Opinion: Gen Z women will be key to abortion fight this fall

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 08/30/2022 - 05:00

Since Kansans voted overwhelmingly to ensure pregnant people have the individual freedom to make health care decisions aligned with their own beliefs, many across the political spectrum have rushed to consider how this historic vote will impact midterm races across the country. What few have discussed is the critical role Gen Z played in this victory and how harnessing this newest generation of voters will be integral to any campaign come November.

Sara Guillermo is the CEO of Oakland-based IGNITE, America's largest, most diverse organization devoted to young women's political leadership.  (Photo courtesy of IGNITE)Sara Guillermo is the CEO of Oakland-based IGNITE, America’s largest, most diverse organization devoted to young women’s political leadership.  (Photo courtesy of IGNITE) 

Though many were surprised by this month’s vote, there were signs of this outcome all along, if you pay attention to young people. Over the past several months, historic numbers of young people registered to vote in the state because of the abortion amendment on the ballot. Nearly 50% of registered voters in the state turned out — almost double the normal turnout of primary elections, and in a non-presidential year no less.  

Of the many takeaways in this historic election, political players across the country should learn from this outcome and invest in young voters and potential voters — especially young women.  

What I predicted in May following the Supreme Court opinion leak still rings true: Threats to bodily autonomy will politically enrage and mobilize an entire generation of young women and their allies. For many Americans — including young people — this was a defining moment that galvanized them. We’re seeing this mobilization in action, with Kansas being the first test subject.  

Looking to November, we’re poised to see abortion bans potentially on the ballot in Michigan and Colorado, and Gen Z, those born after about 1996, could be the key to protecting access to reproductive rights at the state level. But reproductive justice isn’t the only issue that motivates young voters — not by a long shot. The climate crisis, gun violence, systemic racism and student debt are also major issues driving young voters to the polls, petitions and streets. 

As the CEO of a young women’s political leadership organization, I’ve spoken with hundreds of Gen Z’ers of various backgrounds and political persuasions. What I’ve learned — and what study after study shows — is that Gen Z is motivated by policies and issues rather than party. That, in part, explains why in such a red state, young Kansans mobilized en masse to ensure reproductive choice remained a protected right. It’s also why young people across the aisle are pushing to protect the climate and eliminate student debt.

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Their loyalty does not lie with one party or another — they are turning out to vote because they see that the issues they care about are at stake and they are moved to act. We also know that Gen Z is more likely to cross the political aisle, especially concerning issues that directly impact their bodies, autonomy and future. Mark my words, we will see this in the midterms. 

Gen Z and Millennials are the fastest-growing portion of the electorate. Many of them are voting in their first elections, and some are even running for office. For anyone working on a campaign, whether for a candidate or a cause, it’s clear that making a concerted effort to mobilize Gen Z is critical to their success.  

Across the country and party lines, from every state and from any background, young women are speaking out, stepping up and making the decision to lead. Gen Z’s voting power cannot be underestimated, and there is no doubt in my mind they will be a transformational force at the ballot box this November.  

Sara Guillermo is the CEO of Oakland-based IGNITE, America’s largest, most diverse organization devoted to young women’s political leadership.  

Categories: Local News

U.N. Nuclear Inspectors Are in Ukraine to Visit the Zaporizhzhia Plant

N.Y. Times - Tue, 08/30/2022 - 04:57
As artillery strikes continued near the complex, the inspectors could reach the nuclear plant as soon as Wednesday
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Ayo Edebiri and Her Dog Gromit Go to the Bookstore

N.Y. Times - Tue, 08/30/2022 - 04:47
A morning out in Los Angeles with the surprise star of “The Bear” and her Chihuahua mix.
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Skelton: State legislators push politics aside to get housing deal done

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 08/30/2022 - 04:45

When a legislature operates the way it should, big things can happen.

Working right means: Leaders cooperate and jointly use their clout. Lawmakers pushing rival bills team up. People compromise. Pushy special interests are shoved aside.

A textbook example occurred last week. The Senate leader and Assembly speaker agreed on two important housing bills. The measures had been in conflict politically, but not so much substantively. They complemented each other. And it was decided each should pass.

Both bills open commercial land for residential housing, in many cases replacing dilapidated shopping malls, vacant office buildings or run-down motels — or just ugly weed patches.

Local governments are often reluctant to rezone commercial land to residential because businesses generate more property taxes than homes. And they oppose legislation that weakens their local control.

Of course, local government restrictions have contributed to the state’s severe housing shortage. Demand exceeds supply, driving up home prices and rents.

Last week’s legislative agreement broke a years-long stalemate, caused largely by a battle between two labor factions: the State Building and Construction Trades Council — colloquially known as “the trades” — and the carpenters’ union.

The trades demanded that any housing projects be required to use “skilled and trained” labor — a euphemism for union members. The carpenters were fine with just “prevailing wages” — pay that’s generally at the top of the local heap.

Carpenters have claimed there aren’t nearly enough union members to make a union hiring mandate work.

