Taking arts classes leads to better academic performance

A new study found a link between arts elective courses in music, dance, visual art and drama, and better grades in middle school. The study followed a large and diverse sample of preschool children up until they completed sixth, seventh and eighth grade.
K-12 Education News — ScienceDaily

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Heart Health Scare Leads to Plant-Based Diet and Lifestyle Changes

February is Heart Health Awareness Month, a time to remind ourselves that heart conditions can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions.

Steve Peters, a 57-year-old game designer from Culver City, California, is a perfect example. Last year, he began to find it difficult to do the things he enjoyed, such as riding his bike to the beach. Even climbing stairs became a challenge.

“I was getting out of breath very easily, and just assumed it was because I was overweight and out of shape,” Peters said.

Peters suffered from high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, but said those conditions were under control with medication and that shortness of breath was not something he had experienced before.

One day, he was walking home from lunch with friends and had to stop 6 times to catch his breath. “My chest was tight; it felt like I was having a heart attack,” he recalled.

Within a week, Peters ended up in the intensive care unit at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center, where a sonogram of his heart and chest revealed one liter of fluid surrounding his heart. After a procedure to extract the fluid around his heart, Peters said: “I immediately felt 100 percent better, like a Ferrari engine had been put in me.”

After this health scare, his cardiologist, Jennifer Nguyen, MD, worked with him to implement lifestyle changes to further reduce his risk of having a heart attack.

“Based on his risk factors, I told him that he is at increased risk of having a heart attack and needed to make a major lifestyle change,” Dr. Nguyen said.

Since Peters had struggled to lose weight in the past, Dr. Nguyen recommended he adopt a plant-based diet, which he has been adhering to since last June. He already has lost 25 pounds and hopes to lose 25 more.

“My type 2 diabetes is turning around, and my bloodwork is finally in the normal range,” Peters said, adding he hopes to get off some of his medications soon. “I’m not the kind of guy who likes to count calories, but it has been easier than I thought to avoid meat, dairy, and processed sugar.” He noted that he allows himself a few “cheat days” every now and then.

Peters is taking charge of his health, and encourages others to do the same.

“What I learned over the last year is that if something doesn’t feel right, don’t be shy about it,” he said. “Don’t ignore it! Bring up your concerns to your doctor. They can only act on the information you give them.”

Main RSS Feed – Kaiser Permanente

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$375,000 price leads disabled mom to ration meds

Bhanu Patel couldn’t believe the news. The medication that allows her to move shot up to $ 375,000. Fearful of becoming a financial burden to her family, she’s begun rationing the medication she currently has — taking two pills a day, instead of four. “The words that I can use is I can’t believe this is happening,” she said.


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Oscars 2019: ‘Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse’ leads the animated pack

The 91st Academy Awards are just over a week away. In our continuing look at the race to Oscars glory, this week we delve into one of the more colorful categories: Best Animated Feature. Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse (Way Up) “Spider-Verse” came out of nowhere in December, receiving rave reviews and picking up a slew…
Entertainment | New York Post

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Handling Homeowner Objections to Move Leads Down the Sales Funnel

No matter what kind of sales you’re in, you will always combat objections as you push to drive more leads into customers. Especially in the home improvement industry, homeowners are automatically skeptical before they’ve even had a chance to speak with you. In a perfect world, you receive a homeowner lead, they’re thrilled to meet with you, and ready to sign on the dotted line to begin their project.

We all know it’s rarely that easy to drive more sales, so we’ve compiled a list of common objections you’ll face with answers to keep your conversations going with the ultimate goal of getting to the appointment stage.

“I was just shopping”

Great, that’s where it all begins. A great next step is to have one of our energy efficiency experts come to your home and give you a free estimate and let you know how much you could save on your electric bill. Would 3:00 Thursday work for you?

