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Fans carry Morgan Wallen to 3 Billboard Music Awards following the ban and deplatforming due to a leaked N-Word video.

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Morgan Wallen

Morgan Wallen, a country music singer, received numerous big awards at the Billboard Music Awards ceremony on Sunday despite being barred from the festival and barred from several music platforms.

After a video of an inebriated Wallen calling a friend a “p****-a** n*****” surfaced online in February, his talent agent dropped him and his music was banned from outlets such as SiriusXM and Pandora. Wallen has since apologised for using the slur, which occurred late at night in Nashville “on hour 72 of a bender.”

Wallen was barred from attending the 2021 Billboard Music Awards as a result of the event. However, he was not barred from being nominated for major awards and nominations are based on his position on Billboard charts as well as his album sales and downloads on streaming platforms.

According to E! News, Wallen was nominated in six categories on Sunday and won awards for Top Country Artist, Top Country Male Artist, and Top Country Album for “Dangerous: The Double Album.”

In April, Dick Clark Productions issued a statement stating that, although Wallen was barred from attending the 2021 Billboard Awards, the production company will consider lifting the ban for upcoming shows.

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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Bob Sansevere: Alexander Mattison, Tyler Conklin, revved-up offense pull Vikings from the abyss

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Bob Sansevere: Alexander Mattison, Tyler Conklin, revved-up offense pull Vikings from the abyss

Put away the toe tag. The Vikings have some life in them.

They played their best game of this young season on Sunday. Of course, it had to be their best game. They lost the first two before beating the Seattle Seahawks 30-17 at U.S. Bank Stadium.

And now the Vikings are 1-2, same as the Kansas City Chiefs and, oh, yeah, the Seahawks, too.

The season is not a lost cause. At 0-3, it sure would have seemed like it.

Besides locking down a much-needed victory, it was encouraging for the Vikings to put themselves back in the conversation about contending for the NFC North title and, at least for the next week, social media won’t be littered with posts to fire coach Mike Zimmer.

“Feels good to win,” Zimmer said. “I told the team I thought it was the best offensive performance in the eight years I’ve been here.”

Perhaps most impressive about the win is the Vikings did it without Dalvin Cook. He was inactive due to that ankle injury suffered last week in Arizona.

Alexander Mattison did a fine job filling in. Mattison is a good back, much like there are good cover bands. None are like the original, and ordinarily Mattison is nowhere near as dynamic and game-altering as Cook.

He was Cook-like Sunday, running for 112 yards and catching six passes for 59 yards for a combined 171-yard game.

Mattison forced the Seahawks to respect the run, allowing Kirk Cousins to locate receivers and make this game a double-digit victory.

Cousins was outstanding. That was Zimmer’s word for how his quarterback performed.

“He played with a lot of confidence,” Zimmer said. “He’s very confident when he throws the football. He’s just very accurate and playing fast.”

On the Vikings’ first drive, Cousins completed all five of his passes for 62 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown to Tyler Conklin.

Conklin, by the way, needs to be a bigger part of this offense every week. He has some Travis Kelce in him. He will get yards after the catch and his hands are as good as tight ends who get much more acclaim than he does. He had seven receptions for 70 yards.

Jefferson, meantime, continues to show he is one of the NFL’s best receivers. He caught nine passes for 118 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Even Greg Joseph made all his kicks, and the long-suffering offensive line only allowed one sack. And the defense, after a rough start that saw the Vikings fall behind 17-7, shut out the Seahawks in the second half.

“Defensively, we started out a little shaky,” Zimmer said. “The players did a good of adjusting.”

Middle linebacker Eric Kendricks attributed the Seahawks’ early success to catching the Vikings by surprise.

“They came out with a lot of looks we hadn’t seen on film,” Kendricks said. “We started neutralizing (them).”

The Vikings also took that first step in resurrecting a season that looked to be headed for an abyss when the Seahawks went ahead by 10 points in the second quarter behind Russell Wilson’s shredding of the secondary and Chris Carson picking up yards on the ground.

“I wouldn’t say we’re in a good position,” receiver Adam Thielen said.

