Suspicious Death Ruled a Homicide



UPDATE LAKELAND, FL (April 13, 2021) – On Monday, April 12, 2021, a review done by the Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the victim’s death a homicide. Investigators are continuing to interview persons who may have information related to the case. (see original release below) 

 

 

If a person wishes to remain anonymous, and possibly be eligible for a reward, contact Heartland Crime Stoppers Florida:

* Call 1-800-226 TIPS (8477)

* From your cell phone, dial **TIPS

* Or download the free “P3tips” app on your smartphone or tablet.


LAKELAND, FL (April 11, 2021) – On Saturday, April 10, 2021, at approximately 4:16 p.m., officers from the Lakeland Police Department responded to a residence in the 500 block of West Crawford Street for a report of a missing person. The reportee advised last seeing the victim at 7:00 a.m. when she left to travel out-of-town for the day. According to the reportee, the victim had not responded to texts or calls throughout the day. When the reportee arrived home, the victim was nowhere to be found, and there was blood underneath a vehicle the victim had been working on in the driveway.

Upon a search of the location, officers located the body of the victim, a 42-year-old man, inside another vehicle on the property. The victim was transported to the Medical Examiner’s office, where an exam will be conducted on Monday to confirm his cause of death. No additional details will be released at this time to protect the integrity of the investigation.

Anyone with information related to the case should contact Detective Troy Smith at 863.834.8958 or troy.smith@Lakelandgov.net. To remain anonymous, contact Heartland Crime Stoppers Florida – call 1-800-226 TIPS (8477), dial **TIPS from your cell phone, visit the website www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com and click on “Submit A Tip,” or download the free “P3tips” app on your smartphone or tablet.

The name of the victim is being withheld in accordance with Marsy’s Law. 





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WNBA announces 2021 season will begin May 14 with Sabrina Ionescu and Liberty headlining opening night


The WNBA announced Tuesday afternoon that their 25th anniversary season will tip-off on May 14, with the New York Liberty taking on the Indiana Fever in the first game of the season. Unlike last season, which was held in a bubble down in Florida, this year all 12 teams will play inside their home arenas.

From the WNBA:

“As we tip-off this historic season with teams returning to play in their home markets, we celebrate the impact the WNBA has made on generations of young and diverse athletes and on sports and society since 1997,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said. “Together with our fans and partners, we look ahead to how the outstanding athletes of the WNBA will continue to provide the best women’s basketball in the world while also driving change, striving for justice and equality, and impacting future generations. In the game and beyond, we will continue to say, Count It, as a way to celebrate the WNBA’s impact not only on the game, but culture at large.”

The 2021 season will be 32 games long, instead of the typical 36, and there will be a break in the schedule from July 15 through August 11 to allow players to participate in the Olympic Games. Also new to this season will be the baseball-style series that the NBA adopted this year as a way to reduce travel. If a team is scheduled to play a team twice in one market, those games will be scheduled consecutively.

In addition to Sabrina Ionescu and the Liberty tipping off the 2021 WNBA season at Barclays Center in Brooklyn against Kelsey Mitchell and the Indiana Fever at 7 p.m. ET, three other games will be played on opening night. Those games are:

  • Connecticut Sun at Atlanta Dream, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Phoenix Mercury at Minnesota Lynx, 9 p.m. ET
  • Dallas Wings at Los Angeles Sparks, 10:30 p.m. ET

Candace Parker will make her Chicago Sky debut on May 15 against Elena Delle Donne and the Washington Mystics. Delle Donne and Tina Charles will share the court for the first time as teammates after both sat out last season due to safety concerns because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mystics acquired Charles via trade with the Liberty prior to last season in hopes of bolstering their championship odds. 

The Seattle Storm will begin their championship defense against reigning MVP A’ja Wilson and the Las Vegas Aces, who the Storm beat in the WNBA Finals last year. This time around, though, the Aces will have Liz Cambage back after she sat out last season, as well as Chelsea Gray as she was added to the mix in free agency. 

In regards to fan attendance, the league announced that each team will make their own decision on that matter in accordance with federal, state and local health and safety protocols. The WNBA hasn’t announced what health and safety protocols players and team staff will have to abide by, but it will likely involve similar guidelines as last season where daily testing will be required and social distancing and mask wearing will be executed.





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Seven of England’s best historic pubs


5. The Old Bridge Inn, Yorkshire

The earliest record of The Old Bridge Inn is from 1307, giving it a strong claim to be the oldest pub in Yorkshire. Situated next to the River Ryburn in the village of Ripponden, the ancient inn has changed little in seven centuries, with original features such as the traditional timber frame visible throughout the narrow, somewhat crooked buildings. A menu of hearty food and local Yorkshire brews completes the picture. 

