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If there is one thing that Arizona has to offer, it’s sunshine. The clear, dry air and southern latitude set up plentiful year-round sun exposure throughout the state. Flagstaff, Phoenix, and Tucson all rank in the top 25 sunniest cities in the nation, with Phoenix taking the top spot. With such an ample supply of clean energy, switching to solar energy is a natural decision for many Arizonans.

In Arizona’s bright, arid climate, the best solar panels produce up to 70 percent more electricity than in low-light regions like the Northeast. But to take full advantage of that plentiful power potential and not go broke installing the necessary equipment, it’s important to work with the best solar company available. For homeowners ready to make the switch and save money on monthly power bills, this guide can help.

We’ve already researched dozens of solar installers in Arizona and selected our top picks to help narrow the search. These companies come equipped with the experience and expertise to help their clients navigate the intricacies of solar design, equipment choices, installation, maintenance, and even incentive programs to achieve the best return on investment. Ahead, find out more about our search criteria and why we count these businesses among the best solar companies in Arizona.

  1. BEST OVERALL: SunPower
  2. RUNNER-UP: ADT Solar
  4. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Blue Raven Solar
  5. ALSO CONSIDER: Sun Valley Solar Solutions

What to Consider When Choosing One of the Best Solar Companies in Arizona

When it comes to installing residential or commercial solar panels in Arizona, knowledge, experience, and reputation count, but there are more things to consider during this early phase. Before hiring anyone, it’s important for homeowners to factor in current power consumption and plans for improved efficiency, the home’s design and construction, neighborhood requirements, and the motivation and goals for the solar installation. Some of these issues may be foggy at first, but the homeowner will want to clarify them while researching.

For optimal power and performance from a solar system, the panels should be installed where they will receive maximum direct sunlight. Placement is determined by the home’s position and location, the type of panel, and any landscape features that may block sunlight. Before a homeowner hires one of the top solar companies in Arizona, it’s wise to consider all of these performance and lifestyle factors that could affect the choices.

Home Location and Roof Type

Location is critical when installing solar panels. Location isn’t limited to the general area; it also pertains to whether tall trees or buildings will block the sun’s rays for a substantial part of the day. Roof type is also a consideration. A sloped roof that faces south is optimal for installing solar panels, but some homes’ roof structure may not be sound enough to support a solar array. The installer may need to install the panels on a freestanding ground unit rather than on the roof, or they’ll need to modify the roof.

Type of Panels

Solar panels all generate electricity, but they do it differently. The two main types of solar panels are photovoltaic and thermal. Within those categories are a few more or less common varieties.
Photovoltaic: Photovoltaic panels incorporate solar cells that convert sunlight to electrical power, and they are the most common type of solar panel installed today. Those looking to power a large percentage of their home’s energy needs will typically have photovoltaic panels installed.

  • Thermal: Solar thermal panels incorporate mirrors that reflect and concentrate the sun’s rays to create electricity. They are not as common as photovoltaic panels, but they’re still useful. Thermal solar technology is more likely to be used for small energy purposes, such as powering a solar floodlight.
  • Monocrystalline: These panels are produced from a single (mono) silicon crystal and are dark black in color. They’re among the most expensive, but they’re long-lasting and compact. They come with efficiency ratings of 20 to 25 percent (see “Efficiency and Performance” below). They are considered to be among the best solar panels for home use.
  • Polycrystalline: These solar panels are made from silicon fragments rather than a large silicon crystal. They’re more affordable than monocrystalline but not as efficient. They range in efficiency from about 15 to 17 percent.
  • PERC: This is a new technology that improves the efficiency of monocrystalline panels. The acronym stands for Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell. The highest efficiency of all, PERC panels can be up to 5 percent more efficient than traditional monocrystalline panels.
  • Thin-film: Thin-film panels do not contain pricey crystalline silicon, which makes them more affordable, but they’re not quite as efficient as other types of panels. Depending on the quality of the individual panel, it will typically range from 6 to 15 percent efficiency.

On-Grid vs. Off-Grid

Homeowners can install an off-grid, stand-alone solar array or a grid-tie (also known as an on-grid) array. Both come with a few benefits and considerations.

An off-grid solar array is the best choice for those who want to be completely energy independent. Off-grid solar arrays allow the user to generate all their power. If a storm results in a municipal power outage, an off-grid system will continue to operate. Excess power is usually stored in large batteries to help supplement electricity when it’s cloudy. But if the off-grid system isn’t generating power and battery stores are empty, there is no alternate source of electricity.

Many homeowners opt for a grid-tie or on-grid system because they can usually sell the excess energy back to the utility company (called net metering). If it’s cloudy, the home can still draw power from the utility. However, if the utility company experiences an outage, a grid-tied system immediately shuts down. This is for safety reasons; it would be dangerous for a technician to work on a downed power line if someone’s home solar array were sending electricity into the line. Those with grid-tie systems can minimize outages by installing battery storage.

Efficiency and Performance

Solar panels are becoming more efficient as manufacturers incorporate better technology, but how can customers judge whether a specific panel is better than another? It’s all about percentages. The majority of solar panels have efficiency ratings of 15 to 20 percent. This means that when the sun’s rays hit the panel, the panel will convert from 15 to 20 percent of the sun’s energy into electrical power.

A few high-efficiency solar panels are up to 25 percent efficient, but for the most part, the top efficiency available today is about 22.5 percent. Researchers are working on ways to increase solar panel efficiency, and lab tests show panels available in the future could be up to 40 percent efficient.

Manufacturers vs. Installers

Many solar companies are certified to install one or more brands of solar panels, while a few solar companies both manufacture and install solar panels. The difference may not be significant to some consumers, especially those looking to get good deals on panel installation, but it often affects the installation company’s guarantee. Companies that both make and install solar arrays often have stronger and clearer warranties and claims processes, benefiting consumers. On the flip side, a company that installs panels but doesn’t make them may require the customer to contact the manufacturer directly with any issues.

Service Area

Many solar installation companies are located in larger metropolitan areas. Still, with the growing popularity of this energy-saving product, more and more companies are setting up shop in rural areas. Many companies will consider anywhere within a 30-minute commute from its home office to be in its area, but the exact radius will vary by company. Those living outside a company’s service area may pay an additional travel fee.

Consultation Process

Most solar energy companies offer a free consultation. This process includes (but is not limited to) analyzing and evaluating the home’s location and determining the amount of direct sunlight it receives. The company will often recommend a specific type of solar panel array as part of the process. The consultation should be able to provide the homeowner an estimate of how much they stand to save on their current utility bill.

Pricing and Financing

In general, the cost of solar panels in Arizona ranges from around $10,072 to $13,628. Most homeowners will pay an average of around $11,850.

Financing may be available through the solar company or a private lender. Homeowners may want to consider that private lenders will often want homeowners to take out a second mortgage on their residence to secure solar loans in Arizona.

Some homeowners find PPAs (power purchase agreements) or leasing solar panels to be a reasonable alternative. This allows the homeowner to reduce their carbon footprint and save money while the leasing company owns the panels. Leases can last anywhere from 5 to 25 years. However, homeowners don’t get to benefit from any tax incentives or federal or state rebates.


A permit is necessary to have solar panels installed in many communities. The cost of a permit varies, but the installer will usually factor it into the installation price. In addition, the installer will take the required steps to pull the permit.

By obtaining a permit, the homeowner alerts the local building authority that they intend to install solar panels. The building authority will often send out an inspector to examine the panels, batteries, and wiring installation before the system is officially turned on.


Installation is an exciting process, and the installer will make any necessary modifications to the roof to support the array. Next, the wiring system will be installed, and the panels will be mounted and connected to the system.

The final process of switching the new system on has to wait until an inspector checks everything out. The installer typically notifies the inspector ahead of time, so there’s little downtime between the final installation and turning the system on.


In the solar panel industry, a limited 25-year ensure is typical. It includes replacing components or repairing panels that fail due to installation errors or factory defects. But homeowners will want to be careful because not all warranties are the same. Some cover only the cost of replacement parts, leaving the homeowner responsible for paying the repair technicians. Others ensure specific aspects of the system for shorter durations. For example, a company may offer a 25-year warranty on panel performance but only ensure the inverter for half that length of time.

Rebates and Tax Incentives

The federal government offered a 30 percent tax credit for the years up to (and including) 2019, but that credit has since been diminishing. A tax credit means a percentage of what the homeowner spends on solar panels can be deducted from the amount of income they claim. When the tax credit was 30 percent, if the solar panels cost $10,000 the homeowner could reduce their income tax liability by $3,000, or 30 percent of $10,000. Through 2022, the tax credit will be 26 percent, and by 2023, it will drop to 22 percent. In 2024, the federal tax credit expires unless Congress takes steps to extend it.

Additionally, states and local communities may offer tax incentives, or solar companies and manufacturers may offer rebates, but this changes frequently. The solar company installer is usually the best source for up-to-date rebates and tax information.

Customer Support

Buying a solar array is an expensive prospect, and if something goes wrong, it’s comforting to know the solar company is there to handle the problem promptly. Virtually all solar companies have a call-in customer service number, and many have an emergency number for after-hours calls. Some companies offer online support via chat or email. The more options a company offers, the higher the customer satisfaction in most cases.

Our Top Picks

Solar makes a sensible renewable energy choice for Arizona homeowners. Some customers want to be totally off-grid and self-sufficient. Others want to stay connected, reduce monthly bills, and sell their excess clean electricity to the grid. Either way, the best solar companies in Arizona can help make it happen.


Why It Made the Cut: After nearly 40 years leading the home solar industry, SunPower continues its successful strategy of designing simple, reliable, efficient systems using high-quality solar equipment.

Since the mid-1980s, SunPower has led the home solar industry by designing easy-to-operate, reliable solar systems powered by top-quality solar equipment. It serves clients throughout the United States, including Arizona. The company offers some of the best solar products, such as Maxeon monocrystalline solar panels. With an efficiency rate of 22.8 percent, these are some of the best solar panels on the market. They feature a sleek, low profile and integrated microinverters to minimize the impact on the home’s curb appeal.

In addition to the performance and peace of mind that comes with its efficient and reliable solar panels, SunPower’s design process is streamlined for client convenience. The interactive online design studio makes it easy to tackle this step virtually. And SunPower’s equipment features Cradle to Cradle certification, meaning it maintains a minimal environmental impact through sustainable, circular production. Prospective customers initiate contact with a SunPower support representative with a phone call.


  • Type of panels: Maxeon monocrystalline
  • Payment options: Buy, finance, lease
  • Guarantee: 25-year complete-system warranty
  • Customer support: Phone


  • High 22.8 percent efficiency rate
  • Cradle to Cradle–certified equipment
  • Interactive online design studio feature
  • Sleek design with built-in microinverters


  • Customer service only available by phone


Why It Made the Cut: ADT Solar boasts a strong reputation for installing equipment from top manufacturers and backing its work with an industry-leading 25-year comprehensive warranty.

