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Selection Sunday 2009

Selection Sunday 20092009 Selection Sunday Arrives to Start NCAA Tournament.

Selection Sunday 2009 is a day of reckoning for over 65 NCAA teams. For those lucky 65, Selection Sunday is a great day, where they get sent on their road to the Final Four. For about 10 more teams, the 2009 Selection Sunday is a day of infamy, as they discover that they finished just shy of making the NCAA Tournament. This year, Selection Sunday 2009 stands to be both predictable and topsy turvy, as the drama around the NCAA Tournament's top seeds and final at-large teams comes to an end.

Selection Sunday ends at 6 p.m., when the seeds for the East, Midwest, South and West regionals will be announced. For the last weeks, NCAA Tournament pundits have tried to figure out who the top seeds in those regionals will be. Unless the Selection Committee has some surprises left, those top seeds are likely to be Connecticut, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Louisville.

Selection Sunday narrowed down the list of top potential seeds, after many of the candidates lost in their conference tournament. Losses may have cost Michigan State and Oklahoma a shot at a 1 seed, dropping them down to the 2 line, if not further. North Carolina, Connecticut and Pittsburgh are expected to survive their conference tournament upsets, however.

Besides the likely number 1 seeds, programs like Memphis, Kansas, Duke, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Missouri, Villanova, Wake Forest and perhaps Syracuse are expected to receive top 4 seeding on Selection Sunday.

The rest of the 2009 Selection Sunday drama, as always, falls on the bubble teams that will probably be eliminated in the opening round anyway. The Big 10 could get as many as eight teams, if the bubble falls right for Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota.

Arizona could miss the NCAA Tournament for the first time in almost 25 years. Mid-majors like Creighton and St. Mary's are fighting for their lives. The SEC could be lucky to get more than 2 teams in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

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Beach To Beacon

Beach To BeaconBeach to Beacon 10K: Registration Opens Sunday March 15.

Maine's popular Beach to Beacon 10K race opens their online registration tomorrow, Sunday, March 15th at noon. The 6,000 limit field is expected to sell out in 24-hours and the only way to register is online. My suggestion is either bring your handheld or plan your Southie St. Patrick's day celebration accordingly because you do not want to miss this registration.

Ten years ago, Joan Benoit Samuelson 1984 Olympic Marathon Gold Medalist, started this beautiful race in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. It is a gorgeous 6.2 mile race that starts at Crescent Beach and ends at Portland Head Light.

This years race will be run on August 1, 2009 at 8:00am. The registration fee for the 10K road race and 10K wheelchair race are $35. Beach to Beacon is also offering a children's fun run for $5. Bring your co-workers out for the Corporate Challenge for a fee of $35. Each registration fee will have an additional $3.75 charge for the online registration. Remember, only online registration is available for this race. No paper applications are available.

Beach to Beacon is a big draw for elite runners from all over with its large prize purse. The top ten men and women will receive cash prizes ranging from $500 or 10th place to $10,000 for first place. Cash prizes are also available for the top three men and women in the wheelchair, masters and seniors divisions. The top five Maine finishers will receive a cash prize. If the winners should sent a course record, a bonus of $2,500 will be given to open runners and $500 given for the Maine course record. The current mens course record is 27:28, set by Gilbert Okari of Kenya in 2003. The womens course record is 31:26, set by Alventina Ivanova of Kenya in 2006. The current Maine course record was set in 2005 by Eric Giddings of South Portland.

To register for Beach to Beacon, visit their website at noon on Sunday. Do not delay as the 6,000 spots will sell out quickly.

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Sara Jane Olson

Sara Jane OlsonSara Jane Olson's friends loyal, mostly silent.

Sara Jane Olson's friends and supporters in Minnesota have stayed loyal over the years, but they've grown increasingly silent as her release from prison approaches.

