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AtlantiCare’s recovery specialist uses her own story to help people

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Atlanticare'S Recovery Specialist Uses Her Own Story To Help People
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ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Over 20 years ago, Vinnie Kirkland was incarcerated for drug-related issues.

He swore that when he was released he would change his life.

Fast forward to 2022, and Vinnie is now a recovery specialist at AtlantiCare, a hospital system in New Jersey.

Based in Atlantic City, Kirkland now caters to people struggling with addiction in his hometown.

He works both in the hospital, helping people recover, and on the streets, where he reaches out to people in difficulty.

Vinnie’s message is that there is hope for everyone, as long as they are willing to be helped.


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Orioles’ Robinson Chirinos collecting memories — and memorabilia — to last a lifetime

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Orioles’ Robinson Chirinos Collecting Memories — And Memorabilia — To Last A Lifetime
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Inside the game room of Robinson Chirinos’ house, there’s a wall the Orioles catcher can stare at with wonder. With a white wooden border and painted black backdrop, the jerseys from some of Chirinos’ favorite major league players — from Manny Machado to Bartolo Colón — hang.

On each is a personalized message, marker on lettering, dedicating the jersey to Chirinos.

He has hundreds of them, with more added to his collection each week. Earlier this month at Camden Yards, when Miguel Cabrera visited with the Detroit Tigers, Chirinos was ready with a Cabrera jersey to have signed. It then hung in his locker after Cabrera wrote out all his accomplishments: 3,000 hit club, 600 double club, 500 home run club. Almost out of room, Cabrera fit his autograph on the numbering.

The next day, a jersey from Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. arrived in the mail. Chirinos added Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette to his collection on Baltimore’s trip to Toronto this month. And when the Orioles travel to New York to face the Yankees on Friday, Chirinos plans to add an Aaron Judge jersey to his collection, with an inscription from the MVP candidate who can break the American League single-season home run record with one more mighty swing.

Chirinos loves playing baseball. But more than anything, he loves the sport beyond his role as a player. He’s a fan — one with an up-close view — and with each autograph on a jersey, there’s another memory from a dream career.

“My wife, she’s crazy because I hang baseball jerseys everywhere around the house,” Chirinos said. “She’s like, ‘Stop!’”

But right now, Chirinos doesn’t feel a need to stop. Instead, he might only ramp up his rapid pace of collecting.

Chirinos wants to play one more season. His body still feels good enough, he says, to produce at the major league level, so he holds out hope for one last big league contract. If the 38-year-old doesn’t get it, though — if this really is the end for a player who recently hit 10 years of service time, the benchmark to receive a full pension — he can walk into his house and see the reminders of what he accomplished hanging on the walls.

And while Chirinos’ older son has experienced much of Chirinos’ major league career, his 4-year-old son hasn’t. The keepsakes hanging around the house are as much for him as they are for Chirinos.

“One day, he’s gonna be asking me questions like, ‘Dad, who is this guy?’” Chirinos said. “It’s going to be a good time to talk about baseball, how I did it and why. I know they’re going to appreciate all that they have in the house.”

It’s a practice Chirinos began about eight years ago. He doesn’t frame all the jerseys; the expense that would take is too high. He saves special jerseys for those frames, such as Iván Rodríguez, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and one of his own. The rest are scattered around his house on hangers or hanging from the wall in the game room, including several from his former Houston Astros teammates.

When Chirinos arrives at a visiting ballpark, he thinks of which players he admires most on the other team. They don’t always have to be famous players as long as he likes the way they play the game. He buys a jersey or asks clubhouse manager Fred Tyler to snag one, then sends it across the way to the opposing clubhouse.

And when that player comes up to bat, Chirinos makes sure to thank each player who signed a jersey for him.

In the corner of the clubhouse in Camden Yards, Chirinos showed off more than his jerseys. He pulled out a ticket from the game Cabrera recorded his 3,000th hit; Cabrera signed it for Chirinos. He has boxes of baseball cards at his house, and in his locker stood a bat signed by Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena.

“What I see in the past, guys try to get bigger names, like guys about to retire,” Chirinos said. “Like Miggy, we have maybe 10 jerseys here. So everybody wants Miggy. In the past, that’s what I saw, when a guy was about to retire. Or maybe his favorite player and he wants one. But not many guys have from what I see in the clubhouse an interest to collect baseball stuff. In my case, I love to do it.”

