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Archive for the ‘Massachusetts Tattoo’

Long-delayed latest album from Round Lake’s Sean Rowe’s to be released Friday – The Daily Gazette10.08.21

With deep vocals and deeper lyrics, singer/songwriter Sean Rowes latest album cuts to the core.

The Darkness Dressed in Colored Lights, set to be released on Friday, is an introspective record that touches on the rawness, as well as the freedom, that comes with heartbreak. Over the course of 11 songs, it travels across several sonic landscapes and moods, from delicate folk to rock.

Rowe, who lives in Round Lake, recorded it in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, before the pandemic was even on anyones mind, working with producer and longtime Capital Region collaborator Troy Pohl, as well as Grammy-winning engineer Brian Joseph, who has worked with Bon Iver.

He also worked with a host of other musicians, including drummer/percussionist Shane Leonard, bassist Jeremy Boetcher and pianist Ben Lester, among others. Beyond Pohl, Rowe didnt know any of the musicians before recording with them; hed sought them out because of their work, particularly on Anna Tivels album The Question.

It was really a blind kind of experience where you just hope everything goes all right, Rowe said.

Judging from the finished album, it seems to have gone that way.

From the opening track, Where Are We Now,mellow guitar accompanies the mournful lyrics:

love dont feel as lightas it did the day before.

Following that, To Make it Real opens with delicate strings and at once upbeat and melancholy vocals. Rowe sings:

All this skyall this musicfloating byOne day it will be The last timeYou wont get it back again

The album title is tucked away in the bridge of that song:

All this darknessdressed in colored lightsEverything is wrong But you look so damn beautiful tonight

When it comes to the songs sound, Rowe channeled Radioheads In Rainbows.

What I think Thom Yorke is really famous for is capturing this mood that really draws you in and really transports you. So a song like To Make it Real I wanted it to be like that. Even though I care deeply about the words and about whats actually being said with language, but for that kind of song, its really about transporting the listener with the mood of it, Rowe said.

Later on, the mood picks up with danceable tracks like Squid Tattoo. Through romping electric guitar and saxophone, Rowe sings:

Ive been up too late in this dive bar I dipped the wrong song into alcoholNow I love youBut I cant believe youre from Ohio

During the recording and editing process, the song presented some challenges.

Some of them were logistical. But some of them were stylistically, like we were trying some stuff and on a personal level, I thought this is too close to my influences, Rowe said. I didnt know if it was going to make it on there and we rerecorded some of it. Then it worked.

While there were a few other songs that proved tricky to get just right, they all made it onto the album which is kind of rare for me; theres always something that gets left out, Rowe said.

The albums release was delayed because of the pandemic, during which time Rowe played weekly virtual shows to stay afloat.

It was just crazy. I was going through a personal breakup and I was also trying to figure out what I was going to do to generate some income, like everybody else on the planet, Rowe said.

I think fans appreciated something coming out of performing, even if it wasnt completely ideal. It was something.

More recently, hes gotten back to playing live and hes got a few tour dates on the schedule for later this month and next in Syracuse, Northampton, Massachusetts, Brooklyn and other cities.

The Darkness Dressed in Colored Lights is out on Friday via Fluff & Gravy Records. For more information on the album and upcoming shows (virtual and in-person), visit

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Long-delayed latest album from Round Lake's Sean Rowe's to be released Friday - The Daily Gazette

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9 Good News Stories: Boy, 7, Pitches To White Sox; Ink The Prez – Patch.com10.08.21

ACROSS AMERICA It's been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and when a 7-year-old Tinley Park, Illinois, mimicked the Chicago White Sox again and again, the club took notice.

Brooks Johnson is "obsessed" with the White Sox and has mimicked almost every member of the team in one way or another, his mother says. The second-grader got so good at mimicking pitcher Liam Hendriks that his mom thinks it improved his game.

"Mommy," he told her, "I throw a bunch of strikes when I imitate Liam Hendricks when I pitch, so I'm gonna kept doing it.' "

Brooks did his best Liam Hendriks for a video posted o social media, and the Australia-born pitcher saw it and commented. It didn't end with the social media exchange, though. Before he knew it, Brooks was on the home turf of the White Sox pitcher, asking a question of Hendriks that puzzled him "Why do you scream like crazy when you pitch?" as they played catch in the Major League Baseball stadium. By Yasmeen Sheikah for Tinley Park, Illinois, Patch

Theresa Maughan, New Jersey's 2021 "teacher of the year," has never forgotten what it was like to almost be deported. Her parents' visas expired when Maughan was in seventh grade. Her social studies teacher stepped in to prevent her from being sent back to Belize, providing a real-life civics lesson that inspired her own career as a history teacher. By Eric Kiefer for West Orange, New Jersey, Patch

For his Eagle Scout project, Vikram Ravi is setting out to correct a grave injustice at the Alamo-Lafayette Veterans Cemetery. Many of the 200 graves lack markers, "and the ones who do only have tiny and improper pointers not fit to represent those who died for our country," he said. He's raising money for proper grave markers, and also is building an interactive online map so visitors can easily find the veterans who are buried there. By Bea Karnes for Lamorinda, California, Patch

This year's Boston Marathon is intensely personal for Lisa Raeke. She plans to run for her friend's son, Greyson Beauregard, who was paralyzed from the waist down in an accident last fall two weeks before his 13th birthday. But she abandoned the official Boston Marathon course and created her own through her town of Walpole, where she aims to raise awareness of the Goals for Greyson charity. "We really want to encourage the community to participate in any way that they can," she said. "If you would like to walk or jog a bit of the way for me, that's great. To me, this is not about a race. It's about a community effort." By Mary Ellen Gambon for Walpole, Massachusetts, Patch

Slippery Rock University President William Behre wants nothing more than to get a tattoo though it's hardly been his lifelong desire. Whether he gets inked depends on students at the Pennsylvania: If 75 percent of them get their COVID-19 vaccinations by Dec. 1, Behre will get a Slippery Rock-themed tattoo on his bicep in a campus event. By Eric Heyl for Pittsburgh Patch

Well, who doesn't want a wedding with dolphins whistling and leaping nearby? Catarina Salvador Esprito Santo Cristovo Neto, 31, and Zeal Barclay Levin, 30, exchanged wedding vows while sitting atop their surf boards and a pod of dolphins just happened to be swimming in the area. By Alexis Tarrazi for Bridgewater, New Jersey, Patch

The run-up to his wedding was fraught with worry for Joseph McCloud. He was fretting about how to pay for the wedding, postponed by COVID-19, while also worrying about his fiancee, Emilia Gonzalez, a nurse working on the front lines of the pandemic. He won a $30,000 wedding at a Napa, California, resort in a contest for front-line workers. "I swear, I swear," he said, "this is the most touching thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life." By Jeff Arnold for Castro Valley, California, Patch

Blair Watts has had a rough go of it. He's the man behind Birdie's Kitchen, known around Spring City, Pennsylvania, for making the best wings, collard greens and soul food in the borough. The pandemic put him in arrears on his utility bill, but he figured to make what he owed and more at a weekend festival. The utility shut off power to his restaurant when he missed a payment, putting the future of his entire operation on the line. But backed by the power of his community, a crowdfunding campaign raised enough money to pay the bill in full. By Marlene Lang for Limerick-Royersford-Spring City, Pennsylvania, Patch

A Frankfort, Illinois, woman has come up with a way to help her neighbors cope with the loss of a pet before the animal crosses what's commonly known as "the rainbow bridge." Victoria Vazquez is offering free "Rainbow Sessions" end-of-life photography shoots. "My whole life is about dogs," Vazquez said. "So, I figured why not help out the community and people in need, especially with something so tough." By TJ Kremer III for Frankfort, Illinois, Patch

Patch is in more than 1,000 communities across America. Find your community and see what's happening outside your front door.

