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Cheney: Trump attempted to contact Jan. 6 witness

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Cheney: Trump Attempted To Contact Jan. 6 Witness
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By LISA MASCARO and FARNOUSH AMIRI

WASHINGTON (AP) — The vice chair of the House Jan. 6 committee said Donald Trump has attempted to contact a witness who was talking to the panel investigating the attack on the Capitol.

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said Tuesday that the Justice Department has been notified.

“We will take any effort to influence witness testimony very seriously,” Cheney said.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Jan. 6 committee revealed details of an “unhinged” late night meeting at the White House with Donald Trump’s outside lawyers suggesting the military seize state voting machines in a last-ditch effort to pursue his false claims of voter fraud before the defeated president summoned a mob to the U.S. Capitol.

The committee investigating last year’s attack at the Capitol is working to show how far-right extremists answered Trump’s call to come for a big rally in Washington. As dozens of lawsuits and his claims of voter fraud fizzled, Trump met late into the night of Dec. 18 with attorneys at the White House before tweeting the rally invitation — “Be there, will be wild!” Members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers groups are now facing rare sedition charges over the siege.

“This tweet served as a call to action — and in some cases a call to arms.” said one panel member, Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla.

Tuesday’s hearing was the seventh for the Jan. 6 committee. Over the past month, the panel has created a narrative of a defeated Trump “detached from reality,” clinging to false claims of voter fraud and working feverishly to reverse his election defeat. It all culminated with the attack on the Capitol, the committee says.

The panel featured new video testimony from Pat Cipollone, Trump’s former White House counsel, recalling the explosive meeting at the White House when Trump’s outside legal team brought a draft executive order to seize states’ voting machines — a “terrible idea,” he said.

“That’s not how we do things in the United States,” Cipollone testified.

Another aide called the meeting “unhinged.”

Cipollone and other White House officials scrambled to intervene in the late-night meeting Trump was having with attorneys Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, retired national security aide Michael Flynn and the head of the online retail company Overstock. It erupted in shouting and screaming, another aide testified.

“Where is the evidence?” Cipollone demanded of the false claims of voter fraud.

“What they were proposing, I thought, was nuts,” testified another White House official, Eric Herschmann.

But Trump was intrigued and essentially told his White House lawyers that at least Powell and outside allies were trying to do something.

“You guys are not tough enough,” Giuliani in video testimony recalled the president telling the White House attorneys. “You guys are p—-,” he said, using crass language.

As night turned to morning, Trump tweeted the call for supporters to come to Washington on Jan. 6, when Congress would be tallying the Electoral College results. “Be there. Will be wild,” Trump wrote.

Immediately, the extremists reacted.

The panel showed graphic and violent text messages and played videos of right-wing figures, including Alex Jones, and others laying out that Jan. 6 would be the day they fight for the president.

In vulgar and often racist language the messages beaming across the far-right forums planned for the big day that they said Trump was asking for in Washington. It would be a “red wedding,” said one, a reference to mass killing. “Bring handcuffs.”

Several members of the U.S. Capitol Police who fought the mob that day sat stone-faced in the front row of the committee room.

“The problem of politicians whipping up mob violence to destroy fair elections is the oldest domestic enemy of constitutional democracy,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., in opening remarks.

At the witness table to testify in person was Jason Van Tatenhove, an ally of Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes. Another witness was Stephen Ayres, who pleaded guilty last month to disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building. He has said that on Jan. 2, 2021, he posted an image stating that Trump was “calling on us to come back to Washington on January 6th for a big protest.”

The committee is probing whether the extremist groups, including the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and QAnon adherents who had rallied for Trump before, coordinated with White House allies for Jan. 6. The Oath Keepers have denied there was any plan to storm the Capitol.

The committee began the second half of the hearing making connections between Trump allies Flynn and Roger Stone and the extremist groups who were preparing to come to Washington.

It showed showing a picture of Rhodes, the Oath Keeper leader, walking with Flynn, the former national security aide to Trump, outside the Capitol at some point.

