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Winderman’s view: Duncan Robinson’s return also a win for the Heat

South Florida Local News - Fri, 04/19/2024 - 18:28

MIAMI – Observations and other notes of interest from Friday night’s 112-91 NBA play-in victory over the Chicago Bulls:

– No, not necessarily among Friday night’s biggest storylines on a night the Heat found their way to victory in the absences of Jimmy Butler and Terry Rozier.

– Certainly not bigger than Tyler Herro’s effort.

– But perhaps among the most significant.

– Because to compete against the Celtics, it likely will have to come over the top from the Heat.

– As in the shooting of Duncan Robinson.

– While not necessarily up to full speed, merely having Robinson on the court at least presents hope of a hot hand.

– Arguably the lone remaining rotation player capable of such a hot hand front beyond the arc.

– Back injuries, of course, are a great unknown.

– And there already has been one aborted Robinson comeback.

– With this just a limited return.

– But where Robinson’s lack of an appearance Wednesday night in Philadelphia created further angst, there now is hope.

– Of something over the top.

– Which might be the only way against the Celtics for the Butler-less Heat.

– If there is to be hope.

– With Butler and Rozier, the Heat opened with a lineup of Bam Adebayo, Nikola Jovic, Herro, Caleb Martin and Jaime Jaquez Jr.

– It was the first time this season that Heat opened with those five.

– Highwood Highsmith was first off the Heat bench.

– Kevin Love followed.

– Then it was Delon Wright.

– With Robinson then entering for the first time in six games.

– After battling a back issue that had him out 10 of the previous 15 games.

– Asked at the morning shootaround about the onus being on himself and Herro, Adebayo said, “It’s our opportunity. We’ve always had little stints of this, but it’s our opportunity right now.”

– Herro certainly seized the moment.

– As did Adebayo with his offense.

– The Heat at the morning shootaround refused to concede anything about the team’s injuries.

– “We’ve shown it in the past where guys go down, that’s part of the game,” Martin said. “Guys go down, guys have to step up, that’s part of our culture, too.”

– So Jaquez stepped up.

– Of someone potentially stepping up, Adebayo said Friday morning, “A lot of us got here on opportunities when other people left the door open. And you’ve got to be able to take advantage of those opportunities.”

– Heat coach Erik Spoelstra on being without sidelined Butler and Rozier, “I really feel for him. I feel for Terry. They’re competitors at their hearts and their soul.”

– Spoelstra was asked pregame about the emergence of Bulls guard Coby White.

– “His confidence level has gone up. His usage rate has gone up. The ball’s in his hands more,” Spoelstra said. “They lead the league in volume of pick-and-rolls, and he’s involved in a lot of ’em. But he’s just grown as a player.”

– Spoelstra added, “He’s had to weather some ups and downs during his career, and you have to respect somebody who’s kind of done it in a different path, where it didn’t happen necessarily immediately.”

– The Heat then clamped down on White to a point of no return for the emerging Bulls guard.

– Spoelstra said that certain comparisons could be made between the rise of White and the rise of the 76ers Tyrese Maxey, who the Heat faced Wednesday night.

– Bulls coach BIlly Donovan said preparation was altered given the Heat injury situation.

– “I think that everybody in the NBA has had to deal with something along those lines. We’ve had to deal with it. They’ve had to deal with it,” he said pregame. “They dealt with it last year, when they went on an incredible run all the way to the Finals, right?”

– Paige Bueckers was among the faces in the crowd.

Butler-less Heat batter Bulls 112-91 behind a Herro takeover, with Celtics challenge up next

South Florida Local News - Fri, 04/19/2024 - 18:24

MIAMI – Immediate challenge conquered.

Greater challenge ahead.

Pushing past the Chicago Bulls a day after learning team leader Jimmy Butler would be lost for weeks with a knee injury, the reward for the Miami Heat for Friday night’s 112-91 win-or-go-home play-in victory is a first-round matchup against the league-best Boston Celtics.

On a night offense was a struggle at times for both teams, the Heat turned up the defense to essentially salvage their season.

Something more, far more, will be required against the Celtics, with that best-of-seven series opening Sunday at 1 p.m. at TD Garden.

“I feel like we’re better when our backs are against the wall,” guard Tyler Herro said.

Boston has been idle since closing their regular season a league-best 64-18 last Sunday, 18 games ahead of the Heat in the Eastern Conference standings.

It will be the fourth playoff meeting in the past five seasons, including in the Eastern Conference finals the last two years, with the Heat winning such a matchup last season.

The difference is that the Celtics enter whole, with the Heat not only lacking Butler, but also have been without former Celtics guard Terry Rozier the past six games due to neck spasms,

The Heat also entered the best-of-seven opening round last season as the No. 8 seed, taking down the top-seeded Milaukee Bucks on way to the NBA Finals.

“We had to do it the hard way just to get this first ticket punched for the invocation to this dance,” coach Erik Spoelstra said of Friday night’s win. “And then we’ll figure out this next thing.”

Herro seized control of the Heat offense in the absences of Butler and Rozier, closing with 24 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, including several moments of spectacular offense.

The Heat also got 21 points from rookie guard Jaime Jaquez Jr., who started in place of Butler, and 16 from backup center Kevin Love, whose effort offset an uneven 13-point offensive night from starting center Bam Adebayo.

DeMar DeRozan led the Bulls with 22 points.

Five Degrees of Heat from Friday night’s play-in game:

1. Game flow: With a 19-0 first-quarter run, the Heat went up 19 in the first period and led 34-17 going into the second. The lead then grew to 20 before the Heat took a 47-37 advantage into halftime.

From there, the Bulls trimmed the Heat lead to seven early in the third quarter, before Herro’s offense and stout team defense got the Heat back up 82-60 going into the fourth quarter.

Friday marked the second consecutive year the Heat have taken such a winner-take-all game against the Bulls at the end of the play-in round at Kaseya Center.

Last year the Heat followed up a loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the play-in with a comeback victory over Chicago. This time, the Heat play on after losing their play-in opener Wednesday on the road to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Spoelstra said the Heat quickly turned the page after that loss in Philadelphia.

“What we talked about this morning was, ‘Forget about how we got here,’ ” Spoelstra said. “We have guys that want those moments with the feeling that you have going into it. And we have a bunch of Type-A competitors.”

2. Herro ball: Herro was halfway to a triple-double when he checked out late in the first period, already up to six points, six rebounds and five assists.

He then returned to spark a stagnant offense with a 3-pointer with 3:40 left in the second period for a 45-31 lead, after a Heat 20-point lead had been trimmed to 11.

From there, he produced the play of the night, when he tracked down a loose ball at full speed inside the Heat lane in the third quarter, threw a bullet, high-speed, behind-the-back pass to Caleb Martin on the left wing for a 3-pointer.

He followed that up shortly thereafter by capping a wild run of turnovers by both teams with a transition 3-pointer.

All of that had him closing one assist shy of a triple-double.

“Obviously with Jimmy out, we’re playing a little bit different now,” Herro said. “I feel like I’m going to have my opportunities.”

Including the play to Martin.

“That was lucky,” Herro said with a smile.

As for missing out on the triple-double by sitting late, he said, “There’s a lot of opportunities ahead of us.”

3. Bold stroke: With Butler out, Spoelstra threw an immediate twist at the Bulls, opening with Adebayo defending DeRozan.

Spoelstra was afforded that luxury with the Heat’s lineup reconstruct, with Nikola Jovic available to match his 6-foot-10 size against Bulls center Nikola Vucevic.

So without Butler, who typically takes the assignment, Butler stepped up against DeRozan.

“It’s another day in the office,” Adebayo said of the assignment. “Obviously your coach trusts me to defend their star player speaks a lot of what you can do for your team.”
Adebayo was aggressive from the outset against DeRozan, setting the Heat’s defensive tone.

“He’s absolutely incredible,” Jaquez said of Adebayo’s defensive effort. “His presence is felt.

“Bam’s absolutely incredible. That’s inspiring to us.”

The Heat’s overall defensive tenacity also included stout efforts on that end from  Delon Wright and Haywood Highsmith.

“What Delon and H are  doing,:” Spoelstra said, “they’re so much fun to watch. They’re dynamic defensively. They do all the dirty work and they kind of inspire everybody.”

4. Robinson back: Duncan Robinson was back in the Heat mix after missing the previous five games with a back issue listed as left facet syndrome.

Robinson had been listed as available for Wednesday night’s loss in Philadelphia but did not enter.

He went into Friday having missed 10 of the previous 15 games.

He was off with his first two shots, a pair of 3-point attempts, before converting a pair of 3-pointers early in the second period.

He closed with eight points on 3-of-6 shooting 12 minutes.

“I think this last week or so has been really important for him,” Spoelstra said. “He’s been making progress.

“I notice all the overreactions he creates. Our offense just looks different when he creates a trigger, and that will be important in our next series.”

5. What’s next: The Heat now move on to their series against the Celtics:

Game 1: Sunday, at Boston, 1 p.m., ABC.

Game 2: Wednesday, at Boston,  7 p.m., TNT

Game 3: Sat. April 27, at Miami, 6 p.m., TNT

Game 4: Mon. April 29, at Miami,  Time and TV TBD

Game 5*: Wed, May 1, at Boston, Time and TV TBD

Game 6*: Fri. May 3, at Miami, Time and TV TBD

Game 7*: Sun. May 5, at Boston, Time and TV TBD

* – If necessary.

(All games also on Bally Sports Sun, except those on ABC, such as Sunday.)

Orlando QB will get more snaps in modified spring game with new-look FSU

South Florida Local News - Fri, 04/19/2024 - 16:00

TALLAHASSEE — Coach Mike Norvell has emphasized often that Florida State will not play a true spring game Saturday. The modified format is instead a “showcase.”

The Seminoles will show off plenty of new pieces, with transfer quarterback DJ Uiagalelei the biggest name of the 26 newcomers who will compete in the spring showcase (ACC Network, 4). Fans will see new faces, whether a transfer or a freshman early enrollee, at every position group.

Here’s what to watch as the Seminoles take the field in an under-construction Doak Campbell Stadium:

What’s next for the Florida State, ACC lawsuits

What can be expected from FSU’s quarterbacks?

Uiagalelei’s arm strength is impressive, and he often shows off what appears to be an effortless flick of the wrist as he launches a pass 50 yards downfield. The arm talent was never a question. But the Oregon State transfer has illustrated an improved grasp of the FSU playbook and chemistry with receivers when comparing his April practices to the first ones in mid-March.

“Accuracy with the ball and getting on the same page as the receiver,” redshirt senior Kentron Poitier said. “He knows where to place it now that he has so many practices. It should be an easy transition. Saturday should be a great show for everybody.”

FSU will be without quarterbacks Brock Glenn and Luke Kromenhoek, who Norvell said have minor injuries (they won’t be limited in offseason workouts this summer). That has given more snaps during the last week to Orlando native Trever Jackson.

“He’s been getting the [No.] 2 reps here the last couple of days,” Norvell said. “It’s definitely a lot being thrown at him with everyone, but I thought he’s done some good things. Obviously, a great opportunity for him.”

Who have been the most impressive transfers?

Jaylin Lucas has been the most surprising of the new offensive transfers. Lucas’ impact was expected to be more as a kick returner, and perhaps as a punt returner. While listed as a running back, he’s shown to be a consistent receiver with soft hands while showing off his speed and elusiveness.

FSU brought in three transfer defensive ends (Marvin Jones Jr., Sione Lolohea and Tomiwa Durojaiye) and each has impressed. Durojaiye has shown athleticism and versatility, splitting snaps in one scrimmage between end and tackle.

Who is a freshman to watch?

Tight end Landen Thomas arrived and has added good weight through the strength and conditioning program. How good of a blocker he is remains to be seen, but Thomas looks ready to contribute and should play on special teams.

What will be the format for the showcase?

The Seminoles will begin with some individual drills followed by red-zone situations and special teams. There will be a 15-minute first quarter, more special teams and a 10-minute second quarter and a grand finale led by 1999 national championship guest coaches Peter Warrick, Corey Simon, Travis Minor and Tommy Polley.

How stunned will fans be when they walk into Doak?

Longtime FSU fans will recall the “erector set” before the renovation in the early 1990s. But this is by far the most significant renovation of Doak since then, with the removal of all seats along the west sideline. Temporary seats will be brought in for the fall, but on Saturday fans will see an empty space on the west side. Capacity for the showcase will be limited to 22,000, with fans and students grabbing 15,000 as of Friday afternoon.

If you go

FSU’s spring showcase

When: Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium

TV: ACC Network, 4

Cost: $10 admission, $8 parking

 

UCF men’s basketball gets commitment from George Mason transfer Keyshawn Hall

South Florida Local News - Fri, 04/19/2024 - 15:59

UCF men’s basketball landed one of its most significant offseason additions after George Mason sophomore guard Keyshawn Hall verbally committed to the Knights on Friday.

The 6-foot-7 Hall led the Patriots in scoring (16.6) and rebounding (8.8) last season, averaging 30 minutes in 29 games. A 4-star product of Denver Prep Academy, he signed with UNLV in 2022, averaged 5.4 points and 10 minutes a game before transferring to George Mason.

ON3’s Joe Tipton was the first to report the move.

pic.twitter.com/FFZu7ue26G

— Johnny Dawkins (@Coach_Dawkins) April 19, 2024

Hall recently posted on social media that his final four transfer choices were USC, Michigan State, Arkansas and UCF.

