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Exclusive: Nearly 700 U.S. Veterans Give Open Letter in Trump Support

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Houses Of Worship Are ‘Essential,’ Trump Tells Governors To Open Them Up Now

This week, Jeffrey Goldberg, the Atlantic writer, published a report citing unnamed sources that Trump did not want to visit the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery on the 2018 Battle of Belleau Wood. The story quoted these unnamed sources and reported that Trump called the cemetery ‘complete with losers’ and referred to the fallen soldiers who died as suckers in Belleau Wood.

Around 674 veterans wrote in an open letter obtained exclusively from Breitbart News that their support for Trump, despite attacks by mainstream media, remains strong because of its record of supporting the U.S. military and ending the international war.

“Recent unfounded media attacks against President Trump from anonymity are yet another example of how deep critics of the president are willing to go down to divide the country and interfere in the election,” writes the veterans.

“Whoever knows President Trump saw his love and respect for our military and for our veterans. This is why we, veterans of all generations, write today reaffirming our support for President Trump.

In 2018, we immediately heard the same attacks after the President’s visit to Paris and they are now just as bogus as they were then. The false claims are based on a canceled visit by the President to a military cemetery, a “bad weather request” made on security and safety grounds. This was proved by White House’s internal emails from that time, as well as by US records. Navy which clearly explained the cancellation of the weather. Although the media relied on four unnamed sources to make the news, several more current and former officers of the White House went on and denied those groundless claims. These recorded voices include the President’s Secret Service Agent and John Bolton – the President’s outspoken critical – who described his book as “bad weather call” and who now claims that the President did not hear him say what he is credited to him. This story should not be taken seriously by anyone.

President Trump has always stood by our men and women during his presidency and looked after them as they returned to civilian life. President Trump has repeatedly shown his unwavering support for America’s service members from ground-breaking legislation that gives veterans real and enduring options in healthcare, to the greatest investment ever made in the US Military, to his strong resolve to avoid unnecessary wars and bring troops home. He has also spent several hours as President visiting battlefields and cemeteries, recognizing and supporting Gold Star families, thanking wounded veterans, and recognizing their sacrifice.

Veterans criticized the military and veteran record of Democrat nominee Joe Biden saying that “the mass media fired at this unfounded assault on President Trump because they know that Joe Biden’s record really doesn’t hold up to scrutiny and they try to deflect the American people from it.”

The veterans move on:

Under the Obama-Biden administration, the Veterans’ Service was a tragedy and our military was decimated. Today, Joe Biden has a radical socialist agenda that will further undermine America’s stability and world status. Joe Biden’s media friends know that he doesn’t deserve the love of service members of our country, so they have invented an utter lie in a futile assault on their rival.

The Americans have learned to minimize lies spawn by anonymous sources and paraded by a distorted media that aims to kill the President. The untiring efforts of President Trump to reinforce and support the military community are part of his incontrovertible record. He has done more for the workers and veterans of our country than any previous government. The group of veterans strongly opposes these lies from mass media and we stand now and on election day with our Commander-in-Chief.

Trump and the first lady Melania Trump called The Untrue Story of the Atlantic, and they are doing a lot of White House officials on the road. Officials include Karem Jordan, Miller Stephen, De Stefano Johnny, Sarah Sanders, Gidley Hogan, Bolton, and Dan Scavino.

American Veterans Open Letter by John Binder

 

“It was a completely fabricated story, and several people who were actually here confirmed that,” Trump said.

The story came when Trump vowed to send thousands of US troops from Afghanistan back home.

Contrary to Trump, who long opposed the Iraq War and Afghanistan invasion, Biden has sponsored a long list of US foreign interventions that sent US troops outside of the world without a timetable to return home.

In Afghanistan and Iraq, former President Bush led the US into combat, with over 4,500 Americans dying in Iraq — including over 3,500 killed in battle — and up to 205,000 Iraqi people dying in the combat since March 2003.

Overall, after the wars of 9/11 Bush in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, between 480,000 and 507,000 people died — including almost 7,000 American soldiers who had been stationed in the regions.

