Optimistic about playoff chances, Larson ready to hit his stride

first_imgEven factoring in his laidback Californian-cool personality, listening to Kyle Larson this week, it’s obvious that he is both optimistic and confident about his chances to qualify for the 2019 edition of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.That’s not to say, however, Larson doesn’t have a plan.The popular driver of the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet is ranked 13th in the driver standings as the series heads into Sunday’s Gander RV 400 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Larson holds a 14-point advantage on Clint Bowyer, who is currently in the 16th and final playoff transfer position. He has a 31-point advantage on Jimmie Johnson and Daniel Suarez, who are 17th and 18th respectively, tied in points with six races remaining to set the field.RELATED: Larson in your fantasy lineup for Pocono?“I feel okay about it (position) but thankful the rest of the bubble guys had issues this last race (at New Hampshire) because I DNFed and only lost nine points to the cutoff,” Larson said. “I was surprised by that.“I do feel like our cars are definitely fast enough and capable and should be in the playoffs. As far as speed goes, I feel good about it. But obviously, I’ve got to just not make mistakes to give up a lot of points, like I could have this last weekend.”Not too surprisingly to his fans and the greater NASCAR nation who has gotten to know the young talent, Larson would prefer not to rely on points advantages and instead earn that first victory of 2019. Just win.And the series is visiting venues where that could happen – places where Larson has traditionally shined.This week’s 400-miler at Pocono Raceway is followed by races at Watkins Glen, Michigan, Bristol, Darlington and finally the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway.Larson has a runner-up finish at Pocono in 2018. He won two stages and led 35 laps in the race this June, only to finish a disappointing 26th. And Larson has a pair of top-10 runs in five starts at Watkins Glen – including a best of fourth in 2014.But the brightest and biggest circle on Larson’s schedule is probably around the Aug. 11 stop at Michigan International Speedway where Larson won his first ever Monster Energy Series race in 2016 and answered by sweeping the 2017 season. He hasn’t had a top 10 since his last victory in 2017 at the track, but was encouraged by his 14th-place finish back in June. It remains a valid opportunity to secure that “safety net” victory.“Michigan, we’ve obviously had a lot of success, but the racing was way different then, so it’s hard to say that I go there with the same amount of confidence I had back in 2017,” Larson said. “But we raced there a few weeks ago and we were really fast, our pit strategy just didn’t work out there at the end. I ran inside the top-three, top-five most of the race. We could be good there.“Bristol and Darlington, those are a couple of my best tracks. I’m excited about the upcoming month and a half of racing because those are tracks I’ve historically run pretty well at.”RELATED: What are Larson’s odds for Pocono?Bristol Motor Speedway’s high-banked half-mile has been a particularly good venue for Larson. He’s won the pole position twice and finished runner-up in both races last year. Twice, Larson has led at least 200 laps in a race at Bristol.The historic Darlington (S.C.) Raceway has been another positive entry in Larson’s young career. He has four top 10s in five starts, including a pair of career best third-place finishes. He led a dominating 284 of 367 laps in his third place effort last year.“Consistency is probably what we need to do the most to gain points, but then you know, if a win is there for the taking, we’re definitely going to try to win,” Larson said. “But we also can’t do anything too crazy in terms of fuel strategy or things like that, that could cost us if it doesn’t work out. Obviously, we’d like to not be close to the Playoff bubble because then we could call our races a little differently, but that’s just the box we’re in.”And so Larson insists his method involves taking care of himself and not paying too much attention to the immediate playoff competition. He’s optimistic. That’s half the battle.“It is kind of crazy seeing Jimmie Johnson floating around that cutoff, I don’t really pay attention to that necessarily – everyone’s history and successes that they’ve had,” Larson said.“I just want to make the playoffs, so we’ll keep trying to finish these races. We were doing a good job and gaining a lot of points and this past weekend kind of set us back a little bit. But we’ve got fast cars and that helps make it a little easier to be consistent and do what we’ve got to do to make the playoffs.’’last_img read more

