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St. Paul school board to seek new contract for ‘highly effective’ superintendent

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St. Paul School Board To Seek New Contract For ‘Highly Effective’ Superintendent
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The St. Paul school board announced Wednesday that it will negotiate a third contract with Superintendent Joe Gothard.

Gothard, 50, was running the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage district when the St. Paul board hired him in 2017 to succeed Valeria Silva.

In a performance review last month, the school board rated Gothard “highly effective” in four of six areas: strategic plan implementation, communications, community engagement and operations.

They rated him as “effective” in teaching and learning and in ethical and inclusive leadership.

“Overall, the Board finds the Superintendent to be highly effective in his role and acknowledges more growth is both necessary and possible,” the board said in a written summary of Gothard’s latest performance review.

The board identified three “key areas for growth”:

  • “Development of monitoring reports for student outcomes”;
  • “Evaluate impact of implementation of culturally relevant instruction on students”; and
  • “Explore and implement tools of community engagement that are culturally responsive.”

The seven-member board said it voted unanimously to pursue another contract with Gothard.

“I don’t see anyone at this time who should be there but you,” board member Jeanelle Foster said during Wednesday’s board meeting.

Gothard said he “definitely took note” of the areas for improvement.

“It’s a great honor to lead the students, staff and community,” he said. “It’s something I do not take for granted.”

SCORES, ENROLLMENT, PANDEMIC

Student enrollment was falling when Gothard took over, and it’s continued to drop during his tenure, even before the coronavirus pandemic. Five schools closed in June as part of a consolation plan that was less ambitious than Gothard recommended.

Meanwhile, Gothard has continued Silva’s high-priced campaign to renovate schools throughout the city, which recently was projected to raise the district’s total outstanding debt to $860 million by 2026 compared with $393 million a decade prior.

Before extended school closures related to the pandemic, the district had made modest progress in reading proficiency but its math scores continued to fall.

The district under Gothard has restored a middle school model that gives students more time for electives.

At the high school level, all schools are moving to the same block schedule this year while also making ethnic studies a graduation requirement and reducing the total number of credits needed to earn a diploma.

Conflict with the teachers union has continued under Gothard. In 2020, a teacher strike cost students four days of school. In both 2018 and 2022, negotiators reached deals on new teachers contracts the day before strikes were planned.

In response to the pandemic, the district has focused on learning loss at the elementary level.

A lack of bus drivers has been a major problem for the district since schools reopened last year, resulting in start-time changes with little notice and inconsistent service for many schools. Only three of 10 high schools are getting yellow bus service next year, with teens at the other schools getting Metro Transit passes.

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Literary pick: Carol Dines’ new YA novel explores teen girl friendship

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Carol Dines Portrait
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Teenage girls’ lives are filled with drama, especially when it comes to friends who may or may not be good for a young woman trying to figure out who she is and with whom she should share her most intimate secrets. And if the friendship goes wrong, the emotional toll can be devastating.

That’s the conflict Carol Dines explores in her involving and beautifully-written new young adult novel, “The Take-Over Friend.”

Carol Dines (Courtesy of Fitzroy Books)

Dines, who lives in Minneapolis with her husband, Jack Zipes (the fairy tale expert), says she was inspired to write this book after supporting her own daughter through a devastating friendship breakup, which made her recall her own experiences with her best friend when she was growing up.

Francis is a shy, introverted girl whose best friend just moved away, but she finds a new friend in Sonja, who has been in school in France. Sonja is witty, worldly and outgoing and seems eager to get close to Francis when they meet on the first day of their freshman year of high school.

Soon the girls are inseparable and they share secrets about their families. Sonja’s parents are in the middle of a bitter divorce and Frances’ father suffers from bipolar disorder. Dines’ depiction of this man’s suffering, and his wife’s no-nonsense demand he take his meds, is as interesting as his daughter’s story.

Francis has second thoughts about her admiration for Sonja when her friend starts insinuating herself into Francis’ family. A frequent sleep-over guest, Sonja boldly works her way into traditions Francis cherishes, such as making pies with her older sister and mother on Thanksgiving morning. Francis also realizes Sonja is using her to get close to her older brother, Will, who is totally into sports. And Sonja spends long afternoons with Francis’ dad, which makes her mom very uneasy.

Both girls are impacted. Francis resents lonely Sonja for trying to become part of the family and ignoring boundaries. Sonja feels betrayed when Francis can’t understand her need for a loving home.

