Kings focus on instruction during unexpected break

After Kings coach Todd McLellan recently lamented the amount of work the Kings had to do in a very short period of time – less than a month until the end of the regular season – the Kings got an unexpected five-day layoff as their two games in Colorado were postponed due to COVID-19 concerns among the Avalanche roster.

While they would have preferred to play the games that they flew to Denver for, the break was welcome from an instructive standpoint as the Kings were able to focus on trying to turn around their defensive struggles and meandering power play.

“We’re trying to touch a lot of areas of the game. Our forecheck hasn’t been effective, that’s led to some long chances against. We’re trying to fix and repair some of that,” McLellan said.

The Kings focused on the defensive side of the game primarily but had one practice largely devoted to special teams. That included work with two power-play units that were much-improved in the first half of the season but have been lackluster as the campaign progressed.

Additionally, the Kings have faced solid penalty-killing units, as five of the top 12 PK teams by percentage are in the West Division. McLellan was asked if the team focused on breakouts and entries in practice or its proverbial half-court offense with the extra man.

“Both, because I think they all go together,” he said. “Entries, one unit seems to do a good job of entering, the other one struggles. In the zone, we’ve done some of the things we want to do positionally and structurally, but we’re slow.”

ROY NEARING RETURN

Defenseman Matt Roy skated with the Kings on Sunday and Monday and McLellan said a decision was imminent regarding his return. McLellan seemed to indicate that it would either come against the Ducks on Tuesday or Friday against Minnesota.

Roy last played April 2 before he was placed on the COVID protocol-related absence list, and the Kings went 2-5-0 in the games he missed.

“I was pretty sick for a good three days, but after that, it was just a bit of fatigue and slowly getting back to normal,” Roy said.

Roy has missed a dozen games this season and the Kings have gone 3-8-1 without him, only marginally better than the 3-9-0 record they have posted in their last 12 games.

AND THE (REAL) CROWD ROARS

Tuesday’s game will mark the first time since March of 2020 that Kings fans can see their squad in person, with enough tickets made available to the public to fill around 20 percent of Staples Center’s 18,000-plus hockey capacity.

That’s right, no more phony crowd noise being piped into the arena.

The Kings will be the last of the seven Southern California franchises that are in season presently to welcome back fans, with the Lakers, Clippers and Ducks having done so last week.

“We’ve been missing our fans a lot this year and obviously everybody’s been excited for them to come back,” forward Adrian Kempe said.

MOVE OVER, MR. HOCKEY

San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau became the NHL’s all-time leader in games played Monday, surpassing Gordie Howe’s record of 1,767 games played set in 1980. Howe played more than 400 additional pro games in the World Hockey Association.

Marleau set the record in Vegas against the Golden Knights with his wife and four sons on hand. Vegas coach Peter DeBoer, who first coached Marleau as a teenager and later as.a pro, said that despite all of his accomplishments and the multimillion-dollar contracts, Marleau never changed as a person.

McLellan, who coached Marleau for seven seasons in San Jose and knew him as a junior player in Saskatchewan, was in full agreement.

“I walked into the Staples Center with him the first night we played (on the road), and it was the same Patrick that walked into the building 1,700 other times,” McLellan said. “He was excited about playing that night and he loves to play the game.”

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Murder case against ex-cop in Floyd’s death goes to the jury

By AMY FORLITI, STEPHEN GROVES and TAMMY WEBBER

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The murder case against former Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd went to the jury Monday in a city on edge against another round of unrest like the one that erupted last year over the video of the Black man with Chauvin’s knee on his neck.

The jury of six white members and six Black or multiracial ones was sent off to begin deliberating after nearly a full day of closing arguments in which prosecutors argued that Chauvin squeezed the life out Floyd last May in a way that even a child knew was wrong.

The defense contended that the now-fired white officer acted reasonably and that the 46-year-old Black man died of an underlying heart condition and illegal drug use.

After closing arguments were done, Judge Peter Cahill rejected a defense request for a mistrial based in part on comments California Rep. Maxine Waters that protesters could get more confrontational if there is no guilty verdict.

The judge told Chauvin’s attorney: “Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned.” He added: “I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch.”

Chauvin, 45, is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. All three charges require the jury to conclude that Chauvin’s actions were a “substantial causal factor” in Floyd’s death and that his use of force was unreasonable.

The most serious charge carries up to 40 years in prison.

“Use your common sense. Believe your eyes. What you saw, you saw,” prosecutor Steve Schleicher said in closing arguments, referring to the excruciating bystander video of Floyd pinned down on the pavement with Chauvin’s knee on or close to his neck for up to 9 minutes, 29 seconds, as bystanders yelled at the officer to get off.

Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson countered by arguing that Chauvin did what any “reasonable” police officer would have done after finding himself in a “dynamic” and “fluid” situation involving a large man struggling with three officers.

As Nelson began speaking, the now-fired Chauvin removed his COVID-19 mask in front of the jury for one of the very few times during the trial.

