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North Korean ag project

first_imgBy Cat HolmesUniversity of GeorgiaATHENS, Ga. — After a three-day forum on North Korean and U.S. nuclear challenges, North Korean policy framers met with University of Georgia scientists and officials on lighter topic: jump-starting a cooperative agricultural project that’s been stalled for two years.The project began in 1999 with reciprocal visits between scientists at the Academy of Agricultural Sciences in North Korea and the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.Through those visits, scientists from each country assessed areas of mutual interest and settled on three: poultry, biotechnology and sweet potatoes.Project on holdHowever, events in both countries, including Sept. 11, moved the project to a back burner.”Since June 2001 when the delegation last visited, we have not had an exchange,” said Stanley Kays, a UGA horticulturist specializing in sweet potatoes. “We are eager to move the process along. Our college would like to see an exchange of ideas and technologies.”The North Koreans included Jo Sung Ju, Kim Myong Gil and Sim Il Gang of the Korean Institute of Disarmament and Peace; Han Song-Ryol, North Korean ambassador to the United Nations; and Sin Song Chol of the U.N. mission. They are policy makers, not scientists. But they agreed to discuss the project, which everyone agreed was a much easier subject than nuclear arms.Simple goal”In agriculture, we are idealists,” said UGA poultry scientist Nick Dale, who has participated in the project since the beginning. “All we have to do is feed people. It’s not controversial.”The North Korean delegates sampled a sweet potato variety Kays developed that tastes like white potatoes but has the higher yields and nutrients of sweet potatoes. They then toured the UGA Center for Applied Genetic Technologies, a state-of-the-art facility that brings together diverse expertise and resources in plant and animal genomics.During an informal discussion that followed, Ed Kanemasu, director of the UGA office of international agriculture, proposed to get the joint project moving again by inviting several North Korean scientists to come to UGA.New start”We have the funds to invite several agricultural scientists to come here long enough to gain actual experience in technologies of interest to them,” he said.The North Korean delegation was receptive.”I have a message from Pyongyang,” ambassador Han said. “We want to advance the exchange of technology (in agriculture) and enhance our productivity. Georgia is known in DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) for agriculture. We can set up a relatively short project in the short term and then expand to a larger joint research project.”Han Park, director of the UGA Center for Global Issues, organized the North Koreans’ visit this week. He has participated in the joint agricultural project from the beginning. Park encouraged both sides to take action to get the project moving again.”I would like to remind us of a Korean saying,” he said. “‘Starting is halfway done.'”After the discussions were complete, Kanemasu said both Ambassador Han and Park felt the talk went very well. “Dr. Park felt that the stalemate has been broken,” he said, “and that we should be able to move forward.”(Cat Holmes is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

