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NFL: Fans in St. Louis can flush away anger at Kroenke

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(Reuters) – Three years after leaving St. Louis for the glamor of Tinseltown, the Rams are going to the Super Bowl, adding an extra sucker punch for many fans in the team’s old hometown.

FILE PHOTO: Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke looks on during the first half of a NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks in Los Angeles, California, U.S., September 18, 2016. Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

Rams owner Stan Kroenke seems to be particularly reviled in St. Louis, so much so that one chain of sports bars has gone to extra lengths to give erstwhile fans an avenue to flush away their anger.

Hotshots will install 35 urinal guards sprinkled through their nine locations, each with a mugshot of Kroenke in the center to help their male customers aim.

They will do similar with their Kroenke-pictured dartboards, giving female patrons a chance to get in on the action too.

Beer will also be discounted each time New England scores a touchdown, in the “Slam the Rams” promotion.

Hotshots director of marketing Justin Boyd said the light-hearted promotion was a response to the void felt by football fans since the Rams left town.

According to Boyd, it was not so much losing the Rams franchise that upset St. Louis fans as the manner in which it happened that created so much bitterness.

The Rams left St. Louis even though the city council had approved the construction of a $1.1 billion stadium, which would have included $150 million in city money, with the rest coming from the state of Missouri, the NFL and Kroenke.

“Stan quite frankly treated our city poorly and really projected us in a negative way to get to his end game to get out to LA,” Boyd said in a telephone interview.

“He and his gang of henchmen went scorched earth on us, said St. Louis wasn’t a city for any team, not just the Rams.

“We had a new stadium ready (to be built). It wasn’t so much the end result as the intent, that left us holding the bag. He drove the product into the ground.”

Boyd said there were still small pockets of Rams fans in the city, but he did not expect many at the company’s bars for Super Bowl.

“The Super Bowl is not a huge bar day anymore. It’s much more a house party day,” he said.

St. Louis still has two major league sports teams — baseball’s Cardinals and ice hockey’s Blues — and the Cardinals especially have a connection to the city, having been in town for well over a century.

Moreover, they have enjoyed plenty of success, winning the World Series 11 times, while the Rams ended their two-decade stay in St. Louis with nine consecutive losing seasons.

“The Cards were always the top dog, even when the Rams were still here,” said Boyd.

Nevertheless, the NFL is the undisputed king of American sports leagues — based on television ratings and rights-fees — and not having a team hurts.

A replacement of sorts will come to St. Louis when the revamped XFL, which shut down after one season in 2001, starts back up next year, not so much a serious rival to the NFL but more of an off-season curiosity for fans who can’t get too much football.

Eight teams will contest a short 10-game season that will start only days after the Super Bowl next February.

St. Louis is the only city with an XFL team that does not also have an NFL franchise, and Boyd thinks there could be a market.

“Football fans in St. Louis are starved,” he said.

“I think there could be some real viability to serve fans who still want to enjoy football.”

Whatever success the XFL team has, though, is most unlikely to fill to void left by the Rams’ departure.

“He really stuck it to us,” Boyd said of Kroenke.

“There is a large hole missing not having a football team.”

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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We’ve got this mountain of trash – why don’t we ski down it?

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COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – What to do with the mountain of garbage a major metropolitan area produces is an age-old question. Copenhagen has come up with a brand-new answer: ski down the mountain.

Well, not exactly. The waste is actually inside Copenhill, a waste-treatment plant 10 minutes from downtown Copenhagen. Its main facility is a futuristic building with a sloping roof 85 meters high that’s covered in a material called neveplast. It looks just like a ski slope, except it’s green.

“I think everybody is surprised to start with when they look at it and it’s not snow,” said Christian Ingels, the director at Copenhill. “It’s green dry-slope material. After one or two runs, your mind is automatically adjusting so you feel exactly like skiing.”

Designed by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, the plant is an important step in Copenhagen’s ambition to become the world’s first carbon-neutral capital. It’s an attempt to build a waste-treatment plant that local residents are happy to see come to their neighborhood. It seems to be working.

“It’s a fantastic experience in the middle of a city to be able to do what you do like the most,” said visiting skier Pelle Hansen. “Instead of having to go six, seven, eight or ten hours to a ski destination, you can be here in ten minutes.”

The plant will also burn waste from around 600,000 residents and 68,000 businesses to produce electricity and district heating, will be sent back to the resident. It will also recycle some of the waste.

The plant began operating in 2017, and the recreational part will open permanently this spring. The slope will open year-round.

“It’s fantastic that one can ski without snow,” said ski slope visitor Tommy Christensen. “It’s a slightly different experience than to skiing in real snow, but it’s my second run and I’ll try it again. It looks promising.”

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen, editing by Larry King

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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'Tinder for cows' matches livestock in the mood for love

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A Tinder-inspired app is helping farmers match up potential partners for their cattle.

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Toronto police probe hurling of chair from high-rise balcony

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TORONTO (Reuters) – Toronto police said on Monday they are investigating an incident of a woman hurling a chair from the balcony of a high-rise condominium that was captured on a video that went viral.

The video, captioned “Good morning,” shows a woman with long, blond hair and dressed in black picking up a chair on the balcony and then looking over the balcony while holding the chair. She then stands up straight and looks into the camera as she appears to speak briefly before turning and throwing the chair off the balcony.

The video shows the chair falling toward a busy highway seen below, though police said the chair landed on the condo building’s entrance. No one was injured or killed in the incident, which occurred on Saturday, Toronto Police Service media relations officer David Hopkinson said.

It caught the attention of users of Reddit who expressed safety concerns and sparked the police investigation.

Hopkinson said he first noticed the video on Sunday and was “outraged” by the incident. He said the woman also threw multiple other objects from the balcony, though only the chair was shown on the video.

Hopkinson said the woman in the video could be charged with common nuisance and mischief, endangering life, which is an extreme level of “mischief.” He said the police are seeking the public’s help in identifying the woman.

Incidents involving objects from high-rise building have come to police attention before, Hopkinson said. “There’s quite a number of things investigated thrown from bridges, condos, towers, other high places,” he said. “People do foolish things.”

Reporting by Tyler Choi; Editing by Leslie Adler

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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