The dueling arguments got underway with some stores boarded up with plywood in Minneapolis, the courthouse ringed with concrete barriers and razor wire, and National Guard members on patrol. Floyd’s death last spring set off protests in the city and across the U.S. that at times turned violent.

The city has also been on edge in recent days over the the police killing of a 20-year-old Black man in a nearby suburb on April 11.

Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell had the final word, offering the state’s rebuttal argument. The prosecutor, who is Black, said that the questions about the use of force and cause of death are “so simple that a child can understand it.”

“In fact, a child did understand it, when the 9-year-old girl said, ‘Get off of him,’” Blackwell said, referring to a young witness who objected to what she saw. “That’s how simple it was. `Get off of him.’ Common sense.”

Under the law, police are given certain latitude to use force, and their actions are supposed to be judged according to what a “reasonable officer” in the same situation would have done — a point the defense stressed repeatedly.

Nelson noted that officers who first went to the corner store where Floyd allegedly tried to pass a counterfeit $20 bill already were struggling with Floyd when Chauvin arrived as backup. The attorney also noted that the first two officers on the scene were rookies and that police had been told that Floyd might be on drugs.

“A reasonable police officer understands the intensity of the struggle,” Nelson said, saying that Chauvin’s body-worn camera and his police badge were knocked off his chest.

During the prosecution’s argument, Schleicher replayed portions of the bystander video and other footage as he dismissed certain defense theories about Floyd’s death as “nonsense,” saying Chauvin killed Floyd by constricting his breathing.

Schleicher rejected the drug overdose argument, as well as the contention that police were distracted by hostile onlookers, that Floyd had “superhuman” strength from a state of agitation known as excited delirium, and that he suffered possible carbon monoxide poisoning from auto exhaust.

The prosecutor sarcastically referred to the idea that it was heart disease that killed Floyd as an “amazing coincidence.”

“Is that common sense or is that nonsense?” Schleicher asked the jury.

But Nelson said the prosecution brought in experts to testify that Floyd died because of asphyxia, or lack of oxygen, while the person who actually performed the autopsy, the county medical examiner, reached a different finding.

Hennepin County Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker, who ruled Floyd’s death a homicide, said Floyd’s heart gave out because of the way police held him down. He listed Floyd’s drug use and underlying health problems as contributing factors.

Nelson also showed the jury pictures of pills found in Floyd’s SUV and pill remnants discovered in the squad car. Fentanyl and methamphetamine were found in Floyd’s system.

The defense attorney said the failure of the prosecution to acknowledge that medical problems or drugs played a role “defies medical science and it defies common sense and reason.”

But Blackwell said prosecutors only have to prove that Chauvin’s actions were a substantial causal factor in his death, not the sole cause.

He also ridiculed the idea that Floyd, who didn’t have a pulse, would come “back to life” and go on a “rampage.”

“That’s the sort of thing you see in Halloween movies, ladies and gentlemen, not in real life. Not in real life,” Blackwell said.

And he rejected the theory that Floyd died because of an enlarged heart: “The truth of the matter is that the reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr. Chauvin’s heart was too small.”

Earlier, fellow prosecutor Schleicher described how Chauvin ignored Floyd’s cries and continued to kneel on him well after he stopped breathing and had no pulse.

Chauvin was “on top of him for 9 minutes and 29 seconds and he had to know,” Schleicher said. “He had to know.”

He said Chauvin “heard him, but he just didn’t listen.”

The prosecutor further argued that Floyd was “not a threat to anyone” and wasn’t trying to escape when he struggled with officers. Instead, Schleicher said, he was terrified of being put into the tiny backseat of the squad car.

He said a reasonable officer with Chauvin’s training and experience — he was a 19-year Minneapolis police veteran — should have sized up the situation accurately.

Chauvin, wearing a light gray suit with a blue shirt and blue tie, showed little expression as he watched himself and the other officers pinning Floyd to the ground on bodycam video played by his attorney. He cocked his head to the side and occasionally leaned forward to write on a notepad.

An unidentified woman occupied the single seat set aside in the pandemic-spaced courtroom for a Chauvin supporter.

Floyd’s brother Philonise represented the family in court, as he often has during the trial.

Schleicher also noted that Chauvin was required to use his training to provide medical care to Floyd but ignored bystanders, rebuffed help from an off-duty paramedic and rejected a suggestion from another officer to roll Floyd onto his side.

“He could have listened to the bystanders. He could have listened to fellow officers. He could have listened to his own training. He knew better. He just didn’t do better,” Schleicher said.

“Conscious indifference. Indifference. Do you want to know what indifference is and sounds like?” Schleicher asked before playing a video of Chauvin replying, “Uh-huh” several times as Floyd cried out.

Nelson, in a closing argument that took about 2 hours and 45 minutes, played portions of bystander video that showed the increasingly agitated onlookers shouting at Chauvin to get off Floyd’s neck. He said officers may have determined it wasn’t safe to render medical aid to Floyd in that environment.