Greensky Bluegrass Welcomes Tom Hamilton To Kick Off Two-Night Denver Run With Ghost Light [Photos/Videos]

first_imgGreensky Bluegrass was in Denver, CO on Friday where the jamgrass outfit opened their weekend run at Mission Ballroom with support from Ghost Light in front of a packed crowd. Having two popular headline-level bands on the bill all weekend presents ample opportunity for some top-notch sit-ins, which is exactly what happened last night when Greensky welcomed guitarist Tom Hamilton to help play on a few tunes towards the latter half of the show.Related: Greensky Bluegrass Announces 2020 Dates For Camp GreenskyFollowing Ghost Light’s opening performance, Greensky took the stage to open the first of their two sets with “The Four”, “Train Junkie”, “Can’t Make Time”, “White House Blues”. “Old Barns” and “Blood Sucking F(r)iends” also rounded out the first half of their show before sending their fans into set break with “Stop That Train”.Greensky Bluegrass – “The Four” – 12/6/2019[Video: Nate Searcy]Greensky returned for a second set that included “Clinch Mountain Backstep, “Worries About the Weather”, and a two-part “Wish I Didn’t Know” into Tears For Fears‘ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”. The highlight of the set came when they welcomed Hamilton to the stage to play on The Allman Brothers Band‘s “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More” and “Kerosene” to close the show. The band returned to the stage sans Hamilton for a one-song encore of “Past My Prime”.Watch videos from the second half of the show below.Greensky Bluegrass – “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” – 12/6/2019[Video: john jeffries]Both Ghost Light and Greensky Bluegrass will have plenty of opportunities to trade sit-ins as the two have a number of previously-announced performances together scheduled well into the early 2020 winter months.Saturday’s show at Mission Ballroom is sold out, but fans can head to the Greensky Bluegrass and Ghost Light websites for upcoming tour info and tickets.Below, you can view a gallery of the show courtesy of photographer Jason Myers.Setlist: Greensky Bluegrass | Mission Ballroom | Denver, CO | 12/6/2019Set One: The Four, Train Junkie, Can’t Make Time, White House Blues, Do It Alone, Living Over, Old Barns, Blood Sucking F(r)iends, Stop that TrainSet Two: Reverend, Clinch Mountain Backstep, Cathedral Eyes, Worried About the Weather, Wish I Didn’t Know> Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Tears for Fears cover), Before Bring Out Your Dead > Bring Out Your Dead, Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More* (The Allman Brothers Band cover), Kerosene*Encore: Past My PrimeNotes:* w/ Tom Hamilton (guitar)Greensky Bluegrass | Mission Ballroom | Denver, CO | 12/06/19 | Photos: Jason Myers Photo: Jason Myers Load remaining imageslast_img read more

Nation’s Health System Found Unready for Terror

first_imgHospitals that receive the money are expected to arrange a communications system, a bed-tracking system and an evacuation plan, among other requirements. But hospital officials responding to the report said bringing their facilities into compliance with federal standards linked to the grants is too difficult. Progress that the public health system made immediately after the September 11, 2001, attacks has slowed, he said, leaving the system unfinished. Current funding levels allow eligible hospitals to receive federal grants of up to $82,500 this year. In the six years since the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, Congress spent $7.7 billion on disaster-preparedness initiatives by public health agencies. Those funds aren t just shrinking, they are going in the wrong direction, according to the report. Specifically, hospital preparedness funding has declined steadily — dropping to $766 million in 2006 from more than $850 million in 2005 — while funding for the national stockpile of emergency medicines doubled to about $620 million in 2007. We had been in a mode of ramping up our preparedness capabilities. States and localities had purchased a lot of equipment and supplies. Now with funding levels going down, we re looking at funding shifting into sustainment mode, said Melissa Sanders, leader of health care systems preparedness at the Department of Homeland Security. WAHINGTON, D.C.– The nation s public health system is not prepared to handle the mass casualties that would result from an act of terrorism, according to a study released yesterday. The report is right on the money, said Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute, a New York think tank that provides advice to doctors and hospitals, found that funds are insufficient to develop an effective response to a disaster. Because there are funding needs at both the federal and state levels, the public health system is not built for the long haul, Mr. Benjamin said. It can deal with short-term disasters but it is not a long-term disaster relief system. We tend to think of such large-scale disasters as one-off events, yet a major disaster has occurred every week on average in the U.S. for the past 10 years, said Carter Pate, global and U.S. managing partner of health industries and government services at PricewaterhouseCoopers. The American public is relying on a fragmented medical system to miraculously mount a swift, well-orchestrated response. Until further planning takes place, we should not be surprised if the system fails next time. Mr. Benjamin cited the lack of a national trauma system as a glaring need in the public health system. I believe the largest threat comes from bombs, and we don t have a national trauma system in place for that kind of disaster, he said.last_img read more

