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Ex-Louisville Basketball Player Cleared of Rape Charge




Louisville’s Chris Jones, left, drives past Rutgers’ Kadeem Jack during an NCAA college basketball game in Louisville, Kentucky. Photograph: (Timothy D. Easley/AP Photo)

Louisville’s Chris Jones, left, drives past Rutgers’ Kadeem Jack during an NCAA college basketball game in Louisville, Kentucky. (Timothy D. Easley/AP Photo)

DYLAN LOVAN, Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Former University of Louisville star player Chris Jones is hoping to resurrect his basketball career after he was cleared of allegations that he sexually assaulted two women at a party near campus.

A grand jury in Louisville declined Wednesday to indict the sharp-shooting guard on rape and sodomy charges stemming from the Feb. 22 incident. Two other men were also cleared of those allegations by a grand jury.

Jones, a senior, had been kicked off the nationally ranked Louisville basketball team for missing curfew a day before the allegations surfaced.

With the accusations now out of the way, Jones is hoping to get his basketball career back on track, his attorney told reporters after the grand jury announced its decision. Since his arrest, Jones has said he has stayed sharp by playing pickup basketball games in parks.

“He really wants to go back and finish his degree, and see if he can potentially make a living playing basketball,” attorney Scott Cox told reporters Wednesday.

Cox said Jones wants to pursue a professional career but didn’t elaborate on where he might seek to play. The lawyer didn’t return telephone messages left afterward by The Associated Press.

Jones was facing two counts of rape and two counts of sodomy. Two other men, 21-year-old Jalen Tilford and 19-year-old Tyvon Walker, were charged with sexually assaulting one of the women. They were also were cleared of rape and sodomy charges Wednesday.

Cox has maintained that his client was wrongfully accused.

A surveillance video seen by the grand jury showed the two women, ages 19 and 20, “frolicking in the stairs and in the hallway” after the alleged incidents, said Tilford’s attorney, Scott Drabenstadt. The video from the apartment complex shows the women arriving, leaving the party, returning and leaving again.

“And this is after they were supposedly, one of them raped by three men and the other raped by Chris Jones. Just ridiculous. Thank God that video existed,” Drabenstadt said.

Jones was kicked off the basketball team a day after leading them to a 55-53 victory over conference rival Miami. The party where the alleged incident occurred was held the day after the game. Jones and the other men were charged in the case a few days later.

Dina Bartlett, an attorney for the women, said she was disappointed in the grand jury’s decision. She said the women were “heinously assaulted.” Bartlett has maintained that Jones was given special treatment because he was a basketball player.

Tilford told police in a statement that he “never thought anything was wrong” after the girls left, according to a written statement distributed by his attorney. A few minutes later, he said one of the women was cursing at Jones in the hallway but then calmed down and returned to the party.

Jones was released from home incarceration earlier this month.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino has said he was “blindsided” by the allegations. He said his problems with Jones revolved around “sulking, emotional outbursts in practice” but that the player was always on time and worked hard.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Bay Area

Unanswered Questions Over Costs of Proposed Howard Terminal Ballpark




There is growing public scrutiny of the deal the Oakland A’s are offering to the city in a proposal, released the end of April, to “privately fund” the building of a $1 billion ballpark and a massive $12 billon real estate development, almost a city within a city, on the waterfront at Howard Terminal and Jack London Square in downtown Oakland. 


     The Oakland A’s “term sheet,” released on April 23 and available at, proposes a construction project that, in addition to a 35,000-seat waterfront ballpark, would feature 3,000 units of mostly market rate housing, a hotel, an indoor performance center and 1.5 million square feet of offices and 270,000 square feet of retail space, as well as a gondola to transport fans over the I-880 freeway.


     Many of the details of the proposal are vague,  and there are many unanswered questions about how much this project will cost Oakland taxpayers and what benefits the city would ultimately see. 


     Among those who raised questions was Mike Jacob, vice president and general counsel of Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, an opponent of moving the A’s to Howard Terminal.


     “I think it’s hard to say what’s going on. They haven’t made it plain what they’re asking for and what they’re proposing,” Jacob said in an interview with the Oakland Post. 


    The A’s term sheet proposes a cost of $955 million for infrastructure and $450 million that will be utilized for community benefits, but that funding would be paid by taxpayers, presumably with a bond, he said. 


    “It is unclear whether (the funding) is underwritten by the bond, whether it is backed by general fund money and pretty unclear what the scope for the infrastructure really is,” said Jacob. 


