a single Fall Classic).Simply put, Beltre’s conventional résumé falls short of Cooperstown’s traditional benchmarks. While there is no generally accepted baseball equivalent of Basketball-Reference.com’s Hall of Fame probability metric, Bill James developed a few good ways to gauge a player’s traditional statistical portfolio: the Hall of Fame Standards and Monitor tests, as well as the Black Ink and Gray Ink tests. Together, those metrics measure how well a player met certain (admittedly arbitrary) benchmarks that, historically speaking, are strongly correlated with Hall of Fame induction.In the “Ink” tests — which measure how often a player led the league and finished among the top 10 in important statistical categories — Beltre sits well behind the typical Hall member. He does fare somewhat better in the other, benchmark-based calculations (though he still ranks below average in both the Standards and Monitor tests), and at just 36 years old, Beltre still has time to add to his totals. But overall, he may not even have a coin flip’s chance at the Hall of Fame, according to traditional gauges. A logistic regression between the James metrics and Hall of Fame enshrinement for the eligible players on Baseball-Reference.com’s leaderboards4With additional variables for a player’s era and whether a player was publicly linked to steroids. would assign Beltre a mere 18 percent chance of induction if he retired today.But our hope is that Hall of Fame voters are slowly moving past the older considerations. If they look instead at Beltre’s advanced numbers, they’ll see a Hall of Fame worthy outlier. Look at the Jaffe WAR Score system, or JAWS.5For those curious, the eponym behind the number is Sports Illustrated’s Jay Jaffe. Built on the foundation of WAR, JAWS attempts to strike a balance between players who compiled value over a long period of time (think Paul Molitor, whose JAWS was 57.5) and those who burned brightly for a shorter span of seasons (think Jackie Robinson, whose JAWS was 56.8). And the difference between Beltre’s actual JAWS and what we’d predict from his conventional credentials6As measured by a regression using the James metrics. is stark.Beltre is one of only 10 non-Hall of Famers7Among either eligible players who were not elected or those ineligible for induction. in major league history to produce a JAWS rating above that of the average Hall of Famer, despite a predicted JAWS below the average Hall of Famer.8Predicted JAWS is designed so that its average equals the average JAWS.How can there be such a big difference? It’s partly because predicted JAWS doesn’t take into account defense (because it’s using conventional stats) and actual JAWS does. As we noted previously, defense is very hard to measure in a conventional sense. That’s especially the case at third base, where people can’t even agree on the best skill set for the position. It used to be impossible to say what exactly a player’s defensive range was, for instance. That’s why James’s metrics don’t make much of an attempt at incorporating defense, with the exception of taking into account a player’s position and where it sits on the defensive spectrum.But now we can understand how valuable Beltre is defensively. And we know that his mixture of offensive and defensive production for a third baseman is very rare.The question left is whether Hall of Fame voters will see things that way, conventions be damned.
Gary Neville has been talking about the treatment of Raheem Sterling in light of alleged racist abuse the winger suffered at the hands of a Chelsea fan.The former Manchester United captain divulged his own struggle in trying to help Sterling through excessive criticism during Euro 2016.“There’s been times on this show when we’ve avoided taking on this subject. It’s not undertones, it’s blatant (racist media coverage of Sterling),” Neville said, according to Daily Mail.“Ashey Cole was the only one (from when I was playing) – he’s had to escape this country, he’s almost like a football refugee – to get away from the way he was treated.”Neville also went on to discuss the difference in the way he believes black players are covered in the media.Chelsea hat-trick hero Tammy Abraham hopes for more Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Tammy Abraham hopes this season will be his big breakthrough at Chelsea after firing his first hat-trick for the club in Saturday’s 5-2 win at Wolves.“When Lambert and Vardy came into the team, it wasn’t like that when Welbeck and Rashford came into the squad.”“The evidence is quite heavy in terms of the white players and black players that came into the England squad.”“What can football do? It can show zero tolerance – what Chelsea have done, those players will never set foot in a football stadium again.”“Raheem’s been strong enough to come out of it. He’s made it through the three years of media horror, intrusion, vilification.”