Borlaug Dialogue

first_imgFor many students at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, their educational goals align with the one of the worlds’ greatest challenges – ending hunger around the world.Each year, two CAES students have the opportunity to interact with and learn from leaders in the fight to end hunger and improve global food and nutrition security at the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium, sponsored by the World Food Prize Foundation.This year, agricultural communications and international relations first-year student Sarah Spradlin and food science and technology Ph.D. student George Kwabena Afari traveled to the conference with Office of Global Programs Associate Director Vicki McMaken.The Borlaug Dialogue, an annual symposium of keynote speeches and panel discussions held in conjunction with the presentation of the World Food Prize – often referred to as the “Nobel Prize for Agriculture” – brings together a diverse group of world “hunger fighters,” including CEOs, political leaders, agricultural scientists and philanthropists. Over three days in Des Moines, Iowa, the group discusses and debates issues related to agricultural development and solutions to food scarcity.“It was a tremendous experience for our students to spend three days not just listening to, but also meeting and talking with, international leaders in the field as well as other students with passion in this area,” McMaken said. “I am convinced that providing this prestigious opportunity to CAES students on an annual basis through the Global Programs World Food Prize Travel Award will create a lasting impact and sustained passion for fighting hunger in its recipients.”In addition to providing an opportunity to network with agricultural leaders from around the world, the dialogue helps students place their current studies in perspective.For students like Spradlin who know that they want to work in international agriculture development, the discussions that they hear and the people they meet at the dialogue may cement their career paths.“My takeaways were that, number one, I’m not crazy for majoring in international relations and agriculture communication, and number two, what I’m learning in the classroom has real-life application. Through the international agriculture certificate program classes with CAES, I am getting a taste of what the whole picture of agriculture development looks like, and the conference served to solidify, clarify and inspire my passion for the international field.”However, the message of the Borlaug Dialogue is that people don’t have to be engaged in international outreach to help solve hunger. No matter what field of study you’re engaged in, you can help solve part of the problem.“One quote from Norman Borlaug repeated throughout the conference was ‘Take it to the farmer,’” Afari said. “It reemphasized this notion that whatever field we are in, our focus should be on those in agriculture and especially farmers. We need to use our skills and our knowledge to improve the farmers’ efforts in the production of food so that the goal of ending global food insecurity can be achieved.”“I started to think about the role of agriculture students, and my role as a food science Ph.D. student. I began to think, ‘When I graduate, what skills do I have that can be useful to the farmer?’”For Afari, who is studying food processing and packaging technologies, the challenge sparked ideas on reducing post-harvest losses and extending shelf life – two key components to reducing food waste and increasing food availability.For more information about international outreach at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the way students are getting involved visit www.global.uga.edu .last_img read more

NCUA hosts July 23 ADA anniversary webinar

first_img Federally insured credit unions can join a meaningful conversation on the importance of financial inclusion for persons with disabilities and the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act during a webinar hosted by NCUA on Thursday, July 23, beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern.“As we commemorate the anniversary of the ADA, the NCUA reaffirms its commitment to creating an inclusive work environment for all employees and ensuring equal access to the 12.2 percent of our staff who report having a disability,” NCUA Chairman Rodney E. Hood said. “We are committed to providing access to services, tools, and needed resources to perform their jobs effectively and reach their full career potential.”During the webinar, Chairman Hood will discuss how organizations can expand their efforts to ensure the disabled have equal access to opportunities and resources with Michael Morris, Director of the National Disability Institute, and Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, a disabilities rights advocate and President of RespectAbility.Online registration for this two-hour webinar is now open. Participants will be able to log into the webinar and view it on their computers or mobile devices using the registration link. They should allow pop-ups from this website. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »center_img NCUA headquarterslast_img read more

