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Family of Boston University professor who died in staircase accident: His death was ‘preventable’

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Family of Boston University professor who died in staircase accident: His death was ‘preventable’

The family of the Boston University professor who plummeted to his death in a staircase accident near an MBTA station last week said it was “preventable” as authorities continue to investigate the tragedy.

David Jones, 40, of Milton, was out for a run on Saturday when he fell through a gap in a set of rusted-out stairs that have been closed for nearly two years near the JFK/UMass MBTA station in Dorchester.

“Our lives were changed forever last weekend with the sudden, tragic, and preventable passing of our beloved father, husband, son, brother David Kline Jones,” his family wrote to the BU School of Public Health community.

“Our hope is that this unimaginable tragic loss will foster a renewed commitment to create safe and healthy environments for all people,” the family added.

Jones, a father of three children, was an associate professor in Boston University’s Department of Health Law, Policy and Management.

On Saturday, Massachusetts State Police detectives responded to the scene near the JFK/UMass station. The state-controlled stairs have been closed since the start of 2020, and State Police have not specified how Jones was able to access the stairs.

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office is investigating the death.

Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday was asked about the incident. The governor said the staircase was “barricaded on both ends” about 20 months ago.

“Our folks are obviously working with the DA’s Office and others to investigate what happened here and why,” Baker said on GBH News. “And once that investigation is completed, we’ll make a decision about doing something about it.”

The structure was fenced in and a cement barricade was installed at the start of 2020. Also, the MBTA put up a sign that said the stairs would be closed.

Following last week’s fatal incident, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation responded by further cutting off access to the dilapidated stairs.

The Herald this week found nearby stairs that are rusting out. Rust pieces are being swept into piles under the stairs.

All MBTA stairs are “routinely inspected” by the MBTA and reviewed by a third party, according to the agency.

“Patch repair work has been performed from time to time, and the steel treads have been deemed stable in recent inspections,” the MBTA said.

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Manchester-Essex wins battle of unbeatens against KIPP

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Lawrence air game the difference in 37-26 win at Andover

LYNN – In a matchup of two high-powered offenses, it is only fitting that a close, low-scoring affair ensued.

Manchester-Essex came away with an inspired 15-8 road victory over Commonwealth Athletic Conference opponent KIPP Academy on Saturday evening thanks to their ground-and-pound approach and an aggressive defense.

“I can’t say enough about (KIPP Academy),” said Hornets first-year coach Joe Grimes. “They played the game that they wanted to and came out here. It was a great football game.”

With a 6-0 lead at the half, Manchester-Essex (5-0) looked to add more in the third. The Hornets took the ball from about midfield and ran it on nine straight plays capped by a 20-yard run for senior captain Ambrose Pallazola into the end zone to make it 12-0 with a little over two minutes left in the third.

Pallazola added an interception two enemy possessions later that setup a 20-yard field goal for freshman Cian Brennock to build the lead to 15-0 with just 4:11 left in the contest.

“(Pallazola) has been consistently good for us,” Grimes said. “He’s the heart and soul of that defense for sure. He’s just a dangerous person to throw near and that’s what’s great. It’s really fun to watch him take those opportunities and actually get the picks.”

KIPP Academy (4-1) responded with a drive that left just 47 ticks on the clock as junior captain Juan Setalsingh connected with senior Jaythean Im for a nine-yard score. Setalsingh made it a one-score game with a two-point rush before the onside kick try was unsuccessful for the Panthers.

In the first half, both defenses came to play as the teams combined for four forced turnovers, including three for KIPP Academy with two of those being interceptions — none bigger than a pick in the end zone for junior Vic Mafo to end the half.

The Panthers accumulated just nine yards of offense in the first half compared to 200 yards for the Hornets with 158 of those coming on the ground. Manchester Essex finished with 262 yards on the ground while KIPP Academy had 117 total yards.

