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In New Beach Swimsuit Pic, Serena Williams Flaunts



In New Beach Swimsuit Pic, Serena Williams Flaunts

Look… The ass of Serena Williams in all her glory!!

Just a few weeks after an L in the grand slam finale in the United States. Open, Serena chills somewhere on a beach… Up arms, out cakes. It’s nice things. It’s nice things.

Serena is 37 and is still impressive in all aspects of her existence. She’s still a court beast. Kill in company. Kill in company. And, her flesh… Good god. Good god.

Despite all the big stuff, a number of racist jerks still seek to cause drama in Serena’s lives, including some moronic Romanian TV hosts who crawled out of the gutter to describe Williams as a “monkey.”

Radu Bancui, a 49-year-old who spoke on TV, is so offensive and disgusting that we won’t release them here. But it has been revealed that the body which supervises content on Romanian television has been fined.

Frankly enough, the fine isn’t large enough.

Seems Williams has always been dealing with this sort of shit from multiple racist fools worldwide-including in his nation of origin.

At the 2001 BNP Paribas Open tournament in Indian Wells California, both Serena and Venus talked openly about being called the N-word.

But Serena’s tuning everything out and basking in her achievement today… And about it we couldn’t be happier.

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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These are the top spots in the U.S. to go apple picking, according to Yelp



These are the top spots in the U.S. to go apple picking, according to Yelp

(NEXSTAR) – Apple picking in the fall is as American as, well, apple pie. From McIntosh to Granny Smith, there are approximately 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the United States.

Despite challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. is expected to produce 11 billion pounds of the fall fruit this season, up 2.7% from last year’s production, according to USApple’s “Industry Outlook 2021” released last month.

The report included good news for Gala enthusiasts. The mildly sweet variety is expected to represent approximately 19% of the total apple harvest this year, earning the top spot for a second year in a row. Rounding out the top five will be Red Delicious, Honeycrisp, Fuji and Granny Smith.

Depending on the variety and the region, apple harvest typically takes place between of August and October in the United States. If you are looking for the best spot to pick your own apples, Yelp has compiled a list to help you decide where to go.

“We identified the top spots to go apple picking in the US, and then ranked those spots using a number of factors including the total volume and ratings of reviews between January 1, 2001 and July 7th, 2021,” a Yelp representative told Nexstar.

All businesses were marked open on Yelp as of August 3, 2021.

  1. Cider Hill Farm – Amesbury, MA
  2. Carter Mountain Orchard – Charlottesville, VA
  3. Willowbrook Apple Farm – Oak Glen, CA
  4. Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard – Hendersonville, NC
  5. Ochs Orchard – Warwick, NY
  6. Solebury Orchards – New Hope, PA
  7. Gizdich Ranch – Watsonville, CA
  8. DuBois Farms – Highland, NY
  9. Fishkill Farms – Hopewell Junction, NY
  10. Honey Hill Orchard – Waterman, IL
  11. Homestead Farm – Poolesville, MD
  12. Hurds Family Farm – Modena, NY
  13. Anderson Orchard – Mooresville, IN
  14. Lynd Fruit Farm – Pataskala, OH
  15. Terhune Orchards – Princeton, NJ
  16. Chileno Valley Ranch – Petaluma, CA
  17. Kiyokawa Family Orchards – Parkdale, OR
  18. Gilcrease Orchard – Las Vegas, NV
  19. Weber’s Peachberry Farm – Glen Arm, MD
  20. Hillcrest Orchards – Amherst, OH
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Urgent care chain to open in Five Points



Urgent care chain to open in Five Points

A local chain of urgent care clinics hopes to have a new Five Points location up and running by mid next summer.

American Family Care, also known as AFC Urgent Care, is looking to build a 3,600-square-foot clinic at 3248 Champa St.

It would replace the existing 1,100-square-foot structure at the site, which was built in the 1960s.

Kerman Investments LLC, an entity affiliated with the company, paid $1.05 million for the 0.22-acre property in January 2020. It’s within the Curtis Park Historic District.

At the time of the sale, the building was vacant, having most recently been used by a check-cashing store. In recent months, AFC has been using the property as a COVID-19 and antibody testing site.

AFC CEO Darius Kerman said the new facility is planned to have six exam rooms and a medical procedure room, with the capacity to see 60 to 80 patients a day. Kerman said he chose the location in Five Points because the neighborhood lacked an urgent care facility.

“The reason why we decided to go through the pain of building a structure in the landmark district is because there’s a need in that area,” Kerman said. “There’s barely any retail. There is no medical care provider. There’s a very limited number of facilities.”

