Pecan scab — a fungal disease — reduced Georgia’s projected pecan crop by almost half this year. That’s extra motivation for Patrick Conner, who’s attempting to breed a scab-resistant pecan variety at the University of Georgia Tifton campus.“We had serious losses this year because of all the rain and pecan scab,” Conner said. “We’re trying to combine high scab resistance with large nut size and high quality.”Developing a new pecan variety that’s resistant to scab, which thrived due to excess rainfall this past summer, has not been an easy task for Conner. The disease affected two of Georgia’s most common pecan cultivars — Desirable and Stuart trees — but the disease is not uniform across tree varieties.“It’s extremely difficult because scab is native to this region, and it’s co-evolved with pecans. What we’ve found in doing tests is that there’s not just one kind of scab. There are multiple races of scab, so if you take scab off a Stuart tree and put it on a Desirable tree, the Desirable tree is resistant to that Stuart scab and vice versa,” Conner said. “Just as there are lots and lots of different cultivars of pecans, there are many, many races of scab.”Scab has long been a problem for pecan farmers throughout the state and is a reason the breeding program started in 1999. For the first six to nine years of the program, Conner crossed different varieties and planted the resulting seeds. Because it takes several years for the tree to become large enough to start bearing fruit, it’s only been the last five or six years that UGA scientists have been able to rate the breeding program trees for the size and quality of their nuts. Those with the best nut quality and good scab resistance are now being placed into yield trials to determine if they are productive enough to use for commercial pecan production. Of about 12,000 seedlings planted, Conner has kept 17 selections for yield trials.“It takes so much time and effort to do yield trials, you really only want to keep ones you think have a chance as being released as a new cultivar,” Conner said.Conner hopes that he can release one of these scab-resistant cultivars within the next five years.“I think it’ll be a good seller if it does go out. Different growers have different needs in what they’re looking for in their operation. Middle Georgia, for instance, has much less scab problems than, say the Albany or Valdosta area. For them, maybe something that’s higher quality and higher yielding might be more important than scab resistance,” Conner said.Along with trying to produce a scab-resistant cultivar, Conner has also worked with producing very early-yielding cultivars, so that Georgia farmers will have pecans ready to harvest in September rather than October. In many years, the earlier the pecans can be collected and sold, the higher the price will be for farmers. Early harvest is one advantage Georgia has over the Western pecan region. The state’s crop already is harvested much earlier, when the demand is higher.Conner is also looking at establishing a cultivar that’s more regular in bearing its fruit year after year. Pecan trees are notorious for producing a crop that is strong one year and not as strong the next. Conner is crossing cultivars that are more regular in bearing fruit with a goal to find more consistent-bearing varieties.For more information about UGA’s pecan breeding program on the Tifton campus, see caes.uga.edu/commodities/fruits/pecanbreeding.
MORE: Durant cleared to practice with WarriorsAnd then the injury happened. At the time, Durant’s calf strain, which came in the third quarter of Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals, looked to be a death sentence for the Warriors. Their lack of depth made them ultra-reliable on Durant’s scoring in the playoffs. But Stephen Curry came alive, James Harden and the Rockets choked and the Trail Blazers didn’t have enough to win even one game in the Western Conference finals.We now sit and wait as Durant feverishly attempts to rehab his strained calf and rejoin his teammates in their run at a three-peat. His ability (or inability) to play against the Raptors will have a huge impact on determining the result of the 2019 NBA Finals. It may also play into his future with free agency on the horizon.How could the outcome of the Finals alter Durant’s decision-making process this summer?Kevin Durant misses the NBA Finals; Warriors win without himDon’t let anyone, including Durant himself, fool you into believing that this isn’t the worst-case scenario for Durant. It would be very damaging for his legacy.Durant’s jump to Golden State was widely viewed as the former Thunder star taking the easy way out. He couldn’t beat the Warriors with his roster in Oklahoma City, so he joined them. While two championships and two Finals MVPs for Durant validated his decision, there are still those who want to put an asterisk next to his rings.He may do and say all the right things, but Golden State going on to three-peat without Durant would sting. It appears that he’s aware of how a Warriors championship with him in street clothes would change how he’s viewed historically against some of the league’s greatest players.I see a little exaggeration there buddy, my worst nightmare?? U sure that this is the worst that it can get???— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) May 20, 2019Was his addition necessary in order for Golden State to win the past two titles? Or was it simply a luxury? The questions about the validity of Durant’s rings will only grow louder in this scenario.Durant may have no choice but to bolt for another challenge. It’s a situation that would be eerily similar to the path LeBron James took — win two rings in Miami by teaming up with two superstars, then leave to attempt to win one as the signature player for a franchise desperate for any kind of success. A Warriors ring means a Durant exit with New York as a likely landing spot.Verdict: Durant leaves the Warriors.Kevin Durant misses the NBA Finals; Warriors lose without himor…Kevin Durant returns mid-series; Warriors win with himAre the Warriors more enjoyable to watch without Durant? Yes, but in no way does having the most lethal offensive force in the game sitting on the bench make the Warriors better.Before the Warriors’ Game 1 loss to the Raptors, Golden State was 30-1 when Durant sat and Curry played, but that loss illustrated just how badly the Warriors require Durant’s talents. The length of Toronto certainly affected the flow of the offense. The Warriors desperately needed the security that Durant brings to the floor. When the offense breaks down, just get the ball to Durant. He’s usually is able to bail them out.If they lose without him or he is able to return and lead the Warriors to their third consecutive championship, it will prove once and for all that the Warriors needed him in order to go on their championship run. His doubters will be silenced, at least for a little while.Durant and the Warriors would also have a chance to do something that hasn’t been done since Bill Russell’s Celtics — win a fourth consecutive title. But will the validation that a third ring would bring and the opportunity for a fourth be enough to make Durant’s return to Golden State more likely? Not exactly.Durant has checked every box while in the Bay Area. There is nothing left that he hasn’t already accomplished. Another championship with the Warriors might not be worth as much to him as turning around a struggling team and the fanfare that would come with it.Plus, Durant saw the way his teammates played against Portland. He witnessed the renewed sense of joy that they brought to the court. The patented ball movement that made the Warriors of old so fun to watch was back in a big way.Verdict: Durant leaves the Warriors, but he seriously considers chasing history if they win the title.Kevin Durant returns mid-series; Warriors lose with himAll great teams eventually get beat or break up. Michael Jordan’s Bulls disappeared with his retirement. Kobe and Shaq’s Lakers ran into the Pistons before an ugly divorce. We could be watching something very similar unfold.If Durant’s return still isn’t enough for the Warriors to get past the Raptors, a logical endpoint would emerge for the Warriors-Durant relationship. The Warriors fell into a 3-1 hole in the NBA Finals with a loss at Oracle Arena on Friday night, but the play on the court is taking a backseat to the treatment in the training room.For the entirety of the 2018-19 season, the chatter around Golden State kept coming back to the possibility of Kevin Durant’s final run in a Warriors uniform. From the early-season altercation with Draymond Green to Durant’s tense relationship with the media, this has mostly felt like a swan song, the last run by one of the greatest teams ever assembled. The Warriors won a title without Durant back in 2015, and with their core still in place, losing Durant doesn’t seem to be a major concern. Durant could walk off the floor at the end of the Finals proud of what he has done with Golden State but ready for a new challenge.A loss to the Raptors ends the dynasty. The summer will bring questions about where the Warriors go from here. Durant leaving for New York or Los Angeles will be accepted. Klay Thompson will be a free agent. But at least we’ll get to see this group make one more run.Verdict: Durant leaves the Warriors.
