Boychuk Reflects on End of Career

Johnny Boychuk was visibly emotional as he addressed the media following the announcement that his accomplished 13-year NHL career had come to an end, due to an eye injury suffered during the 2019-20 regular season.

It was a rarity for someone who has battled through some of the most grueling injuries imaginable, all while consistently flashing his beaming grin and radiating his infectious personality, to be fighting back tears and at a loss for words.

“When somebody tells you that you’re not going to ever play again – or that you shouldn’t – it’s tough,” Boychuk said during his Zoom call on Wednesday afternoon. “It’s been really, really tough.”

The defenseman’s career-ending injury resulted from taking an errant skate to the face during the third period against the Montreal Canadiens on March 3, and required a 90-stitch repair. Following the NHL’s pause issued on March 12, Boychuk diligently rehabbed during that four-month span and was cleared to play when the Islanders resumed their season in the Toronto bubble for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs in the preliminary round against the Florida Panthers. 

Video: Johnny Boychuk Presser 11/25

But it was during Game 1 against the Panthers, where Boychuk sustained a concussion from a hit at the offensive blueline delivered by Mike Matheson, that became a sobering realization for him. “When I got hit, I realized it might have been a – I wouldn’t say a dirty hit – but I didn’t see him coming,” Boychuk explained. “I realized that I should have been able to see him a little bit, but I didn’t. I realized something was off.” The 36-year-old returned for the last two games of the Eastern Conference Final against the eventual Stanley Cup champions, Tampa Bay, fitting of his ‘you do whatever it takes to win’ motto.

Following months of testing, MRI and X-Ray scans and meeting with specialists, the prognosis disclosed that Boychuk’s peripheral vision was impacted, he had sustained some optic nerve damage and had received an extent of irreversible damage.

“I don’t even think it was a decision,” Boychuk said. “When you play with it and realize there’s something wrong. Then, you go and get tests – it wasn’t really a decision. It was a life choice. If I was to go and play again, not see somebody coming and get hit, I could be a lot worse than what I was.”

While the Edmonton native is still coming to terms with the painful reality that his career has come to an end, he had nothing but positivity regarding the last six years spent on the Island where he has amassed 131 points (35G, 96A) in 404 games.

Everything from his simultaneous arrival with his eventual defensive partner Nick Leddy, to forming his tight-knit relationships with the community and teammates of all ages, Boychuk quickly became a fan-favorite and the feeling was mutual.

“There have been so many good memories,” Boychuk said. “It’s tough to process everything at one time…When I got traded

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The highly improbable path to the College Football Playoff for Maryland

It’s not going to happen…but it could. It’s 2020, after all. Expect the unexpected.

For most Maryland fans, your high hopes for the season likely faded with the season-opening 43-3 loss to Northwestern. Since then, however, the Terps have been a pleasant surprise with wins over Minnesota and Penn State and, believe it or not, there could actually be a path to the College Football Playoff.

Wait, what? That’s ridiculous.

Yes, it is. It’s not going to happen, but it is at least possible.

Whatever chances the Terps had were expected to be snuffed out in the game against Ohio State. Even if Maryland played the Buckeyes tough, a second loss would have ended any hope. The fact that the game was canceled, however, is what opens the door to a bizarre and far-fetched scenario that would see the Terps reaching the playoff.

Obviously, the only way the Terps could possibly make the playoff is to win the Big Ten. To get to the championship game, Maryland would have to win the East and the road to the division goes through Columbus…in a normal year. But now, Maryland no longer has to play Ohio State.

If Ohio State goes undefeated, they will win the East and play for the title. But what if they don’t? Is there any way for Maryland to pass them in the standings now that there will not be a head-to-head matchup between the two teams? Technically yes.

The Big Ten rules for participation in the championship are very convoluted because the conference expected to lose games due to COVID, meaning it had to account for unbalanced schedules, but there are three ways Maryland could pass Ohio State in the standings. First, every team has to play at least six games to be considered eligible for the championship game. The Buckeyes have played four with three games remaining on the schedule. If two of those games are canceled Ohio State can’t play in the championship game. Could the conference change rules midseason if this happens to try to get the Buckeyes in? Yes. Would I be surprised if they tried to do that? No. But as of now, those are the rules.