When there is a violent act of cruelty, the friendship is over.

“The Take-Over Friend” will be understood by girls (and maybe some boys) and their mothers, who try to support their teens as they deal with new experiences in their relationships. The story is involving, with both characters so clearly drawn the reader feels she knows them, or was one of them at one time. Francis, though, is more likable than Sonja, but Sonja is the most needy underneath her grown-up veneer. It’s clear who is the take-over friend.

Dines, born in Rochester, Minn., is the author of two previous novels and a short story collection for teens

She will celebrate the publication of ‘The Take-Over Friend” (Fitzroy Books, $16.95 paperback)  at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, in conversation with Minnesota author Patricia Cumbie at Magers & Quinn, 3038 Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls., and at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12, in conversation with Gary Eldon Peter, moderated by Judith Katz, at the Red Balloon, 891 Grand Ave., St. Paul.

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Pope Francis, 85, uses a wheelchair to tell young people they must help save the Earth

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The Pope Was Once Again Seen Being Pushed Around In A Wheelchair During A Trip To Assisi In Central Italy
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Pope Francis, 85, was seen pushed in a wheelchair on Saturday as he traveled to Assisi to tell young people it was their duty to protect the planet and change the course of the Earth.

Francis was visiting his namesake saint’s birthplace which was close to nature when he called for ‘courage’ to give up fossil fuels and lamented that older generations don’t know how to protect the planet and ensure peace .

He told the young people that he pinned his hopes on their efforts to save the planet and make the global economy more pro-poor.

The health of the aging pope has been in the spotlight for some time as worried onlookers wonder if he still has the vitality to maintain his duties as pontiff.

He is believed to use a wheelchair due to a serious knee problem which limits his mobility, although it was also reported that he underwent colon surgery in July to remove 33cm (13 inches) of intestine.

The Vatican described it as a “planned procedure” because the pope’s innards had “shrunk”.

The Pope Was Once Again Seen Being Pushed Around In A Wheelchair During A Trip To Assisi In Central Italy

The pope was once again seen being pushed around in a wheelchair during a trip to Assisi in central Italy

Francis, 85, Is Believed To Be Using A Wheelchair Due To A Serious Knee Problem Which Limits His Mobility, Although It Was Also Reported That He Underwent Colon Surgery In July To Remove 33Cm Of 'Intestine.

Francis, 85, Is Believed To Be Using A Wheelchair Due To A Serious Knee Problem Which Limits His Mobility, Although It Was Also Reported That He Underwent Colon Surgery In July To Remove 33Cm Of 'Intestine.

Francis, 85, is believed to be using a wheelchair due to a serious knee problem which limits his mobility, although it was also reported that he underwent colon surgery in July to remove 33cm of ‘intestine.

Francis Was Visiting The Birthplace Of His Namesake Saint Who Was Close To Nature When He Called For

Francis Was Visiting The Birthplace Of His Namesake Saint Who Was Close To Nature When He Called For

Francis was visiting his namesake saint’s birthplace which was close to nature when he called for ‘courage’ to give up fossil fuels and lamented that older generations don’t know how to protect the planet and ensure peace

And in August, Francis created the post of Personal Health Assistant to the Holy Father to complement the personal doctor he already has. Italian Massimiliano Strappetti has been appointed to the post, the Holy See announced the same month.

On his July trip to Canada – where the pontiff apologized for the role of the Catholic Church in removing Indigenous children from their families and placing them with Canadian families – he was accompanied by a nurse in all time.

During his brief visit to the hill town in central Italy on Saturday, Francis addressed a gathering of some 1,000 young people, including some young economists. Others are involved in efforts, including start-ups, focused on helping the environment.

Participants came from all over the world. Among them was a woman who told the pope how she and her husband were helped to flee Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover last year by an organization called The Economy of Francis, which is inspired by the life of Saint Francis, with his attention to the poor and other needy.

The pope said there needs to be a global economy that expresses “a new vision for the environment and the Earth”.

“There are many people, companies and institutions that are making an ecological conversion. We need to move forward on this path and do more,” Francis said.

The pontiff cited an urgent need to discuss development models.

