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AP Wire Michigan Sports

Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball team gets by Purdue with ease, 70-53

By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Isaiah Livers matched his season high with 22 points, Eli Brooks added 11 and No. 7 Michigan relied on a staunch defense to beat Purdue 70-53 on Friday night.
The Wolverines (13-1, 8-1 Big Ten) maintained their stranglehold on the conference lead by winning their fifth straight in the series.
Trevion Williams had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Boilermakers, who never led as their four-game winning streak came to an end. Purdue (11-6, 5-4) played without guard Sasha Stefanovic, its top 3-point shooter, after he tested positive for COVID-19.
Michigan took full advantage of absence by limiting Purdue to 32.1% shooting and shutting out the Boilermakers from 3-point range in the first half as they took a 34-21 lead.
Purdue made its first two 3s in the second half and cut the deficit to 42-32 with 14:58 to play. But the Wolverines answered with six straight points.

Michigan forward Brandon Johns Jr., right, goes up to block the shot of Purdue guard Isaiah Thompson, lower left, in West Lafayette, Ind., on Friday. (AP photo)

BIG PICTURE
Michigan: Yes, the Wolverines have one of the nation’s highest-scoring offenses. But when Michigan’s shooters have an off-night, their defense is equally impressive. It’s a combination few teams possess, which is why the Wolverines could be a legitimate Final Four contender.

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AP Wire Michigan Sports

Detroit Pistons’ last-second shot comes too late as Houston Rockets prevail, 103-102

By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer
DETROIT — Jerami Grant’s driving layup on the final play came too late, and the Houston Rockets held on for a 103-102 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.
Down one with 3.4 seconds remaining, the Pistons inbounded to Grant, who faked a handoff to Blake Griffin and then drove down the right side of the lane. Time clearly ran out before he laid the ball in, but he was also bumped by Houston’s P.J. Tucker.
Replays showed that contact also came after time expired, and after a review, the game ended with the Rockets holding on.
Grant scored 21 points for Detroit, which rallied from a 20-point second-quarter deficit and nearly erased a four-point gap late in the fourth. Griffin’s 3-pointer with 29.9 seconds remaining made it 103-102, and the Pistons stopped Houston at the other end to set up Grant’s final bid.
Eric Gordon scored 20 points for Houston, which snapped a three-game losing streak. The Rockets were without John Wall and Christian Wood.
It was an ugly first quarter for the Pistons, who turned the ball over nine times and trailed 34-21 at the end of the period. David Nwaba’s layup put Houston up 43-23 in the second.
The Pistons, however, have been a bit more competitive this season than their league-worst 3-12 record suggests. They chipped away at the deficit and trailed 55-47 at halftime despite the fact that Griffin hadn’t scored yet.
Grant’s 3-pointer put the Pistons ahead in the third, and they finished the quarter leading 81-77.

Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker, left, grabs a rebound as he gets tangled up with Pistons center Mason Plumlee during the second half of Friday in Detroit. (AP photo)
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Minnesota Headlines

Minnesota Senate Republicans release legislative priorities

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Senate Republicans unveiled priorities for the new legislative session this week that include limiting the governor’s peacetime emergency powers and avoiding tax increases to help with financial woes caused by the pandemic.
The package includes legislation that would allow businesses with COVID-19 safety plans to reopen, shift authority to close schools from Democratic Gov. Tim Walz to local school boards, and limit other emergency powers from the governor. The package also features scholarships for low-income students and initiatives to make buying a house more affordable.
The caucus’s priorities also include blocking clean emissions standards for cars and cutting 5% from the budget of each state agency.
Lawmakers are working with a projected surplus of $641 million in the current budget that runs through June 30. They face a $1.3 billion budget shortfall in the next two-year budget. The Legislature is required by law to come to terms on a balanced two-year budget, which is expected to total around $50 billion.
GOP Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said he aims to close the budget deficit without income tax, gas tax or sales tax increases.
“We have reserves, we have CARES Act money coming in and we also know that our state agencies can be more efficient,” he said.
Democrats, who control the House, earlier this month announced their priorities, including a package of five bills to assist workers, families and small businesses struggling due to the ongoing pandemic.

