Union Bank,At the annual staff meeting held yesterday after the close of business, President and Chief Executive Officer Kenneth D Gibbons announced the results of the Board of Directors’ search for his successor as President of Union Bank (the ‘Bank’) and Union Bankshares, Inc. David S Silverman, 49, a Senior Vice President of the Bank and Vice President of the Company, was unanimously selected by the Boards of both companies at a joint meeting on November 3. Silverman was also appointed a director of the Bank by the Bankshares Board, as of November 17.In accordance with the management succession plan adopted by the Board last July, Silverman will become President of both companies on April 1, 2011, and CEO in May 2012. Gibbons will become Board Chair upon the retirement of current Board Chair, Richard C Sargent, at the annual meeting of shareholders in May 2011, and will remain as CEO during the management transition year of May 2011 to May 2012. It is also expected that Silverman will stand for election to the company’s Board of Directors at the 2011 annual meeting.Silverman began employment with Union Bank in 1986, and over the years has progressed through various departments and positions to his current Bank positions of Senior Vice President, Senior Lending Officer and Head of Marketing. He has also served as a Vice President of the Company since 2008. Silverman holds a BA in Business Management from Johnson State College and is very active within the community, currently serving as Chair of Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley. He previously has served as Treasurer and Executive Committee member of the Stowe Area Association, member of the Morristown Development Review Board and past Board member of Lamoille County Mental Health.Silverman resides in Morrisville with his wife, Janet.‘The Board and I are particularly pleased with David’s selection as my successor. He possesses not only a solid knowledge of the banking business, including credit underwriting and administration skills, but also possesses invaluable institutional knowledge about the Company and familiarity with our employees, customers and market area. David’s skills and insights will help to ensure a smooth transition and provide continuity, which is important during any transition of this nature,’ stated Ken Gibbons, President and CEO.Commenting on this phase of the Company’s succession plan, Board Chair Richard Sargent said, ‘Ken has provided exceptional leadership for the Company during his 20 years at the helm, shepherding it through both high-growth and recessionary times. The Board is confident that David shares these strong leadership qualities. We look forward to working with Ken and David to implement a smooth and successful leadership transition in the next year and a half.’Union Bankshares, Inc, with headquarters in Morrisville, Vermont, is the bank holding company parent of Union Bank, a full service bank offering deposit, loan, trust and commercial banking services throughout northern Vermont and northwestern New Hampshire. As of September 30, 2010, the Company had $451 million in consolidated assets, $377 million in consolidated deposits and operates 13 banking offices and 29 ATM facilities in Vermont, a branch and ATM in Littleton, New Hampshire, and a loan center in South Burlington, Vermont.Statements made in this press release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned that all forward-looking statements necessarily involve risks and uncertainties, and many factors could cause actual results and events to differ materially from those contemplated in the forward-looking statements. When we use any of the words ‘believes,’ ‘expects,’ ‘anticipates’ or similar expressions, we are making forward-looking statements. The following factors, among others, could cause actual results and events to differ from those contemplated in the forward-looking statements: uncertainties associated with general economic conditions; changes in the interest rate environment; inflation; political, legislative or regulatory developments; acts of war or terrorism; the markets’ acceptance of and demand for the Company’s products and services; technological changes, including the impact of the internet on the Company’s business and on the financial services market place generally; the impact of competitive products and pricing; and dependence on third party suppliers. For further information, please refer to the Company’s reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission at www.sec.gov(link is external). Source: Union Bank/Union Bankshares, Inc. Morrisville, Vermont, November 19, 2010 (NASDAQ: UNB) ‘