In 2021, ADT acquired Sunpro Solar and rebranded itself ADT Solar. It is now one of the top solar companies in Arizona. In an industry known for high equipment prices, ADT Solar stands out from the competition by covering the equipment it installs with an outstanding warranty. It guarantees that the systems it installs will produce at the estimated level for 25 years after purchase. However, because ADT Solar does not manufacture the products it installs, variation in system components may occur from project to project depending on availability. Luckily, phone and email customer support is readily available to answer questions.

ADT Solar also supports its customers with 24/7 solar monitoring to ensure that the system is running properly at all times. If need be, the company’s solar installation technicians can also make roofing repairs required for a solar panel installation. This can streamline the process and means that a homeowner doesn’t need to hire an additional contractor.


  • Type of panels: Not specified
  • Payment options: Buy, finance, lease
  • Guarantee: 25-year power-production guarantee
  • Customer support: Phone, email


  • Generous 25-year power-production guarantee
  • 24/7 solar monitoring
  • Additional roofing repair services available


  • Solar panel information not readily available


Why It Made the Cut: Momentum Solar adheres to a uniquely personalized service approach, with a single point of client contact from consultation through installation.

Momentum Solar opened its doors in 2009, and for the past dozen years has continued to grow its position in the residential solar market. Customers especially appreciate its one-on-one sales and service approach: They work with the same Momentum Solar representative from initial contact and consultation all the way through installation and system start-up.

Momentum Solar’s personal approach builds outstanding customer relationships by minimizing communication breakdowns and fostering greater accountability. The company handles all paperwork and permits, and helps clients take full advantage of regional and local clean energy incentive programs. It all makes for a low-stress, high-satisfaction experience. The information readily available on Momentum’s website is slim, but customers can contact a representative via phone or email with any pressing questions.


  • Type of panels: Monocrystalline (various manufacturers)
  • Payment options: Buy, finance, lease
  • Guarantee: 25-year equipment and labor warranty
  • Customer support: Phone, email


  • Streamlined “concierge” service offered
  • All paperwork and permits handled on behalf of the customer


  • Somewhat limited information available online
  • No solar batteries available


Why It Made the Cut: Blue Raven Solar makes start-up easy with free financing for up to 18 months before the first payment is due, and it installs top-tier solar equipment.

Homeowners in the Phoenix, Arizona, area will want to consider Blue Raven Solar for some of the best solar deals. Since its startup in 2014, Blue Raven Solar has been one of the fastest- growing providers of home solar systems, now serving 17 states. Its goal is to maximize homeowner access to low-cost clean energy alternatives through free 18-month financing and system ownership, rather than solar leases or PPAs.

Blue Raven Solar offers reliable, low-cost solar panel and inverter installations. It installs high-efficiency monocrystalline panels from several reputable, budget-friendly brands like Canadian Solar and Trina. It does not install battery backups at this time. Instead, excess solar electricity produced is sold back to the grid electricity provider to offset the cost of power consumption at night or when it’s too cloudy to operate. The Blue Raven Smart Start program allows customers to pay a reduced monthly price. As an added bonus, customers can receive an energy-saving kit with an LED light package and smart thermostat at no extra cost to help them save even more money.


  • Type of panels: Monocrystalline (various manufacturers)
  • Payment options: Buy, finance
  • Guarantee: 25-year manufacturer warranty, 10-year labor warranty
  • Customer support: Phone, email


  • Flexible and relatively affordable BluePower Plus+ financing option
  • Money-saving Smart Start program available
  • Complimentary energy-saving kit


  • Service area restricted to Phoenix metro area
  • No solar lease option
  • No solar batteries available


Why It Made the Cut: Sun Valley Solar Solutions is a local Arizona-based company with a strong reputation for quality, efficiency, and excellent customer support for more than 15 years.

Those who prefer to work with a locally owned and operated company will want to take a close look at Sun Valley Solar Solutions. It’s been in business in Chandler, Arizona, since 2006 and has a great reputation for clean, fast, quality work. As an Arizona-based company, it specializes in products and designs proven to withstand the hot, arid climate. With Sun Valley Solar Solutions, everything is done in-house, from the initial site evaluation and custom solar system design through installation and maintenance.

Sun Valley Solar Solutions creates and installs fully customized solar power systems. It offers both purchase and lease programs for grid-tied or off-grid projects. It also installs whole-home and emergency battery backup systems, including Tesla Powerwall and Generac PWRcell. Residential installations are backed by a 25-year warranty, and the company offers system service and maintenance as well. The website does not offer details regarding types of solar panels and inverters used, but a quick email or phone call to customer service will provide answers to any questions.


  • Type of panels: Not specified
  • Payment options: Buy, finance, lease
  • Guarantee: 25- to 30-year manufacturer warranty, 10-year labor warranty
  • Customer support: Phone, email


  • End-to-end in-house process
  • Metal conduits built to withstand high Arizona temperatures
  • Sleek all-black and invisible tile options


  • Solar panel information not specified

Our Verdict

With thousands of dollars at stake, deciding which solar company is right for the project may be challenging. For most new solar construction or conversion from conventional grid power to home solar, we favored SunPower. It’s a trusted brand with a strong reputation for customer service and long-lasting equipment. Customers with less equipment brand loyalty and a willingness to trust an experienced installer’s recommendations may prefer ADT Solar’s approach. It installs dependable equipment from numerous manufacturers and backs its installations with a generous 25-year warranty.

How We Chose the Best Solar Companies in Arizona

Changing from utility electricity to renewable solar power requires a major commitment on the homeowner’s part. Locating a trusted installer presents challenges. Nearly 300 solar installers operate in Arizona, including plenty of inexperienced operators along with sales and marketing companies that subcontract the work. We filtered the field to identify a shorter list of companies that keep the design and install in-house and have plenty of 4- and 5-star reviews on Google and with the Better Business Bureau to support their work.

Our team researched the top local and nationwide businesses to identify the best solar companies in Arizona. Because each customer and installation is unique, we favored businesses that exhibit operational flexibility and transparency. In addition to customer reviews and ratings, we valued industry certifications and awards. Then we dug deeper to confirm that business processes were in place to continue garnering those high ratings in the future.

Home solar equipment and installation are significant up-front expenses that eventually pay off through reduced utility bills. With this financial burden in mind, our team ensured that the companies we recommend offer customer assistance for access to applicable incentive programs.

Before You Work With One of the Best Solar Companies in Arizona

Before preparing to spend tens of thousands of dollars, it’s a good idea for homeowners to take a few steps and protect themselves.

Prior to setting up a consultation with any solar company, the homeowner will want to find out if the company can live up to the project requirements. First, they’ll want to consider where the company is physically located and where its shop or warehouse is located. If those are not within a reasonable distance from the installation site, warranty, service, and maintenance service appointments could become problematic later on.

The company should provide a detailed plan before the customer signs a contract or pays a deposit. This includes itemized equipment to be installed, a schematic of the installation, and a work timeline. Homeowners will want to review the materials to ensure that the contractor arranges the pre-work permitting process and post-work inspections.

It’s important to understand that many of the companies selling solar in Arizona are sales and marketing agencies that outsource installation work to subcontractors. In this scenario, accountability for warranty work can be cloudy. The safest bet is to work with a company that installs the products it sells.
Homeowners can clarify if the company subcontracts out the installation. If so, it’s important to learn about the vetting process. Is the subcontractor licensed, insured, and trained to install the equipment in the contract? Has the contracted company even worked with this particular subcontractor in the past? Who from the contracted company oversees the subcontractors? Will that person be on-site during installation?

Cost of Working With One of the Best Solar Companies in Arizona

The average cost of solar installation in Arizona is $2.37 per watt, or between $10,072 to $13,628 for a whole-house system. Other costs beyond the price of equipment and installation influence real expenses and savings.

Buyers assume the full financial burden of installation along with ongoing maintenance responsibilities. For instance, they may want to hire one of the best solar panel cleaning services to keep panels running efficiently. Paying for the system in full upon installation typically leads to the lowest total cost and highest potential savings. Financing the system extends the payment period and may add interest or other fees. However, financing still affords the benefits of tax incentives and significant operational savings thanks to the ability to sell excess electricity to the power company.

Customers who lease solar systems and therefore do not own them benefit from a reduced power bill, but not the additional offset from selling power back to the utility. Also, lease customers do not qualify for the tax incentives buyers receive. Those who lease end up paying the most for solar in the long run.

The Advantages of Working With One of the Best Solar Companies in Arizona

With so many solar companies to choose from in Arizona, it pays to spend time finding the best contractor for the project. The best Arizona solar companies have a proven track record of high-quality work and superior customer service. Plus, they offer added benefits like:

  • Expert design and installation of solar systems tailored to the client’s property and needs.
  • Proactive communication and customer service that minimizes problems and maximizes access to renewable energy incentives.
  • Durable equipment options at fair prices that deliver dependable, efficient, cost-effective home power generation.


Homeowners who are considering contracting with one of the best solar panel companies in Arizona may still have a few questions. The following information should help answer the most frequently asked questions.

Q. Do I need a permit for building a solar system in Arizona?

Solar installations do require permits in Arizona. You’ll want to check with your local building authority for details based on the type, size, and location.

Q. Is Arizona state a good place for solar panels?

Arizona is the top state in the U.S. for solar power generation. The climate is extremely favorable, and top-notch installers are available throughout the state.

Q. How much does solar panel installation cost in Arizona on average?

Arizona solar installation prices average $2.37 per watt. For a whole-home system, plan on spending between $10,072 and $13,628. These are average residential prices after receiving the federal tax credit.

Q. Do I pay taxes on AZ solar panels?

In Arizona, solar equipment is sales-tax exempt, and the added value of a solar installation is property-tax exempt. On the contrary, solar creates tax benefits. Arizona homeowners who purchase solar could qualify for a federal tax credit on up to 30 percent of the system cost, as well as a 25 percent state solar tax credit (maximum available credit of $1,000).

Q. Do solar companies in AZ charge for consultations?

While each company sets its own prices and policies, the vast majority of solar companies in Arizona do not charge consultation fees.

Sources:, SEIA, EnergySage,

Wed, 07 Dec 2022 08:49:00 -0600 en text/html
Killexams : Replacing Baseboard Heaters Are Easier Than You Think © Family Handyman

Got old, rusty “hydronic” (hot water heat) baseboards? You could replace them in their entirety, but that’s expensive and time consuming. You could also sand and paint them, but that’s a lot of work.

The easiest option is to replace just the front covers and end caps with aftermarket ones made of plastic or metal, which are available at home centers and online. sells several styles of replacement covers, called “baseboarders,” for about $16 to $27 per foot. End caps cost about $16 to $28 apiece. The company’s website has easy-to-follow installation videos.

© Family Handyman
Thu, 08 Dec 2022 12:15:15 -0600 en-US text/html
Killexams : How Taking Solo Retreats Away from Work Benefits You and Your Business

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

A while back, I flew from Minneapolis to Panama City and then took a water taxi to a backpacker resort. Before I knew it, I was swinging from an aerial circus hoop suspended from a sailboat over the sparkling Caribbean Sea. Though it wasn't technically a work trip, I considered it good for business. I embraced play and disengaged, breaking some of the always-on conventions of entrepreneurship by taking a brief pause from my clients — as a mental health professional with a focus on entrepreneurship, podcaster, speaker, writer and mom.