Sewer Backup Causes NY Hospital Diversion

first_imgWSYR – St. Joseph’s Hospital will be sending all ambulance calls to other hospitals through at least noon on Tuesday due to a sewer back-up. The Emergency Department is still accepting walk-in patients.last_img

Chile Rejects $2.5 Billion Iron Mine to Protect Penguins

first_imgIf Chilean representatives had accepted the proposal, the firm would have begun extracting millions of tons of metal from the earth, as well as building a seaport for the metal’s exportation.RELATED: India Saves Its Tigers Instead of Mining For $330M in DiamondsSince conservationists warned that the projects could potentially harm the penguins, the Chilean government refused.“The compensation measures were insufficient and could not guarantee the protection of species of concern,” Environmental Minister Marcelo Mena told the Associated Press.“We are not against economic development or projects that are necessary for the country’s growth, but they must offer adequate solutions for the impact they will have.”Click To Share The News With Your Friends (Photo by BZD1, CC)AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreThe Chilean government has just turned down a $2.5 billion mining project in favor of endangered wildlife conservation.The original project proposal was for an iron mining initiative launched by the Andes Iron firm in the Coquimbo region. The region is dangerously close to the National Humboldt Penguin Reserve: a collection of islands that house and protect the Humboldt penguin, along with several other endangered species.last_img read more

Jason Mraz to Make Broadway Debut in Waitress

first_imgJason Mraz & Betsy Wolfe(Photo: Jason Bell) Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 5, 2020 View Commentscenter_img We couldn’t have ordered up a more exciting new leading man! Singer-songwriter Jason Mraz will join leading lady Betsy Wolfe in the company of Broadway’s Waitress in the role of Dr. Pomatter beginning on November 3. The two-time Grammy winner will play a limited 10-week engagement in the musical at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.Mraz is most known for the 2009 chart-topper “I’m Yours.” He won a pair of 2010 Grammy Awards for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for “Make It Mine” and Best Pop Collaboration for “Lucky.” Mraz’s albums include Waiting for My Rocket to Come, Mr. A–Z, Yes! and Love Is a Four-Letter Word. The sweet-voiced star’s TV gigs have included appearances on Sesame Street, Saturday Night Live, Opening Act and Dancing with the Stars. He produced the 2012 documentary film The Big Fix and narrated the 2015 doc Unity. Waitress will mark Mraz’s stage-acting debut as well as his first appearance on the Great White Way.Waitress, based on the film of the same name, features a book by Jessie Nelson and a Tony-nominated score by Sara Bareilles. The cast, under the direction of Diane Paulus, is currently led by former Broadway.com vlogger Wolfe as Jenna, Drew Gehling as Dr. Pomatter, Caitlin Houlahan as Dawn, Maia Nkenge Wilson as Becky, Dakin Matthews as Joe, Eric Anderson as Cal, Will Swenson as Earl and Christopher Fitzgerald as Ogie.As previously announced, two-time Tony winner John Cullum will join the cast of Waitress as Joe on October 5.Get a first listen of Mraz’s Dr. Pomatter with his and Bareilles’ take on “Bad Idea” from Bareilles’ album What’s Inside: Songs from Waitress. Waitresslast_img read more

Sea Wall/A Life, Starring Jake Gyllenhaal & Tom Sturridge, to Be Recorded by Audible

first_img Sea Wall/A Life Tom Sturridge In advance of concluding its limited Broadway run, producers of Sea Wall/A Life have announced that the acclaimed production will be recorded for release by Audible. Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge star in the pair of solo plays, which began previews at the Hudson Theatre on July 26 and officially opened on August 8.Sea Wall, written by Tony winner Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) and starring Sturridge, is a work about love and the human need to know the unknowable. A Life, penned by Nick Payne (Constellations) and featuring Gyllenhaal, is a meditation on how we say goodbye to those we love most.Sea Wall and A Life were first paired together in an early 2019 world premiere staging starring Sturridge and Gyllenhaal at the Public Theater. The Broadway production is scheduled to conclude on September 29.An Audible release date will be announced soon. View Comments Tom Sturridge performs Simon Stephens’ “Sea Wall”(Photo: Richard Hubert Smith) Star Filescenter_img Related Shows Jake Gyllenhaal Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 29, 2019 Jake Gyllenhaal performs Nick Payne’s “A Life”(Photo: Richard Hubert Smith)last_img read more