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Minnesota Headlines

Minnesota allocated nearly 900K vaccine doses so far

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota health officials reported Friday the state has now been allocated 871,650 doses of federally controlled COVID-19 vaccine, up more than 240,000 doses from a week earlier.
The state’s snapshot of progress in administering vaccines also showed that 214,050 people have gotten their first dose of a two-shot series, with 49,604 people having completed the two shots.
If all the state’s 5.6 million residents were to get two shots, the federal vaccine allocated so far would amount to less than 8 percent of what’s needed. The numbers don’t reflect doses sent directly to federal organizations in Minnesota such as Veterans Affairs facilities.
During a visit to a long-term care facility in New Hope, Gov. Tim Walz and Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said that with a new president came a different tone from the federal government that includes consistency in messaging about the virus and a willingness to understand the perspective of state and local governments in their virus response.
Should the Biden administration deliver on its goal of 100 million doses in the president’s first 100 days, that would work out to around 2 million doses reserved for Minnesota.
“At the rate we’re at, and this is where the frustration lies, it’s not fast enough so when they’re talking about releasing 100 million doses over that time … that gets us awfully close to (3 million) over the next 90 days,” Walz said. “If it falls short, again, we’re not closer to having that herd immunity.”
Minnesota officials have been eager to receive more doses of the vaccine, and launched nine pilot sites this week to administer shots to people 65 and up, in line with federal eligibility guidance that expanded to include the group. Teachers and child-care providers were also eligible to seek appointments at the pilot sites, though demand was so high and supplies so limited — just 6,000 doses for seniors — that a booking website crashed as appointments were snapped up.
The state has given top priority to health care workers and long-term care residents and staff, and officials said Thursday they’re on track to give the first of two doses to everyone in those groups by the end of January. The state’s virus dashboard shows weekly vaccinations ramping up since they began, with just under 5,000 shots given the first week the vaccine was available — Dec. 13 — rising to about 80,000 the week of Jan. 10.
The state is receiving an allocation of 68,000 doses next week, which includes second doses reserved for some who have received their first dose. Walz said they expect to see “a more predictable rhythm of what we’re going to get and how we’re going to get it” within the next week.

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Minnesota Headlines

Man in Minnesota charged with threatening member of Congress

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A marijuana industry activist who said he was temporarily living in Minnesota has been charged with threatening an unnamed member of Congress, according to court documents unsealed Friday.
Jason Robert Karimi, 32, was charged earlier this month with one count of interstate communication of a threat, and he made his first court appearance Friday. According to the charges, Karimi called a U.S. representative, who is not named in court documents, on Jan. 11 and left a voicemail threatening violence.
According to the charges, Karimi said, “I want to see you as scared as possible, terrified and (defecating) your pants … we’re coming for ya.” The voicemail went on to say “we are going to cause you pain in every way possible … we’re going to end all political power you have (and) make it so you can’t even walk in anything but a wheelchair.”
The voicemail was left just five days after a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Capitol Police reviewed the voicemail, and authorities traced the number to Karimi. When an FBI agent contacted him, Karimi allegedly said, “Is this about the voicemails?” according to court documents.
The criminal complaint says Karimi admitted to leaving the voicemail but said he intended only “political pain” and he uses “political threatening” to get attention. He said that after he left the voicemail, he was afraid the Secret Service would come and get him.
Karimi allegedly told the FBI agent that he worked mostly in Iowa as a lobbyist for the marijuana industry and that he wants to lobby the U.S. government on marijuana issues. He said he planned to move to South Dakota and was staying in St. Paul with a friend temporarily.
Court documents list the Federal Defender’s Office as Karimi’s attorney, which is often the case for first appearances, but the court docket says an attorney will be appointed. A message left with the federal defender was not immediately returned.
The Star Tribune reported that Karimi has actively blogged for a website that promotes marijuana policy in Iowa called “WeedPress,” and he’s commented about the industry on local television shows there.