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Ireland Baldwin responds to rumours she has a Kendall Jenner tattoo – The Independent08.23.21

Ireland Baldwin has responded to fans who thought shed got a tattoo of the model Kendall Jenner on her arm.

Baldwin, who is the daughter of Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger, shared a picture of a tattoo that showed a naked woman.

Writing on Instagram, Baldwin wrote Thank you @parkermidnight for bringing her to life.

Later, fans started to wonder why Baldwin had seemingly had a tattoo of Jenner on her arm, with many commenting on the resemblance between the two.

Baldwin then took to social media to clarify that it was not in fact a tattoo of Jenner.

Writing on her Instagram Stories, Baldwin said: My tattoo isnt Kendall Jenner. Shes beautiful though so Ill take it... but its actually an illustration that was done in the 60s

Back in December, Baldwin defended her stepmother Hilaria Baldwin after the yoga teachers Spanish heritage was publicly questioned.

Rumours began circulating on social media that Hilaria had been faking her Spanish accent, with some suggesting that the 36-year-old, who was born in Boston, Massachusetts, had lied and said her birthplace was Spain.

Hilaria addressed the rumours on Instagram at the time, where she clarified that she was born in Boston and grew up spending time with my family between Massachusetts and Spain.

My parents and siblings live in Spain and I chose to live here, in the USA, she said, adding that she and her husband Alec celebrate both cultures in our home and that they are raising the five children they share to be bilingual.

Shortly after sharing the video, Baldwin also used the platform to defend her stepmother with a series of Instagram Stories.

In one, she wrote: Its so pathetic that anyone would want to play detective and dig that deep into someones life that they dont know, dont know anything about, dont know how they were raised, who they were actually raised by.

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Massachusetts man arrested in connection with Keene burglaries – The Keene Sentinel07.25.21

Keene police on Tuesday arrested a Gardner, Mass., man who they say stole money from two businesses on West Street the previous night.

Gerard J. Cribbie, 53, was charged with burglary, a felony. He was also charged with criminal mischief and theft by unauthorized taking, both misdemeanors, according to the Keene police log.

Officers responding to two West Street businesses Tuesday morning found that a window had been broken at Dark Mark Tattoo and that the front door of DAngelo Grilled Sandwiches had been damaged, Keene police Lt. Steven Tenney said. Both businesses reported money missing, according to a Keene police news release, though police were not available Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning to say how much was allegedly taken and for more information on the charges.

After identifying Cribbie as a suspect from marked bills linked to Dark Mark and learning he was staying at the Keene Inn, officers obtained a search warrant for the motel room and took him into custody without incident, according to the release.

From the search warrant, police found evidence linking Cribbie to the DAngelo burglary and a July 14 residential burglary, the release states.

Cribbie was held in Cheshire County jail Tuesday and was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in superior court, according to the Keene police news release.

Authorities continue to investigate the case, according to the release, and anyone with information is asked to contact Keene Police detectives Andrew Lippincott or Steven LaMears at 357-9820.

Sentinel reporter Caleb Symons contributed to this story.

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A mob in the Capitol, sentenced to eight months in prison, appears on the brink of tears – Texasnewstoday.com07.25.21

The first person to struggle to play a role in the January 6 Parliament riots was seen saying an emotional farewell to his girlfriend the day after he pleaded guilty in court. ..

Paul Hodgkins and an unidentified woman were weeping when they left their home in Tampa, Florida, 24 hours after receiving the news that they had to serve in prison.

Hodgkins, a 38-year-old crane operator, returned home after a hearing in Washington, DC. There he admitted a felony charge of interfering with official proceedings Congressional recognition of Joe Bidens presidential election.

He was sentenced to eight months in prison and ordered to pay $ 2,000 in damages. The prosecutor demanded 18 months, and his defense did not demand imprisonment. The maximum sentence was 20 years.

In return for his plea, the prosecutor withdrew the crime of entering a restricted building and acting chaotically.

Paul Hodgkins pleaded guilty to interfering with the official process of attacking the Houses of Parliament on January 6.

The found Hodgkin and an unidentified woman weeping as she left her home in Tampa, Florida.

Hodgkins was seen saying an emotional farewell to his girlfriend the day after he pleaded guilty in court.

An unidentified woman in a floral sundress looked emotional when she broke up with Hodgkin lymphoma.

Hodgkins wore a black T-shirt promoting the Steadfast Brand, a clothing company specializing in tattoo art clothing.

Born in Massachusetts, Hodgkins leaves a modest rental home in Tampas working-class Sulfur Springs district, drives on a white Ford truck, and decorates with decals from two separate NFL teams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New England Patriots. It was seen that it was being done. Not only the American flag.

Hodgkins took a selfie in the US Senate after breaking through the building wearing a Trump 2020 shirt

He wore a black T-shirt promoting Steadfast Brand, a clothing company specializing in tattoo art clothing. His girlfriend wore a floral summer dress.

Hodgkins has no plans to begin executing his sentence for another 60 days, lawyer Paul Redak told the Nothing has been decided, but he is likely to work at Coleman Prison, a secure federal prison 60 miles north of Tampa.

Hodgkins said at a hearing on Monday that he was ashamed of his actions on January 6 and was caught up in the excitement of the moment.

If I had the idea that the protest it would escalate I would never have adventured farther than the sidewalks on Pennsylvania Avenue, he said. I told Judge Moss.

This was a stupid decision on my part.

However, government filings claimed that he might have been able to stop before entering the Capitol. Rather than looking back over and over again, Hodgkins moved forward, he read.

Hodgkins traveled alone from Tampa to Washington by bus, carrying ropes, protective goggles, and latex gloves. The prosecutor said he proved he was prepared for violence. He was painted in the Senate room wearing goggles and gloves.

At the time he had a full beard, but now hes shaving cleanly. He still has his shoulder-length hair tied with a ponytail when he left his house.

The video footage shows Hodgkins in the Senate wearing a Trump 2020 T-shirt and the American flag on his shoulder. He took a selfie with QAnon Shaman Jacob Chansley, a naked chest wearing a horned helmet.

Hodgkins has no criminal record and has not been accused of assaulting or causing property damage inside the Capitol building.

In this image from the US Capitol video, Hodgkins stands on the floor well of the US Senate on January 6.Hodgkins sentenced to eight months in prison from Monday

Hodgkins apologized for his actions during the riot. He said he was ashamed of his actions and claimed to have been caught up in the excitement of the moment.

