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Long left to struggle on its own, West Side in need of transformational change – Charleston Gazette-Mail05.06.21

For nearly five months, the Charleston City Council has been stuck in the proverbial mud. A bill aimed at curbing needle litter has dominated the councils last two meetings, with debate totaling more than five-and-a-half hours.

Frustration over the lack of work on other problems facing the community reached a boiling point April 5. Councilwoman Deanna McKinney, representing the citys West Side, assigned across-the-board blame to council members and the mayors office for turtle-paced action on the real issues plaguing Charlestons most impoverished community.

McKinney pleaded that everyone go see for themselves the gun violence, dimly or unlit streets, unsanitary conditions, vacant lots, drugs, food insecurity just to name a few.

Walk or drive around the West Side, day or night, and tell me what you see, McKinney said.

McKinney buried her only child, Tymel, 19, after he was shot and killed while sitting on his porch in April 2014. In the last seven years, McKinney has remained an outspoken advocate for curbing gun violence in the city, especially on the West Side. Then, less than 48 hours after her speech, Kelvin K.J. Taylor, 18, a beloved Capital High School student, was shot and killed standing on a West Side corner.

Charleston City Councilwoman Deanna McKinney hugs Omar Hanbrick, a Capital High School classmate of K.J. Taylor, at the site of a memorial on April 8, where Taylor was shot and killed the night before at the corner of Central Avenue and Glenwood Avenue.

Harm reduction is so much more than needle litter, McKinney said, so why has this debate left out the children who continue to be killed by guns, and what will be done to protect them?

Where is the cry for that type of harm reduction? she asked.

Gun violence is just one of the many complex, multi-layered issues facing Charleston. Nowhere are these issues more visible than the West Side.

The 1,438 people who live in the West Side flats from the Elk River to Park Avenue have an average life expectancy of 62.3 the 27th lowest of all 67,148 census tracts in the United States, according to 2010 Census results and subsequent data studies. The 2,183 people who live from Park Avenue to Iowa Street have an average life expectancy of 71.7, still well below the statewide average of 75.3.

The poverty rates in both census tracts which cut the flats into two halves are 37% and 39.7%, respectively, more than double the statewide rate of 18%.

Were at a very, very critical juncture for this community, said the Rev. Matthew Watts, a longtime community advocate and pastor at Grace Bible Church. Things could get much worse, and they could get much worse in a short period of time.

The window, Watts predicts, is closing. In three months to a year, if city leaders cannot start pointing to real examples of holistic change, the neighborhood will be lost forever. Just think of how things have declined since the 2010 census, he said.

The mayors office and the City Council must change its approach to solving its problems, said Toni Young of Community Education Group, a nonprofit organization devoted to fighting HIV, hepatitis C and substance abuse. She said the council must shift its debate to address the syndemic with which the city is dealing.

When the world is engulfed by an infectious disease, its dubbed a pandemic. When multiple diseases and intertwined issues all play off each other such as HIV, hepatitis C and substance abuse its called a syndemic. An approach that doesnt take on all these issues head-on is useless, Young said. Then, the social safety net and community health start to fracture.

You cant treat one piece without treating the other piece, she said. You cant invest in one piece and not invest in the other two pieces.

They just put us in prison

The reality of who drug users are, and what they look like, has been the ignored underlying issue.

Solutions Oriented Addiction Response, or SOAR, is the volunteer grassroots harm reduction group thats been under fire for distributing syringes in a West Side church parking lot. Longtime residents have faulted the group for creating unchecked needle litter in the neighborhood, bringing with them crime and people high on drugs.

SOAR volunteers pushed back at recent council meetings, pointing to the lives saved by Narcan and infections prevented by clean needles distributed at health fairs. The group has offered HIV testing and provided a number of outreach services.

SOAR is a white-led organization. Nearly all its volunteers are white. Locals report only seeing white people being served by the organization.

A 2015 study estimates the minority share of the population at 36.2% from Elk River to Park Avenue and 55% from Park Avenue to Iowa Street. Black people make up 15.7% of Charlestons total population, according to census results.

After state and local government gutted the Triangle District a Black neighborhood in the 1970s for the construction of an interstate, the Black people who remained in Charleston were mostly pushed to the West Side, after the same governments broke their promise of an organized relocation.

We come from a different era, said the Rev. Marlon Collins, pastor at Shiloh Baptist Church, which sits in what used to be the Triangle District. When drugs and addiction tore Black communities apart during cracks reign, Collins said they were treated much differently. Second chances didnt exist.

They just put us in prison, he said.

So forgive Black taxpayers, Collins said, if some take issue when they feel white people are threatening their quality of life. While compassion, recovery and harm reduction have long been deficient for Black Americans, when its white people struggling, hot meals, clean needles, water, shelter and support are readily available and often government-funded.

At the April 19 City Council meeting, Joe Solomon, a SOAR co-founder, turned the public speakers mic away from council members and faced the West Side residents. He apologized for not being a better neighbor.

I turned around, in part, because the City Council clearly turned their back on people who use drugs over the last six months, Solomon said. But I also turned my back to City Council to directly face members of Charlestons West Side, who I feel like we could have done a much better job communicating with as SOAR found sanctuary at the Unitarian church.

Solomon said SOARs efforts started, tragically, in the Living AIDS Memorial Garden on the East End, where people were literally transmitting HIV. The group tried to find a home on the East End, then in Kanawha City as more people needed services. SOAR worked in a few other church parking lots on the West Side before settling at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Charleston on the corner of Vine Street and Kanawha Boulevard West.

Solomon said the city historically has disinvested in the West Side, creating the conditions existing today, and he understands his groups presence and approach might not have been welcome.

I get that for some people. They see harm reduction as another burden, where theyre already facing a lot of burdens on the West Side, he said.

Healing trauma

Martec Washington remembers selling more pills to students at George Washington High School than to Capital kids.

After his father died of lung cancer when he was 13, Washington said, he began selling drugs to support his family. Today, Washington, 32, lives on Randolph Street, blocks from where he grew up on the West Side. In recent years, hes become one of the most outspoken and productive young activists on the West Side.

Martec Washington, a young community activist, stands near his home on Randolph Street.

George Washington is one of the most affluent public high schools in West Virginia. Those kids dont fit the mold of how society views drug users, Washington said.

Washington walks the streets of the West Side daily. When the pandemic began, he walked a lot more. There wasnt much to do, he said. He couldnt see his older neighbors.

Walking the streets now, Washington saw the change the pandemic brought. Shootings increased, he said. Walking Monday with a reporter, he noticed two fresh bullet holes in the building on the corner just behind his home. One bullet stuck out of the wall.

This doesnt stop him from living free in the neighborhood he loves and fights for, he said. But he sees a shift in energy from his neighbors.

I wont ever feel unsafe because when its my time to go, its my time to go. Youre not going to push me out of my neighborhood, Washington said. I feel like my community feels unsafe.

As COVID-19 began to change the world, a string of all-too-familiar killings began to change the country.

In late February, three white men in Georgia chased down Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man out jogging. They hit him with their truck, then shot and killed Arbery in the middle of the street. Prosecutors on Wednesday indicted the men on federal hate crime charges.

Two weeks later, Louisville Metro Police shot and killed Breonna Taylor, 26, while executing a no-knock search warrant. Two months later, a Minneapolis police officer murdered George Floyd, 46.

Protests raged across the country. Demonstrations took place here, too. But Washington didnt care for the city and polices framing of the demonstrations.

[They] were like, Well, this stuffs not going on here. And I kept thinking to myself, But it has gone on here, he said.

He thought of Freda Gilmore, the 27-year-old Black woman punched and kneed in the head by Charleston police during an October 2019 arrest. Officers said they were responding to a report of an altercation in a West Side parking lot. The city paid Gilmore an $80,000 settlement.

Police killings of Black people elsewhere retraumatizes an already-battered community, Washington said. These things do happen here, he said, and every time, it pains the people of the West Side all over again.

Crystal Good, of Charleston, the last of 22 public speakers at the April 5 council meeting, stepped up to the mic and shared her story of recovery for the first time. In a later interview, she said the conversation the council was having for months was nowhere close to the one that needed to be had.

Officials missed their moment to talk about true recovery and harm reduction. She said she spoke out after hearing the crackheads and junkies talk by council members, and she wanted to be visible to anyone at home or in the crowd who was looking at recovery. Good said all it took was one person to take her to a meeting and educate her on what recovery really is.

Crystal Good speaks to Charleston City Council and members of the public during the April 5 council meeting.

Maybe I could be that person for somebody else, she said.

