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April Koh, 29, becomes youngest woman to run a multi-billion-dollar startup

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Spring Health company

April Koh, CEO of Spring Health, has become the youngest woman to lead a multibillion-dollar company after the startup raised a $190 million Series C round, or $300 million total funding.

“Unicorn” services: The Series C round of funding raised Spring Health’s valuation to more than $2 billion, which makes it reach “unicorn” status, or a valuation of at least $1 billion, according to Fierce Healthcare.

  • The behavioral health startup provides employers a way to give mental health benefits, including online therapy, counseling, coaching and self-guided exercises. 
  • Its services are marketed as a supplement to employee assistance programs (EAPs) or as entire replacements for them.
  • Koh, 29, told MedCity News that what makes Spring Health different is it focuses on employees from all kinds of socioeconomic backgrounds and health needs instead of just those from wealthy tech companies.
  • The recent funding will go towards “the company’s efforts to integrate these existing offerings into the first cohesive mental health experience for families, where both individuals and relationships within families can be supported through one central solution.”
  • Spring Health also plans to expand to over 200 countries worldwide.

Five years in the making: In 2016, Koh joined forces with Adam Chekroud and Abhishek Chandra to launch Spring Health, which now works with over 150 startups and multinational Fortune 500 corporations.

  • The company also plans to accelerate its growth by partnering with health plans, beginning with Guardian Life, a leading life, disability and employee benefits provider.
  • Koh told Forbes in an interview that Spring Health is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO). 
  • “It’s less about IPO-ing and more about establishing Spring Health as a long-lasting company of consequence that has the biggest impact on mental health possible,” she said.

Featured Image via Business Insider

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Your honor, you’re muted: Colorado eyes the future of virtual court

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Your honor, you’re muted: Colorado eyes the future of virtual court

To go to court in Colorado these days, you might need to drive to the courthouse, park, pass through security — belts and watches off, please — don a mask (or maybe not) and put your seat in a seat. Or you might just curl up on your couch, power up a laptop and log in to a video chat for virtual court.

It all depends on which judge is hearing your case and what exactly you need to get done.

Colorado’s initially ubiquitous use of virtual courts during the pandemic has faded into a patchwork of judge-by-judge decisions about when proceedings go forward in-person or online, even as many in the justice system call for some virtual options to be preserved post-COVID.

The mishmash of procedures across the state follows the court system’s radical transformation since the pandemic began in March 2020, with the public health crisis forcing an unprecedented shift toward remote hearings and virtual appearances — leading to increased transparency and participation in the court system, along with some new difficulties.

The Colorado Supreme Court has yet to put out any detailed statewide guidance for how virtual courts should be used long-term, but Chief Justice Brian Boatright recently formed a working group of eight chief judges to examine how online courts work (and when they don’t) as a precursor to potential long-term strategies, said Weld County Chief Judge James Hartmann, who co-chairs the chief judge’s council.

“In what types of proceedings is Webex working well, and where are court users experiencing challenges?” he said of the Colorado court system’s online video platform. “Once we get that information in place, then we can take the next view as to, where do we go from here as far as long-term planning.”

Rachel Ellis, The Denver Post

Judge Diego Hunt, top left, conducts a virtual criminal motions hearing in First Judicial District Court in Golden on Friday, Aug. 14, 2020.

The committee, which includes chief judges from rural and urban judicial districts, will ask for input from attorneys, court staff and other stakeholders in the justice system before presenting their findings to Boatright, Hartmann said. He estimated that process may take 30 to 60 days.

“We want to be able to use Webex when Webex is an effective way of conducting court proceedings,” Hartmann said. “We certainly don’t want to trade convenience for someone’s due process rights. But that balance will be there — we definitely can strike the balance, we just don’t know where the needle is going to fall yet.”

Earlier this year, Boatright gave chief judges the authority to make policies on virtual appearances for each of Colorado’s 22 judicial districts, continuing the court system’s pandemic-long approach of letting local jurisdictions make their own rules within a broad framework. A Denver Post review of those policies shows many chief judges further delegated decision-making to individual judges.

Whether a court hearing is held online or in-person is left up to each judge’s discretion in eight judicial districts, with two of those districts encouraging online appearances and three emphasizing in-person proceedings, the review found.

“We don’t have a set protocol, we just play it by ear,” said Joanne Montero, clerk of the courts in the 3rd Judicial District, which covers Huerfano and Las Animas counties. “We recently had an outbreak of COVID in the jail, so we moved cases to Webex for that reason.”

Another six judicial districts are operating fully online or with a presumption that hearings will occur remotely. Three districts are the opposite of that — hearings are presumed to proceed in person unless there’s an exception — and in two districts, chief judges have issued specific policies on how and when virtual courts should be used. Three districts have no policies posted online and did not return requests for comment from The Post.

“I think we would all like a little bit more guidance from chief judges and statewide,” Denver Assistant District Attorney Zach McCabe said. “It’s just easier for everyone to operate if we all know the rules.”

