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How COVID-19 help us fight chronic tiredness?

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Corona Virus

MY DAUGHTER is among other people who suffer from an affably complex chronic condition which looks remarkably similar to one that now threatens COVID-19 survivors’ long-term welfare.

Reports of COVID-19 survivors who are unable to return to normal life due to constellations of symptoms such as exhaustion, joint pain, trouble breathing and thinking or concentrating have been reported in recent weeks. The “long-haul patient” deals with problems the survivors of the serious acute respiratory syndrome, a disease known as SARS, have previously seen.
Those signs are very well known to those of us who have myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome or ME / CFS or care for them. According to the Disease Control and Prevention Centers and the Institute of Medicine research, the ME / CFS disease affects up to 2,5 million Americans and is a severe, invalid disease. This causes intense fatigue and multiple systemic effects that reduce pre-illness habits for at least six months. Health expenses and lost sales cost the US economy up to 24 billion dollars annually.

ME / CFS symptoms often escalate following physical, mental or emotional activity. Although the aetiology of the disease is uncertain, and it is still too early to identify COVID survivors with ME/CFS, individuals with “post-COVID-19 syndrome” have already confirmed that they are unable to perform basic everyday activities for months following an acute infection.

The lack of knowledge of ME / CFS has sadly contributed to an insufficient education of doctors about the disorder and a lack of satisfaction with the needs of patients. In fact, about 70 per cent of patients in one 2012 study had to see at least three doctors before getting a ME / CFS diagnosis or related disease. Nevertheless, nearly 90 per cent of patients with the disorder remain undiagnosed, partially due to specialists’ geographical or financial access barriers.
I can relate to the struggles that people with ME / CFS face as a doctor and a patient’s mother. Once my daughter developed mysterious symptoms, neither her multiple doctors nor I could link the distinctions of anything that went wrong with her safety. By the age of 14, she displayed ambiguous gastrointestinal symptoms and never suggested an underlying cause or the likelihood of ME / CFS despite experiencing new endocrine and autoimmune disorders. It took 8 years for her to identify and diagnose the more common symptoms of ME / SFC, another year to realize that mould contamination was a significant trigger and a further year to demonstrate that her immune system had become hypervigilant and released inflammatory substances that triggered many of her symptoms.

The reports of those with ME / CFS symptoms following COVID-19 leaves me with mixed emotions. At the one hand, I fear the potential for highly devastating long-term effects for thousands of people and the economy. Nonetheless, I believe this will give us the ability, data and attention to better understand the roots and the knowledge of ME / CFS and to pave the way for broader studies into ways to fix it.

Certainly, over the years there have been calls to develop centres of excellence to strengthen our care of ME / CFS patients. Unfortunately, the effect of these initiatives on public perception or study has been minimal.
Nevertheless, several researchers have provided key data on which we can develop. We know that other diseases are associated with ME / CFS, with 50 to 80 per cent of patients who unexpectedly develop a flu-like disease. Certain factors, including physical and emotional trauma, genetic predispositions and environmental contaminants, such as toxins or moulds affecting my daughter may also play a significant role.

There are indications that infectious agents can enter the brain through the olfactory system and cause an inflammatory reaction that disrupts body functions. At the cellular level, scientists have identified an impaired capacity to generate energy from common “power” sources. For their part, my daughter always said that she was running out power because she had already done simple things like walking left her bedbound. She knew more than we did in her body: her cells literally lacked strength. In the process, she and I focused so much on the clear symptoms that we ignored the issue that might have identified us earlier.

Unfortunately, getting ME / CFS diagnosed is just half the fight. It is difficult to establish treatments to treat or cure the illness, without knowing why and how inflammation and symptoms linger so long or the role other causes and exposures play in the disease. As the National Institutes of Health have emphasized in the past, we will make innovative attempts to draw on what we already know and answer these questions directly.

Now is the best moment. The pandemic provides the potential to become more knowledgeable of the causes of this epidemic and to investigate the efficacy of therapies in other countries. Conventional medicine takes approaches to treat the whole person more and more. Yet, as the medical community is working to integrate patient experiences into treatment and research strategies, I expect the voices of ME / CFS patients to be stronger than ever.
This is not only a long-standing, well-coordinated effort to study this but also a summary of our medical care and research goals that may lead to the growth of thousands of COVID-19 survivors with the debilitating effects of ME / CFS. Today, more than ever, we recognize that the combination of genetic, environmental and social factors leads to health and disease. To order to understand the role of genes to diseases, priority should also be given to researching a changing climate that results in new infectious and chemical exposures.