6. The Compasses Inn, Wiltshire

Ben Maschler, son of restaurant critic Fay Maschler, is the current custodian of The Compasses Inn, which dates back to the 14th century. Located in the Wiltshire village of Chicksgrove, the beautiful stone building retains many original features, such as an old flagstone floor, open inglenook fireplace and gnarled wooden beams. History aside, this is a pub with great food and drink at its heart, featuring local ales from Butcombe, an excellent European wine list and modern British dishes. 

7. The Royal Standard of England, Beaconsfield

Claiming to be England’s oldest ‘free house’ pub, The Royal Standard of England has a history going back some 800 years, with the first recorded mention in 1213, when it was known as ‘Se Scip’ (The Ship). The current name is said to have been bestowed upon the pub by Charles II in 1663, in honour of it having lent support to his father during the Civil War. Today, it’s the quintessential British country pub, filled with antiques, stained glass and crooked timbers, serving local ales and traditional pub food. 

Published in Issue 11 (spring 2021) of National Geographic Traveller Food

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Tips on how to land a COVID-19 vaccine appointment in Michigan


Asia Parker and Stephen Stocker were shopping recently at a Meijer in Grand Rapids when a store employee asked if they were interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

The husband and wife filled out paperwork and got their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in less than half an hour, they said.

“We were really lucky,” said Parker, 26, of Grand Rapids. “It worked out perfectly.”

Grand Rapids residents Asia Parker, 26, and Steve Stocker, 28, got lucky when they were offered  COVID-19 vaccines recently while shopping at a Meijer store in Grand Rapids at the end of the workday. Their secret? "Maybe just hang around Meijer around 4:45 p.m.?" said Parker. "That’s a good trick."

Others may need more than luck to get the vaccine now that Michigan has expanded vaccine eligibility to residents age 16 and older and as state health department spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin says demand is expected to outpace supply for weeks.

But there are many strategies to getting the vaccine, say those who have landed coveted appointments at retail stores, health systems, health departments and public venues such as the recently opened drive-thru vaccination center at the Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights.

Secret portals to the ‘lifesaving dose’

Those without access to the internet can dial 2-1-1 for help registering.

Websites like GoodRx are tracking vaccine appointments across the country to help Americans secure doses quickly. Residents can sign up within minutes by inputting their phone number, ZIP code and date of birth to be notified of vaccine appointments near them at pharmacies including CVS.

For an appointment at a Meijer pharmacy, register here. Those who are able to drive to Ford Field in Detroit can sign up here. Vaccinations for people who show up without an appointment are unlikely, said Ford Field spokesman Mike Nowlin. The site is overbooking appointments by 10% to 15% daily to compensate for no-shows rather than relying on walk-ins.

Search through local health departments listed here.

For those unsure of which clinic to attend turn to the Michigan Vaccine Spotter website to find specific brands of vaccine and currently available appointments or enter ZIP codes into VaccineFinder.org and any with an “in stock” checkmark are available to sign up right away.

The Vaccine Angels are a group of internet-savvy volunteers that help Michiganians on their Vaccine Hunters Facebook pages. Three pages cater to Michigan including Detroit Area Vaccine Hunters, West Michigan, and Northern Michigan.

The Angels have made 3,000 appointments for people without internet access or those who were struggling to make an appointment. Request their help here or search through their vaccine resource list by region here. They are mostly focused on residents age 50 and older, but founder Katie Monaghan said, “we will eventually get to everyone on our list.”

Elizabeth Griem, left, of Grosse Pointe with her daughter Aaliyah, 2, and Katie Monaghan of Royal Oak work together on Thursday, March 11, 2021, as they started "vaccine hunters" groups on Facebook and arranged more than 40 "vaccine angels" to serve as satellite volunteers helping seniors acquire expiring doses.

“Michigan is vaccinating people in record numbers and there are still appointments available for those that still need their shot,” Monaghan said. “It’s definitely much easier to secure a COVID-19 vaccine appointment than it was just a short while ago. If anyone over 50 joins our list, we typically call them back later in the day with appointment details.”

The group will be around for as long as it’s needed, Monaghan said, but it is transitioning from helping older residents secure appointments to directing younger, tech-savvy people to resources to make appointments themselves.

Through Save My Shot, residents can sign up for a vaccine appointment at Beaumont, although people have to create a myBeaumont patient chart.

Dr. Jeffrey Fischgrund, chief of Clinical Services at Beaumont Health, said it’s alarming to see its eight hospitals have already surpassed COVID-19 inpatient numbers recorded in November and December, even with the vaccine available to most residents.

