No disruption to Horsemen’s Park simulcasting after Fonner-Nebraska HBPA agreement is reached

It was business as usual Monday at Horsemen’s Park, which was good news for General Manager Mike Newlin. An ongoing dispute between Grand Island’s Fonner Park and the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association had threatened to shut down simulcasting at all Nebraska tracks starting New Year’s Day. But Newlin said he received an email at 11:35 p.m. Sunday from the state racing commission that an agreement had been reached. ‘’We weren’t involved in those negotiations in any way, shape or form,’’ he said. ‘’But I’m happy something was worked out.’’ The racing commission had forbidden all of the state tracks from simulcasting in 2018 until the Fonner issue was resolved. The possibility that Horsemen’s Park would be forced to suspend simulcasting starting Monday led to a lawsuit being filed in federal court asking for an injunction against the racing commission’s actions. ‘’The commission thought this was the best way to deal with the problem,’’ Newlin said. ‘’But we were really concerned about the possibility of not being able to simulcast.’’ The general manager added that Horsemen’s Park tried to immediately spread the word Sunday night that simulcasting would be available Monday. ‘’There was a lot of confusion among our fans,’’ he said. ‘’We put the news on our Facebook page as quick as we could but we were still getting a lot of calls today.’’ Newlin said the final-hour timing of the commission email combined with subzero weather didn’t help the facility’s attendance Monday. The frigid temperatures on the East Coast also led to the cancellation of racing at four tracks. The situation also tempered the enthusiasm for 20th anniversary festivities that start at Horsemen’s Park this week. Special events are planned throughout Continue Reading

Mikaela Shiffrin, the Best Slalom Skier in the World

Audio: Listen to this story. To hear more feature stories, download the Audm app for your iPhone. Mikaela Shiffrin, the Alpine ski racer, should win at least one gold medal at the Olympics this winter in South Korea. She might even win three. It’s a fair bet she’ll get the Wheaties box and the full-on Up Close and Personal. She’s a bright, affable American who dominates her corner of the sport with the kind of predictability and grace that draws in casual viewers, awes the experts, and inspires a lot of super-slo-mo check-that-out. There’s something about transcendent talent that causes people to root for it, no matter their allegiances or their usual embrace of the underdog. Excellence creates its own weather. Yet so much can go wrong. For skiers, the Olympics are a brief fever dream in the middle of the five-month odyssey of their season. There are a lot of chances beforehand to get hurt. In a short race, anyone can make a ruinous mistake (lose an edge, hook a tip, choose the wrong line) or encounter bad luck (equipment malfunction, snow squall, gust of wind). And what about food poisoning? Or even geopolitics: the time would seem inopportune for an international sporting carnival on the Korean peninsula. Athletes are taught, and sometimes even born, not to think this way. Control what you can. Eliminate distraction. Preparation is perspiration. Yet even Shiffrin, a stone-cold killer on snow, has recently found herself more susceptible to the whisperings of “what if.” “I never used to feel nervous,” she told me. “Just excited. But this past season I got so nervous I had to throw up a couple of times.” The first wave of her new anxiety came a year ago, when the International Ski Federation (F.I.S.) World Cup tour came to the Eastern United States, for the first time in a quarter of a century. The circuit typically passes over New England’s relatively diminutive mountains and variable conditions in Continue Reading

18 people to watch in 2018

From the trial of a sitting senator to the election of a new governor to terror attacks that rocked the region, 2017 was a turbulent year for New Jersey. We saw familiar faces and issues taking center stage and dominating the headlines. But as a new year begins, it's time to look ahead to those who could help shape our future. Some are already familiar, some are growing into their place in the spotlight, and still others work behind the scenes but have tremendous impact. So here they are, from world-class talents to teenage prodigies, from the politically powerful to those who stand with the powerless, from those who save lives to those who lift our spirits. These are our 18 people to watch in 2018.  MARIE BLISTAN, special education teacher, Washington TownshipWHY: Blistan became president of the New Jersey Education Association in September. The teachers' union strongly backed Phil Murphy in his successful bid for governor, and now Blistan has been named co-chairwoman of Murphy's transition committee on educational issues. After eight years of public quarrels with Gov. Chris Christie, the largest teachers’ union in the state will again have a governor in office whom it views as pro-union and pro-teacher. Blistan said the union will push to lower health care costs and to get the state to make regular payments to the underfunded pension system.  QUOTE: “We have many important public education issues to deal with, and I’m glad this [Murphy] administration is already working on that. Giving educators a voice will benefit our schools and our students, because we know what works best and what matters most.”  AARON BOONE, Yankees manager WHY: A former Major League Baseball player who spent the past seven years as a TV analyst for ESPN, Boone is taking over as skipper of the Yankees. Boone had spent only a short time Continue Reading

