Black Olympians at Sochi: US bobsledder Fenlator fights for dream

first_imgJazmine Fenlator, right, and Lolo Jones of the United States prepare for a heat race of the women’s bobsleigh competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)KRASNAYA POLYANA (AP) — Nothing has slowed Jazmine Fenlator.Not her lack of money. Not her mother’s debilitating illness. Not her college course load while working odd jobs to make ends meet. Not even Hurricane Irene.Fenlator, who will drive USA-3 in the women’s bobsled competition in Sochi with Olympic hurdler-turned-brakeman Lolo Jones in the back, has driven around obstacles more challenging than anything she’ll encounter at 80 mph on a bobsled track.The daughter of a Jamaican father, whose work ethic rubbed off on her, and a mother who has battled lupus most of her life, Fenlator’s a fighter.One tough Jersey girl.She’s done whatever it has taken to fund her athletic dream, coped with guilt and grief as her mom, Suzie, struggled with her health while feeling helpless a half-world away, and provided her family with financial support when their home was severely damaged in 2011 by a storm that pummeled the East Coast.“I can’t imagine all that she’s gone through,” said her teammates Elana Myers, USA-1’s pilot. “I admire her courage to be able to fight through all the adversity — because it’s a lot.”Fenlator takes everything in stride. It’s the only way she knows. As she discusses her sacrifices and rattles off the ways she’s earned money — “I’ve worked at a creperie, been a freelance graphic designer, did some baby-sitting, washed floors and cleaned toilets” — she does so smiling.But there have been times when it’s been hard for this 28-year-old from Pequannock, N.J., to put on a happy face or perform at an elite level.Like in January, when her mom, who has lost half her sight, was hospitalized with pneumonia and needed a blood transfusion.“That’s when we were racing in St. Moritz,” she said. “My worst performance this year.”Fenlator has spent months away because of races, and there are days when she’s overwhelmed with worry. In a way, though, she has drawn strength from her mother’s bravery in the fight against a ruthless disease that attacks the immune system.Fenlator keeps in daily contact with her mom, but calls via Facetime aren’t always enough. Nothing can replace a hug or gentle kiss.“Most of the time when I call her she’s laying down,” Fenlator explains, swallowing to suppress emotion. “She’s had quadruple bypass heart surgery, suffered 10 mini-strokes. It is hard for me to be here because that’s the one person I want to share this experience with, the one person who has really fueled this, but I also know her being at home and the comfort of having people around her in case she has an emergency is important.”Fenlator puts on a defiant face, but her teammates can sense when she’s down.And it’s at those moments when “The Wolfpack” — as the American women have nicknamed themselves — surrounds the one they call “JWoww.”“We’re always trying to keep her head up and pump her up and make sure she’s OK,” Meyers said. “I’ve personally had a lot of talks with her, especially here at the Olympics, to go out there and have fun and see what happens. We’re in Russia and she needs to enjoy it as much as she can.“She seems to be and we’re all praying for her mom, but it’s a difficult situation and there’s no really easing that kind of pain.”At one point, the money dried up and it looked as if Fenlator might have to abandon her Olympic chase. She never once thought of quitting.Instead, she went to work.She sold T-shirts, juggled three jobs while pursuing her master’s degree and turned to crowdsourcing — fundraising via the Internet — to raise $3,000, money she used to pay for training and transportation.“A lot of my fundraising is for bobsled and all of my work money goes to my mom,” she said. “I pay for her car insurance. Sometimes she may have only $200 in her account and she has to pay the phone bill and put food on the table.”It’s that drive, the will to win that brought her to Russia and will keep her going long after she leaves.“I’m a hustler,” she said. “You work and you grind because at the end of the day, there’s a bigger picture.”She’s fought hard to see it.The women’s competition begins Tuesday with two runs.last_img read more

