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Party foul: 2 in 3 say one relative always drinks too much at holiday gatherings



Party foul: 2 in 3 say one relative always drinks too much at holiday gatherings

NEW YORK ( – Three in five Americans dread going to family gatherings during the holidays. That’s according to a new survey of 2,000 Americans over the age of 21, all of whom typically attend large gatherings during the holiday season.

Almost two-thirds of the poll (63%) agree that there’s always one family member who takes things too far when it comes to “indulging” during the holidays. Meanwhile, 58 percent agree that their entire family drinks too much at holiday gatherings.

So, who’s most likely to over imbibe and do something shocking? One-third of respondents say they can count on that behavior from their uncle.

The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Ritual Zero Proof, also revealed that a little more than half (54%) of respondents know that someone is going to have to apologize the morning after the family gathering.

Forty-seven percent say politics is their least favorite dinner table discussion topic, with more intimate ones like family gossip (42%) and personal drama (41%) following closely behind. Americans add that mom (31%) and dad (30%) lead the charge in bringing up uncomfortable subjects.

Holiday party fouls

According to 43 percent of people surveyed, leaving early is one of the most common party faux pas at family parties, followed by yelling (39%) and drinking too much (38%). When asked about the most embarrassing thing someone has done at a family holiday get-together, one respondent took the term “lit” a bit too literally and “fell in a fire pit.”

Another popular, embarrassing foul was vomiting, whether it be “on another person,” “on the table,” or even “on the host.”

Uncomfortable moments and jaw-dropping conversation may factor into why 48 percent admit to drinking more at family holiday gatherings — more so than any other social event during the year.

However, it’s not just family gatherings where liquid courage may cloud judgement. Two-thirds of Americans agree that there’s always one coworker who takes it too far at holiday office parties.

Sixty-two percent also confess that they’ll drink more than usual if there’s an open bar at the office party — specifically because it’s free and 69 percent believe that too much booze is available at parties in general.

Three-quarters of people feel the holiday party is where they truly find out what their coworkers are like. This also proved to be one of the top reasons people attend office parties, with 46 percent seeking to discover the hidden sides of their colleague.

Office party curiosity can backfire

Holiday problems

“The lowered inhibitions that can come with ‘liquid courage’ aren’t always a good thing, not just for our egos but for our well-being,” says Marcus Sakey, founding partner of Ritual Zero Proof, in a statement. “That’s why many Americans are becoming more sober-curious — they want to experience the benefits that drinking in moderation can yield, like increased energy, better sleep, and most importantly, a clearer head.”

Speaking of clearer heads, 62 percent of respondents say they’ve dreaded going to work the day after an office party due to embarrassment. Another 64 percent admit that they couldn’t look at some of their coworkers the same way once the celebration ended.

According to one respondent, “[A] coworker got drunk and fell into the Christmas tree and knocked it over, then threw up in the boss’s driveway.”

With 56 percent worrying that they themselves might get fired after office holiday party events, it’s no surprise that almost half the poll (47%) have a desire to reduce their alcohol consumption.

​​“We’re all more health-conscious these days, but moderation doesn’t need to mean sacrifice, especially during the holidays,” Sakey adds. “Swapping in a nonalcoholic beverage is all about balance, so you and your social circle can celebrate without the hangover, embarrassment or regret.”

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Walz proposes $350 rebate checks from budget surplus; Republicans call it ‘election year gimmick’



Walz proposes $350 rebate checks from budget surplus; Republicans call it ‘election year gimmick’
Gov. Tim Walz announces his plan for spending part of the state’s projected $7.75 billion budget surplus during a news conference at Minneapolis Community College on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. (Dana Ferguson / Forum News Service)

Minnesota households could be eligible for up to $350 direct payments, and front-line workers that stayed on the job during the pandemic could receive an extra $1,500 this year, under a plan that Gov. Tim Walz proposed Thursday.

The Democratic-Farmer-Labor governor said Minnesotans should benefit from the state’s $7.75 billion budget surplus. And as part of his plan for the funds, more than $4 billion would go toward direct payments, worker recruitment and retention programs, grants for farmers and broadband expansion.