Then came the but.

“We’re going to try to ride this momentum,” he said. “This a momentum league. We know we just got to get a win. This has been frustrating, obviously, after the first two weeks, but we knew we were going to just focus on this week. And now after we enjoy this today, tomorrow we’re going to move on and get ready for our next opponent.”

Then Thielen told the story about a conversation he had with some teammates.

“Man, it’s hard to win in this league,” Thielen said. “These young guys were talking about it. ‘Man, it’s like Kansas City is losing and some of these really good football teams are losing.’ It’s not like college where you kind of have these gimme games where you pay them $500,000 and you crush them. You can’t do that in the league.”

You can, however, make the season look a whole lot brighter with a win — just like the Vikings did Sunday.

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Without injured Dalvin Cook, Vikings swamp Seahawks 30-17 in home opener

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Without injured Dalvin Cook, Vikings swamp Seahawks 30-17 in home opener

No Dalvin Cook, no problem.

The Vikings were missing their injured star running back Sunday but the offense still flourished in a 30-17 victory over Seattle in the home opener.

With no fans allowed to attend last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the game was Minnesota’s first with fans at U.S. Bank Stadium in the  regular season since Dec. 29, 2019. And the Vikings gave them lots to cheer about.

“I told the team that it’s the best offensive performance that I’ve seen in the eight years I’ve been here,” said Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, whose team got its first win after starting the season with two road losses by a combined four points.

Alexander Mattison filled in admirably for Cook, rushing 26 times to match his career high with 112 yards. He also caught six passes for 59 yards. Cook injured his ankle late in last week’s game at Arizona but remained in the game. Zimmer held out hope that Cook might be able to play after not practicing all week but said he got the word on Sunday morning that he was out.

“Feels good when you’re able to get the ball and be productive,” Mattison said.

Kirk Cousins completed 30 of 38 passes for 323 yards and three touchdowns as the Vikings roared back from a 17-7 second-quarter deficit. His favorite target was wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who caught nine passes for 118 yards and a touchdown. Jefferson, a rookie last season who was playing before fans at the first time at U.S. Bank Stadium, performed his well-known dance “The Griddy” after his 3-yard touchdown reception put the Vikings up for good at 21-17 with 16 seconds left in the first half.

“It was crazy,” Jefferson said. “It was so energetic, I was waiting for that moment for a long time now, so to finally score a touchdown in front of the fans and then hit ‘The Griddy.’ ”

The win ended the Vikings’ seven-game losing streak against the Seahawks, all with Russell Wilson as their quarterback. The Vikings’ previous win over Seattle came all the way back in 2009 at the Metrodome. Wilson arrived in the NFL as a rookie in 2012, when he beat the Vikings for the first time at the starter.

“That was my first time beating him since I’ve been in the league, so that was huge for me,” said Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks, who entered the NFL in 2015 and had been on the losing side five straight times. “It definitely was nice.”

It looked for much of the first half as if it would be the same old, same old as the Seahawks (1-2) took leads of 7-0 and 17-7. But in the second quarter, with Seattle leading 17-7, a holding penalty on the Seahawks’ Ugo Amadi nullified a third-down sack of Cousins, and the game completely changed after that.

Cousins soon threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen to cut the deficit to 17-14, and the Vikings were on their way.

“It’s a razor’s edge,” said Cousins, whose first touchdown pass was seven yards in the first quarter to tight end Tyler Conklin to tie the score 7-7. “I remember after we scored on that drive walking off the field thinking that without that penalty we were punting … We were 0-2 going into the game on a razor’s edge too, so you look at it both ways.”

The Vikings opened the season with a 27-24 overtime loss at Cincinnati, then a 34-33 loss at Arizona. They were doomed in the opener by a Cook fumble late in overtime, then Greg Joseph missed a 37-yard field goal against the Cardinals on the final play.

The Vikings had no issues with Joseph on Sunday. He made all three of his field-goal attempts, hitting from 43, 34 and 20 yards, and all three of his extra-point attempts.

