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Bryan Smith Jersey

Brian Keating was 12 when he first started birdwatching, a hobby that kicked off a love of nature that’s carried him throughout his career as a naturalist, wildlife expert and charismatic educator.

“I can remember like it was yesterday the first time I saw a certain species of warbler when I was a little kid by myself with my second-hand binoculars in the woods,” he says. “Kids these days, there’s not enough of them getting those kinds of experiences.”

Keating and TV veteran Bryan Smith hope to change that with their new series Great Big Nature, launching this week on the Postmedia Network. It’s a series of mini-docs hosted by Keating, taking viewers from Madagascar to the High Arctic with a goal of stimulating discussion about nature.

“Our new digital world is keeping people indoors more often than not and if you compare it to when I was growing up, the generational change is remarkable,” says Keating, who was the Calgary Zoo’s head of education and conservation outreach for nearly three decades. “It’s huge, the transition from the real world play environment to the virtual world play environment.”

Smith and Keating see the path to getting people back out into the real world starts with the virtual world. They’re hoping these tastes of nature will inspire people to go outside.

“The more we engage with nature, the more it becomes part of our life, then we will start taking care of it better,” says Smith, who is the executive producer and director of the series. “A lot of these websites or programs you see out there, they’re all very negative towards nature: we’re losing it, it’s a lot more doom-and-gloom approach. We celebrate what is still there. We think if you engage with it a little bit more, you’ll appreciate it a little bit more and, eventually, help save it because it’s become part of your life, it means something to you, it’s personal now.”

“The idea is that nature isn’t talked about enough,” Keating adds. “If we can get more awareness out there, more inspirational messages, we think that we can make a difference.”

Keating’s enthusiasm for nature is contagious. It’s what’s made him an in-demand speaker and tour guide. And despite a full career of globe-trotting, even he found new things to be inspired by as he travelled and filmed this series.

“It’s endless, I think that’s what’s drawn me to the concept of nature discovery ever since I was a little kid,” he says. “If your eyes, ears and your heart are all open when you’re out there, stuff happens, you encounter things. Mink fishing for fish along the Bow River or an eagle flying over scaring the bejeepers out of the Canada geese that are sitting on the ice down below or a falcon terrorizing your neighbourhood and taking one of the birds at your bird feeder.

“I call it the parallel nature universe,” he continues. “There’s stuff happening around us all the time but because we’re all so busy and focusing on our day-to-day, we’re not giving it the time and the freedom to enter our awareness. I’m hoping that we’ll draw more attention to it. At the end of the day, we’re not talking about nature enough. Nature’s intact ecosystems are what allow us to survive. It’s what we need. We’re no different than the pronghorn antelope or the grizzly bear or the squirrel in your backyard; we’re mammals and we require clean air and clean water and productive soil.”

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France is a dangerous place in 1793, just a few years after the French Revolution of 1789 and smack in the center of the infamous Reign of Terror of 1793-94, when public executions by guillotine were de riguer.

It’s especially suffocating for women, as feminist writer Olympe de Gouges observes that the national motto of “Liberte, egalite, fraternite” is missing “sororite,” with women still relegated to second-class citizenship. So, de Gouges is more than interested when her friend, revolutionary spy Marianne Angelle, arrives in Paris urging de Gouges to become involved in Marianne’s cause to free the slaves in the Caribbean province of Saint Domingue.

De Gouges also is visited by young Charlotte Corday, who is in search of her “final line” before she follows through on her commitment to assassinate Jean-Paul Marat, politician and journalist aligned with the bloodthirsty Jacobins who thrived on torture. When deposed and addle-brained Queen Marie Antoinette pops by unexpectedly, the quartet of women commiserate with each other even as their frustrations mount.

Marianne sorely misses her husband, a fellow revolutionary who like his wife has written an “ultimate” letter to be delivered to her only upon his death. The virginal Charlotte is driven by her allegiance to the moderate Girondins to slay Marat and “kill one man to save 100,000.” Marie realizes she is shallow but still has enough dignity to protect her children and strike back at outrageous accusations of incest.

As for Olympe, she can’t decide between writing political pamphlets or penning a play for the feminist cause, and maybe she’ll do both. Time, however, is rapidly running out on all of them, and the guillotine’s bloody blade seems perilously close to all four, especially for those issued an appointment before the ominous Tribunal which oversees trials and executions. Viva le revolution, indeed.

Highlights: Insight Theatre Company offers St. Louis a Bastille Day bon-bon with its engaging version of prolific playwright Lauren Gunderson’s paean to several outspoken and accomplished women in the days of the French Revolution and its aftermath.

Other Info: Like Gunderson’s earlier effort, Silent Sky, The Revolutionists is a dramatization of women forgotten or maligned by history. While not as consistently engaging as Silent Sky (the story of pioneer astronomer Henrietta Levitt), Gunderson’s knack for clever writing helps make The Revolutionists an interesting exercise.

Gunderson, who has been the most-produced playwright in America since 2016, terms The Revolutionists “a Comedy, a Quartet, a Revolutionary Dream Fugue, a True Story.” Well, three out of four of those are accurate. It isn’t entirely authentic, since Marianne Angelle is a fictional composite of the symbol of French liberty (Marianne) and real-life slaves who fought to liberate Saint Domingue (now Haiti) from colonial France.

Marianne, in fact, is adorned with a sash proclaiming “Revolution for all” with her Caribbean-style costume, courtesy of designer Julian King, whose concept goes all out with the garish flamboyance of the deposed Queen Marie Antoinette, including her bizarre wig and its even stranger accoutrements. Leah McFall’s set design is simple but effective, with period furniture moved on and off the stage depending upon the scene.