Kerman said he expects AFC’s building permits will be approved by February or March at the latest, with construction starting “right away.” The facility could be operational by July.

Kerman said the location was chosen because it’s “very visible” at the intersection of several major streets: Champa, Downing and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

There are health clinics near the AFC Five Points location, but as far as outpatient urgent care, there is not another facility within walking distance, or about 2 miles, Kerman said.

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Pollinator program aims to save rusty patched bumblebee



High school football: Ninth-ranked Woodbury rolls past Eagan 48-15


ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — Sue Gray is trying to attract an endangered species into her Becker township yard — a rusty patched bumblebee.

She hasn’t had much luck yet.

After all, the rusty patched bumblebee has declined by 87% in the last 20 years, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

But they are not without their champions.

Gray is among a throng of Minnesotans changing their landscapes to better support that endangered bee and all pollinators.

A growing state program called Lawns to Legumes promises residents their yards “can BEE the change.” It offers coaching, technical assistance and grant funds to individuals and groups to plant native flowers and grasses that will support bees, butterflies, moths and hummingbirds.

This summer lawmakers put roughly $2 million toward Phase 2 of the Lawns to Legumes program which was first funded in 2019.

“This program has gotten interest around the nation,” said Dan Shaw, senior ecologist with the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources. He helped develop the Lawns to Legumes program.

A yard in Duluth, Minnesota, has been partially covered with pollinator friendly plants as part of the Lawns to Legumes program which funds coaching and grants to expand pollinator habitat across the state.

“It’s being seen as a really effective model for how to benefit pollinators within a state and help get residents across the state involved,” Shaw told the St. Cloud Times.

Minnesota named the rusty patched bumblebee the state bee in 2019 to draw attention to the importance of pollinators in Minnesota’s ecosystems. Many residents are already on board.

“The residents of the state are the ones that are leading this movement to protect pollinators and incorporate pollinator habitats into residential landscapes,” Shaw said.

Pollinators face many challenges from habitat loss and decreasing plant diversity to extreme weather, pesticides, invasive species and more.

Sue Gray planted her Lawns to Legumes plot in fall 2020, and it is still filling out a year later, she says. Here are some native sky-blue asters and showy goldenrod growing in her Becker township garden.

Gray, the Becker master gardener, planted native prairie plants for pollinators before she connected with the Lawns to Legumes program. Through the program she added 100 square feet of pollinator habitat last fall. Her plot includes wild lupine (one of her favorites), showy-orange butterflyweed, goldenrod as well as little bluestem and prairie dropseed grasses.

“It’s a fun learning experience and it also benefits the pollinators,” said Gray, who is a retired teacher.

The program is not just for master gardeners or people with ample yards.

There are workshops, coaching and technical supports for participants, as well as up to $300 grants for individuals. There’s also funding for demonstration neighborhood projects, which are plantings on a larger scale.

New gardeners can start small, such as with a six feet by six feet plot, Shaw said.

“What we consider a pollinator pocket garden can provide a lot of benefit for pollinators and can be a really good starting point to understand the process of installing a pollinator garden and then those plantings can be added on to over time,” Shaw said.

Lawns to Legumes also supports the creation of pollinator lawns, the planting of a larger pollinator meadow or planting native trees and shrubs that benefit birds and insects, he said.

Plus humans and our communities can benefit from these kinds of plantings. They provide spots of “nearby nature,” which show kids the wonders of the natural world and bring neighborhoods together, Shaw said.

“Pollinator plantings essentially become living systems,” he wrote in a follow-up email. “They provide benefits to the biodiversity and health of soils, sequester carbon, … help manage excess water and provide flower resources during drought, provide nesting and forage resources for bees and support birds and other organisms.”

The Lawns to Legumes program includes grants to individuals and community groups. This photo shows a solo pollinator garden supported by the program after it has filled out.

All Minnesotans are eligible including renters.

The application period opened at the end of August and will close Feb. 15.

In the first year of the program 7,500 people applied.

Gray was not accepted with her first application, but she tried again and got in. She recommends it.

Now they’re entering Phase 2 of the program. And Shaw expects a Phase 3 expansion as well.

“In some ways we really are seeing a change in how people manage their landscapes. They’re really thinking about how pollinators can be benefited … and that’s what we want to see,” Shaw said. “We want to see a large-scale change in how we think about our landscapes and how we manage them for wildlife.”

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Nuggets Journal: Why “mindset change” is exactly what Bol Bol needs



Nuggets Journal: Why “mindset change” is exactly what Bol Bol needs

In a game predicated on size, it almost defies belief that Bol Bol hasn’t made an impact yet in Denver.

Entering his third season, the tantalizing, yet raw skyscraper has tools most players couldn’t dream about.