“Let’s get real. There’s no way a union workforce can step in and meet the state’s housing production goals. It’s virtually a nonunion industry,” says Danny Curtin, director of the California Conference of Carpenters.

But the workforce badly needs to be unionized, counters trades president Andrew Meredith.

“Residential construction workers have been mistreated for generations by developers,” he says.

Democratic lawmakers haven’t wanted to alienate either labor group, especially the more powerful trades. Both are significant campaign contributors. So, certain housing legislation has been stalled for years.

But this time legislative leaders declared enough’s enough.

“They have quite an impact with members. They divide and conquer,” Senate leader Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, told me. “We said that’s not going to work.”

“We’re trying to respond to the [housing] crisis,” she added. “At some point we have to figure out solutions. Everyone involved from the carpenters to building trades finally had to come to the table, realizing we can’t get anything done if we don’t do it together.”

Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, declared both bills should pass — and let everyone know they’d make sure it happens.

With that muscle behind them, both bills are a virtual cinch to pass before the Legislature adjourns its two-year session Wednesday. Gov. Gavin Newsom will eagerly sign both.

Developers will have an option: They can build under whichever new law they choose.

AB 2011 by Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland, does not include a union hiring mandate. But it does require prevailing wages. It’s strongly backed by the carpenters.

SB 6 by Sen. Anna Caballero, D-Merced, requires both union hiring and prevailing wages. It’s pushed by the trades.

The purpose of Wicks’ bill is to produce affordable housing for low-income people. A certain percentage of units must be affordable — a requirement that doesn’t please developers.

Caballero’s measure is targeted at middle-class housing. It doesn’t require affordability. But local governments still could.

AB 2011 exempts projects from the developer-dreaded California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA. T

Caballero’s bill does not contain a CEQA exemption for projects. But it offers regulatory streamlining.

Until last week, Wicks’ bill faced an uncertain fate on the Senate floor.

Now both measures will perform end-of-session parliamentary gymnastics and become law, opening more sites for housing. A big thing.

George Skelton is a Los Angeles Times columnist.

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Northern California woman sentenced for sex-trafficking teen girls

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 08/30/2022 - 04:40

SACRAMENTO — A California woman who recruited three teenage girls for prostitution, plying them with alcohol and drugs while advertising them online for sex acts, was sentenced Monday to 17 years and seven months in federal prison.

Dawniel Santangelo, 44, of Stockton, recruited the girls, ages 15, 16 and 17, for prostitution in Northern California and Southern Oregon between September 2018 and May 2019, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Santangelo “enticed the girls to perform sex acts for strangers by providing alcohol, drugs, and creating a party atmosphere in motels in Stockton and Salinas. She then posted online prostitution ads depicting the victims and brought the victims to truck stops and motels to have sex with men for money” that she and a co-defendant took, the statement said.

“After the victims began engaging in commercial sex acts, Santangelo urged them to continue, reassuring them when they felt insecure,” the statement said.

The scheme ended in May 2019 when a 15-year-old runaway whom Santangelo had recruited from the Modesto area called her family for help and police found her, Santangelo and Lucious James Roy, 34, in a Medford, Oregon motel room, prosecutors said.

Santangelo was sentenced for conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of a child, three counts of sex trafficking a child and transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

Last year, Roy was sentenced to 17 years and seven months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of a child.

Categories: Local News

Orioles minor league report: 2022 draft picks making their presence felt early with new affiliates

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 08/30/2022 - 04:40

For about two weeks, Carter Young was a regular college student. He was on campus at LSU, preparing to play for the Tigers after transferring this offseason from Vanderbilt. But in the back of his mind remained the Orioles, the team that selected Young in the 17th round of the MLB draft.

And about an hour before the deadline to sign, Young put pen to paper on a deal that included a $1.325 million signing bonus — one that equates closer to a second-round selection but was possible because third-rounder Nolan McLean opted not to sign.

Perhaps that bonus played a role. But outwardly, Young credited the developmental system Baltimore has in place, including hitting coordinator Cody Asche, who was working with Young and several other recent draft picks in Low-A Delmarva on Thursday. Young is part of a group finding immediate success in their first taste of professional baseball at a full-season affiliate, and he’s making the most of it.

“The developmental side of the minor leagues and getting guys ready to play Major League Baseball, that’s what the main thing was for me,” Young said. “I mean, we’ve got Cody Asche out here. He does a really good job with the hitters, and just the whole program from what I’ve heard does a really good job.”

In his five games thus far for the Shorebirds, Young has recorded nine hits with three doubles. He’s joined there by first-overall selection Jackson Holliday, his middle infield partner who doubled in a run during his first game with Delmarva. Dylan Beavers, Max Wagner and Jud Fabian — all three of whom were selected on the first day of the draft — are immediately making noise.

As several of Baltimore’s top prospects, such as infielder Gunnar Henderson and left-hander DL Hall, near the majors, there’s a new wave of talent following. That’s always been executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias’ goal — to rapidly renew the farm system with fresh prospects. He called it an “elite talent pipeline.” It’s taking shape in Delmarva as many of the top prospects push for a breakthrough in Norfolk.