In September, the district’s school board voted to continue with remote learning for most students through the end of the semester, citing health concerns, despite Ms. Felder’s recommendation to implement a combination of in-person and online classes.To help students connect, the district has distributed over 1,500 hot spots, often several to each family. Yellow buses outfitted with Wi-Fi regularly rumble outside apartment complexes and housing developments. And for weeks, shuttered school cafeterias, once redolent with the scent of chicken nuggets and quesadillas, functioned as internet hubs.But with no child care provided, few parents brought their children, prompting the district to close them last month.Today, many parents use a map of public Wi-Fi locations to help their children get online, and students can often be seen hunched over laptops in cars parked within the invisible range of wireless routers. “It just adds insult to injury when you’re forced to sit in a McDonald’s parking lot to learn,” Ms. Felder said.For months, Ms. Felder and other local officials have been lobbying the state for systemic solutions, rather than Band-Aid fixes like hot spots. “We need cell towers and broadband,” she said. “That’s something we cannot build ourselves. We need the government to step in and make this happen.” The challenge of closing the digital divide can be particularly daunting in states like North Carolina, home to the nation’s second-largest rural population and a geography that spans mountains, swamps and barrier islands.About 100,000 of the state’s 1.5 million K-12 students were unable to connect to online services in August, according to the Department of Information Technology. More than 75,300 cellular hot spots were provided to schools by late October, and the state is trying to connect other students with public Wi-Fi locations and community grants for broadband infrastructure.But politics has also hampered the state’s connectivity. In 2016, Republican state lawmakers won a legal battle to halt the spread of municipal broadband providers, which had increased competition by serving residents where commercial networks had been unwilling to go.In Orange County, which is home to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and just west of some of the state’s biggest cities, more than 5,200 households lack broadband internet access, including an estimated 1,100 students in the local school district, said Monique Felder, the superintendent.She noted with frustration that the district is just a few miles away from the state’s prominent Research Triangle Park, where IBM, Cisco and dozens of other information technology companies employ thousands of people. The strain is even more profound two hours’ drive south in Robeson County, where coronavirus test positivity rates have consistently been more than double the state’s 5 percent benchmark for reopening, leading the school board to extend remote learning through December, a district spokesman said. “It’s un-American,” said Ms. Felder, who pointed to unaffordable pricing and a lack of cell towers as having contributed to the problem. “I can’t wrap my head around the fact that we live in a place where you have all this technology, yet we have families who can’t access the internet in the comfort of their home.” The technology gap has prompted teachers to upload lessons on flash drives and send them home to dozens of students every other week. Some children spend school nights crashing at more-connected relatives’ homes so they can get online for classes the next day. “It’s not fair,” said Shekinah, 17, who, after weeks trying to stay connected to classes through her cellphone, was finally able to get online regularly again last month through a Wi-Fi hot spot provided by the school. “I don’t think just the people who live in the city should have internet. We need it in the country, too.”Millions of American students are grappling with the same challenges, learning remotely without adequate home internet service. Even as school districts like the one in Robeson County have scrambled to provide students with laptops, many who live in low-income and rural communities continue to have difficulty logging on.About six million K-12 students lived in households without adequate online connectivity in 2018, according to a study of federal data by Common Sense Media, an education nonprofit that tracks children’s media use.