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ZCash (ZEC) Price Dumps and pumps Indication Coinbase

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ZCash (ZEC) Price Dumps and pumps Indication Coinbase

Coinbase, Cryptocurrency, ZCash (ZEC)– On November 29, in a relocation that was rather shocking offered the state of the crypto markets, prominent UNITED STATE based exchange Coinbase introduced upcoming trading assistance for ZCash (ZEC). While Coinbase had actually formerly made waves with an upgrade regarding including 5 brand-new money to the exchange, the firm has actually been shateringly sluggish in doing the same.

In July, after going months without including a brand-new coin for capitalists to get or offer, Coinbase teased its thirteen million consumer base with information of prospective listings. Consisted of in the offering were Fundamental Focus Symbol, 0x, ZCash, Cardano and also Stellar– a good spread that had capitalists gurgling, specifically over the capacity of the last 2. In addition to including assistance for Bitcoin Money in December 2017, whose market cap was mainly propped up as a result of splitting off from the primary cryptocurrency market cap, it was a welcome adjustment to see Coinbase targeting such high account coins. Cardano’s ADA, the tenth biggest token, and also Outstanding XLM, 4th by market cap, have actually made waves in their particular markets by gathering focus from big firm gamers. Cardano’s team made a check out to Google’s workplaces previously in the year, while Stellar has actually developed connections to calculating pillar IBM and also a reported collaboration with social media sites titan Facebook which was later on rejected.

Nonetheless, of the initial 5 money outlined in the Coinbase record, Outstanding and also Cardano are both to thus far not make it. Which has actually led capitalists to question whether an ADA and also XLM enhancement is inescapable at this moment, or if Coinbase is waiting on a much more appropriate minute. Offered the rather unsatisfactory rate activity for ZCash previously in the week, it’s reasonable to examine whether the as soon as substantial buzz bordering a Coinbase enhancement is winding down prior to either coin can make it.

While ZEC did dive 17 percent instantly complying with the news, the coin stopped working to hold its gains longer than twenty-four hrs and also has actually considering that declined back to the rate degree pre-announcement. In some areas, Coinbase’s change in taking care of the procedure of brand-new coin enhancements to the exchange is functioning: instead of developing a large bull run and also breast (like the Bitcoin Cash money farce which resulted in the firm being implicated of expert trading), the rate activity for ZEC was fairly pedestrian. For the exchange and also its dedication to expanding its possession course in a manner that is honest to the marketplace, the moderate rate activity could stand for a win.

Read More: Bitcoin Cash ‘Hash War’ May Soon End As Losses Near $12M

Nonetheless, it can additionally likely be a mix of capitalist tiredness as we near completion of 2018’s bear cycle and also the conclusion of 2 of the most awful weeks for crypto evaluation together with individuals passing the addiction of a Coinbase listing. In January, after riding the wave of Bitcoin’s bull run, XRP shot to $3.80 per coin mainly on the reports of an impending Coinbase enhancement. When that report was shown to be incorrect by the exchange, the rate swiftly plunged and also has actually considering that declined throughout the year.

Coinbase, at once, had the prospective to substantially influence the rate of a coin by opening it as much as the much more laid-back, mobile-based crypto capitalists that trade within the minimal boundaries of the exchange. However if current rate activity for ZEC is any kind of indicator, an ultimate listing for Cardano and also Stellar might stop working to have the kind of rate effect most capitalists would certainly choose to see.

Read More: Futures Game a showcase of potential Manny Machado trade chips

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Angela Davis talks about her life, her shift from television to public radio, living in Highland Park and being known for being nice

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Angela Davis talks about her life, her shift from television to public radio, living in Highland Park and being known for being nice

As I often do when I’m about to interview a public figure, I asked some friends for their impressions of that person. In this case, it was longtime local television anchor and current Minnesota Public Radio News host Angela Davis.

Each person I talked to said something along the lines of “she seems nice.” And despite the fact several were gay men, no one was being shady in the slightest. After decades in the Twin Cities media, Davis has a stellar reputation for being nice.

“I hear that a lot,” Davis said with a laugh. She proceeded to tell me a story from her time at the University of Maryland. Her then-boyfriend was in a fraternity that was sponsoring a Miss Black Unity pageant and he urged her to enter.

“In rehearsing and preparing, I wasn’t sure about the talent section,” she said. “I don’t sing, I’m not good at any arts. I ended up devoting a lot time to coaching other contestants. But when it came time for the pageant, I wanted to win. If I’m going to devote time to something, I want to win.

“I won Miss Congeniality. The prize that goes to the person who is nice. Who wants to be known for being nice? But that’s always been the impression I make on a lot of people. And I appreciate that and value that. It comes from the way I was raised.”

Davis, 53, grew up on a tobacco farm in Virginia. Her mother got pregnant while in college, moved back home and lived with her parents. Davis’ mother moved away when she was 9 and Davis stayed with her grandparents.

She went on to attend the University of Maryland on a full four-year scholarship and graduated with a journalism degree. After spending a few years at CNN and stations in Lexington, Ky., and Washington, D.C., Davis took a job at KSTP in 1994 and, beyond a brief stint living in Dallas, the Twin Cities has been her home ever since.

After decades at KSTP and WCCO, Davis made the decision to move to public radio and landed a hosting gig at the 11 a.m. hour in 2018. Davis lives in St. Paul’s Highland Park neighborhood with her husband of 25 years, Duchesne Drew, who took the job as MPR president last summer after spending decades at the Star Tribune and nonprofits. They have two children currently attending historically Black colleges: Charlotte, a marketing major who just started her freshman year at North Carolina A&T State University; and Kevin, a software engineering major at Morehouse College in Atlanta.

Earlier this month, Davis’ talk show moved to 9 a.m. at MPR. I spoke to Davis on the final day of her first week in the new time slot.

Angela Davis and Duchesne Drew at Lake Bde Maka Ska (then named Lake Calhoun) during the summer of 1995 when they were dating. Davis, a veteran local television anchor, joined Minnesota Public Radio News in 2018. Duchesne Drew was named president of Minnesota Public Radio in April 2020. (Courtesy of Angela Davis)

On growing up on a farm:

“There wasn’t a lot to do outside of work, church and school. I read a lot. I was the kid who had a subscription to Highlights. My grandparents were interested in history and politics and I watched the network news with them. And the Black church is a place of a lot of discussions about politics and business and life and survival.

“I developed an interest in how do people live outside the world I know. I watched ‘The Today Show’ and was fascinated by Bryant Gumbel. I loved being able to read the newspaper or watch network news and see other parts of the U.S. and the world.

“Early on in school, I was identified as someone with strong writing skills who was very chatty. Mr. Terry used to call me out in class. He called me by my last name. ‘Davis, I hope one day you’re able to get a job that pays for talking because you’re always running your mouth.’ Well, I’m getting paid for talking. I hope you’re proud of me.”

On choosing to pursue journalism:

“When I was growing up, I was deep into Home Ec and the Future Homemakers of America and that brought me into public speaking. I never had a fear of speaking in front of people, it always felt very natural. When I was deciding on a major, journalism seemed to fit. At the time, the Baltimore Sun was trying to diversify its staff, which was overwhelmingly white. They offered full four-year scholarships and four summer internships to train high school graduates. At the end, they had someone ready to hit the ground running.”

On her shift to television news:

“Having worked as an intern, I realized I didn’t want to work in newspapers. I love the power of strong writing and video. I turned down an offer to become a nightside police reporter and instead went to Atlanta to work at CNN, which paid half what the Sun would have paid me.

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Stillwater: Couple’s $1 million donation will jump-start Lumberjack Landing construction

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Stillwater: Couple’s $1 million donation will jump-start Lumberjack Landing construction

The loves of Frank Freels’ life were his wife, Geri, their children and the St. Croix River — not necessarily in that order.