 

“I only need a minor repair”

Did the glass break or is it the window itself? (if window)…that’s too bad, do you know how old the windows are? It is possible this is the beginning of more trouble and that you are also spending way too much on your electric bills. We should have an efficiency expert come and inspect the windows and give you a replacement estimate. Would 3:00 Thursday work for you?

 

“You have the wrong number”

I am sorry to bother you and will update our records, but since I have you on the phone, we are having a special right now on ______, would you like to have someone come out and give you a free estimate?

 

“I’m not ready to start yet”

Great, I hear that from a lot of our customers, which is why our free estimates are good for six months… it allows you to budget and plan for an exact date. But since I have you on the phone, we are having a special right now on ______, would you like to have someone come out and give you a free estimate? Would 3:00 Thursday work for you?

 

“I already have a contractor”

That’s great. Lots of times I speak with homeowner’s who have an estimate and want a second one to compare prices, quality and reputation. What time Thursday would work for one of our energy efficiency experts to come out and give you a free estimate?

 

“I never put in a request”

Then I am sorry to bother you and will take your name off our list, but since I have you on the phone, we are having a special right now on ______, would you like to have someone come out and give you a free estimate?

 

“I only need materials”

No problem, I hear that all of the time, and, while we don’t just sell materials, I speak to homeowners who want to do the work themselves every week and then, when they get into the project, decide to get a professional. Since the estimate is free, we could come out and give you one and you could have it in case you decide you want it done by experts. Would 3:00 Thursday work for you?

 

“I really only want quote over the phone”

I appreciate that and I am the same way, but giving you an estimate without seeing the windows would be like diagnosing and illness without seeing a doctor, it is a guess and will likely be wrong. We have trained professionals who are friendly, fast and intelligent. What time Thursday would be good to have someone come out and give you a free estimate?

 

“I have already received numerous calls; I’m not interested in speaking with anyone else”

I am so sorry, I know how annoying that can be and we won’t call again, but since we are talking now, we are an Angie’s List super service provider and we are running a special right now, it is a great time to get a free estimate from us. What time Thursday would be good to have someone come out and give you a free estimate?

 

Notice that our suggested responses have the deliberate intention of empathizing with the homeowner and giving a clear call to action with a time and date to set an appointment. Any objection can be met with a delicate approach to continue driving any lead further down the sales funnel. Now, go out there and turn those objections into completed projects!

Ready to grow your business?

The post Handling Homeowner Objections to Move Leads Down the Sales Funnel appeared first on Modernize.

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How To Turn More Leads Into Completed Projects: Nurturing Home Improvement Leads in 2019

Chances are you’re not going to get a signed contract back on the day you make contact with a home improvement lead—even if your work is wildly impressive, the client is completely enamored by your professionalism and demeanor, and your references are squeaky clean.

No matter how ready you are for the project, a contractor lead is cautious to invest heavily in their home improvement project right away—and that’s perfectly okay. At Modernize, we regularly speak with homeowners who look to us for guidance in the sometimes murky and confusing home improvement market. Our data shows that more than a third of homeowners will not begin the project they’re considering within 30 days of making contact with us or with a contractor.

And yet, you can’t sit idly by and wait for the work to begin—the client expects to develop a relationship with you during this incubation period. Use this opportunity to nurture their comfort and earn their trust. You need to balance a deliberate approach with patient execution to interact profitably in the home improvement market. Done correctly, you will have successfully constructed a pipeline feeding in high intent home improvement leads. Subsequently, you will compile satisfied customers who return and refer you for more work. Once rolling, this ball will keep you occupied since new work will sidle in as current work is coming to a close.

Contractors must embrace digital marketing in 2019

While services like ours are paramount to a successful marketing approach in the digital age, there are some things you can do right now to better and more regularly foster relationships with the vast world of homeowners who may have tapped you for your hard earned reputation but have not yet chosen the perfect fit.

When nearly nine of out ten people are finding their contractors online, that’s where the game is played. And when on top of that, 98 percent of homeowners pick a contractor from the first page of results they see on the Internet, merely existing online is not enough — you have to stand out. Despite this demand, data shows just one percent of contractors say they utilize social media.