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Minnesota Sports

JA Happ, Twins finalize $8 million, 1-year contract

By DAVE CAMPBELL AP Sports Writer
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — J.A. Happ won a World Series with Philadelphia in 2008 and returned to the final round with the Phillies the following season, but he hasn’t been back since.
The Minnesota Twins were Happ’s pick to try to experience anew the fall success that has often been missing since early in his career.
The left-hander finalized an $8 million, one-year contract with the Twins on Friday, giving the two-time defending AL Central champions — who are carrying a baseball-record 18-game postseason losing streak — a steady 38-year-old for the back of their rotation.
“After family, that’s number two on the list: ‘Does this team have a chance to contend?'” Happ said on a conference call with reporters. “You know they certainly do.”
Happ spent the past 2 1/3 seasons with the New York Yankees. Acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays at the 2018 trade deadline, he went 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts down the stretch to finish 17-6. The Yankees then rewarded him with a $34 million, two-year contract.
Happ went 12-8 with a 4.91 ERA in 2019, before struggling at the start of the pandemic-delayed 2020 season, prompting the Yankees to skip his turn. Happ gained strength as the year went on and finished with a 2-2 record and 3.47 ERA in nine starts. His $17 million option originally would have become guaranteed with 27 starts or 165 innings, a threshold reduced to 10 starts with the shortened season. He fell one short.
Happ followed Deivi García as an opener in Game 2 of the AL Division Series for New York and gave up two-run homers to Mike Zunino in the second inning and Manuel Margot in the third of the 7-5 loss to Tampa Bay. Happ said after the game he would have been more comfortable starting.
“Performance-wise, I felt really good about 2020. I thought I was sort of turning the page on the previous year and went back to the way I was throwing the ball for the last five, six years. I felt really good about that, being able to overcome some things during that season,” Happ said. “Great teammates there, and I wish them well, but I’m more just focused on moving forward and excited about this opportunity.”
Happ was the second offseason addition by the Twins, who also added relief pitcher Hansel Robles. Jake Odorizzi and Rich Hill became free agents, creating openings in the rotation behind José Berríos, Kenta Maeda and Michael Pineda. Minnesota was third in the AL in 2020 with a team ERA of 3.58.
An All-Star in 2018, Happ is 123-92 with a 3.98 ERA in 298 starts and 26 relief appearances over 14 major league seasons with the Phillies (2007-10), Astros (2010-12), Blue Jays (2012-14, 2016-18), Mariners (2015), Pirates (2015) and the Yankees.
“We’re looking for the right fit in our clubhouse, the right fit culturally and also the right fit on field,” Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said. “I think J.A. checks all of those boxes and then some. He’s somebody who comes incredibly highly recommended by every coach, teammate and others who have been around him.”
Said Happ: “I spent a few years in this league trying to be a pitcher that I wasn’t, and trying to pitch in a way that’s not productive for me, that’s not utilizing my strengths. I think I finally got to a point where I was able to have confidence in the things that I was actually good at and trust that I could use those and trust that they would work.”
___
More AP MLB coverage: https://apnews.com/MLB

