Manuel Pellegrini has warned that Manchester City will be facing a different Tottenham to the side who rolled over twice against the Premier League champions last season. City triumphed 6-0 at home and 5-1 at White Hart Lane against Spurs in the last campaign but they have made a promising start under Mauricio Pochettino. Pellegrini said he has admired Pochettino as an adversary both when the Argentinian was at Espanyol and at Southampton, and that he did not expect Tottenham to collapse so easily in the lunchtime kick-off on Saturday. Press Association Pellegrini told a news conference: “Yes I am sure it is a different Tottenham. “Last year one of the best games that we played was against Tottenham away. Here also we played very well but we are not expecting that we can score six or five goals every time we play Tottenham. “They are a very strong team. Mauricio Pochettino is a very good manager. I’m not saying Villas-Boas wasn’t in that moment, but really we played our best last season. We hope on Saturday we can do a very good game also. “He (Pochettino) is a young manager that was very successful in Spain with Espanyol, it was a team that always played good and attractive football and it was a creative team. “He is trying the same way he did it last season at Southampton. That was a team that played very well, he continues now at Tottenham that is an important club with big players.” Pellegrini said Yaya Toure was in contention for a place despite playing for the Ivory Coast in a 4-3 home defeat against DR Congo on Wednesday, with the midfielder returning to Manchester on Thursday. If Toure is feeling any tiredness, that may open the way for Frank Lampard – the club’s player of the month for September – to start. Pellegrini said he was not surprised by how well 36-year-old Lampard has been performing for City. “For me it is maybe not a surprise because I know his quality,” said the City manager. “When you have the age of Frank Lampard you are not able to play three games in a week but when you have so great a player, you can resolve a lot of problems that we have during the game and I think that Frank is doing these duties at this moment. I am very happy with him.” Eliaquim Mangala is set to miss out against Spurs with a thigh injury. The defender was an unused substitute for France in midweek and should be fit for City’s Champions League match in Moscow on Tuesday. All the other City players are fit apart from Samir Nasri, who is still recovering from groin surgery. Younes Kaboul has told Tottenham to prove their worth on Saturday. Spurs lost 6-0 and 5-1 to City last season amid a number of heavy defeats to title-chasing teams and their rivals for a Champions League spot. Mauricio Pochettino’s side are unbeaten away from home this season, including a 1-1 draw at Arsenal, and hope to surprise City at the Etihad Stadium. “Last season’s games are in the past and in football you always have to focus on the present and look to the future,” the France defender said on tottenhamhotspur.com. “We can’t wait for this match, we want to go there and play our game. “We need to repeat the same performance as we produced against Arsenal. “In these big games we need to do something to show everyone what we are capable of.” The heavy losses to City came under Pochettino’s predecessors Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood, and the Argentinian cared little when reminded of the 11-1 aggregate scoreline of last term. The Tottenham boss will give goalkeeper Hugo Lloris every opportunity to prove his fitness ahead of the match after being forced out of France duty with a thigh injury. Michel Vorm is on standby to come into the side. Belgium midfielder Nacer Chadli (hip) will be given a chance to prove his fitness, too, while striker Emmanuel Adebayor and Nabil Bentaleb were to be assessed on their returns from international duty on Friday. Pochettino hopes to blend the established first-team stars and new recruits with academy talent in future, like he successfully managed to do at previous club Southampton. “We need to get the balance – you buy players and then you provide players from the academy who deserve to arrive in the first team,” Pochettino added. “Always in football it’s the balance question. It’s important. “Tottenham have spent a lot of money on keeping the academy and creating a magnificent training ground, and now we need to get the benefits from that.”