“(The run game) was a part of it,” said Grimes about the offensive approach. “Once we saw what they came out with – they had a lot of guys up front. As we saw the game develop, we knew the run was going to be there a little bit. We were getting advantages on the run game. So, that is what we were trying to do there. We were trying to have some long drives and be productive.”

Manchester-Essex came away with the only points in the first half late in the first quarter as junior Henry Otterbein scored from five yards out. This capped off an 8-play, 45-yard drive that was set up after Otterbein intercepted a pass for Setalsingh.

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California law to eventually ban gas-powered lawn equipment

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California law to eventually ban gas-powered lawn equipment

By ADAM BEAM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California will soon ban the sale of new gas-powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers, a move aimed at curbing emissions from a category of small engines on pace to produce more pollution each year than passenger vehicles.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a new law on Saturday that orders state regulators to ban the sale of new gas-powered equipment using small off-road engines, a broad category that includes generators, lawn equipment and pressure washers.

The California Air Resources Board has already started working on a rule to do this, a lengthy process scheduled to conclude early next year. But the law Newsom signed on Saturday removes any doubt, ordering the agency to apply the new rule by Jan. 1, 2024, or as soon as regulators determine is “feasible,” whichever date is later.

“Gov. .Newsom signing (this law) really sets a strong course to not only his commitment to transitioning to zero emissions but also to cleaner air and healthier lungs,” said Will Barrett, director of clean air advocacy for the American Lung Association in California.

The law, authored by Democratic Assemblyman Marc Berman, is part of an aggressive strategy to reduce pollution in the nation’s most populous state. California is the only state with the authority to regulate air quality this way, part of an exception carved out in federal law in the 1970s. While other states can’t enact their own regulations, they can choose to follow California’s lead.

Last year, California regulators approved a first-of-its-kind rule to force automakers to sell more electric work trucks and delivery vans. Also last year, Newsom ordered regulators to ban the sale of all new gas-powered cars and trucks in California by 2035 — a date that has since been embraced by some of the world’s largest automakers.

California has more than 16.7 million of these small engines in the state, about 3 million more than the number of passenger cars on the road. California was the first government in the world to adopt emission standards for these small engines in 1990. But since then, emissions in cars have vastly improved compared with smaller engines.

Now, state officials say running a gas-powered leaf blower for one hour emits the same amount of pollution as driving a 2017 Toyota Camry from Los Angeles to Denver, a distance of about 1,100 miles (1,770 kilometers).

The law Newsom signed also orders regulators to offer rebates for people to change out their equipment, a move aimed at landscaping businesses that use these machines more often. The state budget, approved earlier this year, includes $30 million to pay for this effort.

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1,000-plus Boston employees face suspension this week over coronavirus vaccine mandate

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1,000-plus Boston employees face suspension this week over coronavirus vaccine mandate

The Janey administration is scrambling to deal with what could be more than 1,000 city workers suspended at this start of this coming work week as City Hall begins to crack down on people out of compliance with coronavirus vaccine mandates.

As of the end of this past work week, about 1,200 city workers were not in compliance with the rules, which require either vaccination or negative tests, according to a spokeswoman for Acting Mayor Kim Janey.

The suspensions — which would come without pay — will begin Tuesday following the long weekend, per the city.

There are about 18,000 city of Boston employees, meaning 6% are not following the mandate. Information wasn’t immediately available on Saturday about how the compliance rate varies from department to department, other than the city saying that the Boston Public Schools rate is at 92%, slightly below the citywide mark.

A Janey spokeswoman said that the school district has prepared “contingency plans” to ensure that the school day isn’t interrupted if it does so happen that there’s suddenly a bunch of suspensions.

Janey in August announced a vaccine mandate for all of the city’s employees and contractors. It’s not an absolute mandate, as people who don’t wish to get a vaccine can instead opt to submit weekly evidence of a negative coronavirus test.

