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Liberty Broadband to merge with GCI Liberty – RCR Wireless News

Two Liberty companies are being rolled into one, bringing together the parent company of Alaskan telecom company GCI and Liberty Broadband, which holds a 25% stake in cable provider Charter Communications.

The stock-for-stock transaction will combine the two companies and values GCI Liberty at $8.7 billion; it is expected to close in the first half of 2021. As reported by MultiChannel News, the two companies are investment vehicles of billionaire and cable cowboy John Malone, who serves as chairman of the board of both companies. The transaction will simplify and reduce the costs of operating and administration as public companies, although the companies also noted that a potential benefit is [improved]flexibility for future strategic combinations.

Liberty Broadbands primary asset is its 25% stake in Charter and subsidiary Skyhook. GCI Libertys principal assets consist of GCI Holdings and non-controlling interests in Liberty Broadband, Charter Communications and LendingTree.

Greg Maffei, Liberty Broadband and GCI Liberty President and CEO, said the transaction is financially attractive and beneficial for both companies.

In related news, GCI Liberty reported its quarterly results and saw a 5% increase in revenue, including 6% year-over-year growth in wireless consumer revenues and a 10% jump in data service revenues, offset by falling voice and video revenues. GCI said that it has seen a substantial increase in network traffic since early March, with utilization stabilizing at approximately 25% greater than pre-COVID-19 levels and that its network continues to perform well. GCI began turning up 5G service in April and in June, began a 5G roaming relationship with T-Mobile US.

GCI continued to make substantial financial and operational progress during the quarter, said GCI CEO Ron Duncan in a statement. Despite the challenges of serving our customers in the midst of a pandemic, we added 3,700 consumer cable modem customers during the quarter. Our consumers responded to 5G service, faster speeds and improved coverage from our wireless network upgrades and we added 3,500 new consumer wireless subscribers sequentially.

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Liberty Broadband to merge with GCI Liberty - RCR Wireless News

Falwell on leave from Liberty presidency – Inside Higher Ed

The Executive Committee of Liberty Universitys Board of Trustees announced Friday that it "requested that Jerry Falwell Jr. take an indefinite leave of absence from his roles as president and chancellor of Liberty University, to which he has agreed, effective immediately."

The statement from the board said little more than that. But the board acted amid a growing scandal over a photograph that Falwell posted on his social media accounts and then removed.

The photograph showed him on vacation with his pants unzipped, holding a drink, and with his arm around a woman.

Late Friday, Jerry Prevo, chairman of the board, issued this statement: "In the 13 years that Jerry Falwell, Jr. has served as president of Liberty University, Liberty has experienced unprecedented success, not only academically and financially, with a world-class campus, but also spiritually. As we enter our 50th Anniversary year, we have been blessed to grow to a record 120,000 students, both residential and online, and continue to fulfill our founders mission to train champions for Christ across the world. Unfortunately, with this success and the burdens of leading a large and growing organization comes substantial pressure. Today, my colleagues and I on the Liberty University Board of Trustees and Jerry mutually agreed that it would be good for him to take an indefinite leave of absence. This was a decision that was not made lightly, and which factored the interests and concerns of everyone in the LU community, including students, parents, alumni, faculty, staff, leaders of the church, as well as the Falwell family. To support Jerry through this period, we ask that our entire community lift him up in prayer so he may be able to fulfill Gods purpose for him and for Liberty University."

A top Republican in the House of Representatives called for Falwell to leave his position.

Representative Mark Walker, the vice chair of the House Republican Conference and a former Liberty faculty member, said on Twitter, "Jerry Falwell Jrs ongoing behavior is appalling. As a Music Faculty Advisory Board Member and former instructor @LibertyU, Im convinced Falwell should step down. None of us are perfect, but students, faculty, alumni and @LUPraise deserve better."

In a radio interview (before Walker's comment), Falwell said the photo was taken at a costume party and was just in good fun.

Falwell has recently been involved a series of controversies -- while receiving praise from some Republicans for his close ties to President Trump.

In May, at least four black faculty and staff members at Liberty resigned in protest after Falwell tweeted an image of a face mask with a picture from Virginia governor Ralph Northams medical school yearbook that shows two men, one of whom may be Northam, wearing blackface and Ku Klux Klan robes, respectively. Falwell's comment: "If I am ordered to wear a mask, I will reluctantly comply, but only if this picture of Governor Blackface himself is on it!"

Last year, a dozen faculty members at Liberty's Rawlings School of Divinity learned they would not have their contracts renewed, representing significant cuts to the on-the-ground instructional work force of the Christian university in Lynchburg, Va.

At the beginning of President Trump's term in office, Falwell said he would be leading a White House task force on higher education. But no task force emerged.

Falwell is arguably the best known leader of an evangelical college, but has not always acted with them. Liberty is not a member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities. The CCCU has worked against the Trump administration's positions on immigration.

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Falwell on leave from Liberty presidency - Inside Higher Ed

North Liberty police move into new $5.7 million home – The Gazette

Background

NORTH LIBERTY In April 2019, the city of North Liberty broke ground at the corner of Cherry and Main streets on a new station for the citys growing police department.

Police Chief Diane Venenga earlier told The Gazette that the department had completely outgrown its station at nearby 5 E. Cherry St., where it had been operating out of for about eight years.

That building wasnt actually designed to hold a police department. It was a farmhouse converted into a dental office that in turn served as city hall.

After the groundbreaking last year, officials told The Gazette the roughly $5.7 million police station would be finished by April 2020.

Like so many other projects, police stations are not immune to the impact of COVID-19.

The police department just started moving into the new station this past week, Venenga said.

We were on schedule to finish in April, then COVID hit and really delayed things, City Administrator Ryan Heiar said. Between contractors having to split shifts and reduce on-site employees to delays in shipping, the project really slowed down.

There are a few items left to complete, but a temporary occupancy has been obtained and police now are operating out of their first building actually designed to house a police department.

It feels great to be in the new facility, Venenga said. Its nice to have space to move around. And its also nice to have space that we can put everything in and be organized and just make it an efficient operation since it was designed for a police station.

Venenga previously told The Gazette that evidence was stored in a furnace room and meetings were held in the hallway at their previous station.

The new 16,000-foot facility addresses those issues, Venenga said. She lauded a training room that can host up to 50 people and can also be used as a public meeting room, as well as the laundry area and locker room. She said officers are already using the buildings workout area.

The building features a secure detention area where officers can safely detain suspects before transporting them to jail. A sally port will allow officers to secure and process vehicles. The new station also has its own forensics lab, which will cut down the amount of evidence the department sends to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation crime lab.

We have room to grow in this facility up to 40 officers, Venenga said.

The department currently employs 24 sworn officers and two support staff members.

Moving into a facility big enough and designed for a police department is definitely a morale boost, Venenga said.

The officers are excited to come to work and use the facility, Venenga said, noting officers have an easier time doing things like entering evidence into a computer. Its quick and easy for them to take care of what they need to take care of.

The police station is part of what city leaders ultimately envision as a civic campus. Heiar said the nearby fire station was just repainted and new doors have been ordered.

These aesthetic and functional improvements will match the colors of the new police station and further enhance the whole civic campus concept, he said.

Heiar expects the City Council to discuss a new City Hall later this year.

Comments: (319) 339-3155; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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North Liberty police move into new $5.7 million home - The Gazette

New York Liberty beat the Washington Mystics 74-66 – Aug 9, 2020 – Sports Are From Venus

The New York Liberty have beat the Washington Mystics 74-66 from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The win is the Libertys first of the season, after starting the bubble season, 0-5. The Mystics fall to 3-3 this season. The win was head coach Walt Hopkins first as the New York Liberty head coach.

The Liberty were led by three players in double digits, center, Amanda Zahui B with, 14 points, guard Layisha Clarendon with 14 and guard Kia Nurse with 17. The win was punctuated by a late block by Zahui B on Messeman, for her 100thcareer block, also leading to some words between Mystics guard Hines Allen and Zahui B. About the words Zahui B, shed some light on what was said, They were just talking. and my teammates told me to just stay poised.

All this comes after a team meeting, trying to right the ship yesterday, after the 30 point loss for the Liberty at the hands of the Minnesota Lynx. Coach Walt Hopkins detailed the meeting saying that the entire team put all their emotions about being in the bubble out, and talked about their daily things that were in their control, whats your controllable todayeverybody controlled their controllable today.

