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Pace of inflation slows in August 

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Pace of inflation slows in August 

WASHINGTON — U.S. consumer prices rose a lower-than-expected 0.3% last month, the smallest increase in seven months and a hopeful sign that a recent jump in inflation may be cooling.

The August gain was weaker than the 0.5% increase in July and a 0.9% surge in June, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. It was the smallest increase since prices rose 0.3% in January.

While the upward march of prices appears to have eased last month, economists caution that the same underlying causes remain. Supply chains are still snarled, especially for critical components like computer chips. Consumer demand is easily outpacing supply, which will push prices higher.

Over the past 12 months, prices are up 5.3%, down slightly from two consecutive months averaging 5.4%, the strongest 12-month price gains since 2008.

Core prices, which exclude volatile food and energy costs, rose a tiny 0.1% in August and are up 4% over the past year, an improvement from 12-month gains of 4.3% in July and 4.5% in June.

There is some evidence in Tuesday’s report suggesting that the surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the delta variant may have contributed to slowing price gains, particularly in areas such as travel. Airline fares fell 9.1% in August while hotel room rates were down 2.9% and rental car prices dropped 8.5%.

Last week, the nation’s largest airlines warned that the spread of the delta variant would delay a return to normal operations. Air travel during the pandemic fell to levels not seen in the jet era.

Used car prices, which had been surging because of low supplies, fell 1.5% in August but new car prices increased 1.2%, reflecting the supply-chain problems still confronting automakers trying to get semiconductor deliveries.

The 0.3% overall increase was below the consensus view that prices would rise 0.4% in August.

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‘My whole life in a van’: Islanders flee Spanish volcano

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‘My whole life in a van’: Islanders flee Spanish volcano

TODOQUE, Canary Islands — A wall of lava up to 12 meters (40 feet) high bore down on a Spanish village Wednesday as islanders scrambled to save what they could before the molten rock swallowed up their homes following a volcanic eruption.

The lava, which was still spewing from Sunday’s eruption in the Canary Islands archipelago off northwest Africa, advanced slowly down hillsides of La Palma to the coast, where Todoque was the last village between it and the Atlantic Ocean. Residents hoping to save some belongings queued up so they could be escorted briefly into the village.

In the distance, the lava grew thicker and slowed down to 4 meters (13 feet) per hour after reaching a plain. Smoke poured out of its leading edge as it destroyed everything it touched.

Experts said the lava could either take several days to cover the remaining 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) to the sea or it could instead spread more widely on land, burying more residential areas and farmland.

Javier López said his house for the past three decades appeared to be in the lava’s path. He and his relatives had been staying at a friend’s house with the few documents, photos and basic belongings they had grabbed Monday as they were evacuated.

“I’ve put my whole life in a van,” López told The Associated Press, waiting for his turn to try to recover a vehicle and other valuables he had left behind.

“This is probably going to be the last time I see my home,” he said. “Or, in the best-case scenario, the house will remain isolated by the lava and inaccessible for who knows how long.”

Firefighting crews trying to save as many houses as possible worked nonstop to try to open a trench to divert the lava flow.

Melisa Rodríguez, another Todoque resident, was trying to stay positive and calm.

“It’s hard to think straight about what you want to save, but we are only allowed in for one hour and you don’t want to take longer because that would be taking time away from others,” she said.

The eruption was following an “expected pattern” but there were still many uncertainties, said Vicente Soler, a volcanologist with Spain’s top scientific body, CSIC.

“It is difficult to say if the lava will reach the sea,” he told the BTC broadcaster. “If the source remains active and with a steady flow, it will be easy for it to arrive at the ocean. But if there are new lava diversions, that will slow down the flow’s head.”

But authorities and locals were taking no chances. As the lava headed toward the island’s more densely populated coast, 1,000 people were evacuated late Tuesday from Todoque, bringing the total number of evacuated on the island of La Palma to over 6,800.

The few evacuees not staying with relatives or friends were being relocated Wednesday from a military barrack to a hotel, with the most vulnerable being moved to a nursing home. Island officials announced a plan to purchase unused housing to accommodate those who lost homes due to the eruption.