There are some people who walk in and “in very rare instances towards the end of the day, we have extra vaccines,” he said. “If you come in the middle of the day all the slots are taken but we’re not going to waste anything we have at the end of the day.”

There are currently 38,000 people on the Beaumont vaccine waitlist, but Fischgrund said he assumes some of them may have already been injected as many people are canceling appointments.

“So if you were to sign up now, you’d probably get a vaccine within a week or two,” Fischgrund said. “It’s much, much better than it was months ago.”

Getting a vaccine is becoming easier as Michigan receives more doses, Fischgrund said, but there are still more people who want the vaccine than there is supply.

“But we will reach a point soon where the hesitancy people are going to be able to get a shot, but choose not to, and that’s a very large concern especially with what’s happening in Michigan currently,” Fischgrund said. “This is our second-biggest surge, we haven’t plateaued yet and the numbers are still going up with over 800 people in our system with COVID.”

Fischgrund’s message for people who don’t yet have an appointment to be vaccinated?  

“Please don’t give up. The vaccine does have a few relatively minor side effects, but the effects of COVID are terrible,” he said. “And as terrible as they are for you, they could be even worse for a family member, so please as soon as possible and as soon as you can, get the vaccine.”

Insight from providers

Choosing the time of day to target an online search is not an exact science. 

“The best advice is to check frequently, check daily and check in the morning,” said Chris Savarese, a spokesman for Rite Aid, which is offering 40,000 doses every week of Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to customers at 1,900 of its 2,400 stores nationwide. “Ultimately, the morning is the best time. Try as early in the morning as you can and try throughout the day.”

Walmart appointments are available online at Walmart and Sam’s Club websites on a rolling 7-day basis, said spokeswoman Courtney Paulson.

“So, today, you can schedule appointments for Monday through Sunday, April 18. Tomorrow, you’ll be able to schedule appointments for 4/13-4/20, and so on,” she said.

‘Persistence is key’

Persistence is key, say those who have found appointments.

“Like anything in life that is mathematical,” said Dearborn Heights resident Ames Patterson, “the more times you try, the more chances you have for success.”

Patterson and a group of 11 friends decided to devote a full day to getting an appointment to get the vaccine and approached it like a full-time job. They gathered virtually on Facebook at 8 a.m. on a recent morning, coffee in hand, and began looking for appointments.

Some only had a phone to search, others a tablet. But the group was focused as they searched online, made telephone calls and gave each other support with memes throughout the day. By 3 p.m., all had appointments.

“We all increased our odds by working it,” said Patterson, 56. “We worked it like a job, like it really mattered. We decided that we were going to take charge.”

While some sites offer walk-up options, making an appointment improves the chances of getting a shot, said Elizabeth Griem, administrator of Detroit Area Vaccine Hunters group.

“I haven’t heard of much luck just walking up to get a vaccine at a random place,” said Griem. “I have heard of people waiting for hours and at the day and being turned away. I’ve heard of people being accepted, no problem. It’s kind of a crapshoot.”

‘The key is being flexible’

Being flexible is also important, said Clawson resident Liz Parker, who also volunteers with the Detroit Area Vaccine Hunters group.

Parker, 34, said she has helped more than 100 people find appointments. One of her co-workers needed help recently and she found her an appointment in less than an hour at a Kroger store.

“She lives in Oak Park and the appointment is in Grosse Pointe, so that’s not too far,” said Parker. “It’s a little more challenging when people don’t want to travel more than a few miles from their home. Also, a lot of times appointments come up that night or the next day. The key is being flexible.”

Some people are staying up late and checking websites for new appointments at retailers such as Walgreens, CVS Pharmacy, Rite Aid, Meijer, KrogerWalmart and Snyder Drugs (for Upper Peninsula residents). Others say they are checking in the middle of the night, or throughout the day and constantly hitting refresh. 

Janine Sadaj’s chat with a neighbor walking her dog helped her clinch an appointment. She had signed up at local retailers and health systems but hadn’t had success. Her neighbor asked if she had gotten an appointment and told her she knew the trick: Signing up online for an appointment around midnight at Rite Aid.

Sadaj, 52, was about to retire later that evening when she remembered the tip. She logged on and snatched up one of three future appointments she found shortly after midnight at a store three minutes away from her Rochester Hills home.

“It was so convenient,” said Sadaj. “But I also felt a little guilty because it was that easy. There are so many people around the country having a hard time.”

At the same time, she said she felt relieved while knowing “COVID is still prevalent

Some residents are traveling around the state or making a trek to Ohio to get a vaccine.

Farmington Hills resident Tracey Liphardt drove just under two hours round trip to get the Moderna vaccine last month at a Rite Aid store in Toledo after a co-worker mentioned how easy it was to get an appointment.