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser speaks ...

RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser argues before the U.S. Supreme Court via teleconference in Colorado Department of State v. Baca on May 13, 2020. Because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the attorneys and justices debated via teleconference, and audio of the arguments was streamed live to the public online.

Wider shift to virtual court

The massive shift from in-person courts to virtual courts during the pandemic happened nationwide, said David Slayton, vice president of court consulting services at the National Center for State Courts.

“We found we really could do any type of proceeding in any type of case remotely,” he said. “I’m not making an argument that it’s always the best way, but it can be done, and we did it.”

Colorado’s courts went from spending about $61,000 on 250 licenses for Webex in the 2020 financial year to spending $338,000 on 4,000 licenses in the 2022 financial year, according to data provided by the judicial branch.

“The most surprising thing we learned is we saw an increased level of access to justice,” Slayton said.

When courts moved online in Arizona, eviction cases in one county shifted from seeing a 40% no-show rate — 40% of people were evicted without ever being heard in court — to a 13% no-show rate, according to a 90-page report submitted to the Arizona Supreme Court in June. Across the country, virtual jury calls have seen a 60% to 90% response rate, when in-person jury calls typically peak around 40%, Slayton said.

“It shows there are barriers to access to justice that exist outside the pandemic, like transportation, child care, the ability to get off work,” Slayton said.

Anecdotally, Colorado saw a similar increase in participation with virtual courts, particularly when links to online courtrooms were easily available to defendants, those in the justice system told The Post, though they had not reviewed hard data.

During the height of the pandemic in Mesa County, defendants in misdemeanor and traffic cases received a reminder text on the morning of their court date that included a link to the correct virtual courtroom, said Steve Chin, manager of criminal justice services.

“So they could just click that link,” he said.

State courts in Alaska, Massachusetts, Florida, Idaho, Indiana and Iowa have all issued some statewide rules on what proceedings can and can’t be done virtually, according to the National Center for State Courts. In the summer of 2020, the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators, which represent state courts in all 50 states, declared that courts should adopt “remote-first or remote-friendly” approaches.

“We can’t turn our back on all the advances we saw during the pandemic,” Slayton said.

1633695967 421 Your honor youre muted Colorado eyes the future of virtual

Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post

Michael Martinez, Chief Judge of the 2nd Judicial District, presides over a hearing where a defendant appeared remotely but an attorney was present in-person at the Denver City and County Building in Denver on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021.

Many in Colorado’s justice system would like to see some sort of hybrid virtual-and-in-person future for courts.

“Particularly for short appearances, it makes a ton of sense to continue allowing virtual appearances,” said Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty. “It would save time and money to allow individuals the option to appear virtually.”

“It is a huge time and cost saver for many types of proceedings — short hearings, status conferences, trial readiness conferences — it works extremely well for those types of proceedings,” said Hartmann, the Weld County chief judge.

Still, virtual courts can make it difficult for attorneys to speak privately with their clients, and it all but ends the informal hallway negotiations between prosecutors and defense attorneys that are key to resolving many low-level cases, transforming what might be a five-minute conversation into long email exchanges or back-and-forth phone calls.

“The attorney-client relationship gets a little abbreviated, and diminished when you’re not able to stand next to your client in the courtroom and be there and be the client’s voice,” said Maureen Cain, director of legislative policy and external communications at the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office.

She added that public defenders also need their clients to fill out and sign paperwork, which can be difficult when they’re not in the same room, particularly if the clients don’t have a stable living situation and mailing address.

Prosecutors also have seen cases stretch on for longer during the pandemic, Dougherty and McCabe said, in part because defendants didn’t face hard deadlines to enter plea agreements when jury trials stalled due to COVID-19 restrictions, and in part because of virtual appearances.

“People are less likely to trust a defense attorney they’ve never met in person and less inclined to plead guilty from their living room couch,” Dougherty said.

1633695967 862 Your honor youre muted Colorado eyes the future of virtual

Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post

Covers are placed on courtroom microphones at the Denver City and County Building on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021.

Greater public transparency

But accessing the justice system from one’s own home isn’t limited to defendants. Members of the public and victims of crime can also tune in from afar, greatly increasing the court’s transparency, said Jeff Roberts, executive director of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition.

“It’s made it easier for the public to watch the criminal justice system in progress, and I think that has been a good thing,” Roberts said. “It’s also made it easier for reporters to cover the process in certain cases.”

Additionally, some victims prefer to watch proceedings from home, prosecutors said, rather than sitting feet away from the person accused of killing their loved one or traveling a long way for a short hearing.

Currently, online streaming of in-person proceedings purely for public access is unpredictable across Colorado’s courtrooms.

In September, the judge in the high-profile Letecia Stauch murder case in El Paso County allowed only pre-approved family members of victim Gannon Stauch to watch a key hearing online — everyone else had to show up in person.

