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Latest News in Helm, CA

Province's top doctor returns 'recharged,' addresses rumours

New Brunswick's top doctor says she has heard the rumours about her recent absence from work and seen the speculative posts on social media, and most of them are untrue.Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, hasn't left her position over stress of managing COVID-19 in the province. She says she's back on the job after a much-needed vacation."The pandemic has been a challenging time for everyone. … And definitely our team has worked really hard throughout the pandemic," she said in an intervi...

New Brunswick's top doctor says she has heard the rumours about her recent absence from work and seen the speculative posts on social media, and most of them are untrue.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, hasn't left her position over stress of managing COVID-19 in the province. She says she's back on the job after a much-needed vacation.

"The pandemic has been a challenging time for everyone. … And definitely our team has worked really hard throughout the pandemic," she said in an interview Tuesday.

"So after two very busy years, when the province lifted its restrictions, I decided it was a good time for me to take some time off."

Russell acknowledged there are "lots of rumours about what led to that decision and what exactly [she] was doing while [she] was off."

"Basically I did need a vacation, there's no question," she said.

It was good to "disconnect and decompress."

But then she was in a car accident. She hit a deer and totalled her car.

"I'm still in physio, but I'm doing much better," she said.

"It's been good to have that time to be able to look after my health, for sure."

Sold house

It's true Russell sold her house in Fredericton while she was off, but she says she simply decided to "downsize a bit early."

"My oldest has already gone off to university and my youngest is about to. So it was a good time with the market being what it was for me to do that."

She did not work on the new album released last Friday by the blues/funk band for which she plays the saxophone, The Tortoise, The Hare & The Millionaire, she said.

"No, I leave that to the real professionals who do it for a living."

Asked about the criticisms of her decision to step away from her post as she did, Russell maintains it was the right move.

"I definitely feel like my job to look after people in New Brunswick was so important that I did need to step away so I could look after myself, so I can look after other people."

She is doing "very, very well" now, she said.

"I feel definitely recharged. I hit the reset button and re-energized and back at the helm."

Russell thanked acting deputy chief medical officer of health Dr. Yves Léger and the rest of the Public Health team for their hard work and dedication to New Brunswickers.

"I definitely felt very comfortable leaving the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health in such good hands."

Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said it's good to have Russell back.

"Well, sure. I mean, you know, we're a team and we all work together," she said.

"I've always maintained that Dr. Russell is our chief medical officer of health, but she works with the team and when she's not available, she has a team who backs her up."

Joe Maddon, Phillies seem like obvious pairing in 2023, but equally obvious outcome may result

Sometimes, the future seems clear. Sometimes, the outcome seems obvious. Joe Maddon managing the Phillies in 2023 seems like one of those things.Maddon was fired by the Angels on Tuesday amid the team's 12-game losing streak that has seen it fall below .500. The skid has drained just about every drop of newfound hope that fans had accrued earlier in the season when it seemed like this year would finally be different.Maddon was in his third year at the helm of the Halos, but his term was largely three years of mediocrity (157-17...

Sometimes, the future seems clear. Sometimes, the outcome seems obvious. Joe Maddon managing the Phillies in 2023 seems like one of those things.

Maddon was fired by the Angels on Tuesday amid the team's 12-game losing streak that has seen it fall below .500. The skid has drained just about every drop of newfound hope that fans had accrued earlier in the season when it seemed like this year would finally be different.

Maddon was in his third year at the helm of the Halos, but his term was largely three years of mediocrity (157-172 record), even with generational talents Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani doing a substantial number of impressive things, injuries and recent struggles notwithstanding.

But the Angels' failures do not lie solely at Maddon‘s feet. Just as the Phillies, who also recently fired a Joe after a few disappointing seasons, have plenty of blame to go around, the Angels as an organization have left a lot to be desired, having consistently failed to address its pitching needs and to add the right other pieces to surround its marquee players. But, as was the case with Joe Girardi in Philadelphia, someone had to be the fall guy for front-office missteps, and that someone was Maddon.

Which brings us to what seems to be an obvious pairing for 2023. Maddon, Pennsylvania native, almost seems destined to end up as Philly skipper. It makes too much sense to not happen. He has earned a reputation as someone who can bring calm, focus and a fresh perspective to teams that have lacked it, and the Phillies have certainly lacked those things in recent years.

