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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.

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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.”

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.

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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.

Royals consider signing college pitcher who pleaded guilty to child molestation charge

The Kansas City Royals are considering signing Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich, who pleaded guilty as a 15-year-old to molesting his 6-year-old niece, The Kansas City Star reported.

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“We continue to seek information that allows us to be comfortable in pursuing Luke,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said.

In 2012, Heimlich pleaded guilty to child molestation in Washington, Sports Illustrated reported.

According to court documents obtained by The Oregonian, the first time Heimlich molested his niece was when she was 4. He admitted he had “sexual contact” with the girl, The Oregonian reported.

Heimlich and his Oregon State teammates advanced to the College World Series championship series on Saturday, beating Mississippi State 5-2.

For the second straight year, Heimlich was not selected in the Major League Baseball Draft. 

Even though Heimlich is a two-time Pac-12 pitcher of the year, activist Brenda Tracy told the Star the 22-year-old should not be signed.

“I’m sorry, but Luke does not deserve to be on that platform and pedestal, (potentially) looked up to and adored by millions of people, including young kids,” Tracy, a survivor of a gang rape in Corvallis, Oregon, said Saturday. “We should never normalize, we should never minimize (what Heimlich pleaded guilty to). If the Royals bring him on their team, they are complicit in normalizing and minimizing.”

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Heimlich denied touching his niece despite his guilty plea. 

“I pled guilty to it, but ever since that day and even before that, in court records and everything, I’ve denied ever committing the offense,” Heimlich told the magazine. “I stand by that.”

Ex-University of Oregon football player killed in single-car crash, police say

A former University of Oregon football player was killed Friday in a single-vehicle rollover crash in Eugene, KEZI reported.

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Fotu Tuli Leiato, 21, who was dismissed from the team in late April after he was arrested for allegedly removing a parking boot from a vehicle, was killed in the accident.

Police said Leiato’s body was found by a passerby several hours later at the crash scene. The driver of the vehicle, Pedro Chavarin Jr., 22, said he was the lone occupant of the vehicle, KEZI reported.

Chavarin was taken to a hospital and then was cited for DUI, police said.

Leiato, a 5-foot-11, 202-pound linebacker, played in 38 of 39 games for the Ducks from 2015 through 2017 and made 37 tackles.

Former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II faces rape charges

Former NFL player Kellen Winslow II was arrested Thursday on suspicion of rape, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

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The charges against, Winslow, 34, include two counts of forcible rape, one count of forcible sodomy and one count of forcible oral copulation, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. Other charges include kidnapping with the intent to commit rape, residential burglary and indecent exposure, the sheriff’s department said.

Winslow will be arraigned Friday. 

He was arrested last week on suspicion of burglary, then posted a $50,000 bond, the Union-Tribune reported. Sheriff’s deputies arrested Winslow on his latest charges Thursday morning and searched his home, the newspaper said.

Winslow, the son of San Diego Chargers Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow, grew up in San Diego and attended high school there. He played college football at the University of Miami and was the sixth overall pick in the 2004 draft. 

He played in the NFL until 2013, playing tight end for Cleveland, Tampa Bay, New England and the New York Jets.

Police: Couple faked son's cancer for donations, visit with Syracuse football team

A New York couple is accused of faking a 2017 story about their son having cancer so they could solicit more than $3,300 in donations, the Cayuga County Sheriff's Office said. The couple also used their son’s alleged battle with Hodgkin’s disease so the family could meet the Syracuse football team, Syracuse.com reported.

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Martin and Jolene LaFrance were charged with scheme to defraud and endangering the welfare of a child Friday, according to the Sheriff's Office.

According to deputies, the LaFrances set up a GoFundMe page for their son, CJ LaFrance and collected $3,334 from 42 donors. After a four-month investigation, deputies determined “conclusively” that CJ had not been diagnosed with any medical conditions, Syracuse.com reported.

An archive of the page on Aug. 30, 2017 shows that the GoFundMe campaign had been shared 403 times on Facebook.

Last August, CJ and family members were special guests during a Syracuse football practice, Syracuse.com reported. CJ, who was 9 years old at the time, met his favorite players and coach Dino Babers.

"The LaFrance Family has violated GoFundMe's terms of service, and all donors will receive a refund," GoFundMe officials said in a statement. "Additionally, they have been banned from our platform."

GoFundMe will also be working with New York authorities in their investigation, ESPN reported.

Martin and Jolene LaFrance, both 35, will be arraigned May 16, Syracuse.com reported.