Nelson described what he called a “critical moment”: Floyd took his last breath, Chauvin reacted to the crowd by taking out his Mace and threatening a use of force, and the off-duty paramedic walked up behind Chauvin, startling him.

“And that changed Officer Chauvin’s perception of what was happening,” Nelson said. He added: “I cannot, in my opinion, understate the importance of this moment.”

___

Webber reported from Fenton, Michigan. Associated Press video journalist Angie Wang in Atlanta and writer Mohamed Ibrahim contributed.

___

Find AP’s full coverage of the death of George Floyd at: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-george-floyd

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Final Orange County football top 25 for the spring season

FINAL FOOTBALL TOP 25

1. MATER DEI 5-0

Monarchs convincingly defeated St. John Bosco 34-17 as freshman QB Elijah Brown threw four TD passes and Shu’yab Brinkley and Domani Jackson had interceptions in Trinity League championship game that had state, national rankings implications.

Last week: 1

2. SERVITE 4-2 

Friars, who finished third in Trinity League, went with strong running game led by Kyle Bandy (103 rushing yards, two TDs) in season-ending 42-13 win over Santa Margarita. Friars’ losses were to Mater Dei and St. John Bosco.

Last week: 2

3. LOS ALAMITOS 6-0

Sunset League-champion Griffins, who averaged 51 points a game, ended season with 41-3 win over Newport Harbor as Malachi Nelson threw three TD passes and Brian Jurado rushed for two TDs.

Last week: 5

4. SAN CLEMENTE 5-0

Sean Harry’s final-snap field goal and Tritons’ defense did it for a 10-7 win over Mission Viejo to capture the South Coast League championship.

Last week: 6

5. MISSION VIEJO 4-1

Diablos struggled offensively and lost to San Clemente 10-7 in South Coast League title game, finished second in the league.

Last week: 3

6. SANTA MARGARITA 2-3

Eagles, who finished fourth in Trinity League, lost to Servite in season finale 42-13. Other losses were to Mater Dei, St. John Bosco.

Last week: 4

7. EDISON 5-1

Carson Chalabian rushed for 90 yards and two TDs, Jacob Hanlon threw for two TDs as Edison beat Huntington Beach 56-8 to finish second in Sunset League. Edison’s loss was to Los Alamitos.

Last week: 7

8. CORONA DEL MAR 4-2

Sophomore QB David Rasor threw four TD passes, three of them to Tommy Griffin, and Thomas Bouda had two sacks in 42-7 win over Fountain Valley. Sea Kings finished third in Sunset League. Their losses were to Los Alamitos and Edison.

Last week: 8

9. LA HABRA 5-0

Highlanders won their 13th Freeway League championship of past 14 years with sophomore quarterback Justin Gil throwing for 199 yards and two TDs in 28-21 win over Sunny Hills.

Last week: 9

10. ORANGE LUTHERAN 1-3

Lancers’ difficult season ended in a good way with a 52-20 win over JSerra as Logan Gonzalez threw for five touchdowns. They finished fifth in the mighty Trinity League.

Last week: 10

11. Tesoro 3-2

12. San Juan Hills 2-3

13. Sunny Hills 5-1

14. Capistrano Valley 3-2

15. Newport Harbor 2-4

16. Santa Ana 6-0

17. Orange 5-1

18. Fullerton 4-2

19. Villa Park  5-1

20. Yorba Linda 5-1

21. JSerra 0-5

22. El Modena 4-2

23. Cypress 4-1

24. Pacifica 4-2

25. Foothill 3-3

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2 agencies probing Tesla crash with no driver that killed 2

By Tom Krisher | The Associated Press

Two federal agencies are sending teams to investigate the fatal crash of a Tesla near Houston in which local authorities say no one was behind the wheel.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board said Monday they will send investigators to Spring, Texas, to look into the fiery Saturday night crash. Two men were killed.

Investigators are “100% sure” that no one was driving the Tesla that missed a curve on a residential road, hit a tree and burst into flames, killing two men inside, Harris County Precinct Four Constable Mark Herman said.

But they’re still trying to determine whether the electric car was operating on Tesla’s Autopilot driver-assist system, or if the company’s “Full Self-Driving Capability” system was in use.

One of the men was found in the front passenger seat of the badly burned car, and the other was in the back seat, Herman told The Associated Press Monday.

“We are actively engaged with local law enforcement and Tesla to learn more about the details of the crash and will take appropriate steps when we have more information,” NHTSA said Monday.

Investigators are in the process of getting several search warrants seeking evidence in the crash, but Herman would not say if those warrants are directed at Tesla. He said he didn’t know if investigators had spoken with the Palo Alto, California, electric vehicle maker. Also, investigators are working with NHTSA and the NTSB, both of which investigate serious auto crashes.

Tesla has had serious problems with its Autopilot partially automated driving system, which has been involved in several fatal crashes where it didn’t spot tractor trailers crossing in front of it, stopped emergency vehicles, or a highway barrier. The NTSB has recommended that NHTSA and Tesla limit the roads on which the system can safely operate, and that Tesla install a more robust system to monitor drivers to make sure they’re paying attention. Neither Tesla nor the agency took action.