But despite the appeal of the pairing on paper, a Joe Maddon Era in Philadelphia could very well feel frustratingly familiar. Until the Phillies' front office, led by team president Dave Dombrowski, makes better decisions with the team's budget and roster, it likely would be difficult for the manager to end the mediocrity that has plagued the Philadelphia nine. Just as Girardi wasn’t a miracle worker, Maddon wouldn’t be, either. So, while Maddon to Philly might have a certain storybook quality, the plot probably wouldn't change much without some significant new characters.

To his credit, Maddon has found a way to win more often than not. Until arriving in Anaheim, his teams posted winning records in 11 of his previous 13 seasons as a full-time manager, including, of course, the 2016 World Series championship with the Cubs. But winning requires the right ingredients, which both the Phillies and Angels have consistently lacked in recent years. And as both teams have showed, "close enough" usually isn’t good enough.

When they fired Girardi, the Phillies named Rob Thomson interim manager for the rest of the season. They seem unlikely to make a move for a permanent manager until the offseason. If Philly comes calling for Maddon, he will need to assess whether the situation there is really that different from what he just left — because there certainly seem to be a lot of similarities.

Which is why, despite some obvious appeal, it could ultimately be a story with a familiar ending.

Weekly Predictor: Confidence in Winnipeg

Here I am, back again to try and bring down the world in the roll-the-dice game of trying to pick the winners in the first few weeks of the CFL season.Last year, there was a period in the beginning that I believed I had forgotten what football exactly was. And then as the games went on, the pictures of the winners and losers became clearer and I almost pulled out the victory among my other colleagues at CFL.ca.RELATED » Make Your Picks Now o...

Here I am, back again to try and bring down the world in the roll-the-dice game of trying to pick the winners in the first few weeks of the CFL season.

Last year, there was a period in the beginning that I believed I had forgotten what football exactly was. And then as the games went on, the pictures of the winners and losers became clearer and I almost pulled out the victory among my other colleagues at CFL.ca.

RELATED » Make Your Picks Now on CFL Pick ‘Em presented by TotalEnergies! » CFL GameZone: Play CFL games! » Power Rankings: Kicking things off for Week 1

This year, I hope to start a little stronger than that absolute dumpster fire of predictions in August of 2021.

Here’s a quick reminder on how CFL Pick ‘Em works. You pick the winners, then you slide the scale for bonus points on how confident you are in the selection. If you’re right, you get the bonus points. If you’re wrong, well, just hope you weren’t 100 points confident on your pick.

Ahead we go into the Week 1 selections with some intriguing matchups to start the year.

Montreal at Calgary Thursday, 9:00 p.m. ET

We thought we were getting some early drama in Montreal with some guarded post-game comments from Khari Jones after the pre-season contest regarding his starting quarterback. Jones is now making it clear that Vernon Adams Jr. will be the QB1 coming into the season.

In the game against the REDBLACKS, Adams lead the Alouettes down the field for an opening touchdown and then proceeded to throw three interceptions. If you’re looking at that and saying ‘uh oh’ regarding Montreal’s quarterback, well Bo Levi Mitchell wasn’t much better in his pre-season game with two interceptions.

Both quarterbacks will be better after shaking off the rust and I think the Stampeders pass rush will be the difference in the football game as I believe Calgary will be near the top of the West Division standings when the season is over, while the Alouettes have some stiffer competition in the East due to the rise of the REDBLACKS.

Pick: Calgary (100 confidence bonus)

Ottawa at Winnipeg Friday, 8:30 p.m. ET

If I’m Paul LaPolice, this is the first place I want to be in the REDBLACKS road to redemption after a three win season last year. In this game, you get to grade yourself against the best. Jeremiah Masoli will be among the former Tiger-Cats in Ottawa with a bitter taste in their mouth after seeing the Bombers beat them twice in back-to-back Grey Cups.

However, it’s a new season and a new team for Masoli. I’m excited to see what he and LaPolice are able to cook up in the offence with some playmakers making the move over to Ottawa. Plus, Darvin Adams will make his REDBLACKS debut in the old stomping grounds of IG Field.

The issue here is that I’m not sure the REDBLACKS will come out of this game feeling like they’re right there with the defending champs. While Zach Collaros didn’t play in the pre-season, he still has the vaunted offensive line in front of him with a strong run game and excellent play makers.

Oh, and then there is the defence. The Bombers will be ready to go from the opening kickoff.