Howard’s best not enough to save US World Cup run

first_imgBelgium’s Marouane Fellaini, left, greets United States’ goalkeeper Tim Howard after the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Belgium and the USA at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Belgium won the match 2-1 after extra-time. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — Tim Howard kept the ball out of the net with slides, with dives and with leaps.He couldn’t do it forever.With the United States trying to reach the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time since 2002, he saved 12 of Belgium’s shots in regulation to keep the game scoreless.But Kevin De Bruyne scored in the 93rd minute and Romelu Lukaku in the 105th to build a two-goal lead for the Red Devils, who hung on for a 2-1 win Tuesday that eliminated the Americans in the second round for the second straight World Cup.Howard tried to sound modest.“I’m just trying to do all the things that have gotten me here and gotten us here,” he said. “That’s what I signed up to do — stick my face in front of balls. It’s nothing startling.”Howard finished with 16 saves, the most in a World Cup game since FIFA started keeping track in 2002. It was his finest performance in 13 years with the national team.“For my heart, please don’t give me too many games like this,” Belgium coach Marc Wilmots said. “He was in a state of grace.”Howard was the first goalkeeper to be America’s No. 1 in consecutive World Cups since Tony Meola in 1990 and ’94. His 104 international appearances are the U.S. record, two more than the previous mark held by Kasey Keller.“Tim was awesome for us,” U.S. captain Clint Dempsey said. “As you would expect from him.”Howard yells a lot during games. More than most goalkeepers.And his teammates love him for that.“He’s somebody that we rely on so much for his performances on the field but also his leadership and his presence,” midfielder Michael Bradley said. “There’s not enough good things to say about him as a player, as a man, as a leader.”Now 35, Howard has been the starter for Everton in England’s Premier League since the middle of the 2007-08 season. He is signed until 2018 and relishes the grind of the world’s top league. He plans to play “as long as my body lets me” and acknowledges “that’s obviously not a question that I can really answer now.”He also won’t commit to another four years with the national team and the repeated flights from Britain to the U.S., Caribbean and Central America for national team games.“Those decisions will be made, obviously, when I’m less emotional and things settle down and I have a few important conversations with important people,” Howard said.United States goalkeeper Tim Howard talks to reporters before a training session in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, June 28, 2014. The U.S. will play against Belgium on July 1, in the round 16 of the 2014 soccer World Cup. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)Brad Guzan — Aston Villa’s top goalkeeper — is Howard’s No. 2 and at 29 is positioned well for the 2018 World Cup should Howard decide to retire from the national team. Calling it an “extraordinary performance,” U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati didn’t sound as if Howard would be leaving anytime soon.“I’m not sure Timmy is ready to not look towards Russia,” Gulati said. “He’s one of the players that matters. And nobody goes into a tournament like this with our team and doesn’t expect Timmy to play really well.”Howard was among the final American players to leave the locker room of the stadium on Brazil’s northeast coast, suddenly and unhappily ready for a few weeks off before reporting to Everton for preseason training.He carried a small silver-colored case, clearly not part of the gear he had when he arrived at Arena Fonte Nova. Despite the U.S. defeat, he was selected the Man of the Match and was given an award.Was this his least player of the game honor?That was far easier to deal with than the shots he faced.“Yeah,” he said. “That’s for sure.”last_img read more

