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Three dozen backcountry huts pause reservations for this winter while navigating COVID-19 concerns

Big changes are coming to reservation procedures for three dozen Colorado backcountry huts this winter because of COVID-19 concerns.

The process for new reservations has been frozen while previously confirmed reservations are being adjusted in order to ensure that only single parties use the huts this winter. As a result, some who had reservations are forfeiting them.

“We are happy and delighted to report that the huts are going to be open this winter,” said Ben Dodge, executive director of the 10th Mountain Division Huts Association. “We had to make a few changes to address COVID-19. The (reservations) closure we currently have in place is very temporary. The only reason we are not accepting new reservations is because we are currently reconfiguring all of the reservations that have already been made for winter, many of which are multiple parties booking into one hut.”

10th Mountain, a non-profit organization named in honor of the 10th Mountain Division World War II “ski troops” who trained for mountain and winter warfare in the high country between Aspen and Vail, was formed nearly 40 years ago. It was inspired by hut networks in the Alps, including the famous Haute Route from Chamonix, France, to Zermatt, Switzerland. 10th Mountain currently owns a dozen huts and manages reservations for two dozen more that are owned by other entities, including five in Summit County.

In normal years, users could reserve one spot or the entire hut. For many, part of the fun was sharing the hut with newly met like-minded strangers, often with meals turning into smorgasbords of shared dishes.

That won’t happen this winter, though, because of the pandemic.

“Which is unfortunate, in my viewpoint, because that is one of the joys of going to the hut — meeting new people whom we share a lot with,” Dodge said. ”The concerns with COVID were such that even people with similar interests and like minds may have dramatically different viewpoints on COVID-19 and what it takes to be comfortable with it at the hut. We wanted to make sure there was less chance of controversy, discord, user conflicts at the hut that might have been caused by different viewpoints with multiple parties.”

To that end, 10th Mountain is working with existing reservation-holders to convert multi-party reservations to single parties. Those with reservations are being contacted in order of when their reservations were made, “using first in time, first in right,” as Dodge put it. They are given the opportunity to keep the reservation, but they must meet a minimum number of spots which will vary depending on the hut and which organization manages it.

“An example would be, if you and I booked a hut as a party of two, and we were the first ones to book, we would have right of first refusal,” Dodge said. “We would be contacted by 10th Mountain, and we would have the opportunity to maintain that reservation, but we would have to meet the minimum. At the huts we own and operate, that is 12 people. If we really don’t want to pay for 12 people, we would decline. We would get 100% credit for our reservation. Then 10th Mountain would go to second-in-time and allow them to do it, so on and so forth.”

Dodge said the decision on minimums was not intended to maximize revenue, but to make sure hut occupancy was maximized within the parameters of COVID-19 concerns and the need for single-party use.

“It was made to further our mission, provide a backcountry hut experience, and to allow as many people as possible to have that experience.” Dodge said. “We felt if we allowed a group of two or three that was first in time (making the initial reservations), if they had the ability to get the whole hut and just for that two or three or four, we were removing up to eight or nine spots available to the public.”

Dodge said the re-booking process has been going on for several weeks and it may take a couple more. At that time, it will we resume taking new reservations.

In most huts, users bring sleeping bags, which they place on fixed wooden cots, dormitory style. Hut users have always been responsible for cleaning huts and sweeping floors before leaving, but they will be asked to do more this winter. 10th Mountain will provide disinfectants.

“We expect them to clean and disinfect the hut as they arrive, and to clean and disinfect the hut when they leave,” Dodge said. “We did away with pillows, we did away with flannel sheets on the mattresses. We went with polyurethane mattress covers, which we had fabricated by a gal in Leadville, a seamstress. They can be cleaned in place with the disinfectants and cleaners that we provide.”

Dodge knows many backcountry enthusiasts will be disappointed if the change in procedures due to COVID means they will miss out on a hut trip this winter.

“We understand that there are winners and losers in this,” Dodge said. “The losers really are the ones who like to book smaller parties. A lot of those folks aren’t going to want to pay for 12 spots and only bring seven or eight people. I don’t judge the success of what we do by the numbers and how much money we make. I can only judge it by how good is that hut experience. We’ve decided, given COVID, it’s a better experience with single-party groups.”

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Saskatchewan-based father-daughter duo share love for stock car racing

Father-daughter duo share the same love for racing.


Another comeback win for Serena Williams at the US Open

(CNN) — Serena Williams pulled off another comeback win at the US Open on Monday, ensuring the weakened Grand Slam event didn’t lose a legendary player for a second consecutive day.

Williams trailed familiar foe Maria Sakkari by a break early in the third set before turning the tables for a 6-3 6-7 (6) 6-3 victory on Arthur Ashe Stadium to reach the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam for a 53rd time, tying Martina Navratilova for second on the all-time women’s list.

One of the most dramatic moments in Grand Slam history unfolded on the same court a day earlier as men’s world No. 1 and 17-time major winner Novak Djokovic was defaulted when he hit a ball that struck a line judge.

The hard-court major in New York was already missing Djokovic’s two main rivals, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who stayed away for different reasons. Federer is recovering from knee surgery while Nadal cited coronavirus concerns and is preparing for the French Open.

In the women’s draw, the two highest ranked players, Ashleigh Barty and Simona Halep, skipped New York due to coronavirus concerns.

But in Williams, the US Open arguably has the biggest star of them all and the 38-year-old remains in contention to collect a record tying 24th Grand Slam title.

Sakkari had defeated Williams at the warmup Western & Southern Open in three sets. In that one, too, she won a second-set tiebreak.

Sakkari took lead in third

And when Greece’s top-ranked female player led 2-0 in the decider, it appeared as if the 15th seed was on course to become the first player since Justine Henin in 2007 to get the better of Williams — excluding a retirement — in back-to-back tournaments.

Williams, though, has won 23 majors for a reason.

Her game picked up and the desire, as ever, was there.

She broke for 2-2 and then again for 5-3. After forcing Sakkari into an error on match point, Williams let out a loud roar, which resonated even more since there are no fans at this year’s tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Williams wasn’t as close to exiting in the previous round but trailed 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens by a set.

Williams will face fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova in the last eight. Williams owns a 4-0 record against the Bulgarian, who is contesting her first tournament in three years.

Pironkova also lost a second-set tiebreak, against France’s Alize Cornet, before progressing 6-4 6-7 (5) 6-3


Toronto Raptors even up series against Boston Celtics with 100-93 win

The series is now a best-of three heading into Monday's Game 5.


Rocky Mountain National Park expands rutting season closures as people keep approaching frisky elk

With elk rutting season approaching, Rocky Mountain National Park will implement overnight closures in select areas of the park beginning Tuesday.

Rangers have expanded the hours of closures this year because there have been increasing incidents of visitors approaching elk over the past two years, according to a park news release.

From 5 p.m. until 10 a.m., travel off of established roadways and designated trails on foot or horseback will be prohibited in Horseshoe Park, Upper Beaver Meadows, Moraine Park, Harbison Meadow and Holzwarth Meadow, the release said. In previous years, those closures were lifted at 7 a.m. but have been extended to 10 a.m. this year. Closures will remain in effect through Oct. 31.

In addition, fishing in designated areas of Fall River, Thompson River or the Colorado River will be closed from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m., as in previous years.

Elk rutting season normally peaks from mid-September through mid-October. According to the news release, the purpose of the closures is to “prevent disturbance and harassment of elk during their fall mating period and to enhance visitor elk viewing opportunities.”

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Auburn football confirms nine new positive COVID-19 cases, 16 players unavailable for practice this week

AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn is getting ready to open the season on September 26 against the Kentucky Wildcats, but the Tigers’ second week of fall practice came to a halt due to positive COVID-19 test results.

Auburn has reported a total of nine new positive cases this week. Head Coach Gus Malzahn did not specify which players or position groups were impacted.

“Every day and every week is a different challenge and we talked about the teams that can be adaptable,” Malzahn said. “This is a learning process I think for everyone and I think for us we’re testing probably as much or more than anyone, so it’s giving us really good information. The challenge with having students back the last two weeks obviously we haven’t responded as well as we did before they did we’re gonna have to adjust.”

The Tigers have not practiced since last Tuesday, but will return to practice this Tuesday. At least 16 players will be unavailable this week due to the COVID-19 positive results.


Celtics beat out Raptors 112-94 in conference semifinals game 1

Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart scored 21 points apiece to lead the Boston Celtics to a lopsided 112-94 win over the Raptors in Game 1 of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals.


Alabama coaches, players to march against social injustice Monday

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama players and coaches are planning a march Monday to protest social injustice, ending at the schoolhouse door where Gov. George Wallace once stood to block two Black students from entering in 1963.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said he supports his players’ focus on trying to “make things better in the future.” They’re joining a number of other college and professional sports teams who have marched or spoken out in the wake of police shootings including Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Tailback Najee Harris posted the plans for Monday’s march on Twitter and teammates retweeted. Harris said they would march from the Mal Moore Athletics Facility at 4 p.m. and “meet at the schoolhouse door at Foster Auditorium.”

“We want our voices to be heard as we strive to enact social change and rid our world of social injustices,” Harris wrote.

In another post, he said: “We want all Alabama athletes to join us. This isn’t a fan day … this isn’t a football game … this is about lasting CHANGE!”

Saban has arranged for a number of speakers to the team, including Condoleeza Rice, Tony Dungy, Stephen A. Smith, Joey Galloway and Charles Barkley.

“And they all did a phenomenal job of trying to explain to players, how can we have a plan for change?” Saban said. “How can we make things better in the future? And I think that’s what our players have really been focused on, and I think that’ll be what they want to try to get out there, a message on Monday. And we’re very much in support of that.”


‘New normal’ of curling coming to Saskatchewan in September

Saskatoon’ Sutherland Curling Club is being prepared to be the first rink in Saskatchewan to welcome curlers back since the COVID-19 shutdown in March.


NBA to resume after historic anti-racism protests put post-season on pause

In a joint statement released Friday, the sides said they would immediately establish a social justice coalition, made up of players, coaches and owners, that would focus on issues such as voting access and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform.


Calgary Black community calls for candid conversations about racism as NBA, NHL cancel games

The conversation about racism has flared up in recent days -- in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Wisconsin man who was shot by police seven times during an arrest Sunday.


NHL suspends games in solidarity with anti-police brutality protests

The players requested the postponements and the league supported the decision, the NHL and NHL Players' Association said in a joint statement.


Vail Resorts to require reservations, but only Epic Pass holders can save spots at start of season

Vail Resorts became the first major ski resort operator in Colorado to release details of the COVID-19 protocols it plans to implement for the upcoming ski season, announcing that a reservation system will be instituted to limit numbers and keep visitors safe.

Acknowledging that its plan will be an “inconvenience” for visitors, chief executive Rob Katz outlined procedures for social distancing on lifts, gondolas and in on-mountain restaurants in a detailed, five-page letter to pass holders that went out Thursday morning.

“It goes without saying that operations at our 34 North American resorts will abide by all local regulations, but for us, that’s just where safety begins,” Katz’s letter stated. “Since the beginning of this crisis, we have made a commitment to all of our stakeholders that we will operate in a way that puts safety first and uses the insights we have gleaned from operating so many resorts around the world. This often means choosing to go above and beyond what is required in order to do our very best to provide you peace of mind.”

Vail Resorts owns five resorts in Colorado, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Crested Butte. Highlights of the protocols announced Thursday include:

  • Guests will be required to wear face coverings on mountains and in every area of resort operations, including lift lines, on lifts and in gondola cars.
  • Only related parties (guests skiing or riding together) will be loaded together on lifts, with exceptions: Two unrelated parties will be allowed to load on four-person chairlifts, seated on opposite sides of the chair; two unrelated singles or pairs will be allowed to sit on opposite sides of six-person chairs; two singles will be allowed to sit on opposite sides of gondola cabins.
  • A reservation system prioritizing Epic Pass holders will be implemented to limit numbers and ensure that guests will have the space they need while at the resort. Pass holders will be required to make reservations before arriving at the resort. The number of lift tickets sold to the general public on a given day will depend on how many pass holders have made reservations, and they will be sold only online or through Vail Resorts call centers.

Only Epic Pass holders will have access to Vail Resorts mountains through Dec. 7. Pass holders also will be entitled to priority reservation days so they can lock in their visits before lift tickets go on sale to the general public.

“For the vast majority of days during the season, we believe everyone who wants to get on our mountains will be able to,” Katz wrote. “However, we are not planning for the majority of days, we are planning for every day of the season. We want to provide assurance to our guests that we will do our very best to minimize crowds at all times — be it a holiday weekend or the unpredictable powder day. We believe this approach will help ensure a safe experience for everyone, while prioritizing access for our pass holders.”

The effort to limit numbers is less about the carrying capacity of trails on the mountain and more about pinch points such as lifts, lift lines, restaurants and restrooms. Full-service sit-down restaurants will have reduced seating to enable social distancing. Full-service bars will not be in operation but packaged beer and wine will be sold.

The protocols were formulated with the hope of ensuring that once Vail Resorts mountains open for skiing, they can remain open. Keystone is scheduled to open Nov. 6, conditions permitting.

“Each of our resorts will continue to work closely with all of our local community stakeholders to review the details of our winter plans and to ensure we remain aligned in our collective approach to the season,” Katz wrote. “Success for this season can only happen with close collaboration and partnership in each community. While we have designed our winter operating plan to comply with and at times exceed all known applicable laws, our operations will remain subject to the local regulations in each of our resort locations. Please understand that these may change at any time, either ahead of or during the ski season. We will endeavor to communicate any changes — and how they might impact our operations — as soon as we are made aware of them. Our resorts will have a dedicated page on each of their websites that will provide the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 impacts.”

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Boycott: NBA playoff games called off amid player protest

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — All three NBA playoff games scheduled for Wednesday have been postponed, with players around the league choosing to boycott in their strongest statement yet against racial injustice.

Called off: Games between Milwaukee and Orlando, Houston and Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland. The NBA said all three games would be rescheduled, yet did not say when.

The dramatic series of moves began when the Bucks — the NBA’s team from Wisconsin, a state rocked in recent days by the shooting by police of Jacob Blake, a Black man — didn’t take the floor for their playoff game against the Magic. The teams were set to begin Game 5 of their series shortly after 4 p.m., with the Bucks needing a win to advance to the second round.

Players had been discussing boycotting games in the bubble after the shooting of Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. More discussions among players on teams still in the bubble were scheduled Wednesday, presumably on how — or if — to go forward with the season, but even before that the Bucks apparently decided they would act.

“Some things are bigger than basketball,” Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry tweeted. “The stand taken today by the players and (the organization) shows that we’re fed up. Enough is enough. Change needs to happen. I’m incredibly proud of our guys and we stand 100% behind our players ready to assist and bring about real change.”

Added Jeanie Buss, the Governor of the Lakers, in a tweet: “I stand behind our players, today and always. After more than 400 years of cruelty, racism and injustice, we all need to work together to say enough is enough.

The Bucks remained in their locker room past 6 p.m., more than two hours after they made the decision to boycott. It was not immediately clear why they were staying in the arena.

There are three other playoff games scheduled Thursday. It was unclear if they would be affected. Several NBA players, including the Lakers’ LeBron James, tweeted out messages demanding change and the Boston Celtics’ official Twitter account did the same.

“We weren’t given advanced notice about the decision but we are happy to stand in solidarity with Milwaukee, Jacob, and the entire NBA community,” Orlando guard Michael Carter-Williams said. “Change is coming.”

Magic players and referees were on the basketball court for the game but Milwaukee never took the floor. Eventually everyone else left and the arena staff soon took the balls, towels and tags that go on player chairs back inside.

National Basketball Players Association President Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder and guard Russell Westbrook of the Houston Rockets were seen emerging from a conversation, not long before it became known that their teams also decided to not play their scheduled game Wednesday.

“Today we stand united with the NBA Office, the National Basketball Players Association, the Milwaukee Bucks and the rest of the league condemning bigotry, racial injustice and the unwarranted use of violence by police against people of color,” the Magic and its ownership group, the DeVos family, said in a statement.

Demanding societal change and ending racial injustice has been a major part of the NBA’s restart at Walt Disney World. The phrase “Black Lives Matter” is painted on the arena courts, players are wearing messages urging change on their jerseys and coaches are donning pins demanding racial justice as well.

Many players wrestled for weeks about whether it was even right to play, fearing that a return to games would take attention off the deaths of, among others, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd in recent months.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was fatally shot when police officers burst into her Louisville, Kentucky apartment using a no-knock warrant during a narcotics investigation on March 13. The warrant was in connection with a suspect who did not live there and no drugs were found. Then on May 25, Floyd died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into the Black man’s neck for nearly eight minutes — all captured on a cell phone video.

Bucks guard George Hill said after Blake’s shooting that he felt players shouldn’t have come to Disney.

“We’re the ones getting killed,” Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who is Black, said in an emotional postgame speech Tuesday night. “We’re the ones getting shot. We’re the ones that we’re denied to live in certain communities. We’ve been hung. We’ve been shot. And all you do is keep hearing about fear. It’s amazing why we keep loving this country and this country does not love us back. And it’s just, it’s really so sad.”

The Celtics and Toronto Raptors met Tuesday to discuss boycotting Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series, which had been scheduled for Thursday. Members of the National Basketball Players Association were also part of those meetings, and Miami forward Andre Iguodala — a union officer — said around 2:15 p.m. that he did not believe a boycott plan had been finalized.

Less than two hours later, the Bucks wouldn’t take the floor.

“When you talk about boycotting a game, everyone’s antenna goes up,” Iguodala said. “It’s sad you have to make threats like that — I wouldn’t say threats — but you have to be willing to sacrifice corporate money for people to realize there’s a big problem out there.”

The postponed NBA games came on the fourth anniversary of Colin Kaepernick’s very first protest of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before an NFL preseason game. Kaepernick sat through the anthem for his first protest, which he said was to protest racial inequality and police mistreatment of minorities. then famously kneeled during the anthem going forward.


NHLer Logan Couture says he was ‘punched’ for mentioning Trump in Toronto

The San Jose Sharks captain, who is Canadian, says the incident happened in Toronto on Tuesday night.


Regina university student creates non-profit to address mental health in sports

Paige Hamann says she wants to change the culture of sport by educating athletes and coaches on how to address mental health issues within athletics.


Several Tennesee Valley football games moving to Thursday due to weather

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – Due to weather, several high school football games in the Tennessee Valley are moving from Friday to Thursday.

Madison County at Boaz, Whitesburg Christian at Asbury, and Brindlee Mountain at Douglass will now be on Thursday night.

The games were originally scheduled for Friday night.

Kick off is at 7:00 p.m.

https://www.facebook.com/Madison-County-High-School-180959481972256

4-year-old boy hits hole-in-one in W. Virginia

“HOLE IN ONE!!!!”

That was what Mario Figaretti said in a Facebook video post after his 4-year-old son, Rocco, nailed a hole-in-one last week.

The two were golfing with Mario Figaretti’s brother-in-law Friday at Oglebay Park in Wheeling, West Virginia, when Rocco sank the shot on the par 3 course’s first hole.

After Rocco teed off, you can hear one of the men in the video saying, “Get there, get there, get there, get in the hole, go in the hole!” Then, one of them exclaimed, “What?! Rocco, you just hit a hole-in-one!”

Rocco immediately ran to the hole to see for himself. “I actually did it!” he yelled back.

Rocco has been practicing since he was 3 years old, his dad said.

“He practices all the time in the yard,” Mario Figarretti wrote. “To say I’m proud would be an understatement!”

The post has been shared more than 2,960 times.


Two Saskatchewan Roughriders trying their luck south of the border

Linebacker Deon Lacey has informed the Saskatchewan Roughriders of his decision to opt-out of his contract after the cancellation of the 2020 CFL season.


AP Top 25: Clemson No. 1, followed by Ohio State, Alabama

Clemson is the preseason No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25, a poll featuring nine Big Ten and Pac-12 teams that gives a glimpse at what has already been taken by the pandemic from an uncertain college football season.

Ohio State (1,504 points) was a close No. 2 behind Trevor Lawrence and Clemson (1,520), which starts atop the rankings for the second straight season. The Tigers beat the Buckeyes in a thrilling College Football Playoff semifinal last season.

Alabama is No. 3, Southeastern Conference rival Georgia is No. 4 and defending Big 12 champion Oklahoma is No. 5. Defending national champion LSU is No. 6.

The 85th edition of the AP rankings will be like none before.

When the season starts — if the season starts — the Buckeyes and 53 other Bowl Subdivision teams will no longer be eligible for inclusion in the Top 25 because they have postponed their seasons to the spring.

The Big Ten, where Ohio State and No. 7 Penn State play, and the Pac-12, home to No. 9 Oregon, canceled their fall sports seasosn because of concerns about the coronavirus. The Mid-American and Mountain West conferences have also said they will try to play spring football.

The SEC, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12, American Athletic, Conference USA and Sun Belt are forging ahead with fall sports, with changes: The three remaining Power Five conferences, the SEC, ACC, and Big 12, have eliminated all or most nonconference games and delayed the start of their seasons from one to three weeks.

Erased from the college football schedule this year were a host of tantalizing nonconference matchups: Ohio State at No. 9 Oregon; No. 10 Notre Dame vs. No. 12 Wisconsin at Lambeau field in Green Bay; No. 14 Texas at LSU; No. 17 Southern California vs Alabama in Arlington, Texas; No. 11 Auburn vs. No. 18 North Carolina in Atlanta.

For now, big conference games such as Ohio State-Michigan and Washington-Washington State could still be made up in the spring.

All Division I teams were eligible for the preseason AP Top 25, but after the season starts, only teams scheduled to play in the fall are eligible. That leaves 76 FBS teams from which to choose.

If a spring season is played, the AP will consider doing rankings for those teams, too.

BACK-TO-BACK

Clemson had never been preseason No. 1 until last season, and now starts there again. It’s the eighth time since the preseason poll started in 1950 that a team has been preseason No. 1 two straight seasons. Alabama had been preseason No. 1 from 2016-18, a three-year run.

The Tigers finished last season No. 2 after losing the championship game to LSU, snapping a remarkable run of nine seasons in which Clemson has finished with the same or better ranking than it started. That included the last five seasons in which Clemson outperformed its preseason ranking, twice finishing No. 1 after starting No. 2.

The ACC’s Tigers, who also welcome back star running back Travis Etienne, standout offensive tackle Jackson Carman and sturdy defensive tackle Tyler Davis, will try to become the 12th preseason No. 1 to finish No. 1. Only two teams have gone wire-to-wire as No. 1: Florida State in 1999 and USC in 2004.

DEFENDING CHAMPS

LSU is the first defending national champion to start the following season outisde the top five since Auburn in 2011 (post-Cam Newton, the Tigers were ranked No. 23 in the preseason poll). LSU lost a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and No. 1 overall NFL draft pick, too, in Joe Burrow.

Myles Brennan is the new QB for the Tigers, who had 14 players selected in the last draft, including five in the first round. There is plenty of talent coming back with All-America receiver Ja’Marr Chase, cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., and nose tackle Tyler Shelvin.

The Tigers will try to become the first back-to-back national champions since Alabama in 2011 and ’12.

FANCY SEEING YOU HERE

— No. 18 North Carolina is ranked in the preseason for the first time since 2016.

— No. 19 Cincinnati makes its first appearance in the AP preseason poll. The Bearcats have finished ranked each of the last two seasons.

— No. 20 Minnesota is making its first preseason poll appearance since 2004. The Gophers were one of the surprise teams of last season, starting unranked and ending up No. 10, their best finish since 1962.

STREAKING

Ohio State extended the longest active streak of preseason Top 25 appearances with 32, followed by Oklahoma with 21, LSU with 20, Georgia with 19, Alabama with 13 and Clemson with nine.

STRONG SECOND

The Buckeyes’ 21 first-place votes in the preseason Top 25 were the most by a non-No. 1 team since Ohio State in 2008, when it also had 21 and was one behind top-ranked Georgia. Florida, which was No. 5 in the 2008 preseason poll with five first-place votes, won the national title that year.

CONFERENCE CALL

The Southeastern Conference, as usual, leads the way with seven teams in the Top 25, including six of the first 13 teams.

The Big Ten is next with six, but when the regular season starts No. 6 Penn State, No. 12 Wisconsin, No. 16 Michigan, No. 19 Minnesota and No. 24 Iowa will no longer be eligible for votes. Same goes for No. 9 Oregon, No. 17 USC and No. 22 Utah of the Pac-12.

SEC — 7 (Nos. 3, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13, 25).

Big Ten — 6 (Nos. 2, 7, 12, 16, 19, 24).

Big 12 — 4 (Nos. 5, 14, 15, 23).

ACC — 3 (Nos. 1, 10, 18).

Pac-12 — 3 (Nos. 9, 17, 22).

American — 2 (Nos. 20, 21).


Saskatoon summer run clinics aim to inspire youth during coronavirus pandemic

The Prairie Run Crew outreach program changed its summer run clinics for youth this year. The clinics aim to instill leadership mindsets and provide physical activity during the pandemic.


Some women are opting to carry guns on Colorado trails to stay safe

Every time they go out on Colorado trails, hikers face inherent risks — including those from man and beast who share the paths. Some women are choosing to pack heat for protection.

“I carry a handgun when I am hiking alone on a trail that is more secluded, or at night, or (when) I am backpacking alone,” said Cierra LeVan, a 27-year old teacher in Mesa County. “I do this for personal protection and self-defense, from both potential animal and human predators.”

LeVan is not alone; Rather than avoid hiking because they don’t have a companion, some women are opting for more than bear spray for protection when they hit the trails. The question of whether or not one should carry a gun while hiking has long been a topic in online group chats, and there is a Facebook group just for women who hike with guns.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation does not tally gun ownership by gender, so it’s not possible to see how many women in the state are gun owners.

A couple of recent incidents on the Front Range trails have brought the issue up for many hikers:

“Most women I know have been touched or grabbed by men when in the woods. It’s too common,” said Sara C., a 35-year-old Denver business owner who did not want her full name used for fear of being targeted. “A creepy guy sees a girl fishing or hiking alone, tries to grab her arm or her body … dogs and guns will scare people off.”

Both of the women interviewed for this article, along with many others who commented in private social media group chats, were quick to say that a gun is only useful if the person carrying it has been trained to use it properly. In addition, people should know the rules for carrying and using weapons — particularly guns — of the state and land management agency where they are hiking.

“You should not carry a gun while hiking unless you are completely comfortable handling it and have the proper education on how to do so,” LeVan said. “If you cannot unholster your gun, take it off safely, aim and fire without fumbling, you need more practice.”

In Colorado, the rule is generally that it is legal to open-carry a gun, but a permit is needed for concealed carry, such as in a backpack.

While it is legal to carry a gun for protection, it is not legal to kill wildlife outside of hunting season.

“In Colorado, a person is legally allowed to defend themselves if their life is in danger,” said Travis Duncan, public information officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “Simply feeling threatened or frightened is in no way grounds for shooting an animal.” He added that cases of illegal poaching are investigated each year.

“Colorado Parks and Wildlife advocates for safe firearm use, a skill which can be honed through Hunter Education courses through the agency,” Duncan said.

One of the exceptions to the state rules is in Boulder County, where firearms are not permitted on county open space, where there are over 110 trails to explore. In Rocky Mountain National Park, the rules are a little more complicated and it is not legal to discharge a firearm in the park, though the state laws otherwise mostly apply. In a statement released after the accidental shooting in July, park officials said that “Firearms should not be considered a wildlife protection strategy.”

Even those who carry a gun while hiking said that they do not rely completely on it for protection against various elements in the wild.

“Carrying a weapon is a very serious responsibility and it’s not for everybody, and that’s fine,” Sara C. said. “You need to be 900% sure how to handle, fire and disassemble your gun and know how to stand and draw so your weapon is not used against you.”

There are many safety precautions available to solo hikers other than carrying a gun, including leaving word with a trusted friend about where you are going to hike and when to expect you back; taking a self-defense class; carrying an air horn, a whistle, bear spray (which cannot be used on humans), or pepper spray; or carrying a knife and knowing how to use it properly.

“You should still go out and feel confident by yourself as a woman,” Sara C. said. “I have always really felt competent and confident in the outdoors, but I didn’t realize how uneasy I felt with my personal safety until I started carrying a gun. I feel exorbitantly more comfortable because I know how to use a gun, not because I have one.”

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Takuma Sato wins the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500








INDIANAPOLIS — Luck can change in a heartbeat at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It appeared Takuma Sato would hold off Scott Dixon with just a few laps remaining, but a crash involving Spencer Pigot eliminated any drama. Sato, the 2017 champion, won the race under caution at a fan-free Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It looked like an exciting finish with Sato, Scott Dixon and Graham Rahal battling down the stretch, but Pigot’s crash brought out the yellow flag. Race officials decided not to red flag the race, ending the Greatest Spectacle in Racing under a caution flag.

Dixon finished second while Rahal finished third. That meant Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing took two out of the top three spots at the race. Pigot, whose late crash essentially sealed the victory for Sato, also races for Rahal Letterman Lanigan.

“This is unbelievable,” Sato said after the race, adding that he knew Dixon was bearing down on him. He chose 2% milk for his post-race victory drink.

It was the third time Dixon has finished the 500 in second place. He congratulated Sato, saying the Japanese driver “drove his pants off” to get the win.

Early incidents in the race took out Marcus Ericsson and James Davison. The first incident of the day involved veteran driver Ed Carpenter, who brushed the wall and couldn’t recover to become a factor during the race.

The scariest moment of the race came after a caution flag that ended Dalton Kellett’s day–Conor Daly and Oliver Askew were involved in a frightening crash, with Askew hitting the wall hard. That led to another caution flag.

Dixon looked good early on, leading from the first lap until he pitted during a caution around lap 29. He regained the lead about a quarter of the way through the race. Just past the race’s midway point, Dixon and Alexander Rossi passed the lead back and forth in an effort to conserve fuel.

Rossi ran into trouble of his own, making contact with Sato during a pit stop and being assessed a penalty that sent him to the back of the field. He tried to make his way back into contention but crashed on lap 144, ending his day.

Dixon remained one of the front-runners throughout the race, ceding for a while to Sato, who seized the lead late and held on.


Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher to undergo surgery for broken jaw

The Habs played Game 5 of the series against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday, when defenceman Matt Niskanen hit Gallagher in the face with his stick during the third period.


Fans encouraged to wear masks, social distance at Albertville City Schools athletic events

ALBERTVILLE, Ala. – Football in Northeast Alabama kicked off Thursday night, but there are still coronavirus safety precautions recommended for folks at the games. 

The Albertville High School athletic director Tyler Reeves told WHNT News 19 he is excited about their first game Thursday against the Arab Knights. 

He said he is happy the players, cheerleaders, and band members are able to showcase their hard work from over the summer because they were not sure a season would happen during the COVID-19 crisis. 

There are signs posted at each gate reminding fans to follow Governor Kay Ivey’s safety recommendations in order to protect players, coaches, and fans. 

Fans who are not comfortable with being around crowds can get a subscription to National Federation of State High School Associations to live stream the entire games, both home and away. 

“There’s an element of personal responsibility that everybody has to take to manage their risks in some situations when you’re coming to an event like this no matter what precautions are in place but we do feel like we’ve given options to those who don’t feel comfortable coming to the ball game,” explained Reeves.

There are also areas inside the stadium where people can stand or sit with space between them and others. 

The Aggies are still accepting cash for tickets, but anyone wanting to do touchless ticketing, tickets can be bought in advance here or anyone with a smart phone can scan the QR code posted at the gates to buy one. 

Reeves said they strongly encourage people to wear masks when they cannot socially distance, they cannot really enforce it. 

“We’ve encouraged families to sit together. We’ve encouraged people to social distance but in terms of masks the issue of masks when people are closer than six feet, we would hope that those people do what they’re supposed to do and put their mask on, but it is very difficult when talking about managing an event and when you’re talking about managing a large crowd, it’s difficult to enforce those things at times,” said Reeves.


Georgia Bulldogs planning to have fans between the hedges

(AP) – The Georgia Bulldogs are planning to have some fans for their football games played between the hedges this season. Mirroring other schools in the Southeastern Conference, the university announced a ticket plan that would allow 20-25% capacity at 92,746-seat Sanford Stadium. That translates to crowds of about 18,500 to 23,000 for Georgia’s four home games.

Athletic director Greg McGarity stressed that all arrangements are tentative amid the coronavirus pandemic. In recent weeks, Georgia has become one of the nation’s hot spots.

The Bulldogs are offering single-game tickets in hopes of accommodating as many season-ticket holders as possible for games against Auburn, Tennessee, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt. 


Staying safe while watching football in 2020

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – With high school football set to start in just two days, school districts are acting quickly, to make sure they can accommodate spectators for the upcoming fall sports season.

On Tuesday, the Alabama High School Athletic Association had a news conference to kick off the start of high school football. The conference was streamed on YouTube and lasted an hour.

Ron Ingram was able to speak briefly regarding the protocols for high school games this fall. He said that the recommendations to follow the Alabama Department of Public Health are encouraged, but the ultimate decision lies with each individual school.

The number of cases are still high and school officials are tasked on how they will provide a fall sports season for spectators and keep them safe.

ADPH officials say spectators are allowed to attend games, but the number of those watching will be drastically lower.

While high schools are coming up with solid plans, many were unavailable to speak on the topic. University of North Alabama Athletic Director Mark Linder spoke on how the university has decided to follow recommendations.

“We’re going to open up to at least 50% capacity in Braly, takes our 15,000 seats down to 7,500 but we will require masks and we’ll have screening stations on the perimeter for temperature checks. A temperature check will get you a wrist band and a ticket and your face mask will get you in to cheer on the Lions.”

With 7,500 less fans in attendance, Linder knows there will be a distinct impact on the revenue, but he hopes that this gives fans the comfort in knowing they can watch a game, with little worry.

“I think that by showing you have a stadium and you have a plan, it should bring a lot of confidence to our fan base.”

The safety of all student-athletes, coaches, staff and spectators is number one and the schools are confident in being able to establish effective plans for the fall season.


Women are going topless in nature as part of growing trend across Colorado

Some call it empowering; others say it’s offensive. Some just don’t get it.

“It feels fun, exciting and maybe a little risky to be naked in nature,” said Kari Armstrong, co-organizer of The Boulder Hiker Chicks, a women’s hiking club. “When you have worked hard for your hike, or even if you haven’t, it is fun to do something a little silly and liberating to celebrate.”

Well, they aren’t completely naked. Just topless.

No one is sure exactly how the trend of removing your top on the summit of a mountain and getting a photo taken of your bare back to share on social media started, but this summer the trend seems to be exploding among female hikers in Colorado.

Armstrong and her co-organizer, Alli Fronzaglia, agree that they were inspired by a now-defunct women’s hiking group’s social media account back in 2015.

When they started their hiking group, Armstrong and Fronzaglia reveled in a growing reputation for being a little wild, Fronzaglia explained, noting that they would sometimes wear costumes while hiking.

“Women joined us to let loose, gain confidence, and make new friends,” she said. “We had begun showcasing our shenanigans on social media. It was part of the fun.” So when they spotted other women hiking groups online baring their naked backs, some with arms raised in glory, it seemed natural to try it, too.

The whole experience seems to have two parts: First, getting and being half-naked on a trail that might have lots of other hikers on it while you have a friend snap the photo of the gorgeous mountaintop view and your naked back. Next, sharing the image on social media, either in a private group or on your individual Instagram or Facebook account.

Along with the images are captions that run from goofy to deeply personal as women share recovery from cancer and other serious health ailments, relationship heartache, body acceptance and other issues, in part to say how doing this helped them feel better.

“This was a big, important moment for me,” said Kelli Schulte, 36, a grants specialist, of choosing to do her own “bareback” photo on top of Torreys Peak, a 14,000-foot mountain. Schulte said she had just ended a relationship that had damaged her self-confidence. “With every step, I felt empowered. Like I was taking control of my life. Like I could and would be me again. I looked at my friend and said, ‘I’m taking one of those topless pics and I’m never giving up the things I love again.’ Then I snapped a couple of pics and I absolutely love them.”

In fact, she had her picture framed to hang in her bathroom as a daily reminder of the moment.

“From this point forward, I’m committed to living an authentic life,” the single mom and marathon runner said. “A happy and adventure-filled life.”

The practicalities of whipping off a jacket, a shirt and a sports bra after a grueling hike and maybe on a windy peak might also be a consideration for some women, but many like Schulte said it all happened quickly enough that they felt comfortable. “I rushed a bit to get my top off, just in case someone came up, but I did have someone to toss me a shirt. And I don’t care if someone sees my bare back,” she said.

Coral Scherma, a 58-year old academic adviser, had seen other women’s topless photos online and thought, “Cool for them, but I wouldn’t do it.” That is, until she was on a hike with her daughter-in-law, Donalyn White, 28, on empty Kenosha Pass one gorgeous day.

“I turned to her and said, ‘You know, I’m almost tempted to do one of those topless photos,’ ” Scherma recalled.

White was having the same thought at the same time. “It felt empowering to have her bring it up,” she said. “We each got one photo solo, and then Coral suggested taking one together, which was brilliant.”

There were a few seconds of nerves, White said, then no hesitation to be briefly topless. “It’s freeing and exhilarating,” she said. “Men are out there hiking with their shirts off all the time.”

After Scherma’s husband died a couple of years ago, she started hiking “as therapy.” “I’ve found more solace in the mountains than anywhere else, and I’ve discovered that I am much stronger — physically and emotionally — than I thought I was,” she said.

Scherma was equally pleased with the photo of the two of them together. “That is my favorite by far,” she said. “Two strong, intelligent, fierce women standing on the edge of the world.”

In case you’re wondering, it is legal for both men and women to be topless in the state of Colorado, with some restrictions for both.

“Honestly, it’s so easy and not really a big deal,” Scherma said. “Our culture is so incredibly neurotic about women’s bodies, and breasts in particular. Just go for it. Find an empty stretch along your way. You might surprise yourself.”

However, it’s not for everyone. Comments for these photos when shared on social media aren’t always supportive or along the lines of, “You go, girl!” Some will simply say, “It’s not sexual or tasteless, just not for me!” or, “I don’t get it.” Others can be harsh, stating they will “report” the image to the social media platform for indecency.

To be clear, no one is requiring that such photos happen in hiking groups, and it’s an individual choice.

“I think it’s just one more way for women to unapologetically claim their space on the trails and in nature,” Fronzaglia said. “So many of us, as women, spend our lives trying to do the right thing, trying to look a certain way, trying not to offend, trying to just be acceptable to society. Being in nature reminds us that, like the wildflowers and the trees, we’re perfect just as we are.”

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SEC releases guidelines for fan safety at games

Face masks and physical distancing will be requirements when fans attend SEC football games beginning next month, and tailgating may be off the table at some schools.

The SEC released its guidelines Tuesday morning for fan safety at games this season, as schools try to navigate holding games in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fans who attend games will be required to wear masks as they enter and exit the stadium, according to the guidelines. They also will be required to wear them whenever they move throughout the stadium or cannot maintain physical distance from people outside their same household. Stadium workers and athletics staff will be required to wear masks at all times.

The number of fans allowed to attend games will be left to each member school and will be required to fit within state and local health guidelines.

The SEC’s guidelines also require installation of plexiglass between fans and stadium staff at concession stands and merchandise areas. There will be no condiment carts, and fans will not be able to fill or refill their own drinks. Water fountains also will be prohibited.

Tailgating and team walks are not guaranteed to be allowed either. The SEC’s guidelines stipulate that each school determine whether large gatherings on school property are permitted within state and local guidelines. If there aren’t local guidelines, CDC recommendations will be used. The same guidelines will apply to team walks.

You can read the full list of SEC guidelines below.

Attendance

  • Institutions shall determine the number of guests permitted to attend in accordance with applicable state and local guidelines, policies and/or regulations. In the absence of state and/or local guidelines, policies and/or regulations, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations on physical distancing should be applied.

Face Coverings

  • Face coverings (over the nose and mouth) shall be required as a condition of all guest ingress, egress, and movement throughout the stadium, as well as any time guests are unable to maintain the recommended physical distance from others who are not in their same household.
  • Stadium workers and athletics staff should wear face coverings at all times.

Food, Beverage and Merchandise

  • Barriers (e.g., plexiglass) shall be installed at all points-of-sale or otherwise all concessions staff shall wear a face shield plus a mask.
  • Queuing lines at points-of-sale shall permit physical distancing between guests.
  • “Grab and go” food/beverage options should be considered at points-of-sale locations.
  • Beverages shall be provided directly to guests. Machines designed to allow guests to fill or refill beverages must remain inoperable.
  • Condiments shall be offered only as single-serve condiments, and condiment carts shall be prohibited.
  • All portable points-of-sale locations shall be strategically placed to ensure physical distancing is permitted between guests who are in line or may be in close proximity to the selling location for other purposes.

Gate Ingress/Egress

  • Signage shall be installed at parking lots, pedestrian paths to the stadium, gates and/or other ingress/entry points that outlines mandates for all guests to wear face coverings, maintain physical distancing and mandates guests do not enter the stadium if they display any COVID-19 symptoms as outlined by the CDC.
  • All tickets shall be digitally scanned.
  • The footprint at all gates and ingress/entry and egress/exit points shall permit physical distancing between guests.

Guest Shuttles

  • Institutions that cooperate with and/or arrange for shuttles to transport guests to/from the stadium shall ensure the shuttle operator has sufficient protocols/procedures in place including, but not limited to, the following:
  •    Maintaining physical distancing while guests are on the shuttle, entering/exiting the shuttle and while waiting in lines to board the shuttle;
  •     Requiring face coverings as a condition for shuttle usage for drivers and guests at all times while aboard the shuttle, entering/exiting and while waiting in line; and
  •     Planning to sufficiently and regularly disinfect the shuttle.

Plans for Disinfection, Symptomatic Guests, Communication/Public Relations and American with Disabilities Act

  • Institutions shall have a documented plan that outlines the procedures/protocol for appropriate disinfection of the stadium.
  • Institutions shall have a documented plan that outlines the procedures/protocol for working with guests who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Institutions shall launch a communication/public relations campaign for communicating all COVID-19 procedures/protocol to prospective guests.
  • Institutions shall ensure they comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act in the development and implementation of all procedures/protocols. Premium Seating – Suites and Clubs 1. “Suite hopping” shall be prohibited. 2. Sufficient signage that promotes and instructs suite holders to wear face coverings and maintain physical distancing shall be installed near ingress/entry points. 3. Furniture shall be arranged in clubs to promote physical distancing. 4. Each suite and club shall be supplied with sufficient hand washing and/or hand sanitizing stations.
  • Guests shall be permitted to access “field level” suites or clubs that are not within six feet (6′) of any team area. Additionally, institutions must ensure guests do not access a pathway to enter or exit a “field level” suite or club at the same time a student-athlete, coach, team staff member, game official or other game participant is utilizing the same pathway.

Public Areas Inside Stadium

  • Institutions shall ensure the set-up and operational procedures in all areas accessed by guests permit physical distancing including, but not limited to, the following areas:
  •     Guest Seating
  •     Concourses and Gathering Places
  •     Dining Areas (high top tables, extended countertops, etc.)
  •     Concessions Sales
  •     Merchandise Sales
  •     Restrooms
  •     Elevators
  •     Escalators
  • Sufficient signage that promotes and instructs guests to wear face coverings and maintain physical distancing shall be in place in areas accessed by guests.
  • Signage must specify the maximum number of guests who may be inside an elevator simultaneously at each elevator entry point (elevator operators shall wear face coverings).
  • The usage of traditional water fountains or other apparatuses providing drinking water shall be prohibited and all must be clearly marked or covered to indicate its use is prohibited. This does not apply to apparatuses that use touchless technology.
  • Sufficient hand washing and/or hand sanitizing stations should be present throughout the stadium.

Restrooms

• Entry and exit points shall be clearly designated, and sufficient signage shall be in place to assist with traffic flow and promote physical distancing.

• Institutions shall implement measures that promote physical distancing, reduce touch points and/or assist with minimizing the spread of COVID-19 including, but not limited to, the following:

o Installing additional hand sanitizer and hand soap dispensers; and

o Leaving doors open at entry/exit points.

Tailgating 

  • Institutions shall determine whether tailgating or other large gatherings of guests (e.g., alumni events, university recruiting events, etc.) are permitted on property owned and/or controlled by the institution in accordance with applicable state and local guidelines, policies and/or regulations. In the absence of state and/or local guidelines, CDC recommendations on physical distancing should be applied.
  • Considerations should be given as to the time parking lots open.