   Do infrastructure costs include toxic waste cleanup at the site, which would be considerable, the cost of the gondola, multiple safe railway crossings for pedestrians and cars and any required construction if the Port of Oakland shipping is impacted? He asked.


    In addition, not only would taxpayers pay the millions of dollars in community benefits they would supposedly receive for various types of services and other projects, the money would be spread over a 45-year period. 


    To help fund the project, the A’s propose the city create a tax district for property owners along 1.5 miles near downtown Oakland to help pay for city services and infrastructure to serve the development. 


    The A’s also have said in their literature that the project would generate 6,000 jobs but are short of details about what that promise means. According to a letter to a state agency in August 2019, many of the estimated 6,667 would be jobs at offices in the development, in effect counting as new jobs any existing Oakland businesses that lease space in one of the new office buildings. 


    For their part, the A’s are pushing the City Council to approve their deal before the council recesses for its July break. 


    “We are really excited to get that (the term sheet) out there, and we are even more excited to get this to the City Council to vote this summer,” Dave Kaval, A’s president, told the San Francisco Chronicle. 


    While Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has thrown the weight of her office behind the deal, she is expressing some reservations after the term sheet was released and community opposition to the Howard Terminal project has continued to grow. 


    In a comment to the Chronicle, Schaaf spokesperson Justin Berton said: 


    “Our goals for the project are unchanged: We want to keep the A’s in Oakland – forever. We need a deal that’s good not just for the A’s, but for the City, one that provides specific, tangible, and equitable benefits to our residents and doesn’t leave Oakland’s taxpayers on the hook.”


    “The A’s contend that the growth in tax revenues attributed to their project will be sufficient to fully fund those investments and that they will benefit the entire community, (and) the city is critically examining these claims,” said Berton in the East Bay Times. 


    The impact of the decision on the A’s proposal could be huge for Oakland, noted Berton. “The commitments requested by the A’s would pre-determine the use of a substantial portion of tax revenue from this part of the city for years to come,” he told the East Bay Times.  


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A’s Ballpark Traffic Will Negatively Impact West Oakland Residents

The Oakland Department of Transportation released a report over a year ago estimating that game days would bring an additional 10,000 cars to the area, at least 7,500 of which will be looking for parking. And what are the A‘s offering these drivers? 2,000 parking spots. Those remaining 5,500 cars will park in front of the homes and along the truck routes closest to the ballpark, legal or not. 




Besides touting the hollow tagline “Rooted in Oakland,” Dave Kaval hasn’t been listening to most Oaklanders. For over a year we’ve been voicing our concerns about traffic issues related to the A’s proposed ballpark; and now, following the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR)  and the Term Sheet, it’s evident that John Fisher and the Oakland A’s care more about putting money in their pockets than about the real people who will be negatively impacted by their project.

As a long-time West Oakland resident I remember less than a decade ago when huge semi-trucks used to park overnight and idle during the day on West Oakland neighborhood streets, creating diesel exhaust and continuous loud noise from running generators to keep refrigerated trucks cold. 

Our neighbors fought then for the development and approval of the West Oakland Truck Management Plan, a proposal that was only made possible by the designation of Howard Terminal as a 24/7 holding area for these trucks. Now trucks use Howard Terminal to wait between dropping off and picking up containers and avoid peak traffic periods so they can be more efficient without interfering with the daily lives of West Oakland residents.

The DEIR makes it clear that keeping these trucks off of residential streets is not a priority for the A’s. The report acknowledges that Howard Terminal serves this essential function but concludes that these activities will just go elsewhere. “

Assumed to move to other locations” is not a plan. “Likely need to find a location outside the Seaport” is not an analysis of this impact. “Other locations” will inevitably be back in front of our homes, at the cost of our health and our children’s safety. Where is the mitigation measure for that impact?

I am equally concerned about the safety of drivers and pedestrians if a huge entertainment and luxury housing development approved at the port. Dave Kaval has talked for years about making this new ballpark bike and pedestrian friendly, but the DEIR has uncovered the truth: the A’s have committed to very few improvements that actually make access to Howard Terminal safer and easier, to some degree because it’s simply not possible to upgrade a working Port – among the largest on the West Coast – into a commercial entertainment zone that attracts tens of thousands of people to events.

Unlike the Coliseum site, which is one of the most transit-accessible ballparks in the country, access into Howard Terminal is restricted to two streets, the most frequently used of which is residential, and is a mile walk from the nearest BART station. 

