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Box office: ‘ Hustlers ‘ Racks Up Debut $33 million, ‘ Goldfinch ‘ Bombs



Box office: ' Hustlers ' Racks Up Debut $33 million, ' Goldfinch ' Bombs

“Hustlers,” who made their debut at 3,250 North American theaters, raised $33.2 million in Benjamin this weekend.

Encouraged by rave reviews and stellar mouthword, “Hustlers,” together with the largest live action weekend to the stars Jennifers Lopez and Constance Wu, beat expectations and now ranks as the best start for a STX movie. The R-rated heist thriller is directed by Lorene Scafaria, based on Jessica Pressler’s New York 2015 article on the strippers who turn the tables on their rich Wall Street customers after the 2008 recession hits.

Young women were in force: 67 percent of the opening weekend crowds were women and 69 percent were over 25. Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo and Cardi B are also part of the female ensemble.

“Hustlers,” costing a total of 20 million dollars to produce is a necessary win for STX, after the studio had made a host of summer flops, including “Uglydolls,” “Poms” and “The Best of Enemies.”

Not all newcomers were as lucky. Warner Bros.” The Goldfinch, adapted from the award-winning novel Donna Tartt, was misleading at a catastrophic 2,6 million dollars from 2542 places. These ticket sales are well behind projections estimated at close to $12 million an opening weekend. Ansel Elgort is a star of the mystery drama that costs $40 million to produce, as Theo, a young man who turns to art forgery after losing his mother in a freak. After its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, “The Goldfinch” was skewered by critic.

Although Warner Bros dominated the “Goldfinch” box office diagrams, “It: Chapter Two” remained the No. 1 for the second weekend consecutively. This frightening sequel pocketing an additional $40 million this weekend increased its domestic tally to $153 million. The franchisee based on Stephen Kings horror novel has generated over $1 billion worldwide between “It: Chapter Two” and its predecessor.

“Angel Has Fallen” from Lionsgate slid to the third, adding $4.4 million in its fourth release weekend. Universal “Good Boys” comedy raised $4.2 million at No. 4, taking its bounty in North America to a solid $73 million. The top five is Disney’s $3.5 million “The Lion King.” The remake accumulated a massive $534 million at the domestic box office after nine weeks in theatres.

Sonia’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has reached $329.4 million in other box office milestones worldwide, surpassing “Inglourious Basterds” ($323.4 million) to become the second largest gross film in the career of director Quentin Tarantino. “Django Unchained” remains his largest film with $425 million worldwide to date.

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Rajesh is a freelancer with a background in e-commerce marketing. Having spent her career in startups, He specializes in strategizing and executing marketing campaigns.

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Girls volleyball preview: Can anyone stop Needham?



Girls volleyball preview: Can anyone stop Needham?

How the MIAA’s switch to a statewide playoff system could impact the girls volleyball world is an unknown.

But two things seem clear — the usual contenders are still expected to be in the hunt for state titles, and Needham has utterly dominated Division 1.

The last time the Rockets dropped a match was Nov. 1, 2018, when Needham fell to Shepherd Hill in the opening round of the Central/West tournament. Since then, the Rockets have gone on to win a Div. 1 title in 2019, only to follow that run up with a perfect 12-0 season against Bay State conference competition during the Fall II campaign.

Needham has lost key contributors, such as former Div. 1 Player of the Year Karen Nie as well as Lila Carr, but the Rockets will welcome back senior captain Ellie Streeper and Antonia Thommes, who are expected to shoulder responsibilities this year.

“I definitely have high expectations,” said Needham coach Courtney Chaloff. “I, of course, like to set goals with the team, and kind of see where we want to go. We probably have our hardest season schedule that we’ve ever had. We’ve got Barnstable on there, we have Lincoln-Sudbury on there, we have Newton South on there, and of course, the Bay State Conference in and of itself is a pretty tough league to be in as well. I just expect us to compete hard, and take it day by day.”

Winchester met Needham in the 2019 state finals and has transformed from a Div. 2 program searching for relevance into a Div. 1 juggernaut. During Fall II, the Red and Black also went 13-0 and took the Middlesex League title.

But Winchester lost eight seniors to graduation; they’ll turn to Lauren Tian for leadership this fall.