The Freelses spent decades boating on the St. Croix, docking their cruisers, which ranged from 36 feet to 53 feet, at Sunnyside Marina south of downtown Stillwater. Frank Freels, who died in 2012 at the age of 95, was a commodore of the St. Croix Yacht Club and two-time past president of Sunnyside Marina; Geri Freels served as president of the yacht club’s auxiliary.

Frank Freels fell in love with the St. Croix on the day he moved to Minnesota from Peoria, Ill., she said. “He always said he crossed the (Interstate 94) bridge and thought the river was so beautiful. It was the love of my husband’s life — I hope, second to me.”

The couple, who owned and operated a number of different businesses, including Distinction in Design in Plymouth, retired in 1994 and moved to Stillwater’s Oak Glen neighborhood.

“We feel we were very fortunate in life,” she said. “We came from nothing and worked for everything we have. It can be done in this country; it just can be. There were many times when our business could have gone belly up, but they didn’t. God blessed us so that we may bless others.”

The couple held fundraisers and donated to many causes, including the American Cancer Society, the American Red Cross, the Mayo Clinic and St. Vincent de Paul.

But it was an article in the Pioneer Press in November 2020 that led Geri Freels to think about a lasting legacy: a $1 million donation to the city of Stillwater to restore and rehabilitate the former Aiple house at Lumberjack Landing, the city’s newest park.

The former Aiple residence in Stillwater, seen Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, which overlooks the St. Croix River, will be remade into a canoe and kayak rental and storage building for the new Lumberjack Landing park. Stillwater’s newest park is located on 15 acres of land on nearly three-quarters of a mile of St. Croix River shoreline. Geri Freels is donating $1 million to the city to rehabilitate the buildings at Lumberjack Landing. Freel’s and her late husband, Frank Freels, the longtime commodore of the St. Croix Yacht Club, loved to be on the river. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

Plans call for the 4,000-square-foot house, which belonged to the late Elayne Aiple, to be remodeled to include public restrooms, a community room, a scull-storage area, canoe/kayak rental vendor space and a picnic patio/pavilion.

“Not everybody can afford a boat,” Freels said. “When I found out there were going to be kayaks and picnic shelters and all of that, I thought, ‘Oh, that’s perfect for people who want to come to Stillwater, but can’t afford to live here.’ ”

Freels, 84, toured the future park for the first time on Tuesday afternoon with Mayor Ted Kozlowski and City Planner Abbi Wittman. “It’s absolutely beautiful,” she said, walking around the perimeter of the split-level house. “I had seen it from the river, but not from land. … I love the fact that you are planning a fishing pier.”

HAPPY MEMORIES ON THE RIVER

Some of her happiest memories include spending time on the river with Frank and friends, she said. The St. Croix Yacht Club owns two beaches on the Wisconsin side of the river, and the couple would pull their cruiser up on the sand and dock overnight.

“We would spend all weekend gunwale-to-gunwale,” she said. “Sometimes we’d be only a foot apart from the next boat on the beach. We all got to know each other very well. It was my way of camping.”

The couple started out with a 36-foot cruiser, then bought a 42-foot houseboat. From there, they graduated to a 53-foot cruiser and ended up with a 51-foot Coastal Cruiser. All were christened the Geri-Anne, she said.

“Our business was in the city, so we were weekends on the river,” she said.

Almost every Friday night during boating season, the couple would walk with friends from Sunnyside Marina through the Aiple barge property and eat in a downtown Stillwater restaurant. “Eventually, we felt so much like part-time Stillwater residents that when Frank finally retired, we built a home at Oak Glen,” she said.

A LASTING MEMORY

Freels will present an $800,000 check to the Stillwater City Council on Tuesday night; the other $200,000 has been placed in a trust account that will be given to the city after she dies.

Under the terms of the donation, the money can be used only to improve the building. Prior to moving to Stillwater, the couple lived in Plymouth and Frank Freels served on the Plymouth City Council, she said. “We saw that many times, funds were used for other things other than what they were given for,” she said.

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Mike Lynch’s Skywatch: The King and his orbiting court

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Mike Lynch’s Skywatch: The King and his orbiting court
Diagram courtesy of Mike Lynch

While you’re enjoying the full harvest moon this week, check out the King and Queen of the planets in our September skies. As darkness sets in, look for them side by side in the low southeast skies. They’re the brightest star-like objects in that part of the heavens. Jupiter, the king of the observable planets from Earth, is to the left of Saturn and is brighter than the queen. Both reached their closest approaches to Earth last month, but they’re still pretty close, at least relatively. This weekend Jupiter is 386 million miles away, while the tape measure to Saturn would be 861 million miles and change.

Jupiter is by far the largest planet in our solar system, and is mainly a big ball of hydrogen and helium gas. Its polar diameter is around 83,000 miles, and the diameter at the equator is a little over 88,000 miles. Jupiter is fatter in the middle because of its rapid rotation. It only takes 10 hours to make one complete rotation. The resulting centrifugal force works against gravity to cause Jupiter to bulge along its equator. Through a small telescope, it’s possible to see at least some of Jupiter’s darker cloud bands made up of methane, ammonia, and sulfur compounds. You can especially pick up on at least two darker cloud bands on either side of Jupiter’s equator. You may even see some subtle color to them.

You’ll see more bands and detail with larger scopes, and you might even see the Great Red Spot, a giant storm raging on Jupiter. It’s called the red spot, but in reality it will show up in a larger scope with a pale pink hue. The red spot isn’t always available, however, because of Jupiter’s speedy 10-hour rotation. Half of the time, the red spot is turned away from Earth. As I’ve told you before, the longer you gaze at Jupiter through the eyepiece of your scope, the more detail you’ll see. Try to look at it for at least 10-minute shots.

No matter how big or small your telescope is, you’ll get a kick out of watching Jupiter’s four brightest moons; Io, Europa, Callisto, and Ganymede. They orbit around the Jovian giant in periods of two to 16 days. Because of their continual movement, they change positions relative to the disk of Jupiter. You may see two on one side and two on the other, or three on one side and one on the other, or all four on one side. On some nights, one or more moons may be either behind Jupiter or camouflaged in front of it. If your telescope is powerful enough, you may see the shadow of a moon crossing in front of Jupiter. It’ll appear as a tiny dot against the backdrop of Jupiter’s clouds. With Jupiter so close to Earth right now, there’s a chance of seeing a moon shadow on Jupiter even with a smaller scope. It’s worth a try.

You can keep up on the position of Jupiter’s four brightest moons by checking out monthly magazines like “Astronomy” or “Sky and Telescope.” There are also websites to help you keep up with the moons. My favorite site is from Sky and Telescope magazine at https://skyandtelescope.org/wp-content/plugins/observing-tools/jupiter_moons/jupiter.html.

A great app from Sky and Telescope Magazine is simply called Jupiter Moons. I have it on my phone. In the diagram, you can see the positions of Jupiter’s moons during the coming week.

Jupiter has more than 80 known moons circling it, and there are probably many more that haven’t been confirmed yet. The four moons available through backyard telescopes are certainly the largest. They’re also referred to as the Galilean moons because the great astronomer and scientist Galileo used these moons to help prove that the sun, and not the Earth, was the center of what was then seen as the universe.

Io is the closest moon to Jupiter, and is a little over 2,200 miles in diameter. A little larger than our moon, it’s the most geologically active body in our solar system. Since it’s only about a quarter of a million miles from the very massive Jupiter, there’s a colossal gravitational wallop on Io from the mothership. The tidal forces are tremendous, and because of the constant stretching, heat builds up in Io’s interior to the point of melting. This, in turn, produces numerous and frequent volcanic eruptions.

The next moon out from Jupiter, Europa, is maybe the best candidate for life in our solar system. A sheet of ice covers Europa, and there may be an ocean of liquid water beneath it, or at least a slushy ocean. Once again, because it’s so close to Jupiter the tidal forces are strong enough to heat Europa’s interior, possibly allowing for liquid water below the ice. Where there is liquid water, there’s a chance of life as we know it.