Pope Francis Attends The Economy Of Francesco (Eof) Event In Assisi, Central Italy, Where He Told Young People He Pinned His Hopes On Their Efforts To Save The Planet And Make The Economy Global More Attentive To The Poor

Pope Francis Attends The Economy Of Francesco (Eof) Event In Assisi, Central Italy, Where He Told Young People He Pinned His Hopes On Their Efforts To Save The Planet And Make The Economy Global More Attentive To The Poor

Pope Francis attends the Economy of Francesco (EoF) event in Assisi, central Italy, where he told young people he pinned his hopes on their efforts to save the planet and make the economy global more attentive to the poor

Francis Smiles For A Selfie With A Participant During Francesco's Economy (Eof)

Francis Smiles For A Selfie With A Participant During Francesco's Economy (Eof)

Francis smiles for a selfie with a participant during Francesco’s Economy (EoF)

“Now is the time to show new courage in moving away from fossil fuels to accelerate the development of zero- or positive-impact energy sources,” Francis said.

He told the young people: “Our generation has left you a rich legacy, but we have failed to protect the planet and we are not ensuring peace.

He lamented a lack of “creativity, optimism, enthusiasm” and told the young people that “we are grateful to God that you are here”. Not only will you be here tomorrow, but you are here today.

The pope’s faith in young people could be bolstered by the horrors he admitted to being perpetrated in Ukraine, revealing that his charity leader who brings aid to Ukraine had to run to safety after coming under fire. gunshots last week.

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, who is Polish, was forced to dodge bullets on his fourth humanitarian and pastoral mission to Ukraine, sending supplies along with a Catholic bishop, a Protestant bishop and a Ukrainian soldier.

The pope said he spoke yesterday with Krajewski, who had visited Ukrainian mass graves outside Izium in northeastern Ukraine.

Francis said today: “He (Krajewski) told me about the pain of these people, the savage acts, the monstrosity, the tortured bodies that they find.

“Let us unite with this noble and martyred people.

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Bill Madden: Aaron Judge, Albert Pujols giving fans something to cheer for even as MLB strikes out

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Bill Madden: Aaron Judge, Albert Pujols Giving Fans Something To Cheer For Even As Mlb Strikes Out
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Years ago, a wise person once said: “Baseball is the greatest game of all in spite of the people who run it.”

This has never been truer than this weekend when, despite Rob Manfred’s Apple streaming MLB greed grab that deprived most of the country from TV viewership Friday night, Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols calmly went about their business of cleansing baseball’s soul from the steroids plague which previous commissioner Bud Selig took too long to get a handle on.

Suddenly, and somewhat unexpectedly, baseball has found itself with a season of celebration of not one but two “clean” sluggers closing in on home run milestones — Judge breaking Roger Maris’ 61-year-old American League record of 61 homers and Pujols becoming only the fourth player in history with 700 career homers.

And wouldn’t you know, Pujols hit his two homers Friday night to join the exclusive club in the Cardinals’ game that was also exclusively Apple-streamed — so hardly anyone witnessed it unless you were in the ballpark. Shame on baseball.

While Pujols’ feat will be his last hurrah as he heads into retirement, Judge is potentially looking at becoming the highest paid position player in the game after not only breaking Maris’ record but putting together one of the greatest seasons in baseball history. Going into the weekend, he led the AL in batting and the majors in homers, RBI, runs, OBP, slugging, OPS and total bases. His 60 homers being 20 more than runner-up Kyle Schwarber of the Phillies.

Putting that in perspective with some of the other greatest seasons since World War II:

In Frank Robinson’s 1966 AL MVP year for the Orioles, he won the Triple Crown (.316/49 HR/122 RBI) and also led the league in runs (122), OBP (.410), slugging (.637) and OPS (1.047). But Mickey Mantle’s 1956 Triple Crown MVP year was even better as he led the majors in batting (.353), homers (52), RBI (130), runs (132), slugging (.705), OPS (1.169) and total bases (376). In 1949, Ted Williams won his second AL MVP award with a monster season in which he hit .343 and led the AL in homers (43), RBI (159), runs (150), OBP (.490), slugging (.650), OPS (1.141) and total bases (368).

There is no question Judge’s historical season in which he bet on himself has earned him a substantial increase from the seven-year/$213.5 million ($30.5M AAV) he turned down from the Yankees back in April. The question is how substantial? Judge, in so many words, told the Yankees he felt he should be paid commensurate to Mike Trout’s major league high $35.54 million AAV for position players. At this point, that’s probably not going to be a problem for the Yankees, so the battle is going to come down to the number of years.