Hodgkins, photographed in the US Senate on January 6, pleaded guilty in June for one charge that interfered with official proceedings.

Leduc told the that while he was happy that the judge gave him less than half of the recommendations, he was worried about the future of his clients.

This is the man who made the wrong decision, the lawyer said. He chased the crowd. How many children did it?

He realized very quickly that he had made a mistake, and the prosecution admitted it.

But now he has been sentenced to eight months in prison. He will probably go out with four or five, but what then? Does he have a job to go to? The house he still lives in. Do you have

People say he should have had 10 years. In a more benevolent way. Now hes trying to figure out what his employer is trying to do with him.

It can be financially devastating to him.

Leduc described Hodgkins as a hard-working blue-collar high school graduate who lives on a paycheck in one of Tampas lowest-income areas. He said he was an Eagle Scout who regularly volunteers at the food bank.

Hodgkins, shaved cleanly, is seen leaving court on Monday after a sentencing trial

Records show that his one-bedroom apartment was finally rented for $ 775 per month.

He was a registered independent until the 2018 midterm elections when he became a Republican. He used early voting in both the 2018 and 2020 elections.

The Justice Department believes that Hodgkins ruling could set the standard for others involved in the Capitol rebellion. In a motion for an 18-month sentence, US special prosecutor Mona Sedky wrote:

She also urged Judge Moss to admit that the beliefs of those involved in the attack on Congress made them unique among criminals in the possibility of recidivism.

So far, about 500 people have been prosecuted as part of the riot, and an additional 100 are expected to be prosecuted.

A mob in the Capitol, sentenced to eight months in prison, appears on the brink of tears

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A mothers hope: Ethiopian woman returns to the Mission to seek her lost son – Mission Local06.29.21

The 57-year-old mother from Ethiopia sat across from me on a recent June day. She was in San Francisco, she said, to again search for the son she last heard from in March, 2018.

This is her second visit to the Mission District, one of the last places, she explains, that someone remembered seeing him. One of the last places that gave her some hope.

I lost all the meanings that I have for life, said Legawork Assefa, a thin woman who shares her sons photos. You cant imagine what it feels like, looking for your son in the streets of the U.S., where you dont even know which street takes you where and how to come back to where you have started.

But she refuses to give up, using savings from her job at an NGO in Ethiopia to cover the costs of three trips to the United States, hire private detectives and slowly piece together the story of her son, Maereg Tafesse. He was 24 when he went missing in early 2018.

An engineering degree and a desire to work with the homeless

Less than two years before disappearing, the 6-foot-2 young man pictured on the flyer in Assefas hand graduated from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts.

His mother is accustomed to describing him, and the photo confirms her memory: He is skinny with a receding hairline. He has tattoos of flying birds on his left wrist and a tattoo of some sort of box on his right.

His family and friends describe him as intelligent and kind-hearted precisely the sort of young man who would earn a B.A. in mechanical engineering and then volunteer to serve homeless residents in Los Angeles.

Hes always been consistent, in the sense that he didnt just want to get a job and do the whole capitalism thing, said Zuhair Sras, his close friend from college. He said hed want to join the Christian anarchists group in Los Angeles.

He joined a group of volunteers at the Los Angeles Catholic Worker, which operates hospice care for the dying, a hospitality house for the homeless, publishes a bi-monthly newspaper and generally opposes war-making and systemic injustice.

Members live together in a commune setting, with volunteer work covering room and board and bringing in a stipend of $15 to $25 a week. Tafeesse worked in the soup kitchen.

Jed Poole, an associate director who lived in the room next to Tafesse, said the young volunteer was like others who graduate and arent ready to jump into traditional work.

He stayed from September, 2016, to September, 2017, his mother said. Poole said that timeframe sounded about right.

Next, in October, 2017, Tafesse moved to the Seattle area, where he volunteered at Left Bank Books, which specialize(s) in anti-authoritarian, anarchist, independent, radical and small-press titles, according to its website. At one point he also volunteered at the Green Tortoise Hostel in return for shelter, Assefa said.

When he last emailed with his mother in March, 2018, Tafesse wrote about leaving the country, but five months later, Assefa confirmed that he had never left.

So, in September 2018, she flew to Seattle to find him. But instead, she only found small clues: that her son had checked out of the the Green Tortoise Hostel in February, 2018, and that he had texted Adrian Lambert, a worker at the bookstore, the day before he went missing to say that he was going to Sacramento and might return to Seattle again in the summer.

Assefa reported her son missing to the police department in Seattle, and detectives there said that they found Tafesse had been in Sacramento in 2018, a fact confirmed by Seattle Police Detective Patrick Michaud. Tafesses case as a missing person remains open, Michaud said.

Unable to locate her son, Assefa returned home to Ethiopia, but traveled back to the United States a year later, in October, 2019, to visit Sacramento and to canvas its homeless shelters. At a Salvation Army homeless shelter, she met Lee, who is homeless. He recognized Tafesses photo and reported seeing him at the nearby light rail station around a month before Assefa arrived.

The man wore clothes of Ethiopian style, Lee said. Like Tafesse, the man also also had a tattoo on his wrist.

Assefas search in 2019 next took her to San Francisco because a private detective told her that Tafesse bought a bus ticket from Sacramento to San Francisco on March 8, 2018. Sras, Tafesses college friend, also reported that Tafesse had talked about the possibility of moving to San Francisco.

In San Francisco, Assefa visited homeless shelters flyers and photos in hand. One of the nonprofits she visited was Dolores Street Community Services.

Three workers there recognized her son, including then-receptionist Barbara Torres. She told Assefa in 2019 that, a week prior, someone who looked similar had made a landline call, asked for a shower and was later seen down the street.

Torres, the receptionist, confirmed this month that she and two others at the nonprofit had also remembered seeing Tafesse in the area in 2019. She added, however, that the man she saw looked rougher and more rugged than the one in the photos Assefa showed them, as if he had been homeless.

In March and April this year, two workers in Sacramento shelters also reported seeing a man who resembled Tafesse, according to Brittany Stevens, an investigator with Sacramentos Gumshoe Detective Agency.

Why does someone disappear?

Tafesses mother, family members and friends are unclear why the young college graduate dropped out of sight. There was no history of mental instability earlier in his life, they said.

Allison McGillivray and her husband Sam Yergler met Tafesse when they were working at Los Angeles Catholic Worker. They said that, a month before he went missing, Tafesse visited them in Eugene, Ore., where they now live.

He took the bus and stayed for several nights to reconnect, McGillivray said. They parted on good terms, and have no idea why he would have gone missing.

Tafesse also regularly spoke to his uncle, Atlabachew Assefa, who lives in Dallas, and is the family member closest to him in the United States. A week or perhaps only days before he disappeared, they talked for 10 minutes and spoke of meeting in April or May of that year.

Ill call you next week, Tafesse promised.

Shortly after, on March 3, 2018, Tafesse stopped communicating with everyone.

I just dont have anything. Really. I really dont, his uncle said. I just want to say that anybody whos seen him, anybody who has any information about this the family is suffering.

We dont have any clue, even if hes alive or dead, Atlabachew Assefa added. We just need to know what happened to Maerag. Thats all. So, we beg everybody, ask everybody.