Callisto and Ganymede are the largest and farthest away from Jupiter, and are both larger than our moon. In fact, Ganymede is even a little larger than Mercury, the closest planet to the sun. Both Ganymede and Callisto are heavily cratered bodies, not nearly as dynamic as Io and Europa.

Enjoy the never-ending dance of Jupiter’s moons!

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Charley Walters: Season’s first four games could determine futures for Vikings’ Mike Zimmer, Rick Spielman

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Charley Walters: Season’s first four games could determine futures for Vikings’ Mike Zimmer, Rick Spielman

Should the Minnesota Vikings lose to the favored Cardinals in Arizona on Sunday, and on the ensuing two Sundays to superior Seahawks and Browns in Minneapolis, it would be hard to imagine owners Zygi and Mark Wilf retaining coach Mike Zimmer.

The betting here is that Zimmer could be gone before Columbus Day (Oct. 11). Presumably, assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator Andre Patterson would replace him on an interim basis.

If Zimmer, 65, is dismissed, the Vikings would be expected to bring in a young, dynamic, offensive-minded coach. And then, in the first round of next year’s draft, even if they’re still stuck with Kirk Cousins’ $35 million contract, it would seem the Vikings need to draft a quarterback. Kellen Mond, drafted in the third round last spring, doesn’t appear the answer to succeed Cousins.

The way it looks now, the Vikings will have a high pick in April’s NFL draft. Quarterbacks expected to be among the top dozen or so picks in the draft are Carson Strong of Nevada, Spencer Rattler of Oklahoma, Sam Howell of North Carolina and Malik Willis of Liberty.

The Wilfs might not have a choice with Zimmer who, incidentally, is signed through 2023. They couldn’t bring back this operation next year and expect fans to buy expensive tickets.

The NFL trade deadline is Nov. 2. There are only a half-dozen or so Vikings considered untradable — Justin Jefferson (age 22), Dalvin Cook (26), Danielle Hunter (26), Brian O’Neill (26), Eric Kendricks (29), Adam Thielen (31) and Harrison Smith (32).

Rebuilding the Vikings would also seem to include dismissal of GM Rick Spielman, perhaps temporarily replacing him with VP of football operations Rob Brzezinski, and unloading player payroll for the rest of the year.

It would be hard to trust Spielman with hiring the next coach.

The guess here is that Vikings rooters might be accepting of a rebuild if it included a new coach, a new GM and a QB drafted in the first round next April.

Darrell Thompson, the Gophers record-setting running back who went on to play five seasons for the Green Bay Packers, feels that had Mohamed Ibrahim finished this season the way he started, he could have been a first-round pick in the NFL draft.

“Absolutely!” Thompson said. “Maybe not the beginning of the first round, but a first- or second-round draft choice. With his vision, his balance, his strength. We saw his yardage (163) against Ohio State, a national championship-level team. Auburn (140 yards in Outback Bowl in 2020). He’s not had a bad game.”

The 5-10, 210-pound Ibrahim is out for the season after surgery, presumably for a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered late against Ohio State.

Thompson, 53, played with assorted injuries and now has a hip replacement.

“Ibrahim can definitely come back; it’s probably going to take almost a year,” Thompson said. “Obviously I’m not a doctor, just a guy who’s watches football. There’s a blessing to being young — the body’s going to heal. He’s going to have all the wonderful modern things that we do now — the water, the treatment, the nutrition, the stretching, making sure that all the muscles are at the same level in strength.

“One thing we never had is that they (trainers) can actually measure and say what percentage you’re at, so we’re going to work at getting everything up to the same percentage. Which is why things typically fall apart again because something’s too strong, something’s too weak. So they train you back in balance. He will come back and I think he’ll have a great NFL career if he chooses.”

In his first two games for Houston, transferred former Gophers tight end and wildcat quarterback Seth Green from Woodbury caught one pass — a nine-yarder for a TD in a 38-21 loss to Texas Tech — and had no rushes.

Ex-Gopher Chris Streveler is the No. 3 QB for the Arizona Cardinals.

QB Aiden Bouman, son of ex-Vikings QB Todd Bouman, is a 6-6, 250-pound redshirt freshman for Iowa State.

Former Gophers star Bob Stein, who will be inducted into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame on Dec. 7 in Las Vegas, next Saturday will be honored at Minnesota’s homecoming against Bowling Green.

Tickets for the game against Bowling Green were available for as little as $10 on Vividseats.com.

That was Jim Dutcher and his former Gophers basketball players Tommy Davis, Jim Petersen and Kelly Scott lunching at McCormick & Schmick’s in Edina last week.

Cretin grad Joe Gallagher, 57, who produced the highly successful opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National for NBC, on Tuesday was to make the 5-hour, 30-minute drive to Whistling Straits (Wis.) to work his ninth Ryder Cup next weekend. Gallagher took a St. Paul contingent of employees from his Doodle Productions company to assist in assorted capacities, including celebrity movement (Michael Jordan is expected to attend) and corporate parties.

Gallagher’s Ryder Cup schedule includes the 2023 competition in Rome.

“That one will mean it’s closer to my last Ryder Cup, in 2029, at Hazeltine,” said Gallagher, who worked his first Ryder Cup in 1995 at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y.

Kalen Anderson, who coached nationally ranked South Carolina to victory in the big Annika Intercollegiate women’s golf tournament at the Royal Club last week, is from Edina.

Hall of Fame former Twin Dave Winfield from St. Paul turns 70 on Oct. 3.

Hall of Fame former Twin Rod Carew, who turns 75 on Oct. 1, has begun a monthly newsletter.

Timberwolves coach Chris Finch is featured speaker at the Twin Cities Dunkers breakfast on Tuesday at the Minneapolis Club.

Will Steinke from Little Falls was the officiating umpire at host Michigan’s 47-14 victory over Western Michigan.

Family reunion: Those were three of the noted St. Paul Mauer brothersTom, Mark and Jim — officiating the Minneapolis South-Roosevelt football game last week. The trio, with other brothers Ken and Brian, worked a high school game at Hastings two years ago. Tom, 61, by the way, has decided to retire after 22 years as a WNBA official.

Mike Lauren, Mike Sullivan, Scott Sanderson, Jeff Sorem, Betsy Massopust, Corrine Buie, Steve Dove and Dick Gaughran will be inducted into the Edina Hall of Fame on Thursday at Interlachen Country Club.

Hill-Murray Athletic Hall of Fame electees for induction next Sunday at the school: Greg Langevin, Vince Conway, Rod Romanchuk, Paul Thurmes, Bethany Doolittle and Tessa Cichy.

Johnson High 2021 Football Hall of Fame electees for induction Oct. 2 at White Eagle Golf Club in Hudson, Wis.: Gary Ales, Jim Gabriel, Jeff Plaschko, Tommy Reynolds, Doug Van Meter and 1989 football team.

The 50th anniversary reunion of St. Thomas Academy’s 1971 state football champions will be Oct. 8 at the game against Mahtomedi at Gerry Brown Stadium.

Former Mahtomedi pitcher Michael Baumann, 25, made his major league debut for the Orioles in relief the other day and was credited with the 7-3 victory over the Royals. Baumann was drafted by the Twins in the 34th round in 2014, declined to sign, then was chosen by Baltimore in the third round three years later after pitching for Jacksonville University, receiving a $500,000 bonus.

Former Gopher Amir Coffey of the L.A. Clippers remains a restricted free agent.

Dedication of the David R. Metzen Scholarship Hall in honor of the former South St. Paul schools superintendent will be at South St. Paul High on Oct. 13 at 6:30 p.m.

