Hoiberg headed to Nebraska

AP Sports Writer
Fred Hoiberg, the former NBA player who coached Iowa State and the Chicago Bulls, was hired Saturday to coach a Nebraska team that had big hopes this season but finished with a 19-17 record and out of the NCAA Tournament yet again.
Hoiberg has strong ties to the school, which announced his hiring four days after seventh-year coach Tim Miles was fired.
Hoiberg, dismissed by the Bulls in in December, agreed to a seven-year contract paying a total of $25 million.
The 46-year-old Hoiberg was born in Lincoln and maternal grandfather Jerry Bush was the Cornhuskers coach from 1954 to 1963. His paternal grandfather was a professor at Nebraska and his parents are graduates of the school.
“I can’t express how excited I am to be back on the sidelines and to be coaching at a university that means a lot to my family and me,” Hoiberg said. “Nebraska has always felt like a second home.”
Hoiberg went 115-155 from 2010-15 with the Bulls. Before that, he had a successful five-year run as Iowa State’s coach with an up-tempo, spread-the-floor offense. He went 115-56 and led the Cyclones to four straight NCAA Tournaments and two Big 12 tournament titles.
“When you look at him, you see an individual who has had success as a player and a coach,” athletic director Bill Moos said. “Fred’s background will sell itself on the recruiting trail, and help us bring in the type of student-athletes needed to compete at the highest level. His style of play not only will be appealing to prospective recruits but will also provide our great fans an entertaining brand of basketball.”
Hoiberg takes over a program that has never been able to win consistently. Nebraska’s most recent regular-season conference championship came in 1950. The Huskers remain the only Power Five conference program to have never won an NCAA Tournament game.
As a star player for Iowa State, Hoiberg became known as “The Mayor” because of his popularity in Ames. He competed twice a year against the Huskers from 1991-95 — when Nebraska enjoyed its most sustained success, with four straight NCAA appearances. In the 25 years since, the Huskers have gone to the tournament just twice (1998, 2014).
Nebraska had reason to be encouraged this season. The Huskers started 13-4 and were in The Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since 2014. Then the Huskers lost 11 of the next 13 and finished 13th in the Big Ten, the fifth time in seven years they’ve been 10th or worse. A brief run in the Big Ten Tournament wasn’t enough to earn an NCAA bid.
The Huskers will lose seniors James Palmer Jr., Glynn Watson Jr. and Isaac Copeland, and junior Isaiah Roby has said he didn’t know if he would return if there were a coaching change.
Hoiberg had said shortly after his dismissal by the Bulls that he wanted to coach again, but the speculation was that it would be in the NBA.
Nebraska has had a history of hiring hot mid-major coaches — Danny Nee in 1986, Barry Collier in 2000, Doc Sadler in 2006 and Miles in 2012.
The school built a new practice facility in 2011 and a new arena in 2013. With the infrastructure in place, Moos and the university administration were looking to make a splash hire.
“I had the opportunity to coach (an exhibition) at Pinnacle Bank Arena with the Bulls, and I have seen first-hand that the facilities are as nice as any in the country,” Hoiberg said. “When you couple that with a loyal and passionate fan base, you can see there is great potential for the future of Nebraska basketball.”