Team Walks

  • Institutions shall determine whether team walks are permitted in accordance with applicable state and local guidelines, policies and/or regulations.
  • If permitted, all institutional personnel (e.g., student-athletes, coaches, team staff, athletic department staff, etc.) and guests in attendance shall wear face coverings.
  • If permitted, institutions shall ensure recommended physical distancing exists and may be maintained at all times between walk participants and guests. Team walks shall be prohibited if physical distancing cannot be implemented during its entirety.

SEC releases schedule for week one

(WHNT) – The Southeastern Conference (SEC) released the schedule for week one.

According to the SEC, the Alabama Crimson Tide will take Missouri on the road. And Auburn will host Kentucky.

The full schedule will be released tonight at 6:00 p.m. on the SEC Network.


SWAC releases spring 2021 football schedule

The Southwestern Athletic Conference announced its spring 2021 football schedule Monday.

Each team will open the season on February 27 with a non-conference game before six weeks of conference play, four against division opponents, and two against non-division opponents.

March 13 is a bye week conference wide to allow fans to attend the Cricket Wireless Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament, which runs from March 9-13.

The Cricket Wireless SWAC Championship Game is slated for Saturday, May 1.

Alabama A&M University’s schedule can be found below:

DATE  OPPONENT 
 Feb. 27 vs. Alcorn State
 Mar. 6 at Mississippi Valley State
 Mar. 13 Bye Week 
 Mar. 20 at Prairie View A&M
 Mar. 27 vs. Grambling State
 Apr. 10 at Jackson State
 Apr. 17 vs. Alabama State 

The conference said it remains prepared to make any additional adjustments if deemed to be in the best interest of the health of student athletes.

Week-by-week schedules for the entire conference and for each school can be found on the SWAC website.


East Limestone forfeits season opener against Guntersville due to COVID-19 exposure

LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. – The gridiron will stay silent Friday night in East Limestone.

The team has decided to forfeit Friday’s contest against Guntersville, due to COVID-19 exposure.

Guntersville’s record is now 1-0, but the team will travel to Locust Fork for a “game of no record,” as allowed by the AHSAA. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday night.


Grab your beers and koozies: There’s a new park in RiNo that needs you to sit in it

Denver’s just got a new park along the South Platte River, the culmination of a decade-long project between the city and community partners.

Denver Parks and Recreation live-streamed a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony on its Facebook page on Thursday afternoon to open River North Park, which includes new green space, river access, performance areas, art installations and two industrial buildings, where the city plans to house a Denver Public Library branch, art space from contemporary venue Redline and will include other community partners including the northeast Denver nonprofit, Focus Points Family Resource Center.

Happy Haynes, executive director of Denver Parks and Recreation, spoke at the ribbon-cutting on Thursday to a small crowd of socially distanced residents and reporters. The new park is a part of her department’s 20-year plan to increase access to green spaces so that every Denver resident is within a 10-minute walk of a park. She added that this is the first park in the River North Art District area.

“Although the path to this park was long and sometimes complicated, the steady heartbeat that continued to pump life into this project remains, and that is the commitment that the city has to work with residents and the organizations in this area to ensure that neighborhoods have access to nature and gathering spaces,” Haynes said during the live-stream.

The 3.5-acre park is located along the river on Atkins Court between 33rd and 35th streets. In 2010, The city purchased the land with guidance from the Greenway Foundation, Trust for Public Land and a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado. The plot cost $2.4 million in 2010 and is now worth upwards of $12 million, as RiNo has become one of the most expensive development areas in Denver. The city broke ground on the park in spring 2019, spending $6 million in improvements through grant funding, private donations and support from community partners, including the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative.

Haynes said Parks and Recreation also worked with community members and organizations to determine what residents wanted and needed. Residents suggested repurposing the buildings on the property rather than tearing them down, and Andrew Feinstein, co-founder of the River North Art District, said his organization collaborated with the city to use the buildings as community art space, with the hope of opening them by 2021.

“This is what RiNo is all about — saving the old and reactivating it as the new,” Feinstein said during the live-stream. “It’s critically important that we have affordable space for art in our community.”

At the ceremony on Thursday, Haynes and Mayor Michael Hancock also broke ground on the riverfront promenade connected to the new park, which the city will develop with funds from the Elevate Denver Bond Program and is slated to open in 2021.

In an interview with The Denver Post on Thursday, Gordon Robertson, director of planning, design and construction at Parks and Recreation, said the promenade aims to connect the park to residents across northeast Denver, including Five Points and Globeville Elyria-Swansea. The promenade will stretch across nine blocks along the river, leading residents to the park for its community resources and green space.

Robertson acknowledged that RiNo is in and surrounded by some of Denver’s most rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods, and he said the city purchased the land anticipating that the industrial area would grow more residential. But his department made an intentional effort with River North Park to provide services and programming aimed at residents of greater northeast Denver.

“Typically when we open a park, we’ve done all the work,” he said. “This park is different. This park has ownership from businesses and the neighborhoods around it … We opened the park together, with the neighborhoods, in a way we have never done before.”

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Madison Bowl moving to Louis Crews Stadium

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – The annual Madison Bowl will be moving to a different venue for 2020.

The game, which pits James Clemens against Bob Jones, will be held at Louis Crews Stadium instead of the Madison City Stadium.

WHNT News 19 Sports Director Rocco DiSangro says sources told him the game is being moved to accommodate 8,000-9,000 fans and stay within social distancing guidelines.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on Sept. 4.


Call of the Wilde: Montreal Canadiens drop Game 3 to Philadelphia Flyers

The Canadiens again put in a strong effort, but they were unable to solve Carter Hart as they fell to Philadelphia 1-0.


SEC to announce 2020 football schedule Monday

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southeastern Conference plans to unveil its 2020 football schedule Monday.

The conference announced last month that they will play a 10-game conference only slate.

Week 1 games will be revealed at 2 p.m. Monday. The complete schedule will later be released at 6 p.m.

The league moved the start of the season to September 26 and the SEC Championship game to December 19.

WHNT News 19 will have special coverage of the announcement . Make sure your sports notifications are turned on in the WHNT News 19 app to make sure you’re alerted once the schedule is released.


5 NFL officials take a leave of absence for 2020 season

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL’s longest-serving on-field official was among five who have opted to take a leave of absence for the 2020 season.

Line judge Jeff Bergman, who was entering his 29th year of service, headlined the list released Friday by the NFL.

Also in the group was back judge Steve Freeman, who was entering his 20th year. He is part of the league’s only father-son duo in the officials ranks. Freeman is a former NFL player who spent 12 of his 13 seasons with the Bills. His son, Brad, is a back judge is entering his seventh season.

Also opting out are field judges Greg Gautreaux and Joe Larrew and back judge Tony Steratore.

The league said additional officials will be hired and announced.

Officials are allowed to opt out under the protocols negotiated by the NFL and NFL Referees Association (NFLRA) because of the coronavirus pandemic.


Grizzly Creek fire has reached the Hanging Lake area, authorities say

Aside from the smoke hanging in the air over the Front Range from three wildfires, there’s another reason for Coloradans to hold their collective breath: The Grizzly Creek fire in Glenwood Canyon has moved through the Hanging Lake area, one of the prized jewels of our state’s natural treasures.

The fire, which started a few miles west of Hanging Lake on Monday, more than doubled in size on Thursday to more than 13,400 acres and is 0% contained. Authorities don’t know the extent to which Hanging Lake itself has been affected.

RELATED: Grizzly Creek fire update: Wildfire forces more evacuations as it continues to spread through Glenwood Canyon

“We do know that the fire moved through the Hanging Lake area,” said David Boyd, public affairs officer for the White River National Forest. “We are not able to get firefighters on the ground over the trail, due to fire activity. We are waiting for smoke to clear for a flight.”

Weather conditions in the area remain hot and dry with gusty winds.

“As soon as we have more information,” Boyd said, “we will share it.”

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Montreal Canadiens head coach hospitalized for chest pain

Claude Julien, the head coach of the Montreal Canadiens, has been hospitalized.


Runner Courtney Dauwalter’s record attempt on Colorado Trail stopped after hospitalization

Courtney Dauwalter’s attempt to break a record along the Colorado Trail has ended — for now — due to acute bronchitis.

Dauwalter, 35, of Golden, had stepped onto the start of the Colorado Trail in Durango Wednesday at 2 p.m. with a goal to run the 486 miles to Denver in record time.

Her husband Kevin Schmidt wrote on her Instagram Monday around 6 a.m. that Dauwalter was wheezing in the crew’s RV that morning, so her crew decided to take her to an emergency room in Leadville.

According to her Garmin GPS, she stopped running east of Twin Lakes, which would mean she had completed more than 300 miles of the 486-mile trail in a little more than five days.

RELATED: Golden ultrarunner Courtney Dauwalter crushes the competition — men and women

Read more on our partner site Denver7.

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Kingston, Ont. man charged after assaulting a stranger with a baseball

A batting practice turned ugly after a man threw a baseball from s close distance at a stranger.


Big South Conference cancels fall football, but UNA still hopes to play

FLORENCE, Ala. – The University of North Alabama is hoping to still get some fall football in, despite the conference it plays in postponing its season until spring.

The Big South Conference said Wednesday it was delaying all sports until spring, including football, tennis, soccer and volleyball.

But the conference is allowing up to four non-conference games in the fall, which is being left up to each institution.

UNA said Wednesday it hopes to play its scheduled games against Brigham Young University, Western Illinois, Jacksonville State, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

UNA’s football team competes in the Big South, but the university’s other 13 sports compete in the ASUN Conference. That conference hasn’t determined what will happen in the fall.

“Our plan is to look at all of our options and hopefully have the chance to play a full slate of games, combining the fall and spring,” UNA Athletic Director Mark Linder said in a news release. “One of the biggest concerns of our players is not having the opportunity to play a full schedule. This plan provides the ultimate flexibility, to play four non-conference games in the fall and the Big South schedule in the spring.”


Pac-12 expected to postpone fall sports: reports

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Pac-12 is expected to postpone fall sports, including the college football season, according to multiple reports.

The reported decision, which is expected to be announced Tuesday afternoon, comes shortly after the Big Ten conference announced it was postponing all fall sports due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Our primary responsibility is to make the best possible decisions in the interest of our students, faculty and staff,” said Morton Schapiro, Chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors and Northwestern University President in a statement.

The 1:30 p.m. Pac-12 press conference webinar will include Commissioner Larry Scott, along with University of Oregon President Michael Schill and Oregon State Assistant Athletic Director Dr. Doug Auckerman.


Tonight is Denver’s last 8 p.m. sunset until May 2021

Funny how things can sneak away from you when you aren’t paying attention. In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve already lost an hour of daylight since the summer solstice fell on June 20 — that would be the longest day of the year — and you may be alarmed to learn that Tuesday will mark the last sunset in the 8 p.m. hour until next May.

You might say you’ve had a whole lot of abnormally long days this year, but that’s another story.

Sunset on Tuesday will occur precisely at 8 p.m., astronomically speaking. The sun actually will appear to disappear behind the mountains a little earlier than that, of course, depending on where you are, because the mountains poke up above the horizon.

According to timeanddate.com, an international database for sun and moon data, we had 14 hours, 59 minutes, 15 seconds of daylight on June 20, the first day of summer, and today we’ll be down to 13 hours, 51 minutes, 42 seconds. We’ll do the math for you. That’s a loss of 67 minutes, 33 seconds in just eight weeks.

Sunset on June 20 occurred at 8:31 p.m., when the day was 5 hours, 38 minutes longer than it will be when the winter solstice comes in December.

We’ll lose another hour by the time the autumnal equinox arrives and fall begins on Sept. 22, when sunset will occur at 6:56 p.m. The winter solstice will occur Dec. 21, when the sun will rise at 7:17 a.m. and set at 4:39 p.m.

The next time we will see the sun at 8 p.m.? Not until May 7, 2021.

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Dallas Stars keep Calgary Flames guessing ahead of first round playoff series

The Calgary Flames take on the Dallas Stars in their first-round playoff series.


VP Pence tweets “America needs College Football”

WASHINGTON (WLNS) – Vice President Mike Pence has joined the president in advocating for college football to return.

“It’s important for student-athletes, schools, and our Nation,” tweeted Pence just after 8:00 p.m.

He added that “they deserve the chance to safely get back on the field”

President Donald Trump on Monday joined a number of coaches calling to save the college football season from a pandemic-forced shutdown as supporters pushed the premise that the players are safer because of their sport.

There was speculation two of the five most powerful conferences — the Big Ten and the Pac-12 — might call off their fall seasons and explore the possibility of spring football.

The Mountain West became the second conference in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivison to do just that, joining the Mid-American Conference in giving up hope on playing any sports in the fall. Farther east, Old Dominion canceled fall sports, too, becoming the first school in college football’s highest tier to break from its league; the rest of Conference USA was going forward with plans to play.

A Big Ten spokesman said no votes on fall sports had been taken by its presidents and chancellors as of Monday afternoon, and the powerful Southeastern Conference made clear it was not yet ready to shutter its fall season.

A growing number of athletes have spoken out about saving the season, with Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence among a group posting to Twitter with the hashtag WeWantToPlay. Trump threw his support behind them Monday.

Just after 7:00 p.m., President Donald Trump tweeted a video with #WeWantToPlay.

Earlier in the day, President Trump tweeted, “Play College Football!”


Bid corporation pitches ‘legacy’ of affordable housing should Hamilton host Commonwealth Games

The city's general issues committee received a filing in advance of a proposed September hearing likely to decide the fate of the games in Hamilton.


2 Athens High football players test positive for COVID-19

ATHENS, Ala. – Athens High School has suspended football practices after two players tested positive for COVID-19.

Athens City Schools said Monday afternoon that practices would be suspended “out of an abundance of caution” until Aug. 19.

The district said it also was notified Sunday that two employees tested positive for the disease. one of those employees was at football practice Friday, Aug. 7, they said. Both employees are under quarantine.

Parents were told to monitor their children for symptoms over the next several days and expect a call from the Alabama Department of Public Health as workers try to determine who may have had contact with the students, as part of contact tracing.


SEC Sankey asks for patience with seasons iffy

Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey has weighed in on the powerhouse league’s situation regarding a decision on the football season.

Sankey posted on Twitter he doesn’t know if college football can be played during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the best advice he has received since the pandemic started was to be patient in making decisions. “This is all new & you’ll gain better information each day,” Sankey posted.

“We know concerns remain,” Sankey said. “We have never had a FB season in a COVID-19 environment. Can we play? I don’t know. We haven’t stopped trying. We support, educate and care for student-athletes every day, and will continue to do so…every day.”


Reports: Big Ten to cancel fall football season

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Big Ten Conference has voted to cancel the 2020 college football season, according to published reports.

Sources confirmed details of the decision to the Detroit Free Press and the Dan Patrick Show.

The Presidents of Big Ten universities met through the weekend to discuss the issue. No official announcements have come out to the weekend meetings, nor have any dates for potential future meetings or announcements.

New reports from the Dan Patrick Show Monday morning say the Big Ten and Pac 12 will cancel their 2020 football seasons in a formal announcement Tuesday.

Patrick said he sources say the ACC and Big 12 are on the fence about cancelling while the SEC is trying to get teams to join them for a season.

Ohio State University spokesperson Ben Johnson confirmed that OSU’s incoming president Kristina Johnson is representing the university on the Sunday night call. She did not take part in the meeting on Saturday.

Reports coming out of that Saturday meeting indicated a majority of Big Ten presidents want to postpone the football season to 2021. No vote was taken on that conference call.

ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and others are reporting that the Power 5 conference commissioners held an emergency meeting Sunday afternoon on the heels of the Big Ten presidents’ Saturday call.

ESPN is further reporting the Big 10 presidents wanted to gauge if the other Power 5 conferences would “fall in line” with them on the decision to postpone football.

In addition to the Big 10, the Power 5 conferences include the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC.

Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated is reporting high-level conference meetings are being planned across college football, with the expectation the season will be postponed to 2021.

The Mid American Conference took the plunge on Saturday, becoming the first FBS conference to cancel the fall sports season. The conference is aiming to move fall sports to the spring.

The Buckeyes returned for fall football camp on Thursday.

On Saturday, the Big Ten announced it has put full contact practice on hold until further notice.

Ohio State is set to begin its 2020 season on Thursday, Sept. 3, against Illinois.


The 5 best Colorado campgrounds for weddings

Durango-based Shannon Hahn and Jason Bushey, both 33, met when friends introduced them after a mountain bike ride; they began hiking, biking and skiing together. Jason proposed marriage at a remote alpine lake in the Weminuche Wilderness during a backpacking trip, and they have decided to hold their wedding outdoors as well. The couple is planning to tie the knot this summer at Chris Park Campground, a Forest Service group site near Haviland Lake, 18 miles north of Durango.

Looking for more to do? Find summer getaways here >>>

“We wanted to throw a laid-back and fun wedding,” said Hahn. “We wanted most of our budget to be spent on food, drinks and entertainment, and not the venue.”

They’ve reserved all three group sites at the campground, which can accommodate up to 150 campers, though their event will be smaller than that. Some of Shannon and Jason’s guests will camp, others will book a room at nearby Purgatory Resort. When asked what her biggest piece of advice would be for someone planning a campground wedding, Hahn said, “You need to plan far ahead. The reservations go fast. Planning your wedding in a campground is a do-it-yourself endeavor, but we think it’s the best value.”

Oh, and their honeymoon? “We’re going to explore the Canadian Rocky Mountains — mountain biking in Kananaskis, Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise, Golden and Revelstoke.”

For anyone else thinking of holding their wedding at a campground, here are a few options in Colorado:

Chris Park Group Campground

North of Durango

This Forest Service group facility is in a sheltered hollow of ponderosa pines. Its three sites have large gravel lots for RVs and dispersed tent camping in the woods. You can take a dip in Haviland Lake, accessible via the short Wagon Road Historic Trail. There are no mountain views from the campground, but the lake is scenic. Some sites and all facilities are wheelchair-accessible. There are picnic tables, grills and fire rings, vault toilets, drinking water, an event pavilion, horseshoe pits, and a volleyball court. Reservations are required at 877-444-6777 and recreation.gov. The fee is $100-$220 depending on group size. Contact: San Juan National Forest, Columbine District, 970-884-2512, fs.usda.gov/sanjuan

Windy Point Group

South of Frisco

This group campground on the southeast shore of Dillon Reservoir has incredible panoramic views and two large sites for tent camping that hold up to 100 people each. The lake site has a covered pavilion for 95 people. The other site is more rustic. RVs can park in the parking lot and there are picnic tables, grills and fire rings, vault toilets, and a picnic pavilion. The facilities are wheelchair-accessible. Make reservations at 877-444-6777 and recreation.gov. The fee is $215-$265 per night. Contact: White River National Forest, Dillon District, 970-468-5400, fs.usda.gov/whiteriver

Bogan Flats

South of Carbondale

On the banks of the Crystal River, between the Maroon Bells-Snowmass and Raggeds Wilderness areas, Bogan Flats is in a fly-fishing haven, 5 miles from the historic town of Marble. The group site is upstream of the main campground and is private. Make reservations at 877-444-6777 and recreation.gov. The group site costs $135 per night, for up to 50 people. Contact: White River National Forest, Sopris District, 970-963-2266, fs.usda.gov/whiteriver

Arapaho Valley Ranch

Outside Granby

This off-grid “mountain resort” on the South Fork of the Colorado River is ideal for events like weddings and reunions; its accommodations include camping sites, glamping tents, teepees, cabins, a historic lodge and dance hall, and access to “Colorado’s smallest bar,” the Red Dog Saloon. Wedding parties get exclusive use of the entire property for a three-night weekend. There’s excellent fishing, including a trout pond for kids. Contact: 720-550-0684, arapahovalleyranch.com

Top of the Pines

Outside Ridgway

This is a smaller option, with a handful of campsites. It has a heated indoor pavilion with electricity and flush toilets, plus space to set up a large outdoor event tent. For your outdoor ceremony, there is a lovely meadow with views of the Sneffels range. The deck has stunning views, and the bonfire area is a nice touch for after the reception. Contact: info@topofthepines.org, topofthepines.org

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Sources: Big Ten, other top conferences meeting to decide fate of 2020 college football season

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — For the second straight day, Big Ten presidents are on a conference call Sunday night to discuss the 2020 college football season.

Ohio State University spokesperson Ben Johnson confirmed that OSU’s incoming president Kristina Johnson is representing the university on the Sunday-night call. She did not take part in the meeting on Saturday.

Reports coming out of that Saturday meeting indicated a majority of Big Ten presidents want to postpone the football season to 2021. No vote was taken on that conference call.

ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and others are reporting that the Power 5 conference commissioners held an emergency meeting Sunday afternoon on the heels of the Big Ten presidents’ Saturday call.

ESPN is further reporting the Big 10 presidents wanted to gauge if the other Power 5 conferences would “fall in line” with them on the decision to postpone football.

In addition to the Big 10, the Power 5 conferences include the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC.

Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated is reporting high-level conference meetings are being planned across college football, with the expectation the season will be postponed to 2021.

The Mid American Conference took the plunge on Saturday, becoming the first FBS conference to cancel the fall sports season. The conference is aiming to move fall sports to the spring.

The Buckeyes returned for fall football camp on Thursday.

On Saturday, the Big Ten announced it has put full contact practice on hold until further notice.

Ohio State is set to begin its 2020 season on Thursday, Sept. 3, against Illinois.


UNA cancels football practice over players’ COVID-19 concerns

FLORENCE, Ala. – The University of North Alabama has cancelled football practices after hearing concerns from players about COVID-19.

The Lions started fall football camp on Friday.

The team said it hopes to have more clarity about the 2020 football season by Aug. 14. In the meantime, the team has split up into groups of 12 or less that have the option to continue their physical training for the upcoming season.

Team meetings will still be held in person, with social distancing guidelines, according to the team.

The team said its leadership council expressed concerns about practice to the staff on Saturday, which was the first day they returned to the field for practice.

UNA is scheduled to play its first game Sept. 3 at Western Illinois.


Litter, graffiti and vandalism are increasing at state parks, national forests across Colorado

Spray paint and carvings on bridges and trees at Eldorado Canyon. Graffiti at Roxborough, and graffiti and vandalism at Golden Gate.

Those state parks and others across the Front Range are reporting a host of negative impacts stemming from big increases in visitation that have been linked to reduced recreation options caused by the coronavirus. Many are seeing increases in litter and trash that have forced park managers to bring in larger dumpsters or have their dumpsters emptied more frequently.

And it’s not just state parks.

“We’re experiencing the same things,” said Lawrence Lujan, press officer for the Rocky Mountain region of the U.S. Forest Service. “People aren’t taking their trash with them, they’re not obeying the pack-it-in/pack-it-out principle. Where there are dumpsters, they are filling quite quickly. People are going into crowded parking lots, trying to park off-road on the grass, which is troublesome: Your undercarriage could light the grass on fire if it’s a hot, dry day. We’ve been experiencing these recreation pressures for quite some time. Now they’ve skyrocketed because of the number of people who are visiting.”

Visitors have been dumping trash into vaulted outdoor toilets, Lujan said, which is prohibited. In addition to trash and sanitation issues, other problems have included overcrowding, user conflicts and illegal or abandoned campfires.

RELATED: What are the rules of trail etiquette for hikers, runners and mountain bikers?

“We are finding that there are a lot of first-time forest public-lands visitors,” Lujan said, adding that he is working on a campaign to raise awareness for rules intended to diminish human impact.

At Rocky Mountain National Park, where visitation has been limited to 60% of maximum parking lot capacity from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. due to the pandemic — through the implementation of a timed-entry reservation system — public information officer Kyle Patterson said rangers there “have not seen a noticeable increase in trash or graffiti.” But Time Magazine has reported increases in vandalism, litter and other negative impacts at national parks and forests across the country.

“It’s certainly a national issue,” said Ben Lawhon, education director for the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, a national organization headquartered in Boulder. “In the case of Rocky, the timed entry that they’ve instituted probably has played a role in helping to minimize what otherwise might be just out-of-control impacts.”

RELATED: Huge jump in popularity at Brainard Lake leads to extreme crowding despite pandemic restrictions

A surge in visits from people who are inexperienced or unaware of outdoor ethics seems to be compounding increased visitation pressures, public lands officials and outdoors advocates say.

“Much of the impact we see in the outdoors can be categorized as people who are either unskilled, uninformed or under-informed,” Lawhon said. “Or they are just careless.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Jason Clay said Castlewood Canyon State Park has seen a “massive increase” in trash, adding that another “big problem” there has been bags filled with dog excrement discarded along trails.

“Golden Gate has seen an increase in trash and uneducated behavior — from graffiti and vandalism on signs, markers and facilities to illegal fires in our backcountry sites, illegal camping throughout the park and a general disrespect for the resource,” Clay said. “They have been trying to educate new visitors, but it seems as though most don’t bother to read, understand or even care about the regulations in place to protect our natural resources. Mainly, lots of selfish behavior.”

At Eldorado Canyon State Park, there has been a marked increase in weekday visitation with lots of first-time visitors, Clay said. Rangers there report an increase in litter – plastic bottles, gloves, masks and food wrappers throughout the park, including in the creek — and an increase in rescues for heat-exhausted visitors, human and canine.

“Chatfield State Park has seen an uptick in litter, but they are also at a 38% increase in visitation over its busiest year ever,” Clay said. “They said they don’t know how much of the litter is because of inexperienced visitors or just that many more people coming through. It is mostly plastic ice and shopping bags that have blown away and bottles, cans and food scraps on the shoreline. Picking up paper and cloth masks has become an everyday occurrence.”

At Cherry Creek State Park, there has been an increase in dumpster trash and roadside litter.

“Prior to COVID, the park did increase the size of its dumpster capacities, which proved to be a great decision as it is compacting the trash more often, even with the increased capacities,” Clay said. “Alcohol containers, coffee cups, water bottles and fast-food litter primarily makes up the ground litter.”

Jeffco Open Space visitor services manager Mary Ann Bonnell said she noticed an uptick in litter right after pandemic quarantines began, and a lot of that was dog-waste bags left along trails. Those problems seem to have diminished since then, Bonnell said.

“The other issue we are seeing is bagged trash being left in picnic areas next to full trash cans,” Bonnell said. “In this case, the visitor thinks they are doing the right thing by bagging trash and leaving it next to existing trash cans. But bagged trash will be too tempting for wildlife. We’ve had incidents of wildlife, likely bears, opening and rummaging through the bagged trash. This is tragic and dangerous because it teaches bears to look to picnic areas for food, which can make them a nuisance bear. Sometimes, nuisance bears end up being dangerous to humans and may be relocated or lethally managed.”

Bonnell says peer pressure can be a powerful tool to discourage misbehavior on public lands.

“I have seen visitors get after other visitors who fail to pick up trash,” Bonnell said. “In many cases, a fellow visitor saying something is more powerful than a park ranger saying something.”

Public lands continue to see huge increases in visitation. At Brainard Lake Recreation area, for example, daily visitation rates have been running two to four times more than normal despite restrictions that limit parking lots to 80% capacity.

“We know our natural places are important, now more than ever,” Lujan said. “We welcome people to come to our national forests and grasslands. There are things we need them to do while they’re out there.”

U.S. Forest Service rules governing waste and sanitation

The following are prohibited:

  •  Depositing in toilets, toilet vaults or plumbing fixtures any substance which could damage or interfere with the operation or maintenance of the fixture
  •  Possessing or leaving refuse, debris or litter in an exposed or unsanitary condition
  •  Placing in or near a stream, lake or other water any substance which does or may pollute a stream, lake or other water
  • Failing to dispose of all garbage, including any paper, can, bottle, sewage, waste water or material, or rubbish either by removal from the site or area, or by depositing it into receptacles or at places provided for such purposes

For more guidance on being responsible in the outdoors, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics has a list of “Seven Principles” with detailed explanations on its website.


Hamilton Honey Badgers beat Niagara, advance to semis in CEBL playoffs

Hamilton will face Fraser Valley in one semi-final of the league playoffs.


CJFL cancels 2020 season due to COVID-19 pandemic

The Canadian Junior Football League says it’s determined that it is not feasible to operate a regular season or playoffs for the 2020 season.


Coronavirus: WHL planning to start next season Dec. 4

The Western Hockey League halted the 2019-20 regular season March 12 because of the advancing COVID-19 virus.


Auburn senior linebacker Chandler Wooten opts out of upcoming season

AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn senior linebacker Chandler Wooten has decided not to play this upcoming season, citing concerns over COVID-19.

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn announced Thursday that Wooten was not playing because of health concerns for him and his family.

Wooten posted a message on Twitter explaining he decided to redshirt because he is becoming a father in November.

“As a soon to be father, my number one priority is the safety and well-being of my family,” Wooten wrote. “Unfortunately, playing this season was ultimately not a risk I was willing to take.”


Here are the Rockies’ 2020 walk-up songs

After months of delay due to the pandemic, Rockies baseball is back. While fans can’t physically be at Coors Field, it doesn’t mean they can’t experience the sights and sounds of the game.

The Rockies this week unveiled the walk-up songs for the team’s roster, from classics like Charlie Blackmon’s iconic “Your Love” and Daniel Bard’s “Alive” to newer tracks like “Blinding Lights” for Chris Owings and “Watermelon Sugar” for Tony Wolters. Some players have multiple songs, like first baseman Daniel Murphy, who has four different tracks to choose from.

Go to The Know for Spotify links of each song.

Here’s a look at the Rockies’ walk-up songs for the shortened 2020 season:

Yency Almonte –  “The Movement” by Kid Ink

Nolan Arenado — “Heavy Camp” by Blac Youngsta featuring Travis Scott

Daniel Bard — “Alive” by Pearl Jam

Charlie Blackmon — “Your Love” by The Outfield

Drew Butera — “Hollywood’s Bleeding” by Post Malone

David Dahl — “Saint-Tropez” by Post Malone

Elias Diaz — “Las Avispas” by Juan Luis Guerra

Jairo Diaz — “Con Calma” by Daddy Yankee

Phillip Diehl — “Really Really” by Kevin Gates

Carlos Estevez — “Asi Soy Yo” by Bad Bunny and Anuel AA

Kyle Freeland — “Rolling Stone” by Machine Gun Kelly featuring Earl St. Clair

Josh Fuentes — “25/8” by Bad Bunny

Chi Chi Gonzalez — “Sunday’s Best” by Surfaces

Ashton Goudeau — “Feels Like the First Time” by Foreigner

Jon Gray — “Addict” by Destiny Potato

Garrett Hampson — “Handsome” by Chance the Rapper

Joe Harvey — “Reload” by Sebastian Ingrosso

Sam Hilliard — “God’s Country” by Blake Shelton

Jeff Hoffman — “Meant to Live” by Switchfoot

Tyler Kinley — “Bad Boy 4 Life” by P. Diddy featuring Black Rob and Mark Curry

German Marquez — “Pensando En Ti” by Dimension Latina

Ryan McMahon — “Devil Eyes” by Hippie Sabotage

Daniel Murphy — (No. 1) “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” by Dropkick Murphys

Daniel Murphy — (No. 2) “Children of God” by Third Day

Daniel Murphy — (No. 3) “Christ in Me” by Jeremy Camp

Daniel Murphy — (No. 4) “Rise” by Danny Gokey

Chris Owings — “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd

James Pazos — “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)” by AC/DC

Antonio Senzatela — “Esta Vida” by Jorge Celedon and Jimmy Zambrano

Trevor Story — (No. 1) “Uptown” by Drake featuring Bun B and Lil Wayne

Trevor Story — (No. 2) “So Fresh, So Clean” by Outkast

Raimel Tapia — (No. 1) “Tap” by Nav featuring Meek Mill

Raimel Tapia — (No. 2) “No Hay Para” by Rochy RD and Napo

Tony Wolters — “Watermelon Sugar” by Harry Styles

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Boulder climber sets new speed record for running 1,000 feet up the First Flatiron in just over 9 minutes

Michael Reese thought it would be fun to run up the precipitous First Flatiron above Boulder to see how fast he could do it. And we do mean run.

He did have to mix in some hand holds in sections, but the Boulder rock climber ran and scrambled pretty much straight up the 60-degree face that rises 1,000 feet over Chautauqua Park without technical climbing ropes on July 3. Reese completed the ascent in 9 minutes, 23 seconds, which was 2 seconds faster than the previous fastest known time set by Stefan Griebel in 2011.

To put the height of the climb into perspective, the First Flatiron is almost 40% taller than Denver’s tallest building, the Republic Plaza.

“It’s pretty much pure joy,” Reese said. “I think the best part about it is kind of killing multiple birds with one stone. You’re in nature, you’re pushing your limits, you’re bettering your physical state, you’re getting in a workout, you’re going for a record.”

Reese, 26, hails from a prominent Colorado running family. His father, Dan, was an All American at the University of Colorado before running professionally. Two uncles ran for CU and another, Dave Reese, won Denver’s Mile High Marathon in 1987. Michael Reese ran at Monarch High School and was All State in cross country his senior year.

Reese said the record Flatiron ascent was about equal parts running and scrambling, which he accomplished wearing shoes designed for extra grip on rock.

“Setting the record is just like running a race,” Reese said. “You’re really just pushing your limits. On one hand, it’s how much pain you can take, but it’s a little different from running. There’s that really zoomed-in focus with the holds you are grabbing and the technical aspects of it.”

There is danger, too, though. Reese estimates he climbed the First Flatiron without ropes 50 times before his record ascent, so he felt comfortable without them on the record jaunt.

“I think it’s all relative to your experience level,” Reese said. “It’s something you work your way into. It’s all about the risk to reward, having the proper experience, and mitigating that risk.”

That isn’t a lot of comfort to his parents, who know he’s out climbing on the Flatirons almost daily.

“My wife Sharon and I, we are scared every day,” Dan Reese said. “We know he’s really good, we know he’s really safe and he’s very cautious. But still, one bad move and it’s death.”

When he was a high school runner and at CU, which is a collegiate power in distance running, Reese was plagued with injuries. When he finally accepted that his body couldn’t handle the high mileage required of a CU runner, he switched to the triathlon team, which won two national titles while he was there. During that period, he took up rock climbing.

After graduating in 2017, he spent a year mostly rock climbing, went to work as a crypto-currency specialist for a time, and enrolled in grad school last year at California Polytechnic State University. The pandemic brought him back home in March, and since then he’s been in Boulder “living a little bit as a climbing bum,” thanks to income from crypto-currency investments.

The five most prominent Flatirons are designated by numbers from north to south. The First Flatiron is the northernmost of the five, and the most difficult.

Since March, Reese figures he climbed the First Flatiron 40 to 50 times to scout the perfect route to make his record attempt. Sometimes he runs from the trailhead to the base of the peak, climbs up, down climbs off the back and runs back to the trailhead, thinking of it like a triathlon.

“Running can be very meditative,” Reese said, “and so can climbing the Flatirons. Climbing is very good for mental health and physical health. You’re using nature as your inspiration to push your limits.”

“I’m sure you saw that movie ‘Free Solo,’ ” said Reese’s father, Dan, referring to Alex Honnold’s famous free solo climb of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park in 2017 and the documentary that came from it. “Honnold climbed that thing how many times — maybe a thousand times? — and it’s still scary.”

Michael and his parents talk often about his passion and the dangers  that come with it.

“We just say, ‘Be careful and be smart,’ ” Dan said. “It is tough to reconcile. I try not to think about it too much. I’m not going to stop him from what he wants to do. All we can do is try to support him. I want to be positive, but you’ve got to respect the mountain.”

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Columbus may finally get kicked out of the park after five decades of Chicano activism

The park at the center of Arturo Rodriguez’s neighborhood, where his family has been for five generations, is called La Raza. He said it means “the people” — which means empowerment, pride and unity.

“Viva La Raza,” he said, repeating the refrain of the Chicano movement in the 1960s and ’70s.

But the official name of the plot of land on Navajo Street and 38th Avenue is Columbus Park, which Rodriguez said represents the history of colonialism and violence against Indigenous people in the United States. And it’s a painful moniker.

“Our native brothers and sisters are still today fighting for their land, fighting every issue in the world to hold on to their culture,” he said in an interview with The Denver Post. “A small, one-block park has such a significant lesson.”

As protests against the treatment of Black Americans bring American racism into sharp focus, Indigenous and Latinx communities are evaluating their own experiences with the police and racism. And in Denver, La Raza Park is at the center of that story, Rodriguez said. From civil disobedience and community organizing to police riots, the Chicano movement has deep roots in the park, and the newest renaming efforts are part of reclaiming the space for Denver’s Latinx community.

After Black Lives Matter protests downtown, the Parks and Recreation Department even removed all signs that say “Columbus Park” to prevent vandalization. And Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval, representing the district where the park is located, has started the formal process with the city to change the name to La Raza Park.

In 2013, Sandoval had worked for Councilwoman Judy Montero in the effort to rename Lincoln Park to La Alma-Lincoln Park and she campaigned on the promise that she would do the same for La Raza.

In April, she started looking into the process, and by early June, as coronavirus restrictions started to loosen, she gauged community support through social media. That coincided with Black Lives Matter protests and the push to rename the Stapleton neighborhood, named for the former Denver mayor and Ku Klux Klan member. (The new name selected by residents last week is “Central Park.”) Sandoval’s online letter took off, gathering more than 2,000 signatures.

Then, on June 26, Sandoval sent her formal request to begin the renaming process to Happy Haynes, the executive director of parks and recreation. On that day, the city took down the Columbus Park signs.

At the end of July, her office set up tables under the kiosk in the center of the park with petitions. Sandoval needed 300 signatures to begin the renaming process. By the end of the weekend, she had more than 700.

“I saw tons of people from the community, and none of us have gathered because of COVID,” she said. “As people wore their masks and social distanced, it was an opportunity for people to check in and see each other. It felt great to have such community support.”

Parks and Recreation will verify the signatures, and Sandoval hopes the office can do it in time to present the proposal at the Denver Parks and Recreation Advisory Board’s September meeting. If it gets approved there, the proposal will go to the City Council for a final vote.

Rodriguez has been a part of three renaming petitions over the past 50 years, as well as other community organizing efforts in Sunnyside. In 1970, he helped organize a “splash-in” at the pool to demand Parks and Recreation rename the park, hire youth from the community, and lead the revitalization of facilities that had fallen into disrepair. He said one of the young organizers came up with the name La Raza before the splash-in.

A decade later, in the summer of 1981, Rodriguez was at La Raza Park with Corky Gonzales and other leaders in the Chicano rights movement when a riot broke out. Police kicked them out of the park for not having a permit, and as residents moved to the street and started throwing rocks, officers tear-gassed them. The next year, the city filled in the park’s pool.

Now, in 2020, Rodriguez hopes the dynamics have changed for the newest renaming effort, as the country faces a reckoning with racism in America, including colonialism and the genocide of indigenous Americans, he said.

But changing the name won’t address other things that his community needs. Rodriguez wants to see the history documented and displayed for people to learn about the park’s role in the Chicano rights movement. He also wants bathrooms and a recreation center, and to change the park’s designation to a community park, so people don’t get harassed by police officers for holding family gatherings or fiestas.

His vision extends past the name itself, La Raza, to imagine resources, activities and cultural events for La Raza, the people. And this is what it was like in the 1970s, he said, when he led youth programs and cultural events in the park.

“It was more than a park,” he said. “It became a cultural center. It became a safe haven for people.”

As Rodriguez passes the torch to the next generation of leaders fighting for La Raza Park, his advice is to be persistent. Even if it takes 50 years, change is a beautiful sight to behold.

Sandoval said renaming the park is bringing together generations of residents and honoring the work of those who came before. From the children she sees playing there every day to the 100-year-old man who came to sign her petition, La Raza Park is for her community.

“All the work that we’re doing right now, like people whose shoulders I stand on, it’s for the next generations of people, the next generations in Denver,” Sandoval said. “It’s who we are, where we came from, and how we’re building a better future.”

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NHL and its labs say COVID-19 testing doesn’t overlap with public’s

Roughly 1,500 samples are collected and checked daily in each city not only from players, team and NHL personnel, but from restaurant and hotel workers supporting the post-season tournament in each hub.


Members of Vegas Golden Knights arrange pizza delivery for homeless Edmontonians just outside NHL bubble

Some members of the Vegas Golden Knights endeared themselves to a large number of homeless and poverty-stricken Edmontonians on Wednesday when they arrange for pizza to be delivered to them outside the NHL's bubble in Alberta's capital.


Alabama gives OC Steve Sarkisian big raise, to $2.5 million

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will make $2.5 million a year under a new three-year deal reached after his flirtation with the Colorado head coaching job.

University trustees approved Sarkisian’s new deal and others for assistant coaches and support staffers on Wednesday. It includes a raise of more than $800,000.

A former Washington and USC head coach, Sarkisian agreed to the new deal in February after reportedly being targeted by Colorado. It was pending formal approval by trustees.

Sarkisian signed a three-year deal worth $1.6 million annually in March 2019, returning to Alabama after two seasons running the Atlanta Falcons’ offense.


Women’s skateboarding scene in Nova Scotia sees surge in growth during pandemic

A 'girl skate crew' from Nova Scotia's South Shore is helping to fuel growth in the sport among women and girls.


Famous CU Buffs fan Betty Hoover passes away at 95

The University of Colorado has lost one of its greatest fans.

Betty Hoover, a long-time supporter of the Buffaloes, along with her twin sister, Peggy Coppom, has died at the age of 95.

Coppom and Hoover, known as “the twins” have been CU football season ticket holders since 1958 and have rarely missed a football or basketball game since first attending in 1940. They are often cheered by fans when they enter the CU Events Center together for games.

Betty and Peggy were born in Haxtun and their family moved to Longmont in 1939 and then Boulder in 1940. They graduated from Boulder High School in 1943 and continued to attend Panthers games over the years. Their brother was a part of football and basketball state championship teams at Boulder. The sisters had a combined seven children, all of which graduated from Boulder.

In 2018, they were honored at Boulder’s homecoming football game in 2018.

This story will be updated.


UConn becomes 1st FBS program to cancel football over virus

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — UConn canceled its 2020-2021 football season Wednesday, becoming the first FBS program to do so because of the coronavirus pandemic, as other schools had taken the Huskies off their schedules and the governor was reluctant to allow UConn to travel to states with high infection rates.

“After receiving guidance from state and public health officials and consulting with football student-athletes, we’ve decided that we will not compete on the gridiron this season,” athletic director David Benedict said. ”The safety challenges created by COVID-19 place our football student-athletes at an unacceptable level of risk.”

UConn had been scheduled to play its first season as an independent after leaving the American Athletic Conference.

The Huskies had already been taken off the schedules of Illinois, Indiana, Maine and Mississippi by those schools, and games against North Carolina and Virginia remained uncertain, UConn officials said. Many of the Power Five conferences are playing league-only games this season.

The Huskies began spring practice on Feb. 4 and were one of the only teams in the country to complete a full spring schedule. The team returned to campus in early July and no one has tested positive for the coronavirus, UConn officials said.

The football team will remain enrolled in classes either in-person or virtually, and will keep access to facilities and support services under NCAA rules.

“We engaged and listened to the concerns of our football student-athletes and feel this is the best decision for their health, safety, and well-being,” coach Randy Edsall said. “Our team is united in this approach and we will use this time to further player development within the program and gear ourselves to the 2021 season.”

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont had expressed reluctance to allow the football team to travel to any state with a high virus infection rate. He said the team would be subject to the state’s 14-day quarantine rule upon its return to Storrs from away games.

Connecticut, New York and New Jersey have travel advisories that require visitors from more than 30 states and Puerto Rico to quarantine for 14 days, with certain exceptions.

UConn officials said they will be reaching out to season ticket holders in the coming days to explain refunds and other options.


Manitou Springs reopening Incline, adding free reservation system

In a virtual Manitou Springs City Council meeting on Tuesday, a motion to reopen the Incline with a free reservation system was passed on a 5-2 vote.

This action to reopen the trail was achieved by approving a Memorandum of Understanding with Colorado Springs, which will operate and manage the reservation system. Manitou Public Works are maintaining the Hiawatha parking lot, and installing parking kiosks.

The Incline was closed to the public in late March because of coronavirus concerns. This plan hopes to reopen the trail while regulating the number of people allowed on it at one time. The free reservation system would allow 35 people on the trail per 30-minute window for the first two weeks of operation. Then, it would allow 45 people per 30-minute window in the weeks following.

The access to the Incline would be from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m, and reservations could be made up to a week in advance. Unless a person arrives on a bicycle or on foot, anyone who wants to hike the Incline must prove they parked at Hiawatha Gardens or the Iron Springs Chateau (provided the Iron Springs Chateau implements a parking system). A wristband would be required for hiking the trail.