Walz rolled out his ideas for the surplus during a Thursday news conference at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. And he said Minnesotans, the state’s greatest asset, should reap the benefits of the state’s strong financial position.

“This is about expanding an already vibrant economy, it’s about making sure we’re lifting up those were hurt hardest during the pandemic and it’s making sure there’s a long-range vision about where Minnesota’s going,” Walz said, “and we’re well positioned to do that.”

Lawmakers in the divided Capitol have split over the best way to spend the projected budget surplus and will likely spend months debating how the state ought to use it.

Walz said he would propose three uses for the funds:

  • Economic opportunities
  • Helping kids and families
  • Advancing health and safety

Ultimately, it will be up to legislators to decide which ideas move forward. Republicans, who control the Senate, and Democrats, who lead the House of Representatives, are set to unveil their priorities for the budget surplus over the next week.

Republican lawmakers on Thursday said they appreciated Walz’s proposal to spend $2.7 billion to repay the federal government and replenish the state’s unemployment trust fund. If lawmakers don’t act, businesses would see a payroll tax increase to cover it.

But they said the proposal to send out checks of up to $350 to people who make $164,400 or less was a political move.

“Walz checks are nothing more than an election year gimmick, and it will barely cover the inflationary costs of everyday necessities,” Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, said. “We’ll propose permanent, ongoing, targeted tax relief for working Minnesotans so they see savings every single year.”

While they agreed to spend $250 million to pay out to front-line workers over the summer, efforts to decide who should get the checks fell short this fall. And unrelated issues prevented a $10 million drought relief package for farmers from passing through the Capitol.

Walz urged lawmakers to put those financial supports first when they return to the Capitol on Jan. 31.

“Minnesotans want results,” he said.

House Democrats earlier in the day said they would prioritize hero pay for front-line workers, state programs for paid family leave, as well as earned sick and safe time, broadband expansion and affordable housing as the best uses for the surplus money.

And they said they were hopeful that having a $7.75 billion excess would allow more of their goals to get across the finish line this year.

“I think the existence of the surplus makes a huge difference in the practical reality of getting something like this proposal done,” said House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park.

While the DFL-led House has put forward and passed paid family leave and earned sick and safe time before, the GOP-controlled Senate hasn’t supported the proposals.

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce said the paid family leave program could stunt future economic growth and undermine the benefits of having the state cover the cost for the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund.

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Kiszla: NBA will make Buffs forward Jabari Walker rich, even if he’s not ready to be a money player



Kiszla: NBA will make Buffs forward Jabari Walker rich, even if he’s not ready to be a money player

BOULDER — In the not-too-distant future, we’d all like to have the bank account of Colorado sophomore Jabari Walker. He’s going to be an NBA millionaire soon enough. Guaranteed.

But Walker is not yet a money player.

“He’s 19 years old. He’s still learning,” CU coach Tad Boyle said Thursday.

Growing up to be the man who can put a basketball team on his back is hard to do. Walker could leave CU after this season and get drafted, reaping the financial benefits of being chosen no later than the middle of the second round. It would be a savvy move for his net worth, but a mistake in the development of a shooter whose all-around skills are far from refined.

The holes in Walker’s immense potential are a primary reason why the Buffs missed the chance to score a signature win that could’ve been a bold-face line on a resume worthy of an NCAA tourney invitation. CU faltered in the final minutes of a 61-58 loss to the 16th-ranked USC Trojans.

To his credit, Walker led an often-inept CU offense with 13 points. But he made only three of his nine field-goal attempts.

When the outcome hung in the balance late in the second half, the Buffs placed the ball and their trust in him. Walker flinched. That’s no sin. It was a learning moment, a chance for a talented, young player to realize his handle, as well as his finishing skills, are not NBA ready.

“Last year, (Walker) was a pick-and-pop (power forward). He made open jump shots when our guys got him open jump shots. He did a great job of that,” Boyle said. “This year, his role is completely different. The ball is in his hands. We’re expecting him to make plays for himself and for others. He’s capable, but he’s on a learning curve.”

