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adminMarch 23, 2018


As Princess Elsa says in this snowy, showy stage adaptation of the popular Disney movie, “I’m not as cold as I seem.” Credit the thawing trend in Broadway’s “Frozen” to the lovable characters of Jennifer Lee, who wrote the film and now writes the book for the stage musical, and to the warmly human cast assembled by director Michael Grandage. Caissie Levy is stunning as Elsa, the beautiful princess with the cursed gift to turn her kingdom into ice, and Patti Murin makes a darling Anna, the earthbound princess whose love for her sister is the only thing that can set Elsa free.

The theater’s legendary powers notwithstanding, there’s no way that the all-too-solid stage of the St. James Theater can approximate the technical virtuosity of a movie setting. Rather, the magic of the theater comes from its power to open up the world of the imagination. Emerging from the dancing lights of the aurora borealis (as fashioned by lighting designer Natasha Katz) projected on the scrim (by video designer Finn Ross), Christopher Oram’s sets are highly stylized and very theatrical, if not transporting.

The story opens in summer, a golden but ephemeral season in this northern land of snow and ice. The townspeople are celebrating the sunshine (“Vuelie”) and the princesses are playing in the castle, here depicted in an intimidating setting of dark woods and shuttered windows. Young Anna (Mattea Conforti) mischievously coaxes her older sister, Young Elsa (Ayla Schwartz), into conjuring snow in summer (“Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”).

The girls’ devotion (“A Little Bit of You”) is sweet, moving Elsa to make it snow. But this demonstration of magic so alarms the girls’ anxious parents, King Agnarr (James Brown III) and Queen Iduna (Ann Sanders), that they venture out to find a way to save the princess from her dangerous gifts. Alas, they perish at sea, leaving Elsa in uncertain charge of her powers.

Flash forward to the girls all grown up and longing to see life outside the palace — and to fall in love (“For the First Time in Forever”). Princess Anna of Arendelle meets and impulsively falls for Prince Hans (John Riddle, as bland as his role, singing “Hans of the Southern Isles”), while Elsa surrenders to her preordained role of Queen, singing the sad and lovely new song, “Dangerous to Dream.” (All the show’s new tunes are by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, the Oscar-winning duo behind the movie’s musical numbers.)

But before the show completely settles in to wall-to-wall romanticism, the comic relief shows up to lighten the mood.

Alarmed by her inability to contain her dark powers, Elsa flees the safety of the castle for the perils of the mountains, where the scenery perks up a bit.  Here, in her panic, she creates a “surprise, magical, summer blizzard” that overwhelms Kristoff, a kind ice merchant played with great bonhomie by Jelani Alladin, and his endearing reindeer, Sven (embodied with puppetry by the unseen but appreciated Andrew Pirozzi).

As a mood-lightening song, “Reindeers Are Better than People” (which contains the memorable lyric: “Reindeers are better than people … but people smell better than reindeers”) goes a long way in this cold climate. It also sets up “What Do You Know About Love?,” a new tune that’s a lovely, lyrical duet between Kristoff and Anna.

Finally, here it comes, what all of us grownups have been waiting for: the entrance of Olaf, the funny little snowman the sisters created long ago, when they were children playing in the nursery. In “person,” Olaf is a goofy looking puppet. (“Hi, everyone. I’m Olaf, and I like warm hugs.”) As interpreted and manipulated by actor Greg Hildreth, he’s a clever little scamp who brings a lot of heart and humor to this chilly show.

To the extent that a plot exists at all, it’s a soggy one. There’s a lame attempt to make a villain of the ambitious Duke Weselton (Robert Creighton), but the real conflict, the stuff of drama, is all internal — Elsa battling her inner self — and difficult to dramatize.  The show succeeds best at this challenge in the familiar anthem “Let It Go,” Elsa’s despairing acceptance of her dark-magic gift.

Levy sends her silvery soprano into the stratosphere in this first act closing number, as she does in “Monster,” another new song in the show.  The lyricists really wrapped themselves around that latter tune, in which Elsa dares to contemplate killing herself to save her kingdom: “But before I / Fade to white / I’ll do all that I can / To make things right,” she vows.

As much as Anna twinkles about the joys of being alive and in love, “Frozen” belongs to Elsa, who has the heroic stature and tragic flaw of a true heroine — but no villainous anti-hero to overcome in battle. What a waste.