Good said there is no space in Charleston for Black people who want to recover from addiction and heal their collective trauma. Race is considered an outside issue in the recovery room to make white people feel theyre in a comfortable space, Good said. But these spaces leave out the important conversations about generational trauma.

Sorry, but praying with Bubba and his swastika hand tattoo, Good said, is not a space into which traumatized Black people need to put themselves. But when this is the only option for recovery in a community, either the trauma stays inside you, or youve got to grab Bubbas hand and pray.

Once I was in recovery, I realized that this is a conversation that didnt really exist in my world prior to needing it, Good said.

Good said she cant believe that even after the July overdose death of a Black city worker on the job 27-year-old firefighter and medic Jason Cuffee the city has not created the forum to have this conversation.

Trauma is everywhere, Good said, but I think specifically when you talk about the roads that lead people to addiction, you can start to see similar paths.

Its coming

The crisis is at the doorstep.

New York City, home to more than 8 million people, recorded 36 total cases of HIV tied to intravenous drug use in 2020. Kanawha County recorded 35 cases in the same year. The Centers for Disease Control labeled Kanawhas outbreak the most concerning in the United States.

The concept that this is not going to be a problem is extremely misguided, said Dr. Judith Feinberg, an infectious disease expert at the West Virginia University School of Medicine. Kanawhas cases are clearly just the tip of the iceberg, she said, pointing to half being discovered in hospitals meaning people are already getting sick.

People can go years without noticing the symptoms of HIV, which, if untreated, destroys the immune system and leads to AIDS. Even the most expensive treatment for HIV doesnt cure the disease. Its something people live with until theyre dead.

As things quiet down from COVID-19, and we do more [HIV] testing, were gonna uncover a huge problem, said Feinberg, who has spent years researching HIV and the opioid crisis.

The city has failed to address any aspect of HIV prevention in the last five months. In three hours of debate on the syringe restriction bill April 19, the word HIV was not said once. Feinberg said all council members can do now is implement mass testing citywide.

There is no way to mitigate the damage this law will do, other than to repeal it, she said.

Solomon said after criminalizing the most effective way to stop HIV spread and save lives, the city must declare a public health crisis.

About 25% of people in the U.S. who have HIV also have hepatitis C, according to the CDC. This plays back into treating the problem as a syndemic, Feinberg said. That isnt happening.

The evidence is very clear that having a needle exchange program is good for the community as a whole, and its good for the people that are using drugs, said Ted Boettner, senior researcher at the Ohio River Valley Institute policy group. Its disheartening to watch people completely ignore that evidence in order to push a political agenda.

Boettner said the conversation in Charleston is so political and emotional, an evidence-based approach to solve the HIV crisis a direct result of the opioid epidemic is nearly impossible to achieve. One real solution to fix needle litter and curb HIV and overdoses a supervised injection facility elicits only emotional reactions from city and county leaders, he said.

While injection sites seem like such a far-fetched idea, they already exist, and they already exist in Charleston. They are just scattered all over the city in bathrooms, alleys, under bridges and road underpasses and in abandoned buildings, Boettner wrote in April 2018.

Bishop Robert Haley (center) and congregation members help stack over 400 boxes in the entryway of A More Excellent Way Life Center Church on the West Side after the Family Dollar burned down in February.

Councilman Robert Sheets, the lone no vote on the syringe bill, said as much in a rare speech during a recent meeting. He said if all officials are going to talk about is needle litter, then why arent they talking about something as simple as lockable shrapnel containers for discarded needles?

In a 40-page economic analysis, researcher Jill Kriesky laid out the billion-dollar ramifications of inaction on the HIV crisis, finding the 35 HIV cases alone will cost nearly $17 million to treat. And for the 635 cases of chronic hepatitis C tied to intravenous drug use in Kanawha County in 2019, treatment will cost up to $44.5 million. Almost all of these costs fall on hospitals, health centers and taxpayers.

Nearly 4,800 people in Kanawha County use illicit, or opium-related, drugs, according to the study.

Even if Charleston City Council doesnt care about human life and human suffering ... the fiscal damage from this is huge, Feinberg said.

A commonality in this debate is the notion HIV only affects poor people and those who use drugs. The thing about infectious diseases, Feinberg said, is once they start in a subgroup like intravenous drug users, unless its contained, the virus will eventually make its way from the impoverished flats to the citys rich neighborhoods. Besides dirty syringes, HIV spreads through vaginal and anal sex.

You have someone who injects drugs that has sex with someone, and that person has sex with someone else, and that person has sex with someone else and sooner or later, it shows up in the hills above Charleston, she said. The idea that if you dont inject drugs, you are not at risk for HIV its a complete misunderstanding of how HIV spreads.

While the problem today might be confined to a stigmatized population, which historically gives public officials cover to dodge accountability, in a short time that wont be the case.

The enormity of this problem is so striking to me. In a way, you can see it coming. Its like looking down the tracks and you see the headlights of that train bearing down on you, Feinberg said. Its coming.

The path forward

Children have the most to lose.

Thousands of kids on the West Side live with these complex, layered issues, hoping they wont get swept up by the violence even as theyve grown numb to it. Lakeisha Barron-Brown, of Charleston, a mental health professional, said the neighborhood isnt the same one in which kids grew up a few decades ago.

There may have been crime when I was growing up in the 80s and 90s on the West Side I must tell you, it was nothing like this, she said.

Mental health in children must be spotlighted and taken seriously by everyone, she said. Its on parents to notice and take action if their childs performance in school starts to slip. Its on government to provide them a safe neighborhood and a chance to make it out. After tragedies like Taylors killing, its important children understand why all this is happening.

The Rev. Marlon Collins briefly pauses his speech to Charleston City Council April 5, looking down to the rosary wrapped around his hands.

We have to begin breaking these incidents down with our children in this community, because if not, the violence will continue and they wont know how to deal with their mental health, Barron-Brown said.

She said there must be accountability across the board. Parents and school and state and local government officials must take a holistic approach to make the transformational change children on the West Side need. If the community doesnt take youth mental health seriously, nothing is going to change.

If mental health is not addressed, its a lose-lose situation, she said.

Beyond mental health, some families have failed to address trauma and addiction under their own roofs, Washington said. For many of the best friends hes lost to drugs, Washington said, their families remained silent on the issue even after they were buried.

Its a culture issue. In the Black community, theres so many things that we dont talk about, he said. Stop lying about it. I understand that it hurts your feelings, but you might save somebody elses life. Or you could have possibly saved your own childs life if you just actually dealt with it instead of hiding behind it.

Washington said people hide behind the stigma that its only white people with drug problems on the West Side. SOAR has been accused for what they brought to the neighborhood, but locals must consider how entrenched addiction and trauma already are in their community.

There is definitely a need for harm reduction in this community. Hands down, he said. But people need to be open to it and they need to be more honest about it.

The West Side is also home to thousands of longtime white residents. Its why Watts and former Charleston NAACP President Rick Martin tried for years to convince the state Legislature to take an aggressive approach to end poverty for all West Virginians. While drastic racial health disparities exist in the state, the living conditions of poor white people statewide are unacceptable, they said.

Watts said he stays hopeful, but with all the federal funding soon to flow into Charleston and Kanawha County, theres now reason to believe things can change.

The West Side has suffered from disinvestment for 60, 70, 80 years. Some of these issues cannot be adequately addressed unless there are financial resources to do so, Watts said. We have got to demonstrate to this community that theyve not been forgotten.

Some in community-based organizations, like Bishop Robert Haley of A More Excellent Way Life Center Church on the West Side, said he isnt holding his breath that real change will be brought by government. Upstairs in the church, members are constructing their own community center, trying to connect children and adults to the services their elected officials farther down Virginia Street never offered.

We dont look for help from any of them because theyve never helped us in the past, Haley said. They put a Band-Aid over here and thats it. Were looking for true help.

Whats also missing is an entire conversation, said Collins. The city has not provided a forum to openly discuss the challenges of trauma, addiction and how they drive the complex issues facing the community.

Hailing from Little Rock, Arkansas, Collins said the problems facing that community were so much more dire than Charlestons. The gun violence that ended Taylors life, just as it began, happened nearly every day back home.

Oh my God, those people were so complacent for so many years. Then we started burying kids Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday literally that frequent, Collins said.

Charleston cannot let it go that far before the conversation is had, he said.

Continued here:

Long left to struggle on its own, West Side in need of transformational change - Charleston Gazette-Mail

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Now that the NFL Draft is over, which Buffalo Bills picks will make the roster? – Democrat & Chronicle05.06.21

SportsPulse: Mackenzie Salmon highlights some of the most noteworthy grades from our NFL guru's Nate Davis picks. USA TODAY

When the Buffalo Bills take the field for their opening game in September, they will do so with a lineup that will be largely recognizable to the fan base.