Biden voted in favor of the Iraq War and backed the creation of the US nation in Afghanistan. Biden also objected to the raid by Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, which argued that the risks were “too great.”

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Mahesh is leading digital marketing initiatives at RecentlyHeard, a NewsFeed platform that covers news from all sectors. He develops, manages, and executes digital strategies to increase online visibility, better reach target audiences, and create engaging experience across channels. With 7+ years of experience, He is skilled in search engine optimization, content marketing, social media marketing, and advertising, and analytics.

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Do you call out, ‘On your left’? If so, you’re sainted!

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Do you call out, ‘On your left’? If so, you’re sainted!

Sainted

Sainted to all the bike riders on our hiking trails who give us an “on your left” call out, and thanks for teaching your children the same courtesy.

Some of us seniors don’t have the good hearing that allows us to hear bikers coming from behind.

You will always get a “Thanks” and a smile from me.

Marge Peterson, Rosemount

Sainted, Sainted and Tainted

Sainted: St. Paul Eye Clinic and Dr. James George for filling out and faxing a B65 Vision Report for the MN/DVS. I did not have an appointment that day, but the receptionists graciously helped me by presenting the form to my busy eye doctor and then seeing that the signed form was faxed on to the state. They also gave me a copy of the document.

Sainted: Midwest Surgery for removing my cataracts and implanting corrective lenses. I love my new eyes!

Tainted: The Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Driver and Vehicle Services for numerous errors. First, I did not receive this vision report form. It was either not sent to me or it was lost in the mail. My address hasn’t changed in nine years. Why there is a need for the form is dubious. On Aug. 28, I received a form letter stating that a form of an unspecified nature had not been returned. I had to go downtown to the DMV on the following Monday to find out what the exact paper required and begin the process of filling it out. Secondly, I trust the eye clinic staff. If they said they faxed it, they faxed it. Third, I may trust my doctor, but I do not trust the state. I called the DMV’s automated telephone number on Sept. 15 and discovered that my driving privileges have been canceled. Fourth, when does the DMV plan on notifying me — before or after I leave on a 3,000+ mile trip to Canada next week?

As a licensed driver for 44 years, I have had only two accidents and no moving violations whatsoever. My double-amputee ex-husband depends on me to do his errands for him, which entails grocery shopping, hardware store expeditions, pharmacy, post office, etc.

In my humble opinion, the state needs to rectify its errors in a timely fashion. Perhaps it would send required forms via certified mail instead of regular post. I do not want to pay to reinstate my drivers license and if I have to take a driving test it’s impossible to visit my sister in British Columbia before next spring!

Denise Bricher, Maplewood

 

Tainted

At the Simley vs. Hill Murray football game on Sept. 10, I was disgusted to see HIll Murray fans throwing things, booing and yelling obscenities at the Simley Marching Band during halftime.

Apparently a private school education does not include kindness, respect, and sportsmanship.

Simley Marching Band professionally and expertly continued their show despite the horrible behavior of the visiting fans.

Gross, Hill Murray.  You can do better.

Mandy Hackerson, Inver Grove Heights
The writer is affiliated with IGH Band Boosters

 

Sainted

I’d like to “Saint” someone at the Great Minnesota Get Back Together, Saturday, Sept. 4.

Somehow I left my wallet behind, I think in front of the Fine Arts Building. When I got home and couldn’t find it, I went through all the cards and canceled them and ordered replacements. I emailed the lost-and-found, too.

Thursday I got an email from the fair’s lost-and-found department. My wallet was in their possession, I picked it up on Friday expecting the shell of a wallet. Everything was there!

To the kind soul who found it and found the lost and found,  THANK YOU,THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! I hope you see this and know how wonderful you are.

Dick Mushel, Eagan

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PearlPalooza returning to rock-out, in-person, for its 12th year

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PearlPalooza returning to rock-out, in-person, for its 12th year

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — PearlPalooza will be back in Downtown Albany for its 12th year on Saturday, September 18. The music festival was held virtually last year because of the pandemic.