A message was left Monday morning seeking comment from Tesla, which did away with its media relations department. The company has said in the past that drivers using Autopilot must be ready to intervene at any time. It says the “Full Self-Driving Capability” system can’t drive itself and also must be continually monitored by drivers.

Investigators haven’t determined how fast the Tesla was driving at the time of the crash, but Herman said it was a high speed. He would not say if there was evidence that anyone tampered with Tesla’s system to monitor the driver, which detects force from hands on the wheel. The system will issue warnings and eventually shut the car down if it doesn’t detect hands. But critics say Tesla’s system is easy to fool.

KHOU-TV reported that the car was a 2019 Tesla Model S, and the two men found in the car were aged 59 and 69. Herman said the car went about 100 feet after running off the road, hit a tree and immediately caught fire.

Firefighters, he said, used at least 32,000 gallons of water to extinguish the flames fed by the car’s lithium-ion battery, he said. Firefighters at the scene contacted Tesla for advice on how to extinguish the blaze and were told just to let it burn out, Herman said.

The Harris County crash is the 28th to which NHTSA has sent investigators during the past few years.

On Sunday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted the company had released a safety report from the first quarter showing that Tesla with Autopilot has nearly a 10 times lower chance of crashing than the average vehicle with a human piloting it.

But Kelly Funkhouser, head of connected and automated vehicle testing for Consumer Reports, said Tesla’s numbers have been inaccurate in the past and are difficult to verify.

“You just have to take their word for it,” Funkhouser said, adding that Tesla doesn’t say how many times the system failed but didn’t crash, or when a driver failed to take over.

Shares of Tesla Inc. fell 3.6%, more than the broader markets, to $712.95 in afternoon Monday. That decline follows enormous gains for Tesla, whose shares are up 370% in the past 12 months.

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This coffee table book is all about the art of punk rockers and skateboarders

It turns out, some punk rockers and skaters can shred on the canvas, too, as evidenced by the new coffee table book titled “Punk Rock & Paintbrushes: The Insides of Artists written by Outsiders.”

The 195-page book is made up of artwork and personal stories from more than two dozen musicians and athletes including Jim Lindberg of Pennywise, Matt Hensley from Flogging Molly and skaters such as Christian Hosoi and Steve Caballero. It also includes work by several visual artists.

Each chapter focuses on one artist and showcases their artwork alongside personal stories and photos.

“The cool thing about the book is that everyone in the book has such a different story,” said Emily Nielsen, founder of Punk Rock & Paintbrushes, an art collective that organizes art shows mainly focusing on works by musicians and athletes, mostly skateboarders.

Nielsen, along with Warren Fitzgerald, guitarist for The Vandals, co-created the book.

“And all of these artists have such different art, too,”  said Nielsen, who along with Fitzgerald and some of the musicians and athletes, will be at a book signing at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach on Saturday, April 24.


The new 195-page book “Punk Rock & Paintbrushes: The Insides of Artists written by Outsiders,” is made up of artwork and personal stories from more than two dozen musicians and athletes. (Photo courtesy Punk Rock & Paintbrushes).

Tangible things

The novel coronavirus pandemic sparked the idea for the book.

“When COVID hit, everyone started going virtual online, which is wonderful. But for us that’s not what we do. We’re a very face-to-face collective. We sell art; it’s a tangible item,” she said.

So with their events stopped, Nielsen decided to create a book with artwork that includes mixed media pieces, paintings and drawings.

Artwork in the book includes mixed media pieces, paintings and drawings.

Lindberg’s chapter features a realistic portrait of X singer Exene Cervenka and a drawing of a guitar with lyrics to Pennywise songs wrapped around it. Caballero’s chapter shows off some of the colorful drawings he creates for skateboards and T-shirts.

On the list for the signing Saturday are nearly two dozen musicians and skaters including Lindberg and Caballero, Matt Hensley from Flogging Molly, Eric Melvin of the punk rock band NOFX and his wife, artist Sarah Melvin, and skater  Christian Hosoi.

People who attend will be required to reserve a time slot, wear face coverings and adhere to social distancing requirements.

“It’s something that people are able to hold; it’s a forever thing; it’s like a vinyl record,” Nielsen said.

If you go

When: 2-6 p.m. Saturday, April 24

Where: Patio at Alex’s Bar, 2913 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

Cost: Free to attend with a purchased book and reserved time slot. To reserve a spot and buy a book, visit punkrockart.com

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A reminder about supplies and demands

We Americans are blessed with abundant — even overabundant — consumer goods and services and often take that fact for granted.

We assume that when we pull into a service station its pumps will dispense fuel, that when we go to a grocery store, we will find full shelves, or that when we flip the switch on the wall the room will light up.

We tend to forget that the goods and services we want or need involve complex supply chains that begin with basic resources, proceed to industrial processes and culminate in delivery on demand.