“The guy is a huge person in terms of his physical stature, his size, his length, and he is really, really talented,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said on the Denver Post’s Nuggets Ink podcast this week.

At 7-foot-3, Bol’s the rare prospect with fluid ball-handling skills, a reliable outside stroke and a wingspan that could, theoretically, deter even the craftiest guards from driving the lane.

Theoretically, because two seasons after the Nuggets traded into the second round to get him, the stars haven’t come close to aligning for him.

The first layer is a nod to the Nuggets’ success, as they’ve distinguished themselves among the loaded Western Conference and started to scratch the surface of title contention. Outside of Milwaukee over the last three seasons, no team in the NBA has amassed more wins throughout the regular season and playoffs than the Nuggets.

That’s hardly the ideal environment to develop any prospect, let alone one as unique as Bol.

“Our first three years, we were developing, and young guys were given the opportunity to play, and more importantly, play through all their mistakes,” Malone said. “Well, Bol doesn’t have that option, man. It’s all trying to be homecourt advantage in the playoffs.”

While the Nuggets fought for seeding the last two seasons, Bol largely remained glued to the bench, buried on the depth chart behind big men Paul Millsap, JaMychal Green and Zeke Nnaji. Last season, former Nuggets Isaiah Hartenstein and JaVale McGee seemed to surpass Bol in the pecking order, as did hybrid forward Vlatko Cancar.

Whenever he played, the game was rarely still in the balance, and even then, his flashes often felt more like novelties.

Part of the dilemma with Bol will always be his positional fit. His thin frame is an impediment to playing inside, while his height makes it a challenge to guard traditional wings. The Nuggets didn’t have time to experiment last season and because of the pandemic-crunched schedule, rarely practiced.

But the outside circumstances of Denver’s rise would also mask one inarguable component to Bol’s development: his attitude.

According to Michael Porter Jr., the rare talent who was allowed to develop alongside Denver’s title chase, that might be changing.

“He’s scoring, blocking shots, playing with a good attitude, a good energy about him,” Porter said this week. “That’s really good to see. I’m trying to stay in his ear just because, Bol Bol, he can be a part of this team and help us do big things. It’s just gonna take a mindset change, which I think he’s ready to embrace. So I’m trying to text him, tell him to hang out with me, come to the gym with me at night, things like that because that kid is very talented.”

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NFL Week 3 Picks: Matchup of unbeatens when Tampa Bay visits Rams



NFL Week 3 Picks: Matchup of unbeatens when Tampa Bay visits Rams

Game of the week

Tampa Bay at L.A. Rams

In a matchup of 2-0 teams, the Buccaneers are a 1 1/2-point road favorite. One of the best stories in the league has been tight end Rob Gronkowski turning back the clock. Gronk leads the NFL with four touchdown catches (took him until Nov. 15 last year to get four) and he wins the game in the final 30 seconds.

Buccaneers 34, Rams 31

Lock of the week

Arizona at Jacksonville

Back in the day on the Jaguars’ beat, we would look at the schedule and ask, “Who can they beat? They won’t be favored against anybody, but where can they still find a win?” That is the current predicament in Jacksonville, whose fans should be outraged. The Cardinals (minus-8) move to 3-0 as quarterback Kyler Murray accounts for four touchdowns.

Cardinals 41, Jaguars 20

Upset of the week

Indianapolis at Tennessee

The Colts’ season is on the line after home losses to Seattle and the Los Angeles Rams. We go with the desperate team (Indianapolis is plus-6) that will rally around either dinged-up quarterback Carson Wentz (bad ankles) or fill-in starter Jacob Eason. The Titans have a letdown after their miracle-gift-of-an-overtime-win at Seattle last week.

Colts 24, Titans 23

Around the NFC

Jason Behnken, The Associated Press

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Tampa, Fla.

Brady unstoppable. Is it us or is Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady on a mission to go 17-0 in the regular season and shatter the single-season touchdown pass record of 55 by the Broncos’ Peyton Manning in 2013? Sure looks like it. Brady has nine touchdown passes through two games, which puts him on pace for 76 1/ 2. OK, he won’t throw that many scores, but don’t discount him reaching 60 touchdowns because the Buccaneers’ running back duo of Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones has been underwhelming.

Paging Chase. The second overall pick in the 2020 draft, Washington defense end Chase Young, was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. But he better get his game going this year. Through two games, Young has no sacks and he was virtually invisible in the Week 2 win over the New York Giants. Let’s compare him to Lawrence Taylor and Von Miller. In the first two weeks of each of Taylor’s seasons in which sacks were an official statistic (1982-93, except for ‘88), he had 23 1/2 sacks. Miller has 19 sacks in the seasons he’s played in Weeks 1-2. Young had 2 1/2 sacks in his first two games last year.