 

The second scenario is if Ohio State loses more conference games than Maryland. That seems doubtful, but it’s possible. Third, if Ohio State loses more division games than Maryland. This is where things get interesting. Maryland has the loss to Northwestern, but the Wildcats are in the West so the loss is outside of the division. In the event of an unbalanced schedule, conference rules state that if two teams have a different number of division losses, the teams will be compared based on winning percentage within their division. So, let’s say the Terps win out and Ohio State loses to Michigan or Michigan State. Maryland would be undefeated within the division and would pass Ohio State in the standings and thus play for the Big Ten title.

Is that going to happen? No,

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College football picks, predictions, odds for Week 13: Clemson-Pittsburgh, Florida-Kentucky among best bets

This season is unlike anything we have ever experienced. Computer simulations — if that’s your thing — mean nothing with only a smattering of nonconference games between FBS schools currently scheduled and four of the leagues not playing any at all. Nevertheless, we must work with what we have.

Each week, I will use this space to tell you what I think are a few of the best bets heading into the weekend. I will also throw in an upset of the week, which will feature a team that is at least a touchdown underdog that I am picking to win outright. I will also give you picks on other games involving potential College Football Playoff teams.

Last week was a win, a loss and a last-minute cancellation. The upset missed, so it is now 4-4 outright so far this season and 5-3 ATS. I have been emboldened by last week’s success at picking an over/under, so I am trying again with the same team.

Week 13 picks

Pittsburgh at No. 3 Clemson

Oh, boy. Dabo is mad and in a mood to lay 70 on somebody. The Clemson players cannot be in a much better mood than their coach after stewing in that Notre Dame loss for three weeks and counting. Sorry, Pitt, but this looks like a bad week to play the Tigers. Pick: Clemson (-24)

Kentucky at No. 6 Florida

Latest Odds:

Gators
-24.5

The strength of Kentucky this season has been its defense, but that unit has gone south the last couple of weeks, giving up 35 points to Vandy and 63 to Alabama. The Wildcats do not have enough offense to cover for that. Also, the Gators are getting stronger with the return of tight end Kyle Pitts. Pick: Florida (-23)

Rutgers at Purdue

Purdue’s offense is back at full strength with Rondale Moore’s return to the lineup, and Jack Plummer is an improvement at quarterback. However, the Boilermakers defense will be without its best player, defensive end George Karlaftis. Rutgers has only played one game all season under this number. Pick: Over 62

Upset of the week

Mississippi State at Mississippi

The first Egg Bowl matchup between Bulldogs coach Mike Leach and Mississippi’s Lane Kiffin figures to be weird. It would be disappointing if it wasn’t. Mississippi State got off to a great start this season with a record-setting win at LSU and then promptly went in the tank. The last two weeks have been more promising, though. Mississippi’s season has been up and down, but it is the one team that really pushed Alabama this season. I like Leach and the Bulldogs to surprise here. Pick: Mississippi State (+9.5)

Other CFP candidates

Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 13? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned over $3,600 in profit over the past four-plus seasons — and find out.

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Five Questions Boston College has to Answer Against Louisville

Boston College takes on Louisville this Saturday in the home finale of the football season. The Eagles (5-4), look to get back into the win column after losing two of the last three to Notre Dame and Clemson. While Louisville (3-6) will try to add on to their win total by defeating the Eagles. Here are five questions heading into this game. 

1. How does Boston College handle the speed of UL? Louisville has talent up and down the offensive side of the roster. Quarterback Micale Cunningham, and wide receivers Tutu Atwell and Dez Fitpatrick are a talented trio, and there is speed up and down this roster. Boston College has struggled at times with fast teams (UNC, VT), can they contain the explosiveness of UL?

