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Meagre rate reduction agreed

first_imgA 0.5% reduction in the commercial rate has been unanimously agreed by all of the city councillors, following its proposal by Cllr Diarmuid Scully.The €153,311 saving to pay for this comes from a reduction of that amount in the provision for lump sum payments to retiring members of City Council staff.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up Cllr John Gilligan had proposed an increase in the rate by 1% to fund repairs to the water supply in St Mary’s Park but withdrew his proposal when he was given an assurance by the city manager that St Mary’s Park would be dealt with as a matter of priority within the existing budget.Cllr Joe Leddin, who proposed a reduction of 1% in the rate, failed to identify any savings and did not get a seconder to his motion. Advertisement Twitter Previous articleFinal section of M7 opens unceremoniouslyNext articleShortt’s ‘quit’ plea falls on deaf ears admin NewsLocal NewsMeagre rate reduction agreedBy admin – December 23, 2010 384 Linkedincenter_img Facebook Email Print WhatsApplast_img read more

USC men’s volleyball set to face off against Northridge

first_imgThe No. 1 ranked USC men’s volleyball team look to extend their winning streak to three at Cal State Northridge today.Junior outside hitter Tony Ciarelli won both the American Volleyball Coaches Association and MPSF Player of the Week awards for his performances against Stanford and Pacific. He finished hitting .667 against defending NCAA champion Stanford with no errors, and also had no receiving or service attempts against Pacific.Strong play · Junior outside hitter Tony Ciarelli was named AVCA and MPSF Player of the Week as he helped USC to two wins at home. – Brandon Hui | Daily Trojan “He tore Stanford and Pacific apart with his serving and hitting,” said senior opposite Murphy Troy. “I’m not surprised he won it, and he definitely deserves it.”Ciarelli did not attend practice Tuesday, but is expected to play against Northridge (4-10, 3-6).Troy missed the match against Pacific with the flu, but is back in full force and will be on the court against Northridge.Redshirt freshman opposite Tanner Jansen had his first career start in place of the All-American Troy. He finished with seven kills earned at a .600 clip to go along with seven digs and three blocks.“It’s one of our best strengths to play against such a great second team in practice every day,” said senior setter Riley McKibbin. “A lot of other teams can only stall the game with substitutes, but ours can win matches for us.”When Northridge first traveled to the Galen Center in early January, they were swept 25-18, 25-17, 25-20.The Trojans’ victory was also the first in 17 matches against the Matadors.The young Northridge squad, however, has developed with age and shown large improvement at home. USC (8-1, 8-1) has not won in the Matadome in eight matches.“Northridge has gotten much, much better,” said USC coach Bill Ferguson. “They finally solidified their lineup and the young guys now have half of a season under their belts.”Included in the new lineup is freshman middle blocker Greg Faulkner, one of three freshman in Northridge’s starting lineup. The Matadors will also start two sophomores.“They have a lot of new starters, kind of the opposite of us,” Troy said. “We have a lot of experience. They’ll look very different tomorrow night.”The Trojans currently lead the MPSF in hitting efficiency, hitting at .390 for the season. McKibbin, who leads the conference in assists, averaging 12.06 per set, is a big part of that. As is Troy, who leads the conference with 4.64 kills per set.“Northridge has gotten to be very good at digging behind one-man blocks,” Ferguson said.In practice, the Trojans have been working on steadily adding to their attacking scheme, employing quick attacks from back-row players to keep defenses honest.“We’re gonna be diverse to the point where we can take whatever’s given to us,” Ferguson said. “We’re gonna force them to spread out and take the middle, the pins, whatever is available.”First serve is at Northridge’s Matadome at 7 p.m. tonight.last_img read more