Bentley’s Bar adds live entertainment to north Broadway scene

Bentley’s Bar adds live entertainment to north Broadway scene By Chuck Blount December 7, 2017 Updated: December 7, 2017 1:22pm Photo: Chuck Blount /San Antonio Express-News Image 1of/81 CaptionClose Image 1 of 81 Bentley's Bar at 8123 Broadway is currently undergoing a soft-opening phase as it continues interior and exterior construction. It's open from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. every day of the week, offering a full beer and a variety of bottled beers. less Bentley's Bar at 8123 Broadway is currently undergoing a soft-opening phase as it continues interior and exterior construction. It's open from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. every day of the week, offering a full beer and a ... more Photo: Chuck Blount /San Antonio Express-News Image 2 of 81 Bentley's Bar at 8123 Broadway is currently undergoing a soft-opening phase as it continues interior and exterior construction. It's open from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. every day of the week and has plenty of interior seating and standing areas for live music performances. less Bentley's Bar at 8123 Broadway is currently undergoing a soft-opening phase as it continues interior and exterior construction. It's open from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. every day of the week and has plenty of interior ... more Photo: Chuck Blount /San Antonio Express-News Image 3 of 81 Bentley's Bar at 8123 Broadway has a full bar, and sells a variety of beers in can and bottled form. Bentley's Bar at 8123 Broadway has a full bar, and sells a variety of beers in can and bottled form. Photo: Chuck Blount /San Antonio Express-News Image 4 of 81 Bentley's Bar at 8123 Broadway has a large stage for live entertainment. The bar is enjoying a soft-opening as multiple interior and exterior construction Continue Reading

The New American Slavery: Invited To The U.S., Foreign Workers Find A Nightmare

MAMOU, Louisiana — Travis Manuel and his twin brother, Trey, were shopping at Walmart near this rural town when they met two Mexican women who struck them as sweet. Using a few words of Spanish he had picked up from his Navy days, Travis asked the two women out on a double date.Around midnight the following Saturday, when they finished their shift at a seafood processing plant, Marisela Valdez and Isy Gonzalez waited for their dates at the remote compound where they lived and worked.As soon as they got in the Manuel brothers’ car, the women began saying something about “patrón angry,” Travis recalled. While he was trying to puzzle out what they meant, his brother, who was driving, interrupted: “Dude,” Trey said. “There’s someone following us.”Trey began to take sudden turns on the country roads threading through the rice paddies that dot the area, trying to lose the pickup truck behind them. Finally, they saw a police car.“I said, we’re gonna flag down this cop” for help, Travis recalled. “But the cop pulled us over, lights on, and told us not to get out of the vehicle,” Trey added, noting that the pickup pulled up and the driver began conferring with the police.An officer asked Trey and his brother for ID. From the backseat, their dates began to cry.Travis tried to reassure them. They weren’t doing anything wrong, he said, and they were in the United States. “I was like, ‘There’s no way they are going to take you away.’”He was wrong.The man in the truck was the women’s boss, Craig West, a prominent farmer in the heart of Cajun country. As Sgt. Robert McGee later wrote in a police report, West said that Valdez and Gonzalez were “two of his girls,” and he asked the cops to haul the women in and “scare the girls.”The police brought the women, who were both in their twenties, to the station house. McGee told them Continue Reading