Washington struggled only shooting 4 of 16 from beyond the arch, which Clarendon chalked up the defensive scheming by the Liberty. While the Liberty shot 12-32, good for 37.5% from three point range.

The New York Liberty are back in action on August 9thwhen they face the Las Vegas Aces. The Washington Mystics are back in action on August 9thagainst the Indiana Fever.

For more thoughts and opinions from Max, check out hisauthor page.

Image Source: Getty Images

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New York Liberty beat the Washington Mystics 74-66 - Aug 9, 2020 - Sports Are From Venus

Liberty has 3 open dates on the 2020 schedule, here are a few rescheduling options – A Sea of Red

With every passing day and week, we get more and more football news from the various conferences and schools around the country. These ripple affects spread far and wide and many of them ultimately reach Liberty.

Just this past week the Flames were confirmed for the 3 ACC plus one games that were originally scheduled against Virginia Tech, Syracuse, and NC State. Liberty also lost two games this week as UConn canceled its season and the Mid American Conference did the same forcing the Flames to lose a scheduled game against Bowling Green.

As we enter a new week and Liberty returning to the practice field on Monday, the Flames currently have 9 games scheduled for the 2020 season with openings on Sept. 5, Sept. 12, Oct. 3, and Oct. 31.

Its likely Liberty will elect to keep the Sept. 5 date open and not attempt to schedule a game that weekend as most schools and conferences are starting no earlier than Sept. 12.

Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze just said Friday the Flames are looking to open the season on Sept. 12 against an FCS opponent yet to be determined. Its also likely the Flames will only look to schedule at most two games to get to 11 games on the schedule to keep at least one date open throughout the fall.

Heres a look at teams across the country, with a special focus placed on teams within driving distance of Lynchburg, who have openings on the same dates as Liberty.

With the NCAAs decision to allow FBS opponents to count up to 2 wins over FCS opponents towards bowl eligibility this season, Libertys desire is obviously to play 2 FCS teams in 2020. Western Carolina, as of now, is still scheduled to visit Lynchburg in November, and the Flames would like to add a home opener on Sept. 12 against an FCS opponent.

Elon is still attempting to play this fall despite the CAA and James Madison pushing their season to the spring. The Phoenix are expected to hit the practice field again on Monday. Could we see Elon added as Libertys season opener or will the Phoenix make the same decision as the Dukes and punt on a fall season?

The Big South is one of a small minority of FCS conferences that are still working towards a fall football season. Gardner-Webb, Kennesaw State, and Monmouth could all play on Sept. 12 without making any additional changes to their schedules.

Robert Morrisis still attempting to put together a full 2020 schedule and they were supposed to play at Bowling Green on Sept. 12 until the MACs decision this weekend.

Like the Big South, the Southern Conference is still planning on a fall season and Chattanooga, ETSU, and Samford could all play on Sept. 12.

If Liberty is unable to finalize a deal with an FCS team and options continuing to dwindle, the Flames could look to a number of FBS teams nearby with openings on Sept. 12 Navy, Charlotte, Old Dominion, Marshall, Coastal Carolina, and Appalachian State are all available that weekend.

Army has just 5 games on their schedule right now and they are open on October 3rd.

In addition to Sept. 12, Old Dominion is also available this weekend as they lost a game at UConn. Lynchburg is much closer than the trip to the northeast anyways.

Similarly, Appalachian State is also open on Oct. 3.

FBS Independents Army and BYU are both available on Halloween.

Middle Tennessee Stateis open this weekend as well.

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Liberty has 3 open dates on the 2020 schedule, here are a few rescheduling options - A Sea of Red

Local View: Wearing a mask is an expression of liberty – The Columbian

Gov. Jay Inslees statewide mask order that took effect June 26 has its fair share of detractors. For many, the requirement to wear a face mask in public as a preventative act against the COVID-19 pandemic is inconvenient and disruptive to daily routines. However, those claiming personal liberty as justification for ignoring or defying social distancing and face mask protocols only acknowledge half of what liberty means. This half acknowledgment can and will hurt their own case in the long run.

The COVID-19 response at both the state and federal levels is commonly framed as a public welfare vs. liberty argument by both sides of the mask debate. One side argues that requiring face mask use promotes the public welfare through preventing disease transmission in public spaces, while the other side argues that such requirements impinge on individual liberties, especially if fines or other punishments are levied against those refusing to wear a mask.

The arguments used by those opposing mandatory mask orders relies almost exclusively on an expression of short-term negative liberty, when an understanding of governments role in promoting positive liberty through collective coordinated action is necessary to best address the pandemic and reopen our communities sooner.

The difference between negative and positive liberty is most succinctly understood as a difference between freedom from and freedom to.

Negative liberty is often expressed as an individuals freedom from government constraint. The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, which prevents governmental interference in religious practices, is a clear example of a negative liberty. Positive liberty involves freedom to do something or the ability to make autonomous decisions about how ones life goes.

Rather than refraining from action, this view of freedom might require government to provide resources or act in other ways to solve problems involving public coordination. Public education is one such example of positive liberty, upholding the view that all members of society should be free to pursue education and to be free from the ill-effects of ignorance.

The two sides of liberty come in conflict on a regular basis, and in some cases negative liberties are suspended without any concern. Imagine a police officer taking the car keys from someone under the influence of alcohol before they have a chance to get behind the wheel. That individual might claim they have been deprived of a liberty to drive when they pleased. However, by infringing on that individuals immediate negative liberty, the officer protects the more important freedom we all have to drive safely on the road without fear of drunk drivers.

A similar argument can be made with regard to the statewide mask order in Washington. Requiring individuals to wear a face mask under penalty of fines does deprive them of a negative liberty, but it strengthens a greater liberty which can only be protected through coordinated public action; it creates conditions by which we can all safely access social services and businesses. Furthermore, any effect on negative liberty can and should be temporary provided widespread mask use is maintained until COVID-19 is brought under control.

It is fine to express annoyance and frustration at a statewide mask order, but choosing to defy such requirements based on a liberty-based argument ignores the long-term welfare and liberty harm that may be done. In situations such as the state response to COVID-19, wearing a mask in public spaces is an expression of liberty. It shows that we want freedom to access our communities and economy, and that we want freedom from disease.

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Local View: Wearing a mask is an expression of liberty - The Columbian

Liberty football notes: Quarterbacks Willis, Ferguson splitting reps at first team, and more – Lynchburg News and Advance

Quarterback Chris Ferguson prepares to unleash a pass Friday during the opening of Liberty's training camp.

Malik Willis looks for an open wide receiver during Friday's opening of training camp at Liberty's indoor football practice facility.

Johnathan Bennett goes back to deliver a pass during Friday's opening practice of training camp in Liberty's indoor football practice facility.

Hugh Freeze inherited a potent Liberty offense in 2019 that featured a three-year starter at quarterback in Buckshot Calvert. The signal caller was entrenched at the position, which didnt create much competition at all in training camp.

Calverts graduation following his illustrious career opened up competition at quarterback, which Freeze and his staff will take full advantage of during this training camp.

Malik Willis and Chris Ferguson are alternating reps with the No. 1 offensive unit in the first seven practices to give Freeze plenty of chances to see who will seize control of the position heading into the Sept. 12 season opener.

Johnathan Bennett ran with the third string in Fridays first practice, and Freeze said the redshirt freshman will have opportunities to get additional reps with the second string throughout camp.

Im really excited about the competition we have there. Just in Day 1 today, I thought it was very competitive, Freeze said after Fridays practice. Malik and Chris and JB all looked pretty, pretty good. I love competition in the rooms. Thats why we brought in the ones we did, and Im just excited to see it play out. I think weve got really good options there from one day of practice, but really excited about the competition there.

Willis, an Auburn transfer, entered training camp as the expected starter, and Ferguson, who transferred from Maine this past offseason, was a close second on the depth chart.

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Liberty football notes: Quarterbacks Willis, Ferguson splitting reps at first team, and more - Lynchburg News and Advance

Judge Stephen Williams On Forced Public Confessions – Cato Institute

Roger Pilon has already paid tribute in these columns to D.C. Circuit Judge Stephen F. Williams (19362020), arevered friend and inspirational figure to many of us here at Cato, and agiant of administrative law whose scholarly and writing interests extended to such farflung fields as preRevolutionary Russian history. Some other appreciations: Fredrick Kunkle/Washington Post, Jonathan Adler first and second, Ben Wittes (friendship began after Wittes wrote something unfair about the judge, who characteristically overlooked it), Aaron Nielson (noting that Williams was famous for the regularity with which his clerks went on to become respected legal academics), Notice and Comment multiple authors, Nathaniel Zelinsky.

