Travis Verrill wins Week Two in the Bandits Division at Oxford Plains Speedway

Travis Verrill first, Jeff Libby second in the Bandits Feature

Travis Verrill went from last to first in one week

(Oxford ME) Last week Travis watched the end of the Bandits feature from the bleachers.

This week? An entirely different story.

“It worked out great,” explained Travis Verrill afterwards.

Travis won his heat and then went on to take the feature on Saturday night at spectator-less Oxford Plains Speedway.

“We had no mechanical failures,” said Travis. “We stayed in front. Clean racing. Good Saturday.”

Jeff Libby was close tonight but still is chasing that elusive first win.

Jeff Libby chased Travis in the heat and the feature. “We’ll get to first someday,” he joked afterwards. Jeff is still looking for his first win.

Travis lined up in the front in the feature with Adam O’Neill. By lap two Adam was fading back and the top four finishers (Travis Verrill, Jeff Libby, Alex Mowatt, and Chad Wills) were in place.

Round and round they went in that order for the final eighteen laps. “It’s hard on these hot days because we have to run these radial tires and it’s hard to keep grip,” added Travis.

So the first four stayed on the bottom of the track waiting for things to change. They didn’t. And there were no cautions leading to restarts.

The order of finish (Travis Verrill, Jeff Libby, Alex Mowatt, Chad Wills) was already in place in the second lap of the feature.

“I just needed that one little shot at it,” lamented Jeff, “but he never opened the door.”

Adam O’Neill got off to an early lead in the feature.

“(Jeff) Libby was all over me though out the whole race but I managed to keep it up in front,” said Travis.

Although Jeff finished second, he loved the race. “It was probably the most fun I’ve had here in three years. The competition was bumper to bumper. If any one of us moved out of the way, someone else was taking that spot immediately. Everyone ran real fair and clean and that’s all you can ask for out of racing.”

Jeff: “We definitely miss the fans, that’s for sure. It’s just not the same.”

Crowd tonight

Travis: “It’s frustrating for a lot of the fans because we can only bring ten people in with us. Now we don’t even have pay-per-view coverage which is even more frustrating. I am hoping that in the next couple of weeks they can figure it out with the state and get the fans back in here. Then we can all enjoy it together.”

Nice weather conditions…….temps in the upper 70s.

It was certainly a quick evening at OPS. There were heats and features for four divisions and everything was over in less than two hours.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

I am posting things on Twitter (McClellandPeter) and Instagram (McClellandMiscellanea).

Alex Mowatt (finished 3rd in feature) finds some water in the pits

Chad Wills finished 4th in the feature

First heat ending – Travis first, Jeff second

In Heat 2, Chad Wills and Brandon Varney battle

Chad Wills wins the second heat

Matt Smith

 

 

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Alex Mowatt wins Bandits opener at Oxford Plains Speedway

Alex Mowatt takes the Bandits Division opener at Oxford Plains Speedway

The pits were filled with cars, drivers, and crew members

(Oxford ME) The caution flag has been out for several months.

That ended Saturday as the green flag dropped at Oxford Plains Speedway and this season’s racing began.

No spectators were allowed making for an odd view across the way of an empty grandstand. Hopefully, this will soon change.

I decided last year to concentrate my coverage on one division (Bandits) at OPS and I am doing it again this year.

Alex Mowatt (11) was quick to build his lead after restarts in the feature

Alex Mowatt (Norway ME) won tonight’s Bandits feature easily.

Alex’s win in the first heat earned him the pole position in the feature.

Alex never gave up the front in the feature despite two restarts and clearly had the best car in the Bandits division on this evening.

Even in his heat win, Alex was lengths ahead of the rest of the field when it was over.

In the second heat, Eric Parlin (Oxford ME) appeared to be coasting to a win. However, with less than two laps left, Eric lost control, spun out, and his lead vanished. He ended up 6th.

Brandon Varney chats pre-race with Dustin Salley

Brandon Varney (Mechanic Falls ME) took advantage of Eric’s spinout and won the second heat. Brandon finished the feature several car lengths back of Alex in second place.

Mike McKinney (Greenwood ME) rallied in a close finish to get third in the feature, despite a car that seemed to be coming apart the longer he drove it. Mike had a fender that hung off for several laps and later a pipe that was bouncing on the asphalt in the final laps. These things, however, didn’t faze Mike. He was going to drive that thing until it stopped!