2. Can the Eagles force turnovers? The Cardinals achilles heel are the turnovers, in which they have 21 and are near the bottom in the country in giveaways. Boston College’s defense has been opportunistic this season, if they can force turnovers and give BC’s offense the short field it could be smooth sailing for the Eagles.

3. Which Phil Jurkovec will we get on Saturday? The big news coming out of the Notre Dame game was the revelation of a shoulder separation to quarterback Phil Jurkovec suffered against Clemson. It clearly impacted him as he lost some of his accuracy and arm strength. He gritted through it, but was not the same quarterback BC has had all year. He had a whole week to rest it according to Jeff Hafley, if he is back to 100% he could be a difference maker. 

4. Can BC find yards against UL’s pass defense? Going into this game the Cardinals have the 9th ranked pass defense. But looking deeper they really haven’t faced many strong offenses. They did however hold Notre Dame to just twelve points, and we saw how effective that offense can be. Which UL defense will we see?

5. How will the break impact the Eagles? This game has been moved twice, which according to Jeff Hafley shouldn’t impact the preparation for this game. Boston College played nine consecutive games before this and Hafley mentioned how worn down the entire program was. The break was much needed. Will the break invigorate the Eagles?

You can follow us for future coverage by clicking “Follow” on the top righthand corner of the page. Also be sure to like us on Facebook & Twitter:

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College football odds, picks for Week 13 in ACC: Trevor Lawrence returns as No. 3 Clemson battles Pitt

For all that was made of the Dabo Swinney vs. Florida State administration feud (also known as the latest chapter in Dabo Swinney vs. The World), one aspect of last week’s game between the Tigers and the Seminoles getting postponed at the last minute that has gone under-discussed is the delayed return of Trevor Lawrence. 

While the “Tank for Trevor” efforts are clearly all the rage in the NFL, we haven’t seen Lawrence play in more than a month. Prior to his positive COVID-19 test, Lawrence was pacing as one of the most productive and efficient quarterbacks in the entire country. He had a top-10 passer rating, top-10 completion percentage and 17 touchdowns to just two interceptions. Because he’s been a dominant piece of the college football conversation since the start of the 2018 season, Lawrence’s place among the elite quarterback talents is so entrenched that his actual production gets overlooked. 

Freshman D.J. Uiagalelei was fantastic in relief of Lawrence, but the Tigers absolutely welcome the return of their quarterback who carries a 31-1 record as a starter. Saturday’s game against Pitt is not only a chance to get back into rhythm on the field but to tie Deshaun Watson, Tajh Boyd and Rodney Williams for the career wins record at Clemson, not to mention a handful of other school records that are in reach over the next couple weeks. It’s also Senior Day in Death Valley, and while Lawrence has not committed to one decision or the other, the assumption is that he will exit with this year’s senior class given all that interest in the “Tank for Trevor” movement. 

Week 13 Odds, Picks

Friday — No. 2 Notre Dame at No. 19 North Carolina

Latest Odds:

Fighting Irish
-5

If Sam Howell and the Tar Heels offense can score early and turn this into a back-and-forth affair, it favors the North Carolina. The last time we saw Notre Dame’s defense, it wasn’t great and I’m expecting a little bit of rust with the extra week off leading up to this Friday afternoon kickoff. One path to victory for Notre Dame is to squeeze the life out of the game by winning the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The Irish have one of the best rushing attacks in the ACC and stopping the Tar Heels’ ground game is the key to slowing their offense. But all that goes out the window if North Carolina can score early and get into rhythm offensively. Pick: North Carolina +4.5 

NC State at Syracuse

While the Wolfpack’s win against Liberty was a great one for the team, it was not the best night for the offense. Thankfully, NC State’s defense, which has stepped up to the plate a few times this season (Virginia and Duke wins come to mind), was there to lead the way to victory. Syracuse has not been able to muster much offense either, so instead of counting NC State to have a bounce back performance

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Husson University partners with the Caleb Group and Harbor Management to provide Thanksgiving dinner to elderly and disabled

Nearly 100 meals being given to Bradford Commons and Kenduskeag Terrace residents

BANGOR — At Thanksgiving, most of us are thinking about eating large amounts of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. It’s a holiday where Americans celebrate the bounties of the season.

