Burlington School District interim superintendent and team resign

first_imgVermont Business Magazine The three-person team that has run the Burlington School District said they will quit November 10 and return to their regular duties because of the way they’ve been treated by the Burlington School Board. In a letter sent to Board Chairman Patrick Halladay and made public today by Interim Superintendent Stephanie Philips on behalf of her and colleagues Paul Irish and Nikki Fuller, she said that the Board was disrespectful and inattentive to the needs of the three-person team running the district while a permanent superintendent is being sought. The three are ranking staff members in the District.In the letter, Phillips said: “Some Board members have little understanding, concern or respect for the work the interim administrative team has faced.” She said public comments and emails “malign” administrators. “This behavior,” she said, “only serves to expand the ‘us versus them’ culture.”Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, who has no authority over the school district, issued a terse statement following the announcement, and called the latest development “unacceptable.” He previously had reached out to help in the transition to a new superintendent, which the Board declined. The District has suffered several setbacks over the last few years, concluding with the forced resignation of its previous superintendent earlier this year. Jeanne Collins agreed to step down in June. She was hired by the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union in May.The District has suffered through the well publicized scandal of a teacher having an inappropriate relationship with a student, diversity problems, and, earlier this year, the school budget was defeated and an auditor found that the District had been running an unacknowledged $2.5 million deficit for three years. Mayor Miro Weinberger Statement about School District Leadership”As Mayor, I am committed, above all, to the children in our community, as well as to our parents and our teachers.”I am frustrated and disappointed that the School Board and interim schools administration have not been able to come together and move forward during this challenging time.”This is unacceptable. Burlingtonians will not tolerate this failure of leadership, which puts our children’s education at risk.”Within my authority as Mayor, I can offer no easy answers – the School Board is independently elected and selects our superintendent. “Upon hearing today’s news, I immediately spoke with School Board Chair Patrick Halladay and State Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe to ensure that all appropriate actions are being taken to protect the children and parents who will be impacted by today’s announcement and resulting events.”Last spring, I offered to help the schools manage their leadership transition. That offer was politely declined, but I will repeat it today. We are part of a shared community, and the City is here to provide any reasonable assistance it can to the Board in accomplishing the immediate tasks before it: recruiting and appointing an interim superintendent and selecting the next superintendent.”It is important that we act decisively, but not precipitously, in a way that moves our community forward.”Finally, I am very grateful to the teachers, principals, and staff in all our schools who have continued their excellent work with students this school year, despite the uncertainty at the top of the district.  The importance of that work cannot be understated – we are fortunate to have such committed and talented educators in our City.”RELATED STORIES:Burlington School District to deal with ongoing deficits, IRS problemStephanie Phillips named acting superintendent of Burlington School DistrictBurlington Elementary School teacher named 2015 Vermont Teacher of the YearStatement from Secretary of Education Holcombe“The Agency has been monitoring and will continue to monitor the situation in Burlington to ensure appropriate processes are in place, and appropriate efforts being made, to get the Burlington School District through its current crisis. We will respond as warranted, will provide support as requested, and are available to assist the district in its search for an interim superintendent.“The Burlington School District Board needs to put aside any individual agendas, and put the focus back on kids and putting in place the people and processes that will enable the schools and students to thrive. The board needs to move as quickly as possible to post a search for an interim superintendent, and work quickly and responsibly to get a high-quality individual in place.“Above all, the board needs to recommit to the integrity and efficiency of a search for a new full-time superintendent, and commit to getting behind the new superintendent so he or she can do the important work of serving the children of Burlington.“We offer our profound thanks to the staff who have kept the schools running and are working hard for the benefit of the students, despite the turnover.“last_img read more

