Robert Saleh says Jets will ‘do right’ by Zach Wilson in terms of his return to action

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 08/18/2022 - 11:56

On Tuesday afternoon, the Jets received good news as quarterback Zach Wilson’s knee surgery was considered a success.

Now Gang Green plays the waiting game.

The timeline for Wilson’s return from the meniscus tear he suffered in last Friday’s preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles has been listed as anywhere from two to four weeks. What complicates Wilson’s recovery is he is also dealing with a bone bruise. Jets coach Robert Saleh didn’t show his hand when asked if Wilson or backup Joe Flacco would start against the Baltimore Ravens at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 11.

“If Zach is ready to go, he’s going be the Week 1 starter,” Saleh said Thursday of his second-year QB. “If he’s not, then Joe will. We are going to take it by how Zach looks, how he feels, how he moves and what the doctors tell us.

“Whenever that moment is, that’s when he will step on the field.”

Wilson flew back from Los Angeles where he had the surgery Tuesday. He was at the Jets facility on Thursday and was already walking around the facility as the team said he was in good spirits.

While Wilson is recovering, Flacco has taken over the first-team snaps in practice. Flacco, 37, who did not play against the Eagles during the first preseason game, is expected to start in the final two warm-up games against the Atlanta Falcons and Giants.

Whoever starts against the Ravens to kick off the ‘22 campaign, Saleh said the Jets are confident in both of their abilities under center.

“It is really going to be dictated on how he feels and when he’s ready to go,” Saleh said about Wilson. “We are going to make sure we do right by him in terms of making sure he’s 100% healthy. Whenever that is, that’s when he will hit the field.”

JETS TO HOST FALCONS IN JOINT PRACTICES

The Jets will host the Falcons in a couple of joint practices on Friday and Saturday morning before their preseason game Monday night.

Coaches around the league typically schedule joint practices because it allows them to evaluate players against different opponents. Some players like them because they not only don’t have to see the same faces they’ve seen the last three weeks, but they can hit guys who aren’t teammates.

Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur says he has done the joint practices about every year he’s been a coach and each one is different from the last.

“It will be good for us as they run a bit more Cover 2 than we do,” LaFleur said about practicing against the Falcons. “You have to put in the time to make sure you’re giving your guys a chance.

“The last two games, there’s been a lot of game planning, practice planning. I want to see our guys play fast and be the best that they can be.”

CAGER STANDS OUT AT PRACTICE

Because of the joint practices this weekend, the Jets didn’t have pads on Thursday morning. While it was a lighter morning, there was an unlikely player who stood out during 11-on-11 drills.

Converted tight end Lawrence Cager caught four passes from quarterbacks Mike White and Chris Streveler. Cager might be a long shot at making the final 53-man roster, but he has played well this summer, including the last preseason game.

According to Pro Football Focus, Cager was the highest-rated Jets player with a grade of 92.7 in the exhibition opener. Cager, who played collegiately at Miami and Georgia, was a receiver during his first two years in the NFL with the Jets and Cleveland Browns. However, the Jets brought Cager back into the mix in January and converted him to tight end.

Saleh says Cager’s transition to a new position has been very good to this point.

“He has a completely different mindset than he had a year ago,” Saleh said.

“I really like where he’s at. Obviously, he has a long way to go in terms of the route game and what we are asking from that position, but I love his attitude, I love his [physicality] and I’m just really excited about where he will take us.”

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Categories: Local News

Saquon Barkley ‘fed up’ with criticisms that he’s ‘dancing’ in Giants backfield

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 08/18/2022 - 11:56

Saquon Barkley unloaded on critics of his running style Thursday after practice.

“I know … a thing that’s been said about me is he don’t know what he’s doing, he’s just dancing back there,” Barkley said. “I’m really kind of fed up with people who never played the position and try to speak on how I run the football. We call them All-Pros with clickers in their hand.”

Barkley, 25, was responding to a question about whether he’s been making a conscious effort to run more north-south.

Head coach Brian Daboll had said after the Giants’ preseason opener that Barkley “hit the ball downhill [and] didn’t dance” against the Patriots. The direction of Barkley’s first step has been a common criticism of his game through four seasons.

But Barkley clearly had bottled up frustrations on that critique, possibly dating back to this scathing quote from an unnamed “veteran NFL offensive coach” in a July ESPN story:

“I’m down on him — he still doesn’t know how to play running back enough,” the coach said. “He’s a bouncer. He wants every run to be a home run. He’s going to have to learn that 4-yard runs in this league are good, instead of stopping, cutting it back and losing 2. And he gets his ass kicked in protection.”

Barkley had a message for anyone who shares those opinions Thursday.

“This is probably the last time I’m gonna speak on this,” he said. “I know people are gonna say dancing and this, that and the third, and ‘he don’t get north and south.’ I’m not just gonna run into my lineman’s back. That’s not how I play the game. It’s not how I’ve been playing since I was 8 years old. I’ve been playing this position for a very long time.”

Barkley did admit that Daboll and the new coaching staff “have been making a point of a running style and mentality that we have as a team.” But he said Daboll is “talking about the physicality of me trusting myself, me getting downhill.”

Later, he specified for the Daily News that Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka have articulated expectations for him. They want him to take the handoff, hit the ball downhill, trust the play call to get Barkley to space, and then “Go be Saquon.”

But he said when Daboll praises him for getting downhill, the coach is saying he’s pleased with Barkley showing trust in his body. That’s compared to the past, when Barkley admits he might have hesitated or instinctively tried to protect a knee or ankle on his runs.

“When people try to make it north and south — not coach in particular — but people are trying to use that as an example of I’m back there like I’m dancing,” he said. “Dancing is stuff you do in high school football and little league football where you run this way and you run that way. That’s not my thought process.

“If I’m making a run back in the day and someone breaks free and someone’s in my face, I’m not just gonna run right at him and try to get back to the line of scrimmage,” he added. “That’s part of my craft. That’s part of my game. But like I said with coach, that’s kind of the emphasis, meaning like alright we want to get more physical, we want to get more downhill, but not saying, ‘Oh you’re not hitting north and south.’ Know what I’m saying?”

Barkley, interestingly enough, didn’t do much during full-team 11-on-11 for a second straight practice on Thursday. And that’s straddling a Wednesday off-day. It’s possible he sits Sunday’s second preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals, though that’s not yet clear.

He said he’s healthy but the team is “watching the workload” of its players. Not to mention he had something else on his mind Thursday: his doubters.

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Categories: Local News

Three bystanders shot by Denver police shocked by body camera videos, disappointed in police response

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 08/18/2022 - 11:50

Three innocent bystanders shot by Denver police while standing outside a LoDo bar last month want the Denver Police Department to publicly apologize for their injuries and announce a plan to make sure a similar incident doesn’t happen again.

Police shot the three victims — Yekalo Weldehiwet, Bailey Alexander and Willis Small IV — on July 17 while shooting at a man they stopped outside Larimer Beer Hall because they believed he was armed. The officers shot the man, Jordan Waddy, as he threw a gun to the ground. Police injured six bystanders standing nearby.

Weldehiwet, Alexander and Small spoke Wednesday after Denver police released body camera videos of the shooting, which the victims said shocked and disappointed them. The videos made it more clear that it was luck that nobody was killed, Small said.