Column: Atlanta art exhibit reminds us of Kaep’s brave stand

first_imgIn this Oct. 2, 2016, file photo, from left, San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold, quarterback Colin Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara, Calif. There’s an exhibit at the High Museum in Atlanta, not far from the Super Bowl stadium, dedicated to Tommie Smith and his courageous stand for social justice at the 1968 Olympics. Talk about symmetry. Smith raised a fist, Colin Kaepernick took a knee, and both paid an enormous price for doing the right thing. Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez, APATLANTA (AP) _ “Tommie Smith’s gesture continues to resonate. It has inspired similar gestures by men and women for whom Smith’s iconic image is a symbol of courage and unity in the face of bigotry and injustice _ most prominently, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand before football games during the U.S. national anthem to protest racial injustice in this country.”_ From the exhibit “With Drawn Arms” at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.___Just a few miles from the stadium where the Super Bowl will be played on Sunday, there’s a special display of drawings, paintings and sculptures honoring the legacy of Tommie Smith, that black-gloved warrior for social justice at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.How appropriate.In this Oct. 16, 1968, file photo, U.S. athletes Tommie Smith, center, and John Carlos stare downward while gesturing skyward during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner after Smith received the gold and Carlos the bronze for the 200 meter run at the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City. Australian silver medalist Peter Norman is at left. (AP Photo/File)As the NFL is wraps up its second full year of blackballing quarterback Colin Kaepernick, it just felt right to visit the High Museum on a brisk Thursday morning to be reminded that Smith and John Carlos, both of whom raised their fists on the Olympic medal podium, endured immense scorn and isolation for their brave gesture.Of course, the Smith exhibit is not on the extensive list of Super Bowl-related parties, concerts and shilling that have swallowed up large swaths of Atlanta.It should be.The parallels between Smith and Kaepernick are impossible to ignore.Both were punished. Both were called unpatriotic. Both were dismissed as angry Black men who should just play the game and shut up.Their gestures were peaceful yet powerful.The fist and the knee.But, even though history has largely rehabilitated Smith and Carlos for the courageous stand they took more than five decades ago, the NFL insists of making sure that Kaepernick never again sets foot on the playing field.“I don’t think Kaep is going to be signed,” said Carolina Panthers receiver Torrey Smith. “If they didn’t do it yet, they’re not going to do it now. They just want to let this stuff blow over and let their business keep on going without him.”While Kaepernick is sure to win the war, that won’t be apparent for years or even decades. The immediate battle _ his playing career _ is most likely over.For this, the NFL should carry an everlasting stain.“All he did was take a knee,” Torrey Smith said, shaking his head incredulously. “We have abusers, we have drug dealers, we have drunk drivers _ you name it _ in this league, and all he did was take a knee.”Back in 1968, International Olympic Committee chief Avery Brundage angrily expelled the Olympic protesters from his games, sending them home to face shunning, abuse and even death threats.At least Brundage _ by all accounts, a generally horrible human being _ didn’t attempt to sugarcoat his actions. He didn’t like what Tommie Smith and Carlos had done, so he punished them with all his might.We can’t say the same for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , who continues to stand by the ludicrous notion that Kaepernick’s lack of offers is a football decision , reached independently by all 32 teams.“I’ve said it many times, privately and publicly, that our clubs are the ones that make decisions on players that they want to have on their roster,” Goodell said. “They make that individually. They make that in the best interests of their team. … Individual clubs make decisions that maybe another club won’t do. And they all want to win.”Someone brought up the subject in a different manner, basically asking if Goodell was concerned that the NFL would wind up on the wrong side of history.(Spoiler alert: It will.)“If a team decides that Colin Kaepernick or any other player can help their team win, that’s what they’ll do,” Goodell said, sticking to his guns even though his nose was surely growing longer with every word.Talk about comments that won’t age well.But this is the low ground the NFL has chosen to take, and it looks like the league will prevail in ending Kaepernick’s career.“I think everybody understands and realizes what that whole situation is,” said retired receiver Anquon Boldin. “Anybody with a decent head on their shoulders would know that he deserves to be in the NFL. He’s one of the best 64 quarterbacks in the U.S. For him to not have a job the past couple of years has been a travesty.”The NFL has done a devious, highly effective job of keeping its remaining players in line, essentially buying off their support by aligning with The Players Coalition _ a group of current and ex-players that is doing some good work addressing the social issues that Kaepernick drew attention to, such as police brutality and criminal justice reform.The group split with Kaepernick and his closest ally, safety Eric Reid, and seems to have given up on the idea of getting the quarterback back in the league.“I don’t think there’s anything we can do,” said Torrey Smith, a leader of The Players Coalition along with Boldin. “You can’t force an owner to hire him. All you can do is vouch for him. I vouched for Eric Reid (who did return to the league this past season). And I vouched for Kap.”The group handed out $2 million in grants to six worthy groups during a ceremony Wednesday, an event held right in the Super Bowl media center and publicized by the league’s mammoth PR machine.Not surprisingly, there has been no mention of the Tommie Smith exhibit a few miles away.If only Goodell and the owners carved out a few minutes in their busy schedules, maybe they would realize how unjust they’ve been. Maybe they would feel at least a tingling of decency. Maybe they would finally do the right thing.There’s still time.The exhibit runs through Sunday.Super Bowl Sunday.___Paul Newberry is a sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at pnewberry(at) or at His work can be found at more AP NFL: and read more