Amazing reno: No expense spared in incredible home transformation

first_imgBEFORE: Inside the original house at 12 Wordsworth St, Bulimba. BEFORE: Nicole and Michael Sipinkoski when they first bought the house at 12 Wordsworth St, Bulimba. AFTER: The kitchen in the house at 12 Wordsworth St, Bulimba, after the renovation.As if renovating a home isn’t hard enough, the couple also decided to get married and have a baby in the midst of the chaos.Their daughter, Isla, is now eight months old.“I remember saying to the tradies that there was a good chance they’d be driving me to the hospital if they hung around much longer,” Mrs Sipinkoski said.The pair rented down the road before moving in when the project was around 90 per cent finished and Isla was a newborn.“Outside was still a construction site, but (Isla) now sleeps through anything!” Mr Sipinkoski said. AFTER: The view from one of the outdoor terraces after the renovation.Mr Sipinkoski’s father came out of retirement as a builder to help with the project.“That’s why it’s finished so perfectly,” Mrs Sipinkoski said.“All the tradies we used have all been artists.”Almost every feature of the house has been replaced with care — including all the original weatherboards.“The more we stripped, the more we found wrong, so we decided at a point in time just to redo everything,” Mr Sipinkoski said. BEFORE: The back of the house at 12 Wordsworth St, Bulimba, before it was renovated. AFTER: The indoor/outdoor living and dining area of the house after the renovation.The end result is a meticulously designed, planned and executed family home with five bedrooms and four bathrooms over two levels.No expense has been spared on fixtures and finishes, including imported French oak parquetry flooring, a raked feature ceiling, 26 sqm of Calacutta stone benchtops, 2 Pac coated joinery and designer pendant lights.Fully-concealable sliding doors lead out to the back deck from the main living area, which overlooks the landscaped backyard, in-ground swimming pool and lawn space. Designed for entertaining, the outdoor kitchen is equipped with a built-in six-burner stainless steel barbecue. More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus14 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market14 hours agoBEFORE: The view from the original sun room in the house at 12 Wordsworth St, Bulimba, before it was renovated. BEFORE: Inside the house at 12 Wordsworth St, Bulimba, before it was renovated. AFTER: The house at 12 Wordsworth St, Bulimba, after the renovation.The couple has completed half a dozen renovations in Victoria and Queensland and have both worked in the property and construction industry for more than 12 years.Mr Sipinkoski is a construction manager for Hutchinson Builders, while his wife is involved in marketing, styling and designing high-end property developments.They took on their first project together just six months into their relationship and haven’t stopped. From concept, design and construction to interiors and timeless finishes, it’s a shared passion. “This is our life,” Mr Sipinkoski said.“Even when we’re on holiday we’re thinking about (renovating),” Mrs Sipinkoski said. BEFORE: The bathroom/laundry in the original house at 12 Wordsworth St, Bulimba. AFTER: One of the bathrooms in the house after the renovation.As with any renovation, they encountered challenges, such as underpinning the original house — much of which was inaccessible by machine so had to be done by hand.The project took longer than expected because the couple were prepared to wait for the right tradespeople to deliver the standard of work they wanted.“We are perfectionists,” Mrs Sipinkoski said.“For us, quality is always something that we prioritise.“We finish each project as if we’re going to live in it.” AFTER: Inside the house at 12 Wordsworth St, Bulimba, after the renovation.The house they have renovated, which was deemed to be one of the worst in the entire suburb at the time, has been completely transformed.Only the second house built in the street in 1906, traditional aspects of the character-listed home have been preserved.“We really wanted to hero the old house,” Mr Sipinkoski said.“That’s why we picked timeless finishes like the herringbone parquetry,” Mrs Sipinkoski said. BEFORE: The front of the house at 12 Wordsworth St, Bulimba, before it was renovated. AFTER: The back of the house at 12 Wordsworth St, Bulimba, after the renovation.The main kitchen features SMEG appliances, an 84-bottle wine rack and a wine fridge. On this level is also a study, storeroom, powder room and a Spanish, nickel-fronted gas fireplace.Downstairs are the home’s five bedrooms, with the master featuring an ensuite, walk-in wardrobe and private courtyard.The Sipinkoskis are now moving to the Gold Coast to start their next project, so it is time to sell.“When you renovate so many times, you get to a point where you say; ‘I’m never doing this again’ — but we are!,” Mrs Sipinkoski said.“It’s probably been the hardest one we’ve ever done, but it’s been a real joy to see it come to fruition.”The property is being offered to the market by Sarah Hackett of Place – Bulimba via a tender process closing March 28.RENO FACT CHECKTime taken: 18 monthsTotal spend: $1.4m Nicole and Michael Sipinkoski at the house they have renovated and are now selling in Bulimba.MICHAEL and Nicole Sipinkoski were sitting at the kitchen table of their Melbourne home having breakfast when they bought their latest passion project ‘sight unseen’ in an entirely different state.Mr Sipinkoski’s father had attended nearly 50 auctions in Brisbane on the couple’s behalf before bidding on a rundown Queenslander in Bulimba.“We’d just finished a similar project in Richmond and were looking to move back to Brisbane, so my Dad was the one going to all these auctions,” Mr Sipinkoski said.“He was sick of it. He said; ‘This is your last weekend!’“We had registered to bid a minute before an auction started for a home in Greenslopes, but at the last minute Dad said ‘No, I think the Bulimba one is better.” AFTER: The front of the house at 12 Wordsworth St, Bulimba, after the renovation.That was in early 2016.The couple celebrated their purchase of 12 Wordsworth Street with a two month trip to Europe.“We came back on July 30 and started work on the house the next day,” Mr Sipinkoski said.“I spent the whole two months sketching on a pad.“I had a design team ready to go and we had plans in for development approval while we were in Europe.” BEFORE: The gutted kitchen in the original house at 12 Wordsworth St, Bulimba.last_img read more

