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    Youthful dressing and streetwear were in focus on the third day of Milan Fashion Week previews of (mostly) menswear for next spring and summer. It's a game of sophisticated materials and edgy styling, of pushing boundaries and reaching for that increasingly significant, but typically not economically independent young customer. Highlights on Sunday included Palm Angels, DSquared, Sunnei, John Richmond and Missoni. _____ SUNNEI ZEN Sunnei took a leap in sophistication with its co-ed collection featuring highly researched materials and calm, Zen-like styling. For the unveiling, founders Loris Messina and Simone Rizzo brought the fashion crowd to the white-washed concrete of a future public art space beneath a disused overpass in Milan. Providing a snapshot of the 4-year-old brand's technical sophistication, the looks included textured yet translucent knitwear, which from the front row looked soft as a sponge. On closer inspection, the outside of the designs felt resistant and a little bit scratchy. The super-light knitwear lent itself to layering - over knit pants for men and a long knit dress or skirt for women. There were matching knitwear duffels, and maxi bags took on the micro-bag trend shown on other runways. While cargo pants come in for some disparagement, the designers embraced their utility without worrying that stuffed compartments would ruin the line. In fact, the male silhouette was boxy, with oversized shirts over wide fitting shorts. Short denim jumpsuits were wide enough to suggest a dress and ensure comfort, while a lemon yellow belted jacket created a male peplum over a matching cargo trouser. Tie-back caps finished the looks. For women, there were super wide elephant pants that could be worn with ruched bandeau tops, perhaps layered with a sheer tunic. Satiny skirt outfits came cinched with scrunchy belts that gave a springy feel. Models wore platform sandals that added as much as 5 inches (12 centimeters) in height. The collection featured colors of soothing white, mix-and-match green tones, sky blue and denim along with neutrals black and brown. Rizzo and Messina declared wryly on one pullover vest, 'I HATE 'FASHION.'' The phrase clearly meant someone who tries too hard. The pair achieved the ultimate ease in Milan. _____ JOHN RICHMOND TAPS 1980S DNA He's a biker or a punker, unafraid to wear a 1980s skirt or to layer trousers or shorts with fishnets. John Richmond says the young man of today is ready for anything. And for Spring/Summer 2020, Richmond dipped back into his archive to bring back the punk skirt that graced the 1984 cover of Britain's The Face magazine, earning him a place in fashion history. The updated cotton version comes in straightforward gray and khaki, worn with showy coordinated bombers with panels of snakeskin print or metallic detailing. 'Kids nowadays wear anything. You know they've broken all the rules. So you get guys wearing jeans which are hardly there. It's all changed,' Richmond said. Snakes and snakeskin prints were the chief motifs of the co-ed collection - but no snakeskin itself. The collection featured architectural shoulders for her, accented by a cinched waist and flowing, pleated trousers for undulating movement. She might add a skin-fitting tattoo top that Richmond said was 'a montage of iconography, with rings and Bowie and all kinds of things.' There were slinkier looks for evening, including a sequined snake slithering suggestively over the shoulder. Richmond has an eye on sustainability in his broader collection, and says it is easier to find eco-polyester. The looks in stores - not on the runway - will include reused vintage. Part of the philosophy includes using footwear that is on the market. Here, Richmond collaborated with Converse for men's high-tops finished in sequins and studs with snakes or JR insignia. Richmond has been relaunching his historic brand after losing control in a business dispute for two seasons. He says it is now growing each season and as part of his latest chapter, he plans to open stores in Milan and Dubai this year and Malaysia next year. ____ MARCELO BURLON GIVES AN EASY RIDE Argentine designer Marcelo Burlon's County of Milan collection brought together extremes of technical active wear and tailored suits. The looks included Lycra running tops worn with a chino and topped with a bucket hat as easily as with runner's leggings and a flat runner's pack or with a notched suit jacket and matching trousers. A graphic top and trousers touted 1969 motorcycle road trip film 'Easy Rider' in movie poster style. The spray painting effect on sneakers and jeans gave the impression the garments had been tagged by a street artist. For more sophisticated looks, there were polo shirts down up in fading-in-and-out color gradients of black to yellow. For women, there was a long, high-slit tank dress with the same effect. A blazer gave a tailored finish to a zip-up athletic top and bike shorts. Women's jeans were worn looser and wider than the men's. Burlon also showed off his children's line with a mini-model dressed in a two-button royal blue suit. There was a double-breasted version for adults.
  • Jonathan Toews says he just wants his contract to be worth what it says on paper. Right now, it's not that simple. Under terms of the collective bargaining agreement, NHL owners and players divide hockey-related revenue 50/50, and if player salaries exceed that split a certain percentage is withheld in escrow to make it even. The Chicago Blackhawks captain and fellow players have lost upward of 10% of their pay to escrow over the past seven seasons, which is why 25 of 31 NHL Players' Association representatives surveyed by The Associated Press and Canadian Press named escrow as the biggest bargaining issue with September deadlines looming to terminate the current CBA effective the fall of 2020. 'A. escrow and B. escrow,' Toews said when asked the two biggest issues in labor talks. Olympic participation, the definition of hockey-related revenue, post-career health care, concerns about youth squeezing out older players because of the salary cap and money were the other topics player reps pointed to as important to them. Escrow, though, is a point of contention in locker rooms around the league. It is expected to be a significant topic in talks ahead of the owners' Sept. 1 and players' Sept. 15 deadline to opt out of this CBA and set the clock ticking toward another potential work stoppage. 'I think we, as players, are really educating ourselves on the economics of the game and how it works and why escrow is the way it is,' New Jersey Devils player rep Cory Schneider said. 'There are a lot of things that go into it, and we understand from the owners' side how it works. But for us that's definitely something that, it fluctuates quarter to quarter, year to year, so you never really know what it's going to be and it's hard to really understand what you're earning or what your worth is when you're getting a big chunk of it taken back. 'I don't know if we're going to eliminate it. Obviously we'll figure that part out. But at least some way to mitigate it or control it better for us just to know what to expect.' The CBA sets aside some part of a player's salary in a bank account throughout the year. After the season, total revenue is calculated and if the league is not at its 50% share, it gets the escrow money to make up the difference. NHLPA executive director Don Fehr said escrow has been discussed in talks with Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and expects more to come. But there's no quick fix to reduce or eliminate escrow without changing substantial things about the economics of the league. 'Obviously it's an irritant to players and from time to time it can be a big one,' Fehr said. 'But the question is how you do it. I mean, you can fix escrow by cutting salaries. I don't think players are interested in doing that. So it has to become something that you address in a manner which makes sense for the players and addresses their concerns.' A handful of players voiced their concern that revenues aren't growing enough to compensate for the natural growth of salaries — and the cap — over time. Because seven of 31 teams are based in Canada, the fluctuation of the Canadian dollar affects everything, and players would like to find a solution to the entire financial picture, including a look at what counts as hockey-related revenue. 'There's definitely a concern and always an emphasis on the revenues and us growing the game,' Toronto Maple Leafs player rep John Tavares said. 'That's a top priority because I think when we see growth, we're obviously going to see it on the business side. When you feel the hit of escrow on top of whatever taxes we have to pay, it's definitely something that guys notice and something you don't enjoy seeing. It's important to us, but in saying that the bigger picture is the growth of the game. When that happens, when we do those things right, that'll lead to more revenues that will hopefully lead to some adjustments.' Commissioner Gary Bettman calls escrow 'a function of the cap' and said it's going to be higher when that upper limit on salaries is higher. 'There are things you can do, either immediately or over time (where) you can manage the cap differently, which would manage the escrow, and those are things that obviously we need to be talking about,' Bettman said. It's not the only thing. Many players have expressed their desire to guarantee Olympic participation, though it seems impossible to collectively bargain because the International Ice Hockey Federation and International Olympic Committee are also involved. Countless business and political factors will go into whether the NHL sends its players to the Beijing Games in 2022. One issue mentioned by players that can be bargained is how players are taken care of after they retire. Vancouver Canucks player rep Bo Horvat said medical coverage, treatment for concussion issues and other things matter. He's not alone in prioritizing that with talks ongoing and some optimism of maintaining labor peace because the issues are at least more straightforward than the last round of talks in 2012-13. 'Post-career stuff, health care stuff, lots of little things like that that are important to players as far as livelihood going forward,' Minnesota Wild player rep Devan Dubnyk said. 'The good news is there's not anything major, but certainly some things we're going to want to be talked about.' ___ Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno ___ More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • The chief executive of Boeing said the company made a 'mistake' in handling a problematic cockpit warning system in its 737 Max jets before two crashes killed 346 people, and he promised transparency as the aircraft maker works to get the grounded plane back in flight. Speaking before the industry-wide Paris Air Show, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg told reporters Boeing's communication with regulators, customers and the public 'was not consistent. And that's unacceptable.' The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has faulted Boeing for not telling regulators for more than a year that a safety indicator in the cockpit of the top-selling plane didn't work as intended. Boeing and the FAA have said the warning light wasn't critical for flight safety. But the botched communication has eroded trust in Boeing as the company struggles to rebound from the passenger jet crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. 