The committee also heard from Trump’s former campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson, who testified about her concerns about those planning for Jan. 6.

And the panel showed anew that on the day of the rally, Trump intended to join the mob at the Capitol.

“March to the Capitol after,” Trump said in a draft tweet about the rally.

This was the only hearing this week, as new details emerge. An expected prime-time hearing Thursday has been shelved for now.

This week’s session comes after former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson provided stunning accounts under oath of an angry Trump who knowingly sent armed supporters to the Capitol on Jan. 6 and then refused to quickly call them off as violence erupted, siding with the rioters as they searched menacingly for Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump has said Cassidy’s account is not true. But Cipollone at Friday’s private session did not contradict earlier testimony. Raskin said the panel planned to use “a lot” of Cipollone’s testimony.

On Dec. 29, the Proud Boys chairman posted a message on social media that said members planned to “turn out in record numbers on Jan. 6th,” according to a federal indictment.

The group planned to meet at the Washington Monument, its members instructed not to wear its traditional black and yellow colors, but be “incognito.”

The Proud Boys have said their membership grew after Trump, during his first debate with Biden, refused to outright condemn the group but instead told them to “stand back and stand by.”

The night before Jan. 6, Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio met with Oath Keepers leader Rhodes at an underground parking garage, according to court filings along with images a documentary filmmaker trailing the group provided to the panel.

The Oath Keepers had also been organizing for Jan. 6 and established a “quick response force” at a nearby hotel in Virginia, according to court filings.

After the Capitol siege, Rhodes called someone with an urgent message for Trump, another group member has said. Rhodes was denied a chance to speak to Trump, but urged the person on the phone to tell the Republican president to call upon militia groups to fight to keep the president in power.

An attorney for Rhodes recently told the committee that he wants to testify publicly. Rhodes was already interviewed by the committee privately, and it’s unlikely the panel will agree.

The panel also intends to note that many of the Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol appeared to be QAnon believers. Federal authorities have explicitly linked at least 38 rioters to the pro-Trump conspiracy theory, according to an Associated Press review of court records.

One of the most recognizable figures from the attack was a shirtless Arizona man who called himself the “QAnon Shaman,” carried a spear and wore face paint and a Viking hat with fur and horns.

A core belief among QAnon followers is that Trump was secretly fighting a cabal of “deep state” operatives, prominent Democrats and Hollywood elites, some of whom worship Satan and engage in sex trafficking of children.

The panel has shown, over the course of fast-paced hearings and with eyewitness accounts from the former president’s inner circle, that Trump was told “over and over,” as Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said, that he had lost the election and his claims of voter fraud were just not true. Nevertheless, Trump summoned his supporters to Washington and then sent them to the Capitol in what panel Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., has called an “attempted coup.”

___ Associated Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick and Michael Balsamo in Washington and Michael Kunzelman in College Park, Maryland, contributed to this report.

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As rookie season winds down, Twins’ Jose Miranda makes plans for improvement in offseason

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As Rookie Season Winds Down, Twins’ Jose Miranda Makes Plans For Improvement In Offseason
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DETROIT — The details haven’t been fully ironed out yet, but at some point this offseason, Jose Miranda is planning on traveling from his home in Puerto Rico to Carlos Correa’s home in Houston to spend a week with the shortstop.

Correa, it turns out, didn’t leave him with much of a choice in the matter.

“He was like, ‘Hey, you’ve got no options. You’re going to Houston,’ ” Miranda said of Correa.

Not that he’s complaining about that.

“I feel like it’s a great opportunity to get better, and obviously I’ve got to take advantage of it,” Miranda said.

As he heads into what will be his first offseason as a major leaguer, the infielder has many things he’s planning on focusing on as he works toward improvement: He wants to get faster. He wants to get in better shape, focusing in on his nutrition. And he wants to work on his agility.

His work with Correa will have a heavy focus on improving his defense — Miranda has spent his rookie season both at third base, his natural position, and at first, a new spot for him.