Morgan Brennan’s lighting accentuates the darker moments in the piece, which ranges from broad comedy to touching drama, bolstered by Trish Brown’s and Bob Schmit’s sound design.

Gunderson’s script can be witty and pointed, but it also can meander off course for maddening stretches, as in the three different moments when Act I could logically conclude before it staggers to a halt. Perhaps juggling the causes and personalities of four strong but disparate characters can become too unwieldy.

Nonetheless, director Trish Brown culls marvelous performances from her quartet of players, all of whom work well off of each other. Jenni Ryan portrays de Gouze as frazzled but determined to not “write what you know, (but) write what you want.” What de Gouze desires is equality for women and she’s willing to fight with her pen to achieve that, as Ryan convincingly conveys.

Kimmie Kidd-Booker brings the symbol of Marianne to ardent feminist life as the tough but compassionate Caribbean revolutionary, committed as much to freedom as she is to her soul-mate husband. Samantha Auch delivers the goods as the youthful and fiercely idealistic Corday, whose place in history is decidedly less favorable than her treatment by Gunderson.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is Laurie McConnell’s portrayal of Marie Antoinette. While accustomed to the oft-quoted cliché, “Let them eat cake” to symbolize the queen’s indifference to the plight of the people, McConnell shows another side of the deposed monarch as well.

Her Marie, while admittedly dimwitted, also is capable of reaching out to her comrades in thought to share a lusty laugh or a moment of pathos (and Marie Antoinette didn’t die in 1789, as I erroneously thought).

Gunderson is a terrific playwright and a heck of a researcher as well, delving into the largely unknown lives of women who have had a strong if submerged impact on history. The Revolutionists, while striking a chord of familiarity with current politics, succeeds in opening our eyes to its “hi, story” of the past.

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The Buffalo Bills announced on Wednesday that starting center Mitch Morse was placed in concussion protocol.
On Wednesday, head coach Sean McDermott announced before practice that the Buffalo Bills’ top free agent signing Mitch Morse had been placed in concussion protocol. The team’s starting center had missed the last two practices.

The fact that Morse has suffered a concussion this early is certainly a call for concern as this would be his fourth documented concussion in the NFL, according to Howard Simon of WGR 550.

Mitch Morse has suffered 3 concussions in the NFL:

2015 week 12, missed 1 game
2015 week 17, missed playoffs
2018 week 6, missed 5 games

— Howard WGR (@hsimon62) July 31, 2019

Mitch Morse was a second round draft pick by the Kansas City Chiefs and spent the first four years in the league with them. However, this offseason the Bills made a substantial financial commitment to Morse and signed him to a deal that made him the highest paid center in the NFL.

The hope was that he could bring stability and production to the position, something they did not have last year with Eric Wood retiring before the start of the season.

The impact of Morse missing time is two-fold for the Bills offense. The team entered camp with an almost complete overhaul of the offensive line, with four new starters. The fact that they had this much change, this starting line needed as many practice reps as possible to come together.

The other issue this impacts is that Josh Allen and Morse need reps to work on the snap exchange. This was something that came up on the first practice when there was a botched snap in the red zone and the two had to run a sprint the length of the field.

Josh Allen and Mitch Morse just botched a snap in a red-zone drill. Sean McDermott made them run to the other end of the field and back.

— Prescott Rossi (@PrescottRossi) July 25, 2019

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OHIO COUNTY, Ky. (1/15/20) — The following property transfers were recently recorded in Ohio County:

Michael G. Beatty to Melven D. Hack and Judylene R. Hack, lot or parcel.

Michael G. Beatty to Frankie Lee Skipworth and Hilda Jane Skipworth, tract or parcel.

Wanda J. Beatty to Melven D. Beatty and Judylene R. Hack, lot or parcel.

Wanda J. Beatty to Frankie Lee Skipworth and Hilda Jane Skipworth, tract or parcel.

Debra Bellamy, Debra F. Bellamy and Roger D. Bellamy to James H. Conder and Tina Faye Conder, tract or parcel.

Katherine Dickerson to Katherine Catherine Dickerson and Lynelle Smith Thomas, lot in Fordsville.

Christopher Chad Coots and Sarah Jane Coots to Bryan Daniel Staples and Myra Ann Staples, tract 9 of Southside Subdivision.

Rebecca Ann Coppage to James Dale Austin and Laura Michelle Austin, tract or parcel.

Elmer Lee Daugherty to Nathaniel Lee Daugherty and Lakayah Ashton Daugherty, parcels.

Kenneth Daugherty to Eric A. Roberts and Tamra Payne, southwest of Belltown Road.

Marketta Daugherty to Nathaniel Lee Daugherty and Lakayah Ashton Daugherty, parcels.

Tracy Daugherty to Eric A. Roberts and Tamra Payne, southwest of Belltown Road.

Alicia Renae Dickerson to Katherine Dickerson Cameron and Lynelle Smith Thomas, lot in Fordsville.

Rebecca Ann to James Dale Austin and Laura Michelle Austin, tract or parcel.

Donnell Paris Gordon and Joseph Thomas Gordon to Thomas R. Howe and Marquita Howe, tract or parcel.

Charles Hines to Jordan Hines, tracts or parcels.

Girthel L. Keown, Girthel Lois Keown, J.D. Keown and John Dalton Keown to John Denton Keown and Kristy Danette Keown, tract or parcel.

Leroy’s Land Sales Inc. to Ramona Allen, lot 16 in Westerfield subdivision.