Barring injuries or unforeseen circumstances such as a surprise release of a player or perhaps a trade, the Bills are going to trot out essentially the same starting group that played in the AFC Championship Game loss to Kansas City.

Rare is the opportunity for any NFL team to do that, but thats the reward for constructing a roster as efficiently as general manager Brandon Beane and coach Sean McDermott have, and then creating a culture that convinces players to stay with the team long term.

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Buffalo Bills draft picks 2021: Round-by-round selections, analysis and grades

How else can you explain the return of three key unrestricted free agents linebacker Matt Milano and offensive linemen Daryl Williams when it felt like, at the end of the 2020 season, all of them might be gone? Not to mention players like cornerback Levi Wallace, wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie, offensive lineman Ike Boettger, and special teamers Taiwan Jones and Andre Smith, all of whom came back to Buffalo.

Im very protective of our roster and our team, McDermott said back in late January. Once you get them in, you have to continue to form and manage and cultivate the culture because if you dont it will grow up in the form of weeds all around you before you know it. Its an ongoing process really more than anything.

What this high retention rate means is that the bulk of the eight-man draft class the Bills completed Saturday afternoon faces an uphill challenge in the coming months of not only getting on the field but making the team.

Its harder now than it was two and three years ago to enter the starting lineup, or make the roster, which is what I want. And I want to continue for it to be that way, Beane said. But we didnt go into this draft and say, Hey, we just want to draft for future. We wanted as many impact players this year as we can. Its just hard. We brought back a lot of our guys that started and played a lot of minutes for us on this team that went to the AFC championship.

Here are my thoughts on each draft picks chances, and what role he might play in 2021:

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He is going to be an interesting player to watch. When the pick was made, my main reservation is that he feels like a risk because he really only had one productive season in college at Miami. Those players worry me, especially when you pick them this high because teams cant afford to whiff on their first-ro und picks.

Rousseau played only 15 college games because he missed all but two games in 2018 due to a broken ankle, and then he opted out of 2020. His one year was impressive, 15.5 sacks in 13 games, but what also arches my eyebrows is he only began playing defensive end when he was a senior in high school.

Projected role: The Bills have time to acclimate Rousseau because they have veterans Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison returning, and they also have 2020 second-round pick A.J. Epenesa. I can see Rousseau getting about 25-30% of the rotational snaps and most likely not contributing very much on the stat sheet.

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The man they call Boogie is probably more ready to play this year than Rousseau. At Wake Forest he played 45 games with 33 starts and made 20.5 sacks. Hes not as explosive an athlete as Rousseau, but defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier will be able to vary where he uses Basham because he can rush from the inside as well as the edge.

Projected role: Dont be surprised if Basham gets more playing time than Rousseau, and depending on the game-day roster configuration, its possible Basham is active and Rousseau inactive more than the other way around.

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I dont have an issue with the player, but I do have an issue with the position because it just seemed like the Bills needed to pick a cornerback somewhere in the first three rounds. Beane claimed he stuck to his board and Brown was the guy they had graded in that spot. Thats fine, but the Bills need more guys who can cover than they did backup offensive linemen.

Projected role: This was a pick made for the future. The 6-foot-8, 311-pound Brown is a development player who did not see the top echelon competition playing for Northern Iowa. The Bills are probably going to take it slow with him and try to get him ready for 2022. At that point, they could move on from Williams as the starting right tackle, and Brown would have a chance to be his replacement.

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Read the above paragraph, and just change the name from Brown to Doyle. For starters, both players are 6-foot-8, and like Brown, Doyle didnt face premier competition at Miami of Ohio so its tough to envision either player being thrust into the lineup in 2021. The good news is that they both started more than 30 games in college so they have a solid base to build on.

Projected role: The Bills typically have three tackles active on game day last year it was Williams, Dion Dawkins and veteran Ty Nsekhe was the swing tackle. Doyle and Brown will compete for that job along with veteran Bobby Hart, and theres probably a good chance one of those three gets released. My guess is that its Hart, with Brown a game-day inactive most weeks and Doyle ending up on the practice squad.

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The only way hes making the 53-man roster is if the proves to be a dynamic return man, and the good news for him is that with Andre Roberts gone, that job is up for grabs. Hes staring at Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, Emmanuel Sanders, Gabriel Davis and Isaiah McKenzie on the wide receiver depth chart, and possibly Isaiah Hodgins and Jake Kumerow.

Projected role: The Bills have typically kept six receivers on the active roster, so I cant see Stevenson making it. Hes probably destined for the practice squad.

Pittsburgh defensive back Damar Hamlin (3) celebrates after making an interception against Louisville during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Pittsburgh.(Photo: Keith Srakocic, AP)

With reliable veteran Dean Marlowe gone, the Bills have a backup safety spot open and Hamlin will battle with Josh Thomas who spent almost all of 2020 on the practice squad. Hamlin has been called a great special teams player, so that might be his ticket to playing time.

Projected role: If indeed Hamlin can live up to his special teams billing, hell have a good chance to make the team.

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He was the only corner the Bills drafted, so just based on numbers, unless the Bills sign a veteran free agent, hell get his opportunity to earn a spot. His best path would be as a nickel corner, but hed have to leapfrog Taron Johnson and Siran Neal.

Projected role: Because I think the Bills are going to sign someone, its tough to see Wildgoose making the team.

Texas Tech offensive lineman Jack Anderson looks to make a block during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa State, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 31-15.(Photo: Charlie Neibergall, AP)

The comparisons to former Bills guard Richie Incognito are interesting, not because they sort of look alike and have massive tattoo coverage, but Anderson was known as a player who could get a little nasty, never a bad trait for an offensive lineman.

Projected role: He was a four-year starter at Texas Tech which always impresses me, a guy who can come right in as a freshman and do that. However, with Feliciano, Cody Ford, Ike Boettger and Ryan Bates ahead of him, its tough to see him doing anything more than working out on the practice squad.

Sal Maiorana can be reached at maiorana@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @salmaiorana.

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Now that the NFL Draft is over, which Buffalo Bills picks will make the roster? - Democrat & Chronicle

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Jason Momoa Is Saving the Planet Or At Least Hes Trying – Footwear News04.22.21

Jason Momoa has been one of Hollywoods leading environmental activists in recent years, and now hes taking his fight against single-use plastic pollution to the footwear industry. The Aquaman star has teamed up with St. Louis, Mo.-based climbing brand So iLL for a signature line of sustainable outdoor and lifestyle products, including shoes and sandals.

Since launching the So iLL x On the Roam collaboration by Jason Momoa in 2019, more products have been introduced through direct-to-consumer, including waterproof outdoor bags, tees, chalk bags and face masks. Materials used include 100% organic cotton, BLOOM Foam for the sneaker insoles, which is made from 30% BLOOM Resin with top layer of cork and a rubber outsole mixed with Eco Pure technology that helps cut down on decomposition time in a landfill. Packaging is all plastic-free, as well.

The sneakers contain an insole made from 30% BLOOM resin, which is an alternative to synthetic and petrochemical EVA foams. The technology removes algal blooms to reduce water pollution, create sustainable materials, generate clean water and maintain healthy ecosystems.

CREDIT: Courtesy of So iLL

Creating more end-of-life solutions are top of mind and a continuous conversation, according to the company.

While Momoa is vocal about climate change having addressed the United Nations in 2019 about that issue and recently launched a water company made out of 100% recyclable aluminum cans called Mananalu Pure Water hes just as zealous about climbing.

Its the sport that brought So iLL founder Daniel Chancellor and Momoa together for this collaboration.

We both came from the same kind of place. I grew up with my mother in Iowa. She took me on a trip to the Needles in South Dakota [when I was 15]. I was just blown away by it and I fell in love. Then every weekend I would travel to Minnesota just to go to this climbing gym because there are very few and far between in the Midwest, Momoa told FN.

With a similar Midwestern upbringing, Chancellor wanted to create a brand as refuge for climbing enthusiasts seeking the same sense of freedom the sport has offered him when he first starting making climbing holds in his barn with his brother in 2002. To take his dream further, he has since launched the non-profit 1Climb, which partners with the Boys and Girls Clubs across America by building climbing walls in their club facilities and taking their members to local climbing gyms.

Jason Momoa during a 1Climb event.