Hawkeye women will play for a Final Four berth

AP Sports Writer
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Iowa did what it always does, working the ball around and getting it to Megan Gustafson. Now the Hawkeyes are sticking around longer in the NCAA Tournament than they have in a generation.
Gustafson had 27 points and 12 rebounds to lead Iowa past North Carolina State 79-61 on Saturday in the Greensboro Regional semifinals.
“It’s been a magical year for us,” Hawkeye coach Lisa Bluder said, “and we don’t want to see it end.”
Gustafson, who averages a Division I-best 28 points while also ranking second in rebounding, finished with her 33rd double-double to tie the NCAA’s single-season record. She made 10 of her 13 shots.
Hannah Stewart added 16 points and 10 rebounds.
They helped the second-seeded Hawkeyes (29-6) earn their first Elite Eight appearance since 1993. Iowa will play top-seeded Baylor on Monday night, with the winner advancing to the Final Four in Tampa, Florida.
Iowa shot 54 percent and took command by hitting eight straight shots during a Gustafson-led 20-8 run that came after N.C. State pulled to within five midway through the third quarter.
Alexis Sevillian bookended the burst with 3-pointers, with the second of those giving the Hawkeyes their largest lead to that point at 63-46 with 8 minutes left.
Seven of the Hawkeyes’ nine buckets during that run were assisted. Iowa ranks second in Division I with an average of 21.7 assists. The Hawkeyes had assists on 24 of their 31 field goals.
“We love to be able to just share the ball and get a great shot instead of a good shot,” Gustafson said. “We feed off each other’s energy, and that’s what kept us going.”
Freshman Elissa Cunane had 14 points and 11 rebounds, Kiara Leslie had 16 points and DD Rogers added 12 points for the third-seeded Wolfpack (28-6), who shot just 35 percent.
N.C. State: One of the best seasons — and most unlikely runs, after losing four players to season-ending injuries — in Wolfpack history came to an end at a familiar stage of the tournament. N.C. State reached the Sweet 16 for the 13th time in program history. Only once have the Wolfpack gone further — in 1998, the year of the program’s lone Final Four appearance. This team set a program record by opening with 21 straight victories before the schedule got tougher.
“I do believe that the program has gone up since I’ve been here,” said Rogers, a senior. “People just stepped up and wanted to go as far as they could this year, and we made it happen.”
Iowa: Thanks to Gustafson, it’s among the Hawkeyes’ deeper marches through the bracket in recent years. This was Iowa’s first Sweet 16 since 2015 and just the third since the ‘93 team rolled to the lone Final Four in program history under coach C. Vivian Stringer.
“That’s the goal, right?” Bluder said. “You always want to take your program as high as you can. This certainly was a step for us. It was really important to us, and it was important to our players.”
Iowa took command after N.C. State pulled to 43-38 on Aislinn Konig’s layup with just under 5 minutes left in the third. But the Wolfpack went cold after that, missing nine of their next 10 shots while Iowa hit eight in a row. Gustafson made consecutive layups, the second of which put the Hawkeyes up by double figures to stay.
“We made a nice run, came down about 4-5 times in a row … (and) the ball just didn’t go in,” N.C. State coach Wes Moore said. “I thought that was our chance to put some pressure on them. But it just wasn’t meant to be.”
Gustafson joined some elite company with her latest double-double. Oklahoma’s Courtney Paris set the record of 33 in 2006 and did it again a year later. Natalie Butler of George Mason matched that mark last season. Gustafson has had a double-double in all but two games this season.
Iowa advances to face Baylor on Monday night in the regional final.

Experts: Minnesota’s strategy on school gun attacks wrong

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota’s focus on school lockdown drills and security infrastructure is inadequate in preventing school shootings and keeping students safe, according to two St. Paul researchers.
Hamline University criminology professor Jillian Peterson has been working with Metropolitan State University criminal justice professor James Densley to collect data about individuals who committed mass acts of gun violence in U.S. schools.
The researchers created a database of 160 mass public school shootings in the country since 1966, Minnesota Public Radio News reported. Peterson and Densley focused on the 45 school shootings that have occurred since two students opened fire on Colorado’s Columbine High School in 1999, killing 13 people.
Peterson said there isn’t a single profile of a school shooter, but there are patterns. The researchers found that 91 percent were current or former students of the school where the shooting took place, while many had a history of trauma. Roughly 80 percent of them had expressed suicidal thoughts or showed signs of a crisis before the shooting.
Minnesota lawmakers have considered several school safety proposals this year, including more grant funding for measures such as locks, secure windows and security monitoring equipment.
“In Minnesota, we put a lot of money into building more secure buildings, more secure entry points … we know that it’s inadequate,” she said. “It’s not preventing school shootings.”
Peterson believes schools should drop lockdown drills altogether, and instead focus on providing more mental health support in schools.
She argued that schools should train adults on lockdown procedures, de-escalation and suicide prevention without involving students. The drills can traumatize students and offer a potential school shooter a blueprint for how to maximize casualties, according to Peterson.
She said law enforcement should be present, but schools should also handle threats of violence with long-term mental health services.
“Those threats can be seen as kind of a plea for help,” Peterson said. “We really approach it as a point of intervention, a point of saying, ‘Why are you doing this, and what do you need.'”
Oak Grove Middle School in Bloomington still holds lockdown drills, and the district has invested plenty of money in security systems. But the school also employs two counselors, a social worker and a dean of students. It also has Radar, a therapy dog who keeps students company.
Rick Kaufman, the district’s emergency management coordinator, believes schools pursue security upgrades because they’re tangible measures following a school shooting such as the massacre in Parkland, Florida .
Kaufman said the challenge in making school safety decisions is that “you can’t touch the prevention and mitigation.”
“You can’t see it necessarily, unless you’re involved in it,” he said. “And yet, that’s where our emphasis must be.”
Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org