Packers back to SF. For the fourth time since the start of 2019, Green Bay heads to Santa Clara, Calif., to face San Francisco. Packers coach Matt LaFleur is 28-7 (regular season/playoffs) against 30 teams and 1-2 against the 49ers (losses of 37-8 and 37-20 and a 34-17 win). The 2-0 49ers host the Packers then play Seattle and Arizona. The NFC West is stacked. “I know the players that they have in our division, I know the coaches in our division,” coach Kyle Shanahan said.

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Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson scores ...

Julio Cortez, The Associated Press

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson scores a touchdown in the second half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Baltimore.

KC’s “D” offensive. It’s startling how badly the Chiefs defense has played during their 1-1 start (win over Cleveland/loss to Baltimore). Entering Sunday’s division game against the Chargers, Kansas City ranks last in yards per game (464.0) and per play (7.6), rushing yards per game (202.0) and per attempt (6.03) and rushing touchdowns (seven, four more than any other team) and 28th in points allowed (32.5). Patrick Mahomes is a magician but even he’ll be solved for a few possessions within a game. The only thing going the defense’s way? Takeaways (four).

Who needs a running game? Las Vegas is 2-0 and its offense is one-dimensional. In leading the league in yards per game (458.0), the Raiders are first in passing (391.0) and 31st in rushing (67.0). But when Derek Carr is throwing for this many yards and making this many big plays (12 completions of at least 20 yards), why bother running it? Miami could provide the opportunity to get the run game going, though. The Dolphins are 28th against the run (134.0). A huge game for Las Vegas, which plays at the Chargers, home to Chicago and at the Broncos in Weeks 4-6.

Bengals turnaround defense. Cincinnati uncharacteristically spent money in free agency during the offseason to sign defensive end Trey Hendrickson and nickel back Mike Hilton. The Bengals are 1-1 heading to Pittsburgh, but the statistics are greatly improved. Yards per game — 26th last year (389.2) and sixth this year (304.5). Points per game — 21st (26.5) last year and tied for 10th this year (22.0). The Bengals have six sacks and 14 total quarterback hits. If the Bengals can upset the Steelers, they have Jacksonville on Thursday night.

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‘Jeopardy!’ champion Matt Amodio crosses $1 million mark: ‘This is just a childhood dream’



‘Jeopardy!’ champion Matt Amodio crosses $1 million mark: ‘This is just a childhood dream’

Amodio, a Yale Ph.D student, has officially become the third player in the game’s history to win over $1 million during regular-season play, earning a total of $1,004,001 during his 28-game streak. (Jeopardy!)

(WTNH) – He ranks third in the “Jeopardy!” Hall of Fame for consecutive games won and highest winnings in regular-season play.

Who is Matt Amodio?

That’s correct.

Amodio, a Yale Ph.D student, has officially become the third player in the game’s history to win over $1 million during regular-season play, earning a total of $1,004,001 during his 28-game streak.

Amodio spoke to WTNH earlier this week, saying he used to dream of becoming a sports legend like Hank Aaron or Babe Ruth throughout his childhood. Instead, he now stands almost side-by-side with Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer.

As fans of “Jeopardy!” know, that’s rarified air: Jennings and Holzhauer rank first and second for total winnings during regular-season play.

“I see my face and my name next to these legends,” Amodio said of his fellow “Jeopardy!” champions. “And I’m like, OK, this is just a childhood dream. And this isn’t real.”

Amodio, a Yale computer science Ph.D. student, says he has far exceeded his own expectations. Heading into next week’s games, he’s officially a “Jeopardy!” millionaire, a feat accomplished by only three other players in the show’s history. (In addition to Jennings and Holzhauer, Brad Rutter has well surpassed the million-dollar mark, though Rutter earned most of his winnings during tournament play.)

Growing up in Ohio, Amodio said he watched “Jeopardy!” all the time with his family. But these days, watching an episode on TV is a totally different experience.

“It’s a crazy feeling,” he said. “I finally got to see what it’s like to be on the stage and have that perspective. And so for the first time I’m watching these episodes and saying ‘Oh, I know where that camera is.’ Or ‘Ah, I know where they’re looking when they’re facing that way.’ And so it gives me that insider feeling”.

Despite all of his success on the show, Amodio has faced a slight bit of controversy for how he plays — specifically, his strategy of starting nearly every one of his responses with “what’s,” instead of “what is.”

Amodio says there’s a reason for this approach, telling “Jeopardy!” fans that he chose “what’s” because it’s the “simplest, most repeatable” phrase he could think of.