Ohio grown hard cider back on the menu

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Northeast Ohio is getting a new homegrown, culinary offering courtesy of some down-to-earth sweat and determination.“I hesitate to say the first, but definitely one of the first farm cideries in Ohio since Prohibition,” said Matt Vodraska, of Bent Ladder, LLC. Bent Ladder is a new offshoot of Rittman Orchards & Farm Market, a family business that has grown in recent years to become a household name for homegrown fruits and vegetables locally, offering a plethora of foods from their bucolic slopes in Wayne County.Vodraska is the next generation of his family to be involved in the business. He grew up with fruit, moving from their Ohio fruit farm at the age of 12 to Washington state, later to Tennessee, all before the family came back to the Buckeye state 12 years ago to take over a rundown patch of land where they’ve since seen their business thrive. Matt certainly didn’t always picture himself coming back to the fruit life. He went to school to be a photojournalist, but life called him back to the orchard and 10 years ago, the idea of making wine and hard cider from their fruit became viable. It’s been a roller coaster ever since and Bent Ladder wine and hard cider mill is now opening its doors.“Ohio is actually really interesting when you talk about wine and hard cider,” Vodraska said. “There’s been a great proliferation of wineries in the past 20 years here. Before the 1920s, Ohio grew more grapes than anybody.”History, as we’ll learn, has played a great role in shaping not only the current state of the business, but the purpose of apples in particular down the years.With regard to Cider, “Ohio is really lagging behind the other fruit growing regions in the rest of the country. Washington, Oregon, New York — they all have burgeoning cider industries. I mean people are even doing great things in that state up north. Ohio is the only major fruit growing part of the country that doesn’t have a cider presence…yet.” said Matt, with an emphasis on the yet. “Hopefully the example we’re trying to set will encourage development of the cider industry here in the years to come.”Rittman Orchards sits on over 120 acres of hilly Wayne County land where the family and their employees grow fruits of all kinds. And grow they do — the farm boasts over 80 different varieties of apples. Those range anywhere from heirloom varieties to the modern day kind, though Matt said if he were to choose the most popular variety among customers, Honeycrisp would take the prize.“There are over 40 acres of apples that I have at my disposal for cider making – with both traditional and experimental hard cider varieties,” he said.With over 80 varieties at the operation’s disposal, many may wonder if certain apples are better for specific uses. The answer is yes, but the reasoning reaches back to the history of the everyday kitchen.“Until the late 1930s, with the proliferation of household refrigerators, there really wasn’t the concept of fresh fruit all year. People were eating fresh apples maybe a two or three months of the year. The rest of the time, apples were being consumed in the form of a processed food like applesauce. Canned fruits were prominent since the late 1800s, but before that it was strictly hard cider. So any of these varieties developed before the turn of the last century were good cider apples,” Vodraska said.“All of our heirloom varieties, though they’re good for eating, their true purpose was really as cider apples.”That fact is evident in his product. “I’d drink this all day,” he said as he sipped a hard cider from a blend of early American varieties. “This is what our forefathers tasted. This is the way cider is supposed to taste.”The production of such notable wines and hard ciders is hard work, but worth it he claims. “You can’t cut corners when you create a great product. We don’t believe you can growing exceptional fruit and we surely don’t believe you can crafting a product of the land.It takes quite a few apples to a make that glass of hard cider.“If you’re lucky, about 150 gallons per ton of apples. That works out to about 10 apples in a glass of cider,” Matt said.The process of turning the fruit into hard cider starts with cooling it down to 32 degrees, reducing disease risk and other unfavorables.“A lot of cider gets bad rap as being something that is half rotten and such — we don’t use anything like that. We use good, sound apples. Could be dinged up, but aren’t rotting.”Apples are then hosed down to remove debris from the field before being beaten by machine where the cell walls break down and the apple begins to release juice.The pumice is taken to the press where an inflatable bladder gently presses the juice. The machine that does it at Bent Ladder is of a European type, an example of Vodraska’s dedication to keeping the taste genuine through each step of the process. He would argue the popular American “rack and frame” press uses much higher pressure, and can result in some “off flavors” down the road.