I escaped to an "aerial and sail" retreat organized by the Paper Doll Militia. As an entrepreneur, it was exhilarating to suspend my responsibilities and spin and twist and torque, practicing aerial arts, a hobby of mine. If you were watching, you would have seen me skipping along the sandy beach with a huge grin on my sun-dappled face.

I'm a big advocate of solo retreats for founders and entrepreneurs. But I find that most of my clients — primarily business owners — put their needs aside and think first of sending their team on an off-campus mission to build culture, cohesion or the next big idea. They see arranging a retreat for their people as a great investment in the long-term success of their business. But a retreat for themselves? Indulgent. Trivial. Logistically impossible.

Related: This Founder Makes Sure He Has One Life Changing Solo Trek Every Year

Business leaders have difficulty stepping away. A Harvard study of CEOs found that those who did manage to take a break worked during 70% of their vacation days, leaving little room to recharge or reconnect with family, never mind reflecting on business or life goals.

I've been asked many times: What is the ROI of a founder retreat? That's harder to answer, at first glance. The importance of corporate retreats is constantly reinforced as a business priority., for example, has at least a dozen stories on its site about corporate retreats, including these about the how and why of organizing one.

A quick search for "founder retreat," "solo retreat" or "entrepreneur retreat" yields comparatively little. There is an interesting piece for business travelers and top executives who want to find a place to unplug, and another about the benefits of stepping into nature for a 20-minute break here and there (which I highly recommend). But I'd like to add something else.

The ROI of a founder retreat

Entrepreneurs are a primary business unit. We are core functions of our business, and we are also worthy of investment, fine-tuning and recharging. If we are in top form, that helps our businesses function.

A body of evidence shows restorative experiences, such as vacations, bring sharpened attention, mental clarity and inspired insights. An often-cited study commissioned by New Zealand Air in 2006 found a few days of vacation caused people's reaction time to jump by an impressive 80%. And if you want a creative solution or fresh perspective, travel to a foreign country or spend time in nature. A brain wave is more likely to hit when you're not at your desk or staring at your phone.

Being an entrepreneur can take up all our inner space. Tackling daily to-dos leaves limited bandwidth to consider the big-picture direction of our businesses — and our lives. The urgency of shipping or networking overshadows the seemingly non-urgent, existential questions. Am I happy? How can I Improve my relationships? What do I want to accomplish in my work?

Retreats offer the opportunity to linger on big questions. Regular retreats make it possible to notice changes over time and to assess whether the default settings are still optimal. It's possible that underneath the standard thoughts that permeate life there are some truly creative ideas waiting for space to be birthed.

I've known entrepreneurs who've decided on big changes after the quiet space of a retreat: the decision to sell a company, pivot into a new direction, pursue a new set of philanthropic activities or start a new company alongside their existing work. I've also known entrepreneurs who've decided to leave a personal relationship, pursue adopting a child or relocate their family to a new city based on the clarity that emerged during a focused retreat.

Setting aside time to bring attention to your personal growth and professional activities helps direct your energies and serves as a litmus test for when to say "no," instead of churning through the pros and cons of every opportunity. A retreat saves this energy. It makes "no" easier and "yes" clearer. When you don't make time for these big life questions, it also affects the business.

Related: 7 Ideas for Sabbaticals That Will Recharge You for Success

How do you retreat?

A retreat is different from a vacation, which might be an all-inclusive, drinking Mai Tais on a beach situation or a backpacking trip through northern Thailand. When I went to the retreat in Panama, I was seeking to Improve my strength, stamina and skills with some of the world's best aerial coaches. It was an escape, but also a deep dive into something I love.

My clients have told me they appreciate these other dimensions in my life, and that I was on a sailboat pursuing my hobby. I'm showing it's possible to carve out time from my responsibilities. That said, I have the support of my clients, colleagues and family. I also gave myself permission to take this time away.

The holidays are coming. For many of us, November and December are when we look ahead to booking a retreat for our teams. What about you? If you can't take the leap into a retreat, ask yourself "why not?" What is holding you back? Why don't you think you need or deserve this? What support system can you put in place at your business to make it happen? provide yourself permission to take a retreat, confident that investing in yourself will generate positive returns.

Related: 4 Tips for How Entrepreneurs Can Unplug and Recharge During the Holidays

Thu, 01 Dec 2022 06:00:00 -0600 Sherry Walling, PhD en text/html
Killexams : Ranking 2022 college football bowl games, 41-1: Rose, Cure, Alamo, Sun among major non-playoff highlights

I'm told by more and more people how meaningless bowl games have become each college football season. With the College Football Playoff field set to expand to 12 teams in 2024, this sentiment will only grow more prevalent -- and I get it. You can never be sure which teams will take it seriously, and many of the best players opt out of the games to prepare for the NFL Draft.

But, you know what? I love bowls. Every single one of them. I love college football, and bowl games are college football games. I don't care if the team's leading rusher has decided to sit out. That only means I get to see what the new guy brings to the table. It also gives me a chance to see more college football.

If you're a fan of college football, what's not to love? Bowl Season isn't the regular season or the playoff, but it's a wonderful time of year. There are games on nearly every day of the week at random times! That's incredible! That's something to be celebrated!

Every year, I choose to celebrate it by watching them all, but I cover college football for a living. I know most people aren't able to dedicate that much time to these games, which is why I rank the bowls for you here at CBS Sports every year. Now, as I said, all these games are incredible and worth your time, but if you're on a budget, hopefully my handy guide can help you decide which games to watch and why. All times below Eastern

41. First Responder Bowl: Memphis vs. Utah State

Tuesday, Dec. 27, 3:15 p.m. -- This game has a chance to be exciting, but it's hard to tell which version of each team will show up. Memphis and Utah State looked like a different team each week, which helps explain why both finished the regular season with 6-6 records. The good news is we should know how this game will go pretty quickly. Utah State's six wins tended to be close battles, but the losses came by an average of 23 points each.

40. Bahamas Bowl: UAB vs. Miami (OH)

Friday, Dec. 16, 11:30 a.m. -- UAB will be a much more interesting team to follow next season when Trent Dilfer takes over as coach. The Blazers went 6-6 this season and are led by running back DeWayne McBride, who rushed for 1,713 yards and 19 touchdowns. They've been much better at home, where they went 5-1.

As for the RedHawks, it's been an up-and-down campaign as well. They beat Northwestern in September, which seemed like a bigger deal at the time, but they were only 4-4 in the MAC. However, they did win three of their last four games to earn bowl eligibility.

39. Myrtle Beach Bowl: Marshall vs. UConn

Monday, Dec. 19, 2:30 p.m. -- He's not going to win any of them, but UConn's Jim Mora should get consideration for Coach of the Year awards. Mora took over a UConn program that had gone 4-31 in its last three seasons (it didn't play in 2020) and guided the Huskies to a bowl game. That's a stunning turnaround! They also improved as the year went on, starting 1-4 and going 6-2 down the stretch while picking up wins over eventual Mountain West champ Fresno State and Boston College.

Marshall is 8-4 and had a successful first season in the Sun Belt. The Herd beat Notre Dame in South Bend early in the season and took down a James Madison squad that looked to be one of the best in the Sun Belt. They've won four in a row thanks to the churning legs of Khalan Laborn (1,423 yards rushing, 16 TD) and a sturdy defense. The only reason I have this game ranked this low is that I think there's a good chance Marshall will run away with it.

38. LendingTree Bowl: Southern Miss vs. Rice

Saturday, Dec. 17, 5:45 p.m. -- Finally, after all these years, the rivalry is renewed! OK, so there's no real rivalry, but Southern Miss used to be in Conference USA before moving to the Sun Belt this season, where it went 6-6 overall but limped to the finish line. The Eagles have lost three of their last four but still have an exciting player in running back Frank Gore Jr.

Rice is the only 5-7 team to reach the postseason this year, but none of those five wins came against a team with a winning record. The Owls have also lost their last three and four of their last five, so, yeah, it's not the sexiest matchup you'll find.

37. Birmingham Bowl: Coastal Carolina vs. East Carolina

Tuesday, Dec. 27, 6:45 p.m. -- This game would rank a lot higher if Coastal Carolina still had coach Jamey Chadwell and quarterback Grayson McCall, but their status is up in the air. Chadwell has accepted the coaching job at Liberty, and I don't imagine he will stick around to lead the Chanticleers in this one. As for McCall, he's one of the more exciting players in the country but suffered what was believed to be a season-ending injury earlier this year only to return for the 45-26 Sun Belt Championship Game loss to Troy. Fun fact about the Chants: They're 9-3 on the season, but after blowout losses in their last two games, they have a point differential of -12 on the season. I can't imagine there have been many nine-win teams with a negative point differential in the past.

East Carolina is led by one of my favorite players in the country, QB Holton Ahlers. Ahlers has played for the Pirates for what feels like 25 years, and he's been a productive player in each of those 25 seasons. However, none of those seasons -- and it has only been five, in truth -- have ended in a bowl game until this year. This is East Carolina's first postseason appearance since the 2014 Birmingham Bowl.

36. Frisco Bowl: Boise State vs. North Texas

Saturday, Dec. 17, 9:15 p.m. -- Boise State's entire season turned around following a 27-10 loss to UTEP in September. That's when Hank Bachmeier lost the starting QB job, and the team fired its offensive coordinator before bringing back Dirk Koetter. Since then, Taylen Green and the Broncos offense have been much more dangerous, if inconsistent. Green's a big play waiting to happen on each snap, but the Boise defense is the best unit on the field in this game. Unfortunately for the Broncos, after going 8-0 in conference play during the regular season, they lost in the MWC championship to Fresno State 28-16 after beating the Bulldogs in the regular season.

It's a feeling to which North Texas can relate; the Mean Green reached the Conference USA Championship Game themselves but were routed by UTSA 48-27. Unfortunately for coach Seth Littrell, reaching the conference championship was not enough to save his job as he was fired on Dec. 4. The Mean Green offense is led by QB Austin Aune, who has thrown for 3,309 yards and 32 touchdowns this season at the age of 29. Aune was a TCU commit out of high school but was drafted by the New York Yankees in the second round of the 2012 MLB Draft. He opted to play baseball but returned to football in 2018 after his baseball career didn't pan out.

35. Quick Lane Bowl: New Mexico State vs. Bowling Green

Monday, Dec. 26, 2:30 p.m. -- This is not the sexiest matchup on paper, but we know one thing: Both of these teams will be happy to be here. Bowling Green is 6-6 and playing in its first bowl game since the Falcons reached the GoDaddy Bowl in 2015. They won 10 games that season but haven't won more than four games in a season until this year.

They'll face a New Mexico State team playing only the fifth bowl game in program history. The last appearance came in 2017, which was the Aggies' last season in the Sun Belt. They've been Independent for the last five years and have found life very difficult. They went 8-30 from 2018-21, but Jerry Kill has turned this program around quickly in his first season. The Aggies started the year 1-5 before winning five of their last six to get here.

