Best Men’s Clothing Store
M. Dumas and Sons

T opping the list with Best Men’s Clothing Store yet again is M. Dumas and Sons. A downtown retailer founded in 1917, M. Dumas has evolved into an iconic men’s specialty clothing store. Initially, M. Dumas and Sons was known as a uniform shop for service jobs. As such, the store was once the sole provider of uniforms for naval officers stationed in Charleston. M. Dumas and Sons later transitioned into a full-time men’s apparel arena in 1993, and now offers customers one of the widest assortments of men’s specialty brands in the nation. Pushing through the pandemic and quarantine was incredibly challenging, even for a generation-spanning local business, said owner Gary Flynn. 

“This is something that had never happened before,” he told City Paper in a previous report. “We’ve made it through the Great Depression, two world wars, stock market crashes — we’ve been open through it all. The only time we physically closed the store outside of a holiday is when there was a hurricane bearing down on us.”

But like many other local staples in Charleston, M. Dumas and Sons managed to survive yet again, and came out at the top of the Lowcountry men’s apparel world.


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That’s what Frederica Academy head coach Gabe Gabriel likes when his Lady Knights take the field. Controlling matches and possession of the soccer ball.

However, Coach Gabriel couldn’t control Mother Nature as she made her way through Bibb County with tornado warnings around the area. That pushed the Lady Knights semifinal matchup with defending champions Augusta Prep Day to 2 p.m. today.

“It was a decision that I don’t think (Mercer) had thought they would have to make until yesterday,” Gabriel said of the inclement weather. “I don’t know what the forecast had done because, to be honest, I hadn’t looked at them. We haven’t had to deal with much weather recently. Apparently, the system pumped up and Mercer University decided yesterday around noon that the field would be unplayable Friday and Saturday. So they had to push us to the turf field which was unavailable today because of the GHSA state championships, so we had to play on Saturday. It may have enhanced what the decision Mercer had to make in terms of their facilities.”

With the game being pushed back a day, Gabriel said it’s not a terrible situation the four finalists have been dealt with, knowing his team stayed prepared.

“I won’t complain about having another day to prepare,” Gabriel said. “Being able to train and have a full training session Thursday was nice, even though it was a little rushed and not as planned out as I typically like. We got something out of it. We are just preparing for the game being tomorrow and changing travel. It’s been a whirlwind.”

As the team prepared to head up to Mercer University on Thursday night, the change in plans gave coach Gabriel one final training session Friday.

“We are going to do a short preparation training right after school and then leave directly after that,” Gabriel said. “Already had hotel rooms booked as it was. We will get the girls up there and make sure they are fully focused and limited distractions and hopefully be ready for kickoff today.”

Although the Lady Knights are dealing with end-of school studies — AP exams, normal exams and end-of-school plays — Gabriel knows his group put up a strong week of practice.

“I think with all of that our girls have been focused,” Gabriel said. “With a younger group, the leadership with our three seniors has been key. Just bringing their experience and their mentality and state of mind into training this week has been great for us for that bigger younger core. I’m happy with what we have done so far and I hope we can continue with that in our little hour session today.

“It’s a grind, I have girls taking AP exams up until four o’clock, rushing to get to practice to get ready to go at 4:30. They don’t have very much of a break at all. These days are some of the most important so credit to them or being able to go through all

Wahconah boys basketball head coach Dustin Belcher said it best after the Warriors advanced to the Division IV Elite Eight with a win over West Bridgewater on Tuesday — “There’s no more gimme’s, you’re going to have to go get it now.”

Wahconah is one of seven local teams within reach of an MIAA State Title and just three rounds to go before a winner is crowned. Tickets for each Elite Eight game can be found at gofan.co/search and the games will be played on Friday and Saturday.


Wahconah boys bottle up West Bridgewater in MIAA D-IV State Sweet 16 basketball game

The Warriors put three scorers north of 20 points in dispatching No. 20 West Bridgewater and securing their spot in the Elite Eight.

Fourth-seeded Wahconah has two double-digit Division IV wins in the back pocket, topping Whitinsville 65-52 in the Round of 32 before Tuesday’s 83-67 victory over the Wildcats.

