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Minnesota Music Legend

James Samuel “Cornbread” Harris Sr. is a singer and pianist who performs in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Harris has been a part of Minnesota music history, performing on Minnesota’s first rock ‘n’ roll record, Harris was inducted into Minnesota’s Blues Hall of Fame in 2012.

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Ironman of the Irons

Mark Brooks is no stranger to golf. In fact, he says, “I chose golf, I certainly had designs on maybe doing something else if golf didn’t work out, but it has worked out for me and it is an interesting game.” Mark Brooks plays on the Champions Tour of the Professional Golfers Association. Brooks has seven wins on the PGA Tour, including one major win, the 1996 PGA Championship. He turned became a professional in 1983, and he holds the record for most career starts on tour: over 800 and counting. “I went straight to the PGA Tour. I never played any other tours around the world. I did not have to play the ‘mini tours,’ you know, where you’re scraping by. I went straight to ‘the show.’ You have to qualify. It’s a big qualifier. A six-round golf tournament, played in the fall, and it’s been that way for quite a few years,” he says. “I was fortunate enough to get my first shot right of college.”  Brooks says playing with professional golf players right out of college helped him to realize his own shortcomings and the need for learning how to improve his play. “Once I got on tour, I basically saw that everything about my game needed to be improved.  I had a pretty good swing but I needed these things to change. I made some changes after about five years of struggling, trying to stay on tour, you know, pretty much just kind of gutting it out, playing on instinct.  And within probably four or five months, I saw some dramatic improvement in my ball striking, which, you know, it’s how close you hit it to the hole and hit fairways and all that.  And after about five years on tour, things kind of clicked.” Brooks says although physical abilities matter when playing, the game of golf tests a player’s mental stamina, but he says the game has changed.  “One of the things we’re seeing, the equipment gotten so much better, the golf ball itself, which is integral to playing the game, the ball has changed quite a bit in the last 20 or 30 years. It goes straighter. It goes further. It fights the elements better as far as the wind. Technologies kind of entered the game in a strong way in the last 15 or 20 years, so it’s allowed a different style of athlete, I’m going to say, to do really well in golf,” he says. “So, we’re seeing a little bit of a change, unfortunately, in my opinion, with golf and the characteristics of a person that make you probably be a good player, not a great player. And so, I think a little bit of the mental part has been taken out. They have to figure out how to make golf become more of testing a player’s mental ability other than just a few weeks of the year when you turn on the Masters or U.S. Open. Golf is supposed to be a game of, you know, testing oneself against oneself. The golf course is just an element that’s there to bring those things out.” Brooks still plays on the tour. He says now that he is older, the toughest challenge is dealing with less than perfect play.   “You want to go out there and produce shots that you know you’re capable of, but you know when you’re in your prime years, you can go reproduce a shot eight or nine out of 10 times. Three in a row is easy. As you get older, it is far more difficult to have your body repeat those things. In my opinion, your mind wants your body to do certain things and sometimes your body doesn’t listen. I’ve had knee issue, shoulder issue, you know, back issues, herniated disc, so playing mediocre golf doesn’t feel good. As I’ve gotten older, I think it’s not just patience, it’s just I just don’t enjoy going out there playing really crappy golf. And I think I’m not alone in that regard.” Mark Brooks holds a significant record in the Pro Golfers Association: most career starts. “I’ve played over 800 tournaments that are just the PGA tour alone, and when you start doing the math, you just go, ‘That’s insane.’ I mean, if you play 20 tournaments a year, that’s 40 years. It’s ridiculous,” Brooks says.  “So, I would say that’s probably my greatest achievement.” Brooks says choosing a time to retire from golf has been difficult.  “I had a shot at something pretty big in the early 2000s. I said at the time I would retire if I won that week and I was dead serious and I didn’t win.” So, to my body’s demise and my family, I am still doing it because I did not win that playoff. Retiring is difficult. Golf sort of wanes you off. You are weaned off the competitive circuit. And then I’d love to spend the rest my life, the next 10 or 15 years doing television and teaching good players because I think that’s what I have the most experience with, and the most expertise in.”  