Even products and services deemed to be “green” are not exempt. Solar power panels and battery-powered cars, for instance, require sophisticated industrial processes and rare minerals such as the lithium, which must be mined or extracted from brine.

That’s why we should be skeptical of politicians who pretend that we can interrupt those supply chains, in the name of environmental protection, without negative consequences.

That was the underlining issue last week when the state Senate’s Committee on Natural Resources and Water took up Senate Bill 467, which was aimed at shutting down much of California’s oil industry by banning fracking and other extraction processes.

The bill’s author, Sen. Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat, argued, “California cannot continue to have the image of an environmental beacon while we are actively poisoning our citizens and destroying our state.”

Wiener introduced the bill after Gov. Gavin Newsom called for ending the sale of petroleum-fueled cars by 2035 and asked the Legislature to ban fracking. However, now facing a recall election, Newsom didn’t lift a finger to help Wiener move his bill, apparently because labor unions were adamantly opposed, citing elimination of high-paying union jobs.

Without Newsom’s support, moderate Democrats on the committee refused to vote for the bill and it failed. “This one really does go to shut down the oil industry in California,” Sen. Susan Eggman, a Stockton Democrat, said. “We are not getting away from oil or gas in California in the next 10 years.”

She spoke the simple truth that the vast majority of California’s 30-plus million vehicles run on petroleum-based fuels and despite Newsom’s declaration about 2035, that fact will continue indefinitely.

California supplies about half of the petroleum it consumes, importing the remainder from oil-producing nations across the globe. Shutting down production here would make us more dependent on other suppliers, with a massive loss of jobs and exports of consumer dollars.

The same dynamics hold true in the other commodities that a modern society needs to prosper.

We need, for example, to double housing production, but construction requires immense amounts of lumber, concrete and steel, plus electrical fixtures and plumbing made of copper. These materials begin as raw resources, such as trees, limestone and copper and iron ores, which are then processed and transported to building sites via railroads and/or diesel-powered trucks.

Occasionally, we are reminded that electricity doesn’t come from the walls, gasoline doesn’t come from pumps, lumber doesn’t come from Home Depot and toilet paper doesn’t come from the supermarket.

We got such a reminder last summer, when a severe heat wave overcame the state’s electrical supplies, with air conditioning demand peaking in the late afternoon, just as solar power arrays were beginning to fade.

In response, the state suspended plans to phase out natural gas-fueled power plants, implicitly deciding that going green isn’t worth experiencing blackouts. We expect the juice to be there when we need it, and politicians such as Newsom will feel the heat — pun intended — if it’s not.

CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters. For more stories by Dan Walters, go to calmatters.org/commentary

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A look at the midnight ride of Paul Revere on April 18-19

Poetic licenseHenry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “Paul Revere’s Ride” (see below) is based on historic events, but it is more of a tale and not a historical account. Longfellow wrote the poem after taking a tour of Boston in 1860. He was a pacifist and abolitionist who wrote the poem to try and unify a divided nation on course for the Civil War. Historians have dissected the poem since 1860 and compared it to Revere’s account of the ride in his own words and other historic evidence.

The National Park Service points out several inaccuracies including the following:

  •  Revere knew the British route before he left Boston. Though two lanterns were held aloft in the Old North Church tower, Revere was not waiting on the Charlestown shore to see them. Instead, they were a fallback plan in case he could not get out of Boston.
  •  Revere was captured by patrolling British Regulars in Lincoln, just past Lexington, and never arrived in Concord.Revere did not ride alone that night. There was William Dawes and Dr. Samuel Prescott. Revere was one of two riders to leave Boston (with Dawes), and one of many messengers spreading the alarm.
  •  The omission of other riders was a particularly sore point for some. Henry Ware Holland, a descendant of William Dawes, self-published a history in 1878 titled William Dawes and His Ride with Paul Revere. He sent a copy to Longfellow, who wryly remarked that it was “a very handsome book… in which he convicts me of high historic crimes and misdemeanors.”

Longfellow’s works may not have prevented the Civil War, but after the war ended and the nation was getting ready to celebrate its centennial, the poem had a renewed importance. The gratitude for Paul Revere led to the preservation of his family home, built in 1680, which is the oldest home in Boston.A statue of Revere was modeled in 1885 and is near the Old North Church.

The regulars are coming!It’s unlikely the riders shouted, “The British are coming!” Many Americans living in the countryside still considered themselves British. The Regulars were known to be British soldiers.

From Boston to Concord

The mission: On the evening of April 18, 1775, Paul Revere and William Dawes were dispatched by Joseph Warren to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock in Lexington (and many others along the route) that British forces were heading their way.l Boston to Lexington is about 13 miles. l Lexington to Concord is about 6.8 miles.After warning Adams and Hancock, they met Dr. Samuel Prescott and continued on to Concord to warn the militia and to verify that the military stores had been properly dispersed and hidden away.