Retailers, customers hail end to Sunday sale restrictions

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Business owners and their customers are applauding the repeal of North Dakota’s longstanding restrictions on Sunday sales.
Gov. Doug Burgum signed the “Blue Law” repeal on Monday, which reverses rules that require most retailers to close from midnight to noon on Sundays. The law was established during statehood and is entrenched in religious tradition.
The repeal takes effect Aug. 1, KVRR-TV reported. Starting Aug. 4, retailers can open up before noon.
It gives local business a “more level playing field” to compete with online retailers and neighboring states South Dakota, Minnesota and Montana, Burgum said.
Amber Sander, owner of Boots & Heel, said restrictions on when you can do business can make a significant difference.
“Especially when we have stores trying to compete with online,” Sander said. “We have small businesses that are trying to make sure they’re available to people as often as they can be. That Sunday, I think, is huge.”
Ashlen Morken, Unglued owner, said local vendors hope the change will help them see an uptick in business as a result.
“We have so many visitors that come through on Sundays, whether they’re from Canada or just they’re driving through Fargo. There are so many people who say time and time again they wish we were open earlier or they can’t believe how little downtown shopping there is to do on a Sunday, even later on in the day.”
Erin Knudtson of Fargo said it will make running errands in her area easier.
“It’s great because sometimes you don’t want to drive all the way to Moorhead. It’ll be nice to do some shopping in Fargo and West Fargo,” said.
Susan Grass, a Fargo resident, said longer Sunday shopping hours have been a long time coming.
“It’s about time,” Grass said. “I think it’s kind of an antiquated idea and for those of us that work full time, it’ll be nice.”
Information from: KVRR-TV, http://kftv.com

Former school superintendent sentence to 2 years for bribery

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge says a former superintendent of a suburban Twins Cities school district must serve two years in prison for soliciting a bribe.
Fifty-three-year-old Rodney Thompson served as superintendent of Shakopee schools from 2011 to 2017. He’s accused of using his school-issued credit card to pay for personal travel, attend sporting events and concerts and buy an Xbox gaming system.
Prosecutors say he used his position of authority to solicit a construction company to renovate his home in exchange for school contracts.
Thompson allegedly swindled more than $70,000 from the district.
Thompson pleaded guilty in November to the federal charge of solicitation of a bribe. A day later, he pleaded guilty in Scott County District Court to 19 state felonies, including theft by swindle and embezzling public funds.

Report says trumpeter swans died from lead poisoning

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A University of Minnesota diagnostic lab report shows that dead trumpeter swans found at Sucker Lake in Vadnais Heights earlier this month died of lead poisoning.
The Pioneer Press reports that the Vadnais Lake Area Water Management Organization, which investigated the swan deaths, originally thought the swans had died of malnutrition.
The report says the lead toxicity is likely from fishing sinkers that accumulate in the sediment. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources estimates that 40 percent of Minnesota trumpeter swan deaths are caused by lead poisoning. Experts say one pellet can kill an adult trumpeter swan.
About 10 dead swans were found at the Vadnais Heights lake.
Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, http://www.twincities.com