“I wouldn’t say we’re in a good position, but I think we’re going to try to ride this momentum,” Thielen said of the Vikings improving to 1-2. “This is a momentum league. We knew we just had to get a win. It’s been frustrating for the first two weeks, but we knew we were just going to focus on this week.”

The Vikings rolled up 453 yards of total offense. They allowed 389 yards, but just 81 in the second half.

In the first half, Wilson completed 15 of 19 passes for 218 yards and a touchdown. But he was shut down in Seattle’s scoreless second half, and finished 23 of 32 for 298 yards.

“Just settling down, especially in the second half,” Kendricks said of Minnesota’s defense.

Meanwhile, the second half was when Mattison really got going. He had 76 of his rushing yards after intermission.

“We go out there and prepare to be the best offense we can be, so for us to go out there and prove (Sunday), it was a huge win for us individually and as a group,” Mattison said.

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Lynx ousted from WNBA playoffs after stunning home loss to Chicago

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Lynx ousted from WNBA playoffs after stunning home loss to Chicago

The reality of the WNBA’s playoff structure is a cruel one: For those outside the top two seeds, if you don’t bring your ‘A’ game in either of the first two rounds, you’re going home.

Or, in the Lynx’s case, staying home.

Minnesota’s 2021 playoff experience can be described as short and not so sweet.  After just one game — Sunday’s stunning 89-76 loss to sixth-seeded Chicago at Target Center — it’s over. The No. 3 seed is out in the quarterfinal round.

Minnesota picked the wrong time to play one of its worst games in months, and in the process spoiled what looked to have the makings of a special season.

The Lynx committed 20 turnovers. The Sky had 22 fast-break points, many coming off of those Lynx turnovers. More than half of Chicago’s points came in the paint (48).

The latter stat is the one that frustrated Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve most because, she noted, “it’s not that hard.” But in three tries against Chicago this season, while the Lynx beat the Sky once, they weren’t able to keep Chicago out of the paint.

“They played as they are. They know who they are and they’re so persistent in identity and we couldn’t break their identity. That’s a sign of a really good team,” Reeve said. “I don’t have an explanation for getting outworked in those areas. Layup after layup after layup (on defense), and obviously our offense wasn’t good enough. … We just didn’t get the job done.”

Minnesota floor general Layshia Clarendon played just 12 minutes, as Clarendon was clearly limited by the stress-related injury in her right fibula.

“They’re taking it really hard,” Reeve said of Clarendon’s post-game emotions. “But you can’t help those things. That was such a bummer. We need Lay. We need (Damiris) Dantas. We need those players.”

Sylvia Fowles established her presence early in the game, but Minnesota could get its start center any touches over the final three quarters. Fowles had 17 points on only nine attempts from the field as she quickly became the sole focus of Chicago’s defense.

“She was the only one that was established,” Reeve said. “So they literally were taking three or four people and saying, ‘You can throw it anywhere. You can take as many threes as you want to.’ … For Syl, it got harder and harder. And we don’t have great entry passers. Lay is one of our best.”

The Lynx did have success from the perimeter at points, going 9 for 18 from deep. Most of those makes came late.

The Lynx trailed by as many as 14 points in the final quarter, and while Minnesota made a push late — largely thanks to Aerial Powers, who led the way with 24 points and whose shot making kept the Lynx around. There was a stretch in which Powers hit two triples, Kayla McBride hit one and Napheesa Collier hit another. The three-for-all helped Minnesota trim the deficit to four.

But Chicago provided an answer, as it did all night. It was too little, too late for Minnesota.

Chicago (18-16) had five players score in double figures, led by Courtney Vandersloot’s 19 points, 15 of which came in the second half.

Next year appears to be bright for the Lynx (22-11). After an 0-4 start to the season and many early struggles that were a result of injuries, late arrivals and adjusting to plenty of new faces, they became one of the WNBA’s top teams over the second half. Minnesota won nine of its final 10 games to close the regular season.

BRIEFLY

Sylvia Fowles was named the WNBA’s Defensive Player of the Year earlier in the day Sunday. It’s the fourth time Fowles, who was named Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press earlier in the week, has claimed the WNBA’s honor four times.