June 2021

When she visits the city her son might have been in, Assefa always finds herself walking.

She tries to get a good view of peoples faces, especially those who are homeless.

Assefa suspects her son could be volunteering again or living on the streets, so she often visits and distributes his information at homeless shelters and community nonprofits wherever hes lived or been reported in.

Every time I see someone, I see him in them, she said.

The San Francisco Police Department found no reports of Tafesse in its system. The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing declined to confirm the presence of Tafesse in its system due to privacy concerns. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said it has no reports of Tafesse in its system.

Assefa asks that anyone who may have information relating to the whereabouts of her son contact her at or on Whatsapp at +251911231194.

The Seattle Police Department said that information on missing people should be reported to (206) 625-5011.

You can alternatively contact the San Francisco Police Departments Missing Persons Unit at (415) 734-3070 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or (415) 553-0123 outside of those hours.

You can also contact the reporter, who will forward your message to Assefa, at

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Together 6 years, Marion couple killed while doing what they loved: riding a motorcycle – Ocala06.12.21

William Page andhis fianc, Amy Heussner, hadmanythings in common.

Both loved motorcycles, and taking long rides on them. Both wereviewed as easygoing individuals. Both wereconsidered the baby of their respective families. Both loved animals.

Page and Heussner died doing one of the things they loved most:ridingon a motorcycle.

Fatality: 1 dead, 5 injured in three-vehicle crash

Multiple deaths: 4th person dies after June 26 crash on SR 200 west of CR 484

Tragedy: Motorcyclist dies on State Road 40 East in Marion when bike hits back of boat trailer

The couple, who hadbeen together for six years, diedthe night of May 27 when the motorcycle they were riding was struck by a pickup truck on State Road 200 a few miles from the Citrus County line.

In its press releases, the Florida Highway Patrol no longer publishes the names of people involved in crashes. As a result, Page and Heussner were not named in initial news accounts about the fatal wreck.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers said Page, who was driving, andHeussner were on a Harley-Davidson traveling northbound/eastbound, toward Ocala, on SR200. A Chevy Silverado pickup, heading toward Citrus, was passing traffic on the two-lane road and hit the motorcycle head on, ejecting Page and Heussner.

Marion County Fire Rescue officials said they had to use a thermal image device to find the couple's bodies in the dark. That stretch of road is not lighted.

Troopers said Page and Heussner both died upon impact.

He was38. She was was 31. Neither hadchildren. They lived together in Weirsdale.

The pickup driver, whose name has not been released by troopers, was transported to Ocala Regional Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries. Troopers have said only that he is 56 and from the Citrus County town of Hernando.

Though family members aren't surewhere the couple was heading, they speculate they were on their way to a store, out on one of their typical riding trips.

The crash occurrednearly two miles north/eastofthe Citrus line. FHP has worked multiple fatal crashes on that 5-mile stretch of SR 200between the county line and County Road 484.

In late June 2020, four people died in a fiery three-vehicle crash approximatelya mile and a half west of CR484.Five years before that, residents living in Spruce Creek Preserve, one of several developments located off thatstretch of roadway, said drivers are constantly speeding on SR 200.

Traffic homicide investigators have possession of both vehicles fromthe May 27crash, and they will be examined thoroughly. Incrashes that resultin severe injuries or deaths, blood is taken from the individuals to seeif they were under the influence. In this case, troopers took blood from the Chevy driver.

FHP officials will wait on toxicology reports from everyone involved before making a final determination on who was at fault.The final report could take months to complete.

Page's niece Courtney Callahan, 25, said her uncle was born and raised in Massachusetts. He came to Florida roughly 10 years ago to be closer tofamily. He also wanteda change of pace and a chance to experience somewhere new.

"He loved the snow, but loved the water better," Callahan said.

Heruncle had older siblings, which meant he was fairly close in age to his nieces and nephews. He was the one who was always willing to try fun things with them.

"He was the crazy fun uncle," she recalled.

He also was a tattoo artistwhoenjoyed listening to '80s and '90salternative rock music.

Callahan said her uncle was a hands-on person who once built a home from a bus.

"It was a project to him," she said.

Riding motorcycles was a passion for Page. His niece said her uncle had various motorcycles throughout his life.

"He was a Harley man," she said.

One of Page's sisters, Lisa, said her brother loved his nieces and nephews. She said his dogs were his children, and added the Harley he was riding at the time of his death was built by him.

"He could fixanything," she said.

One of Heussner's brothers, Trever, said his sister was a happy person and a people person.

"She cared about other people," he said.

Amy Heussner was born and raised in Ocala. She attended Stanton-Weirsdale Elementary, Lake Weir Middleand Lake Weir High School.

She was the youngest of three children. Trever Heussner said his sister as a child was a "sweet girl" who was "very nice and loved people."

He said his sister liked riding motorcycles. Heussner said his sister rode with their mother and with him. She was always the passenger.

"She liked getting out there and being in the wind," Heussner said.

He said his sister and Page were "always on the motorcycle."

Her obituary, published in the Ocala Star-Banner, states that Heussner recently got into gardening and loved sunflowers. She also enjoyed arts and crafts and fishing, and was drawn to people.

Page and Heussner had been together for six years and loved each other. They had dogs and cats.

Callahan recalled her uncle as an "amazing, great man."

Heussner's brother said he will miss his sister's random calls.

Contact Austin L. Miller at 867-4118, or @almillerosb.


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The First Piece of Great News from Patriots Practices: Dont’a Hightower is Officially BACK – Barstool Sports06.12.21

So far, the Patriots spring workouts have been blissfully uneventful, in that no news is good news sort of way. Granted, there was Cam Newton bruising a bone in his throwing hand Friday by whacking it on a teammates' helmet. (And the subsequent rumors that he actually hurt it somewhere off the field that I haven't gotten into because there's been no actionable intel on it by anyone credible and he took first team reps the whole first half of practice.) But on that, Bill Belichick told reporters this morning, "He's doing alright. He won't participate today, but he's getting better." And asked if it's anything serious answered, "No. Well, he's not out there but I think he'll be alright." So without violating any HIPAA laws, I think we can reasonably term his medical diagnosis "Alright." We're likely not going to see him practice again until official training camp, which means more QB1 reps for Mac Jones. And since I'm on Team McCorkle and the kid's development is my new Operation: Warp Speed, I for one consider that a positive.

But today's practice is different. It's brought some actual big news. Great news, in fact. The OTA phase of practices is over. And while the "O" doesn't actually stand for "Optional," it might as well because those practices are the NFL equivalent of the Friday before a long weekend back when I worked for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Where you only showed up if you had nothing else going on. But today's was the first mandatory practice. And among the names of Pats players who had missed earlier practices, a list that included Devin McCourty, Adrian Phillips, Matt Judon, N'Keal Harry, Trent Brown, and Trent Brown's tattoo:

... was Dont'a Hightower. This is huge, huge news.