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Inntopia launches Cloud Express

first_img“We put a huge amount of focus on data cleansing, deduping, and integrating every data source possible, so the guest profiles that exist in Marketing Cloud are second to none,” said Inntopia’s CEO, Trevor Crist. “But until now, only marketing had easy access to those profiles. With Cloud Express, accessing all of this data is now one click away for your front desk or call center, giving them powerful guest insight in the exact moment they need it.”The profiles include the typical data with a guest-service twist. For example, a front-desk agent welcoming a family will not only see their name and photo, but a glanceable view at key moments such as whether it’s someone’s birthday or anniversary as well as previous requests, customer notes from prior stays, their loyalty status, how long it’s been since their last visit, and lifetime spend.Cloud Express will first be available on Inntopia’s own CRS with two PMS partners following soon after. The integration will display a link within a guest’s record that, when clicked, will open that guest’s CRM profile in a new window complete with householded data, social profile information, survey and spend history, past transactions, and more.“It’s often been said that every member of your team is part of marketing because of their direct, face-to-face contact with every guest that walks through your door,” said Ben Zeeb, Inntopia’s SVP of Marketing Cloud. “Your marketing team already knows how critical a clean, complete guest profile can be when talking to guests at scale, and now Cloud Express will give every member of your team that same realization once they see how insightful certain information can be when engaging with guests one-on-one.”The initial concept of Cloud Express was built in partnership with Two Roads Hospitality who recently chose Inntopia to roll out a custom CRM, automation, and lifecycle messaging platform across most of their North American properties.About InntopiaInntopia is an integrated commerce, marketing, and intelligence platform based in Stowe, VT. Driven by a powerful one-cart booking system that allows rooms and activities to be sold side-by-side no matter the system in which they originate, the addition of a marketing CRM and forward-looking benchmarking system in 2016 have made the company one of the fastest-growing technology providers in hospitality. The company also has offices in Portland, ME, Denver and Edwards, CO, and Burlington, VT, and is proud to work with brands such as Two Roads Hospitality, Vail Resorts, The Grand America, and PGA Tour Experiences.Source: STOWE, VT, July 17, 2018 – Inntopia,Yes Inntopia,Vermont Business Magazine Stowe-based Inntopia announced today the release of Cloud Express(link is external), a system that gives front-desk and call-center agents one-click access to complete guest profiles directly from their CRS or PMS. Built as a bridge between Inntopia’s award-winning Marketing Cloud and Commerce technologies, Cloud Express takes the complete guest profiles once reserved only for the marketing team and puts them into the hands of a hotel’s or resort’s entire team.last_img read more

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Bike logos a go-go at London 2012!

first_imgAccording to a release today from the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI), bicycle frames at the London 2012 Olympics may carry a brand logo size on both sides of the frame as ‘commercially available and/or used in UCI races’.This agreement on the display of brand logos at the London 2012 Olympics is the successful result of negotiations between the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) and the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).“We are very happy for the entire bicycle industry to have reached this agreement with the IOC,” said Robbert de Kock, Secretary General of the WFSGI. “The fact that the bicycle brands can use the same logo size as used in UCI races gives them the right visibility.”He added, “It shows that the collaborative efforts between the sporting goods industry and the international sports federations are proving to be successful and efficient.”The rules initially published by the IOC in the ‘Guidelines regarding authorised identifications’ would have allowed for a maximum size of the frame logo of 60cm² only. The new rule is a modification of the size of the brand logo and has to be seen in relation to the existing guidelines, which do still remain valid.In case of doubt or further questions on the branding of frames or bicycle products at the Olympic Games brands are advised to contact the WFSGI.www.wfsgi.org www.uci.ch www.olympic.org Relatedlast_img read more

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Childhood adversity linked to reduced inhibitory control and alterations in key brain networks