Broadway Review: Disney’s ‘Frozen’

St. James Theater; 1684 seats; $199.50 top. Opened March 22, 2018. Reviewed March 16. Running time: TWO HOURS, 20 MIN.

A presentation of Disney Theatrical Productions, under the direction of Thomas Schumacher, of a musical in two acts with book by Jennifer Lee, music & lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez, based on the Disney film written by Jennifer Lee and directed by Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee.

Directed by Michael Grandage. Choreographed by Rob Ashford. Orchestrations by Dave Metzger; Music supervision & arrangements by Stephen Oremus. Sets & costumes, Christopher Oram; lighting, Natasha Katz; sound, Peter Hylenski; videos, Finn Ross; puppetry, Michael Curry; hair, David Brian Brown; makeup, Anne Ford-Coates; special effects, Jeremy Chernick; music director, Brian Usifer.

Caissie Levy, Patti Murin, Jelani Alladin, Greg Hildreth, John Riddle, Robert Creighton, Kevin Del Aguila, Timothy Hughes, Andrew Pirozzi, Audrey Bennett, Mattea Conforti, Brooklyn Nelson, Ayla Schwartz, Alyssa Fox, Aisha Jackson, Adam Jepson, et al.

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adminMarch 23, 2018


Frozen (musical)

Current Status
In Season

We gave it a B+

You already know how you feel about “Let It Go.” At this point, after a 2014 Oscars performance by Idina Menzel (and subsequent win for best original song), a Grammy, and constant in-home sing-alongs by every child with a dream, Frozen’s anthem of self-acceptance has taken on a life of its own, and it’s too late to train a fresh eye on the tune. But there is a moment in the new Broadway musical that captures the energy of the song as you first heard it and focuses it into a lightning-fast quick change. In a single sequined gasp, Queen Elsa becomes Ice Queen Elsa. The applause is immediate; you might say it could set off an avalanche.

Broadway’s Frozen, opening Thursday at the St. James Theatre, is walking a delicate rope bridge in a blizzard. The sets are crystalline or candlelit; the sisterly angst between its leads is all too human. There are elements of the production that feel so intimate as to be brand new. But this is an adaptation of a Disney sensation, and it debuts to an audience of fans young and old who know every word of the original — in some cases, not by choice. In bringing the 2013 animated hit to the Great White Way, the film’s original creative team — composers Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez and writer Jennifer Lee — face the unenviable task of turning a family movie into something a little sleeker, a little deeper, and a little more sophisticated, all without losing its most beloved elements. They aren’t reinventing the snowman, but they’ve certainly built a better Frozen.

If the musical seems at times to be pulled between its elegant virtues and its cartoon instincts, that split is at least mirrored in the sisters at the heart of the story. The eldest is Elsa (Caissie Levy), a queen-to-be hiding her fear of her own magical winter-making abilities behind an air of aloofness. The show knows better than to take her early mantra (“conceal, don’t feel”) to heart; new ballads delve further into her state of mind than “Let It Go” alone could, and the story is richer for it. Levy brings Elsa to life with a powerhouse belt and a deceptively soft touch, revealing a radiant star quality as her character takes ownership of her own dramatic impulses. How’s this for a screen-to-stage shake-up? At one point, Elsa wears pants.

Her counterpoint is Anna (Patti Murin), the bumbling younger sister eager to break out of an imposed isolation and make new friends. Murin is an engaging presence with the bearing of a rom-com sweetheart, and Anna, too, gets more development here than she did in the movie, especially in the pensive second-act solo “True Love.” But Anna is the one who reminds you that this is an adaptation of an animated flick. Her half of the story is peppered with cheeky humor — some of which seems unable to decide if it’s aiming for younger viewers or right over their heads — and romantic misadventures with both the suave Prince Hans (John Riddle) and solitary iceman Kristoff (Jelani Alladin).

Frozen’s restructured plot is fleshed out with 12 new songs from the Lopezes, whose recent Academy Award made Robert the first person in history to double EGOT. The songwriting couple’s original offerings here aren’t likely to eclipse “Let It Go,” but there are a few standouts: Anna and Kristoff’s teasing duet “What Do You Know About Love?” is a charmer, and Elsa goes darker in the pop-infused “Monster.” Save for Act 2 opener “Hygge,” a partly nude fever dream with a high-stepping chorus of spa-goers that raises some eyebrows, the new numbers are familiar enough to feel like they’ve been around the whole time. Rob Ashford’s choreography rarely has cause to let loose but is often a treat, and the production as a whole makes creative use of bodies. (In particular, the death of Anna and Elsa’s parents plays out cleverly, with just the right amount of restraint.)

