Ducks re-sign restricted free agents Kalle Kossila, Kevin Roy and Andy Welinski

The Ducks re-signed restricted free agents Kalle Kossila, Kevin Roy and Andy Welinski to one-year, two-way contracts Tuesday. Kossila, Roy and Welinski spent most of the 2017-18 season with the San Diego Gulls, the Ducks’ American Hockey League team.

Kossila, a center, will make $650,000 in the NHL and $125,000 in the AHL, according to a league source. Roy, a left wing, will make $874,000 in the NHL and $70,000 in the AHL. Welinski, a defenseman, will make $690,000 in the NHL and $125,000 in the AHL.

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Kossila had career highs of 21 goals and 54 points in 55 games for San Diego last season, leading the Gulls in goals and points. He also had one goal and two points in 10 games for the Ducks. The 25-year-old native of Finland signed with the Ducks on March 30, 2016, out of St. Cloud State.

Roy, 25, scored 14 goals and 37 points in 45 games with the Gulls and had six goals and seven points in 25 games with the Ducks last season. Welinski, 25, scored 10 goals and 34 points in 51 games with San Diego and had two assists in seven games with the Ducks.

Restricted free agents Ondrej Kase, Brandon Montour and Nick Ritchie remained unsigned. Montour, a 24-year-old defenseman who had 9 goals and 32 points in his first full season in the NHL in 2017-18, has filed for salary arbitration and his hearing was scheduled for next Tuesday.

18.07.2018 / by / in
Moulton Niguel to move forward on new construction at district facility despite neighbors’ protests

Despite backlash from concerned neighbors, Moulton Niguel Water District on Friday, July 13 agreed to move forward with its projected $32 million plan to construct an operations center and site consolidation project at the district’s current location at La Paz Road in Laguna Niguel.

As part of the district’s $300 million, long-range financial plan, this project is a multi-structure overhaul of the 50-year-old, 10-acre site.

The Moulton Niguel Water District provides water, recycled water and wastewater treatment services to more than 170,000 south Orange County residents — from Mission Viejo to Dana Point — and has only had minor improvements since its mid-1960s inception when the facility was initially built as a wastewater treatment plant.

Yet plans for improvement have been stalled for almost two years largely due to stakeholder concerns — costing the district an additional $5 million, director of engineering at environmental consulting firm LSA Associates, Inc. Rod Woods said.

Residents cite concerns such as light pollution, noise, view impacts, increased traffic and the removal of grass, fields and ponds that were once home to many animals. Residents are also questioning the validity of environmental analyses used to approve the project.

“Do we do the project? Or do we not do the project? We believe we’ve gotten past that,” said Joone Lopez, general manager at the water district. “The conversation really centers around what can we do to make the experience and the aesthetics and just everything better.”

The item discussed Friday was the approval of an Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration to satisfy the environmental analysis for the proposed operations center, which the board unanimously approved despite half of the 30 attendees speaking against the action.

Fourteen residents spoke in five-minute intervals at the meeting. Two were in favor of the resolution; one, 30-year Laguna Hills resident Lynn Hughes, noted how impressed she has been with the district’s sincerity throughout the process and deemed it to be a good neighbor.

Others told stories of loud, midnight-hour bangs that interrupted their sleep and persisted throughout the workday, essentially “evicting them from their own backyards.” Others noted rising air conditioning bills as a result of having to close their windows due to unsettled dust from the mostly asphalt worksite.

“Our ask today is that you do not approve this document,” said attorney Kevin Johnson, representing Ridgefield Homeowners Association, a neighbor to the La Paz Road site.

He called the sound levels posited within the project’s construction plan — 80 decibels, six days a week, excluding Sunday, for 18 months — “simply unacceptable” and essentially “functional constructive eviction” before moving on to an account of the site’s “remarkable history of contamination” from past gasoline leaks.

Johnson presented an email sent to LSA Assistant General Manager Matt Collings on July 12 in which registered geologist Michael Davis stated the project’s credentials so far rely on “erroneous information.” He called into question the handling of benzene detection recorded in a 1993 County of Orange Agency Document Review, where officials excavated the contaminated soil, moved the soil around and aerated until it “appeared to be free of contamination” and was “non-detect for contamination.”

He stated that this detection was cause for testing for probable carcinogenic compound MTBE, which should have been conducted before the soil was moved to fill low surface area, and may be further disturbed during the course of the proposed development.