'We clearly had a mistake in the implementation of the alert,' Muilenburg said. Pilots also have expressed anger that Boeing did not inform them about the new software that's been implicated in the fatal crashes. Muilenburg expressed confidence that the Boeing 737 Max would be cleared to fly again later this year by U.S. and all other global regulators. 'We will take the time necessary' to ensure the Max is safe, he said. The model has been grounded worldwide for three months, and regulators need to approve Boeing's long-awaited fix to the software before it can return to the skies. Muilenburg called the crashes of the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines jets a 'defining moment' for Boeing, but said he thinks the result will be a 'better and stronger company.' In the United States, Boeing has faced scrutiny from members of Congress and the FAA over how it reported the problem involving a cockpit warning light. The company discovered in 2017 that a warning light designed to alert pilots when sensors measuring the angle of a plane's nose might be wrong only worked if airlines had purchased a separate feature. The angle-measuring sensors have been implicated in the Lion Air crash in Indonesia last October, and the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March. The sensors malfunctioned, alerting software to push the noses of the planes down. The pilots were unable to take back control of the planes. Boeing told the FAA of what it learned in 2017 after the Indonesia crash. Repairing trust in the Max is Boeing's No. 1 priority, Muilenburg said — ahead of an upgraded 777 and work on its upcoming NMA long-range jet. The Max, the newest version of Boeing's best-selling 737, is critical to the company's future. The Max was a direct response to rival Airbus' fuel-efficient A320neo, one of the European plane maker's most popular jets; Airbus has outpaced Boeing in sales in the category. The Max crashes, a slowing global economy, and damage from tariffs and trade fights threaten to cloud the mood at the Paris Air Show. Along with its alternating-years companion, the Farnborough International Airshow near London, the Paris show is usually a celebration of cutting-edge aviation technology. Muilenburg forecast a limited number of orders at the Paris event, the first major air show since the crashes, but said it was still important for Boeing to attend to talk to customers and others in the industry. He also announced that Boeing was raising its long-term forecast for global plane demand, notably amid sustained growth in Asia. Boeing expects the world's airlines will need 44,000 planes within 20 years, up from a previous forecast of 43,000 planes. Muilenburg projected that within 10 years, the overall aviation market — including passenger jets, cargo and warplanes — would be worth $8.7 trillion, compared to earlier forecasts of $8.1 trillion. Both estimates are higher than the ones from Airbus, which sees slower growth ahead. However, Airbus is heading into the Paris show with confidence. It is expected to announce several plane sales and unveil its A321 XLR long-range jet. Airbus executives said the Max crashes aren't affecting their sales strategy, but are a reminder of the importance to the whole industry of ensuring safety. ___ Rachel Lerman in San Francisco contributed to this report.
  • Brand familiarity isn't everything when it comes to attracting audiences to the multiplex, and Hollywood is learning that lesson the hard way this summer with a slew of underperforming sequels and reboots. That so-called franchise fatigue came to a head this weekend with the releases of 'Men in Black: International' and 'Shaft.' The writing may have been on the wall after neither an X-Men movie ('Dark Phoenix') nor a Godzilla movie ('Godzilla: King of the Monsters') could get moviegoers enthusiastic enough to turn out. But this weekend, down over 50% from last year, is the worst yet. 'This was a rough weekend,' said Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. 'We've had some big franchises that are not resonating with audiences or critics.' And there's a common denominator between all the recent disappointments: Poor reviews. All four have been certified 'rotten' on Rotten Tomatoes. 'Men in Black: International' took the No. 1 spot in North America, but it's a dubious distinction for the Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth-led reboot which isn't exactly the franchise-revitalizer it hoped to be. Sony Pictures on Sunday estimates the F. Gary Gray-directed film earned only $28.5 million over the weekend against a reported $110 million production budget. The three previous 'Men in Black' films all opened to over $50 million not accounting for inflation. However, international audiences are helping the bottom line with the film earning $73.7 million from 36 markets, bringing its global total to $102.2 million. The weekend's other big new release, 'Shaft,' which introduces another generation to the franchise, couldn't even manage to carve out a place in the top five, which instead was populated mostly by holdovers. 'The Secret Life of Pets 2' got the No. 2 spot in its second weekend with $23.8 million. Disney's 'Aladdin,' now in weekend four, took third with $16.7 million. 'Dark Phoenix' placed fourth with $9 million and 'Rocketman' coasted to fifth with $8.8 million. 'Shaft,' a Warner Bros. release, placed sixth on the charts, with a disappointing $8.3 million. Directed by Tim Story, 'Shaft' features Samuel L. Jackson reprising his role from almost 20 years ago and Jessie T. Usher as his son. It was made for around $30 million. Although critics did not praise the film, audiences who turned out (54% of whom were women) were more enthusiastic, giving the film an A CinemaScore. Even some originals had a tough time this weekend. Amazon Studios expanded its Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson comedy 'Late Night,' which it acquired the North American rights to for a Sundance record of $13 million , to 2,220 theaters where it earned $5.1 million. 'The real bright spots have been the smaller indies,' Dergarabedian said. 'We think of summer as blockbuster season, but it's turned into indie film season.' Jim Jarmusch's star-studded zombie comedy 'The Dead Don't Die' mostly survived its mixed reviews and opened to $2.35 million from 613 locations. Documentaries like 'Echo in the Canyon' and 'Pavarotti' have been making a modest mark in limited release, and the acclaimed drama 'The Last Black Man in San Francisco' expanded to 36 locations and earned $361,120. It expands further next weekend. But the marketplace is hurting and it's not a problem with the weekend, which last year saw 'Incredibles 2' open to over $182 million, but with the major movies themselves. The disappointments have come, mostly, from 'movies that just don't deliver,' according to Dergarabedian. But it's too simplistic to fault all franchises and next weekend the marketplace will be singing a different tune when 'Toy Story 4' opens. ''Toy Story 4' is going to erase the memory of this very tough weekend,' Dergarabedian said. Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday. 1. 'Men in Black: International,' $28.5 million ($73.7 million international). 2. 'The Secret Life of Pets 2,' $23.8 million ($8.5 million international). 3. 'Aladdin,' $16.7 million ($47.5 million international). 4. 'Dark Phoenix,' $9 million ($24.2 million international). 5. 'Rocketman,' $8.8 million ($8.5 million international). 6. 'Shaft,' $8.3 million. 7. 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters,' $8.1 million ($14.1 million international). 8. 'John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum,' $6.1 million ($6.2 million international). 9. 'Late Night,' $5.1 million ($255,000 international). 10. 'Ma,' $3.6 million ($2.3 million international). ___ Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to Comscore: 1. 'Men in Black: International,' $73.7 million. 2. 'Aladdin,' $47.5 million. 3. 'Dark Phoenix,' $24.2 million. 4. 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters,' $14.1 million. 5. 'My Best Summer (Zui Hao De Wo Men),' $8.7 million. 6. 'The Secret Life of Pets 2' and 'Rocketman,' $8.5 million. 7. 'Parasite,' $7.8 million. 8. 'John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum,' $6.2 million. 9. 'A City Called Macau,' $4.1 million. 10. 'Chasing the Dragon 2: Wild Wild Bunch,' $3.4 million. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/ldbahr
  • A $28 million statue of Popeye by the artist Jeff Koons. Luxury, 'European-style' water shuttles. Five-star hotel rooms starting at about $650 a night. After months of turmoil and uncertainty, Wynn Resorts' flamboyant Encore Boston Harbor casino opens June 23 just over the city line in Everett, Massachusetts. The $2.6 billion gambling, hotel and entertainment complex brings Las Vegas opulence to the unlikeliest of places: a largely industrial waterfront home to a subway train repair yard, a water and sewer agency facility and a power plant. Massachusetts leaders hope the resort and its curved, bronze-toned hotel tower — echoing the company's distinctive properties in Vegas and Macau — transforms the city's reputation as an industrial afterthought. 'We were ready for something like this,' Mayor Carlo DeMaria said last week, putting forth a vision of a thriving waterfront district of hotels, restaurants and shops. 'Everett will no longer be that place where the scrap yards and the used car lots and the power plant are.' Key to that revival, DeMaria and casino officials say, is the company's nearly $70 million environmental cleanup of the 33-acre (13-hectare) former chemical plant land and its shoreline. A new 6-acre (2-hectare) park featuring a harbor walk and gardens will give the public access to the city's waterfront for the first time in more than a century. Wynn Resorts has also purchased a number of homes and businesses leading up to the casino's grand entry and begun razing them, with promises of future redevelopment. Casino officials have declined media requests to tour the property in recent months, opting instead to showcase it on a single preview on June 21. Speaking at his offsite administrative office last week, Encore Boston Harbor President Robert DeSalvio highlighted the attractions the company hopes will make the casino stand out in an increasingly crowded Northeast market. Much like the company's other properties, Encore Boston Harbor will feature millions of dollars in original artwork. A fanciful carousel sculpture made up of 83,000 flowers and 11,000 jewels will greet visitors at the casino entry. Murano glass chandeliers will dangle from the gambling floor ceiling. And Koons' Popeye will stand sentry by the casino's meeting rooms. 