“It’s very exciting to get into an organization that’s heading in the right direction with a bunch of really, really talented players,” Holliday said.

Each week, The Baltimore Sun breaks down five of the top performers in the Orioles’ prospect ranks and hands out some superlatives for those who didn’t make that cut.

1. Low-A Delmarva outfielder Jud Fabian

For the first time that Fabian could remember, he was booed. Not even in college, as a star for Florida, had he been heckled in the way he was in left field against the Salem Red Sox — the affiliate for the team he opted against signing for in the draft last year.

“Used that to kind of fuel me for that week,” Fabian said.

Now as a member of the Orioles’ farm system, Fabian has found his footing quickly with the team he hoped to land with from the start. In 10 games since his rise from the Florida Complex League to Delmarva, Fabian is hitting .386 with nine RBIs and nearly as many walks (eight) as strikeouts (nine). In the past week, Fabian’s OPS is 1.249, good enough to earn him a promotion to High-A Aberdeen on Monday.

In college, a batting average that dipped to .239 this spring hasn’t been an issue so far with an affiliate. Fabian said the adjustments he’s working on are related to his approach — ensuring he’s not chasing balls or pitches on the edge.

“It’s hard to throw a strike,” Fabian said. “No matter how high up you go in baseball, it’s difficult to throw strikes. If you help the pitcher out, it’s going to be a lot easier for him. So basically making the pitcher’s job hard on him is what I’ve focused on.”

2. Double-A Bowie outfielder Colton Cowser

A promotion to Triple-A Norfolk, which Cowser earned on Monday, always looked to be in the cards considering how well he performed in Double-A Bowie. Last week alone, Cowser registered 10 hits in six games, with one homer, two doubles and six RBIs — good for a .435 average and a .500 on-base percentage. In his final at-bat with the Baysox this year, he hit a walk-off homer.

Cowser, who was selected fifth overall in the 2021 draft out of Sam Houston State, has risen rapidly this year. He began with High-A Aberdeen before jumping to the Baysox, where he hit .341 in 49 games. Now with outfielder Kyle Stowers in the majors, it’s Cowser’s show in the Tides’ outfield.

3. Double-A Bowie right-hander Justin Armbruester

In what has been a trend this season, Armbruester furthered separated his strikeout-to-walk ratio with eight punchouts compared to two free passes in his 5 2/3 innings for the Baysox. The 2021 12th-round pick out of New Mexico allowed just two hits and one run, which came on a solo homer, in his latest appearance.

Armbruester has gone through an under-the-radar rise. He’s not included in Baseball America’s top-30 rankings, even with a 3.51 ERA in 51 1/3 innings with 53 strikeouts to 10 walks.

4. Double-A Bowie second baseman Connor Norby

As Cowser, the Orioles’ top draft pick from last year, excelled in Bowie, their second-round selection in 2021 followed close behind. Norby slugged his way to a 1.149 OPS last week for the Baysox, hitting three homers as part of his nine hits in six games.

Norby’s .916 OPS in Bowie through 48 games is far better than the .736 mark he posted in Aberdeen, although the IronBirds play in a pitcher-friendly ballpark. Between both levels, Norby has clubbed 20 long balls with 100 hits.

5. Low-A Delmarva right-hander Ryan Long

Long has spent all 67 innings this season with Delmarva, but his performances as a starter or as a long reliever have been steady — he has a 2.82 ERA with a 0.7 homer-per-nine-innings rate. While his walk numbers have ticked up compared to his time in the FCL after he was drafted in the 17th round in 2021, he still has a 2.54 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

He did better than that this week in four innings out of the bullpen. Long allowed three hits and struck out six batters in four scoreless frames.

Top prospects not featured so far

A major league debut for Henderson could arrive as soon as this week with MLB rosters set to expand by two on Thursday. Henderson, baseball’s top-ranked prospect, has seen his strikeout rate rise to 26.9% with Norfolk compared to 18.3% in Double-A.

But even as Henderson strikes out more frequently, he has proven his ability to hit for average and power, and his left-on-left splits have improved.

Hall has already made his major league debut, throwing 3 2/3 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays on Aug. 13 before he was sent back to the minors to work on transitioning to the bullpen. As a reliever with the Tides, Hall has a 5.06 ERA with three runs against him in 5 1/3 innings.

The command issues that have lingered throughout his career have followed him to the bullpen. In his first appearance, Hall struck out four batters but walked three and allowed a run in two innings. He settled to pitch two scoreless innings, striking out four without allowing a hit, before Hall gave up two runs in 1 1/3 innings Saturday.

International acquisition of the week

The adjustment from Low-A to High-A hasn’t been smooth for outfielder Isaac Bellony, who’s hitting .175 in 47 games for Aberdeen. But last week, Bellony showed signs of righting the ship with six hits in 16 at-bats while walking four times.