Currently, 25% of A’s game day visitors to the Coliseum arrive on BART, which drops them off right at the stadium gate. How does Dave Kaval think use of transit to get to games at the port will be close to that – or as he claims, will increase – when the nearest BART station is a mile walk away?

The Oakland Department of Transportation released a report over a year ago estimating that game days would bring an additional 10,000 cars to the area, at least 7,500 of which will be looking for parking. And what are the A‘s offering these drivers? 2,000 parking spots. Those remaining 5,500 cars will park in front of the homes and along the truck routes closest to the ballpark, legal or not. 

The A’s are asking 10,000 vehicles to line up down residential streets, blocking not only essential truck deliveries to and from the Port, but also local residents’ movement to and from our own homes. As long as fans buy their tickets, the A’s don’t care where they will park.

As a parking alternative, the City of Oakland has designated certain residential areas to have Residential Parking Permits (RPP) installed. These permits will last until 11 p.m., not the customary time limit of 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. The residents of the four impacted areas, West Oakland, Old Oakland, Jack London and Chinatown should not have the financial burden of paying for RPP.

 If the A’s have a lease with the Port for 66 years, they should pay for parking permits for all residents in the impacted areas for 66 years.

It is crucial that the Oakland City Council, particularly Council-member Fife, stand with West Oakland residents, parents, long-time community members, and all those who will face the significant and detrimental impacts of the A’s proposed development at Howard Terminal and refuse to certify the EIR for this project.

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Baseball Hall-of-Famer, Home Run Master, Hank Aaron, Dies at 86

Aaron is most renowned for breaking Babe Ruth’s homerun record in 1973 with 715 career homeruns and went on to attain 755 career homeruns. 





Hank Aaron photocredit Twitter

Henry Louis Aaron was born Feb. 5, 1934, in Mobile, Ala.  He died on January 22, 2021, in Atlanta, Ga. His cause of death was listed as natural causes.

Aaron is most renowned for breaking Babe Ruth’s homerun record in 1973 with 715 career homeruns and went on to attain 755 career homeruns.

He was lauded for this achievement, breaking a record long held by Ruth, a beloved figure before professional baseball was integrated. Aaron received a plaque from the U.S. Postal Service for receiving more mail, 930,000 pieces than any other non-politician after breaking the homerun record.  A great deal of it was hate mail. Aaron experienced racism and segregation throughout his life.

Aaron started his career with the Negro Leagues (classified as major leagues by Major League Baseball in December 2020), Indianapolis Clowns in 1952 and spent 1954 – 1974 with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, ending his playing career with the Milwaukee Brewers from 1975 – 1976. Aaron primarily played right field.

His uniform number — 44 — was retired by the Atlanta Braves in 1977.

His baseball awards were numerous and he was inducted intro the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982 on the first ballot.

His Hall of Fame plaque states: “Hit 755 Home Runs in 23-year career to become majors’ all-time homer king.  Had 20 or more for 20 consecutive years, at least 30 in 15 seasons and 40 of better eight times.  Also set records for games played (3,298), at bats (12,354), long hits (1,477), paced N.L. in batting twice an homer, runs batted in and slugging pct. Four times each.  Won most valuable player award in N.L. in 1957.”

San Francisco Giants Barry Bonds subsequently broke Aaron’s home run record in 2007 with an asterisk because of allegations of hhis steroid use.

After retiring from baseball Aaron held positions in the front office of the Atlanta Braves.  He was one of the first people of color to hold an upper management position in Major League Baseball.

He published his autobiography in 1990, “I Had a Hammer” both a play on his nickname, “Hammerin’ Hank” or “The Hammer” and a nod to the folk song, “If I Had a Hammer”.

Hip-Hop artist M.C. Hammer got his nickname because folks thought he looked like Hank Aaron.

In 2002 Aaron was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

A memorial service will be held on January 26 and streamed on at 1pm EST.  Former President Bill Clinton and former Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig are scheduled to attend the funeral.

His private funeral will be held on January 27 at Friendship Baptist Church in Atlanta and burial at South-View Cemetery.

According to a statement from the Atlanta Braves he “passed away peacefully in his sleep.”

Aaron publicly received a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine on January 5, 2021 along with Andrew Young, 88.

On social media he said “I was proud to get the COVID-19 vaccine earlier today at Morehouse School of Medicine.  I hope you do the same!”

Aaron is survived by his second wife, Billye, and by five children:  Gaile, Hank Jr., Larry, Dorinda, and Ceci.

Wikipedia, The New York Times, The Guardian, and People Magazine were sources for this report.


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