Damage should be minimal as Minnesota rivers start to crest

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The National Weather Service says several rivers are about to crest across Minnesota but the overall damage should be minimal.
Meteorologist Tyler Hasenstein tells the Star Tribune that a slow snowmelt and advanced preparation has most communities in good shape. He says people should still be aware of flood hazards “like not driving around barriers.”
Several river towns throughout the state are experiencing moderate to major flood stages, although levels are not expected to set records.
Forecasters say the Mississippi River in St. Paul should crest Sunday into Monday, which will submerge Harriet Island. The Mississippi will crest in Hastings Tuesday into Wednesday at about 20 feet, which could affect the eastern part of the city.
Hasenstein says warmer weather will lessen the chances of ice dams backing up rivers.
Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

Warren, Klobuchar agree on breaking up Big Ag

By ALEXANDRA JAFFE Associated Press
STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) — Democratic presidential contenders Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar expressed support Saturday for strengthening antitrust laws and enforcement to break up big agriculture monopolies.
“You’ve got these giant corporations that are making bigger and bigger profits … and they’re putting the squeeze on family farms and small farms,” Warren said at the Heartland Forum, which was focused on rural issues.
The U.S. senator from Massachusetts called for breaking up some of the biggest farming corporations “so that they not only do not have that kind of economic power, so that they’re wiping out competition, so they’re taking all the profits for themselves … but also so that they don’t have that kind of political power.”
While supporting an antitrust approach, Klobuchar, a senator and Minnesota Democrat, also proposed putting a fee on corporate mergers to help investigate noncompetitive practices.
“If we stifle competition through monopolies, we’re not just going to bring up the prices for consumers, we’re going to stifle entrepreneurship,” she said.
Targeting monopolies was a key part of the agriculture policy Warren rolled out this week, which included a handful of proposals aimed at helping family farmers compete in a market increasingly saturated by major corporations.
Klobuchar and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, another White House hopeful who attended the forum, also rolled out rural-focused policies this week. Klobuchar announced a $1 trillion infrastructure plan that would help expand access to rural broadband and strengthen roads and bridges. Delaney offered a comprehensive rural plan that included proposals to strengthen family farmers and rural infrastructure.
Other White House contenders at the forum were former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, who is considering launching a bid.
The attention on agricultural communities and issues is the result of a recognition that Democrats need to do more to win over rural voters, especially in places like Iowa. The state has long been a presidential battleground, but Iowa has trended more solidly Republican over the past two election cycles, a troubling sign for Democrats seeking to oust President Donald Trump.
“There needs to be a better connection made between politicians and rural Americans,” said Aaron Heley Lehman, the president of Iowa Farmers’ Union, which hosted the forum and bussed in members from neighboring states to hear the candidates.
In the early days of the 2020 Democratic primary, many candidates are focusing on building that connection. Several contenders, including former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, have campaigned in parts of rural Iowa that haven’t seen much Democratic activity in years. Delaney is the only Democratic candidate so far to visit all 99 of Iowa’s counties.
That’s a key part of what Democrats need to do to win back rural America, according to Iowa state Rep. Mary Gaskill — simply show up.
“There are a lot of people who are hesitant to come out as a Democrat, because they all feel neglected, or abused or shunned by their neighbor,” she said.