New Delhi: The sports fraternity of India has welcomed the central government’s decision to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday moved the resolution on Article 370 and a separate bill to bifurcate the state into two separate union territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir, who is a BJP MP, took to Twitter and congratulated the nation.“We did what anyone else could not do. We have also waved our tricolour in Kashmir. Jai Hind! Congratulations India! Kashmir Mubarak!” Gambhir wrote in Hindi.Gambhir’s former India teammate Suresh Raina termed the decision as a “landmark move”. “Landmark move — the scrapping of Article 370! Looking forward to smoother, and more inclusive times. Jai Hind,” Raina wrote.Former India cricket Mohammad Kaif wrote: “Here’s to more inclusiveness. May there be peace and love.”Former India captain Anjum Chopra tweeted: “The scrapping of Article 370 is certainly a good and bold move. Loss of lives and uncertainty in the valley has to be addressed someday.”Ace Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia tweeted: “We congratulate the courageous steps of the government. It was very necessary for the interest of the whole country including Jammu and Kashmir. All should rise above their selfish motives and political differences and support this initiative taken by the central government.”Wrestler Geeta Phogat said: “Independent India, a historic decision, unbroken India. Thanks to the Government of India for this historic step.” The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill that sought to scrap Article 370 and Article 35A in Jammu and Kashmir was passed by the Rajya Sabha through a voice vote and 125 were in favour while 61 were against it. The bill will now be taken for debate in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, where it is expected to get a nod as well. IANSAlso Read: Article 370: Congress Divided Over Jammu And Kashmir Issue
There is no doubt that one of the biggest benefits for a sports fan attending the University of Wisconsin is the level of competition at which the school’s varsity teams compete. It is, with little question, a true joy to go and watch athletes compete at nearly the highest level. Once more, these sports programs facilitate a communal atmosphere that undoubtedly bonds all of the student observers through a shared experience. Yet there is much more to every sports enthusiast than just an interest in observing sports. There also exists the element of participation that is necessary for someone to really immerse themselves in the culture of sports — and fitness as a whole — while on campus. Whether it’s club sports, intramural competition or just staying in shape, the best spots on campus for achieving this immersion is at recreation centers. A staple of colleges around the country, rec centers offer all students the opportunity to compete, socialize and stay in shape all throughout the year. Even when the sub-zero temperatures set in, which they surely will, Madison’s easily accessible rec centers offer a sanctuary for those who crave the physical exertion that only competition through sport or exercise brings. Currently awaiting completion is the brand new Nicholas Recreation Center — “the Nick” — that will be located in the Southeast portion of campus right in-between Ogg, Witte and Sellery residence halls. Scheduled to be finished in early 2020, the incoming residents of Southeast dorms will soon be greeted with the opportunity to utilize the Nick for the first time. As UW moves forward with plans for new Natatorium, Rec Sports hosts listening session with ASMAs the University of Wisconsin moves forward in their plans for a new Natatorium, representatives from Recreational Sports sought the Read…Boasting a grand total of five floors of active space, eight full-size basketball courts, five dedicated fitness studios, 29 swimming lanes and over 30,000 square feet of cardio and strength training space, the Nick will surely be an irreplaceable asset for all those who wish to participate in the many offered