“The less you abuse the fruit, the better your end product will be,” he said. “So we try to keep everything as gentle as possible in the course of the operation.”The juice is extracted from the press and pumped into the tank room — an impressive sight as large, stainless steel food-grade tanks line the space.The cider is left to settle in a holding tank for 24-48 hours due to some particulate being left over from the extraction process. Enzymes help aid in the settling. After 48 hours, the cider makers transfer the liquid to another tank where it’s populated with a chosen yeast strain, all depending on the flavor profiles desired.“We add enzymes when we grind the apples to help the juice start to flow more freely.  They continue to work in the juice by breaking down the natural pectins and allowing solids to precipitate out.  We use the term “inoculate” when referring to the addition of a yeast strain to the must,” Vodraska said. ‘Must’ refers to a juice that is destined for cider/wine.“That’s where you really start making your mark as a cider maker,” Vodraska said. “But really, you can’t make great wine or great cider in the cellar. Anybody that tells you otherwise is lying. Great wine and great cider is grown. So I just try not to screw up my brother’s work.”And it truly is a family business. Though Matt has taken on the responsibilities of making wine and bringing artisan hard ciders back to Ohio, his family has been busy in the traditional operation. He and is older brother Chris, who is heavily involved on the growing side, join their parents Dale and Peg — all of which stay busy this time of year.On the day this reporter visited with Matt, it happened to coincide with his birthday, but there were no balloons to be found. “We don’t celebrate birthdays during harvest,” he said with a smile.The family has put notable amount of effort into making their Ohio home productive again, ripping out the old orchards and replanting the property since 2005. More recently, work towards winery supply was taken up.“Its an ongoing process. We put the large apple and peach orchards in during the 2005 planting season but we have added multiple orchards in the years since.  We are now more in upkeep mode as we have had to start replanting again,” he said. “We started planting grapes 7 or 8 years ago. You don’t see any production at all for the first three years. Year four you might get a very light crop, but it’s not until five or six years down the road that you start getting any sizeable production, in terms of both quantity and quality. It’s similar to apples. You aren’t really going to get much crop for three or four years out of an apple tree either, even the dwarf varieties we grow.“We’ve been selling our grapes to other wineries in the area for the past few years. They’ve won some awards using our fruit, so we know we are on the right track.”Bent Ladder has also allowed the family to diversify their business, a smart option according to Matt.“This place serves as sort of a backup. Bad things happen in Ohio in terms of weather. We’ve had hail damage a couple years — windstorms, torrential rains — just awful things. So we can take damaged fruit that would otherwise be unmarketable for fresh market and process it into cider. It’s definitely an insurance policy. ”That doesn’t mean cider fruit is below par by any means, Vodraska said. The cider maker takes too much pride in his work to put out anything below excellent. And with things getting going, he hopes to take his beverages on the road this spring in terms of competition.“I will be set to offer by mid-October about eight or nine different ciders. By the end of winter, I’ll have released a half dozen kinds of wine as well. My full lineup will probably be around 12-15 ciders and about 10 different kinds of wine.”The business has also made their way onto the city scene in the form of locally focused restaurants.“We’ve developed a lot of really good relationships with the locally oriented chefs in Cleveland who’ve all expressed an interest and desire to serve a locally produced cider.”Visitors, of course, are welcome to the cideries’ impressive tasting room, which is nothing to scoff at. The tasting area revolves around a large window, overlooking the picturesque property of Rittman Orchards. The tables were built by local Amish and some walls inside are made with repurposed barn siding formerly in use around the area. The tasting room is not to be mistaken with a full-fledged restaurant. It revolves around the crafted beverages with cheese boards and fresh breads, in the traditional vein.“The next few weekends, we’ll be doing limited hours from 12-9 on Fridays and Saturdays. We’ll start into more regular hours three or four days a week sometime in October.”Matt hopes to introduce a new cider variety every week or two through the fall, in order to keep the offerings fresh and to give visitors another reason to return, though he mentioned the size of the operation isn’t something he sees changing down the road. The family is happy keeping “artisan quality” at the forefront of their business description.last_img read more