Read more about the new system on our partner site Denver7.

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Group racing to raise $10M to preserve iconic Crystal Mill before potential sale

The Crystal Mill, a beautiful relic of Colorado’s colorful mining past, has stood crazily on a rock outcrop above the Crystal River in the Elk mountains since 1893. But after withstanding more than a century of harsh winters in a rugged, remote setting near the ghost town of Crystal, its days may be numbered.

Historic preservation efforts to save the structure through the intervention of a non-profit foundation are underway, but Crystal Mill Foundation president Heather Leigh said $10 million must be raised by next June to purchase it from the private family that owns it and secure its future, otherwise the owners are likely to sell it.

“We really believe that making it a non-profit and putting it in a place where it is preserved and protected for the next century will help get it into the right place, and we have a very small window to do it,” Leigh said. “We have to get this done within the next year, or it rolls back to the family and they will sell it to the highest bidder. If you’re a billionaire and you want a quiet retreat place to go, you (can) knock down the mill and no one will ever come on that road again.”

That’s because it’s not easy to get to the Crystal Mill, which is 6 miles west of Marble. The last 4 miles is on an extremely rugged road, making it a destination mostly limited to hikers, mountain bikers and 4×4 vehicles.

But it’s only 17 miles southwest from Aspen as the crow flies — a few minutes by helicopter — so Leigh fears it would be an attractive property to a billionaire wanting to demolish the mill to discourage visitors and build a home nearby. That’s why Leigh spent a year setting up the non-profit foundation to save it so visitors can continue to make the trip.

“It looks fake,” Leigh said. “It looks like a Hollywood movie set façade, out in the middle of nowhere. You think you’re never going to see it, you’re never going to find it, and then there she is. She is sitting up on this precipice of a rock outcrop, this silent majestic symbol of the American West, of Colorado and the determination of people when they set their mind to something. I think that’s what brings people back.”

Despite its name, it wasn’t actually a mill. It was built beside a dam with a water-wheel turbine to operate an air compressor that served mines in the area. It closed in 1917.

At its peak, the town of Crystal was home to more than 600, but now there are only six residents, all of them summer-only.

The foundation’s website has letters of support from several entities supporting preservation, including White River National Forest supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams, Colorado Preservation Inc. director Kim Grant and Aspen Valley Land Trust executive director Suzanne Stephens.

Leigh said $5 million is needed to acquire the property, while another $5 million will be needed to install toilets, provide a source of drinking water and restore a series of steps from the structure down to the river below.

“We need to be halfway there by December, or the family is probably going to list the property for sale,” Leigh said. “We have to have the $10 million before June of 2021 or they get it back. The race is on.”

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Ex-NHLer Brent Sopel shares dark moments confronting dyslexia

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Despite a push to go outside, one of Boulder’s most diverse outdoor community spots is still restricted

By Special to The Denver Post

On a warm afternoon in mid-May, about a week after Boulder County lifted its stay-at-home order, cooped-up young people flocked to Eben G. Fine Park to swim in the creek. City and county officials soon learned they had a problem.

“Apparently, this is all over social media now,” said Jeffrey Zayach, the county health department’s executive director, in an email to Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold.

A video circulating on Twitter showed people packing the creek cheek to jowl without masks. Media reports showed images of trash left behind. Complaints from residents poured into city officials’ inboxes: “What if someone was openly firing a handgun in a public park? Is that much different than walking around spreading potentially a life-threatening illness?”

Within hours of the media reports, Boulder City Manager Jane Brautigam ordered access to the creek at Eben G. Fine Park closed. Public health officials played little role in the decision to fence off the creek, though they supported the emergency order. The city said it plans to keep access restricted to limit large gatherings, especially at a time when COVID-19 cases have been rising in Colorado.

But the closure comes as cities are expanding access to the outdoors, where the risk of spreading the coronavirus is relatively low compared to indoors. In Denver, several streets were converted to “shared streets” that enable more people to exercise and get fresh air while keeping distance. People visiting the park last week said the creek is one of the few free places they can go to cool off and better cope with a pandemic that has dragged on for months.

“The creek allows for access to affordable swimming. We get families that come in groups of eight and they’re able to swim and not worry about expenses and feeling like they’re too close to one another,” said Danessa Garcia, an 18-year-old from Denver who was at the park last week.

Eben G. Fine Park is not the only place where water access is restricted in Boulder. Wading into the Boulder Reservoir is prohibited. One-hour deep water swimming reservations are available for $15 for residents and $20 for non-residents. A spokesperson for Boulder Parks and Recreation said financial aid is available to obtain reduced rates. Some pools can be reserved in 30-minute increments.

“Who can swim in 30 minutes?” said Mariasol Gonzales, a 46-year-old who came to Eben G. Fine Park last week from Denver. “To come to a place like this and to be able to see a smile and know that there is still laughter, it helps boost your spirit and it helps you for the next day and to keep going.”

Temperatures have been hot this month along the Front Range. And like the coronavirus, heat, too, kills Black people at higher rates than white people, according to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Boulder, a city that is more white than the rest of Colorado, Eben G. Fine Park is among the city’s most diverse community centers on a summer afternoon.

“Open spaces, parks and playgrounds are places that positively contribute to health,” said Glen Mays, who chairs the Colorado School of Public Health. “We already have unequal access to those kinds of venues to begin with due to residential segregation, income and race and ethnicity. I think we have to be very cautious about unintentionally exacerbating those kinds of inequities through the kinds of policies that we’re talking about here even though these kinds of policies are put in place with good intentions.”

He said governments should be looking for ways to encourage more activity outdoors where the risk of spreading the coronavirus is lower. Thus far, large gatherings during the Black Lives Matter protests failed to cause a case spike despite early warnings, public health officials say, as mask use was high and protests were outdoors.

Meanwhile, businesses on Pearl Street in Boulder and across the state are largely open, including restaurants serving people indoors. Outbreaks have occurred in dozens of restaurants and 11 retail locations in Colorado, infecting at least 236 employees, according to state data.

County health officials have not produced evidence that the large gatherings at the creek before Memorial Day caused an uptick in cases. However, people ages 21 to 29 make up the age group with the most confirmed cases in Boulder County, according to county data.

City and county officials say they have struck a balance to limit large gatherings and still allow access to the creek. The Boulder Creek is accessible east of Eben G. Fine Park, including at a popular location near the library. Picnic tables, a playground, a drinking water fountain and bathrooms are open at the park. And there’s a section along the creek to put in a tube, raft or kayak.

“We hope this compromise helps to protect residents and visitors while providing open spaces and activities they can still participate in safely,” said Chana Goussetis, a spokeswoman for the Boulder County Department of Public Health.

But Garcia didn’t have a tube. Besides, she said, she comes to the park for the community, something she said changed when the white metal fences went up.

“You see Latinos, whites, Blacks — you see us all swimming together because that’s a sense of community,” Garcia said. “You should be able to feel a sense of freedom when you go outside.”

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Call of the Wilde: Pittsburgh Penguins even series against the Montreal Canadiens

It was another low-scoring affair for the Montreal Canadiens with the Pittsburgh Penguins winning 3-1 to even the series.


Braves ace Mike Soroka out for year with torn Achilles

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Braves ace Mike Soroka is out for the season after tearing his right Achilles tendon Monday night against the New York Mets.

Soroka was hurt in the third inning after delivering a pitch to J.D. Davis, who grounded the ball toward first baseman Freddie Freeman.

Soroka broke toward first to cover the bag, only to go down on his first step off the mound. The right-hander knew right away it was a devastating injury, one that ensures he won’t be back on the mound until 2021.

“It’s a freak thing that happened,” manager Brian Snitker said, delivering the grim news after the Braves lost 7-2 to the Mets. “I’m sorry it did.”

Soroka yelled in obvious pain and tried to walk gingerly for a couple of steps before dropping to his knees. He couldn’t put any weight on the leg as he was helped toward the clubhouse with the assistance of Snitker and a trainer.

It was a major blow to the two-time defending NL East champion Braves, who had won five straight despite struggling to put together an effective rotation.

“Somebody else is going to get an opportunity,” Snitker said. “Things like that happen. These guys will regroup. Somebody is going to get an opportunity to do something really good. Our young guys are going to continue to get better. We’re going to be fine.”

Soroka, who turns 23 on Tuesday, made his first opening day start last month after going 13-4 with a dazzling 2.68 ERA in 2019 to finish second in NL Rookie of the Year balloting and sixth for the Cy Young Award.

Soroka was making his third start of the season. He came in having allowed just two earned runs over 11 1/3 innings but struggled against the Mets, giving up three hits and four walks. He was charged with four earned runs in 2 1/3 innings, the second-shortest outing of his career.

Unfortunately for Soroka, he won’t get a chance to make up for it this season.


Dallas, Vegas NHL players kneel during anthems as protests gain momentum

Minnesota Wild defenceman Matt Dumba says he will continue to publicly protest racial injustice as the NHL returns to action in the hub cities of Edmonton and Toronto. On Monday, he was not alone.


Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson acquires XFL

Former wrestling star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson said he has acquired the XFL.

The 48-year-old Johnson made the announcement Monday on Twitter. The price reportedly is $15 million.

The XFL had eight franchises and played five games out of a planned 10-game schedule before canceling the remainder of its season in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It drew decent TV ratings early on and had deals with ESPN and Fox.

The league suspended operations and laid off all of its employees on April 10 and filed for bankruptcy protection on April 13.

Since ending his wrestling career, Johnson has become a movie star, including in the “Fast & Furious” and “Jumanji” franchises.

Spring football is a difficult challenge, as the Alliance of American Football found out in 2019, not lasting a full season, either.

A previous version of the XFL also played one season in 2001.


UA to refund student season football tickets

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — The University of Alabama has announced they will be refunding all student season tickets for the upcoming football stadium.

This comes after the SEC announced its plan for the football season after other conferences decided to move away from the originally planned schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The schedule for the Crimson Tide as well as the other teams have yet to be determined and the number of fans allowed into stadiums is also up for debate. Due to this, the university decided to refund the students.

The school says refunds will be processed within the next 1-2 weeks and will be put back on the card used to make the purchase. The refunds will be automatic and there is no need to make a request.

UA says a new student plan will be announced at a later date and if you have questions, contact the ticket office at 205-348-2262 or ticketoffice@ia.ua.edu.


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Head Coach Billy Nappier issues statement on passing of Assistant Coach D.J. Looney

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) The college football world today is mourning the sudden passing of UL Lafayette football assistant coach D.J. Looney.

Looney, who was heading into his third year as an assistant offensive line coach with the Ragin’ Cajuns, died after suffering a heart attack during a team workout. He was only 31 years old.

Cajuns head coach Billy Napier released a statement Saturday evening regarding Looney’s passing.

The Ragin Cajuns Department of Athletics ask that fans, friends and acquaintances of Coach Looney keep his family and the football program in their thoughts and prayers.


Ed Orgeron sends condolences after death of UL Lafayette assistant coach D.J. Looney

BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron offered his heartfelt condolences on the passing of UL Lafayette assistant football coach D.J. Looney, who died Saturday following a heart attack during a team workout at Cajun Field.

“Our prayers are with Coach Looney’s family and the Ragin Cajun Football team. He will be missed. God bless.”

Looney was confirmed dead at University Hospital & Clinics, which is located across the street from Cajun Field.

He was 31 years old.


Toronto Raptors kneel for anthems ahead of 1st real game after COVID-19 break

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Nuggets coach Michael Malone sought permission from Elijah McClain’s family for shirts

No matter the frustration Nuggets coach Michael Malone might feel over his team’s extensive injury list, he’s determined not to let this moment pass.

While sitting in his room in Orlando, an idea dawned on Malone. He wanted to honor the life of Elijah McClain, the 23-year-old Black man from Aurora who died after an encounter with police last fall. McClain was restrained in a chokehold and later injected with ketamine by paramedics.

Malone contacted Mari Newman, the attorney for the McClain family, and asked how they’d feel if the Nuggets wore shirts in McClain’s honor.

“We wanted to make sure we weren’t doing anything the family wasn’t comfortable with,” said Malone, who wore the shirt for his pre- and postgame news conferences Saturday and also knelt, with his team, during the national anthem. “And thankfully, Mari told me that when she spoke to Elijah’s mom, she was moved, she was emotional and she was fully supportive of us continuing to find a way, in this platform, in this bubble, to make sure no one’s forgetting about Elijah McClain’s name, what happened to him and the demand for justice in his case.”

Even after dropping Saturday’s game to Miami 125-105, Malone was thoughtful in his responses.

On several occasions, Malone has opened news conferences by reading from the Equal Justice Initiative calendar, which documents instances of racial injustice from the day’s date. When Congressman John Lewis died, he encouraged his players to watch the documentary “Good Trouble” about his life spent fighting for racial equality. And as games start, it was perhaps more important for Malone to be proactive in the conversation. The shirts for McClain were about recognizing racial injustice in the Nuggets’ own state.

“I’ve been led to believe that the NBA is allowing people to use this forum down here,” Malone said. “It’s not just about a return to play, it’s also about making sure we keep the conversation on racism, police brutality and all those other things, and this is an example of us taking it upon ourselves to keep light on our conversations in our backyard. That’s as simple as it gets.”

Nuggets players Monte Morris and Torrey Craig were both appreciative of the gesture and valued highlighting the inequities in Colorado.

“Everybody’s happy basketball’s back, but we’re playing really for the things that’s going on in this world,” Morris said. “I think that should be the biggest focus. Coach had those shirts for us, just recognition that Denver may not be where we grew up at but it’s our hometown right now and that’s who we play for.”


Another postponement rattles MLB; Brewers’ Cain opts out

The coronavirus forced baseball’s 17th postponement in 10 days on Saturday, prompting at least two more players to opt out and casting doubt the league can complete a truncated 2020 season.

A Cardinals-Brewers game in Milwaukee was postponed for the second straight day after one more player and several staff members with St. Louis tested positive for the coronavirus in rapid samples, Major League Baseball said. The staff total of positives was three, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. MLB said results of saliva tests will not be available until later Saturday.

Milwaukee then announced that Gold Glove center fielder Lorenzo Cain will not participate in the rest of the 2020 season.

The Miami Marlins received no new positive results in their latest round of coronavirus testing, MLB said, but second baseman Isan Díaz also opted out.

The Philadelphia Phillies, meanwhile, were permitted to access Citizens Bank Park for staggered workouts beginning in the afternoon.

MLB said no Phillies players have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week and while three staff members have tested positive, it appeared two were attributable to false positives and the third, based on the timing of the positive test, may not have contracted COVID-19 from the Marlins.

MLB rescheduled the postponed Phillies-Yankees games of this week for next week, in New York on Monday and Tuesday and in Philadelphia on Wednesday and Thursday. New York’s game at Tampa Bay on Thursday was rescheduled as part of a doubleheader on Aug. 8.

“What the virus has taught us is this is a day-by-day, week-by-week situation that we live in,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

Miami will play a four-game series in Baltimore from Tuesday through Thursday, with one game a doubleheader. The Marlins will be the home team for two games.

MLB said it will reschedule the missed Yankees-Orioles game and Marlins-Phillies series.

The people with knowledge of the Cardinals’ and Marlins’ situations spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the tests had not been released publicly.

Two Cardinals players were flagged for positive tests on Friday, forcing the series opener in Milwaukee to be called off. The teams had hoped to resume play Saturday and make up Friday’s game as part of a doubleheader Sunday.

St. Louis learned of its first two positive tests Thursday night from samples taken Wednesday before a game in Minnesota. Players and staff were instructed to isolate in their hotel rooms, and the club said it was conducting rapid testing and contact tracing.

The Cardinals have not been to Miller Park since arriving in Milwaukee, and the Brewers have not reported any positive tests among their players since the season began. Despite that, Cain, a two-time All-Star, informed management that he no longer wanted to participate.

“We fully support Lorenzo’s decision and will miss his talents on the field and leadership in the clubhouse,” Brewers general manager David Stearns said in a statement.

At least 21 members of the Marlins’ traveling party have been infected by an outbreak at the start of a season-opening trip. The team hasn’t played since Sunday in Philadelphia but hopes to resume games next week.

Díaz consistently tested negative while the season was on hold, but he decided to become the first Miami player to opt out. He played in two of the Marlins’ three games before their season was halted.

“This has been a tough week to see so many of my teammates come down with this virus, and see how quickly it spreads,” Díaz wrote on Instagram. “After much deliberation and thought, I have made the difficult choice of opting out for the remainder of the 2020 season.”

Díaz batted .173 as a rookie last year, but the organization has big hopes regarding his potential.

The infected Marlins players and staff left Philadelphia in sleeper buses Friday for Miami, where they will stay together in quarantine. The rest of the team remained in isolation at a hotel in Philadelphia.

With six teams idled Friday by the pandemic, Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke to union leader Tony Clark about the importance of players following the sport’s coronavirus protocols.

Manfred and Clark talked about what needs to be done to finish the season, a person familiar with the conversation said. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

The conversation between Manfred and Clark, first reported by ESPN, comes amid growing evidence that the spread of infection threatens to overtake efforts to play ball.

“Some things aren’t looking too good right now, but we have to play up to that point. Players are seeing what can happen,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said.

The Phillies-Blue Jays series in Philadelphia was among two weekend series called off earlier. The Marlins were hit with a virus outbreak in Philadelphia, and both Miami and the Phillies are sidelined for at least a week.

Cleveland players and staff talked about postponing Friday night’s game at Minnesota but played on. The Cardinals had played at Target Field on Wednesday, a day before the Indians arrived.


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Reports: Brewers vs. Cardinals game postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests

(WFRV) – According to reports, the Milwaukee Brewers home opener at Miller Park has been postponed.

Tweets by MLB Network insider Jon Heyman indicated multiple Cardinals players had tested positive for COVID-19, information later confirmed by multiple outlets. The reports say the Cardinals are isolating in their hotel room and not going to the ballpark.

According to Heyman, multiple positive tests on the Cardinals forced the postponement.

The news follows a week of several MLB postponements due to positive tests. More than a dozen Miami Marlins players tested positive, forcing Miami to postpone its season. The Philadelphia Phillies’ home series against Toronto was postponed due to two staffers testing positive.

Friday was set to be the home opener at Miller Park, celebrating 50 years of Brewers baseball. Local 5 News has reached out to Brewers executives for comment and is waiting for any additional information.

If the series is postponed, it could have wide-ranging impacts on the NL Central race, with the Cardinals visiting Milwaukee for just one weekend in the 60-game season. The Brewers wrap up the season in St. Louis at the end of September.

Stay tuned to this story for updates.


SEC goes to conference-only schedule, starting Sept. 26

The Southeastern Conference will play only league games in 2020, a decision that pushes major college football closer to a siloed regular season in which none of the power conferences cross paths.

The plan was confirmed Thurdsay by a person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because an official announcement from the conference was still being prepared.

The SEC’s university presidents agreed on a 10-game schedule that eliminates all non-conference opponents and is set to begin Sept. 26, the person said. The SEC championship game, originally scheduled for Dec. 5, will be pushed back to Dec. 19.

“This new plan for a football schedule is consistent with the educational goals of our universities to allow for the safe and orderly return to campus of their student populations and to provide a healthy learning environment during these unique circumstances presented by the COVID-19 virus,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said. “This new schedule supports the safety measures that are being taken by each of our institutions to ensure the health of our campus communities.”

The Big Ten and Pac-12 announced their intentions to play only conference games earlier this month, but the Atlantic Coast Conference this week announced a reworked 11-game schedule that left room for one non-conference game.

The ACC wanted to allow four of its schools to maintain in-state rivalry games with SEC schools, but now Georgia-Georgia Tech, Florida-Florida State, Clemson-South Carolina and Kentucky-Louisville have been canceled.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 have yet to reveal their schedules but both could come as soon as Friday. Big 12 officials were holding out hope its 10 members would be able to play nonconference games, but options are dwindling. The SEC’s decision cancels LSU’s home game against Texas and Tennessee’s scheduled trip to Oklahoma in September.


Huge jump in popularity at Brainard Lake leads to extreme crowding despite pandemic restrictions

A leaden overcast sky portended a Saturday morning that would soon turn rainy, yet dozens of cars formed a line at the Brainard Lake entrance station with occupants hoping they would eventually get into one of the most picturesque destinations in the Front Range. Alas, the odds were against them.

TheBrainard Lake Recreation Area typically is a very popular place in the summer, but increased demand coupled with COVID-19 restrictions has made it even more difficult to manage this year. Due to the pandemic, parking lots inside the gate are restricted to 80% of maximum capacity. That means when 238 of the 298 parking spots in lots beyond the gate are filled, personnel at the gate stop letting cars in until spaces open up.

Even so, Brainard Lake is experiencing daily visitation rates two to four times higher than normal, according to Reid Armstrong, public affairs specialist for the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests.

Because of the pandemic, entry for motor vehicles is restricted to specific time windows so staff can perform increased frequency of restroom cleaning, and those windows are inflexible. From the time when the gate is staffed starting at 6 a.m., entry is allowed until the 80% figure is reached. The next window doesn’t open until 10:30 a.m., with others following at noon and 1:30 p.m.

Yet while people in line at the entry gate waited for hours last Saturday for the 10:30 window, dozens of people streamed by, walking right past the entry gate because walk-ins and cyclists are not bound by the same rules. Those folks either parked at a lot about 150 yards outside the gate, which overflowed with vehicles, or along the access road from the Peak to Peak Highway. They would hike the 2 miles on the road between the entrance gate and Brainard Lake, which offers a stunning panorama framed by the rugged Indian Peaks.

RELATED: How Rocky Mountain National Park’s reservation system is working

Sam Taggart and a car full of friends were fifth in line at the gate, knowing there was no guarantee they would get in when the 10:30 time slot opened, but they were willing to wait more than an hour and a half. Their hope was to park at the Mitchell Lake trailhead for the 2.6-mile hike to Blue Lake at the foot of a beautiful and dramatic 13,000-foot peak, Mount Toll. That trailhead also provides access to climbing neighboring Mount Audubon, a prominent thirteener visible from much of the greater Denver area.

“We were weighing the option of hiking up the access road, adding an extra two (miles) there, two back, or sitting here for an hour and a half with good company, driving up to the trailhead and enjoying just the hike we wanted to do,” Taggart said. “We want to hike the trail, we don’t want to hike the road today. It’s a matter of weighing those options. But for me, I’m with friends, and good company will make the time go by quicker than if I were alone.”

And it is a wonderful hike.


Mount Toll in the Indian Peaks wilderness, elev. 12,979 feet, looms over Blue Lake at the Brainard Lake Recreation Area. On a clear day it is one of the most beautiful — and popular — day hikes in the Front Range (John Meyer, Denver Post)

“Blue Lake is a quintessential Colorado hike,” Taggart said. “It winds through a pine forest in the beginning; you’re getting a nice scent of the pine through the trees. There’s one lake you go by, you cross a (creek) and then up to a high alpine beautiful vista. For me, it encompasses everything you’d want out of a nice day hike in reach of Denver.”

Taggart and his crew got in when the 10:30 entry window opened, snagging the last available spot for the Mitchell Lake lot, and about a dozen other vehicles were allowed entry. Many more made U-turns and headed back down the access road, either to find parking spots along the road or to give up on Brainard Lake for the day. Less than a half-hour after the 10:30 window opened, it began raining.

Armstrong said the past two weekends have been especially busy and conceded that “some things aren’t working.”

One is the parking situation at the lot just outside the gate. Known as the Brainard Gateway lot (also called the Winter Lot), there are no COVID-related capacity restrictions. In previous years, 20-40 cars typically would be parked there, Armstrong said, but these days all of the 149 parking spaces are filled and other vehicles are strewn about the edges.

“This is definitely unfortunate,” Armstrong said. “The difference between the 20-40 cars we saw in previous years to the 150-160 we’re seeing this year, that spike in use was not anticipated. It reflects drastically more than the 60-car reduction we’ve done in the upper lots on the other side of the entry station to meet that 80% capacity. It shows how high our use has been this year.”


Dozens of cars are parked along the road to the Brainard Lake Recreation Area on Saturday, July 25, a typical occurrence at the popular destination. (John Meyer, The Denver Post)

Armstrong noted that parking there means a hike of 2 miles up the road from the entry gate just to reach Brainard Lake, and it’s another mile to popular trailheads.

Another problem is the road from the Peak to Peak Highway where dozens of cars have been parking on either side, effectively narrowing the roadway because there isn’t much of a shoulder. Meanwhile people are hiking up the road in large numbers.

“The high volume of parking on county roads is definitely a public safety concern due to the increased potential for vehicle accidents, for vehicle-pedestrian accidents, and ingress/egress issues for emergency vehicles,” Armstrong said, noting that the Forest Service is seeing the same parking challenges at other Front Range locations such as Maxwell Falls in Evergreen, St. Mary’s Glacier near Idaho Springs and the Hessie Trailhead near Nederland.

RELATED: Maxwell Falls joins the list of Colorado trails being loved to death

Forest Service officials are studying what’s happening at Brainard Lake this summer to consider similar entry management tools when COVID-19 restrictions are no longer necessary. A reservation system similar to what was instituted this summer at Rocky Mountain National Park is possible.

“We don’t know whether that level of use is going to continue after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides,” Armstrong said. “It could be, now that people have discovered the opportunities, it stays close to these levels. So we are definitely looking at the use patterns we’re seeing this year to help inform whether a reservation system at Brainard Lake might make sense for the future.”

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Muscle Shoals High postponing sports competitions until Sept. 1

MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – Muscle Shoals High School will not play football or any other sports until the week of Sept. 1, the school said Wednesday.

In a post on Twitter, the school said coaches and band directors were in the process of trying to reschedule games and competitions that were slated to take place before then.

Students are scheduled to begin their first day of class Aug. 20.


Aspen Skiing Co. CEO tells skiers to temper their expectations for the 2020-21 season

Aspen Skiing Co.’s top official advised customers in a letter Tuesday to temper their expectations but not curb their enthusiasm for the 2020-21 ski season.

Skico President and CEO Mike Kaplan wrote that skiers and snowboarders will likely have to readjust their sights for the season because of the coronavirus pandemic. Racking up a bunch of laps at Highland Bowl and amassing impressive totals on vertical feet won’t be as easy. Chairlifts and gondolas won’t be loaded to capacity, so waits will be longer.

He acknowledged that there would be new procedures — “some of them annoying.”

“Loading and riding lifts and gondolas will have guidelines that limit contact between unrelated individuals,” Kaplan wrote. “Social-distancing measures and facial-covering requirements will be in place in all restaurants, ticket offices, ski school facilities and other indoor or congested areas. We are looking at expanding outdoor seating, adding coverage and heat where possible.”

Read more on our partner site The Aspen Times.

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Alabama AD Greg Byrne writes letter to fans detailing possible financial hardships for program

A letter to Alabama supporters from Athletic Director Greg Byrne details some of the financial challenges the department has faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Byrne said in an attempt to offset revenue shortfalls, operating budgets for all departments and sports have decreased, a freeze was placed on vacant non-coaching positions.

Byrne added if a modified seating model is implemented, those affected will be able to decide between a complete or partial refund.

You can read his complete statement below:

“No question there has been a lot to celebrate being part of the Crimson Tide. Whether you witnessed the goal line stand of the 1979 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, or you were sitting in Mercedes-Benz Stadium watching the overtime win over Georgia in 2018 to win our 17th national championship, these are memories that will last a lifetime for all of us.

While we remain unsure of what is to come for the 2020-21 season, we continue to work through a multitude of scenarios and cost-savings measures to operate as efficiently as we possibly can in these unprecedented times. Despite the unknowns, we remain committed to the core of our mission, which is centered on educating, serving and developing the best student-athletes.

With the financial challenges Alabama Athletics is facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve already taken steps to help offset revenue shortfalls including a decrease in operating budgets for all of our departments and sports, a freeze on vacant non-coaching positions as well as facility operating and energy savings. We have a number of other strategies under review that we will look at implementing as decisions are made for the fall, however donor contributions, season ticket purchases and TIDE PRIDE memberships are vital to our operation and we could not be where we are without the support of so many of you.

Under normal operations, a large percentage of our annual budget comes directly from ticket sales and TIDE PRIDE memberships. In the event we have to adopt a modified seating model at Bryant-Denny Stadium, this number will be impacted significantly. While we don’t yet know the effects on individual ticketholders, we do know that we will need your continued and generous support.

As plans become clearer, the Crimson Tide Foundation and TIDE PRIDE/ticket office will work with you to provide options to continue supporting our core mission, including the opportunity to donate TIDE PRIDE contributions and ticket purchases as a potentially deductible gift to the Crimson Tide Foundation. Those affected will also have the option to elect a complete or partial refund of TIDE PRIDE contributions and ticket purchases.

While we are still living in a world of unknowns, we do know that because of people like you, we will come out of this together. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have generously supported Alabama Athletics over the years. You play a crucial role in the experience of our over 600 student-athletes, and we are forever grateful.

Our staff remains hard at work and is here to serve you. Questions for the Crimson Tide Foundation can be directed by phone at 205-348-9727 or email at ctf@ia.ua.edu, while inquiries specific to the ticket office and TIDE PRIDE can dial 205-348-2262 or email ticketoffice@ia.ua.edu.”


10 local studios, gyms offering outdoor fitness classes in Denver’s Sculpture Park

In August, the city of Denver will leverage the benefit of outdoor spaces for a new exercise series in Sculpture Park at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

The city has partnered with 10 local fitness studios — Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Barre3, BLOCK21, CM Dance, Edgar L. Page: Feel the Movement, Hot Mamas, Lunar Vibrations, Bodies by Perseverance, Endorphin and Palango! Fitness — to provide a variety of classes, from meditation to high-intensity interval training. The series will run from Aug. 4 through Sept. 29, and tickets ($17 per class) go on sale on Wednesday, July 29, at 10 a.m.

In a news release, Denver Arts and Venues said staffers have drawn 10-foot circles 6 feet apart to enforce social distancing while exercising. Kitts said they plan to do classes two days a week with 50 participants per session, extending through the fall. Since the park usually has a capacity of 5,000, guests will have plenty of space, he added.

In an interview, Brian Kitts, a spokesperson for Denver Arts and Venues, clarified that participants would be required to wear a mask for the duration of the exercise classes, even though they take place outside because the mandate applies to outdoor events.

“If you’re going to take a chance on gathering in groups, you want to be able to trust the people next to you, and part of that means that they’re following the right protocols,” Kitts said. “Masks happen to be part of that, just like social distance and good hygiene.”

Kitts said the city has also taken the fitness series as an opportunity to partner with cultural organizations like Cleo Robinson Dance, offering a unique exercise program beyond the basics. He also emphasized how lucky Coloradans are to enjoy outdoor spaces like Sculpture Park or Red Rocks Amphitheater, even under difficult circumstances.

For cardio and high-intensity workouts, guests can try Endorphin’s Boot Camp classes or cardio boxing, and Hot Mamas for Pilates. Or people can explore a variety of dance, from modern and jazz with Edgar L. Page: Feel the Movement to dance cardio with BLOCK21. And on the other end of the spectrum, Lunar Vibrations will provide meditation classes starting in September.

“It’s a chance for people to get to do something fun with others for a change,” Kitts said. “Denver is fortunate that the area has a lot of great outdoor spaces … and it’s a good thing that it’s summer right now because we do get a chance to do some of these things after everyone’s been locked up.”

The announcement for this new series follows Gov. Jared Polis’ new statewide mask mandate, which went into effect last Friday. The order applies to exercising in indoor gyms and studios, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

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SPHL to target December for start of 2020-2021 season

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Hockey fans in the South have gone months wondering when they would see their favorite team back on the ice after the SPHL canceled the remainder of the 2019 season.

Nothing is set in stone at the moment but the league has announced a target start date for the 2020-2021 campaign.

The league is shooting for a mid to late December start due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In the past, opening night for the Huntsville Havoc has been held in October. That won’t be the case this year if things go according to plan.

SPHL Commissioner Doug Price stated that delaying it a few months gives them the best chance to complete the entire season with all 10 teams.

Havoc head coach Glenn Detulleo weighed in on the decision saying, “I think we all want to get back to doing the things we want to be doing so, I think it’s part disappointment. I think also at least there’s a plan. If you would have told me in March that this is kind of gonna be happening, this is crazy! So now I just kind of take it day by day and just at least having something to shoot for help for sure.”


MLB suspends Miami Marlins’ season through weekend amid outbreak

MIAMI (AP) — Major League Baseball temporarily suspended the Miami Marlins’ season through Sunday because of their worsening coronavirus outbreak, and the three remaining games in this week’s New York Yankees-Philadelphia Phillies series were postponed.

In a statement Tuesday, MLB said it wanted to allow the Marlins time to focus on providing care for their players and plan for a resumption of play early next week.

The Marlins remained stranded in Philadelphia, where they played last weekend. The Phillies-Yankees games through Thursday were postponed “out of an abundance of caution,” MLB said, although no Phillies players have tested positive.

The Marlins received positive test results for four additional players, bringing their total to 15, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. The person declined to be identified because the results had not been publicly released.

Nine players on the 30-man roster, two taxi squad players and two staff members tested positive earlier.

The Marlins had been scheduled to play at Baltimore on Wednesday and Thursday. Instead, the Yankees will play at Baltimore on those days.

Miami’s three home games this weekend against Washington were postponed. Nationals players had voted against making the trip, manager Dave Martinez said.

“We all decided that it was probably unsafe to go there,” Martinez said. “It had nothing to do with the Miami Marlins. It was all about Miami and the state of Florida, this pandemic. They didn’t feel safe.”

The Marlins underwent another round of tests Tuesday morning, as their outbreak raised anew questions about baseball’s attempts to conduct a season.

“This could put it in danger,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert. “I don’t believe they need to stop, but we just need to follow this and see what happens with other teams on a day-by-day basis.”

Fauci made his comments on ABC’s “Good Morning America” before word of the Marlins’ latest test results.

“Major League Baseball — the players, the owners, the managers — have put a lot of effort into getting together and putting protocols that we feel would work,” Fauci said. “It’s very unfortunate what happened with the Miami (Marlins).”

Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun said players are constantly assessing whether they should keep playing.

“There’s real fear, there’s real anxiety for me, for all my teammates,” Braun said. “I think we’ve found it very difficult to focus on baseball at all the last couple of days.”

MLB said that among more than 6,400 tests conducted since Friday, there were no new positives of on-field personnel from any team other than the Marlins.

“The difficult circumstances of one club reinforce the vital need to be diligent with the protocols in all ways, both on and off the field,” MLB said.

In Cleveland, Chicago White Sox manager Rick Renteria returned to the team Tuesday after awakening with some COVID-19 symptoms a day earlier and being isolated for 24 hours.

And everyone in baseball seemed to be feeling uneasy.

“It’s important that we are able to provide a source of entertainment and an outlet for people who are dealing with such a challenging time in their lives,” Braun said. “But at the same time, the health and safety should be the top priority for all of us at all times. …

“You think about all the hotel employees, bus drivers, pilots, flight attendants, anybody else all the Marlins guys might have come into contact with, and it’s obviously scary.”

The Marlins planned to remain in Philadelphia until at least Wednesday. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health said it was working with the Marlins and Phillies on contact tracing to contain the spread of the virus.

Additional MLB rescheduling during the week of Aug. 3 will be announced later this week. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered up his state to any team needing a place to play.

While baseball battles its logistical challenges, the NBA and NHL are resuming their seasons in bubble environments, with basketball at Lake Buena Vista, Florida, and hockey at Edmonton, Alberta, and Toronto.

The NFL has opted not to create a bubble environment as training camps open this week.

“It might be that they have to go in a bubble,” Fauci said, “but I think they’re conscientious enough and want to protect their players and protect the personnel that they will do the right thing.”


Ping pong’s reign continues as Colorado fans wagered $38.1 million on sports in June

Colorado’s sports betting industry saw marked growth in June, despite the lack of most major league sports.

Fans in the Centennial State wagered more than $38.1 million between digital and retail sportsbooks, an increase of 49% over May, the first month betting became legal, according to the Division of Gaming. The state collected about $217,023 in sports betting taxes in June.

Ping pong was the top grossing sports for the second month in a row, raking in more than $9.1 million in wagers, followed by soccer ($4.1 million), golf ($3.4 million), MMA fighting ($2.2 million) and tennis ($1.3 million).

Analysts like Max Bichsel, vice president of U.S. business for Gambling.com Group, say fan enthusiasm is promising given the lack of mainstream sports.

“While table tennis was the most bet on sport for the second consecutive month in Colorado, expect baseball and basketball to begin to surge with the return of MLB and NBA, assuming games can continue into the summer,” Bichel said.

In-person sports betting may also gain momentum as casinos and their respective sportsbooks join the scene. In mid-June, casinos were permitted to reopen following an extended closure induced by the coronavirus pandemic.


Missouri man accidentally shoots himself while carrying gun in his backpack at Rocky Mountain National Park

A 70-year-old tourist from Missouri suffered a gunshot wound from a handgun he was carrying in his backpack at one of the most popular hiking areas in Rocky Mountain National Park, park officials say.

According to a park news release concerning the July 19 incident, the man was hiking with the gun in his backpack, and when he set his pack on a rock, the gun discharged. A bullet struck him in the leg and did not exit his body. The incident occurred on a Sunday when many park visitors were in the vicinity. Some assisted him with initial first aid, according to the park’s public information officer, Kyle Patterson.

“The man was carried out via a wheeled litter to the Bear Lake Trailhead, where he was taken by Estes Health Ambulance to a meadow in the Glacier Basin Campground where he was flown by Lifeguard Two Air Ambulance to Medical Center of the Rockies (in Loveland),” according to the release.

Asked why the park was releasing the information nine days after the incident, Patterson said the investigation needed to be completed first.

The news release went on to remind visitors that the open carry of firearms and concealed carry are allowed in the park, pursuant to Colorado concealed carry permits, “and applicable state reciprocity laws.” The release said visitors should not consider firearms as “a wildlife protection strategy,” suggesting bear spray be used instead.

Rocky Mountain National Park said the condition of the injured hiker is currently unknown.

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High school football fall camp opens up in Alabama

MADISON, Ala. – Monday marked the first official day that high school football teams in the state of Alabama could open up fall camp.

The first week is being used as an acclimation week, which means teams still can only be in helmets and shorts; August 5 is when teams are able to break out the pads.

The James Clemens Jets are one of the many teams across the Tennessee Valley who had their first official practice; it looked very similar to what they’ve been doing during summer workouts since it is still that acclimation period.

The Jets are ready to put their pads on and really get to work, but what they’re really thankful for right now is being able to practice together as a team and gear up for the upcoming season.

“It’s good just because it brings some normalcy and some consistency and direction on what we have,” said James Clemens head coach Wade Waldrop. “That was the hardest part the first month or so was just the unknown and the areas of grey, but having definitive lines and definitive goals and something to look at that’s exciting.”

“It’s a true blessing actually to be out here for my last time on the field with my brothers it’s just a true blessing,” said James Clemens senior linebacker Jaylin Grigsby.

The Jets are set to open the 2020 season down in Mobile against Murphy on August 21.


NHL COVID-19 testing not expected to delay lab work for Albertans, Dynalife CEO says

CEO Jason Pincock said the company has a dedicated team for NHL-related coronavirus testing.


What does Colorado’s mask requirement mean for your next workout?

A week after Gov. Jared Polis issued a statewide mask order in hopes of tamping down a spike in COVID-19 cases, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued guidance Thursday intended to clarify how it applies to working out in gyms.

The only reference to gyms in the mask mandate that was issued July 16 came in a line that exempted “individuals who are exercising alone or with others from the individual’s household and a face covering would interfere with the activity.”

In a list of Frequently Asked Questions updated by the CDPHE on Thursday, there is a bit more information: “Mask-wearing requirements apply to everyone indoors, including people exercising. If you are in an indoor room with other patrons who are not a part of your household, then you need to wear a mask. You may remove it temporarily if you need to catch your breath or safely perform an activity, but wear a mask as much as feasible.”

For those who may find it difficult to wear a mask while running on a treadmill indoors, the advice is simple: Maybe try running outside instead.

According to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, “People who are engaged in high-intensity activities, like running, may not be able to wear a cloth face covering if it causes difficulty breathing. If unable to wear a cloth face covering, consider conducting the activity in a location with greater ventilation and air exchange (for instance, outdoors versus indoors) and where it is possible to maintain physical distance from others.”

It seems most local gym managers have concluded that the mask mandate does apply to high-respiration cardio workouts. The Know randomly called six 24 Hour Fitness locations, six Planet Fitness gyms and six Orangetheory Fitness studios. Staff members at all 18 said they were requiring masks on treadmills and spin bikes, although three said members were allowed to remove their masks for quick “breathers.” Soul Cycle also is requiring masks.

Attempts to reach corporate spokespersons for 24 Hour Fitness, Orangetheory Fitness and Soul Cycle were unsuccessful. Robin Jost, Planet Fitness Colorado’s “COVID deputy,” said its gyms are complying with the order.

“At Planet Fitness, we support the mandates from the state, counties and cities,” Jost said in an emailed statement. “We have asked our members to wear masks while they are in our facilities working out. Our members have appreciated and are adjusting to the mandates to keep themselves and others safe.”

The FAQ from CDPHE also has some guidance for indoor sports: “Masks should be worn while playing indoor sports unless it interferes with the activity. You may remove the mask temporarily to catch your breath if needed, or if you can’t wear appropriate safety equipment while wearing the mask. Wear a mask as much as feasible.”

Regarding indoor pools, CDPHE says, “You should take your mask off while swimming in the pool, but you must put it back on while you are not swimming but in the pool area.”

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Free Saskatoon soccer program returns for the 13th summer

Kids In the Park takes place in six parks around Saskatoon, with sessions in the morning and afternoon, wrapping up on Aug. 20.


Eddie Shack, former Toronto Maple Leaf who won 4 Stanley Cups, dead at 83

Eddie Shack, one of the NHL's most colourful players on and off the ice, has died. He was 83.


Meet Trash Pandas manager Jay Bell

MADISON, Ala. – The community is invited to meet Trash Pandas manager and former World Series Champion Jay Bell next week!

There will be three opportunities for Trash Pandas fans to meet Bell. The schedule is as follows:

  • Wednesday, July 29 luncheon at 1 p.m. in the SportsMed Stadium Club at Toyota Field
  • Wednesday, July 29 dinner at 6:30 p.m. in the SportsMed Stadium Club at Toyota Field
  • Thursday, July 30 luncheon at 1 p.m. in the SportsMed Stadium Club at Toyota Field

Tickets are $50 per person. Tickets include access to the presentation and Q&A session, lunch or dinner, and a Trash Pandas baseball autographed by Bell.

Health and safety guidelines will be followed during the events. No more then four people will be seated at a table, so space is limited.

To attend, select which event you would like to attend and send your reservations to Maddison Kendrick with the Trash Pandas by calling (256) 517-3733 or email mkendrick@trashpandasbaseball.com.

For additional information and the menu, click here.


Bandimere Speedway cancels more events as Jefferson County defends its public health order

The months-long dispute between the Bandimere Speedway and Jefferson County Public Health continued during the weekend, with the Morrison racetrack canceling more events and the county defending its public health plan as it seeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“After three days of numerous attempts to comply with the restrictions being placed on the drag strip due to the current COVID-19, they were ultimately unable to get the approval from the Jefferson County Health Department,” Bandimere Speedway said in a statement posted to its website.

The racetrack had planned a weekend of outdoor entertainment for local racers and their families, but as they lined up at the racer entrance gate, they were “visibly stunned” when the Bandimere family told them the weekend’s racing events were canceled, the speedway said. The family-owned track also alleged that Jefferson County Public Health officials canceled a meeting with the Bandimeres to work on a plan for the events.

On Friday night, Jefferson County responded in a news release, saying it had heard through social media, emails and in the media “inaccurate claims that events have been ‘cancelled by JCPH.’ ”

The state’s guidelines for outdoor events had been in place for over a month, public health officials said, and they had been working with other venues on ways to operate while adhering to the state’s requirements. On Monday, the department issued a public health order requiring venues hosting outdoor events to submit a plan that demonstrates compliance with the state’s order.

“The goal of each action taken by JCPH is not to punish any of our area businesses or organizations, but to keep the people within our community safe and healthy,” the department said.

Jefferson County and the Bandimeres have been engaged in public and legal feuds since the county alleged the venue violated social distancing requirements during the July 4 weekend.