A few uneven elements sneak in, mainly in the form of side characters. The trolls who raised Kristoff are replaced here by the Hidden Folk, creatures from Scandinavian folklore with glow-stick necklaces, tails, and a vaguely dirty energy that feels out of step with the polished main characters, though they do at least get the liveliest dance number in “Fixer Upper.” The sidekicks are mismatched: Kristoff’s reindeer, Sven, roams the stage like an unsettling outcast from a Scandinavian version of The Lion King, while snowman Olaf is a cuddly puppet whose look remains unchanged from the movie. Actor Greg Hildreth lands some punch lines in what could have been a thankless puppeteering role, but it feels like the production missed out on the opportunity to redesign a character who sticks out even in the film.

Notably, Frozen’s path to Broadway has been stormy. The production cycled through two directors, two set designers, three choreographers, and two Elsas before its tryout run in Denver, and some of those conflicting influences can be felt in the final product. But Tony-winning director Michael Grandage refines the tale by putting the focus on the emotion first. Grandage is a director accustomed to Shakespeare and therefore to people trapped by secrets — even in the midst of glittering sets and impressive snow tricks, the bond between the sisters effectively and literally takes the spotlight. Fans of the movie will be pleased to find Anna and Elsa safe in Levy and Murin’s gloved hands, and doubters may just find their hearts thawed. B+

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adminMarch 23, 2018


Puzzling skeletal remains found in Chile 15 years ago — and rumored to be “alien” — are, in fact, from a human fetus with rare bone anomalies, researchers say.

The findings may or may not put to rest any internet-driven alien theories.

But the researchers said their discoveries could potentially aid in diagnosing rare bone disorders. They were able to identify several previously unknown genetic mutations behind the fetus’s bone abnormalities.

“DNA differences like this are useful to help us diagnose children and adults with ‘undiagnosed’ disorders,” said Dr. Atul Butte, one of the researchers on the work.

“More and more children’s hospitals are able to study patients and better understand what differences in their DNA might be leading to their conditions or disorders,” explained Butte, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco.

“And the ones we learned here can get added to the catalogues for future reference,” he said.

The story goes back to 2003, when scientists discovered a mysterious mummified skeleton in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

Nicknamed “Ata,” the skeleton stood just 6 inches tall, with a cone-shaped head and slanted eye sockets, and 10 pairs of ribs — versus the normal 12 in humans. Beyond that, despite the skeleton’s tiny size, it had the bone composition of a 6-year-old.

The unusual array of features triggered online rumors of an alien discovery.

And Ata does seem unique — but definitely earthly, according to the new analysis.

The skeleton was most likely a fetus, the researchers noted, and it had severe mutations in seven genes that regulate bone development.

Many of the mutations were already known, and related to disorders like dwarfism and various bone deformities and facial malformations. But several mutations have never been recognized, Butte and his colleagues reported.

The investigators found four mutations in genes that are known to contribute to bone diseases, and two mutations in genes that help produce collagen — a structural protein in the body’s connective tissue.

Some of Ata’s individual anomalies have been seen before, Butte said, such as the abnormal number of ribs and short stature.

“It’s just that this particular girl seemed to have many of these anomalies at the same time, and of a more severe nature,” he explained.

The findings were published online March 22 in Genome Research.

The researchers made their discoveries after extracting a small amount of DNA from Ata’s ribs and analyzing the entire genome — the complete set of genetic material.

Almost all of Ata’s DNA was “matchable” to human DNA, said Garry Nolan, a researcher at Stanford University who also worked on the study.

There is a simple explanation for the small amount that wasn’t pinpointed as human, Nolan said in a Stanford news release: The sample was simply too degraded.

And while the skeleton was once hypothesized to be ancient, it is actually about 40 years old, the findings showed.

Even though Ata was discovered 15 years ago, it’s only in recent years that this kind of genome analysis — done on the researchers’ own time — has become feasible, Butte said.

“Every year the cost to sequence genomes continues to drop, with the current price around $1,000,” he said. “At a certain point, the price and availability of sequencing reached the right amount, making it possible to sequence the Ata mummy genome.”

According to Butte, there is a wider lesson to learn from Ata’s genome analysis.

“Sometimes there might actually be more than one major DNA difference involved in explaining a particularly hard-to-explain patient,” Butte said. “We shouldn’t stop a search when we’ve found the first relevant mutation. Indeed, there might be many others also involved.”

