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Army finds huge 43-acre marijuana grow in northern Mexico


MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Mexican army says it found a 43-acre (17.4-hectare) marijuana farm in the northern border state of Chihuahua. The army said Sunday that the fields were capable of producing about 11 tons (22,000 kilograms) of marijuana. The fields were found in a rural township not far from the town of Creel, in Mexico’s Copper Canyon area. While Mexico’s Supreme Court ordered the government in June to issue permits for the personal use of marijuana and for the growing of limited amounts of pot plants, growing on this large scale remains illegal. The army says soldiers chopped down the tall marijuana plants and burned them.

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Metro Philadelphia: September 27, 2021


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Cubs manager David Ross sees Cardinals’ season comeback as an inspiration


The Cardinals’ Harrison Bader, left, celebrates after hitting a solo home run as Cubs catcher Willson Contreras looks on during the eighth inning of Sunday’s game. | Nam Y. Huh/AP

St. Louis, left for dead by most baseball pundits, set a franchise record with its 16th consecutive win.

When the Cubs and Cardinals met at Wrigley Field just before the All-Star break, both teams were under .500. Since then, they have gone in divergent paths.

St. Louis, left for dead by most baseball pundits, set a franchise record with its 16th consecutive win after Sunday’s 4-2 victory over the Cubs and rocketed to a possible National League wild card spot. The way they’re playing, the Cardinals are no one’s desired opponent in the playoffs.

In the Cubs clubhouse, the Cardinals’ success this September has been a teachable moment.

“That’s a nice lesson for me of, it’s a [162-game season], it’s not the All Star break, it’s not the trade deadline, it’s not into September. It’s the entire season,” manager David Ross said.

As his team goes into the offseason and prepares for next spring, Ross will be holding on to what the Cardinals have accomplished these last few weeks.

“I’ll be using that as an example, for sure,” he said.

Ross believes the Cardinals are a great example of heading into a season with faith in who is on the roster and being willing to ride with that group whether they go up or down in the standings.

Other than filling a few small holes on the roster with bargain veteran additions, St. Louis was not especially active at the trade deadline. Ross thinks there’s value in assembling your group and then having the confidence to stick with them.

In the next few months the Cubs’ front office will start answering questions about what the 2022 roster will look like. Ross does not take a driver’s seat role in building that roster, but he said there are players who have gotten his and the front office’s attention.

“Guys are making names for themselves,” Ross said.

He points specifically to Patrick Wisdom and Frank Schwindel along with role-player types like Rafael Ortega. Wisdom has set a new rookie record for home runs in fewer at-bats than Kris Bryant needed in 2015, and Schwindel has a good chance to lead the team in wins above replacement by the season’s end.

“I don’t know that there’s anything that I can put my finger on that is stamped into next season,” Ross said. “Big picture-wise, for the young guys, there’s a lot of holes to fill and depth to get, and how that plays out is going to tell us a lot about what kind of roster we’ll have next year.”

They might have the greatest need pitching-wise. Since the trade deadline, the offense has actually been better than the months prior. From opening day to July 30, the bats hit a collective .227 with a well below average wRC+ (theirs was 88, average is 100). Since July 31, those numbers are .249 and 96.

With the stable of young arms the Cubs have, the front office and coaching staff will have the winter and spring training to work on sorting out the best roles for those pitchers. For now, what Ross and pitching coach Tommy Hottovy value most is their availability and flexibility because that creates options for free agency and the trade market.

“The more options you have, the better it is for the front office to go out and be flexible in the pieces they can get to fill out their team,” Ross said.

Whatever those pieces are, seeing what the Cardinals have done since being essentially written out of the playoff conversation in July and August has left an impression on Ross.

That’s an impression he hopes to carry over into 2022 and use to remind himself and his players that things like prolonged losing streaks don’t always mean you’re out of contention.

“Baseball is weird like that,” Ross said of the Cardinals. “You get a little bit of momentum and the schedule plays out sometimes in your favor and you gain confidence, and you see what confidence does.”

Not a peep from Bears GM Ryan Pace, man of mystery, after the offensive line’s woeful performance


Bears general manager Ryan Pace deserves the blame for Sunday’s debacle in Cleveland. He put together an offensive line that allowed nine sacks. | AP Photos/Charles Rex Arbogast

The unit he created allowed the Browns to sack rookie Justin Fields nine times Sunday.

Ryan Pace should have called a press conference immediately after the Bears’ 26-6 loss to the Browns.

The Bears general manager should have apologized for putting together an offensive line that couldn’t have blocked an offensive tweeter Sunday, let alone a Browns pass rusher. He should have apologized to rookie quarterback Justin Fields, who was lucky to get out of Cleveland with his life after his first NFL start. He should have apologized to coach Matt Nagy, who was taking a public bashing for his play calling against the Browns, never mind that Vince Lombardi couldn’t have succeeded with this O-line.

Pace should have resigned on the spot, but of all the things that weren’t going to happen Sunday – a Bears victory, a good Fields game, a Pace press conference – that was the unlikeliest thing of all. You don’t quit a cushy Bears job. You wait until ownership fires you two or three years too late.