As a result, a judge issued a temporary restraining order that required the speedway to limit its crowd sizes to 175 people per activity and to follow physical distancing guidelines, such as ensuring fans from different families stayed 6 feet apart.

On Tuesday a Jefferson County judge said the Speedway must comply with local and state public health laws while operating during the pandemic, citing a 1905 U.S. Supreme Court case regarding mandatory smallpox vaccinations.

The Bandimere family has said that limiting events to 175 people would put them out of business. The speedway recently postponed the Mile High Nationals — its biggest races of the year — for a second time.

“We are beaten down, but we are not broken,” the family said in Friday’s news release. “The support we have received from those who understand civil rights has been remarkable and we will continue to fight on their behalf.”


Viral, best-selling Rocket City Trash Pandas t-shirt calls 2020 “Just Trash”



MADISON, Ala. – The Rocket City Trash Pandas have a new slogan for 2020, and it’s on their best-selling t-shirt of all time.

CEO Ralph Nelson said his wife Lisa asked the team’s retail operation to come up with the now-viral idea.

The team offered the shirt for pre-sale and it quickly became the best-selling item in team history – with $20,000 in sales in just 1.5 days.

Nelson said he’s never seen anything like it.

Prior to the “Just Trash” shirt, the team’s largest day for sales was the first day of merchandise sales back on October 28, 2018 with $11,900 in sales that day.

This year, the team has been averaging $1,000 in sales most days, with an occasional $2,000 day, but “Just Trash” has exceeded those daily numbers by a long shot.

Daily online sales rocketed to $9,700 Thursday night, July 23 and $11,400 Friday night, July 24, just $500 shy of the October 2018 record.


Canadian athletes begin one-year countdown to rescheduled Tokyo Summer Olympics

Had it not been for the COVID-19 pandemic, Dayna Pidhoresky would be on her way to Tokyo, Japan for the Summer Olympics.


Professional bull riding returns to Lethbridge with drive-in show

The Professional Bull Riding Built Ford Tough Invitational, part of the Elite Canadian Monster Energy Tour, took place at the Enmax Centre Thursday night.


NHL reveals details for Edmonton, Toronto hub city bubbles, in-game presentation

In a video released by the league, the NHL reveals its plan for health and safety, along with information about television broadcasts and player amenities during a period in which no fans will be allowed in the arenas.


Broncos and first-round pick Jerry Jeudy agree to $15M deal

Denver Broncos first-round draft pick Jerry Jeudy has agreed to terms on a four-year, $15 million contract that includes an $8.6 million signing bonus.

The former Alabama receiver was the 15th pick in the NFL draft and the first Crimson Tide player ever selected by Broncos general manager John Elway during his decade in charge of Denver’s football operations.

Jeudy joins fellow rookie K.J. Hamler and rising star Courtland Sutton on a refurbished offense in Denver that is led by second-year quarterback Drew Lock.

Although he was selected three spots after the Las Vegas Raiders drafted his college teammate, Henry Ruggs III, Jeudy suggested this spring that he’s the cream of the crop among the deep class of wide receivers that featured six first-rounders.

“I feel I’m the best receiver because I got the ability to separate,” said Jeudy, whose crisp route running is considered the best by an incoming rookie in several seasons. “I’m a receiver. I know how to get open.”


WATCH: AHSAA holds news conference on fall sports

The Alabama High School Athletic Association will hold a news conference Thursday about the return of fall sports.

AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese was expected to hold the news conference at 1 p.m.

You can watch the news conference in the video player above.


Central Board approves AHSAA ‘Best Practices’ to start fall sports as scheduled

MOBILE, Ala. (WRKG) – The Central Board has approved the AHSAA’s ‘best practices’ guidelines to start fall sports as scheduled.

The Central Board met Wednesday in Montgomery.

Fall sports teams will have the option of starting practices the week of July 27th, with the first full week of football in helmets and shorts only. The goal is to help players get acclimated to the new guidelines and prepared for the season.

August 20th will mark the start of fall sports contests in Alabama.

“The purpose of the Return to Play document is to offer AHSAA member schools best practices in order to commence the 2020-21 school year athletic seasons as scheduled and as safely as possible,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said in a press release.

Savarese has a 1 p.m. press conference scheduled Thursday to discuss the ‘best practices’ guidelines.


Central Board approves AHSAA ‘Best Practices’ to start fall sports as scheduled

MOBILE, Ala. (WRKG) – The Central Board has approved the AHSAA’s ‘best practices’ guidelines to start fall sports as scheduled.

The Central Board met Wednesday in Montgomery.

Fall sports teams will have the option of starting practices the week of July 27th, with the first full week of football in helmets and shorts only. The goal is to help players get acclimated to the new guidelines and prepared for the season.

August 20th will mark the start of fall sports contests in Alabama.

“The purpose of the Return to Play document is to offer AHSAA member schools best practices in order to commence the 2020-21 school year athletic seasons as scheduled and as safely as possible,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said in a press release.

Savarese has a 1 p.m. press conference scheduled Thursday to discuss the ‘best practices’ guidelines.


Coronavirus cancels Durham Region Challenger Baseball season

This season was supposed to be the beginning of a new chapter for Durham Region Challenger Baseball.


Edmonton Eskimos dropping ‘Eskimo’ from team name

The Edmonton Eskimos football team has announced it is dropping the word "Eskimo" from its team name.


SWAC votes to postpone fall sports until spring

Presidents from the Southwestern Athletic Conference‘s universities voted to postpone the fall sports to spring.

The fall sports impacted include men’s and women’s cross country, football, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball. 

The release stated that the plan is to have a seven-game conference schedule beginning with an 8-week training period in January of 2021.

Each member will play 6 conference games with a chance to play one non-conference game. We’re hoping to hear from Alabama A&M head football coach Connell Maynor in the coming hours.

The SWAC shares in the disappointment that will undoubtedly be felt by student-athletes, fans, and supporters impacted by the postponement of fall sports competition. The league will continue to review appropriate measures to ensure the health, safety and well-being of student-athletes, coaches, administrators and the local community which continues to be the primary responsibility of the Southwestern Athletic Conference and its member institutions.


Fans barred from Giants, Jets games ‘until further notice’ because of COVID-19

The New York Giants and New York Jets said in a joint statement Monday that fans won’t be admitted to games, training camps or practices because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The NFL teams, which both play at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, said they support Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order to limit outdoor public gatherings.

“This decision was reached after careful consideration of the current state of the COVID-19 crisis, in discussions with the Giants and Jets, and in consideration of the health and safety of our fans, players and staff, which will continue to be the primary focus for our teams,” the statement reads.

Team officials said they would “prefer to have fans at MetLife Stadium” and will work closely with the governor’s office in case the situation changes.

“Thank you again for your continued patience and understanding during these unprecedented times and we will continue to provide additional information as it becomes available,” the release states.

The NFL said Monday that the league and Players Association have created a COVID Medical Advisory Task Force “made up of a variety of medical experts and clinicians from across the country and across disciplines.

The NFL says it is working closely with infections disease experts, the CDC, public health officials and medical experts from other leagues.

See more details on the NFL’s preparations for the season.


2 NHL players tested positive over first week of training camps: league

The league said in a release Monday that 2,618 tests were completed on more than 800 players.


Raptors have a message for around 650K Americans living in Canada: register to vote

The public service announcement, released Saturday night, features Raptors coaches and players directing Americans to the website FVAP.gov to register for an absentee ballot.


NFL tells teams training camps will open on time

The NFL has informed teams their training camps will open on time.

League executive Troy Vincent sent a memo to general managers and head coaches on Saturday informing them rookies are to report by Tuesday, quarterbacks and injured players by Thursday and all other players should arrive by July 28.

The league and the NFL Players Association are still discussing testing for the coronavirus and other health and safety protocols. Union leadership expressed several concerns in a 90-minute conference call with reporters Friday.

However, under the collective bargaining agreement, the NFL can impose report dates.


Saskatchewan bull rider Dakota Buttar plans to land right where he left off

Saskatchewan’s Dakota Buttar rode Tykro Pound Sand during his last bull-riding competition before the onset of COVID-19.


Arab football looking forward to upcoming season

ARAB, Ala. – The Arab football team finished the 2019 season with a 6-4 record and now the Knights are gearing up for a jump in classification as they move from 5A to 6A.

Head coach Lee Ozmint was thrilled for his team to get back to training and he says he’s pleased with what he’s seen from his team so far this summer.

“Our kids have given good effort, they’ve been focused and dialed in mentally, and I think the 11 weeks off kind of helped get them stirred up and focused and appreciate what they do have,” Ozmint said.

Ozmint says his program is, of course, continuing to follow all the new rules and regulations regarding COVID-19; they take regular temperature checks and look at a list of symptoms, and if any player has any symptoms of the coronavirus then they’ll be sent home.

Ozmint says they’re going to continue to gear up for the upcoming season with the mindset that they’ll be playing their season opener as planned and they’re not going to slow down anytime soon.

“If I’m allowed to prepare my football team, then I’m going to prepare them to the best of their ability,” Ozmint said. “We’re gonna do whatever we have to do to be able to get out there on that field on August 20. It doesn’t matter if we have five people in the stands, or 55, or 5,500 or 55,000 in the stands our kids are going to be excited to take the field and I’m not just saying Arab. All high school kids deserve a chance to get out there on that football field and show the world what they’ve done and show them what they’ve accomplished as a team.”

The Knights are set to kick off the 2020 season on Thursday, August 20 at Albertville.


From the pitch to the pros: Female Manitoba athlete embarks on football career

The 18-year-old was recently offered and signed a letter of intent to play with the Women's Football League Association (WFLA), a new professional women’s league in the United States.


Newly discovered NEOWISE — the “most exciting comet” in more than 20 years — will be visible this month

No one knew about the Comet NEOWISE until this past March, and why would they? Turns out, it only comes our way once every 6,766 years.

But we’re pretty lucky it’s in our neighborhood now. John Keller, the director of the Fiske Planetarium at the University of Colorado in Boulder, says it’s the most exciting comet to be seen in the Northern Hemisphere in more than 20 years.

“The Comet Hale-Bopp was the last really good Northern Hemisphere comet, back in 1997, and Comet NEOWISE is performing equally well,” Keller said, adding that the sudden appearance of NEOWISE has been “hugely surprising.”

According to NASA, NEOWISE was discovered by (and named after) its Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission, which detected “the icy visitor” on March 27 using its “two infrared channels which are sensitive to the heat signatures given off by the object as the sun started to turn up the heat.”

When it became visible to the naked eye earlier this month, Comet NEOWISE could be seen in the morning sky before sunrise. Starting this week, it’s been visible after sunset.

“If people haven’t seen a naked-eye comet, they can try to look below the Big Dipper right after sunset,” Keller said. “With binoculars or the naked eye, you will see a comet with a fuzzy tail extending away from sun.”

Comet NEOWISE was nearest the sun on July 3 and now is on its way back toward the far reaches of the solar system. Its near passage by the heat of the sun causes the celestial light show.

“Comets are super-small ice balls, five to 10 kilometers, and they really need to have a lot of out-gassing in order to be visible in the way we’re seeing Comet NEOWISE,” Keller said. “The ice in the comet’s nucleus is sublimating — it’s going from a solid to a gas — and it’s releasing both an ion tail and a dust tail because there is dust embedded in the ice. What we’re seeing is the reflected light from that gas and dust that has sublimated off the ice ball.”

In a related astronomical phenomenon, the Perseid meteor shower is about to begin. Keller said it will be a few weeks before it gets good, with the peak occurring the second week in August, but it’s definitely something to watch for.

“I would not tell your audience that going out this weekend is going to show the Perseids,” Keller said. “I would say over the next two weeks, as we move toward the 11th (of August), if you see bright flashes in the sky, those may be part of that Perseid meteor shower stream.”

The Perseid meteor shower is caused when the Earth passes through dust left in the wake of the Comet Swift-Tuttle, which continues to orbit the sun.

“We pass through the dust cloud and get lots of meteors,” Keller said. “The Perseids are kind of an Old Faithful of meteor showers. They always have like 60-80 meteors per hour, so they are a pretty reliable storm. The other good ones are the Geminids (December) and the Leonids (November).”

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter, The Adventurist, to get outdoors news sent straight to your inbox.


Newly discovered NEOWISE — the “most exciting comet” in more than 20 years — will be visible this month

No one knew about the Comet NEOWISE until this past March, and why would they? Turns out, it only comes our way once every 6,766 years.

But we’re pretty lucky it’s in our neighborhood now. John Keller, the director of the Fiske Planetarium at the University of Colorado in Boulder, says it’s the most exciting comet to be seen in the Northern Hemisphere in more than 20 years.

“The Comet Hale-Bopp was the last really good Northern Hemisphere comet, back in 1997, and Comet NEOWISE is performing equally well,” Keller said, adding that the sudden appearance of NEOWISE has been “hugely surprising.”

According to NASA, NEOWISE was discovered by (and named after) its Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission, which detected “the icy visitor” on March 27 using its “two infrared channels which are sensitive to the heat signatures given off by the object as the sun started to turn up the heat.”

When it became visible to the naked eye earlier this month, Comet NEOWISE could be seen in the morning sky before sunrise. Starting this week, it’s been visible after sunset.

“If people haven’t seen a naked-eye comet, they can try to look below the Big Dipper right after sunset,” Keller said. “With binoculars or the naked eye, you will see a comet with a fuzzy tail extending away from sun.”

Comet NEOWISE was nearest the sun on July 3 and now is on its way back toward the far reaches of the solar system. Its near passage by the heat of the sun causes the celestial light show.

“Comets are super-small ice balls, five to 10 kilometers, and they really need to have a lot of out-gassing in order to be visible in the way we’re seeing Comet NEOWISE,” Keller said. “The ice in the comet’s nucleus is sublimating — it’s going from a solid to a gas — and it’s releasing both an ion tail and a dust tail because there is dust embedded in the ice. What we’re seeing is the reflected light from that gas and dust that has sublimated off the ice ball.”

In a related astronomical phenomenon, the Perseid meteor shower is about to begin. Keller said it will be a few weeks before it gets good, with the peak occurring the second week in August, but it’s definitely something to watch for.

“I would not tell your audience that going out this weekend is going to show the Perseids,” Keller said. “I would say over the next two weeks, as we move toward the 11th (of August), if you see bright flashes in the sky, those may be part of that Perseid meteor shower stream.”

The Perseid meteor shower is caused when the Earth passes through dust left in the wake of the Comet Swift-Tuttle, which continues to orbit the sun.

“We pass through the dust cloud and get lots of meteors,” Keller said. “The Perseids are kind of an Old Faithful of meteor showers. They always have like 60-80 meteors per hour, so they are a pretty reliable storm. The other good ones are the Geminids (December) and the Leonids (November).”

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter, The Adventurist, to get outdoors news sent straight to your inbox.


Resist comparing Canada, U.S. when it comes to Indigenous issues: experts

One of the Canadian Football League's most successful franchises is under growing pressure to abandon a name that critics say is a derogatory, colonial-era term for Inuit.


How well is Rocky Mountain National Park’s reservation system working? Here’s what we found out.

The family from Oklahoma in front of me at the Fall River entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park was in for a big letdown.

After arriving without a reservation, a patient young ranger at the gate explained the timed entry system implemented this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic, which meant that the family wouldn’t be allowed able to drive through the park over Trail Ridge Road on the Fourth of July.

After the ranger politely suggested other scenic drives near the park, the family turned around and left, presumably headed for the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway.

The reservations system is designed to spread out and restrict visitation to 60% of the park’s capacity between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m., equating to 4,800 vehicles (13,500 visitors), with reservations not required outside of those hours. Some park lovers have complained that the procedure is confusing, and people are upset on both sides of the issue.

I didn’t have a reservation that day, by the way, and I didn’t need one because I arrived via bicycle. Cyclists aren’t required to have entry reservations, and it’s worth noting that cycling is a really great way to experience the park.

MORE FOR CYCLISTS: If you’ve never ridden Mount Evans, this is the summer to do it

As the pandemic wears on, Colorado’s biggest outdoor tourist destinations are attempting to find a balance between tourism and safety. Last month in Estes Park, someone left notes on cars with out-of-state plates, citing the pandemic and saying, “with all due respect, please GO THE HELL BACK TO WHEREVER YOUR OUT OF STATE LICENSE IS FROM.” When I visited on July 4, a handful of protesters at a busy intersection in Estes Park were dressed in red, white and blue with signs calling for an end to the reservation system.

Park officials believe they’re making the best of a difficult situation.

“We’ve heard from visitors that they did not want this system and now they’re saying, ‘Oh my goodness, it’s a very different experience, I feel safer compared to the crowds I’ve seen in the past,’” said Kyle Patterson, the park’s public information officer. “We’re also hearing from people that are very frustrated because they don’t plan ahead or they don’t want to plan ahead. That’s the group we’re continuing to try to encourage that, in order for them to have a more positive experience, planning ahead is really key.”

To make reservations for two-hour entry windows, visitors must create an account on the website recreation.gov. Reservations cost $2, and entry permits ($25 for cars, $15 for bicycles) are purchased at that time as well. There is a list of frequently asked questions on the park website.

“There’s a lot of people who are getting online and figuring it out,” Patterson said. “We’ve been trying to help people over the phone. We do realize some people are frustrated by the system. We’re also hearing from some visitors that are just frustrated with COVID in general and don’t think it’s real, they think it’s a hoax. We just need to acknowledge that we’re making the decisions that we are based on what science is telling us.”

The system is designed to spread out visitation using models of how people used the park before COVID-19, with special attention to when peak periods typically occurred.

“In an uncontrolled environment, we saw people arriving between 10 and 2,” said John Hannon, who helped develop and manage the reservations system. “If everybody comes between 10 and 2, and they all stay three to four hours, that puts a lot of pressure on our infrastructure and our parking lots, then out from that, the trail systems and the bathrooms. Under the timed entry, we pushed that peak. I hate to use the term ‘flatten the curve,’ but it applies. We’ve flattened the curve with that distribution and pushed some use to earlier in the morning and to later in the day. That’s why each of those time spots has a certain amount of vehicles. It’s all based on the average length of stay. Generally, those people that are in that 6-8 (a.m.) time slot, they will start leaving the park around noon. That way that next wave, that 12-2 time slot, when they arrive, there should be a good chance of parking.”

A third of the reservation slots for July currently remain available, but all of them are for afternoon entry. Reservations are being taken now for August, and on Aug. 1, reservations will be available for September. While 10% of the reservations for a given date are set aside and made available two days in advance at 8 a.m, park officials say your chances aren’t good of getting them that way.

“Those sell out within two to five minutes of when they go on sale,” Hannon said. “There’s only 384, and the last week there was about 750 people each morning vying for those 384 reservations, so I wouldn’t count on it by any means. It’s like counting on winning the lottery.”

Campers with reservations who use developed campgrounds or backpack with wilderness permits don’t need timed entry reservations. Two of the park’s five campgrounds — Moraine Park and Glacier Basin — are open at about 50% capacity.

Visitors are not allowed to enter the park before the beginning of their two-hour window, but they may get a little grace at the gate if they arrive a few minutes after the end of their time slot, Patterson said. When I rode into the park shortly before noon, several cars were parked on the shoulder waiting for the 12-2 slot to open. Only a few cars were in line at the gate.

Users should be advised that when you get into the park, it’s no guarantee you will be able to visit the area you came to see, such as Bear Lake.

“Even if we’re bringing down our overall numbers, Bear Lake Road and the Bear Lake trail system continues to be extremely popular,” Patterson said. “Some people were disappointed because they got here at noon or at 1 on a Saturday or Sunday and we didn’t allow them up the road.”

Some users have expressed concerns that the system this summer will continue when COVID restrictions are no longer necessary. Park officials acknowledge that they may employ something similar as part of ongoing efforts to mitigate crowding in the park, but it wouldn’t be at the current 60% of capacity.

“Since 2016, we have put vehicle restrictions in place on the Bear Lake Road, Wild Basin area and Alpine Visitor Center when congestion and crowding warrants,” Patterson said. “We will learn from the temporary timed entry permit system this year and incorporate lessons learned as we move forward with our visitor use management planning efforts.”

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Sports TV executive joins Hamilton’s pursuit of 2026 Commonwealth Games

Former sports television executive Scott Moore has joined Hamilton's Commonwealth Games bid committee.


Sports TV executive joins Hamilton’s pursuit of 2026 Commonwealth Games

Former sports television executive Scott Moore has joined Hamilton's Commonwealth Games bid committee.


Elliott joins his father as winner of NASCAR’s All-Star race

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) — Chase Elliott collected the checkered flag and soaked in the sounds of fans in the grandstands. The spectators at Bristol Motor Speedway surged to the fence, chanted “USA! USA!” and celebrated NASCAR’s most popular driver.

Cue the siren at the Dawsonville Pool Room — another Elliott is an All-Star winner.

Chase Elliott joined his father, Hall of Famer “Awesome” Bill Elliott, as winner of NASCAR’s annual All-Star race, earning the $1 million prize Wednesday in front of limited spectators at the Tennessee track.

“Tonight felt like an event again and I felt like we’ve been missing that piece for a couple months,” said Elliott, who won races at Charlotte in the Cup Series and Truck Series with no fans. “It felt good to have NASCAR back. NASCAR is about the fans. I felt like the vibe was back.”

Back in his Georgia hometown, the pool room marks every win by the father or son by blaring its horn no matter the time of day or night.

“I hope someone got a good video of it for me,” Elliott said. “That’s such a special tradition.”

Over in victory lane, the normally reserved Elliott celebrated like never before. He accepted the track’s gladiator sword trophy and waved it in the air, stabbed it toward his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet — he drives No. 9, just like his father did — and pretended to vanquish his foes with it in his celebration.

“What a special race to win. It’s extremely special to join Dad in winning this race,” Elliott said. “To me this is one of the prestigious events on the schedule. There’s a lot of hype around it. It means a lot to me …. you are racing against the very best. To beat the best is always special.”

Elliott won the second and third stages of the event and earned the right to choose which lane he wanted to restart for the final 15-lap sprint to the finish. He picked the outside lane and pulled buddy Ryan Blaney with him on the restart but was never challenged and beat Kyle Busch to the finish line.

Bill Elliott won the race in 1986, the only year it was held at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race began in 1985 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and was held at that North Carolina track every year but one until it was moved during this pandemic-altered year.

Tennessee officials allowed NASCAR and Speedway Motorsports to sell 30,000 tickets to the All-Star race, so it was moved from Charlotte because North Carolina would not authorize spectators for the race.

“There’s nothing like Bristol,” Chase Elliott said. “There’s no feeling like it. This speaks for itself, Bristol is an electric atmosphere. We’ll take that million dollars back to Georgia.”

It was the most spectators at a sporting event in the United States since March. Because the speedway is privately owned, attendance numbers will not be released, but there appeared to be about 20,000 people in the grandstands. Tickets were on sale through Tuesday evening and still available on Bristol’s website until the deadline.

Bristol, dubbed “The Last Great Colosseum,” can hold about 140,000 spectators. Speedway Motorsports had those in attendance socially distanced through the grandstands and masks were only required upon entrance. Fans were told they could remove them once in their seats.

Following the post-race fireworks, an announcement was made to the crowd telling fans they’d be dismissed by row.

Elliott won in his fifth All-Star appearance and is the 25th different driver to win the made-for-TV race. He and his father join Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. as winning father-son duos of the event.

“Anytime you can join the Earnhardts in anything in racing, and to join Dad in winning this event, that’s not just special. That’s a lot of years and a lot of history. For everything to come full circle like that is pretty dang cool,” Elliott said.

Bubba Wallace was wrecked out of the qualifying race, ruining his shot of racing for the $1 million prize.

One driver advanced into the All-Star race through a fan vote and Wallace had been leading when results were last updated by NASCAR a week ago. After he crashed 17 laps into the qualifying race — which awarded three additional slots to stage winners into the 20-driver All-Star field — he was no longer eligible to win the fan vote.

It didn’t matter, anyway. Clint Bowyer was named winner of the fan vote and NASCAR said he received the most votes even with Wallace eliminated. Aric Almirola advanced by winning the first stage, William Byron for winning the second stage and Matt DiBenedetto for winning the third stage.

Wallace had race-ending contact with the wall when his No. 43 Chevrolet appeared to be turned from behind by Michael McDowell 17 laps into the first stage. He said he didn’t need to see a replay because he knew McDowell’s contact was egregious.

“Just disrespect. When you get hooked into the wall, I don’t even need to see a replay,” Wallace said. “People say he’s one of the nicest guys in the garage. I can’t wait for the God-fearing text that he is going to send me about preaching and praise and respect. What a joke he is.”

A piece of Wallace’s crumpled sheet metal was placed on the back of McDowell’s team truck and Wallace was seen walking away.

Wallace climbed from his car and gave a thumbs-up to a contingent of fans cheering for him. Roughly two dozen organizers from Justice 4 the Next Generation traveled from Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia in an effort to diversify NASCAR.

Wallace is the only Black driver competing regularly in NASCAR’s top series, and drivers rallied around him after a noose was found at his assigned stall at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Federal authorities ruled last month the noose had been hanging since October and was not a hate crime.


Coronavirus: Calgary Flames prepare for life in the NHL bubble

If the Calgary Flames make a deep playoff run, players could be kept in the NHL's bubble for more than two months. Here's how they plan to pass the time.


Packers: No fans at practices, Family Night, or preseason games

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – There will be no fans in attendance at 2020 training camp practices, Packers Family Night, or any home preseason games, according to the Green Bay Packers.

“The tremendous support of cheering fans at Lambeau Field motivates all of us in the Packers organization,” said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy. “But after consulting with local health officials and reviewing League and CDC guidelines, we felt we needed to make this difficult decision. We will miss seeing so many of our fans, particularly the young ones, during this exciting time of year. We will continue to work on the protocols and logistics in the hope that we can welcome fans back to Lambeau Field for the regular season without jeopardizing the health of our players, team personnel and fans.

“We ask our fans to help us in this effort by wearing masks and staying six feet away from non-family members when out in the community in the coming weeks.”

Packers Family Night will still be held at Lambeau and be televised. The details about the event are still being finalized.

The Packers previously announced that if fans are allowed to attend games this year, they will be required to wear masks. Seating could also be limited and other precautionary measures may be enacted.

Plans for regular season ticket holder attendance are being finalized with details to be communicated in the near future. Season ticket holders have the option to “opt in” or “opt out” on the chance to reserve tickets. New policies and safety measures will be implemented for the games.

Latest Stories


Having a hard time finding a campsite in Colorado this summer? You’re not alone.

With public health guidelines urging people to stay close to home, Coloradans are flocking to nearby campgrounds for fresh air and a break from home.

Bridget Kochel, a public information officer at Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said state parks have seen the highest number of campers this June, compared to the past four years. Though camping is always a popular summer activity, occupied nights increased 22% from 2019, according to data provided by CPW. This, of course, is a significant jump from March and April — because that’s when parks had no campers at all.

“I don’t know if people have always looked at camping as something to do,” Kochel said in an interview with The Denver Post. “It gives people an opportunity to sleep under the stars if they’ve never done that before … . It might open people’s eyes to understand that all these opportunities have been there for us this whole time, and some people never took advantage of them before.”

Can’t find a campsite? You’re not alone. This summer, Kochel recommended considering a weekday trip or looking into fall, she added. Though there are still some openings at state parks, campers often make reservations months in advance even before the virus. But campsites are spread out enough where it shouldn’t feel crowded. It doesn’t help that not all

The National Park Service has taken a slower approach to welcoming back campers, according to spokesperson Vanessa Lacayo. Since late May, it has started to reopen its 13 locations in Colorado. Of the six national parks that offer camping, three are still phasing in most of their campgrounds. Rocky Mountain National Park, which is the third most-visited national park in the country, only opened half of its sites over the Fourth of July weekend.

Because of closures, the parks service has little data about traffic at campsites this summer. But Lacayo said rangers have noticed lots of local visitors, and she emphasized how lucky everyone is to live in Colorado.

“We manage some of the most beautiful places, and especially now people are looking for a space to get outdoors,” she said. “To the extent that the public can be our partner through this process, we’ll be able to increase even more access.”

Lacayo also encouraged campers to get farther off the beaten path, to check out Dinosaur National Monument or the Great Sand Dunes. Not only can people camp somewhere they’ve never been before, but it can also help spread out traffic at popular locations like Rocky Mountain National Park, where sites are often booked months ahead even before the virus.#facebook_ad {float: right;width: 40%;padding: 0.5em;margin-bottom: .2em;margin-left: .5em;}@media (max-width:416px){#facebook_ad {width:100%;}

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Scott Jacobson owns the Denver East/Strasburg campsites with Kampgrounds of America, the largest network of privately owned campgrounds in the country. He told The Post that he’s noticed more families and local guests this summer. He’s also met a lot of first-time campers. But this summer, his numbers are still down due to the absence of international visitors. Still, he thinks it’s a great time for camping, as it’s an activity built for social distancing

“The future is going to be bright for the camping industry,” Jacobsen said. “Whether it’s first-timers or people who are very experienced, they enjoy the outdoor lifestyle.”

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Edmonton reopening 4 indoor swimming pools by appointment only

Online registration has opened for four indoor pools scheduled to reopen in Edmonton July 20.


Man’s aggressive cough toward woman on Aspen trail prompts misdemeanor charge

An Aspen man who allegedly coughed in a woman’s face on purpose in March after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down Pitkin County has been charged with criminally violating the county’s public health order, according to court records.

If convicted, Tom Patierno, 34, faces as many as 18 months in the Pitkin County Jail and a fine of as much as $5,000, said Assistant Pitkin County Attorney Richard Neiley. Patierno is next due in court July 30.

An Aspen police officer initially charged Patierno with the petty offense of disorderly conduct after his allegedly aggressive behavior toward the 68-year-old woman, who asked him to move over as they approached each other on the Rio Grande Trail, according to a March police report.

However, about 10 days after the March 29 incident, Pitkin County Public Health Director Karen Koenemann — through the county attorney’s office — charged him with the misdemeanor count of violating the March 23 county public health order, according to Pitkin County Court records.

Patierno was “engaging in an ‘essential activity’ without complying with ‘social distancing requirements’” in violation of the public health order, according to court records.

Read more on our partner site The Aspen Times.

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Former mining town in Colorado named one of the Best Historic Small Towns in the country

Leadville is a place with a proud history, and this week, the town nabbed a title as one of USA Today’s Best Historic Small Towns.

Leadville ranked no. 10 in the 2020 list of USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Award Contest. The newspaper’s editors and other travel experts assembled a list of 20 nominees for each category, and the public voted online in June.

“History is alive and well in Leadville, a former Colorado mining town,” USA Today wrote in the article. They listed the Tabor Opera House, the Matchless Mine, historic downtown and the Leadville Train as sites that “bring alive the Silver Rush days.”

Katie Hild, director of the Leadville and Twin Lakes Visitor Center, said the award is a huge honor, especially for residents who shared the vote on social media to show their enthusiasm. She said history is central to Leadville’s museums, downtown retail and outdoor activities.

“It’s history that’s accessible,” Hild said in an interview with The Denver Post on Monday. “Whether you choose to pay money to go to our National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum or you just want to go out and about hiking, riding your bike or doing a driving tour, it’s something that’s accessible to people of all ages, all ability levels.”

Stephen Whittington, executive director of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum as well as the chair of the Lake County Tourism Panel, can talk for days about the icons Leadville has hosted over the years, from famous miners like Horace and Baby Doe Tabor to playwright Oscar Wilde, who once performed in the Tabor Opera House.

As Leadville experienced “booms and busts” since the Silver Rush, the town shifted to make tourism a central industry, Whittington said. But in a pandemic summer, Leadville is also dealing with the economic impact of less travel — and the cancellation of high-profile trail races that bring thousands of athletes to the area each summer.

RELATED: Iconic Leadville trail races canceled due to COVID-19

The town has eight museums and historic sites, but Whittington said they’ve all been impacted by coronavirus closures. The Tabor Opera House is reopening soon, History Colorado recently opened the Healy House and Whittington has started welcoming guests six days a week at the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum and five days a week at the Matchless Mine.

Whittington estimated that he’s seen about half as many people as previous years at the museum with fewer out-of-state visitors and no international travelers at all.

“USA Today saying that Leadville is one of the 10 best historic small towns, that’s very important,” Whittington said. “That is going to give us some national exposure, which can only help us if not this year, at least in future years when people are feeling better able to travel around.”

Hild and Whittington both emphasized the importance of respecting social distancing measures and following Lake County’s mask requirements. Hild said Leadville is eager to welcome visitors, but the return looks different on a wide-open trail, compared to a small, historic building or mine.

“Communication between locals to tourists is huge, letting them know why we have safety measures in place,” Hild said.

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UNA men’s and women’s basketball players return to campus

FLORENCE, Ala. – If you’ve ever been through a college moving day, then you know it’s not necessarily the most fun. It’s a lot of hard work and can be tiring, but the UNA basketball players couldn’t have been happier about moving some boxes on Monday.

Both the men’s and women’s teams got to report back to campus on Monday, and this is the first time these players are seeing each other and their coaches in person for months.

Women’s head coach Missy Tiber says she couldn’t be happier for the Lions to be back in Florence, and she’s ready to get to work with her team.

“Just very happy to see them,” Tiber said. “It was like Christmas Eve and it was gonna be Christmas morning for me because I love these girls like they’re my daughters. You’re talking about girls who you spend a lot of time with every single day and then not to see them for months at a time it’s pretty hard, but we’re excited now to get them back and spend a lot of time with them.”


Alabama and Auburn players named to Bednarik Award watch list

The watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award has been released and both Alabama and Auburn are represented.

The Bednarik Award is presented to the most outstanding defensive player in college football.

For the Tide, senior linebacker Dylan Moses and junior defensive back Patrick Surtain II are listed.

Senior linebacker K.J. Britt is the Auburn player named to the 90 person watch list.


SEC athletic directors meet but no major decisions made yet on fall sports

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – All eyes are on the Southeastern Conference to see what it will decide to do for the upcoming football season’s schedule.

The Big Ten and PAC-12 have both announced that they’ll be playing conference-only schedules for fall sports, including football, and now SEC fans are wondering if the conference will do the same.

All 14 athletic directors met with Commissioner Greg Sankey at SEC headquarters on Monday to discuss the upcoming season, but nothing has officially been decided yet.

Sankey continues to say that he plans on taking as much time as possible to make this decision and a decision probably won’t come until the end of July.

“We have a schedule and I’ve said my focus is on preparing to play the season as scheduled, but the circumstances around COVID-19 will guide our decision making,” Sankey said. “I’ve also said repeatedly we think it’s wise to use as much time as possible in making our decision, so that’s exactly where we are. We’ll watch what happens in the world around us. We need to see change in the trends, we need people to adjust behaviors and our hope is we can compete but there certainly is no assurance that can happen right now.”

WHNT News 19 will continue to keep you posted with any new developments from the SEC.


Edmonton Oilers honour Colby Cave prior to first practice returning to play

The Edmonton Oilers returned to the ice Monday, but not before taking time to remember and pay tribute to teammate Colby Cave, who died in April after suffering a brain bleed.


Colorado fans wagered $25.6 million in first month of legal sports betting

Colorado’s sports betting industry kicked off May 1 during a global pandemic and in the absence of most major league sports. But that didn’t stop fans from placing bets — particularly on ping pong.

According to the Division of Gaming, Coloradans wagered more than $25.6 million on various competitive events during the first month of legalized betting.

Table tennis was the most popular sport to bet on, garnering about $6.6 million in wagers, followed by MMA fights, baseball, soccer and golf.

The state collected more than $95,000 in taxes from gaming revenue in May, the division reported.

All wagers were collected by sports betting apps, as Colorado’s casinos remained closed due to a statewide stay-at-home order aimed at mitigating the spread of the novel coronavirus. Despite the unprecedented circumstances, Dan Hartman, director of the Division of Gaming, said the industry is off to a strong start.

“The COVID-19 pandemic, the closures of Colorado casinos and cessation of professional sporting events were challenges the Division of Gaming could not anticipate when initially planning for the launch of legalized sports betting in Colorado,” Hartman said in a statement. “The total amount wagered in May of $25.6 million is an encouraging predictor of the potential for the Colorado sports betting landscape. It shows a bright future for the Colorado sports betting market.”

There are 20 apps currently licensed to operate in the state. And as casinos reopen, several are debuting their retail sportsbooks where gamblers can place bets in person, including Golden Mardi Gras Casino in Black Hawk, which has partnered with DraftKings, and Wildwood Casino in Cripple Creek.


Montreal Canadiens hit the ice for first official practice since March

The Montreal Canadiens hit the ice for the first day of training camp since the season was paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


#ChipinforKids: Amid pandemic, Shaw Charity Classic asks for donations to Alberta charities via text

Canadians can text KIDS to 30333 to donate $10 to the Shaw Charity Classic Foundation.


Washington’s NFL team drops ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington NFL franchise announced Monday it is dropping the “Redskins” name and Indian head logo, bowing to recent pressure from sponsors and decades of criticism that they are offensive to Native Americans.

A new name must still be selected for one of the oldest and most storied teams in the National Football League, and it was unclear how soon that will happen. But for now, arguably the most polarizing name in North American professional sports is gone at a time of reckoning over racial injustice, iconography and racism in the U.S.

The move came less than two weeks after owner Dan Snyder, a boyhood fan of the team who once declared he would never get rid of the name, launched a “thorough review” amid pressure from sponsors. FedEx, Nike, Pepsi and Bank of America all lined up against the name, which was given to the franchise in 1933 when the team was still based in Boston.

The team said it is “retiring” the name and logo and that Snyder and coach Ron Rivera are working closely to develop a new moniker and design. The announcement came on the old letterhead with the Redskins name because the team technically retains it until a new one is chosen and approved.

Native American advocates and experts have long criticized the name they call a “dictionary-defined racial slur.” Over a dozen Native leaders and organizations wrote to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last week demanding an immediate end to Washington’s use of the name. Goodell, who has fielded questions on the topic for years, said he supported the review.

Protests against the name predate Snyder buying the team in 1999, and, until now, he had shown no willingness to consider a change. Strong words from sponsors — including a company run by a minority stakeholder of the team — changed the equation.

FedEx earlier this month became the first sponsor to announce it had asked the organization to change the name, particularly important because CEO Frederick Smith owns part of the team. FedEx paid $205 million for the long-term naming rights to the team’s stadium in Landover, Maryland.

The lease at FedEx Field expires in 2027, and dropping the name keeps open various possibilities in Maryland, Virginia and Washington for the team’s new stadium and headquarters. District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser has said the name was an “obstacle” to Snyder building on the old RFK Stadium site, which is believed to be his preference.

The team recently started cutting ties with racist founder George Preston Marshall, removing his name from the Ring of Fame and renaming the lower bowl at FedEx Field for the team’s first Black player, late Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell. Marshall, who renamed the Boston Braves the Redskins in 1933 and moved the team to D.C. four years later, was a segregationist and the last NFL owner to integrate his team. The current logo shows the profile of a red-faced Native American with feathers in his hair.

Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves and the National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks have said they have no inclination to change their names. Some advocates would like to see all Native American names, mascots and imagery out of sports.

Long removed from the glory days of winning Super Bowl titles in the 1982, 1987 and 1991 seasons under coach Joe Gibbs, Washington’s NFL team has just five playoff appearances in 21 years and no postseason victories since 2005. The team has lacked a nationally marketable player since Robert Griffin III’s short-lived stardom, and the 2020 schedule features zero prime-time games for a franchise that used to be a draw.

Re-branding with a new name and logo — and perhaps the same burgundy and gold colors — coupled with turning football operations over to Rivera could be a boon for Snyder on and off the field. Even if a segment of the fan base opposes the change in the name of tradition, winning would more than make up for those losses.


With NHL season resuming, some fans say the lure of parties will be strong: ‘I can’t say no to a good time’

As hockey fans gear up for a truncated season to begin next month, some in Canada's two "hub cities" say the temptation to celebrate — and flout physical distancing guidelines — may prove too great.


Being a hub city may not bring big financial boost to Edmonton: sports economist

With Edmonton being selected as an NHL hub city, many are looking forward to not only hockey but also the financial benefits that come with it. But one sports economist says the financial boost will be minimal.


NHL remains committed to playing full 2020-2021 hockey season: commissioner

The schedule could see the 2020 Stanley Cup tournament finish as late as Oct. 4, around the time a regular NHL season typically begins.


NHL hubs in Edmonton, Toronto offer morale boost but no economic benefit: experts

The games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play. No fans will be in the seats.


North Alabama War Dawgs hosting tryouts for upcoming season

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – In case you didn’t know, the Rocket City has a professional basketball team and they want you to come play for them. The North Alabama War Dawgs play in the American Basketball Association and the team is hosting tryouts for the upcoming season Saturday, July 11.

War Dawgs owner Timothy Jones says he’s looking forward to another great season with his team.

“We had a great team and we plan to build around that team this year and we’re looking to do some great things in the ABA this year,” Jones said.

“It’s great it’s another opportunity to do what you love and you know we do this for a living so we just come out here, work hard, and do what we do best,” said Dallas Jones, a War Dawgs player.

The tryouts will be held from 3-8 p.m. at Faith Chapel Center; for more information visit the team’s website.


AD Byrne: UA, USC to ‘adjust’ football game plan following PAC-12’s decision to only play conference games

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — The PAC-12 announced Friday evening that they would only be playing conference games for all fall sports in 2020, a move that directly impacts a scheduled game between the University of Southern California and the University of Alabama.

Following the decision by the conference, UA Athletic Director Greg Byrne released a statement on his Twitter saying the schools had every intention of playing and that now they will “adjust.”

The PAC-12 has followed in the footsteps of the BIG 10 who moved to conference-only games this season. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said there were no plans to do the same at this time.


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Elimination of conference games could have ripple effect

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Pac-12 will play only conference games in fall sports.

The Big Ten became the first Power Five league to shift to an all-conference fall schedule as the college sports world faces difficult decisions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

More Power Five conferences could follow, causing a ripple effect on small-conference schools across the country.

If more big conferences ditch nonconference games, smaller schools who rely on “buy games” to help fund their athletic departments will take huge financial hits at a time when they’re already facing ugly bottom lines.

“It’s significant, to say the least,” Northern Arizona athletic director Mike Marlow said Friday. “We’re fortunate in the state of Arizona to have both (Arizona State) and (Arizona) here and we have one or the other scheduled through 2029. That’s a significant part of our budget.”

The Big Ten announced Thursday it will eliminate all non-conference games in football and several other sports amid rising COVID-19 concerns. made

A conference-only schedule also allows schools to cut down on expenses at a time when athletic departments are facing massive budget constraints.

The cancellation of the NCAA Tournament left the NCAA to be $375 million short in revenue scheduled to be paid to its member schools and the pandemic has continued to exacerbate financial shortcomings.

Stanford eliminated 11 of its 36 varsity sports this week to help shore up some of a projected $25 million budget shortfall and at least 171 sports programs at four-year schools have been cut during the pandemic.

The Pac-12 Conference also made a move to conference-only games and the other Power 5 conferences are weighing their options

The Big Ten’s decision wipes out 33 non-conference football games against non-Power Five programs — nine more against Power Five opponents — with payouts ranging in the six figures to more than $1 million to the smaller schools.

Non-Power Five schools will collectively lose at least $110 million — possibly up to $150 million — in revenue from guaranteed payments by Power Five schools in a conference-only model, according to Dr. Patrick Rishe, director of the sports business program at Washington University in St. Louis.

“I expect every conference will at least move towards fewer games. … and likely a conference-only model,” Dr. Rishe said. “If you reduce beyond that, what’s the point of conducting the sport in the fall? You’d be better off giving the spring a try and craft a conference-only spring schedule which can be contested in less time, less travel, etc.”

Northern Arizona has a scheduled payout of $518,000 for its Sept. 3 game at Arizona State, money that slated to be used for the football team’s 2020 travel expenses. Northern Arizona’s overall athletic budget is $21 million and already went through one round of budget reductions to prevent cutting sports.

Montana State has a $675,000 payout for a Sept. 12 game at Utah. Fresno State is due to make a combined $1.9 million for buy games against Colorado and Texas A&M this season.

Some schools could lose more than 5% of their entire athletic budgets if guarantee games are wiped off their schedules.

“Every department has its own philosophy, but I don’t recall in my six years where a MAC team did not play at least a game where they’re bringing home a pretty good check,” Eastern Michigan coach Chris Creighton said. “And that check supports much more than just football.”