Getting such a “full explanation” will become increasingly important, Butte added, as researchers develop gene therapies aimed at correcting some of these rare disorders.

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adminMarch 23, 2018


Meghan Markle’s wedding day to Prince Harry is fast approaching, and while Kensington Palace recently released information on the couple’s wedding cake and invitations, some special details of the big day are being kept under wraps — including the particulars of Meghan’s sure-to-be-stunning wedding dress!

“I expect that Meghan will go to great lengths to keep her wedding dress designer a secret until the moment that she emerges from the bridal car,” ET’s royal expert Katie Nicholl recently explained. “Let’s be honest, this is a girl who knows how to keep a secret. She and Harry kept their romance clandestine for months, so she knows how to stay tight-lipped… There’s going to be so much attention on the dress. She’s like every other bride in that respect, she wants to keep it a secret up until the last minute.”

Nicholl, who’s written several books on the royal family — including her latest, Harry: Life, Loss, and Love, on the soon-to-be groom — speculated that, despite Meghan’s proclivity so far to gently buck royal tradition when it comes to her fashion statements, the Suits star will likely make a more conservative choice when it comes to her wedding gown.

“I think when it comes to her wedding dress, she knows that this is a very, very important dress,” the royal biographer explained. “It’s got to fit for the occasion, it’s got to suit the regal historical backdrop that is Windsor Castle.”

“I’m told that she wants something with lace, that she wants something with sleeves,” Nicholl added. “Of course she’s dressing for the rather inclement British weather, but more than that she’s dressing for a very, very important occasion. So I think you will be probably pleasantly surprised for Meghan the ‘rule breaker’ when it comes to this dress. I think it’s gonna tick all the right boxes: traditional, elegant, sophisticated, memorable, and fitting.”

Meghan’s had a crash course in the royal ropes over the last few months, and a source recently told ET that Kate Middleton, as well as Harry’s step-mother, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, have been instrumental in assuring the actress that “she’s loved and supported as she navigates her life as a future royal.”

And, while Meghan’s wedding to Prince Harry will no doubt face heavy comparisons to Prince William and Kate’s 2011 nuptials, Nicholl assures that the American actress has no plans to upstage her future sister-in-law when it comes to her wedding dress.

“There have been reports that [Meghan’s] considering spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on a wedding dress. I think that’s incredibly unlikely,” the author noted. “Kate Middleton’s dress cost 150,000 pounds. It was her parents, Carol and Michael Middleton, who paid for that bill. I think it was very unlikely that Meghan would spend more than that and in doing so try and upstage a future queen.”

Getty Images

Kate’s elegant wedding gown featured an ivory lace bodice with long sleeves and a satin skirt, and was designed by Sarah Burton, creative director of luxury fashion house Alexander McQueen. Similar to Nicholl’s speculation for Meghan’s dress, the gown and its maker were not formally announced until the bride stepped from the bridal car to enter Westminster Abbey just before the wedding service.

“I think Meghan is very sensible,” Nicholl added. “She understands what the perception will be of this gown. I don’t think she’s going to want to get royal life off to a start where she’s criticized for spending something like 400,000 pounds on a wedding dress. I just dont think it will happen.”

As for the gown’s designer, Nicholl noted that many have speculated Meghan may choose British luxury house Ralph & Russo, who designed the stunning dress she wore in her official engagement photos. But the royal expert also offered another option, which could help endear Meghan to Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.

“There’s a lot of speculation that she might be going for Stewart Parvin, who is one one of the queen’s favorite couturiers,” she noted. “It would be fabulous for her to fly the flag for British fashion, but we will have to wait and see. And I think we’ll probably have to wait until the day.”

See more on the upcoming nuptials in the video below, and keep up with all of ET’s coverage of the Royal Wedding right here as we count down to May 19!


RELATED: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Royal Wedding: All the Famous Guests to Expect

EXCLUSIVE: Prince Harry Knew He Had to ‘Up His Game’ After Meeting Meghan Markle

PICS: Meghan Markle’s Favorite Foods Are Actually Really Easy to Make — Here’s How!

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adminMarch 23, 2018


The American plate has increasingly lacked nutritious food. This eating trend has serious consequences: There is a strong link between diets low in fruits and vegetables and obesity and diabetes.