A La Plata county sentencing hearing for Mark Redwine, convicted of murdering his son Dylan, scheduled for Friday was open online for anyone to watch and even rebroadcast, but for the preliminary hearing in the Barry Morphew murder case in Chaffee County, virtual viewing of the courtroom was barred altogether.

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Suburban growth has come mostly from renters, not homeowners, study finds

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Suburban growth has come mostly from renters, not homeowners, study finds

For decades, urban areas were enclaves of rental properties and the suburbs havens of homeownership, but that pattern has shifted in many parts of the country over the past decade, according to a study from RENTCafé, an apartment search engine.

The number of suburban renters in the nation’s 50 largest major metros rose by 22% between 2010 and 2019, while the number of suburban homeowners rose by only 3%, the study found. Out of the 1,105 suburbs studied in those 50 large metros, 242 are now majority renter, compared to only 139 in 2010.

Metro Denver doesn’t have a major suburb where renters dominate — yet. Researchers at Yardi Matrix, the firm behind the study, expect Wheat Ridge will flip within the next five years and Federal Heights is edging closer as well.

In Wheat Ridge and Federal Heights, 47% of residents were renters in 2019, up from 42% and 43% respectively in 2010. The share of renters was rising the fastest in Broomfield, which went from 20% renters to 30%, and in Highlands Ranch and Centennial, which both went from 13% to 17% rental population.

Brighton also had a noticeable jump from 27% to 32% of residents renting. On the other end, Englewood, Westminster and Littleton had the slowest growth rates in the share of residents who were renters over the period studied.

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Nuggets Mailbag: Will Bones Hyland get playing time his rookie season?

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Nuggets Mailbag: Will Bones Hyland get playing time his rookie season?

Beat writer Mike Singer opens up the Nuggets Mailbag periodically during the offseason. Pose a Nuggets — or NBA — related question here.

Who do you foresee starting the season in a G League uniform? And who from that group is most likely to move from the Gold back to the Nuggets later in the season?

— Jeff Swearingen, Denver (now living near Chicago)

Good question, Jeff. I should’ve cozied up to Jason Terry (the new Nuggets G League coach) who was at training camp in San Diego and playing full-court pickup after practices against team staffers. Not that you asked, but Jet can still play.

The two most likely candidates to begin the season in the G League, in my opinion, are Markus Howard and Petr Cornelie. If Howard goes down there, I expect him to light up the G League. The reality for Howard is that Denver’s backcourt is loaded, and Bones Hyland may already be ahead of him on the depth chart. There’s only so much need for smaller guards and Monte Morris and Facu Campazzo have that covered. That being said, teammates and coaches like Howard a lot. I’d expect him to bounce between the two.

Cornelie, Denver’s other two-way, has no NBA experience. He’s a tall stretch four or five, who turned a corner in the last few seasons playing overseas in France.

The big question is Bol Bol, who has built some momentum for himself with a strong training camp. On one hand, the Nuggets may want to reward him for his efforts and keep him around the team. On the other, he’s still raw. If Bol was sent to the G League, I think there’s a lot of curiosity over how he’d react. For now, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

The biggest story, sadly, is Michael Porter Jr. not getting vaccinated. How is this going to carry over with his best season projected?

—  @Seansky17 via Twitter

Michael Porter Jr. made his stance clear in that he’s not comfortable taking the vaccine. Given that he’s had COVID twice, his logic was that he knows how his body handled it and doesn’t know how it’d react to the vaccine. The unspoken part, of course, is that it’s impossible to know how he’d react to the new Delta variant.

While it’s a personal choice, the other unspoken aspect is that said personal choice can have a big impact on the rest of the team. If Porter tests positive again, or even if he’s had a close exposure, he’ll need to quarantine because he’s unvaccinated. A close exposure for a vaccinated player doesn’t mandate a quarantine. So, while I believe each player is entitled to their choice, each unvaccinated player needs to reconcile the personal vs. team impact. What’s Denver’s margin for error until Jamal Murray returns and can it withstand missing games from MPJ? The NBA has implemented rigorous testing and different protocols for unvaccinated players, which could, ostensibly, change a player’s mind.

How is Zeke Nnaji looking? Which players look the most comfortable?

— @bradsgood via Twitter

I think there have been encouraging signs from a handful of players, beginning with Aaron Gordon and P.J. Dozier. In my opinion, Gordon’s shooting stroke looks smoother and he appears to be launching with more confidence. That squares with what I’d been hearing on Gordon’s summer.

I also think Dozier has had a strong preseason. Defensively, he’s long, anticipates well and gets into the gaps. He seems to have a strong concept of team defense. Offensively, he’s a good cutter and has shown an improved pull-up game. The swing skill with Dozier is his 3-point shooting. If he can consistently knock down open 3s, he’ll be even more invaluable to Michael Malone’s rotation.