34. Camellia Bowl: Georgia Southern vs. Buffalo

Tuesday, Dec. 27, 12 p.m. -- A matchup of 6-6 teams with some upside. For those who don't pay close attention to the Sun Belt (and why don't you?), Georgia Southern is now led by former USC coach Clay Helton, who helped the Eagles get off to a surprising start. This is the same Georgia Southern team that went to Lincoln, Nebraska, earlier this season and ended the Scott Frost Era with a 45-42 win over the Cornhuskers. That was part of a 3-1 start to the season, but the Eagles hit hard times after that. Still, they're a fun team that scores points nearly as quickly as it allows them, which can make for a fun bowl experience.

Then there's Buffalo, which has given new meaning to the running of the Bulls. Buffalo started the season 0-3 before winning five straight. Then, the Bulls dropped three in a row and were on the verge of missing bowl season entirely before coming back to beat Akron in a game that had been postponed due to 6 feet of snow falling in the Buffalo area earlier in November. Something tells me there won't be snow in the forecast for this game.

33. Hawaii Bowl: Middle Tennessee vs. San Diego State

Saturday, Dec. 24, 8 p.m. -- There's no tradition greater than getting the family together on Christmas Eve, gathering around the fireplace and opening the gift that is the Hawaii Bowl. Sure, the matchup isn't always great, and you'll have a hard time explaining to your relatives how Rick Stockstill is an institution in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, but don't worry. You can also tell them about the time that the Blue raiders beat the Miami Hurricanes 45-31 earlier this season, and since they're a casual fan, they won't even realize that's not a big deal anymore. In fact, they'll probably think it's one of the biggest upsets of all time. Let them think so as a small gift to them.

Your relative might also recognize San Diego State coach Brady Hoke as "the guy who coached Michigan, right? when they were bad?" You can confirm that but also clarify that Mr. Hoke has done a solid job with the Aztecs. Sure, they're only 7-5, but their five losses this season came against teams that went a combined 42-21, including two conference champions (Utah and Fresno State).

32. Independence Bowl: Houston vs. Louisiana

Friday, Dec. 23, 3 p.m. -- Here's my concern about this game: When the Cougars are on, they're enjoyable to watch. They can put up points in a hurry, and QB Clayton Tune (3,845 yards passing, 491 rushing, 42 total TD) is a stud, as is receiver Tank Dell (1,354 yards, 15 TD). But you never know which Houston is going to show up. Dana Holgorsen's team is more difficult to predict than a random number generator, and you have to question how excited this team will be for an Independence Bowl against Louisiana. If they care, we've got a shot at having fun here; if they don't, we'll slog through.

The same question can be asked of the Ragin' Cajuns. While this isn't a program likely to take a bowl appearance for granted, the Cajuns spent the last few seasons playing for Sun Belt titles. This year, they needed a 41-13 win over Texas State in the season's final game to earn bowl eligibility. This game has a high ceiling but a low floor, too.

31. Armed Forces Bowl: Baylor vs. Air Force

Thursday, Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m. -- Baylor won the Big 12 last year and reached the Sugar Bowl thanks primarily to a defense that was one of the best in the country. This year, the Bears are only 6-6 because that defense abandoned them. While this game looks great on paper, I think there's bigger blowout potential here than most will assume. 

Baylor ranked 99th in the country this year in success rate against the run and 92nd in expected points added (EPA) per rush attempt. That's not great when facing an option team like Air Force! The Falcons are 9-3 on the season behind their rushing attack. They run the ball more often than any team in the country (88.8% of the time!) and rank 14th in yards per carry (5.40) and 13th in EPA per rush (0.14).

30. Potato Bowl: San Jose State vs. Eastern Michigan

Tuesday, Dec. 20, 3:30 p.m. -- Early in the season, San Jose State looked like one of the best teams in the Mountain West. The Spartans were 4-2 with close road losses to Auburn and Fresno State. Then tragedy struck when running back Camdan McWright was struck and killed by a bus. The loss had a profound impact on the Spartans' season, but they finished the season 7-4 behind quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, running back Kairee Robinson and receiver Elijah Cooks.

Eastern Michigan finished the regular season 8-4 and four points shy of playing for a MAC title. The Eagles finished with the same 5-3 record in conference play that Toledo did, but their 27-24 loss to the Rockets served as the tie-breaker. Still, the Eagles recovered from that loss with three wins to finish the regular season, and look to finish with nine wins for the first time since going 10-2 in 1987.

29. Pinstripe Bowl: Minnesota vs. Syracuse

Thursday, Dec. 29, 2 p.m. -- I have a feeling in the pit of my stomach that these teams could combine to make this ranking look very stupid when bowl season ends. While they're both Power Five teams, this isn't the most exciting matchup. Syracuse does a great job defensively of limiting explosive plays, and Minnesota's offense isn't built on big plays. We're likely to see a lot of clock-churning drives in this one, but on the bright side, that should keep things close.

On an even brighter side, it's another chance to see one of the best running backs in the country. Minnesota's Mohamed Ibrahim tore his Achilles last season but returned this year to rush for 1,594 yards and 19 touchdowns. His 144.91 rushing yards per game ranks second nationally. The battle between him and Syracuse running back Sean Tucker (1,060 yards, 11 TD) should be fun.

28. Gasparilla Bowl: Wake Forest vs. Missouri

Friday, Dec. 23, 6:30 p.m. -- Fun fact about Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman. He missed time early in the season due to an undisclosed medical condition. Hartman shared the news after the regular season of needing a rib removed, keeping it in his freezer and planning to have a necklace made out of it. So, you know that now! Congratulations! You should also know that Hartman has been one of the most productive QBs in the country for a few years now, and this Wake Forest offense is capable of putting up a lot of points when playing well. It's also capable of turning the ball over with alarming regularity, which makes it entertaining 100% of the time as long as you don't have a rooting interest.

The problem here is Missouri. The Tigers went 6-6, but outside of a 23-10 win over South Carolina, they don't have many wins to get excited about. They're strong enough defensively to keep most games close, but we've seen a significant number of Tigers players hit the transfer portal since the season ended. The questions about who will be available for this game make it hard for me to rank it much higher than this.

27. Boca Raton Bowl: Toledo vs. Liberty

Tuesday, Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m. -- This game has a low floor but could be very entertaining if both teams show up. Liberty began the season 8-1 and entered the College Football Playoff Rankings after beating Arkansas 21-19. That win amplified the rumors about Hugh Freeze leaving to take the Auburn job, and the Flames lost their final three games of the season. That includes a 49-14 loss to New Mexico State in which the team looked like it had been told by its coach that he was leaving, and they didn't take it very well. What Liberty team shows up for this game? Will it be a team that wants to impress new coach Jamey Chadwell or a team that just wants to finish the season?

Toledo could crush the Flames if they don't show up ready to play. The Rockets won the MAC, beating Ohio 17-7 in the title game after going 5-3 in conference play and 8-5 overall. This is an inconsistent team, but they've been much better when QB Dequan Finn (2,127 yards passing, 608 rushing, 30 TD) has been healthy. He played against Ohio and should be closer to 100% health by the time this game is played.

26. Military Bowl: Duke vs. UCF

Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2 p.m. -- Want a peek behind the curtain? When it comes to these bowl rankings, the 10 best and the 10 worst are usually pretty obvious, and then the 21 games in the middle are basically the same. I could've told you that long ago, but I wanted to save it as a reward for those who read this far. Well, unless you're a Duke or UCF fan who scanned this far just to see where your game is ranked. If you did, that's cheating; go back to the beginning and start over.

The point is that this game has all the potential in the world to be great, but I wonder about the matchup. UCF is a team that had much higher hopes than a Military Bowl appearance. It's also a team that runs the ball a lot and will face a Duke team that finished 34th nationally in EPA per rush on defense. Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't shout out Duke coach Mike Elko for the fantastic job he's done in his first season with the Blue Devils. This is Duke's first bowl game since 2018, and the Blue Devils have won more games this season (eight) than they did the last two years combined (five). They also went 5-3 in the ACC, giving them their first winning record in conference play since 2014.

25. Guaranteed Rate Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Wisconsin

Tuesday, Dec. 27, 10:15 p.m. -- If you'd have told me before the season that we were getting a bowl game between Oklahoma State and Wisconsin, I'd have assumed it was in a New Year's Six bowl. Wisconsin was the favorite in the Big Ten West and Oklahoma State was a serious threat to win the Big 12. Instead, the Badgers went 6-6 and fired coach Paul Chryst during the season, and enter this game with starting QB Graham Mertz who opted to enter the transfer portal. Oklahoma State started 6-1 but lost four of five to finish the regular season.

I have no idea what to expect here. Neither of these offenses performed well in 2022, and it's hard to imagine a couple weeks of bowl practices will be enough to figure it out. 

24. New Mexico Bowl: BYU vs. SMU

Saturday, Dec. 17, 7:30 p.m. -- We've got potential here. SMU averaged 38.4 points per game this season (13th nationally) while BYU scored 31.9 (40th). Defensively, the Mustangs allowed 34.7 per game (123rd) and BYU allowed 30.0 (100th). If you're the betting type, you might want to have your head examined if you're considering the under because I don't see a lot of punts flying through the big blue skies of Albuquerque when these two meet.

The Mustangs won six of their last eight games to finish the season 7-5 and have one of the most talented receivers in the country in Rashee Rice (96 receptions, 1,355 yards, 10 TD). He's likely to hear his name called early in the NFL Draft this spring. For the Cougars, keep an eye on QB Jaren Hall, who threw for 31 touchdowns. He looks to be the next in a long line of prolific BYU passers.

23. New Orleans Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. South Alabama

Wednesday, Dec. 21, 9 p.m. -- Ever had a friend who listens to a bunch of musicians you've never heard of? They'll tell you about this concert they saw at this tiny venue featuring an act with a name that makes no sense and say it was a life-changing experience. You'll shrug it off, "Greg being Greg" or whatever, but deep down inside you'll fear you're missing out. What if Greg's right? What if Greg is onto something you would love if only you gave it a shot?

Greg is really into the New Orleans Bowl this year. Greg wants you to know all about South Alabama. The Jaguars didn't win the Sun Belt, but they're the second-best team in the league, at worst. They just play in the wrong division. They're 10-2, and their lone losses were a one-point loss at UCLA and a four-point loss to Sun Belt champion Troy. The defense is fierce. Running back LaDamian Webb is a beast. You need to see them. You also need to see them against a Western Kentucky offense that writes some crazy songs. They can score on anybody. Austin Reed threw for 4,247 yards and 36 touchdowns. You've got to see him live, man. Greg knows. Listen to Greg.

22. Gator Bowl: (21) Notre Dame vs. (19) South Carolina

Friday, Dec. 30, 3:30 p.m. -- South Carolina finished the season with a bang. The Gamecocks started 6-3, but none of their six wins were that impressive unless you're really high on South Carolina. After a 38-6 loss to Florida, this team looked destined to finish 6-6 with games against Tennessee and Clemson remaining. Then the Gamecocks went and beat Tennessee 63-38 and followed it up with a 31-30 road win over Clemson. In consecutive weeks, the Gamecocks destroyed the playoff hopes (however faint) of a division rival and a state rival. It's the stuff of which dreams are made.