- Advertisement – Sherry Park, the principal of South Robeson Intermediate School, said about 60 of her 310 students live in cell service “dead zones.” Every two weeks, their parents come to the school to exchange drives filled with completed schoolwork for new ones, uploaded with lesson videos and assignments.Sharon Hunt works 12- to 14-hour days teaching eighth-grade math at the school. In a voice frayed by exhaustion, she described a grueling schedule: teaching online in an empty classroom from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., after which she returns home to spend several more hours compiling flash drive presentations before grading assignments.Most of her students live in rural areas, and half of the students in one of her classes have no internet access. One family has to walk to the nearest crossroad to get cellphone reception. Ms. Hunt said she tries to answer their questions over the phone, but both teacher and students know it’s not the same.“You can tell in their voice that they’re struggling, but once we’ve kind of talked through some things, they sound better,” she said. “That’s all I have to go on until I get their work.”The lack of internet access has reshaped the home lives of some students. Clarissa Breedan, an unemployed cosmetologist, lives with her parents and two children in a double-wide trailer home outside the small town of Roland. This fall, her four nieces have also stayed there during the week, so they can get online for classes, only going home to their parents on weekends. In Baltimore, where a recent study found that nearly 20,000 households with school-aged children lacked broadband internet or computers, the public school system is providing internet connectivity to an estimated 44,000 students, or 55 percent of the district’s total enrollment, officials said. Josie Hunt lives on the outskirts of Roland; the only internet access there is via satellite for $140 per month. But she canceled her subscription in September after a barrage of extra charges incurred from remote classes made the service unaffordable. And a broadband provider said laying a cable to her home would cost $12,000.“I’d rather not ever have internet if I have to pay that much,” said Ms. Hunt, who is disabled and whose husband works odd jobs.Without it, her son Nehemiah, 14, has been forced to rely on flash drives to do his school work, with devastating results. “In school I made all A’s and B’s,” he said. “Now I’m failing.” All the companies gave the same answer: Service is not available in your area.The response is the same across broad stretches of Robeson County, N.C., a swath of small towns and rural places like Orrum dotted among soybean fields and hog farms on the South Carolina border. About 20,000 of the county’s homes, or 43 percent of all households, have no internet connection. – Advertisement – Before the coronavirus, that was mainly an obstacle for students doing homework, and it was an issue that state and federal officials struggled to address. But the pandemic turned the lack of internet connectivity into a nationwide emergency: Suddenly, millions of schoolchildren were cut off from digital learning, unable to maintain virtual “attendance” and marooned socially from their classmates. Some of the girls sleep in reclining chairs because there aren’t enough beds. “We have to do what we have to do,” Ms. Breedan said. – Advertisement – Shekinah and Orlandria Lennon were sitting at their kitchen table this fall, taking online classes, when video of their teachers and fellow students suddenly froze on their laptop screens. The wireless antenna on the roof had stopped working, and it couldn’t be fixed.Desperate for a solution, their mother called five broadband companies, trying to get connections for their home in Orrum, N.C., a rural community of fewer than 100 people with no grocery store or traffic lights.- Advertisement – The Trump administration has done little to expand broadband access for students, both before and during the pandemic, said James P. Steyer, the chief executive of Common Sense Media. “There was no federal strategy, and it was left to the individual states to come up with a patchwork of solutions,” he said.When Congress passed a coronavirus relief package in March, it provided billions of dollars for emergency education needs, but none specifically for closing the digital divide. Despite advocacy from groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Steyer said, Republican leaders in Congress blocked efforts to add such funds.“The tragedy is this is not a Democratic or Republican problem,” Mr. Steyer said. “It is simply not fair that a poor family in a rural area or a low-income urban area does not have the resources to send their kids to school in this pandemic.”Desperate for workarounds, schools across the country have scrambled to distribute mobile hot spots and internet-equipped iPads. Districts everywhere from Wisconsin to Kansas to Alabama have transformed idle school buses into roving Wi-Fi vehicles that park in neighborhoods so students can sit nearby and log in to classes.