Share on: WhatsApp Micho announces his depature from the Uganda Cranes on Saturday. PHOTO LOUIS JADWONGKampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Orlando Pirates Head Coach Kjell Jonevret has tendered his resignation from the club.The South African club’s official twitter account has just made the announcement.“I’d like to thank the Club for the opportunity. It didn’t work out as planned. I wish the club and its supporters all the best,” Jonevret said.The resignation increases speculation that former Uganda head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic will take over. Micho handled Orlando Pirates in a brief stint before, June 2006 to January 2007.Fans at the giant South African club have not been happy“Kjell Jonevret, he seemed promising, until Orlando Pirates finished the 2016/17 PSL campaign outside the top eight, and this was a shock. They had a chance to redeem themselves in the Nedbank Cup final, where they failed yet again. As things stand, the fans are calling for the head of coach Kjell Jonevret,” a fan told Soccerladuma.co.za a few days ago.“About four to five coaches were appointed at Orlando Pirates in a period of three to four years. When one looks at that, one begins to think perhaps it’s not just the coaches but players need to be changed also. Changing the coaches is not doing the club any justice, because a new head coach will still have to deal with same players who are not willing to fight for the jersey, ” said SoL37.****BELOW, THE Orlando Pirates ‘Coach resigns’ statement on their website****Head Coach resignsPosted on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 – 12:09 Orlando Pirates Football Club Head Coach, Kjell Jonevret, has tendered his resignation.Mr Jonevret has thanked the Chairman of Orlando Pirates, Dr Irvin Khoza, the Club and its supporters for giving him an opportunity to coach the Club.Mr Jonevret said: “I would like to thank the Club for the opportunity. Unfortunately it didn’t work out as planned. I wish the Club and its supporters all the best for the future.”In accepting Kjell Jonevret’s resignation, Dr Khoza expressed his understanding of the enormity of expectation; the Head Coach of a big Club like Orlando Pirates is put under from day one.Dr Khoza said: “I wish Kjell Jonevret well in his future endeavours.”
By John Burton |FAIR HAVEN – It was a welcoming, inspiring sight, and one that Fair Haven residents have come to look forward to as an annual tradition as young school-age children made their way, mostly on two wheels, to the next stage of their educational life.On Friday, third graders from the Viola L. Sickles School, the district’s primary school on Willow Street, took part in the time-honored tradition known as Transition Day.On this day in June, the students boarded their bikes, accompanied by some Sickles School officials and even police officers on bicycles, and made their way from the primary school to the Knollwood School, 224 Hance Road, which houses the public school district’s fourth to eighth grades.The day has become a celebration of that grade’s advancement and moving on to another school building. The students on their bikes were cheered by Sickles’ younger students, teachers and other school staffers. And along the route to Knollwood, parents and family and community members lined the street, offering cheers, displaying signs and chalk etchings of encouragement on the asphalt roadway, laying the path for the traveling group.“It’s definitely a rite of passage,” said Amy Romano, Knollwood principal, “taking that next big step in their lives.”Romano said she planned her “nice principal talk,” explaining to the approximately 112 kids who will be entering the building in September what is in store for them. What is in store for them, she said, is the possibility of an education in a bigger facility with more students and “more opportunities and programs available to them.”Sean McNeil, the public school district’s superintendent of schools, wearing his warm weather light blueseersucker suit and donning a safety helmet, led the group on his bicycle. McNeil also saw the event as “a nice way to highlight safe bike culture,” encouraging children to use all precautions when riding.Fair Haven has a long history of being a bicycle-centric community, as many, maybe even most, school-age children regularly ride to school, weather permitting. And at less than 2 square-miles, it’s commonplace to see families using their bicycles on weekends and afternoons, making their way around the community.“It speaks to what Fair Haven is. It’s how you live here,” observed Mayor Benjamin Lucarelli, noting the prevailing small-town sensibility that continues to draw families here.And it drew a video crew here on Transition Day. A group working with the state Department of Transportation and with the Rutgers University New Jersey Safe Routes to School Resource Center saw this tradition as the perfect example of how a community can adapt to create the opportunity for sustainable, livable communities that provide safe environments for bicycle use or walking.During portions of school days, Fair Haven closes off a section of 3rd Street to provide a safe route for children traveling to and from the school facilities. “To me, it shows what’s possible, to connect with a community,” said Ranjit Walia, with Civic Eye Collaborative, an urban planning and multimedia studio working on the video.“It is something that we’re encouraging. It’s inspiring,” added Trish Sanchez from the safe resource center. “And it’s not hard to do,” she continued, believing the video, which will be available on the center’s website, will encourage other communities to take these kinds of steps to make communities more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly. “To me, it’s a case of what’s possible,” she said.Sanchez said the groups have been doing videos on communities around the state, showing different initiatives that are being adopted to improve the quality of life.Police Chief Joseph McGovern said his wife recalled Transition Day back when she was a student at Sickles going back to the early 1980s. But when it actually started is “lost to history,” Lucarelli acknowledged. But it will be something that is likely to continue, he maintained. Because, he said, “Times may change but standards remain.”This article was first published in the June 15-June 22, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.