Scharfenberger To Run For State Assembly

first_imgTheseat he seeks belongs to Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, a Middletown native likeScharfenberger who took office in 2006. In October, Handlin announced she’d bestepping down from her legislative post. WhenHandlin announced her plan to retire, Scharfenberger, a Republican, was engagedin a heated run for a one-year unexpired term on the county Freeholder Board againstDemocrat Larry Luttrell. Scharfenbergersaid his experience serving at both the county level and in Middletown, wherehe was named mayor six times (2007-08, 2010, 2013, 2016-17), have prepared himwell to serve in the State Assembly, should his run prove successful. FREEHOLD –After mulling over a State Assemblyrun for an opening in the 13th District, Monmouth County Freeholder Gerry P. Scharfenbergerhas officially thrown his hat into the ring. Ifelected, Scharfenberger noted his priorities would be to fix a pension systemhe said is “in big trouble,” provide better support for both small and largebusinesses, and to create more opportunities for shared services and municipalconsolidation in order to drive down taxes. Sincewinning a special election in November for the one-year unexpired term he iscurrently serving, Scharfenberger was appointed as the Freeholder Board liaisonto the county departments of Human Resources, Finance, Administration andInformation Technology, as well as the Division of Weights and Measures and theMonmouth County Tax Board. “Ididn’t think an opportunity like this one would come so soon and I’m also not sureanother opportunity like this will ever present itself to me,” Scharfenbergerexplained. Scharfenbergerwill run alongside Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso of Holmdel (R-13), whoseFreeholder seat he was appointed to fill last February when she won her seat inthe state Legislature. “InMiddletown, I started on the land law committee, then the zoning board, thencame elected office. I came up the ranks and have seen how these ideas that areentered into law really impact our local municipalities and an individual’s taxbill. It’s the result of legislation in Trenton and I hope I can be a voice ofreason out there, someone who works with folks on both sides of the aisle.” Inan interview with The Two River Times, Scharfenberger said serving in theAssembly had always interested him. Members of the Assembly serve two-year terms.last_img read more

‘The team performed with courage’ – Head coach lauds Junior Pan Am athletes

first_img TEAM EFFORT “It was a very challenging meet, but I think the team performed with courage, and it was a real team effort by the manager, medical staff and athletes, as everyone had to go beyond the call of duty sometimes,” Carr said. “A lot of these athletes com-peted with injuries, and getting 13 medals at these Championships is very good as there were world-class performances, so to do so well at the back-end of our season, it was indeed a fantastic achievement,” added Carr. Late Sunday night, the country picked up three more medals, as both 4×400 metres relay teams finished second behind the United States for silver, while high jumper Clayton Brown picked up bronze in the boys’ high jump final. The female quartet of Candice McLeod, Ashley Williams, Runeisha McGregor, and Dawnalee Loney ran into a powerful United States team and had to settle for second in 3:38.71. The United States posted a world-leading time of 3:31.49. Unlike the Girls’ 4×400 metres where it was smooth sailing for the winners, it was a different story among the boys as Jamaica’s quartet of Ivan Henry, Marvin Williams, Renardo Wilson, and Demar Weller gave their opponents a run for their money. Jamaica had the lead at several stages in the race, even on anchor, but in the end they had to settle for second in 3:08.23, as the Americans won in 3:07.07. Brown continued his dominance over Christoffe Bryan in their high jump rivalry. Brown finished third for the bronze with a clearance of 2.13 metres, the same height Bryan cleared for fourth, as the former Wolmer’s Boys’ jumper failed to replicate the performance of two years ago in Colombia, where he took home silver in the event. The 13 medals garnered by the team was the fourth-best-ever performance at these Championships by a Jamaican team, as the 21 medals garnered in Tampa, Florida, in 1999 – nine gold, seven silver and five bronze – has been the best so far by a Jamaica team. With a little luck, there could have been more medals for the team, as five athletes finished fourth in their events. The successful Jamaican team to the XV111 Junior Pan Am Athletics Championships returned to the island yesterday afternoon, after making up for the disappointment by their younger counterparts at the World Youth Championships a few weeks earlier. The country had something to smile about over the past weekend, as after three days of competition at Foote Field, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Jamaica ended the meet with 13 medals – one gold, four silver and eight bronze. Head coach of the successful team, Michael Carr, who was at the helm when the World Youth team topped the World two years ago on the medal table, was very pleased with the team’s overall performance.last_img read more