Comfortable weather and plenty of, “how-you-been’s?,” heard in the stands.

I am on Twitter (Mcclellandpeter) and Instagram (McClellandMiscellanea).

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Spinout Doug Churchill (07) in the Bandits feature

1st Heat – Alex Mowatt (11), Chad Wills (52), and Jeff Wentzil (77)

2nd Heat – Eric Parlin (3), Brandon Varney (1X), and Mike McKinney (08)

Travis Verrill’s car stopped in the feature

Fender trouble for Mike McKinney (08)

Eric Parlin

Colby Marriott

Chad Wills gets ready to race

Alex Mowatt wins first heat

2nd heat lead change – Brandon Varney (1X), Mike McKinney (08), Dean Jordan (55), and Leon Kennison (13K)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mulching in the skateboard park at Nock…..brilliant?

Couldn’t agree with Mike Cronan’s letter in the Newburyport Daily News more.

The reactions of local authorities to the coronavirus are head scratchers.

Mulching in the skateboard park near Nock was an embarrassing piece of government overreach. It got Newburyport some “great” press!

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Covid-19 Dashboard for May 4th, ZERO teenagers have died from the coronavirus. Confining/Restricting teenagers is based then on what supporting health statistics? Destroying three months of schooling and activities for teenagers over these obvious numbers doesn’t make sense.

How about taking local action based on these statistics instead: The average age of the Massachusetts fatalities is 82, and 95% of the fatalities were seventy and over. How would closing schools and confining teenagers fix those stats? How has confining folks in nursing homes and healthcare facilities helped those stats?

The healthy and productive, as well as kids of all ages, have played along passively for far too long. The numbers do not support the treatment those groups have been enduring. Time for them to press the “had enough” button and at least question the actions of local officials.

(Sent this to the Newburyport Daily News on May 6, 2020)

 

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Letter to the Newburyport Daily News editor (April 16, 2020)

Things are tough at the Newburyport Daily News according to today’s front page.

Potential advertising revenue is drying up in the current climate.

No longer unaffected by coronavirus, the NDN is now better aware of the financial impacts many in this area already know.

Ending the shutdown safely/quickly would certainly be in the paper’s best interests. What could they do? Publish stories that create momentum toward a quick/safe reopening.

Today’s edition had a front-page article titled, “Gov: state seeing ‘the surge’ of cases.” Within that article, Governor Baker is quoted saying, “…we are pretty well-positioned to deal with this.” The title suggests that there’s trouble coming, not as it might have suggested, that we’re ready for it.

We need hope. We need to read that we’re making progress toward a quick/safe ending. Create some momentum in that direction, please.

 

 

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Letter to the editor of the Newburyport Daily News

I am a subscriber to the online edition of the Newburyport Daily News.

I write to commend Mac Cerullo’s efforts on the NDN sports page. He’s kept things mostly local and that’s where most of our current attention is located. Through the Q’s & A’s with area high school athletes we are learning how they are coping in our current crisis. I’m saddened by the serious disruptions these kids are experiencing but optimistic because of the drive they show to hang in there and make the most of it.

The rest of the paper? Obviously, there are fewer pages. Why is it shrinking?  Explaining how things are really going at the NDN might make for an excellent editorial.

My advice to those running the NDN is to concentrate locally. It is my conclusion that the more stories you include from outside sources, the more obvious your political biases show.

I loved the simplicity of Lisa Anderson’s attack on the President in a letter-to-the-editor, but will tomorrow’s edition include an attack of some sort on Joe Biden?  Can’t wait to find out.

Mac Cerullo has tapped into a good, reader-worthy local theme. Will the rest of the writers at the NDN follow suit?

 

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Thoughts on Katherine Quigley’s interview in today’s Newburyport Daily News

Losing is not easy.

Immediately after a tournament loss at Lowell High School I asked the losing coach for, “her take on what had happened.” She replied, “We lost,” and then gave me a look which suggested that my next question could well be the last question I ever asked!

The coronavirus has made “losers” out of all of us.

We’ve had 2+ weeks to settle into the new reality and many of us haven’t settled well.

We’re missing people and we’re missing things.

The hardest part about all this is that the end of it is totally uncertain. Therefore, putting dates on events like the senior prom, graduation, or a field trip to somewhere is foolish. Why make “promises” under these conditions? Yet the MIAA insists on doing just that by making post-CV scheduling plans. Shame on them IMO.

