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St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Neighborhood Series brings concerts to venues across the metro



St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Neighborhood Series brings concerts to venues across the metro

The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra will resume its Neighborhood Series, a series of concerts curated and led by SPCO musicians and performed in multiple venues across the Twin Cities.

Season tickets are on sale now and are $11 or $26 per concert. Individual tickets will go on sale in late November. For details, see

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test taken within 72 hours prior to a concert are required. Masks are also required and attendance will be limited to allow for distancing. The performances are shortened with no intermission to prevent crowds from gathering in restrooms and lobbies.

“We are so eager to resume our Neighborhood Series and get back to sharing great music with our audiences in their own backyards,” SPCO artistic director and principal violin Kyu-Young Kim said in a news release. “SPCO musicians have taken great care in curating each program so that every concert takes our audiences on a stimulating musical journey, and we can’t wait to reconnect and embark on those journeys together.”

Performances include:

  • Alicia McQuerrey Plays Vivaldi’s Flute Concerto, La Notte; 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Jan. 7, Wooddale Church, Eden Prairie; 7 p.m. Jan. 8, Capri Theater, Minneapolis; 2 p.m. Jan. 9, Ted Mann Concert Hall, Minneapolis.
  • Mozart’s Symphony No. 34; 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Jan. 28, Wooddale Church, Eden Prairie; 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1, Shepherd of the Valley, Apple Valley.
  • Bach’s Goldberg Variations; 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10, Trinity Lutheran Church, Stillwater; 7 p.m. Feb. 11, Humboldt High School, St. Paul; 8 p.m. Feb. 12, Saint Paul’s United Church of Christ, St. Paul; 2 p.m. Feb. 13, Ted Mann Concert Hall, Minneapolis.
  • Haydn’s Clock Symphony with Richard Egarr; 2 p.m. Feb. 20; Benson Great Hall, Arden Hills.
  • Cassie Pilgrim Plays Bach’s Oboe Concerto; 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Feb. 25, Wooddale Church, Eden Prairie; 7 p.m. Feb. 26, Capri Theater, Minneapolis.
  • Maureen Nelson Plays Piazzolla’s Four Seasons; 2 p.m. March 13; Benson Great Hall, Arden Hills.
  • Quartet for the End of Time with Jonathan Biss, 8 p.m. March 25, Wayzata Community Church; 7 p.m. March 26, Capri Theater, Minneapolis; 3 p.m. March 27, Saint Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Mahtomedi.
  • Steven Copes Plays Prokofiev’s First Violin Sonata; 2 p.m. April 3; Ted Mann Concert Hall, Minneapolis.
  • Stewart Goodyear Plays Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto; 2 p.m. April 24; Benson Great Hall, Arden Hills.
  • Mozart’s Serenade for Winds No. 12; 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. April 29, Wooddale Church, Eden Prairie; 8 p.m. April 30, Saint Paul’s United Church of Christ; 7:30 p.m. May 3, Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, Apple Valley.
  • Haydn’s Symphony No. 60, Il Distratto; 7:30 p.m. May 12, Temple Israel, Minneapolis; 8 p.m. May 13, Wayzata Community Church, Wayzata; 8 p.m. May 14, Saint Paul’s United Church of Christ, St. Paul; 3 p.m. May 15, Saint Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Mahtomedi.
  • James Ferree Plays Mozart’s Fourth Horn Concerto; 2 p.m. May 29, Ted Mann Concert Hall, Minneapolis.
  • Childs and Mozart; 7:30 p.m. June 2, Trinity Lutheran Church, Stillwater; 8 p.m. June 3, Wayzata Community Church; 8 p.m. June 4, Saint Paul’s United Church of Christ, St. Paul; 3 p.m. June 5, Saint Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Mahtomedi.
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Ravens vs. Steelers isn’t as bitter as it used to be, but veterans know ‘it’s going to be a brawl’



Ravens vs. Steelers isn’t as bitter as it used to be, but veterans know ‘it’s going to be a brawl’

Don “Wink” Martindale did not waste his breath, trying to pretend the Ravens’ impending trip to Pittsburgh was a routine bit of NFL business.

The team’s defensive coordinator cherishes the crackling atmosphere at Heinz Field so much that he told linebacker Tyus Bowser he’d play there twice a year if he could. Facing the Steelers is an elixir for Martindale’s 58-year-old bones.

“The young ones will find out about it,” he said. “I told them that, ‘If you want to be known in this city, play well against Pittsburgh.’”

Every game looms large for the Ravens as they enter the last six weeks of this season, clinging to the AFC’s No. 1 seed and to their perch atop the AFC North. But seasoned members of the organization say Steelers week remains a thing apart, even if the games are not as bitter as they once were.

