December 2011 Archives

2012 London Olympics Important for Local Businesses

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A multitude of cranes lay across the East London skyline, busily assembling industrial pieces into what will be state-of-the-art Olympic stadiums for the 2012 games.
London is hoping that next year's Olympic Games will drive up the economy, inviting a wealth of tourists to local hotels and pubs across the city. In the case of Queen's Head, once a popular pub for locals but on the verge of closure, the Games cannot come soon enough.
"You can't just build your business around the Games," Queen's Head landlord Bill Sinefield told Time Magazine. "But we are certainly in need of the boost. Times are pretty tough at the moment."
Drink specials and live music were introduced by Sinefield, yet the worn down pub still struggled to bring in regular customers. These hard times have fallen on many local London businesses, so next summer's Olympics could prove to be make-or-break time.
"The Games is a great opportunity for us," Sinefield added. "But we need to use it as the catalyst for long-term success."

Rubio Dazzles Timberwolves with Improved Jumpshot

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The net swishes and the back iron gently thuds as shot after shot falls for Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio.
Yes, it's only practice and Rubio has never even taken a live NBA shot before. But for a player with major question marks surrounding his shooting ability, this is definitely a welcome sign for teammates and coaches alike.
"People have talked so much about his shooting, but he's been working on that," Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "He just has to learn to take open shots. He's not used to that. He always thinks pass first."
Rubio has been an international Youtube sensation with his array of flashy passes and his unique ability to handle the basketball. Although he has played professional basketball in Spain since age 14, he has never been identified as a true scoring threat.
"I know I have to improve my jump shot," Rubio said. "I tried to work on that a lot."

Backup Quarterback Worthy of Youtube, Starting Lineup

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Vikings players roared with enthusiasm and awe as they watched teammate Joe Webb soar high over seven blocking dummies at practice, a wall nearly 6 feet in height.
The scene was recorded, as almost everything is these days, and placed on Youtube. The feat of athleticism was an instant smash, but this from a quarterback?
"I feel like that's my natural position," Webb told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "They haven't moved me back to receiver full time or another position full time so I thank the coaches for having confidence in me to continue to have me at quarterback."
Webb replaced rookie Christian Ponder in the third quarter of Sunday's 34-28 loss against the Detroit Lions. Webb nearly led the team to a comeback win and a possible controversy at starting quarterback.
"He is for sure one of our playmakers," said Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier. "So it's something we will continue to explore."

Sandusky Shocks, Waives Preliminary Hearing

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The courtroom stood silent, shocked from defendant Jerry Sandusky waiving his right to a preliminary hearing, leading to a media frenzy and an soon-to-be infamous trial.
50 counts of child sexual abuse on 10 different boys are the allegations surrounding Sandusky, stemming from his days as defensive coordinator at Penn State University. The legal team prosecuting Sandusky find this announcement to be a minor setback, according to the Chicago Tribune.
"We're not disappointed over something like this," said E. Marc Costanzo, a senior Pennsylvania state deputy attorney general. "We're ready to proceed. He's the one giving up rights. We're not giving up anything."
At a press conference shortly after the announcement, Sandusky's lawyer, Joe Amendola, insisted that the prosecution would have benefited from a preliminary hearing. Sandusky would have no chance to discredit any of the witnesses' testimonies, leading to a "one-sided" argument, according to Amendola.
"That would have left us with the worst of all worlds," Amendola said.

A Family Continues to Fight the War at Home

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The pictures on the walls of the Dukellis home are a reminder of all the couple has been through together, even while separated.
A passion for adventure drew Nathan and Raquel Dukellis together in March 2003, where they sat in a tent awaiting the invasion of Iraq, according to CNN.com. While the couple has been married for 11 years, the horrors of war often invaded their home.
"He came back with so much anger," Raquel said. "I would ask him about what happened there, and he wouldn't tell me."
Raquel eventually got out of the Army, while Nathan has remained a devoted soldier, currently on his fourth deployment turning out the lights at U.S. bases in Iraq before the withdrawal of American troops.
"Initially, it almost ripped us a part," Nathan said. "Now, it's sort of brought us back together."