Tiger Woods motivated by his kids in latest return to golf

NASSAU, Bahamas — Tiger Woods’ children are nuts for soccer.His daughter Sam, 10, and son Charlie, 8, prefer the game over golf and each plays on the pitch any chance they get. And Charlie is always Lionel Messi when he pops in the FIFA video game.So it was a no-brainer for Woods to set up a meet-and-greet with Messi when Barcelona and Real Madrid played a pre-season match in Florida in July. Messi and his teammate Luis Suarez posed with the Woods family before the match.“Isn’t it neat to meet a living legend?” Woods asked his kids.He was surprised by the reply.“Yeah, we live with one,” Sam said. Column: Here's how to set expectations for Woods' latest comeback TV, Tee times: How to watch Tiger Woods' return to competitive golf Related: Tiger addresses undergoing treatment for pain meds Woods, 41, didn’t think his kids knew what Daddy has done in the game. To the youngsters, Woods is the YouTube golfer, the star of thousands of videos populating social media. While the two have been on hand when Woods was victorious — Sam was there when Woods claimed his last two of 14 majors and Charlie was on site when Woods won his last of 79 PGA Tour titles at the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, neither has any memory of being there.“They’ve never seen me in action,” Woods said ahead of his latest comeback at the Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Course beginning Thursday.He is intent on changing that. If his back holds up — he’s had four surgical procedures on his spine since 2014, the last one a spinal fusion in April — Woods hopes to return to his golden age in front of his children, who will provide motivation for their Pop to get there.“When I started coming back for this event, Sam wanted to go out on the golf course with me,” Tiger Woods said. “She just thought it was so cool I was hitting it where she couldn’t see it. She Continue Reading

It’s happening in Las Vegas: Long considered too taboo for sports, Sin City soon could be home to 2 pro franchises

LAS VEGAS — It is hot and growing hotter in the valley. Wally Backman, the manager of the Las Vegas 51s in the Pacific Coast League, ignites a flame with his cigarette lighter and the end of his Marlboro catches fire. It is his third cigarette in 30 minutes. He exhales; smoke coils upward. He looks down at his ostrich boots. His seat is an aluminum bench in a covered dugout that he refers to as a dungeon along the first baseline. He simmers in serenity at 4 p.m., three hours prior to first pitch. A stadium thermometer, out in the sun, registers the heat at 110 degrees. Six Air King fans — High Velocity! — blow mist on pitchers passing by to throw in the outfield. Backman considers desert life as the Tacoma Rainiers amble onto the diamond. “I don’t care if they call it dry heat. It feels like a blow dryer when the wind is blowing,” he says. “These other guys, when they come into Vegas, they come in only twice. This is their second trip. They probably hit the streets pretty hard at night.” Three casinos — Golden Nugget, The Orleans and Gold Coast — advertise on the blue outfield wall that stands 20 feet high in left and right, 25 feet high in center. The Tank sells itself as Sin City’s best pool and Gold Diggers bills its offerings as “nightlife redefined.” There is an excessive heat warning in effect, as issued by the National Weather Service. Backman declares no batting practice today for the 51s, a Triple-A ball club in the Mets organization that wears alien heads as logos. There are baseball seams stitched across them as a nod to the local legend of extraterrestrial tourists in nearby Area 51 and past nuclear bomb experiments at the Nevada Test Site. The night’s game is dedicated both to Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard as well as Star Trek, and Backman’s players change into yellow uniform tops that honor Captain Kirk of Starship Enterprise. Continue Reading

Nicole Kidman refuses to participate in best pal Naomi Watts’ ’60 Minutes’ segment because ‘she’s jealous she’s not in this year’s Oscar’s spotlight’

Who needs enemies when you have friends like these?Naomi Watts will appear in an upcoming CBS Oscar segment to help with her Oscar campaign for Best Actress in “The Impossible” — and her best frenemy, Nicole Kidman (below), is refusing to participate.Lara Logan and focuses on Watts’ dramatic turn in “The Impossible.” PHOTOS: NAOMI WATTS AS PRINCESS DIThe Paperboy” at the Screen Actors Guild awards in January, while Watts (far r.) also gained a nod there for Leading Actress. Neither stunner took home the award, however, losing to Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Lawrence, respectively. PHOTOS: IS THIS THE BEGINNING OF ANOTHER CELEBRITY FEUD? “We’ve been looking for a movie to do together for a long time now. But both of us have ... picky tastes. It has to be the right thing,” Watts told E! last week. They acted together in the 1991 film “Flirting.” “Somebody think of something, please!” Kidman jokingly pleaded to E!. PETA AFTER BEYONCÉ’S HIDE Beyoncé is in trouble with PETA. Again. The animal rights group is angry at Bey for shaking and shimmying in a Rubin Singer leather bodysuit, made of python, paneled iguana and leather. “We would take a bet that if Beyoncé watched our video exposés, she'd probably not want to be seen again in anything made of snakes, lizards, rabbits or other animals who died painfully. Today’s fashions are trending toward humane vegan options, and Beyoncé’s Super Bowl outfit missed the mark on that score.” PETA was also furious with the singer after she wore a three-quarter-length Christian Dior mink coat to sing at the inauguration. PHOTOS: STARS WHO'VE GONE NAKED FOR PETA The group adds that the “game was great” however, and expressed love for Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, who just joined PETA in protesting the fur industry by starring in their new “Ink, Continue Reading