The 35-year-old center finished second in the league in rebounds (10.1), steals (1.8) and blocks (1.8) per game, which makes her the first player in league history to finish in the top two in all three categories in a single season.

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Longball bites Griffin Jax, Twins in 5-2 loss to Blue Jays

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Rondo Commemorative Plaza to hold ‘Every Brick Counts’ ceremony Wednesday

The first ball landed just past an outstretched Nick Gordon, who raced back from his position at shortstop to try to nab it. The second dropped in between center field Byron Buxton, second baseman Jorge Polanco and Gordon.

Neither was hit hard.

The third one sure was, though. Danny Jansen’s three-run homer landed in the stands and helped sink starting pitcher Griffin Jax and the Twins in a 5-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon at Target Field.

Jax’s start could have looked a lot different if the two softly-hit balls — neither was hit harder than 70 miles per hour off the bat — hadn’t fallen in. Instead, he was bitten once again by the longball on a day when both the rookie and his manager thought he threw the ball well.

Jax viewed those two hits, as well as one in the first inning, as three hits that nine times out of 10 would have been outs.

But not on Sunday.

“A majority of the time, those are going to go my way,” Jax said. “Unfortunately they didn’t today. But I think for the most part, those two home runs were the only thing that beat me today.”

Jax gave up one more home run in his five-inning start, to George Springer in the fifth inning. That pair of home runs brought Jax up to 23 on the year — in just 75 innings. Jax has now given up a home run in 10 straight starts, and a home run in all but two of his 17 major-league outings.

“Down in the minors, some of the pitches that I could be making … they’d be outs or they’d be missing it,” Jax said. “But here, they don’t.”

His own offense hit one home run — Byron Buxton’s 16th of the season — but never captured a lead after falling behind by three runs to the Blue Jays (87-69) in the second inning.

Buxton’s home run tied a career high set in 2017. This time, he did it in 55 games, as opposed to the 140 games it took him to get to 16 home runs back then.

“He’s been basically the best player in baseball for the time he’s had on the field,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “ … Buck is a great player. We see it every day when he’s out here.”

Buxton’s home run was the only offense in the game for the Twins (69-87) besides a Jake Cave RBI single in the second. Blue Jays starter Alek Manoah gave up just the two runs in 5 2/3 innings pitched while striking out eight.

The Twins finished the day 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position, leaving eight on base.

“At every point really we felt like we were absolutely in the game. A baserunner and a big swing away from something happening. I think we got beat today, every way you kind of look at it,” Baldelli said. “…We didn’t get enough baserunners out there. We didn’t take advantage of the ones we did get out there. We needed to do more offensively.”

BRIEFLY

Rookie pitcher Joe Ryan, who is currently on the bereavement/family medical emergency list, is scheduled to start on Thursday. Baldelli said the Twins did not want him to come back and rush back into his start, so this will allow him to throw a bullpen after his return. … Michael Pineda is scheduled to start the second game against the Tigers; the Twins have not named a starter for Tuesday’s series opener.

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Saints wrap up home slate in style with 11-1 win over Iowa Cubs

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Miranda drives in four as Saints rout Indianapolis

It was only appropriate that the St. Paul Saints, known for their zany between-innings entertainment and out-of-the-box approach to having fun at the old ballpark, would end the home portion of their season with a laugher.

Thanks in part to a gift from the visiting Iowa Cubs in the form of 13 walks, the Saints celebrated with an 11-1 victory, putting a bow on their first season as the home of the Twins’ Triple-A team.

“It’s been fun for me, personally,” Saints manager Toby Gardenhire said. “I have a bunch of family in the area. My wife (also from the Twin Cities) gave out 22 tickets today; they’re all sitting up in a suite, which is pretty cool.

“In the past I haven’t really had that, where family and friends can come to the game, unless someone comes to town for a visit. And growing up here, it’s been pretty special that I’ve been able to manage here.”

The Saints finish the season with a 37-28 record at home. They are 28-32 on the road. Their road record took a major hit at the end of August when they lost all six games of a six-game series at Toledo and 10 of 12 on the trip.