“(I) want to work with him on some defensive drills,” Correa said. “I feel like he can be a four, five, six WAR (Wins Above Replacement) player if his defense matches his offense. He will be one of the best players in the league if he can master that. I just want the best for him.”

Correa’s offseason days usually start around 9 a.m. He’s home by 1:30 p.m. after going to the gym, eating, spending time in the batting cage and taking some ground balls. He repeats this routine five days a week.

In welcoming Miranda to town to shadow him, he hopes to show him exactly what type of work goes into sustaining success at the major league level.

“I told him, ‘Come for a week. Stay at my house. We’re going to work out together. We’re going to diet together. We’re going to do everything I do in an offseason so you can see how I do it and how (Jose) Altuve does and how (Justin) Verlander does it and guys that I know,” Correa said. “I just want him to see that firsthand and show up next year ready.”

Miranda, 24, is near ready to conclude a rookie season that began in early May. After taking a month to adapt to the major league level, he has turned into one of the most productive hitters in the Twins’ lineup. Miranda entered Saturday’s game hitting .272 with 15 home runs and a team-leading 66 runs batted in. His .759 OPS was fifth on the team, and his 117 OPS+ is 17 percent better than league average.

In addition to wanting to get quicker, which he mentioned multiple times, Miranda said he wanted to challenge himself to take more walks next year. He headed into Saturday’s game having drawn 27 walks in 120 games.

“I was hoping it was going to be a good season,” he said. “I was hoping to have some good numbers. So far, I think it’s been a decent one, a good one. But obviously, I want to get better at more things, and I want to improve for next year.”

FULMER RETURNS

Michael Fulmer couldn’t help but notice a trip to Comerica Park on the Twins’ schedule after he was traded. The reliever debuted as a Tiger in 2016 and played in Detroit up until the trade deadline this season, when he was dealt for a prospect.

Friday, the Tigers honored him with a pregame video, after which he tipped his hat to the crowd.

“They did an awesome job with it,” Fulmer said. “I’m grateful that they took the time out of their day to come up with a video like that. Obviously the crowd, it was special. …I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done for me over my seven years here.”

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Gophers coach P.J. Fleck on early fourth-down decision: ‘I would do it again’

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Gophers Coach P.j. Fleck On Early Fourth-Down Decision: ‘I Would Do It Again’
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Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck made a puzzling decision to go for it on fourth-and-1 from inside his team’s own 30-yard line during the first quarter against Purdue on Saturday at Huntington Bank Stadium.

Minnesota had run the ball five times for five total yards and had the ball at its own 29-yard line. Trailing 7-0, the U went to its wildcat package for the first time this season. Quarterback Cole Kramer did not find a hole and was stuffed for no gain.

With great field position, Purdue tacked on a 42-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead en route to a 20-10 win during the U’s Homecoming. Those three points looked as if they would decide the game until Purdue was able to tack on the late touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.

“Felt like we needed to do something,” Fleck explained. “It only cost us three points, but it was worth it. I would do it again. We got to be able to get fourth-and-1.”

Fleck said he was OK with the play call using one of their short-yardage packages.

“We do that in spring ball and trust the people that are going to be able to do it and trust the call,” Fleck added. “We didn’t execute. We got blown back. It didn’t matter what call we were going to call there.”

Fleck said he was looking for a spark. The U went three-and-out on the opening drive, and Tanner Morgan had a tipped pass intercepted on the second series.

“We got to get something moving,” Fleck said. “You can’t sit there and say, ‘If you backtrack now, in hindsight, should you have done that?’ You don’t know the game is going to go that way.”

Fleck said his rationale was: If the Gophers don’t convert on fourth down, they would have to hold Purdue to a field goal.

“Is that worth it?,” Fleck added. “And I said ‘yes.’ ”

NO SIGNS

Fleck said there were no indicators this week to tip off the Gophers’ slow slow on Saturday.