“We are really excited to welcome back free, live music on Pearl Street tomorrow. The weather is going to be absolutely phenomenal,” said Georgette Steffens, Executive Director of the Downtown Albany BID.

A similar yearly fall concert in Albany, Larkfest, had to be canceled this year over fears of crowds and COVID-19. Steffens says having just one stage for performances at PearlPalooza this year will give people plenty of space and allow them to safely hold their outdoor event.

The BID is predicting to see about half of their typical attendance. Masking up is only necessary for those who are unvaccinated. “Our street is a little bit wider. We’ve got three full blocks,” Steffens explained. “That will really allow people to move around comfortably and socially distance.“

This year’s headlining band is Slothrust, a group from Boston that PearlPalooza partner, WEQX, has been trying to get to the Capital Region for years. Just as exciting, according to Steffens, are the local bands performing on the Remarkable Liquids Stage at North Pearl Street and Sheridan Avenue. “It is really important to be able to highlight the incredible music talent, the local talent, that we have here,“ Steffens said.

Events like PearlPalooza signify some normalcy for local businesses like The Hollow Bar + Kitchen, another event partner, who had to close down for almost half a year because of the pandemic. “We are thrilled to be able to do this again because it means that we survived,“ said owner Dora Philip.

She’s excited to see Pearl Street come alive. “We are about community. That’s what this is about. It’s our love letter to downtown Albany,” Phillip said.

The day will kick off at noon with YogaPalooza, a street-wide, one-hour, free yoga event in its fifth year. You can register online or walk up. Then, performances from:

No outside alcoholic beverages, glass containers, dogs, or pets (with the exception of ADA-certified service animals) will be allowed. Downtown Albany BID says not to attend the event if you have tested positive or display any symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have been in close contact with anyone that has tested positive in the past 14 days.

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Sam Hilliard’s emotional home run brings tears as Rockies beat Nationals

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Sam Hilliard’s emotional home run brings tears as Rockies beat Nationals

Sometimes, there is crying in baseball. And the game is better off for it.

Friday night at Nationals Park, Rockies outfielder Sam Hilliard hit a two-out, two-run homer in the sixth inning to put his team ahead, 7-6. After returning to the dugout, Hilliard, in tears, left his teammates for a few minutes. When he took his spot in left field, the tears were still flowing.

Then Hilliard, poetically, also scored the winning run in the ninth in Colorado’s multi-rally, 9-8 victory.

Elias Diaz led off with a solo homer, tying the game, 8-8. Then Hilliard singled to right, stole second, advanced to third on Garrett Hampson’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Brendan Rodgers’ single to left.

It’s been an emotional and poignant week for Hilliard. On Sunday, Hilliard’s father, Jim, passed away after a three-year battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Hilliard, along with his mother, Tamara Hext Hilliard, spearheaded Team Hilliard ALS, which raises money for research and treatment of the dreaded disease.

Rodgers, who wrapped Hilliard in a bear hug after Hilliard hit the homer, was emotional talking about his friend and longtime roommate.

“I respect the hell out of him for what he’s doing,” Rodgers said. “Coming back a couple days after it happened,  it’s not easy to do. It’s not easy to flush something like that. It’s definitely always in the back of his mind and he knows who he’s doing it for. It’s emotional for me, too. It’s tough to see.”

The Rockies, road woeful for most of the season, have become road warriors, winning four straight. They are 6-1 on the current road trip, winning both games at Atlanta after taking three of four at Philadelphia. They have clinched their first winning road trip of the season.

But a win looked doubtful in the eighth when the Nats took an 8-7 lead. Nats pinch-hitter Ryan Zimmerman lined a one-out double to left off of reliever Jhoulys Chacin and scored on Alcides Escobar’s single. Rookie lefty Lucas Gilbreath entered the game and walked the dangerous Juan Soto to load the bases. Josh Bell hit an RBI grounder to Rodgers at second, and although Rodgers tagged out Soto on the basepath he couldn’t complete the double play because he got tangled up with Soto.