Brody Calvert has been inevitable on offense with 26 points in each of the last two games. Wahconah’s guard averages 22 points per game on the year and Jesse Chapman has established himself as a strong running mate for Calvert, scoring 21 points in each of the last two games after not surpassing 19 points during the regular season. Pat McLaughlin added another 21 points in Tuesday’s win and Wahconah’s 83 points is the second-most we’ve seen from the team this season. The Warriors scored 85 points against Easthampton on February 11.

Wahconah will need all the firepower it can muster against No. 12 Manchester Essex on Saturday. The Hornets have been a machine on the defensive end, allowing 41.5 points per game through two rounds of the tournament. Manchester, which topped No. 5 Cathedral 47-44 in the Round of 16, will make the 160-mile trip to Dalton and the tip-off is slated for 5:30 p.m.

The six other teams in the hunt for a state title all reside in D-V, but for the two top-seeded teams, they’ve been chasing postseason treasure for some time now. The Taconic boys and Hoosac Valley girls earned the honors of No. 1 seeds in the bracket. Additionally, both teams are looking for complete control of the throne after earning the title of co-champions when the 2020 season was cut short after state semifinal wins.


Taconic boys basketball overcomes slow start, mows down Salem Academy in MIAA D-V Sweet 16

Christian Maturevich did a bit of everything and scored 20 points as Taconic punched its Elite 8 ticket on Monday evening in Pittsfield.

When the Green and Gold are in a tournament, odds are that title will have to run through Pittsfield. The first thing that stands out about top-seeded Taconic is consistency, winning 65-48 against No. 33 Upper Cape Cod before handling No. 16 Salem Academy Charter 63-48 in the Round of 16.

Taconic’s depth has really shined since the state tournament began. Sam Sherman (14.5 ppg), Tayvon Sandifer (14 ppg), Christian Maturevich (13 ppg) and Sean Harrigan (10 ppg) have all had stretches of carrying the offense throughout 16 state-tournament quarters. Hopkins Academy is coming off a thriller, just sneaking past No. 9 Hopedale 62-61 in the

“In order to mitigate negative staffing impacts on Texas healthcare systems and EMS agencies, the state of Texas will only allow personnel deploying for this emergency response to be NON-RESIDENTS of Texas only and to have not been employed by a Texas Acute Care hospital or EMS agency within 30 days.

This is mandated from the state of Texas. All healthcare workers with applicable licensure are eligible for ANY Krucial Staffing contract opportunities that are direct agreements and not directed by entities outside of the healthcare facility,” Krucial Staffing posted on Instagram.

A quick search on several travel nurse job boards will find many job postings stating that Texas is not currently accepting nurses who are residents and who work in Texas to work for FEMA or government-funded disaster contracts. Here is one such job posting. 

We reached out to Krucial Staffing for information on the mandate and instructions on how out-of-state nurses can apply. Here is their response,

We are following the mandate from the state of Texas that those healthcare personnel Krucial Staffing recruits for deployment in Texas must be non-residents of Texas and cannot have been employed by a Texas Acute Care hospital or EMS agency within 30 days.

All healthcare workers that meet this standard and have applicable licensure are eligible for any Krucial Staffing contract opportunities that are direct agreements and not directed by entities outside of the healthcare facility.

Our mission is to help the hospitals and ultimately the individuals who are suffering in their greatest time of need. If you are interested in applying with Krucial Staffing, please go to this link. 

Details

Governor Abbott passed a mandate that prohibits Texas residents who are currently employed from working for FEMA or state-funded disaster response agencies. The problem apparently lies in this sentence from his August 9, 2021 press release announcing the actions he planned to take in response to rising COVID-19 cases: “The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) will be utilizing staffing agencies to provide medical personnel from out-of-state to Texas health care facilities to assist in COVID-19 operations.”

Apparently, that little stipulation that the medical personnel is from out-of-state has resulted in current employed Texas nurses or current travelers based in Texas being unable to work government-funded disaster response contracts if they have been employed at a hospital within the state in the past 30 days.

Texas in Dire Need of Thousand of Nurses

Texas is looking to fill 6,500 healthcare positions from out-of-state or unemployed Texas nurses to help with the COVID-19 response. Texas is dealing with a record number of ICU hospitalizations from COVID-19 and thanks to a severe shortage of nurses, the state has extended its state of emergency. 

Last Monday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott requested help from the Texas Department of State in dealing with the surge in cases. Part of that help included funding to hire travel nurses as outlined in the document titled, “Governor Abbott’s Proactive Response To The Coronavirus Threat.”