Kelly Lewis to Anthony Scott Lewis, lots 7, 8 and 9 in block A of Barnard Addition.

Cody Pate, Cody Lawrence Pate, Katie E. Pate and Katie Estelle Pate to Katie Estelle Pate, tract.

R S G Inc. to Anthony Scott Lewis, lots 7, 8 and 9 in block A of Barnard Addition.

Responder Railroad Corporation to Respondek Rail Services Inc., tract or parcel.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to James S. Hornsby, 2621 Harmons Ferry Road.

Sarah Jane Staples to Bryan Daniel Staples and Myra Ann Staples, tract 9 of Southside Subdivision.

Debra Carol Stofer and John Allen Stofer to John Thomas Eaves, tract or parcel.

Leroy Aron Westerfield to Ramona Allen, lot 16 of Westerfield Subdivision.

Western Kentucky Leasing LLC to Larry Wayne Piper, tract on Pleasant Ridge Road.

Stephen Blake Wiggins to Linda L. Wiggins, tract west of Iron Mountain Road.

Karen Young to Michael Mitchell and Lane Mitchell, 496 St. Rt. 54 East.

Warren B. Young to Michael Mitchell and Lane Mitchell, 496 St. Rt. 54 East.

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The area between the free throw line and the top of the circle is a short distance. For Tom Gramkow, it was precious real estate.

He calls it, “My spot.”

“I shot a lot of shots from there in my four years at Wesleyan,” Gramkow said.

Enough went in for Gramkow to amass 1,418 points as a Titan, 15th-most in school history. One that went in has a life all its own.

Gramkow’s shot as time ran out on Jan. 13, 1970 touched a lot of rim at Horton Field House. It hit the front of the rim, the back and, finally, trickled through the net.

The senior captain’s buzzer-beater gave IWU a 69-68 victory over Illinois State in the final basketball game played between the schools, capping a series that spanned 111 games and 61 years.

“It was a good way to end it,” Gramkow said. “When it happened, you never thought 50 years later people would still be talking about it. But for a lot of people in Bloomington-Normal, that (the series) was a pretty big deal.”

The deciding hoop is “The Shot” at IWU. It’s been called a lot of things at ISU, none printable.

Wesleyan will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the victory Wednesday when the current Titans play host to North Park at 7 p.m.

Gramkow and several other players from the 1969-70 squad will be at Shirk Center along with former IWU coach and athletic director, Dennie Bridges. The first 300 fans receive a commemorative poster.

Bridges coached 986 games and won 667 in his fabulous 36-year Titan coaching run. In regard to that crosstown contest 50 years ago Monday, he said, “I remember it like it was yesterday.”

Bridges can tell you that ISU’s Greg Guy hit a shot to put the Redbirds ahead by a point with seven seconds left. The Titans called a timeout and Bridges decided to “let Tom go down and create his shot.”

Game action from final IWU-ISU basketball game
Illinois State’s Dale Janssen (53) leaps to block a hook shot by Illinois Wesleyan’s Sheldon Thompson (45) on Jan. 13, 1970 at Horton Field House in the final game between the schools. Other ISU players are Myron Litwiller (45) and Dave Handy (30). Other IWU players are Tom Gramkow (25), John Gibson (41) and Fred Evans (51).

Gramkow knew where to find it.

“We took it out on the sideline, so I tried to get over to my spot where I felt comfortable,” he said. “When I let it go, I thought it was a swish. When it hit the rim, my heart fell for a second. But then it went in.”

Those in an overflow crowd listed at 7,000 let out cheers and groans, depending on allegiance.

The neighboring schools had played twice per season in Gramkow’s first three years at IWU. The January meeting was the only one in the 1969-70 campaign.

ISU was moving to Division I the next season and was ready to move on from IWU.

“Part of the deal was they said they didn’t have room on their schedule for a non-Division I team,” Bridges said. “It was controversial. I was a young coach. It was like my fifth year at Illinois Wesleyan. I was outspoken that we shouldn’t quit playing. I had quite a bit of support, even from ISU fans. They didn’t want to give it up.”

Redbird athletic director Milt Weisbecker hired Will Robinson as head coach later in 1970. Bridges recalls Weisbecker saying to him “that in effect we’re doing you a favor because as we go Division I, we’ll make you want to quit (playing).”

IWU vs. ISU box score
The box score from Illinois Wesleyan’s 69-68 victory over Illinois State on Jan. 13, 1970 in the last basketball game played between the schools.

“It wouldn’t have happened for a few years because three years later we had Jack Sikma,” Bridges said of the recently inducted Basketball Hall of Famer. “But they had Doug Collins and then Bubbles Hawkins and Jeff Wilkins, so it would have been really hard for us.”

Ah yes. Doug Collins. He was at Horton on Jan. 13, 1970, but was on the freshman team at a time the NCAA prohibited freshmen from playing on the varsity. He played in the freshman preliminary game won by IWU.

Collins went on to score 2,240 points over the next three years and become the first pick of the 1973 NBA Draft. On this night, he could only watch IWU celebrate Gramkow’s shot.

About the shot …

Bridges said he was going to suggest that Gramkow “put on a uniform and reenact it” Wednesday night.

Don’t be so sure it won’t happen, though the uniform is unlikely.

“Actually, I was in the gym today (Monday),” said Gramkow, a retired State Farm agent. “I’ve been shooting around the last few weeks. I tried that shot. It’s really hard to square up now. But at least I tried it.”

The end of the series quelled what had been an intense IWU-ISU rivalry. Bridges said an offshoot was that eventually, many people became fans of both teams.

