FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) today announced that the Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden was granted accreditation by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission.“AZA accreditation signifies that Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden is committed to meeting the very highest standards in the zoological profession,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “It means that Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden is a proven leader in animal care and welfare and in providing educational and meaningful experiences for visitors.”To be accredited, Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden underwent a thorough review to make certain it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards in categories which include animal care and welfare, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety. AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete this rigorous accreditation process every five years in order to be members of the Association.The accreditation process includes a detailed application and a meticulous on-site inspection by a team of trained zoo and aquarium professionals. The inspecting team observes all aspects of the institution’s operation, including animal care and welfare; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; veterinary programs; financial stability; risk management; visitor services; and more. Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal hearing of AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission, after which accreditation is granted or denied. Any institution that is denied may reapply one year after the Commission’s decision is made.In 2016, AZA notified Mesker Park Zoo that certain conditions or requirements of accreditation were not being met and concerns exist. The Zoo remained accredited during the tabled year and addressed the concerns noted. Mayor Lloyd Winnecke initiated and Evansville City Council voted to set aside $112,000 in 2016 and $78,000 in 2017 to correct the issues presented, and Mayor Winnecke has committed to setting aside additional funds as part of the budget process going forward.“Zoos are more than a showcase for exotic animals and endangered species,” Mayor Winnecke said. “Accredited zoos are focused on animal conservation and research as well as providing a unique educational and recreational experience. That’s why it is important for the City of Evansville and our citizens to support Mesker with funding and through attendance at the zoo.”“We are very pleased the AZA accreditation commission voted today to extend our accredited status, the zoo staff, the mayor and city council have really answered the call to action and accomplished a lot in a relatively short amount of time, but more importantly there is a commitment going forward to sustain this level of support. We are committed to sharing our passion and connecting visitors to our mission of providing quality experiences that promote understanding of the natural world.” said Erik Beck, Zoo Director.About AZAFounded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and eight other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit www.aza.org.About Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic GardenSituated on 45-acres of rolling hills on Evansville’s northwest side, Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden is home to hundreds of animals from around the globe. Their mission is to foster the preservation of the Earth’s diverse species and living systems through an active role in education and conservation in our regional and professional community. They forge connections between people and their natural world by providing quality experiences that promote understanding and celebrate the rich tapestry of life.
“I feel great,” he said. “Just working out and trying to get back in condition.”Pressure, what pressure?The Clippers awoke Friday to find themselves in the eighth and final playoff position in the Western Conference standings, mere percentage points ahead of the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz. They also were two games behind a three-team logjam for fifth.If they were feeling the pressure to win and move up in the standings as they began their stretch run, it wasn’t evident to their coach. He couldn’t tell if they were feeling the heat with the 82-game regular season measured now in weeks rather than months.“That’s actually a question I’ve never known the answer to,” he said. “I mean, I feel the same way I felt last week or two weeks ago, but I’m not playing. Thank goodness for that. I don’t know. I would say the guys are pretty comfortable in their own skin or their own team way.“I don’t think anybody could tell that. I think you could see it in their play, though.”INJURY UPDATESRivers couldn’t say whether Bradley or Danilo Gallinari were making significant progress as they attempted to return from debilitating injuries. Bradley sat out for the eighth game and Gallinari was sidelined for the seventh because of a fractured right hand. The Clippers’ guard rotation has changed significantly since Evans’ last game. They acquired Avery Bradley from the Pistons as part of the deal that sent Blake Griffin to Detroit on Jan. 29. Bradley has since been sidelined by a similar injury and there’s no timetable for his return to the lineup.Austin Rivers and Lou Williams manned the guard positions Friday, with Evans joining Milos Teodosic and Sean Kilpatrick as backups. Kilpatrick was signed to a 10-day contract Sunday to bolster the Clippers’ backcourt.Doc Rivers welcomed Evans’ return.