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TENNIS : Syracuse tennis takes major step toward postseason with victory over No. 25 Yale

first_img Comments Published on February 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Kevin: kmprisei@syr.edu Facebook Twitter Google+center_img After defeating Annie Sullivan, Alessondra Parra immediately hustled to join her teammates at the other end of Drumlins Tennis Center. Only one match was still in play.That final match against Yale would decide whether Parra would realize the biggest victory of her Syracuse career.So when Aleah Marrow finally outlasted her opponent and threw her racket up in jubilation, Parra and the rest of the Orange rushed to the court. After almost an hour of watching from the sidelines, the emotion needed to be released.‘Trying to cheer your teammates on, it’s so much more stressful than actually playing,’ Parra said. ‘You’re on the edge, and you almost want to push them through the finish line.’With Marrow’s win, Syracuse knocked off No. 25 Yale 4-3 in a match that Parra immediately dubbed her biggest win ‘without a doubt.’ For Parra and fellow senior Emily Harman, the victory reflected four years of dedication and constant improvement. For the team, though, the win over Yale established SU’s belief that it has the potential to compete with the elite programs in the nation.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe magnitude of the match was clear as Parra beamed after the match, talking about the win with a big smile on her face.‘This says that our hard work over the past few years has paid off,’ Parra said. ‘We won because of our hard work, and this shows that we have a solid and good team.’Head coach Luke Jensen decided to put Parra and Harman at No. 1 doubles Sunday, two days after Parra sat out of doubles for Friday’s match against William and Mary. The seniors took the opportunity to show the rest of their teammates that Yale was beatable, which they hoped would set the tone for the match.Before the match, Parra and Harman discussed their notes and prepared a game plan revolving around mistake-free play. They wanted to go into the match knowing exactly what they needed to do to emerge victorious, Parra said.Then they went out and won 8-3 against the No. 27 nationally ranked duo of Hanna Yu and Vicky Brook.‘It felt good to execute what we had strategized earlier,’ Parra said. ‘It was a very clean match, and we didn’t have that many errors.’Even though Yale won the other two doubles matches to earn the first point, the seniors’ efforts proved the Orange could compete with the Bulldogs. They continued the momentum by proceeding to win their respective singles matches. Harman took down Yale No. 1 Elizabeth Epstein 6-1, 7-5, while Parra defeated Sullivan 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) in a second set tiebreaker.Harman went into the match wanting to set the tone early with energy and passion. With that mentality, Harman said the Bulldogs would know they were in for a challenge.‘Parra and I really wanted to roll out as captains and show them who’s boss,’ Harman said. ‘I think we surprised them. I don’t think they expected us to come out with that much fire.’Aside from improving to 8-4, the win could end up being much more meaningful for the Orange. The NCAA tournament selection committee notices wins over ranked teams, important for Syracuse considering Jensen’s goal of winning a national championship.The victory will only help the program strengthen its position in the country, Jensen said.‘It helps us recruit better, and it helps us establish ourselves with our hard work,’ Jensen said.Tension was present throughout the entire building, as evidenced by frequent confusion regarding line calls in Marrow’s deciding match. When a match means so much to a program’s foundation, Jensen said that pressure is bound to rise.But the tension didn’t bring the Orange down.At the end, Harman and Parra were able to enjoy this program-defining victory with their teammates. Harman feels that Sunday’s performance shows the younger players they have the ability to succeed on the big stage‘I hope that as an older and more experienced part, I can set the tone where they can expect that for themselves, where they don’t have to look for anything,’ Harman said. ‘These are the types of matches we can look back to and draw upon when we’re in the bigger moments.’kmprisei@syr.edulast_img read more

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Changing global dynamics see Paddy Power Betfair & Stars Group discuss giant merger plans

first_img Flutter moves to refine merger benefits against 2020 trading realities August 27, 2020 Submit Related Articles Share Share FSB selects Glenn Elliott as new COO August 12, 2020 StumbleUpon The Sunday Times has this weekend reported that the governances of Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) and The Stars Group Inc held mutual talks in late 2018, discussing a ground-breaking merger.The two enterprises, which are competing to dominate global gambling’s new landscape disrupted by the repeal of US PASPA federal laws, multiple changes in European regulatory frameworks and the UK’s enforced FOBTs £2 wagering limit, are reported to have reviewed a potential £9 billion tie-up.Both organisations have completed transformative 2018s, in which FTSE100 PPB merged its Betfair US division with its newly acquired FanDuel asset, moving to launch a new US-facing subsidiary.Meanwhile, expanding its profile within an M&A crazed online gambling scene, Toronto TSX-listed The Stars Group Inc would act as the sector’s biggest spender, acquiring Sky Betting & Gaming (Sky Bet) for $4.7 billion, and the new Australian assets of Crownbet and William Hill AUS for a combined $650 million.In its report, The Sunday Times states that discussions are no-longer taking place between parties and that any potential multi £ billion tie-up would have come under strict regulatory scrutiny assessing competition impacts.Whilst both companies have neither confirmed or denied The Sunday Times report, the speculated merger discussions can be viewed as further evidence that 2019 will see a continuation of global gambling’s relentless M&A trend. Luckbox outlines final TSXV roadmap July 29, 2020last_img read more

