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Stick save: Florida coach turns hockey sticks into oyster hotels

Credit an assistant college hockey coach in southwest Florida with a stick save for the environment.

>> Read more trending news 

Bob Wasno, a marine biologist at Florida Gulf Coast University who helps coach the university’s club hockey team, has turned broken hockey sticks into a design that becomes an oyster hotel, the News-Press of Fort Myers reported.

“Before, the sticks would go from the rink to the Dumpster and from the Dumpster to the landfills,” Wasno told the newspaper. “Now, our hockey players, who didn’t know a lick about oysters other than they’re delicious with cocktail sauce, have also have learned they’re filter feeders.”

Because oysters help purify the water, the hotels -- which are actually reef habitats -- are helping to keep the mollusk population strong. One oyster is capable of filtering 50 gallons of water in a day, the News-Press reported. 

Wasno has already placed 30 of his oyster hotels in southwest Florida and as far south as the Florida Keys, the News-Press reported. Up to 400 oysters can reside in the hotels, the newspaper reported. It takes 12 sticks to make the habitat, which measures 18 inches high.

The idea came from hockey players who told Wasno they had broken sticks that were worthless, Michael Parsons, the facilities manager at the university’s Vester Marine and Environmental Science Research Field Station in Bonita Springs, told the newspaper. 

“Bob was sitting with hockey players and they were lamenting broken sticks not being able to be used for anything,” Pearson said. “Bob recalled using large concrete pilings for artificial reefs. He said, ‘If we can build these large ones, maybe we can build small ones with hockey sticks.’”

Wasno has a master’s degree in environmental sciences and degrees in aquaculture and fisheries science. He is amazed that his idea has attracted national attention.

“It’s snowballed,” Wasno told the News-Press. “It’s a natural repurposing. We’ve taken something that had become useless and was filling up landfills and turned it into something that helped students learn about the oysters’ role in the environment.

“We’re offering Mother Nature assistance.”

LeBron James to sign four-year, $154 million deal with Los Angeles Lakers

The management group representing LeBron James has indicated the NBA star will sign a four-year, $154 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.

>> On LeBron James leaves Cleveland for the second time

Here are the latest updates:

Update 1:34 a.m. EDT July 2: Dan Gilbert, chairman of the Cleveland Cavaliers, released the following statement about the deal early Monday:

"We will always remember the evening of June 19, 2016 as the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, ended the 52-year drought delivering the long elusive championship that many thought they would never see ... A championship that united generations of Clevelanders, both living and passed. 

"Virtually anyone with roots in Northeast Ohio paused and felt the memories of the past and the utter joy that the burden of the so-called ‘curse’ was finally a thing of the past. Cleveland, Ohio was the home of a championship team for the first time since 1964. Words do not express the meaning and the feeling this accomplishment brought to the people of Northeast Ohio. 

"None of this would have happened if LeBron James did not agree to come back home and lead the Cavaliers to the promised land. The entire Cavaliers franchise thanks LeBron for that precious moment and for all of the excitement he delivered as he led our team to four straight NBA Finals appearances. 

"LeBron is a family man, first. We wish his kids, his wife Savannah, his mother Gloria, and LeBron himself nothing but the best in the years and decades ahead. LeBron’s connection to Akron, Cleveland and all of Northeast Ohio will most certainly endure as his commitment to the region and his support of many important causes has been impactful to so many kids and families. 

"LeBron, you came home and delivered the ultimate goal. Nothing but appreciation and gratitude for everything you put into every moment you spent in a Cavaliers uniform. We look forward to the retirement of the famous #23 Cavs jersey one day down the line ..."

>> Read more here

Update 8:25 p.m. EDT July 1: The management group representing LeBron James has indicated the NBA star will sign a four-year, $154 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Update 3:30 p.m. EDT June 30: LeBron James told the Cleveland Cavaliers he would not exercise his $35.6 million contract option next season, making him an unrestricted free agent.

NBA teams can begin negotiations with free agent players on Sunday.

By declining his option, James has positioned himself to choose where he’ll play next. 

Cleveland remains a strong possibility, but the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia Sixers are also strong contenders for the NBA star, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Original story: NBA star LeBron James will reportedly be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

According to the NBA, ESPN and other outlets, James, 33, will decline his $35.6 million contract option for another season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

James has to make a final decision by 11:59 p.m. Friday, sources told the Associated Press.

The three-time champion is set to become one of the most coveted members of the NBA free-agent class.

He appears to be unshaken by the stress, posting a video of himself cliff jumping with his family on Instagram.

Teams can begin negotiation with free agents at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, according to

>> Read more trending news 

James’ decision to decline the option for 2018-19 was anticipated by many, especially after Cleveland’s defeat to the Golden State Warriors in the 2018 NBA Championship game. 

James has said family is a factor in his next choice -- as an Ohio native, there is still a chance he’ll sign with Cleveland. 