Yekalo Weldehiwet, 26, left, and Bailey ...Yekalo Weldehiwet, 26, left, and Bailey Alexander, 24, pictured on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, are two of six bystanders shot by Denver police officers on Sunday, July 17, 2022. Three police officers were shooting at an armed suspect in Lower Downtown early Sunday morning. 

“Now, when we have the truth, at least have the decency to come forward and say, ‘Yes, we messed up. We need more training, we take full responsibility. We need to reconsider our whole program and take accountability and learn from it,” Weldehiwet said.

Denver police officials omitted key facts from previous descriptions of the shooting, the victims said. Prior to the video release, department leaders never said that Waddy was throwing his gun away when officers shot him and that he had raised his hands when officers first contacted him.

“The omissions are as bad as straight-up lies, like that he pointed the muzzle of the gun at police,” said Siddhartha Rathod, one of the attorneys representing the three victims.

Police said in a July 20 news conference that Waddy “held (the gun) in a manner that the muzzle of the gun was pointed in the direction of the officers on Larimer Street,” though later acknowledged during questioning by reporters that Waddy was holding the gun by the top, not the grip, and that it was unclear whether he could have fired the gun holding it that way.

Body camera video shows Waddy pulling the gun from his clothing and moving it quickly across his chest before tossing it to the side. He never directly pointed the muzzle at officers.

Weldehiwet, Alexander and Small did not get an opportunity to view the videos before the Denver Department of Public Safety released them publicly. Weldehiwet decided not to watch the videos because he didn’t want to relive the traumatic evening.

“If body cameras didn’t exist, we might not have any idea who shot us to this day,” Small said.

All three victims said they were cautiously optimistic about Denver District Attorney Beth McCann’s decision to convene a grand jury, which will decide whether the three officers should face criminal charges.

The three officers — Meagan Lieberson, Brandon Ramos and Kenneth Rowland — are working non-patrol assignments while the investigation continues.

Related Articles

All three shooting victims are still living with pain from their bullet wounds. Weldehiwet, 26, underwent surgery to remove the bullet lodged in his bicep and reset the arm bone it shattered. He still experiences painful nerve damage in his hand, which could become permanent. Alexander, 24, spent several nights in the hospital two weeks ago after the wounds in her arm and shoulder became infected. She can still sometimes feel the painful burning sensation in her arm from bullet shrapnel lodged there. Small, 24, still feels pain in his foot where when he puts his full weight on it. He walks with a limp.

They also now fear crowds and feel a sense of dread when they see a police officer. Alexander has declined invitations to go to crowded concerts. Small said he always feared that police would shoot him, but that fear has intensified now that police actually shot him.

“I feel like it might not be safe for me to walk around,” he said.

Weldehiwet said his mom talks to him about what would’ve happened had the officer’s bullet struck him a few inches to the side. Wednesday would’ve been the one-month anniversary of his death, she told him.

“It always gets me emotional,” he said.

Categories: Local News

Kanye West, Tom Brady, Jared Kushner, Reese Witherspoon, other celebs had millions in PPP loans forgiven

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 08/18/2022 - 11:48

Despite being worth millions of dollars, Kanye West, Tom Brady, Khloe Kardashian, Reese Witherspoon and other celebrities not only obtained Paycheck Protection Program loans for their companies through the federal government’s COVID-19 stimulus package, they had much or all of those loans forgiven, according to a new report.

Businesses connected to Trump administration senior adviser Jared Kushner’s family and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, also received PPP loans and then were let off the hook in paying the loans back, according to a Daily Mail report headlined, “It Pays to Be Rich.”

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 16: Kanye West, left, and his son Saint West sit between Golden State Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob and Peter Guber as they watch the game against the Boston Celtics in the third quarter of their NBA game at Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, March 16, 2022. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)Kanye West, left, and his son Saint West sit between Golden State Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob and Peter Guber as they watch the game against the Boston Celtics in the third quarter of their NBA game at Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, March 16, 2022. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group) 

Previous reports suggest that very wealthy people and very large businesses largely benefited from the program, which was established in March 2020 under the Trump administration’s $2.2 trillion CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act. The loans were meant to go to small businesses and nonprofits hit by the pandemic, but reports soon surfaced that many small businesses claimed they were struggling to get loans while dozens of billionaire-owned companies and private equity firms managed to secure funding, Forbes reported.

An analysis by the Washington Post showed that more than half of the roughly $522 billion in loans given out through November 2020 went to just 5% of the more than 5 million recipients. The SBA originally said that 87% of loans went to smaller businesses, but according to Forbes, citing the Washington Post analysis, the majority of the total issued in loans was actually given to bigger businesses. Only 28% of the total funds were used for loans of less than $150,000.

FILE - In this Aug. 13, 2020 file photo, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner speaks at a press briefing at the White House in Washington. A judge in Maryland has ruled that an apartment company co-owned by Kushner, former President Donald Trump's son-in-law, repeatedly violated state consumer protection laws by collecting debts without required licenses, charging tenants improper fees and misrepresenting the condition of rental units. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)Former White House senior adviser Jared Kushner speaks at a press briefing at the White House in Washington in 2020.(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File) Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

As for the program’s famous beneficiaries, Kanye West, Tom Brady and Jared Kushner emerged as the top poster children for its questionable priorities.

Rapper and fashion mogul West received millions in PPP loans in 2020 for his Yeezy fashion line not long after declaring himself a billionaire, signing a 10-year collaboration with Gap, and going public with plans to build a 52,000-square-foot mansion on his ranch in Wyoming, the Daily Beast reported in July 2020.

His Yeezy LLC borrowed $2,363,585, with $1,772,689 being spent on payroll for 106-member staff, the Daily Mail said. While the status of this loan is “not disclosed,” the Daily Mail said a Yeezy subsidiary borrowed $15,625 for one employee and all but $147 was forgiven.

Generally, borrowers are eligible for loan forgiveness if the loan was spent on payroll costs, and employee and compensation levels were maintained, according to the SBA. The Daily Mail said borrowers can also have the 1% interest forgiven.

Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 28, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Andy Lyons, Getty Images)Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 28, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Andy Lyons, Getty Images) 

Brady received a $960,855 PPP loan for TB12 Inc, the sports performance and nutrition company he co-founded with body coach Alex Guerroro, the Daily Mail said. The loan was to help secure 80 jobs.

Following news that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback had received the loan, someone in February 2021 launched a Change.org petition saying that he should be magnanimous and return it. Brady has reportedly made more than $350 million during his NFL career.

“By accepting this money, he is playing the government no better than any grifter would play a person on the street,” the petition read.

Not only did Brady’s company not return the loan, it asked to not pay it back. The full amount of the loan, plus interest of nearly $12,000, was fully forgiven, the Daily Mail said.

Meanwhile, Kushner’s family was granted three PPP loans for various businesses, while he helped lead his father-in-law’s response to the pandemic, according to the Daily Mail.

The Kushner family’s newspaper publisher, Observer Holdings, LLC, was approved in the first round of loans on April 27, 2020, the Daily Mail said. The company received a $800,407 loan, which was used to save 41 jobs. The loan, including interest, was forgiven in full.

The Kushner family hotel business, Princeton Forrestal, LLC, received a $1,569,977 loan in April 2020. The loan, including interest, was forgiven, the Daily Mail said  Esplanade Livingston, LLC, which owns the land housing the Kushner’s family’s Westminster Hotel in New Jersey, received a $630,735 loan to pay 56 employees. The entire loan also was forgiven.