Here are three broad goals you should set for yourself in 2019:

  1. Develop a strategy to utilize social media.
  2. Optimize the way your business appears in online searches.
  3. And structure a 40-40-20 rule, which reasons that you should offer customers value in exchange for their attention.
    1. Spend 40 percent of your time posting helpful information
    2. Spend 40 percent of your time directly interacting with customers
    3. And spend 20 percent of your time promoting your brand.

Every conversation should be a marketing tool for you

On the phone, chatting, or exchanging emails? Good. But remember: The client is still in the discovery phase and learning the lay of the land. Be ready with information but also be ready to listen. When a customer is talking (or typing), think about that 40-40-20 rule as you navigate them through the initial phases of their journey and potentially into a professional relationship with you—your goal is an in-person appointment for assessment and possible estimation.

  • Know your brand.
  • Rehearse the script.
  • Keep the FAQs handy.
  • Anticipate a caller’s needs.
  • And be approachable.

Be confident you’re the right contractor for the job

If you treat every potential client as a paying client, you’re not only developing trust and reliability, you’re also displaying the confidence of your product.

We’re not saying you should put too much labor or time into a client who is not paying, but you should give them the impression that this is their best bet. If they don’t take it now, they may take it later. If a client is tending away from the project, be understanding and provide information as needed — sometimes it’s okay to let a client go, just be sure they take your business card on the way out.

Then keep in touch. You’re their friend in a crowd of contractors who unfortunately might attempt to take advantage of them or act dishonestly. Stand above that and you will earn repeat business.

Tap into feedback loops from lead generation services

No one knows homeowners like Modernize does — and like anything else, homeowners and their homes are ever changing and evolving, both technologically and culturally.

We are constantly talking to homeowners before, during, and after their home improvement projects. While the reality is that many contractors are not tapping into the potential of data and its resulting analytics, the most successful contractors in the industry are beginning to make the move: More and more contractors are turning to lead generation services like Modernize to complete more projects each year. Here’s where we stand:

  • 1.5 million homeowners found their contractors through Modernize in 2017
  • And that’s, in turn, earned $ 1.5 billion for those contractors.

We use the thousands of surveys homeowners submit to us to learn more about homeowner needs and challenges in the home improvement space — whether for solar, roofing, HVAC, windows, or other projects. Learn more about our most recent findings: the Homeowner Survey Index: Q4 2018.

Whether it’s starting your online efforts from scratch or diving into your decades of experience to discern trends and help you sharpen your client base, learn more about us today and find out how we can help you.

Ready to grow your business?

The post How To Turn More Leads Into Completed Projects: Nurturing Home Improvement Leads in 2019 appeared first on Modernize.

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Texas man on a tractor leads police on slow chase

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‘Regionalized’ Approach to Cancer Surgery Leads to Better Outcomes

Lung-cancer surgery patients who received care at regional centers where specialty care is concentrated have shorter hospital stays and fewer complications, according to Kaiser Permanente research presented this week at the 55th annual meeting of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

“Shifting lung cancer surgery to designated centers within our integrated health system reduced the number of days patients spent in the hospital, decreased intensive care use, and reduced post-operative complications,” said Jeffrey B. Velotta, MD, a thoracic surgeon at Kaiser Permanente Oakland medical center.

Kaiser Permanente regionalized thoracic surgery care in 2014 by shifting cases in Northern California from 16 hospitals to five designated specialty-care centers.

Researchers looked for effects of regionalization by comparing two groups of patients: 782 patients who underwent lung-cancer surgery between 2011 and 2013 (before regionalization) and 845 patients who had surgery between 2015 and 2017 (after regionalization).

The researchers found that regionalization resulted in increased use of minimally invasive, video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery – from 57 percent to 86 percent.

In addition, the average operating time for these types of surgeries decreased by more than 50 minutes after regionalization, possibly due to the surgical team’s efficiency with repetition of these cases.