first_imgPinterest Share on Twitter Share on Facebook LinkedIn New research suggests that exposure to childhood adversity is associated with reduced cognitive control and alterations in key brain networks. The findings, which appear in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, could help explain the link between childhood adversity and depression.“My work focuses on how we can use objective biomarkers to aid in clinical decision making,” said study author Scott A. Langenecker of the University of Utah. “One challenging clinical decision point is what to do when individuals have recovered from a depressive episode. Do we continue treatment? Do we exercise regular check-ins? Or do we just wait and see?” center_img Email Share “As depressive episodes can sneak up on people and as they may interfere with help-seeking, it may be better to have objective tools to predict risk for recurrence of depression, so that we can provide a higher level of follow-up care and preventative treatments (or maintenance therapy) for these individuals. As about half of those with remitted depression will have recurrence in a year or two, this could be a very useful clinical decision tool,” Langenecker explained.The researchers were particularly interested in a component of cognitive control known as inhibitory control — meaning the ability to stop a hasty reflexive response. “Cognitive control impairment is associated with depression and has been observed in the remitted phase of illness,” the researchers wrote.In the study, 53 individuals with remitted major depressive disorder and 40 healthy controls completed a Go/No-Go task measuring inhibitory control. The participants also completed a survey on childhood adversity and current life stress, and underwent a fMRI scanning session to assess gray matter volume and resting state connectivity in the brain.The researchers found that participants who reported higher level of childhood adversity tended to exhibit poorer inhibitory control. This was true in both groups even after controlling for depression symptoms and current stressors.Langenecker and his colleagues also found that childhood adversity was associated with alterations in three important brain networks: the cognitive control network, the salience and emotion network, and the default mode network.“We know that depression is different for each person, and for some it is a recurrent, chronic illness somewhat like diabetes. We should be asking critical questions of our health care systems, insurance companies and providers about how we can better maintain wellness and prevent recurrence,” Langenecker told PsyPost. “Treatment can be preventative and does not need to be reactive. Higher levels of care and proactive prevention can reduce bad outcomes (like relationship problems and divorce, education difficulties, low work productivity and quality (presenteeism), and risk for suicide).”The study — like all research — has some limitations.“The main caveat is that the study has not yet been replicated, and in a larger sample. Many interesting leads like this do not replicate because of subtle differences in the samples used and analysis techniques,” Langenecker explained.“I’d like to encourage individuals who struggle with depression to demand better preventative treatment options and better insurance coverage for these types of biometric tools,” he added. “Ask your care provider what steps they take for evidence-based practice. Ask them to use objective measures of treatment change and empirically based treatments.”The study, “Cognitive control and network disruption in remitted depression: a correlate of childhood adversity“, was authored by Meghan E. Quinn, Jonathan P. Stange, Lisanne M. Jenkins, Samantha Corwin, Sophie R. DelDonno, Katie L. Bessette, Robert C. Welsh, and Scott A. Langenecker.last_img read more

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Women higher in masculine honor beliefs are more likely to endorse their own use of deception to reject romantic advances