Colorado rallied to beat the Nats despite a rough start by German Marquez. The first-time all-star was off from the beginning and ended up allowing six runs on eight hits in just four innings. The right-hander needed 80 pitches (just 48 strikes) to get through his short start.

Manager Bud Black was quite aware that Marquez was off of his game.

“The breaking ball wasn’t there the whole night,” Black said. “He’s got one of the best breaking-ball combinations in all of baseball. The slider and the curveball were not anywhere near his norm. They were well, well below his norm. The fastball command was not anywhere near his norm.”

In the first, Washington capitalized on a walk by Marquez and a throwing error by shortstop Trevor Story, then Kelbert Ruiz raked a two-run double.

But the Nationals’ four-run fourth inning was Marquez’s undoing. Washington sent nine men to the plate and ripped the right-hander for five hits. The big blow was a two-out, three-run homer to center by Lane Thomas that put the Nationals ahead, 6-2. Thomas crushed Marquez’s 0-1 slider.

Colorado rallied in the fifth on Rodgers’ two-run homer off of Josiah Gray. Rodgers has hit 13 homers, with 12 of them coming on the road this season.

“I’m really up there not trying to do too much,” Rodgers said. “I’m an aggressive hitter but I try to control my aggressiveness. I’m just trying to hit the ball hard. That’s the main goal.”

Rodgers’ homer ignited the first comeback and set the stage for Hilliard’s big moment in the sixth. Story led off with a double and scored on Ryan McMahon’s opposite-field single to left. Up to the plate stepped Hilliard, who blasted lefty Alberto Baldonado’s 2-2, 93.8 mph fastball to right-center field.

“There is no better way to honor his family and his father than by going out and playing baseball the way he plays it,” Black said. “When he performs successfully, it puts a lot of smiles on a lot of people’s faces.”

Joe update. When left fielder Connor Joe first went on the injured list with a strained right hamstring on Sept. 4, manager Bud Black was hopeful that Joe would return before the end of the season. Now, Black’s not so sure. “If you’ve heard me say it once, you’ve heard me say it a thousand times — hamstrings are tricky,” Black said. “This is really the first time Connor has hurt his hamstring to a significant level, and they take time (to heal). “I was pretty optimistic (when asked) about his potential return. Now, I might have to backtrack on that and see where we are in a week to 10 days.” After getting called up from Triple-A Albuquerque for the second time on July 20, Joe took off, solidified his place as a candidate to be a starter in 2022. Joe is hitting .285 with eight homers and a.848 OPS in 63 games.


On Deck
Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (5-8, 4.76 ERA) at Nationals LHP Patrick Corbin (8-14, 5.98)
2:05 p.m. Saturday, Nationals Park
TV: ATTRM
Radio: 850 AM/94.1 FM

Freeland is scuffling a bit and didn’t pitch well in his last two starts. The lefty took the loss at Philadelphia, allowing four runs on five hits and four walks. In his outing prior to that, Freeland was charged with seven earned runs over 4 1/3 innings against the Giants when he issued three walks and gave up four home runs. Freeland has served up eight homers over this last five starts after allowing only three homers in his previous 10 starts. Freeland is 2-1 with a 2.49 ERA in four career starts against the Nationals, including a 1-1 mark with a 2.30 ERA at Nationals Park. Corbin is fresh off a strong start at Pittsburgh. In the Nats’ 6-2 win over the Pirates, he gave up two runs on four hits and two walks. He recorded four strikeouts. After allowing leadoff hits in each of the first three innings, Corbin retired the last 13 hitters he faced. In 23 games (22 starts) vs. the Rockies, Corbin is 10-4 with a 4.51 ERA. Trevor Story has hit Corbin pretty well, going 7-for-24 (.292) with two doubles and one home run.

Trending: Second baseman Brendan Rodgers has been the Rockies’ best hitter on the road, batting .268 (45-for-168) entering Friday’s game. His 10 home runs were the third-most on the team, despite playing just 45 road games. That’s 21 fewer than Ryan McMahon, who leads Colorado with 11 road homers.