Paul Pelosi is another politically connected figure who has a business that benefitted from PPP forgiveness. Paul Pelosi has an 8.1percent share in EDI Associates, a North Bay-based restaurant business that took out two PPP loans, the Daily Mail said. Its loans for $711,708 and $996,392 both were forgiven.

Other A-listers who saw their companies’ loans forgiven include Reese Witherspoon, whose clothing and lifestyle company, Draper James LLC, had its $975,472 PPP loan debt wiped out, while Jay-Z’s Malibu Entertainment was let off without repaying the full amount of its $2,106,398 loan. Witherspoon and Jay-Z are worth an estimated $400 million and $1.3 billion respectively.

Khloe Kardashian’s denim brand, Good American LLC, didn’t have to pay back any of its $1,245,405 loan, while Sean Comb’s cable network, Revolt Media and TV LLC, also was forgiven for its $1,929,252 loan, the Daily Mail said. The touring companies for rock bands Pearl Jam and Green Day also saw their loans of $629,335 and $452,302 nearly or fully forgiven.

Categories: Local News

Dolphins camp: Defense wins in two-minute drill; plus stock up, stock down

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 08/18/2022 - 11:47

The Miami Dolphins defense continues to get the best of the offense in two-minute drill scenarios.

The first-, second- and third-team units all had interceptions of Dolphins quarterbacks when the offense had successive opportunities to drive the length of the field needing a touchdown with limited time on the clock.

First, Tua Tagovailoa was picked off again by second-year safety Jevon Holland for Holland’s fourth interception of Tagovailoa in three days. Backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw to the end zone on one final play with the clock expiring, into the hands of safety Clayton Fejedelem. Third-string signal-caller Skylar Thompson had a pass go off fellow rookie Erik Ezukanma’s hands, and linebacker Calvin Munson came up with it.

Tagovailoa and Bridgewater dinked and dunked early in their drives, having to eventually force passes downfield pressed on time. Tagovailoa threw into traffic over the middle while getting pressured by defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah. Bridgewater had a long completion to undrafted rookie Braylon Sanders for about 45 yards against Verone McKinley on his penultimate play, but he still had to throw into a congested end zone on the final heave. The Munson interception was early in the drive, on the offense’s side of the field.

“Got to do your job. That’s what it comes down to,” said Holland about the defense’s key in late-game scenarios. “It’s a high-intensity situation where you got to do your job and then you got to let the plays come to you. Because if you try to force it, then you’re going to miss your opportunity.”

Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel has said earlier in training camp that Tagovailoa and Holland have a healthy competition going leading their respective units. Holland has gotten the best of Tagovailoa this week, and Holland spoke after practice about how they communicate to get each other better.

“I usually ask him about plays that I messed up on for,” Holland said. “I’m not really looking for him to explain what I did right or what he saw on that specific play. I’m more looking for things that bother me when I go to sleep at night and how I can correct them.”

Holland added the quarterbacks do check in with him when he gets practice interceptions, and he wants to one day break down film with them to get the altering perspectives.

Observations

To start team portions of practice, Tagovailoa ripped an impressive deep ball to Trent Sherfield for a touchdown over Holland and cornerback Xavien Howard. Sherfield also caught a deep corner from Bridgewater early in team drills. …

Tagovailoa also made fine early throws to Tyreek Hill off a play action and roll to the right and lobbing one to an open Cedrick Wilson Jr. with room to run down the right side. He had another 35-to-40-yard gain to Hill deep against Nik Needham that Hill slowed down to catch with a step on Needham. Late in 11-on-11 action, Tagovailoa found tight end Durham Smythe in the perfect spot between one high and one low defender in a zone. …

Myles Gaskin scored a short rushing touchdown on a Teddy Bridgewater-led situational drive. A Bridgewater pass to River Cracraft set the Dolphins up inside the 10-yard line. An official called holding on the play, but coaches declined the penalty to allow the play to stand. …

Salvon Ahmed had a decent run to the right side of the line early in drills and was also active on short dump-off passes. …

Wilson got open deep for Tagovailoa, and Tagovailoa delivered on target on a pass where he may have been hit if there was live contact on the quarterback, but the ball went through Wilson’s hands. …

Preston Williams caught a pass from Bridgewater for a sizable gain. He also had Elijah Hamilton cover him for a pass breakup. …

Emmanuel Ogbah, in addition to having the pressure that forced the Holland interception, also registered a separate practice sack on Tagovailoa. …

Undrafted defensive end and South Florida local Owen Carney was seen coming around the edge for a would-be sack. …

The team did early portions of practice in the indoor facility before heading out for team drills.

Stock up

As obvious as it is with his stock already high, Holland continues to consistently create turnovers in practice. For an outside-the-box selection, kicker Jason Sanders made all his field goals while the team was inside on Thursday. He’s coming off a 4-for-4 performance on field goals in the exhibition opener at Tampa.

Stock down

Rookie wide receiver and fourth-round pick Erik Ezukanma had the ball intercepted by Munson go off his hands initially while getting hit by a defensive back. He had a quiet week after building up considerable hype through a week-plus stretch of consecutive strong practices.

Injury report

Left tackle Terron Armstead missed practice Thursday after he also did not participate in team drills on Wednesday. He was coming off strong workloads in his recovery from offseason knee surgery both in Tuesday drills and the final joint practice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week.

Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle stretched with the team to start Thursday’s session but did not participate in drills as the Dolphins are taking it day to day in what McDaniel deemed a “preventative” measure for a minor injury.

Guard Solomon Kindley missed Thursday practice. Safety Eric Rowe, tackle Greg Little, outside linebacker Brennan Scarlett and fullback John Lovett also remained out.

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Categories: Local News

Trey Lance gets hero’s welcome, greets his Minnesota high school team

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 08/18/2022 - 11:43

EAGAN, Minn. — How do you get 110 teenage boys to stand still and quiet? You put Trey Lance in front of them for a group photo.

That was the scene after Lance and the 49ers’ practiced Thursday against the host Minnesota Vikings.

“Appreciate you guys coming,” Lance told the football team from his alma mater, Marshall High School.

A two-bus caravan made the 152-mile trek east, courtesy of the Vikings, and among those in the crew were 10 coaches, including head coach Terry Bahlmann.

“It’s sort of surreal,” said Bahlmann, who was Lance’s coach before the dual-threat quarterback went on to win a Football Championship Subdivision national championship at North Dakota State and then ascend to the 49ers as the 2021 draft’s No. 3 overall pick.

Now that Lance is taking over the 49ers’ starting quarterback job, what is Bahlman’s coaching advice?

“The thing Trey’s got to do is run the football and also throw the deep ball that they haven’t had before,” Bahlmann said. “Those are skills that stand out for him.”

Lance indeed did that for a second straight day of joint practices at the Vikings’ headquarters. He was 9-of-16 passing, none for touchdowns in what was a rather dull, two-hour session.

Finishing up his first camp as QB1 in place of Jimmy Garoppolo, Lance also ran a few times. Some were by design, some forced by the Vikings’ pass-rush pressure, and one final time in a two-minute drill that saw time expire before he could get off another snap.