student sports programs or who simply want to get fit. For anyone who does not find themselves in Southeast residence halls during the year, there is nothing to fear. The largest current rec center, the Natatorium, is located on Observatory drive. It’s in close proximity to Lakeshore residence halls. It too contains multiple basketball courts, swimming lanes, weight and cardio areas as well as its own dedicated training studios. Though staying in shape is one of the most important things to focus on while dealing with the challenges of college, perhaps even more important is finding a place within the campus community. For those who function well in a competitive environment, rec centers in Madison are the home of building this competitive bond with fellow students. SSFC passes 2020 segregated fee allocation, approves new rules for budget returnsThe Student Services Finance Committee approved the 2020 segregated fee appropriation and new rules for General Student Services Fund budget Read…During an examination of basketball culture at the Shell, the famed rec center located under the imposing shadow of Camp Randall, this idea of forging close bonds through sport clearly revealed itself. UW student Nick Johnston said no matter where the competition comes from, athletes welcome those who wish to join them in their endeavor to forge friendships through sport.“No matter who you play against or with it is still a tight community, what is on the court is different than what is off the court.” For those who wish to continue their competitive habits or strike up new ones, there exists no place better than the rec centers to reap the benefits of sports. Despite one’s time management skills or academic drive, there come times when each and every student will be stressed during the course of the school year. What better way exists to relieve that stress than through the very resources offered by UW’s rec centers? SERF to be renamed the ‘Nick’ in honor of Nicholas familyIn an announcement Tuesday, the University of Wisconsin detailed plans for the construction of the Nicholas Recreation Facility, which will Read…On this very topic, Johnston elaborated on his experience with basketball at the Shell. “It’s natural for humans to have a drive to compete. We come to the Shell to compete and get all that bound up energy out,” he said.This experience is not limited to the basketball community, as any student that wishes to find friendly yet stiff competition amongst their peers will certainly have the opportunity to do so at one of the rec centers in Madison. As a Big Ten school, UW has the resources at its disposable necessary to provide a rewarding athletic experience for all those who are interested in sports and participating in them. All it takes is a short walk to the nearest rec center to discover a world of competition and fitness that is only available within a community of thousands of like-minded students.
The 2019 NCAA Tournament bracket is set and, aside from the schools people are used to hearing about year after year, you can’t forget about everyone else.The tournament field is made up of 68 teams and that’s a lot of programs from all across the nation to keep track of basic information on each school. Here’s the guide to everything you need to know about each school in March Madness. Whether it be for one game or all the way leading up to the Final Four, we’ve got your powerhouse teams, mid-majors and, of course, the Cinderellas that continue to bust brackets year after year.MORE: Odds for every team to win the NCAA TournamentEast RegionDuke Blue DevilsLocation: Durham, North CarolinaSeed: No. 1, East RegionEnrollment: 6,692Notable Alumni: Richard Nixon (President)All-time Record: 108-36VCU RamsLocation: Richmond, VirginiaSeed: No. 8, East RegionEnrollment: 24,010Notable Alumni: Jay Pharoah (Comedian)All-time Record: 13-16UCF KnightsLocation: Orlando, FloridaSeed: No. 9, East RegionEnrollment: 56,972Notable Alumni: Daniel Tosh (Comedian)All-time Record: 0-4Mississippi State BulldogsLocation: Starkville, MississippiSeed: No. 5, East RegionEnrollment: 18,312Notable Alumni: Dak Prescott (NFL Quarterback)All-Time Record: 11-10Liberty FlamesLocation: Lynchburg, VirginiaSeed: No. 12, East RegionEnrollment: 