In his post linked above Aaron Nielson hails Judge Williams as a man of courage who was not afraid to speak out to what he perceived as threats to liberty. Nielson cites Williamss2016 opinion in alabor relations case, HTH v. NLRB, which hinged in part on the circumstances under which the National Labor Relations Board can order managers of acompany that has violated labor law to read aloud to workers the terms of anotice drafted by the Board, reciting past violations and promising to sin no more. Williams cited the words of thenJudge Ruth Bader Ginsburg in an earlier (1983) D.C. Circuit case, Conair v. NLRB, objecting to apersonalized order requiring anamed executive to read such anotice (I would not single out the president [of the company] here, or any other named individual, hand him lines, and make him sing.) Alas, Ginsburgs view did not prevail in that case, and her words came in adissent. In the 2016 case, which raised similar issues, Williams wrote:

Its worth pausing to think briefly why so many of our distinguished predecessors have used the terms humiliating and degrading, ignominy, and confession of sins for amandatory readingespecially by anamed perpetratornot to mention why thenJudge Ginsburg acknowledged that an order of this sort would occasion no surprise in asystem in which those who offend against state regulation must confess and repent as ameans of selfcorrection, or to educate others. Id. at 1401. For those familiar with 20th century history, such an order conjures up the system of criticismselfcriticism devised by Stalin and adopted by Mao. Criticism generally took the form of an attack on the target by his or her peers at ameeting with fellow workers, spouting claims fed them by powerful members of the Communist party (on pain of themselves being tagged enemies of the people), and then regurgitated by the target (selfcriticism) in the hopes that full confession might avert dispatch to the gulag, torture or execution.

What is the subtext communicated by the sort of scene the Board would mandate? What is communicated to the assembled workers and the perpetrator himself? You see before you one of your managers, who normally has aresponsibility to make important choices as to your work. But who is he? Not merely is he alawbreaker, but he is apathetic creature who can be forced to spout lines some government officials have put in his mouth. He is not even aparrot, who can choose when to speak; he is apuppet who speaks on command words that he may well abominate. We have successfully turned him into apathetic semblance of ahuman being. Of course, one may say, here it is just that the mighty have fallen; he was alawbreaker. But fallen so low? Fallen to acondition that denies his autonomy? Cf. United States v. Gementera, 379F.3d 596, 611 (9th Cir. 2004) (Hawkins, J., dissenting) (saying that the sole purpose of asentence requiring aconvicted mail thief to stand outside apost office for eight hours wearing asandwich board stating, I stole mail. This is my punishment was to turn him into amodern day Hester Prynne).

Liberty was asafer thing with Judge Williams standing guard for it.

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Judge Stephen Williams On Forced Public Confessions - Cato Institute

16-year-old killed in off-road rollover crash near Liberty Park – AL.com

A 16-year-old boy was killed in a rollover crash while trail riding in south Jefferson County Thursday night.

The crash happened about 6:30 p.m. in a wooded area near the 4500 block of Old Overton Road. Birmingham and Vestavia Hills police as well as Jefferson County sheriffs deputies responded to the scene. Rocky Ridge and Vestavia Hills fire medics also were at the location.

The location is off Overton Road and Interstate 459 near Liberty Park. First responders are parked just inside the gates of Cahaba Park Church, formerly the Carraway Davie House event center.

Authorities said the teen boy and two other teens were jeep riding on a power line trail when the vehicle flipped, and the 16-year-old passenger was ejected. The other two teens were not injured but were visibly distraught at the scene, as were family members of the teens.

The crash happened in the woods and, as of 8 p.m., traffic fatality investigators were just arriving at the scene to begin the trek to the site. The crash remains under investigation by the Jefferson County Sheriffs Office.

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16-year-old killed in off-road rollover crash near Liberty Park - AL.com

Utahns speak out against masks at ‘Rally for Liberty’ in Orem and during county commissioner’s town hall – Daily Herald

A few hundred Utahns huddled around the amphitheater at the Orem City Center Park on Wednesday evening waving American flags, holding signs with slogans like Dont Mask Our Kids and COVID 1984 and, noticeably, not wearing masks or face coverings during a rally against government mask mandates.

The Rally for Liberty in Utah County featured a number of prominent speakers, including Ammon Bundy and Shawna Cox, anti-government activists who were part of an armed militia that took over an Oregon wildlife refuge in 2016, who called mask requirements unconstitutional and claimed masks are harmful to adults and children.

Bundy, clutching a microphone and wearing faded leather boots and a chocolate brown cowboy hat, told the crowd that solidarity was the way to stand up to government mandates, such as the statewide mandate for public K-12 schools this fall.

Plan on standing and uniting together, because that is what it will come down to, he said. It will come down to each one of us saying no. And then as the powers come to come and force us in whatever were saying no to, then our neighbors will come around us and defend us and defend each other. Thats exactly what happened at the Bundy Ranch, thats what must happen all over the United States and all over the country if we are to preserve liberty.

Bundy asked the crowd, which ranged from elderly couples to parents with their toddlers and infants, a question: Who has the right to rule you?

No one! shouted one woman. I do! yelled another. God! another person said.

It is not about a mask, Bundy said. It is not about a virus. It is about, whose right is it to rule? Who has the right to rule your life? Your time, your labor? Who has the right to control your body?

We are entering the greatest battle to defend individual rights that has ever been waged before, he continued. If we lose this battle, then we and our children will be plunged into the depths of darkness for many generations. This darkness will be more severe than ever before.

Salem resident Amberli Nelson, who told the rally attendees she was a mother of seven, called the statewide mask mandate for K-12 schools an unprecedented usurping and an abuse of Utah Gov. Gary Herberts executive powers, adding that she wanted to unmask the truth about masks and the many other ways the government in the state of Utah is masking the truth.

The time has come to unmask ourselves, unmask our voices, and unmask our righteous rage at the unlawful acts of tyranny that are being hurled at us daily, dressed up with official-sounding titles such as mandates, Nelson said over the cheering crowd.

Nelson said wearing masks should always and only be a choice and never an act of compulsion by mandate, calling the school mandate a social experiment to see which residents would comply with government orders.

Remember we did not hire our representatives and elected officials to protect our health, she said. We hired them to protect our liberties. Its our job to protect our health, and its still our right to choose how and when and where.

Enoch Moore, a member of Defending Utah, an organization that exposes the truth regardless of its popularity and promot(es) liberty while exposing shills and fake friends of freedom, encouraged parents to pull their kids out of public school if possible and, if unable to, to tell their kids to ignore the mask mandate.

Refuse all testing, Moore told the crowd. Refuse to get your temperature taken. Refuse to wear a mask of any kind. Refuse anything that could be classified as medical treatment (to which) they did not consent. Teach your children not to consent, because they are following the law when they dont consent. And make sure they have like-minded friends at school, because they will try to turn the children against the parents.

At the same time Bundy was telling the audience about the 2016 armed standoff against the federal government, Utah County Commissioner Bill Lee was holding a virtual town hall with residents who had questions or concerns about the school mask requirement.

Lee, who on July 15 requested the commission consider asking the governor to give the county compassionate exemption from the one-size-fits-all mask mandate in Utah Countys public schools but later withdrew his request, told a dozen town hall attendees that he nixed the request because his concerns were addressed in exemptions clarified in a health order issued by the Utah Department of Health on July 17.

I wasnt attacking necessarily the full exemption to masks, because thats not an area that was even really on the table for discussion, Lee said. Thats going to be at the governors level and with the state health department and probably some others there. I was trying to find a way in a compromise, which is the hardest position to be in. Because I can see that, you know, no masks, full masks, were both going to be really hard to play. So I was trying to find some compromise position.

Lee encouraged those who were concerned about masks in schools to reach out to their representatives and senators in the Utah State Legislature, adding that he supported local control and believed that decisions on masks should be left up to individual school districts.

Lee originally intended to hold the town hall at the Utah Valley Convention Center but announced Tuesday it would instead be held online. The commissioner attempted to organize a town hall with county superintendents on July 28, but it fell through when some school officials expressed concern.