CREDIT: Courtesy of So iLL

The access point for this new generation of outdoor enthusiasts actually starts inside, explained Chancellor. Then eventually they transition outside. And once you start climbing, you start spending time outdoors, you start experiencing the environment. That brings more respect. It gets people thinking about sustainability in that way, too. So if we can get more people climbing and more people outdoors with this collaboration, thats going to help sustainability down to a personal level.

Here, Momoa who presented Birkenstock with FNs 2020 brand of the year award, opens up about his mission to help the earth and how climbing has been part of this journey.

Jason Momoa holding his On the Roam x So iLL sneaker.

CREDIT: Courtesy of So iLL

Its been that way since the beginning. I was a [marine] and [wildlife] biology major, which is really amazing to go full circle and become Aquaman because I can really attack certain things and bring awareness to topics that have been in my heart since I was a little kid.

I just always wanted to be outside and to be in nature. It keeps me grounded, keeps me level. It keeps me connected to the environment and something that humbles me. Its just my lifes passion. Dan and I share climbing. I learned how to leap climb in my garage, hanging from the rafters. Its all about wanting to do the movement and how it feels in your body. We both agree on this lifestyle and the more that I can bring some positivity to it, we can make a little bit of change. Were small. We can try to do this and hopefully were doing our part. If it gets bigger, thats the whole goal. You cant wait for the bigger companies to [make change].

Just thinking about sandals and all the waste that goes into it. Being in the islands where I was born and going to see my father, seeing all the flip flops, the sandals. IfI could make something that was algae-based and you could put that in your garden and its completely compostable that would be amazing. So its a beautiful thing to go out and pitch an idea and have your friend instantly turn it around. It just keeps evolving.

The So iLL x On The Roam Dirty Pink Kanaka Sandal features Momoas triangular tattoo pattern on the foot strap and molded rubber outsole mixed with Eco Pure to help cut down on decomposition time.

CREDIT: Courtesy of So iLL

I literally called Dan after this years [presidential inauguration], and said, Bro, I need unity purple shoes now. After that happened and I saw all the ladies in purple, I said this country needs to be purple. Style matters. How you feel and how you wear it is important. I mean, Im an actor who puts on many different costumes to play different roles. I really love that we can have some function and fashion and make something good for the Earth. And I just love pink. It has a calming effect on me. I like the lighter side of everything.

The Unity Purple Roamer, and the Yaya Lavender Roamer, inspired by Momoas mother. (She hates the color lavender.)

CREDIT: Courtesy of So iLL

Trying to make sure that everything is not plastic its really, really challenging. Im on all these sets and even though its recyclable plastic, I hate using it. So Im like, Can we make utensils and give it to the whole crew? Im just trying to cut down, because we join the circus when [I work] on different shows and theres so much that goes into feeding everyone. Im just coming to Dan with ideas to make that change in my own business. Thats how I look at it from my own life.

Ive met with massive companies trying to find ways to heal this plastic problem and theres so many solutions. Its really quite sad if you break it down and hear [excuses] from the big companies they have solutions. It just costs more. And its just fing sad. So where theyre not doing it, at least I have to try. I dont know how people cant. If Im in this place, Im playing Aquaman, Im in this position, I have to try to at least tackle these things. You cant take, take, take. You have to give back. I feel guilty. I see it. Ive lived this single-use plastic life and it just buckles me.

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Jason Momoa Is Saving the Planet Or At Least Hes Trying - Footwear News

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2021 NFL Draft: How Trey Lance went from small town and small school to the NFL’s next big thing at QB – CBS Sports04.22.21

On March 12, temperatures were just above freezing in Fargo, North Dakota. Not bad for one of the coldest cities in America. But even if a blizzard were unfolding (not uncommon until May, in these parts), dozens of NFL decision-makers still would've descended upon the Midwestern town. Thirty of the league's 32 teams were represented at the Fargodome that day, storming what amounts to a regional temple -- the deafening home of the North Dakota State Bison -- for something special: The chance to lay eyes on one of the most unusually tantalizing quarterback prospects in years.

Draftseason tends to evoke hyperbole. Top talents become "generational." Strong position groups become "historically deep." By the following April, plenty of pundits have already moved on, eager to be the first to crown the next big thing. But it's not often you see what those 30 teams saw in Fargo. It's not often a QB is a lock to go in the first round (perhaps as high as No. 3 overall) and will only be 20 years old when he's picked, having played just 19 games in college, with just one career interception, for an FCS school. The rocket arm, top-end speed and prototypical 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame are just bonuses.

That's Trey Lance.

Lance is a future multimillion-dollar face of a billion-dollar franchise. A week before his showcase at the NDSU pro day, he was engaged in much simpler matters: Wrestling his roommate.

Phoenix Sproles, a junior wide receiver for NDSU, has shared a Fargo apartment with the QB since the two arrived on campus in 2018. Sproles was one of Lance's top targets during the latter's last full season for the Bison. But off the field, they've been going at it for years, all the way up until Lance's Fargodome spectacle.

"We wrestle a lot," Sproles says, holding back a laugh. "I'm gonna admit, I haven't beaten him yet. But right before the pro day, I took it easy on him. I didn't wanna mess with him, you know? He's a big kid. He tries to give me -- he has this thing called the 'back breaker' -- where he tries to put my back on his knee and mess me up."

Sproles knows the NDSU coaches probably don't want to hear that. But it's indicative of their relationship, which also began on a competitive note.

"Junior year, you have all your Junior Day college visits," the receiver recalls, "and I kept seeing this dude at all the visits. I was the No. 3 or No. 4 athlete in Minnesota, and he was No. 2. I was comparing myself to him from the beginning; he was already a threat. I remember the first time I figured out who he was, I was at South Dakota State, and there was this tall, lengthy dude. I asked around, like, 'Who is that guy?' And someone was like, 'It's Trey Lance.' I made sure to size him up a little bit, make sure he knew I was present."

The rivalry was always out of respect. Lance became the first major recruit from that 2018 class to get an offer, committing to NDSU in hopes of becoming just the third Bison QB to ever be drafted. Two weeks later, Sproles joined him.

"I wanted Trey to be my quarterback," he says.

He ended up getting more. The two grew up in different areas -- Sproles in New Hope, a suburb of Minneapolis; and Lance in Marshall, the small southwestern Marshall town of under 14,000. But they bonded quickly, first over weekend hangouts and throwing sessions at Sproles' high school field, then over a grueling transition to college ball. It wasn't so much the awe of their new program that got them through. NDSU's powerhouse reputation, backed by a record eight Division I FCS championships in nine years, was undeniable. But Lance, with a work ethic that matched his goofiness, proved a more tangible resource for Sproles.

"They always say you wanna quit college football after summer of your freshman year," he says. "But we stuck together. We're for-lifers, that's what we say. I got him forever."

Plenty of people, see, are talking about Trey Lance these days. But they know him only as the big, strong, athletic mystery at the top of the 2021 draft. The latest hotshot from that school that produced Carson Wentz. The biggest boom-or-bust project of his class. The emerging celebrity at the center of a specific March afternoon in Fargo.

Talk to those in the small circle that's witnessed Lance's rare journey firsthand, however, and you get a clearer picture. That big kid, wrestling his teammate? The one trying to give his best friend a "back breaker?" The one who reverted to his "goofy freshman-year self" right after the pro day? That's also Trey Lance. It turns out he's every bit "just one of the guys" as a 20-year-old who isn't headlining ESPN and NFL Network -- maybe even more so. And that's what makes his march to stardom all the more unique.

Jake Hess first met Trey Lance when he was about 4 years old. They were teammates in tee ball. They were classmates at the same Catholic school, Holy Redeemer, in Marshall. And their friendship also blossomed from competition.

"Recess at Holy Redeemer, we were always the two captains," says Hess, now a junior at Minnesota State University, Mankato. "And we were always the two best players, so we were never on the same team. Never."

This, of course, naturally led to some standoffs.

"Sometimes it got to the point we'd have to have family sit-downs," Hess continues. "Elementary school, we would take the bus back to Trey's house almost every day to play two-hand touch in the backyard. And it got heated sometimes. One time, he yelled at me for shoving someone, and then I threw the ball so hard at the guy the next play, he was like, 'Go home.' So I went home."

They ended up doing everything together. Football. Basketball. Snowboarding trips. Sleepovers. Twins games. Sunday church. Visits to the Valleyfair amusement park, with Trey's younger brother, Bryce, tagging along.

The twist, when it came to Trey, was that he always went the extra mile. Not content to just join the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he became a local leader and regional spokesman for the sports ministry. Hess, who also volunteered for FCA, recalls being particularly moved when Lance gave his testimony at a middle-school camp in Iowa, where they roomed together. Eventually, after Hess moved to one of Marshall's public schools, he and Trey "built a bridge between us and the Holy Redeemer kids."