Now they get a shot to take down one of the most decorated programs in college football history when they face Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl. So why am I ranking this game so low? Well, Notre Dame starting QB Drew Pyne is in the transfer portal, and he began the season as the backup. We could also see other draft prospects in this game opt out, which hurts the potential. I won't be surprised if it's close, but I can't count on it being exciting.

21. Arizona Bowl: Ohio vs. Wyoming

Friday, Dec. 30, 4:30 p.m. -- Every season, I fall in love with a team because I figure out that it's better than everybody realizes and win a bunch of money betting on it. This season that team was Ohio, which covered the spread in nine straight games by an average of 14 points each before finally falling in the MAC Championship Game against Toledo. I will always love Kurtis Rourke and the 2022 Bobcats, and I will probably bet on them in this game out of gratitude. The problem is Rourke has missed the last couple of games with an injury, and I don't know what his availability will be for this one.

That's important against a Wyoming team that is saltier than a Chicago street in winter. When I watch Craig Bohl's Cowboys, I get the impression they'd rather win a game 9-7 than 42-3. When it works, it's great, but when it doesn't, things get ugly. Only one of Wyoming's five losses this season was a one-score loss. Only two of their games saw at least 50 points scored. So they're usually playing low-scoring blowouts or competitive affairs, but the point is they're almost always low-scoring. Hard to rank a game much higher than this when you don't expect many fireworks.

20. Citrus Bowl: (17) LSU vs. Purdue

Monday, Jan. 2, 1 p.m. -- It's a battle of two teams that exceeded expectations, but one of them won't be as excited about it. Nobody was expecting too much of LSU in Brian Kelly's first season, but the Tigers upset Alabama to help them win the SEC West. The problem is that a few weeks ago, the Tigers thought they had a shot to reach the College Football Playoff because of it but lost to a bad Texas A&M team 38-23. They followed it up with a 50-30 loss to Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, and are now riding a two-game losing streak as they prepare to play the Citrus Bowl. Will their top guys sit this one out, or could we see a wave of opt-outs?

Purdue was a surprise winner of the Big Ten West this season, but it wasn't the result of dominance. The Boilermakers went 6-3 in conference and hung with Michigan for a half in the Big Ten Championship Game before getting steamrolled in the second half. It's a team that's long made a habit of pulling off upsets over higher-ranked teams, and it has an exciting offense that can put points on the board, so LSU better take it seriously. However, there's a potential problem here. The Louisville job came open this week when Scott Satterfield left for Cincinnati, and Purdue's Jeff Brohm -- a former Louisville QB -- was seen as the top target for Louisville before it hired Satterfield. The Cardinals are bound to be interested again, so will Brohm turn down his alma mater twice?

19. Sugar Bowl: (5) Alabama vs. (9) Kansas State

Saturday, Dec. 31, 12 p.m. -- If these teams were playing at full strength, this would be a top-five game in these rankings, no questions asked. Well, Kansas State -- the Big 12 champion who ended TCU's undefeated run -- might be at full strength for this game, and it would love to make another statement by finishing the season with a win over mighty Alabama. But how mighty will this Alabama be? This is a program that wants to win the SEC and a national title every season. It accomplished neither this year, and we're probably going to see a lot of players opt out of this game, including last year's Heisman winner Bryce Young and one of the nation's best defensive players in Will Anderson.

That will stink because Kansas State is a genuinely good team, and it could beat Alabama even if the Tide didn't have players opt out. Regardless, I want another chance to see Young and Anderson play in an Alabama uniform, and I don't think we will get that chance. It takes a lot of the shine off this game. Now, that said, it's still Alabama. The reserves are pretty talented, too, so there's still a shot this game is great.

18. Liberty Bowl: Arkansas vs. Kansas

Wednesday, Dec. 28, 5:30 p.m. -- Let me start by saying that, if reports are to be believed, it is incredibly lame that Missouri refused to play Kansas in a bowl game because that would've been great. That said, this is probably a better matchup than that game would've been! The Jayhawks were the darlings of the first half of the season after opening the year 5-0, but they went 1-6 down the stretch after losing QB Jalon Daniels to injury. If Daniels is healthy and available for this game, however, the Jayhawks have one of the most entertaining offenses in the country.

But so does Arkansas with QB K.J. Jefferson. Combining these explosive and interesting offenses with the two defenses on the field, we're likely in for a tennis match. There's a strong chance this game becomes one of those "last team with the ball wins" kind of games, and in a mid-tier bowl game with low stakes, what more can you ask for than that?

17. Music City Bowl: Iowa vs. Kentucky

Saturday, Dec. 31, 12 p.m. -- OK, so here's the thing. As a connoisseur of all kinds of college football, this matchup interests me. I don't need high-octane offenses and a bunch of touchdowns to be entertained. I'm the kind of person who can tune into a field-position battle and enjoy that just as much as I would a 49-48 game. So these two offenses don't scare me away.

The problem is we just saw this game last year as Kentucky defeated Iowa 20-17 in a very entertaining Citrus Bowl. Having the rematch a year later takes some of the shine off it. We can't even go with the angle of Mark Stoops facing his alma mater because it was beaten to death last year. Furthermore, Iowa QB Spencer Petras won't play in the game because of injury, and we might see Kentucky QB Will Levis sit it out, too. While it's not ideal, it does increase the odds of this game getting really weird and ending with an 11-5 score or something. Stupid football can be incredible entertainment.

16. Duke's Mayo Bowl: (23) NC State vs. Maryland

Friday, Dec. 30, 12 p.m. -- This ranking will rise quickly if either Dave Doeren or Mike Locksley promises to let somebody dump a cooler of mayonnaise on their head like South Carolina's Shane Beamer did last season; that should not be a one-time-only thing. In fact, every bowl game should dump whatever the product of the primary sponsor is over the coach after the game. Sure, that would be awful news for the winning coach of the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, but if you want to make an omelet, you have to crack a few eggs.

The matchup here is an ACC reunion of two interesting teams. NC State is one of the most fascinating teams of 2022 because there's no rational reason for it to be 8-4 considering the injuries it's suffered. Doeren is clearly a practitioner of the dark arts. Then there's Maryland, which sports some NFL talent at the receiver position and a QB in Taulia Tagovailoa who isn't afraid to put the ball up there, for better or worse. This one is ranked No. 16 to start, but I won't be surprised if it's a top-five game in my post-bowl rankings.

15. Texas Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech

Wednesday, Dec. 28, 9 p.m. -- I'm happy Lane Kiffin stayed at Ole Miss instead of leaving for Auburn. Nothing against Auburn; I just think Ole Miss is a better fit for him. He can chill and put together fun, exciting teams without dealing with the insanity of Auburn. What does that have to do with the Texas Bowl? Nothing, but I'm 5,700 words into this thing, all right? My brain is going to wander at some point. Don't worry, though, because I'm about to get back on track.

So, yeah, I like this matchup. If you haven't seen Ole Miss yet in 2022, it's an explosive offense. Unlike 2021, however, it's built more on running the ball than vertical passing routes. It'll be up against a Texas Tech team that was a certified pain in the butt in the Big 12 this season. The Red Raiders didn't win every game, but Joey McGuire's team fought you for every point you scored. It did so thanks in large part to a rush defense that ranked 39th nationally in success rate against the run, so this will be a fun matchup to follow.

14. Fenway Bowl: Louisville vs. Cincinnati

Saturday, Dec. 17, 11 a.m. -- Fun fact, this game came in at No. 20 in my initial rankings. It felt like a perfect "middle of the order" bowl game. Then, the news arrived Monday morning that Louisville coach Scott Satterfield was leaving to take the job at Cincinnati. All of a sudden, a mostly anonymous bowl game in a baseball stadium took on a lot more meaning. All of which begs one question, and one question only:

Can Satterfield coach both teams?

It would probably be too much work to handle all the head-coaching duties, but maybe Satterfield can be "all-time play caller" like you had an "all-time QB" when playing with your friends as a child. Sure, it would be awkward for Louisville players and near impossible for Cincinnati players to run plays from a playbook they haven't seen yet, but it would make for great television. Besides, if we don't, this will be two teams playing under interim coaches with motivational questions. Having Satterfield coach both teams at once solves the problem!

13. Sun Bowl: (18) UCLA vs. Pitt

Friday, Dec. 30, 2 p.m. -- UCLA doesn't play boring games. OK, it started the season with boring wins over Bowling Green and Alabama State, and had a boring win over Stanford, but that was more on the opponents. Every other game was a roller coaster. There were bangers against South Alabama, Washington, Utah, Oregon and USC, just to name a few. Dorian Thompson-Robinson is a thrill ride and Zach Charbonnet is terrific as this offense is full of fun surprises.

Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi is going to hate it! Narduzzi doesn't even like to see his own team score points. Still, just because their coach doesn't like them, that doesn't mean Pitt isn't willing to get into a shootout with you, and it can put points on the board too. Running back Israel Abanikanda finished the season with 1,431 yards and a national-best 20 rushing touchdowns.

12. Orange Bowl: (6) Tennessee vs. (7) Clemson

Friday, Dec. 30, 8 p.m. -- It is a literal Orange Bowl. In a perfect world, both teams would come out in all-orange uniforms and we'd see how well they'd be able to tell friend from foe. It would be hilarious. Of course, we could also see Tennessee come out in its gray uniforms and Clemson in purple, which would really ruin the vibe. And I'm not sure how many vibes this game can afford to lose because while it's a matchup of top-10 teams, it doesn't crack the top 10 of these rankings.

Tennessee isn't the same team without quarterback Hendon Hooker, though it's possible that with an extra month of preparation Joe Milton and the offense can function at the same high level it did with Hooker. But while many things can be said about Clemson's offense, few adjectives used to describe it are complimentary, though with five-star freshman quarterback Cade Klubnik being named the starter after his performance in the ACC Championship Game after DJ Uiagalelei was benched, that could change in a hurry. 

11. Cheez-It Bowl: (13) Florida State vs. Oklahoma

Thursday, Dec. 29, 5:30 p.m. -- Florida State fans wish there was a button they could hit that would start the season over with the Seminoles playing at this level right now. If that happened, the 'Noles would probably end up winning the ACC and could even sneak into the College Football Playoff because it's been one of the best teams in the country for over a month. There were close losses to NC State and Clemson in October, then five straight wins to finish the season, most in blowout fashion. QB Jordan Travis has ascended to another level and is one of the most exciting players to watch in the country.

So while there's a chance this game turns into a blowout, even though Oklahoma is only 6-6, it has an offense capable of scoring in a hurry. This game has the potential to be an exciting shootout if the Sooners are healthy. I understand there's also a good chance I look like a moron for ranking this game so highly if Bad Oklahoma shows up and Florida State wins by a billion. Whatever happens, at least I feel confident the final score won't be 13-2.