“We have presented to you evidence from experts,” Johnson said. “The law says if we put expert opinion before you … if there’s a reasonable debate, then you have to do an (Environmental Impact Report).”

The project is in its final steps of processing state statute CEQA, or California Environmental Quality Act, which requires state and local agencies to identify the significant environmental impacts of their actions and to avoid or mitigate those impacts, if feasible, according the California Natural Resources Agency.

According to a staff report, the CEQA found that the proposed project would not result in any significant and unavoidable environmental impacts.

LSA entered an agreement with the water district in December 2015 and has hosted 20-plus community meetings and 25-plus public board meetings over the past three years, according to LSA’s PowerPoint presentation during the meeting.

Additionally, the district allotted a 15-day extension for resident comments during public review period.

More than two-dozen comments on file from residents were incorporated into the project plan. Some considerations included grading revisions to reduce building height in an attempt to maintain privacy of the site’s immediate neighbors, as well as the implementation of “pull through” parking during construction to avoid usage of backup alarms on work trucks.

But residents said it’s not enough.

Moulton Niguel Water District convenes with LSA Associates, Inc., stakeholders and residents at a board meeting on Friday, July 13 on the approval of a study to satisfy the environmental analysis for the proposed operations center. The board unanimously passed the resolution. (Contributing photographer Brooke Becher)

 

One noted that the site is such an “eyesore” she removed her third-story balcony.

“You as board members should have known, should have forecasted that this was not an appropriate location for you,” Kathleen Spalione, a 31-year neighbor to the district in Laguna Niguel, said, criticizing the lack of concern she’s witnessed. “You knew the land was going fast in south Orange County –– you should have perceived that. You could not control (urbanization), but you could have controlled your operation and moved it out before it got to this point.”

Spalione asked district board president Donald Froelich where he was when material bins that sound like “boulders being thrown into trash cans” were installed or when the wildlife of the large, on-site pond were left to fend for themselves. The board ceased filling the pond in September 2014, after Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency due to drought conditions.

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Linda Kaan, a Laguna Hills resident for 27 years and Ridgefield HOA director, recalled a previous project in which the water district failed to follow through on re-establishing landscaping due to budget cuts.

“You guys don’t know this — but you can drive through our neighborhood and find a little wandering egret, looking for (the pond), not knowing where to go,” Kaan said. “There have been irreversible environmental impacts — I know we’re way past that.”

As part of the action, Lopez added meetings with stakeholders will continue until after construction has concluded.

“We will continue to be available to you one on one for as long as it is necessary,” she told residents. “We have that commitment.”

Features entail the construction of a two-story building and two one-story buildings, demolition of two existing buildings, installation of a traffic signal at Gordon Road and Moulton Parkway, expansions and relocation of fuel dispensers and storage tanks and the renovation of existing facilities. The project is designed to have a campus-like aesthetic.

In addition to given long-term wear and tear, a needs assessment noted that the current facility does not meet current building code requirements such as fire sprinklers and ADA compliance.

“I do understand the concern that the residents have,” Director Duane Cave said, before stating his intentions to approve the resolution. “But I think that once the project is complete, I think it is going to be better for everyone involved than it is today.”

18.07.2018 / by / in
Powell says strong economy will keep rate hikes coming

By Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told lawmakers Tuesday that strong economic growth will keep the central bank on a path to gradually raise interest rates. But he noted that President Donald Trump’s get-tough trade policies run the risk of dampening future growth if they lead to permanently higher tariffs.

Delivering his twice-a-year report on monetary policy to Congress, Powell gave an upbeat assessment of the economy’s prospects. He said the economy’s performance has enabled the Fed to dial back the “extra boost” it began implementing a decade ago to help the lift the economy out of the Great Recession.

The Fed’s plan for raising rates slowly is “running smoothly,” Powell said. And the central bank expects the job market will remain robust and inflation will hover near the Fed’s 2 percent target over the next several years.

“Our policies reflect the strong performance of the economy and are intended to help make sure that this trend continues,” Powell said before the Senate Banking Committee.

Private economists said that Powell’s remarks sent a clear signal that the Fed, which has already boosted rates twice this year, expects to remain on its current projected path of raising rates another two times this year.

“Although trade tensions remain a downside risk, we continue to expect strong activity growth and rising inflation to prompt the Fed to raise interest rates in September and December and twice more in early 2019,” said Andrew Hunter, U.S. economist at Capital Economics.