Don’t print that

With two more strikeouts entering Saturday’s game in Toronto, the Twins’ Miguel Sano will reach 1,000 for his seven major league seasons. This season, Sano has hit 29 home runs while fanning 163 times. He has 159 career homers.

Babe Ruth struck out just 1,330 times in 8,399 at-bats. Former Twins: Harmon Killebrew struck out 1,629 times in 8,147 at-bats during 22 seasons; Bob Allison 1,333 times in 5,032 at-bats in 13 seasons. Joe Mauer struck out 1,034 times in 6,930 at-bats in 15 years.

Chief baseball officer Derek Falvey, who has major challenges rebuilding the Twins, is getting mentioned among candidates to oversee the Mets baseball operations.

Probable destination for Packers QB Aaron Rodgers next season is Denver, which would upset Teddy Bridgewater, who connected on 28 of 36 passes — with two drops — in a 27-13 victory over the Giants in the season opener.

People who know say Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell is the clear favorite for the USC football coaching job, for which the Gophers’ P.J. Fleck has been mentioned.

The Twins are 15-58 at Yankee Stadium the last 20 seasons, equivalent to a 33-129 record over a 162-game season, Stanzel’s Sports Takeout mentions.

The Vikings have only one decent offensive lineman: Brian O’Neill.

Chatted with Hall of Fame former Bears linebacker Dick Butkus years ago while in New York to cover filming of those memorable Miller Lite TV commercials. Butkus asked where I was from. Told Minnesota, he asked if I knew Mick Tingelhoff, the Hall of Fame former Vikings center who died last week at age 81.

“After every game I played against Tingelhoff,” Butkus said, “my jersey had fingernail holes in it from him poking me.”

Season ticket courtside seats for University of St. Thomas men’s basketball, as the school goes from Division III to Division I this season, will cost $520, reserved seat backs $325, club level $260 and reserved bench seats $156. Last season, reserved back season ticket seats cost $50.

With its move to Division I, St. Thomas’ athletic budget increases from $6 million a year to $18 million annually, and will continue to grow. Meanwhile, St. Thomas the other day lost a top financial administrator and assistant.

This really happened last week: Former Wild captains Mikko Koivu and Wes Walz and former Wild player Eric Staal were golfing with sports marketing whiz Murray Rudisill at his North Oaks Country Club. Walz and Rudisill won $25 apiece from Koivu and Staal in a match.

Sitting outside afterward enjoying a beer, Koivu placed a $50 bill on the table and said he would cover Staal’s bet, too. Two minutes later, a big wind lifted the $50 bill off the table and up over the clubhouse roof.

Rudisill quickly informed enterprising club GM Phil Anderson, who rushed up to the roof through an inside staircase to search for the $50 bill, hoping to find it because the roof is flat. The bill wasn’t found.

For $10 million this season, Twins shortstop Andrelton Simmons has 390 at-bats and 15 extra-base hits. That’s still better, though, than shortstop Jackie Hernandez’s five extra base hits in 199 at-bats for the 1968 Twins.

Pssst: Not long ago, the Wild’s Kirill Kaprizov told a prominent teammate he wouldn’t re-sign for a penny less than $10 million a year.

Third baseman Jose Miranda, 23, who would cost the Twins $138,454 per game less than the $141,975 they are paying Josh Danielson, 35, through 2023, has 27 home runs and 86 RBIs while hitting .339 this season between Triple-A St. Paul and Double-A Wichita.

Minnesota’s Mark Coyle, 52, with total compensation of $1.4 million (including retirement bonuses), is the 13th highest-paid athletics director in the country, according to new analysis by athleticdirectoru.com in conjunction with USA Today and Syracuse University. Coyle, whose contract ends on June 30, 2026, is the fifth-highest paid AD in the Big Ten behind Northwestern’s Jim Phillips ($2.3 million), Ohio State’s Gene Smith ($1.85 million), Penn State’s Sandy Barbour ($1.5 million) and Michigan’s Warde Manuel ($1.45 million).

The Vikings are now worth $3.2 billion, the 18th most valuable NFL franchise, according to Sportico. The Packers are 15th at $3.5 billion. The Vikings, and every other NFL team, are projected to receive $400 million in 2023 “before selling one ticket, beer or hot dog,” Sportico reports.

The Vikings are 26th in the 32-team NFL, the Packers 11th, in Axios Sports’ power rankings.

Former first-team Gophers All-Big Ten golfer Angus Flanagan has missed seven of eight cuts during his first season on the PGA’s Forme Tour.

For his tie for 22nd in the recent PGA Tour Championship, ex-Gopher Erik Van Rooyen received a check for $466,667.

There’s a bar in Hibbing (Minn.) named the “Homer Tavern” owned by relatives of former Yankees home run slugger Roger Maris, who was born in Hibbing, but the “Homer” title has nothing to do with Maris’ home run proclivity.

Several parking lots near the Gophers football stadium are charging $20 on game days.

Overheard

Paul Holmgren, 65, the former Harding, Gopher, Saint and North Star who is senior adviser for the Philadelphia Flyers, on being announced last week that he’s been elected to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame: “I’ve known since June when I was back in St. Paul for a family reunion — they told me not to tell anybody — and it hasn’t sunk in even yet. It’s a tremendous honor.”

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Field hockey Notebook: Southeastern gets historic first win

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Field hockey Notebook: Southeastern gets historic first win

It was a dream come true for Southeastern to get a club field hockey team up and running into a varsity program two years ago.

Now, under the constant positivity, encouragement and motivation from the two seniors who were on the Hawks when they were just a club team their freshman year, Southeastern has added to that dream — reaching the win column.

After a two-year winless stretch, the Hawks started its season on Sept. 8 with a 3-1 win over Brockton for the program’s first varsity win. It’s an iconic moment for any young program, and it was especially rewarding for senior co-captains Nilianna Gomes and Caleigh DeMartino.

“I think it was a really great experience for us, especially knowing that we started off as just a club,” said Gomes.

“I think it’s cool that we were kind of like the first two that was the first team at Southeastern for field hockey,” added DeMartino. “Just seeing everyone, how far they’ve come along.”

Of course, this wasn’t just any old program first.

If you ask the two of them if going winless their first two years was burdensome, they’re the special kind of competitors to say that it wasn’t. It’s not for a lack of caring, nor is it setting the bar low. Brand-new coach Morgan Richardson attests to the amount of work put in at practices. She also points out the impressive showing of leadership from Gomes and DeMartino to simply inspire growth.

That growth led to a win against Brockton. Brockton just so happens to be where most of the team is from — including Gomes. And it’s no secret how competitive sports are in that city.

“Beating Brockton High for our first game, I think it was pretty amazing,” Gomes said. “Sometimes, even though we’re not in the same division in all sports, sometimes there’s a competition between Brockton and Southeastern. And they’re a really good sports school, so for us to beat them was super exciting.”

To Richardson, Gomes and DeMartino are exactly the leaders a young program needs. Finding the fun in what you’re doing is just as important as the work put in. That, among other things, is what builds a program.

“Our leadership team has done a really amazing job with bringing the girls together,” Richardson said. “That’s what makes a team.”

That also led to what the Hawks hope to be just one of many iconic moments in their history.

Quick Spotlights

• It’s always dangerous when a perennial power is loaded with 15 senior returners, but King Philip is off to a hot start in the tough Hockomock League behind the early success of a few young scorers, too. Sophomore Mara Boldy already has a hat trick in the books, freshman Makenzie McDevitt scored in a big 2-0 win over Foxboro and added another against Taunton, and sophomore Kelly Holmes paced a 5-1 win over Stoughton with a pair of goals herself.

Head coach Lisa Cropper was a little unsure about how the start of the season would go after graduating her front line and losing her starting goalie to transfer just two days before the start of the year. But throw in a vaunted defense of seniors Lily Brown, Molly Piller, Haley Izydorczak, Morgan Cunningham and Jen Daniels in front of a promising but brand-new goalie in Haley Bright, and the Warriors have grinded their way to a 4-0 start.