“There’s a lot of new faces that will be on the court trying to gain some experience,” Winchester coach John Fleming said. “But I think our expectations are pretty much the same. We want to go into every game and really compete, and think we have the opportunity to compete against everyone we’re playing. We don’t necessarily have a goal that states: ‘We’re going to do this or that.’ But I think we will be competitive, and will try to maintain the level of success that we’ve had over the last few years.”

Elsewhere in Div. 1, Barnstable is expected to remain in contention. Under Tom Turco, Barnstable captured 10 straight South sectional titles between 2010-19, then won the Cape and Islands League (Atlantic Division) title this past winter. Laura Cogswell, who finished second in the commonwealth in assists last season, will be returning this fall, as will Lindsay Jones.

Boston Latin is hoping for another breakout season behind outside hitters Hailey Rooney and Holly Sullivan, setter Kyri Stavros and middle blocker Christina Zhu.

For three years, the Hockomock League has been controlled by four schools; Franklin now is the primary team to watch at the Div. 1 level. Cailyn Mackintosh (31 aces during Fall II) is expected to lead the way, as are Meghan Linkkila (31 aces, 56 digs) and up-and-coming sophomore Taylor Lacerda (74 kills, 60 digs, 20 aces).

Kya Burdier racked up 197 assists to go with 47 kills and 99 digs for Haverhill. The senior captain is hoping to have a similar run for the Hillies, along with outside hitter Summer Zaino (53 kills).

The Quincy Presidents captured the Patriot Cup title last November with a dramatic 3-2 victory over Duxbury, and turned heads with a victory over Barnstable to start the 2021 season. Annika Schmitt (127 assists, 71 kills, 44 digs) and Mona Ly (177 service receptions, 126 digs, 68 kills, 34 aces) will power things offensively, with Bridget Hoare, Emma Galvin and Colleen Moran also contributing.

Bishop Feehan, Concord-Carlisle, Lawrence, Lincoln-Sudbury and Newton North also remain potential players for Div. 1 supremacy in their own right.

In the Div. 2 field, the Hockomock League remains well-represented. It should be easy to pencil in Canton as a program poised to continue its run of success. Patricia Cawley’s group took home a state title in 2019, then fell to King Philip this past winter in the conference semifinals. The Bulldogs will attempt to rebound behind senior captains Taylor Reynolds, Sydney Gallery, Tayla DeGraw and Anna Verille. Watch out for the emergence of sophomore outside hitter Jess Wright as well.

“It is going to be a brand new look,” Cawley said. “It probably is going to take us a little bit to gel, and give (our players) some experience, where they have the confidence to go out. I have some good athletes. I have really hard-working kids, very mature seniors who are very good leaders. So I think with time, hopefully in the next few weeks, we’re going to really up our game and hopefully by tournament time… we’re going to be peaking.”

King Philip dropped to the Div. 2 level following their victory in the Hockomock Cup championship. Junior captain Ahuuna James (124 kills last season) is expected to bear the brunt of the load offensively for the Warriors, along with help from Stella Bailey and Liv Carey.

Oliver Ames also dropped to Div. 2, and will lean on Hadley Rhodes (257 assists, 66 digs and 52 kills), Madelyn Homer and Sarah Hilliard.

Danvers cruised to an undefeated Fall II season and a Northeastern Conference title, and the Falcons remain tough behind senior captains Tess Vontzalides and Alexia Simpson, as well as two junior starters in Maxine Lapine and Emma Callahan.

Thanks to the return of Molly Murphy (113 digs, 77 kills), Burlington remains a team to watch from the Middlesex League, as is Melrose. Other favorites to contend for the Div. 2 title include Dartmouth, Duxbury, and Hopkinton.

The biggest surprises this year could emerge from the Div. 3 crowd. Its biggest heavyweights from the previous few seasons dropped to Div. 4. Ashland, Austin Prep, Bedford, Cardinal Spellman, Dennis-Yarmouth, Fairhaven and Old Rochester are the early picks to make noise come tournament time.