45,754Notable Alumni: Samantha Ponder (ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown)All-Time Record: 0-3Virginia Tech HokiesLocation: Blacksburg, VirginiaSeed: No. 4, East RegionEnrollment: 27,193Notable Alumni: Dell Curry (Former NBA)All-Time Record: 6-10Saint Louis BillikensLocation: St. Louis, MissouriSeed: No. 13, East RegionEnrollment: 7,502Notable Alumni: George Michael (Musician)All-time Record: 6-10Maryland TerrapinsLocation: College Park, MarylandSeed: No. 6, East RegionEnrollment: 26,889Notable Alumni: Scott Van Pelt (ESPN and SportsCenter)All-Time Record: 40-25Belmont BruinsLocation: Nashville, TennesseeSeed: No. 11, East RegionEnrollment: 5,933Notable Alumni: Brad Paisley (Country artist)All-Time Record: 1-7LSU TigersLocation: Baton Rouge, LouisianaSeed: No. 3, East RegionEnrollment: 24,904Notable Alumni: Shaquille O’Neal (NBA Hall of Famer)All-Time Record: 24-24Yale BulldogsLocation: New Haven, ConnecticutSeed: No. 14, East RegionEnrollment: 5,528Notable Alumni: George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton (Presidents), Meryl Streep (Actress)All-Time Record: 1-5Louisville CardinalsLocation: Louisville, KentuckySeed: No. 7, East RegionEnrollment: 14,844Notable Alumni: Diane Sawyer (ABC World News)All-Time Record: 61-40 (Louisville forfeited 123 wins during 2011-2014)Minnesota Golden GophersLocation: Minneapolis, MinnesotaSeed: No. 10, East RegionEnrollment: 30,511Notable Alumni: Bob Dylan (Musician)All-Time Record: 7-9 (tournament appearances from 1972, 1994, 1995, 1997 have been vacated)Michigan State SpartansLocation: East Lansing, MichiganSeed: No. 2, East RegionEnrollment: 38,853Notable Alumni: Magic Johnson (Retired NBA), Nick Foles (NFL Quarterback)All-Time Record: 65-31Bradley BravesLocation: Peoria, IllinoisSeed: No. 15, East RegionEnrollment: 4,436Notable Alumni: Kirby Puckett (MLB)All-Time Record: 11-8North Dakota State BisonLocation: Fargo, North DakotaSeed: No. 16, East RegionEnrollment: 11,984Notable Alumni: Carson Wentz (NFL)All-Time Record: 1-3N.C. Central EaglesLocation: Durham, North CarolinaSeed: No. 16, East RegionEnrollment: 8,207Notable Alumni: Kim Coles (comedian, actor)All-Time Record: 0-2West RegionGonzaga BulldogsLocation: Spokane, WashingtonSeed: No.1, West RegionEnrollment: 4,965Notable Alumni: Bing Crosby (Musician)All-Time Record: 30-20Fairleigh Dickinson KnightsLocation: Hackensack, New JerseySeed: No. 16, West RegionEnrollment: 8,214Notable Alumni: Seth Greenberg (ESPN personality)All-Time Record: 1-5Syracuse OrangemenLocation: Syracuse, New YorkSeed: No. 8, West RegionEnrollment: 14,620Notable Alumni: Taye Diggs (Actor)All-Time Record: 68-39Baylor BearsLocation: Waco, TexasSeed: No. 9, West RegionEnrollment: 14,139Notable Alumni: Chip and Joanna Gains (HGTV’s Fixer Upper)All-Time Record: 13-13Marquette Golden EaglesLocation: Milwaukee, WisconsinSeed: No. 5, West RegionEnrollment: 8,143Notable Alumni: Dwyane Wade (NBA)All-Time Record: 40-34Murray State RacersLocation: Murray, KentuckySeed: No. 12, West RegionEnrollment: 7,891Notable Alumni: Justin Fuente (Virginia Tech Head Coach)All-Time Record: 3-16Florida State SeminolesLocation: Tallahassee, FloridaSeed: No. 4, West RegionEnrollment: 32,229Notable Alumni: Brooks Koepka (Professional Golfer), Buster Posey (MLB catcher)All-Time Record: 19-16Vermont CatamountsLocation: Burlington, VermontSeed: No. 13, West RegionEnrollment: 10,081Notable alumni: Ben Affleck (Actor)All-time record: 2-6Buffalo BullsLocation: Buffalo, New YorkSeed: No. 6, West RegionEnrollment: 19,693Notable alumni: Khalil Mack (NFL linebacker)All-time record: 1-3Arizona State Sun DevilsLocation: Tempe, ArizonaSeed: No. 11, West RegionEnrollment: 41,222Notable alumni: Phil Mickelson (Professional golfer), Jimmy Kimmel (Television personality)All-time record: 11-15 (1995 tournament appearance was vacated by the NCAA)St. John’s Red StormLocation: Queens, New YorkSeed: No. 11, West RegionEnrollment: 11,244Notable Alumni: J. Cole (Rapper)All-Time Record: 27-30 (2002 tournament appearance was vacated by the NCAA)Texas Tech Red RaidersLocation: Lubbock, TexasSeed: No. 3, West RegionEnrollment: 28,868Notable Alumni: Patrick Mahomes (NFL Quarterback)All-time record: 9-16 (1996 tournament appearance was vacated)Northern