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Jets head coach Robert Saleh calls Brian Kelly ‘a phenomenal man’ after snow shoveling story resurfaces



Jets head coach Robert Saleh calls Brian Kelly ‘a phenomenal man’ after snow shoveling story resurfaces

Robert Saleh tried to dig out of a snow-shoveling hole he dug himself with his old boss.

The Jets head coach used part of his Wednesday press conference to say that his unflattering story-telling about working for Brian Kelly at the beginning of his career was taken out of context.

“I feel terrible,” Saleh said.

ESPN’s Rob Demovsky wrote a feature on Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur in 2019, brother of Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, on how LaFleur rose up from the ranks from lowly college assistant to the NFL.

The article included an anecdote from Saleh — Matt LaFleur and the Jets boss were graduate assistants at Central Michigan under Kelly from 2004-2005 — about the two attending a party at Kelly’s home during the winter break. But they weren’t on the guest list, they were there to work.

“We shoveled the snow and parked all the cars,” Saleh said in the ESPN article. “Then, at the end of the night, we had to go get the cars again.”

That night caused some self-reflection for the two and Saleh told Matt later that night, “that when we’re in that position, we’re never going to treat people the way we got treated,” according to the story.

When former Notre Dame head coach Kelly became LSU’s head coach on Monday, the quote popped back up and Kelly’s character took some heat.

Saleh believes the quote was taken out of context and said the story was meant to be funny and explain the trials that came with being a graduate assistant.

“Part of that article was to tell a funny story of Matt and I as GAs. Part of being a GA … every single coach in this profession, there’s a rite of passage whether you’re a GA or a QC [Quality Control]. And that was a funny story.”

There is a contradiction from Saleh because in the article he mentioned he wouldn’t treat anybody that way. So how was that taken out of context?

Saleh didn’t answer, other than to talk about what a great guy Kelly is.

“Not an indictment on how Brian treated us. Brian is a phenomenal man. He really is and that was just one of those deals. That was supposed to be a funny story that people took in a negative light,” Saleh said. “Shame on me. I should have worded that better but there’s a reason why Matt went back and worked for him. There’s a reason why I tried to go back and work for him. He’s a really good manager and treats people the right way.”

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Georgia Aguirre: Workers like me — and everyone else — are safer with Colorado’s new paid sick days law



Georgia Aguirre: Workers like me — and everyone else — are safer with Colorado’s new paid sick days law

Paid sick days and COVID leave, which are guaranteed starting this year for all Colorado workers under the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act, are a game changer for Coloradans who have been working on the front lines of the pandemic.

My name is Georgia, and I work at a nursing home in Greeley, where I care for residents with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. I’ve been doing this work since 2016, and I adore my job and the residents I care for. While challenging, being a nursing home worker means I get to care for people in their most vulnerable moments and ensure that they’re getting the compassionate care they deserve as they age.

This job, however, has put me squarely on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, I caught the virus several months ago, and I’ve been struggling with my health ever since.

I came into contact with a resident in August who was sick with COVID, and days later I began experiencing symptoms, some of which still haven’t gone away. I still need supplemental oxygen to breathe, and when I try to ween myself off, it feels like someone is stepping on my chest. For nearly a month, I couldn’t even get out of bed, and because there was no room at the hospital, my kids had to bathe me and feed me and take care of me.

To make matters worse, I stopped getting a paycheck. I’m a single mother, and I was already behind on my bills, so I had no other choice but to get back to work. My job often requires me to work from 6 in the morning until 11 at night. I work because I can’t afford to lose wages, and I have continued to work 80-hour weeks carrying the oxygen tanks I rely on on my back. When I run out of oxygen at work, my kids deliver a fresh tank so I can keep working. It’s been completely exhausting.

When I was too sick to go to work during my illness, I used up my vacation days so I could stay home because I did not have access to paid sick days. But I wasn’t on vacation. I was too sick to stand up and gasping for air.

Having paid sick days and COVID leave, which are now guaranteed for all workers under Colorado’s new law, would have been a game changer. I could have stayed home from work longer to focus on my recovery. If I’d been able to take COVID leave, my health might be in a better place today.

With COVID cases surging once again due to this highly contagious Omicron variant, I worry about what it will mean for myself and my family. But with this new law in place that ensures everyone has the paid time off and support to stay home if they catch the virus, I feel a lot more at ease knowing that we can keep ourselves and the people who depend on our care safe and healthy.

As of January 1, every worker in the state can earn up to 48 hours of sick pay, and an additional 80 hours for COVID. If I get sick again, I can stay home, and my coworkers are more likely to stay home from work rather than bringing COVID with them to work if they get sick.

Colorado’s front-line workers like me deserve dignity and respect. We work hard to make sure people’s aging loved ones have high quality care, but often we’re the ones who can’t afford to take time off to care for ourselves or our loved ones.

Ensuring all Coloradans have paid sick days is one of the best ways we can thank those who have put themselves at risk to serve our communities during this crisis.

I’m thankful to Governor Jared Polis and all the state lawmakers who sponsored and voted for the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act. It shows workers like me that the leaders of our state value our health and safety.

It is because of their efforts that we’re more prepared for this new wave of the pandemic and whatever else the future holds.

— Georgia Aguirre is a nursing home worker from Greeley

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AG warns against real estate price gouging in wake of Marshall Fire



AG warns against real estate price gouging in wake of Marshall Fire

After receiving reports that some landlords excessively raised their prices after so many Coloradans lost their homes in the Marshall Fire, Attorney General Phil Weiser urged major online real estate marketplace companies to address the risk of illegal price gouging.