Hopeful Forsythe opens new chapter at McKenley-Wint meet

first_imgWhen Mario Forsythe lines up today to run the Olympic Development 400 metres at the second McKenley-Wint Classic at Calabar High School, he will open a new chapter in his sprint career. It will be his first race as a member of the Akan Track Club. Now, the former University of Technology and Racers sprinter is aiming to regain his best form in the 200 metres. A fine session of background training has Forysthe feeling optimistic about the 2017 season, which culminates with the World Championships in London this August. He chuckles with athletic joy when he recalls how well his preparatory work has gone. “Really, really good,” he said, “it’s been going on good.” A knee injury put the brakes on his Olympic campaign last year, but now he sees bright possibilities. “Right now, I’m at a new club, Akan Track Club, with Mr (Michael) Clarke, so I expect to do good this season,” he said brightly while spectating at the JC-Danny Williams Purewater development meet earlier in the month, “because I know I put in the work and we’ll see what happens this season coming.” In 2010, he broke the 10 seconds barrier twice in one day in Rieti, Italy, with times of 9.95 and 9.99 seconds. He was solid in 2011 and placed second in the 200m at the National Senior Championships and went all the way to the semi-finals at the World Championships. “That was my biggest moment in track and field,” he recalls. Forsythe, a 2002 Boys and Girls’ Championships Class Two 200m bronze medal winner for Muschett High School, has always been a safe pair of hands on the 4x100m relay. He was on the third leg when the Racers set a club ‘world record’ of 37.46 seconds in 2009 and started a Jamaican all-comers record of 37.82 in Kingston on April 14, 2012. He is now more focused on the curved sprint. He hasn’t given up the 100m but said, “I’m trying to make the team for the 200m. “That’s what I’m aiming for,” he explained. “From I put in the work and go out there and do what I’m supposed to do – at least 20.1, 20.0 at the National Stadium,” he estimated. His personal best is 20.27 seconds. Now 31, Forsythe has been coached by experts Stephen Francis and Glen Mills in the past but refrained from making any comparisons. Instead, he paid high compliments to Clarke. “You can talk to him about anything, reasonable coach although you train really hard,” he said with a playful and pained grin. Acknowledging his age, he revealed, “I have to put in the work more extra because I’m getting older so I have to put in the work, but I like Mr Clarke, I like his programme very much.” The rugged World Championships semi-finalist is looking for a breakthrough season. “I’m putting in the work,” he reasoned, “so I hope I get a good season.”last_img read more

Solid World Relays showing by Jamaica

first_imgNASSAU, Bahamas: No gold medals, but it was still a solid day for the Jamaican contingent as the curtains came down on the third IAAF World Relays in Nassau, Bahamas last night. Jamaica’s men 4x200m and women’s 4x400m teams had to settle for bronze medals in their respective finals at the early season championships inside the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium, while it was silver in the women’s 4x100m final. With the Americans running into early trouble, the Jamaican team of Simone Facey, Natasha Morrison, Gayon Evans and Sashalee Forbes became favourites for the gold, but that went to the German team that clocked 42.84 with the Jamaicans running second in 42.95 with China, 43.11, taking bronze. The team of Nickel Ashmeade, Oshane Bailey, Rasheed Dwyer and captain Yohan Blake finished a disappointed and distant third 1:21.09 seconds behind an impressive Canada team which took the event in 1:19.42 with second place going to the United States in 1:19.88. Blake, who failed to reel in the athletes ahead of him, believes the team did a decent job even if he wanted to get the baton a little closer to the action for a better chance at a top podium spot. NOT A BAD PERFORMANCE “It wasn’t a bad performance, but I wanted to get the baton a bit closer and then it would have been a different race,” Blake said. “I am feeling excellent. I am coming on really well and so I have to give God thanks, no one got injured.” In the women’s 4x400m final, Jamaica again had to settle for third place with the team of Janieve Russell, Anneisha McLaughlin-Whilby, Verone Chambers and Stephenie-Ann McPherson finishing in a time of 3:28.49 behind the United States, 3:24.36 and Poland, 3:28.28. The Jamaicans were comfortably in second on the last leg before McPherson was overtaken a few steps from the finish line by Poland’s Justyna Swiety with the Jamaican later admitting that they expected a different colour medal while expressing gratitude nonetheless. “I am feeling great. It is not what we wanted, but a medal is a medal,” said McPherson. Russell was thankful for what was her maiden medal at these championships. “I feel very blessed and thankful because it is my first World Relays and to get a bronze medal, I am thankful and happy,” noted Russell before Chambers expressed her delight at competing at the event. “I feel really blessed to be a part of the team because I always watched World Relays for the past two years and I always wished that I could be a part of the team. But now I am not just a part of the team, but to run in the final is an awesome feeling,” Chambers said. Jamaica (39 points) again finished second behind USA (60 points) with Australia third on 24.last_img read more