“In our study, we found that regionalization of lung surgery was indeed feasible within an integrated health system,” said Velotta. “In the post-regionalization era, lung surgeries are performed by more experienced, thoracic-specialized surgeons at higher volume centers.”

Main RSS Feed – Kaiser Permanente

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‘Beale Street’ star Regina King leads Best Supporting Actress Oscar race

With just 23 days to go till the 91st Academy Awards, the race for Oscars glory is heating up. Today, we look at the chances of the five Best Supporting Actress nominees. Regina King (Way up) You might not see it coming, because King’s film “If Beale Street Could Talk” was shut out of the…
Entertainment | New York Post

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‘Roma’ Leads Critics’ Choice Awards

'Roma' Leads Critics' Choice Awards

 

The Critics' Choice Awards were presented last night, representing selections by The Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) and Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA). Alfonso Cuaron's Roma received four awards, the most by any film this year.

This awards season has seen a number of films gaining recognition and last night's show was no exception. While Roma was awarded prizes for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Foreign…

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Controlling children’s behavior with screen time leads to more screen time, study reveals

Researchers investigated the impact of parenting practices on the amount of time young children spend in front of screens. They found a majority of parents use screen time to control behavior, especially on weekends. This results in children spending an average of 20 minutes more a day on weekends in front of a screen. Researchers say this is likely because using it as a reward or punishment heightens a child’s attraction to the activity.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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‘The Favourite’ Leads BAFTA Award Nominations

'The Favourite' Leads BAFTA Award Nominations

Commonly referred to as the British equivalent of the Academy Awards, the nominations for the 72nd British Film Awards have now been announced. This year, The Favourite led all contenders, with nominations in 12 categories, including Best Film and Outstanding British Film. Olivia Colman (pictured above), Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone were all nominated for their exquisite performances.

The awards are presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), an independent arts…

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James Harden’s clutch 3 late in OT leads Rockets past Warriors

OAKLAND, Calif. — James Harden hit a contested 3-pointer with a second left in overtime and finished with his second triple-double of the week and fifth straight 40-point game, rallying the Houston Rockets past the Golden State Warriors 135-134 in a thriller between Western Conference powers Thursday night for their sixth straight victory. Kevin Durant’s…
Sports | New York Post

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Box Office: ‘Aquaman’ Maintains Overseas Reign With $91 Million, ‘Spider-Verse’ Leads in China

“Aquaman” retained its reign at the international box office for the third consecutive weekend, generating another $ 91.3 million from 70 overseas territories. James Wan’s superhero adventure starring Jason Momoa has now amassed $ 482.8 million, with $ 410.7 million of that number coming from foreign markets. China accounted for $ 23.3 million of this weekend’s bounty, bringing “Aquaman’s” […]

Variety

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‘A Star Is Born’ Leads Screen Actors Guild Award Nominations

'A Star Is Born' Leads Screen Actors Guild Award Nominations

A Star Is Born led the film nominees for the 25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. The guild aims to recognize outstanding individual performances, as well as cast and ensemble performances in both film and television, and has often been a good indicator of possible Academy Award nominees.

The awards are presented by SAG-AFTRA, which represents more than 160,000 media artists in the news and entertainment business. Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga and Sam Elliott received individual…

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Optimism About Trade Talks Leads To Strength On Wall Street – U.S. Commentary

Following the substantial volatility seen in the previous session, stocks closed mostly higher on Wednesday, as traders expressed renewed optimism about U.S.-China trade talks after waffling between hopeful and skeptical on Tuesday.
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‘Roma’ leads streaming push into Oscar race

Netflix desperately wants to make its mark on the Oscar race, and in Alfonso Cuaron’s autobiographical “Roma,” it has its strongest contender yet. Yet the streaming service — having roiled the TV business — appears determined to storm the movie-awards competition in similar fashion, which means breaking rules and operating very much on its own terms.