Ravens-Steelers remains one of the NFL’s most evocative rivalries, shorthand for brash, punishing football played between perennial contenders. Since the AFC North was created in 2002, the teams have combined to win 15 of 19 division titles. Only once in those 19 seasons — hello, 2013, when both went 8-8 — did neither make the playoffs.

Every year, veteran Ravens are asked what they will tell young teammates about the nature of facing the Steelers. Every year, the answers hit familiar notes.

“I would tell them, ‘It’s going to be a brawl,’” said Bowser, who doubtless heard the same thing when he was a rookie in 2017.

At the same time, it’s fair to wonder if the rivalry has exited its heyday. Imagine a Steeler stalking the Ravens team bus in search of a fight, as Joey Porter did in 2003, when he wanted a piece of Ray Lewis. Imagine a person from either team saying, “The coaches hate each other. The players hate each other,” as Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward did once upon a time.

Such vitriol, bordering on insanity, feels like a relic of Ravens-Steelers past. Most of the players associated with the blood feud have retired. Those who remain, such as Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, are in their twilight.

The teams have not played in prime time since the 2018 season. Their last meeting — at an empty Heinz Field on a Wednesday afternoon with 16 Ravens on the reserve/COVID-19 list — stood out as a bizarre representation of the NFL’s pandemic era more than a classic chapter in the rivalry.

With the Cincinnati Bengals on the rise and the Cleveland Browns featuring some of the best front-line talent in the AFC, there’s no guarantee the Ravens and Steelers will maintain their hold on the top of the division. At 5-5-1, with two losses and a tie against the winless Detroit Lions over their last three games, the Steelers could be headed for a reset as they contemplate life after the 39-year-old Roethlisberger. The Ravens opened the week as 3½-point favorites, the first time they have ever been favored in Pittsburgh when facing Roethlisberger at quarterback.

Are we headed for a day when the Steelers will be just another divisional opponent for the Ravens?

Not so fast, say the parties involved.

“It’s just a different swagger this week, a different wave we’re trying to ride,” said Ravens nose tackle Brandon Williams, who has won six and lost six in his regular-season career against the Steelers.

He recalled how renowned Roethlisberger tormentor Terrell Suggs advised him that “this game will pretty much prove if you’re a Raven or not.”

Fullback Patrick Ricard grinned, recalling how Pittsburgh fans have cussed out his wife in the stands. “The rivalry is real; it’s not just a normal NFL game,” he said. “It’s always the most physical game of the year.”

“If you’re a football fan, you have to know about it,” Roethlisberger told Pittsburgh reporters.

Ravens players sounded downright eager to get back to a packed Heinz Field after their strange, COVID-derailed visit in 2020.

“I know it’s going to be loud, loud as ever,” said quarterback Lamar Jackson, who did not play in Pittsburgh last season. “I know some of our fans are going to be there, too. I know ‘Flock Nation’ is going to be at Heinz Field, but I just can’t wait to hear the noise, hear the atmosphere, smell it, feel it, all of that.”

“Probably the best in the NFL, besides us,” Bowser said when asked about Steelers fans. “But I enjoy playing in Pittsburgh. Coach ‘Wink’ mentioned earlier [that] if he was able to play two games in Pittsburgh, he would, and I definitely believed him. The first time I went out there, in my first year in the league, it was just a crazy energy like no other, and just being out there gives you that different type of energy.”

After six years on the Steelers side of the rivalry, Alejandro Villanueva will return to his former home stadium wearing unfamiliar colors. The soft-spoken left tackle is never one to oversell the emotions of a matchup, and he offered a unique perspective on Ravens-Steelers.

“I come from a country where there’s a true rivalry between two giants, in Real Madrid and Barcelona,” said the son of two Spanish parents. “That’s a rivalry that’s tearing the country apart. This is just two good teams that happen to play each other twice a year, usually in the cold, from working towns.”

He drew laughs when he added, “Unfortunately, I cannot provide any further hype to the rivalry.”

Nonetheless, he noted how unusual it is for two NFL teams to meet so frequently without changing their leaders on the sideline. Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh rank third and fourth, respectively, on the list of longest-tenured NFL coaches. These guys have seen each other more frequently than a lot of us have seen close family members over the last 13 years.

“It’s been an amazing experience for me to watch the two cultures,” Villanueva said. “Obviously, I’ve spent a lot more time with coach Tomlin. He’s like a father figure to me. I miss speaking like him, because I used to listen to him talk all the time, and he’s an amazing speaker, and I would talk to my kids and sound just like coach Tomlin. But now, it’s really interesting to see coach Harbaugh, and how he’s countered the Steelers and that culture to remain a very good team in the AFC and in the AFC North.”

If the rivalry is now defined by decorated middle-aged coaches rather than on-field provocateurs such as Lewis and Ward, perhaps that explains why the temperature has cooled.

