Hodgson backs Vardy LONDON (AP): England coach Roy Hodgson backed Jamie Vardy on Wednesday, saying the Leicester striker did not dive in the incident that led to him being sent off last weekend and sympathising with his angry response to the referee. Hodgson’s employer, the English Football Association, charged Vardy with improper conduct over his reaction to the red card in Sunday’s 2-2 draw with West Ham. “I don’t see that as a dive,” Hodgson said. “I think he was unbalanced. I don’t think it was a penalty either, I think he was unbalanced, running at that speed. “I think there was a very slight sort of contact with the defender, who was trying to cover.” Vardy confronted referee Jon Moss, jabbing a finger at the match official while appearing to express his anger at receiving his first red card of the season. “I sympathise with him, I think he was very, very unlucky,” Hodgson said. “But now he has had to swallow the fact that he has been made to leave the field and then, unfortunately, he has reacted like sometimes human beings react. “He hasn’t just said to the ref, ‘Thanks very much, I understand’ and shakes hands and ‘Have a good game’. He has called him a few names, but he is a human being and that can happen.” Vardy seems certain to be in Hodgson’s plans for the European Championship in June and July after leading Leicester’s stunning pursuit of a first-ever top flight title. LEICESTER, England (AP): Leicester striker Jamie Vardy has accepted an English Football Association improper conduct charge over his reaction to being sent off against West Ham. Vardy’s standard one-match ban could now be lengthened, potentially hitting Leicester’s bid for a first Premier League title. The team is five points ahead of Tottenham with four games remaining. Vardy tangled with Angelo Ogbonna before going down in the penalty area early in the second half on Sunday. Vardy angrily confronted referee Jon Moss after receiving his first red card of the season. At the time, Leicester were leading through Vardy’s 22nd goal of the season and went on to draw 2-2. Leicester also tweeted that it accepted an FA charge of failing to control its players after West Ham was awarded a late penalty. Former BPL player wins appeal LONDON (AP): A British court overturned the rape conviction of former Premier League player Ched Evans yesterday and ordered a new trial. Evans, a former Sheffield United and Wales striker, was in the packed London courtroom with his girlfriend when the verdict was read out by the Court of Appeal. Evans was convicted in April 2012 of raping a 19-year-old woman at a hotel in Rhyl, north Wales. He was released from prison last year after serving half of his five-year sentence. The 27-year-old Evans had always maintained his innocence and took his case to the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
LANCASTER – Joe Walker Middle School seventh-graders will study and help maintain the Prime Desert Woodlands, an oasis of native desert life amid urban development, under a $5,200 grant from Edison. Students will study the preserve’s flora and fauna, analyze animal scat – or droppings – and make field guides and footprint casts as part of a program aimed at helping middle-of-the-road students excel in science and prepare for college. “It’s an awesome opportunity for us,” language arts teacher Virginia Irvin said. “We can lecture out of books, but we get an opportunity to be part of what’s going on in the science community. Those are things they remember. That’s what I call a real education.” The Prime Desert Woodlands contains such desert flora as Joshua trees, California junipers and creosote bushes on about 100 acres at Avenue K-8 and 35th Street West. The Joe Walker program will target 30 to 60 students in the college prep program AVID, or Advancement Via Individual Determination, to lead the desert habitat conservation program, Irvin said. AVID helps students in the “middle” whose grade-point averages range from 2.0 up to 3.0 and whose parents didn’t go to college. “We are teaching them how to be school leaders. These kids will be running the program, and it will involve all the seventh-graders,” Irvin said. Science teacher Kathleen Seargeant said the proposal was in part prompted by the need to familiarize students new to the area with their new environs. “For what it’s worth, this came out of a need because so many kids are moving here and they know so little about the high desert environment,” Seargeant said. “We would say, `Where’s your jacket,’ and they would say, `It’s not cold,’ and then by the afternoon it’s 30 degrees.” “We need to educate them about the weather, climate, what sort of organisms are indigenous here. Quite often they would say, `It’s ugly here.’ They move from areas that are green and lush. We are hoping they get some appreciation of some of the things that are here.” The students will also visit the preserve to help keep it clean by picking up trash. Plans call for students to explore the botanical gardens at the Huntington Library in San Marino and compare them with those in the Antelope Valley. “When we are done with the projects, we wanted to go to the Huntington and do a compare-and-contrast with some of their more lush habitats and understand what’s different and wonderful about our own habitat,” Irvin said. email@example.com (661) 267-5744 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The site, developed by the city, has two miles of trails and an interpretive center. Edison International selected Joe Walker as a winner in its New Era Awards competition. The awards recognize schools that use innovation to keep at-risk students engaged in school and focused on academic success. The school was among 19 winners recently awarded a total of nearly $150,000 in the latest round of the company’s annual competition for public and private schools, now in its 16th year. James Beasley, an Edison community involvement program manager, said Joe Walker’s program met the criteria for focusing on science and the environment. “Another goal of the program is that we look at those programs that provide opportunities to what we call the underserved student, not just based on ethnicity but to the low-income student or student who will prosper by getting that extra opportunity or exposure,” Beasley said.