At issue: First baseman C.J. Cron, the National League player of the month for August, has cooled off considerably. He entered Friday’s game hitting .194 (6-for-31) over his last 10 games.

Pitching probables
Sunday: Rockies RHP Ryan Feltner (0-1, 11.37) at Nationals RHP Paolo Espino (4-5, 4.18), 11:05 a.m., ATTRM
Monday: Off
Tuesday: Dodgers RHP Tony Gonsolin (3-1, 2.47) at Rockies RHP Jon Gray (8-10, 4.16), 6:40 p.m., ATTRM

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NY millionaire Robert Durst guilty of best friend’s murder

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NY millionaire Robert Durst guilty of best friend’s murder

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — A Los Angeles jury convicted Robert Durst on Friday of murdering his best friend 20 years ago, a case that took on new life after the New York real estate heir participated in a documentary that connected him to the slaying that was linked to his wife’s 1982 disappearance.

Durst, 78, was not in court for the verdict from the jury that deliberated about seven hours over three days. He was in isolation at a jail because he was exposed to someone with coronavirus.

Durst, who faces a mandatory term of life in prison without parole when sentenced Oct. 18, was convicted of the first-degree murder of Susan Berman. She was shot at point-blank range in the back of the head in her Los Angeles home in December 2000 as she was prepared to tell police how she helped cover up his wife’s killing.

Berman, the daughter of a Las Vegas mobster, was Durst’s longtime confidante who told friends she provided a phony alibi for him after his wife vanished.

Prosecutors painted a portrait of a rich narcissist who didn’t think the laws applied to him and ruthlessly disposed of people who stood in his way. They interlaced evidence of Berman’s killing with Kathie Durst’s suspected death and the 2001 killing of a tenant in a Texas flophouse where Robert Durst holed up while on the run from New York authorities.

Durst was arrested in 2015 while hiding out in a New Orleans hotel on the eve of the airing of the final episode of “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst,” in which he was confronted with incriminating evidence and made what prosecutors said was a confession.

Durst could be heard muttering to himself on a live microphone in a bathroom: “There it is. You’re caught.”

Durst’s decision to testify in his own defense — hoping for a repeat of his acquittal in the Texas killing — backfired, as he was forced to admit lying under oath, made damning admissions and had his credibility destroyed when questioned by the prosecutor.

The conviction marks a victory for authorities who have sought to put Durst behind bars for murder in three states. Durst was never charged in the disappearance of his wife, who has never been found, and he was acquitted of murder in Galveston, TX, where he admitted dismembering the victim’s body and tossing it out to sea.

The story of Durst, the estranged scion of a New York real estate developer, has been fodder for New York tabloids since his wife vanished. He provided plot twists so numerous that Hollywood couldn’t resist making a feature film about his life that eventually led to the documentary and discovery of new evidence in Berman’s slaying.

Durst ran from the law multiple times, disguised as a mute woman in Texas and staying under an alias at a New Orleans hotel with a shoulders-to-head latex mask for a presumed getaway. He jumped bail in Texas and was arrested after shoplifting a chicken sandwich in Pennsylvania, despite having $37,000 in cash — along with two handguns — in his rental car.

He later quipped that he was “the worst fugitive the world has ever met.”

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Woodbury man charged in fatal shooting of man outside Como bar

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Woodbury man charged in fatal shooting of man outside Como bar

A Woodbury man is accused of fatally shooting a Minneapolis man in the parking lot of a bar in the Como neighborhood in August.

Kenwan Deshawn Hunter, 27, was charged Friday in Ramsey County District Court with two counts of second-degree murder (with intent and while committing a felony) and one count of illegally possessing a firearm.

According to the charges, Hunter shot and killed Glenn Danen Smith, 27, after Smith and another man had been fighting.

About 12:50 a.m. Aug. 16, St. Paul police officers responded to Ted’s Recreation at 1084 Larpenteur Ave. and found two people attempting to help Smith who was in the back seat of a Buick LaCrosse. Smith was unresponsive and was pronounced dead at the scene.