Speaking in New York after attending the U.N. General Assembly, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said he was confident that local, national and European authorities would contribute to the response to the eruption and the area’s reconstruction.

Authorities say more dangers lie ahead for residents, including more earthquakes, possible new lava flows, toxic gases, volcanic ash and acid rain. The lava, whose temperature exceeds 1,000 degrees Celsius (more than 1,800 F), could cause explosions, trigger landslides and produce clouds of toxic gas when it hits the ocean.

As volcanic ash fell over a wide area, authorities advised people to keep children inside as much as possible due to possible breathing difficulties.

The volcanic eruption and its aftermath could last for up to 84 days, the Canary Island Volcanology Institute said, basing its calculation on previous eruptions in the archipelago that were also followed by heavy lava flows and lasting seismic activity.

Tuesday night saw a sharp increase in the number of smaller volcanic eruptions that hurl rocks and cinders high into the air, it said.

The lava has swallowed up around 320 buildings so far and now covers 154 hectares (380 acres), the institute said. It has also ruined banana groves, vineyards and other crops. Prompt evacuations have helped avoid any casualties.

The volcano has also been spewing out up to 10,500 tons of sulfur dioxide a day, which also affects the lungs, it said.

Life on the rest of La Palma, which is roughly 35 kilometers (22 miles) long and 20 kilometers (12 miles) wide at its broadest point, has been largely unaffected, with undeterred tourists landing for previously scheduled holidays. Air traffic remained normal.

The Canary Islands are a popular destination for European tourists due to their mild year-round climate.

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Bennington police donate fundraiser proceeds to cancer center

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Bennington police donate fundraiser proceeds to cancer center

BENNINGTON, Vt. (NEWS10) — The Bennington Police Department donated fundraiser proceeds to the Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center on September 15. The department raised $2,850 during the cancer awareness fundraiser last year.

“We are happy to provide these funds for equipment and supplies at the Cancer Center,” Chief Paul Doucette said. “Many members of the Department have friends or family members that have been affected by cancer and felt this was a positive way to give back to the community, as well as showing support for all patients at the Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center. ”

The funds were raised by selling pink t-shirts and patches to department staff and members of the public. Staff could pay to wear the t-shirts to work on Fridays throughout the few months of the fundraiser.

Officers could also pay to grow facial hair. A department policy that prohibits growing facial hair was suspended temporarily for the fundraiser.

“On behalf of our patients and staff, we’d like to thank the Bennington Police Department for this generous donation.” said Charlene Ives, MD, medical director of the Cancer Center. “It is remarkable that this support should come from our local police officers and police department staff, because they already do so much valuable work in service to the public every day. We are so grateful.”

The Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, a distinction granted to only the top 25 percent of cancer centers nationwide. In addition, 100 percent of its nurses are oncology certified.

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Missouri school bus overturns in crash, 20 students on board

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Missouri school bus overturns in crash, 20 students on board

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Parkway School District is investigating after “racist hate speech was written on bathroom walls” inside Parkway Central High School.

A student, who is not being identified, said he found the racist graffiti inside bathrooms “all over the stalls, on the ground, on the mirrors,” during school Wednesday.

“This needs to stop,” the student said. “I went to the art bathrooms, I went to the English bathrooms, and on every wall, there was slang and racism and I just think it’s very unacceptable.”

The student said he wants change.

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Lauren Boebert paid rent and utilities with campaign funds, FEC filings show

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Lauren Boebert paid rent and utilities with campaign funds, FEC filings show

Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert paid rent and utility bills with campaign funds in violation of federal campaign finance laws, new filings with the Federal Election Commision show.

The filings, submitted to the FEC on Tuesday, also indicate that Boebert reimbursed her campaign for the $6,650 worth of payments. Representatives for the congresswoman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Each of the four payments in question (two for $2,000 each and another two for $1,325 each) were amended to show payments for the same amount, description and on the same days to John Pacheco, whose address is the same as Shooters Grill in Rifle, which Boebert owns. Pacheco’s relationship to Boebert was not immediately clear.

The latest discrepancy appeared in a July campaign finance report for the committee Lauren Boebert for Congress. Payments to Venmo were described as “Personal expense of Lauren Boebert billed to campaign account in error. Expense has been reimbursed.”