Gaskill is the only Democratic lawmaker in her area, and represents a red county that went for Trump by more than 20 percentage points in 2016 — but one that Barack Obama won by nearly 12 points in 2012. Now, at least two candidates — Sens. Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand — have campaigned there, a development Gaskill welcomes.
“We might see our neighbors there, that we didn’t know they were Democrats,” she said.
O’Rourke didn’t attend Saturday’s forum. But his first Iowa swing as a presidential candidate included stops in small towns that swung from Democrats to Republicans in 2016.
He didn’t change much of his message — during the swing O’Rourke still talked about the need for gun control, legal marijuana and a compassionate immigration program. But his top strategist in the state, Norm Sterzenbach, said the key was to bring those policies to people that hadn’t heard directly from Democrats before.
“Maybe those ideas you like, maybe you don’t, but you’ll never know if we’re not in there communicating,” he said.
Gillibrand, a U.S. senator from New York, recently visited the same swath of eastern Iowa, pitching herself to voters as a candidate who could defeat Trump because she’s won in red areas of her state. She, too, didn’t shy away from embracing progressive policies like gun control, universal health care and the Green New Deal, and she touted her work on the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the policy prohibiting gays from serving openly in the military.
Neither Gillibrand nor O’Rourke won everyone over. Tom Courtney, the Des Moines County Democratic Party chairman, hosted an event for both candidates and said he wasn’t impressed by their message.
“O’Rourke didn’t, and (Gillibrand) didn’t make a good case for rural Iowa either — nobody’s doing that yet. She was talking a lot of issues that liberals always talk about,” he said, citing leadership on the global stage, the president’s morals or abortion rights. “Trump got elected by telling people he was gonna fix their lives. I’m not hearing that here.”
Some of the Heartland Forum attendees were, however, impressed by the candidates’ depth of understanding of rural issues and the policies they’ve proposed to tackle them. Jeri Neal, a retired sustainable agriculture consultant from Ames, said she was impressed at how fluent Klobuchar was on rural issues. She also appreciated the “hope and optimism” that the candidates showed when discussing policy solutions.
“What I liked about today was they really were willing to think about what’s causing the problem, and how do we change that,” she said. “Instead of treating the problem, they’re really willing to say, ‘Why do we have this problem?’ And treat that.”
But Matt Russell, a farmer from Lacona, Iowa, said he wanted the candidates to have included farmers as a key player in some of their proposals to solve the problems confronting rural America.
“I was a little bit disappointed that there was a lot of description of the problems in rural America, but there wasn’t a lot of talk of where farmers could play a really good role in providing solutions,” he said.
Russell said he feels that Democrats spend too much money on consultants to help them figure out what strategic policies to promote, and not enough time on actually investing in Democratic leadership and organizing at the local level in rural America. And that remains a key question for Democrats: Will the fresh emphasis on rural issues will translate to added support on the ground?
Becky Bryant, a retired teacher who grew up in Storm Lake and comes from a farming family, said even a fresh effort by Democrats to take their message to rural America may fall flat in areas where being Republican is in peoples’ DNA.
“I waited to change my affiliation till after my father died, because he would’ve been horrified. I had people attacking me because I changed parties,” she said.
Asked how Democrats could win over voters like her family, she paused for a long minute.
“When they don’t understand that the tariffs have caused them problems, when they believe that Trump is here biblically, it’s a tough row to hoe,” she said.