Both Jeff Green and JaMychal Green warrant a nod here, too. I think that pairing is going to be more productive than the Green-Millsap one last year. JaMychal looks energized and Jeff still has significant spring in his step. They’ll be the first reserve options in the frontcourt, probably ahead of Zeke Nnaji. Coming off a disappointing Summer League, Nnaji still has good fundamentals but he’s looked a bit hurried in his approach.

Should we be thinking about a PJ Dozier extension now? He’s looked great in these first 2 preseason games. If we wait until next summer and he plays like this, he’s going to get a bag. One the Nugs cannot afford.

— Jon, Golden

This is a great call, Jon. I think the Nuggets’ front office would be wise to consider extending Dozier, who’ll be a free agent next summer. Dozier has a big fan in Malone, and his value is about to rise. It somewhat reminds me of Monte Morris in that the Nuggets loved him and had no interest in seeing him in another jersey. Dozier’s value, as a versatile defender and a budding offensive threat, should be enough to land him a multi-year deal. As for that impending luxury tax bill, cover your eyes, Mr. Kroenke.

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More than 120,000 U.S. kids had caregivers die during pandemic

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More than 120,000 U.S. kids had caregivers die during pandemic

NEW YORK — The number of U.S. children orphaned during the COVID-19 pandemic may be larger than previously estimated, and the toll has been far greater among Black and Hispanic Americans, a new study suggests.

More than half the children who lost a primary caregiver during the pandemic belonged to those two racial groups, which make up about 40% of the U.S. population, according to the study published Thursday by the medical journal Pediatrics.

“These findings really highlight those children who have been left most vulnerable by the pandemic, and where additional resources should be directed,” one of the study’s authors, Dr. Alexandra Blenkinsop of Imperial College London, said in a statement.

During 15 months of the nearly 19-month COVID-19 pandemic, more than 120,000 U.S. children lost a parent or grandparent who was a primary provider of financial support and care, the study found. Another 22,000 children experienced the death of a secondary caregiver — for example, a grandparent who provided housing but not a child’s other basic needs.

In many instances, surviving parents or other relatives remained to provide for these children. But the researchers used the term “orphanhood” in their study as they attempted to estimate how many children’s lives were upended.

Federal statistics are not yet available on how many U.S. children went into foster care last year. Researchers estimate COVID-19 drove a 15% increase in orphaned children.

The new study’s numbers are based on statistical modeling that used fertility rates, death statistics and household composition data to make estimates.

An earlier study by different researchers estimated that roughly 40,000 U.S. children lost a parent to COVID-19 as of February 2021.

The two studies’ findings are not inconsistent, said Ashton Verdery, an author of the earlier study. Verdery and his colleagues focused on a shorter time period than the new study. Verdery’s group also focused only on deaths of parents, while the new paper also captured what happened to caregiving grandparents.

“It is very important to understand grandparental losses,” said Verdery, a researcher at Penn State, in an email. “Many children live with grandparents,” a living arrangement more common among certain racial groups.

About 32% of all kids who lost a primary caregiver were Hispanic and 26% were Black. Hispanic and Black Americans make up much smaller percentages of the population than that. White children accounted for 35% of the kids who lost primary caregivers, even though more than half of the population is white.

The differences were far more pronounced in some states. In California, 67% of the children who lost primary caregivers were Hispanic. In Mississippi, 57% of the children who lost primary caregivers were Black, the study found.

The new study based its calculation on excess deaths, or deaths above what would be considered typical. Most of those deaths were from the coronavirus, but the pandemic has also led to more deaths from other causes.

Kate Kelly, a Georgia teenager, lost her 54-year-old father in January. William “Ed” Kelly had difficulty breathing and an urgent care clinic suspected it was due to COVID-19, she said. But it turned out he had a blocked artery and died at work of a heart attack, leaving Kate, her two sisters and her mother.

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Pick 6: Odds the Avalanche will win the Stanley Cup, who will win the World Series

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Pick 6: Odds the Avalanche will win the Stanley Cup, who will win the World Series

The Avalanche entered last season as the favorite among sportsbooks to win the Stanley Cup, only to come up short, falling to Vegas in the second round of the playoffs.

But that hasn’t deterred oddsmakers from picking Colorado to win it all in the 2021-22 season.

The Avs are the favorites across the board, ranging from +450 odds — meaning a $100 bet would win $450 — from MaximBet and SI Sportsbook to +600 from BetMGM.

The defending champion Lightning are second in most books, followed by the Golden Knights and Maple Leafs.

Here’s a look at some current odds in the world of sports.

+475

The odds the Avalanche will win the Stanley Cup for the 2021-22 NHL season, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. Colorado is the favorite, ahead of Vegas (+700), Tampa Bay (+700) and Toronto (+900).

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Mastrodonato: Chris Sale hasn’t been a key contributor for the 2021 Red Sox, but he still can be

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Mastrodonato: Chris Sale hasn’t been a key contributor for the 2021 Red Sox, but he still can be

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Chris Sale has meant a lot to the Red Sox over the years, but this can also be true: Sale is pretty far down on the list of most important guys on the Sox’ playoff roster.