The next month, FEC officials asked the campaign for clarification on the error. Boebert spokesman Jake Settle told Forbes that he would describe the payments as “personal expenses.”

If the payments were “personal use of campaign funds, the Commission may consider taking further legal action,” FEC Senior Campaign Finance Analyst Shannon Ringgold wrote in the August letter to Boebert’s campaign. “However, prompt action to obtain reimbursement of the funds in question will be taken into consideration.”

Boebert’s supplemental report filed Tuesday reiterated that the expenses had been reimbursed and will be reported with the campaign’s next, which is due in October.

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Vintage ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ game sold for astronomical $430,500

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Sonic the Hedgehog vintage game

A new contender has run into the arena of extremely high-priced games and it’s none other than Mario’s long-time rival, Sonic the Hedgehog.

Another clash: On Sunday, Goldin Auctions tweeted an image of a Wata-certified copy of the 1991 video game “Sonic the Hedgehog” stating that it sold for $430,500 and set an all-time record for the highest price for any Sega Genesis game.

  • Yuji Naka, the former head of Sonic Team, was baffled by the astronomical price and took to Twitter to ask if it was a “scam.”
  • Ken Goldin, Goldin Auctions’ founder, answered back in a lengthy thread, stating that it was “a genuine sale to a real buyer.” He claimed that the company thoroughly vets bidders and that the high final price was due to the video game market “heating up.”
  • Naka’s followers and retro game enthusiasts fired back, accusing Goldin of lying and joining forces with Wata Games, the vintage video game grading company who gave the copy a high rating of 9.4, to inflate its price.
  • “This was a sale of a very early copy, sealed in mint condition from 1991 that is from the original release and is rare in sealed mint condition,” Goldin wrote. He later included that there is a “thriving market for rare first release video games” and that the current achieved prices wouldn’t affect games’ standard retail value.

The controversy: Suspicions over the incredibly high prices of retro video games surfaced in July when sealed copies of an NES 1987 “The Legend of Zelda,” rated 9.0, and a Nintendo 64 1996 “Super Mario 64,” rated a near-perfect 9.8, sold for $870,000 and $1.56 million respectively.

  • Although those games were purchased through Heritage Auctions instead of Goldin, Wata Games certified them.
  • In August, an even rarer copy of a 1985 “Super Mario Bros.” for the NES sold for a whopping $2 million on the collectibles site Rally and completely shattered every record for any existing video game on the market, according to the New York Times.
  • YouTuber Karl Jobst was among the many who had their doubts, and he published a nearly hour-long video breaking down what he believes to be dishonest dealings, according to Kotaku.
  • Wata Games and Heritage Auctions have also denied allegations of fraud.
  • The buyers for all four games have not been identified.

Featured Image via Paramount Pictures

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Why the Patriots’ defensive game plan against the Saints should center on one player

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Why the Patriots’ defensive game plan against the Saints should center on one player

FOXBORO — Before every Patriots’ defensive snap Sunday, flip a coin.

Heads, the ball will go to Alvin Kamara.

Tails, it travels elsewhere.

Through two weeks, a 50/50 split is essentially how the Saints have distributed the ball without All-Pro wide receiver Michael Thomas. Kamara has touched the ball on 48.6% of New Orleans’ offensive snaps. It’s been the Alvin Kamara Show featuring the Saints, not the other way around.

And for good reason.

“I feel like if you were to try to build the perfect back, he essentially has everything you need,” Pats linebacker Dont’a Hightower said Wednesday. “Vision, balance. He’s strong, he’s tough. However you want to give him the ball, you can give it to him.”

As one of the NFL’s best play designers, Saints coach Sean Payton has fully weaponized Kamara since he entered the league as a third-round pick in 2017. Kamara’s made four straight Pro Bowls, catching at least 80 passes and averaging more than 1,500 yards from scrimmage per year. He leads New Orleans in rushing and receiving this season, surrounded by a bottom-5 group of pass catchers.

Though keying on Kamara — who aligns and sees touches all over the formation — isn’t as easy as it sounds.