Marshall’s players, decked out in black and orange shirts depicting their program, watched most of practice behind the end zone where the 49ers’ defense was facing the Vikings’ offense; Lance and the 49ers’ offense were on the neighboring field.

Once practice ended, he pulled off his shoulder pads and No. 5 jersey, then headed over to thank the swarm of friends, family, former teammates and other Marshall guests.

“Trey deserves everything he’s got,” Bahlmann said. “He’s a fantastic human being and he does things well. In high school, he was the first one there, last one to leave, so he put his time in and we watched him grow all the way along.

“Best days are still coming.”

The 49ers are counting on that — once the regular season starts Sept. 11 at Chicago.

This week’s homecoming likely won’t see Lance play at all in Saturday’s preseason game against the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium, not after the higher-demanding work from these joint practices.

“Earlier in the summer, he was talking about this one, and our guys were talking to him about coming home and getting tickets figured out,” wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk said.

Not that Lance acted like a big man on campus. He merely worked at his day job, even if among those watching were his parents, Carlton and Angie.

“I forgot for a second,” Aiyuk added. “He hasn’t been any different than before, but he does a good job hiding that stuff. I’m sure he’s excited to be here.”

Lance indeed expressed that in speaking to a mixture of 49ers and local reporters on Tuesday, saying: “I’m excited for sure, to see my family, see some friends. But it’s work, at this point.”

That same work ethic remains at his alma mater. After posing with Lance for group and individual photos — one student asked for and got Lance’s towel — then it was time for Marshall’s players to get ready for some football themselves. The deal was they could come watch the 49ers-Vikings practice but then they’d have to go practice themselves at a nearby school

“Can’t miss a practice day, not even for Trey Lance,” Bahlmann said.Related Articles

 

Categories: Local News

No charges to be filed against mother of suspect in Alexis Gabe disappearance

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 08/18/2022 - 11:41

OAKLEY — Prosecutors do not have enough evidence to charge the mother of a man suspected in the disappearance of Alexis Gabe, a 24-year-old Oakley woman who went missing in January and is now presumed dead.

Gabe’s family met with Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton and Chief Assistant District Attorney Simon O’Connell on Wednesday afternoon to demand that aiding and abetting charges be brought against Alicia Coleman Clark. They believe Clark helped her son, Marshall Curtis Jones, 27, in the events that left Gabe missing.

Authorities on June 1 said they considered the case a homicide investigation, and prosecutors filed murder charges against Jones. Members of the Pacific Northwest Violent Offenders Task Force shot Jones to death in Kent, Wash. that night, saying he came at them with a knife as they moved in to arrest him.

A statement from DA spokesman Ted Asregadoo issued Wednesday said “to date, there is insufficient evidence to establish that Ms. Clark knew Marshall Jones killed Alexis — or that Ms. Clark assisted Jones after the fact. However, if additional evidence surfaces, the DA’s Office would review it for possible criminal prosecution.”

Gwyn Gabe, Alexis’ father, spurred the recent demand for Clark’s arrest after posting a police release on the timeline surrounding Alexis’ disappearance on a Facebook page dedicated to finding her.

“As Alexis’ parents, you all know that we want justice, and we want it now,” the Gabe family wrote in a statement on the page Wednesday. “Instead, we got almost two hours of explanations . . . about how they could not do anything immediately. We were told that we just have to wait. We are beyond frustrated and upset at being told that we have to wait.”

Becton, in the DA’s statement, said, “It was a productive meeting. And it was good to have Mr. and Mrs. Gabe, law enforcement, and attorneys in one room so everybody could appreciate the state of the ongoing investigation.”

Related Articles

Alexis Gabe vanished the evening of Jan. 26 after visiting ex-boyfriend Jones at the home he shared with his stepfather on Benttree Way in Antioch. Her light blue Infiniti was found the next day 4.5 miles away on Trenton Street in Oakley, but there was no sign of Alexis.

Her whereabouts remain unknown.

Please check back for updates.

Categories: Local News

California franchisees fear AB 257 could hike their fast-food prices

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 08/18/2022 - 11:37

Jesse Lara know all about rising costs.

His family-owned franchise owns 34 El Pollo Loco restaurants throughout Southern California, and in recent months they’ve all been hammered by inflationary price hikes. But now he has something new to worry about — Assembly Bill 257.

The legislation would create a state-run council to negotiate wages, hours and working conditions for California’s fast-food workers. But a new report suggests those changes could push higher prices onto consumers by as much as 20%.

The analysis — compiled by the UC Riverside Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development and paid for by the International Franchise Association — comes as nearly 100 fast-food franchisees traveled Wednesday, Aug. 17 to Sacramento to speak out against the impacts of the bill, also known as the FAST Recovery Act.

The legislation — supported locally by community allies and labor leaders — is designed to address wage theft, harassment, discrimination and unsafe work conditions fast-food workers say they face on the job. Similar bills have been passed in California to protect garment and contract construction workers.

El Pollo Loco is looking to expand its footprint with two new restaurant designs and drone delivery service. The Costa Mesa-based grilled-chicken chain plans to add as many as 140 new locations over the next five years.Jesse Lara’s family-owned franchise owns 34 El Pollo Loco restaurants throughout Southern California. He’s concerned that Assembly Bill 257 will create addition costs for his operation. (File photo courtesy of El Pollo Loco) 

Lara’s biggest concern is having an unelected body dictate what his restaurants can and can’t do. He employs more than 1,000 workers, and AB 257 leaves lots of unanswered questions.

“Would we still be able to hire and employ as many people as we do?” Laura asked. “Would we be able to offer as many hours, and would we have to raise costs to stay afloat? We’re already paying 80% more for boneless chicken breasts.”

Christopher Thornberg, the Riverside center’s director, said the bill would hit low-income consumers the hardest.

“If the FAST Act passes, we can expect a very sharp increase in food costs from the affected restaurants, and that could push these families to the breaking point, given the financial pressures working families already feel from rising rents, gas and other necessities,” he said.

The center’s analysis says AB 257 would effectively create a new food tax at a time when inflation is reaching record highs and could boost fast-food prices by as much as 20%.

Thornberg cited two factors that would conspire to boost fast-food prices: One is the likelihood that AB 257’s state-run council would increase pay at the various fast-food outlets and the other is increased liability for fast-food companies.

Under AB 257, liabilities that would ordinarily fall of the shoulders of franchisees would instead be passed along to the fast-food corporations. So the fast-food chains would be held responsible when workers claim minimum wage violations or unpaid overtime at a franchise location.

AB 257 would also allow franchisees to sue their parent corporation if their franchise contracts contain strict terms that leave them no choice but to violate labor law.

The bill would require standards for minimum wages, maximum hours of work and other working conditions fixed by the state-run council, absent a valid collective bargaining agreement, and they would be enforced by the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.

The council would conduct a full review of those factors every three years and would be required to hold public hearings every six months where it could coordinate with various local agencies.

The bill additionally authorizes cities with a population of more than 200,000 to establish a food-sector council that could provide recommendations to the state-run panel.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has yet to take a position on the bill, but his Department of Finance opposes it, saying it would create “ongoing costs” and worsen delays in the state’s labor enforcement system.