Kentucky NorseLocation: Highland Heights, KentuckySeed: No. 14, West RegionEnrollment: 11,302Notable Alumni: George Clooney (Actor)All-time record: 0-1Nevada Wolf PackLocation: Reno, NevadaSeed: No. 7, West RegionEnrollment: 17,295Notable alumni: Colin Kaepernick (NFL)All-time record: 2-1Florida GatorsLocation: Gainesville, FloridaSeed: No. 10, West RegionEnrollment: 32,367Notable alumni: Tim Tebow (MLB), Erin Andrews (Television personality)All-time record: 43-17 (1987 and 1988 appearances have been vacated by the NCAA)Michigan WolverinesLocation: Ann Arbor, MichiganSeed: No. 2, West RegionEnrollment: 28,120Notable alumni: Tom Brady (NFL), Gerald Ford (President)All-time record: 52-23 (1992 Final Four and all 1993, 1996 and 1998 games have been vacated by the NCAA)Montana GrizzliesLocation: Missoula, MontanaSeed: No. 15, West RegionEnrollment: 10,175Notable Alumni: Jeannette Rankin (First woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives)All-time record: 2-12South RegionVirginia CavaliersLocation: Charlottesville, VirginiaSeed: No. 1, South RegionEnrollment: 16,665Notable Alumni: Tina Fey (comedian, actor), Katie Couric (journalist)All-Time Record: 29-21Gardner-Webb Runnin’ BulldogsLocation: Boiling Springs, North CarolinaSeed: No. 16, South RegionEnrollment: 2,207Notable Alumni: Blake Lalli (MLB catcher)All-Time Record: 0-0Ole Miss RebelsLocation: Oxford, MississippiSeed: No. 8, South RegionEnrollment: 18,737Notable Alumni: Eli Manning (NFL quarterback)All-Time Record: 5-8Oklahoma SoonersLocation: Norman, OklahomaSeed: No. 9, South RegionEnrollment: 22,819Notable Alumni: Olivia Munn (actor), Baker Mayfield (NFL)All-Time Record: 41-30Wisconsin BadgersLocation: Madison, WisconsinSeed: No. 5, South RegionEnrollment: 32,196Notable Alumni: J.J. Watt (NFL)All-Time Record: 38-22Oregon DucksLocation: Eugene, OregonSeed: No. 12, South RegionEnrollment: 19,340Notable Alumni: Ty Burrell (actor)All-Time Record: 23-14Kansas State WildcatsLocation: Manhattan, KansasSeed: No. 4, South RegionEnrollment: 18,488Notable Alumni: Darren Sproles (NFL)All-Time Record: 34-33UC Irvine AnteatersLocation: Irvine, CaliforniaSeed: No. 13, South RegionEnrollment: 29,307Notable Alumni: Scott Brooks (NBA coach)All-Time Record: 0-1Villanova WildcatsLocation: Villanova, PennsylvaniaSeed: No. 6, South RegionEnrollment: 6,966Notable Alumni: Bradley Cooper (actor)All-Time Record: 58-36St. Mary’s GaelsLocation: Moraga, CaliforniaSeed: No. 11, South RegionEnrollment: 2,658Notable Alumni: Patty Mills (NBA)All-Time Record: 5-9Purdue BoilermakersLocation: Lafayette, IndianaSeed: No. 3, South RegionEnrollment: 31,006Notable Alumni: Neil Armstrong (astronaut), Drew Brees (NFL)All-Time Record: 37-29Old Dominion MonarchsLocation: Norfolk, VirginiaSeed: No. 14, South RegionEnrollment: 19,540Notable Alumni: Nancy Lieberman (WNBA), Justin Verlander (MLB pitcher)All-Time Record: 3-11Cincinnati BearcatsLocation: Cincinnati, OhioSeed: No. 7, South RegionEnrollment: 26,608Notable Alumni: George Clooney (actor)All-Time Record: 45-30Iowa HawkeyesLocation: Iowa City, IowaSeed: No. 10, South RegionEnrollment: 24,503Notable Alumni: Gene Wilder (actor)All-Time Record: 29-27Tennessee VolunteersLocation: Knoxville, TennesseeSeed: No. 2, South RegionEnrollment: 28,894Notable Alumni: Peyton Manning (NFL), Candace Parker (WNBA)All-Time Record: 19-21Colgate RaidersLocation: Hamilton, New YorkSeed: No. 15, South RegionEnrollment: 2,873Notable Alumni: Bob Woodruff (journalist)All-Time Record: 0-2Midwest RegionNorth Carolina Tar HeelsLocation: Chapel Hill, North CarolinaSeed: No. 1, Midwest RegionEnrollment: 18,862Notable Alumni: Michael Jordan (retired NBA), Mia Hamm (retired soccer), Ken Jeong (actor)All-Time Record: 123-45Iona GaelsLocation: New Rochelle, New YorkSeed: No. 16, Midwest RegionEnrollment: 3,178Notable Alumni: Don McLean (musician)All-Time Record: 1-13Utah State AggiesLocation: Logan, UtahSeed: No. 8, Midwest RegionEnrollment: 24,618Notable Alumni: Chris Cooley (retired NFL)All-Time Record: 6-22Washington HuskiesLocation: Seattle, WashingtonSeed: No. 9, Midwest RegionEnrollment: 31,331Notable Alumni: Hope Solo (retired soccer)All-Time Record: 18-17Auburn TigersLocation: Auburn, AlabamaSeed: No. 5, Midwest RegionEnrollment: 