The best former top-30 prospect of the week

Shortstop Darell Hernaiz ranked as the No. 25 prospect in Baltimore’s pipeline in 2020, but with an influx of draft and trade talent, he has since dropped out. But on the back of his eight-hit week that included four stolen bases, Hernaiz earned a promotion from Aberdeen to Bowie.

Between Low-A and High-A, the infielder has stolen 31 bags in 34 attempts. And this season with Aberdeen, Hernaiz hit .305.

Time to give some shine to …

Infielder Frederick Bencosme had a quiet week, but his season with Delmarva has been anything but. The 19-year-old earned a promotion to Aberdeen last week after hitting .336 with the Shorebirds. In his first nine at-bats for the IronBirds, Bencosme has notched a triple and a single.

ORIOLES@GUARDIANS

Tuesday, 6:10 p.m.

TV: MASN

Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM

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Do you need a polio booster shot? What to know about polio vaccines

Seattle Times - Tue, 08/30/2022 - 04:40

A confirmed case of polio in New York state has renewed a sense of urgency to make sure everyone is fully vaccinated against the potentially fatal virus.
Categories: Local News

China Sets Key Communist Party Congress for Mid-October

N.Y. Times - Tue, 08/30/2022 - 04:39
Xi Jinping is poised to win five more years in power at the congress, a choreographed ritual that will offer a glimpse of China’s broad policy direction.
Categories: Local News

Mississippi’s Capital Loses Water as a Troubled System Faces a Fresh Crisis

N.Y. Times - Tue, 08/30/2022 - 04:39
In Jackson, residents have long contended with boil-water notices and service disruptions. But now, officials say, the system has been pushed to the brink.
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Ship strike probably killed humpback whale off Bay Area coast

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 08/30/2022 - 04:38

SAUSALITO — A humpback whale that washed ashore in the San Francisco Bay Area over the weekend probably was killed by a collision with a ship, researchers said.

A necropsy determined that the female adult whale had “injuries consistent with a ship strike,” including extensive bruising to the chest area along with a fractured vertebra, and her skull was dislocated from her spinal column, according to a statement from The Marine Mammal Center.

Except for those injuries, the whale was in excellent condition, with ample fat and blubber reserves, the center said.

The 49-foot (15-meter) whale washed ashore Sunday at Manhattan Beach in Half Moon Bay.

It was the fifth whale to be killed by a ship strike in the San Francisco Bay Area this year, according to the center. The last death before that was in May, when a female adult gray whale was found at Fort Funston in San Francisco.

The center said overall, seven gray whales and 3 humpback whales have died in the area this year. In addition to those killed by ship strikes, necropsies found one died of malnutrition and one from a suspected killer whale attack while the causes of death for four other whales was undetermined.

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Humpback whales visit California to feed in the summer and fall before migrating south to breeding and birthing grounds off the coast of Mexico.

They are among the world’s most endangered whales with an estimated 35,000 to 40,000 remaining, including 2,900 that frequent the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California, the Marine Mammal Center said.

“The main threats they face in the ocean are ship strikes and entanglement in ocean trash and fishing gear,” the center said.

Categories: Local News

Millions in new COVID lockdown as China keeps strict policy

Seattle Times - Tue, 08/30/2022 - 04:31

China has placed millions of its citizens under lockdown following fresh outbreaks of COVID-19.
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Wolfgang Tillmans: Older, Wiser, Cooler

N.Y. Times - Tue, 08/30/2022 - 04:29
In a 35-year career celebrated at MoMA this fall, the artist has concerned himself with “the poetry of looking,” blurring the line between party and protest. But, increasingly, it’s politics on his mind.
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Luke Getsy won’t call the preseason finale a turning point for the Chicago Bears offense. But it’s ‘a step in the right direction.’

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 08/30/2022 - 04:24

Two days after the Chicago Bears first-team offense put together three first-half touchdown drives against the Cleveland Browns, offensive coordinator Luke Getsy cautioned against knee-jerk reactions — good or bad — to preseason play.

It’s not that Getsy wasn’t pleased with the play of quarterback Justin Fields, who completed 14 of 16 passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns with no sacks or interceptions in the 21-20 Bears victory. And it’s unlikely he wanted to tamp down the current of joy running through the Bears fan base at seeing a competent offensive performance — preseason or not.

Getsy simply viewed the outing as less of a “turning point,” as Fields suggested Saturday, and more of a steppingstone to the real thing — when the Bears will face defenses playing their best pass rushers and defensive backs and throwing all they have on the field. The Browns played without defensive ends Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney and cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greg Newsome II on Saturday.

“We’re in this phase of getting better and developing who we want to become,” Getsy said. “Are we on track? I don’t know. But I feel good about where we’re at. I think the guys believe in what we’re doing and what we’re communicating, the type of philosophy that we have and the type of ball we want to play.

“So, I don’t know, ‘turning point’ seems like a pretty dramatic word, but I feel like we’re grinding through this process the right way.”

Getsy played the realist throughout his 13-minute media session at Halas Hall on Monday, a day off from practice before the Bears resume Tuesday evening after the 53-man roster deadline.