Katherine Quigley

The first question we ask those who are away from us these days is, “How are you doing?” Everyone has an answer and a story. Katherine Quigley of Triton responded to that question in today’s Newburyport Daily News.

It was good to see that Katherine can see the Big Picture despite all the interruptions she’s facing. “I do understand,” she said, “that the world is in a pandemic and losing these things to save lives and ‘flatten the curve’ is worth it.”

Filling an uncertain amount of time while being housebound is not easy. We’re used to time constraints. Things having a beginning and an end. What pressure do I have to get anything done when the next day I’m in the same setup?

But these are times when some folks separate themselves from the rest of us. They find something to do on their own. They get themselves engaged with a task of their own choosing and busy themselves doing it. They’re not bored. They’re not stagnant. And the time goes by productively. Easy for me to write!

I trust that the teenagers interviewed by the NDN will realize that though their lives are roughed up, it is even more of a troubling time for the adults in their lives. I can’t imagine how parents are coping all these days with school-aged kids at home.

When the school bus finally shows up at the end of the CV, the kids will run to get on the bus and the parents will not try to slow them down!

Nice to see that Katherine is staying positive with the underclassmen on the softball team. Older siblings can make a difference at home.

I have seen Katherine pitch a lot of games. She is very good at it and committed to it. She’s also way too polite when interviewed afterward! I trust/pray that the CV will end and that Katherine and the rest of us will get our away-from-home lives back again. I would also ask Katherine to take good care of a couple of my former students in the meantime that are also known as her parents.

 

 

 

 

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Schools will not reopen

Schools will not reopen

Churches will not reopen.

Restaurants will not reopen.

Someone has to say it. This is our future.

Unless, of course, social distancing ends. And what are the chances of that happening?

In half a month, social distancing has gone from being considered a joke to now being close to a law.

I leave my house to go for a walk and see my neighbors keeping away from me, crossing the street to avoid being close to me.

There’s something in me that wants to be cavalier and return to the way things were. To take my chances.

I was working in close quarters with kids. I was attending church several times a week. I was occasionally eating out. But now each of those activities could prove fatal. I may not be afraid myself, but would I want to be responsible for bringing a fatal disease onto someone else? Definitely not.

And so, I optimistically cooperate, but after nearly two weeks, I see no end in sight.

I try to imagine what would have to be true for parents to feel comfortable enough to send their children back into the intimacy of a public/private school. Wouldn’t the fear of getting the virus have to end? How close is that? Each day there are stories and numbers shouting that there is no control.

Nice picture today in the Newburyport Daily News of the Rail Trail. Dogs and families were out of the house, getting some exercise and fresh air. Except that the story that went with the picture was that the mayor of Newburyport was threatening to close the Rail Trail because the social distancing rules weren’t being followed.

Hampton Beach is now closed to the public for the same reason.

Things are not trending away from social distancing. Just the opposite, so it seems.

Yet we’re supposed to believe that schools/churches/restaurants will reopen on a certain date in the near future? Are you naivete enough to believe that we are now capable of putting a date on when this crisis ends?

We must get the virus under control, and so far it hasn’t happened. There appears to be treatment available for most of the afflicted but not a means to prevent folks from being afflicted.

Promising reopening dates based on where we currently are is pure folly.

My advice: Pray for a miracle but also prepare for a very long haul.

 

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Lenovo Yoga C740 – Camera trouble fixed – Skype works

Are you having trouble using Skype on your new Lenovo Yoga C740?

I’ve been there and just gotten away from “being there!”

I tried to make Skype work yesterday. I could see the other party and hear the other party. They couldn’t see me.

Lenovo provides NO manual. They seem to make the false assumption that we can figure out things on our own. Sometimes we can. Other times? Not so much. We get frustrated with them and it goes from there.

I did not have any reason to even wonder about the camera part of my computer because I hadn’t used it. However, yesterday morning I was invited to a Zoom conference meeting online. It didn’t go well. I had trouble with the audio and the video, and it wasn’t the best of experiences for me.

I knew that Skype used both audio/video via the computer. I figured that if I could get Skype to work, then my next Zoom conference online would have a better chance to work properly too.

A relative of mine did me a favor and installed Skype on their computer. I tried to Skype to them. Didn’t go well. We could hear each other, and I could see them, BUT they couldn’t see me.

Obviously, something was wrong with the part of the computer that pictures me.