Outcome: Not all three riders made it to Concord but Prescott did, and the militia was able to prepare to meet the British in Lexington where the first shot of the Revolutionary War was fired on the morning of April 19.After a skirmish in Lexington the British forces faced a larger band of Minutemen in Concord. The American militia stopped the advance and forced the British to head back to Boston.

Paul Revere’s RideHenry Wadsworth LongfellowJan. 1861 issue of The Atlantic Monthly

Listen, my children, and you shall hearOf the midnight ride of Paul Revere,On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five:Hardly a man is now aliveWho remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, — “If the British marchBy land or sea from the town to-night,Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry-archOf the North-Church-tower, as a signal-light, —One if by land, and two if by sea;And I on the opposite shore will be,Ready to ride and spread the alarmThrough every Middlesex village and farm,For the country-folk to be up and to arm.”

Then he said good-night, and with muffled oarSilently rowed to the Charlestown shore,Just as the moon rose over the bay,Where swinging wide at her moorings layThe Somersett, British man-of-war:A phantom ship, with each mast and sparAcross the moon, like a prison-bar,And a huge, black hulk, that was magnifiedBy its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend, through alley and streetWanders and watches with eager ears,Till in the silence around him he hearsThe muster of men at the barrack-door,The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,And the measured tread of the grenadiersMarching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed to the tower of the church,Up the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,To the belfry-chamber overhead,And startled the pigeons from their perchOn the sombre rafters, that round him madeMasses and moving shapes of shade, —Up the light ladder, slender and tall,To the highest window in the wall,Where he paused to listen and look downA moment on the roofs of the town,And the moonlight flowing over all.

Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the deadIn their night-encampment on the hill,Wrapped in silence so deep and still,That he could hear, like a sentinel’s tread,The watchful night-wind, as it wentCreeping along from tent to tent,And seeming to whisper, “All is well!”A moment only he feels the spellOf the place and the hour, the secret dreadOf the lonely belfry and the dead;For suddenly all his thoughts are bentOn a shadowy something far away,Where the river widens to meet the bay, —A line of black, that bends and floatsOn the rising tide, like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride,On the opposite shore walked Paul RevereNow he patted his horse’s side,Now gazed on the landscape far and near,Then impetuous stamped the earth,And turned and tightened his saddle-girth;But mostly he watched with eager searchThe belfry-tower of the old North Church,As it rose above the graves on the hill,Lonely, and spectral, and sombre, and still.

And lo! as he looks, on the belfry’s height,A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,But lingers and gazes, till full on his sightA second lamp in the belfry burns!

A hurry of hoofs in a village-street,A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,And beneath from the pebbles, in passing, a sparkStruck out by a steed that flies fearless and fleet:That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,The fate of a nation was riding that night;And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,Kindled the land into flame with its heat.

It was twelve by the village-clock,When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.He heard the crowing of the cock,And the barking of the farmer’s dog,And felt the damp of the river-fog,That rises when the sun goes down.

It was one by the village-clock,When he rode into Lexington.He saw the gilded weathercockSwim in the moonlight as he passed,And the meeting-house windows, blank and bare,Gaze at him with a spectral glare,As if they already stood aghastAt the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village-clock,When he came to the bridge in Concord town.He heard the bleating of the flock,And the twitter of birds among the trees,And felt the breath of the morning-breezeBlowing over the meadows brown.And one was safe and asleep in his bedWho at the bridge would be first to fall,Who that day would be lying dead,Pierced by a British musket-ball.

You know the rest. In the books you have readHow the British regulars fired and fled, —How the farmers gave them ball for ball,From behind each fence and farmyard-wall,Chasing the red-coats down the lane,Then crossing the fields to emerge againUnder the trees at the turn of the road,And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;And so through the night went his cry of alarmTo every Middlesex village and farm, —A cry of defiance, and not of fear, —A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,And a word that shall echo forevermore!For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,Through all our history, to the last,In the hour of darkness and peril and need,The people will waken and listen to hearThe hurrying hoof-beat of that steed,And the midnight-message of Paul Revere.

 

 

Sources: National Park Service, Smithsonian, paulreverehouse.org, The Atlantic, The National ArchivesImages from The National Archives and Wikimedia Commons

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Coronavirus: 79 new cases; vaccinations at 2.1 million-plus in Orange County as of April 18

The OC Health Care Agency reported 79 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, April 18, increasing the cumulative total in the county to 252,963 cases since tracking began.

There were 1,653 new infections reported in the last 14 days.

The five additional deaths reported Sunday raised the total number of COVID-19 fatalities to 4,896. There were 128 deaths reported in the last week.

The data on deaths in the county is compiled from death certificates or gathered through the course of case investigations and can take weeks to process. The most recent death recorded was on April 4.

There were 124 people with confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Orange County hospitals on Sunday, down from 134 on April 17.

Orange County moved into the orange (moderate) tier of the state’s four-tier framework on March 31. The daily case rate in the county per 100,000 residents is 3, low enough to stay in orange tier status. The testing positivity rate is 1.6%, low enough for yellow tier status.