23,964Notable Alumni: Lionel Richie (musician)All-Time Record: 12-8New Mexico State AggiesLocation: Las Cruces, New MexicoSeed: No. 12, Midwest RegionEnrollment: 11,713Notable Alumni: Alan Hale (astronomer)All-Time Record: 10-25Kansas JayhawksLocation: Lawrence, KansasSeed: No. 4, MidwestEnrollment: 19,338Notable Alumni: Paul Rudd (comedian, actor)All-Time Record: 103-45Northeastern HuskiesLocation: Boston, MassachusettsSeed: No. 13, Midwest RegionEnrollment: 13,825Notable Alumni: LL Cool J (rapper, actor)All-Time Record: 3-8Iowa State CyclonesLocation: Ames, IowaSeed: No. 6, Midwest RegionEnrollment: 29,621Notable Alumni: George Washington Carver (scientist, inventor)All-Time Record: 19-19Ohio State BuckeyesLocation: Columbus, OhioSeed: No. 11, Midwest RegionEnrollment: 45,946Notable Alumni: R.L. Stine (TV producer, novelist, screenwriter)All-Time Record: 55-30Houston CougarsLocation: Houston, TexasSeed: No. 3, Midwest RegionEnrollment: 37,215Notable Alumni: Chamillionaire (rapper)All-Time Record: 26-24Georgia State PanthersLocation: Atlanta, GeorgiaSeed: No. 14, Midwest RegionEnrollment: 52,814Notable Alumni: Ludacris (rapper)All-Time Record: 2-3Wofford TerriersLocation: Spartanburg, South CarolinaSeed: No. 7, Midwest RegionEnrollment: 1,592Notable Alumni: Craig Melvin (journalist)All-Time Record: 0-4 Seton Hall PiratesLocation: South Orange, New JerseySeed: No. 10, Midwest RegionEnrollment: 5,969Notable Alumni: Dick Vitale (sportscaster)All-Time Record: 15-11Kentucky WildcatsLocation: Lexington, KentuckySeed: No. 2, Midwest RegionEnrollment: 22,425Notable Alumni: Anthony Davis (NBA)All-Time Record: 126-57Abilene Christian WildcatsLocation: Abilene, TexasSeed: No. 15, Midwest RegionEnrollment: 3,670Notable Alumni: Bernard Scott (NFL)All-Time Record: 0-0
By John Burton |HIGHLANDS — For Caitlin O’Neil, Aug. 31 seemed like an appropriate time to share the story of her late boyfriend – and to spread the word about the dangers of addiction and overdoses.“I wanted to bring this to Highlands,” O’Neil said last Thursday, “because there’s a lot going on here.”O’Neil and others gathered at the Robert D. Wilson Community Center, 22 Snug Harbor, last Thursday for a program and candlelight vigil recognizing the loss many families and communities have faced due to the terrible heroin and opioid epidemic that is plaguing Monmouth County and the rest of the nation.Daniel Silvestri, O’Neil’s 30-year-old boyfriend and the father of their 10-month-old daughter, Selina, and soon-to-be-born son (expected in the next week), died in May from a heroin/fentanyl overdose. O’Neil wanted to help raise public awareness, especially given that last Thursday was International Overdose Awareness Day.O’Neil helped organize the program that featured personal reflections of addressing addiction, as well as observations from professionals working in the field. “I know this is something that he would have wanted for others,” O’Neil said of Silvestri.Silvestri, who grew up in Leonardo, loved his daughter and was joyously awaiting the birth of his son, O’Neil said. But he continued to fall prey to the draw of heroin and the influence of those in that orbit. “He really wanted to get clean. He hated that he kept going back to using,” she said. Silvestri had been in and out of rehab a number of times, O’Neil said, remembering a letter he wrote to her on one of those occasions. He didn’t want to live the life of an addict, O’Neil said. “He didn’t want to do this to his kids,” she said.Heather DiBlasi, coordinator of the Highlands/Atlantic Highlands Municipal Alliance for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, offers information for a Aug. 31 gathering at the Highlands Community Center discussing the opioid crisis impacting communities throughout the county and state.O’Neil hinted that this is a prevalent issue for the waterfront community. Heather DiBlassi, who is coordinator for the Highlands/Atlantic Highlands Municipal Alliance for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, said drug use, especially heroin and other opioid abuse, isn’t necessarily any more widespread there than in other communities—all of which are having to address its impact. The size of the small, tightknit community, about a mile square, means everyone knows each other, which can make things seem more widespread than is the case, DiBlassi said.Which is not to downplay the impact drugs are having here and everywhere, she added. Heroin has become so accessible, so potent and so cheap it is overwhelming communities, she explained. “You can buy heroin for three to five dollars,” she observed. “You can’t buy a hot meal for that.”