And don't even get him started on athletics.

"As kids, it wasn't Xbox with Trey," Hess says. "It was Wii Fit. Or playing outside. He'd be in there, at school, lifting weights after basketball games, and I'm just gassed, laying in the locker room wanting to go drink a freaking milkshake."

Turns out Lance had some integral motivators at home. His mother, Angie; and father, Carlton, brought a model work ethic to the community long before anyone outside of Marshall knew their son's name. A former teacher, Angie has spent more than a decade at Schwan's Company, the locally famous meal delivery business. Carlton, meanwhile, served as Marshall's head middle-school football coach when Trey was young. Before that, he was a two-sport standout at Division II Southwest Minnesota State, played briefly in the Canadian Football League and attended training camp with the 49ers and Houston Oilers.

Not surprisingly, Dad accelerated Trey's foray into quarterbacking. When he taught his son to throw in the backyard, he did so through the lens of a professional defensive back. When the Marshall Tigers needed a backup QB during Lance's eighth-grade season, everyone pointed to Hess, but Carlton told Trey he was going to try it, too.

"We always thought he'd be a running back," says Terry Bahlmann, Marshall's high school coach for more than 30 years. "But in terms of athletes I had over the years, he'll go right to the top. He played strong safety for us, returned punts, returned kicks. I remember his freshman year, I told my wife, Jan, he was a special athlete. I just didn't know what he was gonna do yet."

Hess and Lance, the rivals-turned-friends, started by trading possessions in practice. ("I was the guy with the arm," Hess says, "but he could run.") As Hess gradually poured more into baseball, where both QBs were also captains, Lance started attending passing camps.

Then, in 10th grade, it happened. Eight games into the season, Marshall's senior QB suffered a serious injury, and Hess was already tending to a high-ankle sprain. So Bahlmann called on Lance, just a JV project at that point. Trey was much smaller then -- about 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds -- and threw a couple interceptions in defeat. But it was the last time he and the Tigers lost for a long time. Marshall went to three straight state tournaments under Lance's direction, and suddenly the spotlight was bright.

Not everyone bought into the hype. Coaches and scouts started showing up in Marshall, only to be treated to run-heavy offense more than Trey Lance clinics. Only one Power Five school made him an offer, and that was to play linebacker. As NFL Network's Chase Goodbread reported, there was also Lance's brush with the University of Minnesota. He'd grown up a Golden Gophers fan, attended a Gophers summer camp and negotiated his own unofficial visit with coach P.J. Fleck. But Fleck only saw him as a safety, and recruiting services almost instantly followed suit, reclassifying Lance as an "athlete" rather than a QB.

No matter. After sniffs from Air Force, Boise State and a few others, Lance became a Bison and unleashed the best marks of any NDSU QB amid an era of unprecedented production for the program's signal-callers. Brock Jensen (2009-2013) earned a camp invite from the Dolphins after throwing 34 touchdowns as a senior, Carson Wentz (2012-2015) went No. 2 overall to the Eagles after starring as a dual threat, and Easton Stick (2015-2018) was drafted by the Chargers after scoring 85 times his final two seasons.

Lance outdid them all as a 19-year-old redshirt freshman, totaling a school-record 3,886 yards (2,786 passing; 1,100 rushing) while guiding the Bison to a national title and college football's first 16-0 record since Yale went unbeaten in 1894.

"Everybody thinks he's a runner, but he's really got a strong arm, too," says Bahlmann. "I honestly think he's got a lot of Patrick Mahomes' skills."

The comps are all over the board: Hess sees a more accurate version of Cam Newton. Phoenix Sproles has heard the Wentz connection because of NDSU, but thinks Lance is a "more dynamic starter and smarter with the ball." Either way, the ceiling is high. And the scouts agree, even though Lance only played one more game before declaring for the draft. (The COVID-19 pandemic delayed all but one matchup from the 2020-21 season until this spring.)

Clemson's Trevor Lawrence boasts all the intangibles as the inevitable No. 1 pick, BYU's Zach Wilson is a top-three lock for his off-schedule play-making, and Ohio State's Justin Fields is another top five possibility with a big arm and elite speed. Lance, however, has drawn physical comparisons to former Colts No. 1 pick Andrew Luck.

"To me, he's still little 'Treybee,' with the little baby face. That's what we'd call him," says Hess. "Once he got to college, though, he was a big shot right away." Literally, too: "I got to one NDSU game, and afterward, I was like, 'Holy s***, he's big.' In high school, he was just little. Now he's built like a brick house."

In 2017, before any of the top rookie QBs even set foot on a college field, Lance, Lawrence and Fields competed at the same Elite 11 youth QB camp in Chicago. Also there: Quincy Patterson II, who transferred to NDSU from Virginia Tech this year and could succeed Lance next fall. Patterson remembers meeting Lance at the camp: Both were pretty shy, he says, but clicked when Trey showed his goofy side after running the 40-yard dash. Now, having consulted Lance and studied the QB's NDSU tape before his relocation to Fargo, he looks up to Trey's game.

"He's super smooth, he's got that swag about him and can really move," Patterson says. "I loved how Trey also really had control over the offense and made almost every decision himself. Not a lot of teams or offenses have that, and it helps with going to the NFL because quarterbacks are true field generals in the NFL. I believe Trey would have done the same things even at a higher level just because of how much he cared and how hard he worked."

The one thing about rookie QBs that you cannot evaluate is how they'll respond to the NFL lifestyle. For every home-run QB pick near the top of the draft, there are three times as many misses. Rarely is that because of a lack of talent. The circumstances may not be ideal -- poor coaches, bad injury luck, shoddy supporting casts. Often, however, it's the sheer pressure of commanding the big stage.

Take it from Mark Sanchez, who endured firsthand the highs and lows of the limelight after going No. 5 to the Jets in 2009: "You're a 21- or 22-year-old kid, and people expect you to make executive decisions like you're a 65-year-old Supreme Court judge. And ... that's not realistic every time. They're going to go out with friends, they're going to go out to a bar, they're going to meet a girl. They're kids! They're like everyone else their age, except with the weight of the world on them."

It's no secret that Lance's transition from Midwestern folk hero to NFL quarterback will be the biggest of his life. A move ripe with the possibility of missteps. But those closest to him don't see him as sheltered or unprepared. Besides trailing the likes of Lawrence and Fields and Co. in national recognition, he is softer-spoken. He prefers to let his body do the talking, either with highlight-reel plays on the field or professions of faith off it. (His newest tattoo, just inked recently, has "Child of God" spread across his back.) Yet his peers point to the times he hasleveraged his voice and platform as evidence of natural leadership.

When others transferred to NDSU, sometimes to challenge for his job, Lance would beat them out but somehow make them fans in the process. Consider Zeb Noland, who came over from Iowa State specifically to get more playing time. He ended up losing a competition with Lance for Easton Stick's No. 1 spot. Instead of transferring elsewhere, he stuck around because of a "special" bond with his new "best friend."

When neighboring Minnesota erupted last summer after George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, died at the hands of Minneapolis police, Lance's words penetrated the mostly white communities that often hailed him on Saturdays. As the biracial son of a Black father and white mother, he sometimes stood out in his little town of Marshall, where Hess recalls he may have gotten occasional comments from visiting schools about being the only Black kid on the basketball team. Attaching his name to the Black Lives Matter movement and marching with teammates against police brutality was even more visible.

"Protests occurred, (and) he took part in them and (received) a ton of negative comments and hate," says Patterson, "but still stood tall and did what he felt was right despite what some of his 'supporters' had to say."

And when he returns to Marshall? He's bigger, stronger and, in Hess's words, "much cooler" than he was as a little kid. But he's not above the small town that shepherded his growth. He's just Trey Lance.

"It's a big deal in a town of 14,000," says Bahlmann. "His pro day, we had a couple hundred kids on their phones watching it throughout the building. I sat in the cafeteria with his brother, Bryce, watching him. But I'm most proud of Trey being Trey and still remembering who he is when he comes back. He has time for everybody here. My wife and I, we were doing a boys basketball game once, and we realized, if you wanna find where all the little kids are, you find Trey. Because they're all over him, sitting around him, trying to get a chance to talk to him."

Once a week last fall, Trey would get texts from Wentz, per NFL Network. The ex-Eagles and new Colts QB is a long-distance mentor of sorts, primarily because of their NDSU connection. Far be it from him to cling only to the stars of his future employer, Trey would also exchange weekly texts with someone else: Bahlmann.