After making a trip to the Div. 3 semifinals back in 2019, Ipswich was one of the two big schools to drop to Div. 4 for this season, along with Rockland (which won the championship that year). The Tigers return to a full season schedule with a loaded roster, as Claire O’Flynn (41 kills), Elizabeth Linkletter (88 digs, 36 aces), Meghan Wallace (52 kills), Kendra Brown (98 assists, 50 digs) and Carolyn Bailey (55 digs) are all coming back.

Case and Lynnfield are both expected to be in the hunt as well.

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Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks a surprising practice absence



Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks a surprising practice absence

The injury issues for the Vikings appears to have gone from bad to worse.

With outside linebacker Anthony Barr still nursing a lingering knee injury that kept him out of the season opener, middle linebacker Eric Kendricks missed the early portion of Thursday’s practice with a quad injury.

This was a surprising development considering Kendricks was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice. He also talked to reporters ahead of Thursday’s practice and seemed to be his usual self during his brief interview session.

Though outside linebacker Nick Vigil was solid in last Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, he’s not — simply put — the same type of impact player as Kendricks. Plus, if both Barr and Kendricks are out for this Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals, that likely means Vigil would line up next to young middle linebacker Troy Dye.

That would create a number of problems as the Vikings look to stop Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray.

Aside from Barr and Kendricks, the Vikings also were without defensive end Everson Griffen (concussion) and cornerback Harrison Hand (hamstring) at Thursday’s practice and Vigil (ankle) and left tackle Christian Darrisaw (groin) were limited.


As kicker Greg Joseph trotted onto the field for a 53-yard field goal in the waning seconds of the season-opener, special teams coordinator Ryan Ficken felt like his heart was going to beat out of his chest.

Though he felt comfortable with the preparation the specialists had put in throughout the week, there were still some nerves as Joseph lined up for the field goal as the Vikings rallied from a late 10-point deficit.

“It’s a high-challenge kick,” Ficken said. “That’s why he’s here, because he has that ability to connect on those and help our team put points on the board.”

In the season opener, Joseph actually made the 53-yard field goal twice. He nailed the first attempt, even though it didn’t count because Bengals coach Zac Taylor called a timeout just before the snap. He then calmly lined back up and nailed the second attempt to send the game into overtime.

“He comes back in there and he drills it,” Ficken said. “It was incredible. Just great to see him do that and build that confidence and rapport.”


After a rough debut with the Vikings last weekend, cornerback Bashaud Breeland didn’t hide from his mistakes. He owned up to the 26-yard pass interference penalty that essentially gifted the Bengals a touchdown, as well as the 50-yard touchdown he gave up to rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase.

Now he’s moving on to the Cardinals this weekend.

“We should be 1-0 right now,” Breeland said. “Those two mistakes I made really put us in a deep hole. But not one time did my team go weary on me. They all stood beside me to get me through the little rut I was in.”

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Albany County reports 106 new COVID cases in Sept. 16 update



Albany County COVID update, September 15

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Albany County has reported 106 new COVID-19 cases and 63 recoveries since Wednesday. The county’s five day average of new daily positive cases is now 73.8.

Of the new cases, 28 were in contact with someone who tested positive, 74 did not know how they were exposed, two reported traveling and two are healthcare workers or residents of congregate settings. There are now 461 active cases in the county.

The county reported eight new hospitalizations since Wednesday. There are 34 residents hospitalized with the virus and seven patients in the ICU. There are no new COVID deaths.

As of Wednesday, 70.6% of all Albany County residents have received at least the first dose of the vaccine, and 64.7% have been fully vaccinated. The first dose vaccination rate for the county’s 18+ population is now 81.5%. 

There are several upcoming COVID vaccination clinics:

  • September 16, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Treatment & Recovery Works Rally, 1 Quay Street, Albany
  • September 18, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., Medusa Pancake Breakfast, Medusa Firehouse, 28 County Route 351, Rensselaerville
  • September 18, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Innovation Block Party, Ezra Prentice Albany Housing Authority, South Pearl Street, Albany
  • September 22, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., DePaula Auto Group, 1101 Central Ave, Albany
  • September 22, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Shaker Middle School, 475 Watervliet Shaker Road Latham

Residents can also receive free Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., each week at the Albany County Department of Health, 175 Green Street. The 12+ population is currently eligible. No appointments are needed and walk-ins are welcome.  