For it doesn’t matter how many homers Judge winds up hitting, he will still be a 31-year-old player next year and, as the Yankees (and all the other clubs as well) are fully aware of, contracts of eight or more years to players 31 or older are doomed to ill fortune — the two classic examples being Miguel Cabrera’s eight-year/$248 million signed with the Tigers in 2016 and Pujols’ $10-year/$240 million with the Angels in 2011.

Cabrera, who never again hit over .300 or drove in more than 75 runs after 2016, is staggering to the finish line. Pujols, a .328 lifetime hitter when he defected from the Cardinals to Angels in 2012, never again hit .300, his career average having fallen to .296, and had only three 100-RBI seasons in his nine years with the Angels.

More than likely, given the analytic philosophy throughout baseball about long-term contracts to players in their 30s, the Yankees will be bidding against themselves for Judge. The teams that can afford to go toe-to-toe with them either have expensive free agents of their own they need to re-sign (Dodgers and Trea Turner, Red Sox and Xander Bogaerts) or, in the case of the Giants and Cubs, have too many other holes to fill than to tie up $37 million of payroll on one player in his 30s.

My guess is the Yankees re-sign Judge for somewhere between $260-$300 million, depending on the years — while resigned to the fact it will very likely wind up being the worst contract they ever gave a player.

IT’S A MADD, MADD WORLD

The Royals firing of President of Baseball Operations Dayton Moore, one of the most respected execs in the industry, sent shockwaves through the game last week, especially when combined with owner John Sherman’s decision to replace him with his top assistant and longtime ally GM J.J. Picollo. As one longtime scout and friend to both of them told me Thursday: “I don’t really understand this. Dayton hired J.J. They both came from the Braves. They’re both the same guy. J.J. was probably even more involved in all the hirings, etc., in player development than Dayton.”

But Sherman, who bought the Royals in 2019, four years after they won the World Series under Moore’s direction, has seen nothing but losing teams — they’re closing in on their third 100-loss season in the last five years — and, as he said Wednesday, he was expecting them to at least be around .500 this season.

According to sources within the Royals, Sherman was frustrated by Moore’s lack of aggressiveness in making moves to improve the team. He was also said to be not all that enthralled with manager Mike Matheny, who Moore hired in 2019 after he’d been found wanting by the cross-state Cardinals after seven years in St. Louis. It’s a given that one of Picollo’s first moves will be to hire a new manager. Perhaps the biggest criticism of Moore was the Royals’ inability to develop quality starting pitchers. Since 2015, they’ve drafted eight starting pitchers in the first round and so far only one of them, Brady Singer, has lived up to that No. 1 promise. …

As much as the Royals’ may have disappointed Sherman, no team in the AL Central underperformed more this year than the overwhelming division favorite White Sox, who completed their implosion last week by getting swept by the Guardians, to fall seven games off the pace, under interim manager Miguel Cairo (so it wasn’t all Tony La Russa’s fault as many in the Chicago media corps have maintained.) Now the question is will White Sox board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who fielded the highest payroll in his 40-year tenure as owner this year, likewise shakes up his own front office. But there is no more loyal owner in baseball than Reinsdorf — some would say loyal to a fault — and if longtime president of baseball operations Kenny Williams and GM Rick Hahn are safe, then a major roster re-shuffling is definitely in order, starting with catcher/DH Yasmani Grandal and utilityman Leury Garcia, who this year may have been the two worst players in baseball with the two lowest total base counts of any regulars (minimum 300 plate appearances) in the game. Grandal, who’s always been a below average catcher, is the second player in history with 300-plus plate appearances to score less than 15 runs (as of Friday) and strike out over 60 times, while Garcia’s .500 OPS is the lowest ever by a White Sox player with 300-plus plate appearances. And then there’s Luis Robert, the one-time wunderkind White Sox center fielder who just a year ago was being hailed as a future Willie Mays, but who’s been marked absent both literally (constant minor injuries that keep him out of the lineup) and figuratively (the only player in the American League with 65-plus at-bats in the second half with two or fewer RBI, and no home runs since the All-Star break.)

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Is Dolphins vs. Bills a big game? Yes, coach Mike McDaniel says

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Is Dolphins Vs. Bills A Big Game? Yes, Coach Mike Mcdaniel Says
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There’s no wrong answer. That’s the first thing you need to know when asking the Miami Dolphins whether Sunday’s game against Buffalo is a big game. It’s all about personal perspective.