Supermarket competition Shoppers on the streets of Wuhan appeared unperturbed by criticisms of the city’s wet markets as dirty and dangerous, instead citing convenience as the reason for choosing supermarkets instead.One 40-year-old supermarket shopper surnamed Chen told AFP that she thinks the food at wet markets is “good and cheap.”She rejected criticism that China’s markets are unhygienic, saying it “just isn’t true.””Their stuff is always fresh,” she said.People in China traditionally prefer buying fresh food — as opposed to frozen or packaged food — although supermarkets have been vying to steal away consumers in recent years.In 2019, the majority of Chinese people said they preferred to shop at supermarkets compared to other types of food shops, according to Chinese research firm iiMedia.”There are just more things at supermarkets,” Jiang Yonghui, a 20-year-old Wuhan resident, told AFP. “I don’t think there’s any hygiene difference.” Wet markets are popular venues to buy fresh meat, vegetables and fish across Asia — most selling common, everyday produce to locals at affordable prices.Most don’t sell live animals, although some do. During visits to three Wuhan markets this week, AFP saw live turtles, frogs, fish and crustaceans for sale, but no fowl or mammals blamed for past diseases.Workers at Baishazhou said they were now required to disinfect their stalls several times a day. Yang keeps multiple bottles of disinfectant in her small office, alongside a box of masks.Nevertheless, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said this week the decision to reopen wet markets was “unfathomable”.”We need to protect the world against potential sources of outbreaks of these types of viruses,” he told Australian TV.The top medical specialist for the US government, Anthony Fauci, told Fox News earlier this month that wet markets should be shut down “right away.” ‘Doomed’ The nationalistic state-run Global Times launched a strident defense of China’s wet markets on Tuesday, attacking “preconceived ideas” and “ridiculous requests” to close them.While the World Health Organization has said governments must ban the sale of exotic wildlife and enforce food safety regulations, it has not called for any wet markets to be closed.Vendors at Wuhan’s markets say unaffordable rents and the lingering effects of the citywide shutdown are more immediate concerns than the threat of contagion.”Business is very bad,” said Zhang Zhizhen, a duck meat seller at Lanling market. “It’s because of the epidemic — there are still very few people on the streets.”Most Wuhan market sellers who spoke to AFP said they never sold wild animals.But at the city’s Tiansheng market, two freshwater produce sellers who declined to give their names said they had to stop selling certain types of frogs and turtles because of the new rules.”This definitely affects our income, but we have to overcome this. It can’t be helped,” one seller said.Low foot traffic at the market, which has locked all but one entrance and only allows customers in after a temperature check, remains their main concern.”We don’t know if we can survive,” the other seller said. “Do you see anyone here?” At a large food market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, signs forbid the selling of wild animals and live fowl, while announcements calling for “victory” over COVID-19 play on a loop from speakers.China’s “wet markets” have been slammed internationally as the coronavirus roils the world, with the disease having seemingly emerged from stalls selling live game in Wuhan late last year.The government has since banned the sale of wildlife for food, but the reopening of markets has drawn criticism from around the world as the death toll from the pandemic continues to mount. Topics : Shut down during the lengthy quarantine that sealed off Wuhan until April 8, the city’s markets are now fighting for survival as customers have not been rushing back.”There’s no question, we’re doomed this year,” spice seller Yang, who runs a stall at the massive Baishazhou wholesale market, told AFP. “There have never been so few people at our market.”Yang, whose sales have fallen by a third from before the lockdown, dismissed criticism of markets as virus hotbeds as “unnecessary panic”.One market remains closed: The Huanan Seafood Market that sold a range of exotic wildlife and is suspected to be the cradle of the virus that jumped from animals to humans.