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St. Louis radio interview with Roger Stone allegedly interrupted by January 6 lawsuit process server



St. Louis radio interview with Roger Stone allegedly interrupted by January 6 lawsuit process server

ST. LOUIS- A lawsuit on behalf of seven police officers who were working January 6, 2021 when rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol appears to have interrupted a St. Louis radio interview earlier this week when one of the defendants was served with papers.

Roger Stone, a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump, who was later pardoned by Trump, was a guest on KTRK (93.3) Wednesday. The interview gets sidetracked.

Stone is a defendant, along with Trump and others, in the suit brought by the Capitol Police officers, but the civil rights suit was filed on August 26. A review of court records shows an attorney appeared on Stone’s behalf in Washington, DC District Court on Wednesday, but there is no record of documents being served to Stone Wednesday.

A message seeking comment from the plaintiffs’ attorney was not immediately returned.

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The Spot: Where you (and Heidi Ganahl) stand on 2020 election results is a litmus test



The Spot: Where you (and Heidi Ganahl) stand on 2020 election results is a litmus test

For people, policy and Colorado politics

What’s The Spot? You’re reading an installment of our weekly politics newsletter. Sign up here to get it delivered straight in your inbox.

Heidi Ganahl surely knew the question was coming: Do you accept the 2020 election result as legitimate?

Arguably above any other issue, an answer indicates whether a candidate has faith in the basic function of a democracy they seek to help lead. So it’s no surprise Ganahl, the biggest GOP name in Colorado’s 2022 race for governor, was asked at least three times Tuesday, Day 1 of her campaign.

She didn’t have an answer. The first time she was asked, by The Colorado Sun, she spoke generally about how important it is for people to “have confidence that their vote matters.” The second time, she told The Denver Post she wouldn’t “get into that right now.” The third time, she criticized 9News for posing such a “divisive” question.

The question is a litmus test: Will she run as a more moderate Republican who’s willing to say things that might upset the base, or will she run with the base and risk alienating moderates?

Recent history tells us it’s not easy to try to credibly run on both paths. Cory Gardner attempted that when he aligned himself with Donald Trump but ran ads about being bipartisan and independent-minded. Reporters had a lot of questions for him, but he rarely spoke to local media and left a lot unanswered.

The GOP split that Ganahl must navigate will be on display this weekend, when the state party votes on a proposal, led by the far-right, to close its primary process off to all but a few thousand die-hards. Doing that would mean excluding millions of Republican and unaffiliated voters from the GOP primary.

Reporters on Tuesday asked Ganahl what side she’s taking there — another litmus-test question.

Her response? “I’m not going to get into that.”

To support the important journalism we do, you can become a Denver Post subscriber here.


Have a question about Colorado politics? Submit it here and it’ll go straight to The Denver Post politics team.

Top Line

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser speaks ...

Rebecca Slezak, The Denver Post

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser speaks on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, during a news conference about a yearlong investigation into the Aurora Police Department that found officers’ pattern of racially biased policing and use of excessive force routinely violated state and federal law. (Rebecca Slezak, The Denver Post)

Aurora’s police department must make changes after a state investigation that found racially biased policing. Read more here.

Capitol Diary • By Saja Hindi

Abortion rights fight

Colorado Attorney General Phi Weiser announced this week that he has signed onto the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit challenging Texas’ six-week abortion ban.

“I am committed to defending women’s reproductive rights and equality, and Texas’ new law violates longstanding U.S. Supreme Court precedent by denying women their constitutionally protected right to make their own health care decisions,” Weiser said in a statement.

Texas Senate Bill 8, which went into effect earlier this month, bans nearly all abortions in the state and allows private citizens to enforce it by giving them the ability to sue anyone who performs an abortion or helps someone to get one (including counseling or giving a ride to a clinic).

Abortion rights groups in Colorado have been preparing for an increase in patients, and advocacy group Cobalt said in the week following the Texas ban, half of the clients the nonprofit helped through its abortion fund were from Texas. The attorney generals’ brief cited impacts to providers across the country, including Colorado.

But the Texas law is not the only challenge in recent years to Roe v. Wade. Mississippi officials have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to keep in place a state law that bans abortions after 15 weeks.