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“I will always respect Kwesi Appiah for the opportunity”- Black Stars head coach C.K. Akonnor

first_img Source: Ghana FA CK Akonnor recently opened up to the Communications Department on his appointment as latest head coach of the Black Stars.Here is a transcript of episode II of the serialized conversation with the ex-captain now trainer of the Ghana senior national team talking about support and his predecessor Kwasi Appiah:Has any of your former mates reached out and how supportive have they been since you took charge of the team as head coach?“Only a few, some have spoken to me through the media.A person like Sam Johnson, he was really speaking out as to what I need to do and I take that in good faith. He wants me to succeed and so whatever comes from him is good.He is not coaching but of course, he knows the game. Of course, Sammy Kuffour is part of management. I have met him on several occasions, the little advice that he has, he has given me.Augustine Ahinful has also been supportive since I started coaching.There are those who can speak to you directly and there are those who will speak out through the media, it’s a way of giving you a message and I accept all of that in good fate.”How often do you talk to your former boss Kwasi Appiah and what has been his reaction since you took over?“I went to him [before taking up the job] because before he got me to assist him there was a lot of discussion between us.I told him my opinion and what I stand for, he accepted that in good fate and so once he is no more the coach, there was the need to for me to give him that respect.Because truth be told, he is the one who got me there, nobody did. It’s a miracle for me to be his assistant and within two months and after two matches, I am the head.It can only be a miracle, nobody [else] got me there and so I have to give him that respect and I will continue to give him that respect.”What do you need from Ghanaians and the GFA to be successful? “Well, its support. The necessary support that I need, the calmness to work.We have this tendency where people come into your business and do things. This is what I have done since childhood; from the age of 12, I started playing football.I played football to a certain level and stopped, now I am into coaching. I know about the game. I understand the game that is what I know, so I am comfortable there. For me, this is what I do.This is me, football is part of me and I am comfortable doing it, irrespective of what comes with it, the salary and all those things. It is what I know and this is what I do.It is my work and so I am comfortable within that zone. And so I will do this to the best of my knowledge.”last_img read more

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Alexander: A night to honor Angels’ Tyler Skaggs becomes even more special