UCF’s roster underwent a massive rebuild after Shemarri Allen, Ibrahima Diallo, Antwaan Jones and Omar Payne graduated. In addition, a handful of players entered the portal, led by forwards C.J. Walker and Marchelus Avery along with guards DeMarr Langford Jr., Comeh Emuobor and Michael Kalina.

Guards Darius Johnson (15.2 ppg.) and Jaylin Sellers (15.9 ppg.), who combined to start 64 games, are among the core players returning. Center Thierno Sylla (4.3 ppg, 4 rpg) also returns after starting 10 times.

Memphis transfer Mikey Williams, a 4-star guard from California, is enrolled at the school and expected to play a significant role for coach Johnny Dawkins.

The Knights also received a verbal commitment from Syracuse transfer Benny Williams, a 6-8 forward who averaged 4.8 points, 3 rebounds and 17 minutes in three seasons with the Orange.

Hall’s commitment moves the Knights up to No. 14 in the latest transfer class rankings, according to 247Sports.

UCF finished 17-16 last season, including 7-11 in its first year in the Big 12. Still, the program achieved several high points, including three wins against ranked opponents and a first-round victory in the conference tournament.

Matt Murschel can be reached at mmurschel@orlandosentinel.com

2 persons of interest ID’d in deadly carjacking, kidnapping of South Florida woman

South Florida Local News - Fri, 04/19/2024 - 15:17

Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma released names Friday of two persons of interest in the April 11 carjacking and killing of a South Florida woman — including a man he believes is the masked gunman captured on video.

While no suspects were identified, Lemma said detectives were able to tie Jordanish Torres-Garcia, 28, to the car at the center of Katherine Guerrero De Aguasvivas’ kidnapping.

Detectives discovered he’d purchased the green Acura sedan seen following the 31-year-old as she drove in Winter Springs in a white Dodge SUV. He said the car had been sold by its original owners to a dealership, eventually making its way to Torres-Garcia after he bought it on Facebook Marketplace.

The car was since recovered by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office as part of its investigation into a shooting that killed Juan Luis Cintron Garcia, a 39-year-old tow truck driver who was shot at dozens of times in Taft. A green Acura sedan was seen fleeing the scene, according to investigators.

“[Torres-Garcia’s] phone number is matching the phone number of the person who purchased the green Acura,” Lemma said, noting that calling him a person of interest is for now “probably the safest thing to call him.”

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Detectives also found a photo of Torres-Garcia posted to social media appearing in clothing similar to those of the gunman: a black ski mask and what looked like a black long-sleeved shirt bearing a similar design. Torres-Garcia was arrested just after noon Friday in Orlando on an unrelated federal warrant on weapons charges. He’s being held at the Seminole County Jail.

The second person of interest is 27-year-old Giovany Crespo Hernandez, who the sheriff said might have been the last person to speak with Guerrero De Aguasvivas over the phone. He was found by Guerrero De Aguasvivas’ brother — identified in court documents as Luis Abreu — after conducting what Lemma said was “his own independent investigation.”

After finding the number through his sister’s iCloud account, Abreu video-called Crespo Hernandez and took a screenshot later turned over to law enforcement. He said detectives were able to identify Crespo Hernandez through facial-recognition software.

Crespo Hernandez, he said, lives in Casselberry but was not home when deputies executed a search warrant. While drugs and guns were found at the home, no evidence tied him or any of the items to the carjacking.

Investigators have not yet tied him or Torres-Garcia to the kidnapping, nor have they identified the other passenger in the Acura seen on video. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Seminole Sheriff’s Office or call Crimeline at 800-423-8477.

“There are some bad players and bad actors that are doing dangerous things with this,” Lemma said. “So I encourage anybody who feels like they may be in harm’s way to come to us for some level of protection. Tell us what you know.”

Friday’s press conference was the third update since Guerrero De Aguasvivas’ kidnapping and killing after her car was found on fire in Osceola County with her body inside. Lemma said she is believed to have driven to Central Florida from Homestead to “deliver money and other stuff” before she was held up at gunpoint on East Lake Drive and Tuskawilla Road.

While Abreu and Miguel Aguasvivas, Guerrero De Aguasvivas’ husband, have cooperated with detectives, the sheriff said he questions whether they’ve been entirely forthcoming. Namely, he remains skeptical as to why Aguasvivas didn’t call 911 after his wife called him to report she was being followed.

Investigators believe the woman was targeted by the unknown assailants, though it’s not yet clear why. Lemma also questioned Abreu’s own investigation into his sister’s disappearance, but told reporters he doesn’t believe it’s affecting the work of his deputies.

Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Francisco Estrella, 23, leaves the Seminole County Jail on Thursday night. (Spectrum News)

“I’m incredibly skeptical of their level of cooperation, but I’m still identifying them as witnesses and people who are working with us,” he said. “They’ve never been listed as a person of interest, they’ve never been listed as a suspect.”

Abreu and Aguasvivas are also tied to the arrest of Orange County Deputy Francisco Estrella, who was asked to look into a Seminole detective assigned to work Guerrero De Aguasvivas’ death. According to an affidavit, Estrella recorded conversations with the detective under an alias, Francisco Archuela, and provided the pair with her driver’s license profile taken from a confidential law enforcement database.

Estrella was arrested Sunday and charged with illegal interception of communications, illegal disclosure of communications and disclosure of confidential criminal justice information, among other crimes. He was suspended by the Sheriff’s Office, where he’s worked since September 2022, as the case proceeds.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released Thursday night on a $15,000 bond.

Florida man lights self on fire outside Trump trial courthouse in NYC

South Florida Local News - Fri, 04/19/2024 - 14:47

By Thomas Tracy, New York Daily News (TNS)

NEW YORK — A Florida man set himself on fire in a park across from Manhattan Criminal Court Friday where former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial continues, according to a report.

Court officers and cops monitoring the press outside raced over to help put out the fire, which erupted in a penned-off section of Collect Pond Park across the street from the courthouse at about 1:30 p.m.

“I was about 20 to 30 feet from him. I started yelling, ‘This guy’s doing something, he might be doing something!” Fred Gates, who witnessed the fire, told the Daily News. “When he… when the fire (broke out) it was just disbelief,” he said.

“I never saw anything like this.”

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Authorities at a press conference identified the man as Max Azzarello, of St. Augustine, Florida. He remains in critical condition at New York Presbyterian-Cornell Hospital.

Azzarello, described by authorities as a “conspiracy theorist,” posted a rambling manifesto just before the blaze began.

“I am an investigative researcher who has set himself on fire outside of the Trump trial in Manhattan,” he wrote. “This extreme act of protest is to draw attention to an urgent and important discovery: We are victims of a totalitarian con, and our own government (along with many of their allies) is about to hit us with an apocalyptic fascist world coup.”

The man, dressed in a T-shirt and jeans, had signs made of oaktag in front of him and was handing out fliers when he suddenly threw all the paper in the air, witnesses said.

“(It was a) very scary, active scene,” Politico reporter Emily Ngo wrote as she posted graphic video of the fire on X. “Did not hear him say anything before he dosed himself with a fluid.”

The flames reached about 8 feet high as firefighters and other first responders extinguished the blaze, images from the incident show. After the fire was extinguished, EMS rushed him to a hospital for treatment.

“He was responsive when he was removed, but he is very, very badly burned,” Ngo said.

A 73-year-old man walking through the park heard a clattering of the papers when they hit the ground — then saw something he wished he hadn’t.

“The papers were kind of stiff. That drew my attention,” the man, who identified himself as Dave, said. “I saw him take out a can of liquid and put it over his head.

“He doused himself real good at which point I thought ‘This is going to be awful.’” Dave said, recalling the horrific scene. “He then took out a lighter and lit himself on fire.”

It took first responders “a while” to put out the blaze, Dave said.

“He was fully aflame,” he said. “It was pretty bad. I don’t want to talk about it.”

Word of the self-immolation occurred as prosecutors and Trump’s attorneys finished selecting the final alternate jurors for the hush money trial, which is expected to start on Monday.

No one in the courtroom knew what had happened outside until they took a short break, court officials said.

Gates said the man was quite calm as he took two gas cans out of his backpack.

“(He) put them down on the ground, just slow, calm,” Gates recalled. “Then he took a bunch of fliers out of his backpack, throw them into the air and then he picked up one (can) and dumped it on himself and then he picked up another and dunked the other half of himself and by that time I was running.”

The man set himself on fire as reporters milled around the park, waiting for an update from inside court.

Azzarello remained in critical condition Friday afternoon. A court officer was also rushed to the hospital after he was injured trying to put out the fire.

An investigation into the incident was continuing Friday.

The manifesto released online, which is linked to a QR code on one of the fliers, touched on Ponzi schemes, bank failures, the rise of cryptocurrency, the television show “The Simpsons” and Harvard University, which he called “one of the largest organized crime fronts in history.”

“To my friends and family, witnesses and first responders, I deeply apologize for inflicting this pain upon you,” Azzarello wrote about his alleged self-immolation. “But I assure you it is a drop in the bucket compared to what our government intends to inflict.”

Despite this horrific turn of events, the trial was proceeding Friday, Al Baker, a spokesman for New York State Courts said.

“The entire court is impacted by this. The court officers rushed to help aid the man. Everyone who works in this building every day, their heart goes out to this incident. The judge himself has expressed concern for him, but in terms of the timing, and the process that is unchanged, the court proceeding will continue.”

Fire extinguishers (R) and a backpack (L) are left at the park across from Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City after a man reportedly set himself on fire during the trial of former President Donald Trump Friday. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

©2024 New York Daily News. Visit nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Dave Hyde: Believe it — Florida Panthers enter playoffs as the team to beat

South Florida Local News - Fri, 04/19/2024 - 14:24

FORT LAUDERDALE — Talent? They have it.

Purpose? They honed it.

Scars? They have those, too.

One heady season after the Florida Panthers surprised everyone by climbing from the lowest seed to the Stanley Cup Final, they’re ready to do it a different way starting Sunday with Game 1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Sunrise.

They’re a prime team to beat this time.

“We know what we can do,’’ captain Aleksander Barkov said.

Everything’s before them on the table now.

“This is the time we’ve looked forward to,’’ top scorer Sam Reinhart said.

The Panthers are either the favorite to win the Stanley Cup, according to Vegas oddsmakers, or listed second behind Eastern Conference rival Carolina. The last South Florida team to enter the postseason as the championship favorite was the Miami Heat’s Big Three in the spring of 2014, when their attempt for a three-peat fell short against San Antonio.

No one’s surprised the Panthers are favorites, considering the built on last spring’s playoff run to win the Eastern Conference. No one should overdo the significance, either, considering only one favorite in the past decade has won the Cup.

Or, as coach Paul Maurice said a few times Friday to various questions about last spring’s lessons, this season’s progress and also the rugged history with Tampa Bay, “It won’t mean a thing when the puck is dropped.”

Still, when a frog wakes up one day and discovers he’s the handsome prince, it should be properly framed and held up to the light for inspection. For a quarter-century, the Panthers not only didn’t win a playoff series but led the league in dysfunction. Roster problems. Coaching changes. Management upheavals.

Now this could be — and should be — their best chance for a title in team history.

Look at the team. It didn’t just win the Eastern Conference thanks to some last-week surprises. It showed its ready for the playoffs by turning a switch and going 5-0-1 down the stretch.

Look at the roster. It’s full of veterans like Barkov, 28, and Reinhart, 28, and Matthew Tkachuk, 26, in the prime of careers. Of the 10 Panthers who played the most minutes, only defenseman Brandon Montour is out of his 20s. Montour is 30.

Look at the goal-tending, too. Sergei Bobrovsky ranked third among NHL goals with a 2.37 goals-against average. Reserve Anthony Solarz led the lead with a 2.03 average. Together with a defense-first style that wins in the playoffs, the Panthers goalies gave up the second-fewest goals (200) in the league this season, one more than leader Winnipeg.

Look at the health, too. Defenseman Aaron Ekblad is ready after missing time at the end of the regular season. Everyone’s ready now. The playoffs become a war of attrition for the teams that advance, as the Panthers discovered last year.

“That’s part of the learning process that you go through about what players are willing to sacrifice,’’ Maurice said. “Broken bones. Lots of muscle tears. Ankle sprains. Those are the hard things (beyond) the bruises that every player carries. It really sets a standard that going forward of what players are willing to do and a trust between them they’re willing to sacrifice.”

Every team has a window for winning. The Panthers’ is now. This summer comes with heavy contract questions around Reinhart, who goes into free agency off a 57-goal season, and Montour, another free agent and coveted core defenseman.

All that should work to the Panthers’ urgent favor starting Sunday. Tampa Bay can say the same. It went out in the first round last season after winning the Stanley Cup the previous two seasons. They handily beat the Panthers in the playoffs both those springs.

They still have the core of those teams. They also have an X-factor in goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who led those championship runs but ranked 28th with a 2.9 goals-against average this season.

A year ago, the Panthers had no expectations against a historically strong Boston team in the opening round. Now they have every expectation against a proud Tampa team. They’ll take South Florida along for the ride, too.

Prepare to be utterly impressed or completely devastated — or both, from game to game, even as the larger idea doesn’t change. This team has everything from talent to physicality to scars from last spring. They also understand the simple nature of the playoffs by now.

“Can’t get to the second round without winning the first round,” Maurice said.