“Not at all,” he said. “They had a tremendous practice on Tuesday, really good practice on Wednesday. You can always dissect something. Ah, there’s the reason. No.”

Morgan went to his offense during the first quarter and told them they were not playing hard enough, according to KFXN-FM. Morgan then connected with Daniel Jackson for a 66-yard completion, but Matthew Trickett missed a 28-yard field goal.

“We just didn’t execute,” Fleck said.

BRIEFLY

Fleck fell to 2-19 when trailing at the half. He was 0-17 until he beat Purdue last October. The Gophers also came back to beat Wisconsin last November. … Gophers defensive players Terell Smith, Braelen Oliver, Jah Joyner and guard Chuck Filliaga were three additional players spotted Saturday dealing with injuries. … Quintin Redding had a 20-yard punt return to set up the U’s third-quarter touchdown. He had a 64-yard punt return in the fourth quarter called back due to a holding call on Derik LeCaptain. … Trickett was 5 for 5 on field goals this season before his short-distance miss in the second quarter. He later connected from 45 yards out, just before the half. … The U announced an attendance of 48,288 for its “stripe out” Saturday.

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Magic aim to start building Sports + Entertainment District by early 2023

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For the Orlando Magic, the last month — and especially since training camp started last week — has been about breaking in the team’s new state-of-the-art 130,000-square-foot AdventHealth Training Center.

Although the Magic are getting settled in their new training facility, they’re still keeping their attention on a bigger project that’s been in the works for nearly a decade.

Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins recently told the Orlando Sentinel that the organization is planning to start construction on the long-awaited $500-million-plus downtown Sports + Entertainment District by the end of March 2023.

He added that the project is expected to be a “two-year build process” and be completed “sometime in 2025″ but wasn’t sure when exactly it’d be done.

Pat Gallagher, director of the Sports + Entertainment District, told GrowthSpotter in early September that the team would be releasing more information about the project within the next few months.

“We’re still very much on track and certainly believe that we should be in the ground by the end of the first quarter next year, starting some construction,” Martins said. “Our development partner is working on finalizing all the financing as we speak. They hope to get through that this calendar year. Provided the market stays and doesn’t get much worse, hopefully, we’ll be able to get into the ground by the end of the first quarter [of 2023].”

The Sports + Entertainment District will be a mixed-use district on the 8.4 acres north of Amway Center and east of the team’s training facility, which also has an orthopedic and sports medicine clinic run by AdventHealth.

The project will include several amenities, including a hotel tower, restaurants, meeting and retail space, a parking garage and 420,000 square feet of office space.

The team’s business staff, which has been working out of leased 23,000-square-foot space in downtown’s CNL Building II next to City Hall after leaving their longtime offices in Maitland’s RDV Sportsplex last year, will move into the Sports + Entertainment District office space once completed.

The Magic are bringing on a yet-to-be-announced development partner for the Sports + Entertainment District.

“The pandemic actually caused us to have the need to change development partners, so we went through that process over the course of the last year,” Martins said. “They’re very excited about it and believe in the vision the development will come together and the pieces within it.

“It’s very much the same we’ve talked about: the hotel, office, music venue and sports and entertainment-related retail. The vision and plan very much remain the same. We’ve got a development partner that believes in that vision and that it can be very successful.”

This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Khobi Price at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.

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Column: As Wrigley Field prepares to close its doors for the season, the Chicago Cubs look ahead to better days — again

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Column: As Wrigley Field Prepares To Close Its Doors For The Season, The Chicago Cubs Look Ahead To Better Days — Again
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After the end of the 2014 Chicago Cubs season, Theo Epstein spoke optimistically about the upcoming offseason.

It was time to get serious.

“Knowing the money will be there changes the lens in which you view every transaction,” said Epstein, then the president of baseball operations.

The Cubs had cleared about $41 million off the payroll after their third straight last-place finish in the National League Central, and Epstein and business operations president Crane Kenney were addressing a group of season ticket holders at the Oriental Theater.