Before the end of the season, when each member of the Orioles will pack up their belongings and head their separate ways — some for good — Chirinos wants to commemorate his time with Baltimore. He already has a bat from catcher Adley Rutschman, but he’ll ask for a set of his catching gear and a jersey, too.

Chirinos plans to swap jerseys with several of his other teammates, such as Gunnar Henderson and Anthony Santander.

He doesn’t know if this is the end.

“We’ll see what God has in store for me,” Chirinos said.

But if this is his last go-around in the majors, he’ll leave with a wall full of collectibles, lasting memories for him and his sons.

[email protected]

Friday, 7:05 p.m.


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Top Apple Executive Tony Blevins Fired For Saying He Fondles Big-breasted Women For A Living

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Top Apple Executive Tony Blevins Fired For Saying He Fondles Big-Breasted Women For A Living
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After 22 years with Apple, the company’s top executive Tony Blevins has been fired—sorry forced to leave the company for letting the world know that he fondles big-breasted women to make a living. I think Apple got offended by these trash remarks and then decided to fire him—so that he gets more time to focus on his cherished job—fondling big-breasted women.

He’s a top executive of the company and I’m sure he’s paid well enough because according to him in the same viral video that got him fired, he owns expensive cars and lives lavishly as the rich folks do so—saying he makes a living by fondling big-breasted women got Apple pissed off!

Good luck to Tony Blevins on his well-paying job (fondling big-breasted women).

Via Yahoo Finance:

In the video, published on Sept. 5, Apple’s Tony Blevins was approached by TikTok and Instagram creator Daniel Mac as part of a series where he asks owners of expensive cars their occupations. The executive was stopped by Mac while parking a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, an out-of-production sports car that fetches hundreds of thousands of dollars.

When asked what he does for a living, Blevins said, “I have rich cars, play golf and fondle big-breasted women, but I take weekends and major holidays off,” according to the video’s captions. He also touted that he has a “hell of a dental plan.”

In reality, Blevins is Apple’s vice president of procurement and is in charge of striking deals with suppliers and partners. He recently worked on the company’s satellite agreement with Globalstar Inc., led negotiations over cellular modems with Qualcomm Inc. and Intel Corp., and has been in charge of driving down the costs of many critical parts that go into Apple’s mobile devices.

After an internal investigation into the matter, Blevins’s team — which included about half a dozen direct reports and several hundred employees — was removed from his command, according to people familiar with the situation.

Blevins, a 22-year veteran of Apple, confirmed the incident to Bloomberg, saying the encounter took place on Aug. 18. “I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my mistaken attempt at humor,” he said.

An Apple spokesman said Thursday that Blevins is departing the Cupertino, California-based company.

Blevins has been part of a roughly 100-person group of vice presidents at Apple and one of only about 30 executives that report to either Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook or Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams. Williams has been Blevins’s boss for much of his career, though he briefly reported to Sabih Khan, Apple’s senior vice president of operations, according to the people.

It was Williams’s decision for the company and Blevins to part ways, one of the people said. The operating chief will oversee Blevins’s old team, at least for now, according to the person.

The TikTok video was taken at a car show that Blevins attended last month in Pebble Beach, California. His remarks in the 25-second clip reference a line from the 1981 movie Arthur, where main character Arthur Bach describes his own career: “I race cars, play tennis and fondle women, but I have weekends off and I am my own boss.”

The video garnered more than 40,000 likes on Instagram and 1.3 million views on TikTok. After the clip was published, some members of Apple’s operations and procurement teams reported it to the human resources department, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the situation is private. The company then launched the investigation, they said.

The video became a topic of discussion among Apple employees in recent weeks, with some expressing anger about his comments — especially given that other executives, including Cook and Williams, have publicly championed workforce diversity and the empowerment of women — according to the people. The video has also begun to spread among employees at some of the company’s key suppliers.

Blevins’s departure opens up a void at Apple. He’s been integral to the company’s success over the past two decades, according to employees with knowledge of his work, helping Apple fatten its profit margins and get access to core technologies before rivals. He may be difficult to replace, given his understanding of Apple’s supply chain and his negotiating skills, they said.

Bye to Tony!

Here is the video that got his a** FIRED!:

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A post shared by Daniel Mac (@itsdanielmac)

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The Top 25, Week 5: College football games and players to watch, plus early 2023 NFL draft picks

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The Top 25, Week 5: College Football Games And Players To Watch, Plus Early 2023 Nfl Draft Picks
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Welcome to The Top 25, a weekly rundown of the best of college football.