Powell faced a number of questions on trade, with both Democratic and Republican senators seeking criticism of the Trump administration’s policies of imposing punitive tariffs on billions of dollars in foreign imports. The moves so far have triggered retaliation in China and other nations slapping retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods.

Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, two Democrats up for re-election this year in states Trump carried, were highly critical of the tariffs.

“We can’t afford to put our heads in the sand and ignore the impact of the president’s policies on our economy,” Heitkamp said.

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania noted that Fed officials had reported a growing number of business contacts cutting back on investment spending because of growing uncertainty about trade.

At first, Powell sought to avoid directly answering a question of the possible impact of Trump’s approach to trade by saying trade was not an issue the Fed could control. But when pressed, he said that if Trump’s effort “results in lower tariffs for everyone, that would be a good thing. If it results in higher tariffs, that would be bad for our economy.”

The Fed chairman cited trade and fiscal policy, including last year’s big tax cut, as among the uncertainties that could alter the Fed’s economic forecast.

It is “difficult to predict the ultimate outcome of current discussions over trade policy as well as the size and timing of the economic effects of the recent changes in fiscal policy,” he said.

Powell also faced sharp questioning from some Democrats over the Fed’s approach to bank regulations. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., accused the Fed of loosening important rules needed to prevent risky behavior that could trigger a new financial crisis.

“It looks to me like the Fed is heading in the wrong direction,” Warren told Powell.

But he disagreed, saying the annual stress tests to determine if the nation’s biggest banks could survive a severe recession were tougher than ever.

After the 2008 financial crisis, the Fed kept its key policy rate at a record low near zero for seven years before starting a slow process of boosting rates in December 2015.

It raised rates once in 2015, once in 2016 and then three times last year as the economy has begun to gain momentum. This year’s rate hikes, which occurred in March and June, have left the Fed’s key rate in a range of 1.75 percent to 2 percent.

Powell, who joined the Fed in 2012 as a board member, succeeded Janet Yellen as chairman in February after Trump decided not to offer Yellen a second term.

18.07.2018 / by / in
Google Cloud Platform outage takes down Snapchat, Pokemon Go and other sites and services the day after Amazon Prime troubles

Google’s cloud-computing service took a dive Tuesday, knocking web sites offline and leading to widespread social-media chatter the day after Amazon’s Prime Day sale caused that company’s much-larger cloud platform to buckle.

Google was reporting at 1 p.m. that its Google App Engine, Google Cloud Networking and Google Stackdriver services were experiencing an outage. By 1:30, the search-engine giant turned all the red “x’s” to green check marks at its status.cloud.google.com page.

That Google outage either took down or otherwise crippled for a time the popular LA-based Snapchat social network, the Discord chat service, the Spotify music streaming service, and the Pokemon Go and Rocket League games, according to reports on Twitter.

The Google Cloud Platform outage comes a day after Amazon delivered pictures of dogs along with apologies to shoppers hoping to score Amazon Prime Day deals. Amazon uses its own Amazon Web Services cloud-computing platform, the largest such offering.

18.07.2018 / by / in
ESPYs Preview: The world’s biggest sports and entertainment stars will gather in Los Angeles

The biggest stars from the sports and entertainment world will gather for the ESPYs Award Show at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles Wednesday.

Candace Parker of the LA Sparks, Todd Gurley of the Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown will be among the athletes in attendance for the event. Celebrities will include Jennifer Garner, Chadwick Boseman and Jon Stewart.

Fans can vote for 34 award categories including the best moment, team and play in sports.

There are four other categories already determined:

The Arthur Ashe Award for Courage will honor the ‘sister survivors’ who spoke out against sexual abuse by their former team doctor.

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Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly will receive the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance. The Pro Football Hall of Famer was diagnosed with cancer three times in the last five years.

The Pat Tillman Award for Service will be presented to U.S. Marines Sgt. Jake Wood for his service and his work as the co-founder and CEO of Team Rubicon.

Wood’s nonprofit organization is dedicated to transitioning veterans from military service to disaster response and relief efforts.

The Best Coach Award is presented posthumously to high school coaches Aaron Feis, Scott Beigel, and Chris Hixon, who died shielding students from gunfire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

Elliott Bonner, a former head football coach at Stoneman Douglas, will accept on the trio’s behalf.