first_imgEmail A study recently published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships provides new insights into the relationship between masculine honor beliefs and women’s endorsement of various rejection-related behaviors.The findings indicate that these beliefs are also related to expectations of men’s retaliatory aggression in response to being rejected.“We first became interested in this topic due to unsettling news reports we have read over the past few years regarding women being assaulted –ranging from verbal abuse to physical violence, even death — by men for rejecting or not reciprocating his romantic interest,” said study author Evelyn Stratmoen of Kansas State University. Share on Facebook Share LinkedIncenter_img Pinterest Share on Twitter “While there may be several factors that would explain why men may choose to engage in aggression when responding to romantic rejection, we research social phenomena influenced by adherence to masculine honor beliefs — cultural norms based on the American Southern culture of honor which consist of expectations that men use aggression to defend and uphold their reputation against threats and insults.”“Therefore, we questioned specifically how adherence to masculine honor ideology influences men’s choices to engage (or not engage) in aggression as a response to being romantically rejected.”“Furthermore, we were also interested in how specifically women’s adherence to masculine honor ideology influenced her own behaviors in situations where she does not reciprocate and thus may need to reject a man’s romantic interest – do they choose to be direct in telling a man she’s not interested? Or, do they choose to not be direct, but rather choose to use other ways to avoid rejecting him directly, such as ignoring him, or giving him a false phone number?”“These are avoidant rejection strategies that women tend to use when navigating these types of interactions, and we were interested in examining how their own adherence to masculine honor ideology influenced their use of various rejection strategies.”Stratmoen examined these questions in two studies with 517 undergraduate students in total.In the first study, the researchers assessed the masculine honor beliefs of 194 female undergraduate students before examining how the participants would respond to a hypothetical situation in which they wanted to reject an unwanted romantic advance from a man. The researchers also asked how they thought the man would respond to the rejection.Participants who scored high on the measure of masculine honor beliefs agreed with statements such as “It is important for a man to be able to take pain,” “A man should be embarrassed if someone calls him a wimp,” and “If a man is insulted, his manhood is insulted.”In the second study of 323 undergraduate students, Stratmoen and her colleagues examined the participant’s beliefs about a hypothetical scenario in which a woman rejected a man’s unwanted romantic advance by stating she has a boyfriend.In one version of the scenario, the man learns through a friend that the woman had lied about having a boyfriend. In another version, the man learns that she did not deceive him and was being truthful.“We found people higher in masculine honor beliefs perceive a man being romantically rejected as a threat to his honor (i.e., an insult to him and a threat to his reputation), and women higher in masculine honor beliefs are more likely to endorse their own use of passive/avoidant rejection techniques — including deception (i.e., falsely stating she has a boyfriend),” Stratmoen told PsyPost.“We also found men higher in masculine honor beliefs are more likely to perceive women’s use of deception as a rejection technique as a greater threat to a man’s honor. Furthermore, people overall (regardless of their MHBs) expect men to engage in retaliatory aggression after being rejected when the woman used a deceptive rejection technique.”“Additionally, we found women higher in masculine honor beliefs expressed greater expectations of men to engage in retaliatory aggression against other women when they reject men, regardless if a deceptive rejection technique was used,” Stratmoen said.The researchers were particularly surprised to find that women high in masculine honor beliefs expressed lower expectations of men’s aggression after rejection in the first study, but expressed higher expectations in the second.“An interesting finding — and one that needs to be addressed in future research — was the seemingly contradictory results between our two studies,” Stratmoen explained.“When we examined women’s first-person perspectives in the first study — by asking them what they would do when rejecting a man’s romantic interest — we found women higher in masculine honor beliefs were less likely to expect men to react aggressively against her when she rejects him. However, when we examined third-person perspectives in the second study, we found women higher in MHBs were more likely to expect men to react aggressively against another woman.”“Therefore, this apparent contradiction may be produced by a possible disconnect in personal experiences versus expected potential for men’s retaliatory aggression: perhaps women higher in masculine honor beliefs may not have personally experienced men’s retaliatory aggression when rejecting him, but they do perceive the potential for his aggression, nevertheless,” Stratmoen continued.“This may then explain their endorsement for using deflective — even deceptive — rejection strategies: by not rejecting his romantic advances outright, they are lessening the potential for his retaliatory aggression against them. This is a key question for future research that holds interesting implications.”The study, “‘Sorry, I already have a boyfriend’: Masculine honor beliefs and perceptions of women’s use of deceptive rejection behaviors to avert unwanted romantic advances“, was authored by Evelyn Stratmoen, Emilio D. Rivera, and Donald A. Saucier.last_img read more

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New research uncovers the psychological consequences of daily news exposure

first_imgShare Pinterest After being exposed to negative news, people report more negative affect and less positive affect. This is true even of everyday news, according to a study published in The British Psychological Society.In today’s world, news is everywhere. The authors explain, “People can be updated about the latest developments in the world during the entire day and seven days a week”. Not only is news almost inescapable, but it is predominantly negative. This is concerning since numerous studies have found evidence that negative news leads to unfavorable emotional states.Much of the previous research has looked at reactions to extraordinary news events like terrorist attacks and natural disasters. The recent study wanted to look at whether the same effects would be found for everyday news. Furthermore, researchers wanted to examine why some people appear to be less affected by negative news. They questioned whether personal relevance or the personality traits of neuroticism and extraversion could explain this difference. Share on Twitter LinkedIncenter_img A longitudinal study took place where 63 Dutch adults (aged 18-82) recorded their responses to daily news reports in real-time using an app on their mobile phones. At the start of the study, subjects answered questions designed to measure the traits of extraversion and neuroticism. Participants were then prompted by notifications on their mobile phones at random moments throughout the day and questioned about whether they had seen any recent news reports. Subjects had to record these responses 5 times a day over 10 days.The questionnaire measured positive affect and negative affect using the Maastricht Momentary Mood Questionnaire and cognitive appraisal using an adapted version of the Geneva Appraisal Questionnaire. The cognitive appraisal section included a dimension on personal relevance.As expected, results showed that when everyday news was perceived as more negative, subjects experienced more negative affect and less positive affect. Researchers took this as evidence that news items don’t need to be extreme or shocking to affect people on an emotional level. Next, it was found that people reported more negative affect when negative news items were personally relevant.Those who scored high in neuroticism reported more negative emotions and less positive emotions in response to news. This was not surprising since neuroticism is typically associated with anxiety and negativity in response to everyday stressors. Extraversion, on the other hand, is a trait associated with more positive emotion and less negative emotion across a range of experiences. Interestingly, those scoring high in extraversion reported more positive affect but not less negative affect. This suggests that extraverts experience the same negative emotions in response to negative news as everyone else, but that they don’t allow it to affect their positive emotions.It is clear that news can negatively affect people’s emotions. Future research needs to look more at why some people are more affected by negative news than others. Researchers conclude, “We need to look more carefully at the way (negative) news is presented in the media, as well as the frequency of exposure to the news, in order to prevent people from being negatively affected by it”.The study, “Is the news making us unhappy? The influence of daily news exposure on emotional states”, was authored by Natascha de Hoog and Peter Verboon. Share on Facebook Emaillast_img read more