'At the end of the day, people want to come for an experience,' DeSalvio said. 'Our team has spanned the globe to find very special touches. All of it creates a bespoke entertainment experience. It's a place for people to come back to time and time again.' With more than 8 million patrons expected to visit annually, DeSalvio also stressed the casino's efforts to ease traffic snarls, a major concern for long-suffering Boston residents and commuters. Everett isn't on a subway line, but there will be free shuttles from nearby stations, a free local circulator bus through city neighborhoods, and coach buses departing from locations in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The casino has also invested in shuttles to ferry patrons from downtown Boston's harbor front. But residents — even those eagerly anticipating the casino's opening — remain skeptical. 'It's a nightmare now. I can't see how it gets any better,' said Jake Mitchell, a lifelong Everett resident as he watched traffic crawl past the casino on a recent workday afternoon. 'But I still can't wait to check it out. I'll just live there. I won't come home anymore.' Nearly all casinos that have opened in the Northeast in recent years — including Massachusetts' MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park — have struggled to meet revenue projections, and Encore will likely be no different, said Paul DeBolle, a professor at Lasell College in Newton, Massachusetts, who has been tracking regional casino revenues. He and other experts predict the property will pull in around $600 million in revenues from gambling, short of the more than $800 million the casino predicted in its first year. State lawmakers have taken a similarly conservative view, projecting it will generate about $540 million from gambling. The state will collect 25% of the casino's gambling revenues. 'Wynn is clearly banking on their ability to attract Asian 'whales' and other wealthy gamblers from around the world,' said Clyde Barrow, a political science professor at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley who has long studied Northeast casinos. 'But it doesn't make sense to me why anyone would fly right over Las Vegas to visit Everett, Massachusetts.' But Encore Boston Harbor might be better placed than others to meet its lofty revenue goals because it holds a 'virtual monopoly' on the Boston-area as owner of the lone gambling license for the affluent and populous region, said Alex Bumazhny, an analyst with the ratings agency Fitch. Rival MGM Springfield is an hour and a half away, Connecticut's Indian casinos are nearly a two hours' drive, and other casinos closer to Boston offer fewer amenities, he said. The controversies that have recently marred the company also shouldn't dim the casino's prospects, Bumazhny said. Casino regulators in Massachusetts and Nevada hit Wynn Resorts with $55 million in fines and other penalties after determining officials failed to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against Steve Wynn, the company's founder. Wynn has denied the misconduct allegations but resigned as CEO last year. And the company, weeks before opening, negotiated to sell the Everett casino to MGM, but those talks ended amid public criticism. DeSalvio said the company remains bullish on Everett. 'For us, we've never moved off our original projections,' he said. 'People are going love the interior of the building, and when they walk out on that harbor walk and see what was done out there, I think they'll agree this is a unique and special place.
  • After receding from the national stage, the free college movement is resurfacing as a central rallying point for Democrats as they set their sights on the White House. At least 18 of the party's 23 presidential contenders have come out in support of some version of free college . Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts promises free tuition at public colleges and universities. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota says it should be limited to two years of community college. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York wants to provide free tuition in exchange for public service. The candidates are responding to what some say is a crisis in college affordability, an issue likely to draw attention in the first primary debates later this month. Year after year, colleges say they have to raise tuition to offset state funding cuts. Students have shouldered the cost by taking out loans, pushing the country's student debt to nearly $1.6 trillion this year. Even for many in the middle class, experts say, college is increasingly moving out of reach. Free college, a catchall term for a range of affordability plans, is increasingly seen as a solution. Nearly 20 states now promise some version of free college, from Tennessee's free community college program to New York's Excelsior Scholarship, which offers up to four years of free tuition at state schools for residents with family incomes below $125,000 a year. But research on the effectiveness of state programs has been mixed. Critics say the offers are often undermined by limited funding and come with narrow eligibility rules that exclude many students. 'This is a problem that has not gone away but has gotten worse in many communities,' said Mark Huelsman, associate director of policy and research for Demos, a liberal think tank. 'It's enough of a problem that people expect some action on it, and they expect some plan for how to get there.' Plans from Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Obama housing chief Julian Castro aim to eliminate tuition at all public institutions. The candidates say that would open college to a wider group of Americans and greatly reduce the need for loans. Warren argues that college, like other levels of schooling, is 'a basic public good that should be available to everyone with free tuition and zero debt at graduation.' Others, including Klobuchar and former Vice President Joe Biden, have backed more moderate plans to provide two years of free tuition at community colleges, similar to an idea pushed by President Barack Obama in 2015. And there are some who say students should be able to graduate without debt. To do that, several candidates want to help students with tuition as well as textbooks and living costs. Such 'debt-free' plans, which aim to steer money toward students with lower incomes, are supported Sen. Kamala Harris of California and Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, among others. Proposals for free college nationwide started to gain popularity among Democrats during the Obama administration and in the 2016 primary race. That discussion stalled after the election of President Donald Trump, who is seen as hostile to the idea. His administration blames colleges for the debt crisis, saying they ramp up tuition because they know students have easy access to federal loans. Before Trump was elected, Sanders was credited with bringing the issue to the fore when he campaigned on a promise to make tuition free at public colleges. Hillary Clinton, the party's 2016 nominee, initially criticized the idea but later adopted a similar plan. Now, early in the 2020 race, Democrats have been quick to show their support. Instead of debating whether it should be free, most are weighing which model is best and how to achieve it. 'It's striking how much the debate has shifted over the past decade,' Huelsman said. 'If you look at the 2008 election, 2012, it was not something that was necessarily a prominent part of the debate.' For most candidates, free college is just part of the solution as they confront student debt and college access. Several also promise to help borrowers refinance loans at lower interest rates; some want to wipe away huge chunks of the nation's student debt. Those types of proposals are likely to be popular among the growing share of voters paying off student loans, said Douglas Harris, an economics professor at Tulane University who has studied the effectiveness of free college. 'Something like 1 in 5 voters has college debt, which is a huge percentage,' he said. 'And when you have a huge number of people affected by something, then that certainly gets people's attention.' One of the major sticking points over free college is the price. Warren's total education plan is estimated to cost $1.25 trillion over a decade. Sanders' free college plan would cost $47 billion a year. Both call on the federal government to split the cost with states while also raising taxes on Wall Street or the wealthiest Americans. Some Democrats, though, say that kind of spending is untenable. Klobuchar has rejected the idea of free college for everyone, saying the country can't afford it. Instead she backs two years of free community college as a way to help prepare workers and fill shortages in the job market. 'When I look at the jobs that are available right now out there, we have a lot of job openings in areas that could use a one-year degree, a two-year degree, and we're just not filling those jobs,' Klobuchar said at a March town hall in Iowa. She added that students can attend community college and then 'later go on to complete their four-year degree.' Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke supports free community college for all Americans, along with debt-free college at four-year institutions for students with low and modest incomes. Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper says he would make community college free 'for those who can't afford it.' Many free college supporters see promise in a federal plan that could bring more funding and share the cost with states. But in Congress, that kind of plan has yet to take hold. In March, Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, reintroduced his Debt-Free College Act, which calls for a partnership with states to make sure students can afford all college costs without borrowing loans. The idea died in the previous session and has yet to be taken up in this one, but the new bill has gained wider support from Democrats. Among those backing the plan are four 2020 candidates: Gillibrand, Harris, Warren and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey. ___ Follow Collin Binkley on Twitter at https://twitter.com/cbinkley
  • The environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion has postponed a plan to shut down London's Heathrow Airport with drones after it was criticized by politicians and police. The group that demands faster action against climate change said Sunday it would 'not be carrying out any actions at Heathrow Airport in June or July this year.' Details of the group's plan were leaked last month. British Aviation Minister Charlotte Vere warned that 'using drones to deliberately put people's safety at risk carries a maximum life sentence.' Extinction Rebellion said the allegation it was willing to endanger people's lives 'is a depressing and predictable smear.' The group still aims to target the airport, Europe's busiest, but said it would not fly drones within flightpaths, and would give two months' notice so travelers could make other plans.