It was that trip that also knocked the Saints out of contention in the division.

“That’s pretty good,” Gardenhire said of the home record. “I try not to set any goal numbers-wise. We just play. You never know what is going to happen in Triple-A throughout the season, You lose players, you gain players. But it is nice to know we were able to win a bunch of games at home.”

The Saints improved their record in the Final Stretch to 4-1, keeping them in the hunt for the cash prize that goes to the Triple-A team that has the best record in the 10-game postseason tournament.

Earning that cash prize, believed to be $75,000, won’t be easy for the Saints, as they close the season with five games at division leader Toledo.

On Sunday, the Saints took advantage of five walks and a wild pitch in the third inning to take a 3-0 lead. Jose Miranda had the only hit in the inning, a two-run single to center.

Two more walks led to two more Saints run in the third. Catcher David Banuelos picked up a pair of RBIs with a double off the right-field wall. The Saints added a run in the fourth, four more in the seventh and one more in the eighth.

Left-hander Andrew Albers allowed only one run in five innings to pick up the win and improve his record to 7-4. The 35-year-old Albers pitched at least five innings in 15 of his 17 starts this season, including the last 15 in a row. He allowed three runs or less in nine of those starts.

“He’s a pro,” Gardenhire said. “Today is a good example of what he’s able to do. He’s been doing it for a while, and he’s good at it.”

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Pine Hills neighborhood holds annual street fair

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Pine Hills neighborhood holds annual street fair

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Hundreds came out to the Upper Madison Street Fair on Sunday afternoon. The Upper Madison Street Fair in Albany is held every September. Unfortunately, the fair wasn’t around last year because of COVID. People were excited to see the street fair make a comeback this year.

“I go to the Madison Street Fair a lot, like every year. I like going to support the local businesses,” says fair-goer Mary Coyle. Many came out to support the local vendors. “Local businesses are just handmade, it’s definitely more original than a chain,” says EJ Verhoff.

This year’s fair had a little bit of everything including live music, arts & crafts, local vendors, kids zone and book sales. “We were a little intentional about keeping things a little farther apart to make a little more space for people to walk so people can really feel comfortable and safe here. That’s the only difference here,” says Upper Madison Street Fair organizer Anne Savage.

Anne says this year’s street fair is extra special. “This is really a coming together as a neighborhood, we haven’t been together in about 18 months. We did not have a street fair last year because we were in the heart of the COVID pandemic so it’s a really wonderful time for people to feel together again…This is what people need. A sense of togetherness and community it’s what makes Pine Hills really special.”

The fair gave local restaurants a chance to share their menu favorites. Curry House Inc, an Indian & Pakistani restaurant has been a staple on Madison Ave for 21 years. The Upper Madison Street Fair is something restaurant owner Mohammed Manik looks forward to each year. “Channa Masala everybody likes it, it’s one of our popular dishes. Every year we do it here [and] this year I am really, really busy.”

Every dollar raised from the fair goes back into the community. Anne Savage says it’s all about making improvements and moving the Pine Hills neighborhood forward.

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Travel industry taking another hit as COVID cases rise, airlines warn

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Travel industry taking another hit as COVID cases rise, airlines warn

In this June 16, 2020 file photo, a traveler wears a mask and protective goggles as he walks through Terminal 3 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

DALLAS (AP) — Several leading U.S. airlines warned Thursday that the rise in COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant is hurting their bookings and further delaying recovery for the travel industry.

American Airlines said a slowdown that started in August has continued into September, and the airline further lowered its outlook for third-quarter revenue.

In another regulatory filing, United Airlines said its flying and revenue are both weaker than previously expected, and it is cutting its schedule for later this year to match the lower demand. United forecast a pretax loss in the third quarter that could extend into the fourth quarter if the virus outbreak continues.

Delta Air Lines said it still expects to post an adjusted pretax profit for the third quarter, but revenue will be toward the lower end of its previous forecast.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian said the rise in COVID-19 cases won’t derail the travel recovery but will delay it by 90 to 120 days. He said the variant has particularly affected business and international travel, which are both critical to the largest U.S. airlines.