“We have a great relationship,” Harbaugh said. “I have a lot of respect for coach Tomlin and for the whole organization over there.”

No one in Pittsburgh is likely to slap that on a bulletin board.

For his part, Tomlin said he has been involved in too many furious, nerve-jangling meetings with the Ravens to take the matchup for granted. The Steelers won both meetings last season, by a combined nine points.

“I just think how the games unfold and the significance of the games over the years make it what it is and has been,” Tomlin said. “I don’t think that that is reduced at all by what’s going on around us. I think it’s about the positioning of the two teams involved, what they’re willing to do in pursuit of victory, the intensity of the games and just how close the games have been over the years.”

Week 13

[email protected]

Sunday, 4:25 p.m.

TV: Chs. 13, 9 Radio: 105.7 FM

Line: Ravens by 4 ½

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The crypto capital of the world



The crypto capital of the world

By David Segal and Ivan Nechepurenko, The New York Times Company

KYIV, Ukraine — A buccaneering 37-year-old educated in a British private school, Michael Chobanian is fluent both in English and the folkways of Ukraine, which he regards as a largely lawless frontier and which he likes to traverse in his black Ferrari 612. He is the founder of Kuna, one of Eastern Europe’s first cryptocurrency exchanges. To him, his native country is a terrific place to run a business, as long as you have the nerve to navigate a system rife with corruption.

Chief among the upsides, he explains in his office overlooking the Dnieper River, is the sort of freedom not seen in developed nations for hundreds of years.

Like, you can get away with murder.

“In this country, you can kill a person and you will not go to jail, if you have enough money and you’re connected,” he said, sipping tea on a plush leather sofa. “If you are not connected, it will cost you more.”

Brendan Hoffman, The New York Times

Michael Chobanian, founder of Kuna Exchange, a Bitcoin exchange, and a general cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiast, in his office in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Oct. 9, 2021. I

The anything-goes ethos has dogged Ukraine for years, and now the government is hoping to bury it, with an assist from cryptocurrency. In early September, the Parliament here passed a law legalizing and regulating Bitcoin, step one in an ambitious campaign to both mainstream the nation’s thriving trade in crypto and to rebrand the entire country.

“The big idea is to become one of the top jurisdictions in the world for crypto companies,” said Alexander Bornyakov, deputy minister at the 2-year-old Ministry of Digital Transformation. “We believe this is the new economy, this is the future, and we believe this is something that is going to boost our economy.”

He has distilled the pitch into a 90-second infomercial that peddles Ukraine the same way that Apple peddles gadgets. Over a grinding techno soundtrack a montage of bakers, executives, nurses and assorted citizens are seen leading contented lives in a kind of high-tech nirvana.

“We invest in startups and create proper conditions for their growth,” a female narrator says in English. “Our goal is to build the most convenient country in the world, for people and business.”

Bornyakov has taken that message — Ukraine as the ultimate destination for entrepreneurs in search of low taxes, a minimum of paperwork and plenty of skilled engineers — on a road show, including a summer tour of Silicon Valley. The country’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, met Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, as well as students at Stanford.

Plenty of economists and policymakers are deeply suspicious of crypto, decrying it as the currency of choice for money launderers, terrorists, mobsters and ransomware extortionists. But an international Crypto’s Got Talent contest is now underway, and many countries are competing. As entrepreneurs pour into the field, some governments have made a simple calculation.

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Supply of homes for sale dried up in November across metro Denver



Supply of homes for sale dried up in November across metro Denver

Snow wasn’t the only thing missing in metro Denver in November. Home listings dried up, with the inventory of available properties down by a third from October. The shortage is so severe that single-family home prices revisited record highs reached this summer, according to a monthly update from the Denver Metro Association of Realtors.

There were 1,444single-family homes for sale at the end of November, down 38.4% from October and 17.7% from a year earlier. The supply of condos and townhomes fell 21.6% month-over-month and 51.6% on the year to 804 listings. Normally, the inventory of homes for sale drops 11.4% between October and November, and last month’s decline was one for the record books, DMAR said.

November’s inventory was also a record low for the month, according to the report. If December sees a 25% drop in inventory from November, metro Denver could end the year with a paltry 1,686 active properties, noted Andrew Abrams, chairman of the DMAR Market Trends Committee, which compiles the monthly report.

“That is drastically lower than the end of 2020 and could lead to the most competitive year yet,” he said in comments included with the report, adding that 2021 homes sales are on track to surpass annual sales seen in any year in the past five years.

A nearly 30% drop in new listings compared to October contributed to the inventory shortages, but new listings last month were on par with November 2020. Demand remains strong, with 4,392 closings but only 3,741 new listings hitting the market. Closings were down 10.4% from October, but that appears to be more about a lack of homes to buy. Half of new listings went under contract in five days or less after hitting the market.

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