El Gobernador Wolf anuncia un programa de $450 millones en préstamos para hospitales con dificultades financieras Español, Healthcare, Press Release, Public Health A la medianoche del día de hoy se registraban más de 19,000 casos de COVID-19 en el estado, y se espera que los números continúen aumentando. Esto deja ver la necesidad aún mayor de garantizar que los hospitales de Pennsylvania estén equipados para atender a los pacientes y a los trabajadores. Con el fin de ayudar, el Gobernador Tom Wolf anunció hoy un nuevo programa de préstamos, el Programa de Préstamos de Emergencia para Hospitales (o HELP, por sus siglas en inglés) que prestará ayuda financiera a corto plazo a los hospitales de Pennsylvania mientras se preparan para el creciente aumento de personas infectadas con COVID-19 y las repercusiones económicas de la pandemia nacional.“La combinación de mayores costos y menores ingresos ha perjudicado financieramente a muchos hospitales”, dijo el Gobernador Wolf. “Debemos brindar apoyo a nuestros hospitales durante este tiempo sin precedentes. Cuando esta pandemia finalmente termine, vamos a necesitar hospitales para atender nuestras necesidades médicas habituales, como infartos y huesos rotos. Este nuevo programa de préstamos llevará un alivio inmediato a nuestros hospitales, que están en la primera línea de esta pandemia”.El paquete de préstamos de $450 millones estará disponible para los hospitales estatales para brindar apoyo financiero inmediato con el capital de trabajo de manera de garantizar que estos centros médicos tengan suficiente personal, equipos y equipos de protección personal.La financiación fue distribuida por la Autoridad de Inversión en Infraestructura de Pennsylvania (PENNVEST) y será administrada por el Departamento de Desarrollo Comunitario y Económico de Pennsylvania a través del programa Pennsylvania First (PA First). Fue aprobada por el Tesorero Joe Torsella, quien desempeñó un papel crucial en la liberación acelerada de estos fondos de emergencia.“Los hospitales de Pennsylvania deberían centrarse en salvar vidas, no en preocuparse por cómo llegar a fin de mes hasta que lleguen los fondos federales de alivio dentro de unos meses”, dijo el Tesorero del Estado de Pennsylvania, Joe Torsella, cuya oficina debe aprobar toda inversión realizada por la Junta de PENNVEST. “Me enorgullece aprobar esta inversión prudente que aportará un financiamiento inmediato, de bajo costo y directo para permitir que los hospitales tengan suficiente personal en sus pisos, compren suministros de tratamiento y equipos de protección, y se preparen con éxito para el aumento de pacientes con COVID-19 en las próximas semanas. Felicito a la junta de PENNVEST por dar este paso, y al Gobernador Wolf por su liderazgo y compromiso constante para proteger a los residentes de Pennsylvania durante esta crisis”.Los centros médicos de Pennsylvania habilitados como hospitales por el Departamento de Salud de Pennsylvania en virtud de la Ley de Centros Médicos de 1979 que reúnen los requisitos para recibir subvenciones federales a través de la Ley CARES reúnen los requisitos para HELP. El monto máximo del préstamo es de $10 millones por hospital a una tasa de interés del 0.5 por ciento.Las solicitudes estarán disponibles en el sitio de Internet de DCED a partir de las 10:00 a.m. del 13 de abril al 20 de abril. Los costos deben realizarse entre el 1 de marzo y el 1 de septiembre.HELP permitirá a los hospitales tomar medidas de respuesta ahora mismo hasta que la financiación a través de la Ley federal de Ayuda, Alivio y Seguridad Económica por el Coronavirus (CARES, por sus siglas en inglés), que se promulgó el 27 de marzo de 2020, se distribuya por completo con el objetivo de aliviar la tensión económica de la pandemia y suavizar la transición al funcionamiento habitual de la atención médica.Los gastos permitidos según HELP reflejarán aquellos conforme a la Ley CARES, que permite a los hospitales cerrar su préstamo con fondos de CARES una vez que los reciben.Ver esta página en inglés. April 10, 2020 SHARE Email Facebook Twitter
Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. announced today that its subsidiary VBMS in consortium with NKT Cables has been awarded the Borssele Beta contract by TenneT for the installation of two 67-kilometer-long export cables that will connect the Borssele offshore wind farms 3 and 4 to TenneT’s onshore grid in the Netherlands.In addition, VBMS will install a seven-kilometer-long interconnector cable between the Borssele Alpha and Beta offshore substations. The contract value of Boskalis’ share is approximately EUR 70 million.In order to execute the project in a safe and efficient manner, Boskalis has taken full advantage of the expertise and capabilities within the group.To minimize maintenance to the cables during their operational lifetime, Boskalis will pre-sweep and dredge the shallow parts of the route, which will enable VBMS to simultaneously lay and bury the export cables at the required depth. Borssele Alpha will go into service in 2019 followed by Borssele Beta in 2020.According to Boskalis, this project is closely related to the development of generating renewable energy due to climate change and increasing energy consumption.