Southwest Airlines reported that leisure travel, too, has weakened, with more cancellations and softer bookings for September and October.

Southwest said, however, that demand over the Labor Day holiday was solid other than cancellations that it attributed to Hurricane Ida’s aftermath, and it said booking patterns for the winter holidays look normal.

Shares of all four airlines fell 1% to 2% minutes after regular trading opened on Thursday.

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Cabbage Patch Kids, garden-variety sand lead Toy Hall of Fame finalists

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Cabbage Patch Kids, garden-variety sand lead Toy Hall of Fame finalists

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Cabbage Patch Kids, the rosy-cheeked dolls that left store shelves picked clean during the first big holiday toy craze, are up for a spot in the National Toy Hall of Fame, part of a finalist group announced Wednesday that also includes garden-variety sand and the toy fire engine.

Also among the finalists being considered for a November induction are five competitive games: Battleship, Risk, The Settlers of Catan, Mahjong, and billiards, as well as the piñata, American Girl Dolls, Masters of the Universe, and Fisher-Price Corn Popper.

The 2021 finalists were pulled from the thousands of nominations the National Toy Hall of Fame receives each year. Anyone can nominate a toy and a panel of experts, along with input from the public, votes in the three to be inducted. The 74 previous honorees have run the gamut from the simplest cardboard box and stick to the groundbreaking Atari 2600 Game System and universally known Checkers, Crayola crayons, and marbles.

To be inducted, toys must have withstood tests of time and memory, changed play or toy design, and fostered learning, creativity or discovery.

All of the 2021 finalists have “greatly influenced the world of play,” said Christopher Bensch, vice president for collections at the hall, which is located inside The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.

“These 12 toys represent the wide scope of playthings—from one of the most universal playthings in the world like sand to a game-changing board game like Risk to the popular adult game of billiards,” Bensch said.

Fans are invited to vote for their favorites as part of a “Player’s Choice” ballot that closes on Sept. 22.

The three toys that receive the most public votes will be submitted as one ballot to be counted with the 22 other top-three ballots submitted by the National Selection Advisory Committee, effectively making the public one member of the committee.

The winners will be inducted on Nov. 4.

About this year’s nominees:

– American Girl Dolls: Created in 1986 by educator and newscaster Pleasant Rowland, each doll comes with a narrative that reflects an era of American history.

– Battleship: Originally played with paper and pencil, Milton Bradley’s 1967 plastic adaptation popularized the two-person strategy game. It was among the first board games to be computerized in 1979.

– Billiards: Commonly known as pool in the United States, the game evolved from earlier European outdoor games and became popular in the 1800s.

– Cabbage Patch Kids: The dolls, each unique, were launched in 1979. Complete with adoption papers, they were the must-have holiday toy of 1983, paving the way for Tickle Me Elmo, Beanie Babies, and Furby that followed.

– Fisher-Price Corn Popper: Introduced in 1957, the push-toy got toddlers walking, mesmerized by bright flying balls and the popping sound.

– Mahjong: The gambling card game that originated in China became popular in the United States in the 1920s.

– Masters of the Universe: He-Man, She-Ra, and the line’s other action figures became popular through Mattel’s use of comic books and television, including the cartoon series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, from 1983 to 1985.

– Piñata: The treat-filled paper mache object is commonly associated with Mexican culture but may date back to early 13th-century China.

– Risk: The strategy board game first published in the United States in 1959 challenges players to control armies and conquer the world.

– Sand: The substance is perhaps the most universal and oldest toy in the world, according to the National Toy Hall of Fame.

– The Settlers of Catan: The cooperative board game now called “Catan” was first published in Germany. Players representing settlers establish a settlement on an island by spending resources, which are earned through trade and rolls of the dice.

– Toy fire engine: Materials, design and technology have evolved but the appeal has remained.