Most guarantee game contracts have so-called act of God clauses, providing some compensation when an uncontrollable event causes a cancellation. The clauses vary by each contract and schools are already sorting through those in case guarantee games — or the entire season — are wiped out.

“I don’t think we know what the financial impact is,” MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher acknowledged in a telephone interview Thursday. “Those schools will have to work through how you disassemble that contract and put it back together. We’ll all act accordingly and we’ll see over the next two to three weeks what the season looks like if we’re able to have a season at all.”


NHL, players’ association announce Toronto and Edmonton as hub cities amid coronavirus

The NHL and NHLPA also ratified their return-to-play plan and a four-year extension to the collective bargaining agreement, paving a way for season play amid the pandemic


Fans concerned about football season following conference decisions based on coronavirus pandemic

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — There’s growing concern among college football fans about the 2020 season following decisions by conferences around the country to alter their schedules due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Big Ten announced Thursday it would play only conference games this fall. The ACC and Pac-12 reportedly are considering similar decisions. The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association, which includes Miles College, is suspending all fall sports, though Miles’ released a statement saying its leaders want to allow student-athletes to play sports, if possible.

But all the dominoes began falling with the Ivy League, which announced Wednesday it would play no fall sports. Now, some football fans in Alabama are worried that the Southeastern Conference ultimately might not play either. It was a popular topic on sports radio Thursday.

“The Ivy League, people thought, was the first domino that could fall that could impact Alabama and Auburn and UAB football,” WJOX Radio host Jim Dunaway said. “So yeah, it’s a big talking point. But I’ll tell you, the realistic side of this whole thing is the Ivy League is very different from the Southeastern Conference or even Conference USA. There’s not a lot of money to be made with football in the Ivy League.”

That doesn’t mean the Ivy League’s decision won’t affect the SEC at all. Dunaway said it could create a perception issue as the SEC goes through the decision-making process.

“I think the biggest impact from the Ivy League will be all on public image of it all,” he said. “The Ivy League is getting a lot of national press, almost like they did the right thing by the student athlete of doing this. And so that is the biggest challenge, I think, that is facing the Southeastern Conference and all the power leagues out there is: how do you make it look like you’re not just playing for money.”

The recent conference decisions also reignite a question many fans have had about the possibility of a football season in the spring. Dunaway said it can work, but there would be challenges for the athletes, including the number of games played in 2021.

“So basically 20-24 games in one calendar year. That’s never been done before,
at least in modern football,” he said. “And I think in this day and age of health and concerns about athletes in general in football, that would be asking, medically, a lot.”


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Black bodies, white spaces: Denver’s yoga scene faces a reckoning

“Close your eyes. Picture yourself walking into a place in Five Points, surrounded by all Black bodies. How would you feel?”

Ali Duncan is a Denver-based yoga practitioner and wellness studio owner, and when she says these words to white students, she notices something.

“They all tense up,” Duncan said of the bodies she works with to heal racism. But once the students sit with their discomfort, and “shift it,” she explains, their uneasiness starts to make sense to them.

She is in a unique position to know. Four years ago, Duncan left her decade-long career as the first Black woman on the Fort Collins’ police force to start Urban Sanctuary, offering yoga, massage, reiki, coaching and more healing services in the heart of Denver’s Five Points.

Back then, she remembers being “the only Black girl” in all of the yoga classes she could find around Denver. When Duncan started her business, Colorado’s yoga scene was overwhelmingly white and still largely known for corporate-backed studios like CorePower and crunchy homegrown chains such as Kindness.

But Kindness’ nine locations and a handful of other white-owned Denver yoga studios have closed for good this summer. Zenver, Flex Barre + Yoga, Samadhi Center for Yoga and Lacuna Juice and Yoga have all announced the permanent closure of their physical spaces due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Suddenly, community members who have felt marginalized by a white-washed Western yoga scene now find themselves in a unique position to step in and pave the path forward.

Black bodies, white spaces

“If you’re noticing a different race not being treated well, and you’re not using your platform and saying anything… you are not promoting what yoga is,” Duncan said, plainly. ”(Equality) has nothing to do with politics, and it has everything to do with yoga.”

Duncan built Urban Sanctuary in 2016 inside an abandoned Welton Street speakeasy, and when it opened, “I was just hoping for a rush of Black bodies. And there was none,” she said.

So she acted deliberately. She designed classes for people of color and she networked, looking for diverse students. Slowly she got the word out so that her community and others could find their way to Urban Sanctuary.

“We need to be specific,” she said of seeking diversity in class and practice, “because (people) don’t really connect yoga with the black community.”

Now the studio offers classes that are sex-positive, like Men’s Kundalini Tantra, classes specifically for people of color (see Brown Sugar Yoga), and combines a range of spiritual practices with movements — Duncan’s own Tarot and Flow, for example.

“Everybody comes to me … because of the other yoga studios being so closed in,” Duncan said. She thinks the yoga community on the whole has been too complacent regarding issues of race and racism.

“The normal was running their business, supporting their business and the white bodies,” Duncan said. “We may not consciously be racist, but when our normal is disrupted, people will fight back. If a Black body lays their mat out next to yours, and you’ve never had that in your class, there could be some reaction.”

Duncan considers the events last month at the intersection of the Black Lives Matter movement and the business community to be a breaking point.

Specifically, Kindness Yoga closed all of its Denver studios permanently due to the economic effects of coronavirus but also as a direct response to public accusations by employees of what they considered racist behavior, including performative allyship on the part of the company, hollow attempts at activism, tokenization of teachers of color and a lack of diversity in leadership.

Kindness CEO and founder Patrick Harrington said he was shocked, saddened and confused by what those employees posted to social media using the hashtag #calloutkindness, asserting that he has never been approached about issues within Kindness’ culture. “Not one conversation,” he emphasized.

“Of course we’re going to make mistakes, this is all new to me,” Harrington told The Denver Post. “I’m a 47-year-old white privileged male. I have used my privilege to offer spaces of yoga and meditation for 20 years in the city of my birth, and in three days, that was completely trashed without even a conversation.”

Now the conversation has started, and Duncan hopes to see more accountability, especially from white-owned yoga businesses, moving forward.

“It has to flow through your entire organization,” she said.

‘Yoga does not occur in a vacuum’

In early July, Davidia Turner sat on a yoga mat in her Denver home, smiling big and thanking more than 50 attendees as she watched her Zoom screen fill for a virtual session called Yoga for Witches.

Turner’s focus that evening was to encourage students to connect with their ancestors — to know “where we’re coming from,” to connect that knowledge to “the current moment” and, also, “to reclaim any parts of (ourselves) that haven’t felt safe,” she echoed throughout the hour-long Vinyasa.

A few weeks earlier, Turner, who is Black, had used her social media platform to call out Harrington and Kindness, before resigning from her position as an instructor with the company.

Yoga studios, she said, are some of the places where she has experienced the most racism in her working life.

“I kept attaching myself to these white-owned studios, because I thought it was the only way to be successful in my chosen career field,” she wrote on Instagram. “But I’m done working for others and with others who do not value my humanity.”

Shortly after leaving Kindness and witnessing its closure, Turner started a crowdfunding campaign for her own yoga business. She has raised more than $8,700 to start working “around healing and justice for BIPOC individuals, with a focus on Black Womxn and all individuals who are actively dismantling the systemic failings of our culture,” she wrote of her mission.

At the same time, Turner’s former Kindness colleague Jordan Smiley is focusing on his own Courageous Yoga studio, a “BIPOC and queer-led trauma-informed community in Denver,” he writes on its website. Smiley, who is trans and indigenous, says he felt compelled to speak out against Kindness alongside Turner and as part of the LGBTQ community.

“Yoga does not occur in a vacuum,” Smiley said in an interview with The Denver Post. “We are still embedded in the cultural context. It has become clear in the past month to eyes that hadn’t seen it yet that there are oppressive pressures that are really built into our culture, and the yoga industry is no exception.”

Harrington acknowledged the pain of his former employees in a statement over social media last month.

“I write today to share my deepest apologies to our BIPOC and LGBTQI+ community,” Harrington wrote on Instagram. “It is clear that our studios did not represent a safe space for you to offer your teachings. I hear you and I will do better personally.”

Then he announced that he would close Kindness, which had grown to 150 teachers across nine studios, permanently.

Duncan of Urban Sanctuary has witnessed the dismantling of Denver’s yoga institutions this summer, and she says she loves to see her community and others “finding their voice and calling out companies.”

When Duncan, Smiley and Turner speak about their own practices moving forward, the term “no harm” comes up again and again. It is a central tenet of yoga and too often it’s ignored in Western practice, Duncan says.

“If white studios would start offering anti-racism classes at their studio, I think that would be a huge shift,” she says. “This is a white issue, it’s not a Black issue…”

This summer, as she’s running Urban Sanctuary, her husband Marc Neal, another former police officer, is teaching anti-bias policing, or “heart and mind connection,” for cops around the country. Duncan sees his career, the current social climate and certainly her own line of work as all closely related.

“The mind just goes crazy with stories, right?” she said.

“You fear for your safety based off of a story that is in your head.” And as the stories “go crazy” in your mind, and as the body is “already reacting,” you “don’t understand that the stories you have about Black bodies… are just stories.”

So now comes the hard work: “It’s just understanding that and healing it,” Duncan said.

If you go: Urban Sanctuary’s weekly classes, including POC-specific groups, as well as other services are available through the center’s website. Check out Davidia Turner’s site for witch yoga, hatha and more, and find Jordan Smiley’s vinyasa flow and yin offerings at courageousyoga.us. 

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Canadian university football players’ careers shortened by age rule, pandemic

Dozens of Canadian football players dreaming of hoisting the Vanier Cup in their fifth and final year of university eligibility have had those hopes dashed.


Austin Cindric wins NASCAR Xfinity race at Kentucky Speedway

SPARTA, Ky. (AP) — Austin Cindric won the first of two NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Kentucky Speedway, charging past Chase Briscoe on an overtime restart Thursday night for his first victory of the season and first on an oval.

Cindric spent most of the first two stages chasing Noah Gragson, the pole-sitter who seemed poised to dominate all three segments. Cindric then took charge on a series of restarts in Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford Mustang. On the last one, he went around Briscoe on the outside and pulled away before a last-lap wreck ended the race.

The 21-year-old Cindric had eight top-10s on ovals before breaking through on the 1.5-mile Kentucky layout. His only other series victories came last year on road courses at Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio.

The race ended up going 204 miles. A 300-miler is set for Friday night in the series’ first doubleheader

Riley Herbst was second in a Toyota, followed by Ross Chastain in a Chevy, Briscoe in a Ford and Anthony Alfredo in a Chevy.

Gragson dominated the first two 30-lap stages, a first for the driver who turns 22 on Wednesday, but faded to finish 10th.

Briscoe entered the race red hot with consecutive victories at Pocono and Indianapolis and three in his past four starts. He started seventh and eventually drew Gragson in his sights by Lap 50.


Jordin Tootoo says Edmonton team name discussion should centre on feelings of Inuk people

Jordin Tootoo says he doesn't find the Edmonton Eskimos' team name objectionable, but that doesn't mean the CFL club should keep it.


Big Ten to play conference-only football schedule

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Big Ten announced Thursday it will play a conference-only schedule for all fall sports, including football in 2020.

Ohio State will not play Bowling Green on Sept. 5, Oregon on Sept. 12 and Buffalo on Sept. 19. Under this plan, the Buckeyes will start their season at home against Rutgers on Sept. 26.

Right now, the Buckeyes will play nine games during the regular season with five home games and four away games.

In its press release, the Big Ten does not say how the schedule could be amended, or whether games will be added. The release also says schedule decisions will come later.

This measure is not as extreme as the one taken on Wednesday by the Ivy League, which became the first Division I conference to suspend all fall sports.


“Your freedom bumps up against my freedom:” Bandimere Speedway restraining order still in place as events planned for this weekend

A green light blinks on at ...
Kelsey Brunner, The Denver Post

A green light blinks on at the Bandimere Speedway during the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Morrison, Colorado on Friday, July 19, 2019.

A Jefferson County District Court Judge on Thursday delayed ruling on whether Bandimere Speedway violated public health orders at its July 4 event, saying she needs time to address the novelty of a case focused on how personal freedoms collide with public health guidelines amid a pandemic.

Judge Tamara Russell noted that Bandimere family testimony about the importance of personal freedoms was dear to Americans’ hearts.

“We get to situations like this where your freedom bumps up against my freedom,” Russell said. “Your rights bump up against my rights. If you have rights, they come with responsibility, and that’s where this is all mixing together for me. I need to figure out what the law is asking me to do about this situation that has never come up before.”

Russell is scheduled to issue a ruling in the matter at 9 a.m., July 21.

Meanwhile, the temporary restraining order limiting race track crowds to 175 people is still in place as Bandimere Speedway’s events — including races this weekend — remain on its website’s calendar.

Over a two-day hearing, the Bandimere family testified that capping attendance at 175 people would put the race track out of business.

Rebecca Klymkowsky, an attorney representing Jefferson County Public Health, said she understood the hardships the Bandimere family was facing but also realized the entire state, country and world are facing hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The legal battle began July 2 when the health department sought and received a temporary restraining order against Bandimere. The order required the race track to limit its crowd sizes to 175 people per activity during its July 4 events and to follow social distancing guidelines. But the county health agency said the race track owners violated the order.

On Thursday, John Bandimere Jr. and his son John Bandimere III were questioned. Each argued that conversations with Mark Johnson, executive director of Jefferson County Public Health, led them to believe the agency was OK with the thousands of attendees expected to turn out for their July 4 event.

“We thought that we had made them comfortable with all the protocols we had put in place and once it was over, we’d be able to have conversation and feedback about what the areas were we needed to work on,” the younger Bandimere said. “He said he didn’t want to shut the event down. He wanted us to have a good event and the numbers we were talking about seemed to be reasonable for the size and scope of the event.”

Randy Corporon, Bandimere’s attorney, argued the Bandimere family had “tacit approval” from Johnson that there would be more than 175 people at the event.

Johnson said his discussions with the elder Bandimere in the days leading up to and morning of the holiday event convinced him Bandimere Jr. was a man of faith and integrity who could be trusted.

“After the event, there was a period of time I was led to believe I had been duped,” Johnson said, explaining that the way the event was run did not match the conversations he had with the Bandimere family about following distancing guidelines.

Johnson said he understood around 4,500 tickets were sold for the event, and he believed that number was OK as long as social distancing measures were followed, considering the stands could hold 23,000 people.

Bandimere III testified on Wednesday that around 7,000 attendees came to the holiday event.

The elder Bandimere said he did not believe it was his family’s duty to strictly enforce public health orders on guests once they entered the facility.

The fight has become a flashpoint in political arguments over whether people should be forced to comply with public health orders or allowed to make personal choices as the pandemic surges.

During Russell’s final statements, the judge thanked the hundreds of viewers who tuned into the Zoom court session, noting many of them were Bandimere Speedway supporters who she believed offered positive support to a community they loved. Russell also thanked the public health experts who testified, adding that they had a “thankless job” trying to ensure public safety.

“We’re really blessed because we have all these people who want to do the right thing on both sides,” Russell said. “The clash is only how do we do that and does that violate someone’s freedoms?…All those things are very frustrating and necessary to look at because we’re in the COVID-19 pandemic and have to figure out ways to continue our lives as we can.”


Ivy League cancels fall sports, including football, over COVID-19 concerns

(WJW) — The Ivy League announced Wednesday there will be no sports competition this upcoming fall due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Campus policies including restrictions on student and staff travel, requirements for social distancing, limits on group gatherings and regulations for visitors to campus make sports impractical, executive director Robin Harris told ESPN.

University athletics are expected to operate within those campus policies; officials say the safety and well-being of students is their highest priority.

Practices and other athletic training opportunities will be permitted to continue provided they are structured in accordance with each institution’s procedures and applicable state regulations.

The Ivy League Council of Presidents offered the following joint statement on the decision: 

“As a leadership group, we have a responsibility to make decisions that are in the best interest of the students who attend our institutions, as well as the faculty and staff who work at our schools.These decisions are extremely difficult, particularly when they impact meaningful student-athlete experiences that so many value and cherish.

With the information available to us today regarding the continued spread of the virus, we simply do not believe we can create and maintain an environment for intercollegiate athletic competition that meets our requirements for safety and acceptable levels of risk, consistent with the policies that each of our schools is adopting as part of its reopening plans this fall.  

We are entrusted to create and maintain an educational environment that is guided by health and safety considerations. There can be no greater responsibility — and that is the basis for this difficult decision.”

The league says they will also be issuing guidelines on a phased approach to conditioning and practice activities to allow for interaction among student-athletes and coaches.

League officials also state that fall sport student-athletes will not lose a season of Ivy League or NCAA eligibility in the fall, whether or not they enroll. Students interested in pursuing competition during a fifth year will need to work with their institutions to determine options.

The Ivy League has also not made any decisions yet on whether they will move the football season to spring 2021.

Meanwhile, the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee says college football’s power brokers may still play a fall 2020 season.

“We all pay attention to it, just to see what’s out there, but I think their model is a little different than our model when it comes to football,” Shane Lyons, committee chair and West Virginia athletic director, told ESPN when asked about the Ivy League’s decision. “Is it definitely going to impact what we do? As a whole, not necessarily. We have to look at what we’re doing with testing and protocols and the safety and well-being of our student-athletes, making sure we’re doing the right thing from that aspect of it, to see if we can fill any type of season.”


Lost Lake area near Nederland closed over concerns of bear near campsites

The Lost Lake area near Nederland is closed until further notice to all use over safety concerns regarding a bear near campsites.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials said a bear has been involved in conflicts at a campground in the Roosevelt National Forest since 2017 and has entered unoccupied tents, retrieving people’s food left unsecured and showing little fear of humans. CPW said it is confident it is the same bear due to matching descriptions from several reports.

“We are concerned for the safety of backcountry campers, as this bear has become an issue,” said Kristin Cannon, Deputy Regional Manager for CPW’s Northeast Region. “For the time being, we feel it is best to keep campers safe and close down the area.”

The entire area is now closed to camping from the Hessie Trailhead near Nederland to the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area boundary, CPW officials said in a news release.

Day use along the King Lake Trail or Devil’s Thumb Trail will be allowed, but the Lost Lake Trail spurs off of King Lake Trail will be closed and no use will be permitted beyond that trail junction, they added.

Read more on our partner site The Denver Channel.

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Rocket City Trash Pandas announce ticket policies for canceled 2020 season

MADISON, Ala. – The Rocket City Trash Pandas announced policies for fans holding tickets to any of the club’s scheduled home games at Toyota Field.

All the games were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and cancellation of the 2020 MiLB season.

Ticket Policies –

Full Season Ticket Holders: Trash Pandas 2020 Full Season Ticket Holders are considered paid-in-full for their 2021 Season Tickets and will receive a $5.00 per game credit to be used for food, beverage, or merchandise next season. Full Season Ticket Holders retain their current seats for the 2021 season. The additional $5 credit will be uploaded to each individual ticket and can be used for food, beverage, or merchandise in the Junkyard Team Store for that specific gameday ($5 per ticket per game will expire after that game). Season Ticket Holders who have additional questions, or who wish to discuss their ticket options further, should contact the Trash Pandas Ticket Office directly via phone at (256) 325-1403 or email at seasontickets@trashpandasbaseball.com.

Mini-Plan Holders: Trash Pandas 2020 Mini-Plan Holders are considered paid-in-full for a 23-game Mini-Plan for the 2021 season and will receive a $5.00 per game credit to be used for food, beverage, or merchandise next season. Upon release of the 2021 schedule, Mini-Plan Holders will have three different plans from which to choose (Mercury, Gemini, Apollo) and will receive priority seat selection over individual game ticket holders. The additional $5 credit will be uploaded to each individual ticket and can be used for food, beverage, or merchandise in the Junkyard Team Store for that specific gameday ($5 per ticket per game will expire after that game). Mini-Plan Holders who have additional questions, or who wish to discuss their ticket options further, should contact the Trash Pandas Ticket Office directly via phone at (256) 325-1403 or email at ticketoffice@trashpandasbaseball.com.

Groups and Single Game Hospitality: Groups that have purchased tickets, suites or a hospitality space to any Trash Pandas 2020 home game at Toyota Field will be contacted by their Trash Pandas Group Account Executive within ten days to discuss possibilities, including options to reschedule their group for a 2020 non-game day event, or reschedule the group event for a 2021 game. Groups that have made payments toward any 2020 game and choose to reschedule for a 2021 game will receive 100% credit on payments made and receive an additional $5 credit on every individual ticket in the group which can be used for food, beverage, or merchandise in the ballpark for that specific gameday.

Single-Game Purchasers (including Opening Day) Fans who purchased single-game tickets for any Trash Pandas’ 2020 home games at Toyota Field will automatically receive credit in the full amount paid, to be used toward any 2021 regular season home games. Fans who purchased tickets to Opening Day 2020 and do not request a refund are guaranteed tickets for the same seats or better for Opening Day 2021. Single game ticket holders can also opt for a full refund. Fans who purchased single-game tickets for 2020 and prefer to request a refund should contact the Toyota Field Box Office via email at ticketoffice@trashpandasbaseball.com. Please allow 45 days for refunds to process.

Secondary Market TicketsTickets purchased from a secondary market reseller cannot be refunded by the Trash Pandas. Fans holding tickets that have been purchased through a secondary ticket reseller must contact that reseller for ticket information.

Information on all Rocket City Trash Pandas ticket policies can be found at www.Trashpandasbaseball.com.


With summer plans canceled, RVs and campervans have become a new favorite among bored Coloradans

The pandemic has left plenty of people with canceled vacation plans at the exact moment when they need a break. But in some sectors of the travel and outdoor industry, businesses is booming — especially in the world of RVs.

Colorado RV rentals and sales are up after the initial shock from coronavirus closures, and campsites with RV hookups are seeing plenty of reservations. Jim Humble is the president of Cousins RV with locations in Loveland, Colorado Springs and Wheat Ridge. He’s been in the business for 29 years, but he said he’s never seen a season like this before.

“Just the amount of first-timers that are coming into the industry right now is amazing,” Humble said in an interview with The Denver Post on Tuesday. “They want to take their vacation but going to Disney World or getting on an airplane doesn’t sound super appealing to them, so an RV is a great option right now. We’ve sold so many trailers to people who never would have purchased one, but because of the virus, sales have just skyrocketed.”

The year started with regular RV shows and conferences, but when coronavirus arrived in the United States, Humble had to close his business. He initially took a hit, but at the end of the stay-at-home order, business exploded. Humble said sales in May and June have more than doubled compared to the previous year. And though the season tends to wind down in September, he’s anticipating continued business as people enjoy Colorado’s beautiful fall.

Humble said a lot of these new customers are families where parents have remote work and children have nothing to do. He added that RVs offer families comfortable amenities while getting into nature. This summer, his most popular models are family-style with bunk beds for young children.

Katie Key, president of Escape Campervans — a rental service headquartered in Denver with 12 locations across the U.S. and Canada — has also seen a 150% increase in rentals in Colorado compared to last summer. When the virus first hit, her business experienced a lot of cancellations, but May and June saw a tremendous rebound. Denver was one of the first cities to pick up, along with Seattle, San Francisco and New York, Key said in an interview.

Though she’s lost international travelers, Key said more locals in Colorado have come to Escape for rentals. Her main clientele are millennials between 24 and 35 years old, but she sees a variety of customers from retirees to families.

“Campervan and RV rentals are made to socially distance and naturally made to self-isolate, so it makes a lot of sense for a lot of ages,” Key said.

RELATED: 6 beautiful Colorado highways that are great for summer road trips

Key added that campervans offer other options to get away from the madness of campsites, which are also popular this summer. Vans allow for dispersed camping, where people can park in public spaces. However, Key encouraged guests to plan more than they usually would for camping trips this summer, checking restrictions, stocking up on groceries and trying different sites off the beaten path.

Key has answered a lot of customer questions about safety with coronavirus, especially with first-time campers. She emphasized that her company has created an 80-point checklist for cleaning vans, from wiping down surfaces to scrubbing the exterior, to keep guests and employees safe.

Bridget Kochel, public information officer with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said she’s noticed a lot of families RV camping in state parks this summer. According to CPW reports, RV reservations fell below average in March and April, but both tent and RV campsite reservations are up 22% over the same time last year.

Kochel emphasized that RV campsites are usually already socially distanced, but with the popularity of outdoor spaces this summer, people still need to be mindful of distancing requirements, as well as other camping practices like leave-no-trace.

RELATED: People are lending their RVs to frontline workers who can’t stay at home — and you can, too

Like Key, Kochel also suggested guests come extra prepared with hand sanitizer and masks and check local guidelines online in case coronavirus restrictions change.

“It comes down to how lucky we are to live in this beautiful state,” she said. “This is a great opportunity for people to say, ‘Look at all these parks and open land that we have.’ “

One challenge for the RV industry: Manufacturers across the country may not be able to keep up with demand. Humble said factories in states with different restrictions are still slowly reopening. But for now, Humble is making plenty of sales, and he’s happy to provide a source of adventure and escape for families.

“Families are trying to find ways to not have this whole stressful environment that a lot of kids are seeing right now with coronavirus,” he said. “I went camping with my family a couple weekends ago and we were sitting around a campfire and I said, ‘When you’re sitting here, you don’t even realize the pandemic’s going on in this country. You’re away from it.’ “

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AHSAA teams moving forward with 2020 football plans

ALABAMA (WHNT) – After a pair of Alabama High School Athletic Association committee meetings on Tuesday– the 2020 high school football season seems to be on schedule for a late-August start.

After the meeting coaches told Al.com, they feel like this is a good situation and that for now– they are going to play just like any other season.

Tuesday, the football coaches committee along with the fall sports committee, held virtual meetings. 

They heard updates from the AHSAA Medical Advisory Board committee and the Alabama State Department of Education about a return to school and play following the coronavirus pandemic.

Alabama State Superintendent Eric Mackey gave a brief update concerning the roadmap to reopening the school’s plan. 

The AHSAA Medical Advisory Board members updated the committees on the most recent COVID-19 data and best practices relating to high school sports activities.

The AHSAA plans to present recommendations to the central board of control for review and approval at its July 22nd meeting.

Specific guidelines about areas like locker rooms, social distancing on the sidelines, and transportation to and from games would be given after that meeting.

One coach in attendance told Al.com there have been no talks in Alabama about moving football to spring as has been a discussion in states like Mississippi and Michigan.


Tanner athlete tested positive for COVID-19

LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. – Tanner High School officials have suspended athletic workouts until July 13th.

According to a post on the school’s Facebook page, the suspension comes after a student-athlete tested positive for COVID-19.

Principal Debbie Kenyon says the student was last on campus on June 25th.

Kenyon says everyone in the athletic group was contacted and they will continue to monitor the situation and pass along updates as needed.


Alabama OC Steve Sarkisian undergoes heart surgery

University of Alabama football offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is recovering after undergoing a corrective heart procedure, the university said Tuesday afternoon.

A “congenital cardiovascular anomaly” was discovered last week when Sarkisian underwent his annual physical, the university said, and it was determined that he needed surgery to correct the issue.

Sarkisian’s surgery took place Thursday and he is at home recovering in Tuscaloosa, the university said.

Sarkisian was hired as Alabama’s offensive coordinator in January 2019. It was his second time with the team; he also worked as an analyst in 2016 and was the offensive coordinator for the team’s national championship game against Clemson that season, after Lane Kiffin vacated the position to go to Florida Atlantic.


Youth on Course giving Ontario kids a shot at golf

A new youth program is making golf more accessible for families across the province.


Alabama shifts to mobile-only ticketing for 2020 football season

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. Alabama Athletics announced they will have mobile-only ticketing and parking passes this season. The move will enable contactless entry into all venues beginning with the 2020 football season.

The shift to mobile-only ticketing will provide a safer environment for fans, as well as help guard against the production of fraudulent tickets.

The following items will be issued via mobile delivery:

  • Season tickets
  • Home single game tickets
  • Neutral site tickets
  • Away game tickets
  • Parking passes

Purchasers will receive their tickets via email, allowing them to download tickets into the wallet on their phone. Before reaching the gates, ticketholders will open their digital wallet, select game tickets and hold their smartphone near the scanner.

Season ticketholders (excluding UA faculty/staff and students) will still have the ability to post tickets on StubHub, the official fan-to-fan marketplace of Alabama Athletics, or transfer tickets to a friend, in the event they are unable to attend.

Parking passes issued by the ticket office will also be delivered to mobile using the same process as tickets and will also be able to be transferred.

Print-at-home tickets will no longer be available as they shift to contactless entry into the stadium. Mobile tickets are only valid when presented on a smartphone. Printed copies of QR codes will not be accepted.

Those that do not have a smartphone can contact the ticket office before game day for options at 205-348-2262 or ticketoffice@ia.ua.edu.

For more information on on how to download your digital tickets and how to donate or transfer, click here.


Coronavirus: Guelph to open sports fields for team practices

The city says fields will not be marked or lined for team play as games and scrimmages are not permitted.


Construction continues on 38,000 square-foot visitor center atop Pikes Peak

By Amanda HancockThe Gazette

COLORADO SPRINGS — Upon arriving at the top of Pikes Peak, visitors might not expect to see a bustling construction site in the middle of the breathtaking views they came for.

Sometimes they pass by workers clad in hard hats and neon vests, like the site’s project manager Rob Clough, and ask, “What are you guys doing up here?”

The answer is impossible to miss. A crew of 100 from GE Johnson spend each day working on the $60 million structure that will soon be the new Pikes Peak Summit Complex.

“Guests can feel how hard it is to breathe up here,” Clough said on a recent morning atop the 14,115-foot mountain. “They’re so impressed seeing the amount of work going on.”

Halfway into 2020, he said work is about 50% done on the new visitor’s center, which, at 38,000 square feet, will be more than twice the size of the current Summit House, built in 1963. The complex is expected to open by spring of 2021, a date that is months behind the previous plan of this fall.

Since beginning in 2018, construction has hit delays mostly because of occasional bursts of cold and blustery weather such as 65 mph winds, lightning, snow and hail, Clough said.

“Last week was rough with these afternoon lightning storms,” he said. “By 1 o’clock every day, it killed our ability to continue working.”

When that happens, workers are back by 5:30 a.m. the next day to be shuttled up America’s Mountain and keep working.

“I tell them every day to be proud of this,” Clough said. “It’s once in a lifetime.”

The coronavirus outbreak hasn’t affected progress, Clough said, as construction was deemed an essential activity.

Much of 2019 was spent on getting the facility’s primary structure up.

Now, Clough said the goal within the next few months is to complete the exterior of the building, including installing glass windows that will provide unobstructed views of Mount Rosa and beyond. The glass being used has been tested to withstand 240 mph winds.

“This year, we’re very energized and focused on closing up the building,” he said. “And then we’ll be able to get more into the final touches.”

The top floor of the Summit House will house the kitchen, dining areas, retail center and open-air decks. The building will also feature interactive displays and exhibits pertaining to the history of Pikes Peak.

If all goes according to plan, the building will be LEED certified as well as up to standards of the Living Building Challenge, described on its website as “the most rigorous green building standard ever.”

A concrete walkway system, following ADA regulations, will connect guests to the Summit House as well as north, east and west overlooks. It will also connect to the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, which is currently closed and under repair.

Throughout the complex, crews have used rustic-looking steel and concrete that matches the color of Pikes Peak’s rocks and boulders.

“It’s important to maintain the natural beauty,” Clough said. “We want it to look almost the same as when we started.”

A short walk away from the power tools and heavy machinery, visitors were taking photos in front of the popular Pikes Peak Summit sign and carrying bags of doughnuts out of the existing Summit House, which is about 12,000 square feet.

“The building was built in the ’60s and it has served its purpose over that time,” said Jack Glavan, manager of Pikes Peak America’s Mountain, an enterprise of Colorado Springs. “It has exceeded its life.”

The new complex will be an upgrade in more ways than one, said Glavan. It will offer more space and activities for visitors. And it will offer, most important, spectacular views.

“You don’t want to out-mountain the mountain,” he said. “Pikes Peak is iconic. The building is just going to enhance it.”

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The best places to find wildflowers in Colorado this summer

If you want to see some of the most beautiful alpine plants along our stretch of the Rockies, you’ll have to do some work.

Many of the best places to see wildflowers, especially the striking alpine wildflowers, require you to hike. Hey, the mountains ain’t no backyard garden where you can tiptoe through the tulips!

Find more of summer getaways here >>>

Having said that, the Denver Botanic Gardens does offer a chance to see wildflowers at its urban York Street site, the offspring of the garden at Mount Goliath on the shoulders of Mount Evans. And that’s a good option for people who can’t get the high country.

“But it’s just not the same,” said Amy Schneider, who should know, since she has served as Goliath’s gardener since 2009. “It’s so much better to see them where they naturally grow.”

Goliath started as a satellite location to the Denver Botanic Gardens back in the 1950s, Schneider said, so people could see wildflowers where they grow. Now she collects seeds from the plants, takes them down to the York Street gardens and plants them. She takes some of the seedlings back to Goliath.

Schneider encourages people to get out to see the plants in their natural environment as much as they can.

“We recommend everywhere,” she said, when asked for wildflower hot spots.

OK. But she does have some favorite places, and so do we. Here are some areas where you should be able to see wildflowers, especially in mid- to late July, when blooms tend to peak.

Note: These places feature a lot of alpine hikes, and as such, you’ll experience a lot of extreme Colorado summer weather, including strong sun, wind and storms that can gather suddenly and hammer you. So keep an eye on the clouds. And as you’re running back to the forest as the thunder rumbles, you may be tempted to pity those poor flowers. But they’ve adapted to that environment for thousands of years. As long as you watch your step, so you don’t trample the poor things, they will live on.

“Don’t feel sorry for them,” Schneider said. “They’re tough.”

Mount Goliath on Mount Evans

But again, that takes some effort. If you’re unsure about traversing peaks, Goliath is a good place to start. The peak is just outside Idaho Springs off the Mount Evans Road (Colorado 5), making it the highest cultivated garden in the U.S.

It’s a relatively safe hike, with restrooms at the Dos Chappell Nature Center (but no other locations), and you can hike the M. Water Pesman Trail, which makes it hard to get lost. But it’s not an easy hike, it is steep and rocky and the elevation ranges from 11,500 to 12,100 feet as it winds through wildflowers for a 3-mile round-trip adventure.

“There are tons of wildflowers along that trail,” Schneider said. “We just try to show the public plants they may not see otherwise.”

South Arapaho Peak via the Fourth of July trailhead near Nederland

This is my personal favorite, and you don’t have to climb the 13,397-foot peak to enjoy the bunches of wildflowers growing along the trail. The road leading to the trailhead is rough, so a 4WD vehicle is best, although you can probably make it with a hardy passenger car. You should expect to hike at least a mile on the trail, but you won’t have to hike too far above treeline before you’re rewarded with colorful blooms.

Crested Butte has an annual Wildflower Festival in mid-July

The city calls itself the “wildflower capital of Colorado,” which is a pretty darn bold boast, but perhaps you can make them prove it. The festival has decided to cancel in-person events this year. Learn more at crestedbuttewildflowerfestival.com. But don’t worry, the area trails will lead hikers and bikers through fields of wildflowers.

Shrine Pass in Vail

The pass, one of Schneider’s favorite places, is along the border of Eagle and Summit counties west of Frisco and 2 miles northwest of Vail Pass. The ridge trail through colorful blooms is a 4-mile out-and-back. Vail is also home to the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, always worth a visit.

Brainard Lake Recreation Area

Many hikes in this area offer great views of wildflowers, but my favorite is the hike to Blue Lake, a 6-mile gorgeous adventure. The hike to Lake Isabelle is also fun and about half as long as the hike to Blue Lake.

Yankee Boy Basin

This place is just outside Ouray and famous for the 14er it leads to, Mount Sneffels, a challenging peak. But, again, you don’t have to climb the peak to enjoy the flowers that grow along the basin. Basins are great spots for wildflowers, Schneider said. And lakes sitting in a cirque of mountains should offer wild displays. “If anything has ‘basin’ in its name,” she said, “you should just go.”

The Lady Moon Trail near Red Feather Lakes up Poudre Canyon

This is a good spot to visit in May or June, depending on snow conditions.

Leavenworth Creek

This Jeep road off Colorado 381 (Guanella Pass Road) takes you southwest of Georgetown. It features multiple dispersed campsites and lots of nice flowers.

Ice Lakes Basin

This area, near Silverton, is far from Denver, but it’s also one of the best places to see wildlflowers. The San Juan Mountains are a magical place for just about anything.

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NCAA Cross Country Regional coming to the Tennessee Valley in 2021

FLORENCE, Ala. – A big time event is coming to the Rocket City next year.

The Huntsville Sports Commission has been awarded the NCAA Division I South Regional Cross Country Championship for 2021.

The event is scheduled for November 21, 2021, and is expected to bring an estimated 600 athletes, coaches and staff to the Tennessee Valley with the University of North Alabama acting as the host school.


Saskatoon man heading program giving bicycles to those in need

Marv Friesen has been fixing bikes for the past month for those who need them most in Saskatoon as part of the RIdes by Marv's program.


NHL, players’ association reach tentative agreement to resume season Aug 1

The tentative agreement will see training camps start July 13. Clubs will travel to hub cities on July 26 and the qualifying round will begin on Aug. 1.


Bike theft is on the rise in Denver. Here’s how to prevent it and what to do if your bike is stolen.

It only took a few seconds for Paul Custer’s bike to be stolen in broad daylight, with the thief using it as the getaway vehicle.

It was lunchtime in a Denver neighborhood. Custer and his wife were home when it happened. She heard a bang — the sound of the thief breaking into their detached garage by a side door — and saw someone enter the garage. She alerted her husband and he ran outside to intervene, but it was too late.

“He had come into our backyard through a gate and kicked our garage door in, grabbed my bike, opened the garage door and rode off,” Custer said. “What I should have done was got in my car and drove around and looked for him, because my wife had seen him, but I was too much in shock to know what to do.”

Custer had become a statistic in Denver’s growing bike theft problem this year. According to Denver Police statistics, 1,621 bikes were reported stolen through June 22, an 18% increase over the same period in 2019. In April and May alone, there were 749 reported thefts, 162 more than those months in 2019.

RELATED: With bike thefts up 18% in Denver this year, a couple decides to steal back their rides

Bikes can be easy to steal and very difficult to recover because they are mobile and easily hidden. Pawn shops in Colorado are required by law to report items they acquire and hold them for 30 days before they are put out for sale, in case they are reported stolen. But that only works for owners who register their bikes, and bikes are easy to sell through online marketplaces that don’t have those regulations.

“Sometimes it’s a crime of opportunity,” said Denver Police spokesman Jay Casillas. “They’re not secure, so people take them. There are instances where garage doors are left open and unattended. The bike is sitting right there, and it’s easy for someone to walk in and take it out.”

In fact, Custer recalls a day about a week before the theft of his bike when the garage door was left open. He suspects the thief noticed it that day and came back for it later when he thought he could get away with it.

Obviously, locking your bike is one deterrent, and the better the lock, the more difficult it is to defeat. Two high-end lock manufacturers, Kryptonite and OnGuard, offer anti-theft protection for your bike if you register the lock with the company after purchase.

“I think there’s just common agreement that bike thieves are opportunistic,” said Jack Todd, director of communications and policy for Bicycle Colorado. “Some of the really good ones can break a lock in less than a minute and be gone. There are things people can do to deter thieves and cover themselves in the event that a bike is stolen, including registering your bike and proving it’s yours so you have a case to get it back.

Another good idea is to register your ride with Bike Index, a free, non-profit national online database that has led to the recovery of more than 7,300 bikes valued at $10.7 million, according to co-founder Bryan Hance.

“We’re just a bunch of bike tech nerds who don’t like theft,” Hance said. “There’s about a half dozen of us core people, and we have a bunch of ambassadors and bike-culture people who help us spread the word and look for bikes.”

Hance recommends cyclists register their bikes with police departments as well, but those databases are for internal police use. If you register with Bike Index and your bike is stolen, you can report it and your bike is flagged. Bike Index sends out a tweet for users to be on the lookout for it. If a legitimate person finds your bike on Craigslist, Offer Up, Facebook Marketplace or at a swap meet, they can check with Bike Index via their phone to see if it’s been stolen. If it has, they can notify you that they’ve spotted it.

“Odds are, your bike is not going to be found by a police officer,” Hance said. “It is going to end up on Craigslist or Offer Up or at a swap meet. This is giving anybody the ability to pull out a phone and say, ‘Hey, I want to check on this bike to see if it’s stolen. Boom, there it is, I can click a button and contact the owner right now.”

Bike Index gets the word out in other ways.

“It puts that serial number and information of that bike into a system that is used in the U.S. by like 950 shops and police officers and schools and pawn shops and other organizations that regularly come into contact with bikes and have a need to say, ‘Hey, I think this bike is kind of sketchy, I want to check on it,’ ” Hance said.

The odds of recovery aren’t great. Out of 768 bikes stolen in the Denver area over the past 2½ years that were reported to Bike Index, 46 were recovered, which works out to 6%. The figure nationally for Bike Index runs about 9%.

“We’ve only recently started working in Colorado,” Hance said. “For other cities, the numbers are much higher. In Seattle last year, we recovered 171 bikes.”

If your bike is stolen, you can also post photos and a description of it on a Facebook page called Denver Stolen Bikes.

Custer has reinforced the garage door broken by the man who stole his bike, and in retrospect, he wishes he’d put a U-lock on his bike when it was in the garage. He advises bike owners to do that even if they aren’t locking the bike to something unmovable. If a U-lock had been attached to his bike through the wheel and the frame, the thief wouldn’t have been able to ride away on it.

Custer wasn’t without any bike, though. The man who stole his bike rode to the scene of the crime on a crummy old “beater,” which he left behind.

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NHL, players’ association reach tentative agreement on protocols to resume season

If ratified, it will end a pandemic-forced shutdown for 31 teams across North America that began in mid-March.


Coronavirus: Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in St. Marys Ont., reopens

The museum is no longer permitting visitors to touch or hold items due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Braves star Freeman, 3 others test positive for virus

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Braves four-time All-Star Freddie Freeman, reliever Will Smith and two teammates have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Manager Brian Snitker said Saturday the four players, including right-hander Touki Toussaint and infielder Pete Kozma, agreed to have the team disclose their positive tests.

Snitker said Freeman had a negative intake test before having a positive test on Friday. Snitker said the first baseman has a fever and “is not feeling great.”

“It will be a while before we can get him back,” Snitker said of Freeman.

Major League Baseball has scheduled the 60-game season to start on July 23. Freeman is the biggest star in the sport so far to have his positive virus test publicly announced by his team.

The 30-year-old Freeman set career highs with 38 home runs and 121 RBIs last season in helping Atlanta win its second straight NL East title.

The Braves signed Smith, the former Giants reliever, to a three-year, $39 million deal in the offseason.

Snitker said Smith and Toussaint have no symptoms. He said Kozma, who is working with top minor leaguers at the team’s Triple-A Gwinnett facilty, has a fever.

Snitker also said first base coach Eric Young Sr., 53, has opted out of for the season due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.


Braves star Freeman, 3 others test positive for virus

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Braves four-time All-Star Freddie Freeman, reliever Will Smith and two teammates have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Manager Brian Snitker said Saturday the four players, including right-hander Touki Toussaint and infielder Pete Kozma, agreed to have the team disclose their positive tests.

Snitker said Freeman had a negative intake test before having a positive test on Friday. Snitker said the first baseman has a fever and “is not feeling great.”

“It will be a while before we can get him back,” Snitker said of Freeman.

Major League Baseball has scheduled the 60-game season to start on July 23. Freeman is the biggest star in the sport so far to have his positive virus test publicly announced by his team.

The 30-year-old Freeman set career highs with 38 home runs and 121 RBIs last season in helping Atlanta win its second straight NL East title.

The Braves signed Smith, the former Giants reliever, to a three-year, $39 million deal in the offseason.

Snitker said Smith and Toussaint have no symptoms. He said Kozma, who is working with top minor leaguers at the team’s Triple-A Gwinnett facilty, has a fever.

Snitker also said first base coach Eric Young Sr., 53, has opted out of for the season due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.


World Under 17 Hockey Challenge scheduled for fall cancelled due to coronavirus

The annual, week-long tournament was set to open October 31 in Charlottetown and Summerside, P.E.I.


MLB cancels All-Star Game for first time since 1945

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dodger Stadium’s 40-year wait to host the All-Star Game is going to last even longer.