He’s not breaking any rules, but he does acknowledge that some of the show’s fans were a bit irritated by him early on.

“I have thick skin. There was a part of me that actually was amused by how annoyed they were,” Amodio said. “But, also in the back of my head, I knew we were only three games in, and they said, ‘I can’t wait for this guy to lose.’ And I was saying, ‘You might have to wait a while.’”

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Readers and Writers: Kate DiCamillo and the story behind the creation of ‘The Beatryce Prophecy’



Readers and Writers: Kate DiCamillo and the story behind the creation of ‘The Beatryce Prophecy’

“It is written in the Chronicles of Sorrowing
that one day there will come a child
who will unseat a king.
The prophecy states that this child will be a girl.
Because of this,
the prophecy has long been ignored.”
— From “The Beatryce Prophecy”

Kate DiCamillo had only three words in her mind when she began her luminous new novel — monk, moon and goat. Where would she go from there?

“How those three words led to ‘The Beatryce Prophecy,’ I have no idea,” DiCamillo said with a laugh during a phone conversation from her Minneapolis home. “The story is smarter than I am. It’s about getting out of my own way and following these characters I care about.”

Those characters, who live in medieval times, include a girl who breaks the law by knowing how to read, a timid monk, and a loyal but fierce goat, one of DiCamllo’s most endearing characters.

DiCamillo, who is always fun to talk with, is one of the nation’s most popular children’s writers (although she insists her books are for all ages) with a total of 37 million copies in print worldwide. “The Beatryce Prophecy” aimed at middle-grade readers, is her 10th novel. She’s also written 13 chapter books, including the Bink & Gollie series with Alison McGhee, another about toast-loving pig Mercy Watson, and Tales From Deckawoo Drive.

Honored with two prestigious American Library Association Newbery Medals (for “The Tale of Despereaux” and “Flora and Ulysses”), she is former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

DiCamillo is 57, barely over 5 feet tall, and could pass for one of her young fans. She grew up in Florida and followed a friend to Minnesota, hoping her boyfriend would propose marriage. He didn’t and she stayed, even though she arrived — without socks — during one of this state’s coldest winters. She worked at a variety of jobs, including order fulfillment at the Bookmen distributorship in Minneapolis.

By the mid-1990s, DiCamillo was discouraged about being a writer. She was poor, her legs hurt from standing on concrete floors at the Bookmen, and she was accumulating more and more rejection slips. Thanks to the encouragement of author Jane Resh Thomas, she kept going, and in 1998 she won a Minnesota McKnight Artist Fellowship. Two years later, “Because of Winn-Dixie,” the story of a girl and her dog, was accepted for publication and became a bestseller.

Now,  two decades after her debut, DiCamillo is having a big year. Besides the new book, there are paperback film tie-in editions of  “Flora & Ulysses” and “The Tiger Rising.”


“The Beatryce Prophecy” centers on Beatryce, found by Brother Edik curled up in the barn of the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing. She’s bloody and dirty, hanging onto the ear of Answelica, the monastery’s ill-tempered goat. With a hard head and yellow eyes, Answelica is introduced in the book’s first three pages, the funniest DiCamillo has written:

“Answelica was a goat with teeth that were the mirror of her soul — large, sharp, and uncompromising.”

“I am so glad you thought those first pages were funny,” DiCamillo says, adding she wanted her readers to laugh. It’s this ability to turn a goat into an unlikely memorable character that makes DiCamillo’s fans love her.

Brother Edik is worried because years earlier he had prophesied — it’s written in the Chronicles of Sorrowing — that a girl would unseat a king. Now that girl has arrived, and he doesn’t know what to do. She doesn’t remember how she got to the monastery or anything about herself, including her name. But to the monks’ astonishment, she can read and write, talents unheard of in girls because they are forbidden to be literate.

The king, who knows about the prophecy, is looking for this girl who wants to kick him off his throne. So Brother Edik keeps her safe by cutting her hair to the scalp and dressing her like a monk. But she cannot stay in the monastery and so the girl, the goat and the monk set out to see the king, along with cheerful Jack, whom Beatryce is teaching to read.

Slowly, the girl’s memory returns and she knows she is Beatryce, daughter of a noble family. Meanwhile, the motley crew is being chased by the king’s men.

If you ask DeCaillo what the book is about, she’ll tell you she is the worst person to answer that question. Writing it, she says, was like trying to recapture the fragments of a dream.