Sources tell ESPN that Cleveland can offer James a better deal than any other team, with a five-year contract worth over $200 million. 

Any other team can offer up to a four-year deal worth $152 million.

If James re-signs with Cleveland, he would earn $35.4 million in the 2018-19 season and would jump to $32.2 million in the option year.

He would also have the opportunity to explore free agency again in the summer of 2019.

James is also rumored to be considering the Los Angeles Lakers, ESPN reports.

James has some roots on the West Coast -- he owns a film production company and two homes in the Los Angeles area. 

Serena Williams joins Meghan Markle to watch Prince Harry at polo match

Tennis star Serena Williams took time off from her preparations to chase her eighth Wimbledon women’s singles title to join Meghan Markle in Ascot on Saturday to watch Prince Harry and Prince William compete in the Audi Polo Challenge, the Sunday Express reported.

>> Read more trending news

Williams, who has won seven women’s singles titles at Wimbledon, was accompanied by her husband, Alexis Ohanian. Williams canceled her pre-tournament news conference to attend the polo match, The Guardian reported. 

Williams, who won her seventh Wimbledon crown in 2016 before giving birth to her first child, is ranked 25th in this year’s tournament. She attended the royal wedding last month at Windsor Castle.

Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, attended the match to watch her husband, who made a surprise visit at a polo match for the second straight day, the Daily Mail reported.

Prince Harry attended a charity match at British Polo Day in Oxfordshire on Friday, the Daily Mail reported, helping to raise nearly $265,000.

Missouri bobblehead collector turns hobby into fundraiser for man with cancer

A Missouri man who owns more than 500 Kansas City Royals bobbleheads turned his passion into a fundraiser for a man suffering from colon cancer, the Kansas City Star reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Bryan Schmuck, 42, owns every bobblehead given out at Royals baseball games since the team began the promotion in 2002

In January, the Lee’s Summit resident met Mike Comstock before a Royals Fanfest event. The two men struck up a friendship, and when Schmuck found out last month that Comstock, 30, had Stage 3 colon cancer he decided to help, the Star reported.

On June 18, Schmuck started a fundraiser for Comstock on Facebook. For $3, a contestant received a slot in a drawing for rare, donated bobbleheads, the Star reported.

Schmuck wanted to sell at least 200 slots, but after five days he had sold 502, the newspaper reported. He told the Star that he received so many bobblehead donations that he had to refuse offers.

Schmuck raised $1,350, the Star reported.

Brian Burger paid for 16 slots and donated bobbleheads.

“It’s the first time I’d ever seen something like that. What he was asking for was a good cause, and I’d want someone to do the same for me,” Burger told the Star.

Comstock, who began his chemotherapy on June 28, said he was overwhelmed by the donations.

“It took a big weight off my shoulders,” he told the newspaper. “After what Bryan did, I still cannot thank the bobblehead community enough.”

“People may think bobbleheads are weird but everyone has their thing,” Schmuck said. “You never know how you can help someone who may need it most.”

Derek Jeter selling New York 'castle' for $14.75 million

Derek Jeter is going yard once again. If a man’s home is his castle, the former New York Yankees shortstop has quite a place. And he wants to sell it to you.

>> Read more trending news

Jeter, now an owner for the Florida Marlins, is selling his 12,590-square-foot mansion -- which looks like a castle -- for $14.75 million, according to its listing on Trulia.

The house, located in Greenwood Lake, New York, is a sprawling four-acre estate that has six bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, four indoor kitchens, an outdoor kitchen, a pool overlooking a lake, a lagoon and a replica of the Statue of Liberty, the Times-Herald of Middletown, New York, reported. There is more than 700 feet of shoreline.Jeter bought the property, called the Tiedemann Castle, in 2003, reported. 

The home is located within a mile of the New Jersey border, about 50 miles northwest of New York CIty, and has been on the market since June 18, reported.

Jeter played major-league baseball for 19 seasons and played in seven World Series with the Yankees, winning five of them. He pulled down more than $266 million in salary, not including endorsements.

The home was originally built in 1903 and bought by the Tiedemann family in 1952, the Times-Herald reported. Jeter’s maternal grandfather, William “Sonny” Connors, grew up at the home after John and Julia Tiedemann adopted him in the 1950s, the newspaper reported.

Jeter also owns residences in Florida -- a mansion in Tampa and a 19th-story apartment in Miami.

Oregon State blanks Arkansas to win College World Series

Freshman Kevin Abel tossed a two-hit shutout and struck out 10 Thursday night, leading Oregon State to its third national championship in baseball with a 5-0 victory against Arkansas in the third and deciding game of the College World Series finals, ESPN reported.

>> Read more trending news

The Beavers (55-12-1), who were one pitch away from elimination Wednesday night, roared back Thursday to win their first title since back-to-back championships in 2006-2007.

Abel won his fourth game of the tournament and second in the championship series.

