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After years of blight, Boulder’s Diagonal Plaza could finally be redeveloped

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After years of blight, Boulder’s Diagonal Plaza could finally be redeveloped

Boulder City Council soon will have the chance to kickstart the redevelopment of Diagonal Plaza, the run-down strip mall at the southeast corner of 28th Street and Iris Avenue. With its numerous vacant storefronts and acres of empty parking lots, the nearly 60-year-old plaza is an eyesore and one of the few blighted areas in the heart of Boulder.

Currently slated for the Council’s Oct. 5 agenda is consideration of a special ordinance that would allow a portion of the run-down Diagonal Plaza strip mall at the southeast corner of 28th Street and Iris Avenue to be redeveloped into a mixed-use commercial and residential district with a community park.

A special ordinance would be an unusual step to spur a redevelopment project. That it is even being considered is a reflection of Diagonal Plaza’s long history of decline, its confusing mess of ownership and the desire of city officials to see the site improved after years of failed attempts.

“This is a very odd, unusual circumstance that we don’t often see,” said Elaine McLaughlin, senior planner for the city of Boulder. “Both the planning board and the City Council wanted this to be resolved because [the site] is essentially a really large parking lot that has been underutilized for years.”

The proposal

If the Council approves the special ordinance on Oct. 5, it would clear the way to redevelop the western portion of Diagonal Plaza and the surrounding parking lots into a mixed-use community featuring 291 residential units and about 27,000 square feet of commercial space. Seventy-three of the residential units would be permanently affordable. The rest would be workforce housing. The buildings would be split between one and four stories, with ground-floor retail space facing 28th Street and residential units up above.

A rendering of the proposed redevelopment at Diagonal Plaza shows the new streets and multi-use path. (Courtesy city of Boulder planning documents)

The project is a partnership between Boulder Housing Partners, which operates the affordable housing development Diagonal Court directly south of the site, Trammell Crow Co. and Coburn Partners.

None of the few remaining businesses in Diagonal Plaza would be displaced by the project. The only occupied space in the western section of the mall is a Walgreens. Its employees and pharmacy will be moved to the Walgreens location at 28th Street and Valmont Road, just a couple blocks south of the plaza. Most of the space that would be demolished is a vacant former Sports Authority. And the majority of the redevelopment would not occur in the footprints of demolished buildings, but in Diagonal Plaza’s endless parking lots to the north, west and south of the mall building.

The project would also add new city streets and a new multi-use path through the plaza. Those would not only facilitate access to the new development, but also increase mobility for the residents of the existing Diagonal Court affordable-housing development, which currently does not have a protected way to drive, bike or walk to a city street or any nearby shops.

The tentative timeline for the project calls for building permits to be secured by the end of 2022.

How did we get here?

If the project goes through, it will be the culmination of years of efforts on the part of city officials to revitalize the plaza.

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Rodney Crowell’s brush with global amnesia

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Rodney Crowell’s brush with global amnesia

Country great Rodney Crowell has seldom seen a life experience that he couldn’t turn into a song. And that includes a truly unsettling experience that he had a year ago this week.

Crowell was having a normal day when his memory suddenly went missing for four hours, a condition known as transient global amnesia. Within days of his recovery he’d recorded “Transient Global Amnesia Blues” — a poetic, almost psychedelic song that was the first single from his current album “Triage.” He’ll draw from the new album as well as his long back catalog when he plays City Winery for an afternoon show on Sunday.

“It was a psychedelic experience,” he said in a Zoom call this week. “I remember that it was October 9th, John Lennon’s birthday. I have no memory of those four and a half hours, but one thing I recognized was, ‘Ooh man, my brain is so scrambled that I’d better put this to good use.’ I asked my wife if she could bring my notebook to the hospital, because I needed it. I was thinking, ‘I don’t know this brain that’s in my head right now.’

“Normally I edit everything I write, but in this case the song was telling me, ‘Get out of my way, I’m coming in.’ Two days later I recorded it, and that feeling of disappearing from the face of the earth, and then coming back and still being me — that feeling was still with me. I hope I never have another episode of transient global amnesia, but if I knew I could come back and get another song, I might even volunteer.”