Jameson Taillon comes off the injured list and pitches Cubs to 8-3 win, dropping Marlins to 4-16

South Florida Local News - Fri, 04/19/2024 - 14:16

CHICAGO (AP) — Jameson Taillon allowed one run over five innings in his first start this season after recovering from a strained back, and the Chicago Cubs beat the Miami Marlins 8-3 on Friday.

Nico Hoerner doubled twice for the Cubs, who have won five of six.

Miami fell to an NL-worst 4-16.

Taillon (1-0), in the second season of a $68 million, four-year contract, did not pitch in any spring training games, then made a pair of minor league rehab outings on April 7 and 12.

The 32-year-old right-hander gave up three hits, struck out four and walked none. He threw 73 pitches, including 27 fastballs that averaged 93.7 mph.

“I thought he was very sharp,” Cubs manager Craig Counsell said. “He got ahead and finished at-bats quickly.”

Taillon retired his first 10 batters and had a 7-0 lead before Bryan De La Cruz hit his fourth home run this season.

“It felt good,” Taillon said. “It just helps confirm a little bit some of the things we worked on.”

A.J. Puk (0-4) gave up career highs of seven runs and seven hits in three innings, walking three.

“That’s a really good lineup, so when you’re behind, you’re giving them a really good chance,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. “He paid the price for it.”

Cody Bellinger’s run-scoring single and Dansby Swanson’s RBI double put Chicago ahead in the first, Hoerner doubled in a run in the second and Miguel Amaya had a two-run double with two outs in a four-run third.

Nick Gordon had a two-run single in the ninth off Colten Brewer, who finished a six-hitter.

Miami’s Tim Anderson, a two-time All-Star during eight seasons with the White Sox, was 0 for 3 in his first game in Chicago since signing with the Marlins.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: OF Ian Happ left after six innings because of left hamstring tightness.

UP NEXT

The teams play a split doubleheader Saturday because of Thursday night’s rainout. Miami LHP Jesús Luzardo (0-2, 7.65 ERA) faces RHP Javier Assad (2-0, 2.16) in the opener and prospect RHP Roddery Muñoz is expected to make his big league debut against LHP Shota Imanaga (2-0, 0.00) in the second game.

___

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB

5 airport lines you can ditch (and how to skip them for free)

South Florida Local News - Fri, 04/19/2024 - 13:14

By Sally French | NerdWallet

At the airport, long lines for check-in, security screenings and even getting food can feel like a giant waste of time — and potentially disrupt even the most meticulously planned itinerary.

But with planning, you can skip some of the most annoying lines, and in some cases, get reimbursed if the line-skipping privilege requires an application fee. Here are five common airport bottlenecks and how to avoid them for free or cheap.

1. Check in

It is the year 2024, which means there’s a mobile version of all sorts of travel services. That includes the ability to check in to your flight without standing in line at the airline counter.

Most airlines allow you to check in for your flight directly through their mobile app or website within 24 hours of departure, allowing you to bypass the desk and proceed directly to security if you are flying with only carry-on luggage.

Even if you plan to check bags, checking in online via the airline app or website can help speed up the process so all you will have to do at the airport is print the bag tags at a kiosk and then hand the luggage off at the bag drop.

One way to avoid the checked-bags line altogether is to check your bag at the gate. Many airlines offer complimentary gate-checked baggage services on full flights, but it doesn’t hurt to ask the gate agent even if it’s not offered outright.

This trick doesn’t work if you’re packing common items that can’t go through the security screening, like pocket knives or liquids greater than 3.4 ounces. But assuming your stuff will pass through the security screening and you don’t need it during the flight, it might be worth waiting to check it at the gate.

2. Airport security ID check

An expedited Clear lane at San Francisco International Airport. (Photo by Sally French)

U.S. airport security technically consists of two lines: the line to get your identity checked, and the line to get you (and your stuff) screened.

You can get through airport security fast and skip to the front of the identity verification line with Clear, which is a private biometric screen company operating at more than 55 airports nationwide. Clear says it has more than 20 million members.

Once you pay for a Clear membership (which typically costs $189 per year), you can scan your fingerprints or eyes at Clear’s kiosks instead of having a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent look at your ID. From there, a Clear employee escorts you straight to the physical security screening, allowing you to cut in front of everyone else waiting to have their boarding pass or identification checked.

Though Clear membership fees are high, you might not actually have to pay them. Certain American Express credit cards offer annual statement credits to cover the cost.

3. Baggage screening

The standard TSA screening process can be slow, as most people have to remove their jackets and shoes, plus large electronics, from their bags. But with TSA PreCheck, you can leave your shoes and jackets on — and keep your laptops tucked away.

Most airports have two separate screening lanes for your carry-on luggage — one for TSA PreCheck and one for standard screening. According to the TSA, 99% of TSA PreCheck passengers wait less than 10 minutes (while it’s not uncommon for the standard line to take about 30 minutes).

To access those TSA PreCheck lines, you’ll need to submit an application and pay the fee, which starts at $78 and covers five years of membership. More than 4 million people enrolled in the program in 2023, bringing the total to more than 18 million active members.

There are ways to get TSA PreCheck for free, including holding a credit card that offers TSA PreCheck statement credit or redeeming rewards from certain hotel and airline loyalty programs.

4. Ordering food

At certain airports, Starbucks allows ordering through its mobile app. (Photo by Sally French)

Many airport eateries now offer mobile food ordering, where you can place an order before you arrive, and pick it up before you catch your flight.

Some restaurants, such as Starbucks, offer mobile ordering through an app. Starbucks began rolling out mobile order functionality in 2022, making it possible to order ahead and pay on the Starbucks app at participating airport outposts.

Other airports offer websites or apps that allow you to order food and beverages from participating airport restaurants. For example, the SFO2Go website allows you to order food from one of about a dozen restaurants at San Francisco International Airport. Food is typically ready within about 10-20 minutes.

5. Customs

International travelers returning to the U.S. must pass through a Customs and Border Inspection site before leaving the airport, which typically entails yet another long line.

If you hold Global Entry, which is an expedited clearance program for preapproved, low-risk travelers, you can skip the customs line. Program members get access to specific Global Entry lanes where their photo is taken to verify their membership. The process is generally much faster than the standard line — so fast that you pause only briefly on your way out of the terminal.

To get Global Entry, you’ll need to fill out an application and pay a $100 fee, which is nonrefundable (even if your application is denied). Avoid that fee by paying on one of the myriad credit cards that will cover your Global Entry application fee. Global Entry also includes TSA PreCheck benefits, so if you travel internationally, it’s better to pay the slightly higher fee for Global Entry to get access to both special lanes.

More From NerdWallet

 

Sally French writes for NerdWallet. Email: sfrench@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @SAFmedia.

US deports about 50 Haitians to nation hit with gang violence, ending monthslong pause in flights

South Florida Local News - Thu, 04/18/2024 - 17:36

By GISELA SALOMON and ELLIOT SPAGAT (Associated Press)

MIAMI (AP) — The Biden administration sent about 50 Haitians back to their country on Thursday, authorities said, marking the first deportation flight in several months to the Caribbean nation struggling with surging gang violence.

The Homeland Security Department said in a statement that it “will continue to enforce U.S. laws and policy throughout the Florida Straits and and the Caribbean region, as well as at the southwest border. U.S. policy is to return noncitizens who do not establish a legal basis to remain in the United States.”

Authorities didn’t offer details of the flight beyond how many deported Haitians were aboard.

Thomas Cartwright of Witness at the Border, an advocacy group that tracks flight data, said a plane left Alexandria, Louisiana, a hub for deportation operations, and arrived in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, after a stop in Miami.

Marjorie Dorsaninvil, a U.S. citizen, said her Haitian fiancé, Gerson Joseph, called in tears from the Miami airport Thursday morning to say he was being deported on a flight to Cap-Haitien with other Haitians and some from other countries, including the Bahamas.

He promised to call when he arrived but hadn’t done so by early evening.

Joseph lived in the U.S more than 20 years and has a 7-year-old U.S. citizen daughter with another woman. He had a deportation order dating from 2005 after losing an asylum bid that his attorney, Philip Issa, said was a result of poor legal representation at the time. Though Joseph wasn’t deported previously, his lawyer was seeking to have that order overturned.

Joseph was convicted of theft and burglary, and ordered to pay restitution of $270, Issa said. He has been detained since last year.

Dorsaninvil said her fiancé has “nobody” in Haiti. “It is devastating for me. We were planning a wedding and now he is gone,” she said.

More than 33,000 people fled Haiti’s capital in a span of less than two weeks as gangs pillaged homes and attacked state institutions, according to a report last month from the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration. The majority of those displaced traveled to Haiti’s southern region, which is generally peaceful compared with Port-au-Prince, which has an estimated population of 3 million and is largely paralyzed by gang violence.

Haiti’s National Police is understaffed and overwhelmed by gangs with powerful arsenals. Many hospitals ceased operations amid a shortage of medical supplies.

The U.S. operated one deportation flight a month to Haiti from December 2022 through last January, according to Witness at the Border. It said deportation flights were frequent after a camp of 16,000 largely Haitian migrants assembled on the riverbanks of Del Rio, Texas, in September 2021 but became rare as fewer Haitians crossed the border illegally from Mexico.

Haitians were arrested crossing the border from Mexico 286 times during the first three months of the year, less than 0.1% of the more than 400,000 arrests among all nationalities. More than 150,000 have entered the U.S. legally since January 2023 under presidential powers to grant entry for humanitarian reasons, and many others came legally using an online appointment system at land crossings with Mexico called CBP One.

Homeland Security said Thursday that it was “monitoring the situation” in Haiti.” The U.S. Coast Guard repatriated 65 Haitians who were stopped at sea off the Bahamas coast last month.

Haitian Bridge Alliance, a migrant advocacy group, urged a halt in deportation flights to Haiti, saying Thursday that the U.S. was “knowingly condemning the most vulnerable, who came to us in their time of need, to imminent danger.”

With Republicans seizing on the issue in an election year, the Biden administration has emphasized enforcement, most notably through a failed attempt at legislation, after record-high border arrests in December. Arrests for illegal crossings dropped by half in January and have held pretty steady since then after Mexico stepped up enforcement south of the U.S. border. Biden says he is considering executive action to halt asylum at the border during times when illegal crossings reach certain thresholds.

___

Spagat reported from Berkeley, California.

Hostage families hold mock seder to demand: Let our people go!

South Florida Local News - Thu, 04/18/2024 - 16:23

(JNS) Families of Israelis still being held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza Strip gathered in Kibbutz Nir Oz’s bullet-riddled dining hall on April 11 for a mock seder to demand the return of their loved ones ahead of Passover, which commemorates the biblical exodus from Egypt and the Jewish people’s deliverance from bondage.

The hall contained empty yellow chairs (the color associated with the campaign to free the hostages) with pictures of each of the 133 hostages still being held by the terror group, alongside empty plates and cutlery, similar to the iconic exhibit in Tel Aviv’s Hostages Square.

Courtesy of the Hostages and Missing Families ForumOfri Bibas-Levy speaks during a mock Passover seder for the release of the hostages in kibbutz Nir-Oz, April 11, 2024. Courtesy of the Hostages and Missing Families Forum

“Last Shabbat marked six months since they were cruelly kidnapped from their home. Six months and it feels as if they have been forgotten there. Six months where every moment of theirs could be their last moment and perhaps already has been,” said Ofri Bibas-Levy, the sister of Yarden Bibas, who was abducted during Hamas’s Oct. 7 invasion along with his wife Shiri and their two children Ariel, 4, and Kfir, 1.

“Will they be granted the freedom so cruelly taken from them? Hasn’t the time come for the whole world to also shout for Ariel and Kfir? A shout for justice, for humanity, for an end to this nightmare. Let my family go! Let our people go!” said Bibas-Levy.

The walls of the evacuated kibbutz’s dining hall, which was torched on Oct. 7, still radiated a rotten stench, prompting some journalists covering the event to remain by the windows.

“We are standing here at the place where I used to celebrate Passover with my father, with my family, with my whole community. So many of us are still missing,” said Noam Peri, daughter of elderly hostage Chaim Peri, who was kidnapped from Nir Oz.

“Do not talk about a ceasefire when our people are still held in tunnels. Apply pressure to make sure they are back home before Passover!” she added.

The kibbutz, located less than two miles from the Gaza border, was one of the hardest hit during the Oct. 7 onslaught, with one in four residents being killed or kidnapped.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed early on Sunday morning that Hamas has rejected the latest U.S.-mediated hostages-for-ceasefire proposal.

“It has been over a week since the Cairo meeting—Hamas has rejected the outline that was tabled by the mediators,” said Netanyahu’s office.

The development “proves that [Hamas chief in Gaza Yahya] Sinwar does not want a humanitarian deal and the return of the hostages, is continuing to exploit the tension with Iran and is striving to unite the sectors and achieve a general escalation in the region,” the statement continued.

“Israel will continue to strive to realize the objectives of the war with Hamas with full force, and leave no stone unturned to return the 133 hostages from Gaza forthwith,” it concluded.

The U.S. proposal would have seen Jerusalem release 900 terrorist prisoners, including murderers, in exchange for 40 hostages, along with a partial IDF withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the unrestricted return of Palestinians to the northern part of the coastal enclave.

CNN reported on Wednesday that the terror group claims it is currently unable to track down 40 living female, elderly and sick captives to release in the first batch in a possible hostage release deal.

Israel has pushed for Hamas to fill out the initial release with younger male hostages, including IDF soldiers, an official in Jerusalem told CNN.