Healthcare executives and infectious disease experts have repeatedly told state and Utah County officials that masks are an effective way of slowing the spread of COVID-19 and arent harmful for those without respiratory-related medical conditions.

Connor Richards covers government, the environment and south Utah County for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at crichards@heraldextra.com and 801-344-2599.

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Utahns speak out against masks at 'Rally for Liberty' in Orem and during county commissioner's town hall - Daily Herald

Gettysburg? The Liberty Bell? Trump Weighs R.N.C. Speech Options – The New York Times

One such venue that drew Mr. Trumps attention was Gettysburg, a wide-open national park with a built-in theme about a country divided against itself. The aides thought the setting would flatter Mr. Trump by allowing him to draw a comparison he loves: one between himself and Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Trump delivered a speech at Gettysburg during his campaign four years ago, calling it an amazing place and suggesting that the country was as divided as it had been during the Civil War. He also said that the election was rigged against him and that he planned to sue the women who had accused him of aggressive sexual advances (he never did).

A White House official said the president was leaning toward a series of speeches that could be held outdoors in different places, and a stage that would serve as the main hub of activity all week in Washington. It is also not yet clear if any of the ambitious plans will come to fruition for a convention set to start on Aug. 24.

Some aides have been pushing for Mr. Trumps own Washington hotel, just down the street from the White House, to serve as the convention week hub. But other Washington locations are currently being more seriously considered.

Conventions have gone the way of the dinosaur, said Brian Ballard, the top Republican lobbyist in Florida and a major party donor, who was one of the key fund-raisers for the convention when it was set for Jacksonville. But the acceptance speech matters more than anything else. I hope they find an iconic location. It will be unique, and make history.

Mr. Trump has also indicated both privately and publicly that he likes the idea of giving his renomination speech from the confines of the White House a move that would technically be legal but blurs the line between political candidate and public servant. Other presidents have come close to the line President Barack Obama filmed two political advertisements in 2012 from the chief of staffs office in the West Wing and Trump advisers said they were on solid legal footing if Mr. Trump spoke from the residence rather than the West Wing.

So far, however, little except an overarching theme about the forgotten men and women of America has been finalized, and Mr. Trump has been characteristically indecisive about signing off on any plans. Tim Murtaugh, the campaigns communications director, said the convention would still be a celebration of the accomplishments of President Trump on behalf of all Americans.

Aides said they were planning programming that would reflect the kinds of stories highlighted every year during the State of the Union address, featuring speakers who are regular Americans with stories to tell about how their lives were affected by opportunity zones, school choice scholarships, or other initiatives promoted by the administration.

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Gettysburg? The Liberty Bell? Trump Weighs R.N.C. Speech Options - The New York Times

Petition Calls on U. of Lynchburg to Cut Ties with Liberty U. and Falwell, Sr. – Friendly Atheist – Patheos

The University of Lynchburg, in Virginia, is home to a $22 million dorm called Westover Hall. If you go to the rooftop terrace, youll find a plaque honoring the late Christian bigot Jerry Falwell, Sr. (below).

Thats because Liberty University donated $1 million to build that residence hall (including a nearby parking lot) while allowing some Lynchburg students to use Libertys facilities.

Now a bunch of former University of Lynchburg students are calling for the school to make a clean break from Liberty and Falwell.

It wont happen. But a Change.org petition with over 800 signatures highlights the concerns:

[Newer students] did not sign up for an institution that upholds (or is perceived to uphold) the damaging ideology of Jerry Falwell Sr.. We look forward to a bright, vibrant future for the University of Lynchburg. This is a step in the right direction.

I agree with their sentiment. Falwell famously blamed 9/11 on pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. He supported school segregation in the name of God. He opposed making Martin Luther King, Jr.s birthday a national holiday. He was a moral monster whose greatest sinwas arguably raising a son whos even more despicable than him.

But again, the building is there. Its not going away. Students would have a better chance of success raising money for a second plaque that points to the Falwell one and says We oppose his bigotry. (Hell, Id donate to that.)

The Richmond Times-Dispatch, by the way, has a hilarious-slash-depressing bit of both-sides-ism in an article about this controversy:

His values do not align with what the University of Lynchburg says they want to be, said Johnathan Harris, a 2002 graduate who penned a letter to school leadership asking them to remove Falwells name from the dorms terrace. His rhetoric represented that of racism, bigotry, placism and sexism until the last day.

In a brief interview Friday, Jerry Falwell Jr., who took over the presidency of Liberty University in 2007, disputed the claims that his father was a bigot.

Theres no need for Jr.s opinion here. If youre writing about the KKK, you dont need to quote the son of a Grand Wizard saying, My daddy wasnt a racist. Jerry Falwell, Sr. was a bigot. Full stop. We dont need a second opinion from anyone.

(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to everyone for the link)

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Petition Calls on U. of Lynchburg to Cut Ties with Liberty U. and Falwell, Sr. - Friendly Atheist - Patheos

On the move: Square Caf leaving Regent Square for East Liberty – TribLIVE

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Square Caf will be serving customers in East Liberty come September.

After more than 16 years in the Regent Square section of Edgewood, the restaurant found a new home in the former location of Spoon and BRGR. It is 8,000 square feet with a rooftop deck that, with outdoor heating, can be used nearly year-round.

A few days ago the Square Caf Facebook page alluded to something happening.

Spoon and BRGR in early July announced they were closing. Square Caf owner Sherree Goldstein said when she heard about the space being available, she talked to the landlord and signed a lease.

The plan is to open in early September. They are currently painting and cleaning the space. She intends to keep all employees and hire some new ones.

Square Caf, which serves breakfast and lunch, will eventually be open for dinner and have alcohol, she said.

It was time, said Goldstein.We didnt feel very welcomed by the borough.

The issues included a dispute over outdoor seating last year. After placing tables and chairs along the sidewalk, she was told there were too many and they were too close to the sidewalk. It was resolved by the borough council, which allowed the seating to continue.

The most recent situation involved signs she placed in front of the restaurant to alert people that they can order food for pickup or delivery. They let people know Square Cafe was not only delivering meals but also offered to provide everyday essentials such as produce, milk, bread, butter and flour.

She said they received a citation from Edgewood and was treated rudely when she called the borough to discuss the citation.

We, like every other business, are just trying to survive during this pandemic, she said.

The Regent Square neighborhood includes portions of the municipalities of Pittsburgh, Edgewood, Swissvale and Wilkinsburg. Square Cafe is on the Edgewood side of South Braddock Avenue. Across the street is Swissvale, where Goldstein owns another business, My Goodness Market. She said she has the same signs there and was not cited for those.

Edgewood Borough manager Rob Zahorchak said Square Cafe received a warning letter saying the signs did not comply with the boroughs ordinance, and that it could face a possible citation.

He said the borough has rules for all businesses governing the number of signs, their size and where they are placed. Businesses are also required to apply for a sign permit, which needs approval.

In this instance, none of that happened, he said. No one asked if they could do that. She was warned to please take them down to be in compliance, like every other restaurant and business in the borough. It is my understanding that it is the placement and the type and the number of signs that violated the zoning ordinance.

He said he doesnt plan to take any other action.

Former Edgewood Borough Council President George Fuller said he hadnt heard about the citation. He said its unfortunate something couldnt be worked out.

She does a good business there and the food is good, he said. She takes care of her employees and you dont always see that from restaurant owners. Theres something to be said for that.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062, jharrop@triblive.com or via Twitter .

Categories:Edgewood | Food & Drink | Lifestyles | Local | Allegheny

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On the move: Square Caf leaving Regent Square for East Liberty - TribLIVE

GOP lawmaker calls on Falwell Jr. to resign over photo – CNN

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GOP lawmaker calls on Falwell Jr. to resign over photo - CNN

GCI Liberty, Inc. (GLIBA) Gains 40.35% in one Year: Whats Next? – The News Heater

GCI Liberty, Inc. (NASDAQ:GLIBA) went up by 1.85% from its latest closing price when compared to the 1-year high value of $82.20 and move up 1.7%, while GLIBA stocks collected 6.67% of gains with the last five trading sessions. Barron's reported on 08/07/20 that How to Invest in Lennar and Other Dual-Share Companies at a Discount

GLIBA stocks went up by 6.67% for the week, with the monthly jump of 15.15% and a quarterly performance of 30.96%, while its annual performance rate touched 40.35%. The simple moving average for the period of the last 20 days is 9.18% for GLIBA stocks with the simple moving average of 22.55% for the last 200 days.