The Cubs wound up spending smartly that offseason, bringing in starter Jon Lester on a six-year, $155 million deal that turned out to be arguably the best signing in team history. They turned the corner in the rebuild in 2015, making it to the National League Championship Series and winning the World Series one year later.

Once again the Cubs are voicing optimism and promising to spend money in the offseason, though this time it’s Jed Hoyer making the big decisions. Whether the Cubs are close to turning the corner in the rebuild that can’t be called a rebuild is a question that can’t be answered until we see what moves Hoyer makes and whether the current group can build on its strong finish in 2022.

Manager David Ross said before Saturday’s 2-1 win against the Cincinnati Reds that he was excited about the team’s growth and work ethic, though he cautioned they’re still a ways off from where they need to be.

“Those are good signs,” he said. “We’ll continue to grow. We’ve got a long way to go to get better, to competing for a World Series, but these guys are on a mission to do that.”

The Cubs extended their winning streak to six games and have taken 10 of their last 11. Seiya Suzuki’s solo home run in the seventh was the winning blast, and Adbert Alzolay and Wade Miley combined for five hitless innings of relief.

The Cubs end their home schedule Sunday at Wrigley Field, which likely will be the last chance for fans to say one final goodbye to catcher Willson Contreras, the only remaining active player from the 2016 champions.

The Cubs held a tribute during Saturday’s game for Jason Heyward, another member of the ‘16 champs who was told last month that he’ll be let go after the season. After a highlight package of Heyward aired on the video boards, the outfielder stepped out of the dugout to a standing ovation and flashed his World Series ring.

Most of the 2016 Cubs have had their farewells, and after this season the only one left will be pitcher Kyle Hendricks. Heyward said Thursday that when he signed in 2015, some former teammates told him: “It’s the goat, brother. You ain’t gonna beat the goat.”

But that team ended the Billy Goat curse, and now there are no more mythical obstacles preventing the Cubs from replicating that success. It’s all on Hoyer and Chairman Tom Ricketts.

This has not been a season to celebrate on the North Side despite the uplifting ending. The Cubs’ play at Wrigley has been particularly uninspiring with a 36-44 home record.

A few moments in 2022 will be remembered years from now, though for some in the left-field bleachers the season’s biggest highlight was watching Epstein posing for pictures while sprawled out in the basket, a final goodbye to Chicago before he packed up and moved his family out East.

The Cubs are 1-70 when trailing entering the ninth inning, a tragic number that needs no analysis. Their one comeback win came on Aug. 20 at Wrigley, when Nick Madrigal singled home the tying run in the ninth and Contreras had a walk-off RBI single in the 11th. Maybe Marquee Sports Network can play it on a loop all winter.

In truth, this was the kind of season most Cubs fans were accustomed to before Epstein signed Lester eight years ago, thus raising the hopes for a championship and sustained success. They got it right — except for the sustained part.

Hoyer and Ricketts have said the money will be there for future success, and for the sake of Cubs fans, let’s hope they spend it wisely.

And the Cubs aren’t done hyping the future. They brought some of their top prospects to Chicago this weekend to get acclimated to the organization, including Class-A outfielder Owen Caissie, acquired in the Yu Darvish deal with the San Diego Padres that signaled the beginning of the end of the winning era.

“My biggest takeaway is everyone seems happy here,” Caissie, 20, said. “Like when I’m walking down the street, everyone has a smile on their face. It’s pretty cool.”

Heyward basically said the same thing about Chicago on his way out.

“The sports city here, obviously I know it’s been tough on the winning side those last few years, “ he said. “But either way, Chicago doesn’t take that stuff for granted, and to me that’s been something that has been awesome to be a part of. Just taking walks, going around the city. As a professional, as someone who is a ballplayer in the city, people embrace that, they respect that and they respect their space.

“They want you to enjoy what they’re enjoying, and that is something that’s really cool and unique about the city.”

One more game at Wrigley, with Marcus Stroman taking the ball Sunday in his final start before the three-game, season-ending series in Cincinnati.