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‘We the Animals’ leads Spirit Award nominations

The film about three biracial brothers gets five nods, while Glenn Close, Joaquin Phoenix and others are up for gongs at the Independent Spirit Awards, the annual honors given to Hollywood’s lower-budget movies. Rough cut (no reporter narration).


Reuters Video: Entertainment

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A Superb Viola Davis Leads Widows to New Heights

It has become so commonplace to talk about women as “fierce” that the adjective barely has meaning; ditto “bad-ass” and “kick-ass,” comic-strip words that aren’t deep enough to hold any emotional complexity. Yet women often use these words to refer to themselves even as they work to be taken seriously, underplaying the value of fortitude, logic and sophisticated, adult glamour. In our rush to vocalize, about anything and everything, we’ve forgotten some of our finest secret weapons, like discreet silence coupled with a less-discreet side-eye. There are times when saying nothing, with conviction, speaks volumes.

Widows, directed by Steve McQueen and starring Viola Davis as the ringleader of an all-woman band of thieves, is a thriller for modern women who identify more with the messiness of human lives than with flattened slogans about how great women, as a monolithic group, are. McQueen co-wrote the script with Gillian Flynn (of Gone Girl and Sharp Objects fame), drawing from a British mini-series of the 1980s developed and written by Lynda La Plante (and adapted from her novel). In this new incarnation of Widows, Davis plays Veronica Rawlings, a woman whose husband, Harry (Liam Neeson), is clearly in a shady line of work. Veronica doesn’t ask questions, and she obviously enjoys the lifestyle her husband provides for her—their apartment is one of those snowy-white modern luxury setups, perched high in the Chicago sky, and she has a fluffy white designer dog to match.

But early in the movie—in a sequence that shifts artfully between the noise and destruction of a crime in progress and the everyday, radical tenderness of a couple kissing in bed—Harry’s latest job goes kablooey. The getaway van he’s driving—along with the guys and the stolen money inside it—goes up in flames. The money belonged to crooked political hopeful Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry), and even as Veronica mourns, Jamal shows up to threaten her. (His brother and henchman, played with believable viciousness by Daniel Kaluuya, will end up doing most of the dirty work.) Veronica’s got to come up with a heap of money, fast. Luckily, Harry has left her a notebook detailing his next criminal exploit. So she gathers the widows of all the men who’d partnered with her husband in that last, failed job—they’ve never met, let alone socialized with one another—and enlists their help in pulling off an elaborate heist. It will work, she assures them, because “no one thinks we have the balls to pull this off.”

That’s the “what” of in Widows. But the “how” and the “who” make all the difference. The plot becomes perhaps a little too tangled, involving, in addition to Manning and his thugs, a father-son duo (Robert Duvall and Colin Farrell) jockeying for power in the world of city politics. The complicated plot mechanics are necessary, in a way, but they still distract a little too much from Davis—who, as always, is superb—and the cast of women around her. And face it—that’s what we came for.

Michelle Rodriguez is the beleaguered mom, Linda, who realizes just how useless her husband is only after his death: His gambling debts cost her the clothing shop she runs. Elizabeth Debicki—so tall and soulful she sometimes seems like a regal giraffe, surveying her kingdom from a place where even the air is lonely—is Alice, whose late boyfriend used to buy everything she needed. He also used to knock her around. That was all wrong, and deep down she knew it, but now that he’s gone, she needs to find another man to lean on. (On that issue, her mother, who appears to have sprung from the womb of a Bedazzler—she’s played by a platinum-blond-coifed Jacki Weaver—gives her some decidedly un-momlike advice.) A fourth woman, Belle (Cynthia Erivo, who seems to sprint through every scene she appears in, fast and sharp and funny), joins the group as a getaway driver: She’s already a hairdresser who moonlights as a babysitter, even as she raises a daughter of her own; why not add one more hat?