Boxing Legend Frazier Dies at 67

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Joe Frazier, Olympic boxing gold medalist and world heavyweight champion from 1970 to 1973, died Nov. 7, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. He was 67.
Frazier died from liver cancer, which was originally diagnosed in Oct. 2011. He spent his final days in hospice care in a Center City apartment in Philadelphia.
"The world has lost a great champion," boxing legend Muhammad Ali said. "I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration."
Known as "Smokin' Joe," Frazier defeated German Hans Huber in the 1964 Olympics to achieve the gold medal. His greatest victory came in 1971, when Frazier defeated Ali in the highly-touted "Fight of the Century" at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
A private funeral took place on Nov. 14 at the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia. Frazier is survived by his daughter Renae and his sons Hector, Brandon, Derek, Joseph Rubin and Joseph Jordan.

Danielle Mitterrand Dies at 87

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Danielle Mitterrand, the widow of late French President Francois Mitterrand and avid human rights activist, died Nov. 22, according the BBC News. She was 87.
Despite of her declining health, Mitterrand remained in the public eye as the founder of "France Libertes," a foundation which campaigns for international social justice.
"After a certain age, people go to sleep," Mitterrand said in a personal message posted on France Libertes' website. "As for me, I have no intention of dying by inches."
She was born Danielle Gouze in Verdun, France on Oct. 29, 1924. She and her husband Francois were at the top of the French political establishment from 1981 to 1995.
Mitterrand is survived by her sons, Jean-Christophe and Gilbert. A publically-held funeral took place on Nov. 26 in Cluny, France.

Former Harvard Football Innovator Dies at 85

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Joe Restic, former head football coach at Harvard University and noted innovator of the multiflex offense, died on Thursday in Boston, according to the New York Times. He was 85.
Restic, who lived in Milford, Mass., had been in declining health for the past several years, daughter Kathleen Restic said. Restic was credited as an offensive mastermind for his complex offensive schemes while at Harvard.
"When you plan a defense against a Restic team, you plan to defense the world," Carm Cozza, former Yale football coach, told The Boston Globe in 1993. "He throws everything at you."
When Restic took the reins at Harvard in 1971, the university was far removed from the successes they had experienced in the early 20th century. In his 23 seasons as Harvard head coach, he amassed 117 victories, a record that stood until current head coach Tim Murphy surpassed it this season.
In addition to his daughter Kathleen, Restic is survived by his sons Joe, a punter and safety for Notre Dame in the 1970s, and David; his daughter, Suzan Milione; his sister, Agnes Mancuso, and eight grandchildren. His wife, Marian, died in 2008.

Award-Winning Minnesota Adman Dies at 71

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Herbert "Bert" Gardner, an award-winning Twin Cities adman who notably introduced pork to America as "The Other White Meat," died on Nov. 19, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He was 71.
Gardner died from pancreatic cancer at his home in Medina, Minn. His creativity was the backbone for his success, which spanned over four decades.
"I think he was passionate about writing," his son Peter, said. "I think that was the biggest factor. It was a time before you had exploding special effects. He also had a sense of humor, and that was part of his success, as well."
In 16 years of retirement, Gardner still partook in many aspects of his former profession. But his tag line, "Pork, the Other White Meat" was his most enduring advertisement contribution, as a Northwestern University study in 2000 found it to be the fifth-most memorable promotional tag line in contemporary advertising.
Along with his son Peter, Gardner is survived by his wife of 34 years, Betty Goodman, and sister Diane Gardner Bolton. A memorial service took place on Nov. 25 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska, Minn.

Minnesota Marine Dies at 89

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Wes Claire, a private first class in the Marines and part of the first wave of troops to hit the island of Iwo Jima during World War II, died Dec. 2, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He was 89.

Claire, a native of St. James, Minn., was just outside of the famous Iwo Jima flag-raising photograph on March 23, 1945. A fact that he was happy to share with his daughter, Marie Chandler.

"My dad would say he wasn't a hero, that the real heroes did not get a chance to come home," said Chandler. "But that wasn't true."

In addition to his daughter Marie, Claire is survived by his partner, Elaine Speaker; his son, Michael; his daughter, Rita Poff, seven grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

Claire was buried on Dec. 9 at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Little Falls, Minn.