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros This wasn’t just a body blow for players and coaches. General Manager Billy Eppler, who has his own priorities and responsibilities as the July 31 trade deadline approaches, noted that he’s found it hard to maintain focus.“It’s not that easy of a plug-and-play,” he said. “I’ll find myself sometimes in mid-conversation and just kind of drift for a second or two, or 10 seconds, or whatever it is. I mean, this stuff hits people just randomly.”But, he said, if there is a member of the organization who can help people get through this, it is their best player.“I’m going to repeat a line that’s been said a little bit: His shoulders are broad because he carries around a lot,” Eppler said. “This young man has just continued to be there for everybody. He’s an MVP, and he’s also a shoulder to cry on or to cry with. He’s a best friend. He’s a husband, he’s a son, he’s a teammate.”Being the team spokesman, in such trying circumstances, likely has been harder than anything Trout has ever had to deal with on a baseball field.But he has shown us, again, that there are many ways to be an MVP.jalexander@scng.com@Jim_Alexander on Twitter Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone The emotions remain raw. Skaggs’ locker in the Angels clubhouse remains intact, uniforms and sweatshirts, socks and shoes and his glove neatly placed. A sign saying, yes, “We’re Nasty” adorns the wall opposite the long row of cubicles.Skaggs’ influence and memory will be felt in myriad other ways.“I catch myself thinking about him all the time, honestly,” injured infielder Zack Cozart said. “It kind of haunts me because it’s just so sudden and tragic … 45 will always be in my mind. To be honest, I think with all the guys here that’s how it’s gonna be.“He’s the life of the team, honestly. He’s the music guy, he’s pumping everybody up. I went to Ole Miss, and him and (Andrew) Heaney used to have a thing with me where in a country voice they’d go ‘Hotty Toddy,’ because that’s the slogan at Ole Miss. When you’re around guys all the time, you have little things like that. Now every time I hear ‘Hotty Toddy,’ I’ll be thinking about Tyler.”Note that Cozart referred to Skaggs in the present tense. That will happen for a while, too.The pregame ceremony, with a tribute video and an emotional first pitch by his mom, Debbie, a former softball ace – yeah, you’d better believe she threw a perfect strike – was just a prelude.Example: Trout touched off that seven-run first inning (and a 3-for-4, six-RBI night) with a two-run home run, a 454-foot rocket to dead center, on the first pitch from Mike Leake. He rarely swings at the first pitch.“Like I said, he’s watching over everybody,” Trout said.The night was cathartic. But even when the games aren’t as rousing as this one was, the night after night nature of baseball is therapeutic in its own way, normalcy through repetition.“The fact that the game distracts them probably eased the pain a little bit,” Manager Brad Ausmus said. “We all went our separate ways at the All-Star break; again, another distraction. We came back here, and I walked into the ballpark today and saw the flowers and the signs out front. That was kind of special.”But true healing will take time, and probably a lot of it, depending on the individual. More than likely, that ache in the heart never really goes away, but over time you learn to manage it.“I think it’s going to be tough this season” to truly get back to normal, Trout said. “Obviously we’re going to remember him always. It just seems like everything we do at the stadium, he always comes up. You walk by his locker every day and you miss that fun. Every time you’d go up to him he had that smirk on his face, either in a sarcastic way, jokingly, or just trying to put a smile on your face.“It’s going to be with us for sure, obviously the rest of the time I play, but more the rest of the season because it’s here. We’re always going to be thinking about it, so it’s always going to be emotional. It doesn’t matter. It’s different for everybody, and it’s just something we’re going to have to get through.”Related Articlescenter_img Were there greater forces at work?“You can’t make this stuff up,” All-Star center fielder Mike Trout said. “We scored seven runs in the first, ended with 13. Tyler’s birthday is 7-13. Thirteen runs, thirteen hits. … Tonight was in honor of him. He was looking over us tonight, and he’s probably up there sayin’ we’re nasty.”That phrase, of course, became Skaggs’ trademark. It apparently will be the Angels’ motto going forward.It was a night packed with emotion, from the moments Angels players entered the ballpark – maybe walking past the impromptu shrine, with flowers and caps and signs and candles and baseballs, that fans set up outside the home plate gate – to the moments following the game when the uniformed personnel, all of whom wore “SKAGGS 45” jerseys, took them off and laid them on the pitcher’s mound.The decision to wear the jerseys was made a week ago. Laying them on the mound was more spur of the moment, thought up by hitting coach Jeremy Reed and passed on to Justin Upton and then Trout and from there to the rest of the team. Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter PreviousAngels center fielder Mike Trout stands in front of the sign on the outfield wall that honors former Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who passed away on July 1. Trout kick-started their 13-0 victory over the Mariners on Friday night with a towering home run, then watched two of his teammates combine on the team’s first no-hitter since 2012. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Felix Pena #45 of the Los Angeles Angels jumps into the arms of catcher Dustin Garneau #13 as the Los Angeles Angels throw a combined no-hitter and defat the Seattle Mariners 13-0 during a MLB baseball game at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Felix Pena #64 of the Los Angeles Angels gets the final out as the Los Angeles Angels throw a combined no-hitter and defat the Seattle Mariners 13-0 during a MLB baseball game at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsLos Angeles Angels relief pitcher Felix Pena, right, celebrates with catcher Dustin Garneau after the Angels threw a combined no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners during a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. Taylor Cole pitched the first two innings. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Felix Pena #64 of the Los Angeles Angels jumps into the arms of catcher Dustin Garneau #13 as the Los Angeles Angels throw a combined no-hitter and defat the Seattle Mariners 13-0 during a MLB baseball game at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Angels pitcher Felix Pena jumps into the arms of catcher Dustin Garneau after the final out of the team’s combined no-hitter in a 13-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night at Angel Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Teammates wearing #45 mobbed Felix Pena #45 of the Los Angeles Angels after getting the final out as the Los Angeles Angels throw a combined no-hitter and defat the Seattle Mariners 13-0 during a MLB baseball game at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Teammates wearing #45 mobbed Felix Pena #45 of the Los Angeles Angels after getting the final out as the Los Angeles Angels throw a combined no-hitter and defat the Seattle Mariners 13-0 during a MLB baseball game at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Teammates wearing #45 mobbed Felix Pena #45 of the Los Angeles Angels after getting the final out as the Los Angeles Angels throw a combined no-hitter and defat the Seattle Mariners 13-0 during a MLB baseball game at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Felix Pena, second from left, is congratulated by teammates after he finished off a combined no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners during a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. Taylor Cole pitched the first two innings. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Los Angeles Angels throw a combined no-hitter and defat the Seattle Mariners 13-0 during a MLB baseball game at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 12: Felix Pena #45 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim tips his cap while his team mates run out to conratulate him on a combined no-htter against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. The entire Angels team wore Tyler Skaggs #45 jersey to honor him after his death on July 1. Angels won 13-0. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)Angels pitcher Felix Pena, center, looks on after every member of the team places their No. 45 Skaggs jerseys on the mound in honor of their former teammate after their 13-0, no-hit victory over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night at Angel Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Los Angeles Angels placed their jerseys on the mound in honor of Tyler Skaggs as the Los Angeles Angels throw a combined no-hitter and defat the Seattle Mariners 13-0 during a MLB baseball game at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Felix Pena, right, hugs starter Taylor Cole after they threw a combined-no hitter against the Seattle Mariners during a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. The Angels won 13-0. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Taylor Cole, left, and relief pitcher Felix Pena, right, alongside Pena’s interpreter, middle, acknowledge the crowd’s applause after a combined no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners during a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. The Angels won 13-0. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Fans holds of signs during a tribute for pitcher Tyler Skaggs who passed away on On July 1, 2019 prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Felix Pena #64 of the Los Angeles Angels as the Los Angeles Angels throw a combined no-hitter and defat the Seattle Mariners 13-0 during a MLB baseball game at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Felix Pena #64 of the Los Angeles Angels gets the final out as the Los Angeles Angels throw a combined no-hitter and defat the Seattle Mariners 13-0 during a MLB baseball game at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Members of Tyler Skaggs’ family, including wife, Carli, left; mother, Debbie, second from left; and stepfather, Dan Ramos, third from left, join in a moment of silence in Tyler’s honor before the Los Angeles Angels’ baseball game against the Seattle Mariners Friday, July 12, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)The late Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs’ mother, Debbie, center in red, throws the game’s ceremonial first pitch, at a baseball game between the Angels and the Seattle Mariners on Friday, July 12, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Los Angeles Angels manager Brad Ausmus, facing camera, hugs the late pitcher Tyler Skaggs’ mother, Debbie, before the team’s baseball game against the Seattle Mariners on Friday, July 12, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Debbie Skaggs, center left, mother of the late pitcher Tyler Skaggs, gets a hug from Los Angeles Angels outfielder Andrew Heaney before the Angels’ baseball game against the Seattle Mariners on Friday, July 12, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)A moment of silence during a tribute for pitcher Tyler Skaggs who passed away on On July 1, 2019 prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Members of the Los Angeles Angels observe a moment of silence for teammate Tyler Skaggs, before a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners on Friday, July 12, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Members of the Los Angeles Angels observe a moment of silence for teammate Tyler Skaggs before the team’s baseball game against the Seattle Mariners on Friday, July 12, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Fans hold of signs during a tribute for pitcher Tyler Skaggs who passed away on On July 1, 2019 prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 12: Tyler Skaggs wife Carli Skaggs, and his mother Debbie Hetman stand next to step father Dan Ramos during the National Anthem before the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim play the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)The players of both teams line up during a tribute for pitcher Tyler Skaggs who passed away on On July 1, 2019 prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)The players of both teams line up during a tribute for pitcher Tyler Skaggs who passed away on On July 1, 2019 prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Debbie Skaggs, mother of Tyler Skaggs holds Tyler Skaggs wife, Carli as father Dan Ramos, right, wipes his face during a tribute for pitcher Tyler Skaggs who passed away on On July 1, 2019 prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Members of the Los Angeles Angels wear No. 45 in honor of teammate Tyler Skaggs, who died earlier this month, during the team’s baseball game against the Seattle Mariners on Friday, July 12, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)A framed jersey of Tyler Skaggs on the pitching mound during a tribute for pitcher Tyler Skaggs who passed away on On July 1, 2019 prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)A framed jersey of Tyler Skaggs on the pitching mound during a tribute for pitcher Tyler Skaggs who passed away on On July 1, 2019 prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Debbie Hetman, mother of Tyler Skaggs hugs team members during a tribute for pitcher Tyler Skaggs who passed away on On July 1, 2019 prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Debbie Hetman, mother of Tyler Skaggs hugs team members during a tribute for pitcher Tyler Skaggs who passed away on On July 1, 2019 prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Debbie Hetman, Tyler Skaggs’ mother, hugs Angels pitcher Andrew Heaney as stepfather Dan Ramos, left, and widow of Tyler Skaggs Carli, right look on during a tribute to pitcher Tyler Skaggs who passed away on July 1, 2019 prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Fans look on during a tribute for pitcher Tyler Skaggs who passed away on On July 1, 2019 prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Danny Hetman (stepfather) , left, with Debbie Skaggs (Mother), second from left, wife Carli Skaggs, catcher Andrew Heaney #45 of the Los Angeles Angels and Garret Hetman, right, during a tribute for pitcher Tyler Skaggs who passed away on On July 1, 2019 prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Debbie Hetman, mother of Tyler looks on as stepfather Dan Ramos marks in the dirt before throwing out the ceremonial pitch during a tribute for pitcher Tyler Skaggs who passed away on On July 1, 2019 prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Debbie Hetman, mother of Tyler looks mark in the dirt before throwing out the ceremonial pitch during a tribute for pitcher Tyler Skaggs who passed away on On July 1, 2019 prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Debbie Skaggs, mother of Tyler throws out the ceremonial pitch during a tribute for pitcher Tyler Skaggs who passed away on On July 1, 2019 prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Debbie Hetman, mother of Tyler Skaggs holds Tyler Skaggs wife, Carli as father Danny Hetman, right, wipes his face during a tribute for pitcher Tyler Skaggs who passed away on On July 1, 2019 prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Debbie Hetman, mother of Tyler looks to the sky as stepson Garret Hetman reacts after throwing out the ceremonial pitch during a tribute for pitcher Tyler Skaggs who passed away on On July 1, 2019 prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Fans hold of signs during a tribute for pitcher Tyler Skaggs who passed away on On July 1, 2019 prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 12: Mike Trout #45 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim runs to the dugout at the end of the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. All the Angels players wore Tyler Skaggs jersey #45 to honor him after his July 1 death. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)Shohei Ohtani #45 of the Los Angeles Angels singles against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning of a MLB baseball game at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Shohei Ohtani #45 of the Los Angeles Angels high fives teammate Mike Trout #45 after scoring against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning of a MLB baseball game at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Shohei Ohtani #45 of the Los Angeles Angels scores on a single by teammate Andrelton Simmons (not pictured) against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning of a MLB baseball game at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Shohei Ohtani #45 of the Los Angeles Angels singles against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning of a MLB baseball game at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Mike Trout #45 of the Los Angeles Angels high fives teammates after hitting a two run home run against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning of a MLB baseball game at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Mike Trout #45 of the Los Angeles Angels looks toward the scoreboard after hitting a two run home run against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning of a MLB baseball game at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Andrelton Simmons #45 of the Los Angeles Angels doubles against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning of a MLB baseball game at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)David Fletcher #45 of the Los Angeles Angels singles against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning of a MLB baseball game at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Mike Leake #8 of the Seattle Mariners throws to the plate against the Los Angeles Angels in the first inning of a MLB baseball game at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Taylor Cole #45 of the Los Angeles Angels throws to the plate against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning of a MLB baseball game at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Starting pitcher Taylor Cole #45 of the Los Angeles Angels takes a moment prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Andrelton Simmons #45 of the Los Angeles Angels prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Mike Trout #45 of the Los Angeles Angels prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Players and coaches hug as Tommy La Stella sits on the bench next to a jersey of Tyler Skaggs hangs in the dugout during a tribute for pitcher Tyler Skaggs who passed away on On July 1, 2019 prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Brad Ausmus, center, of the Los Angeles Angels with coaches Mike Gallego, left, and Jesus Feliciano, right, sit next to a framed jersey of Tyler Skaggs during a tribute for pitcher Tyler Skaggs who passed away on On July 1, 2019 prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Angels center fielder Mike Trout stands in front of the sign on the outfield wall that honors former Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who passed away on July 1. Trout kick-started their 13-0 victory over the Mariners on Friday night with a towering home run, then watched two of his teammates combine on the team’s first no-hitter since 2012. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Felix Pena #45 of the Los Angeles Angels jumps into the arms of catcher Dustin Garneau #13 as the Los Angeles Angels throw a combined no-hitter and defat the Seattle Mariners 13-0 during a MLB baseball game at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)NextShow Caption1 of 61Felix Pena #45 of the Los Angeles Angels jumps into the arms of catcher Dustin Garneau #13 as the Los Angeles Angels throw a combined no-hitter and defat the Seattle Mariners 13-0 during a MLB baseball game at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)ExpandANAHEIM — Closure can be elusive. For the Angels, who lost teammate Tyler Skaggs a little less than two weeks ago, it will come slowly, haltingly, maybe uneasily, and probably at a different pace for each member of the organization.But there are nights like Friday, the night before Skaggs would have turned 28, when in honoring their teammate the Angels delivered another of those evenings at the ballpark that you just don’t expect.It was the first game after the All-Star break, and their first home game since Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room two Mondays ago, before the subsequently-postponed first game of a road trip in Texas.To commemorate? They scored seven runs in the first inning, 13 for the game, and pitchers Taylor Cole and Felix Peña combined on the franchise’s second combined no-hitter, a 13-0 victory over Seattle.last_img read more