Janey announced that this would begin to be phased in, with the first cohort of requirements starting Sept. 20, and applying to employees of Boston Public Schools, the Boston Centers for Youth & Families, Boston Public Libraries and some other higher-risk workers. Then others, including cops, firefighters, inspectional services and more, would face mandates starting Oct. 4. The mandate expands to all remaining workers and contractors on Oct. 18, so these numbers come as some employees haven’t hit the wall yet.

The city began to move on acting on its mandate this past week for those who had hit their date. Janey’s office said the administration sent out 1,400 notices on Wednesday, telling people that they either had to get in compliance or they’d be suspended starting this Tuesday, Oct. 12.

Janey’s office, sending over this information Friday night, said that 200 people since had gotten into compliance in the two days following the notices.

The city does offer free testing to employees, so if people either get that or show up Tuesday with evidence of a new negative test, they will be able to work as normal, per Janey’s office. BPS in particular has stood up several vaccine clinics at schools over the last several weeks, and coronavirus testing is available at bus yards and schools.

“As the city’s largest employer, the City of Boston is leading by example with a phased-in vaccination or regular testing mandate,” a Janey spokeswoman said in a statement. “We are working closely with our diverse workforce, and our union partners, to ensure employees have access to vaccination, testing and verification systems to comply with the mandate.”

City Council President Pro Tempore Matt O’Malley, who implemented a similar vaccine mandate for the council and staff a couple of weeks before the citywide one, said that, “I have no sympathy whatsoever for people who aren’t in compliance,” given the availability of testing and ease of getting the vaccine.

He said the council staff was 100% in compliance, and for people who aren’t, “There have to be consequences up to and including termination.”

Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association President Larry Calderone said that there “have been some hiccups, frustrations and kinks to iron out as some unions are currently experiencing difficulties with new software and limited testing and vaccination availability.”

“But,” he continued, “as long as good faith efforts are being made to be in compliance, we would expect the mayor to continue to ensure and encourage compliance while not rushing to put people on unpaid leave.”

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Let it grow: ‘Elsa’ wins Stillwater Harvest Fest’s giant pumpkin competition

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Let it grow: ‘Elsa’ wins Stillwater Harvest Fest’s giant pumpkin competition

It was a big day in the St. Croix River Valley on Saturday, as hundreds of people gathered for the Stillwater Harvest Fest to see a variety of pumpkins — different shapes, colors and sizes — compete against each other, the most important ranking being weight.

A crowd formed around the pumpkin-weighing area in downtown Stillwater, and with each of the 40-odd gargantuan gourds came laughs, cheers and joy.

Barbara Sawyer, of Illinois, and her husband had come to the festival six years ago and wanted to experience it again this year while visiting family.

“We came again because we had so much fun,” Barbara said. “I like the whole thing about agriculture, growing things.”

One grower, Bev Anderson, presented her pumpkin nicknamed “Tiger Kitty,” inspired by the 2020 North America and Minnesota state record pumpkin, “Tiger King,” which weighed 2,350 pounds and took its name from the Netflix hit series.

Bev Anderson celebrates her pumpkin in the weigh-off event at the Harvest Fest in Stillwater, Minn. on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. (Emily Urfer / Pioneer Press)

Anderson was competing with her husband, Don Anderson. Bev’s pumpkin weighed in at 1,540.5 pounds. Then came time for Don to weigh his.

“I need to get 1,539 if I want to eat tonight,” Don said, joking to the crowd.

“Cross your fingers, say a prayer and throw a pumpkin over your shoulder,” said event announcer Chris Brown, as Don’s pumpkin was placed on the scale.

It became apparent that Don, in fact, wouldn’t eat tonight. His pumpkin came in weighing 1,638.5, a personal best for him.

“I got bragging rights in our patch for another year,” Don said.

Bev bought a frozen pizza, which she said she planed to share with her husband.

Don’s personal record will help improve future pumpkins, contest enthusiast Jacob Maristany, said.