PSA Marine orders LNG-fueled tug, eyes second order in 2018

first_imgLNG World News Staff Image courtesy of PSA MarineMarine services provider PSA Marine has ordered a dual-fuel LNG harbour tug and is eyeing a similar ordered for January 2018. The company, a unit of PSA International, that operates over 60 tugs, said in a statement that the two dual-fuel LNG vessels are scheduled for delivery in 2019.Under the LNG bunkering pilot programme, PSA Marine will receive a grant of up to S$2 million for each vessel from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).The decision to add the two dual-fuel LNG tugs to its fleet is a step towards supporting MPA’s drive towards a sustainable maritime transport system.The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore has recently injected another S$12 million ($8.91m) to boost liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering in the Port of Singapore.Half of this sum has been set aside to co-fund the building of new LNG bunker vessels (LBVs) to facilitate the development of ship-to-ship LNG bunkering in the Port of Singapore.The remaining half will be used to top up MPA’s existing co-funding programme to support the building of LNG-fuelled vessels.last_img read more

Chief Rabbi voices opposition to gay marriage

first_imgTelegraph 25 June 2012Changing the law to allow same-sex marriage would undermine a “sacred institution” recognized since “time immemorial”, according to the Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks. In his only public statement on the subject he warned that any attempt to exempt religious groups from performing homosexual weddings would be likely to be challenged at the European Court of Human Rights. Lord Sacks, who is preparing to retire next year, has consistently declined to be drawn into the debate about the Government’s plans to allow same-sex couples to have civil weddings. A clutch of traditional rabbis have spoken against the Government’s plans while liberal branches of Judaism in Britain have given their support. But now a formal submission to the Government’s consultation process from the London Beth Din – the Chief Rabbi’s court, which adjudicates on legal matters – has reiterated traditional orthodox teaching that homosexuality is against Jewish law. “Marriage by definition in Jewish (Biblical) Law, is the union of a male and female,” it asserts. “While Judaism teaches respect for others and condemns all types of discrimination, we oppose a change in the definition of marriage that includes same-sex relationships.” It continues: “Our understanding of marriage from time immemorial has been that of a union between a man and a woman. “Any attempt to redefine this sacred institution would be to undermine the concept of marriage.”http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9352603/Chief-Rabbi-voices-opposition-to-gay-marriage.htmllast_img read more