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Naquin Making Most of Opportunity

first_imgTyler Naquin finally made it to The Show by cracking the Tribe’s Opening Day roster in April, but he frequented the Cleveland-Columbus shuttle for the first two months of the season.  He was only up initially due to Lonnie Chisenhall and Michael Brantley‘s injuries and the PED suspension of Abraham Almonte, but he made quite an impression and got called up for good on June 2.  The 2012 first round pick has not looked back since and has placed himself right in the middle of the AL Rookie of the Year discussion.Whether it’s a chip on his shoulder from being sent down a few times or just adjusting to major league pitching, Naquin has scorched the ball since being recalled on June 2.  Wednesday’s game against Kansas City was a perfect example.  He went 3 for 4 with 2 home runs, a double, 6 RBIs, and a walk.  In 35 games since the call-up, Naquin has batted .327 with 12 dingers and 27 RBIs.While Naquin wasn’t expected to make a big splash this season, his numbers stack up well compared with other AL rookies.  His 12 home runs are tied for first among rookies, and he leads all rookies in triples, slugging percentage, and OPS.  He is second in average (just .005 points off the lead), runs, and on base percentage, and ranks fourth in hits, fifth in RBIs, and sixth in walks among qualified AL rookies.The biggest surprise from all of those numbers is the fact that Naquin is a centerfielder who isn’t supposed to hit for power.  He never hit more than 10 home runs in any minor league season, but has managed to hit 12 in a span of just 36 games.Naquin has built a solid Rookie of the Year resume so far this season, and of course he will most likely hit a slump at some point in the year, but the potential hardware is not nearly as important as what he’s meant to the contending Indians this season.  Naquin, along with Rajai Davis, has provided stability in the Tribe outfield and unexpected pop at the bottom of the order.  While it was unexpected, Naquin has developed into a key part of the Tribe offense as the team fights for a playoff berth. Tim Tedeschi Related TopicsAbraham AlmonteLonnie ChisenhallMichael BrantleyRajai DavisTyler Naquincenter_img Tim Tedeschi is a writer for NEOSI and a producer/contributor for the Sports on Tap Podcast. He is a senior at Indiana Wesleyan University, where he has worked as sports editor of the school newspaper, general manager of the college radio station, and play-by-play and color commentator for NAIA and high school basketball, soccer, and football. Follow him on Twitter @tim_tedeschi.last_img read more

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“I will be out for a long time” – Everton player…