In 1970, you were attached to one or the other, and Gramkow said IWU coaches at the time — Jack Horenberger, Bob Keck, Don Larson, Bridges — reminded the players frequently of what beating ISU meant.

Bridges said Larson, the Titan football coach, “wouldn’t let a kid wear a red shirt in Fred Young Fieldhouse.”

That’s a rivalry.

“Over the years the idea was ‘Why aren’t we playing?'” Bridges said. “For lots of reasons, it just never happened. At the time, I really wanted to keep playing. Later, after we didn’t play them for a while, I thought the idea of playing maybe wasn’t a good idea.”

Thus, the series has remained dormant. It’s likely to stay that way.

That’s OK.

Gramkow’s shot is alive and well.

“It’s kind of cool to have good memories like that,” he said.

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Mount Holly native played for the old Brooklyn Dodgers in 1933 before resuming military career during World War II

Entering the 2019 season, 23 Gaston County products have played major league baseball.

The second of those who reached the pinnacle of playing America’s pastime was Mount Holly’s William Austin Outen.

A member of the 2019 Gaston County Sports Hall of Fame induction class on May 13 at Gastonia Conference Center, Outen broke into the major leagues in 1933 with old Brooklyn Dodgers. It was part of an 11-year professional baseball career as a catcher and power-hitting left-handed batter.

Born in 1905 in Mount Holly, North Carolina, he was the oldest of eight children of James Franklin Outen and Farris F. Allen Outen.

Before starting school, his father was named superintendent of a cotton mill in the Gaston County township of River Bend and the family moved to that community.

William Outen later enlisted into the U.S. military before graduating from old Mount Holly High in 1925 at the age of 20 after playing football and baseball for the school

He then played football, baseball and track at N.C. State in the late 1920s.

N.C. State was called North Carolina College of Agriculture and Engineering when Outen played football for Gus Tebell and baseball for Charles Doak (for whom the school’s current baseball field is named) and in 1928 was captain of both teams and in 1927 a member of the school’s first football championship team.

William Outen’s semipro career began in 1926 when played catcher for the Mount Holly Yarners of the local American Yarn and Processing Company. He later played semipro in Charlotte in 1927 and 1928 and in Concord in 1928.

In November 1928, he took a $1,200 signing bonus with the New York Yankees and went to spring training in 1929.

After playing in Asheville, Greenville, S.C., Albany, Ga., Jersey City, N.J., and Scranton, Pa., the Dodgers bought William Outen’s contract in 1932 and placed him on the major league roster in 1933.

A backup to then 24-year-old catcher Al Lopez (an eventual Baseball Hall of Famer), William Outen played in 93 games and hit .248 with four home runs and 17 RBIs for a 65-88 team that finished sixth in the eight-team National League.

William Outen’s niece Rachel Outen Goodrum only knew her uncle briefly but heard stories from her father Raymond Franklin Outen, who was 12 years younger than William Outen.

“He got to meet some of the big boys like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig (of the New York Yankees) and he backed up Al Lopez,” Goodrum said.

One of Goodrum’s favorite stories involves something William Outen did after he made the major leagues.

Though he never played in the majors again after 1933, he spent five more years in professional baseball, playing in Buffalo, Montreal, Mission (San Francisco), Hollywood, Lenoir, Mayodan, Lexington and Spartanburg.

When William Outen played for Mission, he hit a home out of the stadium in San Francisco.

“The story I was told was that he not only hit the ball out of the stadium,” Goodrum said. “But when it hit out of the stadium, it bounced into the window of a taxi cab driver.”

After William Outen’s baseball career ended in 1939, he wasn’t out of action for long as he was recalled by the Army with the outbreak of World War II. William Outen served in the European and Mediterranean theaters as a corporal in the military police.

After the war ended, he joined the Army Corps of Engineers as a sergeant stationed in Hawaii in 1946.

Upon leaving the military, he was a wool dyer who later died from complications of lung cancer on Sept. 11, 1961 at a veteran’s hospital in Durham at the age of 56. He was later interred at Mount Holly Cemetery.

“Our daddy took us to see our uncle in the hospital in Durham,” Goodrum said of her, her sister and brother. “That’s the last time we saw him.”

In August 2012, William Outen was inducted into the Mount Holly Sports Hall of Fame and six family members and a family friend attended the ceremony.

This time, Goodrum is hopeful her family will again be represented.

“I live in Huntersville and we have some family in Smithfield in Eastern North Carolina,” she said. “We’re really excited about it and happy to hear he’s being honored by Gaston County.”

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The fledgling American Football League needed attention – and a strong national television contract – so naturally it turned to New York for one of its inaugural franchises.

Enter Harry Wismer, a colorful, volatile character with a long history as a sports announcer. In 1953, he had done play-by-play for the first prime-time, national NFL television package, Saturday nights on the DuMont Network.

Among many other things, he was a part-owner of the Redskins in the 1950s, during which time he feuded with owner George Preston Marshall over Marshall’s controversial foot-dragging in signing African-American players. (It took him until 1962 to do so.)

Wismer was not as deep-pocketed as many of his fellow new AFL owners, and he did have financial partners, especially from the oil business, in which Wismer also served as an executive.

But long term, the hope was that being in New York would pay off for him and for the league, as it had for the Maras and the NFL Giants decades earlier.

Wismer was granted control of the franchise at the AFL’s organizational meeting in Chicago in August of 1959 and quickly set out to sell his new project. He called the team the Titans. Why Titans?

“Titans are bigger and stronger than giants,” he explained.

At that point there were only six AFL franchises, in New York, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul. But Wismer, head of the league’s television committee, promised two more teams would be added, and that the league would seek a TV contract worth $2.5 million.