It was not unexpected, mind you. Hightower has been seen around the place for workouts and meetings. But until you see him actually dressed and actually taking snaps, you're perfectly justified in wondering if last year's opt out is about to become his post-pandemic lifestyle. Taking a season off can sometimes be great for a guy. It obviously worked out for Rob Gronkowski. Randy Moss came back after sitting out 2011 to catch 28 balls with a 15.5 YPR average and three TDs. But then in 2000, Reggie White unretired and couldn't hold a flickering candle to his pre-retirement self, with just 16 tackles over a full season.

Hightower's situation is different, obviously. He took the collectively bargained leave of absence out of caution for his family, not because he got tired of playing. You just had to wonder if he was going to be one of those people who takes a sabbatical and realizes life without work is preferable to life with it. The fact he's back is yet another reason for us to rejoice. A giant step back to normal.

It's hard to overstate how big an impact his return will have on this team. He might not be the only reason the Pats defense went from giving up the fewest yards and fewest points (by a margin of 34) in the league in 2019 to 15th fewest in yards and 7th fewest points in 2020. But the appalling lack of Hightower was by far the biggest factor.

How big a factor? Jerod Mayo explained it last week. Ill be honest, it was huge," he said. "It was huge. And Im not trying to toot my own horn here, its like the times that I wasnt hurt, I was kind of a coach on the field. So having a guy like Hightower, at the end of the day, you can call the play, but as soon as you cross the white lines, those guys are in charge. Any time you have a guy as smart as Hightower, whos able to cross the white lines, you feel comfortable. Like, this guy is going to make the right decision nine times out of 10.

That might be a humblebrag coming from practically anybody else. But when it comes from Mayo, who literally is a coach and had no problem making the transition because he'd been coaching this unit from his Defensive Rookie of the Year season in 2008 to his last. All he had to do was take off the pads and stand off to the side with a headset on. Hightower stepped into the same role. And left a Marianas Trench-sized hole in the middle of the middle of the 2020 team that opponents exploited. Getting him back might be the best acquisition the team made this year. And putting him back alongside a key reacquisition like Kyle Van Noy, while turning young guys who were pressed into pulling extra duty last year - Ju'Whaun Bentley, Anfernee Jennings and even hybrid LB/S Kyle Dugger - into more depth/situational roles will have a butterfly effect on the entire defensive side of the ball.

On a side note, I've been in a bunch of Twitter conversations over a post where I said, all things considered, like talent, durability, longevity, leadership, postseason success, and so on, that Devin McCourty has been the second best Patriot of the Dynasty Era. And more than a few made the case for Hightower. A valid case at that. Granted, he's missed 26 of a possible 128 career games to McCourty's 5 of a potential 176. But he made colossal, history-changing plays in three Super Bowl wins:

--Stopping Marshawn Lynch at the one

--Strip-sacking Matt Ryan

--Two sacks of Jared Goff, including one on a 3rd & 7 from the New England 26, the Rams deepest penetration of the game.

And it's fair to say it's no coincidence that when Hightower was on IR in 2017, the Patriots produced one of the worst defensive displays in Super Bowl history.

So the good news this offseason continues. And thanks to the re-addition of this clutch leader/ coach on the field, a return to the No. 1 defense in the league is a very real possibility. Hallelujah.

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What Will We Do Without "Mare Of Easttown"? – BuzzFeed News05.31.21

Michele K. Short/HBO

Kate Winslet as Mare Sheehan in Mare of Easttown

On Sunday night, HBO crime drama Mare of Easttown came to an end. Boasting Kate Winslet in the title role, twisty plotlines, and breakneck pacing, the series earned fans aplenty over the course of its seven-episode run. Over at the BuzzFeed News culture desk, we miserably wondered what we would do on Sunday nights without our favorite show and decided to deal with our malaise by discussing everything about Mare, from the theories to the disappointments and that devastating ending. (Spoilers for the finale below.)

Estelle Tang: What got you into watching the show? When did you know you were a Mare head? (Also, I cant get over the show being called Mare of Easttown. Originally I thought it was going to be about some 1800s dame in England.)

Scaachi Koul: I dont think I wouldve watched the show without seeing that Kate Winslet was in it. Mostly because I dont know how many dreary white-lady-goes-missing shows I can really tolerate. But I was interested in seeing Kate Winslet attempt an American accent. I mean, I guess I love murder. What can I say.

Shannon Keating: I too am a big Kate fan and have been since I was a tiny lesbian. I have a lot of friends who are die-hard crime drama fans and will watch, like, every single British show about a grizzled detective solving murders on the seashore or whatever. Not typically my style, but HBO + Kate is all I needed to buy in here.

Krystie Yandoli: A day or two before it started, I saw reviews and billboards around Los Angeles for a murder mystery starring Kate Winslet, and that was all I needed to know. Ill watch the pilot of anything, and I had a hunch that if Winslet had signed up to do an HBO small-town-murder limited series, it had to be worth my time in some regard. Luckily, I was right!

Estelle: Kate Winslet isn't flashy in this, but its one of my favorite dramatic performances in a minute. Mare is so closed off and yet you can see she's fending off a hailstorm of emotions every minute.

Shannon: Kate is marvelous; she truly is Mare. She disappears into this role! I saw a lot of talk about how bad her accent was, which turned me off at first, but it ended up not bothering me at all. Im sure it would bug me more if I were from Pennsylvania or more familiar with it.

Krystie: Im not an expert on accents. I initially thought they were in Massachusetts? Whoops.

Estelle: Whats your favorite thing about the show? One of mine is Guy Pearce, a handsome red herring. Guy and Kate were in Mildred Pierce together. He told Entertainment Weekly, My lovely old friend Kate Winslet called me and said, Darling, darling, darling, I'm doing this show and you have to come and do it. I went, I'm in."

Shannon: Swoon! I too love him in it, even though his character definitely feels likewhat are you doing here? Im glad he wasnt the killer, because why would it be this random visiting writer? That would have betrayed the theme of how all these people grew up together and ended up fucking each other up in various ways. That said, there was absolutely no reason for his character. The way he justmoves away at the end? Useless plotline.

Scaachi: I love Guy in the pants department, but having him in the show makes no sense. I have no idea what his purpose is. Hes barely a love interest. Im also really struggling with how small this town is supposed to be and how big that book launch was. Who is paying for all that free wine and cheese??? My book launch happened in Toronto, a city that seems much bigger than Easttown (which, also, I keep calling Eastwick in my head), and I had it at a dive bar, in the dark, and everyone had to fend for themselves. Clearly no one on the writing staff has released a book as an academic to minimal fanfare. In any case, if Guy said the word darling in my presence, I would immediately just lie down and allow my body to expire. There would be no purpose going forward.

Krystie: I might be the only Mare head whos not obsessed with Guy Pearces character. Hes cute and I love that for Mare because god knows she deserves a break and some love in her life or even just some fun. But aside from Kate Winslets and Jean Smarts performances, my favorite thing is actually my own obsession with it. For the last seven weeks, Ive planned my entire Sunday around sitting down on my couch in time to watch the show so that nothing is spoiled for me. I pay attention to all the memes. I read Reddit threads, and every week Ive been convinced of a new theory about who the murderer is. I havent been this excited about a show in a very long time. Thats the thing Ive loved most about Mare: the general feeling of excitement and, dare I say, fandom.