He used the word “process” 14 times in describing the improvement Fields has made since they first teamed up at the beginning of the offseason program and still needs to make before the Sept. 11 opener against the San Francisco 49ers at Soldier Field. The emphasis was that the Bears offense and Fields are far from a finished product, even two weeks and eight practices from the regular season.

That measured approach extended to Getsy’s assessment of the progress Fields has made with his mechanics, footwork and pocket presence over the last few months under the new staff and how it showed up in Saturday’s game.

“It’s obviously tremendously improved but nowhere near where it needs to be,” Getsy said. “He’s got a long way to go there. But he’s working his tail off.

“He reaped the reward of listening to his feet, and the timing and rhythm was good most of the night. We’ve talked a lot about pocket presence. That’s something that a young quarterback has to grow through. I thought that showed up and he did a nice job with that.”

Getsy pointed to a third-and-8 play in the second quarter. Under pressure from Browns defensive tackle Jordan Elliott, Fields circled away toward the left sideline and hit Dante Pettis for an 11-yard gain.

“He knew time was up and he made the most of that play too,” Getsy said.

Other sources of Getsy’s optimism included the offense’s ability to bounce back from a holding penalty on the first touchdown drive, which he said “was cool to see.” Getsy also said he has enjoyed watching Fields’ leadership grow over the last few months.

“When you’re able to go out in three preseason games and show these guys you’re ready to command the huddle, call the plays cleanly, go out and execute at a high level, all that stuff just gives people confidence,” Getsy said. “My favorite part about being a huddle team is that the quarterback gets to look 10 other people in the eyes and they get to feel what they feel from him, and there’s zero hesitation in him so that’s good.”

Getsy’s realism doesn’t diminish the gains in confidence the players feel they made as the first-team offense went from one field goal in four drives in their first two preseason games to surging to a 21-0 lead against the Browns.

Wide receiver Darnell Mooney said the players believe Saturday was “just a glimpse of our identity of how we want to play.” And there’s excitement in knowing they have much more in the playbook to unveil as the season rolls on.

“We’ve run some of the same plays every down (in preseason games),” Mooney said. “Just a lot of play action and then maybe one or two shots down the field. But we’re really running the same plays. Nothing really crazy. Just our basic, simple plays. So we’ve got a lot of things cooking.”

Getsy might say they’re still in the preheating phase, but they’re one step closer to the meal.

“There’s a ton of improvement that we have to (make) if we’re going to play better talent, play more looks — all the movement you’re going to get,” Getsy said. “But a step in the right direction.”

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Categories: Local News

‘Anything can happen’: Players from the 2005 champion Chicago White Sox offer support to this year’s struggling team

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 08/30/2022 - 04:20

José Contreras has heard the questions about the struggling Chicago White Sox.

“Many people are saying, ‘What’s happening with Chicago?’” Contreras, a star pitcher on the 2005 World Series champion Sox team, said through an interpreter Sunday. “It’s very hard. It’s hard to play baseball.

“It’s really hard to stay healthy the entire year, and people really don’t understand how difficult that can be across a long season. And (first baseman José) Abreu is the only one that’s really been healthy all year. They have to understand (the season) is so long and staying healthy is more difficult than people think.”

Contreras added in English: “But hopefully the rest of September is better. Remember 2005. It was a great moment for Chicago. I don’t know how many games are left (34). Anything can happen the last part of the year.”

Players from the 2005 team were at Guaranteed Rate Field on Sunday ahead of Monday’s Field of Greens golf outing supporting Chicago White Sox Charities.

They reflected on their stretch run on the way to the organization’s first World Series title since 1917 and offered support to the current group that’s in a major funk.

The Sox wrapped up another disappointing series with Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. They were outscored 20-9 while getting swept in three games.

Injuries have been a factor throughout, and shortstop Tim Anderson, catcher Yasmani Grandal and starting pitcher Michael Kopech are currently on what has been a rotating list of players on the IL. But the Sox also rank 21st in the majors in runs and 28th in fielding percentage.

The Sox, who were off Monday, have lost nine of 11. They’re in third place in the American League Central, five games behind the division-leading Cleveland Guardians, with a 63-65 record.

“It’s a tough game, especially with the expectations that they have — they have a lot more than we did in ‘05 coming into the season,” former Sox third baseman Joe Crede said. “It’s a tough game and I know the guys are fighting out there. The talent is definitely there for them to do a lot of special things.”

Sunday’s loss dropped the Sox to 12-15 in August. It will be their third under-.500 month after going 8-12 in April and 12-15 in June.

In 2005, the Sox had one under-.500 month, going 12-16 in August. They rebounded with a 17-12 September.

“I don’t know if anything necessarily clicked (in September),” former Sox pitcher Jon Garland said. “I think there’s an understanding that in a six-month season, you’re going to have a down, you’re going to have an up. You can look at every team, every year, I don’t care how bad or how good people say they are or how bad people say they aren’t, you’re going to have a good and a bad stretch.