While most of the past award recipients were coaches of professional teams, Bob Hurley of St. Anthony High School in New Jersey was the recipient in 2017. Past recipients include New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and former Lakers coach Phil Jackson.

James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros are two of the four nominees for Best Male Athlete.

Harden, a product of Artesia High School, was named the 2017-18 NBA MVP after leading the Rockets to the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and the best record in the regular season (65-17).

Altuve was the 2017 American League MVP and led the Astros to the 2017 World Series victory over the Dodgers.

Tom Brady led the Patriots to its second consecutive Super Bowl appearance and the Washington Capitals’ Alexander Ovechkin was named the NHL playoff MVP after his team won their first Stanley Cup.

All four athletes are also nominees for the best player award in their respective sports.

Rams’ defensive tackle Aaron Donald is nominated for Best NFL Player and shares the category with Gurley, Brown and Brady.

While LeBron James is now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, his last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers earned him a nomination for Best NBA Player alongside Harden, Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.

James’ buzzer beater 3-pointer to defeat the Indiana Pacers in Game 5 of the first round playoff series is also nominated for Best Play.

Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim, a native of Long Beach, is nominated for three ESPYs including Best Female Athlete. Kim became the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding medal when she captured the gold in the half-pipe event at age 17.

Julie Ertz of the Chicago Red Stars and Sylvia Fowles of the Minnesota Lynx round out the field for the Best Female Athlete award.

Ertz is a member of the United States Women’s National Soccer Team and was named the 2017 U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year. Fowles won the WNBA’s 2017 MVP and league championship.

Fowles and Parker are nominated for the Best WNBA Player Award. Maya Moore of the Lynx and Dallas Wings’ Skylar Diggins-Smith are also nominees.

Danica Patrick, a former professional race car driver, will host the show as it is broadcast live Wednesday, July 18, at 5 p.m. PT on ABC.


Other categories:

BEST OLYMPIC MOMENT

Shaun White, Snowboard

Jessie Diggins & Kikkan Randall, U.S. Cross Country Ski

U.S. Men’s Curling

USA Women’s Hockey defeats Canada, 2018 Winter Olympics

BEST CHAMPIONSHIP PERFORMANCE

George Springer, Houston Astros – MLB World Series

Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles – Super Bowl LII

Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors, NBA Finals

Donte DiVincenzo, Villanova Men’s Basketball – CBB National Championship

BEST BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE

Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers

Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz

Sloane Stephens, Tennis

BEST GAME

Houston Astros defeat Los Angeles Dodgers, World Series Game 5

Georgia Bulldogs defeat Oklahoma Sooners, Rose Bowl

USA Women’s Hockey defeats Canada, 2018 Winter Olympics

BEST MOMENT

Minnesota Vikings defeat the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship Game

Las Vegas Golden Knights defeat Winnipeg Jets to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals

#16 University of Maryland-Baltimore County upsets No. 1 Virginia

BEST TEAM

Houston Astros, MLB

Philadelphia Eagles, NFL

USA Women’s Ice Hockey

Notre Dame Fighting Irish, NCAA Women’s Basketball

Villanova Wildcats, NCAA Men’s Basketball

Golden State Warriors, NBA

Washington Capitals, NHL

BEST COLLEGE ATHLETE

Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma Football

Jalen Brunson, Villanova Basketball

Katie Ledecky, Stanford Swimming

A’ja Wilson, South Carolina Basketball

BEST PLAY (Bracket-style voting)

  1. ND’s Arike Ogunbowale hits 2nd buzzer beater to win NCAA women’s national title
  2. Minnesota Miracle: Stefon Diggs makes last-second TD Catch to send Vikings to NFC championship
  3. Philly Special: Eagles fool Patriots with fourth-down TD toss to Foles
  4. Alabama wins national title on 41-yard OT TD pass from Tua Tagovailoa to Devonta Smith
  5. FSU’s Jessie Warren makes diving double play in WCWS
  6. LeBron James nails buzzer beater 3-pointer to beat the Pacers in Game 5 of Round 1
  7. Evanston Township High school freshman Blake Peters hits 80-foot buzzer beater
  8. Gareth Bale scores go-ahead bicycle kick goal in Champions League Final 1022
  9. Cristiano Ronaldo scores bicycle kick goal against Juventus
  10. Julian McGarvey makes last-second steal & heave to secure Ardsley High School’s 1st Section 1 title in 60 years
  11. LeBron floats a glass-kissing buzzer beater to beat Raptors in game 3 of round 2
  12. Team USA’s Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scores the shootout winner to secure gold medal in women’s hockey
  13. Giannis Antetokounmpo leapfrog dunks on Tim Hardaway Jr
  14. Acrobatic volleyball play from Autumn Finney out of Decatur High School
  15. Golden Knights’ William Karlsson goes through legs for ‘goal of the year’ contender
  16. Jordan Poole hits buzzer-beater to send Michigan to the Sweet 16s