This is of course a long way from the songs that put Crowell on the charts in the ’80s. His biggest hit, the 1988 album “Diamonds & Dirt,” produced five No. 1 country singles, the most on any album to that time. He and country radio have long since separated, but he’s got no regrets.

“When I was younger, my natural instinct was to write the broad stroke love song that’s more boy-and-girl relatable. ‘After All This Time,’ ‘Couldn’t Leave You If I Tried,’ all those hit songs were more commercially viable. As I’ve aged, my sensibilities have become more singular, and I think I wisely chose not to go against that. So the songs became more about my spiritual process, or trying to tell stories about love and acceptance, rather than that really easy to identify ‘I love you, you don’t love me.’

“I ask a lot more of the audience that follows me now than I did then,” he said. “What I ask is, ‘Come and follow me down this singular path, I’m going to do my best to report back to you how I feel, and I hope that resonates.’ But if they need some broad strokes on relationships, I won’t be there. I’m on my third marriage now, and it’s the successful one. So I could make something up, but I don’t think that would be a very good use of my time.”

It’s no surprise that Crowell feels the need to reach deeper at age 71. “People might hear this album and think ‘Well, Rodney’s gotten a little bit philosophical.’ But from where I stand, time is more compressed than it was 20 years ago, I don’t have that much left. So that requires an assessment of who I am, where I’m going, and whether anything I do means anything. And my job was to make the language so grounded that even if you didn’t agree with me philosophically, at least you couldn’t fault me for not writing it well.”

The last song on the album, “This Body Isn’t All There is to Who I Am,” is explicitly about mortality. But it also ends with the words “Not yet,” which seems a way of closing on an upbeat. “Actually,” he said, “That was just my way of saying, ‘Get real.’ ”

 

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Grasso’s Garage: S-Class Mercedes is top shelf luxury

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Grasso’s Garage: S-Class Mercedes is top shelf luxury

The finest luxury money can buy is always top shelf.

Let’s be honest, right … I have driven over 300 cars with various models and packages. From the lowest of the low, to the top of the top. Every manufacturer has its niche, consumer base and options to make their vehicle unique to their clientele. Well, when a chart-topper pulls into Grasso’s Garage, it’s all the craze, because we get to enjoy the best of the best for a whole week. Hey Mercedes, congrats, this time, it’s you and that beautiful

4Matic.

Giving credit where credit is due, Mercedes always finds a way to be ahead of the competition and exceed the consumers’ expectations. Not only are they noticeable from afar, but Mercedes always seem to be one step ahead of the competition. With that being said, we recognize the S-class as just that, with its endless style, options and fine accoutrements. On our weeklong drive of an Anthracite Blue S580, we were impressed, and consider this the best money can buy. Yeah, I know, I have driven some unbelievable vehicles recently from a Rolls Royce Ghost and a Bentley Flying Spur with price tags exceeding $300K, but for the $116,000 base price, this trumps them all.

I mention bang for your buck a lot as I feel it is important readers get a lot for what they pay for. In this case, it is just that, a huge bang for a huge buck. At 496 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. of torque, this almost 5,000-pound vehicle goes from zero to 60 mph in 4 seconds flat. Its 4.0-liter Bi-Turbo engine with EQ+ boost, is smooth, powerful and like riding down the road on your couch. It is that comfortable, in fact it is so comfortable, Mercedes provides pillow-like additions to the top of the head rest for that extra neck comfort everyone enjoys.

The augmented reality heads-up display, and heated and cooled seats, in a phenomenally good-looking Silver Grey Nappa Leather interior was just the norm for the S580, while AMG line exterior 21-inch V-spoke wheels really sealed the deal for me in the exterior appearance category.

In the large luxury sedan market, there is nothing better for the price than the S-class Mercedes. If I was in the market for such a phenomenal vehicle, this, without question, would be in Grasso’s personal collection and is on a par or if not better, with those top-dollar previously reviewed ones.

Calling all executives, you heard it here first!

 

Mercedes S580

MSRP: $116,300

As tested: $142,640

MPG: 17 city, 25 highway, 22.2 as tested

 

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Milford knocks off Mansfield in OT

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Big second half leads Springfield Central to road win at BC High

MANSFIELD — On the second-to-last play of the Friday night’s game against Mansfield, Milford receiver Damien Carter was supposed to have the ball thrown to him.