The ballpark will close for the winter, and the neighborhood bars and restaurants will try to find ways to make some money until opening day returns in April.

It’s going to be a long winter for Cubs fans, but they’ll keep on keeping on.

They know the drill.

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Ian leaves dozens dead as focus turns to rescue, recovery

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Dozens of Florida residents left their flooded and splintered homes by boat and by air on Saturday as rescuers continued to search for survivors in the wake of Hurricane Ian, while authorities in South Carolina and North Carolina began taking stock of their losses.

The death toll from the storm, one of the strongest hurricanes by wind speed to ever hit the U.S., grew to nearly three dozen, with deaths reported from Cuba, Florida and North Carolina. The storm weakened Saturday as it rolled into the mid-Atlantic, but not before it washed out bridges and piers, hurdled massive boats into buildings onshore and sheared roofs off homes, leaving hundreds of thousands without power.

At least 35 people were confirmed dead, including 28 people in Florida mostly from drowning but others from Ian’s tragic aftereffects. An elderly couple died after their oxygen machines shut off when they lost power, authorities said.

As of Saturday, more than 1,000 people had been rescued from flooded areas along Florida’s southwestern coast alone, Daniel Hokanson, a four-star general and head of the National Guard, told The Associated Press while airborne to Florida.

Chris Schnapp was at the Port Sanibel Marina in Fort Myers on Saturday, waiting to see whether her 83-year-old mother-in-law had been evacuated from Sanibel Island. A pontoon boat had just arrived with a load of passengers from the island — with suitcases and animals in tow — but Schnapp’s mother-in-law was not among them.

“She stayed on the island. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law own two businesses over there. They evacuated. She did not want to go,” Schnapp said. Now, she said, she wasn’t sure if her mother-in-law was still on the island or had been taken to a shelter somewhere.

On Pine Island, the largest barrier island off Florida’s Gulf Coast, houses were reduced to splinters and boats littered roadways as a volunteer group went door-to-door Saturday, asking residents if they wanted to be evacuated. Helen Koch blew her husband a kiss and mouthed the words “I love you” as she sat inside a rescue helicopter that was lifting her and seven of the couple’s 17 dogs to safety.

River flooding posed a major challenge at times to rescue and supply delivery efforts. The Myakka River washed over a stretch of Interstate 75, forcing a traffic-snarling highway closure for a while Saturday on the key corridor linking Tampa to the north with the hard-hit southwest Florida region that straddles Port Charlotte and Fort Myers. Later Saturday, state officials said, water levels had receded enough that I-75 could be fully reopened. However, they said monitors were out keeping close watch on constantly changing river levels.

While rising waters in Florida’s southwest rivers have crested or are near cresting, the levels aren’t expected to drop significantly for days, said National Weather Service meteorologist Tyler Fleming in Tampa.

Elsewhere, South Carolina’s Pawleys Island — a beach community roughly 75 miles (115 kilometers) up the coast from Charleston — was among the places hardest hit. Power remained knocked out to at least half of the island Saturday.

Eddie Wilder, who has been coming to Pawleys Island for more than six decades, said Friday’s storm was “insane to watch.” He said waves as high as 25 feet (7.6 meters) washed away the local pier — an iconic landmark — near his home.

“We watched it hit the pier and saw the pier disappear,” said Wilder, whose house 30 feet (9 meters) above the ocean stayed dry inside. “We watched it crumble and and watched it float by with an American flag.”

The Pawleys pier was one of at least four along South Carolina’s coast destroyed by battering winds and rain. Parts of the pier, including barnacle-covered pylons, littered the beach. The intracoastal waterway was strewn with the remnants of several boat houses knocked off their pilings.

John Joseph, whose father built the family’s beige beach house in 1962, said Saturday he was elated to return from Georgetown — which took a direct hit. He found his Pawleys Island home entirely intact.