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LA Dodgers draft pick Devin Smeltzer overcame pediatric cancer

first_imgFor a few years now, scouts have been impressed by the hard-throwing left-hander with the Chris Sale-like windup. Pitching for San Jacinto College in suburban Houston, Smeltzer struck out 20 batters in one game at the JUCO World Series on June 3. That game, and some other outstanding performances before it, probably nudged Smeltzer up a few teams’ draft lists. He might not be on the board at all if not for a life-altering detour to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children as a 9-year-old.“Without cancer I wouldn’t be who I am today,” Smeltzer said. “If I was asked to go through it again, as a 20-year-old guy getting drafted by the Dodgers, I’d say I would go through it again. It really taught me priorities and people in my life — who I need to keep around, who I need to get rid of. It was honestly a blessing in disguise. I wouldn’t change a thing.”‘I remember it like it was yesterday’The bad news emerged in the summer of 2005. Smeltzer was playing in a baseball tournament with other 9-year-olds when he kept running to the bathroom, needing to urinate. He’d been to the doctor multiple times before, each time being incorrectly diagnosed with a urinary tract infection. A photo sits above Tim and Christina Smeltzer’s television set in Voorhees, New Jersey, showing their son Devin with Cole Hamels, then a pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. At a glance, it’s a typical photo. Hamels has probably posed with hundreds of children in the Philadelphia suburbs over the years.Look closer, however, and you’ll see that 10-year-old Devin has no hair on his head and no eyebrows. The photo was snapped during the longest year of Devin’s life, when he was undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments for pelvic rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer.“To look at that picture now,” Tim Smeltzer said, “you would never know that was the same kid.”Two weeks ago, almost 11 years after Devin Smeltzer was diagnosed with cancer, the Dodgers selected him in the fifth round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft. He signed for $500,000 with the club on Wednesday. “One of the dads on the field who was a friend of ours told us we should seek somebody — he was a pediatric urologist, Dr. Eric Steckler,” Tim Smeltzer recalled. “He got us in the next day.”Devin Smeltzer was scheduled to pitch that night, a Friday. It would prove to be the rare occasion he couldn’t take the ball.After he was checked into St. Christopher’s, a bevy of tests followed. When it was revealed that Devin had a grapefruit-sized tumor pressing against his bladder — causing the frequent urination — there would be no baseball that night, or any night for a few more months. A biopsy confirmed the presence of cancer. “When you hear something like that with your child you’re trying to figure out why,” Christina Smeltzer said. “Is it where we’re living, something in the water, something we did?”The Smeltzers said there was no evidence of an environmental trigger, or any family history of cancer that would predict Devin’s tumor. Fortunately they were given favorable odds of beating the disease with an aggressive treatment plan that all but killed Devin’s appetite. Over many months of treatment, his weight dropped to 50 pounds.“I remember it like it was yesterday. It was tough,” he recalled. “I was very angry at first. Pulled the ‘why me’ pity card. One day I woke up and I looked around and realized I didn’t have it too bad compared to a lot of the kids in there. I realized I was going to beat it and continue on with my life, a normal one that.”Baseball as therapyDevin’s weight didn’t drop below 50 pounds because he was given an ultimatum: Start eating, or have the doctors insert a feeding tube to boost his weight. The feeding tube came with a drawback, though. Devin would not be able to play baseball with a tube down his throat. So, eating food with no taste became an acceptable alternative. No baseball was not an option.“It was the one thing he could do and still be a kid,” Christina Smeltzer said.Devin didn’t care much to obey the doctor’s orders to take it easy on the field and avoid physical contact, including getting hit by pitches. Frail but undeterred, Devin didn’t miss a season of youth baseball during his year-long treatment.Smeltzer’s cancer has been in remission ever since, to the point where it was not a concern by the time the Padres drafted him in the 33rd round out of high school (he opted to attend Florida Gulf Coast University his freshman year instead). His reputation as an all-out, all-the-time player outlasted his cancer. So did his friendships.Smeltzer met them at St. Christopher’s when he was 9. He made it out of the hospital; they didn’t. He wrote their names under the bill of his hat all through high school, then again during his freshman year at Florida Gulf Coast University, then during his sophomore year at San Jacinto College. Sweat blurred the ink over the years, to the point where it’s almost illegible, but Smeltzer has committed their names to memory.“I know who’s in there,” he said. “When I look up, I know who I’m looking to.”When he gets his first Dodgers hat, Smeltzer said he’ll write the same names under the bill again.Showcase fundraiserWhen Matt Hyde, the Northeast Region scout for the New York Yankees, sent out his standard questionnaire for high school prospects in his area a couple years ago, one answer on Smeltzer’s questionnaire intrigued him.“In response to ‘what are your goals away from baseball?’ he answered it, ‘he wanted to give back to the people who helped him through battling cancer,’” Hyde said. “That’s what prompted us to do this winter fundraiser that we call Swing For the Cure.”Smeltzer has helped Hyde and others produce the annual youth baseball showcase in Syracuse, New York ever since. Going on its third year this November, the showcase has raised $80,000 for various nonprofit institutions, including St. Christopher’s.There’s no easy way to teach what Smeltzer has learned in his short life: The same mentality needed to defeat cancer isn’t all that different from that of a successful professional athlete. (Smeltzer previously committed to Texas Tech for his junior year but is expected to formalize his contract with the Dodgers soon.)On Feb. 24, Smeltzer gave up 10 runs in two innings to Wharton County Junior College, a 12-9 San Jacinto loss. With an April 7 rematch looming on the schedule, Smeltzer asked for the ball against Wharton a second time. He got it and tossed a no-hitter, striking out 16 batters in a 6-0 win.For some, it might have been the victory of their life. But when Smeltzer talks about the perspective he gained through his battle with cancer, he means it. Baseball is just a game. Playing during the day and taking chemo treatments at night will teach you that, even at 10 years old.“I just looked and realized, I’m playing ball,” he said. “I may be sick as a dog but I have my health in a sense where I can walk, play ball, pitch, play center field. I just saw some kids who were just so sick that it was unbelievable. Words can’t describe some of the things you see up there.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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Russell Westbrook dedicates performance to Nipsey Hussle, whose death has shaken NBA