Many brokerage firms have already submitted their reports for GLIBA stocks, with The Benchmark Company repeating the rating for GLIBA shares by setting it to Buy. The predicted price for GLIBA socks in the upcoming period according to The Benchmark Company is $82 based on the research report published on February 26, 2020.

B. Riley FBR, on the other hand, stated in their research note that they expect to see GLIBA stock at the price of $92, previously predicting the value of $89. The rating they have provided for GLIBA stocks is Buy according to the report published on January 16, 2020.

Citigroup gave Buy rating to GLIBA stocks, setting the target price at $80 in the report published on November 12, 2019.

After a stumble in the market that brought GLIBA to its low price for the period of the last 52 weeks, GCI Liberty, Inc. was able to take a rebound, for now settling with 1.73% of profit for the given period.

The stock volatility was left at 1.97%, however, within the period of a single month, the volatility rate increased by 2.17%, while the shares surge at the distance of +14.03% for the moving average in the last 20 days. In oppose to the moving average for the last 50 days, trading by +20.49% upper at the present time.

In the course of the last 5 trading sessions, GLIBA went up by +6.67%, which changed the moving average for the period of 200 days to the total of +27.06% of gains for the stock in comparison to the 20-day moving average settled at $77.10. In addition, GCI Liberty, Inc. saw 18.02% in overturn over the period of a single year with a tendency to cut further gains.

Reports are indicating that there were more than several insider trading activities at GCI Liberty, Inc. (GLIBA), starting from DUNCAN RONALD A, who sold 5,171 shares at the price of $60.66 back on May 15. After this action, Rushing now owns 156,517 shares of GCI Liberty, Inc., valued at $313,663 with the latest closing price.

DUNCAN RONALD A, the Director of GCI Liberty, Inc., sold 64,363 shares at the value of $61.03 during a trade that took place back on May 14, which means that DUNCAN RONALD A is holding 134,396 shares at the value of $3,927,954 based on the most recent closing price.

The current profitability levels are settled at -6.28 for the present operating margin and +38.34 for gross margin. The net margin for GCI Liberty, Inc. stands at +216.68. Total capital return value is set at -0.65, while invested capital returns managed to touch 23.64. Equity return holds the value 11.10%, with 5.70% for asset returns.

Based on GCI Liberty, Inc. (GLIBA), the companys capital structure generated 59.13 points for debt to equity in total, while total debt to capital is set at the value of 37.16. Total debt to assets is settled at the value of 29.91 with long-term debt to equity ratio rests at -0.36 and long-term debt to capital is 58.37.

EBITDA value lies at +73.59 M with total debt to EBITDA carrying the value of 16.88. The value for Enterprise to Sales is 11.84 with debt to enterprise value settled at 0.35. The receivables turnover for GCI Liberty, Inc. is 5.36 with the total asset turnover at the value of 0.08. The liquidity ratio also appears to be rather interesting for investors as it stands at 1.84.

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GCI Liberty, Inc. (GLIBA) Gains 40.35% in one Year: Whats Next? - The News Heater

Liberty University Poured Millions Into Sports. Now Its Black Athletes Are Leaving. – Slate

In mid-June, as the pandemic surged across the country, hundreds of students were living on Liberty Universitys campus. Tayvion Tank Land was one of them, taking a summer math class with about 10 other studentshalf of them his football teammates.

One Thursday morning, class was partway through when the instructor told one of Lands teammates that he needed a tutor. Sensing some reticence, Land said, the instructor followed up with an attempt at a joke. Dont be scared, he allegedly told the player. Im not going to pull out my whip and hit you with it.

Land and his teammate are Black, the instructor is white, and the joke came during a period of intense scrutiny of the way Black people are treated in this country, and of the unwelcoming atmosphere Black students face at Liberty in particular. In fact, Asia Todd, a top freshman on Libertys womens basketball team, had announced earlier that month that she was transferring due to the racial insensitivities shown within the leadership and culture at the school.

Land had finally had enough, too. When I talked to him recently, he told me it was that moment in class that convinced him he had no choice but to transfer. He was done with the slights and general discomfort of being a young Black man on a campus where the student body, not to mention the population of professors and senior leadership, is overwhelmingly white.

We just walked out of class, Land said of him and a few of his teammates. It was over with. He made his announcement on Twitter the following Monday, saying he wanted to transfer somewhere that respects my culture and provides a comfortable environment.

Lands departure was big news at Liberty, where a year before hed been the highest-rated football recruit to ever sign with the school. His teammate, roommate, and close friend, KeiTrel Tre Clark, who was also in the math class, decided to transfer as well, saying, due to the cultural [incompetency] within multiple levels of leadership, it does not line up with my code of ethics. On July 17, a third Black teammate announced plans to leave but didnt specify why.

Together, their public statements brought to the surface a tension that has been growing at the school, between a culture of subtlebut persistenthostility toward minorities and Liberty president Jerry Falwell Jr.s manifest desire to turn Libertys athletic program into one of the nations best, a desire that depends in large part on the recruitment of talented Black athletes.

Jerry Falwell Sr., the legendary televangelist and school founder, famously talked of building a football program on the Lynchburg, Virginia, campus that could someday compete against Notre Dame. This was when all we had was a local church and rented public school buildings. Everybody thought he was crazy, Falwell Jr. once said of his fathers early aspirations. Those dreams seemed especially improbable back then, coming only a few years after Falwell Sr. founded a K12 school in Lynchburg that the local paper called a private school for white students. But Falwell Jr. has dreamed even bigger than his father, aiming to turn one of the nations largest Christian universities into what Notre Dame is for Catholics and BYU is for Mormons: the home team for millions of believers.

Libertys football team has indeed come a long way since its inaugural season in 1973, when the Flames lost their first game to Massanutten Military Academy by 10 points. Liberty now plays in the top division of college football, the Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-A, and earned its first bowl victory in December. But to get to where Falwell Jr. wants to be, the university needs the caliber of athletesmany of them Black, like Land and Clarkthat he has increasingly alienated with his far-right activism. (Nearly half of Division I football players are Black, according to the NCAAs demographics database.)

In order for them to attract the kind of players they need to become a top Division I school, they need to go recruiting people, Black and white, who arent necessarily perfect fits for a place like Liberty, said John Fea, a historian of American religion at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Theyve gotta go beyond the megachurch youth group.

In our conversation just before his announcement, Land made it clear that football was never a problem for him at Liberty. The training facilities at the school were top notch. Hed acquitted himself well as a freshman defensive back, playing in 11 of 13 games, including five starts, and finishing with 23 tackles. He was projected to start as a sophomore. It was everything he dealt with off the field, Land said, that made it hard for him to recommend the experience to anyone else.

I cant tell them not to go, Land said of Black athletes being recruited by Liberty. As far as the football program, its great. Its on the come up. But outside of the football facilities, you will have some problems.

On May 27, annoyed at the states social distancing orders, Falwell Jr. tweeted an image of a mask emblazoned with a photo from Democratic Gov. Ralph Northams 1984 medical school yearbook of a man in Ku Klux Klan robes and another believed to be Northam in blackface. If I am ordered to wear a mask, I will reluctantly comply, only if this picture of Governor Blackface himself is on it! Falwell Jr. wrote.

Falwell Jr.s tweet made me question were they, like, against people ofcolor? Asia Todd

Asia Todd, who was wrapping up her freshman year at Liberty, called the tweet her breaking point. Todd had been an important contributor on the womens basketball team, starting 25 games and finishing fourth in scoring with 8.6 points a game. She had a bright future, confirmed by her postseason selection to the All-Freshman team in Libertys conference, the Atlantic Sun. But like Land, Todds moments of doubt about Liberty mostly came off the court. Life outside the gym could be isolating, she said. There wasnt much diversity on campus. In class, I was always one of the few Black people. That makes you feel as if you dont really fit in.

That feeling was only magnified at the schools weekly convocation services, where conservative figures regularly come to address the students. Among the featured guests in the past academic year were British politician Nigel Farage (notorious for stoking xenophobia to win support for Brexit), right-wing provocateur Charlie Kirk (who has called systemic racism a myth and white privilege a racist idea), and Donald Trump Jr. (who occasionally promotes racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on social media, among other things).

A lot of stuff they said was highly questionable and made me uncomfortableand I know I wasnt the only one, Todd said. We would be like, Did they really just say that? Still, I never really thought about transferring until the tweet, Todd said. It made me question were they, like, against people of color?