And it’s not just because he missed more than half the season recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Sale will take the ball against the Rays for Game 2 of the American League Division Series on Friday night, when he’ll be looking to prove his value to a team that didn’t use him in the Wild Card Game on Tuesday night and hasn’t seemed particularly encouraged by his performances this year.

Manager Alex Cora explained that Sale wasn’t in the bullpen Tuesday in part to protect his arm after coming back from Tommy John surgery.

Cora said Sale would be in the bullpen Thursday night, but it didn’t seem like he’d use him.

“With him we’re going to be very careful as far as if he is going to be in the bullpen or not, for obvious reasons, right?” Cora said. “But if it’s up to him, he probably would be out there. He will be in the bullpen today, but these guys are important for the present and obviously for the future of the organization. It’s been two years trying to get to this point, all the hard work, all the tears and sweat throughout the process. So we have to take care of him.”

Sale doesn’t want to be taken care of.

“It’s what we did in ’18,” Sale said of throwing out of the bullpen between postseason starts. “We were a little bit more prepared then because we could kind of rest some guys getting into the playoffs, but I mean there’s no reason to save an arm to go sit on the couch. This is all the baseball we have left, and we’re going to get to certain points in these series where tomorrow might not come, so if that’s the case and it’s what’s called upon, it’s my job. It’s what I signed up to do.”

Sale has actually pitched great in his two postseason relief appearances that occurred between starts, throwing a perfect eighth inning to secure a win against the Yankees in the ‘18 Division Series, and striking out the side in the ninth to close out the final game of the World Series against the Dodgers.

“I know a lot of people like to think about the glitz and the glam of what it’s like doing this, but the grit and the grind is what we’re here for,” he said. “And this is what we actually signed up to do, and this is what we live for, so if it’s the first 15, 18, 21 outs or the last two, three, six, whatever it is, we got a bunch of pitchers in there that have the same mindset. It doesn’t matter when or where. Just hand me the ball, and I’m going to sling it until you take it.”

It’s been a grind for Sale to get back to being the pitcher he once was.

His regular season numbers weren’t bad: 5-1, 3.16 ERA, 52 strikeouts, 12 walks in 42-2/3 innings. But seven of those starts were against losing teams, and the two other starts were against the Rays, who knocked him around for 16 hits and seven runs (three earned) in 9-2/3 innings.

He said his changeup has been a bad pitch for him and he’s been working on it all week ahead of this start.

He was also the first to acknowledge he hasn’t done a lot to contribute this year, especially after his ugly start against the Nationals in Game 162.

“I did absolutely nothing to help our team win,” he said. “I actually put us in a horrendous spot in that game, and our guys could have taken that one of two ways and gotten down after I went out there not doing what I was supposed to do and the plan not unfolding.

“Being down late in the game, coming back, rallying back, that was huge. I was obviously very appreciative of that because that would have been a not fun — been a not fun last game of the year.”

Sale knows he’s not the most important player on this team anymore. He’s not even in the top-five.

But a good start on Tuesday would still mean a lot for the Red Sox’ chances.

“I’m figuring this stuff out as we go,” he said. “I say it a lot. I’m not really fighting against anybody as much as I’m fighting against myself trying to sharpen my tools and make better pitches and be — like I said, just consistency.

“I had a lot of time off, you know, and with that comes a little bit of hiccups and things like that, but with who I have in my corner, obviously, the drive that I have myself and just the — it’s just relentless. It’s every day. Every single day I come here to get better.”

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Week 5 Eastern Massachusetts high school football schedule

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Week 5 Eastern Massachusetts high school football schedule

FRIDAY’S GAMES

Brighton vs. Latin Academy, 4 (WS)