Olson was exposed in 1999 as Kathleen Soliah, a 1970s radical with the Symbionese Liberation Army who became a fugitive after the attempted pipe-bombings of Los Angeles police officers and a fatal bank robbery near Sacramento. Until authorities acting on a tip pulled over her minivan in St. Paul, her friends knew her as a housewife, mother of three daughters, volunteer and actress.

On Tuesday, after seven years in prison, Olson will go free. Now 62, she plans to return to Minnesota to serve her parole.

Her local supporters have included progressive activists, a few politicians, members of the theater community, professors and attorneys. Olson and her husband since 1980, Dr. Gerald "Fred" Peterson, were known among their friends for the dinners and parties they hosted.

Andy Dawkins, a Democratic former state representative from St. Paul and a family friend for close to 30 years, remains one of her most outspoken supporters.

"She was a wonderful mom and a wonderful asset to our community and did all sorts of things to help people," he said.

But Dawkins was one of the few close to Olson willing to talk ahead of her release. Many others who've spoken out or contributed money over the years were unwilling or reluctant to comment this past week.

"I don't have anything to say," snapped Wendy Knox, artistic director of the Frank Theatre and a longtime friend of Olson's. "Every time something happens in that case I get 50,000 calls from reporters."

The reluctant include Brendan Coleman, who said he's already said about all he cares to on the subject.

"I'm happy for her. I'm going to leave it at that," said Coleman, who used to play guitar in a reggae band with Olson's husband. In 1984 he recruited their family to join Minnehaha United Methodist Church, a progressive congregation in Minneapolis where he was director of contemporary music.

Olson's family has said little about the case over the past decade, and Peterson declined an interview request, saying they want to be left alone.

"Her release of course is a great relief, certainly not as difficult as one more day of incarceration. ... We need to regroup in our home, and preserve our privacy as much as possible, and get our lives coordinated again. We're very happy to reunite," he said in an e-mail. The family still lives in St. Paul.

Olson's supporters may be reticent because they came to realize that public discussion didn't help her cause, said Stephen Cooper, an attorney who helped set up her bail fund.

"These were very private issues and there wasn't any great gain in getting them out into the media," he said.

Many on the left have said Olson's past with the SLA in the 1970s, when she was in her late 20s, should be viewed in the context of those turbulent times. But many on the right view her simply as a domestic terrorist who participated in the SLA's attempt to kill police officers by planting pipe bombs under two squad cars—they failed to explode—and in a bank robbery in which Myrna Opsahl, a 42-year-old mother of four who was depositing a church collection, was slain.

Cooper agreed that people's feelings about Olson have been shaped by what side of the cultural divide they were on.

"Probably for those close to Sara, they came to realize that reopening that divide was not going to close it. That divide was there and is there. It's probably better for Sara to be treated not with the mantle of some sort of icon, but with the mantle of who she is," he said.

One Minnesotan who won't be welcoming Olson's return is Mark Koscielski, a gun store owner who gained notoriety after her arrest by producing bumper stickers that said "Fight Terrorism—Jail Kathleen."

"I think I've been the only one in Minnesota who's had anything bad to say about Sara Jane Olson. And all those bad things I said hold true to this day," he said.

Koscielski (pronounced koh-SHEL'-skee) said he sold about 3,000 of the bumper stickers back then, and donated about $1,500 of the proceeds to the Los Angeles Police Department's widows and orphans fund, as well as $500 to $1,000 to a similar local fund.

"The fact that they're going to release her is a sad day for the law enforcement community. It's really bad when you allow someone out that was hell-bent on killing cops," he said.

The St. Paul Police Federation would rather she stayed in California.

Dave Titus, president of the union, wrote to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last week on behalf of his 650 members, opposing her effort to serve her parole in St. Paul. Like many of her critics, he still uses her old name of Kathleen Soliah.

"Returning Soliah to the same neighborhood that harbored her during her 24-year flight from justice is hardly conducive to strict parole monitoring," Titus wrote. "If having a convicted domestic terrorist living in their midst didn't bother her neighbors, why would the state Department of Corrections think they would report her if she violated parole?"

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