Liphardt, 50, said she wasn’t rushing to get the shot because she felt others needed it before she did.

But when she logged on and found an appointment for the next day in Toledo, she grabbed it.

“When you get an opportunity you need, you take it,” Liphardt said.

Taylor resident Steve Kinney wanted to be sure to get his 86-year-old dad, Tom Kinney, vaccinated. He found him an appointment about a month ago at a Rite Aid store in Flint. He picked up his dad in Brighton and drove him to the retailer. 

When Kinney arrived, the pharmacist told him someone had canceled and asked if he also would like to get the vaccine.  

“I said, ‘Yes let’s do it,'” said Kinney, 54, who added that the round trip took just under three hours.

His wife, Tracy Kinney, got vaccinated at a Beaumont hospital and will soon get her second vaccine.

Kinney and his dad went back to Flint on Thursday to get their second shots.

“I just want this pandemic to go away,” said Kinney. “I hope that this will help it. The world is crazy like this.”

kkozlowski@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @kimberkoz



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Valanciunas leads late burst as Grizzlies beat Bulls 101-90


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Jonas Valanciunas had 26 points and 14 rebounds, leading a fourth-quarter burst that carried the Memphis Grizzlies to a 101-90 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Monday night.

Valanciunas, who had 32 points and 22 rebounds a night earlier in a loss to the Indiana Pacers, scored 10 in the fourth as Memphis used an 18-6 run to break open a close game.

“Jonas is Jonas, man,” said second-year guard Ja Morant. “He’s a top player for us. He commands the paint. Protects the paint. A walking double-double.”

Valanciunas’ double-double was his 15th in a row, setting a franchise record.

“It’s not an individual sport,” Valanciunas said. “I would not be doing it without my teammates, first of all. Second thing, I’m playing with a high energy. I’m putting a lot of work in trying to go for every rebound. Trying to go for every putback. Stuff like that. That pays off.”

Dillon Brooks finished with 17 points and Grayson Allen added 14. Morant had 13 points and 10 assists.

Zach LaVine scored 21 points, but he was just 5 for 14 from the field as the Bulls lost their third straight. Thaddeus Young scored 20 and Daniel Theis had 18. Nikola Vucevic finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

“I think it’s going to be really, really hard to have a lot of guys in double figures when you shoot (42%) from the field and 16% from the 3-point line.” Chicago coach Billy Donovan said. “I think our bench was 0 for 12 from 3. We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well all the way around as a team.”

The teams stayed close through the first three quarters. Vucevic provided a bit of a buffer for the Bulls, scoring 12 in the period for a 74-70 lead entering the fourth.

The game was originally scheduled for Jan. 27, but called off due to health and safety protocols. That left both teams playing Monday on the second night of a back-to-back, and coming off losses.

“We know what we are capable of,” Morant said. “How we are able to bounce back from a loss and move on.”

The lingering effects of the consecutive games still showed early. Neither team managed more than 46% shooting in the first half, and Memphis added to its problems with 12 turnovers, while the Bulls committed nine.

That made for a close half. A 16-6 run to close it gave Memphis a 48-47 lead at intermission.

Neither team led by double digits until Memphis’ run in the fourth.

“Every night we have one category that we don’t perform well,” said Theis, who came over last month in a trade with Boston. “One night the turnover costs us the game. (Sunday against Minnesota) we didn’t get to the line a lot, …Today, we didn’t shoot the ball well from 3.

“Now, we have to put it together. We play defense like (Monday), and we make those shots, we’re going to win games.”

TIP-INS

Bulls: The game wrapped up a span where Chicago played nine of its last 10 on the road. The exception was a home win over Brooklyn on April 4. … Theis was 7 of 8 in the first half, scoring 14 points. … Vucevic tied his season high with five steals. … Chicago’s six-game winning streak in the series was snapped.

Grizzlies: Travel to Chicago on Friday for the second game of the season home-and-home series. The game in Chicago is the first of a seven-game road trip for Memphis. … Valanciunas’ streak topped Zach Randolph’s consecutive games with a double-double from 2011.

SHOOTING OF DAUNTE WRIGHT

In his pregame comments, Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins addressed the shooting of Daunte Wright in a Minneapolis suburb. Jenkins said the incident “has just been another reminder about how there is so much change that needs to happen in our country.”

“More work needs to be done,” Jenkins said, “and we talked as a team about the importance of using our voices to speak out on injustices, how there needs to be equality for all, how these situations are avoidable and change needs to happen. There’s a long road ahead.”