Shannon: I totally agree! It took me a while to get on board I think I only started watching live by episode 4 or 5 but it does feel like a Big TV Moment, which in our era of streaming and bingeing feels old-school and special. On Sundays Im normally wracked with existential dread, but now I can hang out with my buddy Mare!

Krystie: A million percent yes, especially after a year and a half of pure hell and emotional chaos. Even though this isnt a lighthearted show by any means, having some fun appointment viewing to look forward to as we inch toward a reopening world is...nice!

Kate Winslet and Guy Pearce, as Richard Ryan, in Mare of Easttown

Estelle: We agree Kate was the draw, then we got hooked. Why do you think the show works so well? I found the first episode slow and kept going out of sheer inertia because Im used to streaming disappointments. But I went from 0 to 100 midseason. The show played with crime tropes like the out-of-town guy, the priest with a shady past then dispatched them neatly. Thats a classic crime technique, of course, but Mare is hyperefficient; I always felt a bit off-balance trying to figure out who the killer was.

Scaachi: Yeah, the first few episodes were really boring and kind of rote. I was worried we were going into a Girl on a Train in the Window Gone With the Dragon Tattoo situation.

Krystie: I didnt mind, because everything had to be set up. And if you go back and watch the series from the first episode knowing what we now know, every detail feels so relevant; characters, dialogue, settings, small and big details have all been woven through so well and add up to this cohesive story. I was cautiously optimistic about the buildup paying off, and it did.

Shannon: I love the small-town dynamics. Its very different, but they remind me a little of Winters Bone, Jennifer Lawrences breakout role working-class middle America, the destitution and desperation, but also all the love and resilience.

Krystie: Oftentimes on TV, small-town dynamics can be romanticized and depicted in a positive light, but Mare shows just how complicated they can be. This is what it looks like when everyone knows your business, when you went to high school in the same town where youre now a police officer and you have to hold people you grew up with accountable, when you get a divorce and your husband gets engaged again and buys the house directly behind yours, when youre investigating a murder and you have to take all suspects into account, even when theyre people youve known for years. Casual stuff.

Estelle: Mare of Easttown really got us vibing because of the theories. Own up: What was your favorite theory about who the murderer was? Mine was Zabel early on because of his chosen one introduction. I was obviously wrong about that. I thought Richard was too much of a red herring. What, he just shows up in town one day and wants to romance this beautiful grump? At the exact time a girl happens to be killed? OK, sure.

But more importantly, he seemed designed to be Mares get out of jail free card. She could easily go along with his offer of a real, sexy, fun relationship, but she decides to confront her trauma first, for her own sake and everyone elses. Hes basically the manic pixie dream girl, but hot available writer guy, there to show Mare how she needs to develop.

Shannon: Its fun to have a hot guy as that foil when weve seen the reverse 5 million times.

Scaachi: Its nice to have a satisfying whodunit, especially after The Undoing was such an enormous disappointment. That whole show was like, Wow, it really looks like the husband did a murder and then it turned out that...he absolutely did.

Shannon: I will be mad about The Undoing for the rest of my life. I have a feeling Im in the minority both in this conversation and generally among all the Mare heads out there, but I didnt really watch the show with an eye toward figuring out who did the murders. I was in it for the characters! Also I loved Mare and Zabels last moments together, even though I kind of dont get why everyone is in love with Mare. But I sort of do because while shes an asshole, Kate Winslet makes her kinda charming in her assholery?

Scaachi: As a Mare archetype, I understand. Assholes deserve love too, SHANNON.

Estelle: That does get at why the show is so popular: You can be highly invested in theories, or you can enjoy the top-notch performances, solid writing, pressure-cooker pace, and high stakes. Or why not both!

Krystie: At first I was annoyed that Zabel was romantically interested in Mare. Why did she need another love interest? She has enough going on! And also how clich that shes partnered up with this young, cute detective and theyre going to date? Classic! But Zabel grew on me. In their last moments together I was sold on the two of them. Of course I was! Because then he had to go and get killed.

Shannon: There is 0% chance that theyd actually work out. I probably should have seen it coming but was completely shocked when Zabel got killed. Though I do have to say the poor Silence of the Lambsy guy living in chaos with girls trapped in his basement trope has been more than a little overdone by now.

Evan Peters as Colin Zabel in Mare of Easttown

Estelle: Part of whats great about Mare is that you really do just want to talk about it with people; the show gets richer if you discuss it. Genius theories were everywhere. I started getting really invested when I heard the theory that Lori was the culprit; I was not into that at all, because apart from the question of who killed Erin, the women ultimately coming through suffering to grace seemed to be the shows other major narrative driver. For example, it was obvious that if the Sheehan/Fahey family could only connect, theyd be able to heal. But I wouldnt have thought about it as much if I hadnt heard that theory. I wanted it to be John, but the truth was much more upsetting.

Krystie: I liked the reasoning I heard from a friend or Reddit: that Lori would be the killer because the show was called Mare of Easttown, not Murderer of Easttown (LOL), so it would make sense for the killer to be someone close to Mare. For a while, I thought Siobhan had done it for that reason. I hoped Lori wouldnt be involved because I didnt want her to have to clean up her disgusting husbands mess; I knew John had to be the father of Erins child all along. Like Billy said in Episode 6, John needed to be accountable for once, and it wasnt everyone elses fault he couldnt keep it in his pants.

Scaachi: I thought it was definitely John, and wondered if Lori knew he was the father.

Krystie: All the men in the town are basically garbage. And all the adults in Erins life failed her and the other young women in Easttown.

Shannon: I loved the shows exploration of motherhood and how living in precarity can stand in the way of protecting your and others children. Of course, by the finale, we learned that the show had been hurtling toward a major parental reckoning all along.

Estelle: That gives us a good excuse to devote some time (and perhaps our lives, henceforth) to Jean Smart, who plays Mares mother, Helen. When Helen called Mare Marianne in the finale, I almost burst into tears.

Krystie: In Episode 6, Mare and her mom finally hugged and cried together, and so did Mare and her daughter Siobhan. I appreciated that because #growth. Mare is obviously the way she is in large part because of her mother, and Helen has a different relationship with her grandchildren than she did with Mare. The show depicts how trauma can transfer through generations but also how those cycles can break.

Scaachi: What I would recommend is watching Jean in Mare of Easttown and in Hacks in tandem and pretend its all the same universe.

Shannon: Yes! Ive loved watching both shows alongside each other. Jean Smart as two different bad-but-kinda-lovable-anyway moms.

Scaachi: There was something devastating about Helen helping her grandsons mother because she wants to make sure the family can still see him if the custody changes. That was so melancholy.

Shannon: As someone whos experienced a lot of complicated custody battles in my family, I really love and appreciate the shows attention to how messed up it can be especially when you have sympathy for most of the people involved, but particularly that sweet little boy, Drew.

Estelle: How did we feel about the finale? I had heard the Ryan-as-killer theory and never bought it, but it fell into place perfectly, and brutally. The story came full circle: Mares family is healing after acknowledging the intergenerational trauma and their collective grief about losing Kevin, while Loris family has completely fallen apart because of another destructive secret.