 

BEST RECORD-BREAKING PERFORMANCE

Roger Federer, Tennis

Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury

BEST INTERNATIONAL MEN’S SOCCER PLAYER

Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona/Argentina National Team

Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid/Portuguese National Team

Mohamed Salah, Liverpool/Egyptian National Team

Neymar Jr., PSG/Brazilian National Team

BEST INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S SOCCER PLAYER

Lieke Martens, FC Barcelona/Netherlands National Team

Sam Kerr, Chicago Red Stars/Australian National Team

Jodie Taylor, Seattle Reign/English National Team

BEST NFL PLAYER

Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

BEST MLB PLAYER

Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

Jose Altuve, Houston Astros

Mike Trout, LA Angels

Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals

BEST NHL PLAYER

Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

Marc-Andre Fleury, Las Vegas Golden Knights

BEST DRIVER

Josef Newgarden, IndyCar

Martin Truex Jr, NASCAR

Lewis Hamilton, Formula One

Brittany Force, NHRA

BEST NBA PLAYER

James Harden, Houston Rockets

LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

BEST WNBA PLAYER

Maya Moore, Minnesota Lynx

Candace Parker, Los Angeles Sparks

Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota Lynx

Skylar Diggins-Smith, Dallas Wings

BEST FIGHTER

Terence Crawford, Boxing

Vasiliy (Vasyl) Lomachenko, Boxing

Rose Namajunas, UFC

Georges St-Pierre, UFC

BEST MALE GOLFER

Jordan Spieth

Justin Thomas

Dustin Johnson

Patrick Reed

BEST FEMALE GOLFER

Shanshan Feng

Inbee Park

Ariya Jutanugarn

Sung-Hyun Park

BEST MALE OLYMPIAN

Shaun White, Snowboarding

Red Gerard, Snowboarding

David Wise, Halfpipe Skiing

John Shuster, Curling

BEST FEMALE OLYMPIAN

Chloe Kim, Snowboarding

Mikaela Shiffrin, Skiing

Jamie Anderson, Snowboarding

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, US Women’s Hockey

BEST MALE TENNIS PLAYER

Roger Federer

Rafael Nadal

Marin Cilic

BEST FEMALE TENNIS PLAYER

Sloane Stephens

Caroline Wozniacki

Simona Halep

Garbine Muguruza

BEST MALE ACTION SPORTS ATHLETE

Henrik Harlaut (SWE), Ski

Kelvin Hoefler (BRA), Skateboard

David Wise (USA), Ski

Marcus Kleveland (NOR), Snowboard

BEST FEMALE ACTION SPORTS ATHLETE

Chloe Kim (USA), Snowboard

Jamie Anderson (USA), Snowboard

Brighton Zeuner (USA), Skateboard

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Surf

BEST JOCKEY

Mike Smith

Jose Ortiz

Florent Geroux

Flavien Prat

BEST MALE ATHLETE WITH A DISABILITY

Dan Cnossen, Nordic Skiing

Andrew Kurka, Alpine Skiing

Declan Farmer, Sled Hockey

Mike Schultz, Snowboarding

BEST FEMALE ATHLETE WITH A DISABILITY

Oksana Masters, Nordic Skiing

Brenna Huckaby, Snowboarding

Kendall Gretsch, Nordic Skiing

Tatyana McFadden, Track and Field

BEST BOWLER

Jason Belmonte

Rhino Page

Tom Smallwood

Jesper Svensson

BEST MLS PLAYER

Nemanja Nikolić, Chicago Fire

Diego Valeri, Portland Timbers

Ike Opara, Sporting Kansas City

Tim Melia, Sporting Kansas City

BEST NWSL PLAYER

Sam Kerr, Chicago Red Stars

Megan Rapinoe, Seattle Reign

Sam Mewis,  North Carolina Courage

Adrianna Franch, Portland Thorns

18.07.2018 / by / in