I have pictured what was attached to the top of my computer. It sure looked to me as if it had something to do with the camera. But without a manual I didn’t realize that what I was seeing was NOT supposed to be permanently attached to the top of the computer. IT WAS A STICKER!

I removed the sticker and underneath it was the “eye” of the camera. Above that “eye” I found a very small lever. It can be moved, and it closes off the “eye” of the camera.

With that sticker off, I was able to connect to my relative and have the video working just fine.

Quite embarrassing that it took me so long to figure out that what I saw at the top of the Lenovo Yoga C740 was a sticker and only needed to be removed to make the camera work.

If you’re reading this, please make sure the sticker I pictured is removed from your computer. Skype works a whole lot better when it is!

 

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Are you worried about the rising coronavirus cases and deaths?

Scared yet?

How can you help but not be!

Every day another set of numbers.

And every day those numbers include more deaths and more coronavirus cases.

It’s depressing. It’s discouraging.

What will it take to get those two numbers under control?

Avoid everyone?

Stay inside?

But for how long?

The upturning numbers won’t stop upturning.

Will it be days? Weeks? Or even months?

Who knows?

Let me offer some good news. Let me offer some hope. Some encouragement.

Those numbers we’ve been seeing may mean something positive.

I will now post some data. Please, don’t quit reading. There’s a positive to be found. Here’s the data:

March 8       22 deaths                541 cases                4.06%

March 9       26 deaths                704 cases                3.69%

March 10    30 deaths                 994 cases                3.01%

March 11     38 deaths                1295 cases                2.95%

March 12    42 deaths               1695 cases                2.52%

March 13    49 deaths               2247 cases                2.27%

March 14    57 deaths               2954 cases                1.93%

March 15    68 deaths               3680 cases                1.84%

If you look at the information, you’ll see that the deaths and the cases are indeed rising. As we’ve been told and told!

BUT then there’s the third number. That number is the percentage of fatalities on each day.

Are you seeing that this number is going DOWN?

More cases BUT less fatalities.

What’s going on there?

Could it be that on the early dates those being tested were mostly there because of symptoms?

Could it also be that, as the days passed, more people were tested because of their association despite having no symptoms?

Marcus Smart of the Celtics played a game against the Utah Jazz recently. Several days later, a Jazz player had symptoms and tested positive.

Then because of association, Marcus and the other Celtics were tested. They were tested without symptoms. Marcus tested positive. He was then quarantined and as far as I’ve heard has not exhibited any symptoms.

I’m guessing that the number of those likely to be tested because of association will increase. Some like, Marcus Smart, will not only be tested but will turn up positive without symptoms.

They will be on the case list but not on the fatality list.

What do the numbers suggest? The percentage of deaths from the coronavirus is declining. We need not panic over the cases/death total as long as the death percentage continues to decline.

 

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Why have there been so many coronavirus cases in Italy?

Why Italy?

Italy is second to China in reported coronavirus cases.

Why is that so?

I have seen reports that state that Italy has the oldest population in Europe. Therefore, it is implied, Italy’s population would be more susceptible  (lesser immune systems) to COVID-19 and get the virus easier.

That thinking seems to go like this: The virus was around, took note of Italy’s aging population, and went to work there. It was a random country choice. Countries with younger populations would be less vulnerable to an outbreak of the virus.

Makes sense but then the facts get in the way.

I saw information today that reveals a significant connection between Italy to China.

The northern part of Italy has been the hardest hit by the coronavirus. How is that area connected to China?

The fashion/garment industry is huge in that region. Think Prada & Gucci. China has long presented inexpensive manufacturing options to those businesses.

Some of the work for that industry has been done by Italian companies that have used inexpensive labor found mainly in Wuhan, China.

Chinese workers have also moved from China to northern Italy to work in the fashion/garment industry. There are an estimated 100,000 Chinese citizens working in Italian factories. More than 300,000 Chinese now live in Italy.

Until recently, end of January, there were direct flights from Italy to Wuhan.

I may not have this exactly right, but this looks to me like plenty of interaction between the area in China where the virus started and the place in Europe where it is the worst.

Portraying COVID-19 as a virus that randomly infects large areas out of nowhere may not be true. Cause and effect still are in play.

Certainly, we need to be careful and certainly we need to be wise.

Should northern Italy be under virtual house arrest? No question.

Should we? No longer as certain.

 

 

 

 

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