10. Reliaquest Bowl: (22) Mississippi State vs. Illinois

Monday, Jan. 2, 12 p.m. -- While it's an SEC/Big Ten matchup, it's not a game featuring either conference's perennial powers. Still, both the Bulldogs and Illini had excellent seasons and present an interesting matchup for one another. Mississippi State is 8-4 and the poster child for a team with excellent résumé losses to LSU, Georgia and Alabama. It was a team that lost to the teams you'd expect but beat the ones a good team is supposed to beat and finished the year with a win over rival Ole Miss.

Illinois is one of the biggest surprises of 2022. The Illini are 8-4 and making their first bowl appearance since 2019. They got here behind one of the best defenses in the country, and that's where the matchup gets interesting. Mississippi State will run Mike Leach's Air Raid offense against an Illini defense that led the nation in defensive passing efficiency at 89.8 (Penn State was second at 104.0). Meanwhile, Illinois' offense is built on a physical rushing presence led by Doak Walker finalist Chase Brown but faces a Mississippi State team that ranked 47th in EPA per rush on defense. If styles make fights, this will be a fun fight.

9. Alamo Bowl: (20) Texas vs. (12) Washington

Thursday, Dec. 29, 9 p.m. -- Here's the thing about the Alamo Bowl: The matchup is almost always great, but you sometimes run into the problem of the teams not being thrilled to be there because they had been competing for conference titles and fell short. Still, I'm going to take my chances here with a game that offers an incredible quarterback matchup between Washington's Michael Penix Jr. and Texas' Quinn Ewers. Penix has the kind of arm strength that will make you gasp at least twice per game, while Ewers routinely flings balls on a rope with a simple flick of his wrist. I hope both play and play well because, if they do, we're in for a treat.

As for motivation, I know this was a disappointing season for Texas seeing they missed out on playing for the Big 12 title, but it's a young team that can benefit from playing an opponent like this. Plus, let's not forget that Texas coach Steve Sarkisian used to coach at Washington, so I'm sure he'll do everything he can to keep his team's attention on this game. As for the Huskies, they're already playing with house money, as nobody was expecting this team to be 10-2 in Kalen DeBoer's first season. A win would provide the Huskies their first 11-win season since they reached the College Football Playoff in 2016.

8. LA Bowl: Washington State vs. Fresno State

Saturday, Dec. 17, 3:30 p.m. -- Have you ever seen Fresno State QB Jake Haener? He's an amalgamation of every underdog quarterback you've seen in a movie or television show about a football team. Haener is listed as 6-foot-1 and 201 pounds, which might be generous. Still, Haener is a gamer regardless of size. I've seen this kid take so many shots during his career, but he gets up every time and keeps going. Sometimes he gets up slower than others, and sometimes he moves gingerly, but he gets up every time. I love him. He's the heart and soul of this Fresno State team that won the Mountain West.

I also love Washington State QB Cam Ward, who transferred to Wazzu from Incarnate Word before the season. He didn't put up the same numbers in the Pac-12 that he put up there, but he's an entertaining watch on a tough Washington State team. The Cougars lost five times this year, but the five losses came to Oregon, USC, Oregon State, Utah and Washington -- teams that were a combined 49-11. It's a better team than its 7-5 record indicates, and I like this game's chances of being entertaining.

7. Las Vegas Bowl: (14) Oregon State vs. Florida

Saturday, Dec. 17, 2:30 p.m. -- The Pac-12 got a lot of attention this year thanks to solid seasons from USC, Oregon, Washington, Utah and UCLA, but Oregon State still managed to fly under the radar despite having just as good of a season! The Beavers went 9-3 and nearly knocked off USC and Washington. Jonathan Smith has done a fantastic job building this program; its win total has increased every season since he took over in 2018, except for the 2020 COVID season. The nine wins the Beavers have already picked up are their most in a season since going 9-4 in 2012, and if they pick up a win here, it'll be the program's first 10-win season since 2006.

To get that win, it'll have to get past a Florida team with a high ceiling. Florida opened the year with a win over Utah, and while it was impressive, it probably raised expectations too quickly. The Gators came back down to earth in SEC play, finishing with a 3-5 mark, and went only 2-4 in the SEC East. The Gators will be trying to pick up a seventh win to finish over .500, but that would have been more likely if QB Anthony Richardson, who was projected by many to be a first-round NFL Draft pick, didn't decide to skip this game.

6. Holiday Bowl: (15) Oregon vs. North Carolina

Wednesday, Dec. 28, 8 p.m. -- Hurry up and bet the over before it gets higher because I can ensure the total will get higher. The season did not end the way either of these teams hoped it would a month ago. Back then, Oregon was 8-1 with the Pac-12 title and a possible playoff berth in reach. Then the Ducks lost by three at home to Washington, Bo Nix sprained his ankle and the team literally limped to the finish line at 9-3. North Carolina was 9-1 with a QB in Drake Maye whom many were pegging as a future No. 1 draft pick. They were wins against Georgia Tech and NC State away from being 11-1. They then lost to both to fall to 9-3 and finished by getting trounced 39-10 by Clemson in the ACC Championship Game.

These teams are mirror images of one another who reside on opposite ends of the country. Two prolific offenses paired with defenses that can't stop anybody. Ladies and gentlemen, we might see 100 points scored in this game. You could end up telling your grandchildren about it one day.

5. Cotton Bowl: (10) USC vs. (16) Tulane

Monday, Jan. 2, 1 p.m. -- It used to be that we expected the Group of Five champion that earned the New Year's Six berth to get spanked in the bowl game because that used to be what happened. Then UCF happened, and last year Cincinnati made the CFP. We've all wisened up to the idea that these teams need to be taken seriously in spots like this, and USC would be well-served to take Tulane seriously, mostly because USC's defense shouldn't take anybody or anything for granted. Did you see those guys try to tackle Utah players in the Pac-12 Championship Game?

The Green Wave won the American thanks to a fun offense and an excellent pass defense, but that defense didn't come across many passing attacks like USC. Caleb Williams is one of the best QBs in the country and could win the Heisman Trophy this week. He has a cavalcade of weapons surrounding him on offense, and I anticipate the Trojans will put up points. But will the Trojans stop Tulane's Tyjae Spears? Again, did you see them try to tackle vs. Utah? There's a good chance this game comes down to the final minutes.

4. Cure Bowl: (24) Troy vs. (25) UTSA

Friday, Dec. 16, 3 p.m. -- HIPSTER ALERT! Get ready to be condescending as all hell, folks, because all the people who don't realize how incredible this game is going to be are not worthy of your time! Oh, you're a Troy and UTSA fan? Name three of their albums. I'll wait.

Seriously, it's a battle of conference champions. UTSA went 11-2 this season to win Conference USA as the Roadrunners have now gone 17-1 in conference games over the last two seasons. They are one of the most entertaining offenses in the country. Frank Harris runs it to perfection, and receiver Zakhari Franklin will catch balls in the NFL soon. Then there's Troy, which went 5-7 last year but finished 11-2 this year in Jon Sumrall's first season en route to a Sun Belt title. The Trojans lead with their defense, but don't think they aren't capable of putting up points themselves. Trust me, I understand that most of you studying this probably haven't seen either of these teams play, but take some time out of your schedule to make sure you tune into this game. You won't regret it.

3. Rose Bowl: (8) Utah vs. (11) Penn State

Monday, Jan. 2, 5 p.m. -- I know it's cool to hate the Rose Bowl these days because it was scapegoated as the only thing standing in the way of the playoff expanding to 12 teams as so many people wanted, but I love the Rose Bowl. I will always love the Rose Bowl. Whether it's part of the playoff or not, I don't care. I don't even need it to have the traditional matchup of Big Ten vs. Pac-12 (though I prefer it). This game has always been near my heart, and it always will be. It's one of the most beautiful scenes in college football every year, and it tends to have an excellent matchup to go with all the aesthetics.

This year is no different. We have Pac-12 champion Utah -- the only team to beat USC (doing so twice) this season -- going against Penn State. The Nittany Lions are 10-2, but while their losses were by an average of 18.5 points against Michigan and Ohio State, they dominated everybody else on the schedule. These are two physical, talented football teams likely to put on an epic performance in an incredible atmosphere. Don't even think of missing it.

2. Fiesta Bowl: (2) Michigan vs. (3) TCU

Saturday, Dec. 31, 4 p.m. -- The Fiesta Bowl provides a matchup of two teams that are more similar than you assume because of the style they prefer to play. TCU is a spread offense with a lot of Air Raid elements offensively, but running the ball is still fundamental to everything the Frogs do offensively -- much like the Michigan offense, which is seen as the old-school, smash-mouth offense often associated with the Wolverines and the Big Ten.

The biggest difference this season is that TCU has been far more explosive through the air than Michigan, but the Wolverines have begun to show flashes in that department in accurate weeks. Still, the key will be what these teams do in the red zone. Both have struggled to finish drives with touchdowns at times this year, and it's made some games more difficult than they had to be. The team that does the better job here will win and move on to the title game.

1. Peach Bowl: (1) Georgia vs. (4) Ohio State

Saturday, Dec. 31, 8 p.m. -- If this isn't a battle of heavyweights, then what is? Sure, some people are mad at Ohio State being chosen for the College Football Playoff despite getting beat handily at home by Michigan to finish the regular season, but ignore that. Look at this matchup for what it is. It's a game between the defending champion with an elite defense against one of the most talented teams in the country filled with future NFL players.

If you can't get excited about watching QB C.J. Stroud and Ohio State's receiving corps going against the Georgia defense, what are you even doing studying these rankings? This is precisely the kind of game you dream of seeing when you watch college football. Playoff game or not, it's a banger.

Mon, 05 Dec 2022 16:13:00 -0600 en text/html
Killexams : Police certification database may go live this week

Bay Staters will soon be able to go online to confirm the certification status for most of the state’s thousands of police officers.

Members of the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission approved a motion Tuesday to publish a list “containing the name, employing agency, and certification status of all law enforcement officers who have been granted initial certification since December 15, 2021 or granted full recertification.”

A POST Commission spokesperson said last week the database will become public “no earlier than next week.” The portal will only list information for officers who are certified, the spokesperson said.

The reform law that created the panel required it to move toward a publicly available, searchable database with law enforcement officer records, so long as the panel took into consideration officer health and safety.

Commissioner Larry Calderone, who is president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, cast the lone dissenting vote.

The vast majority of police whose last names begin with the letters A through H secured recertification under the first round of that process outlined in the law. Of the 8,846 total officers in the pool, 8,322 were again certified and another 269 were conditionally certified, according to data POST Commission Executive Director Enrique Zuniga presented at a Tuesday meeting.

While it still represents less than 3% of the total pool of applicants, the count of police officers who were not recertified by the panel swelled substantially from 57 last month to 243 as of Nov. 16, driven in large part by the inclusion of officers out on leave in the tally.

Twenty-six officers were not recertified for what Zuniga called a “pending matter including a disciplinary matter.”

“This includes instances where there is not an attestation by the chief and the Division of Certification is affirming that determination of not a good moral character,” Zuniga said, referring to a requirement in the certification process for a law enforcement agency head to attest to an officer’s character.