Reproductive rights advocates say cases like these will continue to come up unless Congress takes action. Cobalt and others are supporting the “Women’s Health Protection Act,” which would put the right to abortion access into federal law. Colorado Democrats in Congress have signed onto the legislation as cosponsors.

Other Colorado politics news

Federal Politics • By Justin Wingerter

1631830994 851 The Spot Where you and Heidi Ganahl stand on 2020

House Television via AP

GOP U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn speaks as the House of Representatives debates articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. (House Television via AP)

Judge rules in Lamborn’s favor

A federal judge has sided with U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn and agreed to let a court in Colorado handle the lawsuit filed against him by former staffer Brandon Pope.

Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, wanted it here rather than U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Judge James Boasberg, an Obama appointee, ruled Wednesday that Colorado has “robust connections to this dispute.”

“In short, this case is about a Colorado resident’s employment dispute with his Colorado-based employer, who is also a representative of the people of Colorado,” Boasberg wrote.

Pope sued Lamborn in May, alleging he was fired for speaking out about Lamborn’s disregard for COVID-19 safety protocols and the Lamborn family’s personal use of government resources. Lamborn has largely denied the accusations. A hearing had not been scheduled as of Thursday afternoon.

Other federal politics news

Mile High Politics • By Joe Rubino

Mayor’s vaccine

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North Korean teens reportedly thrown in jail for viewing K-drama ‘Crash Landing on You’



Crash Landing On You caused teens to get arrested

Almost two years since its release and subsequent rise to global popularity, the K-drama “Crash Landing on You” continues to leave an impact on its fans. In North Korea, where the drama’s storyline is based, several teens caught watching the series are allegedly facing prison time among other harsher sentences. The incident, while unconfirmed, has heightened awareness of the country’s human rights atrocities after being shared in a viral video.

Seoul-based publication The Daily NK, which specializes in North Korean news that relies on a network of sources from inside the hermit kingdom, reported in late August that eight teens were put on public trial for watching and imitating the characters of various South Korean dramas including the popular “Crash Landing on You.” 

TikToker @Priscillakwon spread the news on her account, which is known for keeping followers up to date with all-things Korea. The video has gained over 300,000 likes and shares how six teenagers have been sentenced to jail after being caught watching and reenacting South Korean shows, referring to another similar incident from earlier this year via local news site Insight

​​“You could see how harshly the six students had been interrogated just by looking at them when they were dragged out at the trial,” a source told Daily NK in the earlier report. “Their faces were nothing but skin and bones and they couldn’t even hold their bodies upright.”

While it is unclear what exactly happened to the teens in the latest incident, it’s nothing new for North Korean civilians to face harsh punishment for seemingly innocuous crimes related to entertainment. In April, a man was reportedly executed in public for selling CDs and USBs filled with South Korean media. 

Authorities are said to have been pushing for citizens to report on each other following the enactment of a law from last December that would “eradicate ‘reactionary thought and culture.’” 

While “Crash Landing on You” is among several videos that the teens in the latest alleged incident were caught watching, the involvement of the drama points to the twisted irony of the incident, as the restrictions imposed by the North Korean government are central to the plot. The main character, a South Korean woman, accidentally finds herself in her country’s northern counterpart and risks capture or death as she finds a way home. In the process, she falls in love with a North Korean soldier who attempts to help her. 

The drama, which has become South Korea’s second-highest rated show in its TV history, as per South China Morning Post, was lauded for its representation of North Korean life by defectors of the state.  

“In North Korea, films are all about the party, the country, the state,” defector Kang Nara, a consultant for the show, told NPR. “But South Korean dramas were about everyday life, like dating, falling in love, dressing nicely and having fun, and I liked that.”

Featured Image via “Crash Landing On You” on Netflix

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The Bet Box – Week 2



The Bet Box – Week 2

Crowds were back at full capacity throughout the NFL and surely home-field advantage would mean something once again following a unique 2020 season.

Not exactly. Throwing out the Green Bay-New Orleans game that was moved to Jacksonville, road teams were 8-7 straight up and 11-4 against the number. Road underdogs had some serious bite, going 7-1 against the number with the Dolphins, Steelers, Cardinals and Eagles earning outright victories — and that doesn’t include the Chargers who were favored when this went to print last week but kicked off as an underdog in Washington.