“(The forwards) are a little young but they’re doing great so far,” Cropper said. “It’s very good so far. (But) we still have a lot of work to do.”

• It was a special week in Andover for All-Scholastic junior midfielder Emma Reilly, and not just because she picked up four assists despite only playing the first quarter of a 7-0 win over Dracut on Wednesday. Just two days before, the star player verbally committed to Columbia — her first choice.

“She is very excited,” said head coach Maureen Noone. “Good things happening to great kids.”

• Those who haven’t played field hockey wouldn’t realize the magnitude of a difference between playing on grass versus turf, but rest-assured — it’s not an easy change. Despite the end of a 15-year stretch of renting out a turf field suddenly ending for Pentucket, though, the Sachems have cruised to win both of their first two home games — on a grassy field — for a 3-1 start.

“We’re not focused on (the field change),” said longtime Pentucket head coach Ruth Beaton. “It has been an adjustment, but we are just making this our home away from home.”

• First-year Monomoy head coach Kathryn Andreoli adopted a team rich with senior talent, and her squad is rolling with flying colors. A 7-1 win over Martha’s Vineyard to open the season was followed on Thursday with a convincing 5-0 win over Plymouth North. It helps to have All-Scholastic senior Caroline DiGiovanni bury four goals in the big game against the Eagles, and Andreoli is confident in the group to keep this stretch rolling.

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Long-awaited fishing trip to Manitoba does not disappoint

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Long-awaited fishing trip to Manitoba does not disappoint

LOCKPORT, Manitoba — Two years had passed since I had last wet a line in Canadian water, and I was looking forward to changing that last Saturday morning, Sept. 11, when I pulled up to a Manitoba border crossing with a mix of anticipation and apprehension.

Anticipation, because one of my favorite fishing holes — the Red River below St. Andrews Lock and Dam in Lockport, Manitoba, known for its trophy catfish — once again was within reach.

Apprehension, because I was attempting to cross the border during a pandemic on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Crossing the border is stressful during the best of times, but there’d been more anxiety than usual as the day of the trip approached. Canada requires fully vaccinated Americans to provide results of a negative COVID-19 PCR (short for polymerase chain reaction) test taken no more than 72 hours before crossing the border, and the clock on my test was ticking.

I took my test Sept. 8 and the 48-hour mark came and went Sept. 10 without any results. Morning turned to afternoon, which turned to evening.

Still no results; the 72-hour time limit was ticking ever closer.

Knowing my best bet for crossing the border in time would be to spend the night at the family getaway in northern Minnesota, less than a mile from the Manitoba border, I headed north last Friday evening, fully expecting my anticipated Canadian fishing trip wouldn’t be happening.

I support the testing requirement, and I had a solid Plan B in place if my results didn’t arrive on time.

My visions of monster Canadian catfish had all but faded late last Friday night when my phone beeped, first alerting me to a text message and then seconds later to an email message.

That could only be one thing, I knew, and sure enough, I was right: my test results. If all went according to plan, I’d make it to the border with 14 minutes to spare in the required 72-hour testing window.

Whew. Back to Plan A.

I had crossed the border Aug. 9 — the first day Canada allowed nonessential American travelers to enter the country — as part of the Grand Fork Herald’s coverage of the border reopening, so I was familiar with the Canadian government’s ArriveCAN app and the information that must be submitted before attempting to cross.

Seeing I had my ducks in a row — including passport, proof of full vaccination, a negative PCR test and a quarantine plan in case I was flagged for random testing and tested positive — the Canada Border Services Agency officer cleared me for entry into Manitoba, and I was on my way north within minutes.

Apprehension had given way to full-blown anticipation.

My original plan had been to drive to Canada last Friday to spend the weekend with friends who live near Lockport. That would give us two full days of catfishing on the Red River before I headed back south to Grand Forks on Sept. 13.

Waiting for test results delayed my departure until the next morning, but the impact was minimal.

Fishing in my Canadian friend’s new boat, we launched at Selkirk, Manitoba, early Saturday afternoon and landed 31 catfish up to 29½ pounds in four hours on the water. Sunday, we fished six hours and released 40 catfish, a tally that would have been even higher if we’d landed every fish we hooked.

There’s something about the pull of a Red River catfish at the end of the line that never gets old. With access to massive Lake Winnipeg, catfish on the downstream side of Lockport Dam grow larger than their counterparts upstream.

Anyone who says fishing isn’t exercise has never tangled with a big Red River catfish, especially a Lockport catfish. As per usual, several of the catfish we landed last weekend weighed 20 pounds or more.

I’ve fished the Lockport stretch of the Red River numerous times in the past 20 years, and while I’ve had tough days, the good ones have far outnumbered the bad. In catfishing circles, the Lockport stretch of the Red River is called the “channel catfish mecca” for good reason, and on this trip, the fishing definitely didn’t disappoint.

This trip was about more than fishing, though — much more. The leaves were beginning to turn, there was a fall bite in the air and a glorious Saturday evening by the fire with good Canadian friends included plenty of laughs and conversation as geese noisily flew overhead somewhere in the darkness.

It almost felt normal.

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NFL Notes: Patriots defense must play better in clutch situations

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NFL Notes: Patriots defense must play better in clutch situations

Wanted: A big-play defense.

For the longest time, the Patriots were the poster boys for having a defense that made big stops at the most critical times in games.

It was the calling card of their bend-but-don’t break unit.

In recent times, the clutch element has been missing in action, even going back to Tom Brady’s final year.

With all the money spent in free agency to land reinforcements, with top guns like Matt Judon brought in to make plays, the expectation was for that game-changing defense to return to Foxboro.

One game into the 2021 season, however, and the big stops are so far MIA for the Patriots.

Allowing 17 points against Miami might seem like a good effort, but that game was a microcosm of the issue currently plaguing Bill Belichick’s defense.

Key third-down stops weren’t there. The Patriots defense didn’t deliver in those got-to-have-it moments.

The Dolphins marched down the field on their very first possession. They engineered a 10-play scoring drive with little resistance from the Patriots. That gave the Fins a 7-0 lead right out of the gate. They also scored right before the half, moving the ball into field goal range to tie the score at intermission. Then they doubled down, using a familiar Patriots tactic, scoring on the first series after halftime, using nine plays to get into the end zone and regain the lead.

But then the true dagger was delivered: the Dolphins ran out the clock, killing the final 3:24, moving the chains for two more first downs. And that was after a penalty had them starting 1st-and-14 from their own 5-yard-line.

“Honestly, that’s kind of what the league is. I mean it’s the situations that you have to play your best ball in,” Patriots defensive coach Jerod Mayo said during a video conference Tuesday. “It’s not the long stretches. It’s those critical situations that can really tilt the game one way or another, and we just didn’t play well in those situations on Sunday.’’

In that light, the Patriots defense flopped Week 1. Situationally, they didn’t deliver.

The good news is it’s only one game, and an incredibly small sample size. The Patriots 2021 defense might still right the ship, regain its clutchness, and get to the point where they specialize in making timely stops.

But given what transpired last Sunday, it’s also something to monitor.

“We practice those situations all the time. We talk about those situations all the time,” said Mayo, “but at the end of the day, you have to go out there, and perform, and get it done.’’

If this is going to be a great defense, one that rises in the big moments, we’ll know soon enough which way it’s headed with the Saints and Bucs on tap.

Sunday’s game with the Jets will also provide a few more clues.

As the saying goes, there’s no time like the present to start establishing that kind of reputation and dominance during the pivotal points in games. The Jets could provide opportunities for the defense to make big plays that can swing a game.

Mayo maintains that it’s a process. He said the goal is for the Patriots to have constant improvement over the next few months and be clicking on all cylinders down the stretch.