Maristany and his wife, Carolyn, of Crystal, have been coming to the Harvest Fest for five years now. They recalled how when they first started coming, their young daughters would sit on the pumpkins.

“We just come to see big pumpkins,” Carolyn said.

Later, another grower, Dan Thompson, got ready to weigh his pumpkin. As the scale read 1,691 pounds, his friends cheered and took photos.

Next came Chris Qualley, a former Minnesota state record holder whose pumpkin weighed 1,918 pounds during his first year growing. Qualley also used seed from the Tiger King, which was grown by Travis Gienger, a horticulture instructor from Anoka.

(Gienger wasn’t as lucky this year: The pumpkin he had hoped to enter split apart because its wall was too thin. He ended up submitting a smaller pumpkin that was only about 400 pounds.)

Qualley was leading the competition, which was sponsored by the St. Croix Growers Association, with his pumpkin weighing 1,846.5 pounds. Then came Jake Johnson of Benson, Minn., whose previous personal best was 1,887 pounds.

Johnson, who stands at 6-foot-10, made his pumpkin, “Elsa,” named after the princess in the Disney film “Frozen,” look small. Nonetheless, Elsa came in at first place, weighing 1,966.5 pounds and winning Johnson the $5,000 prize.

“I’m on Cloud 9. It’s exciting,” Johnson said.

1633834257 347 Let it grow ‘Elsa wins Stillwater Harvest Fests giant pumpkin
Pumpkins participating in the weigh-off event at the Harvest Fest in Stillwater, Minn. on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. (Emily Urfer / Pioneer Press)

Johnson, who’s been growing for more than eight years, didn’t expect to win, and was in fact, aiming to get a spot in the top three.

Brown, the announcer, said to the crowd, “Pumpkins are 90 percent water and 10 percent magic.”

Despite the summer’s record-breaking drought, the water still got to Johnson’s pumpkins.

“Growing season went really well,” he said. “Other than it being a drought, it was actually a perfect year to grow a big pumpkin. It was warm. And I can always add water to the garden rather than take water away. Everything fell into place. A lot of its luck.”

The record for the heaviest pumpkin in the world was set last month by Stefano Cutrupi, an Italian farmer whose pumpkin weighed 2,703 pounds. Growers in Stillwater are looking to beat him next year.

“When you’re talking giant pumpkins, it just, it makes the world smile. Everybody loves to see them,” Brown said.

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Area college sports: Gophers men’s hockey earns season-opening sweep of Mercyhurst

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High school football: Ninth-ranked Woodbury rolls past Eagan 48-15

After a three-goal third period, the Gophers men’s hockey team completed a late-game comeback to top Mercyhurst 5-3 on Saturday evening to sweep their season-opening series.

They led the Lakers 42-19 in shots on goal and scored two powerplay goals.

The juniors got it done for the Gophers on the scoresheet. Bryce Brodzinski scored two goals in the third period, while Ben Meyers (game-winning goal) and Jaxon Nelson collected their first goals this season. Colorado College transfer senior Grant Cruikshank registered his first point with the Gophers.

The Gophers will split their second non-conference two-game series next weekend against St. Cloud State. They play at 3M Arena at Mariucci on Friday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m., and will travel to St. Cloud, Minn., for the second game on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 5 p.m.

Northern Michigan 8, St. Thomas 3: The Tommies had an early 3-2 lead in the second period, but that lead quickly faded as the Wildcats scored just 3:29 seconds later and
went on two add five more goals in the third period. St. Thomas (0-4) has now been swept in their first two series in their first season of Division I play.

Freshman Kyler Grundy scored his first two collegiate goals, while sophomore Lucas McGregor tallied his first goal. Sophomore Kimball Johnson also added two assists to the scoresheet.

The Tommies will travel to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., for their next CCHA two-game series to take on Lake Superior State on Friday, Oct. 15 at 6:37 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 16 at 6:07 p.m. in search of their first ever victory in Division I program history.