We do need to move from studying how factors impact an organ system to how they affect our DNA and the underlying mechanisms that regulate the work of many bodies. So we must develop so standardize medical practices more interdisciplinary and inclusive, keeping patients like my daughter from cracking.

A new approach is important to offer tailored treatment to patients with complex multisystem disorders like ME / CFS. With this strategy, we will give hope and quality of life to millions of people who have been in silence for too long.

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Grading the Week: CU Buffs coach Karl Dorrell is running it back on offense — under the cover of Pac-12 After Dark-ness

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Grading the Week: CU Buffs coach Karl Dorrell is running it back on offense — under the cover of Pac-12 After Dark-ness

Never has an 8:30 p.m. kickoff been so welcome for CU football fans.

After what transpired last week against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Folsom Field, perhaps it’s best that the Buffs play under the cover of Pac-12 After Dark-ness.

With head coach Karl Dorrell signing up for another Saturday of the same old shenanigans, we can think of no better setting.

Karl Dorrell — Inc.

The CU Buffs head coach vowed to “start all over” in the wake of one of the worst offensive performances in program history — which, apparently, means getting the band back together for another jam session Saturday at Arizona State.

Freshman Brendon Lewis is still the quarterback.

Offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini is still drawing up the plays.

And the Buffs head football coach is going to … “show my face in the offensive room a little bit more now.”

Sounds like one heck of a reboot, as well as something best previewed by a limited audience — one they’ll almost certainly draw given that the game is on ESPNU and won’t end until sometime after midnight MDT.

If Dorrell’s decision to stay the course works out, Buffs fans will hear about it Sunday morning and be pleasantly surprised.

If it doesn’t — and that’s where the Grading the Week staff would put our money, if we had any — bedtime will have beckoned long before things get ugly, anyway.

And maybe then, with the USC Trojans stumbling into Boulder next week, Dorrell will finally have all the information he needs to decide whether or not the status quo has a future at Folsom Field.

Because seven quarters of scoreless football, and a passing attack surpassed by all but one FBS program (including triple-option practitioners Air Force and Army), evidently isn’t enough.

Teddy Bridgewater — A+

If you’re not on Team Teddy at this point, you’re just being obnoxious.

After submitting two near flawless performances as Broncos quarterback — albeit against two very flawed teams in the New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars — Bridgewater has shown the Grading the Week staff enough.

Consider us the lead conductors of the Teddy Train, and we’re welcoming any and all passengers.

Could we interest you in four touchdowns, zero interceptions and two double-digit wins? How about a 120.7 passer rating? Not even Tom Brady has matched the latter through two weeks (although, yes, he does have nine touchdown passes).

It’s slightly terrifying how comfortable Bridgewater looks as chaos swirls around him in the pocket. We can’t help but wonder if the former Louisville star missed his calling as an air traffic controller.

Say what you will about Drew Lock’s unlimited upside, that’s not something we ever considered in his 18 starts under center.

Broncos ownership rumors — B

Nothing gets the Grading the Week staff going quite like some juicy Broncos ownership rumors.

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‘Dozens’ of Massachusetts troopers line up to quit over COVID vaccine mandate

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‘Dozens’ of Massachusetts troopers line up to quit over COVID vaccine mandate

“Dozens” of state troopers fed up with the governor’s vaccine mandate are filing paperwork to quit the force as a Superior Court judge has denied any delay in the mandate that kicks in Oct. 17.

“Many of these troopers are going to be returning to their previous municipal police departments within the state that allow for regular testing and masks,” said union boss Michael Cherven. “To date, dozens of troopers have already submitted their resignation paperwork.”

The State Police Association of Massachusetts said in a statement shared with the Herald Friday that allowing the union representing 1,800 members to negotiate with the Baker administration was their preferred route.

“We are disappointed in the judge’s ruling; however, we respect her decision,” Cherven said. “It is unfortunate that the Governor and his team have chosen to mandate one of the most stringent vaccine mandates in the country with no reasonable alternatives.”