Thelma A. Bedel, 90

first_imgOn November 21, 2019, our dear Mom, Thelma Bedel, passed from this world into the loving hands of our Heavenly Father.  She was born in Decatur County on May 26, 1929 to Bernard and Mary (Berkemeier) Oesterling.  She attended grade school In St. Maurice and high school in Kingston.   She married the love of her life, Johnnie Bedel, on June 10, 1950 and, then they moved to Greensburg, IN.   Thelma was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greensburg and a 60+ year member of St. Lawrence Ladies Auxiliary.  Mom enjoyed crochet, embroidery and sewing.  We will all remember her roast beef, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans and tomatoes as the best ever set upon a table.  Our mom enjoyed the outdoors, walking trails in state parks and especially the gorgeous sunsets out the back window. She was an avid Larry Bird and Pacers fan.   Mom loved to play Bunco, Bingo and spending time with family and friends.  She spent her life selflessly taking care of others.  In her first job she was a nanny.  Mom also worked outside the home as a seamstress in the dress factory and enjoyed working in the high school cafeteria.  Later she raised all five of us to become successful adults.  Recently she was a tireless caretaker for John in his final years. Thelma leaves behind two sons, Victor (Jackie), Fountaintown, Vernon (Mary), Muncie. In addition, Thelma has three daughters, Margie (Jack) Williams, Rose (Paul) Remmler, Wyoming Michigan, Annette (Tom) Faust, Greensburg.  Her grandchildren are Cary Fuller, Erin Mayes, Matt Bedel, Paul Bedel, Michelle Williams Burt, Gabe Williams, Mark Remmler, Steven Remmler, Ryan Bottorff, Chris Bottorff, Jamie Bottorff.  She has eight great-grandchildren.   Thelma also leaves behind Lou Bedel, brother-in law and several nieces and nephews.   Thelma was preceded in death by her husband of 66 years, John Bedel, parents Bernard and Mary Oesterling, 4 brothers, 2 sisters and Ben Bedel, a beloved grandson.  Family and friends will gather at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the funeral home to pray the rosary.   Visitation will follow until 8:00 p.m. at the Porter-Oliger-Pearson Funeral Home in Greensburg.   The family will also receive friends from 9:00 a.m. until the funeral Mass at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 at the St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greensburg with Rev. John Meyer officiating. Interment will be held in the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Greensburg following the Mass. The family wishes to thank Mom’s caregivers at Decatur County Memorial Hospital and Morning Breeze Retirement Community.  Thanks to everyone for your kindness, understanding and prayers.  Memorials may be sent to St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greensburg. Online condolences can be made to the family at www.popfuneralhome.comlast_img read more

Falcons swoop into last eight

first_img In the end, Rob Vickers, Alex Tait and Jean Socino all picked up two tries apiece for the Falcons, with an Andy Davies score, a penalty try and six conversions from Tom Catterick completing the scoring for the visitors as Newcastle earned themselves one of the best runners-up spots. Newport finished top of Pool Three and secured a home quarter-final after beating Top 14 side Stade Francais 30-19 at Rodney Parade. James Thomas’ try plus 17 points from the boot of Tom Prydie (five penalties and a conversion) gave the Dragons a 22-7 half-time lead, and the hosts added a second try from Thomas Rhys Thomas and a late penalty form Rhys Jones in the second half. Stade Francais actually outscored their hosts three tries to two, Krisnan Inu, Zurabi Zhvania and Remi Bonfils the men on the scoresheet, but Prydie’s efforts in the first half – when he slotted over six out of seven shots – proved decisive. In Pool One, f lanker Ofisa Treviranus scored a hat-trick of tries as London Irish downed Rovigo 34-6 to claim top spot ahead of Cardiff Blues. Both Irish and Cardiff saw their berths in the last eight secured courtesy of Edinburgh’s win over Bordeaux on Friday night but were still battling for first place heading into Saturday’s final round of fixtures. Irish and Cardiff each picked up comfortable wins, but it was the Exiles who came out on top after comfortably seeing off group whipping boys Rovigo. Somoa international Treviranus led the way with a try treble, while wingers James Short and Topsy Ojo also crossed as Irish – who thrashed Rovigo 70-14 in round one – picked up a bonus-point win at the Stadio Mario Battaglini. After suffering back-to-back defeats to Stade Francais and Newport Gwent Dragons in their previous two Pool Three matches, Newcastle needed a bonus-point victory at the Cluj Arena to guarantee themselves qualification. And the Aviva Premiership side had the extra point sewn up by half-time as they ran in four of their eight tries in the first period. Press Association Newcastle Falcons claimed their place in the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup after thrashing Bucharest Wolves 52-10 in Romania. The remainder of Irish’s nine points came from Shane Geraghty (three conversions and a penalty) with Rovigo responding with two penalties from full-back Stefan Basson. The bonus point proved crucial in the end as Irish only narrowly edged out Cardiff for first place, with both clubs finishing level on 24 points after t he Welsh outfit recorded a 28-3 bonus-point win over Grenoble in testing conditions in France. After Lloyd Williams’ try gave them a 7-3 half-time lead, Cardiff eased clear in the second half though a brace of penalty tries before Josh Navidi crossed for their fourth try two minutes from the end. All four tries were converted with Gareth Anscombe successfully notching three efforts before replacement Gareth Davies slotted over from Navidi’s score as Cardiff ensured they avoided a showdown with top seeds Gloucester in the knock-out stages. Grenoble’s solitary score came from James Hart’s first-half penalty. Already-qualified Exeter Chiefs will head into the quarter-finals as second seeds – and a clash with Newcastle – after rounding off their group campaign with a 45-3 drubbing of Bayonne. Exeter only led 11-0 at the break through England international Jack Nowell’s unconverted try and a brace of penalties, but the Chiefs ran amok in the second half with five more tries as they made it eight home wins in a row in the Challenge Cup. Matt Jess, David Ewers, Carl Rimmer, Kai Horstmann and Dean Mumm all crossed the line after the interval, with the rest of Exeter’s points coming from three Gareth Steenson conversions and a trio of Henry Slade penalties. Martin Bustos Moyano notched Bayonne’s points from a 46th-minute penalty. Connacht, meanwhile, sealed the eighth and last quarter-final berth after overcoming a nine-point half-time deficit to beat La Rochelle 30-20 and earn second spot behind Exeter in Pool Two. Connacht looked in serious trouble as they trailed 20-11 at the break at Stade Marcel Deflandre but they rallied to set up a showdown with Gloucester in the next round. Tries from Kieran Marmion, Eoin McKeon, Niyi Adeolokun and Matt Healy earned the Irish side their bonus point, with Jack Carty slotting over two conversions and two penalties. Albain Meron’s score, plus a penalty try and 10 points from Jean-Pascal Barraque had put La Rochelle in charge. last_img read more