WOMEN’S HOCKEY

Minnesota Duluth 5, Gophers 4: After trailing 4-1, the Gophers’ comeback fell short in an overtime loss to Minnesota Duluth at Amsoil Arena. Senior Abigail Boreen tallied two third-period goals, including the tying goal, and added one assist.

Despite the loss, the Gophers outshot the Bulldogs 35-22. Senior Taylor Heise scored her 40th career goal and added one assist for the Gophers, while senior Emily Oden found the back of the net for her 20th career goal. Freshman Peyton Hemp also had three assists in the game.

The Gophers (1-3) will split their third WCHA two-game series of the season when they take on Minnesota State at Ridder Arena on Friday, Oct. 15 at 6 p.m., and on the road in Mankato, Minn., on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 4 p.m.

VOLLEYBALL

Gophers 3, Michigan State 1: After losing their first set on the road in East Lansing, the Gophers went on to win three-consecutive sets to defeat the Spartans, 22-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-21.

Sophomore Jenna Wenaas had a double-double performance after collecting a team-high 17 kills, while adding 11 digs, two assists and one service ace. Redshirt senior Stephanie Samedy tallied her 53rd career double-double after she posted 11 kills, 12 digs, three service aces and two assists. Redshirt senior Airi Miyabe also posted a career-high 16 kills.

The Gophers will return home to Maturi Pavilion next week as they take on Northwestern on Wednesday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. and Indiana on Sunday, Oct. 17 at 2 p.m.

South Dakota State 3, St. Thomas 0: With the Jackrabbits sweep of the Tommies, St. Thomas is now 2-15 in Division I play this season and has lost four-consecutive matches.

The freshmen performed well for St. Thomas. Lauren Galvin had 10 kills, two digs and one assist. Eva Fitzgerald had 11 assists, two digs and one service ace.

The Tommies will look to get back on track when they head back home next week when they host Oral Roberts on Thursday, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. and Kansas City on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 3 p.m.

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‘This is truly a blessing’- Homeowners receive free repairs from volunteers

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‘This is truly a blessing’- Homeowners receive free repairs from volunteers

ST. LOUIS– Hundreds of volunteers hunkered down to make repairs to homes across the St. Louis area to improve the quality of life for the homeowners.  

In the Baden neighborhood, one woman celebrating thirty years in her home got to watch it get some much-needed TLC.  

Rebuilding Together St. Louis along with several partners started off with the steps leading up to Roberta Parks’ home. She said she is blessed to see this come together and excited to invite guests to the place she calls home. 

The banging going on in the Baden neighborhood is a sound Roberta Parks said is heaven-sent.  

“Oh my God! I jumped for joy! I called everybody I knew!” Parks said.   

She got the news that after living on Annetta Street for a long time that her home was up next for the nonprofit, Rebuilding Together St. Louis, to make it much safer and more comfortable.  

“When we do it, we see immediately what a difference it makes in somebody’s life,” said Elaine Powers, Executive Director of Rebuilding Together St. Louis.   

The organization along with several partners like Keeley Construction will spend their own time bringing upgrades to the homes of seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities. Organizers say it gives the homeowners a sense of pride and independence.  

Powers said the recipients’ responses are, “Before, I couldn’t see. When I need to go to the bathroom at night, now I can see. I can reach the light switch. I can take laundry downstairs safely, and I no longer worry about falling.”  

“Oh, this is truly a blessing,” Parks said. “I can’t believe it’s happening to me. They are doing repairs for me I wouldn’t have been able to do myself. 

A big part of the repairs for Parks is the stairs leading to her home.  

“No one that came to my house liked them. They were dangerous, and the railings were wobbly,” Parks said. “On the back steps, the nails were coming up out of the wood.”   

They are also painting the kitchen, fixing loose tile, and replacing broken ceiling fans. Two hundred volunteers will make the same improvements for 20 households across St. Louis City and County throughout the fall.  

