Recently in Local Category

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."

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.

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.

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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