However,

KANKAKEE — After being a state-recognized school for nearly all of its 40-year history, Kankakee Trinity Academy was moved to “unrecognized” status for not enforcing the state mask mandate, and its leaders have decided to seek accreditation elsewhere.

The private pre-K – 12 school was notified of the change in status in an Aug. 30 letter from the Illinois State Board of Education, which indicated that the school had lost access to state funding and its ability to participate in Illinois Elementary School Association and Illinois High School Association competitions.

In response, school leaders said they will not implement the mask mandate, and instead they have begun the process to gain accreditation with the Association of Christian Schools International.

Tom Brands, president of the KTA Board of Directors, said the board discussed seeking accreditation with this organization several years ago, but the move was tabled.

In light of the mask issue, that option became a more serious consideration, he said.

“We are so closely aligned with what we require, that we do not believe there will be much to this process,” Brands said. “In other words, we already have a lot of things in place that they require.”

In a letter to parents regarding the decision, the board said the school has begun the “Crosswalk to Accreditation” process and anticipates KTA will gain full accreditation with the organization by Jan. 1, 2022.

“Full accreditation with ACSI means that your child will have access to any college or university throughout the world,” the letter states.

Higher education institutions require high school diplomas from schools with official accreditation and/or state recognition.

Principal Brad Prairie added that the school has been a member of the ACSI for at least 20 years, but it has not pursued accreditation from the organization until now.

KTA was founded in 1981, and in February 1983, it was evaluated and granted full recognition status by ISBE following a visit from the state, according to the school’s website.

“It’s been a blessing for us to be recognized [by the state] for 40 years,” Prairie said. “We are appreciative of that.”

Prairie said the only state money KTA receives is Title II funding, which is designated for training teachers and principals, but the school does not rely heavily on state funds in the same way public schools do.

The letter from ISBE also indicated the school would no longer be eligible for the Children’s Tuition Fund, a tax-credit program for private schools, Prairie said.

“[State funding] is very minimal,” Brands added. “It’s not anything that impacts our decision whatsoever. The state does almost nothing for us.”

For athletics, Prairie said students will still compete against other Christian schools.

“It would involve some travel,” Prairie noted. “We would definitely be traveling more than if we were playing locally. You have northwestern Indiana schools, the suburbs of Chicago; there’s lots of directions where there’s Christian schools.”

School officials declined to comment on COVID-19 concerns or other precautions the school is taking in

KUALA LUMPUR (BLOOMBERG) – Malaysia plans to reopen the tourist haven of Langkawi islands as it renews efforts to rebuild parts of the economy worst hit by the pandemic.

Langkawi, in the state of Kedah, will open to locals under a travel bubble plan from Sept 16, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a statement on Thursday (Sept 2). Other destinations will be allowed to operate when the locality’s vaccination rate hits 80 per cent, he said.

Malaysia is preparing for life with Covid-19 even as daily cases remain elevated, mirroring Thailand’s tourism-reopening plan based on a pilot project in the popular resort island of Phuket.

Covid-19 will be treated as endemic and it is time for Malaysians to learn to live with the virus, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said at a briefing on Wednesday.

New infections have soared despite the containment measures, hitting a record 24,599 in a single day late last month and turning the country into South-east Asia’s Covid-19 hot spot. The nation added 20,988 cases on Thursday.

Still, the virus’ effective reproduction rate, or R-naught, has fallen below 1 nationwide for the first time in few months, Ismail Sabri said, amid an increase in vaccination.

More than 84 per cent of the adult population has received at least one dose, and 64 per cent has been fully inoculated, according to the health ministry.

Based on projected data, the average vaccination rate among adults in each state is expected to reach 80 per cent by month-end, and 100 per cent by end of October, Ismail Sabri said.

“Eventually we have to live with Covid-19 as is the case around the world,” he said.

Meantime, Melaka state will move into the second phase, and Negeri Sembilan into the third stage of the national recovery plan from Saturday after meeting the threshold limits in reducing Covid-19 infections, the prime minister said.

The decision was made by the National Security Council, which will now be renamed as the Special Committee on Pandemic Management, he said. The committee will include representatives from opposition parties as well.

Glynn Academy’s softball team has started their season on a roll under third-year coach Dawn Ketcham.

They’ve rallied off four straight wins after starting the season off with two straight losses.