Todd wasnt alone. A handful of Black faculty and staff members resigned in protest after the tweet, including LeeQuan McLaurin, who was Libertys director of diversity retention. There was also an open letter from 35 prominent alumni, including several former football stars. Because of your callous rhetoric, we can no longer in good faith encourage students to attend our alma mater or accept athletic scholarships, read the letter, which was turned into an online petition that now has about 40,000 signatures. (I reached out to several of the football alums who signed, but none wanted to talk on the record.)

The petition wasnt the work of outside rabble-rousers. It was a desperate plea from longtime Black supporters of the school whod finally grown weary of Falwell Jr. and his lack of restraint. At least a handful of Black former Liberty football players believe that Falwell Jr.s support of Donald Trump is the reason for the schools declining Black enrollment. One Black alumnus from the 1990s told me that back then, it was way more diverse than it is now. The percentage of Blacks has absolutely plummeted over the last four years since Jerry went all-in on Trump. (McLaurin, the now former diversity retention officer, previously told Slate that the schools internal count recorded a drop in the Black residential student population from 10 percent in 2007 to just 4 percent in 2018. I reached out to Liberty several times to confirm those numbers, to speak to Falwell Jr., and to ask about Land, Todd, and others complaints about the schools atmosphere but got no response.)

The fallout from Falwell Jr.s tweet all happened against the backdrop of increasing candor among college athletes, who have been emboldened in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. Black football players at the University of Texas, Mississippi State, and Oklahoma State, among others, have participated in street protests and demanded their schools address a range of race- and racism-related issues, from admissions policies to Confederate monuments.

In the face of the growing backlash at Liberty, Falwell Jr. deleted and apologized for the tweet two weeks after sending it. He even said he would finally make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a school holiday, a 180-degree turn from his fathers sermons against King in the 1960s, not to mention his own MLK-related provocations, such as inviting Donald Trump to speak at the schools convocation on MLK Jr. Day in 2016.

The apology came too late for Todd. Two days after Falwell Jr.s mea culpa, she announced she would transfer in a one-minute video posted to her Twitter account. This decision was simply bigger than basketball, said Todd, wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt. I had to do what I felt was best within my heart and stand up for what is right.

The video went viral; it now has nearly 500,000 views. Dallas Mavericks guard Seth Curry, who left Liberty after his freshman year to finish at Duke, dropped a handshake emoji in the comments section of Todds Instagram post.

In the days after, Todd spoke with several football players and learned she likely wouldnt be the last Black athlete to leave Liberty. They want to transfer, but theyre scared to transfer, Todd told me. Whether they feel like theres not another opportunity out there or they feel like theres not enough film of them playing to attract the interest of other programs.

This should have been a moment of triumph for the Falwells, an affirmation that the familys pricey bet on sports was finally payingoff.

At that point, Land wasnt sure what he was going to do. He dutifully attended summer classes and continued with preparations for his sophomore season. Transferring in the summer wouldve been imprudent, as most college football programs have already exhausted their allotment of scholarships for the year.

But after the incident in his math class a week later, Land knew he couldnt stay. Liberty would never feel like home.

It was not just something that came up out of the blue, he told me. Its something weve been thinking about this whole time.

This should have been a moment of triumph for the Falwells, an affirmation that the familys pricey bet on sports was finally paying off.

In 2018, Falwell Jr. hired former Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze, heralding a new era at Liberty. In five years at Ole Miss, Freeze turned a longtime loser into a title contender before he was undone by allegations of NCAA violations and the revelation that he used his university-issued cellphone to call an escort service. Falwell saw an opportunity in hiring the disgraced Freeze, who prior to his exit was known as a devout Christian. Its just part of Libertys DNA to give people second, third, fourth chances, Falwell said on the day he introduced Freeze as head coach.

Freezeused to fending off powerhouses like Alabama, LSU, and Georgia for recruits in the mighty Southeastern Conferencehas paid immediate dividends on the recruiting trail. Hugh Freeze ramped it up another level, Jon Manson, a Liberty alumnus who runs the A Sea of Red blog dedicated to coverage of the schools athletic teams, told me. Each of the past two seasons were the highest-ranked classes in school history.

Freeze was also winning games. In his inaugural season, the Flames went 85, made their first bowl appearance in school history, and won. In May, receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden became Libertys first player drafted by the NFL in six years and the team had four more players sign with NFL teams, tying a record for the program. And thats just football. The mens basketball team won a school-record 30 games and a league title. The womens basketball team went 2011 and advanced to the conference championship game, which was canceled because of concerns about coronavirus.

None of this success came cheap. Liberty has spent more than $150 million on athletic facilities in the past four years, including $29 million for an indoor football field, $40 million to expand the football stadium, and $20 million for a new three-floor, 65,000-square-foot football operations center that opened in April.

Athletics is the most important thing atLiberty. Joel Schmieg, Liberty alum and former sports editor at the campus paper

You hear that from the recruits: They are just blown away by whats there, Manson told me.

That was the plan dating back to the 1970s, when the fledgling college shared facilities with a small private school and a Baptist church. For many years, it didnt seem likely that a strong athletic program could be built from that meager start, not to mention in the sort of restrictive, evangelical environment that is part of the fabric of Libertynot exactly an alluring pitch for the average 18-year-old athlete. Even Falwell Sr. admitted to the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 1993 that some spiritual cadets grow weary under the onslaught of rules. The rules put a degree of difficulty into the easy work of believing. But by the early 21st century well be formidable, he vowed.

When Falwell Sr. died in 2007, Liberty was on track to meet at least some of his ambitions. Thats when his son took over and jump-started the schools investment into athletics, understanding that the school could more quickly build up a national brand with a good football team. A crucial part of Rev. Falwells vision for making Liberty a world-class institution was having a world-class football team, Donald Trump said in his 2017 Liberty commencement address.From the most humble roots, youve become a powerhouse in both education and sports.

Athletics is the most important thing at Liberty, said Joel Schmieg, a former sports editor of the campus newspaper who graduated from Liberty in 2018. Its not stated that way. I think its pretty obvious from the campus.

In 2016, Falwell hired athletic director Ian McCaw, who had been pushed out of Baylor earlier that year following a sexual and domestic assault scandal in the football program that also resulted in the ouster of the school president and head football coach. McCaw was tainted, yes, but it was hard to argue with his results at Baylor, where he built a competitive program at the worlds largest Baptist university and raised nearly $400 million for the athletics department.

For Falwell and Liberty, that made McCaw the perfect fit to usher the move into the FBSthe most-competitive and most-lucrative level of college football. That was the moment that Liberty decided that sports was above everything, Schmieg said of McCaws hiring. I was shocked. But [any outrage] died away as quickly as it came, and its not even spoken of there now.

A few months after Liberty made the move into the FBS, the mens basketball team advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in five seasons. The game, against the higher-seeded Mississippi State, should have been a formality, an obvious mismatch for Liberty. Instead, the Flames recovered from a 10-point deficit late in the second half, pulling off an 8076 upset and clinching the first tournament win in school history.

Falwell missed the game that night; he was interviewing Alan Dershowitz for a convocation on campus. But I was there, covering the game for ESPN. I dont remember anyone mentioning McCaws past troubles or Libertys climate of intolerance or Falwell Jr.s Trump support. Liberty had won the game, and also the PR contest, becoming the little school that could.

In the summer of 2019, Tayvion Land arrived at Liberty as the best football recruit to ever sign there. And it only happened because his top choice evaporated at the last minute.

Land had been committed to Maryland for more than a year and planned to sign with the school in February. But Maryland had recently hired a new head coach who preferred bigger, stronger athletes, leaving the 5-foot-8, 166-pound Land looking for another school only a few days before national signing day.

That stuff unfortunately happens. So I was doing everything I could to touch base and found him a home at Liberty, said Joe Jones, Lands coach at Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach.

Land, who was ranked one of the top 20 recruits in talent-rich Virginia by most scouting services, was not psyched. Hed previously held scholarship offers from schools like Auburn, South Carolina, and Virginia Tech. But now he was running out of options. So he hustled to make the four-hour trip to Liberty the weekend before he had to decide.