UP NEXT

Bulls: Host Orlando on Wednesday

Grizzlies: Host the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA



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More than 45 family fun St. Louis places to take the kids this summer


Last March, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, it didn’t take long for area educational and cultural institutions to figure out how to offer kids opportunities to stay engaged. Be it modified in-person events or virtual content designed for even the youngest and most active children, St. Louis is full of places for kids to play and learn.

Just consider the classics. The Gateway Arch’s museum and tram ride are open once again, with masks required for guests age 2 or older. Although some exhibits are temporarily closed at City Museum to help ensure social distancing, there’s still plenty to explore, including most of MonstroCity (though, the museum is currently reservation only). Six Flags is following safety guidelines and requiring temperature checks. And with 42 gondolas that permit social distancing, the St. Louis Wheel still allows guests to see the city from 200 feet up year-round. And that’s just hitting a few high notes.


Wildlife & Outdoors

St. Louis’ wildlife education institutions are uniquely positioned to offer mostly outdoor nature-based enrichment. 

Saint Louis Zoo

Know Before You Go: The zoo’s many outdoor exhibits make it easily adaptable to social distancing restrictions. Reservations are required and available starting a week before the visit day. Reservations can be made at stlzoo.org until 3:30 p.m. on the day of the visit.

What’s New: Legions of Jurassic Park–loving children (and adults) are eagerly awaiting the “Emerson Dinoroarus” exhibit, opening April 18, National Velociraptor Awareness Day. Situated in the footprint of the former Children’s Zoo, the exhibit offers visitors the chance to stroll among animatronic creatures and learn about such topics as extinction and dinosaurs’ feathered descendants.

Insider Tip: The zoo is operating cashless to help limit the spread of COVID-19. If you forget to bring a card, you can purchase a gift card at the north and south rentals or the guest relations booth near the Lakeside Cafe.


St. Louis Aquarium

Know Before You Go: The aquarium has put in place such precautions as social distancing guidelines and masks for visitors age 9 and older. Timed reservations are required; make yours here.

What’s New: Much of the aquarium’s education and conservation content can be consumed virtually. Activities with salamanders, sharks, otters, and more are available here.

Insider Tip: Looking for ways to feed kids’ curiosity about science? The St. Louis Aquarium Foundation offers at-home STEM learning kits for ages 7–13. Each $20 pack includes a hands-on project and a game or learning toy. Purchase here.


Missouri Botanical Garden

Know Before You Go: Along with the Butterfly House and Shaw Nature Reserve, MoBot is open for visitors, with advance reservations strongly encouraged. Although some indoor areas are closed, the Climatron, Bakewell Ottoman Garden, George Washington Carver Garden, and more are open Thursday–Sunday. (Note: A new visitor center is under construction, so enter at the east side of the parking lot.)

What’s New: Eighteen new metal sculptures—including a tower of 1,000 cranes, birds, butterflies, and more—will be on view starting April 17. The exhibit, “Origami in the Garden,” is inspired by the ancient Japanese art of paper-folding.

Insider Tip: MoBot’s virtual offerings include the frequently updated garden blog, which provides enough detail to make online visitors think they’re getting private lessons from staff members.


Forest Park nature playscape

Know Before You Go: The 17 acres of exploring space at Forest Park, nestled between the Jewel Box and World’s Fair Pavilion, features 280 native tree species, 100 grasses and plants, and all-natural playground equipment, including rocks and boulders.

What’s New: After a delayed opening due to the pandemic, the $4.5 million Anne O’C. Albrecht Nature Playscape is slated to welcome visitors in late spring.

Insider Tip: Four distinct playgrounds—Mounds, Spring, Meadow, and Wetlands—comprise the play space, with each offering a unique experience.


Endangered Wolf Center

Know Before You Go: The Eureka facility is holding private tours every day except Tuesday, providing a two-hour peek at the more than 10 species that live there. Guests are required to wear masks and maintain social distancing. Reservations can be made here.

What’s New: Virtual visits allow up to five households at once a close-up look at the center’s animal ambassadors, such as Lucky the maned wolf and Clay the hognose snake. Staff can also answer questions about the animals. 

Insider Tip: Mexican gray wolves are typically born in February and March, so April is prime time to see new pups that have yet to be released into the wild. Red wolves are typically born in April or May.


And Don’t Forget…

World Bird Sanctuary

The return of warm weather means the return of Amazing Animal Encounters. Register for an up-close encounter with birds, snakes, and more. Visitors age 5 and older must wear masks. 

Grant’s Farm 

Although the farm remains closed for safety’s sake, a series of educational animal adventures led by curator Amy Trout is available on YouTube.

Lone Elk Park

The popular park’s two trails are the perfect socially distanced outing for a warm spring day. Arrive before 8 a.m. for the best chance to spot bison, elk, deer, turkey, and other wildlife.