  • New Mexico's film industry appears to be on the brink of a boom thanks to abortion law controversies in other states and expanded incentives. A recent spike in film production in the state comes as Hollywood targets both Georgia and Louisiana over recently passed restrictive abortion laws, the Albuquerque Journal reports. The political developments are being watched closely in New Mexico, which is poised to benefit even though state officials have said there's no organized campaign to lure film productions from those states. 'I don't know that we are necessarily using that as a drawing card, because we are a drawing card,' New Mexico Film Office Director Todd Christensen said. The jump also comes as New Mexico is set to more than double its annual state spending cap on film incentives. In addition, NBCUniversal announced Friday it will build a television and film studio in a warehouse district just north of downtown Albuquerque as it seeks to expand its footprint in one of the fastest-growing film production hubs in the country. The company said it entered a 10-year venture with a developer to reshape an empty warehouse into a studio with two sound stages and offices. The studio will be used to produce shows for broadcast and cable channels. The New Mexico Film Office said the coming Amazon TV series production 'The Power' reached out to New Mexico because of Georgia's political climate. 'The Power' will be a 10-part series based on Naomi Alderman's 2016 novel in which women around the world suddenly gain the ability to electrocute people. New Mexico has on its books a 1969 state law that banned abortion in most cases. But the law became unenforceable after it was superseded by the landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. An attempt to scrap the 1969 law failed during the last state legislative session in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Democrats have downplayed the vote and have vowed to try again in the near future. New Mexico was one of the first states to launch a film incentive program in 2003 and upped the ante with a new package of film and TV incentives passed by lawmakers during this year's 60-day legislative session and signed into law by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in March. The package raises a 2011 cap on what the state can pay out to film and TV productions from $50 million to $110 million per year, while also authorizing the spending of up to $225 million to pay down an accumulated backlog in film incentives. Film companies receive 25 percent rebates on qualifying expenditures on goods and services in New Mexico. There is a 30 percent rebate for some TV shows. In recent months, the New Mexico Film Office has received about two calls a day from production companies asking about the new incentives and possible locations in the state. 'We're getting calls,' Christensen said. 'If the script fits, they'll come here. In some cases, they can change the scripts to fit New Mexico.' Not all legislators are thrilled with the expansion of the state's film incentive program. State Sen. Mark Moores, a Republican who voted against this year's bill, said he would be uneasy about using the abortion laws in Georgia and Louisiana as leverage, adding that he has a problem with 'out-of-state corporate extortion' on what he described as a social issue. 'If we as a state make a political decision for New Mexico that they don't like in the future, will they extort us like they're trying to do to Georgia?' Moores asked. ___ Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com
  • A glitch stalled checkout lines at Target stores worldwide Saturday, exasperating shoppers and potentially eating into sales at a prime time for retailers, the day before Father's Day. The roughly two-hour outage periodically prevented Target's cashiers from scanning merchandise or processing transactions as long lines formed in some stores. Self-checkout registers, usually the speediest of options, also weren't working at times. Target temporarily closed some of its stores, including one in San Francisco, rather than risk aggravating shoppers. 'Our technology team worked quickly to identify and fix the issue, and we apologize for the inconvenience and frustration this caused for our guests,' Target said in a Saturday statement. Before the company figured out was wrong, a Target employee was warning customers that they might not be able to check out as they entered a San Francisco store early Saturday afternoon. Sales were being completed after intermittent delays during the half hour an AP reporter observed the lines at the store. But some shoppers posting on their Twitter accounts Saturday painted a different picture as they vented about excruciatingly long lines but expressed sympathy for the Target employees trying to cope with the situation. The meltdown hit Target at the worst time for a mass-market merchant, given Saturdays are typically one of the busiest shopping days of the week. Target has been vexed by technology before, most notably in 2013 when malware installed in its checkout system resulted in a data heist that exposed personal information in more than 40 million credit and debit card accounts. That debacle triggered lawsuits and eventually led to the departure of its CEO, Gregg Steinhafel. The Minneapolis company said customers caught in up the checkout slowdown have no reason to worry. 'After an initial but thorough review, we can confirm that this was not a data breach or security-related issue, and no guest information was compromised at any time,' Target said.
  • An off-duty police officer opened fire inside a Costco Wholesale warehouse store, killing a man who had attacked him and wounding two others, the Corona Police Department said. Kenneth French, 32, of Riverside assaulted the Los Angeles Police Department officer Friday night while he was holding his young child, the department said in a statement Saturday. The officer fired his gun, hitting French and two of French's relatives, the department said. French was killed, the department said. The relatives are in critical conditions at hospitals. The officer, whose identity is being withheld, was treated and released at a nearby hospital, and the officer's child was not injured, the department said. The officer was the only person who fired shots in the store, the department said. The shooting prompted a stampede of frightened shoppers to flee the store east of Los Angeles and seek cover inside. Witnesses said they saw a man with a Mohawk haircut arguing with someone near a freezer section when shots rang out at least six times. The man involved in the argument was killed, Corona police Lt. Jeff Edwards said. Witnesses said there was an altercation. Shoppers and employees described terror and chaos when shots rang out shortly before 8 p.m. Friday and police swarmed the store. Shrieks from inside the store were heard on video recorded by shopper Nikki Tate, who had stopped by with her daughter to pick up steaks and lobsters for Father's Day. Tate said Saturday she was by the meat section when she heard 'about six or seven shots.' She dropped to the ground and crawled toward her daughter who was at the other end. They huddled until they were able to escape through a side door. 'I saw people and heard shots and my first thought was 'Jesus, is this another mass shooting?'' she said. 'I didn't know if this was a random thing or a domestic thing or if this was a mass shooting. Everything was happening so fast, I just wanted to get me and my kid to safety.' In the video, her daughter says, 'Mommy, we need to go.' The Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement Saturday afternoon that it has launched its own investigation of the incident. Christina Colis told the Riverside Press-Enterprise that she was in the produce area when she heard six to seven shots and hid with other shoppers in a refrigerated produce room. She said her mother saw people injured on the floor. 'I thought maybe someone dropped a bottle of wine, but then I kept hearing shots,' shopper Will Lungo told the Press-Enterprise newspaper. 'An employee came in and helped us out through the emergency exit.' Witnesses told KCAL-TV that shoppers and employees rushed to the exits. The station reported that more than 100 people were outside the store at one point. Left behind inside the store were purses, cellphones and backpacks from panicked shoppers, Corona police said.

Local News

  • The annual conference of North Georgia United Methodists wraps up today in Athens: the conference began Tuesday at the Classic Center. From the Methodist Conference website…   Friday, June 148 a.m. | Session 72 p.m. | Session 8, Closing Worship4 p.m. | Adjournment   Comprised of more than 800 churches, more than 1,300 clergy members, and approximately 350,000 lay members, The North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church seeks to develop principled Christian leaders, to engage in ministry with the poor, improve global health, advocate for justice, respond to disasters, and fulfill the mission of the denomination: “To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” Currently, it is the largest United Methodist Conference in the United States. 