From multiple witnesses and video, police pieced together the following events:

Smith and a friend drove to Minneapolis earlier that night to buy marijuana. Smith asked his friend to drop him off at Ted’s. When the friend returned to pick Smith up, Smith was drinking with Hunter and another man identified as Tae Loc.

Smith and Tae Loc went outside to fight. When Smith’s friend tried to intervene, Smith told him Tae Loc was his cousin and to let them fight.

When they finished fighting, Smith got into the Buick to leave, then began yelling to Hunter to give him back something that belonged to him. Smith went to Hunter’s car and retrieved a gun. As Smith’s friend was backing the car out of the parking space, gunfire erupted. Smith yelled that he was hit and climbed into the backseat. Smith’s friend got out of the car and fled the scene, taking Smith’s gun with him. He later turned it in to police.

Witnesses told police they believed Smith and Hunter were shooting at each other. According to the Ramsey County medical examiner’s office, Smith died from a gunshot wound to his chest. Smith had two felony convictions for illegally possessing a firearm.

Hunter has seven prior felony convictions for robbery. On Feb. 5, 2016, he was convicted of aggravated second-degree robbery after he stole items from a Menards on University Avenue and then fought the security guard who tried to stop him. In March 2016, he was convicted of five counts of aggravated second-degree robbery in Hennepin County District Court after he and an accomplice approached five different victims in Minneapolis, held a gun to them and robbed them.

According to that complaint, authorities found him to pose “an obvious danger to public safety if he is out of custody.”

According to the plea agreement for the 2016 convictions, Hunter was sentenced by Hennepin County Judge Hilary Caligiuri on Feb. 16, 2017, to 64 months in prison (or a little over five years) with 379 days credited for time served.

As of Friday evening, Hunter was in custody at the Ramsey County Detention Center. He was being held on a $1 million bond. No attorney was listed for him.

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Food Network star Alton Brown coming to Proctors

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Food Network star Alton Brown coming to Proctors

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Food Network star Alton Brown is making his way to the Electric City on his “Alton Brown Live – Beyond The Eats” tour. He will be at Proctors on April 8, 2022. 

Brown says fans can expect, “more cooking, more comedy, more music and more potentially dangerous science stuff.” He warns, “Prepare for an evening unlike any other and if I call for volunteers… think twice.”

“Plus, you’ll see things I’ve never been allowed to do on TV,” Brown added.

Tickets are on sale now for “Alton Brown Live – Beyond The Eats” at Proctors. They are available online at proctors.org or by phone Monday-Friday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at (518) 346-6204.

Critics and fans have raved about the interactive components of Brown’s shows.

Alton Brown has been on the Food Network for over 20 years and is best known as the creator, writer and host of Good Eats, Good Eats: Reloaded, and Good Eats: The Return. He also hosted Cutthroat Kitchen and served as the culinary commentator on Iron Chef America.

There are two James Beard awards with Brown’s name on them in a drawer in his office, and somewhere in the world there’s a coveted Peabody awarded for Good Eats that was stolen out of his car back in 2013. In his spare time, he’s working on his ninth book on food and cooking.

Those with an appetite for more Alton Brown can find additional show and ticketing information at www.altonbrownlive.com

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5A football: Douglas County blanks Castle View for first “Battle of the Rock” win since 2014

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5A football: Douglas County blanks Castle View for first “Battle of the Rock” win since 2014

CASTLE ROCK — The drought is finally over for Douglas County football.

For the first time in seven years, the Huskies defeated crosstown rival Castle View, 16-0, on Friday night in their annual “Battle of the Rock” rivalry game with citywide bragging rights on the line.

Douglas County senior quarterback A.J. Jackson completed two touchdown passes to junior wide receiver Chase Nelson while the Huskies’ defense forced multiple turnovers. Douglas County remains unbeaten (4-0) as a surprise Class 5A contender this season.

“I’m still letting it sink in right now. I’m trying to warm up because I’m frozen with the ice bath that I just got,” Douglas County coach Eric Rice said. “The thing about winning a game like this that is so important is because they’ve beaten us so many years in a row. I know it means so much to this whole community.”