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(Minneapolis eventually bailed in favor of an NFL expansion team, and the AFL added Boston, Buffalo and Oakland.)

There initially was confusion over where the Titans would play. The New York Times speculated about ancient baseball stadiums in the Polo Grounds and Ebbets Field, or a planned new baseball stadium in Flushing, Queens.

Wismer wooed New York sportswriters with a series of news conferences at his apartment on Park Avenue, hiring recently fired Penn coach Steve Sebo as general manager and Hall of Fame quarterback Sammy Baugh as coach.

Newsday’s Stan Isaacs wrote of Baugh, a Texan, “He looked as if he had just parked his horse on Park Avenue.”

Baugh was 45, but many journalists and fans suggested he might be the best choice to play quarterback, given the challenges the AFL faced in signing talented players.

Receiver Don Maynard, who had played for the Giants in 1958 and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL in 1959, was an early signing.

Newsday’s Ed Comerford wrote Maynard “didn’t impress in two seasons with the Giants and played Canadian football last year. His scouting report says: fast, but butterfingered.”

Maynard was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.

The lordly Giants did not take any of this lying down. In January 1960, owners Jack and Wellington Mara sent AFL commissioner Joe Foss a letter offering the possibility of cooperation between the leagues.

Just two little requests: 1. Void the contract fullback Charlie Flowers had signed with the Los Angeles Chargers after the Giants thought they had secured his services. 2. Move the Titans to a different city.

“It is our opinion that every city is a one-team city,” the Giants wrote in their letter.

“I violently disagree with the Giants’ view about a one-team city,” Wismer responded, then added, “I also resent the lack of confidence the Giants have in the people of New York.”

Things started out a bit rocky for Baugh’s boys, who found less-than-ideal conditions at training camp in Durham, New Hampshire, including food so awful it turned into a story in the Times.

As it turned out, the Titans were not terrible on the field. They finished 7-7 and led the AFL with 382 points. But they had plenty of hiccups.

That included a play in their second game, a 28-24 loss to the Patriots at the Polo Grounds on Sept. 17. Chuck Shonta returned a fumbled punt by the Jets 25 yards for the winning score on the last play of the game.

Wismer later called it “stupid football.”

Baugh responded, “I don’t give a goddamn what Mr. Wismer says.”

Wismer said he had lost $250,000 in the first season. By 1962, the league had to take over the team’s financial affairs. In 1963, they became the Jets upon being sold to a group headed by Sonny Werblin.

Wismer died at 54 in 1967. He fell down the stairs of a Manhattan restaurant and fractured his skull.

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Mississippi State Director of Athletics John Cohen spoke to the media the day that head coach Joe Moorhead was fired and said that people should take any rumors of the coaching search with a grain of salt and not believe anything unless he said it.

That proved to be true on Thursday morning when he shocked the college football world by hiring Washington State coach Mike Leach to run the program in 2020.

Leach comes to Starkville after years in the Power 5 producing one of the nation’s highest powering passing offenses. Year in and year out. His innovative style has influenced countless coaches and quarterbacks at schools across the country and now he’s bringing it to the SEC.

So how did Leach ultimately find himself in Starkville? A timeline of what he’s done over the last 30 years or so in college football.


(Photo: Vaught News )

Let’s fast forward all the way back to Leach’s first and only trip inside the Southeastern Conference back when MSU was preparing to be the best of the Western division and make its only SEC title game appearance.

Leach was getting his first major assistant coaching gig after 10 years of working his way up the ladder. He was a brilliant young mind with three different degrees. He graduated with honors from BYU, got his master’s from the U.C. Sports Academy and was in the top of his class at Pepperdine law where he earned a degree as well.

Football would be where he was called, however, and after three years on the job he first met up with a coach by the name of Hal Mumme. These two would change each other’s lives at Iowa Wesleyan in 1989. The two worked in some concepts from BYU coach LaVell Edwards and popularized an Air-Raid offense that would make both of them successful.

After coaching at Iowa Wesleyan under Mumme from 1989-91, he followed the coach to Valdosta State for five years before Mumme earned the Kentucky job. Leach took over the offense as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Leach took on quarterback Tim Couch in a league that was known for running the football and they would set records across the board.

In 1997, Couch threw for 3,884 yards in 11 games with 37 touchdowns. They improved the Wildcats’ win total by a game that year to go 5-6, but Couch was developing into a superstar. In 1998, UK went 7-5 and made its first bowl game since 1993. It was also the most wins by the team since 1984 as Couch threw for 4,275 yards and 36 touchdowns. He was a Heisman Trophy Finalist, the SEC Player of the Year and first-team All-American and that senior season was the greatest in SEC history until Tim Tebow came along in 2007.

It began to open eyes across the country that Mumme and Leach’s offense worked and was something that hadn’t been seen before. It gave him bigger opportunities ahead and he ran with it.


Leach joined Bob Stoops’ first staff in Norman, Okla., as the first-time head coach needed someone to resurge the offense. Boy, did he.

The Sooners averaged 293 yards of total offense the year prior to his arrival. They were 11th in the Big 12 in 1998 and were 101 nationally in total offense. In one year, Leach took that offense to 427 yards a game and 11th nationally. They would set 17 school records and six Big 12 records in that one season as they went 7-5.

The Sooners did this with a junior college quarterback by the name of Josh Heupel. The first-year quarterback threw the pigskin around 500 times and for 3,460 yards with 30 touchdowns. The year after Leach left, the Sooners won the national championship with the foundation laid and Heupel was the Heisman winner. Heupel has taken some of the concepts he learned from Leach and incorporated it into his own head coaching spot at UCF.