Instead, it was thrown in the other direction.

One play later, though, it did come his way, and Carter made the most of the opportunity.

On the strength of Carter’s touchdown catch from quarterback Evan Cornelius, Milford survived in a 27-24 overtime victory.

“I was nervous and hoping to catch the ball,” Carter said. “It was pretty exciting.”

It sure was.Even though Milford (5-0) is perfect, it sounds like coach Dale Olson feels his team may be underrated still.

“Listen, I hope people believe now that Milford’s for real,” Olson said. “Right? We knew coming into this year that we had some young kids, some talented kids, but I’ll tell you this: if we’re not a top-six, eight team in the state, I don’t know who is.”

His kids sure performed like a highly-ranked squad. Milford won the toss in overtime of a 21-21 game and elected to have Mansfield (3-2) go on offense first. However, the Hornets could only muster a 30-yard James Gilleran field goal.

That meant a touchdown wins it for Milford. The first play was a 1-yard Tyler Lane (18 carries, 91 yards and a TD) run. The next play was supposed to go to Carter but was an incompletion.

On the final play, Carter was supposed to run a slant, but he was effectively jammed on the inside, so the receiver ran a fade instead. Cornelius (153 yards, two TDs passing) put it on Carter, who got his left foot in bounds for the score.

It set off a wild celebration for Milford.

It was a wild game otherwise. Cornelius and Lane had 1-yard touchdown runs as Milford built a 14-0 lead.

But for a long stretch, Milford did nothing offensively and Mansfield capitalized. Drew Sacco, Conner Zukowski, and James Fichera all had short touchdown runs, as the Hornets mostly moved the ball through the air. Zukowski finished with 157 yards passing, mostly to sophomores Trevor Foley and CJ Bell.

To Milford’s credit, the Scarlet Hawks did not panic, and tied it on a 39-yard slant to Carter in the fourth quarter.

That’s how it stayed until overtime, where Carter’s heroics saved the day.

“In the past, I think this program, they have (panicked),” Olson said. “They didn’t know how to win big games like that. … But our defense stepped up.”

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Ask Amy: Friend’s husband is a bull in her china shop

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Ask Amy: Woman should leave abusive relationship

Dear Amy: My husband and I are retired. We have a good life in a city that we moved to about seven years ago.

We’ve been able to make lots of new friends. I’m so pleased by the variety of people in our friend group.

What I’m not pleased about is that one of my dearest women friends, “Meg,” has a husband, “Mike,” who seems to insert himself into all kinds of situations where I would prefer that he not be.

Mike spends more time on Facebook than Meg does, and he seems to be “friends” with everybody in our social circle, which is pretty large.

The problem is that this guy has no filters at all. He comments on absolutely everything, is often loud and inappropriate, and is sometimes vulgar.

I think he thrives on being the center of attention.

I really don’t believe there is a mean bone in his body, but there are days when just seeing his name on Facebook makes me want to shut my phone off.

Meg and I are close enough that we have talked a lot about our marriages, and we both agree that our spouses have their good and their bad points. She knows that Mike can be a nuisance.

There is at least one other woman in our social community who had similar feelings about Mike. She told Meg how she felt, and I’m pretty certain it has damaged their own long-term relationship.

Do you have any advice for me?

I just don’t know if I have the patience to put up with Mike for the long run.

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Sainted & Tainted: ‘You are in my thoughts and prayers of gratitude for the rest of my days’

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Sainted & Tainted: ‘You are in my thoughts and prayers of gratitude for the rest of my days’

Sainted

On Sept. 29, I was eating in a restaurant across from the Mall of America. I had come into the restaurant at about the same time as a family who took a table a short distance from me.

There was, I presumed, a father and mother, two or three kids and one or two others. I had noticed this family because the father was a huge man, perhaps 6’8″and some 260 pounds. He was an imposing man, hard not to notice for his size. “Maybe he plays for the Vikings,” I thought.