Officials in Jerusalem believe that the IDF withdrawal from Khan Yunis and the flood of humanitarian aid into Gaza have hurt the chances that Hamas will agree to a hostage release deal.

Israeli-American Liat Atzili Beinin was released in November as part of a weeklong ceasefire agreement. Her husband, Aviv, a member of Nir Oz’s emergency response team, was killed on Oct. 7 while fending off terrorists.

“We are today at Kibbutz Nir Oz, my home. I will not list again the verbs describing what happened here—it is a terrifying list. Given our ordeal, it is my right to demand that anyone with a shred of morality join our call to return all the hostages without conditions,” said Beinin.

“For the families of the 133 hostages, there will be no ‘holiday’ without their loved ones. Don’t miss this opportunity,” she added.

To read more content visit www.jns.org

Chabad rabbi-rapper reaches top of the charts in Israel

South Florida Local News - Thu, 04/18/2024 - 16:06

(JNS) A rap artist who turned around his hard-partying lifestyle after a near-death experience when he was a teenager and became a rabbi now sees surging success with his newest single.

Rabbi Moshe Reuven Sheradsky, 31, has hit the No. 1 spot on the Israeli musical charts with his song “Red and Yellow.” He spoke with JNS about the spiritual influences on his music and whether the antisemitism of Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) signified a potential trend in hip-hop.

CourtesyRabbi Moshe Reuven Sheradsky. Courtesy

Lyrics in his hit song reference the near-death experience (someone spiked his drink at a party when he was 16) that Reuven credits with changing the course of his life, putting him onto the path that brought him to Orthodox Judaism and now pop-music acclaim.

“I remember the day I almost died/Laying down in the corner looking straight at the sky/And I’m in this room asking why/Can I live till tomorrow and give life another try?” Sheradsky raps.

He then vows to “live a purpose” and that he himself, like Jacob (Israel), “had to fight an angel.”

Sheradsky told JNS that “part of why and how I changed my life as a teenager was because I saw how evil things can be.”

In an interview with Jewish News, Sheradsky said that almost dying “was a turning point” in the realization that “my life had to be better than this. I felt God was giving me an ultimatum that I must embark on a more meaningful path or it would be wasted.”

Sheradsky grew up in a Conservative Jewish household in Hollywood, Fla. Following his traumatic party experience, he “stopped going out on Friday nights, fully observed Shabbat, only ate kosher and grew a beard which my brothers constantly teased me about.” He said that “being at Chabad had a profound influence in igniting a quest to find out more about Judaism.”

Sheradsky went on to study at a yeshivah in Israel and at the Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, N.J., earning his semicha in 2021 and becoming a rabbi affiliated with the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.

Discussing biblical figures who influenced his music, Sheradsky told JNS that “when it comes to writing, Moses and King David stand out. Moses was always for the people. He was the embodiment of what a true leader really should be—completely given over, complete self-sacrifice.”

Sheradsky said that when he writes his songs, “I’m not just writing for myself, but I consider that my personal experience is also the listener’s.”

He says his inspiration comes from “a personal place that details my journey with Hashem in a way that the listener can relate to and resonate with.” He said people have told him that “they are inspired by the lyrics and that they connect through them.”

King David also looms large as “very impactful on my writing,” Sheradsky told JNS. “He was a poet and a king, and the way he was open to Hashem, even about his enemies, his concerns, his worries, his troubles, his shortcomings. He’s inspired a lot of that in my relationship with Hashem and in my writings.”

Sheradsky noted his parents’ pride in his accomplishments—and their surprise. “My brothers and friends are amazed,” he said. “Nobody could have expected things to turn out this way … not even me.”

He acknowledges that “it has taken a lot of time and a lot of work to get to where I am now, and I feel blessed that God was behind me to give me a push in this direction.”

‘Antisemitism in hip-hop has been a concern’

On social media, the rapper-rabbi has grown a following of 1.7 million on Instagram. “I just thank God that people from all backgrounds have gravitated to my music,” Sheradsky said. “I just have a goal to make this world a better place, to make it a more positive place with my music. To make it a more Godly place.”

Sheradsky sees the darker tendencies in the world of hip-hop, telling JNS that Ye’s statements “had an impact and a negative one. You see antisemitic statements from people that resonate with that culture more, to be more acceptable and frequent.”

Yet at the same time, Sheradsky said “people also see through it; many have seen how ridiculous such statements are.”

He added that when people admire celebrities, “they tend to also adopt their viewpoints about the world or life, or even just repeat them for the sake of fitting in or being with the times. The youth of the world has a large impact on what’s socially acceptable, and the problem of antisemitism in hip-hop has definitely been a concern.”

Sheradsky lamented “how misinformed and thoughtless it all is,” especially when it comes to Israel. “They don’t know what sea and what river. And to them, it’s irrelevant. What’s the truth have to do with fitting in or sounding like a humanitarian or trying to sound like you’re ahead of the times?” he asked rhetorically.

Still, like the Chabad rabbi he now is, he expressed optimism, saying “I do believe many people have a lot more sense. The majority of America and most age demographics side with Israel primarily.”

The biggest problem appears with “the younger groups, the ones that are most interested in pop culture, on social media—those are the groups where there’s the most misinformation,” he said.

“Since forever, Esau hated Yaakov [Jacob],” Sheradsky told JNS. “But for the most part, Israel and the Jewish people are stronger than ever, and people are seeing the reality of how mistreated we’ve been more than ever, and thereby showing support.”

To read more content visit www.jns.org

Farmer who lost his wife, son and leg on Oct. 7 returns to his fields

South Florida Local News - Thu, 04/18/2024 - 15:52

(JNS) “A farmer does not leave his land.”

Six months after losing his wife, his 15-year-old son and one of his legs in the Oct. 7 massacre perpetrated by Hamas terrorists in southern Israel, Avida Bachar is back on his land.

Walking with a cane and a prosthetic leg after nearly half a year in the hospital, the 50-year-old farmer stares out at the avocado plantation in Kibbutz Be’eri, where he was born and which lies less than a mile from the border with Gaza.

Photo by Rina CastelnuovoAvida Bachar surveys the fields at Kibbutz Be’eri, April 15, 2024. Photo by Rina Castelnuovo

On Oct. 7, Bachar’s wife and son were killed in front of his eyes after terrorists overwhelmed them in their two-story home, which was utterly gutted. But despite the pain, he is determined to choose life.

“We underwent a tragedy. But you can’t change the past; only the future,” he told JNS. “This is not the closing of a circle. This is a continuation.”

‘I can’t breathe’

On that nightmare morning, Bachar was at home with his wife, Dana, and their two teenage children, Carmel, 15, and Hadar, 14, when the sound of sirens and incoming rockets awakened them. Like all the residents of Gaza border communities, who have faced such attacks for over a decade and a half, they were expecting the military to show up and then announce an all-clear.

Instead, the sound of gunfire burst out and their community WhatsApp alerts warned of intruding terrorists. The family huddled in their safe room. Like most safe rooms, which are designed to protect against rockets and mortars, there was no lock on the door.

By late morning, terrorists burst into their home and tried to force their way into the safe room. Bachar and Carmel held the door shut from the inside, knowing that it was the only thing thing between them and certain death.

The terrorists riddled the door with bullets, hitting Carmel’s arms and piercing Bachar’s leg. The door handle was also hit, jamming the door shut. The terrorists then set the home on fire.

“They were very organized and very systematic,” Bachar recounts. “The first group was charged with breaking into the house, getting into the safe room and murder. A second group would set the homes on fire if people didn’t come out, while the third was charged with torture and looting.”

Talking to a medic by phone, the family tried to create a makeshift tourniquet to stop Carmel’s bleeding. The safe room began to fill with smoke. The family covered their faces with urine-soaked towels to help them breathe, he recalled.

As the family lay huddled on the floor, his son bleeding to death, his wife suddenly cried out “I can’t breathe” and lay deathly still.

Hadar, who was relentlessly phoning police and rescue officials, called medics and asked what to do. They were told to undress her and look for bullet wounds but could not find any. They later learned that a bullet fragment had pieced her ribs, causing her death.

Later in the afternoon, as he breathed his last breath, Carmel requested: “Bury me with my surfboard.”

Terrified, Hadar begged her father: “Don’t leave me.”

“I won’t,” he promised.

It was only the evening that Israel Defense Forces made it to their home, dragging them out through the window and applying tourniquets to their wounds.

“You’re OK, but you have almost no blood left in your body,” a medic told Bachar. Ambulances rushed him to the emergency room. En route, he asked for some water. The medic gave him some, even though he was not supposed to drink before an operation.

“I didn’t think you would make it,” the medic would later tell him.

After his leg was amputated, Bachar underwent months of recovery in hospital.

Photos of his wife and son would pop up on his phone, reminding him of things lost. “But I realized it doesn’t matter what you believe in—God, or a tree or whatever—the greatest lesson of my life is seeing the half the glass of life that is full,” he related.

Bachar dreams of returning full-time to his farm.

“Of course we will return to Be’eri,” he said. He currently splits his time between the Dead Sea Hotel, where he is temporarily housed, and his farm in the community, which lost 10% of its 1,100 members in the attack.

His eldest son is already long back on the kibbutz, working in the print shop.

“I am coming home,” said Bachar. “I am coming back to my land.”

To read more content visit www.jns.org

Space Coast launch schedule

South Florida Local News - Thu, 04/18/2024 - 15:50

The Space Coast set a new launch record in 2023 with 72 orbital missions from either Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The pace of launches could ramp up by the end of 2024 to a near twice-weekly rate with as many as 111 missions possible.

Check back for the latest information on upcoming launches.

By The Numbers:

2024: 29 Space Coast launches in 2024 (updated April 18) | 20 from Cape Canaveral, 9 from KSC | 27 from SpaceX (27 Falcon 9s), 2 from ULA (1 Vulcan, 1 Delta IV Heavy) | 2 human spaceflight (Ax-3, Crew-8)

2023: 72 Space Coast launches in 2023 | 59 from Cape Canaveral, 13 from KSC | 68 from SpaceX (63 Falcon 9s, 5 Falcon Heavy), 3 from United Launch Alliance (1 Delta IV Heavy, 2 Atlas V), 1 from Relativity Space | 3 human spaceflights (Crew-6, Ax-2, Crew-7)

Details on past launches can be found at the end of file.

APRIL

April 18: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-52 mission carrying 23 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 6:40 p.m. The first-stage booster flew for the seventh time and made a recovery landing downrange on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas. Read more.

April 22: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-53 mission carrying Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 during four-hour window from 6:40-10:40 p.m. with backup on April 23 from 6:15-10:15 p.m.

May

May 6: (Delayed from July 21, 2023; April 22, 2024): Boeing CST-100 Starliner atop United Launch Alliance Atlas V from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 at 10:34 p.m. on the Crew Flight Test (CFT) carrying NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams on an eight-day mission to the International Space Station followed by a parachute-and-airbag-assisted ground landing in the desert of the western United States. Read more.

TBD: United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur on Sierra Space Dream Chaser test flight from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41. Read more.

June

June 25: SpaceX Falcon Heavy on its 10th launch ever with payload of the GOES-U satellite for the NOAA from Kennedy Space Center Launch Pad 39-A.

AUGUST

No earlier than mid-August 2024: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Crew-9 mission. Crew is NASA astronauts Zena Cardman making her first flight and the 10th of 11 members of the Turtles to fly to space; pilot Nick Hague making his third flight including one mission abort from Russia, mission specialist Stephanie Wilson, who flew three times on Space Shuttle Discovery on STS-121, STS-120, and STS-131 logging 42 days in space, and Roscomos cosmonaut and mission specialist Aleksandr Gorbunov, making his first trip to space.

OCTOBER

October 2024: SpaceX Falcon Heavy on the Europa Clipper mission to travel 1.8 billion miles to investigate Jupiter’s moon Europa to determine whether there are places below Jupiter’s icy moon, Europa, that could support life. The mission’s detailed investigation of Europa will help scientists better understand the astrobiological potential for habitable worlds beyond our planet.

No earlier than October 2024: Axiom Space was awarded the right to fly Axiom-4. No crew has been announced, but NASA requires it to be commanded by a former NASA astronaut with experience on the space station such as the Ax-1, Ax-2 and Ax-3 commanders. The commercial flight brings four crew for a short stay on the ISS. This mission is targeting a 14-day stay, and will fly up with one of the SpaceX Crew Dragons. The launch date is dependent on spacecraft traffic to the ISS and in-orbit activity planning and constraints that have to be coordinated with NASA.

UPCOMING: TBD IN 2024

TBD, early 2024: United Launch Alliance Atlas V on USSF 51 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41.

TBD, Summer 2024 (Delayed from summer 2023): Polaris Dawn mission on a SpaceX Falcon 9 topped with the Crew Dragon Resilience from KSC’s Launch Pad 39-A. The private orbital mission will bring billionaire Jared Isaacman to space for a second time after 2021′s Inspiration4 mission. It’s the first of up to three planned Polaris missions, and will feature a tethered spacewalk. Also flying are Scott Poteet, given the title of mission pilot, specialist Sarah Gillis, and specialist and medical officer Anna Menon. Both Gillis and Menon are SpaceX employees. Read more.

TBD, 2nd half of 2024: United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur on first of four planned Department of Defense mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41. Dependent on ULA completing both Certification 1 and Certification 2 flights.

TBD, 2nd half of 2024: United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur on second of four planned Department of Defense mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41.

TBD, 2nd half of 2024: United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur on third of four planned Department of Defense mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41.