“Now the focus is, we acknowledge we have a heroin epidemic,” she added.“Really, what this is about is prevention and knowledge,” explained Karen Van Natten, who chairs the Highlands/Atlantic Highlands alliance.This event had a three-pronged benefit, Van Natten explained, to find out what’s going on in the community; to remember the many who have been lost; and to dispense information about programs available to help addicts.Another important component is to bring the matter into the light of day and do away with shame, said Renee Muscenti, a Leonardo resident and coordinator for Fed Up! Coalition, a national public awareness collection of organizations combating the opioid crisis. “The children, the loved ones who are suffering don’t be embarrassed by them,” Muscenti said.Chrissy, 22 and a Middletown resident, who didn’t give her last name, told the audience of about 30 members, “The truth is I’m always going to be a heroin addict.” The difference now, though, she continued, is “I’m a heroin addict in recovery.”She’s been sober for 1 ½ years. She began using drugs as a 16-year-old and “fell in love” with heroin, beginning her decline into the dark and terrible world of addiction.“I’ve done things I’m not proud of,” she said, including stealing from family members, wrecking her car, and spending about a month homeless. “I’ve seen a lot of things someone my age shouldn’t see,” said Chrissy.Her mother became frustrated and distraught, as all the measures her family attempted failed to reach Chrissy, she acknowledged. So much so, that Chrissy was thrown out of her family home. She wound up sleeping under a house, sometimes passing out with a syringe in her arm, she remembered. She was eventually arrested by Middletown Police, living in an area transient motel, and realized, “I don’t want to do this anymore but I didn’t know what to do.”Chrissy found a program and fellowship that reached her, helping her on the 12-step road to recovery. Now, “I love my life,” she said, noting she is healthy, has a job where she’s in line for promotion, and is in a positive relationship.Chrissy’s brother is addressing addiction issues but she believes there is always hope. “I’m very happy to be standing here, trying to spread the word,” she said.Small kindness stones, offering messages of encouragement, wereavailable at last week’sprogram in Highlands in recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day.Members of the gathering were asked to take what have become known as kindness rocks—fist-size stones, in this case painted purple (the color designating overdose prevention awareness), etched with short positive messages; they were asked to place the rocks around the community. And then the group lit candles and walked the length of beach area in the rear of the community center, in a display of unity.“It would be great if we could do something like this every month,” Van Natten suggested, to get the word out about addiction.The Highlands/Atlantic Highlands will be conducting a program on Oct. 11 on how to use Narcan/Naloxone, an effective opioid overdose treatment. The program will take place at 6 p.m. at the Atlantic Highlands First Aid and Safety Squad building, 10 East Highland Ave.In recognition of the day, Gov. Chris Christie signed an official proclamation, designating the day as Overdose Awareness Day in the state. Christie has made addiction and recovery issues a centerpiece for his administration’s efforts especially in the last couple of years. After signing the proclamation, Christie said, “Today, communities around the world remember individuals who were lost to drug overdoses and those who’ve been saved from the depths of an overdose and given a second chance at life.”This article was first published in the Sept. 7-14, 2017 print edition of the Two River Times.
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