“It’s not a time of year when we usually think about what it means to be an elderly or disabled person, on a fixed income, who lives alone and struggles to pay the bills,” said Bob Sedgwick, the director of dining services at Husson University. “For many of these individuals, food insecurity is a daily challenge. Here at Husson, our campus culture emphasizes the importance of character and humility. So, when the opportunity presented itself to make Thanksgiving better for some struggling members of our community, we jumped at the chance to be involved.” 

Starting at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 26, Husson’s Dining Services team will be preparing 96 free Thanksgiving meals at the University’s Dickerman Dining Center for elderly and disabled residents living at Bradford Commons and Kenduskeag Terrace in Bangor. Harbor Management manages both facilities.

The all-volunteer Dining Services team at the University helping to prepare these meals includes Husson University Chef Dave Schultz. Schultz is well known to area food aficionados as the co-winner of the “Professional Chef” and “People’s Choice” awards at Maine Lobsterpalooza’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese competition in 2017. Assisting the chef in the preparation of the Thanksgiving meal will be Sedgwick; Carole Bemis, an administrative assistant in Dining Services; and Julie Perkins, Dining Services’ purchasing and technology coordinator.

The 96 completed meals will be picked up by Laurie Holmes, the resident services coordinator for the Caleb Group and her husband at 11:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving. They will then immediately deliver the meals to elderly and disabled residents at Bradford Commons and Kenduskeag Terrace. Caleb Group Property Manager Kim Scheid and the rest of the organization’s office staff have volunteered to assist in the meal delivery process. Bradford Commons is located at 201 Husson Avenue and Kenduskeag Terrace is at 117 Court Street.

While serving residents is part of Holmes’ job, she finds an enormous amount of personal satisfaction in bringing smiles to residents’ faces when they receive a Thanksgiving meal. “There is something that makes Thanksgiving a special holiday. It’s a time when we remember to be grateful for what we have. Getting a hot Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings does more than satisfy someone’s hunger – it lifts their spirit, and that’s something we should all feel good about.”

Food insecurity in America continues to be a significant issue among the elderly and the disabled. According to 2020 edition of The State of Senior Hunger in America, an annual report produced by the Feeding America network, 5.3 million seniors, or 7.3 percent of the senior population, were food insecure in 2018. In 2013, nearly one in three (31.8 percent) food insecure households included a working age adult who had a disability.

“We need to work together if

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RUDN University research team of mathematicians suggested a new decision making algorithm

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IMAGE: A research team from RUDN University developed an algorithm to help large groups of people make optimal decisions in a short time. They confirmed the efficiency of their model using…
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Credit: RUDN University

A research team from RUDN University developed an algorithm to help large groups of people make optimal decisions in a short time. They confirmed the efficiency of their model using the example of the market at which the outbreak of COVID-19 began. The model helped the administration and sellers agree on closing the market and reach a consensus about the sums of compensations in just three steps. An article about the algorithm was published in the Information Sciences journal.

Decision theory is a field of mathematics that studies the patterns of decision making and strategy selection. In the terms of mathematics, decision making is an optimization task with multiple criteria. Expert opinions, judgments, and possible risks are considered variables, and the relations between participants and the search for an optimal solution are expressed as mathematical operations. LSGDM is a model in decision theory that describes decision making situations with over 20 expert-level participants. Their opinions are affected by personal relations: for example, friends support each other’s views. This increases the level of uncertainty because convincing the participants and reaching a consensus becomes more difficult. A research team of mathematicians from RUDN University suggested a method to eliminate this uncertainty.

“Thanks to today’s technological developments, more and more people start to participate in decision-making processes. That is why LSGDM has become a burning issue for researchers. In LSGDM, participants represent different areas of interest, and therefore it takes longer for them to reach a consensus. The process requires a moderator capable of convincing all parties to adjust their opinions,” said Prof. Enrique Herrera-Viedma, research team’s leader in RUDN University.