TBD, 2nd half of 2024: United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur on fourth of four planned Department of Defense mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41.

SEPTEMBER

TBD: First launch of Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket. On the Space Force manifest for September 2024, according to Space Force officials.

NOVEMBER

November 2024: SpaceX Falcon Heavy flying Astrobotic’s Griffin lunar lander as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program. It will include NASA’s Artemis lunar rover, the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, which will explore the relatively nearby but extreme environment of the moon in search of ice and other potential resources. This mobile robot will land at the south pole of the moon in late 2024 on a 100-day mission. The critical information it provides will teach us about the origin and distribution of water on the moon and help determine how to harvest the moon’s resources for future human space exploration.

DECEMBER

December 2024: Intuitive Machines IM-2 mission on a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 with the company’s second Nova-C lander featuring NASA’s PRIME-1 drill, to land a drill and mass spectrometer near the south pole of the moon in order to demonstrate the feasibility of in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) and measure the volatile content of subsurface samples. Also flying is the Lunar Trailblazer, a mission selected under NASA’s Small Innovative Missions for Planetary Exploration (SIMPLEx) program, a small satellite designed to provide an understanding of the form, abundance, and distribution of water on the moon, as well as the lunar water cycle.

UPCOMING: TBD IN 2025

TBD, no earlier than early 2025: Boeing Starliner-1 on ULA Atlas V from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station Space Launch Complex 41. NASA astronauts Scott Tingle and Mike Fincke will be commander and pilot, respectively. This Starliner previously flew on Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2 mission. Depending on data from CFT mission, this could become SpaceX Crew-10 mission.

September 2025: NASA Artemis II mission to send four crew on 8-day orbital mission to the moon from KSC’s Launch Pad 39-B. Read more.

UPCOMING: TBD IN 2026

September 2026: NASA Artemis III mission to send four crew on lunar landing mission to the moon from KSC’s Launch Pad 39-B. Read more.

LAUNCHED IN 2024

Jan. 3: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Ovzon 3 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 6:04 p.m. This was the first launch of 2024. The 3,968-pound Ovzon 3 satellite is the first privately funded and developed Swedish geostationary satellite ever to be launched, headed for a geostationary transfer orbit where it will then propel itself to its geostationary orbit over 3-4 months at 59.7 degrees east at 22,236 miles altitude. The first-stage booster flew for the 10th time with a recovery landing at Canaveral’s Landing Zone 1. Read more.

Jan. 7: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-35 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 5:35 p.m. The first-stage booster made its 16th flight having previously flown on two crewed and two cargo missions to the International Space Station among others. It managed its recovery landing downrange on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas. Read more.

Jan. 8 (Delayed from May 4, Dec. 24-26): First-ever launch of United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur on Certification-1 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 at 2:18 a.m. Primary payload was commercial company Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander headed to the moon. Also flying will be another human remains payload for Celestis Inc., this time brining the ashes of more than 200 people to space including “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry and actor James Doohan who played “Scotty” on the TV series. Read more.

Jan. 14 (Delayed from Jan. 13): SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-37 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 with 23 Starlink satellites at 8:52 p.m. The first-stage booster flew its 12th mission and with a recovery landing on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas downrange in the Atlantic. This was the fourth launch from the Space Coast in 2024. Read more.

Jan. 18 (Delayed from Jan. 17): SpaceX Falcon 9 with a Crew Dragon Freedom for Axiom Space’s Axiom-3 mission launched at 4:49 p.m. from KSC’s Launch Pad 39-A. The crew includes one astronaut each from Italy, Turkey and Sweden while the mission is led by Axiom’s chief astronaut Michael López-Alegría who is making his sixth trip to space. The customers are Italian Air Force Col. Walter Villadei, who will act as pilot. In the two mission specialist roles are Alper Gezeravcı of Turkey and ESA project astronaut Marcus Wandt of Sweden. All three have served in their respective nations’ air forces. The commercial flight brings four crew for a short stay on the ISS. This mission is targeting a 14-day stay with docking planned for Saturday at 5:15 a.m. The first-stage booster made a landing at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Landing Zone 1. Read more.

Jan. 28: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-38 mission with 23 Starlink satellites at 8:10 p.m. liftoff on a southerly trajectory from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39-A. The first-stage booster made its 18th flight, with past missions including the crewed flights of Inspiration4 and Ax-1, and had a recovery landing downrange in the Atlantic on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas. Read more.

Jan. 30: SpaceX Falcon 9 with Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft on the NG-20 mission to resupply the International Space Station at12:07 p.m.. This was the first ISS launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40, which SpaceX has been redeveloping to support future crewed missions in addition to KSC’s Launch Pad 39-A. This was the first of at least three SpaceX flights of Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft as part of a deal after its 10-year run of launches atop Antares rockets ended with the Aug. 1 launch from Wallops Island, Virginia because of issues with Russian- and Ukrainian-made rocket engines and first stage parts that are being redeveloped with Firefly Aerospace for a future Antares rocket not expected until at least 2025. Following launch, the space station’s Canadarm2 will grapple Cygnus no earlier than Thursday, Feb. 1, and the spacecraft will attach to the Unity module’s Earth-facing port for cargo unloading by the Expedition 70 crew. The first-stage booster made its 10th flight and returned for a touchdown at Canaveral’s Landing Zone 1. Read more.

Feb. 8 (Delayed from Feb. 6, 7): NASA’s Plankton, Aerosol Cloud Ocean Ecosystem (PACE) satellite on a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 1:33 a.m. PACE will advance the assessment of ocean health by measuring the distribution of phytoplankton, tiny plants and algae that sustain the marine food web, as well as clouds and aerosols in the atmosphere. The first-stage booster flying for the fourth time made a recovery landing at Canaveral’s Landing Zone 1. Read more.

Feb. 14: A SpaceX Falcon 9 on the USSF-124 mission launching from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 5:30 p.m. Payloads included two satellites for the Missile Defense Agency to track hypersonic missiles and four more satellites for the Tranche 0 constellation for the Space Development Agency. The first-stage booster flew for the seventh time with a recovery landing at Canaveral’s Landing Zone 2. Read more.

Feb. 15 (Delayed from Nov. 14, Jan. 12, Feb. 14): SpaceX Falcon 9 for the Intuitive Machines IM-1 mission with the company’s Nova-C lunar lander Odysseus from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39-A at 1:05 a.m. This could end up being the first NASA Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) mission to land on the moon after the failure of Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander. The IM-1 has a suite of six NASA payloads as part of a CLPS delivery and another six privately organized payloads. Landing would take place Feb. 22.Read more.

Feb. 20: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Merah Putih 2 mission, a communications satellite for Telkom Indonesia, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station Space Launch Complex 40 at 3:11 p.m. into a geosynchronous transfer orbit. This was the 11th launch from the Space Coast in 2023 and 300th successful Falcon 9 launch since its debut in 2010, having only had one mid-launch failure in 2015. This was the 17th launch of the first stage booster, and it made a recovery landing downrange on the Just Read the Instructions droneship in the Atlantic Ocean. Read more.

Feb. 25 (delayed from Feb. 24): SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-39 mission sending up 24 Starlink satellites launching from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 5:06 p.m. This was the 12th launch from the Space Coast in 2024. The first-stage booster for the mission flew for the 13th time and made a recovery landing on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas downrange in the Atlantic. Read more.

Feb. 29: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-40 mission with 23 Starlink satellites launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 10:30 a.m. This was the 13th launch from the Space Coast in 2024. The first-stage booster for the mission flew for the 11h time and made recovery landing on the droneship Just Read the Instructions downrange in the Atlantic. Read more.

March 3 (delayed from Feb. 22, 28, March 1, 2): SpaceX Crew-8 on Falcon 9 from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39-A  at 10:53 p.m. Bad weather on the ascent corridor took the first three launch options on March 1 and 2 off the table. It’s the eighth SpaceX operational mission under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Its four crew members are NASA astronauts Commander Matthew Dominick, Pilot Michael Barratt, Mission Specialist Jeanette Epps and Roscosmos cosmonaut Mission Specialist Alexander Grebenkin. They flew up in the Crew Dragon Endeavour making its fifth trip to space. The first-stage booster made its first flight. The mission had originally been targeting Feb. 22, but that was the target day for the Intuitive Machines attempt to land on the moon, and NASA chose to move the launch to “deconflict” NASA support operations that day. Read more.

March 4: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-41 mission sending up 23 more Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 6:56 p.m. The first stage booster flew for the 13th time and made a recovery landing on the droneship  A Shortfall of Gravitas. Read more.

March 10: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-43 mission sent up 23 more Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 7:05 p.m. The first-stage booster flew for the 11th time with a recovery landing on the droneship Just Read the Instructions downrange in the Atlantic. This was the 16th launch from the Space Coast in 2024. Read more.

March 15 (Delayed from March 13, 14): SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-44 mission sending up 23 more Starlink satellites from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39-A at 8:21 p.m. after scrubbing launches on both Wednesday and Thursday with about 2 minutes on the countdown clock. The booster flew for a record-tying 19th time and made a recovery landing downrange on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas. Read more.

March 21: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the CRS-30 resupply mission with a Cargo Dragon to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 4:54 p.m. This was the first Dragon launch from SLC-40 since the addition of a crew access arm to support Dragon launches from more than one Space Coast pad and augment normal launches from KSC’s Launch Pad 39-A. The first-stage booster made a recovery landing at Canaveral’s Landing Zone 1. Read more.

March 23 (delayed from March 22): SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-42 mission sending up 23 more Starlink satellites from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39-A at 11:09 p.m. The first-stage booster flew for 19th time.

March 25: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-46 mission sending up 23 more Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 7:42 p.m. The first-stage booster flew for the eighth time and landed on the A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship.

March 30: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Eutelsat-36X mission from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39-A at 5:52 p.m. The first-stage booster flew for the 12th time with a landing on the Just Read the Instructions droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. This was 20th SpaceX launch from the Space Coast in 2024 and 21st among all companies. Read more.

March 30: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-45 mission carrying 23 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 9:30 p.m. The first-stage booster flew for the 18th time with a landing on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas in the Atlantic Ocean. Read more.

April 5: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-47 mission with 23 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 5:12 a.m. The first-stage booster flew for the 14th time landing on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas downrange in the Atlantic. It was the 275th recovery of a Falcon 9 booster for SpaceX. Read more.

April 7: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the the Bandwagon-1 mission from Kennedy Space Center Launch Pad 39-A at 7:16 p.m, The first-stage booster flew for the 14th time and made a recovery landing at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Landing Zone 1. The 11 satellites on board are flying to a mid-inclination orbit. This is the first of a new type of rideshare program flying to that orbit that augments SpaceX’s Transporter program that flies to SSO. Read more.

April 9 (Delayed from March 28): United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy on the NROL-70 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 37 at 12:53 p.m. This was the final Delta IV Heavy rocket launch ever, and last of any Delta rocket, which has been flying for more than 60 years. The Space Force has one more launch on a ULA Atlas V rocket before future missions transition to ULA’s new Vulcan Centaur. Read more.

April 10: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-48 mission carrying 23 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 1:40 a.m. The first-stage booster made its second flight with a recovery landing downrange on the droneship Just Read the Instructions.

April 12: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-49 mission carrying 23 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 9:40 p.m. The launch set a turnaround record for launches from SLC-40 at two days and 20 hours since the Aug. 10 launch. The previous record was Aug. 3-6, 2023 at three days, 21 hours, 41 minutes. The first-stage booster also flew for a record 20th time making a recovery landing on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas. Read more.

April 17: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-51 mission with 23 Starlink satellites launched from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39-A at 5:26 p.m. The first-stage booster made its 12th flight and landed downrange on the droneship Just Read the Instructions. Read more.

LAUNCHED IN 2023

Jan. 3: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on the Transporter-6 mission carrying 114 payloads for a variety of customers blasted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 9:56 a.m. Read more.

Jan. 9: A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifted off carrying 40 satellites for OneWeb at 11:50 p.m. Monday from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40. Read more.

Jan. 15: The fifth-ever flight of SpaceX’s powerhouse Falcon Heavy rocket lifted off at 5:56 p.m. from KSC’s Launch Pad 39-A on a mission for the Space Force dubbed USSF-67. Read more.

Jan. 18: A SpaceX Falcon 9 on the GPS III Space Vehicle 06 mission for the Space Force rose through the pink, orange and blue horizon at 7:24 a.m. from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40. Read more.

Jan. 26: SpaceX Falcon 9 Starlink 5-2 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 launched at 4:32 a.m. sending up 56 Starlink satellites. Read more.

Feb. 2: Falcon 9 on Starlink 5-3 from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39-A at 2:43 a.m. 200th successful flight of Falcon 9 on mission to send up 53 Starlink satellites. Read more.

Feb. 6: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Amazonas-6 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 lifted off at 8:32 p.m. Payload is communications satellite for Hispasat known also as the Amazonas Nexus. Read more.

Feb. 12: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Starlink 5-4 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station Space Launch Complex 40 launched 55 Starlink satellites at 12:10 a.m. This set a then-record turnaround between launches from the same pad for SpaceX coming just five days, three hours, and 38 minutes since the Feb. 6 launch. Read more.

Feb. 17: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Inmarsat’s I-6 F2 satellite launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station Space Launch Complex 40 at 10:59 p.m. The second of six planned communication satellite launches, the first of which came in 2021 with the final coming by 2025. Read more.