Each week, The Baltimore Sun will break down the top games, players and teams to watch, from the Power Five to the Group of Five. Here’s what to know for Week 5:

5 games to watch

No. 7 Kentucky at No. 14 Ole Miss (Saturday, noon, ESPN): While quarterbacks Will Levis and Jaxson Dart will deservedly get most of the attention, it might be the running backs who decide this one. Kentucky’s Chris Rodriguez, the leading returning rusher in the SEC, is back from his suspension, while Ole Miss’ Quinshon Judkins and Zach Evans look to continue their hot start after combining for nearly 800 rushing yards and nine touchdowns in the first four games.

No. 2 Alabama at No. 20 Arkansas (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., CBS): The Razorbacks were a fumble at the goal line away from beating Texas A&M and staying undefeated. They’ll have to regroup quickly against an Alabama team that is rounding into form after an early-season scare against Texas.

No. 9 Oklahoma State at No. 16 Baylor (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., Fox): The rematch of last year’s Big 12 championship game unsurprisingly has big implications for the conference title race. The Cowboys are coming off a bye and looking for revenge after last year’s title hopes ended just inches short of the goal line in a 21-16 loss to the Bears.

No. 22 Wake Forest at No. 23 Florida State (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ABC): The Seminoles are off to an impressive 4-0 start under coach Mike Norvell, but they haven’t faced an offense quite like Wake Forest’s. The Demon Deacons scored 45 points in a double-overtime loss to Clemson as quarterback Sam Hartman threw an ACC-record six touchdown passes.

No. 10 NC State at No. 5 Clemson (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ABC): This is an inflection point for NC State, which has a chance to prove its lofty preseason ranking was justified. Clemson’s offense looks much improved behind quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei and should test a Wolfpack defense that ranks eighth in ESPN’s SP+, a tempo- and opponent-adjusted measure of efficiency.

5 players to watch

Iowa LB Jack Campbell (vs. No. 4 Michigan): The senior is not only a reliable run defender, but excellent in pass coverage, allowing only 39 yards on nine targets this season, according to Pro Football Focus. If he can help shut down Michigan’s offense, Iowa might have a chance.

Mississippi State QB Will Rogers (vs. No. 17 Texas A&M): The junior has taken full command of coach Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense, leading the country in touchdown passes (16) and ranking second in passing yards (1,386). How he handles one of the country’s best defenses will decide this game.

California RB Jaydn Ott (at Washington State): The true freshman broke out in a 49-31 win over Arizona, rushing for 274 yards — the third most in school history — and three touchdowns. The former four-star recruit chose Cal over top programs like Oregon, Southern California and BYU, giving the Golden Bears one of their most exciting players in years.

Navy QB Tai Lavatai (at Air Force): Lavatai delivered with his arm in a 23-20 double-overtime win over East Carolina, completing seven of 10 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown. He might need to connect on a few more deep passes to beat rival Air Force, which has scored 40 or more points in its three wins.

Oregon State TE Luke Musgrave (at No. 12 Utah): The 6-foot-6, 250-pound junior already has 11 catches for 169 yards and a touchdown this season, perhaps drawing the attention of NFL scouts. He’s an important part of the Beavers’ ascension under coach Jonathan Smith.

5 big underdogs who could keep it close

Northwestern (+26.5) at No. 11 Penn State: After losses to FCS Southern Illinois and Miami-Ohio, the Wildcats look like one of the worst teams in the Power Five. But Penn State has occasionally struggled as big favorites under coach James Franklin, including last year’s nine-overtime loss to Illinois.

Rutgers (+40) at No. 3 Ohio State: The Scarlet Knights are 3-1 and only gave up 27 points to Iowa because of two defensive touchdowns. The Buckeyes’ offense looks unstoppable, but Rutgers’ defense ranks 32nd in SP+ and could hold its own.

Stanford (+17) at No. 13 Oregon: The Ducks have scored 40 points or more in their last three games and the Cardinal have allowed 40 or more in two straight, but this is usually a close fight. Stanford has won four of the past six meetings, including an upset of No. 3 Oregon last season.

Navy (+14) at Air Force: The service academy rivalry games are always unpredictable. The Midshipmen have lost by a combined 53 points in the past two meetings, but this is a desperate Navy team looking to turn its season around.

Georgia Southern (+10.5) at Coastal Carolina: The Chanticleers are 4-0 but have not been nearly as dominant as expected. The Eagles have found immediate success behind Buffalo transfer quarterback Kyle Vantrease and could take advantage of Coastal’s soft defense.