But that one season in Oklahoma sealed the deal on Leach getting his shot as a head coach and he’s been one for the last 20 years.


(Photo: Getty)

Leach really burst on to the scene when he went to Texas Tech in 2000 and brought his Air-Raid with him. The Red Raiders went to a bowl game all 10 years that he was there and finished inside the top 25 five of those seasons. He had an 84-43 record and was 47-33 in Big 12 games, but controversy would be his undoing in Lubbock. Six times in his 10 years they were the top passing team in the country.

Quarterbacks like Kliff Kingsbury, Graham Harrell and Cody Hodges became household names. Harrell was one of the most prolific quarterback in the history of the NCAA when he left when he amassed 5,705 passing yards in a season. He was one of three Red Raiders to throw for over 5,000 yards, something that had only been done by six players in the history of NCAA football. He threw for 15,793 yards in his career and was the all-time leader in passing touchdowns with 134 when he left in 2008.

After winning seven games in the first two seasons at TTU, Leach never won less than eight the rest of the way including nine-win years in 2002, 2005 and 2007. His breakthrough season came in 2008 when he rode Harrell to an 11-1 regular season and a 7-1 record in the Big 12. Harrell and wide receiver Michael Crabtree were the top offensive duo in the country and the Red Raiders were in the running for a national championship.Marquess Wilson Jersey

They ended the season 11-2 with a loss to Ole Miss in the Cotton Bowl, but Leach was the Big 12 Coach of the Year. He was a hot name on the coaching circuit interviewing with Washington and being rumored for the job at Auburn as well. He chose to come back to Lubbock and he would face his final year judgement.

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2019 Was “A Dream Come True” for the Talented Kansas City Actor
Keenan Ramos has chalked up a remarkable run of performances, particularly in the last year or so.

He was scheduled to close out 2019 with a role in the Unicorn Theatre production of “Bernhardt/Hamlet” for director Cynthia Levin. Before that, he appeared in “Jesus Christ Superstar,” produced by This Happy Breed and directed by Kyle Hatley. That show followed closely on the heels of the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical “In the Heights,” directed by Nedra Dixon for MTH. The musical was preceded by the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival production of “Shakespeare in Love.”

The Shakespeare festival came after two heavy dramas at Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre — the North American premiere of “The Shawshank Redemption,” based on the Stephen King novella and directed by Bob Paisley, and August Wilson’s “Seven Guitars,” staged by Karen Paisley.

“I don’t know if I’ll have a better year than that one,” Ramos said. “It was all a dream come true.”

In 2018 he chalked up performances in the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Sweat,” by Lynn Nottage, at the Unicorn and the MTH production of the classic “My Fair Lady.” Earlier in his career, before a stint as a teacher in Salina, Kansas, audiences saw Ramos in “Head,” Kyle Hatley’s unique play about John the Baptist performed at the Fringe Festival, as well as plays and musicals at the Unicorn and the Coterie.

This year, he’s scheduled to appear in the new Forge Repertory Theatre production of John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” in April and May.

Ramos, 38, pinpoints the moment the theater bug bit him. He was an athlete at Washington High School in Kansas City, Kansas. But one day his whole point of view shifted.

“I was a sports guy,” he said. “I was a very average football player and baseball player.”

But then he saw Nathan Louis Jackson, who was two years older, perform a monologue Jackson had written. That changed everything. Jackson, who began his professional career as an actor, would go on to achieve a national reputation as a playwright with dramas such as “Brokeology” and “When I Come to Die.” For several years he was Kansas City Rep’s resident playwright.

“I followed him to K-State,” Ramos said. “He moved to New York, I moved to New York. He’s been more like a brother to me than anything. I always gravitated to him. I just think he’s brilliant.”

Ramos’ upbringing in KCK puts him in an elite group of African American theater artists. In addition to Ramos and Jackson, the city has produced nationally known playwright Christina Anderson, actress/singer Angela Wildflower Polk and playwright/actor Lewis J. Morrow, director of new play development for KC MeltingPot Theatre.

Ramos said nothing about that surprises him.

“I think it’s experience,” he said. “People who come from that community, they witness a lot. They’ve gone through a lot. So it’s easy to tap into some of those emotions, the pathos.”

MeltingPot is one theater company where Ramos has not performed, although he hopes to. These days he makes ends meet by working in the box office at the Unicorn and loading and unloading planes at KCI.

Ramos, whose family tree includes Portuguese and Cherokee forebears, said few things are more important to him than exposing young people — particularly young people of color — to theater. He recalled a school matinee performance during the run of “Seven Guitars” at the MET.

“August Wilson, he’s a wordy guy,” Ramos said. “But those high school kids hung on to every word. I’m living proof that they need it, and that we can make a huge splash in the world of theater. I had that conversation with Sid Garrett (artistic director of the Shakespeare Festival) this summer. I loved how diverse the cast was. I had a kid come up to me and say, ‘Oh, I don’t think I could do that,’ and I said, ‘Yes, you can.’”

Some of his KCK colleagues have found success without benefit of formal training. He cited Lewis Morrow as a prime example.

“Lewis never went to school for writing, he never went to school for acting, but he’s doing it,” Ramos said. “I asked him how he learned, and he said, ‘I just started reading plays and watching plays on film, and the formula just kind of came to me.’ He’s a freak of nature.”

Ramos, who also plays the violin, said his mother was a school principal and his dad was a security guard. It was his father, who had been a college basketball player at Baker University, who encouraged him to play sports. But he also guided him into the arts in his own way — by watching movies that some parents wouldn’t have let their kids watch until they were older.