Cathedral/Matignon at O’Bryant, 4

Medford at Lynn English, 5

Tilton at Pingree, 5

Brookline at Walpole, 5:30

Sharon at Martha’s Vineyard, 5:30

Austin Prep at Archbishop Williams, 6

Hull at Mashpee, 6

Lowell Catholic at Greater Lawrence, 6

Lynn Classical at Everett, 6

St. John’s Prep at Malden Catholic, 6

St. Luke’s at Dexter Southfield, 6

Sandwich at Nauset, 6

Somerville at Chelsea, 6

Tech Boston at Roxbury Prep, 6

Wakefield at Burlington, 6

Whittier at Essex Tech, 6

Amesbury at Ipswich, 6:30

Bishop Feehan at Arlington Catholic, 6:30

Bishop Fenwick at Cardinal Spellman, 6:30

Bourne at Greater New Bedford, 6:30

Braintree at Needham, 6:30

East Boston at Boston English/New Mission, 6:30

Fairhaven at Case, 6:30

Old Rochester at Seekonk, 6:30

Seekonk at Dennis-Yarmouth, 6:30

Upper Cape at Wareham, 6:30

Weymouth at Milton, 6:30

Apponequet at Somerset Berkley, 7

Ashland at Holliston, 7

Attleboro at King Philip, 7

Barnstable at New Bedford, 7

Belmont at Winchester, 7

Billerica at Tewksbury, 7

Blue Hills at Bristol-Plymouth, 7

BC High at Xaverian, 7

Bridgewater-Raynham at Durfee, 7

Carver at Randolph, 7

Chelmsford at North Andover, 7

Dedham at Millis, 7

Dover-Sherborn at Bellingham, 7

Falmouth at East Bridgewater, 7

Gloucester at Winthrop, 7

Greater Lowell at Bedford, 7

Holbrook/Avon at West Bridgewater, 7

Hopkinton at Norwood, 7

Lawrence at Haverhill, 7

Lowell at Central Catholic, 7

Marblehead at Masconomet, 7

Medfield at Westwood, 7

Medway at Norton, 7

Middleboro at Norwell, 7

Milford at Mansfield, 7

Newton North at Framingham, 7

Newton South at Westford Academy, 7

Northeast at Shawsheen, 7

North Reading at Triton, 7

Oliver Ames at Canton, 7

Plymouth North at Duxbury, 7

Plymouth South at Pembroke, 7

Quincy at Hanover, 7

Rockland at Abington, 7

St. Sebastian’s at Noble & Greenough, 7

Scituate at North Quincy, 7

Stoneham at Melrose, 7

Stoughton at Foxboro, 7

Swampscott at Peabody, 7

Taunton at Franklin, 7

Tri-County at Diman, 7

Whitman-Hanson at Silver Lake, 7

Wilmington at Watertown, 7

Woburn at Reading, 7

Danvers at Beverly, 7:15

Bishop Stang at St. Mary’s, 7:30

SATURDAY’S GAMES

Arlington at Lexington, 10

Minuteman at Georgetown, 10

Dartmouth at Brockton, 12

Atlantis Charter/Bishop Connolly vs. St. John Paul, 1 (Sandwich)

Belmont Hill at Tabor, 1

Cambridge at Waltham, 1

Milton Academy at Lawrence Academy, 1

Natick at Wellesley, 1

St. John’s (S) at Catholic Memorial, 1

Thayer Academy at BB&N, 1

Brooks at Governor’s Academy, 1:30

Newburyport vs. Pentucket, 2 (Haverhill)

Lynnfield at Hamilton-Wenham, 2:30

Groton at Roxbury Latin, 3

Marshfield at Hingham, 3:30

Rivers at St. George’s, 3:30

Manchester-Essex at KIPP, 4

St. Mark’s at Middlesex, 6

DANNY V’S BEST BETS

FRIDAY

Billerica at Tewksbury, 7

Marblehead at Masconomet, 7

Medway at Norton, 7

Milford at Mansfield, 7

Plymouth North at Duxbury, 7

Quincy at Hanover, 7

Rockland at Abington, 7

Woburn at Reading, 7

SATURDAY

Milton Academy at Lawrence Academy, 1

Natick at Wellesley, 1

St. John’s (S) at Catholic Memorial, 1

Newburyport vs. Pentucket, 2 (Haverhill)

Marshfield at Hingham, 3:30

Manchester-Essex at KIPP, 4

 

 

 

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Franks: Follow this logic, into the bathroom if you must

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Franks: Follow this logic, into the bathroom if you must

Increasing universal plans that allow all those who qualify to receive certain benefits, regardless of how good the plans may be, is a clear and present danger to America as we simply cannot afford to do so. Our national debt is nearly $29 trillion dollars. COVID-19 spending is adding to that debt. This is not the time to expand.

Compounding the problem is the fact that the Biden administration has allowed thousands of undocumented immigrants to enter the country on an almost daily basis. Most of these noncitizens could immediately or quickly qualify for many of the entitlement programs and benefits that should be reserved for Americans alone, like health care and public education. Question: Who is going to pay for all this? Future generations? Are we simply going to increase our debt and borrow more money from our friends and foes, like China? This is not good government, nor is it sustainable.

Some members of Congress should understand this very clearly. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory that comes the closest to being an entitlement state. Nearly 70% of its residents have housing subsidized by the federal government. At least 43% of Puerto Rico residents qualify for supplemental nutrition programs, as they live below the poverty level. More than 60% receive Medicare or Medicaid. More than $17 billion in welfare funds flow into Puerto Rico each year for this type of assistance. Being beholden to the U.S. government is not what we want Americans to have to experience.

Since 2017, Puerto Rico has also been on the verge of bankruptcy.

Subsequently, Puerto Rico had the largest drop in population of all the states and territories. About 12% of the people of Puerto Rico have left the island since 2010, according to the 2020 Census.

My home state of Connecticut — one of the wealthiest states in the nation — ranks as one of the top destination locations for Puerto Rico’s fleeing residents, Florida is another.