In virtual roundtable on voting rights, Rep. Davids discusses safe ways to access the polls during pandemic

first_imgBalancing voters’ rights to access the ballot while protecting their health and safety is key to this year’s elections amid a global pandemic, said Rep. Sharice Davids in a virtual roundtable in May on voting rights with leaders of the End Citizens United and Let America Vote.Tiffany Muller, president of End Citizens United and Let America Vote, and Jason Kander, former Secretary of State in Missouri and founder of Let America Vote, led discussions with Davids on voting rights and access to the polls during the COVID-19 pandemic.Rep. Sharice Davids talks with Tiffany Muller and Jason Kander, leaders of End Citizens United and Let America Vote, in a roundtable on voting rights last month.Davids said she had anxiety watching the news about Wisconsin voters standing in line for hours trying to access the polls in April. The “fundamental and important nature of our right to vote,” she noted.“People should not be put in a position where they have to decide between their health and safety and exercising their right to vote, not here, not in this country,” Davids said.Citing $400 million in CARES Act funds to help states make voting safe and accessible during the pandemic, Davids said Congress has a role to play in ensuring that voters have access to the ballot and that their votes are counted.“I also think that we have a lot more work to do,” Davids added. “I think that at the end of the day, we need to provide the resources and mechanisms, for whether it’s vote by mail, absentee voting, early voting with tons of precautions. We have to do everything in our power to make sure that people can freely exercise their right to vote and do it in a safe way.”Davids noted that “conversations like these need to continue to happen” to help raise awareness on voter suppression tactics.Meanwhile, Johnson County commissioners last month voted to spend $1 million to update polling machinery.A video of the voting rights roundtable can be viewed below:League of Women Voters of Johnson County seeking safe ways to access the polls during COVID-19 pandemicThe League of Women Voters of Johnson County and the Kansas Coalition for Citizen Participation are also urging Secretary of State Scott Schwab to take action to ensure safe voting practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.The two organizations want to see expanded access to mail-in ballots, increased election transparency and safe and fair in-person voting.Voter registration with the League of Women Voters of Johnson County will look different this year while the organization seeks alternatives to in-person registration events. League member Gloria Hiller runs a voter registration booth at Monticello Library. Photo courtesy LWVJoCo.Amber Stenger, a spokesperson with the League of Women Voters of Johnson County, said access to the polls “includes ensuring people have vote-by-mail options and several, equitable, accessible in-person voting options.”“Ideally, the secretary of state would automatically send mail-in ballots to all registered voters and provide postage-paid, self-adhesive return envelopes,” she said. “And ideally, voters would have several safe and convenient in-person polling places with expanded early voting periods.”In the past, the League has helped recruit poll workers and disseminate information about where and how people can vote in Johnson and Wyandotte counties. Stenger said the organization plans to do so again this year through new voter registration tools and partnerships with civic and faith organizations in Wyandotte County to make sure voters have what they need.“LWVJoCo has reached out to the election commissioners in Johnson and Wyandotte counties to offer our help in making voting safe, fair and accessible for all voters,” Stenger said. “We can protect voting access and prioritize public health at the same time.”last_img read more

Phoenix Housing Market in a Slump

first_imgThe Phoenix-area housing market is officially in a slump. That’s according to a new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, which reveals the latest details on Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of June:* Though the median single-family home price went up 11 percent from last June, the forward price movement has dramatically slowed down from last year.* Activity in the market remains sluggish, with single-family home sales down 11 percent from last June.* A few slightly encouraging signs were for builders, who saw an uptick in new-home sales in June and their highest monthly total of new single-family construction permits in more than two years.Phoenix-area home prices shot up from September 2011 to last summer, before slowing down and then even dropping a little earlier this year. Then, this June – after three months of almost stagnant prices – the median single-family-home price finally rose to $211,000. That’s up 11 percent from $190,000 last June. Realtors will note the average price per square foot went up about 10 percent. However, the report’s author says we’re not likely to see much more forward movement for a while.“We’re in an 11-month slump in demand; sales were very low in the spring,” says Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “There are a few positive signs that demand may gradually start to recover during the second half of this year, but we are unlikely to see much help for pricing until 2015 because there is always a long delay – typically nine to 15 months — between any change in the market and the resulting change in pricing. Meantime, we may see a little downward correction, not a bubble bursting, as some have predicted.”While sales of luxury homes continue to do OK in this market, demand for other categories remains weak. Sales of single-family homes and condos were down 11 percent from last June to this June.Fewer investors are focusing their attention on the Phoenix area, now that better bargains can be found elsewhere. The percentage of Phoenix-area residential properties purchased by investors dropped all the way from the peak of 39.7 percent in July 2012 to 14.4 percent this June. That’s down around the historic norm for the Phoenix area. However, something is changing a little to create a different type of demand.“We are finally seeing a change in the trend of low household formation,” explains Orr. “The nation saw some improvement in the second quarter of 2014. This means more people may be moving out and renting or buying their own homes.”Perhaps in response to increased household formation, new-home sales had a pretty good month in June. For the first month all year, new-home sales topped the same time last year. In fact, new-home sales went up 5 percent just from May to June alone. New single-family construction permits also hit their highest monthly total since May 2012. Multi-family construction permits and rents continue on a strong upward trend, too.Still, the supply of homes available for sale, especially at the lower end of the market, remains slim. Active listings (excluding homes already under contract) fell 5 percent during June. Also, new foreclosures aren’t broadly becoming available to create new supply. Completed foreclosures went down 35 percent from last June to this June.Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed and downloaded at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. A podcast with more analysis from Orr will also be available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.last_img read more