Feb. 27: SpaceX Falcon 9 Starlink 6-1 launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 6:13 p.m. carrying 21 of the second-generation Starlink satellites. Read more.

March 2: Crew-6 mission on a SpaceX Falcon 9 launching Crew Dragon Endeavour from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39-A at 12:34 a.m. A Feb. 27 attempt was scrubbed with less than three minutes before liftoff. Flying were NASA astronauts mission commander Stephen Bowen and pilot Woody Hoburg, United Arab Emirates astronaut Sultan Alneyadi and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev, heading to the International Space Station for around a six-month stay. It’s the sixth SpaceX operational mission under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Read more.

March 9: A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifted off carrying 40 satellites for OneWeb launched at 2:13 p.m. from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40. The first-stage booster flew for the 13th time landing at Canaveral’s Landing Zone 1. Read more.

March 14: After arrival of Crew-6 and departure of Crew-5 to make room for a cargo Dragon, SpaceX Falcon 9 launched a cargo Dragon spacecraft on CRS-27, the 27th resupply mission to the International Space Station from KSC’s Launch Complex 39-A at 8:30 p.m. Read more.

March 17: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the SES 18 and 19 mission, a pair of communication satellites set to launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40. Set a record for SpaceX mission turnaround with launch only four hours and 17 minutes after a Starlink launch from California. Read more.

March 22: Relativity Space Terran-1, a 3D-printed rocket awaiting company’s first-ever launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Launch Complex 16 at 11:25 p.m. While first stage successfully separated, the second stage engine did not get it into orbit. Read more.

March 24: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Starlink 5-5 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 11:43 a.m. carrying 56 Starlink satellites to orbit. The booster made its 10th flight. Read more.

March 29: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Starlink 5-10 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station launched at 4:01 p.m. The booster making its fourth flight landed on Just Read the Instructions in the Atlantic. Read more.

April 7: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Intelsat 40e mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 12:30 a.m. Read more.

April 19: SpaceX Falcon 9 launch on Starlink 6-2 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 10:31 a.m. with 21 Starlink satellites. The first-stage booster made its eighth flight with a recovery on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas in the Atlantic Ocean. Read more.

April 28: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the SES 03b mPOWER-B mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 6:12 p.m. Read more.

April 30: SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch of ViaSat-3 Americas’ communications satellite from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39-A at 8:26 p.m. All three boosters were expended, so no sonic boom landings. Also flying were payloads for Astranis Space Technologies and Gravity Space headed for geostationary orbits. It’s the sixth-ever Falcon Heavy launch. The launch pad endured a lightning strike on April 27, but SpaceX said the rocket was healthy for the attempt. Read more.

May 4: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Starlink 5-6 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station with 56 Starlink satellites at 3:31 a.m. The first-stage booster making its eighth flight was recovered once again on the droneship called A Shortfall of Gravitas in the Atlantic Ocean. Read more.

May 14: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Starlink 5-9 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 launnched at 1:03 a.m. Read more.

May 19: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Starlink 6-3 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 2:19 a.m. carrying 22 second-gen Starlink satellites. The first-stage booster made its fifth flight and landing on droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas in Atlantic. Read more.

May 21: Axiom 2 mission with four private passengers launched to the International Space Station for an eight-day visit flying on a SpaceX Falcon 9 topped with Crew Dragon Freedom from KSC’s Launch Complex 39-A at 5:37 p.m.  The first-stage booster flew for the first time with a return to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Landing Zone 1. This is only the second crewed mission from the U.S. in 2023 following March’s Crew-6 mission. The second Axiom Space private mission to the International Space Station following 2022′s Axiom 1 mission. Axiom Space’s Director of Human Spaceflight and former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson is the mission commander with aviator John Shoffner as pilot and two mission specialist seats paid for by the Saudi Space Commission, Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali AlQarni. Read more.

May 27: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the ArabSat BADR-8 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 12:30 a.m. The first-stage booster made its 14th flight with a landing on the droneship Just Read the Instructions in the Atlantic. Read more.

June 4: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Starlink 6-4 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 with 22 second-generation Starlink satellites at 8:20 a.m. The first-stage booster made its third flight and was able to land down range on droneship Just Read the Instructions in the Atlantic Ocean. The launch came 13 years to the day since the first Falcon 9 launch in 2010. It was the 229th attempt of a Falcon 9 launch with 228 of the 229 successful. Read more.

June 5 (Delayed from June 3, 4): SpaceX Falcon 9 on CRS-28 launched a cargo Dragon spacecraft, the 28th resupply mission to the International Space Station from KSC’s Launch Complex 39-A at at 11:47 a.m. The first-stage booster made its fifth flight and SpaceX recovered it downrange on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas in the Atlantic. This is the fourth flight of the crew Dragon, which will be bring up nearly 7,000 pounds of supplies, dock to the station 41 hours after launch and remain on the station for three weeks. Read more.

June 12: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Starlink 5-11 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 with 53 of the company’s internet satellites at 3:10 a.m.  The first stage booster flew for the ninth time with a recovery landing on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas in the Atlantic Ocean. Read more.

June 18: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the PSN MSF mission to launch the Satria communications satellite for the Indonesian government and PSN, an Indonesian satellite operator. This satellite will provide broadband internet and communications capability for public use facilities in Indonesia’s rural regions. Liftoff was at 6:21 p.m. with the first-stage booster making its 12th flight and once again landing on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas in the Atlantic. Read more.

June 22: United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy on NROL-68 for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command and the National Reconnaissance Office from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 37B lifted off at 5:18 a.m. This was the second-to-last Delta IV Heavy launch with the final one expected in 2024. Read more.

June 23: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 5-12 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 carrying 56 Starlink satellites at 11:35 a.m. The first-stage booster flew for the ninth time and landed on a droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas in the Atlantic. Read more.

July 1: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the ESA Euclid space telescope mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 11:12 a.m. The European Space Agency telescope is designed to make a 3D map of the universe by looking at billions of galaxies up to 10 billion light years away across one third of the sky. Read more.

July 9: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-5 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 11:58 p.m. The booster made a record 16th flight and was recovered again downrange on the droneship Just Read the Instructions. Read more.

July 15: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Starlink 5-15 mission with 54 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 11:50 p.m. (early Friday scrubbed 40 seconds before launch, and early Saturday option passed over) Booster made a record-tying 16th fligh landing on droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas in the Atlantic. Read more.

July 23: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Starlink 6-6 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 8:50 p.m. carrying 22 of its v2 mini Starlink satellites. The booster flew for the sixth time and made a recovery landing on the droneship Just Read the Instructions. Read more.

July 28: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Starlink 6-7 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 12:01 a.m. with 22 Starlink satellites. Booster flew for the 15th time including crewed launches Inspiration4 and Ax-1, and made recovery landing on droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas in the Atlantic. The launch set a record for turnaround time for the company from a single launch pad coming four days, three hours, and 11 minutes since the July 23 launch. The previous record was set from Feb. 6-12 at five days, three hours, and 38 minutes. Read more.

July 28: SpaceX Falcon Heavy from KSC’s Launch Complex 39-A that launched a telecom satellite for Hughes Network Systems called the Jupiter 3 EchoStar XXIV at 11:04 p.m. The two side boosters were recovered at Landing Zone 1 and Landing Zone 2 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. This was the third Falcon Heavy launch of 2023 and seventh overall. Read more.

Aug. 3: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Intelsat G-37 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 1 a.m. The first-stage booster made its sixth flight with a recovery landing downrange on the droneship Just Read the Instructions. Read more.

Aug. 6: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-8 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 10:41 p.m. with 22 Starlink V2 minis. The first-stage booster made its fourth flight with another recovery landing on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas downrange in the Atlantic. The turnaround time between the Aug. 3 Intelsat G-37 mission and this mission broke SpaceX’s previous record for time between launches from a single launch pad. Previous record was from July 24-28 with a turnaround of four days, three hours, and 11 minutes. This one came in at three days, 21 hours, 41 minutes. Read more.

Aug. 11: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-9 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 1:17 a.m. Payload is 22 of the V2 mini Starlink satellites. First-stage booster flew for the ninth time with a recovery landing on the droneship Just Read the Instructions in the Atlantic. Read more.

Aug. 16: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-10 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 with 22 of the V2 mini Starlink satellites. The first-stage booster made its 13th flight and SpaceX was able to recover it again on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas downrange in the Atlantic. Read more.

Aug. 26: SpaceX Crew-7 mission on a Falcon 9 launching the Crew Dragon Endurance from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39-A lifted off at 3:27 a.m. liftoff. It’s the seventh SpaceX operational mission under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Flying are NASA astronaut and mission commander Jasmin Moghbeli, ESA astronaut and pilot Andreas Mogensen, mission specialist JAXA astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and mission specialist Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov. This will be Endurance’s third spaceflight after having been used on the Crew-3 and Crew-5 missions. The launch will use a new first-stage booster. The crew will arrive at 8:50 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 27. with hatch opening about two hours later. It will stay docked about 190 days. Read more.

Aug. 26: SpaceX Falcon 9 Starlink 6-11 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 9:05 p.m. with 22 Starlink satellites. The first stage flew for the third time and landed on the Just Read the Instructions droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.

Aug. 31: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Starlink 6-13 mission carrying 22 of the v2 Starlink minis from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 10:21 p.m. It was SpaceX’s ninth launch of the calendar month matching the record nine launches it had in May. It was the company’s 60th orbital launch of the year. The first-stage booster flew for the seventh time and made a recovery landing on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas in the Atlantic. Read more.

Sept. 3: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Starlink 6-12 mission carrying 21 of the v2 Starlink minis from Kennedy Space Center’s Space Launch Complex 39-A at 10:47 p.m. It marked the 62nd SpaceX orbital launch in 2023 besting the 61 launches the company performed in 2022. The first-stage booster on the flight made its 10th launch and was able to make its recovery landing on the droneship Just Read the Instructions in the Atlantic Ocean. Read more.

Sept. 8: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Starlink 6-14 mission carrying 22 of its Starlink satellites, flying from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 took off at 11:12 p.m. The first-stage booster made its seventh flight with a recovery landing on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas downrange in the Atlantic. Read more.

Sept. 10 (delayed from Aug. 29): United Launch Alliance Atlas V on the SILENTBARKER/NROL-107 for the National Reconnaissance Office and Space Force from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 at 8:47 a.m.. Delayed because of Tropical Storm Idalia. This was the second ULA launch of 2023. SILENTBARKER’s classified mission is to improve space domain awareness to support national security and provide intelligence data to U.S. senior policy makers, the Intelligence Community and Department of Defense. It will provide the capability to search, detect and track objects from space-based sensors for timely custody and event detection. Read more.

Sept. 15: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Starlink 6-16 mission, carrying 22 of its Starlink satellites, flying from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 launching at 11:38 p.m. The first-stage booster for the mission made its fifth flight with a landing on the droneship Just Read the Instructions in the Atlantic. It marked SpaceX’s 65th orbital launch of the year including missions from Canaveral, KSC and California. Read more.

Sept. 19: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Starlink 6-17 mission, carrying 22 of its Starlink satellites, flying from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 launching at 11:38 p.m. This was a record reuse flight for the first-stage booster flying for a 17th time with a recovery landing on the droneship A Short Fall of Gravitas in the Atlantic Ocean. Read more.

Sept.23: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Starlink 6-18 mission, carrying 22 of its Starlink satellites, flying from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 11:38 p.m. The first-stage booster made a record-tying 17th flight with a recovery landing down range on droneship Just Read the Instructions in the Atlantic Ocean. Read more.

Sept.29: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Starlink 6-19 mission, carrying 22 of its Starlink satellites, flying from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 10 p.m. The booster on this flight made its 10th launch having flown on CRS-24, Eutelsat HOTBIRD 13F, OneWeb 1, SES-18 and SES-19 and five Starlink missions. It made a recovery landing on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas in the Atlantic Ocean. This was SpaceX’s 69th launch of the year, its 49th from the Space Coast, 39th from Cape Canaveral and the other 10 from KSC. With only three non-SpaceX flights this year, it was the Space Coast’s 52nd overall. Read more.

Oct. 5: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Starlink 6-21 mission with 22 of its Starlink satellites launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 1:36 a.m.  The booster made its eighth flight with a recovery landing on the droneship Just Read the Instructions in the Atlantic Ocean. This was SpaceX’s 70th launch of the year, its 50th from the Space Coast, 40th from Cape Canaveral. With only three non-SpaceX flights this year, it is the Space Coast’s 53rd overall. Read more.

Oct. 6: United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 at 2:06 p.m. Payload was Amazon’s two test Project Kuiper satellites that were set to fly on ULA’s first Vulcan Centaur rocket, but switched to one of the nine Atlas rockets Amazon had previously purchased from ULA as Vulcan had been delayed to no earlier than the fourth quarter of 2023. Read more.

Oct. 13 (Delayed from Oct. 12): A SpaceX Falcon Heavy launched NASA’s Psyche probe into space launch from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39-A at 10:19 a.m. The probe was delayed from 2022, and headed for the asteroid Psyche, using a Mars-gravity assist and not arriving until August 2029. Psyche is a nickel-iron core asteroid that orbits the sun beyond Mars anywhere from 235 million to 309 million miles away. The two side boosters returned for a land landing at Landing Zone 1 and Landing Zone 2 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Read more.