Most denials were for reasons unrelated to on-the-job performance. More than half, or 133 officers, did not earn recertification because they are currently out on administrative, medical, military or family leave. They will each get 90 days to comply with recertification requirements once they return to active duty.

“Please note that this is not a pejorative status and that the officer remains in good standing but is ‘pending’ or ‘on hold’ until their return,” POST Senior Certification Specialist Gina Joyce wrote in an Oct. 31 memo included in Tuesday’s meeting materials.

Another 21 officers retired or resigned after submitting their applications, which were due on July 1. Sixty-three applicants failed the Bridge Academy, a handful of whom chose to go on to a full police academy and can eventually earn certification once they finish their training, according to Zuniga.

Some of those officers denied recertification may opt to appeal the decision by seeking review of their case from Zuniga or from the larger POST Commission.

Certification for a dozen officers is tied up amid potential review hearings before either Zuniga or the full commission. The panel entered closed executive session following Tuesday’s open meeting to consider six requests for preliminary inquiries and nine cases of recommended certification suspension.

The law that created the POST Commission set up a rolling three-year cycle for recertification of all Massachusetts police. Officers with last names starting with the letters A through H needed to apply for recertification this year, and others will be due in future years.

In addition to getting a clear look at which police officers are certified, the public can also begin to file complaints against law enforcement via a new web portal POST launched in accurate days.

The police misconduct complaint form now available will expedite the process of bringing potential issues before the panel for review.

“This form will enable us to capture structured data in a much more efficient way and generate better reporting,” Zuniga said.

Civilians who fill out the questionnaire can do so anonymously, though the commission encourages them to identify themselves to allow the oversight panel to conduct follow-up inquiries and gather more information.

In its earlier days, the commission had been fielding public concerns via phone calls or emails sent to a general inbox. The panel has received about 1,650 complaints since its inception, and Zuniga said about 350 of those — nearly one-quarter — came from “a very small group that’s about a dozen individuals.”

“We of course anticipate the new form will result in more complaints coming to us, but our approach is to treat all complaints seriously and interact with the public in a professional manner,” Zuniga said. “Some of the repeat complainers, sometimes it eventually becomes clear that some of these complaints are not credible for a variety of reasons. We are documenting and making sure we have consistent protocols for those responses. In many cases, it means contacting the law enforcement agency, and in some cases, it may include referring the individual to additional resources.”

Sat, 26 Nov 2022 19:34:00 -0600 Chris Lisinski en-US text/html
Killexams : Election certification delays few, but a 'test run' for 2024

Before November, election officials prepared for the possibility that Republicans who embraced former President Donald Trump's lies about voter fraud would challenge the verdict of voters by refusing to certify the midterm results.

Three weeks after the end of voting, such challenges are playing out in just two states, Arizona and Pennsylvania, where Democrats won the marquee races for governor and Senate.

Legal experts predict the bids are doomed because local governmental agencies typically don't have the option to vote against certifying the results of their elections. But experts also say the delays are a signal that the United States must brace itself for similar disruptions in the next presidential contest.

“It is one of the few places where election deniers have a lever of power,” Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said of the local political authorities responsible for certifying election results in most states. “It’s a good test run for 2024, showing state courts they’re going to have to step in.”

For now, the certification delay in a smattering of rural counties in just two states reflects the limited ability of election conspiracy theorists to disrupt the midterms. One rural Arizona county has drawn court challenges after its refusal to certify, but a second one that was flirting with blocking certification backed off amid legal threats.

In Pennsylvania, a handful of the state's 67 counties have delayed certification because of recounts demanded by local conspiracy theorists in scattered precincts. But in most states, certification has gone smoothly.

“Before Election Day, I thought Republicans would exploit the certification process to undermine election results,” said Marc Elias, a Democratic lawyer who has sued to compel the lone Arizona county to certify.

That there's only one county delaying so far in that important battleground state, where Republican candidates who denied Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential race ran unsuccessfully for governor and secretary of state, is “good news, and a bit of a surprise,” Elias said.

In Wisconsin, where Trump pressured Republican lawmakers to decertify the 2020 results, the chair of the state elections commission certified the results of the midterm election during a quick meeting Wednesday without fanfare. Minnesota, where the failed Republican secretary of state candidate had cast doubt on the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, the state canvassing board certified this year's results without drama on Tuesday.

The smooth outcome in most of the country is a reflection of the diminished opportunities election conspiracy theorists have to control elections after a number of their candidates were routed in statewide elections for positions overseeing voting. They're largely left with a footprint in conservative, rural counties. Still, that's enough to cause headaches for having the election results certified on a statewide basis, raising concerns about how rural counties might respond after the next presidential election.

The movement that embraces Trump's lies about voting hoped it would have many more levers after November. Candidates who backed Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election ran for top posts with power over state voting — including secretary of state, which in most states is the top election position — in five of the six swing states that were key to Trump's 2020 loss. They lost every race in each of those states.

Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs defeated Trump-backed Republican Kari Lake in the race for Arizona governor, flipping it out of the GOP category, and a Democrat also won the race to replace Hobbs. A Democrat defeated an election conspiracy theorist running for Nevada secretary of state, shifting another swing-state election office from the GOP.

On the local level, the picture is blurrier.

There are more than 10,000 local election offices in the country that follow guidelines set by secretaries of state or other agencies that their states designate as the top election authorities. That's where conspiracy theorists won at least some new offices and still have the power to disrupt proceedings.

During the June primary in New Mexico, rural Otero County refused to certify the results of its election, preventing the state from making the winners official until the state Supreme Court ordered it to act. That set a template that election lawyers feared would be vastly replicated in the weeks after the midterms. But this time, even Otero County certified its winners without a delay. New Mexico's canvass board certified the statewide results Wednesday.

In Michigan, where a GOP slate of election conspiracy theorists was defeated in statewide races, the Republican candidate for secretary of state, Kristina Karamo, implored the state's bipartisan board of canvassers not to certify the election during a hearing this week. Karamo insisted there had been widespread fraud, even though she lost her race against Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson by more than 13 percentage points.

Tony Daunt, the Republican chair of the certification board, responded by blasting candidates who “feed into this nonsense” by making “claims that fire everybody up because it’s a short-term gain for them, and that’s dangerous to our system.” The board unanimously certified the election.

In Pennsylvania, the most prominent certification hiccup has come in Luzerne County, north of Philadelphia, which voted for Trump by 14 percentage points in 2020. County commissioners delayed certifying the election on Monday after one Democrat abstained from voting following an Election Day fiasco in which the election office ran out of ballots.

The Democrat, Daniel Schramm, joined the two other Democratic commissioners on the five-member board Wednesday to certify the vote after telling reporters he was confident no citizen was unable to vote. Certification is being delayed in a few other counties after local Republican committees and voters requested recounts.

In Arizona, the two Republicans on Cochise County's three-member county commission blew past Monday's certification deadline, saying they needed more information on the certification of vote tabulators, even though there have been no problems with voting or ballot counting in their county.

The secretary of state's office has sued, saying that it must certify the state's elections by Dec. 8.

“The only legal effect this has is to disenfranchise all their voters,” said David Becker of the Center for Election Innovation.

The efforts to delay certification are dangerous even if they're doomed to fail, Becker and others said. They continue to sow discontent and distrust of voting and democracy.

David Levine, a former election official who is a fellow with the Alliance for Securing Democracy, noted that conspiracy theories about elections have reached such a fever pitch in Arizona that Bill Gates, the Republican chair of the county commission in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix. has been given additional security by the local sheriff.

“When you provide legitimacy to baseless accusations about the election process, there is a concern that more of that will occur," Levine said.

Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, certified its election results on Monday, after dozens of attendees demanded the board not do it. Some complained about printer malfunctions in the county, the state's most populous, that led to confusion and long lines on Election Day — even though Maricopa officials said everyone had a chance to vote and that all legal ballots were counted.

In other counties, activists also spoke out against certification, though unsuccessfully. In Yavapai County, north of Phoenix, a woman who gave her name as Nancy Littlefield, wearing a hoodie patterned on the American flag, made clear that part of her objections were because she simply didn't like the outcome of the election.

She urged Yavapai board members not to certify the vote because “I moved from California so I could be free and live my life and have my voice heard.”

Associated Press writers Joey Cappelletti in Lansing, Michigan; Jonathan J. Cooper and Anita Snow in Phoenix; Christina A. Cassidy in Atlanta; and Mark Scolforo in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, contributed to this report.

Follow the AP’s coverage of the 2022 midterm elections at

Tue, 29 Nov 2022 15:17:00 -0600 en text/html
Killexams : The Sun shines at 2022 NMMA

Features and Investigation Editor of The Sun, Mr. Henry Umahi, on Sunday, won the prestigious Investigative Reporter of the year award at the 2022 Nigeria Media Merit Award in Lagos.

Umahi won with his extraordinary report entitled: ‘South East: Beaten, battered, bleeding

•Real reasons anarchy reigns in the zone’.

The eight-page report x-rayed the killings and general insecurity in the region and exposed the conspiracies involved.

Other staff of The Sun, Messrs Henry Akubuiro and Steve Agbota, were also nominated for other categories.

Mon, 28 Nov 2022 10:33:00 -0600 en-us text/html
Killexams : Teachers college issues review of Oakville teacher who wears huge fake breasts as parents ponder lawsuit

National Post obtains copy of Ontario College of Teachers report about transgender Oakville teacher who sparked complaints, protests and bomb threats

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Ontario’s governing body for regulating teachers has told the province’s education minister that surging controversy over a gender transitioning classroom instructor wearing enormous prosthetic breasts with nipples poking from tight clothing should be easy to solve by the teacher and the school board following current guidelines.

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The Ontario College of Teachers sent a four-page report to Stephen Lecce about the industrial arts teacher at Oakville Trafalgar High School who sparked questions, complaints, protests, and a flurry of bomb threats. National Post has obtained a copy.

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The report emerges as parents of students at the school grow increasingly frustrated by a dramatic escalation — to safety fears over threats of bombs and bullets — that prompted the formation of a parents group now contemplating legal action.

The in-class apparel of the transgender teacher at the school west of Toronto was revealed by photos posted online by students soon after the start of the school year in September. In response to intense local and international attention, Lecce asked the teachers college to review and consider strengthening its professional conduct provisions.

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The Oakville transgender teacher in class.
The Oakville transgender teacher in class.

“(The college’s) Council has concluded that the standards, governing legislation and supporting resources appropriately address professionalism in today’s modern learning environment,” the report says.

“In conducting this review, we were mindful of controversy regarding images of a teacher wearing prosthetic breasts in the classroom, which has been the subject of accurate media reports.”

The review concludes “the onus” is on a teacher to act professionally and a board’s employment policies should outline “how employees are expected to conduct themselves.”

“All Ontario Certified Teachers, in their position of trust, are expected to demonstrate responsibility and sound judgement in their relationships with students, parents, guardians, colleagues, educational partners, other professionals, the learning environment, and the public.

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“Teachers are required to uphold the standards of their professional practice and ethical standards both in and out of the classroom,” says the report, signed by Diana Miles, chair of the college’s council, and Chantal Bélisle, the college’s chief executive officer.