“But I think the relationship that we built with everybody over the course of the season, nobody ever panicked. Nobody was ever like, ‘Oh, we’re losing the ship here.’ No, never happened. There was an understanding that we’re a good ball team and we know how to win and we continued to play hard.”

Garland also pointed to health as a crucial element.

“If you’re not healthy, you can’t do anything,” he said. “And that year, we stayed healthy.”

Garland said the team’s 17-7 April set the tone.

“April helped out tremendously,” he said. “I didn’t realize how many one-run games we had won that year (35-19) and just the way we started off, some of the games we won. Nobody was talking about it, nobody was like, ‘Oh, we’ve got a really good team here, we’re winning these games.’

“We just kept coming to the field and playing ball and it just built. It kept building and building. And it showed on the field.”

Asked why he thinks the 2022 Sox haven’t had a sustained stretch of success — their longest winning streak is six from May 2-8 — Garland said streaking isn’t that easy.

“There’s good teams out there,” he said. “There’s good players. You’re in the big leagues for a reason. It’s not easy. It’s not easy to go out and make those runs. Things need to go your way in games. Maybe something bad needs to happen, an error on the other side, and it rolls for you.

“It’s a tough game, it’s a long season and you can’t get too caught up in that. If you get caught up in, ‘We need to win five straight, six straight, 10 straight, we need to jump back in this,’ if you’re chasing (that), you’re not going to get it.”

Contreras offered keys, through an interpreter, for the final month-plus.

“The best thing they can do is maintain chemistry, stick together,” he said. ”That’s the best way they can get through August and September despite a difficult season.”

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Categories: Local News

California woman stabbed to death over ‘failed dating relationship’

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 08/30/2022 - 04:10

A 40-year-old man was arrested Friday on suspicion of stabbing a woman to death in a residential neighborhood in Santa Ana on Friday morning, Aug. 26, authorities said.

The stabbing “appears to be the result of a failed dating relationship,” Santa Ana police said Saturday morning.

Santa Ana police were called to the 200 block of North Gunther Place, just north of First Street, about 11:40 a.m. on a report of a stabbing in progress, police said.

Officers arrived and found a woman with a stab wound to the upper body, police said. She later died at a hospital. She was identified by police as Maria Guadalupe Mota, 51, of Santa Ana.

While investigating, officers identified the suspect as Ignacio Vazquez Morales of Santa Ana and arrested him, police said. A knife he is believed to have used was also found.

Morales was being held in jail on $1 million bail, according to inmate records.

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Man gets 3 years for posing as Tom Brady teammate to try and sell Super Bowl rings

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 08/30/2022 - 04:08

A New Jersey man who posed as a former New England Patriots player so he could try to sell an Orange County broker Super Bowl rings he falsely claimed were gifts to Tom Brady’s family was sentenced on Monday, Aug. 29, to three years in prison.

Scott Spina Jr., now 25, was also ordered to pay $63,000 in restitution to the unnamed former Patriots player he posed as in order to obtain “family versions” of the 2017 Super Bowl championship rings, one of which sold at auction for more than $337,000, according to the U.S. Attorneys Office.

According to a sentencing memo filed by his defense attorney, Spina had been buying and selling sneakers and sports memorabilia since he was 15, often putting him in contact with high school and college athletes, some who became professional players.

In 2017, Spina, then 19, bought a Patriots’ Super Bowl championship ring from a former player who had left the team. The rings for that year’s team were adorned with five Lombardi trophies representing the number of championships the team had won at the time and was engraved with “Greatest Comeback Ever,” a reference to the team overcoming a 28-3 deficit in the Super Bowl.

Spina paid the player with at least one bad check, according to prosecutors. Spina sold that ring for $63,000 to a well-known buyer and seller of championship rings who lives in Orange County, according to his plea deal.

Along with the ring itself, the former Patriots player later told federal investigators that he gave Spina all the paperwork the player had received in connection to the ring, which happened to include information that allowed players to order from the manufacturer smaller Super Bowl rings for their family members and friends.

Posing as the former Patriots player, Spina ordered three “family-and-friends” championship rings from the manufacturer, each engraved with the name “Brady.” He reportedly claimed to employees at the manufacturer that the rings were meant to be gifts for “the baby of quarterback Tom Brady,” prosecutors said.

The same Orange County buyer agreed to also buy the three “family-and-friends” championship rings that Spina had ordered. Spina had falsely told the buyer that Brady bought those three rings for three nephews, and that the nephews had agreed to sell them to Spina.

The Orange County buyer quickly had second thoughts after his research indicated that Brady didn’t actually have any nephews, according to prosecutors.

Once the Orange County buyer backed out of the deal, Spina sold the “friends-and-family” rings to an auction house for $100,000, more than three times what he paid to buy them from the manufacturer.

According to the memo written by Spina’s attorney, within days of the auction house putting the three rings up for sale, Brady’s representatives contacted the company and notified them that the rings had no connection to Brady.

The auction house agreed to make clear in is advertising that the rings had no connection to Brady, the defense attorney wrote. One of the rings still sold at auction for $337,219. According to the defense attorney, the auction company “retained possession” of the other two “family” rings.