  • Troopers with the Georgia State Patrol and agents of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said they made a marijuana bust Tuesday afternoon worth more than $200,000. The GBI sent Channel 2 Action News a photo of the 70 pounds of marijuana officials said agents discovered during a traffic stop in Gwinnett County near the Hamilton Mill Road exit on Interstate 85 northbound. Three men from Charlotte, North Carolina, were arrested and charged with trafficking marijuana: Phetprasong Souriyo, 34, Brandy Souriyo, 28, and Somphone Thongkhamdy, 30. The GBI said their arrests are part of an ongoing investigation into marijuana trafficking via the I-85 corridor from metro Atlanta north to neighboring states.
  • Minicamp ended for the Falcons on Thursday, and players, coaches and staff have about a month away from the facility in Flowery Branch before training camp begins.  Though he didn’t practice all three days, wide receiver Julio Jones said he will be ready for the season and is happy with his place on the team. Jones told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday that he and the Falcons are continuing to work on a long-term contract. Jones, who’s also nursing a foot injury, is scheduled to be the 13th highest paid receiver in the league in 2019, according to NFL stats. Tampa Bay’s Michael Evans ($20 million) is set to be highest paid, while Jones is at $13.4 million. The six-time Pro Bowler took more of a leadership role this minicamp, acting as a coach on the field and mentoring younger receivers during and after drills. Former Georgia Tech and Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson was in attendance for practice today, as coach Dan Quinn invited him in hopes of providing inspiration for the team’s younger players.  Even if his production has slipped, Falcons pass rusher Vic Beasley said he doesn’t feel intimidated heading into an important season — both financially and on the field. The 2015 first-round pick skipped all team offseason programs after the Falcons picked up the $12.8 million fifth-year option on his contract instead of offering a longer-term deal. Beasley, who compiled 15.5 sacks in 2016, has had only 10 sacks in the previous two seasons combined. Quinn said his project over the season is to help Beasley develop more moves off the line of scrimmage, so Beasley has different ways to get to the passer. After skipping OTAs, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett reported for minicamp, but wore a hat instead of a helmet for all three days. Jarrett, too, skipped OTAs while he and the Falcons work out a long-term deal. The Falcons placed the franchise tag on the former Clemson Tiger in March and will pay him $15.2 million this season. On Tuesday, Jarrett deflected all questions from the media regarding his contract to the media. Heading into training camp, it’s possible Grady may continue not to participate if a long-term deal isn’t reached.   Matt Ryan has a problem every player in the league would dream of: How do you get better when you are already one of the best? The Falcons quarterback said he will continue to work on his strength and flexibility this season, and has enlisted professional help to do so. He also plans to organize a players-only camp to help the team create bonds together without coaches present.
  • What makes a great teacher? Aspiring English teachers from the University of Georgia saw one in action this year at Classic City High School in Athens, according to their professor Peter Smagorinsky. Smagorinsky is a Distinguished Research Professor of English Education in UGA’s Department of Language and Literacy Education (English Education). Smagorinsky has profiled many amazing teachers for his Great Georgia Teacher series here on the blog over the years. This time, he lets his UGA education students do most of the talking about what makes teacher Stephanie Johns so effective and so inspiring.   By Peter Smagorinsky   At the University of Georgia, I teach the educational foundations course for undergraduates who hope to become English teachers. The course, Service-Learning in Teacher Education, involves three main components. On campus, they lead one another in discussions of books they choose to broaden their understanding of students, families, and communities. At Classic City High School, the non-traditional school in Athens, they tutor and mentor to learn about school from students on the margins. Finally, they make sense of their experiences in a paper in which they reflect on their learning during the semester.  When I completed my reading of my students’ course papers, I was struck by how many of them talked about what they learned from observing Classic City High School English teacher Stephanie Johns. She’s a great Georgia teacher in a setting where students need her support and love to succeed.  I’ll let my UGA students do most of the talking from here on out. Without being prompted to talk about her, they did quite a bit, and I can only excerpt a small amount of what they wrote:  Love, Encouragement, Respect, and Support “Mrs. Johns . . . really cares about her students and wants them to succeed. She talked to her students as people rather than as a superior to an inferior, which I really appreciated seeing because I’ve definitely seen teachers who come across as condescending or patronizing. Mrs. Johns seemed to really know her students and what they struggled with and tried to provide as much help as she could. She was also understanding of students who might not be having the best day, which was really great to see.”  “I was able see the unconditional love that a teacher has for her students. . . . She recognizes potential in students and pushes them to do their best.”  Going Above and Beyond “All of the extra stuff she was doing for her students was all just extra work and more grading that she was going to have to do, but she was always willing to do that and go above and beyond for her students, which I just found to be very inspirational for my future career as an English teacher.”  Attentive to Students’ Heritages, Needs, and Interests “Mrs. Johns’ class made me realize how important it is to have a variety of diverse materials for the students. I noticed the change in the atmosphere when she brought out information about Hispanic and African American individuals. The atmosphere changed simply because they had something to relate to. I really enjoyed how Mrs. Johns asked the kids what types of poems interested them to keep them focused. When she asked them what they wanted to read, they perked up and were more engaged. . . . I respect Mrs. Johns for recognizing how unmotivated these kids are and have been in previous times. Yet, she still goes out of her way in order to keep them focused and learning.”  Compassion, Energy, Patience, and Positive Outlook “Ms. Johns has a great level of student awareness. . . . I’m particularly inspired by her level of compassion and patience with her students. I can tell that she enjoys her job, which is so important.”  “She approached every lesson and activity with enthusiasm, even when the students were not responding or refused to do work. . . I found the lack of effort from certain students to be frustrating and distracting, but Mrs. Johns only continued to try harder, taking the extra time to reach out individually to those students, until she was able to break the barriers they had put up.”  “Students within institutions such as Classic City High School need teachers like her, who bring a positive attitude and outlook on life into the classroom. . . It’s important for these students to realize that people do truly care and that if school isn’t necessarily working out, there are other pathways that lead to success and happiness.”  Calm Demeanor for Stressful Times “I feel lucky to have been able to witness her in action the week before what some might say is the most stressful time of the year: standardized testing. Mrs. Johns brought a sort of calm to her students that isn’t really describable. It is almost as if there is a tone shift as soon as they walk in the door.”  “It is apparent to the students that she trusts them and that she really cares about them and their families. With all of the stress of graduation and testing coming up, she had meaningful conversations with multiple students about what else is going on in their lives. I feel lucky to watch Mrs. Johns mentor and teach during such a busy time of the school year, and it really gave me perspective on how to navigate preparing your students for big changes. Just because it is an important and stressful time, doesn’t mean you need to escalate or apply more pressure that is already there. There is a way to get people to take things seriously without completely stressing them out. I feel like ultimately, the confidence she was instilling in them will have the biggest impact on their performance.”  Flexibility and Respect for Individuals “She instructs in a way that the students feel comfortable opening up to her and asking questions. . . . It is apparent that she values each student as an individual and their opinions. . . . She is constantly reminding them that they are more than capable and gives them flexibility to work on whatever is at the top of their priority list.”  “I can tell she truly cares about her students and their success. She is not a pushover teacher, but she is very flexible which I think is a great attribute she possesses when dealing with students. . . Her personality is very approachable and she allowed her classroom to be a safe space for students to air out anything that was bothering them; it didn't matter if it had to do with their course work or not. Ms. Johns explained to me if they can’t have a place to comfortably express their issues, then they will not be completely focused on their course work.”  An Inspiring Model “She reminded me of my 12th-grade English teacher who inspired me to become an English teacher. My mentorship allowed me to meet another amazing English teacher who can get through to any student, even the hard ones.”  “I learned a lot from Mrs. Johns, as she was a perfect model of what a teacher should be. I found her attitude and outlook for these students to be inspiring and I hope to one day carry myself like her. I think that without teachers like her in these schools, the success of the students would suffer. She was a true testament to what it means to care and engage your students, no matter the response they give you. One piece of advice she gave me was to remember that as a teacher, you cannot hold a grudge against a student, not even for a minute because when that student is ready and needs you, you have to be ready. I truly believe this was the most important takeaway for me, because I found myself often getting frustrated for her when students failed to complete assignments or participate in class.”  “Mrs. Johns seemed to really care about her students and knew how to motivate them to do their work. When I am a teacher one day, I hope to have the same understanding and ability to connect with my students.”  “I also was able to learn hands-on beside Mrs. Johns, who I know will be an inspiration to me throughout my teaching career. If one day I’m half as amazing of a teacher as she is, I’ll be in pretty good shape. Because of having the opportunity to work one-on-one with these students, I am more understanding, patient, and supportive, all of which will be wonderful things for me to carry into my classroom and the rest of my life.” My Brief Conclusion My UGA students found much to admire in working with Ms. Johns. The qualities they talk about are largely interpersonal. They speak to her care, flexibility, love, respect, compassion, patience, positive outlook, and other non-technical aspects of teaching. Her students in turn tend to work for her, because she makes the effort to connect with and reach out to them. The academics follow from the relationships she cultivates.  That’s the most important trait my students observed again and again, and it rarely makes an impression on policy. But it should. 