first_imgThe Turkish striker, who was loaned out to Crystal Palace during the winter transfer window, was injured during a training session with the Eagles and it’s likely he will spend between six and nine months on the sidelines.Speaking to HaberGlobal, Tosun said he’s expecting to return stronger, whilst adding his view about the latest Coronavirus outbreak in Europe: “I will be out for a long time. I am looking forward to returning stronger. The rehabilitation phase will begin for me from now on.“I hope we will find a solution about the Coronavirus soon. We have to take hygiene measures. We are fine in the UK at the moment, hopefully, everything will be better.”The striker has now returned to Everton for his treatment after Crystal Palace agreed to terminate his loan following his ACL injury.The player has also been ruled out of Euro 2020, which will be a huge blow to Turkey. Tosun was key in his country qualifying for the tournament, although there are concerns this will go ahead this summer due to the Coronavirus.by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksTrending TodayForge of Empires – Free Online GameIf You Like to Play, this Strategy Game is AddictiveForge of Empires – Free Online GameUndo聽多多 Hearmore.asia1969年前出生的香港居民現可免費試戴頂尖的歐洲助聽器聽多多 Hearmore.asiaUndoHero WarsGetting this Treasure is impossible! Prove us wrong!Hero WarsUndo熱門話題小心會長過頭…網友推爆:「真的長得超誇張!」熱門話題UndoCNN with DBS BankWhat Banks Did To Help Corporations Mitigate Future CrisesCNN with DBS BankUndoCoworking Space | Search AdsThe cost of shared office in Hong Kong might surprise youCoworking Space | Search AdsUndoKeto减肥1個簡單的妙招一夜「融化」腹部贅肉(今晚試試)Keto减肥UndoSmart Tech TrendOver 55? You Have to Try Those Revolutionary Glasses!Smart Tech TrendUndoEveryday KoalaThese Twins Were Named “Most Beautiful In The World,” Wait Till You See Them TodayEveryday KoalaUndo Everton striker Cenk Tosun has spoken to Turkish TV Channel Haber Global and confirmed he underwent an operation in England yesterday on his injured knee.last_img read more

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Ravens-Texans: Inactives and pre-game notes

first_imgBALTIMORE — For the first time since the 2012 season opener, Monday Night Football has come to Baltimore with the Ravens trying to move above the .500 mark against Houston.Much has changed for John Harbaugh’s team since that last Monday home game as just six players on the current 53-man roster took part in that contest, but the Ravens have no time for nostalgia with fellow AFC wild-card contenders Buffalo, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, and Oakland all winning in Week 12. Baltimore is trying to secure back-to-back wins for the first time since Weeks 1 and 2 in September while the Texans are hoping to avoid a fourth defeat in five games and keep their fading playoff hopes alive.There were no injury-related surprises on the list of scratches, but maligned wide receiver Breshad Perriman is active after being a healthy scratch for the first time in his career in Green Bay last week. The 2015 first-round pick has been a major disappointment this season with just seven catches for 54 yards in eight games, but Harbaugh made it clear during the week that the organization still has high hopes for Perriman.To seemingly make room for Perriman on the 46-man game-day allotment, the Ravens surprisingly deactivated wide receiver and return specialist Michael Campanaro, who was not on the injury report this week and had a 28-yard punt return in Green Bay last week. Campanaro ranks second in the NFL among qualified players in punt return average, but that apparently wasn’t enough to play against the Texans.Veteran Lardarius Webb is listed behind Campanaro on the team’s official depth chart and is expected to handle punts from seven-time Pro Bowl selection Shane Lechler.As expected, inside linebacker C.J. Mosley (ankle) and left tackle Ronnie Stanley (concussion) are both active and will start despite being listed as questionable on the final injury report. Mosley deemed himself ready to go after returning to practice Saturday while Stanley cleared concussion protocol Friday after a one-game absence. Stanley’s return will allow James Hurst to return to his normal left guard position after he struggled mightily at left tackle in Green Bay.Texans wide receiver Will Fuller (ribs) is inactive after officially being declared out on Saturday.Monday’s referee is Brad Allen.According to Weather.com, the Monday forecast in Baltimore calls for partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the high 40s with winds up to 15 miles per hour and no chance of precipitation.The Ravens are wearing their all-black uniforms for the second time this season and will look to improve their all-time mark to 16-7 when wearing their alternate black tops. Houston will wear white jerseys with navy blue pants.Monday marks the first meeting between these teams since 2014 with Baltimore holding a 6-2 advantage in the regular-season series and a 4-0 mark at M&T Bank Stadium that includes a 20-13 victory in the 2011 postseason. The Ravens will also aim to continue their league-best nine-game winning streak in prime-time home games.Below are Monday’s inactives:BALTIMOREWR Michael CampanaroRB Terrance WestCB Jaylen HillOL Jermaine EluemunorOL Maurquice ShakirDE Bronson KaufusiDE Chris WormleyHOUSTONWR Will FullerWR Cobi HamiltonRB Andre EllingtonLB Lamarr HoustonOL Greg ManczOT Julien DavenportDT Chunky Clementslast_img read more