This Burger King at 2122 SE Bristol belongs to restaurant king John Gantes who is going through a bankruptcy.///ADDITIONAL INFO: gantes.0503a - 4/22/09 - ROD VEAL, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTERHarsh Ghai’s franchise includes 200 Burger King, Taco Bell, and Popeye’s restaurants, 180 of which are in California. He says increased costs associated with AB 257 would be hard to absorb. (File photo, Rod Veal, Orange County Register) 

Harsh Ghai isn’t a fan of AB 257, either. His franchise includes 200 Burger King, Taco Bell, and Popeye’s restaurants — 180 of which are in California.

Ghai said wages at his restaurants vary depending on the demand for work in each market. They all pay above minimum wage, he said, but increased costs associated with AB 257 would be hard to absorb.

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“Grocery stores can pass along higher costs to customers, but we can’t pass along that much because our guests rely heavily on strong value propositions,” he said.

Ghai and other franchisees met Wednesday with several state lawmakers in Sacramento. Some communicated online. But others — including Sen. Anna M. Caballero, D-Merced, and Assemblyman Tim Grayson, D-Concord — met with the business owners in person.

Caballero and Grayson were receptive to the franchisees’ concerns, Ghai said.

A representative from Caballero’s office said she’s reviewing amendments to AB 257 from both parties and will make her determination once the updates are finalized.

Barely scraping by

The starting pay for cashiers at Lara’s 34 El Pollo Loco locations is $16 an hour. That’s $1 over minimum wage, but many of California’s more than 700,000 fast-food employees say that’s not enough.

Laura Pozos said she’s making $16 an hour working at a McDonald’s in Los Angeles and is barely scraping by.

“They’ve cut our hours,” the 59-year-old East Los Angeles resident said recently. “I work 33 to 34 hours a week and it’s not enough to pay my bills. My light bill alone is $200 a month. These are miserable wages.”

California fast-food workers have held rallies locally and statewide over the past two months in support of AB 257.

The Service Employees International Union is pushing for passage of the bill as part of its “Fight for $15 and a Union” campaign. California’s minimum wage for businesses with 26 or more employees hit $15 an hour on Jan. 1, 2022, and that will rise to $15.50 an hour on Jan. 1, 2023.

Unionization in the fast-food industry, however, remains elusive.

Categories: Local News

Polio Was Almost Eradicated. This Year It Staged a Comeback.

N.Y. Times - Thu, 08/18/2022 - 11:30
Before its discovery in New York’s wastewater, the virus made a series of ominous appearances around the world.
Categories: Local News

Wendy’s customer who complained dies after being punched

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 08/18/2022 - 11:25

A Wendy’s employee faces murder charges after a customer he punched died from his injuries, police in Arizona said.

The 67-year-old customer had been in critical condition since the attack July 26 at the Wendy’s in Prescott Valley. He died in a hospital on Aug. 5, and police announced the murder arrest on Aug. 15.

In the initial report, police said the customer had received his order, then returned to the counter to complain about something. Surveillance video showed the unsuspecting customer licking the top of his Frosty milkshake as the employee comes out from behind the counter, then punches him in the head.

The customer fell and hit his head on the floor and was knocked unconscious, the police said.

The video shows the employee grabbing some items from behind the counter and walking out of the restaurant.

Antoine Kendrick, 35, was initially arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault. The charge has now been revised to second-degree murder, and Kendrick remained in custody this week.

Categories: Local News

Judge Orders Justice Dept. to Redact and Release Version of Affidavit Used to Search Trump’s Home

N.Y. Times - Thu, 08/18/2022 - 11:22
The hearing emerged from an effort last week by a coalition of news organizations to unseal the affidavit submitted in support of the search warrant.
Categories: Local News

Former Tesla engineer accused of theft fights to clear his name publicly

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 08/18/2022 - 11:17

By Malathi Nayak | Bloomberg

A former Tesla Inc. engineer says that after the company dragged his reputation “through the mud” with a trade-secrets theft lawsuit, it’s now trying to prevent him from publicly clearing his name.

Alexander Yatskov was accused in May of duplicitously taking sensitive proprietary information about Tesla’s supercomputer technology when he left his job. He’s now fighting back against the company’s move to push the dispute into private arbitration, saying he wants to contest the “humiliating claims” in open court.

Tesla lost its initial request in court for an emergency order against Yatskov, but argues the matter belongs in arbitration under the terms of its standard employment contract.

The world’s most valuable automaker has been accused in the past of using closed-door arbitration proceedings to keep embarrassing allegations about racial discrimination and sex harassment at its main California factory out of the public eye.

A San Francisco federal judge is set to hear arguments Thursday on whether to put the Yatskov court case on hold while arbitration proceeds.

In this case, Tesla went on the offensive in a May 6 complaint alleging that Yatskov downloaded “extremely valuable” trade secrets about its supercomputer on his personal device and tried to cover up the theft before he left the company.

While the complaint said Tesla employees spent thousands of hours building the supercomputer to deal with massive amounts of data and solve difficult engineering problems, including driver autonomy, Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk told investors in a January earnings call that “Project Dojo” isn’t guaranteed to succeed.

“We’re not saying for sure, Dojo will succeed,” Musk said. “We think it will.”

Yatskov’s employment agreement has a mandatory arbitration clause, but allows either party to go to court to seek protection against the “immediate threat” of technology theft before arbitration, Tesla’s lawyers told the judge in a July filing.

The company’s attorneys said that after the suit was filed, the ex-engineer handed over the personal computer specifically sought by Tesla for a third-party forensic inspection and agreed not to disclose any proprietary material.

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Yatskov’s lawyers countered that the company went against its own right to arbitrate by filing the suit and “cannot have it both ways.”

“Now that Tesla has dragged Dr. Yatskov’s name through the mud, Tesla wants to hide this dispute in private arbitration and deprive Dr. Yatskov of the opportunity to clear his name publicly,” his lawyers said in a filing.

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

Categories: Local News

WA State Patrol cites 170 King County HOV violators within 2.5 hours

Seattle Times - Thu, 08/18/2022 - 11:07

The State Patrol said its troopers have been seeing a lot more aggressive driving, including tailgating, cutting people off and hopping solo into the HOV lane, compared to before the pandemic.
Categories: Local News

Indian woman condemns release of her convicted rapists

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 08/18/2022 - 11:05

By Shonal Ganguly and Altaf Qadri | Associated Press

NEW DELHI — A Muslim woman who was gang raped while pregnant during India’s devastating 2002 religious riots has appealed to the government to rescind its decision to free the 11 men who had been jailed for life for committing the crime, after they were released on suspended sentences.

The victim, who is now in her 40s, was pregnant when she was brutally gang raped in communal violence in 2002 in the western state of Gujarat, which saw over 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, killed in some of the worst religious riots India has experienced since its independence from Britain in 1947. Seven members of the woman’s family, including her three-year-old daughter, were also killed in the violence.

The Associated Press generally doesn’t identify victims of sexual assault.

The 11 men, released on Monday when India celebrated 75 years of independence, were convicted in 2008 of rape, murder and unlawful assembly.

The victim said the decision by the Gujarat state government has left her numb and shaken her faith in justice.

“How can justice for a woman end like this? I trusted the highest courts in our land,” she said in a statement late Wednesday, adding that no authorities reached out to her before making the decision. “Please undo this harm. Give me back my right to live without fear and in peace.”

On Thursday, dozens of women protested against the release of the men in the capital, New Delhi. Maimoona Mollah of the All India Democratic Women’s Association said they are demanding the state to roll back its decision.

