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Wolf vetoes school sports bill | News, Sports, Jobs



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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QAnon’s ‘Save the Children’ morphs into popular slogan | NanaimoNewsNOW




“Why are we finally talking about it? Because we have a president who’s talking about it,” she said last month during the rally she organized in Morris, a conservative stronghold of about 15,000 people 60 miles (about 100 kilometres) from Chicago.

She promoted her rally on Facebook, as many other women are doing. Some also use the platform to launch private groups where they swap tips, rumours and stories about child trafficking.

Mentions of #SavetheChildren on Twitter began climbing in June and peaked in August when the hashtag was used more than 800,000 times during the first week of that month, according to an analysis by the media intelligence firm Zignal Labs conducted for The Associated Press.

The movement gained popularity as posts about QAnon spiked on Facebook and Instagram this year, prompting millions of likes, shares and comments on the platforms, a separate AP review of public social media posts found.

While Trump has not made “Save the Children” part of his campaign, he has twice publicly praised QAnon’s mission. Under his administration, however, federal prosecutors have less aggressively prosecuted child sex trafficking cases.

“I do know they are very much against pedophilia,” Trump said during his televised town hall this month, when asked about QAnon. “They fight it very hard.”

The movement’s rise has complicated the efforts of the London-based humanitarian organization called Save the Children and other nonprofits that have long worked to fight human trafficking and provided funding for the world’s needy children. And the conspiracy theories distort the reality of how people become victims of human trafficking, experts have said.

Save the Children — a century-old organization that aided 144 million children worldwide last year with a mission of ensuring kids grow up healthy, educated and safe — found its trademarked name coopted on social media. The charity has repeatedly said it is not associated with the SavetheChildren hashtag used to spread conspiracy theories.

Washington-based Polaris, the non-profit group that runs the National Human Trafficking hotline, created a myth-busting resource page on its website focused on debunking some misinformation that surfaced from QAnon after receiving hundreds of calls about human trafficking conspiracy theories over the summer.

Some social media users have been introduced to QAnon through posts about child sex trafficking that use #SavetheChildren. Facebook and Instagram tried to squelch those QAnon recruitment efforts last month by directing people who search for #SaveTheChildren to the official website for the humanitarian organization.

But the connections among “Save the Children,” QAnon, and Trump still permeate social media.

Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts regularly use #SaveTheChildren to promote memes and conspiracy theories about Democrats.

One such Instagram post that was liked nearly 12,000 times includes pictures of former President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle, former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

It asks: “How much would you pay-per-view to see the FBI raid their homes and take them out in handcuffs at 3 a.m.”

A video viewed more than 5,000 times on a QAnon account features images of Trump giving a thumbs up to the #SavetheChildren movement and photos of abused women, with dramatic music in the background.

Under the guise of benefiting children, many of the posts seek to lure people into the QAnon conspiracy theory circle and encourage support for Trump, said Sophie Bjork-James, an anthropology professor at Vanderbilt University who studies the religious right and QAnon.

The movement is particularly attractive to conservative religious women, Bjork-James said. Her research on small, evangelical churches in Colorado Springs more than a decade ago found that human trafficking was one of the few political causes the congregations organized around.

“The core of QAnon is that Trump is the hero. It assembles a narrative to justify any of (Trump’s) actions as valiant and heroic,” she said.

Social media posts about QAnon and the “Save the Children” movement have also increased in Instagram communities focused on health, wellness and yoga that are popular with women, said Melanie Smith, the head of analysis for social media research firm Graphika.

QAnon and “Save the Children” have become such a force in the online yoga community that influencers including yoga teacher Seane Corn posted letters on Instagram last month warning followers not to “be fooled” by slickly crafted posts spreading misinformation about human trafficking.

Smith has studied QAnon for two years and said the conspiracy theory reached new audiences in recent months through hashtags like #SavetheChildren.

“The way in which people encounter QAnon, now, is through relatively mainstream, non-absurd topics,” Smith told the U.S. House Intelligence Committee during a hearing this month. “We’re seeing a huge explosion in content around child sex trafficking and child exploitation through the Save the Children movement.”