Roughly 3,500 people filed into a sold-out Douglas County Stadium on Friday with the crowd visibly split down the middle between fans in purple and red. Both teams entered undefeated. But the Sabercats were riding high with six consecutive rivalry wins in the series.

The Huskies didn’t need reminding of that losing trend. They were intent on changing it.

Douglas County sprinted out to a 16-0 advantage in the first half with big-play offense and opportunistic defense.

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Hundreds protest in front of the State House over vaccine, mask mandates

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Hundreds protest in front of the State House over vaccine, mask mandates

Hundreds of protestors gathered in front of the State House Friday afternoon, armed with signs, American and “Thin Blue Line” flags and petitions, to protest causes including COVID-19 vaccine and masking mandates.

“I am a health care worker, and I’m losing my job in physical therapy, even though I worked through the whole pandemic,” said Mary Taylor, an attendee from New Bedford, citing both religious and medical exemptions to the mandate. “I am going to fight this tooth-and-nail along with all my other friends that are pro-choice.”

The event was organized over Facebook by an organization called The Freedom Family Endeavor which, according to its website, is a non-profit that advocates for “the civil rights of families across the U.S.,” and especially against government restrictions.

The crowd sang the “Star-Spangled Banner” several times, and yelled chants including “We will not comply!” Attendees included several members of the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union, student representatives from libertarian-leaning college groups, and a slew of health care workers nervous about losing their jobs over refusing the COVID-19 vaccine.

Another woman who attended the rally with her children who only wanted to be identified as Erica said she was there to protest because her daughter, who attends a state university, was “forced” to be vaccinated to attend, she said. The Athol resident added that she was also opposed to mask mandates for school-aged children.

Ryan McLane, the chief attorney for The Freedom Family Endeavor, said he had helped “hundreds” of people fight for religious exemptions to vaccine mandates, and added that he is currently appealing a verdict from a federal lawsuit in which a UMass Boston student was denied a religious exemption from the school’s vaccine mandate. The group’s other federal lawsuit was denied.

Gov. Charlie Baker did not respond to a request for comment on the rally.

The Herald has reached out to the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union for comment, but the union has publicly slammed the vaccine mandate for their group, along with all state executive branch employees, in the past.

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Lynx dominate Fever, secure first-round playoff bye

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Lynx dominate Fever, secure first-round playoff bye

The Lynx dominated the Fever, 92-73, in Indianapolis on Friday night to secure a first-round bye in the playoffs.

“There just was no quit. They played as hard as they could,” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “Everything we got we had to really earn. Coming here and getting this win was obviously something that was important to us. So, mission accomplished.”

Despite battling injuries all year, the Lynx secured a top-4 seed in the playoffs — and the first-round bye that goes with it — with the win.

“That’s what we came here to do,” Reeve said. “We wanted to make sure that we could control our own destiny. We were the first of the games tonight that had implications on seeding.”

Because the Las Vegas Aces beat the Chicago Sky on Friday night, the Lynx can no longer reach the second seed. But the current fourth seed Seattle trails Minnesota by one game in the standings with two games left this season, one of them being late Friday night.

Sylvia Fowles led the Lynx with a double-double (21 points and 10 rebounds). Napheesa Collier and Crystal Dangerfield scored 17 and 15, respectively. Natalie Achonwa added 11 points off the bench.

“[I’m] extremely proud of these young women,” Fowles said. “I’m happy with where we are. I feel like we still have a few things that we can clean up. To now see what we’ve come from to where we are now, I’m very excited and I’m very proud of [the] things we’ve done this season.”

The Fever came out strong in the first quarter, taking a 5-1 lead, but it would be their largest and last lead of the game.

In the middle of the first quarter, the Lynx started to find their footing and begin to build momentum. They went on a 15-2 scoring run to take a 22-9 lead. Kayla McBride started the scoring run with a 19-foot pull up jump shot.

