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Senators introduce new voting rights bill, Republicans remain opposed

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Senators introduce new voting rights bill, Republicans remain opposed

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — A group of senators joined voting rights advocates on Tuesday to introduce a new voting rights measure that they hope can avoid the Republican block that doomed earlier versions.

“Our democracy is on the line,” Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., said.

The newly-introduced bill sets standards for voter registration and mail-in voting, and bans partisan gerrymandering while also making Election Day a public holiday. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., called them, “basic national standards that make sure all Americans can vote.”

The measure builds off a framework proposed by West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, who opposed the previous measure.

Sen. Manchin, along with seven other U.S. senators – including Oregon’s Jeff Merkley, are pushing for a vote in the next few weeks.

“Before the end of October,” Sen. Merkley said.

But it isn’t just a matter of getting senators like Manchin on board. Democrats need the support of at least 10 Republicans to pass the legislation.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is already shooting down the revised bill.

“There is no reason for the federal government to take over how we conduct elections,” McConnell said Tuesday.

Several red states have enacted their own voting laws, which they say will make elections more secure.

But Democrats believe the measures will make it harder for people, especially minority groups, to vote. That’s why they want the federal government to step in.

“Time is of the essence,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said.

Schumer hopes to hold a vote as early as next week. That vote is likely to fail unless some Republicans change their minds.

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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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Dante Chen is the first Singaporean to ever wrestle in a WWE match

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Dante Chen is the first Singaporean WWE wrestler

Dante Chen, whose real name is Sean Tan, is the first Singaporean to wrestle in  a WWE match. 

A star is born: Tan, 25, made his WWE debut on Sept. 21 when he beat his opponent Trey Baxter, subsequently making him the first Singaporean wrestler to not only be a part of the WWE stable but also the first Singaporean to win a WWE match, according to Channel News Asia

  • Tan walked onto the stage wearing a silver mask and red robe, with the announcer exclaiming, “His [Baxter’s] opponent from Singapore, weighing in at 215 pounds, Dante Chen.” 
  • The match between Baxter and Tan lasted less than a minute, leaving Tan victorious.
  • He was one of 40 wrestlers that were invited to tryouts in Shanghai and was able to land a contract in July with WWE NXT, which is a program featuring the next generation of WWE stars. He started training in Orlando with two other Chinese athletes in the WWE Performance Center, Mothership reported. 
  • Before becoming “Dante Chen,” Tan was using the stage name “Trexxus” in Singapore. He started wrestling in 2012 and won the SPW Southeast Asian Championship in 2017. 

Representation: Social media users took to Twitter to express their pride in the first Singaporean competitor to be a part of the WWE. 

Featured Image via WWE

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TD Garden to require proof of Covid-19 vaccine or negative test

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TD Garden to require proof of Covid-19 vaccine or negative test

TD Garden, the Bruins and Celtics announced on Wednesday that all paying customers age 12 and over must present proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a qualifying negative test to gain access to the Garden. The new protocols begin on Sept. 30 when the B’s play their first home preseason game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Also, in accordance with the current City of Boston restrictions, all fans over the age of 2 must wear a mask, except while actively eating or drinking.

The requirements will remain effective until further notice.

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Council ‘disappointed’ as St. Paul is still negotiating vaccine mandate with labor unions

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Council ‘disappointed’ as St. Paul is still negotiating vaccine mandate with labor unions

Despite a unanimous city council vote in support of an employee vaccination requirement five weeks ago, St. Paul officials are still working on structuring how a COVID vaccine mandate would roll out for some 3,000 city employees. A vaccination deadline could still be more than a month away.

Human Resources Director Toni Newborn told the city council on Wednesday that negotiating the details with the city’s labor unions has taken weeks, and there’s additional considerations regarding how to securely track vaccination status, which qualifies as private medical data.

The city’s Office of Technology and Communications has some tools, but they need “enhancements,” Newborn said, noting the state has some promising software templates that could help.