5 stats leaders you should know

Passing yards: Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. (1,388)

The Indiana transfer has thrown for at least 300 yards in all four starts, including 397 in a win over Michigan State.

Rushing yards: Illinois RB Chase Brown (604)

Brown has at least 100 yards in every game this season while averaging 6.4 yards per carry.

Receiving yards: SMU WR Rashee Rice (565)

Rice is averaging 141.3 yards per game and has caught a touchdown pass in three of four games.

Touchdowns: Michigan RB Blake Corum (9)

The former St. Frances Academy star is averaging 7.5 yards per carry and has scored at least one touchdown in all four games.

Sacks: Michigan State LB Jacoby Windmon and Arkansas LB Drew Sanders (5 1/2)

Windmon had four sacks in the season opener, while Sanders has recorded at least half a sack in all four games.

Projected top 5 picks in 2023 NFL draft

Note: The draft order is determined by ESPN’s Football Power Index projections.

1. Houston Texans: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Davis Mills has outperformed expectations for a third-round pick, but he’s not the long-term answer. Stroud is once again putting up huge numbers and showing the ability to make high-level throws.

2. Seattle Seahawks: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Levis’ combination of arm strength and rushing ability will vault him up draft boards come the spring. Geno Smith has done an admirable job as the starter, but it’s hard to see Seattle passing on a quarterback if they pick this high.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

If Anderson lands in Pittsburgh to pair with reigning Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt, you’re looking at the best pass-rushing duo in the league.

4. New York Jets: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

With Mekhi Becton missing another season due to injury and George Fant in the final year of his deal, the Jets need help at tackle. Skoronski hasn’t allowed a single pressure on 155 pass-blocking snaps this season, according to PFF.

5. Atlanta Falcons: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

Carter was perhaps the best defensive lineman on a 2021 national championship team that included first-round picks Travon Walker and Jordan Davis. He’d form a fearsome tandem with Grady Jarrett in the middle of the Falcons’ defense.


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ASK IRA: Are Heat creating instability by standing pat?

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Ask Ira: Are Heat Creating Instability By Standing Pat?
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Q: In the summers of 2006, ‘09, ‘13, ‘17, ‘18 and ‘20 the Heat tried this exact same recipe and the following seasons all were disappointing. – Mayne.

A: First, I would toss aside a few of those as mere common sense. In 2006 and ‘13, the Heat were coming off championships. Few teams meddle with such mixes, even with those rosters aging and showing signs of fatigue. Similarly, the Heat in 2020 were coming off an appearance in the NBA Finals and had the shortest offseason ever to turn it around amid the pandemic-altered schedule. As for 2009, the goal from the start there was to preserve every last cent of cap space for what ultimately would prove to be the 2010 offseason haul of the Big Three of LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. So what we’re really talking about as a means of comparison are the 2017 and ‘18 offseasons. Remember, in 2017 the Heat were coming off a 30-11 finish to the previous season (after an 11-30 start). Exactly how many teams would shake things up after playing at a .731 clip for half of a season? Fool’s gold? Perhaps. But the approach certainly was reasonable. And to their credit, by the end of 2018-19, the Heat recognized that it was time to move on, with the major acquisition of Jimmy Butler to follow in the ensuing offseason. This time around? Again, it comes after closing success, standing within one game of the NBA Finals. The difference this time around is I believe the Heat continue to look for an upgrade, which is why they poked around with Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell during the offseason and why they have retained their prime trade chips for something potentially significant during the course of the season. In this case, it’s more of a waiting game than a declaration that this will be as good as it gets.

Q: Why not just name starters now so players can prepare for their roles? – Evan.

A: First, it’s never quite as simple as having a single, set starting lineup. Injuries and absences make that practically impossible. Last season, the Heat had 23 starting lineups, with 16 players starting at least one game. Plus, matchups matter. For example, when the Heat open their preseason Tuesday at FTX Arena against the visiting Timberwolves, it will be against a team that will start Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns during the regular season. Such a matchup might call for a bigger starting power rotation than in other games where opponents play small. Plus, Erik Spoelstra typically has remixed his rotations by season’s end. So what camp is about is preparing everybody for everything.

Q: Tyler Herro is better than R.J. Barrett. He should, for sure, have signed a contract by now. – Richard.