If Stephon Gilmore comes off the PUP list and returns Week 7 in October, his addition will help with those key situations and push the ceiling for the defense even higher.

“I would definitely say the team’s going to look a lot different in October and November than we do in September,” said Mayo. “We’re definitely still trying to find our way, still trying to figure out what we are as a defense, who fits where best. We’re still in that process now, and like I said, we’ll look a lot different in November than we do now.”

While it’s true, Belichick typically uses September as an extension of training camp to see what he has, figuring out roles and where everyone fits best. He might not have the luxury of a slow build this time around.

The defense might have to get better quicker, or else the hole might be too big for them to crawl out of.

Bottom line: The Patriots are going to need a defense that rises up during crucial situations in order to truly contend. It needs to be a collective difference-maker.

That’s always been part of their success.

Super Bowl XLIX against Seattle, with Malcolm Butler’s pick in the end zone, and Dont’a Hightower stopping Marshawn Lynch just short of the goal line with a one-armed grab, is a prime example. So were all the defensive plays made in Super Bowl LI  to come back from 28-3 against Atlanta, with Hightower’s strip-sack of Matt Ryan chief among them.

Patriots Hall of Famer Rodney Harrison, an analyst with NBC sports, thought the front seven looked slow, and not very energetic against the Dolphins. He didn’t see guys flying around and making plays.

But he’s not ready to bury them after one game. Speaking with Harrison Friday, he agreed with Mayo’s assessment, and thinks it might take a bit of time for all the new pieces to gel, and feel comfortable.

“I just think as they become more comfortable in the defense, as they continue to get to know one another, they’re going to trust each other. They’re going to trust that whoever’s holding the edge, is going to hold the edge,” said Harrison. “Right now, you just don’t see a lot of great chemistry on the defensive side of the ball, and that’s what I was looking at.”

He saw a team that lacked the type of aggressiveness needed to make big plays, or just plays in general.

If guys are worried about being in the right place, and doing the right thing, they lose some of that aggressiveness. And that seemed to be the case Sunday against the Dolphins.

“You can do your job, but you still have to have that reckless abandon out there,” said Harrison. “That’s when you see the excitement of defenders doing their job, celebrating, making plays, celebrating their teammates making plays … that’s what you want to see on a consistent basis.”

Several members of the defense also didn’t seem too concerned they wouldn’t be able to get on course, and become the type of defense everyone forecast at the outset.

Hightower said last month he thought the Patriots had the “right pieces” in place and makings for a special defense. But he also acknowledged it would take time to develop a comfort level and camaraderie given all the new players.

We’ll know more after the Jets game, the first road tilt this season.

“I feel like we learn about ourselves every game, home or away, win or loss,” defensive end Deatrich Wise said Thursday. “Everything that we face or encounter, we definitely learn about our character, how we handle every situation,” said Wise. “This is just another opportunity to learn who we are, with a road game, in a hostile environment.”

One that got away

Belichick has a pretty good record when it comes to letting players go he believes would no longer be of use in New England.

Darrelle Revis, Butler, Dion Lewis, Logan Mankins all fall into that category, just to name a few.

But, there have been some misreads along the way as well.

Brady is the most glaring one, of course. But there have been others.

Arizona defensive end Chandler Jones certainly fits in the category. He’s enjoyed a very good career after leaving New England.

Jones has been a sack machine for the Cardinals, as he leads the NFL in sacks (102) since entering the league in 2012. Since leaving the Patriots, he’s had four straight years with double-digit sacks. He didn’t achieve that pinnacle last year as he suffered a season-ending biceps injury in Week 5.

Against Tennessee last week, Jones added 5 more sacks to his resume en route to earning the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Interestingly, Jones, who is set to earn $15.5 million this season, had requested a trade from the Cardinals earlier in the year, and did not attend any offseason work.

Jones told reporters that he has turned his full attention to football while letting any negotiations on a new deal go on without his direct involvement behind the scenes.

“I think I play best when I don’t go in thinking about the deal … I’m just playing football, honestly,” Jones said, via the team’s website. “I’m letting my agent take care of all of that. It is the last year of my contract and I let that take care of itself.”

Jimmy G’s conundrum

How does Jimmy Garoppolo feel about rookie Trey Lance taking snaps away from him during the team’s Week 1 win?

Outwardly, he’s saying all the right things, but he can’t be happy with that development.

Jimmy G was removed on one first-quarter drive against the Lions, and Lance immediately threw a touchdown pass.

During the game, which was televised by FOX, commentator Mark Sanchez suggested it wasn’t easy for Garoppolo to go over and embrace Lance on the sideline.

“He’s not wrong,” Garoppolo said of Sanchez’s comment, via Jake Montero of KNBR. “Nah, it is what it is type of situation. It’s one of those we had a good drive, marched down there. Kyle (Shanahan) called the package and he’s the head coach. Whatever he calls, goes. Just one of those things that you can only control what you can control. And I’m out there with my boys, making the best of it, having a good time. At the end of the day we’re playing football, trying to get a win. Whatever it takes. It is what it is, you know?”

Faulk dealing with tragedy

Sending heartfelt condolences to former Patriots running back Kevin Faulk and his family.

Faulk’s 19-year-old daughter Kevione passed away early last week. That kind of news is devastating for any parent.

Kevione was a student at LSU where she was also a student worker with the football team, working closely with her father.

The Patriots Hall of Famer, a member of three Super Bowl winning teams, is currently LSU’s running backs coach. He had played at LSU in the mid-1990s, becoming the school’s all-time leading rusher.

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Quirky art on the prairie, and more: Franconia Sculpture Park celebrates 25 years

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Quirky art on the prairie, and more: Franconia Sculpture Park celebrates 25 years
A sculpture called “Saudade” by artist Kendra Elyse Douglas sits on display in Franconia Sculpture Park on Thursday, Sept. 9. Franconia Sculpture Park is celebrating its 25th anniversary. (Emily Urfer / Pioneer Press)

Amid clumps of milkweed, prairie grass and pine trees, there’s a massive, turquoise Lorraine Motel sign, a copper-clad asteroid being catapulted back to space and a cedar hunting blind awaiting curious visitors.

Just off Highway 8 in Shafer, near Taylors Falls, Franconia Sculpture Park has been a part of the surrounding community and the greater Minnesota and Wisconsin area for 25 years as an educational and recreational space for public art, as well as a day trip destination. It’s not only a gateway to contemporary art for visitors, but also a place where art lives without barriers or borders.

Spanning 50 acres with more than 100 sculptures on display, Franconia draws thousands of visitors each year — and that number rose from 180,000 during 2020 to 200,000 in 2021, one of Franconia’s highest attendance years yet.

Unlike the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Franconia isn’t smack dab in the middle of a metropolitan area. Its clientele skews more rural than urban and the park was founded eight years after Minneapolis’ Sculpture Garden put a giant spoon and cherry near the Loring greenway.

1632043198 584 Quirky art on the prairie and more Franconia Sculpture Park
A sculpture called “Freighted” by artist Emily Stover sits on display in Franconia Sculpture Park on Thursday, Sept. 9. Franconia Sculpture Park is celebrating its 25th anniversary. (Emily Urfer / Pioneer Press)

When Franconia was founded in 1996, Fuller Cowles and John Hock had a mission to create a space where interactions between artists and arts viewers could flourish, and large-scale sculptures could come to life.

“The fun part of being at Franconia is the accessibility of a community. You have Susie and Bob walking down the trail being able to interact with Marcos from Portugal who is there doing a project,” Cowles said. “That random intersection on a Tuesday afternoon is what really sets us apart.”

The space isn’t just a haven for art viewers; it’s also the temporary home of more than 30 artists each year who spend a few months living on the grounds of the park, creating their work on site and leaving Franconia with a sculpture — or a written work, or a piece of performance or video art — along the prairie pathway. Both Cowles and Hock had done work for Socrates Sculpture Park in New York, and they were jazzed by the idea of bringing a public sculpture park to rural Minnesota.