Arsene Wenger: Arsenal players have ‘fantastic spirit’ and will bounce back

first_img Surprise leaders Leicester do not face Manchester City until Tuesday, but Wenger is not concerned about starting 2016 in pole position. “I said before the game, whether we are one point behind or one point in front it is not too important,” he said. “It is the quality of our performance that counts and we were not good enough to win the game (against Southampton). “We have just to look at that. On the other side, we can’t dwell too much because in 48 hours we play again. “We are disappointed and frustrated, but there’s only one way to respond in 48 hours.” Wenger rejected former England manager Glenn Hoddle’s belief that the players choked due to the pressure brought by potentially going top, so too the necessity to dip into the transfer market next month. The Gunners boss downplayed speculation linking Arsenal to Basle’s Mohamed Elneny and was keen to underline the quality waiting that will be at his disposal after injury. “That’s always the question you get,” Wenger said. “We have many players who are injured and will come back soon. “Buy, buy, buy, buy is always the solution that people see. “I think it’s true that we couldn’t score, but we conceded goals (against Southampton) and we have enough defenders.” There is little time for Arsenal to wallow, though, as the hectic festive period means they take on another south-coast side on Monday. Bournemouth will look to ratchet up the pressure, but Wenger is confident of a positive response at the Emirates Stadium. “I believe what I say to my players is between my players and myself,” he said after the 4-0 hammering at St Mary’s. “These players have fantastic spirit and they can show that in 48 hours. “We are in a job where we have to respond. We want to respond from disappointments. “Unfortunately, there’s no possible career without disappointment. Nobody, not even the best players in the world, can have that. “It’s down to how you respond and I trust my players to respond in a very strong way on Monday.” Wenger certainly will not be taking Bournemouth lightly and praised the promoted side ahead of a match which could see the Gunners belatedly reach the Premier League summit. Arsene Wenger is confident Arsenal will numb the pain of the Boxing Day shellacking at Southampton within 48 hours. Press Association The trip to St Mary’s seemingly offered the Frenchman’s side a great chance to go top of the Barclays Premier League, but a poor display saw them return to north London reeling from a shock 4-0 defeat. Shane Long’s brace complemented an exceptional Cuco Martina half-volley and Jose Fonte’s header as Saints ended a six-match winless run in some style. last_img read more