  • The 19th annual North Georgia Folk Potters Festival is set for Saturday in Homer: the festival, organized by the Banks County Recreation Department, starts at 9 and lasts til 2 on Thompson Street in Homer. Following is a list of potters expected to take part…   Steve Turpin Abby Turpin David Meaders Wayne Hewell Dwayne Crocker Sid Luck Shelby West Stanley Ferguson Mary Ferguson Jami Ferguson Kris London Marvin Bailey Roger Corn Rex Hogan Carolyn Simmons Rob Withrow Walter Aberson Rodney Leftwich Kim Leftwich Joyce Branch Mike Ledford (Joes Lake Pottery) Mike Craven Bo Thompson Mike Williamson Lynn Thrurmond Michael Ball Michel Bayne Joe Craven Dal Burtchael Stanley and Kathy Irvin Brian Wilson Bobby Gaither · Mike Hanning

Bulldog News

  • Georgia junior defensive end Malik Herring is one of the players Kirby Smart is counting on to step up on the football field this season. But on Saturday, the 6-foot-3, 280-pound Herring took time to give back to his home community, taking part in a “Kids Fun Day” in Forsyth. Kickball, face painting and water slides were all part of the good times Herring shared with family, friend and youngsters at the Monroe County Rec Department. Macon’s WMAZ-13 was on hand to interview Herring, who explained his motivation for the event. “I saw kids like outside on the porch just bored, and it was just like I called my mom, and was like ‘hey mom we gotta do something for the kids, they don’t have nothing to do,” Herring said in the WMAZ-13 interview. “I just wanted to have something  for the kids to give back, and give them something we’d never had growing up.” UGA defensive lineman and former @MPHSFootball player @HerringMalik came back to his hometown and held a Kids Fun Day. He just wanted kids in his neighborhood to have fun and do something in the summer. At the end you’ll see how he dominated in kickball. He didn’t go easy on them pic.twitter.com/ruzpFMNPXY — Jonathan Perez WMAZ (@_JonathanMPerez) June 15, 2019 Herring, a 6-foot-3, 280-pounder, is one of the more pivotal pieces on a Georgia football team that’s greatest weakness is considered by many to be the defensive line. Smart knows all about Herring’s talent and ability. Herring was part of Smart’s first recruiting class, which this season makes up the nucleus of what’s expected to be a national championship contender. “ Malik can be a good player, (but) he’s gotta hone in and do the little things right and he’s gotta be a little more mature and serious about things to be the player we want him to be,” Smart said in the midst of spring drills. “He’s talented, though and he’s played well. He’s just gotta mature some.” Smart, it should be noted, typically saves his public challenges for the most talented players on his team. It’s an indication the head coach has high hopes set for Herring this season. Herring has made 30 tackles in the 29 games he has played the past two seasons, with 1.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss. “Everything I do, I feel like I wouldn’t have gotten here if it wasn’t for this community, they all supported me throughout it all, with my ups and downs,” Herring said. “I just want to give back and show them that I really appreciate what they have done for me.”   TODAY IS THE DAY‼️‼️‼️ we’re here ready to have a great time‼️‼️ come out and have some fun ‼️‼️‼️ #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/MVlAYILbLP — Malik Herring (@HerringMalik) June 15, 2019 The post Georgia football DE Malik Herring makes time for ‘Kids Fun Day’ appeared first on DawgNation.
  • SUNDAY READER ATHENS — The general thought on the Georgia Bulldogs heading into the 2019 season is they’re going to be better offensively than defensively. There’s data beyond tackles and touchdowns that backs that up. The Bulldogs already have been established as a consensus Top 4 team and one of the favorites to contend for the College Football Playoff spot this coming season. Obviously, that means coach Kirby Smart has put together a talented football team for the third year in a row. Georgia’s 2020 recruiting is going the way of the Kirby Smart’s last three classes. That is, among the top in the country including the likes of No. 1 running back Kendall Milton (second from left). (Charles Felder/Special to DawgNation) But DawgNation has taken a closer look and broken down the projected starting lineup for the Bulldogs’ season opener on the road at Vanderbilt (Aug. 31, 6:30 p.m., SEC Network) to examine exactly what is the recruiting profile and makeup of what’s expected to be perhaps Smart’s best team so far. Some of the revelations are surprising, some not so much. For instance, we all know that Smart and his staff have been all-star recruiters since they arrived in town. His first four classes at Georgia have carried an average national recruiting ranking of No. 3 (6, 3, 1, 2, respectively). The one currently being assembled for 2020 is ranked No. 4 at the moment. So it follows that Georgia is should be fielding good teams. Accordingly, the majority of the projected starting lineup for this year’s opener comes from the last three classes. While some from the 2016 class might be considered holdovers from the previous regime, Smart gets full credit for the last three and, by extension, the majority of this year’s squad. That will be reflected in the projected lineup against the Commodores. Only six of the starting 22 came from the 2016 class or before. Linebacker Tae Crowder holds the distinction as the sole Mark Richt recruit in the starting lineup. Then again, there just aren’t that many redshirt seniors on the team period. A few other observations from the accumulated data: Fifteen of the 22 projected offensive and defensive starters (68.2%) are from the state of Georgia. That includes guys from places like IMG Academy in Florida. That’s where they attended high school briefly, not their residence. The other starters are from Florida (2), Alabama (1), New York (1), North Carolina (1), Pennsylvania (1) and Texas (1). The average star-rating for Georgia’s offensive players versus its defensive players is 4.09 to 3.82. That’s based on the industry-accepted composite ranking of 247Sports, which takes into account the rankings of all services. Therefore, to be considered a 5-star, one must be a consensus 5-star and not just garner the rating from one service. It’s a moving target by the Bulldogs at one time had the most 5-star recruits on its roster. Six are expected to be in the starting lineup versus Vandy, three on offense and three on defense. Stars aren’t the best measure for one’s recruiting pedigree, however. There are high-4-stars and low-4-stars are everything in between. Fortunately, the 247 composite goes deep in their assessment and gives each individual prospect a national prospect. And that’s where the makeup of Georgia’s lineup gets really interesting. On offense, the average national ranking of each individual player is 181. That includes a high of No. 1 for receiver Demetris Robertson and a low of 1,051 for left guard Solomon Kindley. The average national position ranking on that side of the ball is 21.09, though not every player plays the same position now at which he was projected as a prospect. The defense is notably lower-rated on all counts. The average national prospect ranking is a fluffy 555.4. The average national position ranking is 50.18, though many of the players aren’t playing those projected positions. The lowest, or worse, ranking on defense belongs to Tae Crowder, who was rated the 1,863rd prospect in the Class of 2015. But that was as a wide receiver. Crowder actually was signed by the Bulldogs as a running back and now he’s a middle linebacker. So do with that what you wish. Senior J.R. Reed was actually rated just seven spots higher than Crowder at 1,856. He was considered a cornerback then. Now he’s an All-America candidate at free safety. The highest ranking on the defensive side of the ball belongs to cornerback Tyson Campbell. He’s was rated 12th overall and No. 2 at his position when he signed with the Bulldogs out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Of course, he lost his starting position last year to Eric Stokes, ranked 668th and 63rd at cornerback out of Covington’s Eastside High. What’s it all mean? Really, only that good players come from everywhere in all shapes and sizes and with widely varying prospect profiles. That’s why scouting and development are so important, and the Bulldogs seem to be scoring well on both counts. Also, we can quibble all summer and into the fall about who will actually be in the starting lineup. There’s not a lot of argument to be made about quarterback Jake Fromm or running back D’Andre Swift. But, otherwise, Georgia has a bunch of other unresolved position battles heading into preseason camp, and Smart likes to mix-and-match situationally, especially on defense. So that’s moot exercise. For the sake of transparency, though, we went with Demetris Robertson in the slot. He may not end up actually being in the starting lineup and his No. 1 ranking might’ve inflated the overall offensive rating. But if he’s not, his playing time might default to either of two 5-star signees Dominick Blaylock or George Pickens, or at least high 4-star Kearis Jackson. Conversely, though, the low-rated