Scaachi: Listen, I have a lot of questions about this dubious claim that Dylan did all this shit just to keep a baby that he clearly hates for the sake of his parents. It seemed a little flimsy to me, especially for a show with such well-conceived characters. Also John saying we were hanging out as code for sex is just the most aggressively male nonsense Ive heard in a long time. Actually, this whole episode is like a profound encapsulation of how disappointing men are and how much more they want even after that. John asking his wife to take care of DJ? Girl, come on. (I continue to hate Siobhan and I do not care about Berkeley.)

Krystie: I didn't see that ending coming at all! In retrospect, there was always so much focus on John, Lori, and their family. Ryan had a lot of screen time compared to some other minor characters, like when he saw a news segment about Erin's murder on TV, when he beat up a kid at school for bullying his sister, and when he was distraught about John moving out and "cheating" again. I'm glad that Lori wasn't the murderer after all, but I hate that Ryan ended up being the culprit and has to live with the repercussions of killing Erin for the rest of his life. It's a tragedy and a sad example of the people who carry the burden of the traumas brought on by other abusers: in this case, Ryan suffering because of what John did.

I was actually pretty disappointed in the way John's treatment of Erin was glossed over. There wasn't enough focus on that. I would have liked for the show to use different language around John's abuse of Erin; it was not a sexual relationship! She was a child, and by the way, they were related! I was relieved to see Mare's life and family dynamics on the upswing and that she was able to confront her own trauma after solving Erin's murder, but that came at the cost of Lori's family and life unraveling.

Estelle: The scene with Mare and Lori in the kitchen is heartbreaking, and then we had the almost cloying happy montage of Mares family going off into the sunset. The only thing Mare doesnt get to keep is Guy Pearce, which I think is fair. I was the one who gave him that job at Bates College (a codename for my house). But what an ending. Mare of Easttown: an endorsement for therapy and a great crime drama. Im even going to miss staying up until 10 p.m. on a freaking Sunday night to watch it.

Scaachi: Im not sure I have engaged in appointment viewing in years! It was nice to be giddy on a Sunday night for mstories.

Krystie: It truly is one of my favorite TV series of the past few years. Im so relieved they didnt ruin the whole thing by making the creepy priest the murderer after all.

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Ellen Noble on Racing, Injuries, and Her Future – Get to Know Your Cycling Pros – Bicycling05.19.21

Ellen Noble has had a rough couple of years.

In her early racing career, she amassed wins that most pro cyclocrossers only dream of: Dozens of UCI race wins, multiple national championship titles, and even a silver medal at world championships. Her star was on the rise.

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But then, she started feeling sick. Eventually, Noble was diagnosed with Hashimotos Disease, an autoimmune condition that causes the immune system to attack your thyroid, resulting inamong other symptomschronic fatigue and muscle weakness.

But the diagnosis only fueled Nobles desire to return to racing and fight her way back to the top. After nearly two years of not racing, between sickness and the pandemic, Noble was ready for action on the start line of the U.S. Pro Cup mountain bike race in Arkansasuntil the race began and within seconds, she was taken out in a crash that fractured her spine.

But knock her down nine times, and shell get up ten. Even though racing is TBD for the forseeable future, Noble is now home in Colorado working hard on recovery, launching a mentorship program, and planning for the future of her privateer team, Noble Racing. We sat down with her to learn more.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Bicycling: So, were all wondering, what the heck happened in that race?

Ellen Noble: I was in Arkansas for the second round of the season opener at the U.S. Pro Cup MTB Series. At the start, we were maybe 20 seconds into the race and a rider locked bars with another rider and broke free, and that sent them flying. Then they hit the ground, which took out my front wheel and sent me over the bars. [Editors note: You can watch it here.] I was hit from the side, and it twisted me.

The fracture that I have of my three transverse processes is also called a rotational spine fracture, because its something that happens if you have a really hard hit while engaging your muscles. I basically just snapped the wings on my first second and third vertebrae in my lumbar spine.

I was in so much pain that I thought that I got a pedal to the back, which wouldnt have surprised me because the bikes were just flying everywhere. But then four days later, I was in worse pain than before. Ive crashed so many times and it always hurts, but it usually starts to get better within a day. My coach had me go to the ER to rule out a hairline fracture, but I ended up with three fractured transverse processes.

What is your current recovery and return to race plan?

Its honestly so TBD. The specialist said that it takes 12 weeks to heal the transverse process. Its in your spine; everything you do uses that bone, so it takes a while. But Im also already back to pedaling very lightlyzero resistance, unplugged trainer. The specialist doesnt think Ill be safe to compete and take on that kind of risk for 12 weeks. But Ill be able to ride outside in a couple of weeks.

There will be an awkward period, where I can take on some risk, but how much risk is a question mark. But Im young and healthy, and I have good bone density. So my plan is to get a follow-up X-ray before the 12-week mark and see how Im doing. Im hoping to be ahead of schedule. But at least in a couple of weeks Ill be able to ride outside and right now, thats the real goal.

Ole JensenGetty Images

Mentally, emotionally, how are you getting through this?

I havent cried about this, which may be the greatest example of my maturity as an athlete. Ive taken this in stride, and if I could pat myself on the back, I would. I was talking to someone, and he told me that situations like this are when almost everyone quits. This is the thing that would stop most people in their tracks.

But the real answer for me was when I asked myself, Do I want that race to be my last? Do I want my last race to involve me getting carried off the course? Am I going to box up my equipment and send it back, and start a new life? And I thought, Fuck no. I really only have two options: Its either that was my last race or it wasnt. And I very, very obviously am not about to let that be my last race. So I just have to keep going.

You do already have a tattoo of boxing gloves to remind of Eric Thomass message about resiliencyhow your why is greater than any punch...

You know, sometimes I feel like I tempted fate getting that. I was like, Im resilient, and the Universe was like, All right. Lets see. And especially if were talking about taking hit after hit, I really, really needed this U.S. Pro Cup race to go well. I mean, it had been two years since I had done a UCI mountain bike race, almost to the day. Now, I spent the first six days after the crash literally on the couch almost the whole day, doing nothing.

But I will get back up. Its going to be slow, but Im just not ready to quit. Ive already done my first ride on the trainer, and it felt amazing. I know that Im going to be on the trainer on a lot of sunny days, and I wont always be psyched about it. But Im either going to get knocked down and stay down, or get back up and keep fighting.

In the last year you moved from Massachusetts to Colorado and switched coaches, so youre now working with Allen Lim. How has that transition been?

The transition has been good. I obviously miss Al Donahue, my former coach. We still stay in touch, but I dont have the excuse to talk to him every day. I miss the proximity to him as a friend and as a role model. But working with Allen [Lim] has been really, really incredible. Hes obviously so smart. He was the gold standard that Al Donahue and I would reference, so it was a really natural progression.

Being able to move from living really close to my coach in Massachusetts to moving to Boulder and living really close to my new coach was great. We have a lot of resources here that were able to tap into. We were able to do a training camp last summer with a really small group, and those couple months really transformed me as an athlete. And now Im just waiting to finally have a race to get to showcase that.

But I will get back up. Its going to be slow, but Im just not ready to quit.