Johnson’s Team USA ready for Vancouver

first_imgCurrent UW junior Hilary Knight is one of seven Wisconsin Badgers on the US. Olympic National team.[/media-credit]Every four years countries across the globe call upon their most talented athletes to assemble their national representatives in several sports to take on the top competition the rest of the world can offer in the Olympic Games.For the diehard fans of the Wisconsin women’s hockey team, however, Team USA may have captured imaginations in gathering a sort of “Badger Dream Team” as seven current and former UW skaters have made the final roster for this year’s Winter Games in Vancouver — all led by Wisconsin’s sabbatical head coach Mark Johnson.As Olympic teams gather players from far and wide, familiarity among the players and coaches oftentimes becomes a legitimate concern — but not for the US since exactly one-third of the roster consists of Badgers.Forwards Meghan Duggan and Hilary Knight, who have a combined three years of college eligibility remaining, have taken a year off from the Badgers to participate in this year’s Games. They join UW alumni Molly Engstrom, Erika Lawler, Jessie Vetter, Kerry Weiland and Jinelle Zaugg-Siergiej in the run for gold.While most of them have played with each other in college, every one of them have received at least one year of tutelage under Johnson at Wisconsin.“It’s awesome, especially having Coach Johnson,” Lawler said. “I think it really helps a lot because you know what he’s looking for and what his coaching style is.”“And, you know, Meghan Duggan is one of my best friends,” she continued. “Any of those (Wisconsin) girls I can go to with just about anything and without them this experience would have been a lot harder and definitely not as much fun for me.”Although the U.S. National squad can benefit from team familiarity, Olympic experience is shorthanded. Of the 21 members of the team, only six have seen the world stage before — including Engstrom.The grand stage is not necessarily uncharted territory for some of these rookies, however.Duggan, Knight, Lawler, Vetter and Zaugg-Siergiej were a part of three NCAA championships under Johnson at Wisconsin. Vetter, meanwhile, took home the top individual trophy in women’s hockey last year, the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award.Five other finalists for last year’s award, including Knight and Lawler, have made their way onto the team as well. Nevertheless, Johnson knows the veterans will have to offer insight to the younger players.“I think all our veteran players, you look at Angela (Ruggiero), you look at Jenny (Potter), this is going to be their fourth Olympics and we’re going to rely on those players and their experience to help our younger ones,” Johnson said. “Molly (Engstrom) is no different. She’s been there, she understands it.”In preparation for the competition they will face in Vancouver, Team USA toured all over the country to test their mettle against some of the best college programs as well as various all-star teams.The US made it through those games unscathed, winning by an average of 7.14 goals. However, in a six-game series against neighboring Canada, the US lost all six by an average of 2.1 goals.Canada enters the 2010 Olympics as the No. 1 seed, while Team USA comes in at No. 2. The Americans open play against China on Feb. 14 and are not scheduled to play Canada in the group stages of the tournament, but many expect to meet them in order to fight for the gold.Knight — who has blazed a trail through defenses during the tour, leading the team in goals, 13, and assists, 17 — knows what to make of winless meetings with their northerly neighbor.“As a team I think we’re where we’re supposed to be,” Knight said. “I mean, it goes back to ‘oh, well you guys haven’t played that well versus Canada,’ but to be honest we’re not trained for the exhibition games.“We’ve made it clear that we’re trained for February. It’s a long journey but at the same time we have to take different things from our games versus Canada.”Johnson and his crew understand the exhibition matchups against Canada are only worth a measurement toward intangibles — the score is not what is to be concentrated upon.In a short tournament, Johnson says, there are no guarantees.The leading scorer for the famous “Miracle on Ice” Olympic team that won gold, Johnson illustrated this idea by comparing his own Olympic playing experiences with the stage that is being set for his women’s team.“I know a lot of people are talking about Canada-U.S.,” Johnson said. “But I lived a situation 30 years ago that everybody thought the Russians were going to win the gold medal back in 1980 and unfortunately (for the Soviet Union) funny things happened.”last_img read more