Unlike a traditional white-walled gallery space, Franconia’s tree-and-prairie landscape encourages artists to tap into a new side of their creative processing and configure their sculpture within a wild space. When mixed media artist Julie Schenkelberg arrived at the site this summer, before she even began building her “Aurora” installation, she’d spent a few weeks in Franconia’s field, lying in the grass, taking note of where the moon rose and the sun set, all to inform where her work would be positioned.

“It’s such a great opportunity to show something that is wild — and my work is wild,” Schenkelberg said. “Even though I do get exhibited in galleries, I like the rawness of my work being outside. And also, I can’t control how people will see it necessarily, like they’ll be walking around it, or they can go in and out of it.”

And other artists create their work to cater to the space itself. Take local artist Tom Bierlein’s “Variations on Becoming,” a cedar hunting blind that allows the viewer to see the nature of the park through a shielded, yet open, space. “​​From the beginning, I was really interested in integrating the work physically within the prairie, and within the ecosystem of Franconia,” Bierlein said.

1632043198 630 Quirky art on the prairie and more Franconia Sculpture Park
Executive Director and Chief Curator Ginger Shulick Porcella poses for a portrait in Franconia Sculpture Park on Thursday, Sept. 9. Franconia Sculpture Park is celebrating its 25th anniversary. (Emily Urfer / Pioneer Press)

The residency program naturally invigorates artists to go beyond their everyday practice and explore different approaches to creating art, according to Ginger Shulick Porcella, Franconia’s executive director and chief curator. But Franconia isn’t zeroed in on the art it produces; since Shulick Porcella has taken the reins of the park, Franconia has worked to create relationships with the folks they welcome in.

“Our focus has really shifted away from large-scale sculpture, to more audience engagement and community engagement in the space and using the landscape and the space as an entry point for people to experience art in nature,” Shulick Porcella said.

The sculpture park has definitely shifted. Staff have ushered in movie nights, farmers markets, film series and special events. And with the 2020 opening of Franconia’s visitor center, there’s an indoor gallery and opportunities for weddings and other celebrations.

Franconia’s rural setting creates a unique opportunity for the artists and curators of Franconia, Shulick Porcella said.

“We get folks from the Twin Cities, but we also get really conservative folks from Wisconsin who are not going to go to a museum, but they’re going to come here,” she said. “So our social responsibility as an educational art space is to tell these people about the work of these global artists, the global ideas and, you know, maybe that’ll get people to think differently about the world.

“We literally physically and mentally eliminate the barriers from participation with contemporary art, which, if you put a lot of this art in a museum space, would be very intimidating,” Shulick Porcella explained. “But people are able to come right up to the art, they’re able to read about the art and the artist’s motivations and, at times, even meet the artist if they see them making their work on site. So it’s just a totally different environment for demystifying the creative process for both artists and audiences.”

On Sept. 25, Franconia will celebrate its 25th year with a bundle of activities, from an examination of Franconia’s biodiversity with University of Minnesota professors, to a performance by Twin Cities-based hip-hop artist Nur-D.

“My heart swells with pride and joy, watching the new young artists come and make work at the sculpture park and how excited little kids get, that stuff just makes my heart sing,” Cowles said.

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OBF: FBI’s shameful role in Nassar case extends victims’ trauma

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OBF: FBI’s shameful role in Nassar case extends victims’ trauma

If only Larry Nassar had a suspicious-looking garage door pull back in 2015.

The FBI might have seriously addressed the child sexual assault allegations levied against Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor, by those in his care.

Unfortunately, the FBI had other concerns at the time. It never bothered to seriously investigate the accusations brought forward by Olympian and Needham native Aly Raisman, and her fellow gymnasts, caught in the pedophilic triad of Nassar, USA Gymnastics and United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee.

Olympians Simone Biles, Maggie Nichols, McKayla Maroney and Raisman forced their plight into the national spotlight by testifying on Wednesday in front of a Senate committee investigating how the Feds screwed up this situation.

They scored perfect 10s. Theirs was a profile in courage.

“A survivor’s healing is affected by the handling of their abuse, and it disgusts me that we are still fighting for the most basic answers and accountability over 6 years later,” Raisman, 27, said. “I felt pressured by the FBI to consent to Nassar’s plea deal,” she said. “The agent diminished the significance of my abuse and made me feel my criminal case wasn’t worth pursuing.”

She said the FBI sat on her allegations for 14 months despite repeated requests to be interviewed.

The head of the FBI’s Indianapolis bureau sought a job with the USOPC while assigned to the Nassar case. He retired in 2018. Another agent was fired this summer after a Justice Department probe found multiple flaws in how the FBI bungled the inquiry.

FBI Director Christopher Wray, as useful and effective as Jarrett Stidham, took the heat for the federal government’s failure at the hearing. But he was not in charge when the FBI actively pushed to subvert this case.

Who was in charge of the FBI when it ran interference for Nassar? None other than Jim Comey. He was fired by President Trump in 2017 during the Russia Collusion investigation. Comey wrote a book in 2018 called, laughingly, “A Higher Loyalty.” Comey was so good at his job, he had no idea what was happening on his watch. Comey remains silent here.

Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe said this represents the “worst” of the Bureau. He should know. McCabe was fired in 2018 after improperly leaking information to the Wall Street Journal and lying under oath about it three times.

Attorney General Merrick Garland was a no-show last week, as was Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. They have more pressing business since the Bill of Rights remains in effect across several states.

This is the same FBI that immediately dispatched more than a dozen agents to Talladega Superspeedway in 2020 after a crew member reported a looped rope in a garage used by driver Bubba Wallace, who is Black.

No racing team used the stall for months and it was randomly assigned to Wallace. A cursory look at the photo featuring said the infamous garage pull revealed this was a case of “Fake Noose.” Still, agents descended upon that NASCAR garage area as if it was a rally of unvaccinated Ron DeSantis supporters.

USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee share culpability. Each organization enabled this criminal activity. This could have been done for a myriad of reasons from public image, corporate sponsorship dollars to preserving sky-high TV ratings during the Games.

Raisman said USA Gymnastics “quietly allowed Nassar to slip out the side door,” which let him continue his “work” Michigan State University and elsewhere. “Nassar found more than 100 new victims to molest. It was like serving innocent children up to a pedophile on a silver platter,” she said.

Her allegations of abuse were buried by both governing organizations and the Feds, “who failed to follow their most basic duties,” Raisman added. “The FBI and others within both USAG and USOPC knew that Nassar molested children, and did nothing to restrict his access.”

Remember, these allegations were first brought to the FBI’s attention before the 2016 Olympics. Imagine the historic irony of Matt Lauer interviewing the gymnasts five years ago about a breaking sexual abuse scandal ahead of the Rio Games?

Raisman lives in the Seaport District. It was simply South Boston for a couple of hundred years before real estate agents needed to justify its astronomic property values and rents.

Being victimized by the FBI’s criminal malfeasance was a rite of passage for many who lived in Southie in the late 20th century.

Raisman sadly carries on that tradition, along with a lifetime of emotional trauma for no additional cost.

The FBI – mostly through disgraced agent John Connolly – enabled Whitey Bulger to unleash a pandemic of organized crime and murder for decades in South Boston. When he wasn’t killing people or shaking them down, Whitey flooded the neighborhood with cocaine and marijuana (when it was illegal), through his own rackets or dealers whom he “protected” for the right price.

Bulger met his demise at a West Virginia prison in 2018. Meanwhile, Connolly is a free man. He got a compassionate medical release from a Florida judge in February to “finish the rest of his life in the sunshine,” despite a 40-year second-degree murder conviction in 2008. Justice remains denied to many of their victims and families.