One reason why Americans tend to choose less healthy options is simple: cost. Processed foods tend to have a lot more calories at a lower price; that’s more bang for your buck than fresh food if you’re on a budget.

Fresh fruits and veggies are more expensive to farm than crops that will be processed. Produce relies on human labor rather than machines, and machines are more efficient and cheaper in the long run. But the US government also doesn’t subsidize leafy vegetable crops in the same way it supports wheat, soy, and corn, vital ingredients in a lot of junk food.

Some programs in the United States are trying to steer consumers toward healthier options. Researchers are suggesting a junk food tax on “nonessential” foods like candy, soda, and potato chips as the next frontier in public health policy. Experts cite similar taxes on alcohol and cigarettes that have worked to curb consumption.

And there are programs trying to make produce more affordable for lower-income Americans. The Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, or FVRx, for example, enables doctors to give participants $1 vouchers toward fresh produce. Other potential solutions include community gardens and creative advertising for healthy eating.

More research is needed to find out which policies work best, but they are worth trying for one simple reason — if Americans ate more fruits and vegetables, they’d be a whole lot healthier.

You can find this video and all of Vox’s videos on YouTube. Subscribe for more episodes.

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adminMarch 23, 2018


The top local stories this morning from KERA News: Opening arguments begin today in the government’s antitrust lawsuit against Dallas-based AT&T.

The U.S Justice Department wants to block AT&T from merging with Time Warner. The agency argues the 85 billion-dollar deal would hurt competition and push up prices, but AT&T says the merger is needed to compete with streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.

AT&T runs the country’s second largest wireless network and is the biggest provider of traditional satellite and cable TV services. Time Warner owns HBO, CNN, TBS and Warner Bros. studios.

Other stories this morning:

  • The Dallas-Fort Worth metro area was behind more than a third of the state’s population growth from 2016 to 2017, according to new population estimates from the U-S Census Bureau.
  • Texas currently has AAA credit rating, but Comptroller Glenn Hegar warns that rating could face a downgrade if Texas doesn’t change how it manages its Economic Stabilization Fund – more commonly known as the Rainy Day Fund.
  • The feminist filmmakers of the women’s liberation movement in the early 1970s are the focus of a screening series this weekend in Richardson.

You can listen to North Texas stories weekdays at 8:23 a.m. and 6:20 p.m. on KERA 90.1 FM.

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adminMarch 22, 2018


Bracket Busted? Start fresh each round and compete for your chance to win a trip to the 2019 Final Four. Play Round-by-Round now.

It’s almost time the Sweet 16 and here’s something to keep in mind — this is the last round of the NCAA Tournament to feature two games going on at the same time. So you’ll still need to prioritize you viewing. We’re here to help by ranking each of the 16 games so you’ll know which games should get the big TV and which games to follow on March Madness Live 

There may not be as many games going on this weekend in the NCAA Tournament, but that doesn’t mean there will be any less excitement. Fewer games, bigger drama. 

With the wacky first and second rounds in the rearview mirror, the NCAA Tournament turns to an octet of regional semifinals that offer an interesting variety of matchups. The left side of the bracket has gone sideways, while the right side has maintained a lot of stability with the exception of Syracuse sneaking out of the bottom right corner.

For the 31st time in the 33 years of the 64/68-team era, at least one double digit seed has reached the second weekend. We have two No. 11 seeds in play (Syracuse, Loyola), marking the fourth time since 1985 that two No. 11s broke on through to the other side. It is surprising, though, that when you look around at the tournament now, after a lot of calamity, the lowest seed on the board is No. 11.

Last weekend may have been one of the three best in tournament history, but it strangely didn’t give us any No. 12s, No. 13s, No. 14s or No. 15s winning two games. 

However, half of the No. 1s, 2s and 3s are gone — as are three of the No. 4s. So let’s check out what awaits us on Thursday and Friday night. For tip times and TV info, head right here

8. No. 4 Gonzaga vs. No. 9 Florida State (West). LINE: GONZAGA -5.5. 

Gonzaga is the trendy non-top-two-seed Final Four pick, going back to Selection Sunday, that is still standing. (Michigan State and Arizona can’t say the same.) The Bulldogs’ game vs. Florida State in LA is pretty clearly the least compelling of the eight regional semifinals, though. 