Gov. Charlie Baker instituted a vaccine mandate for all Executive Branch employees Aug. 19, including all troopers, with a deadline of Oct. 17 to be fully vaccinated. The order only granted exemptions for those who have medical or religious grounds to reject the vaccine.

Cherven pointed out troopers “have been on the front lines protecting the citizens of Massachusetts and beyond” through the pandemic — as have all first responders.

“Simply put, all we are asking for are the same basic accommodations that countless other departments have provided to their first responders, and to treat a COVID-related illness as a line-of-duty injury,” Cherven said.

Now that the judge has rejected any delay, the troopers still needing jabs have just days to begin the vaccination process — if they want the Moderna or Pfizer two-shot mRNA coronavirus vaccine. Not having a shot could cost the officers their jobs.

About 20% of members were unvaccinated as of earlier this week, the Herald reported.

“The State Police are already critically short staffed and acknowledge this by the unprecedented moves to take officers from specialty units that investigate homicide’s, terrorism, computer crimes, arsons and human trafficking, to name just a few,” Cherven said.

The commonwealth’s attorney, Jennifer Greaney, argued in court that the state had offered concessions during two “good faith” bargaining meetings and several emails.

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Biden: Budget talks hit ‘stalemate,’ $3.5T may take a while

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Biden: Budget talks hit ‘stalemate,’ $3.5T may take a while

President Biden said Friday that talks over his $3.5 trillion rebuilding plan have hit a “stalemate” in Congress as he made the case for his expansive effort to recast the nation’s tax and spending programs and make what he sees as sweeping, overdue investments.

Biden spoke at the White House as Democrats in the House and Senate are laboring to finish drafts and overcome differences between the party’s centrist and moderate factions. Despite efforts by the president and congressional leaders to show progress, Biden cast the road ahead as long and potentially cumbersome, even with upcoming deadlines.

“We’re getting down to the hard spot here,” Biden told reporters at the White House. “We’re at this stalemate at the moment.”

Biden said the process is “going to be up and down” but ”hopefully at the end of the day I’ll be able to deliver on what I said I would do.”

The president’s acknowledgment of Democrats’ disagreements — and they have serious differences over taxes, health, climate change and the ultimate price tag — contrasted with congressional leaders’ more upbeat tone in recent days. Using carefully chosen words, top Democrats have seemed to be trying to create a sense of momentum as House votes approach.

On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., predicted passage of both pillars of Biden’s domestic agenda. One is a still-evolving $3.5 trillion package of social safety net and climate programs, the other a separate $1 trillion measure financing highway, internet and other infrastructure projects that’s already passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

“We’re going to pass both bills,” she told reporters.

But she did not spell out how she and her Senate counterpart, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., would resolve disagreements and distrust between their party’s moderate and progressive wings that’s stalled both measures. And there remained confusion about the voting schedule, which will be crucial.

Pelosi promised House moderates last month that by this Monday, the chamber will consider the infrastructure bill, centrists’ top priority.

But progressives are threatening to vote to derail the infrastructure legislation until a final version of their favorite — the $3.5 trillion social and environment bill — passes the Senate and returns to the House. Progressives think delaying the public works bill would pressure moderates to back the larger measure.

“We’re bringing the bill up, we will have a vote when we have the votes,” Pelosi told a reporter Friday about the infrastructure bill’s timing. While she said debate would begin Monday, her remarks suggested that final passage of the public works legislation could slip.

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Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes urgently trying to regain form: ‘It’s gotta happen quick’

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Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes urgently trying to regain form: ‘It’s gotta happen quick’

Matt Barnes knows he doesn’t have much time to figure things out, but he feels like he has pinpointed some of the issues that have led to his struggles.

As the Red Sox inch toward the wild card game and a potential postseason run, they’re doing so without a set closer. Barnes, an All-Star after a dominant first half, lost the job thanks to an awful August before testing positive for COVID-19. Now healthy and pitching in meaningful games again, Barnes and the Red Sox know the veteran could be a huge boost to the playoff push if he can at least come close to regaining his early-season form.

But with a week to go in the regular season, he knows time is not on his side.

“I don’t have many games to figure this (expletive) out,” Barnes said before Friday’s series opener against the Yankees. “It’s gotta happen quick. That’s the crazy part about baseball. You can be going really, really good and then one day, it’s gone. You can be going really bad and literally the next day, it’s back. It clicks and you’re back and it’s good. We’re going to keep moving. I know we don’t have a lot of time to get that done, but I’m going to keep doing my thing and keep working towards getting back to that spot.”