Audubon Center

The center is closed during the pandemic, but it still offers tips for making your own yard a haven for winged creatures with its virtual Bird-Friendly Fridays.

Powder Valley Nature Center

The center building may be closed, but the park’s trails are open 8 a.m.–6 p.m. daily.   


Education & Science

Whether your tyke is a budding scientist, an amateur historian, or a chess prodigy, there are plenty of ways to continue learning during the pandemic.

The Magic House

Know Before You Go: With 60,000 square feet of educational exhibits, the Kirkwood children’s museum follows St. Louis County capacity and social distancing requirements, and virtual field trips are offered for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Reserve tickets before you go.

What’s New: The “Namaste India” exhibit—featuring art, food, festivals, and traditions of Indian culture—is slated to open in May. Also in the works: spring experiences, including the chance to visit outdoors with the Easter Bunny.

Insider Tip: Supplemental STEAM learning is offered in person at the Magic House Learning Camp each Friday. (Email info@magichouse.org to reserve a spot.)


Saint Louis Science Center

Know Before You Go: The McDonnell Planetarium, OMNIMAX Theater, and recently opened “Mummies of the World” exhibit are still open to visitors with reservations. The center has added walking paths and hand sanitizing stations to maintain safety requirements. Book a timed-entry ticket here or call 314-289-4424.

What’s New: The Discovery Room is closed for the pandemic, but children ages 3–6 can be scientists for a day through the Discover Science With Me program. The 45-minute sessions help develop language, cognitive abilities, and fine motor skills. Guests age 2 and older must wear masks. Register here.

Insider Tip: The museum offers STEAM activities designed for teenagers. The YES Program instructs high schoolers in such topics as aerospace, agri-science, cybersecurity, engineering, entrepreneurship, integrative medicine and well-being, and media production.


Myseum

Know Before You Go: Although the famed Seaweed Swamp is closed for the time being, the Town & Country children’s museum is open for modified playtime in keeping with county safety requirements. 

What’s New: Nikola Tesla–inspired exhibits include a coil that shoots music-making lightning bolts every hour, the Egg of Columbus experiment displayed at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and a theremin—the only instrument in the world played without touch, perfect for social distancing.

Insider Tip: Even when the county briefly lifted its capacity limit to 50 percent last year, the Myseum welcomed no more than 25 percent capacity, or about 115 people. Check the museum’s current occupancy online ahead of time; it’s updated roughly every hour on their website.


Missouri History Museum 

Know Before You Go: The museum is operating at 10 percent capacity and requires masks for patrons age 9 and up. Tickets are free but must be reserved in advance. You can also be a tourist in your own city with walking tours organized through the museum.

What’s New: This year welcomed the opening of a new virtual exhibit, “Gateway to Pride,” which explores the contributions of the LGBTQIA+ community to the city.

Insider Tip: Want to social distance while visiting the museum? Soldiers Memorial offers regular outdoor tours exploring the architecture and history of the monument and its role in downtown St. Louis.


Saint Louis Chess Club

Know Before You Go: The club is open noon–8 p.m. and offers daily open chess play on a first-come, first-served basis. 

What’s New: All of the club’s classes and lectures are available online on YouTube and Twitch. You can catch such events as the season’s final Grand Prix tournament, which will be online April 10, as well.

Insider Tip: Learn a new skill or improve one virtually with easy, intermediate, and advanced chess lessons through the Scholastic Digital Classroom.


Play Street Museum

Know Before You Go: Guests have temperatures checked and are asked to use hand sanitizer before entry, and anyone age 5 or older will be required to wear a mask. Reservations are required on weekends.

What’s New: Save on multiple visits with a five-visit pass for $50, good for one year.

Insider Tip: Looking for a more private play experience? Book a 90-minute play date with optional slime making or canvas painting.


Planes, Trains & Automobiles

For the family that’s always on the go, a range of local attractions highlight the many ways that we get around. 

Now, this is a hat trick: There’s a St. Louis institution that has the oldest original American railway passenger coach, the largest successful steam locomotive ever built, and history’s most powerful diesel-electric locomotive model on display. Considered the largest collection of transportation vehicles in the world with its 190 major exhibits, the National Museum of Transportation has continued operations during the pandemic with safety protocols (masks on, 6-foot distancing) but is seeing fewer visitors despite the opening of a new exhibit dedicated to the history of McDonnell Aircraft and McDonnell Douglas (since acquired by Boeing). Inside, history buffs can head to the library, where period documents, magazines, and film detail the inventors and innovators’ breakthroughs in transportation. Kids can pile into 19th-century passenger cars and feel what their ancestors’ commutes might have been like or play on a miniature train, trolley, or personal handcar. 