offensive line prospect Kindley could be supplanted in the starting lineup by anyone of several 5-stars, which would take the overall ranking higher. Defensively, there’s still a lot to be sorted out, too. We went with 5-star signee Brenton Cox at the jack outside linebacker, but that could easily have gone to fellow 5-stars Adam Anderson or Robert Beal. Should freshman Nolan Smith end up winning the position, it’d inflate the ranking even more as he was considered the No. 1 overall prospect in America. Same with Nakobe Dean at inside linebacker. There are many other conclusions to draw from this data. And, of course, Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State could make many of the same claims. But breaking it down this way and debating who’s going to be where is a fun exercise during the dog days of summer. Please check out the breakdown below and share your own observations in the comments section. ANATOMY OF THE LINEUP — OFFENSE — QB Jake Fromm As a prospect: 4-star ranking, 44th nationally, 3rd at position As a player: Played in all 29 games in his first two seasons, including 28 starts. Georgia is 24-5 in those games. Fromm has completed 64.8 percent of his passes for 5,364 yards and 54 touchdowns with 13 interceptions. Realistic candidate for all national awards, including Heisman Trophy and All-American. RB D’Andre Swift As a prospect: 5-star rating, No. 23 national ranking and No. 4 at position As a player: Swift rushed for 618 yards and 3 touchdowns as an understudy to Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. He overcame early injury issues last year to lead the Bulldogs with 1,049 yards and 10 TDs and added another 32 catches and 3 scores as a receiver. If he can stay healthy and be Georgia’s featured back all year as expected, he’ll be a Heisman Trophy contender. WR J.J. Holloman As a prospect: 4-star ranking, 125th nationally, 18th at position As a player: Played in 19 of 29 games, including five starts and all 14 games as a sophomore. Was team’s fifth-leading receiver last year (24-418-5 TDs) but enters his junior season considered Georgia’s top wideout. TE Charlie Woerner As a prospect: Signed as a wide receiver.  4-star rating, 138th nationally, No. 25 at position As a player: Switched to tight end as a freshman. Played in 32 of 39 games in first three seasons with five starts. Nine catches each of last two seasons with 23 for 271 for his career. Yet to score. Sidelined with broken leg at end of 2017 season. With early departure of Isaac Nauta for NFL, only experienced tight end LT Andrew Thomas As a prospect:  4-star rating, ranking 45th nationally, No. 9 at position As a player: Started every game he’s played in his career, all 15 at right tackle as a freshman and all 13 at left tackle as a sophomore. Missed one game last year due to ankle injury from previous contest. Consensus all-conference and All-American. LG Solomon Kindley As a prospect: Signed as offensive tackle. 3-star rating, ranked 1,051st nationally, 89th at his position. As a player: After a redshirt year in 2016, Kindley has played in every game the last two seasons, with 21 starts, including every game last season. Played 75 percent of the snaps in SEC play last season. C Trey Hill As a prospect: 4-star rating, ranked No. 63 nationally and third at his position. Signed as guard. As a player: Played in all 14 games as a freshman, starting the last four at right guard as injuries sidelined Ben Cleveland and Cade Mays. Also filled in for starting center Lamont Gaillard. Won the center position in spring camp. RG Ben Cleveland As a prospect: 4-star rating, ranked No. 90 nationally and 10th at position. Signed as tackle. As a player: After redshirting his first year, Cleveland beat out Kindley for the starting job at right guard for the last four games of the 2017 season, which included an SEC championship and run through the CFB Playoffs. Started the first four games of last season before a broken leg against Missouri sidelined him for the season as an offensive lineman. Won back the starting job over Cade Mays and Jamaree Salyer in spring practice. RT Isaiah Wilson As a prospect: 5-star rating, No. 16 nationally, fifth at position As a player: Conditioning and heat acclimation led to first-year redshirt for the Brooklyn native. Earned freshman All-America honors last year after starting every game at right tackle WR Tyler Simmons As a prospect: 3-star rating, ranked 383rd nationally and No. 65 at his position. As a player: Simmons earned his place as a special teams player and blocking specialist on offense. He didn’t get his first of six starts as a receiver until his junior season. Now a senior, Simmons has 14 catches for 183 yards and two TDs in his career. But he’s one of the team’s fastest players and the thought is he has more to offer as a receiving target. WR Demetris Robertson As a prospect: 5-star rating, No. 13 nationally, No. 1 at position As a player: Robertson earned freshman All-America honors when caught 50 passes for 767 yards and 7 touchdowns at Cal. But he hasn’t been able to replicate that production since transferring to UGA before last season. He played in only nine games as a sophomore and, remarkably, did not record a catch. However, his blazing speed resulted in 109 yards rushing on four carries, including a 72-yard TD in the season opener. Continued improvement on the playbook, sight-adjustments and blocking must be demonstrated to earn more playing time as a junior. — DEFENSE — CB Eric Stokes As a prospect: 3-star rating, 668th nationally, 63rd at position As a player: A track star in high school, Stokes redshirted as a freshman, was pressed into duty due to an injury to Tyson Campbell, then edged Campbell in the battle for playing time opposite of star corner Deandre Baker. One of the fastest players on the team, his DB skills have started to catch up with his speed. CB Tyson Campbell As a prospect: 5-star rating, No. 12 nationally, No. 2 at position As a player: Campbell lived up to his lofty billing by starting the first 10 games of his freshman season. But as Baker’s star rose, Campbell found himself increasingly targeted on his side of the field. Loss of confidence and fundamental breakdowns led to Stokes getting three of the last four starts at corner and one for Tyrique McGhee. FS J.R. Reed As a prospect: 3-star rating; 1,856th nationally, No. 157 as cornerback As a player: Went to University of Tulsa out of Frisco, Texas, and only played sparingly before transferring to UGA and sitting out per NCAA rules. Quickly blossomed under the tutelage of former DBs coach/coordinator Mel Tucker and has started all 29 games he’s played at Georgia. Now serves as brains and brawn of the secondary. SS Richard LeCounte As a prospect: 5-star rating, 25th nationally, No. 2 at position As a player: Arrived somewhat raw in defensive fundamentals but with off-the-charts athleticism. Spent his freshman season as backup to Dominick Sanders, but moved into a starting role last season and started 13 of the 14 games. LB Monty Rice As a prospect: 4-star rating, 334th nationally, 18th at position As a player: Rice’s tremendous potential first became evident when he got his first start as a freshman filling in for an injured Roquan Smith. Rice had four tackles against Missouri that day and has been impressing ever since. He started five of nine games last year but has been dogged by injuries, which kept him out of the last four games. Could be a star with a full, healthy season. LB Tae Crowder As a prospect: 3-star rating, ranked 1,868th nationally and 221st at his position (actually wide receiver) As a player: Crowder became a prospect at Harris County High as a wide receiver, switched to running back during his senior season and signed with the Bulldogs as a back. However, he never recorded an in-game carry and, after a redshirt season in 2015, was moved to inside linebacker in the middle of the 2016 season. After playing in only one game that season, he has played in 28 of 29 the last two, including five starts last year. Slated to start this year at middle linebacker. OLB Walter Grant As a prospect: 4-star rating, 202nd nationally, No. 11 at position As a player: Grant has played in every game for Georgia since he arrived from Cairo High. His work came mainly on special teams as a freshman, but he started 8 games at Sam (strongside) linebacker last year. Unfortunately, Grant mans a position that is proving increasingly obsolete against today’s spread offenses. Got some looks at running back and tight end this spring. OLB Brenton Cox As a prospect: 5-star rating, No. 23 nationally, third at position As a player: This is an unresolved competition that just as easily could end up being Adam Anderson, Robert Beal, Azeez Ojulari or Nolan Smith. The interesting aspect is they all share similar recruiting profiles as top-rated, elite prospects. Cox did not distinguish himself when forced into action for an injured D’Andre Walker in the SEC Championship Game. But he has played more and been more productive than others in the competition for playing time. DE David Marshall As a prospect: 3-star rating, 433rd nationally and No. 19 as defensive end As a player: The senior Marshall has a lot of experience and playing time, but it has typically been in a