“There’s legal components that have to be taken into account. We’re still in the process of negotiating with our labor partners,” Newborn said. “We’re thinking on or around November, but that’s not a hard deadline.”

Members of the city council said they were not pleased. The council voted Aug. 18 to recommend an employee vaccination mandate, and until this week had received no communication from the mayor’s office, even as other government bodies have rolled out their own vaccine requirements.

“I am deeply disappointed we are talking about a November rollout,” said Council Member Jane Prince, noting employees have children or work with children who cannot yet be legally vaccinated. “It is children in our community who are most at risk — children under 12 years old.”

In mid-August, Hennepin County mandated that their employees provide proof of vaccination by early October or submit to weekly testing. A similar requirement takes effect for St. Paul Public School employees on Oct. 15. Ramsey County expects full vaccinations or weekly testing by Nov. 1. Gov. Tim Walz set an even earlier deadline of Sept. 8 for state employees.

Council Member Chris Tolbert said the city had little excuse for falling behind. “Instead of being a leader on this … it looks like we’re going to be one of the last (area) municipalities to implement a vaccine requirement,” he said.

Federal employees are required to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 22, meaning they must get the first of their two Pfizer or Moderna doses by early-to-mid October. With the exception of one-shot Johnson and Johnson, the doses are given three or four weeks apart and take two weeks to take full effect.

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Student fights off would-be rapist near University of Rochester

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Student fights off would-be rapist near University of Rochester

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A suspect was taken into custody Saturday after an attempted rape near the University of Rochester campus. Police say the victim fought him off.

It happened near Genesee Valley Park around 12:35 a.m. Saturday. According to investigators, Courtney Barber, 31, approached a student from behind. The woman fought with Barber, who police say took her cell phone and ran away.

The woman was able to alert University of Rochester Public Safety officers, who found Barber still in the area. Rochester police took him to a hospital for evaluation. Barber is charged with attempted rape, robbery, grand larceny, stalking, and criminal mischief.

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River otter species returns to Missouri waterways

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River otter species returns to Missouri waterways

THE OZARKS, Mo. – The North American river otter, a species once on the brink of extirpation in Missouri, has returned to the state’s waterways.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, otters were nearly wiped out due to “unregulated harvest” a century ago. But starting the 1980s, state and federal conservationists reintroduced more than 800 river otters to the wild.

Thanks to decades of continued efforts to preserve the animal and its habitats, otters can once again be located in most waterways across Missouri.

A video from a park ranger with the National Parks Service shows a family of otters frolicking and doing general otter things in the Big Spring branch of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.

While otters don’t have a signicant effect on rivers, the MDC says they can cause problems smaller ecosystems such as ponds.

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Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold wanted private security due to threats. One state board said no.

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Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold wanted private security due to threats. One state board said no.

A political action committee chaired by Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold wanted the state’s approval to pay for private security because she was getting more threats after the 2020 election. On Tuesday, the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission unanimously said no.

The commission, made up of current and former Colorado attorneys, said the request violated Article 29 of the Colorado Constitution, which is a code of ethics for government officials.

The proposal was officially filed by from the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State PAC, which urged the commission to not consider the payment of security as a gift, but rather a benefit to the state because of the increasing volume of threats. It also said the payment could be from the association itself, a different political organization, a nonprofit or an individual.

But commission members were concerned that the security would be used for Griswold’s official events — including her re-election campaign or other political events, as Colorado Politics first reported.

Elections officials across the country have reported an increase in threats over the past year, particularly related to unsubstantiated claims about rampant fraud in the 2020 election.

Griswold told The Post on Sept. 15 that female secretaries of state seem to the primary target, including herself, Michigan’s Jocelyn Benson and Arizona’s Katie Hobbs. This summer, the U.S. Department of Justice and FBI launched a task force to investigate physical threats against state and local elected officials.

“I think part of it is that we’ve been standing up for the right to vote, pushing back in a very public way against the voter suppression we’re seeing across the nation,” Griswold said.

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