It’s interesting to note, however, Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel embraces the challenge of his head-turning Dolphins (2-0) hosting the mighty Bills (2-0) at Hard Rock Stadium. McDaniel said he’d even tell his team not to hide from using this game as a measuring stick.

“I think you embrace the fact that they’re a good football team and that there’s one way to be put in the category of good football teams — you beat good football teams,” he said.

Some of McDaniel’s players have opted for the businesslike it’s-just-one-game-among-17 games approach.

“They’re just another team on our schedule,” veteran linebacker Melvin Ingram said.

The level-headed approach has backing among players.

“They’re all big,” defensive tackle Christian Wilkins said. “You’ve got to approach it the same way each week because once you start playing that inconsistency game in the NFL, you get showed up for sure.”

McDaniel has a different method. He chooses to speak publicly about the temporary enormity of this early season matchup, and he’s got lots of company. He acknowledges Sunday is just 1/17th of the season schedule, and one sixth of the division schedule.

“But it’s also an opportunity for us to see where we’re at and go against the best, which as competitors, our team is very competitive, you bask in that opportunity,” he said.

So count McDaniel among the number of people making a big deal about the Dolphins, who are riding a seven-game home winning streak, facing the Bills, who are riding a seven-game winning streak over Miami.

The high-scoring Bills, the two-time defending AFC champs who have won at least 10 games each of the past three seasons, are among the NFL’s Super Bowl favorites. The Dolphins, who have a dynamic new offense and renewed energy under McDaniel, turned heads with last week’s shocking 42-38 comeback victory at Baltimore that included an explosive 28-point fourth quarter.

Fans are hyped. Headlines are juiced. A whole bunch of NFL eyes will be fixated on South Florida for this peak at an expected Super Bowl contender visiting one of the NFL’s most intriguing teams.

The winner of this early-season battle for AFC East supremacy paves itself a strong path to the playoffs. Teams that start 3-0 can expect to make the playoffs 76% of the time in a 17-game schedule, according to the NFL’s analytics. Teams that start 2-1, on the other hand, can expect to make the playoffs 55% of the time.

But that’s getting ahead of things.

The Bills are hurting defensively.

That’s not an excuse, and no one will feel sorry for them because they have injuries. The personnel losses, however, are serious.

All-Pro safety Micah Hyde (neck) and defensive tackles Jordan Phillips (hamstring) and Ed Oliver (ankle) will miss the game along with cornerback Dane Jackson (neck). That’s three starters (Hyde, Oliver and Jackson) and a top reserve.

The personnel losses should work heavily in the Dolphins’ favor in the passing game where quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (seven touchdowns, two interceptions, 116.5 passer rating, fourth in the NFL) gains an advantage in his efforts to connect with electrifying wide receivers Tyreek Hill (284 receiving yards, best in NFL, two touchdown) and Jaylen Waddle (240 receiving yards, third-best in NFL, three touchdowns).

Of course, the Dolphins are dealing with a concerning injury because left tackle Terron Armstead (toe) is questionable.

But Buffalo’s injury concerns are more serious.

The Bills, already without cornerback Tre’Davious White (knee), will likely start the rookie duo of cornerbacks Christian Benford and Kaiir Elam, which makes the Bills highly vulnerable on the back end. They’re not a blitz-heavy team so it’ll be interesting to see whether they use that tactic to generate more pass rush and accommodate for missing personnel. It could be a highly risky strategy considering a short pass to Hill or Waddle combined with a single missed tackle could spell a long touchdown for the Dolphins.

Most likely the Bills will rely on their fear-inducing combination of quarterback Josh Allen (seven touchdowns, two interceptions, 123.7 passer rating, second in NFL) and wide receiver Stefon Diggs (270 receiving yards, second-best in NFL, league-leading four touchdowns) instead of changing their defensive philosophy.

Whatever happens, the winner Sunday will sit atop the AFC East and have an inside track on winning the division. That, if nothing else, makes this a big game.

“It’s exciting,” McDaniel said, “so we’re going to do our best to prepare and see where we’re at the end of the [game], 4:30 maybe, on Sunday.”

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Soucheray: An evening with my favorite chili was at hand — until it wasn’t

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Joe Soucheray
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Left on my own, as the CP was called out of town on an errand of goodwill, I was told that one of my suppers was chili. Apparently, it is believed that if I am not left food I will not eat, or eat poorly or wreck something while attempting to cook in desperation.