History shows that socialistic practices used in 1607 by early settlers to Jamestown and by Plymouth settlers in 1620, were not the best way to go. Those attempts at a socialism-like society where everyone shared and benefited equally failed miserably.

However, should capitalism break up monopolies? YES! Should we force all companies to put the American people’s interests above those of their shareholders? YES! It should not be all about the “Benjamins.” After all, without Americans those companies would not have those huge profits that they share among shareholders.

In 2020, Americans rejected the Senate’s lone democratic socialist, Bernie Sanders, and the far-left progressives in the Democrat Party. President Biden should not allow Sen. Sanders to usurp his presidency.

Biden has claimed that the $3.5 trillion package presently before Congress that ensures more “universal” entitlement programs was his plan, but it is far more likely Sen. Sanders’ influence is apparent. Add to that is the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package that Speaker Pelosi is holding up until the Democrats can pass both provisions. A whopping nearly $5 trillion on top of all the COVID-19 spending. Wow!

The last time we expanded government via an entitlement was during the Obama administration. During the Obama years, the federal debt rose from $11 trillion to just under $20 trillion.

In 2019, 62% of our budget went to mandatory spending. Expanding programs as the far-left/socialist desire would automatically trigger more spending, increasing the bite from available resources, and add a debt service of 8% and defense spending of 15%. This leaves 15 cents to the dollar for all discretionary spending, down from 60 cents a few decades ago. Even aggressive tax increases would be hard-pressed to keep up. I have never seen a federal entitlement eliminated. They have all become permanent.

Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are fighting the good fight to save America from this unsustainable path. Hopefully, they will not quit their fight.

Crude tactics of the far left like following a person into the bathroom, accosting them, and then filming them as they enter a stall is sad and pathetic. It is highly disappointing for President Biden to say, “part of the process … it happens.” Never in my 12 years as an elected official had there been an incident where a politician was confronted in this way. Pray that Sen. Sinema and Sen. Manchin stay strong.

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The Patriots must run the ball better soon — but it might take longer than expected

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The Patriots must run the ball better soon — but it might take longer than expected

FOXBORO — What happens when a bully gets punched in the nose?

He loses two straight at home, turns in the worst rushing performance in franchise history and wonders how to right himself before a long flight to Houston. Just ask the Patriots.

Their offense, led by a rookie quarterback and built to bully opponents on the ground this season, has been thoroughly outmuscled through four weeks. The Pats are averaging 3.5 yards per carry, fourth-worst in the league. No surprise, they’re 1-3, a sharp fall from preseason expectations — even their own.

In August, the Patriots felt so strongly about their rushing potential they dealt one-time starting running back Sony Michel for a couple late-round picks. Then starting right tackle Trent Brown, all of 6-foot-8 and 380 pounds, got hurt. Then James White went down, and the Saints and Bucs took turns pounding their healthy teammates in consecutive weekends, yielding 1.9 yards per carry.

Sooner rather than later, the Pats must punch back. Supporting Mac Jones requires more than solid pass protection, which has been scarce. And it could get worse for him Sunday, despite facing Houston’s 31st-ranked run defense by Football Outsiders’ opponent-and-situation-adjusted metric, DVOA.

Starting center David Andrews was the only starting offensive lineman who practiced Thursday, normally a tell-all day for players whose game statuses are in doubt. Left tackle Isaiah Wynn and left guard Mike Onwenu remain on COVID-19 reserve, while Brown (calf) and right guard Shaq Mason (abdomen) are still nursing injuries. Brown’s calf has kept him out of three straight games and now back-to-back practices.

Mason, meanwhile, played every snap in the Patriots’ recent loss to Tampa Bay, but hasn’t been spotted since. If he can’t play, interior backup Ted Karras could replace him. Karras relieved Onwenu against the Bucs after a dismal first half at left guard, and practiced at both positions during training camp.

Reviving the run game must start with better interior push.

“Obviously it’s not what we want. As an offensive line, you take pride in running the ball, and these haven’t been our best performances,” Karras said Thursday. “But we’re working hard going into Week 5 here, and just striving to practice well and put forth a Week 5 performance we can be proud of and get a victory.”

Whether Karras plays left or right guard against Houston, it’s a safe bet James Ferentz will fill the other spot. Ferentz, currently on the practice squad, has played at least two games for the Pats each of the past three seasons and earned two starts in 2020 and 2019. Other candidates to play right guard include Yasir Durant, a backup offensive tackle who initially replaced Brown in Week 2.

But before halftime hit, Durant was benched for Justin Herron, who played left tackle in college and is a prime candidate to replace Wynn on Sunday, along with fellow backup Yodny Cajuste. Herron sees a connection between repowering the Patriots’ run game and tightening their protection.

“It’ll definitely relieve some pressure (on Jones),” Herron said Thursday of running the ball.

Ideally, Wynn would be healthy, but whether he’s on COVID-19 reserve for testing positive or simply being a high-risk close contact is unknown. An unvaccinated player who is deemed a high-risk close contact must quarantine for five days and test negative before returning to the team. A vaccinated player only makes COVID-19 reserve if he tests positive.