PICK: WINNIPEG (100 confidence bonus)

Hamilton at Saskatchewan Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET

Cody Fajardo will hope to lead his Riders to a win in their first game of the 2022 season on Saturday night (The Canadian Press)

Dane Evans is now the No. 1 in Hamilton without question. Evans will look around the receiving corps without Brandon Banks and Jaelon Acklin, who moved on in the off-season. The Tiger-Cats, however, do have receivers like Papi White, Tim White, Bralon Addison, and Steven Dunbar Jr., who are all ready to carry the offence.

With Ja’Gared Davis moving on, my biggest question for the Tiger-Cats to answer this season is can they get to the quarterback as often as they have in the past? If so, they will allow a talented linebacking and defensive secondary to eat up quarterbacks throwing under pressure.

The Roughriders defence is once again set up to be the strength of the team. The addition of Darnell Sankey and Derrick Moncrief will make them that much better, despite a younger and inexperienced secondary. Plus, they still have the pass rushers to ease the pressure on the back end.

Offensively is where we find the real questions. Will the offensive line be improved and give Cody Fajardo more time to find receivers down field? Is Fajardo once again ready to prove he’s one of the elite quarterbacks in the league? Have they found a suitable replacement for William Powell?

We won’t know all the answers in game one, but I feel the Riders will ready to start the season strong at home.

PICK: SASKATCHEWAN (0 confidence bonus)

Edmonton at BC Friday, 10:00 p.m. ET

Can Nathan Rourke lead the Lions to victory this week at home? (BCLions.com)

Two non-playoff teams last year going head-to-head may be my under the radar game of the week. Both organizations want to show early that they belong in the conversation with the other three in the West Division. Also, it’s the only divisional game of the week.

Both teams are hoping to establish a new quarterback at the helm. Both teams are looking for improvement across the board as they invested in the off-season to try and bolster all aspects of the team. BC wants a better pass rush. Edmonton wants a better … everything.

Yes, new head coach Chris Jones was steaming about his Elks after the pre-season finale beat down at the hands of the Calgary Stampeders but that will also allow him to teach and get the best out of his group going into the opener.

The Lions have surrounded new starting quarterback Nathan Rourke with the tools he needs to succeed. A healthy Lucky Whitehead, Bryan Burnham, and an offensive line growing together, all of which could allow Rourke to succeed early and often.

I believe in Nick Arbuckle as a veteran who has had plenty of people question him as a No. 1 guy. The Elks have the tools to be a strong team, but it all depends how quickly Chris Jones can piece the puzzle together.

This might go down as a bit of an upset…

PICK: EDMONTON (0 confidence bonus)

Ainge: Jazz 'desperately' wanted Snyder to stay

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Jazz face an unexpected search for a new coach.Utah was prepared to enter next season with Quin Snyder at the helm until the head coach unexpectedly stepped down after eight seasons. The two sides had recently discussed an extension with Snyder, who still had two years left on his contract. They did not reach an agreement before Snyder decided to step away.“We have spent the last few weeks talking, Quin and I, a lot about a lot of different things. And I think it’s pretty clear, ...

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Jazz face an unexpected search for a new coach.

Utah was prepared to enter next season with Quin Snyder at the helm until the head coach unexpectedly stepped down after eight seasons. The two sides had recently discussed an extension with Snyder, who still had two years left on his contract. They did not reach an agreement before Snyder decided to step away.

“We have spent the last few weeks talking, Quin and I, a lot about a lot of different things. And I think it’s pretty clear, we desperately wanted him to stay,” team CEO Danny Ainge said during a news conference Monday, a day after Snyder announced he is leaving. “And at the same time, I’ve walked away from coaching and I walked away from being a general manager after 18 years in Boston, and so I trust that Quin knows more what’s best for him and his family, much more than we do.”

Snyder went 372-264 with the Jazz, his winning percentage of .585 ranking as 18th-best among NBA coaches who have worked for at least that long. He’s one of only two coaches to have a winning record with the Jazz, Jerry Sloan being the other. The regular-season success under Snyder never translated to the playoffs. The Jazz were 21-30 in postseason games under him.

“It was time,” Snyder said. “Time for the Jazz to move forward. Time for me to move forward. It just made the most sense to me.”

Ainge will now undertake his third coaching search as an NBA executive.

He hired Doc Rivers and Brad Stevens during his 18-year tenure in the Celtics front office. Rivers led Boston to an NBA title in 2008 and returned to the NBA Finals in 2010. Stevens led the Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals three times in four seasons before succeeding Ainge in the front office.