Shinnecock Nation Demands Accurate Census Count

first_imgIndependent/Charles CertainMembers of the Shinnecock Indian Nation are standing with other tribal leaders, elders, and community advocates calling for a more accurate census count of indigenous peoples. “A good census count ensures that accurate data will guide funding and planning decisions for tribes and native communities for a decade,” said Shinnecock Nation Council of Trustees board member Germain Smith. He and tribal leaders from four of Long Island’s aboriginal nations met with representatives from the U.S. Census Bureau at “Indigenous Suffolk Counts: We Are Still Here,” a census information session held at the Hyatt Place Long Island/East End in Riverhead March 1 to address concerns and discuss the importance of a correct count. Smith’s organization Shinnecock Leaders of Tomorrow helped fund Indigenous Suffolk Counts through its partnership with the New York State Census Equity Fund. The meeting’s focus was on reaching pockets of unidentified indigenous people residing in Suffolk County, and to encourage them, regardless of tribal affiliation or language, to check only one box in the race section of the 2020 Census to identify as Native American only. “It is very important that we self-identify and create the opportunity to count ourselves and be counted,” said guest speaker Lynda Perdomo-Ayala, MSW, who represented Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s office and the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission. Perdomo-Ayala, who identifies as Puerto Rican and has cousins of Taino indigenous heritage living in aboriginal communities in Puerto Rico, said race in America has been historically assigned at birth based on the binary extreme of white or black. Self-identifying as Native American only, she said, allows indigenous people to reclaim their tribal identity and bring awareness to their continued existence in modern society, reinforcing the campaign’s motto: “We are still here. Be counted.” After choosing Native American, respondents can then write in their primary tribal group by name. According to U.S. Census officials, this process of checking only one box ensures that important program and infrastructure funding reserved for Native Americans reaches these underserved communities; whereas those who identify as two or more races are counted as multicultural, an ambiguous category that is not considered for targeted funding. This revelation prompted a dialogue among the four attending tribal nations and the crowd of nearly four dozen tribal community members and allies. Smith, Seneca Bowen, Danny S. Collins Sr., and Linda Franklin represented the Shinnecock Nation; Chief Robert Pharaoh, the Montaukett Indian Nation; Chief Harry Wallace, the Unkechaug Nation; and Elder Hannah Thomas, the Setalcott Nation. Chief Wallace expressed his frustration with the census question’s direction to “mark one or more boxes,” if the potential answer only serves to dilute funding opportunities for underserved groups. Kelly Dennis, a lawyer from the Shinnecock Nation, said that while the system may be biased, in order to maintain tribal sovereignty, these communities must work within it to be able to access the funding and resources they require to function like any U.S. city or town. “Being a Native American, specifically a member of a tribe, is a political identity. It’s not just a racial identity,” she said. “That is why we are sovereign nations who have a specific government-to-government relationship with local, state, and federal governments.” Other guest speakers included Marie Smith of the Long Island Community Foundation and Jeff Behler, the U.S. Census Bureau New York State regional director, who each addressed the implications of census data, including how it will affect indigenous representation at the local, state, and federal levels.“We will not allow indigenous people to be made invisible,” said indigenous ally Carolyn Peabody, PhD., a Stony Brook University School of Social Welfare professor who founded Indigenous Suffolk Counts with the support of the university, the New York Community Trust, and her indigenous students and colleagues. “Every time we stand up and stand together, these are all acts that pull the rug out from historical and institutional efforts at cultural annihilation.”[email protected] Sharelast_img read more