After a vaccinated player tests positive, he can return to the team once he is asymptomatic and produces two negative PCR tests separated by at least 24 hours. An unvaccinated player who tests positive must isolate for a minimum of 10 days. It’s unknown whether Wynn or Onwenu is fully vaccinated, though Wynn was often spotted wearing a mask heading into training camp practices this summer, which was mandated for unvaccinated players.

However the Pats’ O-line shakes out, expect practice-squad elevations Saturday. Among the candidates there are Ferentz, interior backup Alex Redmond, an experienced veteran, and rookie Will Sherman. Practice-squad center Drake Jackson was absent at Thursday’s practice. Whomever the Patriots call on, they better bring an edge.

“I think it’s just a mentality,” Herron said of the team’s struggles. “I think that’s the biggest thing for us right now.”

The Patriots’ run game has been central to their identity dating back to the final stretch of their last Super Bowl run. There was a brief blip in 2019 when wide receivers Antonio Brown, Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon and Demaryius Thomas were supposed to set opposing defenses ablaze. But three of the four quickly left town, and Edelman hobbled alone over the middle of the field.

Since then, it’s been back to ground and pound, and an offensive slog. Now, four of the team’s starting offensive linemen could be out Sunday, and the Patriots must press on, leaving past troubles behind so they can steamroll their way back to success.

“I think we’ve left a lot out there, and it’s a battle. It’s a game of inches,” said fullback Jakob Johnson. “And that’s just where we have to improve.”

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Mastrodonato: Red Sox surely missed J.D. Martinez in ALDS Game 1 loss to Rays

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Mastrodonato: Red Sox surely missed J.D. Martinez in ALDS Game 1 loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It’s a good bet the Red Sox missed J.D. Martinez on Thursday night.

Manager Alex Cora said the Red Sox had some “empty at-bats” as they went down quietly in a 5-0 defeat to the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.

The Rays are too good to show up and play a halfway decent game and expect to win.

The Red Sox did just that, making a crucial defensive mistake that led to the Rays’ first lead, leaving eight men on base and going 1-for-7 with men in scoring position. Their starting pitcher, Eduardo Rodriguez, recorded just five outs. They also allowed the Rays to steal home.

It wasn’t the worst game the Red Sox have played, but it was far from their best, and in a series that’ll force the Sox to be almost perfect if they’re going to come back and compete, they have to be desperate for Martinez to return.

Dealing with a swollen ankle, Martinez was added to the playoff roster Thursday and Cora said he’d be available, but the Sox weren’t within reach and he was never used off the bench.

In the first seven innings, the Sox had just two plate appearances with multiple men on base.

The second inning was a big one, as the Red Sox started the frame with a Hunter Renfroe single and an error leading to Alex Verdugo reaching first base safely. With two on and nobody out, and the Sox behind 2-0, it was perhaps the biggest chance of the game to turn the momentum back in Boston’s favor.

Rays lefty Shane McClanahan was throwing 98-mph fastballs with late life. Bobby Dalbec saw two right down the middle and got on top of the final one, grounding into a double play to end the threat in the second inning.

The next time the Sox had two guys on was in the fourth and again Dalbec stepped up. He hit a line drive but it was right into the third baseman’s glove to end the inning.

Dalbec didn’t have a bad game, hitting a few hard shots that couldn’t find holes, but he also swung at a questionable first pitch in the ninth inning when the Sox were desperate for baserunners and finished the night 0-for-4 with four men left on base.

That he hit the ball hard is a good sign. But if Martinez was healthy, Dalbec might not have been in the lineup to begin with.

Cora wasn’t thrilled with Dalbec’s at-bats in the final weeks of the season and even benched him against a lefty for just the fifth time all year.

It wasn’t Dalbec’s fault the Red Sox lost. Nobody played particularly well.

Rafael Devers had a tough game, striking out twice, including in a key spot in the eighth, and there’s some question as to whether or not he’s playing hurt.

But there’s no question the Sox missed Martinez’s presence in the lineup.

“We had traffic out there, and we just didn’t cash in,” Cora said. “Bobby hit a few missiles with men on. Obviously, in the eighth we loaded the bases; we didn’t score. There were some good at-bats in the middle of the game, grind at-bats. Others were kind of empty. But I think overall we did a good job hitting line drives and staying in the middle of the field.”

The Sox approach wasn’t a bad one, it just wasn’t enough.

They’ll have to find a way to get it done against standout rookie right-hander Shane Baz in Game 2 on Friday or risk returning to Fenway Park down 2-0 in the series.

“Obviously, situations like this you have to score runners,” said second baseman Christian Arroyo. “As an offense I thought we did a good job of getting our knocks, but you got to have that blow, you know?

“We just didn’t have that gut-punching blow with runners in scoring position to get stuff rolling. It’s baseball.”

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