“They use so many different formations and personnel groups that it’s really hard to predict who’s going to be in the game, and it’s definitely even harder to predict who’s going to be where,” Pats coach Bill Belichick said. “So you have to have a real awareness of where their guys are and what they do from those spots. Sean’s very, very good at creating those situations with the defense in conflict, and they go fast and they get on you quick, and a lot of times you just recognize it just a split second too late.”

The Patriots have faced Kamara only once before, a 36-20 win at New Orleans in 2017, the second game of his career. The 26-year-old finished with 54 total yards on three catchers and one carry, working then as a backup to Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson. Now, Kamara might need only one play to cover 54 yards — or more.

“You can hand off a ball to him and expect maybe a three or four-yard run, and he’ll turn it into a 75-yard touchdown,” Hightower said. “He’s just that type of player.”

Last week, the Panthers held Kamara to 30 total yards on a dozen touches in a shockingly dominant defensive performance. No surprise, the Saints offense went down with him, managing only a late touchdown and 128 total yards, the fewest ever recorded under Payton.

A defensive similar showing by the Patriots, who are slated as 3-point home favorites Sunday, should turn their next game from a coin flip to a surefire win.

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Vikings’ 0-2 start both different and the same as last season

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Vikings’ 0-2 start both different and the same as last season

The Vikings started 0-2 last year and looked really bad while being outscored by an average of 13 points. This season, they’re again 0-2, losing games by three points in overtime and by one point.

So, is there a difference between the 0-2 starts? It depends on whom you ask.

“We go back and look at the two games that we lost and compare them to last year, if you want to do that, because it’s different,” Vikings running back Dalvin Cook said Wednesday. “You see the grit in the teams and you see it’s different. …You can see the difference in what’s going on and how things are happening. We’re a confident group.”

Hall of fame coach Bill Parcells, though, once said, “You are what your record says you are.” On Wednesday, Vikings co-defensive coordinator Andre Patterson offered his own version of that quote.

Patterson said it doesn’t matter that the two losses have been close. The Vikings fell 27-24 in Week 1 at Cincinnati after Cook lost a fumble at the Bengals’ 39 late in overtime. They lost 34-33 at Arizona last Sunday when Greg Joseph missed a 37-yard field goal on the final play.

“0-2 is 0-2,” Patterson said. “That’s who we are. Some people say, ‘You’re one fumble and one missed kick away from being 2-0,’ right? But we’re 0-2. That’s who we are. You’ve got to live with it, you’ve got to accept it, and you move on and go to the next one. But you can’t get caught up in all of the could-have, would-have, should-haves.”

Next up for the Vikings is Sunday’s home opener against Seattle. After no tickets were sold for any games last season because of the coronavirus pandemic, it will mark the first regular-season game at U.S. Bank Stadium with fans since Dec. 29, 2019 against Chicago.

“At this stage, it’s time to get some wins,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said.

The Vikings are obviously hoping there won’t end up being one similarity between last year and this season. Minnesota started 0-3 in 2020 before finishing 7-9.

For now, the Vikings are off to the 14th 0-2 start in team history. In the first 13 such seasons, they made the playoffs just once, going 10-6 in 2008 and winning the NFC North.

“You see all kinds of stuff,” Patterson said. “Teams that are 0-2 have this kind of percentage to make the playoffs. C’mon. Let’s be real. You’ve got 15 games to go, man. You’ve got to go play. … The bottom line is this: You’ve got to go play Sunday, better than Seattle, and win. And then when you win that, you’ve got to go play better the next week and win.”

The Vikings play their next three games at home, with Cleveland on Oct. 3 and Detroit on Oct. 10 following the Seahawks into U.S. Bank Stadium. Pardon Cook if he might be looking a bit ahead.

“We could go on a tear for three straight weeks,” he said.

There is reason to believe that could the case if the Vikings can put together complete games. The defense has had its share of ups and downs, but the offense looks to be finding its groove.

Cook, who sat out practice Wednesday after hurting his ankle at Arizona but is expected to play Sunday, is fourth in the NFL in rushing with 192 yards. Kirk Cousins, who has thrown for 595 yards and five touchdowns, is ranked by Pro Football Focus as the NFL’s fourth-best quarterback.