Ildefonso hopes to see ball rotate more: ‘It will make a more dangerous team’

first_imgDave Ildefonso had one of his best games so far in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament, scoring 21 points and grabbing six rebounds in a losing effort for National University.ADVERTISEMENT Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Gov’t to employ 6,000 displaced by Taal Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew The bulk of Ildefonso’s points came in the third quarter when he scored 12. It was also during this time that NU mustered a comeback and outscored the Soaring Falcons 22-12 to head into the fourth quarter down by just nine, 54-45, after trailing by as much as 25 points in the second.READ: Dave Ildefonso stars as NU holds off USTThat comeback attempt was all the fight NU could bring as Adamson eventually held off any advances from the Bulldogs.“I think we lacked the overall contribution from the whole team,” said Ildefonso.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Caracut, Serrano fueling La Salle’s drive Allen Durham still determined to help Meralco win 1st PBA title LATEST STORIES Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum The Bulldogs absorbed a 69-58 loss to Adamson in what could’ve been a star-making game for Ildefonso, but the young gun said he’d rather see his teammates prosper than take the bulk of the offense.“Of course I’d rather see the ball rotate between us because that would make a more dangerous team because the opposing team won’t know who will score in a certain possession,” said Ildefonso in Filipino Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissREAD: Tab Baldwin sorry for Dave Ildefonso commentsIldefonso shot on an 8-of-20 clip while none of his teammates reached at least 10 attempts from the floor. John Lloyd Clemente had the second-most tries with nine while making two. MOST READ Tim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

Simon Mignolet on talkSPORT: ‘If we are at our best, Man City won’t worry us at Wembley’

first_imgSimon Mignolet insist Manchester City will hold no fear for Liverpool in the League Cup final.City have been installed as favourites to win the Wembley showdown after securing an aggregate victory against Everton in their semi-final on Wednesday night.But Mignolet is confident his side can deliver the first silverware of Jurgen Klopp’s Anfield reign on February 28.The Belgian goalkeeper, Liverpool’s penalty shoot-out hero in the semi-final win over Stoke, told talkSPORT: “We have to look at our own job and make sure we as Liverpool are ready when it is Wembley time.“You have to make sure you are focused on your own job rather than your opponents.“We know Manchester City have got a very good side with lots of individual quality but if we are at our best we don’t have to worry about any opponent.”last_img read more