Judge drops Infowars’ Alex Jones from Ohio flag-burning suit

CLEVELAND (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed Infowars radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and two of his associates from a lawsuit filed by a man claiming his rights were violated when police arrested him for trying to burn an American flag during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
The lawsuit was filed in 2018 by Gregory Lee Johnson, whose arrest for flag burning at the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas led to a U.S. Supreme Court invalidating state flag-burning laws.
Johnson’s suit claims Cleveland police officers lied when they said Johnson set himself on fire and that Jones’ associates lied about being injured during the flag-burning attempt.
Judge Solomon Oliver ruled Friday that statements Jones’ associates gave to police are protected and can’t be used in the lawsuit.

Father, daughter attend law school, take bar exam together

By STEPHANIE WARSMITH Akron Beacon Journal
AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Some families have a swear jar. The Smiths have a bar jar.
Every time Tim or his daughter Sarah talk about the bar or any legal topic, they must put $1 into the jar.
It fills up quickly.
The Akron father and daughter attended the University of Akron law school together and took the bar at the same time, so they were consumed by law for several years, sometimes driving their family crazy.
“We tried not to talk about it,” Sarah said.
“It was impossible!” Tim agreed.
Tim and Sarah Smith recently made history, becoming the first father and daughter in Ohio to take the bar exam at the same time. This followed another first when they attended the University of Akron law school together, a feat achieved by siblings and spouses but never by a parent and child simultaneously.
The duo won’t find out until April 26 whether they passed the grueling bar exam, which they took Feb. 26-28. The Beacon Journal recently talked with the Smiths at the family’s Highland Square home about how they survived their unique, challenging journey — together.
Tim Smith was studying for the LSAT, an exam required to get into law school, in 2014 when Sarah came into the family room.
“Oh, what’s that?” she asked.
“Take a look,” Tim suggested, showing her a logic problem.
She figured it out, while he struggled, foreshadowing how the two of them would later do in many of their law classes.
That single success prompted Sarah to consider joining her father in seeking a law degree.
The father and daughter were at career crossroads. Tim, now 53, was a patent agent at GOJO Industries and thought the next logical step was to become a patent attorney. Sarah, now 27, was working in human resources where she regularly consulted with an attorney before making decisions. She thought it was time she became the one others consulted.
Tim and Sarah passed the LSAT and were accepted at UA’s law school, starting evening classes in the fall of 2015.
At orientation, they made five friends who fell between their ages and became a study group that helped guide them through law school. The tight-knit group took many of the same courses, sat together in class and gathered to cram for finals.
Many others, though, remained oblivious to the relationship between Tim and Sarah.
With a last name like Smith, it wasn’t difficult for the family connection to go undetected.
Professor John Sahl, however, who had the duo in his evidence class, became curious about the relationship.
“Uncle and niece? What’s the relation?” he asked.
“Father and daughter,” Tim answered.
“No way!” said Sahl, who is no stranger to family connections, with his wife, Joann, also teaching in the UA law school.
John Sahl said the Smiths were a pleasure to have in class — and both were prepared when he cold-called on them. He said seeing the two sitting together in class and studying with their group made him wonder if he and his daughter would get along that well.
“Their presence — I think — had a really nice effect on the class,” said Sahl, who has taught at UA since 1991. “My sense was everybody appreciated the fact that they were a father-daughter team.”
Sahl said the Smiths were always professional and warm and had nice smiles.
Tim said it was good to know when he showed up for class that Sarah’s friendly face would greet him. He often picked up Starbucks en route from GOJO to the law school — a latte for him and a caramel macchiato for her — to help keep them alert during their classes that ran as late as 10 p.m.
Sarah enjoyed the coffee and also liked having someone she could ask, “Did I sound stupid answering that question?” whom she could count on for an honest answer.
The two of them, however, often disagreed on whether a judge got it right with the court cases they studied. They figure this helped them to consider both sides.
Asked her least favorite class, Sarah said it would be a tie between torts and tax law.
Tim said his was property law because of the many odd rules.
Hearing this, Sarah then wanted to change her answer.
“I’m copying off you!” she joked.
Tim said Sarah often got a letter grade higher than he did on assignments, even though he sometimes put in more study time. But, he said, this didn’t bother him.
“I’m fine with that,” he said. “It was never a competition.”
“You did well,” Sarah told him.
The Smiths finished their classes and graduated in December, though they won’t walk across the stage together until May when the annual law school commencement will be held. They moved straight from this milestone to a 10-week course to prep for the bar.
As they waited in line to take the bar, Tim put his arm around Sarah and told her, “We can do this.”
A test proctor came up to them and asked if they were the father and daughter pair.
“Well, yes we are!” Sarah answered.
They continued to offer encouragement to each other as they took the exam, sending each other texts, often featuring exhausted-looking emojis.
“That level of understanding helped drive us forward,” Tim said.
Neither is certain how they did. Both will be waiting on pins and needles for the results, along with the 375 other Ohioans who took the latest bar.
A few days after the bar, the family took a Caribbean cruise to celebrate. That’s where the bar jar came out to make the trip more enjoyable for Betty Smith and her son, Samuel, 23, who needed a break from the law almost as much as Tim and Sarah.
Betty is proud of her husband and daughter for what they accomplished and how much they bonded through the experience.
“I didn’t expect this to cause an issue in their relationship,” she said. “They had the same group of friends. They were closer than I thought they would be through this.”
Tim is continuing to work at GOJO, where he hopes he can soon change his title to attorney, while Sarah took her career in a whole new direction. She is working as a law clerk for Judge Cynthia Westcott Rice in the 11th District Court of Appeals. She loves her new job and, if she passes the bar, will become a judicial attorney.
Someday, Sarah thinks, she may want to run for judge. If she does, she’ll have at least one big supporter.
“You would be really good at it!” her dad said, smiling.