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Minnesota Sports

Young scores 43, Capela nets triple-double in Hawks’ win

By TYLER MASON Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Trae Young scored a season-high 43 points, Clint Capela had 13 points, 19 rebounds and 10 blocks, and the Atlanta Hawks topped the Minnesota Timberwolves 116-98 on Friday night.
Young scored 25 points in the first half as the Hawks took a 19-point lead at halftime. He reached 40 points late in the third quarter with a step-back 3-pointer that put the Hawks up 84-59.
Capela had six blocks in the first half as Atlanta held Minnesota to 43 points on 16-of-35 shooting. Hawks players on the bench stood and cheered when Capela picked up his 10th block in the fourth quarter, swatting away a shot by a driving Jordan McLaughin.
Capela became the third player in Hawks history with 10 blocks in a game, joining Dikembe Mutombo and Josh Smith.
Second-year forward Cam Reddish returned after missing three games with a knee injury and added 15 points off the bench for the Hawks, who moved to 8-7.
Malik Beasley was one of the few bright spots for Minnesota with 17 points. Naz Reid added 13 points, eight rebounds and four blocks.
Minnesota has lost four straight and 11 of its last 12 after starting the season 2-0.
The same two teams faced earlier this week when the Hawks beat the Timberwolves 108-97 in Atlanta despite a season-high 24 turnovers. Each team played a game in between meetings, with Minnesota dropping a home game to Orlando and Atlanta beating the Pistons at home.
TIP-INS
Hawks: Capela recorded his sixth straight double-double and his ninth overall this season. … It was the 13th 40-point game of Young’s career and first this season.
Timberwolves: PG Ricky Rubio returned to action Friday after missing two games due to the league’s health and safety protocols. Rubio was the first player off the bench for Minnesota. … Jake Layman was the only player on the active roster who did not play in the first half Friday.
UP NEXT
Hawks: Atlanta plays in Milwaukee on Sunday.
Timberwolves: Minnesota looks to bounce back with a game Saturday at home against the New Orleans Pelicans. It’s New Orleans’ sixth straight road game.

Categories
Florida Headlines

Trump returns to a business empire ravaged by pandemic

By BERNARD CONDON

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump is returning to a family business ravaged by pandemic shutdowns and restrictions, with revenue plunging more than 40% at his Doral golf property, his Washington hotel and both his Scottish resorts over the past year.

Trump’s 2020 financial disclosure released as he left office this week was just the latest bad news for his financial empire after banks, real estate brokerages and golf organizations announced they were cutting ties with his company following the storming of the Capitol this month by his political supporters.

The disclosure showed sizable debt facing the company of more than $300 million, much of it coming due in the next four years, and a major bright spot: Revenue at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, his new post-presidency home, rose by a few million dollars.

Eric Trump, who with Donald Trump Jr. has run the Trump Organization the past four years, told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday that the disclosure doesn’t tell the whole story, calling the debt “negligible” and the outlook for the company bright, especially at its golf resorts and courses.

“The golf business has never been stronger. We took in hundreds and hundreds of new members,” he said, adding that profits were in the “tens of millions.”

Hinting at possible new ventures in the post-presidency era, Eric Trump raised the prospect of a flurry of new licensing deals in which the Trump name is put on a product or building for a fee, a business that has generated tens of millions for the company in the past.

“The opportunities are endless,” he said, declining to give details.

The disclosure report filed each year with federal ethics officials shows only revenue figures, not profits, but the hit to Trump’s business appeared widespread.

The National Doral Golf Club outside of Miami, his biggest money maker among the family’s golf properties, took in $44.2 million in revenue, a drop of $33 million from 2019. The Trump International Hotel in Washington, once buzzing with lobbyists and diplomats before operations were cut back last year, generated just $15.1 million in revenue, down more than 60% from the year before.

Trump’s Turnberry club in Scotland took in less than $10 million, down more than 60%. Revenue at the family’s golf club in Aberdeen dropped by roughly the same proportion.

The Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach club where Trump arrived Wednesday, saw revenue rise 10% to $24.2 million. Revenue at a golf club near that club and one in Charlotte, North Carolina, also rose, up about 5 percent to $13 million each.

In total, Trump’s vast holding of hotels, resorts, office buildings, licensing deals and other assets took in at least $278 million for 2020 and the first few weeks of the new year, down more than a third from a minimum of about $450 million in 2019.

The financial blow from former clients and business partners cutting ties to Trump is unclear, but it could be sizable. The PGA of America canceled a championship tournament at Trump’s Bedminster club in New Jersey, and several banks said they would no longer lend to the company, making it more difficult to roll over its debt with new loans.

In addition, New York City said it would be canceling various contracts with the company, including those running skating rinks and a golf club in the Bronx. Revenue at that course, the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, fell 20% last year to $6.4 million.

Eric Trump dismissed the backlash, saying parts of the business that get less attention, such as its commercial buildings, are thriving.