Sophomore catcher Adley Rutschman was named the CWS Most Outstanding Player, ESPN reported. He had three hits Thursday night to raise his average to .567.Oregon State got new life Wednesday night when three Arkansas fielders converged on a foul pop fly by Cadyn Grenier with two outs in the ninth inning, only to allow the ball to drop to the turf. Grenier followed with a game-tying hit, and the Beavers forced a third game when Trevor Larnach hit a two-run homer.

Arkansas (48-21) was shut out for the first time in 100 games, ESPN reported.

Hope Solo says soccer in America is now 'a rich white-kid sport'

U.S. women’s soccer star Hope Solo said at a sports conference Tuesday that playing has become so expensive for youths that “soccer in America right now is a rich white-kid sport," The Sporting News reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Solo, a goalkeeper who is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion, was speaking at the Hashtag Sports conference in New York. She said that one reason the U.S. men’s national team failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup was that the sport has become too expensive for Hispanics, blacks and rural players, TSN reported. That prevents the U.S. Soccer Federation from drawing from a more talented pool of youth soccer players, she said.

“We have alienated the Hispanic communities. We have alienated our black communities. We have alienated the underrepresented communities, even rural communities, so soccer in America right now is a rich white-kid sport," Solo said at the conference. "Then we have to ask ourselves: Well, no wonder why we are not qualifying for the World Cup when we have alienated a huge population of really talented youth soccer players. And that’s the state of the game right now.”

T.I. says he is boycotting the NFL, Super Bowl in Atlanta

Atlanta rapper and well-known Atlanta Falcons fan T.I. said he is boycotting the National Football League

>> Read more trending news 

On BET’s Genius Talks with host Jemele Hill, the rapper explained why he is boycotting the NFL even though the Super Bowl will be played in Atlanta in 2019. 

>> On More coverage of Super Bowl 53

“I think there is a violation of constitutional rights being implemented to minority players who choose to have a peaceful, silent protest,” the Atlanta native said

>> Watch as T.I. discusses the NFL and his decision

Super Bowl LIII will be Feb. 3, 2019, at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the NFL announced in May 2017.

It will be the third Super Bowl played in Atlanta and the first since 2000.

Minnesota man, 90, selling his 70,000 golf ball collection

For 80 years, a Minnesota man has pursued his “magnificent obsession” -- collecting golf balls. Now, 90-year-old RJ Smith is ready to sell his stash of roughly 70,000 balls, KARE reported.

>> Read more trending news

“I don’t want any of the money,” said the Rochester resident, who will donate any money he makes to charity.

Smith was diagnosed with cancer three months ago and is awaiting further tests. In the meantime, he decided to sell his collection, the television station reported.

Smith’s collection is stored in 460 milk crates stacked in his garage, KARE reported. His oldest golf ball dates to 1917, and no two golf balls are alike. The collection includes thousands of logos from college and professional sports teams, plus balls stamped with the names of automakers and other advertisers, KARE reported.

Smith collected his first ball when he was an 11-year-old caddie. Except for a stint in the military during World War II, Smith has pursued his hobby, the television station reported.

He has never paid for a ball, simply hunting them down in the roughs and hazards at Rochester’s golf course. He calls those areas his office, KARE reported.

“He'll come in and get a cart, ‘I'm just heading to my office quick, hold my messages,’” said Mike Manahan, the pro at Northern Hills Golf Course in Rochester.

“My wife always knew where I was at,” Smith told KARE. “I wasn't sitting in the bar.

“I couldn’t get her off the golf course and she couldn’t get me on to play with her,” Smith said. “So, I’d just go hunting golf balls while she played.”

But now the time has come to part with his collection, and Smith has no regrets.

“God has given me everything I've ever wanted in life and I've never had to ask,” he told KARE.

Sprint car driver Jason Johnson dies from injuries suffered in crash

Sprint car racer Jason Johnson died Sunday from injuries suffered after a crash at Saturday night’s World of Outlaws race at Beaver Dam Raceway, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported. He was 41.

>> Read more trending news 

Johnson crashed on the 18th lap of the race at the Wisconsin track. Johnson, of Eunice, Louisiana, was racing for the lead in the dirt-track race with eventual winner Daryn Pitman when his car flipped and crashed through the billboards near Turn 3, the Journal-Sentinel reported.

Johnson was airlifted to a hospital in Summit, Wisconsin, where he died, the newspaper reported.

Johnson debuted in the World of Outlaws series in 1998 and began racing full time on the circuit in 2015, according to Bleacher Report.

He was the league's Rookie of the Year in 2015. Johnson had 12 victories on the circuit, including two this year, Bleacher Report said.

Johnson is second driver in four years to die from injuries suffered in a sprint car crash at Beaver Dam Raceway. Scott Semmelmann was killed in an accident in practice at an Interstate Racing Association in September 2014, the Journal-Sentinel reported.

Johnson is survived by his wife, Bobbi, and a son, Jaxx, according to the World of Outlaws website.

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