The solution suggested by his team of mathematicians is based on the so-called robust optimization technique. It is applied to optimization tasks that are sensitive to changes in the initial data (in this case, in the personal relations between the participants). The mathematicians suggested a new way of categorizing experts into clusters based on relationship strength and the level of trust between them. The algorithm consisted of several steps. First, the experts were clusterized; then, the team identified a cluster with the opinion that differed the most from the collective judgment; and after that, such opinion was corrected. The iterations were repeated until all participants agreed on one solution. The methods of opinion correction were irrelevant from the mathematical point of view. The only factor that mattered was the unit negotiation cost: the amount of resources (time, money, etc.) that had to be spent to reach the desired result.

The research team applied the model to a real-life example. After the outbreak of COVID-19, a seafood market in Wuhan had to be closed down. The administration was looking for an optimal solution: it had to compensate the losses of the sellers while staying within the market’s

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University Place Businesses May Apply for Support from Comcast

This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author’s own.

Comcast RISE program seeks to help strengthen and empower these Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-owned small businesses hard hit by COVID-19
Comcast RISE program seeks to help strengthen and empower these Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-owned small businesses hard hit by COVID-19 (Comcast Washington)

In response, Comcast Corporation launched the Comcast RISE program to help strengthen and empower these Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-owned small businesses hard hit by COVID-19. Comcast RISE will help thousands of small businesses over the next three years by offering grants, marketing and technology upgrades, including media campaigns and connectivity, computer and voice equipment, as well as free marketing insights to all applicants.

Eligible small businesses in University Place can visit ComcastRISE.com now to apply. The application for this wave of services will close February 7, 2021, and subsequent selections will occur on a quarterly basis. In addition, applicants will soon be able to apply for financial grants in early 2021 and the program currently is planned to end on December 31, 2022. More information on eligibility requirements, and the latest updates is also available at ComcastRISE.com.

Comcast launched Comcast RISE, which stands for “Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment,” to help the hardest-hit small business owners recover from the challenges of COVID-19.

Comcast RISE brings together two of the company’s brands —Comcast Business and Effectv, both with expertise in the small business space — to partner with and empower business owners with the tools, expertise and resources needed to navigate the economic effects of the pandemic.

Comcast RISE consists of the following main components:

  • A media and technology resources program: This pillar combines Effectv’s renowned media platform and marketing expertise, its award-winning creative agency, Mnemonic, and state-of-the-art technical support from Comcast Business to help small businesses foster and elevate growth. Recipients will receive help with their marketing, media campaigns and creation of 30-second commercials, as well as website and tech upgrades, including:
    • Consulting: Advertising and marketing consultations with local Effectv marketing, research and creative teams to gain insights on how to grow your business.
    • Media: A linear TV media campaign to run over a 90-day period.
    • Creative Production: Turnkey :30 TV commercial production for their businesses.
    • Technology Makeovers: Computer equipment and Internet, voice and cybersecurity services for up to a 12-month period to support business recovery while implementing other Comcast small business initiatives. (Taxes and other fees may still apply for tech makeover services.)
  • Business resources to help with curated content: Comcast has launched the Comcast RISE destination complete with aggregated small business news, tips, insights and more on the X1 platform. The destination is designed to help businesses
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There is little normalcy to be found this fall, but college basketball is still college basketball

Everything was different. And everything was the same.

The college basketball season began Wednesday, with games being played all over the country while everyone involved with the sport hoped for the best.

Even with a two-week delay, several games scheduled for this week have been canceled or postponed because of coronavirus cases. But in Annapolis, they played basketball in a mostly empty Alumni Hall. Navy beat George Washington, 78-71, and, as is so often the case, the team that played better defense won the game.

A handful of midshipmen showed up, and so did six members of the Navy band. Beyond that, it was the two teams, TV personnel and a handful of other media members. In all, there might have been about 200 people in a building that can seat 5,200.

“I’m just glad we’re playing,” Navy Coach Ed DeChellis said.