“I remember watching ‘Goodfellas’ and ‘The Godfather,’ and I remember my dad saying, ‘Hey — this is good acting,’” Ramos recalled. “Most kids were watching ‘Goonies’ and I was watching ‘Reservoir Dogs.’”

Larry Suchy Jersey

A total of 2,389 real-estate transactions were registered with the Erie County Clerk’s Office in August.

The list has been released this morning, and you’ll see below the 1,213 deals that were worth at least $100,000.

Transactions are ranked by sale price. The address of each parcel is shown in bold, along with the relevant town or city in brackets. (There are 25 towns and three cities in the county.)

Addresses and names are spelled and presented in the form provided by the clerk. Surnames precede first names and middle initials. Abbreviations indicate the intercession of an executor (“Ex”) or referee (“Ref”). A business name is indicated by “Dba,” for “doing business as.” If a sale was made by the survivors of a deceased individual, that is noted by “Sur.” And if a person goes by two names in legal documents (as with a maiden and married name), “Aka” indicates “also known as.”


• 395 Parkhurst Blvd 14223 [Town of Tonawanda] was sold for $7,870,192 by Pearce & Pearce Co Inc, Pearce & Pearce Co Inc et al to Lincoln Duplexes Llc, Lincoln Duplexes Llc on August 10.

• 1260 N Forest Rd 14221 [Amherst] was sold for $6,000,000 by St Clair Construction Corp to Bowdoin Square Apartments Llc on August 11.

• 901 Fuhrmann Blvd 14203 [Buffalo] was sold for $3,500,000 by Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation on August 30.

• 4937 Transit Rd 14043 [Lancaster] was sold for $3,425,000 by Rpai New York Portfolio Llc to 5007 Transit Road Llc on August 1.

• 29 Florian St 14214 [Buffalo] was sold for $3,100,000 by 655 Hertel Llc, 655 Hertel Llc to Elmwood Village Charter School, Elmwood Village Charter School on August 1.

• 386 Alberta Dr 14226 [Amherst] was sold for $3,000,000 by Pearce & Pearce Co Inc to Alberta Square Apartments Llc on August 11.

• 172 North St East 14204 [Buffalo] was sold for $2,050,000 by Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority to City Honors/Fosdick-Masten Park Foundation on August 30.

• 3383 Southwestern Blvd 14127 [Orchard Park] was sold for $1,550,000 by Total Tan Inc to Colton Properties South Llc on August 25.

• 8880 Lake Glen Ct 14032 [Clarence] was sold for $1,400,000 by Militello Edward, Militello Susan to Strut Svetlana on August 26.

• 737 Delaware Ave 14209 [Buffalo] was sold for $1,400,000 by Uniland Partnership Of Delaware Lp (The) to 737 Delaware Llc on August 31.

• 5079 Reiter Rd 14052 [Wales] was sold for $1,250,000 by Smith Family Living Trust (The) 061692 Tr to Circle Court Llc on August 4.

• 10795 Miland Rd 14032 [Clarence] was sold for $1,100,000 by Karrer Mark W, Karrer Barbara B to Miland Road Llc on August 29.

• 171 Middlesex Rd 14216 [Buffalo] was sold for $1,075,000 by Curtis Anne B, Domijan Alexander Jr to Stoffman Dana E on August 26.

• 30 Lincoln Park Dr 14223 [Town of Tonawanda] was sold for $1,073,208 by Pearce & Pearce Co Inc, Pearce & Pearce Co Inc et al to Lincoln Square Apartments Llc, Lincoln Square Apartments Llc et al on August 10.

• 7 Limestone Dr 14221 [Amherst] was sold for $1,060,000 by Ccny Ea Lp Fka, Elderwood Associates Lp Aka to Limestone Services Center Llc on August 17.

• 5057 Shale Bluff Ct 14031 [Clarence] was sold for $1,040,000 by Capozzi Michael A, Capozzi Jay A to Okposo Kyle, Okposo Danielle on August 11.

• 176 Windsor Ave 14209 [Buffalo] was sold for $999,900 by Hammond Wendy A Fka, Zacher Wendy Aka et al to Tetro Nancy A E on August 29.

• 47 Castle Creek Trail 14221 [Amherst] was sold for $999,000 by Stoffman Dana to Davies Jason M, Davies Sheryl M on August 19.

• 2544 Clinton St 14224 [West Seneca] was sold for $948,000 by New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co Inc, New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co Inc et al to Clinton Street Realty Holdings Llc, Clinton Street Realty Holdings Llc et al on August 5.

• 11 Da Vinci Ct 14221 [Amherst] was sold for $930,000 by Whipple David R, Whipple Kimberley A to Viking Creek Llc on August 22.

• 5975 Tipperary Manor 14031 [Clarence] was sold for $912,500 by Numminen Ann-Maarit, Numminen Teppo to Desantis Monique Mirshak, Desantis Peter M on August 25.

• 2058 Delaware Ave 14216 [Buffalo] was sold for $900,000 by Lgp Realty Holdings Lp to Elmwood Village Llc on August 5.

• 9726 Stonecliff Ct 14031 [Clarence] was sold for $890,000 by Gonzalez Charles M, Gonzalez Karen D to Connor Jeremy, Connor Teresa on August 22.

• 9719 Cobblestone Dr 14031 [Clarence] was sold for $850,000 by Miosi John D, Miosi Cheryl L to Shunk James P, Shunk Krista L on August 18.

• 54 Beckford Ct 14221 [Amherst] was sold for $840,000 by Wisbaum Janet K to Buyers Sharyn Scofield on August 29.