In July 2018, Spina was sentenced to 35 months in federal prison for an apparently unrelated wire fraud case in New Jersey, according to court filings. He was released to a halfway house in November 2020, and later began supervised release.

In February, Spina pleaded guilty in a Santa Ana federal court to felony counts of mail and wire fraud, as well as aggravated identity theft related to the Super Bowl rings fraud.

Spina’s defense attorney, Thomas Ambrosio, wrote in his sentencing brief that the case was “an example of how the rich and famous in this country are treated differently from the average person. …

“If this case did not have a connection to Tom Brady, the former quarterback for the New England Patriots, it is almost certain there would not have been an investigation by law enforcement,” Ambrosio wrote.

In his own letter to the federal judge, Spina wrote that his life has “changed drastically” since he was sent to prison for the New Jersey case. Spina told the judge that he is “no longer that young, reckless and selfish person. … Incarceration has changed my life regarding my perspective in valuing the smallest things in this world and understanding how every action has a consequence.”

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Are In-N-Out sales in Texas being driven up by California transplants?

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 08/30/2022 - 04:02

By Alex Tanzi | Bloomberg

More than one in 10 new Texas residents who relocated there from within the US over the past three years came from California, and the influx is fueling growth in businesses such as In-N-Out Burger, according to Placer.ai, a location-analytics firm.

Foot-traffic data compiled by Placer.ai show that between July 2019 and July 2022, 11.1% of new Texans originated from California — the most of any other state. About 1.6% of newcomers in the Dallas metropolitan area came from Los Angeles.

The Irvine-based chain In-N-Out Burger, which opened its first Texas restaurants in 2011, has seen a boost in customers, according to Placer.ai data.

Monthly visits to In-N-Out burger restaurants in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area — which has roughly two-dozen of them — were up 24.4% in July compared with three years earlier, Placer.ai said in a report.  That’s far outpacing the average of fast-food restaurants in the region.

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“Perhaps Texans are being encouraged to visit In-N-Outs by newcomers, or maybe visits are being driven by Californians looking for a taste of home,” Placer.ai said in the report. “Either way, the Texas success of this California-based chain reveals the growth potential of regional brands.”

Trader Joe’s, another California brand that expanded in the Lone Star state about a decade ago, also saw above-average foot traffic in Texas over the past couple of years, the data shows.

Categories: Local News

49ers’ Elijah Mitchell won’t be ‘just running into everybody’ in encore year

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 08/30/2022 - 04:00

SANTA CLARA — Whether Trey Lance is handing off the ball or if the 49ers tap Jimmy Garoppolo to do so, Elijah Mitchell has a new plan on what to do with himself.

“This year I am focused on trying to make people misses more, instead of just running into everybody,” Mitchell said after Monday’s practice.

Yes, the 49ers’ offense and all others in the NFL world still revolves around the quarterback position. The 49ers are a run-oriented system, however, and their top rusher is Mitchell.

At least Mitchell proved that last season as a surprising rookie who was drafted in the sixth round (No. 194) from Louisiana. But Mitchell got banged up a lot last season and missed six games. He even got hurt beforehand with a core-muscle issue that kept him out the first two preseason games.

He persevered enough to run for 963 yards and five touchdowns.

“I’m not ever going to change my running style,” Mitchell said. “But I just have to do the right things in the building to take care of my body: get in the cold tub, the hot tub, working with Elliott (Williams, the 49ers’ director of functional performance).”

Mitchell won’t have to be a workhorse, just a reliable one. The 49ers’ offense is complemented by Shanahan’s best receiving corps in six years — George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Jauan Jennings, Ray-Ray McCloud and Danny Gray — and there’s also that little transition going on at quarterback.

True, Garoppolo restructured his contract to remain with the club after throwing only on the side the past month, but the plan is still to make this offense more dynamic and unpredictable with Lance’s strong-armed throwing and dynamic rushing abilities.

Added Mitchell: “We have so many weapons, including Trey. The scheme we run, you’re going to definitely get confused, very quickly.”

The 49ers notoriously use multiple running backs each season because of attrition. If Mitchell takes more lumps, the depth looked strong in camp with Jeff Wilson Jr., Ty Davis-Price, Trey Sermon, JaMycal Hasty and Jordan Mason.

Said Mitchell: “We have a full room and we all can really ball, so … ”

The 49ers haven’t really seen Mitchell much in practice the past month. He’s looked impressive running on the side, however.

“Body’s good. Me running on the sideline is very different being in there hitting people and going through the line,” Mitchell said. “Just trying to get that back. … By the time Week 1 comes, I’ll be ready to go.”Related Articles

 

 

Categories: Local News

5-acre country estate has it all

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 08/30/2022 - 04:00

A fresh contemporary farmhouse design drenched in natural light and layered with exceptional details and amenities graces a fabulous 5-acre property filled with possibilities.