“The girls are doing a great job of buying into what we have going on,” Ketcham said. “They are really coming together as a team. This year, we are a small team. We have 10 for junior varsity and 10 for varsity but everyone is working hard to get us to come together and make the varsity team better.”

For many, 10 players might seem like a struggle to get quality performances out of players.

Before COVID-19, Ketcham liked having her roster size around 11 players as she found it to be the perfect number for her. This year she has had to make do with the small roster size.

“Right now, with us having so much sickness that travels around with everybody,” Ketcham said. “The fact that we also have a few injuries that have come up, a couple of extra girls would have been great. That was just the number that we had come out, so that’s what we had to work with.”

Glynn Academy has made the most of its small roster size as the season has progressed into the last month of regular season play. Ketcham knows her players are fundamentally sound both offensively and defensively. All it took was meshing personalities and clicking as a group.

“I think we are finally getting to the point where we are seeing that click,” Ketcham said of her team. “Over the summer, nothing is mandatory it’s all optional. I understand because it’s time for families to go on vacation, it’s when they go to softball camps and travel teams finish up their seasons. It’s really hard for us in July when we need to start coming together, it’s hard for us to get everyone there. It took a minute to see how we were going to play as a team,”

“It could have taken a lot more than two games, but those first two games were kind of ugly. Once the girls realized what their roles were going to be, I think that they’ve seen what they are going to do and where they are going to be, this is what we need to make happen.”

The players have bought into their roles under Ketcham as she has her players play specific roles under her.

A few of the specific players that have seen improvement over the course of the season are ones who started the season with the junior varsity team.

“We have had a couple of players that were on the JV team to start with, and they have stepped it up,” Ketcham said. “I’m carrying them and they are playing some JV time, but they have stepped it up enough that I’m also carrying them with the varsity team. Which has helped with us having some girls that have been sick or injured, it’s

Florida has recovered more than 950,000 jobs since the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the nation’s economy last spring with mandatory business shutdowns that inflicted sudden but enduring damage on the Sunshine State’s $90 billion tourist/hospitality industry.

According to Florida Chamber of Commerce Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish, the state has come a long way since the mass furloughs and layoffs of April 2020, which temporarily cost as many as 1.3 million Floridians their jobs.

“We still have a few more (jobs to gain) to go get back to the peak of 9 million non-farm jobs” in the state, Parrish said in a recently-posted August edition of the Chamber’s Florida By the Numbers video presentation.

Get more from the Citrus County Chronicle

Citing the metrics in the Chamber’s Florida Scorecard, Parrish said about 315,800 jobs that existed before the pandemic have not, thus far, been “recovered,” even though the number of jobs available in the state now exceeds job openings prior to March 2020.

“Of the 315,800 jobs we are still trying to recover,” Parrish said, 63% – or about 194,000 jobs – are in the economy’s leisure and hospitality sector. The state has not recovered 30,000 education and health service jobs or 27,000 jobs in the trade and transportation sector, according to the Chamber.

Since January, Florida businesses have restored 264,300 jobs of the 950,000 that have been recovered since April 2020. That pace is accelerating, especially in the leisure/hospitality sector, Parrish said.

“In the last two months, there has been a recovery of nearly 140,000 jobs,” he said.

Parrish said despite the loss of more than 300,000 former jobs, Florida employers still face a “workforce crisis as we work our way back to pre-COVID numbers” because they are finding it difficult to fill new positions.

“Currently, we have 545,200 jobs looking for people, an increase from last month’s 528,300, and 530,000 people still looking for jobs – simply not enough Floridians with the proper skills to fill in the gaps,” Parrish said, citing last week’s unemployment figures posted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor that said Florida’s unemployment rate was 5.1%, more than 1.2% higher than February 2020.

Florida’s June unemployment rate was 5%, reflecting that an estimated 523,000 Floridians qualified as unemployed from a workforce of 10.398 million. That rate was 5.1% in July with 530,000 qualifying as unemployed.

State officials, repeatedly pointing to businesses struggling to find workers, in June reinstated a “work search” rule that requires people claiming unemployment benefits to apply for five jobs a week.

Gov. Ron DeSantis also suspended Florida’s participation in a federal program that offered $300 a week to unemployed people on top of the maximum $275 a week in state benefits.

The fact that “the unemployment rate is going up just means more people are looking forward jobs,” Parrish said, noting the rate “is not something to worry about” because, in the grand scheme of things, Florida is expecting 4 million new residents who will create the need to

HAHIRA – The Valwood Valiants officially kick their season off this Friday as they travel to St. Simons Island to battle their rivals, the Frederica Academy Knights.