specialized role as a run-stopper while sharing time with Jonathan Ledbetter. So his production of 58 tackles in 32 games and just seven starts doesn’t jump off the stat sheet. But Marshall’s absence was evident last season when he missed the last eight games with a broken foot. He was extremely limited in spring practice as well. Again, he’ll be sharing playing time with Malik Herring and Julian Rochester, at the least. DT Tyler Clark As a prospect: 4-star rating, 264th nationally and No. 27 at his position. As a player: Everybody is still waiting for the same Clark to emerge who dominated the second half against Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl in 2017. He hasn’t been bad and actually has been the best of the Bulldogs’ tackles, but he hasn’t made enough of the impactful “havoc plays” coach Kirby Smart so desires from his defensive front. Clark has played in all but one game since arriving from Americus in 2016 and that includes 22 starts. But several young prospects will be trying to steal playing time, and Clark needs a big year to attract NFL attention. NG Jordan Davis As a prospect: 3-star rating, 424th nationally, No. 29 at position As a player: Davis is one of those great stories where he proved much better than his recruiting profile. The 6-foot-6, 330-pounder over game weight and conditioning issues to earn a starting job midway through his freshman season and, after recording 25 tackles and 1.5 sacks, was named a freshman All-American. He will need to continue to demonstrate that sharp rate of progress for the Bulldogs to take another step toward becoming an elite defense. The post Anatomy of a lineup: The makeup of the highly-touted 2019 Georgia Bulldogs might surprise you appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS-----University of Georgia All-American Aaron Schunk has been named the 2019 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year, the College Baseball Foundation announced Thursday.   “In the end, we felt that Aaron’s impact on the mound, where he factored in the decision in 15 of his 17 appearances, his steady bat and his outstanding play at third base put him just a tick above the others,” said George Watson, chairman of the Olerud Award selection committee. “Plus his ability to positively affect the lives of others off the field makes him the perfect example of what the Olerud Award is all about. We are excited to see what the future holds for him.”   A second-round draft pick by the Colorado Rockies in last week’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, Schunk helped lead the Bulldogs to a No. 4 National Seed in the NCAA Tournament and a final record of 46-17. He became the first Bulldog in nine years to capture the “Triple Crown,” leading the team with a .339 average, 15 home runs and 58 RBI. On the mound, he tallied 12 saves to go with a 1-2 record and a 2.49 ERA in 17 appearances. Earlier this week, Schunk was named a first team All-American as a utility player by Baseball America along with other multiple All-America and All-Region squads by various outlets. Additionally, Schunk is a Dean’s List student and a three-year member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll. He earned a spot on the 2019 SEC Community Service Team. Schunk signed a professional contract with the Rockies earlier this week.   “We are honored that Aaron has been selected as this year's John Olerud Award winner,” said Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin. “It's a tremendous accomplishment for him and well-deserved. He's been an outstanding representative of the Georgia baseball program on and off the field throughout his career.”    The John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award is named for the former Washington State University standout who achieved success both as a first baseman and left-handed pitcher during the late 1980s and who was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. The College Baseball Foundation (CBF) will present Schunk the 2019 award later this year. The other finalists this year were Will Mattiessen (Stanford), Alec Burleson (East Carolina), Tristin English (Ga. Tech) and Davis Sharpe (Clemson).   Schunk is the first Bulldog to win the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award. Previous winners of the award include Mike McGee (2010-FSU); Danny Hultzen (2011-Virginia), Brian Johnson (2012-Florida), Marco Gonzales (2013-Gonzaga), A.J. Reed (2014-Kentucky), Brendan McKay (2015-17-Louisville) and Brooks Wilson (2018-Stetson). For more information on the CBF’s John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, visit www.collegebaseballhall.org.
  • ATHENS — The Georgia football offense is loaded for 2019, from its experienced and vaunted front line, to a third-year starting quarterback in Jake Fromm and returning 1,000-yard rusher in D’Andre Swift. Sports illustrated is the latest to take note, listing Fromm and Swift among the Heisman Trophy favorites entering the 2019 season. Fromm was listed among four “Elite Quarterbacks on Elite Teams” along with Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts. Swift, meanwhile, was in the “Workhouse Running Backs” group with 20 other backs. WATCH: Kirby Smart plans heavy usage for D’Andre Swift Fromm and Swift have been among the Heisman Trophy favorites throughout the offseason, with BetOnline.Ag installing them at 12-to-1 back in January. Fromm, Swift among early Heisman Trophy online betting favorites BetOnline.com kept Fromm and Swift’s Heisman Trophy odds at 12-to-1 in February, too. It appears spring drills did nothing to remove Fromm and Swift from the frontrunners for the award. Georgia coach Kirby Smart sounds ready to give new offensive coordinator James Coley some latitude to open up the offense this season. “People think balance means 50-50, (and) balance is not 50-50,” Smart said this spring. “Balance is being able to run the ball when you have to run the ball and being able to throw the ball when you have to throw the ball. So can you do both? Yes, you can be successful at both. “That might be 70-30 one game and then 30-70 the other way the next game.” The good news for Swift — and Fromm — is that Coley’s offense is expected to include plenty of throws to the backs. RELATED: James Coley expected to put his spin on Georgia offense Swift has proven an effective receiver as well as runner. Swift caught four passes or more in five games last season. In the last two games, Swift had more than four catches two TD reception. That bodes well for Fromm, as well. UGA lost four of its top five pass catchers from last season to the NFL draft. Fromm finished fifth in the nation in passing efficiency lat season, with Tagovailoa the only returning QB who was ranked higher. RELATED: Kirk Herbstreit says Georgia offense starts with Jake Fromm Fromm ranked only 42nd in the nation in passing yardage (2,749), but that was with Smart looking to play former Georgia QB Justin Fields as much as possible in relief. That’s not as likely to be the case in 2019, meaning the Bulldogs could put up single-season record offensive numbers, and place Fromm and Swift squarely in the Heisman Trophy race.   The post Why Jake Fromm and D’Andre Swift are legit Heisman Trophy favorites appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Rankings are subjective, even so, it’s always interesting to ascertain how coaches and programs are judged from the outside. Take Georgia football coach Kirby Smart, for example. Smart, only 43 years old and entering this fourth year as the Bulldogs’ head coach, is already considered to be in rarified air by The Sporting News. Six-time national champion Nick Saban was ranked No. 1 among college coaches, while two-time national champ Dabo Swinney is at No. 2. Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher comes in at No. 3, and then there’s Smart at No. 4 with Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley No. 5. The rest of the top 10 includes Washington’s Chris Petersen at No. 6, Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly at No. 7, Florida’s Dan Mullen at No. 8, Texas coach Tom Herman at No. 9 and Jim Harbaugh at No. 10. Smart will go head-to-head with Fisher for the first time this season when Texas A&M plays at Sanford Stadium on Nov. 23. Here’s the Top 10-ranked coaches by Sporting News analyst Bill Bender, and how they compare in age and record at current school: 1. Nick Saban (67), 141-20 (.881) 2. Dabo Swinney (49), 116-30 (.795) 3. Jimbo Fisher (53), 9-4 (.692) 4. Kirby Smart (43), 32-10 (.762) 5. Lincoln Riley (35), 24-4 (.857) 6. Chris Petersen (54), 47-21 (.691) 7. Brian Kelly (57), 60-34 (.638) 8. Dan Mullen (47), 10-3 (.769) 9. Tom Herman (44), 17-10 (.630) 10. Jim Harbaugh (55), 38-14 (.731) Other SEC Coaches, and where they are ranked: No. 15 Ed Orgeron (57), 25-9 (.735) No. 19 Gus Malzahn (53), 53-27 (.663) No. 33 Mark Stoops (51), 36-39 (.480) No. 36 Will Muschamp (47), 22-17 (.564) No. 37 Joe Moorhead (45), 8-5 (.615) No. 40 Barry Odom (42), 19-19 (.500) No. 53 Derek Mason (49), 24-38 (.387) No. 54 Jeremy Pruitt (45), 5-7 (.417) No. 62 Matt Luke (42), 11-13 (.458) No. 65 Chad Morris (50), 2-10   (.167)   The post Georgia’s Kirby Smart chasing two SEC coaches in Sporting News rankings appeared first on DawgNation.