first_imgBerlin, VT – More than 100 Vermont non-profit organizations have received grants totaling $205,000 from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) in the first half of 2008, the states largest health insurer announced today.The funds are granted to improve health education and promote healthy lifestyles, and for direct services. BCBSVT executives cited the connection between improved health and lower health insurance rates as the incentive for its support and collaboration with community-based organizations receiving the grants. Individual grants typically range between $250 and $2,000.Partnering with like-minded organizations seeking to improve the health of our citizens benefits all of our customers and the state, explained William R. Milnes, Jr., president and CEO. Evidence clearly supports the value of these programs for improving health, and healthier Vermonters require fewer visits to the doctor, thereby helping to contain the cost of insurance premiums.In addition to direct grants, the insurer also administers the Vermont Caring Foundation, a non-profit foundation it created in 2005 to enhance the health and well being of Vermonts children. The Foundation granted nearly $14,000 in the first half of the year to four projects that promote physical activity and combat obesity.Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is the state’s oldest and largest private health insurer, providing coverage for about 180,000 Vermonters. It employs over 350 Vermonters at its headquarters in Berlin and branch office in Williston, and offers group and individual health plans to Vermonters. More information about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is available on the Internet at www.bcbsvt.com(link is external). Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is an independent corporation operating under a license with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.last_img read more

first_imgAdvertisement Mesut Ozil sends message to Arsenal teammates after BATE Borisov defeat Mesut Ozil has sent a message of support to his Arsenal teammates (BPI/REX)Mesut Ozil has urged his Arsenal teammates to ‘bounce back’ from their shock Europa League defeat to BATE Borisov.The Gunners slipped to a 1-0 loss in Belarus and will be without Alexandre Lacazette for the second leg after the French striker was sent off late on.Ozil missed the victory over Huddersfield Town at the weekend due to an illness but he did not travel with the squad to Belarus despite training this week.After the defeat, Ozil posted a message of support to his Arsenal teammates and urged them to make amends in the return leg at the Emirates Stadium next week.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENT‘Not the result we wanted, but we still can do it in the 2nd leg and reach the next round!’ Ozil posted on Twitter.‘Let’s bounce back at the Emirates especially for our fans.’ Metro Sport ReporterThursday 14 Feb 2019 10:54 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link23Shares Ozil was dropped for the game despite training this week (Getty Images)‘For me, today there was no difference to the performance. We deserved to win but didn’t get the result.‘They were very organised defensively and they found the moment in the game.‘It’s not for one player or another. We can win with every player and lose with the same players.’More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenalcenter_img Advertisement Comment Arsenal slipped to a surprise 1-0 defeat to BATE Borisov (BPI/REX)More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityUnai Emery was also evasive when asked after the game if Arsenal miss Ozil’s creativity,’ said the Arsenal manager.‘Every player is okay to play. Today those that were here, we can win with them and we deserved that.‘Last week we won and we played with the same players.last_img read more

first_imgMORE: Top 79 free agents | When is spring training 2019?The Realmuto sweepstakes haven’t exactly captivated the baseball world like those of Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, but the quest for his services has dragged out just as long. Several teams have interest in Realmuto, and for good reason, as he provides value at a position that isn’t among the strongest or deepest in the majors. Since 2016, Realmuto leads all catchers with a 12.3 WAR. He is also under team control until 2021. Basically, every MLB team should want him, so what’s taking so long? For one, the Marlins’ steep asking price — they asked for Cody Bellinger from the Dodgers — has been a big reason talks have stalled. With that said, here are five teams that would make sense as fits as the Realmuto derby reaches its breaking point. Cincinnati RedsThe Reds have been one of the more aggressive teams in the Realmuto sweepstakes, as they seemingly view him as a significant enough upgrade over current catcher and defensive standout Tucker Barnhart, who slashed .258/.332/.384 in 2018. Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported on Monday that the teams were “making progress” on a deal that could involve prospects Taylor Trammell and/or Jonathan India, the No. 2 and 4 ranked prospects in the Reds system, per MLB Pipeline. Cincinnati has spent the whole winter upgrading and have acquired veterans Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood, Tanner Roark and Sonny Gray. How this helps them compete in the difficult NL Central remains to be seen, but Realmuto would certainly help make them more menacing. Their loaded lineup, which features Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, and Scooter Gennett finished in the top 10 in the majors in batting average and on base percentage last season, and Realmuto’s presence would further the Reds’ quest to return to relevance.San Diego PadresAn offseason renaissance of sorts for San Diego has led to rumors of its interest in Manny Machado in addition to its Realmuto pursuit. Austin Hedges took most of the starts behind the plate last year, but Francisco Mejia — one of many top prospects rising through the Friars’ ranks — looms as a possible future backstop, unless of course he is dealt for Realmuto. With 10 top 100 prospects — six of whom reached at least Double A last season — the Padres are capable of outbidding just about anybody. If they can get away with trading just one or two of those 10, the Padres still have Eric Hosmer, Realmuto and the possibility of Machado or Mike Moustakas to go along with its star-studded farm system, making A.J. Preller and Co.’s dream of contending seem closer to a reality. Los Angeles DodgersAfter losing Yasmani Grandal to the Brewers, the Dodgers have one glaring hole on their World Series team: catcher. What do you know, that’s where Realmuto plays!It may seem like a match made in heaven, but Realmuto to the Dodgers may come down to whether they want to focus their resources on a backstop or another starting pitcher, say Corey Kluber.RIVERA: Corey Kluber to the Dodgers? Well…The current Dodgers depth chart consists of Austin Barnes, who had just nine extra-base hits and a .619 OPS last season, and Russell Martin, who hit a career low .194 in 2018. Realmuto won’t serve as much of a drop-off from Grandal — in fact, he may be an upgrade — allowing the 2017 and 2018 NL champs to pick up where they left off. Since it doesn’t appear Bellinger is going anywhere, outfielder Alex Verdugo, the team’s No. 1 prospect, would be a logical headliner in a deal for the 2018 All-Star.Houston AstrosThe Astros are in the same boat as the Dodgers, with the catcher position standing as undoubtedly their biggest weakness, yet a similar dilemma about whether to spend on another catcher versus a pitching upgrade is worth pondering. Catcher Robinson Chirinos signed with the Astros earlier in the winter, but his 2018 numbers (.222/.338/.419) may make him more attractive as a good backup rather than a starter.Houston can offer some of the highest-upside prospects, namely Kyle Tucker and Forrest Whitley, who are both ranked in the top 10 in the league, which makes their pursuit similar to another NL West team, the Padres, in that the fit is there but a deal is dependent on parting with elite prospects. If Houston focuses its attention on free agent Dallas Keuchel, who has played his whole career with the Astros, it may allow another team to swoop in for Realmuto. Atlanta BravesEven though they have reportedly been in discussions with the Fish, the Braves seem like one of the bigger longshots to land Realmuto. With 10 top 100 prospects (sensing a theme?), there is plenty for them to offer, but the possibilities become a little murkier when you consider how the Braves would fit Realmuto in their catching picture.The Braves have $6 million committed to franchise legend Brian McCann, who returned to Hotlanta this offseason, and Tyler Flowers, a serviceable backup last year. Adding a third catcher to that mix doesn’t seem to top their list of priorities. Could J.T. Realmuto be following in the footsteps of Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich?No, an MVP is not definitely in his future, but saying adios from the Marlins sure seems probable. In fact, a long winter’s worth of speculation may be coming to an end shortly with reports that a trade involving the Marlins catcher is close. last_img read more

