January 11

The Amgen Tour: And here they come

first_imgSOLVANG – An international cadre of more than 125 cyclists finished the fifth leg of the Amgen Tour of California on Friday, setting the stage for their race into Santa Clarita today. Hundreds of cycling enthusiasts cheered and clanged cow bells as the riders passed them. The chance to see top international professional teams up close has drawn many spectators from afar. A vacationing Salt Lake City couple said Friday that they were lost in the crowd back in 2004 while following the Tour de France. Not so at Amgen. “It’s a great opportunity to get up close to the riders because in Europe you can’t,” said Norm Frye, 50, as he pulled on leg warmers while sitting on his road bike. “It’s just really exciting seeing all these world-class racers,” said Alison Frye, 42, from atop her $7,000 French-made Time bike. “We don’t get many races in the U.S. with Europe’s top racers.” Frye had no trouble getting champions to pose with her for photos: Italian Paolo Bettini from the Belgian team Quick Step-Innergetic and Dane Michael Rasmussen from the Netherlands Rabobank Cycling Team. “I think this race has the potential of bringing cycling to the U.S. as a spectator sport,” said Richard Schlickman, 61, who drove up from Hermosa Beach with three friends to watch the cyclists. The 600-mile race, which began with a prologue in San Francisco on Feb. 18 and will end in Long Beach on Sunday, is expected to draw 100,000 spectators to Santa Clarita today as riders make their way from Solvang into the area. center_img Colorado fifth-grader Evan Lake, 10, rode 12 hours with friends from his youth team to watch the race, missing three days of school. With his dad, Chris, 45, Evan watched fellow Coloradan Bobby Julich from the Danish team CSC warm up on his spinning bike. Julich, who was in fourth place overall Friday, placed third in last year’s maiden Amgen Tour. The thrill was no less for locals. Vita Loyal rang a bell and charted racers’ times for her son Nate, 30, a trainer and bike fitter on the Sotheby’s professional team. “Keeping track of times, knowing what they have to beat, keeps you involved,” she said. Nate trains with Max Testa, who also trains Levi Leitheimer, on U.S.A.’s Discovery Channel pro-cycling team. In the end, Leitheimer won Friday’s time trials and was the overall leader going into today’s stage six. Cyclists are expected to leave Santa Barbara about 11 a.m. today and begin arriving in Santa Clarita about 3 p.m. The top viewing location recommended by Santa Clarita officials is the finish line on McBean Parkway between Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard. There, the city will host a Lifestyle Festival and other events. Another good spot is Valencia Boulevard between McBean and Tourney Road, an uphill portion on the final circuit where riders will most likely strike their best efforts for the day. [email protected] (661) 257-5251 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

December 18

Gallery: Launch of the Gautrain

first_imgPhotographs courtesy the GautrainGold ribbons were cut at four new stations to herald the completion of the first phase of South Africa’s Gautrain rapid rail link, which operates between Sandton and OR Tambo International Airport in Gauteng province, just in time to transport fans to the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Read the full story Click on a thumbnail for a larger low-resolution image, or right-click on the link below each thumbnail to download a high-resolution image.  The Gautrain is a state-of-the-art rapidrail network in Gauteng. • Download high-resolution image The Gautrain is a state-of-the-art rapidrail network in Gauteng. • Download high-resolution image The Gautrain at OR Tambo International Airport. • Download high-resolution image Gautrain Two. • Download high-resolution image Gautrain Four. • Download high-resolution image Gautrain One. • Download high-resolution image Gautrain Three. • Download high-resolution image The Gautrain at OR Tambo International Airport. • Download high-resolution image The Gautrain at Rhodesfield Station. • Download high-resolution image The immaculate OR Tambo InternationalAirport Station. • Download high-resolution image Gautrain interior. • Download high-resolution image Gautrain interior. • Download high-resolution image Rhodesfield Station. • Download high-resolution image Ticket vending machines, ticket officeand fare gates. • Download high-resolution image Fare gates at Rhodesfield Station. • Download high-resolution image A fare gate. • Download high-resolution image Ticket office at OR International Airport. • Download high-resolution image Ticket vending machines. • Download high-resolution image Gautrain feeder route buses. • Download high-resolution image A Gautrain feeder route bus. • Download high-resolution image Gautrain buses. • Download high-resolution image Interior of Gautrain buses. • Download high-resolution image Interior of Gautrain bus. • Download high-resolution image Gautrain bus. • Download high-resolution image MORE GALLERIESlast_img read more

December 17

Farm bankruptcies could rise

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Declining farm income and farmland values likely will lead to an increase in the number of farmers who are delinquent on their loans and eventually a rise in farm bankruptcies, predicted a pair of Ohio State University agricultural economists.While the current farm bankruptcy rate is low, two per 10,000 farms nationally, that rate has gone up slightly in recent years and likely will continue to do so, said Ani Katchova and Robert Dinterman, both from the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.Bankruptcy rates seem to be a lagging indicator of financial stress after debt levels rise and delinquencies on agricultural loans increase, Katchova, Ohio State’s Farm Income Enhancement Chair, pointed out.“Currently, only a limited number of farmers are experiencing financial distress, but if we see another two to three years of flat or declining income levels, it will be much harder for farmers to service debts. It puts them in a more vulnerable position,” Katchova said. “Farm bankruptcy rates will probably continue to go up in 2017 and beyond if current conditions continue.”One indicator of financial stress on farmers is the national increase in debt-to-asset ratio, which is projected to be 14% this year, a rate that has steadily risen since 2012.Also, net farm income is expected to decline this year by 8.7% to $62.3 billion, the fourth consecutive year of declines after reaching a record high in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service.Farmers financial wellbeing is also strongly tied to the value of agricultural land, Dinterman pointed out. For the past three decades, agricultural land values have been increasing, with the exception of 2009 and 2016, when there were declines, he said.“When land values rise and then suddenly fall, that seems to trigger bankruptcies across the U.S,’’ Dinterman said.Offsetting the current financial stress on farmers are low interest rates and farmers’ solid financial standing.“A lot of farmers are in strong equity positions right now,” Katchova said. “They have been in a position where they could ride it out a few years, but how many more years can they sustain with farm incomes that seem to be stabilizing into low levels?’’Farmers in financial trouble have a variety of options to pursue through bankruptcy chapters including Chapter 12, which was specifically designed for farmers and fishermen to reduce their financial burden while continuing operations.Key highlights from Dinterman and Katchova’s research include:While there is a considerable variation across the U.S., farm bankruptcy rates remain low and stable for several Midwest states.Farm bankruptcy rates (Chapter 12 filings) have remained relatively low during the last decade, compared to the rates in the 1980s.The agricultural downturn during the last three years has resulted in a small uptick in farm bankruptcy rates, much of this driven by a slow-down in farmland values.Katchova presented the farm bankruptcies research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Ag Conference on Nov. 29, 2016, and at the USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum in February.last_img read more