Entering Friday, Barnes had made two appearances since being activated from the COVID-19 IL. He struck out two in an encouraging return last Friday against the Orioles, but he took a step back Wednesday against the Mets. Replacing Chris Sale in the sixth inning of a lopsided game, Barnes recorded just one out as he walked two. Only eight of his 21 pitches were strikes.

Manager Alex Cora noted that Barnes’ velocity had been down, but the biggest key for Barnes is to get back to attacking the strike zone and getting ahead early in counts, which led to his success in the first half. But it’s not for a lack of effort.

“I’m trying to attack the strike zone,” Barnes said. “I’m not trying to throw balls on purpose. I don’t even feel like I’m trying to nibble, I feel like I’m trying to go right after guys and it’s just out of sync right now. It’s spraying. I think I’m getting rotational, getting too high on my front side which is forcing me to rush and then kind of start yanking.”

Barnes is optimistic, though. He, the coaching staff and his teammates have noticed those mechanical issues while watching video over the last few days and Barnes said that he’s felt really good during bullpens and warming up before his appearances.

“I think it’s just translating that into the game,” Barnes said. “I went back and watched some video after I was done (on Wednesday). I felt like we picked up on a couple of things, so I was working on that today. Listen, it’s been a grind for me for a little while. Luckily the offense is doing their thing, the starters have been doing their thing and the bullpen has been really rock solid for the last month, month and a half. I’m grinding right now, but we’re not going to stop. We’re going to keep working and keep moving forward.”

On Friday night, Barnes translated the work into an encouraging step forward. He worked around a two-out double from Giancarlo Stanton to throw a scoreless sixth inning against the heart of the Yankees’ order. He struck out two, didn’t issue a walk and 16 of his 23 pitches were strikes, though he only threw five fastballs.

Cora knows what he has when Barnes is at his best, and they’re hopeful that he can unlock it over the next week.

“We’ll keep working with him,” Cora said. “Hopefully we can get him back on track because we do believe that obviously when he’s right, he’s one of the best relievers in the big leagues.”

Whitlock progressing

Garrett Whitlock, who’s on the 10-day injured list with a right pectoral strain, is feeling better, Cora said. He’s not throwing yet, but the hope remains for the star rookie reliever to return before the end of the season.

“We’ll see how he’s reacting to treatment but he’s been feeling well, he’s been feeling better,” Cora said. “We’ll map it out. As soon as the medical staff feels like we can move ahead and do the next step, we’ll do it.”

Schwarber gets another nod

After hitting two home runs Wednesday against the Mets, Kyle Schwarber was back at first base for his sixth start at the new position for him. Cora has been pleased with how he’s handled it.

“He’s been OK,” Cora said. “I know everybody talks about that play in Seattle, but he’s been solid. He’s moving around and getting used to it, he’s been really good. We’re very pleased with the progress and we feel comfortable playing him at first base.”

Nathan Eovaldi made his 200th career start on Friday night. His 31st start of the season is the most since he made 33 with Miami in 2014. … Alex Rodriguez was chatting with Bobby Dalbec on the field prior to Friday’s game. Rodriguez is in town to call Sunday night’s game on ESPN.

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‘The Wire’ actor Michael K. Williams died of drug intoxication: autopsy

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‘The Wire’ actor Michael K. Williams died of drug intoxication: autopsy

Actor Michael K. Williams died of acute drug intoxication in what New York City’s medical examiner said Friday was an accidental death.

Williams, known for playing Omar Little on “The Wire” and who was an Emmy Award nominee this year, had fentanyl, parafluorofentanyl, heroin and cocaine in his system when he died Sept. 6 in Brooklyn.

Williams, 54, was found dead by family members in his penthouse apartment. Police said at the time that they suspected a drug overdose.

The city’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner said it would not comment further. A message seeking comment was left with Williams’ representative.

Williams had spoken frankly in interviews in recent years about his struggle with drug addiction, which he said persisted after he gained fame on “The Wire” in the early 2000s.

“I was playing with fire,” he told the Newark Star-Ledger in 2012. “It was just a matter of time before I got caught and my business ended up on the cover of a tabloid or I went to jail or, worse, I ended up dead. When I look back on it now, I don’t know how I didn’t end up in a body bag.”