Gonzaga is the more talented team, but Florida State has an underrated player in 6-foot-6 junior Terance Mann. The Zags have a top-15 offense and defense at KenPom, while FSU ranks 32nd and 55th in each, respectively. The ‘Noles are getting a generous line; will they keep it closer than you might think? Another thought: Will this be a big-time game for Zags sophomore Rui Hachimura, or will GU freshman Zach Norvell Jr. follow up his career-high 28-point performance with another 3-point barrage? The Zags look dangerous again. 

7. No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 5 Clemson (Midwest)LINE: KANSAS -4.5. 

I’m ranking this game as the second-least compelling heading in … yet I see the potential for it to be close late. Clemson is receiving less pub and talk than any other team playing this Thursday/Friday. But despite being a chic upset victim vs. New Mexico State, then being expected to lose to Auburn in the second round, Clemson has reached its first Sweet 16 since 1997 by winning its first two games by a total of 42 points. The Tigers have proven their season to be legitimate by getting to this point. Now comes Kansas, which got pushed early by Penn and tested late by Seton Hall

The question is: Does Clemson have the steady play in the backcourt to overcome KU? Remember, the Tigers have been playing two months without their best player, Donte Grantham

6. No. 5 Kentucky vs. No. 9 Kansas State (South) LINE: KENTUCKY -5.5. 

These programs combine for 60 Sweet 16 showings, the most of any two teams playing each other in the regional semifinals. K-State has a better program historically than it gets credit for, but when compared to UK, it’s blindingly pale. That’s just how great Kentucky has been for 60-plus years. Kentucky is a comfortable favorite here: it’s much more talented all around than K-State. 

This game will be in Atlanta — “Catlanta,” as Big Blue Nation has dubbed it — so it will feel very much like a road game for Kansas State. Given Kentucky’s 3-point issues and K-State’s top-20 defense, there is a possibility of a close game in the mid-60s with two minutes to go here. Which Kevin Knox will show up? After scoring 25 points and grabbing six rebounds vs. Davidson, Knox had eight points, four fouls and four turnovers against Buffalo. Fortunately for UK, it has Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is reliable night in, night out. For K-State, Dean Wade’s return is vital. The 6-10 junior has missed the past three games with a stress fracture in his foot. He said on Sunday he’s “98 percent” to play, and in fact was practicing with the team Wednesday. 

5. No. 2 Duke vs. No. 11 Syracuse (Midwest). LINE: DUKE -11.5. 

It’s the biggest line of any game this weekend, which indicates it’s expected to be the least competitive matchup. But come on. It’s Duke. It’s Syracuse. Two Hall of Fame coaches and two programs with mainstream appeal. Even if Duke blows out the Orange, which is what it did on Feb. 24 (60-44), you’ll tune in to watch Marvin Bagley III and to see what Grayson Allen does. Plus, there is a macabre factor to Syracuse’s zone attack. What it did to Michigan State was bewitching. 

The plot here is of course Mike Krzyzewski ripping not a page, not a chapter, but half the damn book from Jim Boeheim. Duke has employed a 2-3 zone this season to much success. With both teams going to a zone look here, the over/under is 133.5. Tempting you to take the under. 

Can Syracuse pull a stunner? If so, it would be among the most impressive wins of Boeheim’s career.

4. No. 2 Purdue vs. No. 3 Texas Tech (East). LINE: PURDUE -1.5. 

Texas Tech is one of three teams playing this weekend which is trying to get to its first Elite Eight (Nevada and A&M the other two). The Red Raiders bring an infectious ferocity to the floor. Will Purdue try to shoot over TTU’s man-to-man by ball-screening the Red Raiders over and over and over? Potentially. The Boilermakers are only a slight favorite because Isaac Haas isn’t anticipated to play due to a fractured right elbow. In absence of that, Purdue gets smaller and its modus operandi gets tweaked. 

Key matchup? I’d love to see how senior Vincent Edwards does if he’s matched up against Texas Tech standout freshman Zhaire Smith. The best player on the floor in this game is Keenan Evans of Tech, but he’s got a nagging toe sprain. Will it affect his performance? He powered through against Florida and make big plays late. This one should be close from tip to horn, I think. 

3. No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 7 Texas A&M (West). LINE: MICHIGAN -2.5. 

Jordan Poole has Jordan Peele tweeting about him, so life’s pretty great for the Michigan freshman. 

Against North Carolina, A&M looked like the type of team we expected it to be most of this season. Michigan’s defense against A&M’s big men is going to be interesting. A&M has more talent than Michigan. No Wolverine can match Robert Williams or Tyler Davis one-on-one, but John Beilein’s made a career out of overachieving and out-scheming more talented opponents. 