Vermillion hands out homemade leaflets with statistics and online resources for combatting child sex abuse. She said she avoids “Save the Children” Facebook groups promoting misinformation, QAnon and white supremacy symbols.

But there was some QAnon support at her rally. One woman held a sign reading, “Hollywood loves adrenochrome,” a reference to a QAnon conspiracy theory claiming baselessly that celebrities traffic children to harvest adrenaline from their blood to create a drug.

Vermillion insisted: “This rally today is not about Hollywood and drinking blood.”

Amanda Seitz, The Associated Press

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Johnnie Partridge 1935-2020 | News, Sports, Jobs




CORTLAND — Johnnie “Gene” Partridge, 85, of Cortland, passed away peacefully on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, at home, surrounded by his loving family.

Johnnie was born March 19, 1935, in Clanton, Ala., a son of the late Johnny and Annie Belle (Ellison) Partridge.

Johnnie was a 1954 graduate of Jemison High School in Alabama.When in high school, Johnnie was a champion roller skater. He met the love of his life, Johnnie (Jones) Partridge, on the night of his high school graduation. He enlisted in the Air Force and was stationed in Germany. While he was home on leave, they were married in Jackson, Miss., on July 11, 1956. He was honorably discharged in 1962. He was employed at Packard Electric, Cortland plant. Johnnie was a true family man and enjoyed every family gathering throughout the years. After retirement in 1992, they enjoyed many years of traveling the country in their motor home. They settled in North Fort Myers, Fla., and visited Ohio in the summer months.

He was a master carpenter, who enjoyed building many garages, barns and his own dome home. He could literally do anything and was a master-of-all-trades. He was also an avid hunter. Johnnie loved watching sports, especially Duke basketball, Alabama Crimson Tide football, the Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Indians. He enjoyed playing cards with family and friends and enjoyed listening to country music.

Johnnie is survived by his two sons, Randy (Andrea) Partridge of Cortland and Scott (Lynn) Partridge of Greenville, S.C.; niece, Rhonda Smith of Alabama, who was like a daughter to him; grandchildren, Lauren (Scott) Gibbs of Howland, Corey (Kristen) Partridge of Cincinnati, Jarrett (Meghan) Partridge of Niles, Austin Partridge of Cincinnati and Joel (Tayler) McElfresh of Cincinnati; and great-grandchildren, Cooper, Hunter, Belle, Easton, Dakota, Maximus and Violet.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his loving wife of 62 years, Johnnie J. Partridge, who passed away June 14, 2018; and sisters, Virginia Cleckler, Marcelene Ginn and Faye Key.

Services will be held at noon Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, at the Carl W. Hall Funeral Home, 533 North Park Ave., Warren, OH 44481, with the Rev. Mark Biel officiating.

Friends may call from 11 a.m. to noon Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, at Carl W. Hall Funeral Home.

Entombment will be in Pineview Memorial Park, Warren, Ohio.

Due to the current pandemic and mandate, masks are required, and social distancing should be observed.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Hospice of the Valley, 5190 Market St., Boardman, OH 44512, in his memory.

(special notice)

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Clemson QB Lawrence: ‘I Have the Option’ to Leave or Stay | Sports News





Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is leaving the door open about his football future despite previously saying he planned on heading to the NFL following this his junior season.

Lawrence, the 6-foot-6 passer with the flowing hair, is considered the likely consensus No. 1 pick in next spring’s NFL draft.

But on Tuesday, Lawrence said he hasn’t ruled out returning to Clemson for another year instead of going pro.

“My mindset has been that I’m going to move on,” Lawrence said. “But who knows? There’s a lot of things that could happen.”

At the forefront could be which NFL team is in line to draft Lawrence. Right now, that’s the offensively challenged New York Jets, who are 0-7 and the league’s only winless team.

Lawrence, from Cartersville, Georgia, has a 31-1 record as a starting college quarterback and has the top-ranked Tigers (6-0) in line for a sixth consecutive ACC title and trip to the College Football Playoff.

Lawrence is scheduled to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in marketing in December.

Lawrence believes there’s a plan for him, “no matter where I go, whether that’s across the country or whether it’s close to home, whether I stay another year, we’ll work it out,” he said.

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

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