Weiser sent letters this week to Airbnb, Zillow, Vrbo, and REColorado, according to a news release from the attorney general.

The letters ask the companies to take the necessary steps to make certain that “unscrupulous actors” are not using their platforms to take advantage of vulnerable Coloradans during a disaster period, according to the release. The letters request a response by the close of business on Monday.

Although the letters were addressed to certain companies, Colorado’s price gouging law applies to any landlord or rental property, including those who do not use the platforms, the release said.

Colorado law prohibits charging excessive prices for certain essential products, goods, or services during a disaster period and makes clear that such price gouging is a deceptive trade practice under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act, according to the release. Under the law, this state of emergency, or disaster period, will last for 180 days from the date of the declared disaster.

Gov. Jared Polis declared a state of emergency on Dec. 30, when the Marshall Fire sparked. Driven by high winds and dry conditions, the fire spread rapidly across more than 6,000 acres in eastern Boulder County. The flames destroyed more than 1,000 homes, leaving many in need of safe, affordable housing.

“The potential for thousands of Coloradans who suffered great loss to be then faced with excessively and unjustifiably high housing costs is not just a legal problem, but also a moral one,” Weiser said in the release. “Coloradans are protected under the law from illegal price gouging, and online rental companies need to understand this risk and do what they can to stop businesses and individuals from preying on our neighbors during such challenging times.”

The release said Coloradans who witness price gouging or who think they might be a victim of price gouging should file a report with the Attorney General’s Office at 800-222-4444 or

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Business People: Abbott Northwestern President Ann Madden Rice retiring in May



Stillwater residents upset with towing company’s plan to remove 97 trees


Ann Madden Rice

Allina Health, a Minneapolis-based operator of hospitals and clinics, announced the pending retirement of Ann Madden Rice, senior vice president operations and president of Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, effective in May; David Joos, vice president operations, has been selected as the next president of Abbott Northwestern.


Media Bridge Advertising, Minneapolis, announced that Chief Marketing Officer Toni Dandrea has been elevated to partner alongside the agency’s founder and CEO Tracy Call.


Housing First Minnesota Foundation/HomeAid Minnesota announced that Kate Hamilton of Woodbury-based Custom One Homes was elected foundation president for 2022, leading its 16-member board of directors. The organization is the foundational arm of Housing First Minnesota, a Roseville-based trade group representing state homebuilders, which builds and remodels transitional housing for Minnesotans in need.


College Inside Track, a St. Paul-based provider of college consulting services for families, announced the following new Minnesota hires: Stephanie George, college consultant, Rosemount; Kim Koffi, college consultant, St. Cloud, and Sonja Buckmeier, office coordinator, St. Michael.


Northern Oil and Gas, a Minnetonka-based investment firm concentrating on mineral rights and real estate for the eventual production of energy resources, announced the promotion of Adam Dirlam to president from chief operating officer and the appointment of Jennifer Pomerantz as an independent board director. Pomerantz most recently served as chairman and CEO of American Natural, a Pittsburgh-based chain of convenience stores, eateries and gas stations, which she founded in 2011. … Otter Tail Corp., a Fergus Falls, Minn.-based energy utility and diversified manufacturer, announced it has appointed Dr. Michael LeBeau to the company’s board of directors, effective Jan. 1. LeBeau serves as system vice president and chief administrative officer for the health services division of Sanford Health, Bismarck, N.D.


JLL Capital Markets, a Chicago-based international financial and commercial real estate investment consultant for business, announced the hire of Managing Director Scott Loving in Minneapolis to specialize in debt and equity advisory transactions in the Twin Cities market.


HealthPartners, a Bloomington-based health insurer and operator of hospitals and clinics, announced that Modern Healthcare magazine has named President and CEO Andrea Walsh as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare.


Fredrikson & Byron, Minneapolis, announced that attorney Eric H. Schilling has joined the firm as an associate in the Bank & Finance Group.


H.B. Fuller, a Vadnais Heights-based maker of adhesives, sealants and specialty chemicals to industry, announced it has elected Srilata (Sri) Zaheer as an independent member of its board of directors, audit committee and compensation committee. Zaheer serves as dean of the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management and chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.


American Public Media Group, a St. Paul-based producer of national news and feature programming for listener-supported public radio, announced the appointment of Liwanag Ojala as senior vice president and chief transformation officer, effective Jan. 10.


Medtronic announced that Dr. Rick Kuntz, chief medical officer and chief scientific officer, plans to retire in April at the end of the company’s fiscal year. Medtronic, a developer of implantable medical devices, is based in Ireland with executive operations in Fridley.


Winmark Corp., a Plymouth-based franchiser of retail brands specializing in used goods, announced that Kirk A.MacKenzie will not stand for reelection to the board of directors at its
shareholders meeting in April and that Percy C. (Tom) Tomlinson is joining the board and Audit Committee. Tomlinson is an operating partner with a New York-based middle market private equity investor. Winmark’s brands include Plato’s Closet, Once Upon A Child, Play It Again Sports, Style Encore and Music Go Round.


Arctic Wolf, an Eden Prairie-based provider of cloud-based cybersecurity platforms for business, announced the appointment of Andrew Hill as chief legal officer and general counsel.

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