Despite sinking only six shots from the field during the first half, the Buffs were full of fist pumps and vinegar as they bounced off the floor to the locker room, tied at 25 with the Trojans at halftime.

“I don’t know how we were in the game, quite frankly,” Boyle said. “It’s a testament to our guys’ competitiveness and grit.”

On the first day of class in Basketball 101, however, everybody learns: You can’t win if you can’t score. Championship defense doesn’t mean a thing if your shots go clink, clank, clunk.

The CU offense was asleep at the wheel until sophomore guard Nique Clifford woke up his teammates and brought down the house with a thunderous dunk near the midway point of the second half. It was a moment that screamed these feisty Buffs just might have the right stuff to beat a ranked foe, and ignited a 10-0 run that put CU ahead 47-43 with 8 minutes, 13 seconds remaining.

“We’re supposed to ride that moment out to victory,” Buffs senior Evan Battey said. “We didn’t do that, so it’s disappointing.”

At crunch time, the young Buffs took a seat at the back of the classroom in the school of hard knocks. After a 3-point jumper by Tristan da Silva staked CU to a 50-45 lead with 6:41 to play, the Buffs could not buy another bucket from the field until guard Keeshawn Barthelemy hit a meaningless, uncontested shot at the final buzzer.

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Hennepin Co. sheriff was driving over 120 mph, not wearing seatbelt during DWI crash, according to State Patrol



Hennepin Co. sheriff was driving over 120 mph, not wearing seatbelt during DWI crash, according to State Patrol

Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson was driving over 120 mph and was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of his December DWI crash in near Alexandria, Minn., according to investigative files released Thursday by the State Patrol.

The files, which include audio of interviews with Hutchinson, blood-alcohol analysis results and crash reports, paint a fuller picture of the rollover on Interstate 94 that totaled his county-owned SUV, and have renewed calls for the embattled sheriff’s resignation.

Hutchinson was sentenced last month to two years’ probation and fined $610, after pleading guilty to one count of driving while intoxicated. Elected in 2018, Hutchinson has said the crash was a “wake-up call” and that he has enrolled in an outpatient treatment program to address “my issues with alcohol and my overall health.”

Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson. (Courtesy of the Ramsey County sheriff’s office)

Following the release of the State Patrol files Thursday morning, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz joined a growing chorus of public officials saying Hutchinson should step down.

“I’m not a resident of Hennepin County, and I’m speaking as an individual on this, but I think most Minnesotans know, and most Minnesotans understand, that there’s consequences for decisions like that,” Walz said during an unrelated press conference.

Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, who was present there, added that “it’s not our role to hire and fire the sheriff of Hennepin County, but as a constituent, I would say that it is time for him to resign.”

Earlier this month, a majority of Hennepin County commissioners also called for Hutchinson’s resignation.

Messages seeking comment from Hutchinson’s attorney and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s office were not returned Thursday afternoon.


Hutchinson was driving back from a Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association conference at the Arrowwood Resort about 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 8, when he crashed the 2021 black Ford Explorer about five miles east of Alexandria on I-94.

The crash analysis report showed Hutchinson reached speeds of 126 mph, and that the driver’s-side seatbelt was not engaged. Inside the vehicle were three firearms and an unopened bottle of whiskey.

Hutchinson was hospitalized with three broken ribs, as well as injuries to his head and hip. At first, he told responding officers that he had not been driving.

“Hutchinson stated multiple times that he was not driving and that he did not know who was driving. Hutchinson stated at one point that he had called a cab and he was a passenger,” Douglas County Deputy Dylan Kriese said in his report.

According to a urine analysis taken about three hours after the crash, Hutchinson had a blood-alcohol content of .134 percent. The legal limit to drive in Minnesota is .08 percent.

A State Patrol report said Hutchinson had slurred speech, poor balance, smelled of alcohol and was the lone occupant of the car.

The day after the crash, Hutchinson released a statement admitting to being the driver saying, “I made the inexcusable decision to drive after drinking alcohol and I am deeply sorry.”

Hutchinson was originally charged in Douglas County District Court with four DWI-related counts, but three were dismissed as part of his plea agreement.

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