Florida State's Mike Martin becomes college baseball's winningest coach

Florida State University’s Mike Martin became the winningest coach in college baseball history Saturday night, notching his 1,976th victory as the Seminoles defeated Clemson 3-2 in 13 innings.

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Martin passed the late Augie Garrido as the Seminoles improved to 32-14 overall and 14-10 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, The Tallahassee Democrat reported.

“It was really just a night that I’ll always remember because of the way that our young men battled," Martin told the Democrat. “The record means that for awhile it’s going to have Florida State’s name (on it). That’s what means so much to me because that’s the university that gave me a chance to coach. I’m very fortunate. I love my university.”

>> Augie Garrido dead at 79

Martin needed 246 fewer games than Garrido to reach his record victory. Garrido, who died on March 15, compiled a 1,975-951-9 record from 1969 to 2016 and won five national titles during his 48-year coaching career.

The University of Texas, where Garrido won two NCAA baseball crowns during his 20-year tenure at the school, tweeted congratulations to Martin.

’Mr. Irrelevant’: NFL draft’s final pick has 'big chip' on his shoulder

Trey Quinn said he has “a big chip” on his shoulder, and he is determined to prove his relevance in the NFL.

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Quinn, a wide receiver from Southern Methodist University, was tabbed as “Mr. Irrelevant” -- the final pick in the 2018 NFL draft -- when he was drafted at No. 256 by the Washington Redskins.

It was the first time the Redskins chose the final player in the draft since 1992, when they picked Matt Elliott, ESPN reported.

“There's a big chip on my shoulder, and you'll see it on me, but I'm excited," Quinn told ESPN. “I'm excited to be a part of an organization, and after a long day, I'm kind of stressed out. I'm just excited to be a part of the Skins and go dominate a little bit.”

While quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy and was the No. 1 pick in the draft, Quinn receives a few perks for being the final pick. He will get a trip to Disneyland, a custom Rolex watch and a trophy that is called the Lowsman -- the opposite of the Heisman, ESPN reported.

Quinn was not irrelevant for SMU. He led the Football Bowl Subdivision with 114 catches in 2017 and scored 13 touchdowns.

"Trey Quinn is a very exciting prospect," Redskins coach Jay Gruden told ESPN. "He caught a lot of balls, did some punt returns. He's a great option route runner, great feel in the zones. Strong hands. Good physical blocker. Good after the catch.”

The final pick bounced around during the third day of draft. It was originally owned by the Falcons. Atlanta traded the pick to the Los Angeles Rams, who subsequently dealt it to Washington, NFL.com reported.

Shaquem Griffin's inspirational story not limited to football fans

Shaquem Griffin’s story is an inspirational one, and it moved to another level after he was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL draft. His legion of well-wishers continues to grow.

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Griffin, who was drafted in the fifth round, received encouragement and best wishes from players and fans on Twitter. 

The outside linebacker had his left hand amputated as a child because of amniotic band syndrome, but was a two-year starter at the University of Central Florida and was a first-team all-conference selection both seasons. 

He was reunited with his twin brother Shaquill when the Seahawks made him the 141st overall pick. That brought Griffin full circle from the NFL scouting combine, when he bench-pressed 225 pounds 20 times with a prosthetic left hand.

"I couldn't breathe," Griffin told ESPN said after he was drafted. "I didn't know what to say. I was trying to get the words out, but I couldn't talk."

Griffin’s well-wishers included pro athletes and people who have faced the same hurdles as the linebacker. They were joyous in their posts.

“Thrilled for you,” former major-league pitcher Jim Abbott, who was born without a right hand, wrote on Twitter. “Beyond words.”

“So grateful for this moment!!!” Twitter user Gienelle wrote, showing a picture of her son displaying a prosthetic left hand. “This pick is powerful for my boy!! His dreams just went through the roof!! “

Chris Pugh, whose daughter lost fingers to amniotic band syndrome, called Griffin “inspirational.”

“No matter what team he plays for, I'm a big Shaquem Griffin fan,” he wrote.

Drew Carfrae, a Steelers fan from Iowa who said he used a wheelchair, wrote that “to see someone that other people would say had a ‘disability’ prove doubters wrong, is amazing.” 

“Cheering and crying that his dreams came true,” wrote Amy Eldridge, whose son has one hand. 

Twelve-year-old Julianna Linton was born with amniotic band syndrome and posted a video before the draft. She also got to meet Griffin when the Knights played Houston in 2016.

On Twitter, Griffin thanked “everyone who has helped push me, motivate me and support me. Most importantly, thank you Seahawks.”

Photos: Villanova beats Michigan in NCAA championship game

Villanova has its second national championship in three years after a 79-62 victory over Michigan.

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