During the meal – I had sirloin tips – some two or three chunks of meat, not chewed enough, got caught in my throat. After some 20 seconds or so, struggling to breathe and growing increasingly anxious, I stood up and turned this way and that, bending over and back up.

Another 20 seconds passed. I could not breathe and I could not swallow. Now I was desperate.

I’m in shape, so I was not yet wrecking the furniture, but my desperation became dire.

Then I heard a voice behind me say, “Are you all right? Can I help?” It was the large man I had seen coming in.

Unable to talk, I turned to him and threw up my arms, showing my distress. Then I turned away, as if sensible enough to give him the chance to do the Heimlich maneuver, if he knew it. He grabbed me around the waist with his fists pressed into my diaphragm and gave several forceful upward jerks that almost lifted me off the floor. A mess of food shot out of my mouth and I gasped for air.

“Are you all right?” the man asked. Catching my breath, I nodded and said thanks. He went back to his table.

The man and his family left before I did. I hurried up to him to shake his hand and thank him for his help. Likely, he saved my life. Most people don’t want to get involved in those situations. This good man did. “Oh, it was nothing,” he said, as I let him get away.

I don’t know his name, but I’ll never forget him.

“God bless you, Sir. You are in my thoughts and prayers of gratitude for the rest of my days.”

Pat O’Regan, Inver Grove Heights

 

Sainted

I want to write to thank (and Saint) the St. Paul Public Works Dept. They have been doing street repairs, alley repairs, and road sealing in Highland over the past several weeks.

After they repaved a portion of our alley, we had a rainstorm that left a large puddle that wouldn’t drain near our alley sewer drain. I stopped and talked to one of the truck drivers and texted him a photo of the problem. He came right over and looked at the area and said it would be taken care of.

A few days later a crew ground down the area so it would drain, and then sealed and graveled the alley for a beautiful finish. They did a great job and they don’t get enough recognition for that, and for going the extra mile as they did in this case. Thanks again from all the residents of the 1300 block of Kenneth Street.

Tim Lynch, St. Paul

 

Sainted

Following my medical appointment on Aug. 2, my son and I discovered that my purse was missing.

He then remembered that he had temporarily placed it on the car roof prior to loading my wheelchair. Desperate, we backtracked and could not find my purse.

Upon arriving home there was a phone message from Bill in Vadnias Heights who had retrieved by purse from the road.

Thank you, Bill, for being such a model saint!

Jean Alm, Stillwater

 

Sainted

The two women who paid for our meal at Los Compos Restaurant at lunch time on Friday Oct. 1.  My husband and I had a very nice meal there, and when we asked for the bill the waitress said they had already paid for it and left.

We are in  our 90s and never had this happen before.

Once  again, Thank You!

Gerry and Rhoda Norsten, St. Paul

 

Sainted

Thank you to Mary Divine for writing the article about Cinnamon Bun Day in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. There were people who came from as far as Roseville and Red Wing to get a cinnamon roll! We asked how they heard about Cinnamon Bun Day. “We read about it in the paper!” they said. The Scandia-Marine Lions, Gammelgarden Museum, and the City of Scandia appreciate Mary letting people know about the event.

Also many thanks to over 20 volunteers who helped bake, frost, package, and distribute the cinnamon rolls on Cinnamon Bun Day. Because community members generously share their time, special events like this make Scandia such a wonderful place to live and visit.

Ann Rinkenberger, Scandia

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Rockland spoils Abington coach Jim Kelliher’s 500th game

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Rockland spoils Abington coach Jim Kelliher’s 500th game

ABINGTON — The stage was set for a huge milestone for Abington head coach Jim Kelliher to become only the third coach in the history of Massachusetts High School football to eclipse the 500th game coached on the sidelines.

But Rockland showed up to pop all 500 balloons.

Rockland remained undefeated and prevailed in a defensive battle with a 17-7 victory over previously unbeaten Abington. The South Shore League foes traded punches in the trenches but the Bulldogs (5-0) running attack and stingy defense was just enough as Jacob Coulstring and Lucas Leander combined for 256 yards on the ground to lead the way.

Rockland head coach Nick Liquori is a little farther away than 500 games but certainly recognized the accomplishment with the victory.