New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in an interview shortly after Williams’ death that he had spoken with the actor earlier this year about collaborating with the department on community outreach.

Williams had been working with a New Jersey charity to smooth the journey for former prison inmates seeking to reenter society, and was working on a documentary on the subject. Another project involved reaching out directly to at-risk youth.

“This Hollywood thing that you see me in, I’m passing through,” Williams told the Associated Press last year. “Because I believe this is where my passion, my purpose is supposed to be.”

Omar, a rogue robber of drug dealers based on real figures from Baltimore, was hugely popular among fans of “The Wire,” which ran on HBO from 2002 to 2008.

Williams also starred as Chalky White in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” from 2010 to 2014 and had roles in the films “12 Years a Slave” and “Assassin’s Creed.”

Williams was nominated this year for an Emmy for supporting actor in a drama series for HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” but lost Sunday to a star of “The Crown.”

Williams was remembered in the ceremony’s “In Memoriam” segment.

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Want to help design a library? South St. Paul is taking ideas with online survey

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Want to help design a library? South St. Paul is taking ideas with online survey

Residents can have a say in the design of new library in South St. Paul through Oct. 7.

Dakota County and South St. Paul are moving forward with the design process for a library merger and rebuild. They are working together with BKV Group, a Minneapolis-based architectural firm.

Located in a 96-year-old brick colonial-style building near City Hall, the library will move into a new spot a few blocks west at Marie Avenue and 7th Street. A 16,000-square-foot building will be built that will serve as a community hub as well as a library.

County and city staff have set an early timeline for the project, with September focused on community input on how the library will be used and look. One in-person opportunity will be at a display set up at the South St. Paul Farmers’ Market on Sept. 29. Residents can also fill out a survey through Oct. 7 that can be found on the South St. Paul website.

Other key dates on the timeline include:

  • October-December 2021: Develop a schematic design concept for the new library with estimated costs.
  • January 2022: Design approval.
  • January – April 2022: Design development.
  • April – June 2022: Construction documents.
  • July 2022: Project open for bidding.
  • September 2022 – January 2024: Construction.

WHY MAKE A CHANGE?

The current library building was built in 1927 and lacks space and the infrastructure to handle newer technologies. It also is in need of repairs, such as to its roof, staff said.

Other needs highlighted in the past include:

  • More behind-the-scenes space for staff to operate.
  • Updates to heating and cooling systems.
  • Larger ADA-compliant bathrooms.
  • A bigger computer hub.

Library officials said upgrades and repairs would be more expensive than a new structure — about $2 million more. Past estimates put the cost of a new building at about $8.26 million.

“We definitely need a community room,” said Kathy Halgren, the South St. Paul library director. “When we would have a real popular performer or story time personality, or someone that would bring in lots of people, there’s no place for people to be.”

Halgren also wants to see study rooms, teen spaces and an adult quiet area. In terms of outdoor space, the library will have a larger parking lot.

MERGER EXPLAINED

For decades, the South St. Paul Public Library operated independently of the Dakota County library system.

But rising costs made it difficult to remain independent, said Margaret Stone, the Dakota County library director. By switching to being county-run, South St. Paul could save around $800,000 and taxpayers $350,000, said Joel Hanson, South St. Paul city administrator.

The merger combines the South St. Paul staff and collection with Dakota County resources, which will hopefully help the library run more efficiently. Dakota County will take over operations, such as cataloging, that librarians had done in the past, allowing for the librarians to spend more time with the community.

“We have very good library staff (and) I think with the upgraded facilities, we would see an increase in service levels, just because (they are) able to do more with newer, more modern facilities,” Hanson said.

Dakota County is also considering making the library “net zero,” meaning it would produce no carbon emissions. This would be done by installing solar panels and using geothermal energy, Stone said.

As for the current building, the city has no active plans to either renovate or demolish it, Hanson said.

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Tainted: Did you see someone stealing a catalytic converter from a handicap van?

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Tainted: Did you see someone stealing a catalytic converter from a handicap van?

Tainted

Thursday, Sept. 23 between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. a thief or thieves stole the catalytic converter from my nephew’s handicap van while it was parked in a handicap spot in front of the Marcus movie theater in Oakdale.