first_imgConsider two NFC West rivals with hot-shot young offensive-minded head coaches, the 49ers and Rams, have made the past two Super Bowls, each having a shot to win it all until late in the game. File Kingsbury and Arizona under that “out of nowhere” flyer category.Best longshot bet: Houston Texans +6600What would have happened if Bill O’Brien’s team hadn’t blown that big early playoff lead against the Chiefs in Kansas City? There’s been a lot of negative vibes around Houston because of dealing Hopkins, but the bottom line is, it still has the dynamic Deshaun Watson lifting up the team with his arm and legs. J.J. Watt still has plenty left in the tank to help get the best out of a defense in transition, too.BOB gets plenty of heat for his GM decisions, but he still has Watson to maximize his offense and mask some issues on both sides. Look, the Texans shouldn’t be in the top 10 of Super Bowl favorites, but they shouldn’t be in the bottom 10 of the league, either. They, unlike many teams with similar Super Bowl odds, have a superstar QB with championship pedigree and have punched easy playoff tickets in four of the past five seasons.Super Bowl 55 odds for 2021, from best to worstKansas City Chiefs +650Baltimore Ravens +700New Orleans Saints +1000San Francisco 49ers +1000Tampa Bay Buccaneers +1200Dallas Cowboys +1600Green Bay Packers +2000Indianapolis Colts +2000New England Patriots +2000Philadelphia Eagles +2000Pittsburgh Steelers +2200Seattle Seahawks +2200Buffalo Bills +2500Minnesota Vikings +2500Tennessee Titans +2800Cleveland Browns +3000Chicago Bears +4000Arizona Cardinals +5000Atlanta Falcons +5000Denver Broncos +5000Los Angeles Chargers +5000Los Angeles Rams +6000Detroit Lions +6600Houston Texans +6600Las Vegas Raiders +8000New York Giants +8000Miami Dolphins +10000New York Jets +12500Carolina Panthers +15000Cincinnati Bengals +15000Washington Redskins +20000Jacksonville Jaguars +25000 Looking at the updated Super Bowl futures for 2021, courtesy of SportsInsider.com, there are clear, unsurprising favorites on top, followed by hot rising sleepers and several playoff caliber wild cards. Then there’s the bottom quarter of the league, making up the eight real long shots.MORE: Get the latest odds at SportsInsider.comHere’s are the best bets to consider through those tiers, based on the teams’ current values:Best overall bet: Tampa Bay Buccaneers +1200The Bucs finished 7-9 last season with a prolific but mistake-prone passing offense, an elite run defense, a good pass rush and an improving secondary. They have immense sklll position talent around Tom Brady and a coach, Bruce Arians, used to quick turnarounds with older handpicked QBs. Brady’s old team, the Patriots (+2000) have newfound Super Bowl momentum with Newton, but after free agency and the draft as a whole, it’s arguable the Bucs have fewer concerns and more definitive answers. The NFC is tough, starting with the Buccaneers’ foes in the South, but it’s more wide open than the AFC to give rise to a previous non-playoff team, much like the 49ers in 2019. The AFC is more top-heavy. The Saints are probably overrated with better odds in the same division as the Buccaneers, while Bills are underrated AFC East competition for the Patriots. The Bucs are less likely to settle for a wild card and more likely to rise a top-two seed in their conference.Best favorite bet: Kansas City Chiefs +650The NFL hasn’t seen repeat Super Bowl winners since the Patriots won back-to-back titles in the 2003 and 2004 seasons. The Chiefs, thanks to the game’s top quarterback and transcedent talent Patrick Mahomes, are the most legitimate non-New England threat to do so since Russell Wilson’s Seahawks in 2014.For some, going with the chalk might seem uninspiring. But everything that involves Mahomes is exciting and he definitely has the look of the next multiple-ring QB.Best sleeper bet: Pittsburgh Steelers +2200The Steelers’ defense was dominant enough and made plenty of big plays to put them on the brink of the playoffs of 8-8, despite fielding an absolute disaster at quarterback filling in for Ben Roethlisberger. Now the two-ringed Roethlisberger is back healthy and rejuvenated and can show how loaded the team is with its remixed young skill-position weapons.Pittsburgh is in elite company against the pass and also returns the league’s best pass rush (54 sacks). That’s the profile that has helped the team win its most recent Super Bowls with Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin. The key for the Steelers will be a resurgence in their rushing offense to serve as a better complement to everything they want to do on both sides of the ball. They have more appeal than the Patriots, Eagles and Seahawks around the same odds.Best wild-card bet: Arizona Cardinals +5000The No. 1 overall pick QBs around Kyler Murray, Baker Mayfield and Joe Burrow, have great potential to reach a Super Bowl at some point in their careers. Murray had limited help in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense but still won OROY for his confident passing and running in 2019.Getting DeAndre Hopkins as his go-to wide receiver and rookie Josh Jones to shore up right tackle are huge for Murray to “take the next step”, now buoyed by the right feature back in Kenyan Drake. Defensively, the Cardinals have many elements, led by rookie linebacker Isaiah Simmons, to be much improved. Considering the many changes of a unique and challenging NFL offseason, the odds for which teams will reach Super Bowl 55 are especially difficult to pin down.This week, for example, the Patriots’ decision to sign Cam Newton bumped up their chances across the board, even though Newton still needs to earn their starting quarterback job.last_img read more