On April 29, the night Trey Lance will hear his name called by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, he will be in Cleveland, for the draft. Some of his crew will be in Fargo. His parents originally booked a private banquet hall for what's bound to be the most exhilarating evening of their son's life. Even some of Trey's not-so-good friends will probably reach out now, eager to touch the fame that awaits. A couple of names are already locked into the invite list, though. They have been for a while: Jake Hess and Phoenix Sproles.

If Trey had his way, the gathering might be in Marshall, where he and Jake once went head to head in the backyard. Some NFL teams want to fly out their draft picks as soon as they can after picking them, however. And everyone knows Trey will have a team that night.

Who will it be? The 49ers figure to have the first crack after trading up to No. 3. The Falcons, at No. 4, could use an heir apparent to Matt Ryan. The Lions (No. 7), Panthers (No. 8) and Broncos (No. 9) could all be in play, as could the Eagles (No. 12), Vikings (No. 14) and Patriots (No. 15) if trades unfold.

Sproles, who's discussed the possibilities with Lance, says he used to follow whichever NFL team his cousin, longtime running back Darren Sproles, played for. For a while he rocked a Chargers jersey. Then he called himself part of the Saints' Who Dat Nation. Then he went all in on the Eagles. He's got a similar plan with Trey.

"He trained in Atlanta for a long time, and I know he loves Atlanta. He wouldn't mind being a Falcon, playing in that uniform. I could see him in either a Falcons or Panthers uniform," Sproles says. "Whatever it is, I'm buying two jerseys. Two different colors. And I want it signed, 'To my best friend Phoenix.' Then I need some gear. Some T-shirts. A jersey and a T-shirt, that's all I want."

Hess has similar plans: He'd love it if his favorite team, the Steelers, somehow drafted his old buddy, but he's inclined to see Trey succeed regardless of location, and he's prepared to give his allegiance.

"He told me he'd like a good situation, ideally with a quarterback that's a great leader that he can watch and learn from," Hess says. "When it happens and he gets picked, I'm gonna be at the draft party like, 'Everybody shut up, I was his friend first.' I'll get his jersey right away and frame it."

Chances are, the town of Marshall will do the same. Back home, things are proceeding as normal. The spring flowers are growing. Students are gearing up for graduation. (Among them: Lance's brother who's already committed to NDSU as a wide receiver.) If Lance were in town, and no one knew any better, it'd be normal all the same. Because beneath the superstar-in-waiting is just another small-town kid who happens to be doing unusual things.

"In Marshall," Hess says, "you grow up, you go to college, you raise a family, and that's it. That's the motion. Trey was different. He's doing the things the third-grade teachers tell you will never happen: Making it to the NFL."

The best part: He's still Trey Lance.

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Tattoo Program – Home – Iowa Department of Public Health02.19.21

TheProclamation of Disaster Emergencysigned by Governor Reynolds on 2/5/2021 has extended the reopening ofall tattoo establishmentsuntil 11:59 pm onMarch 7, 2021.

On March 22, 2020 Governor Reynolds issued a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency (Proclamation) in response to COVID-19. Parts of the Proclamation provided relief to various professions that require a license, certification or permit. The tattoo program falls under one of those professions listed in the proclamation. Since March, the Governor has extended the provisions in the Proclamation. At this time it appears that the Proclamation will be extended for months to come. However, it is unknown how long the Proclamation will ultimately remain in place.

Tattoo artists and establishments that have a permit that expired or will expire during the time period covered by the Proclamation can continue to work for as long as the Proclamation provisions are in place. However, tattoo artists and establishment owners are highly encouraged to renew their permit on time, or as close to on time as possible. Both the first aid certification and blood borne pathogen certifications required to renew can be completed remotely.

Tattoo artists and establishments that expire during the time period covered by the Proclamation will not be issued any new permit documents that reflect the permit is still valid. Tattoo artists and establishments that expire during the Proclamation can use this guidance of proof of permit if needed. When tattoo artist and establishments do renew their permits they will receive updated permits that will be issued for the normal 2021 permit year.

For a current list of licensed artists and establishments, see the Resources page.

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Frosted Flakes: Kusche Sets Mile Record, Neanderthal Poop and a Very Good Dog – Corn Nation02.19.21

Frosted Flakes

Pierce football player receives D1 offer from Iowa State - NORTHEAST - NEWS CHANNEL NEBRASKAOne of the fastest-rising programs in college football wants a northeast Nebraska athlete to join its team.

This is just down the road from me. It is great to see a small town kid get noticed.

Huskers Turn In Top-10 Performances at Ohio, Iowa - University of NebraskaThe Nebraska track and field team began competition at both the SPIRE Big Ten Invitational in Geneva, Ohio and the Hawkeye B1G Invitational in Iowa City, Iowa on

Kusche Breaks Mile School Record in Ohio - University of NebraskaNebraska track and field junior George Kusche broke his own mile school record to highlight the second day of action at the SPIRE Big Ten Invitational on Saturday.

Kusche will have quite a few records before he is done at Nebraska.

Steven M. Sipple: As Moos expresses confidence in Hoiberg, a former Husker sees red flags | Column | journalstar.comEx-Husker sharp-shooter Cary Cochran on NUs poor free-throw shooting: Its a matter of discipline. At the end of the day you have to have guts.

Everything fell into place for former Husker Kelly Hunter to play professionally again | Volleyball | omaha.comKelly Hunter doesnt know if this is her last opportunity to play professionally, but her goal isnt to play for the rest of her life. Shes committed to serving as...

From potato fields to Pinehurst: How a boy from Americas poorest reservation became a hero to his people through golf | Golf News and Tour Information | Golf DigestThat Lance Christensen, a 17-year-old from a South Dakota reservation, has become a standout high school golfer is a story of passion and perseverance

This is a remarkable story about a young man who has found a way to pursue his passion and stay in his local community.

Daytona 500: Michael Jordan now a major player for NASCARIn a sport in desperate need of fans and a boost of cool, the NBA icon gives it some legitimate juice.

Stanford and the fight to save discontinued Olympic NCAA sports - Sports IllustratedAt Stanford and other schools, athletes of discontinued NCAA sports teams are pushing backand raising money in the process.

Chris Doyle: Urban Meyer admits bad decision as his coach resigns - Sports IllustratedIn this weekend's hot clicks, Urban Meyers irresponsible hire (and sad excuse), Tennessee's excessive recruiting tactics (and violations) and more.

No. 3 Michigan Wolverines rally to win in first game since 3-week COVID-19 layoffNo. 3 Michigan returned from a three-week COVID-19 layoff and rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat No. 21 Wisconsin on Sunday.

Oldest DNA from poop contains a Neanderthals microbiome | Ars TechnicaThe Neanderthal microbiome wasnt so different from ours, a recent study suggests.

Herd of calves stroll Indiana highway after escaping a farmLaPORTE, Ind. (AP) A herd of about 75 Holstein calves barreled down an Indiana highway after escaping a nearby farm. Capt. Derek Allen, an off-duty officer who happened to be nearby in his...

Fortunately not our cows...

The Crooked Forest In Poland is an Unsolved Mystery | Travel and Exploration | DiscoveryLearn about the theories behind Poland's Crooked Forest at Discovery.com

These trees are pretty amazing.

Why do the queen's guards wear such tall hats? | Live ScienceThe queen's guards wear tall, bearskin helmets to look more fearsome on the battlefield.

The Celebrity Tortoise Breakup That Rocked the World - Atlas ObscuraBibi and Poldi, who live at the Reptilienzoo Happ in Klagenfurt, Austria, were a perfect match.

Strippers, Insane Asylums, Assassination, and Termites: Inside the Insane History of the Worlds Greatest White House ReplicaGovernor Huey Long was so anxious to get to the White House that he built his own in Baton Rouge. An assassins bullet cut short Longs ambitions, but his gaudy knock-off survives.

Are People Falling in Love With Their Peloton Instructors? - InsideHookTwitter thirst would suggest yes. But the pheonomenon's happening for all the right reasons. We break down the "Peloton crush."

Tattoo artists share the common request many of them will refuse to do - Mirror OnlineTattoo artists have been replying to a thread on Reddit asking which designs they have turned down when a client comes into the studio - and many said they will refuse one popular request

Instead of fire at NC restaurant, firefighters find hardworking staff making 10,000 wings for Super Bowl | WJHL | Tri-Cities News & WeatherFirefighters called to a North Carolina restaurant fire Saturday found instead that the "hardworking staff" was making thousands of wings for the Super Bowl.