• 5370 Glenview Dr 14031 [Clarence] was sold for $820,000 by Morgan Homes Of Western New York Inc to Karrer Mark W, Karrer Barbara B on August 31.

• 5 Woodbine Ct 14127 [Orchard Park] was sold for $800,000 by Bruno Maria D to Egyhazy Matyas W, Hsu Sutien on August 10.

• 8226 Main St 14221 [Clarence] was sold for $800,000 by F & V Morabito Management Llc to Towne Mini Real Estate Llc on August 11.

• 86 Brockton Ridge 14221 [Amherst] was sold for $786,605 by Marrano/Marc Equity Corporation (The) to Searns Richard B, Searns Jarilyn M on August 16.

• 304 Rivermist Dr 14202 [Buffalo] was sold for $760,000 by Connelly Terrance M to Buscaglia Toi L, Buscaglia Anthony J on August 1.

• 6035 Corinne Ln 14032 [Clarence] was sold for $750,000 by Strut Svetlana Fka, Strutsovskiy Svetlana Aka to Militello Edward, Militello Susan on August 26.

• 35 Brantwood Rd 14226 [Amherst] was sold for $743,000 by Alfieri James S, Lucas Debra M to Mann Matthew A on August 30.

• 161 Brantwood Rd 14226 [Amherst] was sold for $739,934 by James J & Eileen M Reidy Joint Revocable Trust I 121008 Tr to Lacarrubba Robert, Lacarrubba Sarah Syed on August 26.

• 768 Lebrun Rd 14226 [Amherst] was sold for $725,000 by Godry/Proano Living Trust Tr to Bowen Robert, Bowen Lisa on August 5.

• 9621 Cobblestone Dr 14031 [Clarence] was sold for $705,000 by Shenyao & Youwen Wang Joint Revocable Trust I 011212 Tr to Schoenborn Jeffrey A, Schoenborn Margot P on August 31.

• 1032 Sweet Rd 14052 [Aurora] was sold for $690,000 by Farrell Michael D Jr, Farrell Regina A to Degaetano Aimee C, Degaetano William on August 19.

• 9686 Garden Walk 14032 [Clarence] was sold for $666,900 by R & D Contracting Inc to Charters Susan M, Bradach Mary E on August 5.

• 41 Ojibwa Cir 14202 [Buffalo] was sold for $666,140 by 1094 Group Llc to Malayny Jason F on August 11.

• 85-89 Dorothy St 14206 [Buffalo] was sold for $655,311 by Maldovan William D Ref, Maldovan William D Ref et al to Manhattan Logistics Management Llc, Manhattan Logistics Management Llc on August 25.

• 54 Concord Dr 14215 [Cheektowaga] was sold for $648,000 by Better Homes & Properties Llc, Better Homes & Properties Llc et al to J A Gulick Properties Llc, J A Gulick Properties Llc et al on August 30.

• 37 Ojibwa Cir 14202 [Buffalo] was sold for $636,166 by 1094 Group Llc to Kandefer Sydney Jaye on August 9.

• 218 Linwood Ave 14209 [Buffalo] was sold for $630,000 by Rj Gullo Properties Inc to Menza Daniel C, Menza Donna S on August 30.

• 1200-1212 Hertel Ave 14216 [Buffalo] was sold for $600,000 by Croston Christine M, Caruso Vincent Licata et al to 1200 Mahal Llc on August 12.

• 185 Lebrun Rd 14226 [Amherst] was sold for $594,000 by Bilkey George, Bilkey Jessica Fka et al to Polowy Martin A, Polowy Amy E on August 8.

• 827 Ayer Rd 14221 [Amherst] was sold for $569,900 by Tesmer Richard R Jr to Ogburn Susan L, Ogburn Paul L Jr on August 30.

• 57 Turnberry Dr 14221 [Amherst] was sold for $565,000 by Chouchani Gabriel E Aka, Chouchani Gabriel T Aka et al to Lu Binfeng, Liu Lin on August 10.

• 5627 Woodruff Dr 14032 [Clarence] was sold for $565,000 by Lauricella Lisa S to Humphries Bret R, Humphries Carina Ann on August 29.

• 9682 Golden Aster Ct 14032 [Clarence] was sold for $562,055 by Bielmeier Builders Inc to Bylewski Anthony W, Bylewski Patricia Ann on August 9.

• 512 Lafayette Ave 14222 [Buffalo] was sold for $550,000 by Caine Patricia to Little Devon, Little Robert on August 30.

• 138 Stonham Way 14221 [Amherst] was sold for $540,915 by Marrano/Marc Equity Corporation (The) to Taylor William C, Taylor Linda J on August 24.

• 8934 Stonebriar Dr 14032 [Clarence] Larry Suchy was sold for $540,000 by Lombardi Robert, Lombardi Denise to Berkoh-Asamoah Harry, Berkoh-Asamoah Linda on August 24.

• 2178 Seneca St 14210 [Buffalo] was sold for $540,000 by Dweck Dorothy to Sheas Seneca Llc on August 25.

• 5870 Kilkenny Manor 14031 [Clarence] was sold for $537,045 by Forbes Homes Inc to Jennings William M, Jennings Sharon M on August 31.

• 142 Park Pl 14072 [Grand Island] was sold for $535,000 by Colosi Joseph to Grimaldi-Sykes Lida, Sykes Jason G on August 8.

• 8771 Fairbrook Ct 14051 [Clarence] was sold for $530,000 by Lacarrubba Robert, Lacarrubba Sarah F Syed to Dy Grace, Almyroudis Nikolaos on August 29.