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T.I. settles federal claim he pushed bogus cryptocurrency | NanaimoNewsNOW

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The charges against Harris were part of a larger enforcement action against others including film producer Ryan Felton, who faces wire fraud and other charges in a 28-count indictment unsealed Wednesday.

Felton and William Sparks, T.I.’s social media manager, also sought to trade on his name to sell and promote the cryptocurrencies, federal authorities said.

Federal officials allege Felton took in more than $3 million from investors in two cryptocurrencies — FLiK and CoinSpark — in 2017 and 2018.

“Despite promising to use the funds raised from investors to build the FLiK and CoinSpark online platforms, Felton instead used the funds to buy a Ferrari, a million-dollar home, diamond jewelry, and other luxury items for himself,” the SEC civil complaint states.

Lawyers for Felton did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment Monday.

Officials say Felton paid cash for a $1.5 million house, $180,000 for a 2007 red Ferrari 599 GTB Firoana, plus tens of thousands of dollars in jewelry. The government wants Felton to forfeit his gains.

Prosecutors say Felton had claimed that all the money would go to expand the businesses, used fake names to build excitement in CoinSpark, and then sold thousands of coins to take advantage of inflated prices based on his misrepresentations.

Also charged in the civil proceeding were Owen Smith and Chance White, who both work in the film industry in Atlanta. They, like T.I. and Sparks, agreed to settle the civil charges.

Jeff Amy, The Associated Press

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Wolf vetoes school sports bill | News, Sports, Jobs

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Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday vetoed a bill that would give school districts the sole ability to make decisions on sports, including whether and how many spectators to allow, and lawmakers in the GOP-controlled General Assembly said they would try to override it.

The Wolf administration’s limits on gatherings of 25 people indoors and 250 people outdoors currently apply to youth sports, capping attendance at football games and other school sporting events and extracurricular activities. The vetoed legislation sought to empower schools to make their own rules about the number of spectators permitted at games.

Some families have chafed at the statewide limits, saying attendance could safely be expanded while still allowing for adequate physical distancing.

Wolf, a Democrat, said at a news conference Monday that statewide gathering limits need to be applied consistently to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Pennsylvania has reported more than 150,000 confirmed virus infections and 8,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19.

Wolf later vetoed the bill, the last day he could do so before it automatically became law.

“I’m always amazed at politicians thinking that they can somehow wave a magic wand and suspend, sort of, reality,” Wolf said. “There’s a virus out there, and that virus really likes it when you bring a lot of people together. That’s what we know, and so you ignore that at your peril.”

Both chambers of the GOP-controlled General Assembly approved the bill by veto-proof two-thirds majorities, and Republican lawmakers pledged to hold votes in an attempt to override Wolf’s veto.

“In vetoing this bill, Gov. Wolf stands directly opposed to children and families looking for some semblance of normalcy and to receive the numerous invaluable benefits of fully participating in school sports,” House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre, said in a statement.

The legislation “earned the support of Republicans and Democrats alike because it entrusts schools to make the best decisions possible for their students and communities,” said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre.

Though the bill passed with bipartisan support, an override isn’t a given. Democratic lawmakers have shied away from defying a veto by Wolf, and Wolf has not lost an override vote since he became governor.

“Those conversations will begin happening now,” said Bill Patton, spokesperson for House Democrats.

The bill is the latest way that Republicans in the Legislature have tried to limit Wolf’s power under health and emergency disaster laws during the pandemic.

The legislation gives a school district or private school sole authority to decide whether to conduct sports during the 2020-21 school year, including games, scrimmages and other in-person extracurricular activities. It also gives them the power to determine safety protocol and crowd limits.

In his veto message, Wolf said the bill is unnecessary because, while he recommended the cancelation of school sports until at least January, it was not a mandate and districts were free to make their own decisions. And he said the Department of Health must retain authority to set gathering limits, especially with the onset of cold weather and flu season.

The legislation “does nothing to promote public health or ensure that our children have a safe learning environment,” he wrote.

In other coronavirus-related developments in Pennsylvania:

Restaurant capacity

Pennsylvania restaurants are permitted to seat more patrons inside, and can serve alcohol an hour later than originally planned, under new public health orders that took effect Monday.

Restaurants are now permitted to increase indoor occupancy from 25% to half of capacity after the Wolf administration relaxed restrictions that were imposed more than two months ago in response to rising infection rates in some virus hot spots in Pennsylvania.

Establishments that want to increase capacity must certify to the state that they are complying with all public health guidelines. Those restaurants will appear in a searchable state database called Open & Certified Pennsylvania, the administration said.

The Wolf administration had planned to force bars and restaurants to stop selling alcohol at 10 p.m. as of Monday, saying it wanted to discourage people from congregating, particularly young people who have been contracting the virus at elevated rates.

But the administration changed last call to 11 p.m. after getting pushback from restaurant and bar owners. The administration said the change also brings Pennsylvania in line with other states.

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49ers Complain About Playing Surface at MetLife Stadium | Sports News

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By JOSH DUBOW, AP Pro Football Writer

The San Francisco 49ers contacted the NFL on Monday about the conditions of the playing surface at MetLife Stadium after several players went down with injuries in a victory over the New York Jets.

The new artificial surface was used in a game for the second time on Sunday. The 49ers players complained before the game that the turf was “sticky.” Those complaints only grew louder after defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas, and running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman all had knee injuries, and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo sprained his ankle.

The Jets lost receiver Breshad Perriman to a sprained left ankle in the game.

San Francisco general manager John Lynch contacted NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent on Monday about the condition of the field. The Niners will play again at MetLife Stadium on Sunday when they visit the New York Giants.