The prospect of chili delighted me. This isn’t any chili, but inflation-be-damned chili, with sirloin and secret seasonings, good enough, I have always thought, to win a cookoff in Houston or a blue ribbon at a county fair. I was to take out the final portion from the freezer upon her departure and I did. Oh, and I might say that this was on the onset of fall and that the stars were aligning for an unparalleled salute to the autumnal equinox.

My favorite meal is bologna, simmered in onions, with tomatoes and corn on the side, an underrated Depression-era meal which requires getting wrapped in a beach towel to protect against flying juices. I would put meatloaf up there on the pedestal, but chili rings all the bells.

As the time drew nigh, I went through my checklist.

Chips? Check. Wonderful chips.

Cheese? Check. I would choose a nice chunk of gruyere.

I found a couple of chocolate mints to smooth things over for later.

Well, there it was, a hefty portion of chili in a sealed plastic container. I transferred the chili to a bowl. I suppose I could have used a pot and heated it up on the stove, but I went microwave. I gave it two minutes while I assembled a big spoon, two rolls of paper towels and also turned on the news, betting myself they would start with a thunderstorm somewhere as more proof of catastrophic climate change.

Whoa, that bowl was too hot for bare hands. I grabbed an oven mitt and proceeded to carry the sacramental feast to the counter. I didn’t like the way the big thumb of the mitt was touching the chili. It ruined the aesthetic. I adjusted my grip and … oh, oh, no.

Oh.

No.

The bowl slipped out of my hand.

I stood in silence. I didn’t utter a sound. No profanity even occurred to me, just silence. I watched in slow motion, like watching one of those commercials where a drop of milk spills and is seen microscopically.

The bowl shattered into a thousand pieces. The chili went everywhere, including onto a yonder art table and an open coloring book where a little girl waiting to be colored now had tomato cheeks and a chili bean nose.

I sopped up as much as I could with the paper towels and then off to the hardware store for a new mop, some more paper towels and some Mr. Clean. We probably have a mop but I don’t know where it is.

“Got a little cleaning up to do?” the cashier asked me.

“I’ll say,” I said.

Then back home and more cleaning. The phone rang. Oh, oh.

“How was the chili?”

“It was a great adventure in eating,” I said, not necessarily lying.

“Great!”

I made myself a tuna fish salad sandwich and ate it over the sink. I would have preferred the chili. I wasn’t even attempting to cook in desperation.

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Who has the advantage? Dolphins (2-0) vs. Bills (2-0), in AFC East showdown undefeated – The Denver Post

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Who Has The Advantage? Dolphins (2-0) Vs. Bills (2-0), In Afc East Showdown Undefeated - The Denver Post
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Here’s a look at how the Miami Dolphins (2-0) and Buffalo Bills (2-0) face off in six key areas ahead of Sunday’s Week 3 game at Hard Rock Stadium (1 p.m., CBS):

When dolphins run: Miami started its game rushing a bit for 4.8 yards per carry in last Sunday’s 42-38 win over the Baltimore Ravens. It just didn’t splash more as there were few opportunities to play from behind most of the afternoon – let alone the Ravens who ate 11 minutes on a first-half practice on which they didn’t even score.

In Week 1, it was Chase Edmonds who got the bulk of the runs against New England. Against Baltimore, it was Raheem Mostert. Who is favored in the workload will depend on which matchups the coaches find advantageous. Right tackle Greg Little, who will replace Austin Jackson (ankle), made an excellent block on Edmonds’ late 28-yard run that put Miami in a win over the Ravens.

Buffalo, however, to no one’s surprise, is the league’s top-ranked running defense for two weeks, and the Bills just shut down running back Derrick Henry from the Tennessee Titans on Monday night. With veteran All-Pro Von Miller now at Buffalo providing an advantage and Greg Rousseau, Miami’s 2021 first-round pick, on the other, as well as Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano at linebacker, the Bills have a strong front defensive. Buffalo is hit inside the defensive line, however, with Ed Oliver and Jordan Phillips out for Sunday. That could give the Dolphins opportunities in the running game, but they need left tackle Terron Armstead (questionable, toe) to be available. Edge: Invoices

When the bills run: Buffalo’s trio of running backs from South Florida will be salivating at the thought of scoring a home touchdown, especially since none of the three have yet scored in the Bills’ two blowouts. Devin Singletary (American Heritage-Delray High, FAU) is the starting running back, but rookie James Cook (Miami Central High) and Zack Moss (Hallandale High) part ways with him, so they all stay fresh.