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Andy Blackwell – A man of many sports—but a Hall-of-Famer in baseball

first_imgPittsburgh native Andy Blackwell—a man who, at first, was known as the “only Black guy on the team”—turned out to be the best guy on the team, and a Hall-of-Famer.Gone are the days when 20 percent of the Major Leagues were filled with Black baseball players. And nowadays, it’s hard to find a baseball team of any level that’s even 10 percent Black.But the baseball bug bit Blackwell as a kid, and it took him to his highest levels in the world of athletics.“I found that I had the most success as a child in baseball,” Blackwell told the New Pittsburgh Courier in an exclusive interview. “Baseball was bigger in Black communities back then.”Blackwell played in the late 1980s and early 1990s for in the Uptown Little League, winning championships in tournaments held in Brookline. “I had a lot of fun, winning, playing as a child in baseball.”Blackwell remembers having a parade through the middle of the old Martin Luther King Jr. Field in the Hill District. It was there that he played for the Cardinals. “I was 8 years old…my first little league game I hit a home run, and I felt confident from there,” Blackwell recalled. “When I became 10, 11, 12 years old, teams didn’t want to pitch to me. I was just ahead, above kids at 10 years old when they were 12.”Blackwell went on to star at quarterback for Westinghouse High School, while also starring in baseball and basketball. He graduated in 1997. Blackwell then spent time playing baseball for Garrett Community College (Md.), the Canton, Ohio Crocodiles, semi-pro team North Pittsburgh, and then for St. Johns Lefty’s Saints. With the St. Johns team, Blackwell won multiple local championships, made multiple trips to the semi-pro baseball World Series and won the National Amateur Baseball Federation (semi-pro) World Series in 2013 in Battle Creek, Michigan.But Blackwell’s on-field successes didn’t come without some direct—and indirect—backlash.“When I went to play professional baseball, it was like, ‘who are you?’ I was the only Black guy on the team, I had braids in my hair, other racist stuff I had to deal with,” Blackwell said about his time with some of the teams. “They were calling me Snoop Dogg, the coach didn’t think I could play, didn’t even put me in the game for three or four months. He had no conversation for me, but one day I got in the game and went 3-for-3, and I told him I could really play.”Blackwell said he still didn’t get into the starting lineup, and he “was getting no fun out of sitting on the bench, and I knew the guys playing weren’t better than me.”Better late than never, Blackwell eventually got his chance, and the rest is history.“I was a center fielder, batted .400, and for 10 years of the league I led in runs scored and stolen bases. No hitting the ball to center field, everything was caught,” Blackwell said about his time with St. Johns, where he never experienced direct or indirect discrimination.ANDY BLACKWELL, left, was a standout quarterback for Westinghouse in the mid-1990s.Blackwell was inducted into the semi-pro baseball Hall of Fame in Evansville, Indiana in 2014. He was among the youngest players ever selected to that Hall.“It was a feeling of joy,” Blackwell told the Courier about his Hall of Fame selection. “When you play semi-pro, you feel like you’re playing for the love, and to actually get something out of it was pure joy. I made history and I was proud of myself.”When you play semi-pro ball, said Blackwell’s coach, Tom McCarthy, “you love playing baseball. It’s not the easiest commitment, but the guys who have played for us, they still continue to be highly-dedicated to playing. They are the kids that are going to be there every night, and Andy was like that. You knew he would be there.”McCarthy said Blackwell’s biggest talents were his “speed, hitting, defense…he had everything and every tool you would expect or want out of a player.”Though Blackwell retired in 2015, McCarthy told the Courier he has been in talks with Blackwell about returning to the field if an age 28-and-up league is formed.But for now, Blackwell is focused on getting today’s Black kids hip to the games they love—baseball, basketball, or football. Blackwell currently is a football coach for the Homewood Bulldogs (ages 13-14). “I think I have the skills, and I know what to teach the kids,” he said. “Teach them the proper skills and techniques and (make sure they) stick with it.“Whatever you’re into, you do it all year long, and you’ll be the best. I want to just put the excitement back into our younger kids.” PITTSBURGH’S OWN ANDY BLACKWELL was a three-sport athlete at Westinghouse High School, then became a Hall-of-Fame baseball player in the semi-pro leagues. The photos show Blackwell as a baseball player in Homewood, then as a World Series winner in the semi-pro leagues.last_img read more

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