“(The victim) and other survivors should be allowed to live in peace and dignity,” Mollah said.

Raj Kumar, additional chief secretary in Gujarat, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party holds power, told the Indian Express newspaper that the convicts’ application for remission was granted because they had completed over 14 years in jail. A state government panel made the decision after considering other factors like their age and behavior in prison.

Kumar said the men were eligible under a 1992 remission policy that was in effect at the time of their conviction. A newer version adopted in 2014 by the federal government prohibits remission release for those convicted of certain crimes, including rape and murder.

The riots have long hounded Modi, who was Gujarat’s top elected official at the time, amid allegations that authorities allowed and even encouraged the bloodshed. Modi has repeatedly denied having any role and the Supreme Court has said it found no evidence to prosecute him.

Videos on social media showing the men being welcomed with sweets and garlands after their release from prison went viral, triggering outrage and anger from women, rights activists and opposition politicians.

Vrinda Grover, a lawyer, called the decision a “travesty and grave miscarriage of justice,” while speaking to India Today TV.

Opposition lawmaker Rahul Gandhi took aim at Modi on Twitter, questioning what kind of message it sent to women in India from a government that says it wants to empower women.

“The entire country is seeing the difference between your words and deeds,” he wrote in Hindi.

Categories: Local News

Soft Cell set to perform first California shows in nearly 20 years

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 08/18/2022 - 11:04

Soft Cell is finally heading back to California.

The acclaimed English synth-pop duo, consisting of Marc Almond and instrumentalist David Ball, is bringing its first North American tour in nearly 20 years to the Masonic in San Francisco on Aug. 26. Showtime is 8 p.m. and tickets are $39.50-$175, livenation.com.

It’s one of three California dates. The other two are Aug. 23 at the Magnolia in El Cajon and Aug. 24 at YouTube Theater in Los Angeles. See softcell.co.uk for more details.

Soft Cell will be performing its best-known album — the smash 1981 debut “Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret” – in its entirety during each of the six dates of the tour. And, yes, that’s the album that gave the world the group’s classic new wave cover of “Tainted Love,” a song that was originally recorded by R&B vocalist Gloria Jones in 1964.

The band will also be offering up other longtime fan favorites — which hopefully will translate to “Where the Heart Is,” “Soul Inside” and “Down in the Subway” making the set list — as well as material from the recently released “Happiness Not Included,” the first new Soft Cell album since 2002’s “Cruelty Without Beauty.”

I recently had the chance to interview Almond about the long-awaited North American tour.

Q What are your memories of visiting the states?

A America has been such a part of my whole career. Those first albums recorded in New York in the ‘80s, the people who were so engaging and uplifting, the changing cultural landscape, the horror of the AIDS crisis and then onwards seeing the America I knew transform itself. This has fed into and through so much of our work.

We were so influenced by American underground music like Suicide. Visiting and playing in San Francisco and Los Angeles is always special — the audiences are really warm and generous, and many of the age, like myself, who have really lived life and love it still.

Q Why did you decide to hit the North American concert trail in 2022?

A The offer came through and we were out promoting the new album, and celebrating 40 years since “Non Stop.” We have a great show around that album so it seemed like a good thing to do.

Q You’re not staying long on this side of the pond. Why so few dates? Does that mean there may be a second leg?

A The concert days are so few because Dave has not been in great health, and there was less pressure on him as the show stands up with the music and visuals.

Phil Larsen who produced the album plays Dave’s role in the show if Dave is not able to attend, so we kept it to a few dates. But no, this will be it in the U.S. as far as Soft Cell are concerned.

Q What are your thoughts on ‘Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret’ turning 40?

A It stands up well. It is, of course, our seminal album but the songs are strong, and it has so many hits on it. Certainly I think it has lasted the test of time, and of course “Tainted Love” came from that album.

Q Why do you think that album remains so beloved?

A The songs, the timing, the changing mood of the ‘80s. It embraced the new synth sound of the time, and held such a special place in many people’s hearts as they were growing up, older and through such a turbulent time.

Like so much great pop, the hook is the mismatch of the cold synth, the personal lyrics and my voice. And it said something about something, which so often pop music fails to do. And it went against the grain of so much glossy manufactured pop there was at that time.

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Q What were your original ambitions when you and David Ball first got together? Did you hope that we’d still be talking Soft Cell nearly a half century later?

A We didn’t have ambitions of pop fame. I suppose we hoped to make our own music and enough people would like it for us to make a living.

None of us could or dared to hope beyond that.

We thought we would be more of a cult underground band. We never expected to get the string of hits we had across the world. And “Tainted Love” made the Guinness Book of Record for the longest time in the Billboard Top 100.

So much is down to serendipity that it is almost out of our hands. We just got lucky.

Q Do you ever get tired of “Tainted Love” — or maybe want to take a break from it?

A I did for a while, but not anymore. I came to realize that one song has made so much possible for us both. It changed everything irreversibly and for that I will always be grateful and lucky. There is that word again, lucky — never underestimate it.

Q What’s it like playing that album in its entirety at these concerts?

A It is fantastic, and the show, with the brilliant visuals created by the company StuFish, is remarkable. I love performing it. It has made me re-evaluate the album. There is a narrative that runs through it akin to a song cycle.

Q Why was the time right to finally record a new album?

A I found myself with time on my hands and in the bizarre dystopian world of COVID and panic, real tragedy and sadness, coupled with everyone going crazy, I think Dave and I thought, hell, why not do another album?

It all felt creatively much more Soft Cell than my solo work would have, I think we fed creatively into the atmosphere of the time. So Dave would send me ideas and tunes, and then I write lyrics and record vocals, and send them back. We have always worked like that. Dave and I have drifted creatively towards each other over the years, written some great songs, and not always for Soft Cell. I just keep returning to these two worlds, pre-COVID and post, and now it seems to me that all bets are off. And in truth, I had not worked in two years like most people and Soft Cell offered a better opportunity than my solo career.

Q How much of the new album will fans get to hear in concert?

A A selection of tracks in the first half, but accompanied with hits and fan favorites. The “Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret” show lends itself to that – it exists now in its own right.

Q How well do the new songs mix with the “Non-Stop” material?

A Better than I had dared to imagine. The critics and the fans have been unbelievably generous in their praise and I am really proud of it. And to have a number one song with “Purple Zone” was an unbelievable achievement.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Local News

Preseason all-Bay Area News Group high school football 2022: Quarterbacks

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 08/18/2022 - 11:00
PRESEASON ALL-BAY AREA NEWS GROUP QUARTERBACKS

(Listed in alphabetical order)

Nate Bell, Liberty, 5-10, 175, senior

Jaden Rashada isn’t the only Bay Valley Athletic League quarterback who should put up huge statistical totals this season. Bell was the definition of a dual-threat last year, throwing for 1,304 yards and 13 touchdowns, and running for 445 yards and three scores, too. Now entering his senior season, Bell will need to take another leap if Liberty wants to dethrone Pittsburg at the top of the BVAL.

Jake Boyd, Los Gatos, 6-0, 170, senior

Boyd was very efficient in 2021, throwing for 22 touchdowns with only six interceptions, and adding five touchdowns with his legs. The Wildcats’ 10-1 record last season was due, in large part, to Boyd’s ability to avoid mistakes. Coach Mark Krail said his quarterback “has that ‘it’ factor and it shows on Friday nights.”