“I’ve signed 125,000 square feet of office space in the fourth quarter alone,” he said, referring to new leases. “We hit it out of the park.”

The disclosure report was unclear on that claim, though the revenue at four of the company’s most important commercial buildings — Trump Tower on New York’s Fifth Avenue, a Wall Street building, and two towers owned with real estate giant Vornado — seemed to have held up during the pandemic.

The report, which gives some figures in broad ranges and vague “more than” estimates, said the four took in over $20 million in total last year, unchanged from a year earlier.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press.

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Florida Headlines

Key West wants to ban people from feeding roaming chickens

KEY WEST(AP) — Feral chickens run free in Key West, just one of those things that keep the Southernmost City charmingly weird.

But what’s delightful here and there becomes a nuisance when they’re everywhere. With the population getting out of hand, city commissioners are taking action — not by hunting down the fixings for a massive tailgate party, but by going after their human enablers.

They’re making it illegal to feed the free-roaming birds.

An ordinance unanimously approved on a first reading Wednesday said the Florida city’s feral chickens can “carry and spread diseases, destroy property, and cause copious amounts of fecal deposits on public property.”

People who feed them would be punished with fines of $250 per day for a first violation and $500 per day for repeat offenders under the ordinance, which now awaits a second vote, the Miami Herald reported.

These chickens are fat, with little trouble finding meals. Tourists feed them popcorn or french fries, and some locals buy huge bags of bird feed for them.

“The fowl have a feast,” said City Commissioner Clayton Lopez, who sponsored the measure. “They can pick and choose better than we can what they eat off their plate.”

Patricia Eables, an assistant Monroe County attorney, said her neighbor feeds them several times a day, resulting in droppings on the stairs, handrails, cars and other surfaces, the Herald reported.

“We have done everything we can as neighbors to try to get her to stop doing it,” Eables said. “We started reaching out to code and learned there was no ordinance.”

Charles Malta said his street has been invaded by chickens.

“The population has literally exploded,” Malta said. “They’re being fed and when you ask anybody to stop it’s like you’re asking them for their first-born. “It’s a heated thing on both sides.”

The city’s wild chickens don’t need help finding food, Tom Sweets, executive director of the Key West Wildlife Center, told the newspaper. The island is a bug-rich environment for them.

“Nothing is worse for the chickens than feeding them,” Sweets said. “I’ve never seen a skinny chicken in Key West unless it’s sick or injured. There’s really not a need. They’re quite capable of taking care of themselves.”

The wildlife center says it doesn’t remove healthy Key West Chickens, but it did take in about 1,500 injured, sick, and orphaned chickens last year. So far this month alone, they’ve received about 180. The surviving birds are relocated to free-range ranches north of Lake Okeechobee and near Fort Myers, according to the center’s website.

The feeding ban doesn’t apply to chickens kept in coops or pens, officials said.

The roaming chickens are fearless when it comes to approaching people, said City Commissioner Mary Lou Hoover.

“They’re becoming more aggressive by the day,” Hoover said. In her district, people have reported that when they go to put dog feces in the trash, chickens come up and attack them, thinking it might be food.

Categories
Florida Headlines

Florida unemployment dips to 6.1% in December

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s unemployment rate dipped slightly in December, but is still far above the unemployment rate from a year ago, according to figures released by the state on Friday.

Last month’s unemployment rate was 6.1%, up 3.2 percentage points from December 2019. The national rate was 6.7%, according to the Department of Economic Opportunity. The December figure was .02% lower than November’s rate.

The state lost nearly 1.2 million jobs during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, but has regained more than half since the beginning of May, the department said in a media release.

Last month there were 614,000 jobless Floridians out of a workforce of 10.1 million people.

St. Johns and Wakulla counties had the lowest unemployment rate at 3.6% followed by Monroe County at 3.8%. Osceola County had the highest unemployment rate at 8.7%, followed by Miami-Dade County at 7.3% and Orange and Putnam Counties at 7.2%.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press.