The game scheduled for July 14 was canceled Friday because of the coronavirus pandemic, and Dodger Stadium was awarded the 2022 Midsummer Classic. The 2021 game is set for Atlanta’s Truist Park, home to the Braves since 2017.

Because of the pandemic, opening day had already been delayed from March 26 to July 23 or 24.

“Once it became clear we were unable to hold this year’s All-Star festivities, we wanted to award the Dodgers with the next available All-Star Game, which is 2022,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

No date for the 2022 game has been announced, although Dodgers President Stan Kasten said it would take place in the third week of July.

This year will be the first time since 1945 that no game is held. Travel restrictions because of World War II kept the game scheduled for Boston’s Fenway Park and any player selections from taking place that year. It was pushed back to the next season.

The Dodgers hosted the only the Midsummer Classic in Dodger Stadium history in 1980, won 4-2 by the National League.

The stadium — third-oldest in baseball behind Fenway and Chicago’s Wrigley Field — is the only park in the majors not to have increased its 56,000-seat capacity since it opened in 1962.

That’s not to say it hasn’t changed, however.

Since 2013, the stadium that overlooks downtown Los Angeles has undergone a series of structural and behind-the-scenes improvements, including two entrance plazas on the field level, tiered seating and bar areas overlooking both bullpens. The ballpark has also gotten new HD video screens and sound systems, wider concourses and renovated restrooms, kids play areas, displays to honor the franchise’s storied history, new home and visiting clubhouses and batting cages.

And that doesn’t include the $100 million in renovations that helped the Dodgers land the 2020 game. Those feature two acres of food and entertainment offerings in a new center field plaza and spruced-up outfield pavilions. Also added were elevators, escalators and bridges to improve circulation around the ballpark without changing its picturesque look and feel. The speaker tower sound system in center field is being replaced. New so-called “home run seats” are being added in front of existing outfield seats.

“We had a lot of elaborate preparations coming into this year, not the least of which is this huge, fantastic renovation,” Kasten said on a video conference call.

The Dodgers have installed a sign above the visitors’ bullpen in right field noting the All-Star game. It arrived without a date, making it viable to use for the upcoming 60-game regular season.

“It will be a constant reminder that Los Angeles is getting a game,” Kasten said, adding that money pledged by MLB and the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation for community projects around the game will be spent this year.

People who purchased tickets for this year’s game will be offered an incentive to let the team hang on to their money until 2022, Kasten said. Refunds will also be offered beginning Monday.

The coronavirus slowed construction at the stadium. In mid-April, retired Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully narrated a brief video of the project.

Scully, now 92, announced the 1959 All-Star game hosted by the Dodgers at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (the second such game played that year). He joined Mel Allen on the call for NBC on Aug. 3.

It was the first Midsummer Classic to be played on the West Coast, and also one of only two games to be played outside the month of July. The other was in 1981, when it was held on Aug. 9 because of the players’ strike.

The Dodgers also hosted the game at Ebbets Field in 1949 before they moved to the West Coast from Brooklyn.

The Dodgers have produced four different All-Star Game MVPs: Maury Wills in 1962; Steve Garvey in 1974 and ’78; Don Sutton in 1977; and Mike Piazza in 1996. From the 87-year-old Wills to the 51-year-old Piazza, all are still living and may have played a part in this year’s festivities.

Scully would surely have made an appearance, either in person or via video, where he has turned up several times since retiring in 2016. He and Brent Musburger worked the 1980 game in LA for CBS radio.

The Dodgers had been planning to host the 91st All-Star Game since being chosen in 2018. They sent teams of planners to Washington, D.C., in 2018 and Cleveland last year to study what did and didn’t work for those host cities.

Besides the Futures Game, Home Run Derby and All-Star Game over three days at the stadium, there would have been a Fan Fest and other events and commercial tie-ins around the game.

In February 2018, the Los Angeles City Council estimated an economic impact of $89.4 million from hosting the game. The Dodgers had committed to paying $100,000 for city services needed as part of the game.


Judge orders Bandimere Speedway to limit crowd size at Fourth of July race, fireworks show

A district court judge in Jefferson County has ordered Bandimere Speedway to comply with COVID-19 public health regulations limiting the number of people who can be in the stands during the race and fireworks show planned for the Fourth of July.

The judge on Thursday granted Jefferson County Public Health’s request for a temporary restraining order requiring the Morrison racetrack to comply with state public health orders for outdoor events, which limit crowd sizes to 175 people, require six feet of social distancing between attendees and bar food service.

“We are pleased with the result, but can’t comment further because it is still pending litigation,” Ashley Sever, a spokeswoman for the health department, said in an email Friday.

Bandimere is scheduled to host the Brakes Plus Jet Car Nationals — which includes an evening fireworks show, one of the few in the metro area — on Saturday, according to its website.

Efforts by The Denver Post and other media to speak to Bandmere representatives this week have been unsuccessful. News of the temporary restraining order was first reported Friday by the Canyon Courier.

Mark Johnson, executive director of Jefferson County Public Health, previously had sent a letter to Bandimere alleging the track had been admitting too many fans in violation of state health orders meant to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

Johnson said the racetrack has been selling tickets for all seats in all rows at its events, which would prevent any attempts at social distancing. He noted that some of the ticket packages come with buffet-style meals, also prohibited under the state health department’s rules over concerns diners will pass along the virus.

The letter from Jeffco Public Health ordered track officials to submit a plan to comply by 5 p.m. Wednesday. They failed to do that.

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Judge orders Bandimere Speedway to limit crowd size at Fourth of July race, fireworks show

A district court judge in Jefferson County has ordered Bandimere Speedway to comply with COVID-19 public health regulations limiting the number of people who can be in the stands during the race and fireworks show planned for the Fourth of July.

The judge on Thursday granted Jefferson County Public Health’s request for a temporary restraining order requiring the Morrison racetrack to comply with state public health orders for outdoor events, which limit crowd sizes to 175 people, require six feet of social distancing between attendees and bar food service.

“We are pleased with the result, but can’t comment further because it is still pending litigation,” Ashley Sever, a spokeswoman for the health department, said in an email Friday.

Bandimere is scheduled to host the Brakes Plus Jet Car Nationals — which includes an evening fireworks show, one of the few in the metro area — on Saturday, according to its website.

Efforts by The Denver Post and other media to speak to Bandmere representatives this week have been unsuccessful. News of the temporary restraining order was first reported Friday by the Canyon Courier.

Mark Johnson, executive director of Jefferson County Public Health, previously had sent a letter to Bandimere alleging the track had been admitting too many fans in violation of state health orders meant to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

Johnson said the racetrack has been selling tickets for all seats in all rows at its events, which would prevent any attempts at social distancing. He noted that some of the ticket packages come with buffet-style meals, also prohibited under the state health department’s rules over concerns diners will pass along the virus.

The letter from Jeffco Public Health ordered track officials to submit a plan to comply by 5 p.m. Wednesday. They failed to do that.

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Jimmy Johnson tests positive for COVID-19, will miss race on Sunday

Jimmie Johnson, seven, time NASCAR Cup Series champion, has reported a positive COVID-19 test. A report on NASCAR.com says Johnson will miss the race on Sunday where he was set to compete for his series-best fifth win.

“My first priority is the health and safety of my loved ones and my teammates,” Johnson said in a team release. “I’ve never missed a race in my Cup career, but I know it’s going to be very hard to watch from the sidelines when I’m supposed to be out there competing. Although this situation is extremely disappointing, I’m going to come back ready to win races and put ourselves in playoff contention.”

Justin Allgaier will drive drive the No. 48 Chevrolet on Sunday.

According to a team statement, Johnson has not experienced symptoms of COVID-19. He was tested upon learning Friday morning that his wife, Chandra, tested positive after experiencing allergy-like symptoms.


Edmonton Eskimos re-affirm name after Washington football team wavers

A day after the Washington Redskins announced the team was reviewing its name, the Edmonton Eskimos said it will increase consultation with the Inuit community.


Redskins to have ‘thorough review’ of name amid race debate

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Redskins began a “thorough review” of their nickname Friday, a significant step toward moving on from what experts and advocates call a “dictionary-defined racial slur.”

Even though owner Dan Snyder had shown no willingness to change the name since buying the team in 1999, the recent national conversation on race has renewed opposition to the name and prompted sponsors to speak up. With support from the NFL, it may finally lead to a new moniker for the long-struggling storied franchise with long-ago Super Bowl success.

“In the last few weeks, we have had ongoing discussions with Dan, and we are supportive of this important step,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said.

In a statement, the team said recent events around the U.S. and feedback from the community prompted the formal review.

“This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” Snyder said.

Native American advocacy groups have tried for decades to force a change, and a peer-reviewed UC Berkeley study released earlier this year revealed 67% of those surveyed who strongly identify as Native agreed or strongly agreed the name was offensive. The death of George Floyd in Minnesota and other examples of police brutality against Black people in the U.S. sparked protests worldwide and changes to various brands considered racially insensitive.

Asked last month about the name, a spokesman said the team had no comment. But this week marked a possible sea change on the issue with investors writing to FedEx, PepsiCo and other sponsors hoping they woould influence change.

FedEx was the first to act publicly. The title sponsor of the team’s stadium in Landover Maryland, FedEx said Thursday, “We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name.” FedEx paid $205 million in 1999 for the naming rights to the stadium.

On Thursday night, Nike appeared to remove all Redskins gear from its online store. Nike did not respond to multiple messages seeking comment. PepsiCo did not immediately respond to an email Friday seeking comment.

Coach Ron Rivera, who said in a recent radio interview now is not the time to discuss the name, called it “an issue of personal importance.” Rivera, who is of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent and is the only Hispanic head coach currently in the NFL, added he’d work closely with Snyder during the process.

Washington mayor Muriel Bowser said recently the name was an “obstacle” to the team building a stadium in the District. The current lease at FedEx Field expires in 2027, and the old RFK Stadium site in Washington is one of several options for the team’s new headquarters, along with locations in Maryland and Virginia.

The team in late June removed racist founder George Preston Marshall from its Ring of Fame. A monument of Marshall was also removed from the RFK Stadium site.

Marshall’s granddaughter supported those moves and recently told The Associated Press she’s fine with the team changing its name.

“I think if anybody’s offended that they should change the name,” Wright said. “I’ve always felt that way.”


Sponsor FedEx asks Redskins to change their name

WASHINGTON (AP) — The title sponsor of the Washington Redskins’ stadium wants the NFL team to change its name.

“We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name,“ FedEx said in a statement Thursday.

The company paid the team $205 million in 1999 for the naming rights to FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.

In addition to the stadium name and sponsorship agreement, FedEx CEO Frederik Smith is a minority owner. Majority owner Daniel Snyder has shown no indications he’ll change the name since buying the team in 1999.

Amid the national debate over race, pressure has been mounting on the organization to abandon the name called a “dictionary-defined racial slur” by experts and advocates.

Investors this week wrote to FedEx, PepsiCo and other sponsors asking them to request a change. FedEx is believed to be the first to take action.

On Thursday night, Nike appeared to remove all Redskins gear from its online store. The other 31 NFL teams were listed and a search for “Redskins” came up with no results. Nike did not immediately respond to an email message seeking comment.

Asked about Snyder changing the name, a spokesman said recently the team had no comment. The team last week removed the name of racist founder George Preston Marshall from its Ring of Fame at FedEx Field, and a monument to him was removed from the site of the old RFK Stadium.

Washington, D.C., mayor Muriel Bowser also said the name was an “obstacle” to the team returning to the District. The team’s lease at FedEx Field expires in 2027, and it is still talking to Washington, Virginia and Maryland about building a new stadium.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL


Coronavirus: Toronto Blue Jays still figuring out where to play their shortened season

The Toronto Blue Jays will return home to the Rogers Centre for training camp after the Major League Baseball team was granted an exemption by the Canadian government on Thursday but where they will play their COVID-19 shortened regular season remains uncertain.


Ice at Edmonton’s Terwillegar rec centre is part of Oilers NHL hub city bid

It is expected that Edmonton and Toronto will be named NHL hub cities within the next few days.


NASCAR driver to debut ‘Trump 2020’ race car at Brickyard 400

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — NASCAR driver Corey Lajoie will have “Trump 2020” emblazoned over his car for nine races courtesy of a partnership between his racing team and a political action committee supporting President Donald Trump.

Lajoie’s team Go Fas Racing announced the partnership with Patriots of America PAC on Wednesday.

Lajoie will debut the sponsorship when his No. 32 car hits the track for the prestigious Brickyard 400 on Sunday.

According to Go Fas Racing, there are an estimated 75 million NASCAR fans, many of whom live in battleground states. Approximately 15 million of those fans are currently not registered to vote.

“With an estimated 75 million NASCAR fans out there, I was surprised that about 15 million of those fans are not registered voters,” said LaJoie. “I will give my best effort to get NASCAR fans registered to vote through our team efforts on and off the track. When they see the car, hopefully, it makes them race to the polls in November.”

“Our mission is to get voters registered and to the polls in November. We are excited about our sponsorship with Go Fas Racing No. 32 and Corey LaJoie. We feel this partnership is the best way to help us communicate this message to the NASCAR community and encourage all Americans to do their part by heading to the polls,” said Jeff Whaley on behalf of Patriots of America PAC. 

The red, white and blue color scheme will appear in eight additional races throughout the remainder of the season. 

“I am honored to be part of the president’s re-election campaign through the Patriots of America PAC,” said team owner Archie St. Hilaire. “As a Trump 2020 supporter, this team will do everything possible to secure victory on and off the track electing President Donald Trump to a second term. Let us bring this country back and Keep America Great!”

Go Fas Racing (GFR) currently fields Ford Mustangs in the NASCAR Cup Series and is based in Mooresville, North Carolina.


This year’s Cotton Row Run cancelled

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – There will be no Cotton Row Run this year in Huntsville.

The Huntsville Track Club said Thursday it had made the decision to cancel this year’s race, which had already been rescheduled once due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With so much uncertainty surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, it is in the best interest of our runners, volunteers, and spectators to cancel the event,” the group said in a Facebook post.

The traditional Memorial Day event had been postponed from its May 27 date to Sept. 7 this year before organizers decided to cancel.

Runners who were registered can defer their registration to next year’s race – set for May 31 – or received an electronic refund for registration fees.


This popular waterfall hike joins the list of Colorado trails being loved to death

Proximity to scenic beauty does have its drawbacks.

Sometimes it creates tension, overcrowding and calls for better management, especially in a state with a booming population and record-breaking crowds in outdoor spaces, and that’s certainly the case at Maxwell Falls in the foothills of Jefferson County.

Only five miles southwest of Evergreen, the hike to Maxwell Falls is a lovely way to spend a morning. The trail climbs more than 2 miles through dense forest to waterfalls that gush in the spring and slow to a trickle in the summer. It’s moderately strenuous yet suitable for families. Many trod the trail last Saturday and frolicked by the rock formations that frame the falls.

The problem is, Maxwell Falls is just a short drive from a metropolitan area of nearly 3 million people. There are two small parking lots, meaning lots of people have to park on the shoulders of a narrow, winding mountain road in a residential area. One day in May when the falls were running furiously with snowmelt, residents say they counted 900 cars parked along the road. When we visited last week, there were about 70.

“The trail is heavily over-used,” said Mindy Hanson, who lives about a mile from the trailhead. “There will always be 50 cars, and we don’t mind people using the trail, it’s beautiful. We love it that people are coming up. Where it becomes a problem is on the weekend when there are 200-300 cars, they are parked along the sides of the road, they’re parked on adjacent roads in the neighborhoods. The number of people is astonishing.”

The area is administered by the U.S. Forest Service. A small group of residents, including Hanson, regularly hikes the trail to pick up trash and dog excrement.

“If you could see the bags of trash we’re picking up,” Hanson said, “you’d be disgusted.”

There are other concerns. The area around Evergreen is extremely high-risk for wildfire because of the dense forests that surround it. The forest is why people want to live there. That’s why it’s called Evergreen, after all, but residents who live near Maxwell Falls worry about campers who may start fires.

The Evergreen Fire District consists of 80 firefighters, all volunteer.

“We live up here because it’s beautiful,” said Stacee Martin, public information officer for the fire district. “We love our trees. We love the more natural look. But it’s a concern. If something happened in Maxwell Falls, if a fire broke out, there’s a lot of homes in that area. There’s also a lot of people in that area. It’s a windy road. It’s hard to get in and out, so an evacuation will take time. It is a big concern of ours.”

One of Hanson’s neighbors recently observed two morning campfires burning in the area despite signs that say fires are prohibited.

“Don’t get me wrong, we love having people come to Evergreen and be in our community,” Hanson said. “The problem comes because people park illegally, they let their dogs off leash, they have illegal campfires. They do all the things they’re not supposed to do, but nobody cares.”

Residents have reached out to Jefferson County commissioners, the Jeffco Sheriff and the forest service for help.

“We have been experiencing a lot of use on our public lands as both the Front Range and the popularity of enjoying the outdoors continues to grow,”Tammy Williams, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman, said in an email. “Many people are trying to recreate close to home and Maxwell Falls continues to be one of those close-to-home spots for the Denver metro area. We have been working with partners on potential solutions in this area and one of the tools we might consider is the management option of day-use only.”

That, residents hope, would at least eliminate campfires.

Last Saturday, delicate bright columbines were blooming alongside the lower trail not far from the trailhead, which is beneath a dense canopy of trees. The elevation difference from trailhead to the falls is about 500 feet, but with ascents and descents along the way it adds up to about 1,000 feet of climbing over 2.4 miles one way, according to our GPS. You can return to the trailhead via another trail called the Cliff Loop, but we recommend going back the way you came (the Maxwell Falls trail) because there are a few spots on the Cliff Loop where the trail grows very faint. Both trails could use better signage. The falls also can be accessed from an upper trailhead near Conifer, but that’s a shorter hike.

And about those falls …

We were warned that they can be a mere trickle this time of year, once mountain snows have largely melted. When we went, the flow was more than a trickle, but that may have been because the Front Range got a deluge of rain the previous evening.

“If we get a big rain, there will be water,” Hanson said. “If we don’t have any rain for a few days, there might be a small trickle. In spring runoff and early summer, it’s gorgeous. The rest of the year, it’s a nice mountain hike. If you’re coming for the waterfall in late June, July or August, a lot of people are pretty disappointed, because there just isn’t that much waterfall left.”

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Clear Creek in Golden to close for holiday weekend as COVID-19 fears grow

Access to Clear Creek in Golden, where hundreds of people go to kayak, tube and splash in the mountain-fed waters, has been shut down for the Fourth of July holiday weekend as part of the city’s effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 that is enabled by large gatherings of people.

All access points to the creek have been fenced off and side streets near the creek have been blocked to all non-local traffic, though the trail alongside the creek will remain open. The closure began at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

Golden cited the need to close Clear Creek to anticipated crowds assembling along the waterway for the Fourth of July weekend. City Manager Jason Slowinski said crowds of people on the creek last weekend “gave us deep concern in seeing large gatherings, no social distancing, and very few people wearing masks.”

The city had originally shut down the creek in April as coronavirus spread in the state.

Colorado’s coronavirus caseload has been inching back up in the last couple of weeks and city officials are concerned about visitors from neighboring states, where cases have been increasing even faster, bringing infections to Golden.

City officials also posted an administrative order effective Thursday that mandates masks be worn on all public property. Clear Creek will remain closed until further notice.

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Bandimere Speedway flouting COVID-19 restrictions by allowing too many fans, Jeffco officials say

A drag race track in Morrison is in hot water with Jefferson County health officials for allegedly allowing too many fans to congregate in violation of state rules meant to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

A letter from Mark Johnson, executive director of Jefferson County Public Health, to Bandimere Speedway expressed concern it had violated the rules allowing a maximum of 175 people at outdoor events, and requiring that groups from different households sit or stand at least six feet apart.

Tickets are on sale for all seats in all rows for the track’s events, which would make social distancing impossible, Johnson said.

At least some of those tickets come with a buffet-style meal, which also is prohibited under the state health department’s rules because of concerns diners will pass the virus, he said.

Bandimere’s owners didn’t return messages from The Denver Post seeking comment about the health department’s letter or any precautions they were taking.

The speedway’s next major event is the Brakes Plus Jet Car Nationals on Saturday, according to its website.

The letter from Jeffco Public Health ordered the track to submit a plan to comply with the COVID-19 rules by 5 p.m. Wednesday. Health department spokeswoman Ashley Sever said they hadn’t received one at the close of business.

If Bandimere doesn’t comply, the Jefferson County health department will work with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to determine the next steps, Sever said.

“We would consider all legal options,” she said.

Typically, a county’s public health agency will enforce an order, though the state could step in if a county can’t or won’t, a spokeswoman for the state health department said. The recommendation is to try to resolve the problem with a facility before moving to steps like ordering it closed, she said.

At least one other track is operating this summer, but without crowds. Colorado National Speedway, near Erie, is holding races this year with no spectators.

Other professional sporting events, including golf tournaments, also have gone ahead without spectators.

Andy Yamashita contributed to this story.


NHL will select Edmonton, Toronto as two final hub city picks: TSN

The NHL is leaning towards Edmonton and Toronto as the final picks for the two hub cities for playoffs, according to a TSN insider. 


Red Rocks Amphitheater starts its 2020 season with fitness events, but concerts are still a no-go

Nothing says summer in Colorado like attending an event at Red Rocks Amphitheater. But in the midst of a global pandemic, fans have had to let dreams of summer on the Rocks go.

On Tuesday, Red Rocks kindled some hope, though, announcing that it would bring back fitness events in July. Spokesman Brian Kitts said while there are no plans yet for the return of full concerts, his team hopes to expand ways people can experience Red Rocks, from fitness activities and sunset hikes to the possibility of smaller concerts later in the summer.

If you go

Tickets for Yoga on the Rocks, Quarantine 15 and SnowShape will be available starting July 1 at 10 a.m. at redrocksonline.com. A ticket for each class is $21, including fees. Space is limited for all events.

The venue also launched a new website and app with free, original videos, hoping to create new ways to connect with the beloved park during coronavirus restrictions.

RELATED: Red Rocks by the numbers for workout fanatics

“Like everybody else in the entertainment business, we’re doing everything we can to provide access,” Kitts told The Denver Post on Tuesday. “Shutting down an entire summer would break all of our hearts. For fans who want to experience just a little bit of Red Rocks, we’re trying really hard to let that happen.”

The venue has hosted Yoga on the Rocks for a decade, and will increase the number of fitness events for the 2020 season. Starting on July 10, yoga classes will be offered on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with multiple sessions per day. A new event, the Quarantine 15 Fitness Challenge, will be held every Saturday at 10 a.m. Plus, the SnowShape Winter Fitness Series will return in September ahead of the 2020-2021 ski season.

Red Rocks will offer more classes than it has in past seasons, aiming to provide opportunities for as many people as possible. Usually, the venue holds 2,000, but with coronavirus restrictions, it will only be able to accommodate 175 people at a time, Kitts said, and he anticipates that events will sell out.

To adhere to social distancing, participants will set up in alternating rows at place-markers. People must wear masks to enter the stadium but can remove them once they get settled at a spot.

Digitally, Red Rocks has launched a new website and mobile app, according to a press releaseKitts said the team had been looking to do online content even before the coronavirus, and now fans can experience a different side of Red Rocks concerts, from performances to interviews with bands.

The venue will produce a new series called “Trail Mix,” featuring acoustic performances filmed on the park’s trails, from artists including AJR, Big Wild  and Caroline Rose, according to a press release.

“Inspired by NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts and other session content creators, Trail Mix and our additional Red Rocks original content is a love letter to our fans and the venue,” Josh Lenz, marketing and communications manager, said in the press release. “And while we might be on a bit of a hiatus this year recording new sessions, we promise there will be plenty more to come in 2021.”

Kitts emphasized this is the first step for the 2020 season, and as the situation evolves, he hopes to welcome people back for other small events and concerts.

But for now, fitness events are “a really unique way to experience Red Rocks first thing in the morning,” Kitts said. “It’s as beautiful as it gets.”

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Starting Wednesday, you need a hunting or fishing license to hike in Colorado state wildlife areas

Hikers exploring Colorado’s designated state wildlife areas will be required to have hunting or fishing licenses as a result of a new policy that goes into effect Wednesday.
There are two reasons for the new policy. The management of state wildlife areas is funded through the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses for the purpose of conserving habitats and wildlife-related recreation. State law requires Colorado Parks and Wildlife to separate its funding sources for both wildlife areas and state parks, which are funded by park passes.

The other reason has to do with growing visitation numbers.

“We are seeing unprecedented use of our public spaces and our state wildlife areas that is affecting our wildlife in these areas,” said CPW spokesman Travis Duncan. “I don’t want to say I’m discouraging hiking, but I am encouraging folks to look up what the intended use of that property is.”

An example is the Mount Evans State Wildlife Area west of Evergreen.

“Every year when we open the gate for that wildlife area to start letting cars through, we see all the wildlife disappear,” Duncan said. “They get driven off from so much traffic, from so much human use. That’s one example of the kinds of things that are happening around the state.”

Keep in mind that the Mount Evans State Wildlife Area represents just a small fraction of the public land that surrounds Mount Evans, most of which is managed by the U.S. Forest Service.

There are more than 350 state wildlife areas in the state. Local examples include Bergen Peak and Ralston Creek. The Ralston Creek SWA is located adjacent to Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Fines for hiking in a SWA without a license are set at $100 plus a $39.50 surcharge.

“Our first priority with our officers and other staff will be seeking to educate first, especially over the course of the next year,” according to a list of frequently asked questions on the CPW website. “However, if officers are continually contacting the same individuals who are not following the rules, they may choose to issue a citation. We’re also looking into updating signage, especially in areas where the rules may be confusing.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has an interactive map on its website that lists SWAs and their intended uses.

“This new rule change will help our agency begin to address some of the unintended uses we’re seeing at many of our State Wildlife Areas and State Trust Lands,” CPW director Dan Prenzlow said in a news release. “We have seen so much more non-wildlife related use of these properties that we need to bring it back to the intended use — conservation and protection of wildlife and their habitat.”

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MiLB cancels 2020 season due to pandemic

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — There will not be a Minor League Baseball season in 2020.

The announcement by the MiLB was made Tuesday after Major League Baseball informed them that they would not be providing affiliated players this year. MiLB decided to cancel the season as a result.

“These are unprecedented times for our country and our organization as this is the first time in our history that we’ve had a summer without Minor League Baseball played,” said MiLB President and CEO Pat O’Conner. “While this is a sad day for many, this announcement removes the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season and allows our teams to begin planning for an exciting 2021 season of affordable family entertainment.”


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Hikers suspect they saw a wolf at popular hiking spot in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness

Jim and LuAnne Spurrell were hiking the trail alongside Crater Lake in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness close to dusk Tuesday night when the alarmed cries of an animal stopped them in their tracks.

They pivoted to see what the commotion was about and were startled to see what they believe was a gray wolf loping across terrain they had just passed 30 to 40 yards behind them.

“I immediately yelled, ‘That’s a wolf,’” Jim Spurrell recounted Thursday. “At about the same time, my wife blurted out, ‘That’s a wolf.’”

The sounds of alarm were coming from a smaller animal that they couldn’t see well enough to identify but suspect was a beaver or marmot. The presumed wolf was walking across a pile of downed timber on the north end of the lake, paying no attention to the smaller animal. The wolf “floated” through the tree trunks without a problem, Jim Spurrell said. Once clear of the logs it followed the trail in a “characteristic wolf-like gait” and soon disappeared to the west into the woods, he said.

Read more on our partner site The Aspen Times.

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WATCH LIVE: Trash Pandas CEO Ralph Nelson gives update on MiLB season status

MADISON, Ala. – The Rocket City Trash Pandas President and CEO Ralph Nelson is holding a news conference at Toyota Field on the future of the Minor League Baseball season.

The MLB season is set to begin in a few weeks but minor league players and fans across the country have been left wondering what’s going to happen with the season.


26 NHL players diagnosed with coronavirus since early June, league says

The numbers released Monday include 11 positive results previously announced June 19. The league added it's also aware of 11 other players testing positive outside of Phase 2 over the last three weeks.


5 trails near Denver and Boulder to add to your must-hike list

In researching over 70 hikes for my new book, “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Denver and Boulder,” (Menasha Ridge Press, 2020), I hit some well-loved trails and even some lesser-known paths.

Interest in hiking seems to be growing by the day on Colorado’s Front Range, so it’s nearly impossible to find trails that are unknown or free of other hikers. That said, there are some hikes not far from Denver and Boulder that you may not yet have on your must-hike list.

Here are a handful of hikes from my book that took me by surprise, for one reason or another:

Greyrock Mountain

Greyrock Mountain outside of Fort Collins has quite the reward for hikers on top. The drive up the Poudre Canyon, along the Cache La Poudre River, is pretty and even lush by Colorado standards, but shortly after crossing a bridge over the river and hiking uphill less than a mile, you are in one burn scar after another.

There have been a few forest fires here — both natural and human-caused — and it makes for a stark and exposed (and educational!) hike off and on. A brief scramble to the top of the mountain reveals several small ponds with trees and grasses and, best of all, little frogs croaking. There are 360-degree views from up there and you could easily be looking into Wyoming on a clear day.

Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge

There’s a fair amount of controversy over Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge between Golden, Arvada and Boulder due to its history of not only nuclear weapons storage but improper handling of the toxic materials. Today hikers and bicyclists are welcome to cruise across this windswept land on 10.3 miles of trails where elk roam and you can see the remains of a homesteaded ranch that is part of the area’s rich history.

South Boulder Creek Trail

If you’ve been to Boulder, you’ve literally driven over this trail. Starting at the Bobolink trailhead, the South Boulder Creek Trail heads south along the creek and ducks under Hwy. 36 before it briefly heads west and then south again through active agricultural fields with grazing cows and a prairie dog colony.

There is no elevation gain, but you have views of the iconic Flatirons, the occasional sounds of the creek gurgling along, wildlife such as herons and more, and roundtrip you can hike a respectable 6.5 miles. I think of this trail when I see people on Facebook asking for recommendations for a hike after they recover from knee surgery or simply can’t do an incline.

Peaks to Plains Trail

When I tell friends that we are going hiking and it’s a paved trail, the disappointment is obvious. Still, I recommend the Peaks to Plains Trail in Clear Creek Canyon for many reasons: You are hiking along water the whole time, are likely to see bighorn sheep in the surrounding canyon rocks, are likely to see rock climbers and it’s good for people who are struggling with hiking for whatever reason. You can also drive back down to Golden for a drink or a meal after your hike. There are plans to extend this trail significantly, but there’s plenty to enjoy right now.

Mount Audobon

Before you climb a fourteener, try a thirteener. Mount Audubon is in the very popular Brainard Lake Recreation Area outside of Nederland and Ward. You get so many different views from various points on this hike. There are vistas to the east of the mountains now below you and beyond down to Boulder, then as you continue to ascend and look north, you’ll see Longs Peak and other high points of Rocky Mountain National Park.

RELATEDColorado’s 14ers are awe-inspiring hikes, but many 13ers are just as epic — and less crowded

From there, you make your way up the rock pile to the top where there are wind shelters made of rocks and you can glimpse yet more mountain peaks, including another thirteener, Paiute Peak. When it comes to hiking above treeline, go early and get down early to be safe and avoid possible lightning.

In my book, there is a complete description of each of these hikes (plus 55 others), along with driving directions to the trailhead, elevation gain, type of trail, mileage and more.


Wonder which trails are best hiked on weekdays? Looking for a dog-friendly trail with great wildflowers? Trying to figure out which fourteener to summit first? Follow The Know Outdoors on Facebook and join us at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 8, for a Facebook live with author Mindy Sink, who will answer any and all of your Colorado hiking questions. Already have a question in mind? Drop it here.


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Lions’ defensive end Trey Flowers gives back to Huntsville community

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Born and raised in Huntsville, NFL defensive end Trey Flowers has never forgotten where it all started. The former Columbia High standout won two Super Bowls as a member of the New England Patriots, and in 2020 he’ll enter his second season with the Detroit Lions. No matter what city he plays in though, this will always be his home.

Flowers is using his platform to give back to his community through his Flowers of the Future foundation. The 26 year old was out and about Friday evening in the Rocket City distributing free drive-thru meals.

His foundation seeks to invest in the lives of young people and promotes positive change in both Huntsville and Detroit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s definitely important,” said Flowers. Obviously understanding I grew up here and knowing that with the situation that’s going on just you know how many lives it could affect.”

Flowers added, “Even just the kids being at home not getting the meal from the school and things like that, but you know just helping out trying to do my fair share and help out with feeding or giving them a meal.”

Flowers and the Lions will open up the preseason August 13-17 against his former team, the New England Patriots.


WHL commissioner responds to class-action lawsuit against CHL

The leagues being targeted in a class-action lawsuit are responding — more than a week after allegations of a toxic and discriminatory environment were released.


No. 1 spot in 2020 NHL draft lottery goes to placeholder team

One of eight placeholder spots beat the odds to secure the No. 1 pick in the league's draft lottery Friday, meaning a second draw is required later this summer following the qualifying round of the NHL's return-to-play plan.


NBA releases schedule for season restart

Zion Williamson is about to get another chance at opening night.

Injury kept him out of New Orleans’ appearance in the first game of this NBA season when the Pelicans started the year at Toronto, but now the big-name rookie will be in position to be on center stage at Disney when play resumes — against the team that was the first to find itself in the middle of the NBA’s coronavirus situation.

New Orleans will be in the first game of the resumed NBA season on July 30, taking on Utah at the Disney World complex near Orlando, Florida in the opener of a doubleheader. And just as the initial first night of this season-like-none-other did, the second game of nationally televised twinbill will pit the Los Angeles Lakers against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Jazz were a logical storyline for the first game back, after Utah’s All-Star center Rudy Gobert was the first player in the league to test positive for the coronavirus — a development that forced the league to suspend the season on March 11. More than four and a half months will have passed between game nights in the NBA, but the league officially completed talks Friday with the National Basketball Players Association on the terms for restarting the season and therefore could release the 88-game slate of what are being called seeding games.

Finally, play will resume in a season that started with political strife between the NBA and China in October, the deaths of David Stern and Kobe Bryant in January, a pandemic breaking out in March and racial issues surrounding police brutality and other forms of inequality dividing the country once again during much of the league’s shutdown.

“There’s no question this season and frankly this year has been one which none of us will soon forget,” NBPA executive director Michele Roberts said. “Obviously, the virus came at us hard without any prior warning and then we were faced with the prospect of losing the season.”

But with a plan for strict medical protocols agreed upon, the league and its players believe it is safe to resume.

Players will start arriving at the Disney complex on July 7, will be tested daily once they get there, and could be away from their families for more than three months. Families aren’t expected to be permitted on-site at Disney until the start of the second round of the playoffs, set to begin in late August or early September.

“Everyone is making some type of sacrifice,” Miami Heat forward Andre Iguodala said. “A lot of people in America don’t have jobs right now, and we have the opportunity to be a beacon of light, not just for that one particular thing but the social injustices. We’re going to shed light on that, people being away from their families, understanding that sacrifice … the greater good of everything that our players stand for, including the game of basketball.”

For the 22 teams going to Disney, the setup of the eight-game slates will be largely the same — one back-to-back for each of the clubs, with all the games set to be played in a 16-day span ending Aug. 14. The NBA will be using three arenas at Disney, and other than the two-game slate on the opening night there will be somewhere between four and seven games played each day.

There will be some very unusual elements, with games starting as early as 1 p.m. on weekdays, 12:30 p.m. on weekends and most nights seeing the slate end with 9 p.m. tip-offs — other than NBA Finals games, an absolute rarity for games being played on the East coast.

Plans call for 52 of the 88 seeding games to be nationally televised, with 18 on TNT (including the opening-night doubleheader), 17 on ESPN, 14 on NBA TV and three on ABC. Games will be shown in local markets as well.

Most of the arenas on the ESPN Wide World of Sports campus will be used for multiple games each day, with no tip-off scheduled for less than four hours apart in each of those three buildings — with the league allowing time in between games for sanitizing of everything that players, coaches or staff could come into contact with.

If a play-in tournament for the No. 8 seed in either conference is needed by the ninth-place team finishing within four games of the team in eighth, those games in a best-of-two series that the No. 9 team would need to sweep will begin on Aug. 15.

The NBA playoffs will begin Aug. 17, and the NBA Finals are set to begin Sept. 30 with a possible Game 7 on Oct. 13.


Boulder artist creates at-home climbing walls that double as art

As rock climbing gyms have been closed for months due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, Louisville’s Eldorado Climbing Walls has reimagined home climbing walls as pieces of art that you can climb.

Eldorado Climbing recognized the increasing demand for home climbing walls during the pandemic and collaborated with Phil Lewis, a Boulder-based artist, to create a collection of rock climbing panels showcasing Lewis’ artwork. This collection was released late last week as part of Eldorado Climbing’s Artist Series.

“This is really just taking it to the next step in terms of making something that a person or family genuinely wants to look at and that it is distinctive,” said Christina Frain, Eldorado Climbing’s director of marketing. “All of Phil’s work is super energizing to look at and people are going to want to have these in their homes.”‘

Mike Wedding, Eldorado Climbing’s senior director of sales, first proposed the collaboration with Lewis months ago, to elevate the “do it yourself” line of home climbing walls.

Each panel in the collection has a design which either fits symmetrically with one another or depicts a mural of a vertical or horizontal landscape. Two of the five designs are a nod to some of Colorado’s most well-known landmarks, Boulder’s Flatirons and Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Read more on our partner site The Boulder Daily Camera.

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Denver couple gets married on top of a 14er after coronavirus outbreak canceled their wedding

The bride and groom donned gown and tuxedo minutes after a glorious sunrise on the summit of Grays Peak, high on the Continental Divide at the oh-so-romantic elevation of 14,278 feet.

It was her first fourteener, his second. A violinist in the wedding party of nine began the ceremony by playing the bride’s favorite hymn, “In Christ Alone,” but it was cold up there, so the bride asked her to play just one verse.

They had hiked five hours through the night by the light of a nearly full moon with a clear sky full of stars, not needing to use the headlamps they brought just in case. Mary Ellen Hudson and Tyler Benz exchanged vows while huddling in a rock ring for shelter against the wind. The videographer had hoped to record the ceremony using a drone, but it was too windy.

Originally the couple had planned a September wedding at a charming glamping lodge in Park County, but concerns over the coronavirus and travel restrictions made them decide against it. They decided to “elope” June 7 on one of Colorado’s favorite fourteeners, and it was magical. The rock ring on the summit was “like an altar, almost,” Benz said.

“It was so dreamy,” said Hudson. “It was the dreamiest.”

Because of the times, it was healing, too. They didn’t get to have the wedding they envisioned with 300 guests, 200 from out of town, but after the ceremony, they had a reception line like no other. Because they left the summit around 7 a.m., still wearing their gown and tux, Sunday morning fourteener climbers were heading up as they descended. Dozens stopped to congratulate them on their unusual nuptials and take pictures of the happy couple.

“It was so cool, because everybody was so happy,” Hudson said. “Times are so tough right now, and we’re so isolated. It was just so beautiful because it felt like you were connecting with the world in such a cool way. In such a time of turmoil, there was so much joy. It was joy with strangers, getting to celebrate with us in a time that is hard for so many.”

She’s a mental health counselor who practices in Centennial. He’s a data scientist at a start-up company, “a big data nerd,” as he puts it. They met a year and a half ago through a dating app.

They got engaged Feb. 29 on a Pacific pier near San Luis Obispo, Calif., a trip she thought he planned as a weekend getaway just to introduce her to his friends. He managed to keep the real objective a surprise until just before he got down on one knee with the ring to pop the question. When he took a deep breath, she knew what was coming next.

“I’m impressed that he surprised me,” she said. “I did not see it (coming) at all.”

“It worked out exactly as I had imagined,” he said.

Within days, though, the coronavirus pandemic wrecked the old normal and threatened their wedding plans.

“It was murky,” he said. “It was a blur, in terms of, ‘Are people even going to be able to fly?’ We kind of thought it could be OK, but then there could be a second wave. Just too many question marks.”

Her parents in Georgia are older, and her dad is considered high-risk. Asking them and 200 others to travel to Colorado in September didn’t seem right.

“It was tough,” she said. “We just got to the point where we don’t know, and I don’t want anyone risking their life to come to my wedding. That would be horrible if something happened. We thought about doing something small, because his mom is here, but I was like, ‘My parents are going to try to come out here if we tell them we’re doing that.’ Then eloping came up.”

The idea to do it on a fourteener came to them one day while they were on a walk together.

They left the trailhead just before 1 a.m., carrying their wedding clothes and a bouquet of flowers. They wore microspikes on their shoes to deal with snow and ice on the trail, and they took their time to savor the hike like no other. Accompanying them were the officiant, two photographers, a friend who served as “pack mule,” a woman who would have been one of the bridesmaids if the ceremony had happened in September, the videographer and the violinist. After the ceremony, the violinist played “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” by Guns N’ Roses.

Three weeks later, Hudson is hoping to start a trend to encourage other “COVID brides” whose plans have been ruined by the pandemic. She’s posted photos on Instagram and hiking sites to get the message out.

“This was so much better than we could have ever dreamed,” Hudson said. “And a free venue, completely free.”

“It was the most beautiful thing I’ve experienced,” Benz said, “and it was a lot cheaper than a full wedding would have been.”

The money they saved wasn’t the point. It was a wedding in the age of COVID-19 that turned loss into gain.

“Kind of what we saw was like a lost dream, because there was definitely grief there,” Hudson said. “God just provided something even better than what our plan was. This thing that seemed so dark and gloomy and devastating ended up being so beautifully redemptive.”

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Coronavirus: City of Calgary announces reopening plan for recreation facilities, programming

On June 25, Calgary officials released the reopening plan for several aquatic and fitness centres, arenas, sports fields and summer day camps amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


Ski resorts are opening for the summer. Here’s what they’re offering.

Colorado ski resorts that were closed March 15 due to the coronavirus are beginning to reopen with limited summer on-mountain activities including hiking, mountain biking, mountain coasters and scenic chairlift rides.

Difficult as it was for resort managers to shut down with more than a month left in the ski season and great snow blanketing their mountains, it’s also been challenging for them to work through decisions regarding when and how to reopen for summer operations. Each resort had to figure out what amenities could be offered with social distancing and other measures in place to keep guests safe, working in concert with county health guidelines.

“We should expect that as we reopen there will be many differing opinions about our approach, from both inside and outside our company,” Vail Resorts chief executive Rob Katz wrote in an email to employees. “Some will think we are moving too slowly; others will think we are moving too fast. Some will say it must be about money, others will say we are being too cautious or too cavalier. We can’t eliminate that chatter and it’s always important to listen to the feedback, but we also need our own view.”

Indeed, although Arapahoe Basin reopened for skiing from May 27 through June 7, Katz considered reopening Breckenridge last month but decided against it. And while two of Vail Resorts’ Colorado mountains reopen Friday for summer operations (Crested Butte and Keystone), the other three (Vail, Beaver Creek and Breckenridge) don’t open until next week.

Resorts are requiring face masks where it is practical, along with social distancing and capacity limitations, and gondola cabins typically will be limited to immediate parties. Resort websites have detailed descriptions of precautions and guidelines that will be in force.

Here’s a rundown of Colorado’s major ski resorts with summer operations and what they plan to offer:

Aspen and Snowmass (open): The Silver Queen gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain (elev. 11,212 feet) is running for sightseeing, disc golf, hiking, yoga and nature programs. At Snowmass, the Elk Creek gondola and Elk Camp chairlifts are operating. The mountain coaster, Treeline Trial, Challenge obstacle course and climbing wall are open. Hiking trails and the Snowmass Bike Park also are open, as are some food and beverage services.

Crested Butte (opens Friday): The Butte will offer scenic chairlift rides via the Silver Queen Express, which terminates near the mountaintop at 11,400 feet. Hauling bikes on the lift will not be allowed, but guests are free to ride up the mountain under their own power. The mountain also is open for hiking, and The Butte 66 Bar & Grille will offer grab-and-go food and drink.

Keystone (opens Friday): Open on weekends (Friday-Sunday) for River Run Gondola scenic rides and hiking. The Summit House will offer grab-and-go food and drink. Mountain biking is allowed on the mountain, but you can’t ride the gondola with a bike. One of Keystone’s two golf courses, the River Course, has been open for three weeks. The Ranch course will not open this summer.