“You can kind of remember, but it’s just out of your reach,” she says of this dream-like state. “It’s not anything to look at too directly or control too much. I don’t outline, so I never know what’s going to happen or how the story is going to unfold. Then a character like Answelica shows up and it’s a gift. I thought, ‘Boy, oh boy. This goat is stronger and smarter than me. I hope she doesn’t run away with the whole story.’ But she led us through it and kept us safe”

Then there’s Brother Edik, who sees beauty in the world. Edik has one wandering eye, which rolls around while the other eye looks straight ahead.

“I don’t know why he has this kind of eye,” DiCamillo says. “I kind of see the characters and that is what I saw. I really feel him and his ability to see beauty and life everywhere. Everybody, every goat, every tree, contains surprises and singularity for him. If you see the world that way, it’s easier to love it.”


It isn’t unusual for an author to abandon a book when it isn’t working for some reason. That’s what happened to DiCamillo with “The Beatryce Prophecy.”

“I had started this book in 2009, worked on it a very short time, then put it aside and forgot about it entirely. I don’t remember why,” DeCamillo recalled. “Maybe it was just too emotionally close to my mother’s death that year. I wanted to write something funny and started working on ‘Flora & Ulysses,’ about a squirrel who gets sucked into a vacuum cleaner.”

That story was inspired by the vacuum cleaner belonging to her mother, Betty Gouff DiCamillo, to whom she dedicated the new book.

In 2017, DiCamillo was cleaning out her office closet and found the draft of the first part of a story about a girl named Beatryce. She sat down on the floor and read it as though it had been written by someone else.

“I thought, ‘This goat! This girl! I have to tell this story,’ ” she recalls. “I started writing two days later, following the characters through their world. I realized they learned how precious, important and powerful reading and writing can be. Maybe I knew in an emotional way it was about my mother and my own struggles learning to read.”

As a child, DiCamillo was desperate to read but she couldn’t do it.

“In those days, they taught reading with phonics that made no sense to me,” she recalls. (Phonics correlates an individual sound with its corresponding letter or letter group.)

“I was almost hysterical. I came home from school wailing to my mother. She said, ‘For Pete’s sake, calm down. You are smart. You can memorize the words.’ She made a heap of flashcards and after school we worked on memorizing. It worked, and what a gift from her. It was like, ‘Everybody get out of my way now.’ I wasn’t fully myself until I could read. That runs through all of ‘Beatryce,’ the importance or being able to read and write. My mother always saw me as a reader and that’s the first way I identify myself today.”


“I never fully understand a book until I stand in front of a kid and talk about it,” DiCamillo says.

She discovered the importance of her young readers’ input way back when she stood in front of a class for the first time to talk about “Because of Winn-Dixie.”

“The teacher said, ‘We are going to talk about the book’s themes,” she recalls. “I thought, ‘We are?’ I literally started sweating. I had no idea about themes. The class discussed it and the teacher put themes up on the blackboard. When I got to my car I wrote them down so I’d have an answer for the next class.”

This personal connection with her fans when she’s signing books is what she missed during the months of COVID isolation when she couldn’t make personal appearances.

“Almost invariably there’s a kid in line telling me something he liked about one of my books and and I think, ‘This is why I came.’ Sometimes they say things to me they don’t want to say in front of anybody else,” she says. “It’s that intimacy that’s lost when you do it virtually.”


1632580982 311 Readers and Writers Kate DiCamillo and the story behind the
Author Kate DiCamillo and her dog, Ramona.

DiCamillo spent the lockdown months at home with Ramona, her mischievous, 5-year-old miniature Goldendoodle, named for Beverly Cleary’s popular novels.

“We walked and walked and walked,” DiCamillo recalls of their outings.  “We walked so much one of my friends asked if Ramona was getting enough protein because she looked a little skinny.”

When they weren’t walking, DiCamillo was working.

“I started writing fairytales,” she says. “It’s three novellas that will be published separately. Writing kept me calm and grounded.”

While she was walking and working, she was also anticipating publication Sept. 28 of “The Beatryce Prophecy,”

She needn’t have worried about how the book would fare, since it received starred reviews from Booklist, Publishers Weekly and Kirkus, which called the novel “A book with an angelic soul.”


And now we’re back to the beginning of this story. What is “The Beatryce Prophecy” about? Putting together everything DiCamillo said, it’s about love of reading and writing, the wonder of the natural world, the power of a girl with words, the loyalty of a goat and friendship.

This is what Beatryce thinks as she holds onto the ear of  Answelica the goat:

” I am Beatryce.I have friends in the world.
I no longer have hair. But I have friends.”


