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Former NBA Stars Al Harrington and Larry Hughes Join Forces for New Endeavor in St Louis

Hometown hero and former NBA player Larry Hughes will be opening two cannabis dispensaries and a cultivation and processing center in St. Louis early next year. The new venture, Viola Missouri (VMO), is in partnership with former NBA teammate and veteran cannabis industry executive, Al Harrington and his cannabis company, Village Brands. This new alliance, will benefit from the extensive management experience of best-in-class cannabis operators and the guidance of community leaders like Hughes and business manager, Abe Givins.

Missouri became one of the 33 states who have legalized cannabis for medicinal use in 2018 via the passage of Amendment 2 by a margin of 66 to 34 percent. Currently, more than two thirds of all Americans have access to medical cannabis in their state. Missouri has developed, within its Department of Health and Senior Services, a well-regulated and patient oriented medical program that is currently serving almost 100,000 patients across the state.

“I am honored to bring VMO to life in St. Louis. Over the course of my career in the NBA, and since my retirement, I have focused my energy and resources on being a positive influence in this community. I have championed efforts to break the stigma around mental health and spent a great deal of time helping to develop this city’s young leaders. VMO will serve the medical needs of our community, particularly those suffering with physically and mentally debilitating conditions, including PTSD. I see this next journey as a continuation of the work that we have already done and believe VMO will soon be a model business in our community.” – Larry Hughes

VMO shares the name of Harrington’s first cannabis company,Viola Extracts that was founded in Colorado in 2011. The brand is named after Harrington’s grandmother who used cannabis to treat her glaucoma and diabetes. Over the years, Viola Extracts has become one of the nation’s leading producers and licensed wholesalers of premium quality cannabis products. Viola currently operates in Colorado, Oregon, Michigan, California, and Washington.

“As the largest Black-led and owned multi-state cannabis operator in the United States, Viola has experienced great success leading with purpose every step of the way. I have experienced first-hand the benefits of cannabis on improving the lives of many suffering from a multitude of ailments beginning with my grandmother, Viola. VMO is an exciting new opportunity that will allow us to serve a community that just recently was granted access to medical cannabis and one of which is still actively working to combat the stigma associated with cannabis use.” – Al Harrington

Earlier this year, VMO was awarded four licenses which made them one of 11 fully integrated cannabis operators in the state. VMO also stands as the only Black-owned and operated cannabis company in Missouri. The company plans to generate approximately 75 jobs. Hughes, Harrington, and Givins believe the company’s presence in St. Louis is essential to bringing economic development to economically distressed areas of the city and crucial to bringing diversity to the cannabis industry.

Photo Credit: Brocreative /

The Tampa Bay Rays raises $123K for 211 Tampa Bay Cares

The Tampa Bay Rays hit it out of the park this year, scoring $123,000 in donations, winning the American League Championship and making it an unforgettable season.

Thanks to the Powering Through Together partnership between Duke Energy Florida and the Tampa Bay region’s Major League Baseball team, DEF donated $1,000 per home run to support 211 Tampa Bay Cares. DEF doubled the donation to $2,000 per home run during post-season play.

“Congrats to the Tampa Bay Rays for bringing home the American League Championship title! Our home team scored big for our Powering Through Together partnership which has allowed us to help countless families facing financial challenges and personal hardships through these difficult times,” said Catherine Stempien, Duke Energy Florida president.

The 211 Tampa Bay Cares organization connects the community with important health and social services during these difficult times.

“We are proud and excited to partner with Duke Energy and the Tampa Bay Rays and provide additional resources to our community when they need it most,” said Kathleen Roache, Crisis Center Supervisor at 211 Tampa Bay Cares. “This donation will help us support many of our families and individuals with some of their most essential needs during these challenging times.”

The 211 Tampa Bay Cares free service can help people find local community agencies that provide assistance to meet a wide range of needs, including housing, food, child care, medical expenses and utility bills.

“We are thrilled that together with our longtime partners at Duke Energy, the Rays success in 2020 can help to support families in our community,” said Rays President Brian Auld. “This program also offers an opportunity to highlight the important work of 211 Tampa Bay Cares.”

Photo Credit: David Lee /

Champion Snowboarder Chris Corning’s Film is Out Now

EDGEtv, an adventure lifestyle streaming service, premiered the snowboard film “Teal” yesterday, produced, directed, and featuring six-time World Cup and World Champion Snowboarder Chris Corning, and co-directed and featuring Professional Snowboarder Sam Klein and a cast of amazing riders. Shot across the U.S. and Canada during the 2019/2020 season, the film’s title reflects both the color and sport’s solidarity and uniqueness.

“We called this film ‘Teal’ as we felt it was a unique color that reflected how we feel about our sport as well as the riders we chose to be a part of it,” said Corning.