However, the Fever quickly responded with a 12-5 scoring run of their own and cut the Lynx’s lead to 27-21 to close out the first quarter. They pulled within 40-38 with a 6-0 run late in the second quarter but the Lynx fought back to extend their lead to 51-44 at intermission.

Indiana only scored 10 points in the third quarter and the Lynx led by 25 points, their largest lead, on a Rachel Banham 3-pointer with 6:37 left in the game.

The Lynx are now 16-3 when scoring more than 80 points in a game, 13-1 when leading after three quarters, and 3-0 this season when their starting lineup consists of McBride, Fowles, Napheesa Collier, Crystal Dangerfield and Aerial Powers.

The Lynx will close out the regular season on the road as they take on the Washington Mystics (12-19) on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2 p.m.

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Gov. Hochul signs parole reform bill into law amid Rikers crisis

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Gov. Hochul signs parole reform bill into law amid Rikers crisis

NEW YORK — Amid calls for action over the crisis at New York City’s Rikers Island, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday signed into law the Less Is More Act in a major overhaul of New York’s parole system.

The legislation, which will take full effect in March 2022, will prevent people from being reincarcerated for technical, non-criminal parole violations.

These violations include missing a curfew, arriving late to an appointment with a parole officer, changing a residence without approval and failing to attend a mandated program.

It will also allow for shortened parole sentences due to good behavior, and expedite the time frame in which parole hearings can be held.

Hochul said that 191 inmates would be released from Rikers on Friday who meet the threshold of the new legislation.

Watch Friday’s event and bill signing in full below:

Most of the city’s jail inmates are being held for trial or on parole violations.

According to the Vera Institute of Justice, 274 people in New York City prisons are being detained for a technical parole violation, out of 6,079 inmates.

Supporters say incarcerating people for technical parole violations is costly and fuels recidivism. 

The Republican minority in the Legislature has accused Democrats of focusing more on perpetrators of crimes than victims.

Hochul’s action comes as a spotlight has once again been put on the city’s notorious jail complex, which has spiraled into turmoil during the pandemic.

It’s not just inmates and advocates saying that. City officials, including the mayor, admit there are serious problems.

The growing crisis, brought to light in recent weeks by advocates, news reports and a federal monitor who wrote of “grave concerns” with the city’s jails, has sent officials scrambling for remedies amid plans to close Rikers by 2026.

Mayor Bill de Blasio this week unveiled reforms that include requiring absent guards to get a doctor’s note if they’re out for more than a day, speeding inmate intake procedures and fixing infrastructure problems like broken cell doors.

On Wednesday, the city started suspending jail guards for 30 days without pay if they refused to come to work. Last week, the city said the staffing situation was so dire it was enlisting a telemarketing company to entice recently retired correctional officers to return to work.

Advocates, lawmakers and even the union for jail guards say the measures aren’t enough to fix a system where 10 inmates have died this year, at least five in suspected suicides.

Advocates want inmates released immediately. Some say Rikers should be closed right away.

Lawmakers who toured Rikers complex this week said it’s filthy and inhumane, with overflowing toilets and floors covered in dead cockroaches, feces and rotting food. State Assemblywoman Jessica González-Rojas said inmates told her they felt like they were being treated like slaves and animals.

The union, meanwhile, has said that hiring more guards is the answer and that suspensions will leave remaining officers working “triple and quadruple shifts with no meals and no rest.”

“The mayor cannot discipline his way out of this staffing crisis that he caused by refusing to hire a single correction officer for nearly three years, even as the inmate population doubled,” said Benny Boscio Jr., the president of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association.

In actuality, the city’s jail population has risen by about 58%, topping 6,000 inmates at the end of last week after falling below 3,900 inmates as bail reforms took effect, arrests slowed and some inmates were sent home early in the pandemic.

In addition, city jail Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi said Monday that the city has authorized the hiring of at least 200 correctional officers.

Schiraldi thanked Hochul after she signed Friday’s legislation.

“Eliminating non-criminal, technical parole violations is the decent, humane thing to do and it will only increase public safety by disrupting the incarceration cycle at a critical point, when people are reintegrating into the community,” Schiraldi said.

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