London-based Stolt-Nielsen Limited expects a negative financial impact on its tanker business following a fire at Intercontinental Terminals Company’s facility in Houston.Namely, the company noted that its future performance is expected to be affected by the fire which erupted on March 17 at ITC’s petrochemical storage facility, leading to a chemical spill in the Houston Ship Channel.“The fire at ITC’s facility in Houston last month is already impacting the local chemical industry, including both transportation and storage,” Niels G. Stolt-Nielsen, CEO of Stolt-Nielsen Limited, commented.“We are at a minimum expecting a negative impact on Stolt Tankers, as parts of the Houston Ship Channel have been closed to traffic, causing delays. We continue to follow the situation closely, as the full impact is unclear at this point.”The Oslo-listed company reported USD 501.9 million of revenue for the first quarter ended February 28, 2019, compared to a revenue of USD 515.3 million reported in the same period a year earlier.Stolt-Nielsen’s net profit dropped to USD 6.6 million in the period from USD 38.8 million delivered in the first quarter of 2018.“Stolt-Nielsen Limited’s first-quarter results were in line with expectations,” Stolt-Nielsen said.“Freight rates and volumes overall were stable at Stolt Tankers. Results at Stolthaven Terminals were steady when excluding the impairments taken in the prior quarter, reflecting stable market conditions and operations. At Stolt Tank Containers, first-quarter results were down in line with seasonal expectations, though market softness remains, with intensified price competition.”Stolt Tankers reported an operating profit of USD 14.3 million, up from USD 7.7 million delivered in the previous quarter, mainly reflecting a USD 3.4 million bunker-hedge gain in the quarter.Stolthaven Terminals’ operating profit was at USD 18 million, up from USD 11.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, while Stolt Tank Containers reported an operating profit of USD 15.7 million down from USD 18.1 million quarter-on-quarter.
DOH also reported 21 new deaths, bringing the toll now to 658. According to Vergeire, at least 100 COVID-19 patients in the country have been selected to be part of clinical trials for anti-flu drug Avigan after Japan pledge to provide enough anti-flu drugs. The DOH, Vergeire said, is already formulating guidelines on which hospitals will conduct the trial as she stressed that the consent of the patients are necessary for the trial. “Patuloy po ang pakikipag-ugnayan sa Japan para sa supply of this drug which is Avigan na ipapadala po nila. Nakapagbigay na sila ng go-signal dahil po dito,” Vergeire said./PN Of the total figures, around 1,506 patients have already recovered with 98 additional survivors as of 4 p.m. yesterday. DOH Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual press conference there were 320 new cases of COVID-19 infections, bringing the total count to 10,004. Japan has been conducting clinical studies into Avigan, also known as favipiravir, after scientists suggested it had been effective in treating COVID-19 patients. MANILA – Confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the country continue to increase as it breached the 10,000 mark on Wednesday, according to the Department of Health (DOH).
It is believed that the striker is the number one transfer priority for Barcelona this summer, with the club viewing he 22-year-old as the long-term successor to the ageing Luis Suarez.Barcelona want Lautaro Martinez but may be forced to explore other transfer targets Read Also: Video: Chelsea new signing Werner speaks to fans after massive deal The Argentine international has netted 16 goals 31 appearances for the Milanese giants this campaign and has particularly impressed in European competition, scoring five in six outings in the Champions League. Martinez’s current deal runs to June 2023 and was signed in July 2018, when Inter paid Racing Club a reported €22.7m for his services and he has swiftly established himself as a star in Italy. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Barcelona’s move for Inter striker Lautaro Martinez appears to be in serious doubt as they cannot afford to pay the striker’s €111m release clause. epa08166388 Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez celebrates after scoring the 1-0 lead during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Inter Milan and Cagliari A report in Gazzetta dello Sport claims the Milanese giants are unwilling to negotiate down the player’s clause and with Barcelona looking unable to finance a deal, they are looking at offering the striker a new contract. Martinez’s €111m release clause appears to be the biggest stumbling block in the deal and the report admits that a number of players may need to be used in exchange plus cash for the player.Advertisement Loading…
Matthew Trent Abernathy, age 37, of Brookville, Indiana died unexpectedly Sunday, December 8, 2019 at his residence in Brookville.Born November 20, 1982 in Connersville, Indiana he was the son of Charles Abernathy & Shirley (Mullins) Abernathy.Matthew worked in construction for most of his life, most recently for Ison’s Quality Roofing & Construction. In his leisure time he enjoyed hiking and the outdoors, as well as building and rehabbing old houses.Survivors include his mother, Shirley Abernathy of Greensburg, Indiana; his father & step-mother, Charles & Theresa Abernathy of Laurel, Indiana; three siblings, Trevor (Natalie) Abernathy of Connersville, Indiana, Katie (William Davis) Abernathy of Greensburg, Indiana and Brandi Abernathy of Brookville, Indiana, and several nieces & nephews.He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Clinton Abernathy and Wilma Abernathy.There will be no public services. The staff of Phillips & Meyers Funeral Home is honored to serve the Abernathy family, to sign the online guest book or send a personal condolence please visit www.phillipsandmeyers.com .