School boards, in turn, must set and enforce rules for teachers to follow, the report says.

“Employers and school administrators have the primary responsibility to enforce their own policies and procedures. In most cases, school boards can and do address breaches of their policies and no regulatory intervention is necessary.”

The college reminded classroom instructors of “the critical need for teachers to adhere to government and employer policies and protocols, as part of their commitment to teacher professionalism.

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“The vast majority of Ontario’s teachers practice professionally. On the rare occasion that an educator fails to exercise good professional judgement and breaches these standards, a complaint can be made to the College,” the report says.

Andrew Fifield, spokesperson for the college, said he cannot say if any complaints have been filed against any teacher, unless it leads to a disciplinary hearing. There is no disciplinary history or hearings scheduled for the Oakville teacher.

Lecce’s office did not respond to questions about the report prior to deadline.

Heather Francey, spokesperson for the Halton board, said the board has not been told of an update on the matter from the teachers college. 

Tension at the school does not seem to be diminishing, even though there are reports the teacher has not been in the classroom recently.

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Last month there were several explicit and vitriolic bomb threats and shooting threats against the school, the Halton District School Board, and the town itself, some requiring lockdowns, evacuation, and police sweeps.

Parents formed an association in response to the escalation that has held a public forum, launched a fundraising campaign and is considering legal action, said a spokesperson.

“The issue has escalated to bomb threats and we are asking — for the safety of the kids — for the school and board of education to put education needs first, as it’s been very disruptive to the children,” said Celina Close.

Last week, Students First Ontario held a public forum at an Oakville arena. Close said about 150 parents attended.

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Parents were hurry for an opportunity to talk about the situation because the school and the board quickly shut down questions or discussion of it, she said.

“There are children who are extremely fearful of going to school. That is a very real concern,” Close said.

“There were parents speaking at that event saying they have a tremendous amount of anxiety about sending their kids to the school, and some are either wanting to remove their kids from the school or to have online learning.

“This is really not what we want for our kids, especially after COVID challenges.”

Close said that, as a parent of children at the school, it was distressing when students were told to stay home because of a bomb threat, and, when children were at school, to hear classrooms were being searched for bombs.

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“It has obviously been a distraction for the children. They’ve lost a day of school. It is not the type of education environment that is ideal for children to be learning in.”

Asked about strong anti-trans rhetoric expressed about the teacher’s actions, Close said that is not where the parents group comes from.

“We don’t see it as a gender issue at all. Dress codes and codes of conduct that are applicable to the children and the broader school community — that is basically what our position is,” she said.

The group has retained an Oakville lawyer to explore legal options to get the parents’ view heard.

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Mon, 05 Dec 2022 02:41:00 -0600 en-CA text/html
Killexams : Orioles roundtable: Four questions heading into MLB winter meetings

Beyond a few additions — and subtractions — on the waiver wire, the start to the offseason has been quiet for the Orioles. That could change next week once the Baltimore brass arrives in San Diego at the winter meetings.

This will be the first winter meetings held in person since 2019, when executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias completed his first full season leading the Orioles. In that edition, Baltimore hardly made much of a ripple on the hot stove, as the rebuild was still in its early stages. This upcoming winter meetings, however, could have a different tint.


After a trade-deadline sell-off of closer Jorge López and first baseman Trey Mancini, Elias said the Orioles will undergo “liftoff from here.” How steep the liftoff remains to be seen — although this week could be telling. Ahead of the winter meetings, The Baltimore Sun’s Orioles reporters, Nathan Ruiz and Andy Kostka, provide their expert opinions about how the next week and the team’s offseason might progress.

Kostka: At the end of the season, Elias spoke in generalities in regard to where the Orioles will look to Improve their roster this offseason. At the General Manager Meetings in Las Vegas last month, he was more precise: Elias would like to add starting pitching and offensive help.


Of the two, the top priority should be adding an impact offensive piece to a lineup that hit .236 last year — and whose .243 average with runners in scoring position ranked 23rd in MLB. The starting rotation, meanwhile, posted a 4.35 ERA compared to a 5.99 ERA in 2021. With right-handed prospect Grayson Rodriguez poised to challenge for a rotation place, Baltimore should receive another boost in that area, even with the loss of right-hander Jordan Lyles.

Ruiz: Although the Orioles’ lineup could use upgrades, some of those could reasonably come just from having a full year of Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson in it. This team, though, needs an opening day starter, the type of pitcher who manager Brandon Hyde would unquestionably deploy in the first game of a playoff series. Although John Means could qualify as the latter once he returns from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, there is, for now, a gaping hole atop Baltimore’s rotation.

There’s certainly hope that Rodriguez could someday develop into the type of pitcher worthy of filling it, with DL Hall, Kyle Bradish and others who have already made their debuts also yet to reach their potential. But that young mix needs someone to front it, and whether it’s a signing, a trade or establishing the groundwork for either, that should be Elias’ top priority next week.

Milwaukee Brewers ace Corbin Burnes, the 2021 National League Cy Young recipient, could be a potential trade target for the Orioles.

Kostka: With a surplus of infield prospects, Baltimore could search for a veteran starting pitcher still under team control via a trade. The Orioles have been a selling club throughout Elias’ tenure, even amid a surprise playoff push last year.

But the Orioles are now in position for that to shift toward adding major league talent rather than bolstering a farm system that ranks No. 1 in baseball. Henderson has established himself already in the majors, but Joey Ortiz, Connor Norby and Jordan Westburg could be enticing trade candidates for a team looking to sell a front-end starter.

Ruiz: They should be, and it actually might be more practical than being major players in free agency. Justin Verlander, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, is projected to receive a two-year deal with an average annual value of at least $35 million. Meanwhile, Milwaukee Brewers ace Corbin Burnes, the 2021 National League recipient, likely won’t necessitate that much total in his final two years of arbitration before becoming a free agent.

Acquiring Burnes or any other arbitration-eligible trade candidate would of course cost the Orioles prospects on top of that player’s salary, but they’ve built a deep farm system that can withstand losses. As Elias said at the end of the regular season, “there’s going to be times when our richness in players is going to be what we have to lean into in order to win out here.”

The Orioles' Anthony Santander came to the organization as a Rule 5 draft pickup.

Kostka: Last year, the Rule 5 draft was canceled as part of the MLB lockout. But every year since 2006, when there is a Rule 5 draft, the Orioles have selected at least one player. They haven’t all been hits, but the additions include the likes of outfielder Anthony Santander and right-hander Tyler Wells.


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There isn’t as much of a need to fill roster space with inexpensive talent as past years, but Baltimore can still add to its bullpen with a glut of hard-throwing options who have not yet shown the ability to throw strikes at a consistent enough rate to crack the major leagues.

Right-hander Steven Cruz of the Minnesota Twins fits into that mold, with a fastball that can hit triple digits. In Double-A, the 23-year-old struck out 72 batters in 56 innings, yet he had a 1.589 WHIP. Right-hander Andrew Schultz of the Philadelphia Phillies is another interesting possibility out of the bullpen, given his strong slider-fastball mix.

Ruiz: Sure. Andy offers a couple of intriguing options, and Baseball America has a wider list of fascinating players who other organizations left available (none of them are Orioles prospects). By virtue of so frequently making Rule 5 picks, Baltimore has a decent track record, but if the winter meetings end and we’re talking about a player who’s not even guaranteed to be in the organization come opening day as the Orioles’ most significant addition of the week, that will be justifiably disappointing.

How much executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias and the Orioles spend this offseason is still to be determined.

Kostka: Not fully. The Orioles are progressing, but they might still be a year away from shelling out for one of the top free agents on the market. Instead, much of the spending might come in the form of tying down several arbitration-eligible players while adding mid-level veterans to an otherwise young team.

Ruiz: No one outside the organization knows exactly how much coinage is in that jar, but it wouldn’t take much for Baltimore to bump its payroll. Including projected salaries for all of their retained players, the Orioles rank 29th of the majors’ 30 teams with a projected payroll of $44.3 million, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts. Doubling that gets them up to 22nd, less than $2 million ahead of the rebuilding Washington Nationals.

The Cleveland Guardians and Tampa Bay Rays — the type of “transactional” franchises Elias oft points to as models for what he wants to build in Baltimore — are projected to be 26th and 27th, respectively, with payrolls between $62 million and $69 million, though both playoff teams ended last year with higher figures. Given what Baltimore did last year with a meager payroll, an increase even to that range could prove enough to get the Orioles to the postseason, but that also doesn’t mean the organization shouldn’t aim higher.


Thu, 01 Dec 2022 17:59:00 -0600 en-US text/html
Killexams : From Brazilian Bum Lifts to oral hygiene concerns, Dr Jeff answers your health questions

DR JEFF FOSTER is The Sun on Sunday’s new resident doctor and is here to help YOU.

Dr Jeff, 43, splits his time between working as a GP in Leamington Spa, Warks, and running his clinic, H3 Health, which is the first of its kind in the UK to look at hormonal issues for both men and women.

Dr Jeff Foster is The Sun on Sunday’s new resident doctor and is here to help you

See and email at

Q) MY daughter wants to go to Turkey to have a Brazilian Bum Lift, and has to gain weight for a fat transfer from her torso to buttocks.

I’m terrified about this as I’ve read horror stories about this risky surgery. Is there any medical advice I can provide to make her reconsider?

Jenny Cromer, Cheshire

A) I’m not familiar with the BBL procedure but alarm bells ring if someone books a voluntary surgical procedure you cannot get in the UK.

Doctors in the UK spend many years training and have to demonstrate every five years that they’re safe to practise, and that they are appropriately trained.

These same standards apply to private and NHS providers and make the UK one of the safest places in the world to be treated.

Aside from the safety of the procedure there are risks of scarring, deformity, abscesses etc.

Your daughter needs to research where it’s being performed, and is it safe?

What happens if it goes wrong or she is unhappy with it? A surgical mistake could be very costly.

Q) I HAVE always had bad breath and a bad taste in my mouth.

I have good oral hygiene, I’ve been to the dentist and hygienist and don’t eat any particularly smelly foods.

Could there be a medical reason?

Jarret Reade Orpington, Kent

A) Bad breath can be triggered by minor changes in lifestyle.
While it is important to check teeth and gums, oral hygiene is not the only cause.

Other triggers can be the food we eat – for example, garlic, onions – or having a dry mouth, smoking and alcohol consumption.

Less common causes include high-protein crash diets that cause the body to break down fat stores and release ketones, which can provide the breath a strange smell.

Nasal conditions such as post-nasal drip or sinusitis can cause bad breath, and it can also affect people with foreign bodies up their nose.

Lung conditions such as chronic bronchitis can affect breath.
Although acid reflux is thought to be a common cause of bad breath, there is not a lot of evidence. But some patients Improve with changes in diet and antacid medication.

Finally, poorly controlled diabetes or kidney disease can be another cause, as can some medications.

Potential explanations of bad breath are wide-spread. So speak to a doctor to identify and treat the underlying problem.

Sat, 26 Nov 2022 04:24:00 -0600 en-gb text/html
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