Events to celebrate the 2017 solar eclipse in Salem, Willamette Valley

This story has been updated to correct the time and date of the Pink Floyd tribute band Pigs On The Wing concert. The event will be 8 p.m. Aug. 20.A variety of activities will engage all ages leading up to the solar eclipse on Aug. 21.There will by tours and activities the weekend prior to the eclipse, including a concert featuring The Salem Philharmonia Orchestra performing space-themed tunes 11:30 a.m. Aug. 19. Bring a blanket, a lawn chair and a picnic lunch. On Sunday, OMSI educator Jim Todd will give a lecture at 11:30 a.m. in the Capitol. Find out how to get the most out of viewing the eclipse and what stages you are looking for. The lecture will also be streamed live online at Starting at 11:00 a.m., the OSCF will be handing out free eclipse glasses while supplies last. The Capitol is open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with tower tours at 9, 10 and 11 a.m. and noon and 1 p.m. Weather permitting and limited to 50 people per tour. There will be building tours at 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30  a.m. and 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. On Aug. 21, the building will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Rose City Astronomer President Margaret McCrea will broadcast from the Capitol Mall during the eclipse, plus there will be tower tours at 1 and 2 p.m. and building tours at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 and 2:30 p.m.When: Aug. 19-21Where: Oregon State Capitol, 900 Court St. NECost: FreeInformation: 503-986-1388 or go to oregoncapitol.comCreate eclipse-inspired art at the Salem Art Association's Art in the Park in the Dark event, which encourages artists to gather and to document the eclipse phenomenon through creative means. Light refreshments will be served. After the event, artists will have about two weeks to prepare artwork for an eclipse-themed exhibition at the Bush Barn Art Center. The first 50 participants to deliver artwork will be included (one entry per artist). All media forms are welcome, including literary and Continue Reading

From climate to fry bread, 125 reasons to love Arizona

This list was originally published May 18, 2015, to celebrate 125 years of The Arizona Republic. We've brought it back to help mark Arizona's 106th birthday!There are endless reasons to love Arizona, from the universal (diverse scenery, great weather) to deeply personal (met your romantic partner here).Regardless of whether you're a native or a recent transplant, here are our top 25 reasons -- plus 100 more -- to love Arizona. 1. Grand Canyon This is the Grand Canyon State, and we have the license plates to prove it. Mention "Grand Canyon" in any corner of the Earth and people will likely say, "Arizona." (If they say "Las Vegas," straighten them out.) Any Arizona-based list has to start with one of the greatest natural wonders. 2. Native American culture The state is blessed with museums, villages and natural wonders that reflect the lives and cultures of people who have lived here for centuries. It's a shame "casinos" come readily to mind. 3. Sedona With red-rock formations rarely found outside Mars, Sedona would be voted "Best Landscape" in most states, but not in one featuring the Grand Canyon. Still, Sedona is a beautiful runner-up. 4. Xeriscaping It's just another word for trees and shrubs that require comparatively little care. Combine gravel with drought-tolerant plants and you've just freed up a few weekend hours to watch TV instead of mowing and pruning. Unless you're into that sort of thing. 5. Sunrise, sunset The hues to be seen when the sun says hello and goodbye are almost always Instagram-worthy. Sure, some of the most incredible -rises and -sets are the result of pollutants, but if you are going to breathe air you can see, it might as well look like this. 6. Decent amount of water for a desert What with all the lakes, pools and water parks in and around the Valley, the ability to escape the heat is never far away. And based on the number of state residents who descend on San Diego each summer, Arizona could Continue Reading