Oct. 13 (Delayed from Oct. 8): SpaceX Falcon 9 on Starlink 6-22 mission with 22 of its Starlink satellites launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 7:01 p.m. The first-stage booster for the mission is making its 14th flight, and made another recovery landing on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas down range in the Atlantic. The launch came 8 hours and 42 minutes after the Falcon Heavy launch from nearby KSC earlier in the day. Read more.

Oct. 17: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Starlink 6-23 mission with 22 of its Starlink satellites launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 8:36 p.m. This is the first-stage booster made its 16th flight with a recovery landing downrange on the droneship Just Read the Instructions in the Atlantic. This marked the Space Coasts’ 57th launch of the year, which matched the total it had in 2022. Read more.

Oct. 21: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-24 mission with 23 of its Starlink satellites launching from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 10:17 p.m. The first-stage booster made its fourth flight with a recovery landing downrange in the Atlantic on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas. This became the record 58th launch from the Space Coast for the year. Read more.

Oct. 29: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-25 mission with 23 of its Starlink satellites launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 7:20 p.m. This was the 59th launch from the Space Coast for the year. The first-stage booster flew for the eighth time and made a  recovery landing on the droneship Just Read the Instructions stationed down range in the Atlantic. Read more.

Nov. 3: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-26 mission with 23 of its Starlink satellites launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 8:37 p.m. This was the 60th launch from the Space Coast for the year. The first-stage booster flew for a record 18th time and made a  recovery landing on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas stationed down range in the Atlantic. Read more.

Nov. 8: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-27 mission with 23 of its Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 targeting 12:05 a.m. The first-stage booster made its 11th flight with a landing on the droneship Just Read the Instructions downrange in the Atlantic. This was the 61st launch from the Space Coast for the year. Read more.

Nov. 9: SpaceX Falcon 9 with cargo Dragon on the CRS-29 mission to carry supplies to the International Space Station from Kennedy Space Center Launch Pad 39-B at 8:28 p.m. It’s the 29th resupply mission for SpaceX with its cargo Dragon filled with 6,500 pounds of supplies for the Expedition 70 crew with an expected arrival to the ISS about 5:20 a.m. Saturday. It includes NASA’s Atmospheric Waves Experiment (AWE) science experiment to measure atmospheric gravity waves and how it could affect Earth’s climate and the Integrated Laser Communications Relay Demonstration Low-Earth-Orbit User Modem and Amplifier Terminal (ILLUMA-T), a technology demonstration for laser communications among the ISS, an orbiting relay satellite and a ground-based observatory on Earth. The first-stage booster flew for the second time and landed back at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Landing Zone 1. Read more.

Nov. 12: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the SES O3b mPOWER mission to medium-Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 40  at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 4:08 p.m. First stage made its 9th flight with a recovery landing on the A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship in the Atlantic Ocean. Read more.

Nov. 18: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-28 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 12:05 a.m. with 23 Starlink satellites. First-stage booster flew for the 11th time and landed on the droneship Just Read the Instructions This was the 64th launch from the Space Coast in 2023. This launch came hours ahead of the Starship and Super Heavy launch attempt in Texas. Read more.

Nov. 22: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-29 mission with 23 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 2:47 a.m. The first-stage booster flew for the 15th time and landed on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas in the Atlantic. This marked the 65th launch from the Space Coast in 2023. Read more.

Nov. 27: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-30 mission with 23 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40at 11:20 p.m. This was a southerly trajectory launch. The booster flew for the 17th time (3rd booster to do so) and landed on the droneship Just Read the Instructions. It was the 66th launch of the year from the Space Coast, 62nd from SpaceX in Florida, and 87th orbital launch from SpaceX including California missions. Read more.

Dec. 2: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-31 mission with 23 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 11 p.m. First stage booster flew for the sixth time and landed on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas. It marked the 67th launch of the year from the Space Coast, 63rd from SpaceX in Florida, and 89th orbital launch from SpaceX including California missions.

Dec. 7: SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-32 mission with 23 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 12:07 a.m. The first-stage booster flew for the ninth time with a recovery landing on the droneship Just Read the Instructions stationed downrange in the Atlantic. This was the 68th launch from the Space Coast in 2023. Read more.

Dec. 18 (Delayed from Dec. 11, 12, 13) SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 6-34 mission with 23 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 11:01 p.m. Read more.

Dec. 23: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Starlink 6-32 mission with 23 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 12:33 a.m.  This was a record 19th flight for the first-stage booster having flown previously on Crew Demo-2, ANASIS-11, CRS-21, Transporter-1, Transporter-3 and 13 Starlink missions. It made a recovery landing on the droneship Just Read the Instructions downrange in the Atlantic. This was the 70th Space Coast launch of the year. Read more.

Dec. 28 (Delayed from Dec. 10, 11, 13): SpaceX Falcon Heavy from KSC’s Launch Complex 39-A on USSF-52, the third mission for the Space Force, launching the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle on its seventh trip to space at 8:07 p.m. The side boosters flew for the fifth time, previously used on the Psyche mission, two Space Force missions and one commercial flight with another double land landing at Landing Zone 1 and Landing Zone 2 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Read more.

Dec. 28: SpaceX Falcon 9 on Starlink 6-36 mission with 23 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 targeting 11:01 p.m. This was the 12th flight for the first-stage booster with a recovery landing on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas downrange in the Atlantic. This was a record turnaround among SpaceX launches from Space Coast launch pads at 2 hours and 54 minutes besting October’s double launch that saw a Falcon 9 launch at CCSFS just eight hours, 42 minutes after a Falcon Heavy launch at KSC. Read more.

Follow Orlando Sentinel space coverage at Facebook.com/goforlaunchsentinel.

Israel’s canceled ski season reveals a ripple effect of war

South Florida Local News - Thu, 04/18/2024 - 15:35

(JTA) For each of the last four winters, Mount Hermon ski area CEO Refael Nave spent practically every day at the mountain whose peaks straddle the borders of Syria, Lebanon and Israel.

As the only place in Israel to see regular snowfall, the Hermon’s Israeli recreation area drew 400,000 visitors in the winter of 2022-’23. Some skied, but most came simply to experience snow, ride a gondola up to a lookout point at an altitude of 7,300 feet, sled and ride the Hermon’s mountain coaster. Over the summer, management invested in myriad upgrades in anticipation of even more visitors.

Photo by Uriel HeilmanHermon CEO Refael Nave has been on military reserve duty since the outbreak of Israel’s Oct 7 war. He’s also a member of the security squad in his hometown on Neve Ativ, in the foothills of the Hermon, April 4, 2024. Photo by Uriel Heilman

But this winter not a single paying visitor was able to come to the year-round attraction in the northern Golan Heights. The Hermon was shut down by military order on Oct. 7, the day Hamas terrorists flooded into southern Israel and set off a war that quickly spread to northern Israel. The mountain still hasn’t reopened to the public.

Nave still spent much of this winter shuttling back and forth between the Hermon and his home in Neve Ativ, the alpine-style village that is the highest-altitude Jewish town in Israel. Except he did so armed with an automatic weapon and wearing military fatigues as a soldier in the reserves and a member of Neve Ativ’s security squad.

The Hermon, which doubles as a military zone and even in normal times has soldiers stationed at chairlifts, has come under frequent attack by Hezbollah over the last six months – including during Saturday’s attack by Iran. Nave is at the mountain almost every day, supervising maintenance work and coordinating with the army.

“The outposts in the Hermon come under fire all the time,” Nave said in an interview in Neve Ativ, his automatic rifle slung over his shoulder. “We’ve had winters before with a day closed here or there, but not like this.”

This is the first time since the ski mountain opened in the winter of 1968-’69 after Israel captured the area from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War that the Hermon has missed an entire season. As a consequence, the entire economy dependent on the mountain is suffering, affecting not just the 300 Hermon employees who have been furloughed but also the hotels, restaurants, sports shops, roadside vendors and other area businesses that depend on tourists.

“We’re 100% down from a regular year,” said Talia Welli, the owner of a sports store in the nearby Druze town of Mas’ade that sells sleds, winter coats, gloves and ski hats in addition to bicycles and other year-round equipment.

“In a regular winter there’s nonstop traffic here every morning and evening,” said a Welli employee who identified himself only as Hamed. “There would be lines at the restaurants. The Friday outdoor market that sells tourists everything from perfume to vegetables would be packed. This year there was nothing. Even the snow didn’t come.”

Instead of looking for snow, residents of Mas’ade scan the skies for attacks by rocket or drone. Authorities installed concrete shelters on some streets to provide protection to the residents of Mas’ade, who typically don’t have bomb shelters in their homes, but during attacks most bystanders stay outside looking up, according to Hamed.

“People go outside to see what will fall,” he said. “A month ago we saw a drone shot down.”

On Saturday night, when Iran used over 300 ballistic missiles, drones and cruise missiles to attack Israel, the air raid siren in Masa’de sounded four times over the course of 10 minutes, all around 2 a.m. And on Wednesday, 18 people were injured in an Arab town in Israel’s north, though 60 miles west, when a rocket fired by Hezbollah from Lebanon struck a community center.

Closer to the Hermon, the town of Majdal Shams serves as the capital of the Golan’s Druze. According to the dictates of their opaque religion, Druze pay fealty to their home country — and because the Golan was seized from Syria during the 1967 war, local Druze ostensibly remain loyal to their “native country” of Syria. (Druze who live elsewhere in Israel are loyal Israelis, and many serve in the country’s military.)

But over the decades and particularly since the Assad regime stepped up its killing of Syrian civilians in that country’s civil war, enthusiasm for the principle of loyalty to Damascus has dwindled. Many Golan Druze, especially young people, have taken Israeli citizenship.

Shahbaa Abu Kheir runs the View Hotel in Majdal Shams, a two-year-old boutique hotel that overlooks small agricultural fields, cherry orchards and the Syrian border. Last winter, the 13-room hotel was fully booked almost every night, with rooms going for over $350 per night, including breakfast.

Then came Oct. 7.

“I had full bookings and everyone canceled to run to reserve duty that very day,” Abu Kheir recalled. Since then, the hotel has seen very few guests.

“People are scared to come here because it’s a border area,” she said. “We have sirens only about once a week but there’s frequent booming from Israeli artillery fire toward Lebanon.”

As she was speaking, a Druze family of 10 from Daliyat al-Carmel, just south of Haifa, arrived for check-in. They were the only guests expected that night.

“The Druze are the only ones who come now,” Abu Kheir lamented. “We have no way of moving forward. It’s horrible.”

Israel’s government provides some compensation for some affected businesses and residents. However, eligibility and the amount depends on a number of factors, including location and type of business, and the compensation often is minimal, nonexistent or late to arrive.

For example, only in early April did the government announce it was extending its business compensation program for the months of January and February. Tourism- and agriculture-related businesses have easier eligibility requirements than other businesses. Businesses in the Golan aren’t eligible for the same compensation levels as businesses in the evacuation zone of the northern Galilee. Other determinative location criteria include what kinds of Homefront Command restrictions are in place there, the quantity of military activity, road closures, the presence of artillery batteries in the area and more.

At the Hermon, any government aid that the furloughed workers receive constitutes only a fraction of their regular salaries, according to Nave.

“It’s a small amount. It’s not enough to live off of,” Nave said. “I just received my own payments for November and December and it barely covers my property taxes.”

In Nave’s case, he is able to receive the balance of his regular compensation because he is in active army reserve duty. That’s not the case for the vast majority of the Hermon’s regular workers, most of whom are Druze.

For these workers, as for everyone in northern Israel, the economic future is uncertain. It’s not clear how long the war and its aftereffects will last, and the government’s compensation criteria are in constant flux.

Sania Abu Saleh has a Druze restaurant in Majdal Shams at one of the last bends on the windy road that leads to the Hermon, next door to a ski equipment rental shop that stayed closed throughout this winter.

“Normally everybody stops by here to buy Druze pita. They eat hot corn. They sip tea and buy warm sachlav” — a thick milky drink made from corn starch, sugar and spices. “Now I have nothing. There are no people. There’s no work. Soldiers stop in from time to time but not many,” she said.

The gate to the Hermon sits just a few hundred yards up the road, and the military traffic in and out is constant.

The Hermon doesn’t use snowmaking equipment, so skiing depends entirely on the fickle weather. Last winter the mountain was able to open its ski runs for 27 days during the season. This winter, the chairlifts ran only when members of the Israel Defense Forces’ alpine unit needed to train. When a fierce snowstorm hit, members of the unit went out in the driving wind and snow to practice reaching their outposts by foot in the harshest conditions.

By early April, the only snow left on the mountain was at high altitude and mostly in Syrian territory, but the snowy summit was visible from most of the Golan and a big chunk of the northern Galilee. Because of the terrain, there’s no actual border fence in the area separating Israel from Syria and Lebanon.

At a ski expo in Europe that the Hermon’s CEO attended a couple of years ago, a snowmaking equipment company invited him to dinner along with some ski industry people from Lebanon. At first the Lebanese were taken aback to be dining with Israelis, Nave recalled, but they warmed up over the course of dinner.

After a long meal, Nave said, the Lebanese confessed that they had been taught from birth that Jews are evil and should be hated but that the experience of the evening had showed them otherwise. They finished the night with a l’chaim toasting a vision that one day peace might enable a joint ski pass connecting ski mountains in Lebanon, Israel and Syria.

These days Nave isn’t sanguine. On Saturday night during Iran’s attack, Israel took fire both from Lebanon and Syria.

“We want peace, but the reality is we have neighbors who don’t want us,” he said. “They’ve been training for years and years for this — to conquer all of the Galilee.”