Nassar will be in prison from anywhere between 40 and 175 years. We hope. His prosecution occurred due to the work of police in Michigan.

That, unfortunately, doesn’t mean justice for the more than 250 women and girls he sexually assaulted.

Raisman relives her worst nightmares whenever pressing for accountability.

“Experiencing this type of abuse is not something one just suffers in the moment,” Raisman told Congress. “It carries on with them sometimes for the rest of their lives. Being here today is taking everything I have. I don’t think you realize how much it affects us, how much the PTSD, how much the trauma impacts us.”

Justice for these women could include imprisonment for everyone at the FBI, USA Gymnastics and the USPOC who enabled Nassar, or covered up his behavior. It could mean — someday — putting Raisman, Maroney or Biles in charge of the USA Gymnastics program, if not the entire US Olympic program, if only to ensure this never happens again.

A total of $500 million from a settlement with Michigan State University has been set aside to pay Nassar’s victims.

That’s a good start.

But there is so much more to be done.

Bill Speros (@realOBF) can be reached at [email protected]

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With no end in sight, how MN’s current COVID wave differs from the previous three

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With no end in sight, how MN’s current COVID wave differs from the previous three

Minnesota is in its fourth surge of the coronavirus pandemic and health experts say this wave of cases and infections is different and doesn’t appear to be letting up anytime soon.

Unlike previous waves, this one is driven by the more contagious delta variant that has sickened tens of thousands, sent thousands to hospitals and killed hundreds. Health officials don’t see a quick or easy way out.

“We have a lot of COVID right now. It’s raining COVID and we need to do everything we can to decrease transmission,” Dr. Ruth Lynfield, state epidemiologist with the Minnesota Department of Health, said last week on a call with reporters.

Unlike the past surges, much of the state has been vaccinated against the virus and more younger Minnesotans are getting sick. And where in the past surges saw a quick spike in infections followed by an eventual retreat, this time the growth has been an unyielding crawl upward.

About twice as many kids are getting sick during the latest surge than last fall when Minnesota saw its biggest spike in COVID-19 cases. More than half of teens are now at least partially vaccinated, but children under 12 are not yet eligible for any of the three shots.

Additionally, the number of severe cases in unvaccinated residents is trending younger roughly nine out of 10 seniors have been inoculated.

However, more than 2.2 million Minnesotans have yet to get the shot and residents in the 18- to 49-year-old age group are the most likely to not be vaccinated.

Vaccines are not perfect and breakthrough infections are on the rise. Yet, more than 99 percent of the 3 million fully vaccinated Minnesotans have not reported a breakthrough infection.

Nevertheless, there have been 18,790 breakthrough cases, 1,095 hospitalizations and 108 deaths of fully vaccinated people. Health officials say nearly all vaccinated people with severe infections are elderly and most younger people with breakthrough infections have mild or no symptoms.

TIMING COULD BE KEY

The fact the summer surge is now stretching toward the fall has health officials concerned.

Schools are back in session and more activities are moving indoors as fall weather approaches. Since the pandemic began, more than 415,000 of the state’s nearly 682,000 cases, 19,400 of the roughly 37,000 hospitalizations and 4,820 of the nearly 8,000 deaths have occurred in fall and winter months.

“When people gather, transmission happens. A layered approach to prevention is highly, highly recommended for anytime we are in large gatherings,” said Jan Malcolm, state health commissioner. She noted that more than 150 infections have already been tied to the Minnesota State Fair.

Health officials say multiple layers of coronavirus mitigation includes getting vaccinated, wearing masks and social distancing in crowded places, being tested when exposed and staying home when ill.

HOW IS THIS SURGE DIFFERENT?

So far, this summer’s surge has been more of a slow upward crawl rather than the past spikes Minnesota saw earlier in the pandemic. That appears to be almost entirely due the effectiveness of the three vaccines available in the U.S.

A few key differences:

  • The peak in new cases in past surges happened around 30 days in, then the numbers began to fall. The current surge continues to grow, slowly, as it nears 60 days.
  • It’s the same with hospitalizations. The rate of new hospitalizations peaked after a few weeks in past surges. Hospital beds continue to fill up in this surge.
  • Test-positivity rates are nowhere near as high as they were before vaccines were widely available.
  • Daily deaths are down this time around. The seven-day rolling average of this surge has never topped 10, so far. Each of the past surges did, with the fall of 2020 topping 70.

But that doesn’t mean Minnesota is out of the woods. Vaccine hesitancy, younger people who are not yet eligible for the shot and the more contagious delta strain have threatened to push the fourth surge past previous thresholds. And there are no more statewide mandates on masks, business capacities and gathering sizes to help stem the virus’ spread.

WATCHING SCHOOLS CLOSELY

Public schools are one of health officials’ biggest concerns, especially considering that vaccines have not been approved for those younger than age 12; and that 47 percent of those ages 12-15 and 41 percent of those ages 16-17 remain unvaccinated.

School has only been in session two weeks and health officials are getting hundreds of reports each day of cases tied to public schools.

Unlike last fall, there is no statewide emergency in place, so districts are left to decide the best ways to manage the pandemic. Approaches vary from mandatory masks, social distancing and quarantining of those who have been exposed to more hands-off approaches.

The number of school buildings with confirmed outbreaks of five cases or more grew from six to 26 in just a week.

Vaughan-Steffensrud Elementary School in Chisholm in northern Minnesota hasn’t yet made the state list of confirmed outbreaks, but on Thursday leaders announced students would learn remotely for two weeks because of substantial transmission.

The school is located in St. Louis County, where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says community transmission of the coronavirus is high. Nearly all of Minnesota’s 87 counties have similar levels of virus spread.

“That’s exactly the reason for some of the concern at this stage of the game. We start the school year at much higher community-transmission rates than we were at last school year and more cases among kids,” Malcolm said.

CONCERNS ABOUT HOSPITAL CAPACITY

There’s also continued concern about hospital capacity, especially in rural areas were options may be more limited.

There were more than 700 patients hospitalized last week, including more than 200 in critical condition. That’s the most critical patients recorded all of this year and overall hospitalizations are rivaling the spring 2021 surge.

The number of hospitalized patients peaked at more than 1,800 last December during the state’s worst surge.

Hospital capacity is strained with available beds dwindling in much of the Twin Cities and southeastern part of the state, health department data show. Hospital leaders say that’s not just due to COVID-19; the pandemic caused many to put off care and the number of patients with ailments like heart attacks and strokes is near double what is normally seen.

But the true concern is over the availability of the highly-trained staff needed to treat seriously ill patients. Doctors and nurses are leaving the profession, health officials say.

“There are fewer health care workers on the job today than there were last year,” Malcolm said, “due to the extreme stress and burnout they have experienced for 18 months now. ”

Malcolm added: “It is getting harder for some hospitals to find open, staffed beds at the right level of care for critically ill patients. This is an issue statewide impacting small, rural facilities and large metro systems.”

WHAT COULD HELP?

Health officials maintain that robust coronavirus mitigation measures are one of the easiest ways to slow the spread of COVID-19, including the more contagious delta strain.

But there are also some coming decisions by federal regulators and the CDC and Food and Drug Administration that could help increase protection.

As soon as this week, federal regulators are expected to decide whether vaccine booster shots are needed for much of the population. There are concerns over whether the protection vaccines provide wanes over time and could make people who’ve been inoculated more susceptible to virus variants.

The White House has encouraged boosters for everyone eight months after their last dose of vaccine. The World Health Organization has criticized the idea while so many in developing countries haven’t had access to any vaccine.

“We will learn more very shortly about the data and (federal regulators) deliberations,” Dr. Lynfield said.

There’s also continued talk about whether Pfizer, and possibly Moderna, will apply for emergency authorization to administer their vaccines to children ages 5 to 11. That decision is anticipated sometime this fall, possibly by the end of October.

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