For Michigan, can it take advantage in the backcourt? It has the edge there, especially if Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman winds up playing a lead guard role. Zavier Simpson is going to be matched on A&M’s T.J. Starks in a point guard battle, and Simpson should win that. It’s unconventional to try to win with a bigs-first mentality, but Billy Kennedy probably needs to do that. I’m not sure what to expect overall from this game in terms of style (Beilein wrinkle coming?), but I think it’s going to be borderline terrific. 

2. No. 7 Nevada vs. No. 11 Loyola-Chicago (South). LINE: NEVADA -1.5. 

It’s a meeting between dark horse and Cinderella. The best part is how good these teams are. Nevada was clearly the top team in the Mountain West; Loyola was streets ahead of all other teams this season in the Missouri Valley. So not only will this game give us an unexpected team in the Elite Eight that will be playing for the Final Four, but it’s going to be a fun watch too. 

Nevada is the No. 6 team in offensive efficiency in college basketball. The Ramblers are a top-15 team in shooting from 2-point and 3-point range. Plenty of March star potential here as well. The Wolf Pack have the Martin twins and Jordan Caroline. Loyola has two guys who have hit end-of-game winning shots to get to this point in Donte Ingram and Clayton Custer. Who gets the next shining moment? 

If Nevada wins, maybe it will be coach Eric Musselman, who has gone on record to say he’s taking off his shirt again if his team moves on. So there’s that. Plus, more Sister Jean is a great thing. She alone warrants this game at No. 2. I’m still loving the fact that a 98-year-old nun has become the biggest celebrity of this NCAA Tournament. Only in college basketball. 

1. No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 5 West Virginia (East). LINE: VILLANOVA -5.5. 

First off: Glaring mismatch in the coaching wardrobe genre. Jay Wright vs. Bob Huggins = Gucci vs. Goodwill. A sartorial stand-off. Meanwhile, Villanova looked better than any team through the first weekend, but West Virginia has the veterans and the coaching to make this game interesting. After some hype with Jalen Brunson vs. Collin Sexton in the second round, those players wound up barely making contact with each other in their game in Pittsburgh. But now? Senior point guard Jevon Carter should almost certainly be matched up on Brunson for this one, and he’ll obviously embrace the challenge. That could be great. Carter (49 points, 13 assists, 11 steals in this tournament) is the best defender left in the tournament. Brunson, on the other hand, has this unemotional determination to him that seems like it will benefit him against a respectable pest like Carter. 

That matchup alone has my attention, but how about Sagaba Konate and Mikal Bridges? Will Konate face up on Bridges, or will they primarily face off near the rim? Konate is one of the best shot-blockers in college basktball; Bridges has boosted his draft stock immensely this season. Villanova’s striving for a second Final Four run in three seasons. West Virginia was done in last year in this same spot: it lost to No. 1 Gonzaga in the Sweet 16. Former Big East foes face off in a former Big East town (Boston). I’ll be on hand to cover it. Friday night should be marvelous. 

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adminMarch 22, 2018
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– A street drug laced with bug spray is taking a toll on drug users and producing zombie-like effects.

According to th Indianapolis Fire Department, they’re seeing a big spike in overdoses from a drug called KD. 

“We describe it as being like a zombie. They cannot talk to us,” IFD Captain Chris Major told KXIN.

FOX 59 in Indianapolis was on the scene when crews responded to another drug overdose. Medics found a man in the grass who was unresponsive and struggling to breathe. Medics said he overdosed on KD.

“Their movements are slow and lethargic, a lot of drooling and a loss of function. We find them with their clothes off, eating the grass, pulling dirt out of the ground and trying to put it in their mouth,” Major said.

Medics say it’s a mix of either marijuana, spice, or tobacco and it’s doused in bug spray and then smoked. IFD Captain Chris Major says his team has had nearly a dozen KD overdose runs in one day.

“They do not know what is in this stuff or who has made it so they are all taking chance. Which for some reason they are willing to do because we get the same people using over and over again,” Major said.

Captain Major says there’s not much they can do to help the user, except take their blood pressure and wait.

“We find people passed out with it still in their hand. That is how fast it has an effect on them,” Major said. “We send them off to the hospital to get checked out and within two hours they may be back out there on the street doing it again. We have had the same person multiple times in one day.”