first_img How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Hussle’s music was playing in the Lakers’ locker room before the game as a reminder to the players, who said they had a difficult time receiving the news.“We’ve been talking about it the last couple of days, we’ve taken it pretty hard,” veteran point guard Rajon Rondo said. “He’s a legend, he’s a king to where he’s from and around the world. He had a great message, setting a great example for a lot of young people and people where he’s from. So he was a great man.”KUZMA SITS AGAIN, COULD BE SHUT DOWNWith just four games remaining, there’s only one member of the Lakers’ preseason-hyped young core left who hasn’t been shut down.Related Articles Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers OKLAHOMA CITY — As Russell Westbrook landed with a rebound, accomplishing a milestone unseen in the NBA in fifty-one years, he repeated one sentence as he pounded his chest.“That’s for Nipsey!” he shouted as the home crowd stood up to applaud during the timeout. “That’s for Nipsey!”The shooting death of 33-year-old rapper Nipsey Hussle on Sunday rocked much of the NBA, where intersections with hip-hop are common and often powerfully felt. It meant a lot particularly to Westbrook, who wore a Crenshaw shirt to the game in honor of Hussle – the two men grew up close in South Los Angeles and became friends over the years.“That wasn’t for me, man,” Westbrook said postgame on the broadcast. “That was for my bro, man. That was for Nipsey, man: 20 plus 20 plus 20, they know what that means, man. That’s for my bro. Rest in peace, Nipsey.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersIt’s been just as much of a talking point in the Lakers locker room. Many players, including LeBron James and Lance Stephenson, knew Hussle and were close with him. Hussle was a Lakers fan who frequently attended games and sat courtside.News broke of his death during the Lakers’ victory in New Orleans on Sunday, with James posting social media tributes to Hussle, including a tweet: “So so SAD man!! DAMN man this hurt.”While James wasn’t available to the media Tuesday after being shut down for the season, others were willing to speak up. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said he had met Hussle several times in James’ company.“Great person,” he said. “Always had great energy. Just been sad what happened. … Hurt the whole city, pretty much.”Aside from his music catalog, Hussle also left behind a legacy as an L.A. activist, with hopes of improving his hometown and helping kids. Officials from the L.A.P.D. spoke this week about a planned summit with Hussle to help curb gang violence in the neighborhood in which he was killed. A suspect in the murder was arrested on Tuesday.center_img Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs But if problems persist with his left foot tendinitis, Kyle Kuzma could be next.The second-year forward missed his second straight game with the ailment, which Coach Luke Walton said was not yet “100 percent healthy.” Instead of his typical pregame workout, Kuzma went to the weight room before sitting on the bench in a suit during Tuesday’s game.When asked if the injury might reach a point where the team’s medical staff decides the risk isn’t worth him playing again this season, Walton affirmed: “Possibly, yeah.“That’s why when we get home and kinda take a better look at what’s going on, that decision will be made,” he added. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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Cardiff City ‘concerned’ by report Emiliano Sala was exposed to carbon monoxide