Freeway gridlock less than expected

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Trucker Ricardo Cibrian of Los Angeles is presumed to be one of the two men killed in the crash. Trucker Hugo Rodriguez and his 6-year-old son, Isaiah, are the other two believed to have died. They reportedly were from Fresno. “This is the worst accident that I have personally seen,” said Warren Stanley, assistant chief for the California Highway Patrol’s Southern Division and a 25-year CHP veteran. One team of CHP specialists was working to identify the missing drivers as well as passengers and witnesses. Another team is working to identify the commercial vehicles – some of them burned to charred metal frames – through the trucking companies. Coroner’s investigators have been through all the vehicles and believe there are no more bodies, Stanley said. The cause of the crash has not been determined. NEWHALL – Traffic whizzed easily through the normally clogged Newhall Pass on Monday after Interstate 5 lanes reopened ahead of schedule and investigators continued to search for clues to a deadly chain-reaction crash that closed the key north-south highway for days. While transit officials had braced for massive gridock, more than a quarter-million commuters took alternate routes or mass transit and left the Golden State Freeway lanes clear. But even as traffic concerns eased, officials began stepping up their probe into what set off the fiery collision of 30 trucks and a car on a rainy Friday night, leaving three dead and 10 injured. At least nine drivers who apparently escaped from vehicles trapped in the burning truck bypass tunnel in the Newhall Pass had not yet contacted the Highway Patrol, officials said. Fire raged in the tunnel overnight and into Saturday, compromising the structure. Passenger lanes cross over the damaged tunnel and state Transportation Department officials initially thought it could take days to ensure they were structurally sound. The freeway was shut down over the weekend and commuters were warned to find alternate routes to work Monday. But crews completed shoring up the tunnel, making it safe for repair teams to move in. Engineers determined the freeway was safe and all lanes were opened shortly after 3 a.m. “It is, for us, a very good day here in California,” said Doug Failing, Caltrans district director for Los Angeles and Ventura counties. “I got into this business because I love seeing traffic move.” Failing said he will have a better idea of when the tunnel will open at the end of the week when he gets test results back. Concrete and steel reinforcement samples are being tested at a Texas lab to determine how well the tunnel materials withstood the temperatures that reached 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit. Caltrans’ goal, he said, is to repair the tunnel without closing the freeway again. “I-5 is open to traffic, and it is our intention to keep it that way,” Failing said. During the repairs, lighting will also be enhanced in the tunnel. There is no cost estimate for the repairs, but Caltrans has an emergency authorization of $2.25 million for the initial work. For now, all lanes are open except for the southbound I-5 connector to northbound Route 14. And it could be weeks or months before the southbound truck tunnel reopens. “The southbound truck bypass is closed and will remain closed for an indefinite period of time,” Failing said. Caltrans and the city of Santa Clarita urged commuters to continue seeking alternates because the endless stream of tractior-trailers that traverse California’s main north-south freeway artery will share the road with passenger vehicles – a rough mix on the busy road to work. The speed limit has been reduced to 55 mph. To help reduce the impact of the freeway mess on commuters, Metrolink expanded its service between northern Los Angeles County and downtown Los Angeles. The additional service will continue today. On Monday, the I-5 and the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway that feeds it just south of the tunnel were exceptionally clear. Expecting heavy freeway traffic, about twice the usual number of commuters crowded Santa Clarita’s three Metrolink stations before dawn hoping to avoid freeway jams that never materialized. It was standing-room only on the Antelope Valley Line by the time the extended six-car train reached its final Santa Clarita stop in Newhall. Even though southbound freeway lanes were open, motorists said they opted for the train to avoid the long ride home, unaware the northbound lanes also would reopen two days ahead of schedule. “I didn’t want to drive home,” said Michelle Debardas of Valencia, a Metrolink first-time rider who works at a Glendale title company. “Getting to work didn’t look so bad, but coming home could take hours.” Richard Freund said he, too, was climbing aboard the commuter train for the first time. “I definitely thought about taking it before but now I have a good reason,” said Freund, who works for a jeans company in downtown Los Angeles. Debbie Vickers, who works in a downtown law office, opted for Metrolink after it took two hours Sunday to get five miles down the road. She finally gave up on her trip to the San Fernando Valley. “I can’t believe this crowd,” she said, as hundreds waited for the 6:08 a.m. train in the dark and fog. Regular Metrolink riders weren’t thrilled with the onslaught of passengers. “I usually sleep on my way to work,” said Kenny Miles, a Valencia resident who works as an administrative assistant downtown. “I’m not sure I’ll get to sit this morning.” On Sunday, reporters brought up truckers’ concerns about the tunnel’s safety. “Quite frankly, I was caught by surprise at that,” Failing said. “We have had no record of complaints in my office.” His staff has looked at accident records from 2004 through 2006 at the tunnel site. “During that three-year period, we’ve only identified five accidents that happened in that stretch,” Failing said. He said the agency will be following up on the complaints. “A tunnel is not usually your first choice when you are trying to solve a transportation problem, but at some point in time a tunnel is the only choice you have available,” Failing added. Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, a former Santa Clarita mayor, said he worked with the governor’s office to declare a state of emergency. “What that does is free up the resources of the state to enable the construction and improvements to occur as quickly as possible to improve the commerce and improve the transportation,” said Smyth, R-Santa Clarita. The Interstate Commerce Act allows trucks to mingle with cars on traditional lanes, Smyth said. (661) 257-5251 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more