“He’s done a good job of getting the ball to the right place,” Zimmer said of Cousins. “His leadership has been a lot better this year, just the way he’s gone about his business and not just being to himself, but being around the guys more.”

Cousins at first dismissed the part about being a better leader, saying he’s “been the same guy all the way through.” But then he said that being in his fourth Vikings season he has “a little bit more ability to have assimilated and understand how this organization works.”

One thing is for sure: Cousins is off to a much better start than last season when he threw four interceptions in the first two games and had 10 interceptions by the Vikings were 1-5.

So what is the comparison that Cousins offers between the Vikings’ 0-2 starts in 2020 and 2021?

“We believe in our locker room and the group we have and what we’re doing, but the results are all that matters, and that’s what we’re measured by,” he said. “So we understand in this league, winning and losing is really what it’s all about, in terms of how you’re measured. So we’ve got to be able to win.”

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Macksey, Bond take lead in North Adams mayoral preliminary elections

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Macksey, Bond take lead in North Adams mayoral preliminary elections

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. (WWLP) — A preliminary election took place in North Adams Tuesday night, narrowing down the mayoral candidates for the November elections.

Incumbent Tom Bernard did not run for reelection this year, leaving the field open for four candidates to be whittled down to two. Out of those four, Jennifer Macksey and Lynette Bond won Tuesday night and will be headed to the official ballot in November.

Check out the full election results below:

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First Day of Fall: The science behind it

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First Day of Fall: The science behind it

Tis the season for cooler temperatures, pumpkin spice lattes and all things fall. Let’s talk a little bit about the science behind the day that makes this season so great.

First, let’s talk about the start of fall.
In 2021 Fall will begin on Wednesday, September 22 at 3:20 PM EDT. This is the exact moment that the suns rays will be over the equator, this happens at the exact same time all across the globe just in different time zones. The sun will be moving from north to south heading towards the southern hemisphere as they prepare for the start of spring and eventually summer. 

This is also the day that the sun will rise exactly due east and set exactly due west for mainly everyone except for the those living at the north and south poles. This happens due to the sun moving on the celestial equator which is an imaginary line above the actual equator, if you were to look up at noon the sun would appear directly overhead, this only happens for both the spring and autumn equinox.

Equal days and nights:
Sort of! 
Equinox is latin for equal and night so you can expect close to 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night. The reason this happens all has to do with the way the earth is tilted. First, we know that the Earth is tilted on its axis at 23.5 degrees. During a solstice, the tilt of the axis will either point towards or away from the sun. This means that northern and southern hemisphere trade off on when they receive the suns light and warmth directly. During an equinox, the Earth’s tilt and even orbit combine in away that the axis doesn’t exactly tilt away or toward the sun thus the days and nights are somewhat equal but maybe a few minutes off.

Where do we go from here:
From here our days will become shorter and our nights will become longer. The loss of day light will continue until we head towards the winter solstice, this is the day that the tilt of the axis will be away from the sun in the northern hemisphere. This will mark the shortest day of the year or the longest day of the year in the southern hemisphere. 

The first day of winter will be Tuesday, December 21st 2021.

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Two of three Christian schools resolve Jeffco mask mandate lawsuit

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Two of three Christian schools resolve Jeffco mask mandate lawsuit

Two of three Christian schools resolved a lawsuit with Jefferson County Public Health over their compliance with the county’s COVID-19 mask mandate Wednesday.

The cases against both Beth Eden Baptist School and Augustine Classical Academy were dismissed, court records show.

County health officials agreed to dismiss the case against Augustine Classical Academy after the school agreed to allow health inspectors to have access to its building.

Representatives for Beth Eden Baptist School did not immediately return requests for comment Wednesday and the details of that school’s resolution were not immediately clear.

District Judge Randall Arp signed off on Augustine’s agreement during the second day of a contentious court hearing in which Jefferson County Public Health sought a judge’s order to force the schools to follow mask mandates and allow health inspectors immediate access to classrooms.

The hearing will continue Thursday with the sole remaining defendant, Faith Christian Academy, as well as Golden View Classical Academy, which was allowed to intervene in the case.

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