Much like Mac Jones not wanting the football from his first TD pass, we’re not taking pats on the back after going 10-6 in the opening week. We’re striving for perfection.

Patriots (-5.5) at N.Y. Jets – Sunday showed just how thin the margin of error is for the Pats – and it got even thinner for those holding over 9.5 wins tickets on the hometown team. The good news, the Jets still aren’t good and got banged up in Carolina with left tackle Mekhi Becton expected to miss at least a month. Hurry up and get those wagers in before this number goes up. Patriots, 23-14.

N.Y. Giants at Washington (-3) – It did not take long for the Fitzmagic to wear off in Washington, but Taylor Heinicke is ready to reprise his role of 2020 NFC East cult hero. Football Team, 24-16.

New Orleans (-3.5) at Carolina – Unlike Week 1, the Saints will have to worry about the opposition running the ball this time around, but the offense was balanced enough with 25% of Jameis Winston’s pass attempts accounting for touchdowns. Saints, 31-20.

Houston at Cleveland (-12.5) – It’s a lot of points to lay, but for most of the game Cleveland was the better team on Sunday against the class of the AFC. Browns, 34-21.

Cincinnati at Chicago (-1.5) – Andy Dalton gets to go up against his old team. There’s a reason the Bengals moved on. Bengals, 27-20.

Las Vegas at Pittsburgh (-5.5) – Tough spot for the Raiders coming off a fascinating win Monday night (the Manningcast on ESPN2 was excellent). Which Ben Roethlisberger shows up? Steelers, 27-17.

Buffalo (-3.5) at Miami – The Dolphins can make a big statement here. And were the Bills a bit busy reading the hype? Dolphins, 24-20.

L.A. Rams (-3.5) at Indianapolis – Matthew Stafford surrounded by a competent cast of characters is a pretty good quarterback. Indy goes 0-fer in the LA double. Rams, 28-17.

San Francisco (-3.5) at Philadelphia – Elijah Mitchell did a nice job stepping in when Raheem Mostert went down injured. This has Eagles coming through the back door written all over it. 49ers, 31-28.

Denver (-6) at Jacksonville – The Broncos were solid in all facets on Sunday. Urban to USC? Broncos, 27-14.

Minnesota at Arizona (-3.5) – Do you really trust the Vikings? I certainly don’t. Cardinals, 31-24.

Atlanta at Tampa Bay (-11.5) – Tampa Bay turned the ball over four times and still found a way to get the job done. Expect a cleaner performance this time around. Buccaneers, 34-17.

Tennessee at Seattle (-4.5) – Russell Wilson looked fantastic. Julio Jones did not. Seahawks, 31-20.

Dallas at L.A. Chargers (-3) – Dak Prescott looked good in the opener considering the shoulder injury, but the Cowboys can’t be successful if they are asking him to sling it 50 times a game. Chargers, 30-24.

Kansas City (-3.5) at Baltimore – Which quarterback do you trust more in the fourth quarter? Chiefs, 31-24.

Detroit at Green Bay (-11.5) – Aaron Rodgers was putrid on Sunday. The opponent Monday should help him in Week 2, but enough to put hard earned money behind him? Not so sure about that. Packers, 28-17.

As for a survivor pool, the Rams were never threatened by the Bears making for a smooth opener. Before the season started, the Packers at home against the Lions was the penciled-in pick, but after a stem-to-stern debacle – particularly for Aaron Rodgers and the soap opera from the offseason – I’m retreating to the calmer waters of Tampa Bay.

LAST WEEK: 10-6 (.625)

(Lines used are from FanDuel Sportsbook.)

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Minnesota’s latest vaccine incentive to focus on those hardest hit by COVID-19



Minnesota’s latest vaccine incentive to focus on those hardest hit by COVID-19

Minnesota’s latest push to get residents vaccinated against the coronavirus will focused on providing incentives to residents living in communities hardest hit by COVID-19.

Gov. Tim Walz announced Thursday the state would tap $4 million in federal aid and $400,000 from private foundations to offer $100 worth of rewards for people who complete their vaccination series.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, spaced weeks apart, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is one shot.