The Valiants hope to have the same success they had last season in their season opener as they beat Georgia Christian to get the football season underway. The 1-0 marker didn’t last long due to the Knights coming in the following week to hand them their first loss.

The Valiants and Knights are well-acquainted with each other over the past four years, with some of their meetings happening in the playoffs.

The Vailants have won three of the last four games in the series with the Knights taking a road win last year at Goddard Field.

Payback could be served Friday night as the two teams square off once again.

Gearing up for his fourth season at Valwood, head coach Justin Henderson has the utmost respect for the Knights.

“It’s been a tough one the last couple years,” Henderson said. “They have done a fantastic job building their program over there and the play a good, physical brand of football. It’s always a great early season test for both programs. The last four years, one of these teams has played for the state championship.”

The Knights, coached by Brandon Derrick, are coming off of a 9-4 season and looking to repeat the same output they got from last year.

Sophomore running back Jordan Triplett, who had a field day with the Valwood defense last year, is back. Triplett scored two touchdowns and posted 167 yards of total offense against the Valiants last year.

In preparation for the Knights, Henderson knows his defense must come at the young back tougher this year.

“We have to tackle their running back Triplett, who had his way with us last year,” Henderson said. “He’s big, fast and physical, so we have to get him down on contact.”

The Valiants will have Dru Womack leading the team at the quarterback position this year as he looks to lead Valwood past the Knights this Friday.

Womack was big last year for the Valiants in the passing game as a pass-catcher. This year, he will be delivering the ball to his weapons.

Friday’s game will be the season opener for both teams and each will be looking to see what they need to fix and what they are great at to start the season.

Henderson wants his quarterback to have good day this Friday.

“I hope he leads, keeps his composure and has a good mental day,” Henderson said. “When we call on him to pass, I’d like to see him get the ball out on time and make the correct reads.”

Kickoff for tonight’s game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.



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Fishers Sports Academy Celebrates 5th Anniversary

Writer / Ryan Kennedy
Photographer / Eli Beaverson

Fishers Sports Academy

Five years ago, Ed Woolwine saw a need in his community and decided to address it.

“At that time five years ago, or actually even before that, I used to be the travel director for youth sports here in Fishers,” says Woolwine, an Ohio native who moved to Indiana in 1994. “It was hard for teens to find indoor practice space and training. At that time when I was the travel director, I would sublet places that had open space during the winter. I would sublet back to leagues so they could have their travel teams in there, and it was cost efficient.”

Woolwine was introduced to co-owner Kyle Bach, who he says was looking for space in the community and had interest in opening up a place of his own. The two men decided to become business partners, and opened up Fishers Sports Academy.

“It’s a baseball and softball academy, along with movement, speed and agility training,” Woolwine says. “We opened it as a community-based program. For the first two years it went well. We developed this for the need of our community – a training facility that’s in close proximity to Fishers. We went to the baseball board and we had all the travel teams come into our facility. We also tried to reach out to softball, and at first we had a few, but not many to come into Fishers Sports Academy. In recent years, people have wanted bigger and better.”

Woolwine says that over time, Fishers Sports Academy lost the travel teams it relied on for business to other, larger facilities around central Indiana.

“Then COVID happened,” he says.

Because of this, according to Woolwine, Fishers Sports Academy has not grown in the way he and Bach anticipated five years ago. While Fishers Sports Academy still trains full teams, the facility has come to rely on its personal training program.

“We do a very good job personal training – one on one training,” Woolwine says. “We have wonderful instructors. They’ve helped us sustain that market through personal relationships, strong training and development, and withstanding the competition with our staff. Personal training doesn’t leave because the place is bigger. Personal training stays from the expertise and the energy you give to a young man or young woman.”

Fishers Sports Academy

The 10 trainers on staff work with individual clients on everything from pitching and hitting to speed and agility. Each training regimen is customized specifically to address each client’s needs.

“I and my instructors evaluate them on their first session, either on hitting or pitching, and then we have a conversation even on our movement training, which is speed and agility,” Woolwine says. “Then we have a discussion with their parents on the best avenue to follow and cost associated with that.”

Woolwine says this attention to detail sets Fishers Sports Academy apart from its competition and, more importantly,