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adminMarch 22, 2018
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Here are the top stories:


  • South Lyon: High school student charged with making threats on social media due in court.
  • Tiger Stadium: Sneak preview of the major renovations at old Tiger Stadium in Detroit.
  • Detroit Riverfront: Major construction projects planned to improve Detroit riverfront.
  • Macomb County: Teacher due in court on charges of abusing students with autism.


  • South Lyon: High school student charged with making threats on social media due in court.
  • Tiger Stadium: Sneak preview of the major renovations at old Tiger Stadium in Detroit.
  • Macomb County: Teacher due in court on charges of abusing students with autism.
  • Detroit Riverfront: Major construction projects planned to improve Detroit riverfront.
  • Redford Township: Rollover crash snarls traffic on eastbound I-96 at Telegraph Road.
  • Oak Park School District: Schools closed Thursday, Friday after threats on social media.
  • Harper Woods: 2 Detroit teenagers arrested after shots fired at gas station.
  • Plymouth: Our Lady of Good Counsel evacuated due to gas leak.
  • Farmington Public Schools: Farmington Community School, Farmington Central High School closed due to threat.
  • WeatherMostly sunny Thursday with lighter winds.

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  • North Carolina: 20-year-old mother arrested after video shows baby smoking marijuana, police say.
  • AustinBomber left behind a confession, but it doesn’t say why he did it.
  • Toys R Us: Liquidation sales to begin as stores prepare to close nationwide.
  • Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg says ‘I’m really sorry that this happened’ after Cambridge Analytica scandal.
  • Sacramento: Police shot man holding cell phone in his grandmother’s yard.


  • Joe BidenTrump says former vice president ‘would go down fast and hard’ in a fight.
  • CongressWhat’s in Congress’ $1.3 trillion spending bill?
  • China: Beijing says country will hit back if US announces new tariffs.
  • Robert MuellerInvestigation team so far has indicated 4 main areas it wants to ask the President about.
  • Jeff Sessions: Attorney general not under investigation for perjury by special counsel, lawyer says.


  • Celine Dion: Singer cancels Vegas shows due to ear issues.
  • The X-Files: Finale marks likely end to long search for truth.
  • Fred Savage: Actor accused of on-set harassment and battery.


  • NFL Free AgencyLatest Lions news for 2018 free agency period.
  • Tiger Stadium: Sneak preview of the major renovations at old Tiger Stadium in Detroit.
  • Serena Williams: Tennis star falls to Naomi Osaka in Miami Open.


  • Bark at the Park: Bring your dog to Comerica Park for 2 Tigers games in 2018.
  • StressWarning Signs Your Pet Is Stressed.
  • Dog Food: Best brands on the market.
  • Travel: How to travel with your cat.

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adminMarch 22, 2018


After she graduated from high school, Ms. Smith worked in a hosiery mill and, later, for a tobacco company. She married at age 19 and had her son Terry and another son, Billy, while in her 20s. Her husband, Patrick Smith, played banjo and fiddle and encouraged their boys to become musicians, which they did, growing up to play country and bluegrass professionally as a duo.

Shortly after she and her husband divorced, Ms. Smith met the bluegrass patriarch Bill Monroe at a music festival in North Carolina. She and Mr. Monroe began a romantic relationship that both parties wrote songs about, most notably Mr. Monroe’s “Walk Softly on This Heart of Mine.” It became a Top 40 country hit for the Southern rock band the Kentucky Headhunters.

Ms. Smith and her sons moved to Nashville around 1970. She found a job there as a publicist for the iconoclastic Texas singer-songwriter Kinky Friedman. She also did publicity for the Glaser Brothers and, by the late 1970s, was working for the rock band Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show, which recorded several of her songs.

Ms. Smith also began writing a popular column for Country Music magazine in the late ’70s, and she played a significant role in the development of the careers of several major artists, including Garth Brooks and Brad Paisley.

Ms. Smith was host of’s “Hot Dish” program, a popular country news and cooking show, and in 2001, she published the cookbook “Hazel’s Hot Dish: Cookin’ with Country Stars,” which featured contributions from Mr. Brooks, Trisha Yearwood and Alan Jackson, among others.

Ms. Smith is survived by her sons; her brothers, James Daniel Boone and William Henry Boone — the family traces its lineage to the frontiersman Daniel Boone — six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

“What set Hazel apart was her voice and her opinions,” Ms. Keel said. “Women coming up the ranks after her tried to fit in. Hazel never tried to fit in, and that’s what made her unique. I hope that that’s a message that will resonate with young women today.”

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