“EDGEtv is stoked to be collaborating with Chris and Sam on the distribution of their outstanding film,” added EDGEtv’s President Ian Woods. “I am excited to know our audience will share this powerful and authentic experience.”

The film showcases the natural beauty, art, and joy of snowboarding in some of North America’s most unique and visual locations. In addition to Corning and Klein, “Teal” features professional snowboarders Chase Blackwell (Halfpipe), Windham “Lawn Dart” Miller, brothers Conor and Colton Carroll, Brett Moody, Jack Harris, Sam Anderson, TJ Homan, and Pro Snowskater Josh Oakes. These riders and crew bring a stylized millennial lens to riding both the cityscape and backcountry. Beautifully shot among the majestic scenery of Wyoming, Wisconsin, Colorado, Minnesota, Utah, Oregon, and Quebec, “Teal” tells a visual story of the bond of riding a wide variety of conditions and terrain.

Photo Credit: Ipatov /

Washington Football Team Names Andre Chambers as CPO

The Washington Football Team has announced that it will appoint Andre Chambers as Chief People Officer. Andre will oversee front office employee experience and culture, a vital position working directly with Team President Jason Wright. As the newest addition to the executive leadership team, he’ll help to reimagine the structure, people strategy and human resources function as Washington continues its path towards becoming a modern franchise.

“Andre is the perfect fit for this pivotal role at this crucial time for our organization,” said Wright. “With his combination of 20 years of high-level private-sector HR experience and his most recent work with the Oakland A’s, where he established an environment that was awarded a ‘Best Place to Work in Sports’ designation from Front Office Sports, he will lead the development of a culture here that is inclusive, innovative and balances the talent management of our current staff with best-in-class recruitment as we shape the franchise of the future.”

Since Wright’s arrival, considerable work has been done to evolve the organization’s human resources policies and procedures. Andre will be tasked with continuing the organization’s progress and supporting the growth of a talented, diverse and committed front office.

“I’m incredibly excited to join the Washington Football Team during a time of great change and transformation. Jason and the leadership team have an extraordinary vision for this organization, and I look forward to partnering with all of our front office employees to cultivate an amazing place to work,” said Chambers.

Chambers has a 20-year track record in building HR functions and transforming culture, having worked with some of the most respected brands in the world. Prior to his role with the Athletics, Chambers held leadership roles in talent and HR with major corporations, including Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Citigroup, and IBM. He is on the board of the Peralta Colleges Foundation and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the State University of New York (Fredonia) and a master’s degree in Management Systems from Clarkson University.

Photo Credit: dean bertoncelj /

Gordon and Arenado Win 2020 Rawlings Platinum Glove Awards

Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc., announced that left fielder Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals™ and third baseman Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies™ won the 2020 Rawlings Platinum Glove Award™ presented by the Society for American Baseball Research in their respective Leagues. The winners were unveiled tonight exclusively on MLB Network’s Emmy Award-winning ‘MLB Tonight’ at 6 p.m. ET, co-hosted by Stephen Nelson, Dan Plesac and Ron Darling. This makes the fourth consecutive Rawlings Platinum Glove Award for Arenado and Gordon’s second Platinum Glove Award since winning his first in 2014.

Arenado ties catcher Yadier Molina with four Platinum Glove Awards each, the most in either League. He is the first infielder to start his career with eight consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove Awards.

In his final Major League season, Gordon, who has won eight Rawlings Gold Glove Awards throughout his 13-year career, joins Adrian Beltre and Matt Chapman as one of three players in the American League™ to win multiple Rawlings Platinum Glove Awards since the Award’s inception in 2011.

The Rawlings Platinum Glove Award winners are determined by combining votes based on an adjusted SABR Defensive Index™ for each of the nine Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners in each League and votes from baseball fans worldwide.

“Now in its tenth year, the Rawlings Platinum Glove Award gives the fans a chance to weigh in on their favorite defenders in each league while showing their passion and appreciation for superior defensive performance,” said Mike Thompson, chief marketing officer of Rawlings. “It’s always exciting to see who the fans select as Platinum Glove Award winners knowing it means so much to the athletes that are recipients of the honor.”

“We enjoy providing fans with useful metrics and data that can be utilized as they vote for their favorite defenders in the game,” said Scott Bush, chief executive officer of SABR. “The Rawlings Platinum Glove Award presented by SABR is truly recognizing the best of the best when it comes to defensive performance.”

Voting for Rawlings Platinum Glove Award began at the conclusion of the 2020 Rawlings Gold Glove Award Announcement Show that aired on ESPN’s ‘Baseball Tonight’ on Nov. 3, 2020 and ended on Nov. 5. Fans took to to voice who they thought was the best defender in each League.

Photo Credit: Frank Romeo /

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