Tennessee man leaves $5 million to dog in his will: 'Shes a good girl' | Fox NewsWhen Tennessee businessman Bill Dorris died late last year, the 84-year-old left $5 million to his 8-year-old border collie, Lulu.

That is a very good dog.

New wearable device turns the body into a battery | CU Boulder Today | University of Colorado BoulderA team of engineers has developed a new device that you can wear like a ring or bracelet and that harvests energy from your own body heat.

Its pretty metal, says man who turned his uncles skeleton into a guitar | CBC RadioA Florida musician says turning his dead uncles skeleton into a sick guitar was the best way to honour the man who first introduced him to heavy metal.

I cant even imagine coming up with this idea for a guitar, much less actually getting it done.

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Around Burlington: Random violence, knife attacks and gunplay warranted little attention – Burlington Hawk Eye02.07.21

Bob Hansen| for The Hawk Eye

They are just two brief notes from the Burlington Gazette newspaper of 1885 and at the time attracted very little attention.The articles are given less space than the report of the Knights of Labor picnic at Schlampps Park or the Druids picnic at Bierweths Park on Fourth Street.

However, from a distance of 136 years, they raise the disconcerting possibility that this old river town was a gathering of feral sociopaths and random miscreants.

The first article is a police report concerning the very unfortunate George Smith, a barkeep at the venerable Union Hotel. The newspaper records that on the previous afternoon, George and his friends, Frank Foote and Tom Vaugh, were enjoying an autumn afternoon on the hotels front porch.

Good conversation and easy laughs abounded until Tom called attention to a stranger striding purposely up the street while muttering beneath his breath.That stranger would prove to be David Shaw, a somewhat senior Scotsman, who was spending an idle day visiting from nearby Galesburg, Illinois.

Shaw was the foreman of a work crew engaged in the construction of the Galesburg Courthouse and the newspaper speculated he was intent on making the acquaintance of a few of the social ladies who conducted business on Main Street.

The three Burlington loiterers would have no way of knowing Shaw possessed an ugly temper and he was in an especially ugly frame of mind as he advanced on the hotels entrance. Shaws crankiness sprang from the fact he had just been ejected from the nearby Prospect Hotel because of his ungentlemanly behavior with the hotels resident trollop.

Shaw bounded up the stairs to where the local threesome was sitting, bent over unsuspecting George and demanded if George was the man who had the Scotsman ejected from the Prospect House.

George, of course, replied he had never before seen Shaw but his protestations of innocence had no impact.Suddenly, the angry visitor pulled a knife from his belt and struck the barkeep three times. Foote jumped to his friends assistance and knocked Shaw down, but the damage had been done.

At that point, police officer Julius Smith arrived on the scene and joined the struggle to restrain the furious Scotsman who was again trying to stab his victim.

Officer Smith was beating the attacker about the head and shoulders with his rosewood baton,but this seemed only to anger Shaw even more.By now, George realized he had been stabbed, so he regained his footing and drew from beneath his coat a large revolver.

Yelling and shouting, the knot of fighting men moved along the porch. Shaw swinging wildly with his knife and the policeman beating a tattoo on the Scotsman's head while a bleeding and rapidly fading George maneuvered for a killing shot.

Other bystanders now joined the bloody fray in an attempt to club the attacker to the ground or prevent the wounded Smith from avenging himself.After a few minutes, a semblance of order was restored, and Dr. Fleming was summoned from his nearby office.But one of Shaws thrusts had breached Smiths lungs and air was passing out of the wound. At that time, it was a certain sign of a mortal wound.

Later newspapers would report the hotel barkeep would linger for a few days before succumbing to his wounds, and Shaw probably ended his days at the Iowa penitentiary.

Turn the page of that days Gazette and there was yet another story receiving relatively little attention. This news tidbit dealt with an encounter at Meyers Saloon on Prospect Hill.There, Peter Rogers and some other young men all intoxicated were at the bar just south of the streetcar barn.

On their arrival, the rowdy crowd had insulted a few of the regular customers and there were apparently words with Meyer before they settled at a table for more serious drinking.

An uneasy hour passed while Peter and his friends worked themselves into high anger over the perceived insult from the bar owner.Finally, Rogers arose and threw his chair across the room.Then he ran behind the bar, knocked Meyer down and pounded him on the head with a beer mug.

Mrs. Meyer heard the disturbance and came running from the back room to struggle with Rogers until she succeeded in pulling him off her husband. Meyer, whose face was covered with blood, then reached beneath his coat and withdrew a revolver and discharged all five chambers at the crowd of assailants.

One of the balls struck young Rogers in the groin and he fell to the floor.His friends, taking advantage of a calm while Meyer reloaded, grabbed their friend, pulled him outside and deposited him on the sidewalk. They then busied themselves by throwing rocks, bricks and a passing unfortunate cat through the bars windows.

When the harried police arrived, Meyer had managed to reload and renewed his fire on the rock throwers.After he was calmed down, it was with some difficulty that order was restored.

Rogers was hauled off to the doctor and Meyer went to jail, but he was quickly released by a sympathetic judge who viewed the gunplay as a matter of self-defense.A check of subsequent newspaper issues offered no clue as to Peter Rogers final fate.

Random violence, gunplay and knives were hardly enough to warrant extensive coverage in the towns newspaper as they were just a part of life in early Burlington. The report of the Druid dance, theiral frescolunch and the fireworks were considered much more newsworthy.

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Defense: Late notice on ‘Clerical oversight’ behind late notice on subpoena in Mollie Tibbetts’ bank records Prosecution asks judge to make defense…01.31.21

MONTEZUMA Attorneys involved in the first-degree murder trial of Cristhian Bahena Rivera accused of killing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts in 2018 spent Thursday arguing about subpoenas, specifically, the defense lawyers effort to obtain Tibbetts banking records.

Prosecutors, in a motion filed this week, argued the defense lawyers were not playing by the rules when it subpoenaed Tibbetts banking records from Bankers Trust in Des Moines.

Defense attorney Jennifer Frese countered, during a Thursday video hearing, that her office had not notified prosecutors of the subpoena as required by law because of a clerical oversight and not because the defense was trying to be tricky.

It turned out Bankers Trust didnt have any banking records for Tibbetts anyway, leading 8th Judicial District Judge Joel Yates to ask if were really fighting about nothing at this point.

Assistant Iowa Attorney General Scott Brown said that was correct, but when he filed the motion to quash Freses subpoena, he didnt know the subpoena had produced nothing.

The issue remains that the defense didnt follow the rules and process to obtain a subpoena, which involves notifying prosecutors and entering it on court records. The defense doesnt understand what that means, he said.

According to Iowa law, a defendant cant obtain routine pretrial access to records of anyone who is not a witness unless ordered by the court, Brown said in his written argument.

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Im suspicious that there are others (subpoenas) out there, Brown said Thursday.

Brown asked the court to quash this subpoena and make the defense follow the process.

Frese didnt explain the effort to find Tibbetts banking records during the hearing but in her written argument said she and her husband/co-counsel were following up on an investigation started by the state into Tibbetts bank records. A tip was made to law enforcement Aug. 1, 2018, from a bank employee that Tibbetts had set up a bank account just before her death.

There also was information a transaction was made on the account at a tattoo shop after her death, according to the motion.

Law enforcement didnt follow up on this tip, so the defense is merely trying to fill the holes in law enforcements investigation, Frese said in her written argument. She couldnt reveal more specifics about the subpoena without revealing their trial strategy, she said.

Frese said the defense will likely send out several more subpoenas, including for bank records and information on the Iowa Sex Offender Registry.

Yates, the judge, said potential witnesses cant be subpoenaed. He said he would review the issues and file a written order as soon as possible.

Bahena Rivera, 26, a Mexican national living illegally in the United States, is accused of fatally stabbing 20-year-old Tibbetts, who went missing July 18, 2018, while jogging in her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa.

Her body was found Aug. 21, 2018, in a cornfield where Bahena Rivera led authorities.

Bahena Riveras trial is set for May 17.

Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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Defense: Late notice on 'Clerical oversight' behind late notice on subpoena in Mollie Tibbetts' bank records Prosecution asks judge to make defense...

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Michaela Garechts mother reacts to arrest of suspect in 1988 Hayward kidnapping of 9-year-old daughter – San Francisco Chronicle12.28.20

She sat at her kitchen table and watched the Hayward police detective hold up a photograph over Zoom of a man she did not recognize.

And then it happened. After 32 years, Sharon Murch, the anguished mother of missing 9-year-old Michaela Joy Garecht, got an answer.

Its very hard for us to tell you this, she recalled Detective Robert Purnell telling her Dec. 10 from the small box on her laptop screen. We dont know where she is, but weve IDd the man who took her.