“Just another guard,” he said. “We’re guard light. Having another guard helps us. One of his skills is ball-pressure. That can really help us where we have a guy now who can get up and pressure the ball and use clock, so I think that will be good. I don’t know how much he can give us. We’ll see.”Evans said he was sound after an extended layoff. LOS ANGELES — Jawun Evans wasn’t a part of the Clippers’ plans when his rookie season began. He forced them into playing him, though. He filled a need and his role grew when first Milos Teodosic and then Patrick Beverley suffered injuries in the opening weeks of 2017-18.Evans provided a spark whenever he entered games. He pressured opposing guards and badgered them around the court, none more so than presumptive league MVP James Harden of the Rockets during a Clippers victory on Dec. 22 in Houston.The Rockets didn’t know who he was, but they learned quickly about the 6-footer from Oklahoma State. Evans averaged 5.6 points, 2 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 40 games, then he disappeared from view, sidelined by a lower abdominal injury.Evans made his return to the Clippers’ lineup for Friday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Staples Center. He wasn’t expected to play a big role in his first game since Jan. 20. Coach Doc Rivers wasn’t certain he would play a minute after he was listed as questionable. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
Moving Jim out — as Jeanie has promised to do if they’re not in the Western Conference Finals in two seasons — won’t help.Whether Jeanie means it or not — and she has publicly stated that she does — pigs are as likely to fly as the Lakers are to make the Western finals by next season.So for those who want to count down, that would leave 535 days in Jim’s executive career.Jim has, sensibly, holed up but, being Jim, sticks his head out now and then to take a pie in the face.Before his father involved him with the team, Jim told Sports Illustrated, “If you grabbed 10 fans out of a bar … their opinions would be pretty much identical to those of pro scouts.”Jim has tried to prove the point ever since. The Lakers won five titles with him in the loop, if never in charge.Unfortunately, his father passed away in 2013 with the glory days over and bad about to go to worse.Jim popped his head up again last week in a sit-down with USA Today’s Sam Amick that showed Jimbo hasn’t lost his touch for inviting mayhem.Musing about the mystery of his bad image was OK. Trying to stick it to Magic Johnson, a constant critic, was pure entitlement a la Jimbo.“Magic Johnson going nuts on me?” says Jim. “It’s like, ‘Really, dude? My Dad made you a billionaire almost. Really? Where are you coming from?’ ”Actually, it’s more like Magic almost made a billionaire out of Jim’s dad.As for where Magic is coming from, it’s the same place that Lakers fans are.Johnson applied the coup de grace in a statement to USA Today, replying, “It’s about winning, Jim.”Happily for Lakers fans, the bottom line is that the team is still professionally run in the kind of transition that even great franchises must endure (except the Spurs), despite being beset by an amazing run of bad luck as if making up for decades of good fortune.Jerry Buss didn’t interfere with his basketball people except for a few celebrated instances, like making Jerry West take Dennis Rodman in 1999.In those days, it was Jerry, Jim and Mitch in the room. Now it’s just Jim and Mitch. Insiders say Jim has never ordered Kupchak to do something, or put his judgement ahead of Mitch’s.With the Lakers at a historic nadir, you hear a lot about what’s wrong, almost all of it wrong like Jimbo’s presence, or Kobe Bryant’s, or their skepticism about analytics.Talk about dumb. The Lakers dream would be to get West, the best GM since Red Auerbach’s day, to return. West has no use for analytics, either.Last week LaMarcus Aldrdige went out of his way to note that he regarded Kobe’s presence as one of the most positive things when he met with the Lakers.Kupchak ritually defends Jim, but who listens?If Jeanie sticks to her guns, only one thing will bail out Jimbo: Good luck.Mark Heisler has written an NBA column since 1991 and was honored with the Naismith Hall of Fame’s Curt Gowdy Award in 2006. His column is published Sundays in Los Angeles News Group print editions. I’ve been talking to Lakers people who were involved since that went down the night of Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. As one said unequivocally: “Dr. Buss was the decision-maker.”Jim is hardly the only son or daughter running Dad’s team (see: Jim Dolan, Knicks; Michael Reinsdorf, Bulls; Josh Kroenke, Nuggets; Gail Miller, Jazz). Of course, some, like Kroenke, who played at Missouri, had actual credentials and/or worked their way up in the office, putting in eight hours a day in the office, which Jim didn’t.Nevertheless, Jimbo invited scorn by saying dumb things. Worse, he was the Buss left holding the bag, appearing to take over — although he hadn’t — when the Lakers started into their nosedive.In the bad news for Lakers fans, dumping Jim won’t matter.With Jeanie asserting her role as No. 1 Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak free to run the team as he always has, Jim doesn’t hurt, aside from PR blunders. They were in the right place but it must have been the wrong time. …If more heads may have to roll before the Lakers return to greatness, none is as eagerly awaited as the one under Jim Buss’s baseball cap.Jim doesn’t deserve the flak he gets from Lakers fans but neither did Mike D’Antoni, who was run out on a rail from the day he was hired instead of Phil Jackson.No, Jim didn’t do that. Jerry Buss did, despite the “stab in the back” charge that Jeanie levelled at her brother. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error