“Every shot in the arm is a critical step in stopping the spread of this virus, and local organizations around Minnesota know how to best encourage the communities they serve to get their vaccine,” Walz said in a statement announcing the program. “We are taking every opportunity we can to meet Minnesotans where they are — especially in communities hit hardest by COVID-19.”

State and federal data have shown low income communities, people of color, residents with disabilities and the LGBTQ community have been hard hit by the pandemic, both in terms of increased illness and economic misfortune.

The latest vaccination push will focus on providing incentives in-person, rather than online, at the community clinics and federally funded health centers that serve those communities.

“Our administration is deeply committed to ensuring equity within all aspects of our COVID-19 response,” Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said in a statement. “By providing funds directly to our COVID-19 Community Coordinators, community clinics, and Federally Qualified Health Centers for culturally-relevant and on-site incentives, we will be able to better serve communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.”

Incentives will include grocery store vouchers, Target gift cards, or culturally specific food items.

Previously, more than 80,000 residents applied online for $100 gift cards that were part of incentive programs the state held in early August and at the state Fair.

Those incentives, worth more than $8 million, were also paid for with federal pandemic aid, state leaders said.

For more information on COVID-19 services in hard hit communities visit: More details about COVID-19 testing and vaccines are available at

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University of Vermont president wants to freeze tuition for fourth consecutive year



University of Vermont president wants to freeze tuition for fourth consecutive year

Following historic enrollment at the University of Vermont this fall, President Suresh Garimella is asking the UVM’s Board of Trustees to freeze tuition next year

If approved, it would be the fourth consecutive year in which UVM did not raise tuition for in-state and out-of-state undergraduate and graduate students. Garimella said it would help more students graduate on time and reduce their student loan debt. 

 “At a time when families are still finding their way out of the economic stress of the pandemic, it’s important that we renew our commitment to student affordability and access,” said Garimella.

Sam Pasqualoni, president of the Student Government Association, says he’s graduating in the spring. By the time he gets his diploma, it’s likely he’ll pay the same tuition he paid when he first started at UVM.

“A big part for me was actually affordability,” said Pasqualoni. “I think this is a positive announcement and a great precedent to set. This is something we can look fondly on as an indication of care for our students.” 

UVM freshman Caitlin Parker says the freeze is food news amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I think it’s really kind of helpful and nice to have that almost kind of like a safety net behind us,” said

Eleanor Miller, the president of UVM’s faculty union, United Academics, says the proposal is reassuring for educators as well. “UVM’s fiscal situation seems to have improved so that some of the cost cutting to academic programs and staff that happened last year that have been proposed won’t be necessary anymore,” said Miller.

In his 2022-23 budget, Garimella is also proposing to freeze undergraduate students’ comprehensive fee and reduce it for graduate students by $250. Room and board costs will remain flat for the third year in a row. 

Garimella says while its not easy to freeze tuition with minimal financial support from the state, getting a diploma shouldn’t be out of reach for students.

“Annual tuition increases, even modest ones, are not the solution to the budget pressures facing colleges and universities. And, it isn’t not prudent nor is it practical to expect students and families to absorb continually rising costs,” said Garimella.

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Armed parents get into argument on elementary school grounds in Hazelwood



Armed parents get into argument on elementary school grounds in Hazelwood

HAZELWOOD, Mo. – Hazelwood school officials and police are investigating an incident involving two parents who brought firearms onto an elementary school campus and got into a dispute with one another.

The altercation occurred Monday during the morning drop-off at McNair Elementary School.

Anthony Kiekow, a spokesman for the Hazelwood School District, said the parents got into a verbal altercation. Each parent had a “visible” firearm with them at the time.

The school’s safety team and district resource officers responded immediately to quell the situation. The parents have been identified and the Hazelwood Police Department is investigating the matter.

The source or reason for the dispute was not disclosed.

The altercation only involved the two parents. No other students, employees, or parents were threatened or hurt.

Kiekow said student safety remains the top priority.

The district does not allow weapons on school property. Missouri law prohibits bringing a weapon to campus. Violators could face criminal charges. Kiekow clarified the students will not be punished for their parents’ actions.

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