  • What: Kate DiCamillo introduces “The Beatryce Prophecy” in her first live appearance since COVID isolation.
  • When/Where: 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30, in the Talking Volumes reading series: Fitzgerald Theater, 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul.
  • Admission: $30
  • Information:
  • Publisher/Price: Candlewick Press, $19.99
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Ex-stars John Randle, Kevin Williams call for Vikings to put up statue of Purple People Eaters



Ex-stars John Randle, Kevin Williams call for Vikings to put up statue of Purple People Eaters

Hall of Famer John Randle believes a statue of the Purple People Eaters should be erected outside of U.S. Bank Stadium. And another former star Vikings defensive tackle has seconded the motion.

The Purple People Eaters were Minnesota’s famous defensive line that terrorized opponents from the late 1960s until the late 1970s.

“I would love to see a statue in front (of U.S. Bank Stadium) of the Purple People Eaters because when you talk about the Minnesota Vikings, you talk about the Purple People Eaters,’’ Randle, who starred for the Vikings at defensive tackle from 1990-2000. said recently. “That’s where it started, Minnesota Vikings football.’’

Kevin Williams, a Vikings defensive tackle from 2003-13 who will be inducted next Sunday into the team’s Ring of Honor at a home game against Cleveland, liked what Randle said.

“Definitely, that’s something they should look into,’’ Williams said. “That sounds like a great idea. You see these other teams put their great players outside their stadium. I mean, who is more deserving than those guys?”

The Purple People Eaters initially consisted of Alan Page (who played for Minnesota from 1967-78) and Gary Larsen (1965-74) at defensive tackle and Carl Eller (1964-78) and Jim Marshall (1961-79) at defensive end. Page and Eller are in the Hall of Fame and Larsen and Marshall each made two Pro Bowls.

When Larsen retired, defensive tackle Doug Sutherland (1971-80) took his place on the legendary line.

“I never thought a thing about it, but, yeah, that would be a heck of an honor,’’ Larsen said about the suggestion by Randle and Williams. “That would be something else, posing for a statue.”

Randle said he grew up admiring members of the Purple People Eaters. He was honored to meet them after he joined the Vikings.

“I remember when they put Jim Marshall in the Ring of Honor (in 1999),’’ Randle said. “I told him, ‘Thank for what you guys have done.’ …  And when I went into the Hall of Fame (in 2010 in Canton, Ohio), there were lot of Hall of Famers there, but when I saw Alan Page, it was almost like being christened by the queen, a feeling of knighthood. Because for me, that was the standard. That was one of the greatest stories, seeing him there.’’

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Working Strategies: Tips for surviving your annual performance review



Working Strategies: No, really — ‘Why do you want this job?’

Fall is here, along with the fourth quarter of the business calendar. In some companies, annual performance reviews are right around the corner.

Amy Lindgren

For many employees, being reviewed can be a fraught process, too heavily weighted with measures that seem to lack meaning, such as the ubiquitous scale of 1 to 5 — based on what as the actual meaning of 5?

If you’ve heard of (or had) bosses who refuse to give a top ranking (because nobody’s perfect, and they don’t want you resting on your laurels), then you may already feel a bit jaded about the process. How can you be motivated by a system in which you can never achieve the goal?

In truth, managers aren’t thrilled by these systems either. It’s stressful to rank employees, especially when the forms seem to ignore the most important aspects of someone’s job. Now with so many people working remotely or covering more roles, managers may be even more challenged in this process.

If managers and employees both dislike performance reviews, why does the practice persist? That question does get asked from time to time. On balance, despite the drawbacks, it’s better for employees to work in a system that uses some kind of review, rather than one that doesn’t. If nothing else, it’s an annual opportunity to clear the air about duties and expectations.

Since the actual protocols differ from one company to the next, there isn’t a universal set of steps for succeeding at your next performance review. Even so, the following tips might give you a head start.

Ask for the form in advance. Assuming your company uses a form or some other prepared document, ask for it a month or more before your review would be scheduled. This lets you think about the areas you’ll be evaluated on, while getting started on any information you’re expected to prepare.

Review past evaluations. If you’ve been with this employer awhile, you’ve probably been through this process already. Past reviews will remind you of goals you’d intended to reach this year, along with other areas of improvement. They’ll also prepare you mentally for the process itself.

Talk to co-workers. If others have already been through their reviews, consider asking how it went. You don’t need to get personal. Just, “Did you think the process was different this year?” might be enough to elicit advice.

Gather your data. Did you take on extra duties this year, or cover different areas of your department? What did you learn that you might be taking for granted now, such as remote meeting processes? Did you hit or miss your work goals? Answering these kinds of questions might be a requirement of your review preparation process but if not, it’s still good data to have ready.