I didnt think she had a great understanding of the political ideology that was going to beprevalent. James Todd, Asia Todds father

I thought it was a Christian school and I didnt feel like doing all of that. I didnt know anything about Lynchburg or Liberty at all, Land said. But he needed a place to play, and those facilities Falwell and McCaw pumped tens of millions of dollars into gave the program the sheen of promise. His friend Tre Clark was also going there, so it seemed like a good enough fit.

So we went and it was straight. Everything was cool, Land told me. They had some sweet facilities and all of that. In his announcement on Twitter, Land said, through much doubt and oversight, Im blessed to have found a place that has accepted ME for ME! Liberty was blessed too; the school was unaccustomed to landing a player as highly touted as Land.

While Land knew very little about Liberty before crash-landing there, Asia Todd actually chose it. Todd had a number of scholarship offers to play college basketball coming out of Clayton High School, about 20 miles outside of Raleigh, North Carolina. Before her senior year, Todd narrowed her options to a handful of midmajor programs, including Butler, Florida Gulf Coast, and Liberty.

Todd told me she felt at home on her official visit to Liberty. She felt an instant connection with the coaching staff, who made it clear she was their recruiting priority. And as the daughter of a pastor, Todd was drawn to the schools religious foundation.

I definitely felt like God did lead me to Liberty, she told me, recalling a dream in which God actually said she should sign with the school. Her father, James Todd, didnt want to interfere with her divine inspiration, but he had his reservations. He knew all about Falwell and his politics, including his unabashed support for Trumps campaign in 2016, which was divisive even among Libertys supporters.

I didnt think she had a great understanding of the political ideology that was going to be prevalent, James Todd said. So I think for her, that was a major culture shock.

It didnt take long for Asia Todd to understand her fathers concerns. She specifically recalled a convocation in September when the speakers were conservative commentator Candace Owens and her husband. Falwell and his wife, Becki, joined them onstage while Owens talked about Blexit, her proposal for Black voters to abandon their support of the Democratic Party. Her goal was to challenge Black Americans to consider what Trump actually asked of [them], Owens told the crowd. She said concerns about police officers shooting unarmed Black men were overblown and repeated a false claim that police officers were 18 and a half times more likely to be shot and killed by a Black man than the other way around. She also called modern feminism a scam.

Todd and her friendsmost of them Blacklooked around the arena that morning, taking in the scene of the overwhelmingly white audience applauding and nodding along with Owens.

I can say that my parents did warn me about some of their ideology and that it didnt align with things that they raised me and stuff they stood for, Todd said. I definitely shouldve listened. I feel like if I did know more about [Falwell] and what he stands for, I dont know if I wouldve gone there.

At the end of his freshman year, Land felt the same way. He talked of constantly feeling out of place whenever he left the football facilities. On campus and in class, Land told me, he felt the judgment of his white classmates and professors.

Id feel the energy of people staring at me the wrong way, small things like that, Land said. It was kind of shady sometimes. Most times, I stayed to myself.

By the time Land went to the coaching staff to tell them hed decided to transfer, they seemed to understand.

They didnt beg me to stay, he told me. They said, Its hard to see you go and we wish you the best.

As for Liberty, the official response to Lands announcement came in a tweet. Saddened to see you transfer, especially in the wake of totally inappropriate comments by a professor who has been terminated, the school tweeted in response to Land and Clarks announcements. (I asked Liberty for more details on the professors termination, but the school did not reply.) You will always be a part of the LU family, and we will support and pray for you wherever you are.

Todd, Land, and Clarks departures generated the sort of headlines that no school hoping to recruit top athletes wants to see. Falwells Blackface Tweet Brings Racial Dissent to Liberty University, read the New York Times. Liberty Basketball Player Asia Todd Transfers Due to Racial Insensitivity From Leadership, wrote USA Today. And Bleacher Report ran a story titled, Liberty CFBs Tayvion Land, Tre Clark to Transfer, Citing Racial Insensitivity.

For all the work and money Falwell has poured into Libertys athletic program, hes risked damaging it all with his inflammatory politics and inhospitable campus.

The headlines right now are terrible for the football program, one Black alumnus and football player from the 1990s told me. I know high school kids who have declined scholarships there.

In a moment where so many of the nations institutions are at the very least acknowledging their own failings in addressing racism and other kinds of bigotry, Liberty seems mostly unwilling or ill-equipped to do the same. It is Liberty, after all, that has a school of government named for the late Sen. Jesse Helms, a renowned segregationist and homophobe. In November, the school launched an on-campus think tank with conservative activist Charlie Kirk. The Falkirk Centera mash-up of the names Falwell and Kirkrecently posted on its Facebook page that the Black Lives Matter organization has decided to capitalize on only certain injustices to paint a narrative of systemic oppression where there isnt one. And just last week, Kirk tweeted, Hilarious to see Black NBA players who make millions a year take a knee to try and tell us black people cant succeed in America. Kick them out of the league.

This school was borne out of a culture that was systemically racist, said Fea, the Messiah University professor who has written extensively about Liberty on his website. And they wont address that because they dont even believe in it.

Its almost as if Liberty is approaching a breaking point, Manson, the Sea of Red blogger, told me. Either theyre going to break through and explode onto the national scene in an even bigger way athletically. Or Jerry Falwell Jr., and the publicity that he brings, could send it the opposite direction.

On July 6, Land announced that he planned to transfer to Norfolk State, a smaller, historically Black university much closer to his family in Virginia Beach. It wasnt a surprise, as Land hinted for weeks that he would choose a Black college this time around. My choice is to be surrounded by people with similar backgrounds and cultural experiences, he explained in his statement on Twitter.

Todd decided to transfer to Central Florida, where she plans to sit out a year and retain three years of eligibility. UCF is a diverse institution, she told me. And the coaching staff, they were culturally competent. I felt like it was a place where I could thrive, and not just on the floor.

Listen to Joel discuss this article on Slates sports podcast, Hang Up and Listen, below, or subscribe to the show onApple Podcasts,Overcast,Spotify,Stitcher,Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Liberty University Poured Millions Into Sports. Now Its Black Athletes Are Leaving. - Slate

What Sabrina Ionescu’s injury means for her rookie season and the New York Liberty – ESPN

Aug 3, 2020

Mechelle VoepelESPN.com

New York Liberty coach Walt Hopkins didn't mince words about guard Sabrina Ionescu's ankle injury, regardless of how long she might be out: "It's a massive loss."

In the Liberty's game Friday against the Atlanta Dream, Ionescu rolled her left ankle when she stepped on opponent Betnijah Laney's foot while bringing the ball up the court. ESPN's Holly Rowe has reported the injury as a Grade 3 sprain, which might put the rest of Ionescu's rookie season in jeopardy, especially a shortened season -- 22 games -- because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We're still playing it by ear," Hopkins said Sunday. "She's gotta get some more in-depth work on it, and then we'll have a better answer."

Although we don't yet know specific details of Ionescu's injury, we can take a look at how similar injuries typically impact elite athletes and what might be next for the Liberty.

The Liberty have not yet confirmed the severity of the injury. ESPN injury analyst Stephania Bell, speaking in general terms without specific information on Ionescu's case, said it isn't uncommon in a circumstance such as this for the evaluation process to be ongoing.

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If it is indeed a Grade 3, that's the most serious type of ankle sprain, marked by severe swelling and instability of the joint. It indicates that a ligament has been torn.

"We talk about a Grade 3 being a complete tear," Bell said. "But it is also true that there could still be some portion of the ligament that's involved that's still attached. But it's essentially a stability assessment. So from a functional aspect, it can be like a complete tear, even if some segments are still intact."

Bell said possible cartilage damage and bone bruising also have to be evaluated.

"Those things will all factor into the equation of how quickly someone can progress, as far as weight-bearing and what the healing parameters look like," Bell said.

That depends in part on the severity of the injury -- Rowe reported that it was initially thought that Ionescu will not need surgery -- and in part on how different individuals heal. Bell said the general range for recovery of a Grade 3 sprain is several weeks to several months.

The WNBA's regular season concludes Sept. 12, followed by the playoffs. At this point, the 0-4 Liberty, in a rebuilding year and with seven rookies on the 12-player roster, are not expected to be a postseason team. As such, it's likely that there are six weeks left of their season.

"The danger in saying, 'Oh, it's always at least this long,'" Bell said of the recovery timeline, "is then for somebody, it's not that long or it's not as bad as they thought. In Sabrina's case, she's such an incredible athlete, and she really hasn't been hurt in her college career. If she rehabs anything like the way she plays, that could factor in to how quickly she could come back."