It’s an experience both exciting and emotional.  

“It’s a kind of a one in a lifetime type of experience. Sometimes we cry. Sometimes we laugh, but ultimately, we see great things,” Powers said.  

Home is where the heart is, and as Parks watches the work on her home on Annetta Street, she’s already prouder to call it hers.  

“People who have come up the steps already have said they really like my steps,” Parks said. “Everybody has been complementing those steps.” 

If you would like to get on the list for repairs, you must call the organization and they will ask a few questions to check for eligibility. You can learn more about how to help by contacting Rebuilding Together St. Louis

 

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Murals showing attempted lynching, other scenes to come down at Missouri courthouse

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Murals showing attempted lynching, other scenes to come down at Missouri courthouse

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Elected officials have voted to remove two courthouse murals in Columbia that show a white man pointing a gun at a Native American man and an attempted lynching.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that the Boone County Commission made the decision Thursday after lawyers raised concerns.

The murals, painted by Sidney Larson in 1994, will be placed in storage. The murals depict multiple scenes from Columbia’s history, including when Southern guerrillas terrorized Union loyalists in 1864. Another scene shows a white man being punished for stealing a cow.

Three shirtless Black men also are shown chained by their ankles as they carry a plank.

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Man convicted of 2017 quadruple homicide in Glasgow Village

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Man convicted of 2017 quadruple homicide in Glasgow Village

ST. LOUIS COUNTY – A St. Louis County jury convicted 24-year-old Ja’Vonne Dupree of four counts of Murder 1st Degree and numerous other counts of felony charges just before midnight on Friday, October 8. The conviction came after four days of evidence and arguments and deliberating almost to midnight.

First-degree murder carries the mandatory penalty of life in prison without eligibility of parole.

These crimes were committed by Dupree on August 24, 2017 in Glasgow Village. The incident was investigated by the St. Louis County Police Department.

Dupree was arrested and charged in December of 2017.

The jury decided that the defendant shot and killed each of the victims, robbed the victims of electronics and clothing, picked up multiple shell casings, and fled the murder scene in one of the victims’ car with the stolen items.

The victims were 18-year-old Deandre Kelley, 56-year-old Patricia Steward, her 20-year-old son Joseph Corley and her 10-year-old adopted son Terrance DeHart.

Family members of the victims testified that Dupree was a homeless youth who was taken in by the family’s matriarch. This family member was a hip-hop producer who worked with Dupree as a rapper. The murders and other crimes were committed after being put out of the family home by one of the victims.

“The unimaginable suffering of an amazing and loving family does not end with these guilty verdicts, but at least they know that justice has been served and that they were intimately involved in the success of this investigation and prosecution,” said St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell. “This family, our dedicated trial team, meticulous police detectives and a fair and reasonable jury worked late into the night for a guilty verdict, in the second of two separate murder trials on Friday, that brought justice and hopefully closure to both families.”

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Justin Barron, 19, played role of Cale Makar in Avalanche’s final preseason game

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Justin Barron, 19, played role of Cale Makar in Avalanche’s final preseason game

Minus the top defensive pairing of Cale Makar and Devon Toews, the Avalanche on Saturday featured a big-league lineup plus a teenager.

It was the preseason finale at Ball Arena, where superstar center Nathan MacKinnon scored twice and rookie defenseman Justin Barron gave the club a final look with nothing at stake.

Barron, 19, will either make the Avs’ opening-night roster or be reassigned to the American Hockey League’s Colorado Eagles. The Avs are carrying 10 defensemen, and if Toews is placed on injured reserve, the club would have to make just one move on the blue line to get down to the maximum 23 players ahead of Wednesday’s opener against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks.

Toews is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and is expected to miss at least the opener. Makar, who underwent an offseason medical procedure but practiced Friday for the first time in a regular jersey, was originally scheduled to make his preseason debut against the Dallas Stars on Saturday.