My nephew is still recovering from major surgery just two weeks ago. It’s very sad that someone would steal from a quadriplegic.  This van (a 20-year-old black Ford) is my nephew’s only transportation.

If anyone saw this crime being committed, please alert the Oakdale Police Department.

Allen Eldridge, Maplewood

 

Sainted

On Sept. 21 I was riding on the trail near Powers Lake and my billfold must have fallen out of my bike pack. While I was back searching for it, my wife called and told me a nice young couple had just stopped by our house to return my billfold which they had found on the path.

Since they would not share their name, all she could do was to thank them profusely.

It is very nice to know that in this divided time in our country, there are people who do the right thing. Thank you VERY much.

John Pletcher, Woodbury

 

Sainted

Episcopal Homes long-term-care center on University Avenue needs to be Sainted.

My father needed a nursing home a year ago, and we found a bit of heaven at the Episcopal Homes. It is like a home away from his home. The staff were so careful with caring for the residents during the COVID outbreaks. The women and men who work hard everyday helping my father with his daily needs are definitely saints. I too have been greeted with great kindness and understanding.

I don’t look forward to growing old and perhaps needing help with daily living but if Episcopal Homes are still around, I hope I can spend the last years of my life with the kind and caring staff of there. I will never be able to express my appreciation enough. I hope this is a small step in knowing what incredible people there are in this world. Thanks, Episcopal Homes.

Sheila Walker, St. Paul

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High school football: Providence Academy tops St. Agnes in battle of unbeatens

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High school football roundup: Brakes’ late touchdown leads White Bear Lake past Mounds View

Who would come up with the big play?

That was the question the Providence Academy coaching staff laid before their players in advance of Friday night’s big showdown with St. Agnes.

The answer, it turns out, was senior linebacker Logan Ahlers.

It was Ahlers whose interception with just over five-and-a-half minutes to play snuffed out an Aggies comeback bid and set up the game-sealing touchdown as the Lions held on to win 17-8 in a battle of unbeatens on homecoming night at Providence Academy’s Mithun Field.

“That was definitely pushed in the locker room and all week in practice,” said Ahlers, whose team improved to 4-0 this season. “We knew somebody had to come up with that big play.”

Ahlers made that happen after St. Agnes scored on a 15-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Isaac Schmidt with 8:06 remaining. The ensuing two-point conversion cut the Lions’ lead to just 10-8.

Then, after Providence Academy went three-and-out on its next possession, the Aggies got the ball back at their own 25 with momentum on their side. But Ahlers’ pick put the ball back in the hands of the
Lions’ offense, and running back Jacob Meissner made the most of the opportunity – scoring on a 9-yard
touchdown run with 3:20 to go that put the game out of reach.

“That was awesome,” said Meissner, a senior at Maranatha Christian Academy, who won the Class 3A state wrestling title at 220 pounds for Osseo as a junior (Maranatha co-ops with Providence Academy and three other schools in football and with Osseo in wrestling).

“They were coming down the field, and it was a close game. They had enough time to score, but Logan made the interception, and that really set us off.”

It was just one of several big plays the Lions’ defense came up with Friday. Twice in the first half, they stopped St. Agnes on downs in Providence Academy territory – first on fourth-and-2 at the 25 in the first quarter, then on fourth-and-6 at the 33 in the second.

Meanwhile, Ahlers hit a 35-yard field goal and Meissner scored on a 3-yard run to give the Lions a 10-0 lead at halftime.

“We knew it was really important to get off to a good start,” said Providence Academy coach Colin Rooney, whose team had trailed at some point in the first half in all three of its previous games, and at halftime in two of them.

“The past few weeks, we’ve dug ourselves a little bit of a hole early. But we knew we couldn’t do that against a good team like this.”

And St. Agnes did not quit, battling back to cut the gap to two on Schmidt’s touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

“That’s what we live for,” said Schmidt, whose team fell to 3-1. “That’s what the coaches preach. You play every down and you fight like a dog. We never give up.”

But Ahler’s interception and Meissner’s touchdown run created a gap too wide to overcome.

“He’s a beast,” St. Agnes coach Tom Flood said of Meissner, who is leaning toward attending the Naval Academy but has not yet decided for sure on his college choice. “He’s a heckuva great football player. We have so much respect for him.”

Flood’s team has a matchup at Minneapolis South next week, while Providence Academy looks to remain undefeated when it plays at Breck.