Since you started working with Lim, how has training shifted for you in the past year? Were there any major breakthroughs?

Overall, I think probably the biggest thing that we did last summer was a really, really big focus on volume. I ended up doing way more volume than I ever have, because I had the runway. Ive always been a disciplined athlete and even in the years where I didnt take mountain biking as seriously, I was still always trying to be ready by May 1 to race. But cyclocross runs through the beginning of February, so you take an off season after that and you start training in March, which means you have two months to train and thats it. You cant do that much volume on with that little time.

So this year, when I had nothing to be ready for, I could get flat and have time to sharpen up again. So I did a lot of volume. But I think the other magic with Allen is that hes actually very relaxed, and very understanding. So if there was a day where I had a photoshoot or something, hed say, Theres nothing stopping us from doing intervals tomorrow. Its not worth it to be stressed or overtraining. I felt more empowered by having that less stringent approach, and I actually do a better job.

In such an unstructured year, it was really refreshing to have a little bit more empowerment in what I was doingand that was something I had to learn myself. Its not that my last coach didnt let me have that; I was just too set on following the plan exactly.

I think a lot of that even comes with age, dont you think?

Yes! I think its easy to look at time periods and think, who was I coached by or where I was living, and not give as much emphasis on all of the other things that have happened in life that have created these cocktails of maturity and setbacks. Its never just one thing thats contributed to how I was training then, and how Im now able to train differently and have a different perspective.

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Do you think the year off because of the pandemic was ultimately a positive for you, between your diagnosis with the autoimmune condition and the big life shift of moving to Colorado?

I always hate saying that, because obviously, last year was incredibly tragic and just a horrible situation. But strictly in terms of having a year away from racing, if you put everything else aside, then yes, having a reason to not race for a year probably helped me make progress.

It wasnt like 2019 where I was too sick to race, or now in 2021, where I have a broken back. In 2020, there were no races to do, and I think I benefited from it immensely. I was able to move to Boulder, where I met a couple of really amazing doctors that helped me structurally with PT and also immunologically, with my autoimmune disease. We had time where we were able to do tests and make changes to my diet, to do research and experimentation. And I really feel like for the first time in my life, I got healthy. That opportunity was such a huge blessing, and its something I dont think I ever would have had the runway to do, if we hadnt had a year without races.

I know youve struggled with doctors and getting them to take your issues seriously for a long time. How did you finally find a team of people that were actually helpful?

The most important point I want to make is that our medical system isnt designed to quickly and easily figure out health mysteries, but if you know something isnt right in your body, you know that better than any doctor ever will. If you really feel like somethings wrong and you really dont think its in your head, then its probably not in your head.

I think being tenacious in the pursuit of your health and a diagnosis is something that you should take pride in and push forward through. I had a lot of doctors who didnt believe that I had anything wrong, because I was still able to ride for an hour or two a day. But compared to my former ability where I could go out and I could do five hours a day, there was something wrong. I also think anyone whos really trying to get to the bottom of whats going on with them needs to understand that its going to be a long process. With an autoimmune disease, it takes an average of two years for people to get a diagnosis.

Where I found successand maybe this isnt for everyonewas when I found functional medicine practitioners. If a regular Western medicine doctor diagnosed thyroid disease, they would just medicate your thyroid. Functional medicine would ask, Why do you have a thyroid disease? And how do we stop your body attacking your thyroid? Functional medicine looks at why your body is not working holistically. That was really transformational for me.

Its worth mentioning that this wasnt a simple thing for you to do, even as a professional athlete.

Unfortunately, it was a huge time and emotional commitment. And financially, I devoted a lot of money that could have gone to other things to this. I recognize that I was lucky and have the money to spend, but honestly, I put myself into a not-great financial situation to get these answers. Health insurance doesnt really cover most of it. Health insurance is way more approving of a medication, or of going to your primary care physician. A lot of insurances dont want to cover a food sensitivity test that could help explain why youre itchy or tired all the time.

Does having gone through all of this make you want to use your public health background in a different way, when you are done with bike racing?

Theres definitely been a lot of discussion around the house in the last couple months about that. I have a bachelors degree, and I had thought about getting my masters in public health. But now Im wondering, could I be a functional nurse practitioner? Could I be a registered dietitian? There are so many different ways that I think I would like to use this knowledge, just seeing how much its transformed my life. I know so many women in my life who have all these ailments that they just sort of have accepted, and wanting to help them has definitely made me reconsider my post-bike racing path. But so much of it is up in the air.

What I do know is that right now, I have a platform where I do try to talk about this stuff as much as possible, because I think if nothing else, Im able to share my experiences and hopefully, set a light bulb off in one persons mind that makes them realize, Wow, I never thought about the fact that I shouldnt feel like crap all the time.

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You recently launched a Noble Racing mentorship program. Hows that going?

Its going pretty well. I have a lot of applications in, and its a good problem to have, but there are a lot of great people whove applied. There are a couple where I was instantly like, Whoa, I really connected with this application.

Why offer the mentorship program now?

It was really inspired by an athletes boldness and bravery to reach out. I started the program because of a racer who had been part of my ENCX Quest Camp when we ran it in 2019, Claire Steciuk. After the camp, she reached out to me and said, Id really like to work with you and learn more from you and be involved in your team. My team is in the first official year, and its not really possible for me to add another rider. And obviously, in 2020 and this year, its impossible to run the Quest camp, so I was already starting to think about how I could give back. It was important to me to continue to mentor the younger generation, and weve learned from the pandemic that not everything can be done in person.

When Claire reached out, it really got me thinking. And so I put together this program: Level one is the mentorship program, and level two is going to be a grant. I felt like it was a way that I could have an impact and still teach without having to physically meet with these athletes. Its the best situation I could think of that was pandemic-proof, since were seeing there is no guarantee that people will be able to travel freely and comfortably this summer.

The ENCX Quest has been great for a lot of young women, but do you think this more formal mentorship program is a next step for you as a more mature racer?

Absolutely. Honestly, I think the pandemic aged me, maybe in a good way. And as I grow up and I learn more, I see the value in that friendship and mentorship between young athletes and more mature athletes, and I feel like this new program is a more mature and more sustainable way to achieve that.

And you also have the new team. So tell us about Noble Racing?

I was back and forth with so many stupid names. But then Donkey Label said, Oh, do you want us to put your name on the jersey? And I was like, Oh, shit. Thats the team name. I think a lot of people were surprised to hear about Noble Racing this year. The motivation behind it was that last year, I officially started being a privateer, but I had title sponsors, so there was no overarching team per se. I noticed that people didnt really understand what I was doing or recognize my program as its own thing, because it didnt have that sort of structure.

Coming into this year, I wanted to create something that could eventually have one athlete or five athletes, and it would always be its own brand. So I decided to go forward with calling it Noble Racing, because it was simple and timeless. It allows me to have consistent long term branding and growth potential with the name. For me, its super empowering to say, No, I didnt just get a bunch of sponsors together. I have a team now and I represent this team as a whole. And I think that it allows the sponsors to be represented more synergistically as well.

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Ellen Noble on Racing, Injuries, and Her Future - Get to Know Your Cycling Pros - Bicycling

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