If the National Museum of Transportation’s car collection isn’t enough, take a trip to Springfield’s Route 66 Car Museum, where collector Guy Mace displays 75 of his favorite vehicles. Or stay a bit closer and visit the St. Louis Car Museum & Sales, where car enthusiasts purchase classic finds and kids can look but not touch. Or kids can see hot rods in action at World Wide Technology Raceway, just over the bridge in Madison, where 2021 promises a packed schedule of drag races, NASCAR’s truck series, and the NTT IndyCar Series. 

“A lot of these airplanes, you don’t see them anywhere anymore,” says Jacob Goodwin, a line service operator at Creve Coeur Airport who spends his weekends giving tours at the Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum in Maryland Heights. He’s talking about the museum’s Golden Age of Flight display, which includes WACO biplanes and the Monocoupe aircraft. “Those are few and far between, so having a lot of them together in one area really draws people,” he notes. If your aviation aficionado is having a hard time just looking, check out the airport’s Gateway Youth Aeronautical Foundation, where visitors can control airplane and helicopter flight simulators. In keeping with its aim to serve as an educational resource for the next generation of pilots, the foundation recently acquired a vintage Kiowa helicopter for use in future STEM-related activities. 

Or take a quick trip to the National Great Rivers Museum, in Alton, where education is just as much about the Mississippi River’s creatures as it is about the vehicles used to maneuver the region’s great waterways. Little ones can virtually steer a tugboat through the Melvin Price Locks & Dam on a simulator. And if your kids really want a history lesson in watercraft, consider a trip to the other side of a different area river. At St. Charles’ Lewis & Clark Boat House & Museum, kids can lay hands on full-size replicas of a keelboat and two pirogues—the vessels used by the two famous explorers to navigate the waters of the muddy Missouri, on whose bank this museum sits.


Arts & Culture

Once upon a year ago, digital engagement with the arts for the stay-at-home world was still in its infancy. These days, many St. Louis arts institutions have hit their stride with pandemic-safe offerings, and there’s still plenty for kids to safely enjoy.

Contemporary Art Museum

The Contemporary Art Museum has been making use of a new platform, CAM Anywhere. That’s where you’ll find monthly Play Dates; sign up for the second Saturday of each month to virtually explore a visual theme, with free material kits that can be picked up the preceding Thursday. The museum is open for timed, masked visits; pick up a free activity card for kid-friendly self-directed tours.


Circus Flora

Circus Flora is planning to run last summer’s postponed show, The Trial of the Century, starting in June. In the meantime, check out its virtual showcase. The Kranzberg’s resident organizations also have a host of offerings: Circus Harmony’s digital cooking show and cookbook launched last month. Metro Theater Company’s production of the iconic The Very Hungry Caterpillar can be watched in person or virtually, and the company is offering virtual field trips to take in other productions as well. In May, Consuming Kinetics Dance Company invites viewers to safely take in the moves of its student dance concert, 60×60, by watching through the company’s large windows.


Laumeier Sculpture Park

At Laumeier Sculpture Park, monthly limited-attendance in-person family workshops (for kids ages 4–12, with one adult) offer the chance to collaborate in making art. The park also sells Take & Make Art Kits, which you can buy online and have shipped, and Laumeier Online offers scavenger hunts, arts activities, and more to do at your house or the park. With 105 acres, social distancing is a breeze. Keep an eye on the website for summer art camp registration.


Pulitzer Arts Foundation

At the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, the educational series Art Recess offers online modules for a selection of projects, from making an edible terrarium or a viewfinder to shoring up listening skills. Across the street from the museum, green-space exhibition “Park-Like” offers a unique perspective on plants and wildlife in an urban setting. It’s ideal for a distanced stroll after visiting the museum.


Saint Louis Art Museum

The Saint Louis Art Museum offers Wee Wednesdays online. Even the youngest art aficionados can explore the collection with on-demand virtual programming: Design a garment on the basis of what you have at home, make a collage inspired by the art of Jacob Lawrence, create a self-portrait, travel the world, and more.


COCA

At COCA, summer art camps and intensives run June–August. As usual, the center is offering a staggering array of choices, from circus skills for toddlers to advocacy and graphic design for teens. Safety-conscious options include indoor and outdoor in-person meetings and virtual camps.


St. Louis Symphony Orchestra

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s digital programming is robust. SLSO Sound Lab, for ages 6–12, explores musical themes and conversations in 15-minute episodes. Give a trombone a few virtual test honks with the Instrument Playground Online. The Tiny Tunes Concerts, half-hour interactives blending music and children’s literature, are available online.