As of Sunday, Ionescu had not addressed the media about her injury. But she spoke briefly to Rowe before Sunday's game and expressed hope for the best for her prognosis and the desire to support her team from the bench.

Ionescu missed four games her freshman season at Oregon because of a thumb injury. She did not miss any games her sophomore, junior and senior seasons.

Even if Ionescu is able to heal quickly enough to try to be back on the court before the season ends, the Liberty would have to evaluate if that is even prudent.

Hopkins said Sunday that it's too early to say what the next steps will be.

"We will provide the best care for Sabrina," Liberty/Nets owner Joseph Tsai tweeted on Saturday. "She will come back stronger."

Bell points out that the Liberty and Nets are affiliated with the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York, a renowned orthopedic facility, and associate Nets team physician Martin O'Malley of HSS is considered one of the nation's top ankle and foot specialists. He operated on Kevin Durant's Achilles injury last year.

"Sabrina will have access to some excellent people," Bell said, "who not only understand how to get a competitive athlete back but are very accustomed to dealing with these types of injuries."

Ionescu is on crutches and in a protective boot. The first goal is to control the swelling and protect the joint before she beings working on getting range of motion back. There is also work to be done on strengthening lateral muscles that support the outside of the ankle joint.

"You really want to train those, not only to make sure you've got the strength there, but the reactivity," Bell said. "Your biggest worry after a sprain like this is a reoccurrence of this type of injury. You don't want it to become a chronic ankle instability issue. You don't overdue the activity too much too soon.

"There's also neuromuscular coordination training as a part of the higher-level rehab. That's training the reactivity. If you're thrown off-balance, does your nervous system pick up on that and kick those muscles into gear to try to prevent you from rolling over? Because those little joint receptors can also get damaged with this kind of injury. It's essentially coordination and reaction timing and then ultimately integrating it into sports-specific activities."

New York lost 96-67 to the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday. With such a young roster, the Liberty were picked to finish last with a healthy Ionescu. Without her, things are even more difficult for New York.

After a tough shooting performance -- 12 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists -- in the Liberty's opener on July 25 against the Seattle Storm, Ionescu had 33 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists in her second game four days later against the Dallas Wings. She had 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting before she suffered the injury against Atlanta.

"There's not a lot of time to adjust X's-and-O's-wise when someone gets hurt," said guard Layshia Clarendon, the Liberty's most experienced player, who is in her eighth season. "Then emotionally, Sabrina just brings a tenacity to her and a fire and the competitiveness that you could really tell we were missing, especially toward the end of [Sunday's] game."

The Mercury outscored New York 34-11 in the fourth period.

"We just kind of lost our fight and quit," Clarendon said. "It was embarrassing to see and something we just addressed in the locker room. That's a character thing that we're continuing to grow in."

Clarendon was limited to nine games last season while with Connecticut, as she stepped on a teammate's foot and suffered an ankle injury that required surgery. She knows what Ionescu is going through.

"I gave her a really big hug. There's not a lot of words," Clarendon said. "I told her at least it was this year, when it was a rebuilding year."

Again, no one has said officially how long Ionescu will be out, but Clarendon seems to think she might not be back for 2020.

"She got a taste of what it was like to play in this league," Clarendon said. "Now she can just really have a good, healthy offseason and get prepared for next season."

Short answer: everybody. Specifically, more weight is on guards Clarendon, Kia Nurse, a third-year player out UConn, and Jazmine Jones, a rookie from Louisville.

New York isn't without only Ionescu. The Liberty are also missing guard Asia Durr, the No. 2 overall pick last year who is medically exempt this season after being ill because of COVID-19.

Clarendon and Nurse started Sunday and combined for 29 points and five assists. Jones came off the bench for 3 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.

"Not one person is going to be able to do everything that Sab has done for us," Nurse said. "Really, everybody has to step up just a little bit more, especially us on the perimeter who have the ball in our hands a lot."

But the Liberty's other five rookies -- forwards Joyner Holmes, Kylee Shook, Leaonna Odom and Megan Walker and forward/guard Jocelyn Willoughby -- can be an important part of the team's future as well as its present. Willoughby is averaging the most points of that group so far, at 7.0.

"After the first week of training camp, I had a meeting with all the younger players," Hopkins said. "And we talked about how special this opportunity is. Very few rookies get to come into the league and play significant minutes and have an impact and play through mistakes.

"You don't see it very often. We have literally all of them playing significant minutes and in important points in the game. And that's not gonna change. There's gonna be even more of that now."

In 2007, the Minnesota Lynx's Lindsey Harding had her first season cut short on July 10 because of an ACL injury she suffered in a game at Washington. She was limited to 20 games, the fewest that a No. 1 pick has appeared in since the WNBA launched in 1997. No other top pick has appeared in fewer than 27 games as rookie. Harding averaged 30.1 minutes in her 20 games.

Charlotte's Janel McCarville, the top pick in 2005, was slowed by a back injury as a rookie. She played in 28 games but averaged just 11.1 minutes. Cleveland's Ann Wauters (19.3 MPG in 2000) was the only other top pick to average fewer than 21 minutes as a WNBA rookie.

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What Sabrina Ionescu's injury means for her rookie season and the New York Liberty - ESPN

PHOTOS: The Diamond Horseshoe Converts Into Overflow Seating for Liberty Tree Tavern at the Magic Kingdom – wdwnt.com

The Diamond Horseshoe in the Magic Kingdom has remained closed since the park reopened, while its neighbor, Liberty Tree Tavern, continues operating. In order to create more social distancing, Disney has converted The Diamond Horseshoe into overflow seating for Liberty Tree Tavern.

Instead of running The Diamond Horseshoe itself at full capacity and with a full kitchen, it has a sparse team of Cast Members.

The check-in counter is protected by a Plexiglass window for when the restaurant does eventually open.

Half the tables are unavailable, to create social distancing.

As usual, the second floor is unavailable.

There is also some hand sanitizer by the exit.

Dont forget to read our full overview of the socially-distanced dining experience at Liberty Tree Tavern. Do you miss The Diamond Horseshoe?

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PHOTOS: The Diamond Horseshoe Converts Into Overflow Seating for Liberty Tree Tavern at the Magic Kingdom - wdwnt.com

Carleton, Brown have career nights, Lynx beat Liberty 92-66 – KARE11.com

BRADENTON, Fla. Bridget Carleton scored a career-high 25 points, Lexie Brown had a season-high 15 points and career-best seven steals, and the Minnesota Lynx beat the New York Liberty 93-66 on Wednesday night.

Minnesota won without Sylvia Fowles, who sat out to rest her calf. The Lynx were also missing Shenise Johnson to an injury.

Brown was making her first appearance since suffering a concussion.

Amanda Zahui B. led New York (0-5) with 13 points. The Liberty announced earlier in the day that Sabrina Ionescu had gone to New York to get her ankle injury evaluated.

The Lynx (4-1) shot 51% percent from the field and hit 10 of 21 from 3-point range. They held the Liberty without a field goal for nearly nine minutes during a 20-1 third-quarter run that turned Minnesota's two-point halftime deficit into a 24-point lead when Carleton made a basket with 1:33 left in the period.

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Carleton, Brown have career nights, Lynx beat Liberty 92-66 - KARE11.com

Liberty secures two more wide receiver commitments – Lynchburg News and Advance

Liberty enjoyed a stellar recruiting day Wednesday with the addition of two more three-star wide receiver prospects.

Bobby Ezzard announced his commitment Wednesday afternoon to become the 16th verbal commit in the 2021 recruiting class, and DaQon Stewart followed suit early in the evening and is expected to enroll in time for the fall semester.

Ezzard, a 6-foot-1, 178-pound recruit, is rated three stars by Rivals and chose Liberty over reported offers from Kentucky and Appalachian State. He is a rising senior at North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee, Georgia, and joins fellow three-star wide receiver prospects Corey Barnes and Gamarion Carter from Georgia.

Ezzard is the sixth commitment in the recruiting class from Georgia.

Stewart boasts a three-star rating according to 247Sports composite rankings. The 6-foot, 195-pound prospect recently graduated from North Mecklenburg High School in Huntersville, North Carolina, and chose Liberty over offers from South Carolina, Penn State, Syracuse, West Virginia, Georgia Tech, Coastal Carolina and others.

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Liberty secures two more wide receiver commitments - Lynchburg News and Advance


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