Perhaps he didn’t play so Barron, the Avs’ 2020 first-round draft pick, could play Makar’s role on the top pairing and lead the No. 1 power play. Barron partnered with Sam Girard at even strength and ran the top power play with MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Gabe Landeskog and J.T. Compher. He also killed penalties in Colorado’s 4-2 victory to finish 2-4 in the preseason.

MacKinnon scored early in the first period and Rantanen struck on the power play midway through the second. Second-line winger Andre Burakovsky had the primary assist on both goals. MacKinnon scored his second early in the third off a great play/pass by Rantanen. Compher scored a 180-foot empty-net goal in the final minutes.

Goalie Jonas Johansson, who will begin the season as Darcy Kuemper’s backup, played the entire game and stopped 18 shots.

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Army general who commanded in Iraq dies of cancer at age 67

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Army general who commanded in Iraq dies of cancer at age 67

WASHINGTON — Raymond T. Odierno, a retired Army general who commanded American and coalition forces in Iraq at the height of the war and capped a 39-year career by serving as the Army’s chief of staff, has died, his family said Saturday. He was 67.

“The general died after a brave battle with cancer; his death was not related to COVID,” a family statement said. “There are no other details to share at this time. His family is grateful for the concern and asks for privacy.”

Odierno died Friday; the family declined to say where. It said funeral and interment information was not yet available.

President Joe Biden lauded Odierno as a “hero of great integrity and honor.” In a joint statement, the president and First Lady Jill Biden recalled that Odierno spoke at the funeral of their son Beau, who served under Odierno in Iraq and died of brain cancer in 2015.

“Ray was a giant in military circles — dedicated first and always to the service members he commanded and served alongside,” the Bidens said, adding that Odierno and his wife Linda were advocates for military children and families.

“We stand with the Odierno family and all our brave service members who were shaped and molded by General Odierno over his lifetime of service,” they said.

At 6-foot-5, Odierno was an imposing figure. He played football as a cadet at West Point and retained a lifelong interest in the sport. Army Secretary Christine Wormuth wrote on Twitter Saturday evening that Odierno embodied the values of West Point and of the Army itself.

“A leader who was larger than life, we will remember him always for his selfless service to our nation and to our soldiers in and out of uniform,” she wrote.

Odierno served three tours in Iraq. After his first, in 2003-04 as commander of the 4th Infantry Division, he was criticized by some for overly aggressive tactics that some believed fed an insurgency. At an early high water mark, in December 2003, his soldiers involved in the capture of Iraq’s deposed president, Saddam Hussein. That success gave hope to quashing an emerging insurgency, but in 2004 the insurgency gained greater momentum and led to the deadly rise of al-Qaida in Iraq.

Odierno returned to Iraq in 2008 and served for two years as served as commander of Multi-National Corps-Iraq. He then took over as the top overall U.S. and coalition commander in Baghdad, leaving in 2010 as combat was winding down. He was succeeded in that post by Gen. Lloyd Austin, who is now the secretary of defense.

A native of Rockaway, New Jersey, Odierno graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1976 with a commission in field artillery. He served in a wide range of Army and Defense Department roles with multiple tours abroad, including in Iraq, Germany, Albania and Kuwait. As a three-star general he was assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a job that made him the main military adviser to the secretary of state.

When Odierno retired in 2015, he was succeeded as Army chief of staff by Gen. Mark Milley, the current Joint Chiefs chairman.

At a ceremony marking his retirement from the Army, then-Defense Secretary Ashton Carter described him as a commander whose tenacity and operational savvy gave civilian leaders great confidence.

“His commanding presence calmed the confused, and his courage and compassion helped carry the burden of loss and sacrifice,” Carter said.

Three months ago, North Carolina State University announced that Odierno had joined its board of trustees. In 1986 he earned a Master of Science degree in nuclear effects engineering from North Carolina State. He was president of Odierno Associates, a consulting firm in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

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