“Thank God these walls are still here, and we feel very blessed that this is the worst thing,” he said of the sand that swept under his home. “What happened in Florida — gosh, God bless us. If we’d had a Category 4, I wouldn’t be here.“

In North Carolina, the storm claimed four lives and mostly downed trees and power lines, leaving over 280,000 people statewide without power Saturday morning, officials said. Two of the deaths were from storm-related vehicle crashes while officials said a man also drowned when his truck plunged into a swamp, and another man was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator in a garage.

In southwest Florida, authorities and volunteers were still assessing the damage as shocked residents tried to make sense of the disaster.

“I want to sit in the corner and cry. I don’t know what else to do,” Stevie Scuderi said, mud clinging to her purple sandles as she shuffled through her mostly destroyed apartment in Fort Myers.

On Saturday, a long line of people waited outside an auto parts store in Port Charlotte, where a sign read, “We have generators now.” Hundreds of cars were lined up outside a gas station, and some people walked, carrying gas cans to their nearby cars.

At Port Sanibel Marina in Fort Myers, charter boat captain Ryan Kane inspected damage to two boats Saturday. The storm surge pushed several boats and a dock onshore. He said the boat he owns was totaled so he couldn’t use it to help rescue people. Now, he said, it would be a long time before he’d be chartering fishing clients again.

“There’s a hole in the hull. It took water in the motors. It took water in everything,” he said, adding: “You know boats are supposed to be in the water, not in parking lots.”

___

Kinnard reported from Pawleys Island, South Carolina; Associated Press contributors include Freida Frisaro in Miami; Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee, Florida; Gerald Herbert in Pine Island, Florida; Mike Pesoli in Lehigh Acres, Florida; and Sarah Rankin in Richmond, Virginia.

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Julius Randle embraces playing faster and without the ball

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Julius Randle Embraces Playing Faster And Without The Ball
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The Knicks have been slow under Tom Thibodeau. Very slow.

Their offense was dead-last in pace during the coach’s first campaign, then moved up just one spot to 29th last season.

With the first week of training camp in the books, the Knicks have been vague about specific goals with one exception: playing faster.’

“It’s just the way the game is going,” Julius Randle said. “There are so many more possessions, high-scoring games. So, it’s just the way the league is going and an adjustment that everybody has to make.”

Randle buying into a quicker pace is important toward that endeavor. The power forward spent much of the last two seasons operating with the ball while leading the team, by far, in isolations. So it was an encouraging sign that Randle said he dropped weight in the summer to get up and down the floor.

“I want to be able to adjust and play faster, play on and off the ball,” Randle said. “For me, being in shape is always number one, so I take pride in that and every year I try to go back and look at how and adjust how I can be better and play faster and quicker basketball. Be efficient.

On paper, the Knicks’ starting lineup isn’t constructed for a run-and-gun style. That’s more the vibe of the reserves with Obi Toppin, Derrick Rose, Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes.

But Thibodeau asserted Saturday that Randle is adept in transition and playing off the ball. He witnessed it as an opposing coach when Randle was in New Orleans alongside Anthony Davis and Los Angeles alongside either D’Angelo Russell or Brandon Ingram.

“Having coached against him, one of the things I worried about was him running the floor,” Thibodeau said. “So if we can get him down the floor and catch small guys on him, catch the defense before it’s set — that’s a big advantage for us. Playing off the ball and catching it on the run and driving it through the elbow. Those are things that he’s done well in the past and I want him to get back to that.”

Of course, this will require an adjustment from Randle. It’s one thing to finish a lay-up in transition, it’s another to run around without the ball in the half-court. Egos tend to get involved when a player is asked to relinquish the control of the offense.

But that’s the reality as Randle enters his fourth season with the Knicks. He’ll finally have a reliable playmaker as the starting point guard in Jalen Brunson. RJ Barrett’s evolution calls for more opportunities.

Randle can succeed as the secondary option in motion.

“Because of the strength of the club, we can use him in different ways,” Thibodeau said. “He doesn’t always have to have the ball. He can play off the ball.”

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