Forlan Returns, Inter Beats Genoa 1-0

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Italian soccer club Inter Milan has had a disappointing season up to this point, but with a 1-0 victory at Genoa, the club has finally moved into the top half of the Serie A table, according to SI.com.
Inter striker and Japanese international Yuto Nagatomo headed in the eventual game-winning goal in the 67th minute, the only goal of the match. Although Inter has four wins in their last five matches, they still remain 10 points behind Juventus and Udinese for the Serie A division lead.
"It was a good game against a team which was very defensive," Inter head coach Claudio Ranieri said. "[Genoa] had its first shot after 80 minutes and then tried everything in the closing stages. It's a little step but it's a good one."
On top of the victory, superstar Diego Forlan returned to action after injuring his leg in a World Cup qualifying match against Paraguay two months ago. Forlan came off the bench with 10 minutes left in full time.
"We'll have Forlan back properly soon," Ranieri said. "And he has a lot of class too."

Brewers Sign Ramirez to Three-Year Deal

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With the potential departure of first baseman Prince Fielder to free agency and NL MVP Ryan Braun facing a possible 50-game suspension for testing positive for PEDs, the Milwaukee Brewers needed some offensive insurance.
On Wednesday, the Brewers finalized a three-year, $36 million contract with free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez, according to ESPN.com. Despite the possible departure of Fielder and Prince, Ramirez feels a takes all facets of the game to win.
"You're going to miss those guys if Ryan Braun is suspended," said Ramirez. "But I think you win with pitching."
The 33-year-old Ramirez played 149 games for the Chicago Cubs last year. He also produced, batting .306 with 26 home runs and 93 RBIs.
"You're probably not ever going to totally replace Prince," Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin said. "But these are some big numbers that he's put up."

Gophers Extend Winning Streak to Five

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Five games after the devastating injury to forward Trevor Mbakwe, the Gophers basketball team has reached the 11-win mark before any other program in the nation.
The Gophers (11-1) extended their winning streak to five games after beating Central Michigan 75-56 Tuesday night at Williams Arena, according to the Minnesota Daily. Eleven different Gophers scored, with Julian Welch's 15 points on 5-9 shooting leading the way.
"Central Michigan came in with a good game plan," Gophers head coach Tubby Smith said. "They were very aggressive and very physical, but then we got into our press and got a tempo that was good for us."
The Gophers offense was red hot, shooting 57 percent from the field and 47 percent from 3-point range in the victory. While turnovers have been a concern all season, Minnesota notched an assist on 89 percent of their field goals.
Although center Ralph Sampson III has been hurt with a bad ankle, he scored six points in 18 minutes after scoring 15 points in Saturday's 70-56 win against St. Peter's. He is expected to be limited in practice and games for the foreseeable future.

NBA Star Chris Paul Dealt to Clippers

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The New Orleans Hornets have agreed in principle to trade guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for guard Eric Gordon, forward Al-Farouq Aminu, center Chris Kaman and the Minnesota Timberwolves unprotected 2012 first-round draft pick, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The 26-year-old Paul is a four-time All-Star who averaged 18.7 points and 9.8 assists during the 2010-11 NBA campaign. Kaman, 29, was caught off guard when hearing about the news.
"I didn't know it was going to happen," Kaman told ESPN.com. "I was told yesterday that it wasn't going to be done. Then I guess something came back up today."
The 7-foot Kaman is an eight-year veteran who averaged 12.4 points and seven rebounds while only playing in 32 games throughout in the 2010-11 season. However, Gordon and the first-round draft selection were what made the deal complete.
The additions of Kaman, Gordon and Aminu give the Hornets some much-needed depth to a franchise owned by the NBA. The pairing of Paul and rising star Blake Griffin will be something to look forward to in the upcoming season.

Twins Payroll Over $15 Million Less Than 2011

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With the Minnesota Twins close to signing OF Josh Willingham to a three-year, $21 million contract, $7 million should soon be added to this year's team payroll.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, that projects the 25-man roster to $95,720,000. With the 2011 Opening Day roster earning approximately $113 million, that leaves room for improvement. Twins President Dave St. Peter feels that higher payrolls don't necessarily drive winning teams.
"Frankly, whether it's $100 million, $95 million, $105 million, I think we can be successful next year," St. Peter said. "That's certainly the belief we have."
There have been several changes in recent days for the Twins. Pitchers Kevin Slowey, Jose Mijares and Jim Hoey have all been traded or released with no immediate replacements being named to the roster.
"It will end up at the end of the day being relatively comparable to last season," St. Peter said.

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