The California Department of Public Health’s vaccines dashboard said more than 2,104,516 vaccines doses have been distributed in Orange County as of Saturday.

The county update said 3,542,407 tests have been given for the coronavirus since testing began locally, with at least 8,032 new tests since the previous report.

Of the cumulative 4,896 deaths reported from the virus, 1,069 were skilled nursing facility residents, 538 were in assisted living facilities, one was an O.C. jail inmate and 11 were listed as homeless.

The county’s breakdown of deaths by age is as follows:

17 and younger: 0.02% (1)18-24: 0.2% (10)25-34: 1.06% (52)35-44: 2.19% (107)45-54: 6.33% (310)55-64: 14.15% (693)65-74: 19.34% (947, up 1)75-84: 24.8% (1,214, up 2)85 and older: 31.96% (1,562, up 2)

It is estimated 245,193 people have recovered from the virus as of Saturday. The count of people who have recovered is based on the prior 28-day cumulative case count.

Data posted each day is preliminary and subject to change, officials emphasize. More information may become available as individual case investigations are completed.

You can find the Orange County Health Care Agency dashboard here.

Orange County hospitalizations and ICU patients:

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Angels Q&A: When will Shohei Ohtani pitch? Why didn’t the Twins forfeit?

The Angels have an unscheduled weekend off, after their Saturday and Sunday games against the Minnesota Twins were postponed because of the COVID-19 situation with the Twins. They had a staff member and two players test positive on Friday and Saturday.

With no games this weekend, we asked for your questions about what’s going on with the Angels, starting with the immediate impacts on the rotation.

Q: Any word on how the delay will affect the rotation? Are they going to skip (José) Quintana and/or allow (Dylan) Bundy to start on normal rest? — @ajn2748

A: For starters, Shohei Ohtani is set to rejoin the rotation on Tuesday, in the middle game of a three-game series against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium. Ohtani has not pitched since April 4 because of a blister, but he threw three bullpen sessions in the past week, and apparently came through that well enough the Angels have penciled him in to return to the rotation.

Because of the time he missed, he won’t be fully stretched out like he was, but the off days this weekend will give the Angels plenty of fresh bullpen (and starter) options to work behind him.

On Monday, Bundy will get the start, which will be on a typical five days rest. Quintana, who was scheduled to start on Saturday, will now start the series finale on Wednesday.

Alex Cobb, who was scheduled to start on Sunday, has not been penciled in for his next start. He and Quintana were both scheduled to face hitters in a workout Sunday afternoon, so both are healthy. Cobb could conceivably pitch after Ohtani on Tuesday.

Q: At what point is it realistic to call forfeits on COVID cancellations? We have had this pandemic for a year already and there is a vaccine available. Players should be vaccinated or stay home! — @Halodux

A: Several of you asked a version of this question, and the simple answer is because that’s not part of the agreement between the players and Major League Baseball. There is no way players would have agreed to any rules that would connect forfeiting games to COVID-19.

In many cases, these games aren’t postponed simply because a team doesn’t have enough players for that day. The games are postponed to keep the virus from spreading when a whole team and support staff spend another day in close quarters in the clubhouse.

It’s also not really fair to blame the players or the team for COVID-19 exposures, especially when each of them also has family members who don’t have the same level of accountability to MLB.

And I think we’ve all lived in this world long enough to know sometimes the virus finds you, despite all reasonable efforts to avoid it.

As for vaccinations, it takes two weeks to be fully vaccinated and a lot of parts of the country didn’t even open the vaccinations to the demographic that includes most players until recently. Twins outfielder Kyle Garlick, who tested positive on Saturday, said he was vaccinated less than two weeks ago.

Players also certainly wouldn’t agree to mandatory vaccinations. There are people in all parts of society who don’t believe vaccination is right for them, and the players have a powerful enough union that they don’t have to agree to anything that enough of their members are against.

Q: Have the Angels been vaccinated as a team yet? — @TinaTigerl18

A: Although Joe Maddon said earlier this month he believed the Angels had passed the 85 percent vaccination threshold for loosening some of the safety protocols, the team has otherwise provided no confirmation of the percentage of players or staff members who are fully vaccinated.

Q: Surely they won’t make up these games in Minnesota. They can’t penalize the Angels by taking away home games because of the Twins problems can they? – @troysaund

They most certainly can, and probably will. MLB has always been willing to play makeup games at the opposing ballpark if returning to the proper ballpark isn’t logistically feasible.

The players prefer this to the alternative of losing an off day and having arduous extra travel.

The Angels and Twins have just two mutual off days before the teams meet in Minnesota in late July. On April 29, the Angels are between Texas and Seattle, but the Twins are between Cleveland and Minnesota. On May 20, the Angels are home but the Twins are again between Minnesota and Cleveland (going the other way this time).

The Twins only come to the West Coast one more time, and they have a June 17 off day after a series in Seattle, but the Angels are already playing that day.

The biggest advantage of playing at home is batting last, and the Angels will still get that, no matter where the games are played.