“They’re definitely looking into it,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “So hopefully at some time we get some answers back that can make our players feel a little bit more at ease playing there next week.”

The NFL says the field was inspected two days before the Giants-Steelers game on Sept. 14 and certified to be in compliance with all league policies. Also, home teams must certify that their fields are in compliance with NFL rules 72 hours before each game and the Jets did that before this game.

No one complained about the field after the first game there.

Giants coach Joe Judge says his team held several walkthroughs and two scrimmages on the field before the opener, with no one complaining about the surface.

Receiver Golden Tate, who missed the Giants’ first home game with a hamstring injury, said he believes the lack of an offseason program might have had a bigger impact than the turf.

“I can’t help but think that has something to do with it,” he said. “But as far as MetLife field, I think it is fine. But again, also personally having played a game on it this year, our guys did well I thought.”

Jets coach Adam Gase said Sunday was the second time his team played on the turf and they haven’t had any knee injuries.

Jets tackle George Fant said the surface wasn’t an issue for him.

“I didn’t feel anything too crazy, myself,” he said. “Yeah, I did hear that guys didn’t like the field or thought it may have caused an issue. I can’t really answer that, though, because I’m not sure.”

Shanahan said the team will look into possibly wearing different style of shoes this week to deal with potential issues with the field.

But the players are concerned after what they experienced Sunday.

“A lot of anxiety,” defensive lineman Arik Armstead said. “You see guys you love go down and get hurt. We have to come back here and play again on the same surface. That’s anxiety provoking to see that happen and know that you have to deal with it again.”

AP Pro Football Writers Dennis Waszak Jr. and Barry Wilner and AP Sports Writer Tom Canavan contributed to this report.

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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Red Cross honors longtime Maui shelter manager | News, Sports, Jobs

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A Red Cross banner honors Gloria Chee (right) as Maui County Volunteer of the Year. Merry Tamashiro (left) was given the honor in 2018. Photos courtesy Gloria Chee

When a hurricane churns through the Pacific or a fire burns on the pali, Red Cross volunteer Gloria Chee charges up her phone and waits for the call.

As a shelter manager and Disaster Action Team captain for the Red Cross in Maui County, Chee is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, prepared to help displaced families after house fires or usher stranded residents into school gym shelters.

“It’s like every major threat or actual incident that we’ve had, Gloria’s been there,” said Michele Blair, the former Maui County Red Cross director who worked with Chee for 10 years.

This month, Chee was named the Maui County Red Cross Volunteer of the Year and recognized for her decade of service to the nonprofit. Normally, the honoree would be celebrated with a banquet, but with the pandemic and social distancing rules, the Red Cross opted instead for a surprise drive-by parade of volunteers and Maui Police Department officers at Chee’s home in Kihei on Sept. 5.

“I don’t look at getting any kind of recognition, but I’m very humbled, and I appreciate it,” Chee told The Maui News last week.

GLORIA CHEE – Volunteer of the Year

Chee also was awarded with a 10-year pin for her time with the Red Cross.

“Not everybody has money to give, but we have time to give, so I give my time,” Chee said. “I think they’re a great organization helping people in some of their darkest moments.”

When Chee first joined the Red Cross 10 years ago, she quickly impressed her instructor with how organized she was, Blair recalled. She was “one of those people that has tabs for things in their binders,” the kind that didn’t just preach preparedness but had a go kit of her own.

“If you need something, you want to hope you’re with Gloria,” Blair said, recalling how Chee’s truck would always be stocked with “clips, ties, office supplies, something for somebody to sleep on, drink out of, it doesn’t matter. She’ll be prepared.”

Blair said that serving as a shelter manager is “a big job for a volunteer to take on.” Members of the Disaster Action Team are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for potential disasters. They have to operate the shelters and handle the emotions of scared, stressed out people who may have lost their homes or don’t have access to basic needs.

Gloria Chee poses with the pin she received in honor of her 10 years of service to the Red Cross on Sept. 5. The Red Cross also organized a surprise drive-by parade of volunteers and Maui police officers to celebrate Chee as Volunteer of the Year.

“It can be a rough crowd sometimes out there, and she can stand up to that and be strong,” Blair said. “Nothing rattles her.”

Chee said she’s responded to flooding in Honokohau Valley, gone out to house fires and helped with other Red Cross initiatives, such as smoke alarm campaigns.

Setting up shelters and responding to disasters, however, have changed during the pandemic. During Hurricane Douglas in July, shelters had reduced capacity, social distancing requirements and temperature checks at the door. After house fires, volunteers no longer go out to the scene but rather meet up with displaced residents later to deliver a Red Cross assistance card that they can use to get basic supplies and lodging.

Chee said it’s different not being able to go to the scene and get a sense for how the person is feeling and the scope of the incident.

“You meet up with them, help them with what you can, but you can’t make any contact, you can’t really go to the scene,” Chee said. “You have to take people’s word. It’s different.”

When not volunteering for the Red Cross, Chee is planning programs for clients with special needs as the program manager for Arc of Maui.

Kula resident Elaine Olson, who’s been a Red Cross volunteer for six years, has gone with Chee on a number of calls and described her as “very dedicated and brilliant.” Olson said Chee has managed the Central Maui shelter several times during large responses, including a massive brush fire in recent years that shut down Honoapiilani Highway and stranded hundreds of tourists and residents.

“We depend on her for a lot of things. We depend on her dedication and judgment. She definitely deserves it,” Olson said of Chee’s award.

* Colleen Uechi can be reached at cuechi@mauinews.com.


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