Big East teams continue to push through high-contact, low-scoring games, and a logjam has formed at the top of the Big East standings. The top nine teams in the standings sit between 7-2 and 6-4 in conference play. All but two teams have a winning record overall.The regular season conference championship remains within reach for most Big East teams with roughly a month left in regular season conference play.“The only teams not playing well at the bottom have some injuries,” Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said in a Jan. 28 Pittsburgh athletics press release. “St. John’s and Rutgers are as good as every team at the top. It’s the Big East, that’s what it’s all about and, until two years come, we’re going to have a hell of a conference.”The NCAA Tournament selection committee sent out nine bids to Big East teams in 2012, and the conference may come close to matching that this season. Seven Big East programs are ranked in the AP’s top 25, more than any other conference.The rankings show how much parity exists in the conference, and as conference play has grown more competitive, the Big East elite is finding it harder to maintain dominance.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textLouisville and Syracuse, the clear conference favorites at the beginning of the season, firmly held control of the league until recently. Louisville lost three straight games after a 16-1 start and a brief stint as the No. 1 team in the country.Syracuse, meanwhile, lost two straight games Jan. 26 and Saturday after an 18-1 start before bouncing back with a win against No. 25 Notre Dame on Monday.The streaks are a result of the strength of the conference. Every team plays quality competition day in and day out. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim had high praise for sleeper Pittsburgh (7-4 Big East) after the Panthers beat the Orange on Saturday.“They’re the best team we’ve played, without any question,” Boeheim said Saturday. “It’s not even close.”Syracuse still sits at the top of the Big East standings at 7-2, while Louisville has fallen into a tie for third place with a 6-3 mark. As Syracuse and Louisville have faltered, other Big East teams have surged.Marquette sits at 6-2 in the Big East, its most recent loss coming Sunday at No. 12 Louisville. Cincinnati and Georgetown both hold 6-3 records in the Big East. The Hoyas have gone 6-1 in the conference since Jan. 12, their first game after suspending second-leading scorer Greg Whittington.St. John’s has gone 5-2 in the conference since that point, with its only losses coming at the hands of Georgetown. The two up-and-coming teams know the stakes of each game as they vie for position down the stretch.“In this league, there’s such a small margin for error,” St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin said Saturday after the Red Storm’s loss to Georgetown. “And if you have a couple of lapses in play or you have a half where you don’t play at a high level, then you’re going to end up with a loss.”With preseason favorites showing signs of weakness and teams in the middle of the pack making strides, the race for the Big East conference championship is wide open once again this season.Teams in the conference are trying to stay hungry and healthy down the home stretch of conference play. While teams may experience peaks and valleys during this time, Big East players and coaches know that peaking at the right time is critical.“We know we’re judged in March,” Pitino said after a Jan. 26 loss to Georgetown. “We don’t like losing, and we’re fighting hard, but all college basketball is judged in March.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 6, 2013 at 1:12 am Contact Jacob: firstname.lastname@example.org