first_img Soccer star Emiliano Sala, pilot likely exposed to carbon monoxide before fatal crash, investigators say “In February our underwater search operation successfully located the wreckage, recovered the passenger’s body and captured substantial video evidence from the scene using a remotely operated vehicle. It was not possible at the time to recover the wreckage. “We have carefully considered the feasibility and merits of returning to attempt to recover the wreckage. In this case, we consider that it will not add significantly to the investigation and we will identify the correct safety issues through other means. “In making our decision, we took into account the high cost of underwater recovery, the evidence we collected in February and the risk that, after a violent impact with the sea, the wreckage would not yield definitive evidence.” Cardiff City is “concerned” by the results of the latest report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch into the death of soccer star Emiliano Sala.The Argentine striker, along with pilot David Ibbotson, went missing when their plane crashed over the English Channel in January, days after his move to the Premier League club from Nantes was announced. Cardiff says the latest findings show the plane carrying Sala was “not appropriate”.A club spokesperson said: “CCFC is concerned at the AAIB’s latest report which once again highlights that the aircraft used for Emiliano Sala was not appropriate.”We continue to believe that those who were instrumental in arranging its usage are held to account for this tragedy.”The AAIB, meanwhile, has responded to calls from Sala’s family to recover the plane’s wreckage.”The reasons for our decision not to recover the aircraft wreckage have been explained in detail to both families concerned,” the organization said in a statement. Sala’s body later was recovered from the wreckage, but Ibbotson has not been found but is presumed dead.A report from the AAIB released Wednesday said Ibbotson was “likely” to have been exposed to carbon monoxide before the crash, while toxicology tests on Sala showed clear signs of exposure to the poisonous gas. Related Newslast_img read more

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Wellington seventh grade girls dominate Rose Hill 41-23 to stay undefeated

first_imgby Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — In what is being considered its most competitive opponent of the year, The Wellington seventh grade girls A team still had little trouble disposing of Rose Hill 41-23 Thursday evening. Wellington defeated Rose Hill 41-23 in non-league competition. Rose Hill was bumped up to Pioneer League Div. III this year. The seventh grade is now 12-0 overall and 10-0 in the Pioneer League. “We had some competition this time and girls reacted well,” said Jeff Frazee, Wellington seventh grade girls coach. It was 16-11 at the half, before Wellington pulled away for the win. Scoring for Wellington were: Lexi Clift 4, Rylee Rusk 21, Draven Warnock 2, Mykiland French 4, Allison Buresh 8, Kari Dvorak 2 In the B team game, Wellington also stayed undefeated with a 37-25 victory. The B team is 9-0 (7-0 in Pioneer). Scoring for Wellington: Kadin Brown 8, Draven Warnock 12, Katrina Dvorak 15, Kady Arebalo 1, Macy’s Elkins 1 Wellington wraps up regular season Monday vs Haysville.——— In other Wellington Middle School action: Eighth grade girls Rose Hill A 28 Wellington 21 Scoring: Lindsey Scheufler 15, Cassandra Moody 4, Tori Lewellen 2. Wellington B 18 Rose Hill 11Seventh grade boys Rose Hill 37 Wellington 30 Scoring: Tanner Meyer 12, Luke Scheufler 7, Trenton Bannister 6, Berkeley Wright 3, Kade Adams 2. Eighth grade boys Wellington 46 Rose Hill 29 Scoring: Silas Popplewell 18, Blake Rausch 12, Tyler Brown 10, Zander Vargas 5, Malachi Macias 1. Wellington B-30 Rose Hill-14 Scoring: Zane Cornejo 2, John Long 6, Trevese Love 6, Bully Walker 2, Austin Soles 3, Malachi Macias 7, Isaac Hilt 4.Monday: Wellington Middle School wrestling: Wellington 71 Rose Hill 24 Wellington 78 Haysville West 11.last_img read more