“This is 45 for me so I’m way behind and a pebble compared to where Kells is at,” Liquori said as he laughed about the comparison. “It’s just so special, I’ve grown up in Rockland, played in Rockland, coached here for many years and he’s an icon. His oil shop is right behind where we practice every day and it’s just an honor to be on the field with somebody as great as Kells.”

Abington (4-1) didn’t make it easy as Rockland could only muster a 31-yard field goal on a 12-play drive to open the game. The 3-0 lead held up until late in the second quarter.

The Green Wave, who were able to get into Bulldog territory with their first four possessions, drove the field on their second series down the Bulldogs 4-yard line. But a sack by Leary Costa on a fourth-and-goal rollout ended the drive and lifted the Bulldogs momentum.

With 4:17 left in the second, Coulstring finished off a quick four-play, 83-yard drive with a 19-yard rushing touchdown. Coulstring took the ball on a counter off left tackle and gave Rockland the 10-0 lead at the break. Runs from Leander for 21 and 32-yards set up Coulstring for the big score.

“(Coulstring) is a four-yard, five-yard, three-yard type of guy whereas Lucas can have that 12-15 carries and he’s going to pop one and some point in time,” added Liquori.

Leander did just that with 2:42 left to play to put things out of reach for the Green Wave. On a fourth-and-6 from their own 28, Liquori decided to put things away and Leander paid his coach back with a 72-yard run to the end zone to give the Bulldogs the comfortable 17-0 lead.

Abington didn’t quit as they scored on their next possession on the first play from scrimmage. Isiah Ricketson hauled in a swing pass and did the rest for a 45-yard pass play from quarterback Eddie Reilly. The Green Wave recovered the onside kick as Jack Robbins gave Abington great field position at midfield with 2:15 remaining.

But the Bulldog defense was at it again as P.J. Celestino pulled in the interception to end any comeback hopes for the Green Wave to get a victory in the 500th game for Kelliher. The Bulldogs have allowed only one touchdown in each of their first five games.

“We were inside their area to get something done and we messed up, made a mistake, and hey — if you want to be a good football team that doesn’t happen on a consistent basis. If you are a 4-0 team, that shouldn’t happen — straight and simple,” said Kelliher, who’s record stands at 294-198-8.

Kelliher was emotional recapping the days events and it meant the world to him to have his 100-year old head coach from his playing days, Walter Paster, in attendance, who he still — to this day — has breakfast every Thursday in Abington and still calls him ‘Coach’.

“It was nice. I’ve had a terrific opportunity to be here in Abington for 50 years-plus. I grew up here, three years as an assistant with Walter Paster, and became a head coach and been at it for 48 or 49 years. It’s wonderful, it really truly is, and I cherish it.”

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Literary calendar: Author signs copies of Lafayette biography

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High school football: Ninth-ranked Woodbury rolls past Eagan 48-15
‘Hero of Two Worlds’ By Mike Duncan

MIKE DUNCAN: Signs copies of “Hero of Two Worlds: The Marquis de Lafayette in the Age of Revolution.” 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 11, outdoors at Magers & Quinn, 3038 Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls. RSVP appreciated but not required. Go to magersandquinn.com/event.

MARK GUSTAFSON: Presents “Born Under the Sign of Odin: The Life & Times of Robert Bly’s Little Magazine & Small Press.” 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13, in-store, Magers & Quinn, 3038 Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls.

JEFF HERTZBERG: Signs copies of “The Best of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.” 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12, in-store, Magers & Quinn, 3038 Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls.

DAN PIEPENBRING: Discusses “The Beautiful Ones,” a collaboration with Prince on the superstar’s memoir, which halted with Prince’s death. Piepenbring chose to complete the manuscript in a way that realized Prince’s intentions. He reconceptualized the book and it was published in 2019 to excellent reviews. 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13, in MELSA’s Club Book series. Streamed at facebook.com/ClubBook.