“There’s a lot of names I know and I’m familiar with in the coaching world,” Ainge said. “This will be much different than the two previous and probably more thorough.”

Team owner Ryan Smith said there is no timetable for making a hire. The team is not feeling pressure to finish the search before the upcoming NBA draft.

“We’re going to take our time,” Smith said. “Got to get it right.”

Whoever succeeds Snyder will be Utah’s fourth head coach in 34 seasons. The Jazz have had just six head coaches since moving to Salt Lake City from New Orleans in 1979.

Smith’s ideal successor will be a coach capable of building on the foundation Snyder laid rather than doing a complete rebuild.

"There’s not really a playbook when it comes to this,” Smith said. “I’m super fortunate to be in an organization that Quin has helped build up. He’s left this organization a heck of a lot better than he found it. But more than that, he’s built a foundation that we can go build from.”

Though Ainge said he knows Snyder is “going to be coaching somewhere else in the near future, next year probably,” Snyder declined to say how soon he plans to take on another coaching job.

“That hasn’t been on my mind at all. Just been focused on this,” Snyder said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do next year as far as coaching next year or anything along those lines.”

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Gord Collings retires as UBC Softball coach

Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds VANCOUVER – After nearly a decade at the helm of the UBC Thunderbirds Softball program, Head Coach Gord Collings has announced his retirement.Since his hiring in the summer of 2013, the former Delta School District teacher and administrator successfully navigated his team through more curveballs than any other UBC program, all the while growing his team and molding dozens of young players, all while advac...

Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds

VANCOUVER – After nearly a decade at the helm of the UBC Thunderbirds Softball program, Head Coach Gord Collings has announced his retirement.

Since his hiring in the summer of 2013, the former Delta School District teacher and administrator successfully navigated his team through more curveballs than any other UBC program, all the while growing his team and molding dozens of young players, all while advacing to four straight appearances at the Cascade Collegiate Conference tournament.

"It was just time," said Collings of his bittersweet decision to retire. "Family is number one and I'll get to spend more time with my wife and daughters and grandkids, having the opportunity to help them out and watching the kids grow and all that will be huge. I'll still be around, I'll offer support as much as I can from a distance. I'll help with the transition with the new coach and also in any way I can to help the program continue to grow and be successful. And enjoy a little bit of vacation time too."

To say Collings was more than a coach is to understate his impact not only on his own program, but the entire UBC Athletics community.

A UBC alumnus himself, graduating in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science degree and adding a Masters of Education in 1985, Collings oversaw the re-instatement of the Softball program as a varsity team, navigated through two lost seasons and the rough waters of the COVID-19 pandemic, and led the transition to a new, permanent home on campus this past year.

Until the fall of 2021, the team had competed at Softball City in South Surrey, a facility that never really felt truly like home given its hour-long commute from UBC itself. But tireless efforts from Collings and with the help from donors and alumni, the team found itself a new home in Wesbrook Village. Named after the beloved coach, Collings Field at Nobel Park will be a lasting legacy for the man who saved the program and brought it to be the highly competitive team that it is today.

"Getting the program reinstated and going through all the challenges that were involved with getting us back as a varsity team, I think that's what I'm the proudest of," said Collings, reflecting on his nine years with UBC. "We were cut and now we're back and going strong with the field out there and the opportunity with the players to play on campus, I think those two are the biggest."

Competing in their first full CCC campaign in three years, 2022 saw the T-Birds complete the season with a 21-20 overall record, the first time finishing above .500 since joining the conference in 2016. The team won their final five conference games to qualify for the Cascade tournament where they turned heads in eliminating the two-time defending NAIA Champion Southern Oregon Raiders.

"Just the way we re-formed and then in the playoffs…knocking off the defending champions in pretty good fashion, it was just very rewarding that the players' commitment and dedication showed. I'm very proud of what they did and how they represented our school, it's a great feeling. When I talk about mixed feelings, that's the positive, knowing they did so well."

From the positive strides made during this past season to the new home field bearing his own name, Collings leaves the program stronger than ever.

"I'm very encouraged about the future and I'm optimistic about how successful the team's going to be. It's in a good spot and I feel this is an opportune time to move on where the players can compete and be proud of what they've done. It's a good time."

A search for the next UBC Softball Head Coach will be underway in the coming weeks.

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