Steamboat (opens Friday): Operating on weekends (Friday-Sunday), scaled-back mountain operations will include the mountain coaster, a mini-golf course, some base-area dining and scenic gondola rides to the Thunderhead Lodge at mid-mountain with grab-and-go food and outdoor seating. The Steamboat Bike Park will not be open but biking and hiking will be allowed on multi-use trails. Just be aware that there will be no patrol services, bike rentals, guides or trail maintenance. Features, jumps and downhill trails in the bike park will be closed, and you will not be allowed to take your bike on the gondola.

Winter Park (opens Saturday): The alpine slide won’t operate this summer, but the gondola to the summit at Sunspot (elev. 10,700 feet) will be in operation to provide access for hiking trails and the Trestle Bike Park, which has 45 miles of trails and terrain features. The Lodge at Sunspot will be open for to-go lunches with picnic spots outside but no indoor seating. Some dining operations at the base area will be available, along with bike rentals and some retail.

Ski Sunlight (open): Hiking and mountain biking is allowed now, and a two-day race event will happen on the mountain July 18-19. The first day of the Sunlight Showdown is a 13-mile bike race and the second day is a 13-mile trail running race. Participants can register for one or both days.

Beaver Creek (July 1): The Centennial Express lift from the base area to mid-mountain at the Spruce Saddle lodge will be operating for scenic rides. Hiking and mountain biking will be allowed, and you can haul your bike up the mountain on the lift. Spruce Saddle will be open for grab-and-go food and drink.

Vail (July 1): Gondola One scenic rides will be operating to Mid-Vail for hiking, and the Mid-Vail lodge will offer grab-and-go food and drink. Gondola 19 from Lionshead to Eagles Nest is scheduled to open in mid-July with hiking, Epic Discovery interpretive trails and the mountain coaster. Mountain biking is allowed, but you can’t take your bike on the gondolas. Grab-and-go food and drink will be available at Eagle’s Nest when it opens.

Breckenridge (July 4): The BreckConnect Gondola will be operating for scenic chairlift rides. On-mountain activities will include hiking, an alpine slide and a mountain coaster, and mountain biking is allowed. The Ski Hill Grill at the Peak 8 base will offer grab-and-go food and drink.

Copper Mountain (July 4): Scenic chairlift rides on the Woodward Express lift to mid-mountain for hiking and mountain biking. Limited dining options will be available and the Copper Creek golf course will open July 3. Woodward Copper’s new summer lessons lineup will offer a full day of professional instruction for adults and youth in a variety of disciplines including ski, snowboard, skate, scooter and BMX.

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Boulder County to begin weekend shuttle to Hessie Trailhead

By Tory LysikFor The Daily Camera

Boulder County on Saturday will begin offering its annual free shuttle service on weekends and holidays to bring passengers from Nederland High School to Hessie Trailhead, according to a release.

Hessie Trailhead is an entry point for access to the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area off Fourth of July Road, a popular spot for hiking.

The shuttle will run from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Saturdays and 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

The shuttle will also run on July 3 and Labor Day, according to the release.

After Labor Day, the Saturday schedule will change to accommodate the shorter periods of sunlight, running from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. The last day of the shuttle service will be October 11.

Read more at our sister paper The Boulder Daily Camera.

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Quebec boxer wins ESPN award for public service in COVID-19 crisis

The 29-year-old nurse from Quebec took a sabbatical to concentrate on boxing. She instead won an ESPN award for returning to work to help combat COVID-19.


Noose in Bubba Wallace’s Talladega garage had been there since 2019, FBI says

The noose found hanging in the Talladega Superspeedway garage assigned to NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace had been there since late last year, federal agents said Tuesday afternoon.

Video confirmed by NASCAR indicated the noose in garage number 4 was there as early as October 2019, according to a joint statement from U.S. Attorney Jay Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp.

“Although the noose is now known to have been in garage number 4 in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number 4 last week,” the statement read.

Wallace is NASCAR’s only black driver in the elite Cup Series. He recently pushed for NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag at all of its racetracks and properties.

After the noose was found and prior to the race, NASCAR drivers and crews pushed his car onto the track in a show of support.

Authorities said they determined no federal crime was committed.

“The decision not to pursue federal charges is proper after reviewing all available facts and all applicable federal laws,” the statement read. “We offer our thanks to NASCAR, Mr. Wallace, and everyone who cooperated with this investigation.”

Wallace came in 14th in Monday’s GEICO 500.


Blaney wins at Talladega after NASCAR unites behind Wallace

TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Even in victory, Ryan Blaney thought about what happened to close friend Bubba Wallace over the weekend. And what happened afterward.

Blaney held onto the lead after a restart with two laps to go Monday, earning his second straight win at Talladega Superspeedway on a day that began with NASCAR drivers throwing their support behind Wallace.

“I think it’s great that everybody really came together,” Blaney said. “I don’t want it to be remembered as a terrible day or a bad day in NASCAR.

“I want it to be remembered as there was an incident and we all overcame it together and showed that we’re not going to take it any more.”

It was that kind of bittersweet day and weekend.

Blaney nipped Ricky Stenhouse Jr. at the finish line by .007 seconds for his fourth win and first since Talladega in October, albeit this time before a mostly empty venue. It was a race marked by support for Wallace instead of another Big One at Talladega, though there was mayhem behind Blaney on the final lap and he also pushed Erik Jones into the wall near the finish.

“Just trying to block, block the best we could,” Blaney said. “Block the top, block the bottom … just beating and banging to the line. ”

Aric Almirola spun at the end and crossed the line almost backward.

Ford has now won nine of the last 10 Cup races at Talladega, and all three Team Penske drivers have won this season.

The racing was overshadowed by an extraordinary act of solidarity with NASCAR’s only Black driver. Dozens of drivers pushed Wallace’s car to the front of the field before Monday’s race as FBI agents tried to find out who left a noose in his garage stall over the weekend.

He was emotional after spending time in the top five before running short on fuel and finishing 14th, slapping hands with a group of mostly African-American fans.

”I’m proud to stand where I’m at. … This sport is changing,” Wallace said. “The deal that happened (Saturday) I wanted to show whoever it was, you are not going to take away my smile. I am going to keep on going.”

Wallace took the lead for a lap at one point, and Stenhouse said he noticed the fan reaction, along with the chants of “Bubba” at the start.

“I looked at the stands and watched all the people jump up and cheer,” he said. “That was pretty cool.”

The stock car series was left reeling and angered by the racist act that came less than two weeks after it banned the Confederate flag on its properties at Wallace’s urging. It has vowed to permanently bar the person responsible, but the investigation was in its early stages.

The 26-year-old Wallace was surrounded by all 39 other drivers in the moments before the race and they were joined by their crews in a march down pit road as they pushed his No. 43 to the front of the line. Wallace climbed out of his car and wept.

It was a stirring move to support Wallace at a track in the heart of the South where Confederate flags have flown for decades and were seen outside the superspeedway all weekend long by fans opposed to NASCAR’s ban.

Standing alongside Wallace for the national anthem was Richard Petty, the 82-year-old Hall of Fame driver known as “The King.” Wallace drives for Petty, who issued a scathing rebuke after the noose was found that called for the “sick person” to be expelled from NASCAR forever — a move NASCAR President Steve Phelps insisted would happen should they be caught.

The race began with Martin Truex Jr. on the pole, and Tyler Reddick won the first stage, which ended in a weather caution that lasted 58-plus minutes.

The crowd had dwindled significantly from Sunday, when up to 5,000 fans were allowed into Talladega — only the second race with fans since NASCAR returned from the pandemic-forced shutdown. Workers painted “#IStandWithBubbaWallace” on the infield grass before the race and Confederate flags were nowhere to be seen inside the sprawling facility that can hold 80,000-plus and usually sees dozens of RVs lined up across the infield.

In the stands, fan Luke Johnson said he is against the flag ban, saying: “All the NASCAR tracks need to keep on flying them.”

As for the noose left for Wallace, he said: “I thought it was funny myself.”

Another fan, Robert Chaisson, said he didn’t have a strong opinion on the ban. He certainly did on what happened to Wallace.

“That was messed up. I hope they charge that guy with a hate crime,” Chaisson, who lives in Alabaster, Alabama, said. “It doesn’t matter what your opinion is, it’s when you cross that line, then your opinion no longer matters. That’s trying to inflict harm on someone else.”


PHOTOS: NASCAR drivers come together to support Bubba Wallace before Talladega

TALLEDEGA, Ala. (AP)– Bubba Wallace steered the No. 43 to the front of pit road, NASCAR champion Kyle Busch pushing the famous car on one side and close friend Ryan Blaney pushing on the other.

The entire 40-driver field and all their crew members followed. After the car came to a stop, Wallace climbed out, sat on the window ledge and sobbed. Richard Petty, his Hall of Fame team owner, gently placed a hand on Wallace’s shoulder.

As federal authorities descended on Talladega Superspeedway on Monday to investigate the discovery of a noose in Wallace’s garage stall, the entire industry rallied around the Cup Series’ only Black driver.

“The news has disturbed us all and of course we want justice and know who and why,” said seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson. “And we want to stand with our friend.”

  • NASCAR drivers stand in solidarity with Bubba Wallace
  • NASCAR drivers push the #43 Victory Junction Chevrolet
  • NASCAR drivers push the #43 Victory Junction Chevrolet
  • NASCAR drivers push the #43 Victory Junction Chevrolet
  • NASCAR drivers stand in solidarity with Bubba Wallace
  • Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 Victory
  • Fans hold a sign in support

The 82-year-old Petty, at his first race since the coronavirus pandemic began and at Talladega on race day for the first time in more than 10 years, stood side by side with Wallace during the national anthem before Monday’s rain-postponed event. Everyone stood behind the car while Brad Keselowski held the American flag at the front of the display of solidarity.

One by one, they hugged Wallace, who then had a long embrace with his owner. And then he went racing.

It was Wallace who successfully pushed the stock car series to ban the Confederate flag at its venues less than two weeks ago and he was the target when the noose was found hanging in the Richard Petty Motorsports garage stall Sunday afternoon at the Alabama track. A member of Wallace’s crew reported it to NASCAR, and by Monday morning U.S. Attorney Jay Town said his office, the FBI and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division were involved.

Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 Victory Junction Chevrolet
Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 Victory Junction Chevrolet, is embraced by team owner, and NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty prior to the NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on June 22, 2020 in Talladega, Alabama. A noose was found in the garage stall of NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace at Talladega Superspeedway a week after the organization banned the Confederate flag at its facilities. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

“Regardless of whether federal charges can be brought, this type of action has no place in our society,” Town said.

NASCAR President Steve Phelps said security has been stepped up for Wallace — his team was also granted unusual access to its car Monday morning to ensure it had not been tampered with overnight — and the FBI was “currently on site” at the track.

He said the FBI director had told agents in Birmingham to “use all their resources” to find the perpetrator.

“Unequivocally they will be banned from this sport for life,” Phelps said. “There is no room for this at all. We won’t tolerate it. They won’t be here. I don’t care who they are, they will not be here.”

The stock car series has tried to distance itself from the flag for years at the risk of alienating a core group of its fan base. At Wallace’s urging, it went ahead with the ban as the nation grapples with social unrest largely tied to George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died in the custody of Minneapolis police.

NASCAR has not outlined how it will enforce the restriction and this week’s race at Talladega, in the heart of the South, presented the series with its biggest test in the early going. Disgruntled fans with Confederate flags drove past the main entrance to the track all weekend and a plane flew above the track Sunday pulling a banner of the flag that read “Defund NASCAR.”

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said she was “shocked and appalled” by the “vile act” against Wallace.

“There is no place for this disgusting display of hatred in our state,” Ivey said. “Bubba Wallace is one of us; he is a native of Mobile and on behalf of all Alabamians, I apologize to Bubba Wallace as well as to his family and friends for the hurt this has caused and regret the mark this leaves on our state.”

Petty said in a statement he was “enraged” by the “filthy act” of racism. Retired champion Jeff Gordon called it a “cowardly” act while retired champion and current team owner Tony Stewart seethed in a social media post: “Angry. Outraged. Disappointed. Those words don’t fully describe how I feel. #IStandWithBubba and I’ll damn sure stand up to anyone who engages in this kind of behavior.”

Phelps said he was the one who told Wallace about the noose.

“It was a difficult moment for Bubba, a difficult moment for me,” he said. “He’s handled it with the grace that he has handled everything that’s happened over the last few weeks.”

The 26-year-old Wallace has not commented since a statement on social media late Sunday in which he declared: “T his will not break me, I will not give in nor will I back down. I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in.”

Wallace has worn a shirt that says “I Can’t Breathe” over his firesuit and sported a Black Lives Matter paint scheme in a race last month in Martinsville, Virginia.

Talladega is one of the more raucous stops on the NASCAR schedule, but the pandemic prompted the series, like all sports, to ban or sharply limit fans. Up to 5,000 fans were allowed in, but there were far fewer than that Monday and none of them had access to the the infield or the Cup Series garage.

Under strict new health guidelines, a very limited number of people can access the garage. That would include crew members for each of the 40 teams, NASCAR employees, Talladega staff members and any contracted safety crews or security guards.

Phelps declined to discuss whether cameras in the garage area might have captured anything of value but noted NASCAR has an approved list of who is allowed access that has been turned over to authorities.

“It will be part of what the FBI is looking at,” he said.


Estes Park business owners respond to nasty notes left on cars with out-of-state license plates


Denver7

A picture of a note left on a car with out-of-state license plates visiting Estes Park.

As tourists return to Colorado destinations like Estes Park, business owners want to make the experience as enjoyable as possible. But not everyone in the small vacation town is as enthused about the return of business-as-usual.

“GO THE HELL BACK TO WHEREVER YOUR OUT OF STATE LICENSE IS FROM,” read several notes posted to cars in Estes Park.

The notes caused a stir on social media as police look for the culprit who posted the notes.

“Last weekend a very unkind, mass-produced note was placed on numerous vehicles with out-of-state plates in the Estes Valley,” said the police statement suggesting the behavior is not welcome in the town. “We’re looking for the individual(s) who did this, because we’d like to remind them that tampering with private property and littering could lead to charges in Municipal Court.”

Business owners are also responding. The owners of Elkins Distilling Company say, if you received any of these notes, you can bring them in for a free drink from their bar.

Read the full story from our partner at thedenverchannel.com.


Governor Ivey calls noose found in Bubba Wallace’s garage “disgusting”

Monday, Governor Kay Ivey issued a statement after a noose was found in Bubba Wallace’s garage at Talladega Superspeedway.

In the statement, Gov. Ivey called the display “disgusting” and said she was committed to assisting in any way possible to catch those responsible.

“I am shocked and appalled to hear of yesterday’s vile act against Bubba Wallace in Talladega – there is no place for this disgusting display of hatred in our state. Racism and threats of this nature will not be condoned nor tolerated, and I commit to assisting in any way possible to ensure that the person responsible for this is caught and punished. While the important conversation of racial reconciliation is ongoing all over our country, it is clear there is much work to do. Bubba Wallace is one of us; he is a native of Mobile and on behalf of all Alabamians, I apologize to Bubba Wallace as well as to his family and friends for the hurt this has caused and regret the mark this leaves on our state. I ask the NASCAR family to rally around Bubba and his team as they compete today and I know that there are more people who are wishing him well today than ever before.”

Governor Kay Ivey

The GEICO 500, which was delayed due to rain, is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. Monday.


NASCAR race at Talladega Superspeedway postponed to Monday due to weather

TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Thunderstorms Sunday forced NASCAR to postpone the Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway that was to mark the return of more fans to the track.

The race, which was pushed back to 2 p.m. CDT on Monday, is the first amid the coronavirus pandemic in which NASCAR opened the gates for up to 5,000 fans. Those in the grandstands were urged to seek shelter roughly 30 minutes before the scheduled start, leading to a two-plus hour wait.

The addition of fans and the ban of Confederate flags weren’t the only changes set to be on display in the race.

NASCAR implemented new rules in response to Ryan Newman’s harrowing accident when racing for the win on the final lap at Daytona in February.

The changes include the elimination of aero ducts at superspeedway tracks, a reduction in size of throttle body and requiring slip tape to be applied along the entire length of the lower rearward facing surfaces of the rear bumper cover.

Teams headed to Talladega without any practical knowledge of their effect. Then there’s the still-minimal but increased fan presence.

NASCAR allowed 1,000 military members to attend last weekend’s rain-disrupted race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The event was stopped several times for more than three hours of total delays.

NASCAR has banned the Confederate flag from being displayed at its events but supporters of the symbol still managed to be seen Sunday. Vehicles lined the boulevard outside the speedway waving the flag and a plane flew above the track pulling a banner of the Confederate flag that said “Defund NASCAR.”

NASCAR has not stated how exactly it plans to stop fans from displaying the flag on track property and none of the instances Sunday at Talladega were inside the facility.

Denny Hamlin and Joe Gibbs Racing were set to run with an all-black paint scheme honoring the National Civil Rights Museum, with the museum’s logo on the hood. Sponsor FedEx won’t be displayed on the car.

The flag ban is another statement for NASCAR.

Fan David Radvansky, who started coming to Talladega in the 1990s when his father parked cars at races, was among fans applauding NASCAR’s decision to ban the Confederate flags.

“I don’t think there’s a place for it in NASCAR, to be honest with you,” the 32-year-old said. “That doesn’t sit well with all the good ole boys but it is what it is.”

But the Confederate flags were still selling at Ed Sugg’s merchandise tent across from the track.

“They’re doing very well,” said the Helena, Alabama resident, who has been selling an array of wares at NASCAR races for 21 years. “People are disappointed that NASCAR has taken that stance. It’s been around for as long as all of us have been. I don’t think anybody really connects it to any kind of racism or anything. It’s just a Southern thing. It’s transparent. It’s just a heritage thing.”


Coronavirus: What you can and can’t do when Saskatchewan enters Phase 4.1 of reopening plan

Phase 4.1 of Saskatchewan’s reopening plan amid the novel coronavirus pandemic starts on Monday, June 22, 2020.


Alabama youth baseball team honors late coach at PCB Sports Complex tournament

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – The Panama City Beach Sports Complex is wrapping up their first week of the Grand Slam World Series of Baseball. Around 40 teams came to play this week and one of them, the 12U Fort Payne Crusaders from Alabama, came to play for much more than just wins.

One of the Crusaders’ assistant coaches, Kurt Winn, passed away on May 11 due to complications with COVID-19.

“Coach Kurt was always lifting our players up, making them be the best version of themselves, on and off the field,” said Jennifer Ledford, mother of a Crusaders player.

The team thought about not playing in this tournament, but they said that wouldn’t be what Coach Winn wanted.

“Oh Kurt wouldn’t have it any other way, he would be like why are y’all not at a ball field this weekend like what are y’all doing,” Ledford said. “He wouldn’t have it any other way, he would say play. “

The Crusaders wanted to find a way to take him with them on their travels though. They decided to get a shadow box made with his jersey in it and the words ‘In Loving Memory of Kurt Winn’ etched into the glass.

They display it proudly behind their dugout for each game.

“We all kinda put our heads together and said we want to do something to honor him,” Crusaders head coach Tim Ledford said. “With that he’s with us everywhere we go, we said Kurt’s in the back with us, Kurt’s in the back with us. “

The Crusaders are playing every game in honor of Coach Kurt. His son, Griffin, is even pitching for the team. All the players and coaches have No. 65 on their sleeves so that he’s still out there on the field with them too.

“He was always there for us and I want to be there for him,” Crusaders player Ryder Shankles said.

The Crusaders all know he’s out there, watching over them still and cheering them on from above.

“It’s an honor to us all, he’s up there smiling right now, just knowing what we are doing is keeping his memory alive,” Coach Ledford said.

The Crusaders are playing through the 12U loser’s bracket of the tournament, but staying alive by defeating opponent after opponent.

They are playing in the quarterfinals of that bracket on Saturday morning with a chance to head to the championship game.


Coronavirus: Regina ball parks, athletic fields to reopen as leagues ready return to play

On Friday, the city said crews started preparing the parks following the provincial government’s announcement that the phase would launch June 22.


NHL cohort quarantine plan approved by feds, removing an obstacle for hub cities

The cohort quarantine, which keeps players separate from the general public, would allow the NHL to bypass the traditional 14-day quarantine for anyone entering Canada.


Federal government poised to grant permission for NHL hub city: source

Toronto, Edmonton, Vancouver, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Minneapolis/St. Paul are in the running to be hub cities.


SEC pushing Mississippi to change state flag

The Southeastern Conference is considering barring league championship events in Mississippi until the state changes its Confederate-based flag.

“It is past time for change to be made to the flag of the State of Mississippi,” Commissioner Greg Sankey said Thursday in a statement. “Our students deserve an opportunity to learn and compete in environments that are inclusive and welcoming to all. In the event there is no change, there will be consideration of precluding Southeastern Conference championship events from being conducted in the State of Mississippi until the flag is changed.”

The NCAA already said it would not schedule postseason events in Mississippi because of the flag that features the Confederate Battle Flag in the upper left corner.

Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum released a statement after Sankey’s comments.

“Clearly, the current national climate is such that this debate may produce unintended consequences for our student athletes here at Mississippi State University and those at the University of Mississippi,” Keenum said. “In addition, there may be similar unintended consequences for academic pursuits at our all our state’s public universities and negative economic impacts on the state’s communities as well.

“Since 2015, our Student Association, Robert Holland Faculty Senate and university administration have been firmly on record in support of changing the state flag. I have reiterated that view to our state’s leaders on multiple occasions, including during face-to-face discussions in recent days and hours. On June 12, I wrote to the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the Mississippi House reaffirming that support. The letter said, in part, that our flag should be unifying, not a symbol that divides us. I emphasized that it is time for a renewed, respectful debate on this issue.”


Former Lethbridge Hurricanes head coach named in class action lawsuit against CHL

Former Lethbridge Hurricanes player Garrett Taylor is standing alongside two-time Stanley Cup champion Daniel Carcillo in the launch of a class action lawsuit against the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). 


Angry notes telling people to “go the hell back” left on tourists’ vehicles in Estes Park


A note left on vehicles with out of state licences plates at the visitor’s center over the weekend. (Via Trail-Gazette)

By Tim MosierEstes Park Trail-Gazette

This past weekend, and possibly even earlier, tourists who happened to stop by the Visitor Center got a dramatic message left on their vehicles.

As seen in the photo above, the message reads, “Hi! We year-round residents of Estes Park would be so happy to see you here, any other time. As it is, we are a small community with a lot of retired Sr. Citizens. We’ve been being more careful here than some other places. Having folks from all over the country come here, now, feels disrespectful. We would love to see you back, later. For now though, with all due respect, please GO THE HELL BACK TO WHEREVER YOUR OUT OF STATE LICENSE IS FROM.”

The author or authors of the note do not seem to distinguish between Estes Park residents and the entire state of Colorado, making it seem as though they are fine with tourists from all over the state, but no one from outside of its borders.

As far as health guidelines go, the State of Colorado is still recommending that no one travel more than 10 miles away from their homes. In Larimer County, businesses are reopened to 50 percent capacity and employees must wear masks.

On Facebook, the comments section became a firestorm of opinions, mostly from people who were embarrassed by the notes, hoping to reassure tourists to come visit.

Read more from our sister paper The Estes Park Trail-Gazette.

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Ditch campgrounds. Here’s your basic guide to dispersed camping in Colorado.

Now that you have to hop online six months in advance to reserve a favorite spot, camping may seem more like moving from your crowded neighborhood to a crowded small town of tents, only with more bugs, screaming kids and smoky campfires.

Dispersed camping offers solutions to these problems, said Monica Stockbridge, author of the guidebook “Best Tent Camping Colorado.” Her book is geared toward established campgrounds, but she still sees the romantic side of throwing the tent in the car and finding a place to camp without any guarantee of finding something.

“Dispersed camping is a great way to get outdoors for those who prefer to go car camping outside established areas, or for backpackers who want to hike into a remote spot,” Stockbridge said. “It’s also a nice option for last-minute trips when you don’t have a reservation, or when you want something a little more rustic.”

That doesn’t mean you should plan to camp in your local park, however, or your neighbor’s backyard just because he has a hot tub. Even pitching a tent in a place with no rules requires, well, following rules.

Rocky Mountain National Park, for instance, doesn’t allow dispersed camping. It does, however, have more than 250 wilderness camping sites that require a permit and have the same atmosphere as dispersed camping, as you’ll backpack to them and they will be away from crowds.

Along with greater freedom comes greater responsibility, as you’ll have to take your own water as well as a way to pack out toilet paper and poop — or dig a hole 6 to 8 inches deep for your poop.

Camping isn’t allowed within 100 feet from any water source and is strongly encouraged within 150 feet of roadways (to prevent resource damage). You may find evidence of previous campers, such as a fire ring, and that usually indicates a good spot to pitch a tent.

“If you find a spot with an existing fire ring — such as a circle of rocks where a previous camper built a fire — then feel free to use this spot,” Stockbridge said. “This helps to minimize the impact to the surrounding natural area. Plus, it’s less work for you!”

In fact, officials would prefer it if you used a spot that others have used before, said Barbara Khan, spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service in Colorado. ”Plants, soil and wildlife are impacted by new campsites, so using existing ones will minimize your impact in the forest,” Khan said.

There are other ways to minimize your impact, such as using existing roads to drive to sites (if no roads exist, that’s a sign that you need to backpack in), camping on bare soil to prevent killing plants and packing out all your waste (and yes, we do mean all of it).

Three suggested trips

Stockbridge suggests these camping locations:

Mount Zirkel Wilderness

This area, north of Steamboat Springs, occupies nearly 160,000 acres managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Dispersed camping is allowed on most of the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District, with plenty of great hiking to entertain you during the day. Follow the Motor Vehicle Use Map to see all roads where dispersed camping is allowed along roadways.

Aspen-Sopris Ranger District

The Lincoln Creek dispersed camping area has 22 campsites for car camping along the Lincoln Creek road. Campers can access water and toilets at the first-come, first-served site near great trails. You’ll need a 4WD car with high clearance to access it.

Salida Ranger District

This is a good spot to camp for a shot at a 14er the next morning, as Harvard, Tabeguache, Shavano, Princeton, Yale, Columbia and Antero are all within reach. Look for campsites near Little Browns Creek trail not far from Buena Vista.

Resources

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Aspen Skiing Co.’s skier visits fell 20% following the coronavirus outbreak

Aspen Skiing Co.’s skier visits plummeted by 20 percent during a 2019-20 season shortened by the coronavirus crisis, the company announced Wednesday.

Skico’s skier visits fell to about 1,156,000 from 1,447,000 the season before, according to Jeff Hanle, Skico vice president of communications. Colorado Gov. Jared Paris ordered the closure of ski areas starting March 15, when resort towns were packed with spring break vacationers.

“Through that date of the shutdown, we were on par with the record number” of the 2018-19 season, Hanle said Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, a national trade association for ski areas announced that total skier visits in the U.S. fell by 14 percent in 2019-20. The U.S. ski industry lost at least $2 billion last winter because of the economic collapse tied to the COVID-19 crisis, according to National Ski Areas Association.

Read more on our partner site The Aspen Times. 

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Bianca Andreescu voices support for U.S. Open in summer despite coronavirus

The 20-year old, who captured her first ever Grand Slam title at last year's Open, says she has "no doubt'' that the association came up with a plan to ensure players' safety at the tournament.


Instagrammer who owns outdoors clothing line fined for snowmobiling on public land

ASPEN — An outdoor clothing company owner in Colorado has reached a plea agreement after illegally riding his snowmobile last year on public land in White River National Forest that is closed to motorized travel, authorities said.

Virtika Outerwear owner David Lesh, 35, was fined $500 and ordered to perform 50 hours of public service for illegal use of public land, The Aspen Times reported Tuesday.

“We’re happy to see the charges were filed and went through,” White River National Forest supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said. “Hopefully it sends a message that we take illegal and irresponsible behavior seriously.”

Independence Pass Foundation executive director Karin Teague and two colleagues reported seeing Lesh and another snowmobiler, who was not identified, a year ago near the summit. Forest Service officials found them in photos posted on social media.

The agreement, which was announced in federal court in Grand Junction, said the public service should be performed where the infractions occurred, but it has been difficult to arrange because of COVID-19 restrictions.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Gordon Gallagher said Lesh must complete his service by Sept. 5.

Lesh’s attorney Stephen Laiche has said his client attempted to arrange public service in Wisconsin, but he was unable to find anything satisfactory. A biography on one of Lesh’s social media accounts says he is a part-time Colorado resident.

Lesh wanted to complete the 50 hours with Boulder-based Only One Inc., an organization Laiche said was tied to a Native American cause, but it was unclear what tasks Lesh would undertake.

Five days ago, the @virtika Instagram account posted an image of Lesh standing on a fallen tree in Hanging Lake, despite signs in the area asking hikers not to destroy the delicate ecosystem. The image was used to advertise the company’s new line of shorts.

Lesh also posted a photo of him illegally snowmobiling at Keystone Ski Resort after it had closed down due to the coronavirus outbreak.

A petition calling for Colorado to revoke the business license of Virtika Outerwear had collected more than 13,800 signatures as of Tuesday. The petition accuses Lesh and his company of abusing public lands to bring attention to his company.

“The public is very angry with this,” Fitzwilliams said, adding that his office has received several emails, texts and calls encouraging aggressive prosecution for the offenses. “One thing we know is people love their national forest. It’s nice to see so many people care.”


University of Alberta suspends Canada West participation of 6 teams for 2020-21 season

The University of Alberta says it is suspending participation in men's and women's hockey, men's and women's basketball and men's and women's volleyball.


Canadian kids got D+ for physical activity before the pandemic — and moved less during

Before the pandemic, children were barely getting a passing grade for overall physical activity, and stay-at-home rules have made things even worse, according to Participaction.


First pitch of the Rocket City Classic at Toyota Field Wednesday

MADISON, Ala. – Baseball is back in north Alabama this week and it’s compliant with CDC guidelines.

The first games will be played at the new home of the Rocket City Trash Pandas on June 17th through June 21st.

It won’t be the Trash Pandas themselves since minor league baseball is still on hold. Instead, it will be a group of travel select youth teams.

Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. the first pitch will be thrown for the Rocket City Baseball Classic with 29 games expected in the five-day event. Tickets are $10 per day.

Kids under the age of 2 get in for free and there will be food and beverage at all games.

Tickets are on sale now at TrashPandasBaseball.com/Events, in-person at the Toyota Field Ticket Office during regular business hours, or by calling (256) 325-1403 ext. 1.

President and CEO of the Trash Pandas Ralph Nelson said, “Baseball at this ballpark has been a long time coming.” and we couldn’t be more excited”.

For the full schedule of matchups visit TrashPandasBaseball.com/events.

WHNT News 19’s Rocco Disangro will be at the event.


Plans for new Edmonton Prospects baseball field in Spruce Grove released

The Spruce Grove complex would feature a retail district, micro-brewery pub, as well as an amphitheatre and condominiums. 


Trudeau says he’s ‘open’ to NHL having a hub city in Canada

The NHL is currently in Phase 2 of its return to action plan, meaning players can use team facilities to train in small groups.


All the gyms, yoga studios that have permanently closed during the coronavirus outbreak

The coronavirus outbreak has delivered a death blow to the fitness industry in Colorado.

Some gyms and yoga studios have begun to reopen as the state loosens its stay-at-home guidance, but others weren’t able to make it that far.

Some businesses have shuttered their physical locations but pivoted to online. Others have closed altogether.

Here’s a running list of closures so far. If you know of a gym or studio not on the list, let us know by emailing dworthington@denverpost.com.

Samadhi Center for Yoga on South Broadway has closed permanently and started bankruptcy filings. “Everything has a beginning and an end. Today marks the end of a long and beautiful journey with Samadhi Center for Yoga,” the business wrote in a Facebook post. The studio has started a new website, samadhiyoga.com, where it is hosting live-streams by its former instructors. People will pay instructors directly, though.

Flex Yoga + Barre, located in Park Hill, initially set up a virtual platform but has since decided to close altogether. “From our first class to our last, what an amazing ride it’s been,” the business wrote in an Instagram post. “We are so grateful for the friends made, lessons learned, laughs, blood, sweat, tears, late nights, early mornings, and everything in between. Certainly not the ending we imagined, but it has made us appreciate the journey that much more.”

Zenver in West Highland closed its West Highland studio on June 1. It’s since transitioned to an online platform focusing on yoga, mental health and wellness. The existing live-stream schedule has ended. But starting June 21, Zenver will host a Sunday class at 10 a.m. over Zoom. Then, on July 5, it will start physical classes at Nurture. More info can be found here.

The Rebel Workout closed its physical studio on South Broadway and has transitioned to an online platform. Individual classes are available to purchase on the business’s Vimeo account. Unlimited screening costs $20 per month.

24 Hour Fitness has closed 13 of its Colorado gyms, including 10 in the Denver area, after it filed for bankruptcy. But 18 of the gyms will stay open in the state. You can find a breakdown of the opened and closed gyms here.

Gold’s Gyms has closed 30 gyms across the country, including three in Colorado Springs, after filing for bankruptcy. The closures were mainly company-owned gyms and not franchise-owned gyms, according to Gold’s on Facebook.

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Colfax Marathon has officially canceled its 2020 race over coronavirus concerns

The Colfax Marathon, an annual Denver race typically held in May, has officially canceled its 2020 event after initially postponing until fall.

“We are extremely disappointed to announce we will not be able to reschedule the Denver Colfax Marathon for the fall of 2020,” CEO Andrea Dowdy and Race Director Creigh Kelley wrote in a letter to runners that was also posted on its website. “COVID-19 has changed all of our lives and has put a stop to mass gatherings. With the newest Colorado Safer at Home guidelines we know that a safe, fun, robust race weekend this year won’t be possible.”

The race is allowing registered runners to either defer to 2021, defer to 2022 or run virtually this year. Runners have until June 30 to choose their option.

When the coronavirus outbreak first started, many spring races simply postponed until later in the year, including the Colfax Marathon and Bolder Boulder. But as the outbreak continues, races have decided to throw in the towel altogether.

The virus has been a double-edged sword for the running industry. On one hand, many people turned to the sport as it was one of the only activities that were safe in the beginning weeks of the outbreak. But on the other, races themselves worry social distancing guidelines may provide a fatal blow to their business models.

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Enjoy the outdoors this summer, but do so safely

So, this was the summer you planned to hike the Colorado Trail / reunite with old friends for a lakeside camping trip / attend every craft beer festival in the Rockies. I feel your pain.

Editor’s Note

This editor’s note was first published in this year’s Summer Getaways, an annual magazine from The Denver Post focused on outdoor recreation. Find more Summer Getaways stories here.

The coronavirus pandemic has upended our summer vacation plans much as it did the rest of our lives this spring. If you’re like me — and I bet you are in this way — you’re looking forward to some relief, to getting away from the same four walls for at least a few days.

We originally conceived this edition of Summer Getaways as the “Share Your Love” issue. Knowing how we all enjoy exploring Colorado, we aimed to share off-the-beaten-path trips to help ease overcrowding at tried-and-true destinations. (I’m looking at you, Hanging Lake, Maroon Bells.)

We still want you to explore lesser-known corners of the state this year — for your sake as well as the environment’s. Still, trips to the more far-flung destinations in these pages may need to sit on the back burner for now. They’ll still be there in the months to come and the lure will be all the greater.

No matter where you go and what you get up to, please practice Leave No Trace principles. They’re easily put into action and are proven to reduce our impact on the environment, be it a local park or backcountry wilderness. They are:

  • Plan ahead and prepare.
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
  • Dispose of waste properly.
  • Leave what you find.
  • Minimize campfire impacts.
  • Respect wildlife.
  • Be considerate of other visitors.

Three of these principles seem particularly important this summer: planning/preparedness, respect and consideration.

At a time when rules and regulations change in an instant, you might wonder whether planning is necessary. Truth is, plans are more important than ever. So, take time to research your intended destination. What are local health and safety guidelines? Is the campground open? If yes, are the restrooms open? Are fires allowed? If the parking area at the trailhead is crowded, what’s your Plan B?

Show respect and consideration for yourself, other adventurers, wildlife and the environment. Practice physical distancing. Vacation with members of your household or isolation group. Be prepared to cover your nose and mouth around other people, and be the first to give others adequate space.

If you’re sick, stay home.

Also, show respect and consideration for search and rescue crews, first responders and medical workers by keeping activities within your ability range. This isn’t the summer to climb Capitol Peak if you’ve never summited Quandary. Or to try a multiday backpacking trip if you’ve never been in the backcountry. Or to bomb a downhill when you’re used to pedaling the bike path near your home. There’s no need to put search-and-rescue teams at risk nor to strain local health care systems.

I know, I know. You just want to have fun. To not worry for a few days. Me, too. So, let’s do it. Let’s get out there. Explore! Adventure! Discover! Please enjoy the wonders of our state, just do so responsibly.

TL;DR: Get out and enjoy your summer while being respectful of yourself, others and the environment.

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Colorado’s fitness industry starting to reawaken, but some studios will never reopen

Buying Barre Forte in LoHi was the realization of a dream years in the making for Sage Fennig. She had longed to own a business that “empowers people and makes them feel good about themselves,” but only 15 days after she took ownership in March, her dream took a nightmare turn when Colorado’s fitness industry was shut down due to the coronavirus.

“I live right down the street,” Fennig said. “I’ve lived in downtown Denver for the past 16 years, so I really know the area. I know the clientele really well. If I had a dream situation, this was it. Then COVID-19 happened.”

Twelve weeks after being shut down, Fennig reopened this past Monday. According to state guidelines, she can only operate at 25% of capacity, which for her studio means five students with one instructor. For Monday evening’s class, five came to the studio while eight more participated online.

In the studio, it felt like a reunion.

“It’s kind of like family to me,” member Sherry Ewing said. “I’m just really excited to be back and see everyone. I think it’s a good step to start moving forward. It’s all about the community, just being together, seeing each other, having those conversations. It’s just wonderful.”

Ewing felt relatively safe, too.

“I feel more safe coming to the studio than I do grocery shopping,” she said.

Gyms, fitness studios and rec centers across Colorado are beginning to reopen in limited fashion under strict guidelines, but many are not. Gyms and rec centers managed by the cities of Denver and Lakewood remain closed “until further notice,” while Englewood’s two rec centers will reopen next week. In Arvada, the Apex Recreation District has begun staged reopenings of its facilities.

Denver recreation centers remain closed “due to the public gathering limitations, physical distancing, and cleaning and disinfecting requirements,” according to Cyndi Karvaski, a public information officer for Denver Parks and Recreation.

But the Englewood Rec Center will reopen on Monday, by reservation only, for hour-long workout blocks. Each block will be followed by 15 minutes of cleaning with spray sanitizers by workers, according to Englewood senior recreation supervisor Allison Boyd, and the facility will be closed from 1 to 4 p.m. for deeper cleaning. A similar plan will be followed at Englewood’s Malley Rec Center, a facility for people 55 and over.

The new state guidelines allow gyms to operate at up to 25% capacity or 50 people, whichever is fewer. Complicating matters is that some counties have received variances with different sets of rules. In Lakewood, officials are still trying to determine whether they can open any rec centers before August.

“The city is working to balance the ability to operate safely under the limitations, recall employees from furloughs to open the facilities, and pay the cost of operating the facilities with limited users at a time when the city’s revenues have dropped significantly,” said Stacie Oulton, a public information officer for the city of Lakewood.

Planet Fitness gyms in Castle Rock, Loveland, Parker and Greeley have reopened, and all but one Denver location will open next week. Fourteen metro-area 24 Hour Fitness gyms are scheduled to reopen June 22, according to the corporate website.

Kindness Yoga will begin a phased reopening on July 1 with only one location operating at first, the South Broadway studio. Members received an email this week from Kindness conceding that “we face the reality that not all nine studios will be reopening,” but founder Patrick Harrington said no decisions have been made on which ones will close permanently.

Evo Rock + Fitness in Louisville will reopen on Monday, June 15..G1 Climbing + Fitness, a new facility in Broomfield that had been open for a month when gyms were closed by the state, reopened June 4 — the day the new state guidelines went into effect. Earth Treks climbing gyms will reopen June 22.

Some studios will never reopen, though, and their owners are devastated.

Before the pandemic, Andora Freedom owned three Samadhi Yoga locations that she said were “thriving.” But after 18 years in business, she is shutting the businesses down.

“It was much more than a yoga center,” Freedom said. “It was a spiritual center. It was people’s church, it was people’s sacred space. If your life was falling apart, you could go, you could just cry. You would be held in the energy of the space. Those people now are giving me the hope that one day I’m going to get a life back, because now my life is destroyed. I’ve got nothing left, and I don’t know how the hell I’m going to get through this.”

She says she has been through a “hellish experience” and blames government officials — state and federal — for lack of support.

“It’s deeply upsetting to me because I find that my greatest responsibility is creating a sense of community for people, and I find that to be vital for people’s thriving,” Freedom said. “Knowing that I can no longer be that for people, that’s pretty devastating.”

Another studio that will not come back is Flex Yoga + Barre. Co-owner Sarah Mellick said the financial numbers “just really weren’t there” to operate within the severely limited capacity restrictions mandated by the state.

“It was not an easy decision,” Mellick said. “So much has been put into the space and the community, and there’s a lot of emotion behind it. It’s hard to go out on terms that weren’t necessarily yours. When we closed doors on March 16, never in a million years did I imagine that it would be for good. We all thought it was just going to be a few weeks and we would be back up and running.”

Freedom said she would be surprised if any yoga studios make it through this transition, and long-term financial viability is still a worry for Fennig despite the excitement of reopening her Barre Forte location on Monday. She has spent $1,000 to enhance her online streaming equipment in hopes of generating more revenue.

“We’re not going to cut it moving forward if we have to maintain at 25% and are not able to make up some lost revenue through live streaming and on demand-services or outdoor classes,” Fennig said. “I don’t know if we’re ever going to truly make it, and if I am going to be able to fully see out my dream, no matter how hard I work.”

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Warman, Sask., teen to be featured on World of Dance TV show on Tuesday

15-year-old Dayton Paradis will be featured with his dance team Itty Bitty Crew on the show World of Dance on Tuesday.


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‘We gotta do what we gotta do’: NHLers ponder playing without fans amid COVID-19

The NHL, which paused its schedule because of the novel coronavirus outbreak in March, is hoping to start training camps July 10.


Caden Rose leaves his mark on Bob Jones athletics

MADISON, Ala. – If you’re familiar with Bob Jones athletics, you’ll probably know the name Caden Rose from both the football and baseball field.

Despite having his senior baseball season cut short, Rose managed to get his name in the Patriots’ record books.

Rose has been named team captain, MVP and received a great deal of recognition, but his achievements don’t stop there.

In the 46 year history of Bob Jones High School, Rose has become the first male athlete to ever be named First Team All-State in two different sports; plus, this past week Rose was once again named First Team All-State for baseball marking his third year in a row receiving that honor.

With this All-State mention, Rose becomes the first baseball player in Bob Jones history to receive First Team All-State for three seasons.

“I didn’t even know about it but it’s really cool to have that kind of recognition I had no idea that I’ve done anything like that, but it’s good to know and it’ll be good to look back on in a few years,” Rose said. “I just go out there and play trying to win every single game. I’m never really thinking about the recognition or what I’m going to do at the end of the year it’s always win the day win that game and what happens happens, play as hard as you can, and don’t take anything for granted.”

Bob Jones baseball head coach Jared Smith says he’ll miss having Rose on his team both as a player and as a leader on and off the field.

“It was special to do it with that kid and I’m blessed to coach him,” Smith said. “We tried to help him along a little bit but you didn’t have to coach him too much. He was self motivated, he wanted to win, he’s a competitor you really just had to put him in competitive situation. He’s bought in anything we’ve ever asked him to do and hopefully it’s made him a better player. He was so consistent I mean, you knew what you’re getting every single day and I can think of very few days if any in four years that we were like, Caden Rose didn’t practice hard today or Caden Rose didn’t play the game the right way.”

To say Rose left his mark on Bob Jones is a bit of an understatement, but he says he’s honored to have played such a role in the Patriots’ programs.

“I know I looked up to players on the football field and on the baseball field and some players showed me how to play and some players showed me how not to play, and I think that really helped me so if I can go out there and show kids how to play I think I really helped somebody out,” Rose said.

Rose is continuing his baseball career with the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Even though he gets to keep playing one of the sports that he loves, he’ll miss his time at Bob Jones especially getting to play with his best friends, but he’s thankful for the memories that he has as a Patriot.


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SEC Media Days going virtual this year

This year’s SEC Football Media Days will be held virtually for the first time because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dates and times for the online event have not yet been announced. The in-person event was originally scheduled to take place July 13-16 in Atlanta.