Q: Do you think the Angels need an Ace starting pitcher or Ace reliever pitcher more ? — @LAKingsfan49

A: A good starter is always more valuable than an equally good reliever.

That being said, I think having “an ace” is overrated. Most teams don’t have one.

You want to have the best, deepest pitching you can possibly have, in order to have a chance to win every game, not every fifth game. In a sense, it’s better to judge a rotation by how good the worst pitcher is than by how good the best pitcher is.

Q: If (Chris Rodriguez) keeps it up, any chance will we see him as a future starter? — @14chaversscott

A: The most valuable role any pitcher can play is to be a starter, so if Rodriguez has the ability, that’s what the Angels would like him to be.

The question at the moment is if he has the pitch mix and durability to do that, and we still don’t know. As long as they keep using him for longer relief outings, we should start to learn the answers to those questions. If the answer is no, he’ll probably be pushed toward being a high-leverage reliever.

Q: What is your opinion of the proposal to move the mound back 12 inches? — @angels30ryan

A: It’s an interesting concept, but I don’t really see it working. The idea is to reduce strikeouts. While an extra foot gives hitters a little more time to catch up to fastballs, it also gives a little more room for breaking balls to break. Given that, I’m not really sure it would have the desired effect of getting more balls in play.

I have a better idea: limit the number of pitchers (either in a game or on the roster) and deaden the baseball, the latter of which is already happening.

Pitchers would be expected to pitch more innings in each game, which would mean they’d have to be more efficient with their pitches, which would mean they’d have to dial back the velocity and throw more strikes.

If the ball were less lively, pitchers could be more aggressive over the plate without worrying so much about balls flying over the fence.

Who’s your favorite Angel not playing anymore? — @mikejt1954

You’re asking this question to a writer who was never an Angels fan, so you’re probably not going to get the answer you want.

From my perspective as a writer, Huston Street was my favorite Angels player. I covered the Oakland A’s when he first reached the big leagues, so we had a long relationship. He was always accessible and would always give thoughtful answers on whatever you asked, which is all a writer ever wants.

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Amid Newsom’s ‘recall reopening,’ it’s time to restore checks-and-balances

If there’s one thing that’s consistent with Gov. Gavin Newsom during the pandemic, it’s inconsistency.

Constantly moving goalposts have caused more economic harm in California than anywhere else in the country. While our unemployment rate hovers at around nine percent, one of the highest, more than 19,000 business have closed their doors forever.  Many others remain on the brink of collapse.

Understandably, the frustration and anger is palpable among businesses owners, parents, students, and millions of Californians struggling to access unemployment benefits.

The ever-changing and inconsistent rules do not appear based on science or data as the governor promised.  One week we are bogged down by complicated and obtuse rules based on color-coded tiers, and the next we are told things look so great we will be able to reopen by June 15th.  Just like that, the threat of the virus went away. It does not take a rocket scientist (no offense to them) to connect the dots between the looming recall qualification and the sudden change of fortune for California.

If the governor’s “recall reopening” happens – and it is actually safe to bring California back to life –  we welcome the news.  It will be a tremendous relief for those who have been struggling for more than 13 months to keep their business afloat, educate their kids at the kitchen table, or work from home– but I won’t hold my breath.

One of my local school districts received a waiver to reopen late last year, they held off because of the surge and set a reopen date earlier this year only to be told a few days before students were set to return that the governor was changing the rules again. The reopening previously approved would have to wait. The money forked out to reopen was gone; parents would again be adjusting their schedules, as would all of the school personnel.  So, we have been down the governor’s yellow brick road before.

If things are looking as rosy as the governor wants us to believe, it is also time to end his emergency powers.

California’s Emergency Services Act, written decades ago, before all of the technological advances that allowed remote working and distance learning, reflect a time when people were afraid a catastrophe would completely shut down government.

That is not the case during the COVID-19 pandemic and it is well past time to end Gov. Newsom’s authority.

Senate Republicans have introduced several bills that would end his one-man rule and restore our constitutional three co-equal branches of government.

They include:

  • Senate Concurrent Resolution 5, introduced by Sen. Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, would terminate the governor’s current emergency power and restore checks and balances between the branches of government.  This would allow local governments to handle the pandemic in their own communities, instead of the top-down mandates the state has subjected them to for the last year.
  • Senate Bill 448, introduced by Sen. Melendez, would require future emergency orders to be narrow with a stated duration and scope. It would also restore some balance of power in future emergencies by allowing for some oversight of the governor’s decisions by the Legislature.
  • Senate Bill 209, introduced by Sen. Brian Dahle, R-Redding, would require the legislature to revisit the governor’s emergency power after 45 days thus preventing what we have today – a never-ending emergency with zero effort to restore the balance of power.

With 13 months of inconsistencies, it is hard to take the governor at his word on a June 15 reopening. One can hold out hope that with the threat of a recall he actually takes the pulse of Californians, and sticks with this date. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Scott Wilk represents the 21st Senate District and is the Senate Republican Leader.

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