Come home to this slice of country paradise designed for horses, a lot of horsepower and more. The property is perfect for creating the ultimate equestrian center with an added barn, stalls, arena and grazing pastures or for that car enthusiast to take advantage of the two garages and a total of eight bays. Two bays feature vaulted ceilings to accommodate a car lift or RV.

Located on a premium cul-de-sac, 475 Torrano Court in Hollister is within walking distance to Spring Grove Elementary (K-8), a California Distinguished School, and about 8 miles to downtown.

About 4,200 square feet of living space on two levels includes six bedrooms and four bathrooms, formal rooms, a gourmet eat-in kitchen, an executive office, and a primary suite featuring a 30-foot-long walk-in dream closet. A 750-square-foot apartment above a five-car garage features one bedroom and one bathroom, a full kitchen and living room, plus a 300-square-foot covered deck. This unit also includes central air conditioning and a washer and dryer and is ideal for a possible income-producing rental, guests or caretakers.

Drive through the gated circular driveway to the grand and impressive entry and a wrap-around porch and envision sitting a spell with a cold beverage while enjoying the mountain views that sweep from Morgan Hill to Pacheco Pass. Take advantage of the sprawling outdoor entertaining mecca with a large patio, a solar-heated pool and spa with an automatic cover, dozens of trees, and lots of room to further customize for your lifestyle. Consider an outdoor kitchen, cabana, bocce ball or tennis court, with a view of the level pastures and distant mountains.

Current owners extensively updated this home, spending around $500,000 and have meticulously maintained the home to shine in like-new condition. Among its many features beginning at the two-story foyer are gleaming hardwood floors, crown molding, tray ceilings, travertine tile in the bathrooms, freshly painted interior and exterior, and an open floor plan with oversize windows to frame the spectacular views.

Formal living and dining rooms are spacious rooms designed to accommodate large gatherings. Step into the gourmet kitchen updated with stunning ogee-edge granite slab counters, a decorative tile backsplash, custom-painted cabinetry with under lighting and upper glass-faced cabinets, two stainless sinks, and an island/breakfast bar illuminated by a pair of pendant lights. The kitchen is also well-appointed with stainless appliances, including a KitchenAid six-burner, dual-oven range, a Bosch dishwasher, and a built-in Thermador refrigerator with front cabinet-matching panels. The adjacent casual dining nook is perfectly set in a bay window.

A gas fireplace with an updated travertine surround and carved mantel anchors the expansive family room. This room also features built-ins and a sliding glass door to the patio and pool.

Also on the main level is an executive office with a dramatic box-beam ceiling and a pair of built-in cabinets.

The primary suite behind a double-door entry on the upper level features a vaulted ceiling and view windows. The luxurious en suite features travertine floors and counters, a dual-sink vanity, a jetted tub and an oversize shower. Updated fixtures and painted cabinetry create a stunning room. A walk-in closet spans 30 feet and is filled with custom built-in shelving. Dormer windows provide lots of natural light.

Additional features include dual furnaces and central air conditioning, a deep freezer, a butler’s pantry with an additional refrigerator and one-year-young LG front-loading washer and dryer. Park in a three-car garage attached to the home or a five-car detached garage.

Centrally located between Monterey and San Jose, each about an hour’s drive, this property is about 13 miles from Highway 101 and about 16 miles from Gilroy. Hop on Highway 152 nearby to connect with Highway 5, about 33 miles away.

Price: $2,480,000
Where: 475 Torrano Court, Hollister
Shown by appointment only.
Virtual tour: www.tourfactory.com/3000878
Listing agent: The Agency. Rick Zea, DRE# 00880772 (408) 205-8050, rick.zea@theagencyre.com

Categories: Local News

Former California resident pleads guilty in child mutilation-sex scheme

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 08/30/2022 - 03:59

LOS ANGELES  — A former Southern California man who convinced troubled girls as young as 12 to perform masochistic acts and urged one to become his sex slave pleaded guilty Monday to a federal charge, prosecutors said.

Matthew Christian Locher, 31, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of a child for the purpose of producing a sexually explicit visual depiction, the U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement.

In his plea agreement, prosecutors said Locher acknowledged that while living in Redondo Beach in 2020 and 2021, Locher got into online conversations targeting girls suffering from mental health issues such as depression, anorexia and suicidal thoughts.

“Locher groomed his victims to engage in self-mutilation and instructed a victim struggling with an eating disorder to starve herself, ordering her to film herself cutting her body when she disobeyed him,” the U.S. attorney’s office statement said.

Two girls sent him images of self-harm, prosecutors said.

He convinced a third victim, who was 12, to run away from her Ohio home and attempt to reach California to have sex with him, prosecutors alleged.

Encouraged by Locher, the girl first set fire to her home in a failed bid to kill her parents, prosecutors alleged.

Locher had promised he would pick her up, “bring her to California, and make her his ‘slave,’ ” the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Locher moved to Indiana after authorities searched his home. He was arrested on Jan. 10 of this year in Indianapolis and sent back to California, authorities said.

Locher faces 15 years to 30 years in prison when he is sentenced next January.

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