TOM RADEMACHER: Launches his book “Raising Ollie: How My Nonbinary Art-Nerd Kid Changes (Nearly) Everything I Know” at an open house hosted by University of Minnesota Press and Transforming Families Minnesota. It’s the story of one new school year for a Teacher of the Year and his art-obsessed, funny, anxious, smart kid who was underchallenged and asked to go to a school with “kids like me.” At the same time, his father had his own anxieties and struggles adjusting to teaching at a school whiter and more suburban than anywhere he had previously taught. 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12, 826 MSP, 1915 E. 22nd St, Mpls. Free and open to the public (masks required). Rademacher will also read at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15, at Next Chapter Booksellers, 38 S. Snelling Ave., St. Paul.

OLLIE SCHMINKEY: St. Paul nonbinary transgender poet/musician/artist who has performed poems in 18 states, reads from their new collection “Dead Dad Jokes,” a memoir in poetry of their father’s last days and death, and the grief that follows. 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12, Next Chapter Booksellers, 38 S. Snelling Ave., St. Paul.

AMOR TOWLES: “A Gentleman in Moscow” author discusses his new novel, “The Lincoln Highway,” about a young man released from a juvenile workhouse planning to head to California but whose plans are thwarted. Presented in the Talking Volumes series. 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13, Fitzgerald Theater, 10 E. Exchange St, St. Paul. $30 at mprevents.org.

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Marblehead roars back to topple Masconomet 33-21

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Big second half leads Springfield Central to road win at BC High

BOXFORD — Enough was enough for Marblehead High School.

After watching Masconomet hang 21 points on them in the first half, the Magicians closed the door — air-tight — rolling off 26 unanswered second-half points to knock off the Chieftains 33-21 in a battle of Division 3 unbeatens.

“That first half was really, really ugly. We knew coming out in the second we had to be better,” said Marblehead’s Connor Cronin, who had four touchdowns on the night. “We know what they were doing. We changed up our coverage a little bit, fixed the little things and got big stops on third and fourth down. That really changed the game and got the offense rolling.”

Cronin ran for a pair of second-half scores and caught the game-clincher in the final two minutes from Josh Robertson, powering Marblehead to a 5-0 start and the top spot in the Northeastern Conference’s Large Division. It also gives the Magicians an inside track to home field come playoff time.

After Masco did the punching in the first half, things changed dramatically. Marblehead grabbed the opening kick of the third quarter and moved 73 yards on eight plays with Cronin plowing in from the 2.

A quick interception set up a 13-yard Cronin burst that knotted things up at 21-21.

Set up by a short Chieftains’ punt, Robertson sprinted in with the go-ahead score early in the fourth quarter then left no doubt with a courageous fourth-down TD toss to Cronin with 1:38 left, beating the blitz and taking a vicious shot as he delivered the dagger to make it 33-21.

“Honestly, (down 21-7 at halftime), we were calm, we didn’t fold,” said Robertson. “We needed to score on that first drive, and it just got rolling after that.”

Marblehead never let off the gas, holding Masco to just 38 yards on 16 plays, deep into the last minute of the game.

“This is a huge win. Masco’s an amazing team. They played phenomenal tonight,” added Robertson.

At the time, you probably would have to go back a decade or more to find a bigger Masco defensive stand than the denial of Marblehead with Will Shannon’s goal-line interception, with only seconds left before halftime.

The pick kept things at 21-7 into the break with Masco and its huge home crowd carrying all sorts of momentum.

It just didn’t last.

Masco QB Matt Richardson was a big-play waiting to happen in the first half, tossing a pair of TD passes, one to Sam Nadworny and the other to Tyler McMahon. Mat Nadworny had a long TD run of 48 yards, helping Masco (4-1) build its lead.

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James Murphy rewrites Reading record book in 26-17 win over Woburn

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Big second half leads Springfield Central to road win at BC High

READING — On a record setting night for James Murphy, it was his teammate Colby Goodchild who stole the spotlight.

Goodchild rushed for 156 yards and three touchdowns as No. 7 Reading remained undefeated with a 26-17 win over Middlesex League Liberty foe Woburn on Friday night at Hollingsworth Field.

Murphy — who has starred at quarterback for three years as a Rocket — broke the school record for career touchdown passes with the 45th of his tenure on a 23-yard strike to Patrick DuRoss in the second quarter. The record was previously held by 2014 Boston Herald All-Scholastic Drew Belcher.

“The win is the most important thing,” Murphy said. “The offensive line was incredible. (Woburn) said they were going to stop our run and our offense and that did not happen. We out-toughed them today.”