“Conducting football media days in a virtual format will provide us the opportunity to manage the event in a healthy manner as we continue to be impacted by COVID-19, and will provide flexibility for our programs to adjust their preparation for the 2020 football season according to the preseason calendar that is expected to be expanded due to the cancellation of the spring football season,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement.

The SEC Network will provide coverage of the virtual event.

The SEC still plans to have an in-person in 2021.


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Bob Jones football thrilled to be back in action

MADISON, Ala. – The Bob Jones Patriots returned to the practice field on Monday for their first day of summer workouts ready to get their training started and happy to be back together as a team.

The Patriots were outside with plenty of room to split up into smaller groups to try and stay distanced from one another.

This upcoming season will be head coach Kelvis White’s first with the Patriots and now he’s working with a shortened off season, but White says he’s just excited to get after it with his new team.

“Everything went great,” White said. “I think the kids were just excited to be here to get back and get out of the house, be around their friends and be around some of the teammates so I think the first day went well.”

White says most of his guys were in good shape coming back which was a positive thing to see; he knows that getting back into the swing of things will be difficult but it’ll just take some time.

“We’ve just got some catching up to do with missing spring with a new staff that kind of put us back, but we’ve just got to catch up,” White said. ‘We’re going five days a week so we’re gonna go ahead and just try to do a lot of teaching and a lot of football so we’ll be ready to go in August.”


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Fox takes to the track during NASCAR truck race at Atlanta

During Saturday’s truck race in Atlanta, an unexpected participant took to the track – a fox!

Thankfully, the fox crossed the track when none of the vehicles were going by and jumped the fence, but he certainly wasted no time getting across.


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Woodbine Entertainment resuming horse racing after suspension due to coronavirus

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Arapahoe Basin Ski Area to close Sunday, officially ending Colorado’s beleaguered ski season

DILLON — Arapahoe Basin Ski Area announced Thursday that the mountain will close for the season because of a lack of snow.

A-Basin Chief Operating Officer Alan Henceroth said the mountain will close Sunday less than two weeks after reopening May 27 following the coronavirus shutdown, the Summit Daily News reported.

“Every season, no matter how hard we try and stop it, the snow still melts,” Henceroth said. “We think Sunday is a good day to close out the season. The snow is almost gone.”

Early closures are not uncommon, and the dates can fluctuate, spokeswoman Katherine Fuller said.

“It’s usually in mid- to late June. June 7 was always the date we were planning for, but considering we made it to July Fourth last year, this feels super early,” Fuller said.

The ski area reopened with safety measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including limiting the number of skiers and snowboarders each day to 600.

RELATED: An emotional day at Arapahoe Basin as the ski area reopens after coronavirus shutdown

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

All 600 spots were filled daily but there was not a system in place to weed out people who already had a reservation for a previous day, Fuller said.

“We know it wasn’t perfect, the demand was extraordinary, and we learned a lot. So this is really paving the way for summer and next fall,” she said.

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Gyms can officially reopen in Colorado under new coronavirus guidelines

State health officials finalized long-awaited guidelines for reopening gyms, fitness classes, rec centers and other indoor sports facilities on Thursday, allowing them to operate at up to 25% capacity or 50 people per room — whichever number is fewer — as long as members can stay 6 feet apart.

That’s a significant difference from the draft guidelines that were posted Tuesday for a public comment period that ended Wednesday. Those guidelines said “recreators” would be permitted in groups of 10 people per room.

“This is more than I thought they would do, so it makes me happy,” said Crossfit Broadway owner Jason Kelly, who was already conducting classes of three or four people under Safer at Home guidelines previously in effect. “That’s a pretty large increase for us, so it fits our model of business a little bit better. I think the membership is going to be very happy about it, that we can kind of resume some normalcy.”

Kristen Baylis, the owner of Pure Barre in Lakewood, plans to reopen Friday. She said she speculated the increase from 10 people per room to 25% capacity or 50 people was a response to push-back from larger gyms, a completely different dynamic from her small boutique studio.

RELATED: Yoga studios, boutique fitness not sure if they’ll be able to make it through coronavirus closures

“If you were like a 24 Hour Fitness, you could have 10 and I could have 10,” Baylis said. “I think this is more friendly to the bigger gyms. We’ll never have any more than 10 people. I think one thing to highlight is that, just like restaurants, we can’t survive long-term at 50% capacity, gyms long-term can’t survive at 25% capacity. But in the short-term, at least this is a start to rebuilding our memberships.”

Kelsey Donahue, the regional manager for Orangetheory Fitness, said 25% capacity might be problematic for their studios.

“In our average-size studio, we have up to 45 people working out at once,” Donahue said. “We’ll just have to figure out how that works for us, and if that works for us. Is it even somewhat profitable to have only 11-person classes when we normally have up to 45?”

Other guidelines set by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment say gyms should:

  •  Discourage the use of shared equipment and ensure all equipment is cleaned and disinfected between each use.
  •  Close off series of lockers to promote distancing and reduce gatherings in restrooms, showers and locker rooms.
  • Provide access to hand sanitizer.
  • Request that staff members and guests wear face coverings.
  • Conduct symptom and temperature checks for employees.
  • Post signs for employees and customers outlining hand and respiratory hygiene.
  • Pools are limited to 25% capacity, or up to 50 people, and CDPHE says it is “strongly encouraged” to limit pool activity to lap swimming.

CDPHE also finalized its guidelinse for outdoor recreation, which can be found here.

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WHL players share video on Black Lives Matter movement

A lengthy roster of WHL players addressed the Black Lives Matter movement in a video making the rounds on social media. 


Popular scenic Mount Evans Highway will stay closed for all of 2020

Cross another awesome outdoor activity off your list for this summer due to the coronavirus. The highway to the summit of Mount Evans will not open in 2020.

Mount Evans is the closest fourteener to Denver, and the 28-mile drive south from Idaho Springs rises nearly 7,000 feet. The iconic peak’s snowcapped, east-facing slopes are often shown looming behind the Denver skyline in panoramic promotional photographs of the city.

The road is closed at Echo Lake, 14 miles from the summit.

Driving to the 14,264-foot summit is a popular summer activity for families and tourists. Some park at Summit Lake (elev. 12,840 feet) for a 5-mile hike ascending the final 1,400 feet. The Summit Lake Park is part of Denver Parks and Recreation’s mountain parks system.

The road is managed by the U.S. Forest Service, Denver Mountain Parks and CDOT. The road will remain closed to motorists, but a notice posted by the forest service said there are no plans to prohibit use of the highway for non-motorized use, including hiking and biking. Users should be aware that they may encounter CDOT maintenance activity on the highway, however.

“Since the highway will remain closed to motorized use for the 2020 season, CDOT crews plan to perform necessary maintenance of the highway that can’t be carried out when the highway is open,” the forest service advised. “This includes filling potholes and fixing damaged delineation markings which outline the edges of the highway and also alert motorists to any obstacles covered by snow. This work will help improve the condition and safety of the highway greatly as all involved agencies look ahead to the 2021 season.”

Mount Evans and Pikes Peak are the only Colorado fourteeners with roads to the top.

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Colorado’s public land managers are trying to figure out how to handle an explosion of people going to parks

With state parks observing explosive growth in visitation and Front Range open-space managers wrestling with overcrowding, public land managers have been meeting to discuss solutions, the head of Colorado’s Division of Natural Resources said Wednesday.

In March and April, visitation at state parks in the northeast region — which includes the Denver-Boulder metro area, Fort Collins and many mountain counties east of the Continental Divide — increased nearly 48% over the same period in 2019. Statewide, visitation at state parks increased 18%. Numbers for May are not available yet.

RELATED: Colorado State Parks saw record high visitation in April. We break down those numbers here. 

Dan Gibbs, the DNR’s executive director, said the meetings to brainstorm solutions have included federal agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, along with county and municipal open-space managers. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is an agency of the DNR.

“In some situations, we are exploring one-way trails during this time so we don’t have folks walking over each other,” Gibbs said. “We have certain designated trails designed for mountain bikers and other ones that are more appropriate for trail runners or hikers. Because of COVID-19, we’re seeing a lot more people get outdoors. It’s very important for folks’ mental and physical health, but we’re working to try to manage parking, our trail systems, and really coordinate.”

Gibbs noted that the closure of Rocky Mountain National Park in March had a huge impact on Boulder County open space as outdoor recreationalists sought alternatives. The park reopened last week.

RELATED: Rocky Mountain National Park to start requiring online reservations during the coronavirus outbreak

“Our meetings really help to coordinate, and we really work together, because a lot of people don’t know the difference between federal, state, county, municipal trails,” Gibbs said. “We are looking for solutions — better signage, changing directional travel and exploring a system where you can manage how many people can go in certain areas. We’re kicking that idea around because things are getting so busy.”

Matt Robbins, community connections manager at Jeffco Open Space, said the meetings have been “extremely beneficial” as land managers grapple with the unprecedented challenges facing them. One fruit of their efforts was a joint press release issued in April by Jeffco, Boulder County open space officials and Denver Parks & Recreation, pleading with users to be more careful to avoid damaging parks and trails.

“The relationship we have with these other land managers and jurisdictions is paramount in this time, because what we’re seeing is not like anything we’ve seen before,” Robbins said. “Having that ability to have conversations, share ideas, share thoughts and apply what works had been paramount.”

As the state moves toward relaxing restrictions on outdoor recreation with a plan that state agencies are calling Safer at Home and in the Vast Outdoors, Gibbs is urging outdoor recreationalists to be “serious planners” who research local restrictions in the areas they plan to visit, including fire bans that are in effect in some counties. He said calls for 6-foot distancing remain in effect. Face coverings should be used whenever it is safe to do so, he added, and asked visitors to ”pack like you’re going to the moon” rather than fueling their vehicles and buying supplies on the road.

“We want folks to recreate responsibly,” Gibbs said. “When you get there, please be kind, patient and courteous to others. We want folks to continue to practice social distancing and avoid risky activities — please don’t become a burden on local emergency services.”

Gibbs, who lives in Breckenridge and runs trails in the area almost every day, said he tries to practice what he preaches.

“I always make sure I have my handkerchief around my neck, just in case I’m passing folk, that I can put on to make sure I’m respectful of others and also taking care of myself,” Gibbs said.

State park campgrounds operated at 50% of capacity in May, but Gibbs said CPW is in the process of hiring 1,500 more seasonal employees.

“As we ramp that up, we will continue to open up the doors for more camping opportunities,” Gibbs said. “We are not at 100% capacity right now, but it’s been busy.”

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Keeler: Denver showed its true colors the morning after George Floyd protests

The line stretched two city blocks this-a-way and two city blocks that-a-way. Britt Diehl counted roughly 1,000 souls in all, families of all creeds and ethnicities, armed with nothing more than face masks, bottled water, clear eyes and full hearts.

United by garbage bags, they marched from Skyline Park to the steps of the Capitol. Then Little Five Points. LoHi. The Golden Triangle. Uptown.

“You can’t see that I’m smiling,” a volunteer with the Downtown Denver Partnership gushed Wednesday morning, “because I’m wearing this mask.”

We show duty to justice, to George Floyd, after dark. We show our duty to our neighbors at dawn, when the zombified remains of the 16th Street Mall wipes the sleep from its eyes.

“This was something for people who were trying to figure out a way to come together for a lot of different reasons,” noted Diehl, a manager for executive office and special projects with the Partnership. “If you think about it, for a group of people, this is the first time they’ve been able to come back to their community and make a difference.”

Starting at 7 a.m., the group had cracked the four-digit mark within an hour. Wednesday saw the first of two 2-hour volunteer shifts this week, with the second slated for Friday morning, for which the Partnership solicited companies and organizations for people to help clean up, spruce up and cheer up a downtown that’s become collateral damage.

We’ll be picking up debris, removing graffiti, passing out water to workers making repairs in the heat, the Partnership memo read, and beautifying storefronts.

Amy Friedman, one of 75 blue-shirted volunteers from Denver Health and Hospital Authority, landed debris duty. As shocking as the social distancing caused by COVID-19 was to the system, the waves of rage near the Capitol this past week in response to the death of Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police hit even closer to home. A Colorado native, Friedman used to work in the policy-and-research department for former Gov. Roy Romer.

“I don’t remember seeing anything like this,” recalled Friedman, chief experience officer with Denver Health. “It’s a little bit of a shock. But it’s a sign of what happened, it’s the culmination of so many things, of a lot of tragedies over the past year. But seeing everyone come together has been fantastic. This is why I love living in Denver. There’s just a sense of community here.”

We show our duty to humanity, to reform, after dark. We show our duty to service at dawn, when the slate is wiped clean, the easel pure, and the blank page awaits.

Just before 8 in the morning Wednesday, somewhere along California, Friedman’s boss, Denver Health CEO Robin Wittenstein, was picking up trash when she happened upon an orphaned wallet, lying on the sidewalk.

So she scanned at the ID inside and looked up. The gentleman in the photo was still within shouting distance.

She read the driver’s license again.

Heyyy,” Wittenstein cried. “Are you Michael?”

Michael stopped. He was.

“So I gave him his wallet back,” she said. “His picture matched. It was just somebody walking down the street. That could ruin your day. That makes for a very bad day.”

Gary Mantelli has seen mostly bad days for basically a week now, ever since the boards went up at his West of Surrender restaurant, a relatively new Mall watering hole, last Friday night.

“We thought that (plywood) would be the safest way to protect the building,” said Mantelli, who launched the establishment last September and kept it closed Wednesday. “After COVID, we just don’t have a lot of resources to go replace anything.”

Since the coronavirus nuked pretty much every walk-in, sit-down business on the continent in mid-March, Mantelli said his restaurant is “doing single digits in terms of the percentage of (business) we expected. It’s very sad.”

On 13th and Broadway, roughly a block from the Capitol, a petite woman in a gray hoodie — her friend called her “Sara” — was scribbling passages of careful notes on lined notebook paper. She wrote furiously, only occasionally looking up to glance at a small painting of bright reds and yellows that rested on a concrete step, an abstract landscape on which the South Platte River split the horizon.

Sara is among the homeless camping out near the Capitol, when she can. For about a week, she’s been an unwilling audience, night after night, to some of the most chilling scenes in Colfax history.

“It’s been like the movie ‘The Purge,’” Sarah said softly. “’Without the killing.’”

Wednesday morning’s film montage was kinder. More than a dozen staff members at the History Colorado museum turned up to re-secure foam and pieces of plastic sheeting that protected the windows. Volunteers spray-painted over the lewd language that had been written on the building. A few blocks away, some in the Partnership group pasted artwork on boarded-up windows, giving rows of plywood, at the least, a dash of color.

“We were hearing from a lot of different people, asking if we could come together and do something positive for the city,” Diehl said. We came up with the idea on a Monday afternoon. And in just about 36 hours later, we pulled this off.”

From 6 feet out, you could just make out a smile, clear as the daybreak. Even from beneath the mask.


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Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park opening for the season on Thursday

Trail Ridge Road, the scenic route that takes visitors through Rocky Mountain National Park, is opening for the season Thursday.

The road historically opens Memorial Day, although snowplowing operations can lead to earlier or later openings. This year, the park was also in the middle of adjusting to the coronavirus outbreak. A reservation system to enter the park also goes into effect on Thursday.

RELATED: Rocky Mountain National Park to start requiring online reservations during the coronavirus outbreak

The park warned visitors to prepare for icy conditions as the snow melts and freezes at night. Rapidly changing weather conditions might lead to temporary nighttime closures.

You can check on the road’s status by calling a recording, at 970-586-1222.

The Alpine Visitor center will not open until the end of July. The park is tentatively planning to open the Trail Ridge Store on June 15. Vault toilets will be open.

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Lakes at Cherry Creek, Chatfield state parks reaching capacity even on weekdays

Because boaters were turned away at Cherry Creek and Chatfield state parks last weekend after both lakes reached capacity, we have some advice for eager sailors on how to avoid driving all the way out there for naught.

“The best way to avoid being turned away is to come out early or boat at the end of the day,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Jason Clay wrote in an email. “This past weekend was really full, and we turned some people away, but we let people in later in the day. By about 10 or 11 a.m. is when things start filling up and we have to implement closures.”

Swim beaches at both parks remain closed.

Chatfield and Cherry Creek often reach capacity for boating on summer weekends and holidays, Clay said, but they have been reaching capacity on weekdays lately as well. Boaters are advised to check for updates on park websites or social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter. They also can call the park before hitching up the boat trailer.

“Boaters could also look at other options outside of Chatfield or Cherry Creek,” Clay said. “Jackson Lake State Park has similar amenities. It is roughly 45 minutes outside of the Denver metro area. If you are willing to go further, North Sterling State Park is another option.”

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Sidney Crosby condemns George Floyd’s death and racism ‘in all forms’

San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane specifically urged Crosby to say something about George Floyd late last month.


Alabama Theatre needs donations after damages from Sunday night

BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) — The historic Alabama Theatre in Downtown Birmingham has been around since 1927, but it’s history didn’t save it from damage from this past Sunday night.

“Because of so much exterior glass broken, we had to board up all of the windows and doors on the outside of the building,” Venue Manager Cindy Mullins said. “And that cost has already totaled about seven thousand dollars.”

Birmingham Landmarks Inc. owns the theater, The Lyric across the street and other historic buildings in the area.  They had been asking for donations from the community since the COVID-19 outbreak halted their operation. But now after the latest damages, Mullins said their budget is feeling more strain than ever.

Fortunately, none of the theatres unique features were damaged.

Birmingham Landmarks is a nonprofit company and relies on their performances for operational costs. Which is why they’re leaning on the community for help.

“With more than 60 events cancelled between our two theaters, we have already been in a very tight financial position,” Mullins said.

While the theater owners are under financial stress, there is no threat of The Magic City losing them, according to Mullins.

“We are in a good position right now,” Mullins said. We’ve been very responsible with our spending and making it last as long as we can but we definitely need help”

If you’d like to donate you can visit the Alabama Theatre website where you will see the ‘donate now’ button.


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Three days remain for UAH Tennis teams to reach GoFundMe goal

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – When UAH made its athletic cuts, student-athletes and coaches were devastated. The Hockey team was saved after fans and alumni raised the funds necessary to bring the program back. Men’s and Women’s teams are hoping for the same result. Former and current players are working together to raise $150 thousand by June 5th and they need your help.

Rocco DiSangro: When you heard the news that UAH was going to cut both those programs, what was your initial reaction?

Presley Thomas: initially I thought it was so unexpected we didn’t have a warning, so my first reaction was what now because most of us tennis is a huge part of our lives and like me I’m in the middle of my college experience and so I didn’t know where to go next if I should stay at the school that I love without tennis which is a big part of my life or try to find somewhere else and make a new home so it was difficult. 

Sarah Stearman: At first I was just I can’t believe other players future players wouldn’t have that experience that I had and it was a huge part. I’ve been engineering so it’s a big engineering place and I thought other tennis players wouldn’t get that opportunity. 

RD: You both seemed like you jumped right into action got this gofundme page started. What is the ultimate goal out of this? 

PT: Well I think the ultimate goal was to let the community know that we’re going to do something about this because tennis is definitely a big part of our lives and a big part of everyone in the communities lives as well.

SS: Yeah and I think it was really sad for us and for tennis players but also for UAH Athletics and we wanted to show that we really care and we’re hoping that if there’s enough community backing we could get the program back up and started then hopefully that it would be possible for the UAH Athletics department to not have to cut these programs. 

RD: 150 Thousand dollars is a lot of money but this is possible by June 5th. How successful has it been so far?

PT: I think we’re really impressed by the initial reaction we’ve gotten from everybody. The page already has 500 shares and its been 24 hours and its amazing to see how many donations roll in just like at the beginning of this process so I’m excited to see where it will go over the next few days because we do have limited time but I’m positive about it. 

SS: Yeah and we reached out to Athletic Club Alabama and they’re a big supporter of UAH Tennis and we went up there and they said yeah we’ll put it on our mailing list we’ll get the message out and they did it this morning and we’ve already seen quite a few donations roll in so we’re optimistic about it. It’s really nice to see how the community supports us.

You can donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/uah-tennis-saving-the-program


Gyms may soon reopen in Colorado if the state approves proposed guidance

Gyms would be allowed to reopen for groups of 10 at a time if the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment adopts rules it has posted in draft form for public comment.

The public has until Wednesday at noon to comment. The new guidance will be announced on Thursday.

The proposed rules under consideration include:

  • Personal training groups of four or less would continue to be allowed.
  • Indoor “recreators” in groups of 10 at a time would be permitted, provided they maintain 6-foot distancing. (Note: Several counties, including Douglas and Larimer, already have state variances governing gym operations.)
  • Reservation systems would be recommended when feasible “to space out and limit recreators.”
  • Use of shared equipment would be discouraged and all equipment would need to be disinfected between each use.
  • Restrooms and showers would remain open but access to lockers would be closed “to reduce congregation in enclosed spaces.”
  •  Ventilation should be maximized using fans and open windows, where possible.
  •  Hand sanitizers would have to be provided.
  • Staff and patrons would be asked to wear face coverings “when they can do so safely.”
  • Employees would be subject to symptom and temperature checks. Symptomatic employees would be referred to the CDPHE symptom tracker.

CDPHE also is soliciting public input on proposed rules for outdoor recreation. As with the gym guidelines, deadline for public comment is at noon Wednesday.

Many gyms have already been taking steps to improve safety, including the use of potent disinfectants and a 30 minutes between classes to clean.

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Canadians OK with Stanley Cup being awarded off home ice: survey

It looks like hockey fans will be able to cheer on their favourite NHL team this summer but Canadians have issued a collective shrug about whether the Stanley Cup is hoisted on their home ice.


Colorado may start allowing guided groups for fishing, biking, climbing and other outdoor recreation

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is soliciting public input on a draft of proposed rules regarding outdoor recreation with new Safer at Home guidelines due to be finalized on Thursday.

The invitation to public comment came as Gov. Jared Polis issued an executive order on Monday relaxing restrictions on “high-risk” Coloradans — those 65 years old and older, along with those who have underlying health conditions — who were previously required to stay at home due to COVID-19. Monday’s executive order says they are now “encouraged” to enjoy the Colorado outdoors, with social distancing, while staying at home “as much as possible.”

The draft guidance for outdoor recreation would allow unguided outdoor recreation of any kind for groups of up to 10 people. It would allow guided groups for fishing, biking, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, climbing and other activities for groups of up to 10. River outfitters, rafting and Jeep tours could occur if parties in boats or Jeeps were limited to household members.

The draft also includes a long list of rules for operators and recreators to follow. The public has until noon on Wednesday to weigh in.

Regarding the relaxation of at-risk people recreating outdoors, Monday’s executive order says “vulnerable individuals” should “stay at home or in the vast, great outdoors away from others as much as possible” while continuing to limit social interactions, maintaining 6-foot distancing and wearing face coverings. Vulnerable individuals include those 65 or older along with individuals with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma, serious heart conditions, those who are immunocompromised, pregnant women and those “determined to be high risk by a licensed healthcare provider.”

“Our state has some of the most beautiful natural open spaces in the world and we want Coloradans to enjoy our vast, great outdoors,” Polis said in a news release. “Coloradans have to remain diligent, and must continue staying home or in the great outdoors away from others as much as possible, wearing masks when we leave the house, and washing our hands. Over these next few weeks, each and every one of us has a responsibility to protect ourselves and others, especially as we begin venturing out onto our trails and open space.”

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Former Stampeder Jon Cornish never experienced racism in Calgary ‘until last week’

Speaking candidly about racism, Cornish said, “it is here. It’s not like this is some issue that’s far away.”


After postponing, Bolder Boulder decides to officially cancel 2020 race

Citing ongoing concerns over COVID-19 and uncertainty over when it will be safe for runners to gather in large crowds, officials of the Bolder Boulder have scrapped plans to run the postponed race on Labor Day and canceled it for this year.

“It’s the most difficult decision we have ever had to make,” said race director Cliff Bosley. “At the core of the decision is the health and safety of our participants and the community. That’s paramount.”

On March 16, race officials announced a postponement of the annual Memorial Day race. Ten days later, they said they would try to run the race on Labor Day. But now they have decided that that is not feasible.

“In the eleven or twelve weeks that have passed, there are still a lot of unknowns that really have health and safety implications,” Bosley said. “The state is still under orders for no gatherings larger than 10 people. The closer we get to Labor Day, the more that landscape makes it difficult to consider staging the race.”

The Bolder Boulder, which dates back to 1979, typically attracts about 45,000 runners, ranking it as the fourth-largest running race in the United States. More than 14,000 runners were already signed up for this year’s race when Bosley suspended registration in March. Those runners are now automatically re-registered for next year’s race at no additional cost and will receive their race packets through the mail, including whatever shirt package they selected.

They also have the option of deferring their registration to 2022 or beyond.

About 14,500 people in the U.S. as well as in 21 other countries signed up to run the Bolder Boulder virtually last week, Bosley said, with nearly 600 of them running on the streets of Boulder on Memorial Day. Some residents with homes along the race course kept their Memorial Day rituals intact, making signs and keeping water hoses at the ready. Some ran as families, and many of the runners ran all the way up the steep climb to the entryway to Folsom Field — the traditional finish of the race — and posed for pictures at a locked gate there.

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Yoga studios, boutique fitness not sure if they’ll be able to make it through coronavirus closures

Contemplating existential threats confronting the boutique fitness industry in the wake of COVID-19, Patrick Harrington finds a lesson in savasana, the “Corpse Pose” that typically brings yoga classes to a close.

“The reason that pose is practiced as often as it is — every single time — is because, philosophically, if you’re not willing to face your own death and let go of the parts that aren’t working in order for you to be reborn when you stand back up off the mat, life is really hard,” said Harrington, the founder of Kindness Yoga with nine locations in the Denver area. “I’m embracing every day dying a little death around the future of our business, because it’s unknown. Will boutique fitness make it? Will people come back?”

The degree to which members will come back when gyms reopen is a question vexing the entire fitness industry, but boutique studios face special challenges. By definition, they are smaller than big-name, big-box gyms, so conducting classes with social distancing severely limits the number of people they can serve in a given class. Often they are small privately owned businesses with high overhead costs, especially in Denver with its steep real estate prices.

RELATED: Denver gyms are preparing to reopen. Here’s how they plan to get you sweating safely.

Harrington said some yoga teachers have responded to the shutdown of studios by marketing their own online classes, creating a new source of competition in an industry that already had a lot of it.

“The average profit margin for a yoga studio is 7%,” Harrington said. “That’s a very thin margin, and it relied upon maximum occupancy. If you don’t have a business where you can have maximum occupancy, you don’t have a business. We are having to negotiate with all of our landlords and/or walk away, and/or declare bankruptcy because the opportunity to be four walls where people come together and spiritualize, practice yoga, work out, is no longer an advantage. It’s actually a disadvantage. All the risk the entrepreneurs took to become a boutique fitness location, there’s no upside to our risk anymore, at all. What used to be an upside potential for the risk has now shifted to be a complete downside.”

Danielle Barbeau, the sole owner of The River Yoga’s two Denver locations, says she is optimistic by nature and ”hopefully not naïve” regarding the future of boutique fitness. She is going forward with construction on a third studio but concedes it is an act of hope.

“I don’t think the boutique industry is dead by any means,” Barbeau said. “I do think it’s in a space of some transformation, and I don’t think everyone is going to survive this.”

Corina Lindley owns six Denver Endorphin studios and another in Eagle that offer yoga, barre, indoor cycling, high-intensity training and strength training. Having founded the business in 2007, she once had 11 studios but closed five in the past four years because of competition from national chains. She calls Endorphin, which she co-owns with her husband, a “creative passion project,” but even before COVID-19, there were times when she wondered if it was worth it.

“We’ve never had a year when it’s been so financially bad that we’ve decided to quit, but we’ve had plenty of years when we almost did,” Lindley said. “It’s the community that keeps us together, the faces and the emails that say, ‘Thank you for doing what you’re doing’ that keep us going.”

Lindley has been working 18-hour days since Colorado gyms closed in March, trying to hold her company together.

“I think that’s what it’s going to take,” Lindley said. “Hopefully that kind of work ethic is going to help take these boutique gyms into survival and success. We hope there’s enough people who still want that type of environment to work out. We feel strongly that we will survive. What that looks like going forward, we don’t know.”

Barbeau believes the fragmented boutique industry needed to “organize and professionalize” itself even before COVID-19.

“Now we are being challenged to organize and think ahead about what is going to make this industry sustainable for entrepreneurs and for individuals,” Barbeau said. “We as business owners are going to have to look at how do we increase our margins, how do we diversify our revenue streams, and how do we bring value in different ways to people who are willing to stick with us.”

Barbeau is investing in high-quality video technology for online classes, acknowledging that it’s a gamble while hoping members find it a lot more appealing than “Joe Schmo who is filming with his iPhone in his living room,” she said. The River is currently streaming five live classes daily, and on June 1 she will launch an on-demand membership site.

“That will be like Netflix for yoga classes, where you can get on at any time, you can pick which kind of class you want, and off you go,” Barbeau said. “We’re hoping a long-term investment in that will be another way to support our people, even once they can come back into the studio.”

There is still the dilemma that the appeal of boutique fitness is based in part on the social benefits of working out in groups, but COVID-19 isolates people who pursue fitness. Even after restrictions on gatherings are relaxed, some will be reluctant to return to group workouts.

Lindley can speak to the health side of the issue, having founded her studios following a career in public health where she worked in HIV, chronic disease and obesity prevention. She has a master’s degree in public health and epidemiology.

“We are human and social and connecting beings,” Lindley said. “This is a virus that is not going away. With the population of under 40, or even under 50, the mortality rate is very low. Yeah, it’s a little bit more than the flu, but we also have to live our lives and get on with things. The economic and mental and psychological effects of not going to the gym, I think, way out-weigh the risk of potentially getting COVID in these populations.”

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Love of hockey kept Saskatchewan referee officiating for nearly 45 years

After nearly 45 years of officiating hockey, Bruce Skilliter officiated his last SJHL game in November 2019.


Coronavirus: Evraz Place using quiet time to improve Co-operators Centre

Evraz Place is using COVID-19 downtime to upgrade its facilities, including a major lighting project at the Co-operators Centre.


Exclusive: UAH President, others share thoughts on UAH Hockey program

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Hockey Program at UAH has been saved for at least one season, thanks to community support. This is huge news for a program that the university announced was canceled just one week ago.

Shortly after learning of the successful fundraising, UAH President Darren Dawson sat down with Sports Director Rocco DiSangro to share a little insight into why he decided to work with the fundraising group to try to save the program.

Former UAH hockey player Jared Ross also stopped by the WHNT News 19 studios to share his thoughts on the program:

Let’s not forget about the program’s history. Joe Rich, who was the first hockey coach in the UAH program, has kindly been dubbed “the founder” of UAH hockey. He and Mike Segrest, whose family had a financial hand in helping start the program, also came by the studio.


UAH Hockey supporters say they’ve hit their fundraising goal

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Supporters who are fighting to save UAH’s hockey program say they’ve raised enough funding to keep the program alive.

A Twitter account associated with the effort to keep the school from eliminating the program tweeted Friday that it had hit its $500,000 fundraising goal.

Supporters of the program said they reached a deal with the school that if $1 million was raised, the program could stay.

According to their GoFundMe page, enough commitments had been made for the rest of the $1 million if the GoFundMe reached $500,000. It stood at just over $508,000 Friday afternoon.

UAH announced last week it was eliminating hockey and tennis as part of budget measures it needed to take because of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Closed for public health safety, loss of Saskatchewan recreation spaces felt by families

Indoor and outdoor recreation and entertainment facilities will be allowed to reopen in phase 4 of the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan, which still has no set date.


Rocky Mountain National Park to start requiring online reservations during the coronavirus outbreak

Rocky Mountain National Park is adding an online reservation system that visitors must use if they want to access the park in an attempt to mitigate crowds during the coronavirus outbreak.

The new “timed entry system,” as the park is calling it, goes into effect June 4. It’s only temporary, though, and will be removed later on as the park gradually reopens.

“We are eager to welcome visitors back to their national park,” Superintendent Darla Sidles said in a press statement. “This system will more safely manage the pace and flow of visitor use, reduce crowding, and provide an improved visitor experience in alignment with the park’s safe operational capacity.”

RELATED: As Rocky Mountain National Park starts to reopen this week, here’s what will be available and what won’t

RMNP reopened its gates on Wednesday. The reopening comes during what is typically the park’s busy season, which lasts from late May to early October.

This new system will allow roughly 13,500 visitors a day, according to the park. RMNP is only opening 60% of its parking, which comes out to 4,800 vehicles a day. Park staff will be monitoring the new reservation system, though, and adapt it when necessary.

Notably, bicyclists will not have to worry about making a reservation. They will still have to pay a typical daily permit fee, though.

How reservations will work

Anyone hoping to visit the park will have to make a reservation, which comes in two-hour windows available from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Although you must arrive within that window, there is no time limit on how long you can be in the park.

Reservations can only be made online at recreation.gov or through the national parks’ app. Make sure to print out a copy of your permit, especially if going to an outlying area of the park, where permits will need to be placed on the dashboard.

Reservation dates will become available in rolling chunks. For example, starting Thursday, May 28, you can make reservations for June 4 through July 31. On July 1, August dates will become available. On Aug. 1, September dates will become available. So on and so forth.

This new system isn’t completely tossing last-minute park trips, though. Ten percent of a day’s total reservations will only go on sale two days ahead of time, and they’ll stay available up until the time slot — unless the day sells out. 

A typical reservation comes with a $2 fee on top of the daily $25 permit or park pass. If you have a camping reservation, that will count as your reservation. 

Find more information about the new reservations on the Rocky Mountain National Park website.

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Oilers GM waiting for details from NHL, looking forward to showdown with Chicago

"There might be a little rust in the first game or two."


Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto hope to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The Edmonton Oilers are among the teams trying to convince the NHL that their city is the right spot to host 12 teams as part of a plan to complete the 2019-20 season and award the Stanley Cup.


Canadian cities won’t be chosen as NHL hubs if players must quarantine in hotel rooms: league

Vancouver, Toronto and Edmonton are all being considered by the league as it looks to re-start play as early as July.


NHL adopts 24-team playoff format if it can resume season

The NHL announced Tuesday it will abandon the rest of the regular season and go straight into the playoffs with 24 teams instead of 16 if it is able to resume play.

Commissioner Gary Bettman said the decision is not a guarantee that games are coming back. The NHL and the NHL Players’ Association must still figure out health and safety protocols and solve other issues, including where to play.

Still, ironing out a format represents significant progress since global sports were basically shut down in March as the coronavirus outbreak turned into a pandemic. Bettman has said the goal has always been to play again and award the Stanley Cup, but details remain uncertain and there is no announced timetable of any kind.

Earlier this week, the league and NHLPA issued extensive protocols once players are allowed to return to their facilities. They include a maximum of six players on the ice at a time, no contact and no coaches for voluntary workouts. Teams at some point would likely hold three-week re-training camps.

Instead of limiting the Cup chase to the usual 16 teams that qualify for the playoffs, the league and players agreed to expand the field to 24 of its 31 teams because of the unusual circumstances.

That means the likes of the Montreal Canadiens are still alive despite being nine points out of a playoff spot when hockey was halted March 12. But not all teams will have the same path to hockey’s storied trophy.

The top four teams in each conference ranked by points percentage — Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington and Philadelphia in the East and St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas and Dallas in the West — will play separate round-robin tournaments to determine seeding.

The remaining 16 teams will be seeded by conference, setting up best-of-five series in the East of No. 5 Pittsburgh vs. No. 12 Montreal, No. 6 Carolina vs. No. 11 New York Rangers, No. 7 New York Islanders vs. No. 10 Florida and No. 8 Toronto vs. No. 9 Columbus. In the West, it would be No. 5 Edmonton vs. No. 12 Chicago, No. 6 Nashville vs. No. 11 Arizona, No. 7 Vancouver vs. No. 10 Minnesota and No. 8 Calgary vs. No. 9 Winnipeg.

Those games are expected to be played without fans in a few locations. The league has not yet determined those sites, though Edmonton, Alberta, Columbus, Ohio, Toronto and Las Vegas were believed to be among the possibilities.

“It’s not easy getting everybody on board with all the different countries, the players, the teams that were in the playoffs, teams that may not be in the playoffs and getting that all agreed upon with the union,” Buffalo Sabres owner Kim Pegula told The Associated Press. “For us to even finish the season and award (the Stanley Cup), I know a lot of work went into it. But I know how important it was for our players, our fans, our league to make sure that we conclude it.”

The decision to call off the 189 regular-season games that were not played ends the season for Buffalo, New Jersey, Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, Ottawa and Detroit.


Coronavirus: NHL to abandon regular season, go to new playoff format if play resumes

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the decision is not a guarantee that games are coming back.


‘Friends of UAH Hockey’ seeks community support to save the team

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – There’s a community movement to save Hockey at UAH. Organizers say all it will take is $500,000 of donations from the community.

This after UAH Announced the elimination of its hockey program last Friday.

A Twitter account that goes by the name of “Friends of UAH Hockey” announced a deal with UAH that stems on the ability to raise $1-million by Friday, May 29. That account then shared a GoFundMe account that has a goal of raising $500,000.

The GoFundMe page says it was set up by “UAH Hockey Alumni and Supporters.” In the post, it says that they have already had alumni, booster club members and life-time supporters to match the donations if the GoFundMe account reaches $500,000.

There is also a note in the fundraiser that says if the program isn’t re-instated, the donations will be fully refunded.

As of 3:25 p.m. on Tuesday, just 31 house after the account was created, the donations added up to just over $109k.


Colorado state parks just became the coolest kid in school — but my mom was right, popularity isn’t all that

It’s not your imagination: Parks really are that busy.

Colorado state parks saw a large uptick in visitors in March as businesses around the state shut down and national parks closed in response to the coronavirus outbreak. After setting a new record high in March, early data suggests that those high visitation numbers continued into April.

The influx of people has put new demands on parks, with some shuffling of rangers and staff to tackle new needs, from safety concerns to trail destruction. And as the state slowly begins to reopen, one question remains: Will parks remain incredibly busy all summer long, or will the gradual reopening of businesses, gyms, drive-ins and bars and restaurants draw these new users away?

“We’re kind of in uncharted territory now,” Kirstin Copeland, park manager at Ridgway State Park, said this week.

State parks saw nearly 875,000 visitors in March, notably higher than the roughly 624,000 visitors during the same month last year, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife data. (Preliminary numbers for March visitation are still missing from three parks.) March drew more visitors than the park has seen in one month in at least five years, according to CPW data. 

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To be clear, state parks already were seeing more visitors this year compared to the past five, but the jump in visitors between February and March was notably higher than usual. From 2015 to 2019, park visitation on average grew 39% between February and March. This year, it grew 53%.

Preliminary data show a similar trend in April, with state parks recording at least 1,017,519 visitors last month, making it the second-highest April in the past five years. (April 2018 saw roughly 51,000 more visitors). But almost half of the parks haven’t yet reported April visitor numbers. It’s not a huge leap to imagine this April jumping into the No. 1 spot once data becomes available from all parks.

But we really didn’t need the data to know visitation was up. A chat with friends, a scroll through Instagram or a peek at Facebook already suggested that seemingly everyone (and their mothers, too) were flooding to the outdoors. And let’s not forget the news stories about outdoor areas shutting down because of large crowds and Front Range open spaces begging people to become better stewards as overuse causes destruction of parks.

“You can’t go to the movies, you can’t go to a concert, you can’t go to a church,” Copeland said. “All those other things people would normally be doing got eliminated.”

So families are picking up fishing again. Boaters are flocking to open water. And hikers are hitting the trails.

It’s not always fun to be the popular girl

Ridgway State Park views itself as a destination park, serving as base camp for the Ouray, Telluride and Silverton areas, and is a roughly five-hour drive from Denver (on a good traffic day), Copeland said. Its distance has helped it escape the destructive inundation Front Range areas have seen, she said. But that doesn’t mean park employees haven’t noticed a change.

From late March to mid-May, Copeland estimated that day-use at the park was up about 30% compared to the same period last year. The park has completed 960 boat inspections this year compared to 316 last year. And this past weekend, the park’s main gate saw more revenue than last year’s Fourth of July, which itself was a record, despite its swim beaches remaining closed.

But despite an increase in revenue from daily attendance, in other areas, revenue has fallen sharply.

Ridgway makes most of its money from its roughly 300 campsites, so overall revenue has been “undoubtedly” down as CPW closed all campsites from late March to mid-May to help cut down on travel from both Coloradans and out-of-state tourists, Copeland said.

RELATED: Camping can resume at Colorado state parks. Here’s what you need to know.

Park rangers are taking on new responsibilities — like gate duty or handing out life jackets — as they try to adapt to changing demands.

“I don’t know if it’s sustainable because there are a lot of little things that have been put to the side,” Copeland said, noting that she hopes rangers can soon resume typical job duties.

Even the personalities of people visiting parks seems to be shifting, Copeland said. Typically, park users roll with the flow. A trail is closed? No problem, they’ll hike another. A credit card kiosk is down? Not an issue, they’ll drive up the road to get cash. But these days, people don’t seem to have the emotional capacity to be flexible.

Copeland made sure to clarify that the vast majority of users are characteristically pleasant. And if rangers sometimes bear the brunt of stressed users’ anger, well, it’s part of their job to help people.

What’s coming?

Going forward, Copeland said she’s not sure what to expect as national parks and the rest of the state gradually reopen.

So far, Ridgway’s boating numbers have remained high despite a nearby reservoir reopening, and the park expects it to stay that way.  Campsites reopened last weekend, so the park is expecting higher than usual occupancy in June, she added. (And if demographics for Memorial Weekend suggest anything, the majority of those campers are from Colorado, as there have been fewer out-of-state reservations than usual.)

“Maybe if more things open, we may see a drop in day-use,” Copeland said, before clarifying that the park likely wouldn’t see a drop in camping. “Maybe some new users are hooked now. They bought a paddleboard and this is their new thing. I’m not sure.

“Sometimes,” she said, “people get new norms out of unusual circumstances.”

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Saskatoon hockey team sets up tribute for Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey

The Western Canada Montreal Canadiens Fan Club hockey team has set up a tribute for Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey in its dressing room.


Ontario’s Stewart Friesen ready to get back to racing at NC Education Lottery 200

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., native Stewart Friesen says the lack of NASCAR races have given him time to get used to the new Toyota he's driving this season.


Entire rodeo season, including Canadian Finals Rodeo, in question due to COVID-19

This is rodeo season and it's the time that athletes make their money. But with events already cancelled through August, things aren't looking good for the Canadian Finals Rodeo.


Coronavirus: NHL aims to move to Phase 2 of return to play protocol in early June

The NHL is hoping to move to Phase 2 of its return-to-play protocol, including the opening of practice facilities and allowing small group workouts, early next month.


Coronavirus: SaskTel Centre aims to break attendance record — virtually

The record was set on Sept. 15, 2018, when 16,874 fans packed SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon for Metallica’s WorldWired Tour.


Vote for your dream Calgary Flames’ all-time starting lineup in our online fantasy draft

Vote in our polls to help us build our Calgary Flames all-time starting lineup.


Petition launched to save UAH hockey program

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – After UAH announced its decision to eliminate hockey, an online petition was started to urge university officials to keep the program.

Tyler Curtis started the petition Friday. Though he said he was never a student at UAH, Curtis traces his love for the sport back to the Chargers’ program.

“Personally I would have never known about hockey if it were not for UAH Chargers Hockey,” Curtis said in the petition. “I lived in a very rural area of Tennessee. Fell in love with hockey because of UAH and the Channel Cats. I played for 6 years. We had clinics provided by UAH. My checking clinic and goaltending clinic was done by UAH coaches and players. I had a pair of jeans that was signed by the team one season. My whole family loves UAH hockey. Sometimes more than the hockey.”

UAH said it is discontinuing its hockey as well as its men’s and women’s tennis programs as cost-cutting measures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of 4 p.m. Saturday, the website says the petition has received more than 2,100 signatures with a goal of 2,500.


Coronavirus: NBA in talks with Disney to resume season at site in Florida

An NBA spokesman said the conversations were still ``exploratory,'' and that the Disney site would be used for practices and housing as well.


Canadian NHL teams offer season ticket holders varied refund options amid COVID-19

In a four-day span May 13-16, all seven teams contacted their season-ticket bases with options and, in some cases, deadlines to make a decision.


NHL awaits player feedback on 24-team playoff format before deciding league’s next steps

With the NHL Players' Association executive board could release the results of its vote as early as Friday, but numerous questions remain whatever the decision is.