Matthew Dougherty, St. Francis, 6-6, 200, senior

The last time the Bay Area saw Dougherty in action, he was throwing the streak-busting touchdown pass to defeat De La Salle. The tall righthander missed the rest of the season with an injury but is ready for a senior year that could see St. Francis more pass-happy than in years past.

Luke Duncan, Miramonte, 6-5, 200, senior

Duncan was given the keys to the offense last season and didn’t disappoint. The UCLA commit (per 247Sports) threw 30 touchdowns and for almost 3,000 yards as he pushed the ball downfield. Miramonte coach Jack Schram said Duncan has the talent and opportunity to break all of Miramonte’s passing records by the end of the season.

Jordan Hernandez, Tennyson, 6-0, 160, senior

Hernandez did not throw many passes last season, but he made the very most of them. He threw for 20 touchdowns on only 67 attempts, with 16 of those going to the highly-touted Taeshaun Lyons. Both are back for the Lancers, and there is no reason to believe the duo won’t repeat last year’s performance.

Armand Johnson, Wilcox, 6-0, 170, senior

Alongside preseason all-Bay Area News Group runner Andrew Palacios and last year’s featured back, the since graduated Luther K. Glenn, Armand Johnson helped take Wilcox all the way to a berth in the 2-A state championship game. He threw for 1,653 yards and 19 touchdowns and ran for 612 yards as one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the Bay.

John Pelletier, Northgate, 6-0, 180, senior

Pelletier guided the Broncos to an undefeated 5-0 record in the Diablo Athletic League’s Valley Division, which means he will now be tested in the tougher Foothill Division. The Valley’s MVP had perhaps his best game of the season against College Park as he threw for 359 yards and had five total touchdowns.

Tayden Phillips, Lincoln-San Jose, 5-11, 185, senior

Coach Kevin Collins has a dynamic backfield, with Tayden Phillips joining running back Sal Espinoza on the all-Bay Area News Group preseason team. Phillips threw for 1,053 yards and nine touchdowns and then ran for 687 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. A repeat appearance in the CCS playoffs is a very achievable goal for Lincoln’s dual-threat star.

Jaden Rashada, Pittsburg, 6-5, 200, senior

As a four-star teetering on that coveted five-star status, Rashada has every physical tool a university like Miami looks for in a quarterback. The Hurricane commit threw for 25 touchdowns last season and could have thrown even more had he not been hampered by a hamstring injury down the stretch. With four all-Bay Area News Group receivers to throw to this year, expect Rashada to put up Madden-caliber numbers.

Liam Smith, Hillsdale, 6-6, 205, senior

Hillsdale will lean on its senior star to be a steady presence now that the vast majority of last year’s receiving core has graduated. Smith threw for 27 touchdowns and ran for another five last fall. The third-year starter is the reigning PAL Ocean Division offensive player of the year.

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Dashiell Weaver, Campolindo, 6-0, 170, senior

Campolindo’s signal-caller can make defenses pay on the ground and through the air. His coach, Kevin Macy, said the senior has “great strength and very good accuracy.” Weaver threw for 2,509 yards, ran for 552 and totaled 24 touchdowns overall for a 10-4 Campolindo team that won the North Coast Section Division II title in 2021.

Michael Wood, Las Lomas, 6-1, 200, senior

In eight games played, Wood threw for 1,705 yards and 15 touchdowns, clearly establishing himself as one of the top passers in the Bay. Coach Doug Longero called Wood a “very talented quarterback.”

Complete digital access

The Bay Area News Group’s high school football preview package will continue to roll out this week. If you have not already, please subscribe.

Categories: Local News

Vance’s anti-drug charity enlisted doctor echoing Big Pharma

Seattle Times - Thu, 08/18/2022 - 10:59

When bestselling author JD Vance founded “Our Ohio Renewal” a day after the 2016 presidential election, he promoted the charity as a vehicle for helping solve the scourge of opioid addiction he’d lamented in his memoir, “Hillbilly Elegy.”.
Categories: Local News

The voice of ‘The band is out on the field,’ Cal’s Joe Starkey announces 2022 will be his final year on the call

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 08/18/2022 - 10:55

Joe Starkey, the longtime Cal radio broadcaster best known for letting the world know that “The band is out on the field” from the 1982 Stanford-Cal game, announced on Thursday that 2022 will be his final year.

It will conclude a nearly five-decade long run as the Voice of Golden Bears football for one of the Bay Area’s legendary sports broadcasters, who also was the radio voice of the San Francisco 49ers 20 seasons and a long run as sports director at KGO-AM. Starkey was also the first broadcaster for the Bay Area’s two hockey teams, the Oakland/California Golden Seals and the San Jose Sharks.

But it’s his call for “The Play” that has stood the test of time and is still remembered 40 years later. After declaring that Stanford’s band is on the field before Cal’s Kevin Moen ran a member of the Stanford band over while scoring the game-winning touchdown, a breathless Starkey said the play was, “the most amazing, sensational, dramatic, heartrending, exciting, thrilling finish in the history of college football.”

This year’s Big Game is scheduled to take place on Nov. 19 in Berkeley — one day short of the 40-year anniversary of “The Play” from Nov. 20, 1982. It will be Starkey’s penultimate regular season game, and Cal announced that they will host “Joe Starkey Day” for their regular season finale this season against UCLA.

“It has been an incredible privilege to have the best seat in the house to watch Cal football since 1975,” Starkey said in a statement. “My first position in sportscasting was in 1972, and I have had some truly special assignments. But of all the places I have worked, the one constant has been Cal football. I can’t begin to thank all of the Cal players, coaches, staff and professors who have made this fairy tale journey so incredibly satisfying. The University of California is a very special place and I couldn’t be prouder to have made at least a small contribution of joy to this iconic academic institution.”

Cal head coach Justin Wilcox added, “What an incredible career Joe Starkey has had over such a long period of time. Joe’s name is synonymous with the history of our football program. It’s going to be a thrill to see him honored and recognized by so many who have enjoyed his work over the years.”

In addition to his work at Cal, Starkey spent two seasons working as the color commentator on 49ers games alongside Lon Simmons before taking over the play-by-play duties in 1989. Over his 20-year run with the red and gold, Starkey was the radio voice for some of the most famous moments in 49ers history, with particular love showed to his call of The Catch II — where he repeatedly exclaimed Terrell Owens’ last name after the wide receiver’s catch to beat the Green Packers in the 1998 Wild Card round.

Categories: Local News

Saudi doctoral student gets 34 years in prison for tweets

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 08/18/2022 - 10:48

By Isabel Debre | Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A Saudi court has sentenced a doctoral student to 34 years in prison for spreading “rumors” and retweeting dissidents, according to court documents obtained Thursday, a decision that has drawn growing global condemnation.

Activists and lawyers consider the sentence against Salma al-Shehab, a mother of two and a researcher at Leeds University in Britain, shocking even by Saudi standards of justice.

So far unacknowledged by the kingdom, the ruling comes amid Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s crackdown on dissent even as his rule granted women the right to drive and other new freedoms in the ultraconservative Islamic nation.

Al-Shehab was detained during a family vacation on Jan. 15, 2021, just days before she planned to return to the United Kingdom, according to the Freedom Initiative, a Washington-based human rights group.