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A Sportswear Solution

When in public, Muslim woman and girls may wear a hijab, a head or body covering that conforms to Islamic standards of modesty. These women may also want to participate in sports without compromising their religion and clothing, and with a sport hijab, they can do just that.Fatimah Hussein is co-founder of ASIYA  (pr. ah-SEE-yah), an activewear company that is changing the lives of Muslim girls and women by producing culturally-appropriate athletic wear. Hussein owns the business with partner Jamie Glover, and the company is named after a woman revered in Islamic history. ASIYA Sport
ASIYA Sport“Many young Muslim girls when they start playing sports, can’t focus completely on the game, because they are also focus on their hijab. They either take it off or don’t play,” Hussein says. “They didn’t have any accessibility of a sport hijab that they felt very comfortable with. Many hijabs require pins as fasteners. When playing a sport, hijabs can be hot and unwieldy.  If it comes unraveled, another player could trip on it, or the pin could jab the wearer or others, making it dangerous for everyone. So, I was like, there should be some kind of a solution for this,” says Hussein.A sports hijab was the answer. ASIYA markets hijabs that are for fast paced physical activity. The headwear is made from a sweat-wicking fabric, designed to be comfortable and safe for play. ASIYA Sport
ASIYA SportHussein, a Muslim woman was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, and came to the United States at age six with her parents and sister, fleeing civil war. She says that she played sports in school as a child but was preoccupied with thoughts of her hijab. “This doesn’t look right, this is falling, I don’t feel comfortable inside,” she says she remembers thinking.Hussein is still involved with sports in her hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota. In her free time, she is a basketball coach. She is also a licensed social worker.  Fatimah Hussein, CEO & Co-Founder of Asiya, Champi
Fatimah Hussein, CEO & Co-Founder of Asiya“A lot of girls in our community want to try new things and play sports, but they aren’t confident, says Hussein. “They’re constantly told they shouldn’t be doing something boys are able to do, they get intimidated,” she says.Hussein also found an indoor neighborhood gym for girls to play sports on their own.She also established Girls Initiative in Recreation and Leisurely Sports (G.I.R.L.S), a nonprofit program for Muslim girls. 0dfbfc6c-39f3-40d8-aba3-1a7a1491e575.jpgHussein talks frequently of identity, community, and taking pride in being a Muslim. She says the hijab is important for Muslim women.“It makes a statement about her identity. Anyone who sees her will know that she is a Muslim, she is modest and has a good moral character,” says Hussein.Hussein says ASIYA is helping to break down barriers for Muslim girls who want to participate in sports. “We view ASIYA as a social venture looking to increase participation rates, as we believe there is huge value in sports participation for young girls in developing critical skills that set them up for success later in life.”         

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US Official Urges Ending Kosovo Trade Taxes Against Serbia

A U.S. State Department official has called for an end to Kosovo’s taxes on Serbian goods so that European Union-mediated talks on resolving the dispute between the former war foes could resume.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer said Monday full normalization of relations between Serbia and its former province is “essential” for the future of Western Balkans.

Kosovo declared independence in 2008 which Serbia does not recognize. The EU-mediated dialogue has stalled after Kosovo introduced a 100% tariff on all goods coming from Serbia and Bosnia last year.

Palmer said the tariffs present an “obstacle” for the dialogue and should be “lifted or suspended in such a way that would allow for the parties to return to the negotiating table.”

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Virginia City to Divest Budget Funds From Fossil Fuels

Officials in Charlottesville, Virginia, have voted to divest the city’s operating budget investments from any entity involved in the production of fossil fuels or weapons.

 

WVIR-TV reports the City Council voted 4-1 last week to complete those divestments within the next 30 days.

 

Supporters of divestment argued that weapons and fossil fuels do not align with the city’s strategic plan goals, including being responsible stewards of natural resources.

 

Officials said fossil fuel and weapons companies make up only a small portion of the city’s operating fund investment portfolio. They said the divestment will have little or no financial impact on the city.

 

Several cities worldwide have fully committed to divestment from fossil fuels according to 350.org’s Fossil Free project, including other college towns like Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Berkeley, California.

 

 

 

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Boris Johnson to EU: I Won’t Pay Unless Deal Improved

Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is stepping up his campaign to be Britain’s next prime minister by challenging the European Union over Brexit terms.

Johnson told the Sunday Times he would refuse to pay the agreed-upon 39 billion-pound ($50 billion) divorce settlement unless the EU offers Britain a better withdrawal agreement than the one currently on the table.

 

The contest for leadership of the Conservative Party officially begins Monday. The post was vacated Friday by Prime Minister Theresa May, who will serve as a caretaker until a new leader is chosen and moves into 10 Downing Street.

 

The party expects to name its new leader in late July.

 

Johnson, the early frontrunner in a crowded field, told the newspaper he is the only contender who can triumph over the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn and Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

 

Johnson is a hard-line Brexit advocate who vows to take Britain out of the EU on the Oct. 31 deadline even if there is no deal in place.

 

He and other contenders say they can get better terms from EU leaders in Brussels than the deal that May agreed to but was unable to push through Parliament. Those failures led to her decision to resign before achieving her goal of delivering Brexit.

 

But EU officials have said they are not willing to change the terms of the deal May agreed to.

 

One of Johnson’s main rivals for the post, Environment Secretary Michael Gove, continued to be sidetracked Sunday by questions about his acknowledged cocaine use when he was a youthful journalist.

 

He told BBC Sunday that he was “fortunate” not to have gone to prison following his admission of cocaine use. He said he was “very, very aware” of the damage drugs can cause.

 

Nominations for the leadership post close Monday afternoon.