Mind your language. In the meeting itself, there are some things you want to avoid saying. For example, leave out unneeded modifiers such as “kind of” – as in, “I kind of led the transition process this year.” If you weren’t given official leadership status, the modifier is understandable but it’s still not strategic. Try this instead: “When the transition process gained momentum, I stepped forward to lead the stages taking place in my work area. That included.. and … and …”

Along the same lines, this isn’t the place to use “we” when “I” is justified. In the above example, saying “Our team took responsibility for…” might accurately be replaced with “I led our team in taking responsibility for…”

Ask for what you want. In many ways, this is the Year of the Employee. You don’t have free reign to get anything your heart desires, but you almost certainly have more leverage than you realize. Managers are losing sleep over worker retention issues when they’re already short-handed. Reasonable requests for schedule accommodations, tuition assistance or pay increases have more chance of success now than might usually be the case.

Ask what your manager wants. Not to be forgotten in this process is the manager, who likely oversees your career path in the company. What is the vision for the coming year and your role in the department? What goals does he or she have that you can help fulfill? Finding alignment between your goals and your manager’s goals is the sweet spot of the annual performance review; achieving this can make the process a valued tool rather than a dreaded ordeal.

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Franklin rallies past Duxbury in second half



Big second half leads Springfield Central to road win at BC High

DUXBURY — Franklin head coach Eian Bain made it a point that he doesn’t have a bend-but-don’t-break type of defense, but his team surely doesn’t panic.

Trailing 14-0 with 7:16 left in the first half, the Panthers (3-0) rattled off 27 unanswered points and shut out Duxbury in the second half en route to a 27-14 non-league road victory Friday night.

Mack Gulla was outstanding in the trenches banging helmets for most of the game until he broke out a 45-yard off-right tackle touchdown run to seal the win with 1:35 remaining in the game. Gulla finished the game with 151 yards on 23 carries.

“Once we kind of settled down and realized the dogfight we were in we started to make those plays in the big moments,” said Bain. “Those are the best four defensive linemen in the state especially (Delby Lemieux), made life hard and we had to live in the life of two-three-four yards and then get them to wear down.”

Duxbury was in control early as Matt Festa was rolling to his right and left in the first half. Festa found his usual partner in crime Brady Madigan for a 22-yard touchdown and followed up that series with a 30-yard pass to Chris Walsh as Walsh laid out in the end zone for the circus catch and the 14-0 lead.

The defensive line for Duxbury, led by Lemieux, was up for the challenge, but the ground-and-pound game of Gulla set up Franklin’s screen and play-action in the backfield in the second quarter.

Shane Kindred scored on an end-around from right to left to go in from 18 yards out after some nifty footwork broke two tackles inside the 5-yard line, but Lemieux was at it again with the blocked extra point to leave the Panthers trailing, 14-6, with 3:43 left in the first half.

After a six-play drive stalled, Duxbury punted the ball away with only 39 seconds left on the clock and Franklin didn’t waste one second.

The clock seemed to expire as Will Tracey stepped out of bounds at the Dragons’ 35-yard line, but the officials put two seconds back on the clock. Jared Arone went to Tracey again, Tracey climbed the ladder, and pulled down the touchdown as time expired to give the Panthers all the momentum going into the lockers for the break.

“We could have easily taken the clock at that point, but I trust our kids. We ran a quick screen, a penalty happened, and we hit a quick out and bang — they had great coverage, but Will Tracey is the captain of the basketball team for a reason,” added Bain.

Duxbury again controlled the clock in the third quarter with an 11-play drive that stalled at the Panthers’ 10-yard line as Festa just couldn’t make the sticks on a 4th-and-3 quarterback keeper. The drive ate up 5:50 of the clock but Gulla was just about to punch in for work again and Duxbury knew they missed a golden opportunity.

“We didn’t execute there and it was a big play in the game, we had the momentum, and they made plays and we didn’t,” said Duxbury head coach Matt Landolfi. “(Gulla) is a beast, tough to take down so this is going to make us better as a team and that’s the plan and why you play (Division 1) teams and get better as a springboard.”

On the next series, Gulla carried the ball nine out of the first 11 plays from scrimmage as the Panthers marched the field into the fourth quarter. Gulla’s hard work between the tackles set up Arone for his second passing touchdown of the game and finished off the 90-yard series with a beautiful inside post route underneath by Will Deschenes as Arone hit the senior wideout in stride from 30 yards out.

Franklin held the 21-14 lead with 10:50 to go but Gulla was just too much down the stretch as he finally found the end zone on his 23rd carry of the game to lift Franklin to the victory.

Arone was super-efficient and finished 13-of-16 for 164 yards with two touchdowns for the Panthers, who face Mansfield next week.

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