The Browns sacked Fields nine times, tied for the second-most sacks allowed in Bears’ history. Myles Garrett sacked him 4.5 times, which means that Garrett can tell you what deodorant Fields wears and at least the first five numbers of Fields’ Social Security number.

It wasn’t all bad. Fellow Bears quarterbacks Andy Dalton and Nick Foles did have some wise words for Fields.

“They were just telling me there’s going to be days like this and of course games like this,’’ Fields said.

Days and games, plural. With this drafty, threadbare offensive line, it was a perfect, if unintended, observation.

I’m not sure what Fields could have learned on an afternoon like this. How to get your head kicked in? What the sky looks like when you’re on your back?

What happened Sunday wasn’t Fields’ fault, though, remember, his many legions of supporters did say that the kid’s athleticism would help hide the offensive line’s deficiencies. Those of us who argued that playing behind this line wouldn’t be good for Fields’ development or his brain cells were dismissed as misguided or soft. The best thing that came out of Sunday’s game was also the luckiest thing: Somehow, Fields walked off the field under his own power.

How good a quarterback is Fields? Who knows?

But now you understand why Nagy wanted Dalton, sidelined with a knee injury, as his starting quarterback for a while this season. Surely you can see that the coach was trying to protect the Bears’ 2021 first-round pick from a debacle like Sunday. That doesn’t absolve Nagy of his ongoing sins as a play caller, but it does mean that the cleverest plays in the world would have been dandelion puffs against the Browns’ cruel pass rush. Could Nagy have called more running plays for Fields? Could he have called more play action? Moved Fields out of the pocket? Yes to all that. But it’s hard to believe it would have made any difference Sunday with this offensive line.

“We believe in our guys,’’ guard Cody Whitehair actually said of the line afterward.

Early in the game, Fox announcer Greg Olsen, the former Bears tight end, suggested that Nagy needed to open up the offense for Fields. Let his pure talent take over, Olsen said. Immediately after that statement, the Browns sacked Fields twice in a row. Yeah, well, never mind.

As punishment, Pace should been made to suit up, play quarterback and say hello to Mr. Garrett.

Fields completed six of 20 passes for 68 yards. His passer rating was 41.3. He’s clearly limited in his knowledge of the pro game. Also clear: The Bears would have been able to adjust better with a veteran like Dalton under center.

The best play of the afternoon for the offense was a pass-interference call in the third quarter. Throw it up and hope the defense makes a mistake – that’s been the franchise’s fingers-crossed approach for years, from Rex Grossman to Jay Cutler to Mitch Trubisky.

Right tackle Germain Ifedi had a false start on a third-and-1 in the second quarter, which, if I’m not mistaken, was the Bears’ 1,000th straight game of doing such a thing.

“I obviously as a head coach did not do a good enough job of getting this offense ready to go,’’ Nagy said.

The final score was 26-6, which also happened to be the first-down discrepancy Sunday.

“You almost can’t even make it up – it’s that bad,’’ the coach said.

I felt bad for Nagy. He took the blame for everything Sunday. If someone had blamed him for government corruption in Yemen, he would have said he should have spoken up.

Pace, meanwhile, was nowhere to be seen or heard, leaving Nagy to absorb all the hits for an offensive line his general manager gave him. Cruel but not unusual punishment. This is Pace, who is allergic to the media. And these are the Bears.

In a ‘dark place,’ Justin Fields needs to run to the light


Bears quarterback Justin Fields was sacked nine times Sunday. | Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

The only thing more disturbing than the Bears’ offensive performance Sunday was the harm it could do to the first-round pick’s development. 

CLEVELAND — To commemorate the 75th anniversary of their franchise’s founding, the Browns turned their scoreboards retro Sunday, using graphics that looked like the old yellow bulbs on a black screen. The Bears went along with the theme and posted an offensive display that would have been at home in 1946 — 47 yards on 42 plays — in a 26-6 loss.

At the center of the offense was quarterback Justin Fields, the rookie making his first start. At no point in his life, at any level, had his offense been so thoroughly dismantled.

Afterward, he searched for the words to describe how it felt and settled on this: a dark place.

He needs to use every bit of his 4.4-second 40-yard dash speed to run to the light. Because the only thing more disturbing than the Bears’ offensive performance Sunday was the harm it could do to the first-round pick’s development.

Fields was sacked nine times, tied for the second-most in Bears history, and hit 15 times. It wouldn’t be surprising if, in his dark place, Fields still sees shadows of Browns edge rushers Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney racing to tear him to the ground.

“Kind of like, you’re in a dark place,” Fields said. “You just want to do everything you can to just get a win, like no matter what it is. Like no matter how long I have to stay in the facility and no matter what, you just want to come out and after the game on Sunday, you just want to come out with a win, no matter what you have to do.”

Adding injury to insult, Fields had X-rays on his throwing hand after the game. He said they came back negative and that he was fine.

On the sideline, veteran quarterbacks Andy Dalton and Nick Foles tried to tell Fields that bad days happen. Fields refuses to think that way, even if the offense was more a failure of its play-caller and blockers than its first-time starting quarterback.