Nave still has big dreams for the Hermon, the most ambitious of which would be the opening of a ski-in/ski-out hotel so guests can stay in the area overnight. But for now he’s setting his sights on something more mundane: reopening. It doesn’t seem like it will happen anytime soon.

“In my conversations with the military command I was told, ‘Let’s talk after the summer,’” Nave said. “How can we go on like this?”

To read more content visit www.jta.org

Judge in Trump case orders media not to report where potential jurors work

South Florida Local News - Thu, 04/18/2024 - 15:11

By DAVID BAUDER and LARRY NEUMEISTER (Associated Press Writers)

NEW YORK (AP) — The judge in Donald Trump’s hush money trial ordered the media on Thursday not to report on where potential jurors have worked and to be careful about revealing information about those who will sit in judgment of the former president.

Judge Juan Merchan acted after one juror was dismissed when she expressed concerns about participating in the trial after details about her became publicly known.

The names of the jurors are supposed to be a secret, but the dismissed juror told Merchan she had friends, colleagues and family members contacting her to ask whether she was on the case. “I don’t believe at this point I can be fair and unbiased and let the outside influences not affect my decision-making in the courtroom,” she said.

Merchan then directed journalists present in the courthouse not to report it when potential jurors told the court their specific workplaces, past or present. That put journalists in the difficult position of not reporting something they heard in open court.

Some media organizations were considering whether to protest having that onus placed on them. Generally, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution bars judges from ordering journalists not to disclose what they hear and see in courtrooms open to the public, though there are exceptions, such as when military security is at stake.

New York criminal defense lawyer Ron Kuby said that while judges typically can’t control what the media reports, other options are available to protect juror anonymity, including restricting what reporters see and hear in the courtroom.

“There are actions the judge could take,” he said. “Courts have extraordinary powers to protect jurors from tampering and intimidation. It is really where a court’s power is at its peak.”

The court action underscored the difficulty of trying to maintain anonymity for jurors in a case that has sparked wide interest and heated opinions, while lawyers need to sift through as much information as possible in a public courtroom to determine who to choose.

Despite the setback, 12 jurors were seated by the end of Thursday for the historic trial. Trump is charged with falsifying his company’s business records to cover up an effort during the 2016 presidential election campaign to squash negative publicity about alleged marital infidelity. Part of the case involves a $130,000 payment made to porn actor Stormy Daniels to prevent her from making public her claims of a sexual meeting with Trump years earlier. Trump has denied the encounter.

New York state law requires trial attorneys to get the names of jurors, but the judge has ordered the lawyers in Trump’s case not to disclose those names publicly. The jurors’ names haven’t been mentioned in court during three days of jury selection.

Still, enough personal information about the jurors was revealed in court that people might be able to identify them anyway.

Some news organizations described details including what Manhattan neighborhoods potential jurors lived in, what they did for a living, what academic degrees they had earned, how many children they had, what countries they grew up in and what their spouses did for a living.

On Fox News Channel Wednesday night, host Jesse Watters did a segment with a jury consultant, revealing details about people who had been seated on the jury and questioning whether some were “stealth liberals” who would be out to convict Trump.

Besides his order about employment history, Merchan said he was asking the media to “simply apply common sense and refrain from writing about anything that has to do, for example, with physical descriptions.”

He said “there was really no need” for the media to mention one widely-reported tidbit that a juror speaks with an Irish accent.

Anonymous juries have long existed, particularly in terrorism and mob-related cases or when there is a history of jury tampering. They have been ordered more frequently in the last two decades with the rising influence of social media and the anonymous hate speech that is sometimes associated with it. Usually courtroom artists are told they aren’t permitted to draw the face of any juror in their sketches; New York courts do not permit video coverage of trials.

During the Trump defamation trial in Manhattan federal court earlier this year, jurors had heightened protection of their identities by a security-conscious judge who routinely did not allow anyone in his courtroom to have a cellphone, even if it was shut off. Jurors were driven to and from the courthouse by the U.S. Marshals Service and were sequestered from the public during trial breaks.

When asked general questions about themselves during jury selection in that case, prospective jurors often gave vague answers that would have made it nearly impossible to determine much about them.

After the ruling in that case, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ordered the anonymous jury not to disclose the identities of any of the people they served with, and advised jurors not to disclose their service. So far, none have come forward publicly.

Kuby said the ability of lawyers at Trump’s trial to research the backgrounds of jurors was important.

“Both sides have interest in preventing sleeper jurors who have their own agenda from serving on the jury,” he said.

Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor who is president of the West Coast Trial Lawyers, said the difficulty at the Trump trial is weeding out people with extreme viewpoints.

“Everyone in the entire country knows who Donald Trump is,” Rahmani said. “Some think he’s a criminal traitor and insurrectionist. Others think he’s a hero. You don’t have a lot of people in the middle.”

___

Associated Press writers Michael R. Sisak and Jake Offenhartz contributed to this report.

Marlins-Cubs postponed with rain in the forecast

South Florida Local News - Thu, 04/18/2024 - 15:02

CHICAGO (AP) — The Miami Marlins’ game at the Chicago Cubs has been postponed because of rain in the forecast for Thursday night.

It will be made up as part of a split-doubleheader on Saturday at Wrigley Field.

Chicago was back at home after a 5-4 trip that included stops at San Diego, Seattle and Arizona. Cody Bellinger homered to lead the Cubs to a 5-3 victory over the Diamondbacks on Wednesday in the rubber game of the three-game set.

The Marlins are looking to dig out of a 4-15 start. They dropped two of three against San Francisco in their previous series.

Faculty Against Antisemitism Movement launched

South Florida Local News - Thu, 04/18/2024 - 14:57

When Professor Ron Hassner made the decision to stage a sit-in protest at his University of California, Berkeley office until the school’s administration agreed to take seriously rising campus antisemitism, several other local professors were inspired to visit the professor of political science in solidarity as he ate and slept in his office — and taught class from there — for two weeks.

Encouraged by Hassner’s activism and the support he received from other concerned faculty, the Academic Engagement Network announced it will coordinate a national campaign called the Faculty Against Antisemitism Movement (FAAM) and #KeepTheLightOn, eJewishPhilanthropy has learned exclusively.

Courtesy/Ron HassnerProfessor Ron Hassner shows the bed he set up in his office to protest antisemitism at the University of California, Berkeley, in March 2024. Courtesy/Ron Hassner

“In many places, many faculty share a concern about antisemitism but don’t necessarily know one another, so I think networking is crucial,” said Hassner, who ended his protest on March 23, after two weeks, saying the school had made sufficient commitments to satisfy his concerns about the safety of Jewish students on campus. (The “hashtag” for the campaign comes from the fact that Hassner kept his office light on for the entire two weeks of the sit-in.)

The initiatives will provide support to participating faculty, including a website that will be continually updated with information and resources for faculty looking to counter antisemitic and anti-Israel claims and actions, as well as a FAAM social media toolkit, trips that bring American faculty to Israel and support for faculty-focused initiatives, such as developing a database of academics around the U.S. who will serve as reviewers for Israelis who are being ostracized by academic groups, according to AEN.

“Faculty that holds antisemitic or anti-Zionist views are an extreme minority but are often able to monopolize the public sphere because so many faculty are silent, so this won’t take a tremendous amount of effort to signal to campuses that [the] majority of faculty will not stand by when antisemitism or anti-Zionism are aired,” Hassner told eJP.

Faculty for Justice in Palestine chapters have taken root on more than 80 campuses since the start of the Israel-Hamas war. The Faculty Against Antisemitism Movement is designed “to show students that there’s another voice to counter [groups such as] Faculty for Justice in Palestine,” AEN Executive Director Miriam Elman told eJP.

Hassner started his protest by himself, “because I had become impatient with my administration and very soon found that many dozen faculty on my campus, and hundreds across California supported me, wanted to join and formed initiatives on their own campus,” he recalled. “So I think the shared concern is there, and I think the administrations share that concern, too.”

The initiative will harness the 1,000 faculty members on 322 campuses in AEN, according to the group. Michael Saenger, a professor of English at Southwestern University, a liberal arts college in Georgetown, Texas, and a member of FAAM’s steering committee, is one of the educators participating.

“Many Jewish faculty, and many other faculty as well, have been appalled as the energies associated with social justice have veered into ideological conformity, advocacy of violence, and openly antisemitic threats,” Saenger said in a statement. “We have written books, op-eds, and articles, but they are not penetrating the echo chamber of anti-Zionist antisemitism. As with previous protest movements, visual displays are sometimes necessary to get people to stop demonizing marginalized groups. We need to respond to bullying and hate, directed against ourselves and Jewish students, more directly and more personally: by visibly advocating for a university that treats Jews as people, and that treats Israel as a nation.”

Elman said the group plans to provide faculty with several visual materials. “In this first campaign launch, we’re sharing branded items — pens, stickers for the office door, mugs that you can take to the department meeting that says ‘faculty against antisemitism.’”

“Those visual materials help start conversations on campus with other colleagues and administrators,” she said. “Initially we want to share the idea as broadly as possible, through our members and other faculty who sign up.”

The initiative is slated to start in May, as students wrap up the semester, kicking off with the #KeepTheLightOn campaign, encouraging participating faculty to leave a light on in their offices to show support and solidarity for their Jewish students facing antisemitism on campus — just as Hassner did during his protest.

To read more content visit ejewishphilanthropy.com

US vetoes widely supported UN resolution backing full UN membership for Palestine

South Florida Local News - Thu, 04/18/2024 - 14:50

By EDITH M. LEDERER (Associated Press)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States vetoed a widely backed U.N. resolution on Thursday that would have paved the way for full United Nations membership for Palestine, a goal the Palestinians have long sought.

The vote in the 15-member Security Council was 12 in favor, the United States opposed and two abstentions, from the United Kingdom and Switzerland. U.S. allies France, Japan and South Korea supported the resolution.

The resolution would have recommended that the 193-member General Assembly, where there are no vetoes, approve Palestine becoming the 194th member of the United Nations. Some 140 countries have already recognized Palestine, so its admission would have been approved, likely by a much higher number of countries.

U.S. deputy ambassador Robert Wood told the council the U.S. veto “does not reflect opposition to Palestinian statehood, but instead is an acknowledgment that it will only come from direct negotiations between the parties.”

Before the vote, U.S. deputy State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said the United States has “been very clear consistently that premature actions in New York — even with the best intentions — will not achieve statehood for the Palestinian people.”

This is the second Palestinian attempt for full membership and it comes as the war in Gaza has put the more than 75-year-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict at center stage.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas first delivered the Palestinian Authority’s application for U.N. membership in 2011. That bid failed because the Palestinians didn’t get the required minimum support of nine of the Security Council’s 15 members.

The Palestinians then went to the General Assembly, and by more than a two-thirds majority succeeded in having their status raised from a U.N. observer to a non-member observer state in November 2012. That opened the door for the Palestinian territories to join U.N. and other international organizations, including the International Criminal Court.

The strong support the Palestinians received Thursday reflects not only the growing number of countries recognizing their statehood but almost certainly the widespread global support for Palestinians caught in the war in Gaza, now in its seventh month.

Algeria’s U.N. Ambassador Amar Bendjama, the Arab representative on the council who introduced the resolution, called Palestine’s admission “a critical step toward rectifying a longstanding injustice” and said that “Peace will come from Palestine’s inclusion, not from its exclusion.”

In explaining the U.S. veto, Wood said there are “unresolved questions” on whether Palestine meets the criteria to be considered a state. He pointed to Hamas still exerting power and influence in the Gaza Strip, which is a key part of the state envisioned by the Palestinians.

Wood stressed the U.S. commitment to a two-state solution where Israel and Palestine live side-by-side in peace as the only path for both sides to live with security and for Israel to establish relations with all its Arab neighbors, including Saudi Arabia.

“The United States is committed to intensifying its engagement with the Palestinians and the rest of the region, not only to address the current crisis in Gaza, but to advance a political settlement that will create a path to Palestinian statehood and membership in the United Nations,” he said.

Ziad Abu Amr, special representative of the Palestinian president, said adopting the resolution would grant the Palestinian people hope “for a decent life within an independent state.”

He stressed to the Security Council that it wouldn’t be an alternative “for serious negotiations that are time-bound to implement the two-state solution” and U.N. resolutions, and to resolve pending issues between Palestinians and Israelis.

“To grant the state of Palestine full membership will be an important pillar to achieve peace in our region, because the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and its different dimensions now goes beyond the borders of Palestine and Israel and impacts other regions in the Middle East and around the world,” the Palestinian envoy said before the vote.

Israeli-Palestinian negotiations have been stalled for years, and Israel’s right-wing government is dominated by hard-liners who oppose Palestinian statehood.

Israeli U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan called the resolution “disconnected to the reality on the ground” and warned that it “will cause only destruction for years to come and harm any chance for future dialogue.”

Six months after the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, which controlled Gaza, and the killing of 1,200 people in “the most brutal massacre of Jews since the Holocaust,” he accused the Security Council of seeking “to reward the perpetrators of these atrocities with statehood.”

Israel’s military offensive in response has killed over 32,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s health ministry, and destroyed much of the territory.

Erdan listed the requirements for U.N. membership — accepting the obligations in the U.N. Charter and especially being a “peace-loving” state.

“What a joke,” he said. “Does anyone doubt that the Palestinians failed to meet these criteria? Did anyone hear any Palestinian leader even condemn the massacre of our children?”

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