There was a pause.

I had the phone in one hand and my mouth hanging open, Murch said in a phone interview with The Chronicle. I never thought her case would be solved.

Alameda County prosecutors must still prove the case is solved. But on Monday, they and Hayward police officials announced they had charged David Misch with murdering the girl, who was abducted from a supermarket parking lot in 1988 and never seen again.

Misch is serving a prison sentence for murdering 36-year-old Margaret Ball in her Hayward home in 1989. In 2018, he was charged with an unsolved Fremont double homicide the 1986 killings of Michelle Xavier, 18, and 20-year-old Jennifer Duey and was taken to Santa Rita Jail to await trial. That investigation led them to probe his possible involvement in Michaelas disappearance.

While Michaelas body has never been found, police said evidence and Mischs history as an alleged serial killer indicate she is dead. It is a sad reality that her mother has begrudgingly accepted since she learned his identity.

What he does is he rapes and he murders people, Murch said. He doesnt kidnap kids to find a good home for them.

Mischs arraignment was delayed Tuesday, but his attorney, Ernie Castillo, said his client denies the allegations against him and will fight these charges.

No one in his family believes David would hurt or kill a child, Castillo said, adding that he would investigate the case to establish that David is not involved in Michaelas disappearance.

The arrest provided a respite for Murch in what has been a turbulent year. Her husband lost his job with Union Pacific in November 2019, which forced a move out of California to a more affordable small town in Iowa.

In May, she learned her breast cancer had returned and that it had spread. There was no cure. A frightening diagnosis, but nothing is so clear cut when youre a mother who has lived through so much pain.

When I found out it was metastatic breast cancer, not to sound maudlin, but I thought to myself, maybe Ill get to see Michaela soon, she said.

It was Nov. 19, 1988, when Michaela and her friend Trina rode scooters to the Rainbow Market in Hayward to buy candy and sodas. She had her own scooter, but wanted to borrow Trinas brothers scooter so they could match.

While the girls were in the store, Misch, now 59, moved one of the scooters to the back of the parking lot to avoid attention, police said. He grabbed Michaela into his car, they said. She screamed. And she was gone.

It turned out a palm print on the borrowed scooter would break the case open after investigators matched it to Misch, police said Monday.

The disappearance, sandwiched between other high-profile abductions of young Bay Area girls, devastated Murch and her family. She and her husband Rodney Garecht divorced a year after the abduction. She took leave from her work and became overly protective of her other children, two boys and two girls.

For years, Murch continued buying gifts for Michaela, or Kayla as she was called. She bought a Barbie doll in a cap and gown for what would have been her daughters high school graduation, a childrens story, I Promise Ill Find You for her 18th birthday, and a parakeet the next year.

She started a blog. She would write posts to her daughter.

Michaela, I am still looking for you, Murch wrote in 2018. Although the case may be woven into that fact, however, solving it is not what I am looking for. I am not looking for the kidnapper. I am not wanting to know what happened. I have to tell you the honest truth, Michaela, if you are not alive, I am not sure I actually want to know that. The thought of it all starting up over again chills me.

She would offer tips to Michaela on how to escape if she was alive and held against her will. How to contact authorities. Shed send her daughter updates with photos of grandchildren. Some reminded her of Michaela as a newborn, she wrote.

Anyway, what I am telling you here is that if you hurry home there will be a cuddly new baby for you to hold! she wrote.

In recent years, Murch said she didnt want to hear from police until they had a resolution. Otherwise, it was too hard.

It is a little bit of hell on earth, and I have roasted on that pit for far too long, she wrote in a post.

She signed each blog entry with mom.

As years turned into decades, Murch read the headlines. Golden State Killer captured. Dozens of seemingly hopeless cold cases suddenly solved through pioneering DNA evidence. But her case had no DNA. Few witnesses even.

That didnt stop the speculation. Her blog invited web sleuths who pestered her for years, floating theories and suspect names. You guys just need to give it a rest, shed think.

And then Detective Purnell called Dec. 10 and asked if he could fly out to talk to her in person. She had coronavirus concerns and told him shed prefer to just do a Zoom call. Plus, she couldnt wait days for a plane trip. The news left her feeling lost, she wrote days later.

There has been this really big feeling that has been rolling around inside me, creating a giant hole, and just this morning I figured out what it is, she wrote. It is a feeling that my daughter has been alone for these 32 years. While I was running around doing interviews, writing blogs, tying ribbons on trees, she was lying cold and alone.

More than 11,000 well-wishers jumped onto her blog in the hours after the police announced the arrest. She responded to every comment, most with a heart emoji.

Its moments like these in which Murch is glad she left California. She found a sense of peace with the move, similar to how she felt when she left Hayward for Castro Valley.

I can walk down the street tomorrow and no one will mob me and want to congratulate me and give me hugs. Id be getting COVID! she said with a laugh.

She often finds herself singing the Cheers theme song, except with her own modified line of Where no one knows your name.

Shed spent years trying to keep Michaelas story in the news, talking to media, hosting remembrances. Experts say that can help solve a case. But for Murch and other parents of missing kids, it forces a constant reliving of their darkest hours and a loss of privacy.

But shes quick to brush away any pity I am not missing, Michaela was the one who was missing.

On Monday, despite feeling tired from cancer treatments and emotionally spent from the news, she fielded calls from well-wishers and media, baring her soul yet again. She was repeatedly asked if she wanted to say something to Misch. She didnt think she did.

But, I actually do want to say to him, You are nothing, she said. You are not important enough to kill. You are less than a man.

Murch said she doesnt believe in the death penalty. She saves flies from drowning in her coffee mug, she said.

I definitely want him to spend the rest of his life in prison, she said. I dont want him to hurt anyone else.

She knows there are other victims of Misch who deserve a say in his potential sentence like the two young women hes suspected of killing but shes more concerned about finding her daughters body.

I would definitely prioritize that, she said.

With the remains still a mystery, Hayward police have offered few details about the case. The detective who broke the news to Murch called the development bittersweet.

Im happy to give some semblance of closure to the family, and I remain hopeful that Mr. Misch will eventually lead us to Michaelas body, Purnell said.

The trial could take years. Murch doubted shell attend court hearings.

I have to see how things are, Murch said. I have to see how our bank account is.

On Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the news conference, Murch crunched her boots through the half-melted snow outside her house and drove with her youngest daughter Johnna to yet another cancer treatment. After she kicked the disease the first time, she got a tattoo on her forearm. A J.R.R. Tolkien quote: Still round the corner there may wait a new road or secret gate.

Murch said her lobular carcinoma is not curable.

You go through one treatment and then another, she said. You just keep going.

She posted on her blog shortly after the press announcement Michaelas case has been solved.

She wrote how she felt like she let Michaela down. She wasnt able to rescue her. She said she takes solace knowing the bright and shining light her daughter brought to the world. She wants to keep that light shining.

I love you forever, baby girl. Rest well, she wrote. I have some things to do here yet, but I will see you in the not terribly distant future. mom.

Matthias Gafni is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: matthias.gafni@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @mgafni

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Michaela Garechts mother reacts to arrest of suspect in 1988 Hayward kidnapping of 9-year-old daughter - San Francisco Chronicle

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Emily Woods – The Gazette12.11.20

EMILY WOODS Walker

Emily Woods, 36, of Walker, Iowa, gained her wings on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's Hospice in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, following a brief illness. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. Emily was born on Jan. 3, 1984, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the daughter of Edward and Susan (Brecht) Woods. She graduated from North Linn High School in 2002 and received her degree in criminal justice at the University of Northern Iowa. Emily owned a tattoo business and worked as a waitress. Her hobbies were kayaking, fishing, cooking with Greg, orchids, hostas and gardening; especially her heirloom tomatoes and hot peppers. Emily will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her. Emily is survived and lovingly remembered by her mother and father; sister, Erin; brothers, Eddie and Eric (Tasnim); nephews, "her boys," Abdulrahman, Rayan and Elias; boyfriend, Greg Ulin; the love of her life, Huckleberry; and many aunts, uncles and cousins. She will be welcomed into heaven by her grandparents; great-aunts and -uncles; and her fur baby, Yoder. The family extends a special thank-you to Dr. Younger and staff, the great nurses and staff at St. Luke's, St. Luke's rehab and the Angels in the hospice unit. Memorials may be directed to Emily's family in care of Murdoch Funeral & Cremation Service at 3855 Katz Drive, Marion, IA 52302. Please share a memory of Emily at http://www.murdochfuneralhome.com under obituaries.

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