A: But an extension for Tyler Herro is about more than perceived value (both how he sees himself and how the Heat view the situation). It is about the fact that if/when signed to an extension, Tyler then would not be available to be placed in a trade for the balance of the season. So it likely comes down, just as much, to whether the Heat see a potential franchise-altering trade on the near horizon. To his credit, Tyler said he has not gotten caught up in the minutiae of the trade rules, merely focusing on his game.


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Cynthia M. Allen: When this high school banned cellphone use, it saw remarkable changes

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Cynthia M. Allen: When This High School Banned Cellphone Use, It Saw Remarkable Changes
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FORT WORTH, Texas — There’s something noticeably different at Nolan Catholic High School in Fort Worth this year.

It’s not new uniforms or facilities. It’s the absence of something that accounts for what principal Oscar Ortiz calls a remarkable cultural shift.

There are no cellphones in use during the school day.

Students are required to keep them in backpacks inside their lockers.

If students are caught using their phones, the devices are confiscated and must be retrieved by a parent or guardian after a small fine is paid.

To a home-schooling parent like me, this doesn’t seem a novel or even particularly harsh policy.

Aren’t smartphones almost always prohibited in places of learning?

According to federal data, close to 77 percent of schools in the U.S. reportedly ban cellphone use in schools.

But practice looks different than policy.

Before this year, Nolan had a no-cellphone policy in place. But as Ortiz explained, when such policies don’t take into account what that means for teachers in the classroom, they are difficult to enforce and make other rules seem arbitrary.

That isn’t just the case at Nolan.

A friend who has taught at an area public school for nearly a decade laughed when I asked about his experience with cellphones in the classroom.

The school had a policy, he said, but kids were on their phones anyway and there was nothing he could do about it.

“I would teach to the two or three students who actually came to learn,” he said.

Ortiz, though, has seen previous cellphone policies implemented successfully. At Nolan, he wanted to be intentional about “creating a space where children can learn the right way,” free from distraction.

Thus far, this more robust policy seems to be working.

Ortiz estimates the school has minimized cell phone use by 85%-90%.

In the first seven weeks of school, teachers and administrators have collected only 12 devices, compared to last year’s 12-15 a day.

Device denial is a difficult adjustment at first, but teachers report that students are already more engaged, livelier and more attentive.

But what’s truly extraordinary about the policy is the effect it’s had on student culture.

“For the first time in a long time, (the students) can actually have friendships again,” Ortiz said. “Real conversations in the hallways and lunch rooms. Real human interactions.”

It seems that when kids are allowed to use their devices during the school day, they ambulate the hallways like extras on the set of “The Walking Dead,” barely lifting their eyes, never acknowledging each other.

Now, they greet adults in the hallway.

Even their posture has changed. Now, they look up.

Parents are reporting that the positive behavioral changes extend beyond the classroom and into the home, Ortiz said. Family dinners are more engaging. Conversations are more frequent. Cell phone use in the home is now comparatively minimal.

It’s a throwback to a simpler time, before the ubiquity of smartphones changed the way we interact with the world around us, frequently for the worse.

There is a bounty of data which suggests that smartphone use — social media apps in particular — is a primary factor driving teenage anxiety and depression.

Smartphones allow for constant communication, but they also expose kids to a litany of vices and dangers, from prolific online pornography and sexting to cyberbullying and online predators.

Being off their phones during the school day won’t eliminate those dangers, but it certainly reduces the number of opportunities for kids to be exposed to them.

“Most schools are already dealing with issues regarding porn and (cyber) bullying,” Ortiz said. “We have not this year.”

Protecting kids from online dangers, keeping them focused on academic work and allowing them the freedom to “be kids again” without the sense that every interaction could end up circulating through school in a social media post — all are positive outcomes of cell phone policies like Nolan’s.

But for Nolan, which is a Catholic institution, the cell phone policy also serves a higher purpose. It creates an atmosphere conducive to pursuing what is true, beautiful and good.

“We don’t want our children changing their behavior only due to external factors,” Ortiz said.

Prohibitions help reduce distractions, but motivating kids to want to do good for its own sake takes something a bit more, something a bit harder to pinpoint.

But if Nolan’s cell phone policy success is any indicator, the school is well on its way to achieving that goal.

Cynthia M. Allen is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Her email address is [email protected]

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French feminist rabbi captivates multi-faith crowds with thoughts on mortality

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As Paris was locked down for Passover, a rabbi began holding weekly Zoom chats about Jewish texts. Thousands of people tuned in to hear his thoughts on death. “He’s my rabbi,” said an atheist.

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