There’s some nasty violence in Widows, some clever scheming and, among the women, lots of initial mistrust. All three of these women relied on men to take care of them—that was their first mistake. At the core of Widows is a truth that might sound cynical: No matter how happily you think you’re married or partnered off, it’s a good idea to have some getaway money, and an Epi-Pen loaded with self-esteem, stashed under the bed for emergencies. But McQueen and Flynn present it as part of the eternal truth of womankind, and a reminder that self-preservation can bring its own kind of joy and gratification. In one of the movie’s most glorious scenes, Vanessa sends Alice to buy some firearms, even though she doesn’t know the first thing about them. Lost at a gun show, she crafts a sob story—using a phony Russian accent—to persuade a woman gun expert to help her. Striding back to the widows’ HQ with her pile of newly acquired weapons, she looks as pleased with herself as if she’d just hit the jackpot at a Manolo Blahnik sale.

The women of Widows get things done not because they buy “You can do anything!” bathroom-mirror bromides, but because they don’t. They have to sell the idea of self-confidence to themselves, because that’s mostly how self-confidence works; it’s a self-renewing resource, not a fountain with an autopump. (That’s true not just for women, though it often seems that men have an easier time latching onto the idea.)

And in Widows, the most self-assured member of the group, the woman who has to get the whole thing rolling and see it through to the end, has to learn the hardest lesson of all about self-worth. None of the other widows like Veronica when they first meet her. They still don’t like her—mostly—by the end. But they owe their lives to her. And in some ways she’s both lost and gained more than they have.

In the movie’s early moments, where we see Veronica and Harry in bed, the tender erotic charge between them is so evident it’s practically a third party. (Let’s forget for a moment that we’re seeing, in a movie, a white man and a woman of color kissing, with fervid devotion, in bed. McQueen presents it like it’s an everyday thing, because in real life, it is—but in the movies, we’re quick to take note of a “mixed” couple, so rarely do we see it.) After his death, we see reruns of those moments as Veronica plays them in her memory. Her grief hangs in the air like a geometric shape; Davis, her eyes revealing all by trying to hide everything, makes us see its contours and shadows, and feel its coldness. As McQueen has shown them to us, a classical marble sculpture of lovers come to life against white sheets, Harry and Veronica represent perfect marital happiness. What Veronica learns about herself after Harry is gone, the truth she’s left with, is really just a heat-forged, battle-scarred version of what she started with. She may be the modern-day definition of fierce in her elegant white pantsuits, but she’s also glamorous and grown-up, an over-50 woman who had to push past all the doubts she’s not supposed to have. Certainty is only for the young.


Entertainment – TIME

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Anders Lee leads Islanders to victory over Carolina Hurricanes

Anders Lee had a goal and an assist, and the Islanders beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 on Sunday night.

Ryan Pulock scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period and Josh Bailey had two assists for the Islanders, who have earned points in three straight games. Playing eight of their first…

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Disappointing Earnings News Leads To Sell-Off On Wall Street – U.S. Commentary

Following yesterday’s attempted recovery from an early sell-off, stocks showed a substantial move back to the downside during trading on Wednesday. The Dow dropped to its lowest closing level in over three-months, while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 tumbled to five-month closing lows.
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CNN Poll: More see Trump win likely as Biden leads crowded Democratic field

Americans are becoming more likely to think President Donald Trump will win a second term in office, while Joe Biden stands atop a crowded field of Democrats perhaps looking to replace him, according to a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS.


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NHL roundup: Pastrnak hat trick leads Bruins in rout

David Pastrnak scored his second career hat trick, Jake DeBrusk added two goals and Patrice Bergeron had three assists as the Boston Bruins cruised to an 8-2 victory over the visiting Detroit Red Wings on Saturday afternoon.


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Gov. Scott Walker trails, Sen. Tammy Baldwin leads in Wisconsin midterm races: NBC News/Marist poll

The poll largely has good news for Democrats in Wisconsin only two years after President Donald Trump narrowly won the state.
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