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Rolling Stones open American tour in St. Louis, pay tribute to late drummer Charlie Watts

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Rolling Stones open American tour in St. Louis, pay tribute to late drummer Charlie Watts

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Rolling Stones are touring again, this time without their heartbeat, or at least their backbeat.

The legendary rockers launched their pandemic-delayed “No Filter” tour Sunday at the Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis without their drummer of nearly six decades. It was clear from the outset just how much the band members — and the fans — missed Charlie Watts, who died last month at age 80. Except for a private show in Massachusetts last week, the St. Louis concert was their first since Watts’ death.

The show opened with an empty stage and only a drumbeat, with photos of Watts flashing on the video board. After the second song, a rousing rendition of “It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But I Like It),” Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Ronnie Wood came to the front of the stage. Jagger and Richards clasped hands as they thanked fans for the outpouring of support and love for Watts. Jagger acknowledged it was emotional seeing the photos of Watts.

“This is our first-ever tour we’ve ever done without him,” Jagger said. “We’ll miss Charlie so much, on and off the stage.”

The band then dedicated “Tumbling Dice” to Watts.

The tour had been scheduled for 2020 before the coronavirus virtually shut down the touring industry. Signs of the pandemic were everywhere at the show in Missouri, a state hit hard by the virus’s delta variant.

The tens of thousands of fans wore masks as required by St. Louis’ anti-virus protocol. The Stones themselves appeared in a public service announcement urging anyone with symptoms to stay home. A vaccination site was set up at the dome, with plans for similar sites at each tour stop.

The concert itself featured the same driving beat personified by Watts, thanks to his replacement, Steve Jordan. The drummer may be new to fans but he’s hardly new to the Stones — Jordan has performed for years with Richards’ side project, X-Pensive Winos, along with many other leading acts.

Still, die-hard fans couldn’t help but miss Watts, widely considered one of rock’s greatest drummers, even though his real love was jazz. He joined Jagger and Richards in the Rolling Stones in 1963. Wood joined in 1975.

For Laura Jezewski, 62, of Omaha, Nebraska, seeing the Stones without Watts was bittersweet.

“It’s really sad,” she said. “He’s the first of the old Stones to pass away.”

The show featured the band’s long litany of hits. Jagger hardly looked like a 78-year-old man, strutting around the stage like a man half — or one-third of his age; a constant whirl of motion. His vocals, and the guitar work of Wood and Richards, sounded as good as ever.

After St. Louis, the tour will include stops in Charlotte, North Carolina; Pittsburgh; Nashville, Tennessee; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Tampa, Florida; Dallas; Atlanta; Detroit; and ending in Austin, Texas, on Nov. 20. The band also added new dates in Los Angeles on Oct. 14 and Oct. 17, and a concert in Las Vegas on Nov. 6.

Jezewski and her 60-year-old husband, Brad, brought their 30-year-old daughter, Sarah, to St. Louis for the concert. It was Sarah’s first chance to see the Rolling Stones. Her mom and dad have seen them in various places — Ames, Iowa; Boulder, Colorado; Denver; even Wichita, Kansas — dating back to the 1970s.

With the surviving band members well into their 70s, the Jezewskis didn’t want to miss this chance.

“If it is their last time — we’re here,” Brad Jezewski said. “And if there’s another tour, we’ll be there, too.”

By JIM SALTER, Associated Press

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With moratorium over, St. Louis sheriff now free to carry out evictions

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With moratorium over, St. Louis sheriff now free to carry out evictions

ST. LOUIS – The You Paid For It Team is speaking with St. Louis Sheriff Vernon Betts, who has resumed evictions following the lifting of the eviction moratorium.

At present, there is a backlog of about 130 eviction cases in St. Louis.

Sheriff Betts says he’s not fielding extra crews at the moment and will just use the current two-person crew to handle the job.

Betts says landlords must go to circuit court and get a judge’s order for eviction. Once a person is notified by the sheriff, they have three days to vacate the residence.

Betts thought there would be a lot more evictions but that can still happen.

Meanwhile, there are still resources in the city to help struggling families pay their rent. A spokesperson for Mayor Tishaura Jones says people can call 2-1-1 to get more information on the city’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

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