Al-Shehab told judges she had been held for over 285 days in solitary confinement before her case was even referred to court, the legal documents obtained by The Associated Press show.

The Freedom Initiative describes al-Shehab as a member of Saudi Arabia’s Shiite Muslim minority, which has long complained of systematic discrimination in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.

“Saudi Arabia has boasted to the world that they are improving women’s rights and creating legal reform, but there is no question with this abhorrent sentence that the situation is only getting worse,” said Bethany al-Haidari, the group’s Saudi case manager.

Leading human rights watchdog Amnesty International on Thursday slammed al-Shehab’s trial as “grossly unfair” and her sentence as “cruel and unlawful.”

Since rising to power in 2017, Prince Mohammed has accelerated efforts to diversify the kingdom’s economy away from oil with massive tourism projects — most recently plans to create the world’s longest buildings that would stretch for more than 100 miles in the desert. But he has also faced criticism over his arrests of those who fail to fall in line, including dissidents and activists but also princes and businessmen.

Judges accused al-Shehab of “disturbing public order” and “destabilizing the social fabric” — claims stemming solely from her social media activity, according to an official charge sheet. They alleged al-Shehab followed and retweeted dissident accounts on Twitter and “transmitted false rumors.”

The specialized criminal court handed down the unusually harsh 34-year sentence under Saudi counterterrorism and cybercrime laws, to be followed by a 34-year travel ban. The decision came earlier this month as al-Shehab appealed her initial sentence of six years.

“The (six-year) prison sentence imposed on the defendant was minor in view of her crimes,” a state prosecutor told the appeals court. “I’m calling to amend the sentence in light of her support for those who are trying to cause disorder and destabilize society, as shown by her following and retweeting (Twitter) accounts.”

The Saudi government in Riyadh, as well as its embassies in Washington and London, did not respond to a request for comment.

Leeds University confirmed that al-Shehab was in her final year of doctoral studies at the medical school.

“We are deeply concerned to learn of this recent development in Salma’s case and we are seeking advice on whether there is anything we can do to support her,” the university said.

Al-Shehab’s sentencing also drew the attention of Washington, where the State Department said Wednesday it was “studying the case.”

“Exercising freedom of expression to advocate for the rights of women should not be criminalized, it should never be criminalized,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom expressed concern on Twitter Thursday that the kingdom targeted al-Shehab “for her peaceful activism in solidarity w/political prisoners,” as well as for her Shiite identity.

Last month, U.S. President Joe Biden traveled to the oil-rich kingdom and held talks with Prince Mohammed in which he said he raised human rights concerns. Their meeting — and much-criticized fist-bump — marked a sharp turn-around from Biden’s earlier vow to make the kingdom a “pariah” over the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

During her appeal, al-Shehab said the harsh judgement was tantamount to the “destruction of me, my family, my future, and the future of my children.” She has two young boys, aged 4 and 6.

She told judges she had no idea that simply retweeting posts “out of curiosity and to observe others’ viewpoints,” from a personal account with no more than 2,000 followers, constituted terrorism.

Associated Press writer Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.

Categories: Local News

Review: New ‘Oklahoma!’ shocks and delights in SF opening

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 08/18/2022 - 10:45

When people think of “Oklahoma!,” what comes to mind is probably the delightful, upbeat Rodgers and Hammerstein ditties like “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” and “I Cain’t Say No,” and not the undercurrent of fear and violence that also runs through the musical.

There’s no danger of forgetting the show’s dark side in the production of “Oklahoma!” that BroadwaySF has brought to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Theatre. This is the touring version of the acclaimed 2019 Broadway production that won a Tony Award for best musical revival, in which director Daniel Fish leans as heavily into the grotesque parts of the story as he does into the humor and off-kilter romance. It goes about as far as it can go.

“Oklahoma!” is set in 1900 in the territory that would soon become the state of Oklahoma. Based on Lynn Riggs’ 1930 play “Green Grow the Lilacs,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1943 musical is the first by Richard Rodgers and lyricist and book writer Oscar Hammerstein II, the team that would go on to create such hits as “South Pacific,” “The King and I” and “The Sound of Music.”

The show centers around jocular cowboy Curly’s combative courtship of Laurey, a young woman from a farming family who always puts him down. Hired hand Jud Fry is also obsessed with Laurey in a way that adds an atmosphere of menace and the ever-present threat of violence between him and Curly. Meanwhile, fellow cowboy Will Parker desperately wants to marry Ado Annie, who blithely kisses pretty much anybody who sweet-talks her.

The way Jud is played in Fish’s production is strikingly different from the sinister stalker he’s traditionally been portrayed as. Christopher Bannow’s Jud stares with a quiet intensity and an almost blank expression that subtly conveys feelings he can’t express. This Jud is awkward, maladjusted and shunned in a way that’s potentially dangerous once Curly decides to goad and threaten him, but he’s also deeply sympathetic.

The way Fish stages the bits of Jud Fry and Laurey or Curly and Jud are startlingly visceral. Scott Zielinski’s lighting, Drew Levy’s sound design and Joshua Thorson’s projection design conspire to put you face to face with Jud’s feelings with almost excruciating intimacy.

Daniel Kluger’s orchestrations and arrangements are no less unconventional and thrilling, with the traditional full orchestra pared down to a relatively small band including mandolin, banjo, pedal steel and electric guitar. Some songs are sung a cappella, and others are dominated by Sean Grandillo’s Curly strumming his acoustic guitar like a rock star.

The Entr’acte is the most altered of all, as the intermission gives way to a cacophony of heavily distorted echoes of songs with screaming electric guitar while Gabrielle Hamilton dances a spellbinding, melancholy dream ballet full of galloping, shuddering, tumbling, and writhing.

The cast is terrific. Grandillo mixes playful charm with a well-hidden mean streak as Curley, and Sasha Hutchings is a passionate, defiant Laurey. Sis makes a funny and forceful Ado Annie with a powerful voice, and Hennessy Winkler is amusingly befuddled as her adoring Will. Barbara Walsh is a fun and flirtatious Aunt Eller, and Benj Mirman is comically slick and shifty as the womanizing traveling salesman Ali Hakim.

The original production was staged in an immersive, in-the-round style, whereas the touring version has a more traditional proscenium staging and uses other means to achieve a similar immediacy. Laura Jellinek’s set conjures a large meeting hall, with the performers sitting around folding wooden tables and chairs. Many, many shotguns hang on the side walls. Terese Wadden’s costumes mix modern jeans and T-shirts with cowboy gear and some fanciful dresses for the social dance.

John Heginbotham’s choreography is often pure celebration, such as the wonderfully exuberant jumping and stomping way that Hutchings’ Laurey dances. One of the most haunting elements of the jaw-dropping finale is the way that the entire subtext and feeling of Laurey’s same dance completely transforms.

It’s a stunning and sweet, funny and disturbing “Oklahoma!” in which everything is definitely not OK.

Contact Sam Hurwitt at shurwitt@gmail.com, and follow him at Twitter.com/shurwitt.

‘OKLAHOMA!’

By Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, presented by BroadwaySF

Through: Sept. 11

Where: Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor St. (at Market), San Francisco

Running time: 2 hours and 50 minutes, one intermission

Tickets: $56-$256 (subject to change), with $40 rush tickets; www.broadwaysf.com

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