He spoke for everyone. Even in the eerily empty building, there was a feeling of normalcy. The two teams shot the ball remarkably well, given that no one had any preseason scrimmages and both coaches were trying to find a rotation that would be effective.

“We haven’t dealt with any adversity yet,” said DeChellis, who used 11 players by halftime. “You play against each other for weeks and weeks, and it can be hard to find out who can handle it when things get tough. We’ll start finding out now.”

[Svrluga: A winter without hoops will be tough for the Ivy League. There are worse things.]

DeChellis has dealt with adversity recently, even if his team hasn’t. On the last Monday in September, he was walking into Alumni Hall with strength coach Brandon Spayd and suddenly felt wobbly. “I was very warm and sweaty, and my left leg wouldn’t move correctly,” he said. “Brandon looked at me and said, ‘We’ve got to get you to the emergency room right away.’ I thought I was having a heart attack because the trouble was all on my left side.”

DeChellis, 62, wasn’t having a heart attack. He was having a stroke. He spent several days in the hospital, where he was also diagnosed with diabetes. “I have to give myself four insulin shots a day,” DeChellis said. “And I have to be sure I eat at the right times.” Following a healthier diet, DeChellis has lost 20 pounds and says he now has far more good days than bad days.

His team certainly made him feel a lot better during the first half Wednesday, making 17 of 31 shots from the field to lead 41-30 at the break. A lot of the Mids’ success was the result of consistently finding open shooters against GW’s 2-3 zone, a defense Colonials Coach Jamion Christian plans to play 100 percent of the time this season.

Christian is only 38 and is in his ninth season as a head coach. He had no health issues this fall, but he did have a concern coming into the game that had to do with the climate

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Eastern U.S. may see stormy, wintry weather pattern next week

The first storm, which could be particularly intense, is projected to take an inland track early next week, from the Gulf of Mexico toward the eastern Great Lakes. Such a track would draw up enough warm air for mostly rain along the East Coast. But interior locations in the Ohio Valley and eastern Great Lakes could see their first significant snow.

There’s some chance for a second storm to develop slightly to the east of the first one around Dec. 3 or 4, opening up the possibility for wintry precipitation closer to the East Coast.

The first storm: Early next week

An upper-level disturbance ejecting from the Desert Southwest will help spark the development of a storm system near the Louisiana Gulf Coast late in the weekend.

Computer models agree that it will tap substantial moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and produce heavy rainfall in the South and Southeast from Sunday into Monday.

The plot thickens Monday when this gulf storm turns north and merges with jet stream energy diving south from the Upper Midwest. The storm may intensify and draw in very cold air on its western side, while funneling heavy rain northward to the east.

The European (ECMWF) weather model forecasts a powerhouse storm, possibly meeting the criteria for a bomb cyclone because of its rate of intensification (a pressure drop of 24 millibars in 24 hours), over eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania by Monday afternoon.

Near and east of the storm center, including much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, heavy rain is projected. To the west, heavy snow is shown in western Ohio, eastern Indiana, Michigan and eastern Kentucky. A storm this powerful would also be a big wind generator, creating the possibility of blowing snow and power outages.

The model suggests that the storm could linger over the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes into Wednesday or Thursday next week, resulting in a prolonged period of windblown snowfall.

The Canadian and American models also whip up a storm that tracks slightly to the east of the European model and that is less intense.

The specifics of how strong this storm will be and the location, timing and intensity of rain, snow and wind will come into better focus over the next several days.

In the wake of this storm, models predict lower-than-average temperatures in parts of the East, but not frigid Arctic air.

A second storm?

Between Dec. 3 and 4, some models are showing the potential for a second storm to develop in the South, near the Gulf Coast, and again tracking north.

With cold air better established in the eastern United States by this time, this storm would probably track to the east of the first one if it materializes. A track closer to the coast would open up the possibility of frozen precipitation closer to the East Coast; however, cold air may still only be sufficient for snow in interior areas and especially the Appalachians.

As this potential storm system is more than

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