Quarterback Josh Allen is also still a running threat, and he has 66 yards on 11 attempts plus a touchdown so far in 2022. Veteran Rodger Saffold, the 2021 Pro Bowler with the Titans, has was brought in to play guard in a strong left side of the line next to tackle Dion Dawkins.

The Dolphins were solid on run defense in Baltimore outside of the 79-yard touchdown allowed to quarterback Lamar Jackson. Christian Wilkins and Zach Sieler will be counted at the line of scrimmage with Jaelan Phillips and Melvin Ingram up front. Miami already knows they’ll be up for a big challenge against Allen in the air. They should at least keep the bills one-dimensional. Edge: dolphins

As the Dolphins pass: Tagovailoa is coming off his best performance ever, earning AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors after throwing for 469 yards and six touchdowns as he led Miami to a thrilling 21-point comeback. After being held for two touchdowns and two interceptions for three quarters, he was finally able to expose the Ravens’ battered secondary with the two long touchdowns at Tyreek Hill on missed covers and another pair of drives.

The Bills are also struggling with injuries to their defensive backs. All-Pro Tre’Davious White is on the reserve roster/physically unable to perform. Cornerback Dane Jackson and safety Micah Hyde are also missing, with safety Jordan Poyer questionable. Buffalo, nonetheless, ranks second in the league for two weeks in pass defense, even playing up front so often when opponents can boost their late stats. But will they be as effective with rookies Christian Benford and Kaiir Elam covering the Dolphins’ elite receiving combo?

You don’t want a bunch of guys hobbled in coverage tasked with tracking Hill, who finished with 190 receiving yards in Baltimore, and Jaylen Waddle, who had 171 and two touchdowns, including the game-winner. Buffalo can still rush the passer, though, with Miller and Rousseau on the edge, among others. It will be a challenge for Miami’s offensive tackles as Armstead deals with a toe injury and Little continues to fill in for Jackson on the right side. Edge: dolphins

When the Bills pass: Allen is known for torching the Dolphins, but Miami made progress in that regard in two meetings last year, keeping him at passer ratings of 75.2 and 100.2, his lowest since his first appearance. against the Dolphins as a rookie. His five outings between all have seen him post a passer rating above 110. Allen, in eight games against Miami, has 21 touchdowns for five interceptions as he enters a seven-game winning streak against the division rival .

This season, he completed 52 of 69 passes (75.4%) for 614 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions. Top receiver Stefon Diggs is having another monster season with 20 receptions for 270 yards and four touchdowns. Gabe Davis and tight end Dawson Knox are questionable heading into Sunday.

It’s a bad sign for the Dolphins that cornerback Xavien Howard missed Wednesday’s drills with a groin injury, but he and cornerbacks coach Sam Madison are confident he will. will be ready. He cruised through the win over the Ravens but didn’t look like himself when he was beaten for a long touchdown by Rashod Bateman, couldn’t catch Jackson on his touchdown and dropped a six pick. The Dolphins need to pressure Allen after their blitzes were ineffective against Jackson and the Ravens. Edge: Invoices

Special teams: Buffalo kicker Tyler Bass is perfect on three field goals and nine extra points. Sam Martin, the punter who is rarely used because the Bills offense is so productive, is averaging 48.5 yards on his punts. Buffalo uses South Florida product Isaiah McKenzie on kick returns and Jamison Crowder on kick returns.

The Dolphins gave up a 103-yard return for a touchdown on the opening kickoff against the Ravens, so special teams coordinator Danny Crossman let his unit practice. Edge: Invoices

Intangible assets: The Dolphins have the heat and humidity of South Florida in September on their side. They have a day and a half more rest than the Bills after their last game, a win Monday night as Miami played last afternoon, plus the trip from Buffalo. The bills deal with a number of injuries. All of that gives the Dolphins the intangible advantage for the 1 p.m. kickoff in the sun at Hard Rock Stadium.

But then you also remember that the Bills defeated their first two opponents, including the defending Super Bowl champions in their house, by a total of 55 points. And Buffalo has that damn seven-game winning streak in the rivalry. Edge: dolphins

PREDICTION: Dolphins 31, Bills 27

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