“This gives us so much momentum,” Meissner said. “Being able to come up with a win against an undefeated team like (St. Agnes) will build up a lot of confidence.”

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Ask Amy: Generous father plans a blues cruise

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Ask Amy: Woman should leave abusive relationship

Dear Amy: I am a father to four adult children and a stepson. All are married or have long-term partners, except for my youngest.

I have been with my current girlfriend and her two teenagers for over five years.

I decided, when the first vaccine for COVID was nearing approval, to invite all my children and their spouses/partners on a seven-day cruise next year, all expenses paid.

Initially, I thought I would have my unattached youngest daughter share a room with her brother and his girlfriend.

In discussing this with her, she instead asked if she could bring her best friend, and as I was paying for everyone else’s partner, it seemed fair that she could also bring someone.

I told her yes and paid for all the reservations and airfares.

When my girlfriend found out about this arrangement, she was livid, insisting that the best friend (whom we had never met) was not a family member and should pay her own way.

My girlfriend is threatening not to go, nor will she allow her two children to accompany us.

My girlfriend has never gotten along with my youngest very well, but she insists that her issue is entirely about family vs. others.

I am at a loss as how to proceed.

I would feel terrible uninviting the best friend. My daughter might refuse to come. Other family members might drop out.

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High school football: St. Thomas Academy stymies Hastings, continues perfect start

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High school football: St. Thomas Academy stymies Hastings, continues perfect start

In Dan O’Brien’s four-year tenure as head coach of St. Thomas Academy, there isn’t much the Cadets haven’t done. Undefeated seasons, conference and section championships, state tournament appearances.

The lone accolade left? A state championship.

Twice a state championship runner-up in 2018 and 2019, St. Thomas Academy didn’t have the opportunity to avenge those losses in 2020, instead settling for a section championship in a shortened season without a state tournament.

Four games into 2021, it appears O’Brien’s Cadets will be knocking at the championship door once more. The Cadets routed visiting Hastings 41-7 on Friday, the latest in a slew of blowout victories to open the season.

Other than a season-opening, 18-6 victory over South St. Paul, St. Thomas Academy (4-0) has beaten each of its opponents by at least 27 points. They’ve allowed just three touchdowns in four games.

On Friday, that story continued. The Cadets defense held Hastings to just nine yards on 14 plays in the first half.  It took until the 3:36 mark of the third quarter for Hastings to convert a first down. Meanwhile, the Cadets scored a touchdown on four of their five first half drives, taking a 28-0 lead into halftime. St. Thomas Academy failed to score on just two other drives, both coming in the game’s waning moments.

“I thought the offensive line started out the game well and that opened up the passing game and powered our offense,” O’Brien said. “And defensively we started faster, so I’m pleased with that effort.”

The Cadets have yet to lose a home game under O’Brien’s direction, a streak that dates back to October 13, 2017. O’Brien is 33-3 overall.

The Cadets racked up 496 yards of total offense, including 281 on the ground. Junior running back Love Adebayo led the team with 16 carries for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore Savion Hart was close behind with 100 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

The lone touchdown for Hastings (2-2) came on a six-yard pass late in the third quarter from quarterback Axel Arnold to Rico Cooper. The Raiders nearly had a second touchdown late in the fourth quarter when Gavin Odman reeled in a 28-yard coach right at the goal line, before fumbling the ball into the end zone for a touchback.

St. Thomas Academy used three quarterbacks throughout the game, a strategy O’Brien plans to utilize throughout the season. Junior Noah Erickson threw for 143 yards and one touchdown and sophomore Max Sims threw for 69 yards and a touchdown. Both touchdown passes were thrown to senior Grady O’Neill, who also happens to be the team’s third quarterback, mainly as an option threat.

“Noah is a true pure passer and a really good leader. Max is young and really dynamic, and of course Brady’s got great feet and is always a threat,” O’Brien said. “All three of them have a little bit different skill set, and it’s hard to prepare for.”

The dominating win was a relief for O’Brien, who was worried about a letdown game following the team’s 41-14 win over renewed rival Cretin-Derham Hall last week at TCO Performance Center. With eight new starters on both offense and defense, that “setback game” is looming with a young team, he said. But That certainly didn’t come Friday.

“We feel like we have a long way to go. This is a young team, but so far we’ve been OK,” O’Brien said.

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