The Rockets (5-0) were exceptional defensively in the second half surrendering just three points and limiting the Tanners offense to one completed pass. Offensively, meanwhile, the Rockets tormented Woburn on the ground out of their spread formation.The two sides traded blows in the first half with Woburn showcasing a surprising passing attack in the early going. Junior quarterback Brett Tuzzolo opened 7-for-8 for 115 yards including a 38-yard touchdown pass to Derek Dabrieo to help the Tanners battle Reading to a 14-14 tie midway through the second quarter.

Reading, however, began to assert itself before the half with Murphy completing passes to Aidan Bekkenhuis and Alex DiNapoli before finding DuRoss on a seam route for a 23-yard score that pushed the Rockets in front 20-14 and set the school record.

“I grew up watching guys like Corey DiLoreto and Drew Belcher, who I got the chance to work with, and those guys inspire me to play the position at Reading and carry on the tradition,” Murphy said.

The Tanners (3-1) cut the deficit in half late in the third on a 32-yard field goal by Marc Cutone and stared at a chance in the final stanza to potentially jump in front when its defense put Reading into a fourth-and-10 situation. Murphy, however, evaded pressure, darted down the far sideline, and lowered his shoulder through a defender to pick up the first down. One play later, Goodchild put the game on ice taking the handoff skirting around a defender before finding the end zone to put Reading on top 26-17 with six minutes left.

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Massachusetts State Police, prison officers brace for vaccine mandate showdown

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Massachusetts State Police, prison officers brace for vaccine mandate showdown

The law enforcement crisis over the state’s Oct. 17 vaccine mandate is escalating with the National Guard on standby to help the DOC and State Police brass playing hardball over the jabs, multiple memos obtained by the Herald state.

 

Included in those memos is one from the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union warning of “modified lockdowns,” suspending time off, and using Guard members to staff the prison system’s headquarters if too many jail officers are fired for not getting vaxxed.

Corrections officials at the Milford HQ would then “go back behind the walls,” the memo adds.

“Unless we win a long shot case in court, the State is resigned itself to fire you,” that letter states. “We will continue to inform our members but this is where we are now.”

State Police, in an agency bulletin, tell “sworn members of the department” to fill out a self-attestation form as they enter the “PayStation” to record their hours. The form asks if the employee received the two-shot Moderna or Pfizer mRNA vaccines or the one-dose J&J jab.

But that request, the memo notes, adds they “may” also be asked to get a booster shot if the CDC advises Americans to do so in the future.

Some in the State Police and Department of Correction are objecting to Gov. Charlie Baker’s mandate forcing all Executive Branch workers to be vaccinated or face being fired. Baker instituted the vaccine mandate for all Executive Branch employees Aug. 19. The order only granted exemptions for those who have medical or religious grounds to reject the vaccine.

The exemption, the Herald has been told, is also being tightened as the MSP and DOC confront the looming deadline.

“We were all heroes in 2020 for working during the pandemic, now we could all get fired,” a DOC officer told the Herald, adding he is not going to get the vaccination. He also said the DOC is advertising on social media for retired correction officers to come back for a few shifts.

“This is tyranny,” he added.

Terry MacCormack, Baker’s press secretary, said it’s all systems go.

“The Baker-Polito Administration is encouraged by the response to date by Executive Department employees completing the vaccination verification process ahead of the October 17 deadline and will continue to work with employees to address questions and requests for exemptions,” he said in a statement sent to the Herald Thursday night.

MacCormack added: “The Administration is still in the process of gathering information from employees, but agencies are seeing significant progress toward the vaccination goal.”

Another memo says the state has received “over 33,000” self-attestation forms have been recorded since the administration started asking for them Sept. 17.

That memo adds HR has “scheduled a series of mobile vaccine clinics across the commonwealth which will offer the J&J vaccine.”

As for troopers, a source told the Herald more than 300 troopers, sergeants, lieutenants, detective lieutenants, captains and staff are pushing back at the mandate and have formed a working group. And, as the Herald first reported, they have hired a Boston law firm.

All signs point to some type of showdown next week or right up to the vax mandate deadline.

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