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Democrats calling for bigger boost in state aid to schools

first_imgDES MOINES — Republican leaders in the legislature are embracing the main themes Republican Governor Kim Reynolds stressed Tuesday during her 2019 “Condition of the State” address — while Democrats suggest Reynolds isn’t calling for a big enough spending boost for Iowa schools.Senate President Charles Schneider, a Republican from West Des Moines, says the governor’s proposed $89 million spending increase shows that’s a top priority.“She makes a valid point, too, about the restoration of felon voting rights and putting that before the voters,” Schneider says.House Democratic Leader Todd Prichard of Charles City says the governor could issue an executive order that would immediately restore voting rights to felons who’ve done their time, rather than waiting for the lengthy process of amending the state constitution.“So I think there’s a short term and a long term goal here that should be part of the discussion,” Prichard says.But how far that discussion may go is the question. A few Republicans have stated their outright opposition to a constitutional amendment on felon voting rights. House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, a Republican from Clear Lake, says the proposal needs thoughtful review.“I think it’s important that at least we address restitution in some way. These crimes had victims…We need to look at the entire picture,” Upmeyer says, “but happy to take a look at it.”Reynolds has proposed a 2.3 percent boost in state support of K-through-12 public schools. Upmeyer says that’s a serious commitment.“It actually takes a really good chunk of the budget, but still leaves room for some of the other priorities of Iowans,” Upmeyer says, “so I think that’s a good place to start the discussion.Prichard, the House Democratic leader, says legislators should approve at least a three percent increase in general state aid to schools, to give districts with shrinking enrollment some financial relief.“We underfunded education dramatically in years past,” Prichard says. “We’re on a little bit better footing. Let’s take this opportunity. Let’s fund education.”The governor’s budget director says the chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court will be asking legislators to approve a four percent pay boost for judges.(Photo courtesy of Iowa Public Television)last_img read more

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Inside Conditions…Things that daze and amaze me

first_imgHere are some things that daze and amaze me. Aren’t you amazed that the Pittsburgh Public Schools lowered the G.P.A for athletic participation when the levels of academic achievement are already appalling, atrocious, mind boggling, and all of the other definitions of negativity that we can think of. We can’t blame John Thompson or Mark Roosevelt for this garbage pickin’ academic achievement plan. They should have hired a surgeon instead of a new superintendent to stop the internal bleeding and the fiscal, social, and educational bloodletting that our student-athletes are experiencing. Forget about a syllabus, what they are creating is a “sillybus.” Busing kids all around the freakin’ city for what? Just to create the illusion that they are being educated.Hey, you can’t blame athletic director Mike Gavlik for this nonsense of an education plan. Now the WPIAL will have some real live “blocking dummies” to practice on while getting “their” student athletes ready to earn scholarships to attend some of most illustrious institutions of higher learning in the US. All our kids have is the “Pittsburgh Promise” which basically will have a surplus of funding for the next couple of decades or so because most of our “great athletes” possibly will not even be equipped to pass their SATs to even get into college, well except the college that I attended and truly love, CCAC (Community College of Allegheny County). Going to CCAC is fine but future student athletes will be held to standards of pseudo and diluted achievement or in this case being told that you don’t have to be smart but you can play anyway and there is no penalty for non-achievement. The best reward for failure is hey, more failure. The thing that stands out to me is that parents will make it over to Cupples Stadium or the individual schools to see their children compete, yet will not get up off of their “rusty dusty’s” at home to demand that homework assignments be completed or mosey on up to the schools demanding excellence and achievement for their children. It is not “kosher” seeing Dick and Jane run as a part of the course catalog for our seniors. Are you amazed or dazed?The city of Canton, Ohio not only has to be amazed and dazed, they have to be flat out K’Od in regards to the NFL Hall-of-Fame game being cancelled for 2011. The entire population of Canton is almost directly or indirectly connected with the yearly NFL “spectacle.” Although only an exhibition, it is one of the few events that endear all of us to the game of American professional football. Over five years ago I wrote a column titled; ‘Christmas in Canton’ where I talked about the social and economic impact that one event has on the population of Canton annually. When you look at New York in November, you generally think of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day mega parade. In December it’s the Mt. Everest-like Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center or ‘Junkanoo’ if you have ever lived or traveled in the Bahamas. When one thinks of the beginning of the yearly football wars, Canton always springs to the front of my mind.Robert Wang of CantonRep.com wrote a prophetic article titled; Hall of Fame means money, jobs for county on Aug 02, 2010. In it he says; “The city of Cleveland lost one of its greatest economic assets: LeBron James. The impact is estimated to be losses in the tens to hundreds of millions of dollars for the region. Now, on top of the demise here of several thousand local manufacturing jobs during the last decade, imagine what the economic damage might be if Stark County were without its crown jewel: The Pro Football Hall of Fame. Roughly 200,000 people a year who go through the Hall of Fame’s turnstiles would not be visiting the county and spending money at local hotels, restaurants and shops. Without the annual Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival, Stark County would have a million fewer visitors per year, and at least $27 million less would be spent locally during late July and early August. Without the Hall and the Festival, Stark County would offer roughly 300 fewer full-time jobs, according to a 2005 study.See lads and lassies, the NFL and the NFLPA are playing a serious “game” with the lives of common folk. People are running across the “economic” middle with no helmets leaping up to catch errantly thrown “paychecks” with no protection and with the telephone number of the local unemployment office stitched across the back of their “uniforms.” There will be no “unnecessary” roughness calls against the NFL powers-that-be or the NFLPA because with “real” jobs there is no “instant replay” and as we all know in the “real” workplace, only the strong survive.(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: abruce@newpittsburghcourier.com or 412-583-6741.)last_img read more