At Ohio State, Fields went 20-2 — and both losses came in the playoffs. Asked how he’ll try to bounce back, Fields referenced his history.

“The way I feel right now — I’m not used to this,” Fields said. “I don’t like feeling like this. Just me not wanting to feel like this.

“And literally while I’m saying this, I’m getting goosebumps. Because I just don’t like feeling like this. So I’m just going to get back and I’m going to work. That’s it.”

It’s unclear to what end. Coach Matt Nagy wouldn’t engage when asked whether the Bears were planning on starting Fields next week against the Lions, saying he needed to know more about any progress Dalton was making from his knee injury.

“It’s not going to damage his development because I know who he is and, again, on the sideline, how he was,” Nagy said. “I think when he watches and sees, let’s see as we go through it what the whys are, whether it’s a protection or a timing element. Whether it’s something in the run game. Whatever it is, let’s use this to try and help you get better and see where things are.

“He’s very coachable. He cares. I think that he’ll definitely do that.”

Sunday was not an isolated incident, though. Fields replaced an injured Dalton in the second quarter against the Bengals and led the offense to just 101 yards on 39 plays. Over the past two games, the Fields-led offense has averaged 1.83 yards per play — or about 5 ½ feet.

After the Bengals game, the Bears used the built-in excuse that Fields hadn’t practiced with the first team before that game. Last week, he did.

It’s unclear if Fields will be given that chance this week, too.

“When things don’t go your way, it shows who you truly are on the inside,” Fields said. “Just the way you bounce back and the way you react to those moments.”

Quick thoughts beyond the obvious from Bears’ 26-6 loss to Browns


This 11-yard catch by Cole Kmet was the only one by the Bears’ tight ends Sunday. | Getty

A look at Robert Quinn’s resurgence, the tight ends’ library-level quiet start to the season and David Montgomery

CLEVELAND — There’s little joy in picking through the scraps of the Bears’ 26-6 loss to the Browns on Sunday, but here are three under-the-radar observations from the debacle:

Quinn’s comeback
The Robert Quinn signing looked like an absolute dud last season, but he’s back thanks to a better offseason and collaboration with defensive coordinator Sean Desai. Quinn had 1.5 sacks Sunday, raising his total to four. He’ll be in double figures by the end of the season if he stays healthy.

Tight ends empty
The Bears continued to get minimal production from their tight ends Sunday, with their only catch coming an 11-yard pass to Cole Kmet. Through three games, the tight ends have been targeted just 12 times and they have a collective eight catches for 64 yards.

Montgomery stuck
Quarterback Justin Fields wasn’t the only one struggling behind the Bears’ offensive line. Running back David Montgomery managed just 34 yards on 10 rushes. His longest run was 16 yards, meaning he averaged two per carry the rest of the afternoon.

Giant Eagle now requiring appointment for COVID-19 vaccine


CLEVELAND (WJW) — Giant Eagle recently announced plans to reinstate online appointment signup requirements for all COVID-19 shots at its stores.

Who should get a COVID-19 booster shot? Ohio Department of Health offers guidelines

The change comes as Ohio Department of Health is now allowing booster shots for certain groups who already received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, including those over 65, those who risk COVID exposure at their jobs and others with underlying medical conditions. People who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson shot are still not eligible for a booster.

Those who want to make an appointment with Giant Eagle can do so at GiantEagle.com/COVID.

CDC head acknowledges ‘confusion’ over COVID-19 booster shots

Those looking for a walk-in appointment can find more options right here.

Officials investigate fire at Susan B. Anthony home, museum


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Fire officials in Rochester are investigating a fire that damaged the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House. Firefighters responding to an alarm at approximately 1 a.m. Sunday arrived to find the back porch of the museum engulfed in flames. The porch suffered heavy damage, but officials said none of the historical artifacts inside were damaged. The cause of the fire has been classified as suspicious. The house was built in the mid-18th century and was Anthony’s home and also the site of her arrest in 1872 after she cast her ballot in a presidential election. She died there in 1906.

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Communist party wins municipal election in Austrian city


BERLIN (AP) — The Austrian Communist Party unexpectedly won a municipal election in the Alpine country’s second biggest city Sunday, according to preliminary results. The Communists got 28.9% of the vote in the election for the city council in the southern city of Graz, ahead of the center-right People’s Party with 25.7%. The city’s People’s Party mayor announced he would step down from his post after leading the city for 18 years. Communist candidate Elke Kahr didn’t immediately say whether she would seek the mayoral post.

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Man arrested after allegedly stabbing father in Peoria domestic dispute


PEORIA (WEEK) — Police say a man was taken into custody after he allegedly stabbed his father during a domestic dispute Sunday afternoon.

Around 3:15 p.m. police responded to a residence on North Sheridan Road near the corner of West Shenandoah Drive.

An investigation revealed the man allegedly cut his father with an unknown object, which induced minor injuries.

Officials say the father was taken to a local hospital for treatment and the son was taken into custody.

No other information about the incident is available.

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