Madison Packer has two goals and four assists so far in the 2013 WCHA playoffs.[/media-credit]Fresh off a two-game sweep of St. Cloud State University in the first round of the WCHA playoffs and currently riding an eight-game winning streak, the Wisconsin women’s hockey team is playing their best hockey of the season.In the midst of Wisconsin’s tremendous performances has come the emergence of junior forward Madison Packer, who has come on strong for the Badgers in the second half of the season, especially during the team’s winning streak. During the Badgers’ current eight-game winning stretch, the Michigan native has scored five goals and notched nine assists.Packer, who has 18 goals and 19 assists on the season, proved her dominance was here to stay last weekend with a strong performance against the Huskies, scoring twice and earning four assists – a stat line that even outshined that of Patty Kazmaier award finalist Brianna Decker who finished with five points against St. Cloud State.“She plays in some key situations,” head coach Mark Johnson said. “Obviously playing a lot of the season with Brianna at the top line and being a part of our first power play, you will look for her to score some goals and create or set up some goals and be part of that and she has done that.”In a career littered with injuries and adversity, Packer has had a long road to the success she is enjoying now. Last season, Packer was lost among a roster jam-packed with talented forwards and hampered by multiple injuries throughout the season. The forward ended her 2011-2012 campaign with four goals and 14 assists – a mark 19 points short of her 2012-2013 numbers.“I’ve stepped it up and come a long way from last season,” Packer said. “You look at my stats from last season and then you look at this year, it’s hard to even compare the two, so I think that I’ve accepted a different role this year and stepped it up a little bit.”The production is a marked contrast from this past November, where Johnson decided to move Packer from the first line to the second after a slow start. Re-evaluating her game, she started to make some tweaks to her game including the way she held her stick.“I think I was gripping my stick a little tight and Decks actually had a conversation with me and just said, ‘It’s going to happen when it happens,’ so I kind of settled down a bit and things opened up,” Packer said.About halfway through the season, Packer fought her way back to the front line with Decker and Karley Sylvester. After being put on the first line for the second time this season, Packer has been able to generate chemistry with Decker and has played with an increased level of confidence that has gone hand-in-hand with her success.“She’s had a lot more confidence in the second half of the season and even a little bit before break,” Decker said. “We’re playing together, we’re doing well and we’re clicking. So, I think she’s getting a lot more opportunities to put the puck in the net.”“It’s fun to play with one another,” Packer said of Decker. “We need to talk more on the ice, but there are times when I don’t even pick my head up and I’ll make a pass and she’ll be there and vice versa.”Beyond Packer’s ability to score and facilitate in the second half of the season is her physicality of play that brings a sense of energy to the team. The junior seems to be in the thick of any choppiness on the ice.“We need that type of player on the team that can sacrifice themselves to stand up for other people or take the body in a lot of situations,” Decker said. “Every team needs one of those players and I’m glad to have her as one of them.”While the team may benefit from Packer’s hard-nosed style, it also has to deal with the consequences that come with it – Packer leads the team in penalties and penalty minutes with 29 and 58 respectively.“Sometimes I’m a little more aggressive, but I send a message,” Packer said. “I think that St. Cloud was a little chippy last weekend and if you look at the game and the way it went after I threw that girl to the ground after the whistle, they weren’t really going to the corners and messing with people. I’m a bigger player, so I’m not afraid to mix it put, maybe I should tone it down and hold my temper a little bit going into the playoffs, but it’s fun.”Penalties or no penalties, Packer has been a tremendous asset to a Wisconsin attack that is gaining steam and will be needed in the Badgers’ next matchup with North Dakota which will in essence act as a play in game for the NCAA tournament.Packer says her recent play has given her confidence, but credits her teammates for her late-season success.“Yeah, I have a lot of confidence, but also I have a lot of confidence in my teammates,” Packer said. “I had I think four assists on the weekend, so that’s someone else putting the puck in the net when I’m giving it to them.”
Two men were on Thursday arrested at Turtle Creek, Middle Mazaruni with an unlicensed .9mm pistol and eight matching rounds of ammunition.Based on reports, ranks of a Police mobile patrol conducted a search on the two men who were travelling on an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) during which the gun and ammunition were discovered.The men were taken into custody and charges.Charges are expected to be laid shortly.
Once upon a time, back when dinosaurs roamed the planet, I learned COBOL. While I never wrote any deployed applications in the language, I did use it to teach an undergraduate course in computer science for business majors, back in the early 1980s. Those poor students, who submitted their programs on punch cards for an IBM System/370, complained that the class was the most time-consuming of their undergraduate studies, often requiring lots of late nights at the campus computer center.Hint: If you are using a punch card, it’s important to have excellent typing skills.Today, of course, COBOL is more likely to be a punchline. Sure, there was a resurgence of interest in the language about 15 years ago, when everyone was concerned about the Y2K problem. After that, legacy systems running COBOL disappeared from the public eye. Everyone would much rather use Java or C# or Python or Ruby or Objective-C; that’s where the jobs are, right?Don’t be so quick to discount COBOL, especially if you are looking for a job, or think that you might be. There are lots of COBOL applications running all over the world, and more and more COBOL experts are retiring every day. I’d like to share some information from one of the biggest COBOL vendors: Micro Focus. Bear in mind that Micro Focus’ interest is self-serving, but with that said, I find the information fascinating.According to the company, “A poll of academic leaders from 119 universities across the world saw more than half (58%) say they believed COBOL programming should be on their curriculum, with 54% estimating the demand for COBOL programming skills would increase or stay the same over the next 10 years. That’s a far cry from today’s reality. Of the 27% confirming COBOL programming was part of their curriculum, only 18% had it as a core part of the course, while the remaining 9% made it an elective component.”The company has a lot of bullet points about COBOL, which I’ll share verbatim:• COBOL supports 90% of Fortune 500 business systems every day• 70% of all critical business logic and data is written in COBOL• COBOL connects 500 million mobile phone users every day• COBOL applications manage the care of 60 million patients every day• COBOL powers 85% of all daily business transactions processed• COBOL applications move 72,000 shipping containers every day and process 85% of port transactions• 95% of all ATM transactions use COBOL• COBOL enables 96,000 vacations to be booked every year• COBOL powers 80% of all point-of-sale transactions• There are 200 more COBOL transactions per day than Google + You Tube searches worldwide• $2 trillion worth of mainframe applications in corporations are written in COBOL• 1.5 million new lines of COBOL code are written every day• 5 billion lines of new COBOL code are developed every year• The total investment in COBOL technologies, staff and hardware is estimated at $5 trillion• An estimated 2 million people are currently working in COBOLMicro Focus cites the Aberdeen Group, Giga Information Group, Database and Network Journal, The COBOL Report, SearchEngineWatch.com, Tactical Strategy Group, and The Future of COBOL report as sources for those points.