The Muny

Missing The Muny was tough last summer, but shows are slated, beginning in July. While you’re waiting, download a Muny Coloring Book, featuring hand-drawn scenes, or relive past performances and take a peek behind the scenes with more than 500 videos on The Muny’s YouTube channel.


The Sheldon

At The Sheldon Concert Hall & Art Galleries, good things are brewing for young duffers. “Golf the Galleries” is the annual artist-designed mini-golf course that takes over the second-floor Sheldon Art Galleries. Each hole of the all-ages course will have a theme, designed by a St. Louis artist. The exhibition runs from July 2 to September 5. As for music lovers? Concerts at The Sheldon can be streamed virtually for free online. Educators can also sign students up for a virtual instrument design and building project here.


Where should you go?

Here’s how to plan a day of activities for your kids, based on their interests. 

There’s a phrase that any parent dreads hearing: “I’m booored…” And the pandemic certainly hasn’t made keeping boredom at bay any easier, as parents juggle caring for young ones and setting them up for virtual learning. Let’s pretend it’s the weekend or a day off. Before your kids can let out that tell-tale sigh, whisk them away on one of these outings.





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Valanciunas leads late burst as Grizzlies beat Bulls 101-90


MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Jonas Valanciunas had 26 points and 14 rebounds, leading a fourth-quarter burst that carried the Memphis Grizzlies to a 101-90 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Monday night.

Valanciunas, who had 32 points and 22 rebounds a night earlier in a loss to the Indiana Pacers, scored 10 in the fourth as Memphis used an 18-6 run to break open a close game.

“Jonas is Jonas, man,” said second-year guard Ja Morant. “He’s a top player for us. He commands the paint. Protects the paint. A walking double-double.”

Valanciunas’ double-double was his 15th in a row, setting a franchise record.

“It’s not an individual sport,” Valanciunas said. “I would not be doing it without my teammates, first of all. Second thing, I’m playing with a high energy. I’m putting a lot of work in trying to go for every rebound. Trying to go for every putback. Stuff like that. That pays off.”

Dillon Brooks finished with 17 points and Grayson Allen added 14. Morant had 13 points and 10 assists.

Zach LaVine scored 21 points, but he was just 5 for 14 from the field as the Bulls lost their third straight. Thaddeus Young scored 20 and Daniel Theis had 18. Nikola Vucevic finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

“I think it’s going to be really, really hard to have a lot of guys in double figures when you shoot (42%) from the field and 16% from the 3-point line.” Chicago coach Billy Donovan said. “I think our bench was 0 for 12 from 3. We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well all the way around as a team.”

The teams stayed close through the first three quarters. Vucevic provided a bit of a buffer for the Bulls, scoring 12 in the period for a 74-70 lead entering the fourth.

The game was originally scheduled for Jan. 27, but called off due to health and safety protocols. That left both teams playing Monday on the second night of a back-to-back, and coming off losses.

“We know what we are capable of,” Morant said. “How we are able to bounce back from a loss and move on.”

The lingering effects of the consecutive games still showed early. Neither team managed more than 46% shooting in the first half, and Memphis added to its problems with 12 turnovers, while the Bulls committed nine.

That made for a close half. A 16-6 run to close it gave Memphis a 48-47 lead at intermission.

Neither team led by double digits until Memphis’ run in the fourth.

“Every night we have one category that we don’t perform well,” said Theis, who came over last month in a trade with Boston. “One night the turnover costs us the game. (Sunday against Minnesota) we didn’t get to the line a lot, …Today, we didn’t shoot the ball well from 3.

“Now, we have to put it together. We play defense like (Monday), and we make those shots, we’re going to win games.”

TIP-INS

Bulls: The game wrapped up a span where Chicago played nine of its last 10 on the road. The exception was a home win over Brooklyn on April 4. … Theis was 7 of 8 in the first half, scoring 14 points. … Vucevic tied his season high with five steals. … Chicago’s six-game winning streak in the series was snapped.

Grizzlies: Travel to Chicago on Friday for the second game of the season home-and-home series. The game in Chicago is the first of a seven-game road trip for Memphis. … Valanciunas’ streak topped Zach Randolph’s consecutive games with a double-double from 2011.

SHOOTING OF DAUNTE WRIGHT

In his pregame comments, Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins addressed the shooting of Daunte Wright in a Minneapolis suburb. Jenkins said the incident “has just been another reminder about how there is so much change that needs to happen in our country.”

“More work needs to be done,” Jenkins said, “and we talked as a team about the importance of using our voices to speak out on injustices, how there needs to be equality for all, how these situations are avoidable and change needs to happen. There’s a long road ahead.”

UP NEXT

Bulls: Host Orlando on Wednesday

Grizzlies: Host the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA



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