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Census says deadline can be reached with tech, nonstop work

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Technology and working around the clock should allow the U.S. Census Bureau to crunch numbers from the 2020 census in half the time originally allotted, but if the work isn't completed by a year-end deadline, the statistical agency will take the extra time needed to finish it, bureau officials said Wednesday.“Our plan right now is if we need more time to fix a problem that comes up, we are taking it," Al Fontenot, an associate director for decennial census programs, said during a news conference by telephone. “We are maintaining flexibility to get the job done in a quality way."Advocacy groups are concerned that the Census Bureau is rushing the data-processing phase of the once-a-decade census in order to meet a Dec. 31 deadline for turning in numbers used for divvying up congressional seats by states — a process known as apportionment. The census also determines the distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal spending each year.“The bureau urgently needs more time to process the data," said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.Bureau statisticians only started crunching the numbers last week after the Supreme Court ruled the Trump administration could stop the head count of every U.S. resident, leaving them only two and a half months to process apportionment data collected from the nation's households.The Census Bureau originally planned to have five months for processing the apportionment data under a plan that was developed in response to the pandemic. Under that plan, field operations would have been extended through Oct. 31, and data processing of the apportionment numbers would have continued through April 2021. But the Commerce Department, which oversees the Census Bureau, decided to end the count early so that data processing would be finished by Dec. 31. That came after requests to extend the deadlines passed the Democratic-controlled House but didn't go anywhere in the GOP-controlled House. Sticking to a Dec, 31 deadline would allow the Trump administration to control the data processing of the apportionment numbers no matter who wins the presidential election next month. That would give the Commerce Department the opportunity to implement an order from President Donald Trump attempting to exclude people in the country illegally from the apportionment count, according to civil rights groups and local government sued the Trump administration over the census timetable.A panel of three judges in New York said the order was unlawful, but the Trump administration has appealed to the Supreme Court.Civil rights groups and local governments are still holding out hope that the deadline for the apportionment numbers gets extended, either through ongoing lawsuits or by Congress.The only step that would be eliminated to meet the year-end deadline is one that double-checked a nationwide file of addresses, Fontenot said.To meet the Dec. 31 deadline, the Census Bureau will process the apportionment numbers first and worry about numbers used for drawing legislative districts until after the new year. Census Bureau employees will work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and the bureau is using computers that work faster than a decade ago, Fontenot said.Advocacy groups have real doubts about the quality of the data collected. But Tim Olson, the bureau's associate director for field operations, on Wednesday said early indicators suggest “a very good census," despite the pandemic, Gulf Coast hurricanes and western wildfires.“This has been the greatest challenge that all of us who manage the census have ever encountered in our lives," Olson said.___Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAP

College Football Picks: Big Ten returns to Big Ten weather

Just as Big Ten weather hits the Midwest comes the start of the Big Ten football season.The conference that called off fall football in August only to reverse course a month later kicks off a nine-week season with no breaks and five teams already in the AP Top 25.No. 14 Wisconsin and Illinois get things rolling Friday night at Camp Randall. “Jump Around” won't be the same between the third and fourth quarters without fans in the stands, but with a high of 49 degrees and showers forecast for Madison, it will be a perfect setting for Badgers-style bully ball.No schools pushed harder for the Big Ten to play through the pandemic than Ohio State and Nebraska. The fifth-ranked Buckeyes open at home against the Cornhuskers as a huge favorite. The forecast calls for 54 and mostly cloudy in Columbus.The Huskers drew the toughest early season schedule in the reboot, getting Wisconsin next week and No. 8 Penn State in the Big Ten's week four. Nebraska was also the most openly critical of the Big Ten's decision to postpone. Coincidence?The Nittany Lions open at Indiana, a scrappy team coming off an eight-win season. It will be 55 and mostly cloudy in Bloomington.The showcase game in primetime is No. 18 Michigan at No. 21 Minnesota in the Little Brown Jug game. The temperature in Minneapolis is expected to be in the mid-20s.Let's not forget the Mountain West also starts this week to provide some late-night viewing that has been sorely lacking in a season that so far has mostly played out in the Eastern and Central time zones.Kicking off at 10:30 p.m. ET will be UNLV at San Diego State and Air Force at San Jose State.Grab a blanket and a warm drink, sink into the couch, and enjoy the first long and chilly day of the college football season.The picks:FRIDAYIllinois (minus 19 1/2) at No. 14 WisconsinBadgers have won their last three openers by a combined 129 points ... WISCONSIN 35-14.SATURDAYSyracuse (plus 46) at No. 1 ClemsonOrange have allowed 701 yards rushing in the last two games; RUSHING! ... CLEMSON 52-10. No. 2 Alabama (minus 21) at TennesseeThe Crimson Tide winning streak against the Vols is 13, including the last four by an average of 34 points ... ALABAMA 47-13.No. 3 Notre Dame (minus 10 1/2) at PittsburghIrish have played Pitt 15 times as a top-five team and are 14-1 ... PITTSBURGH 24-21.Nebraska (minus 26) at No. 5 Ohio StatePrepare for a tsunami of snarky social media comments about why the Cornhuskers were so adamant to play this season when they fall behind by three touchdowns ... OHIO STATE 42-21.No. 17 Iowa State (plus 3 1/2) at No. 6 Oklahoma StateCyclones could grab early inside track to the Big 12 title game ... IOWA STATE 28-24.No. 8 Penn State (minus 6 1/2) at IndianaHoosiers' last victory against a top-10 team was 1987 against No. 9 Ohio State ... INDIANA 31-27.No. 9 Cincinnati (plus 2 1/2) at No. 16 SMUBearcats and Mustangs have gone to overtime in their last two meetings, splitting the games ... SMU 35-31.Virginia (plus 11 1/2) at No. 11 Miami Cavaliers QB Brennan Armstrong (concussion) is uncertain to play ... MIAMI 35-20.Texas State (plus 28 1/2)) at No. 12 BYUBYU QB Zach Wilson leads FBS with a 78.7 completion percentage and Texas State is allowing quarterbacks to complete 70.6% of its passes ... BYU 52-21.No. 23 North Carolina State (plus 17) at No. 14 North CarolinaThe 100th meeting between the Wolfpack and Tar Heels, and just the third when both are ranked; UNC is 2-0 in those games ... NORTH CAROLINA 42-23. No. 18 Michigan (minus 3) at No. 21 MinnesotaWolverines and Gophers last met with both teams ranked in 2004 ... MINNESOTA 28-24.No. 19 Virginia Tech (minus 10) at Wake ForestHokies RB Khalil Herbert leads the nation in yards per carry at 9.7 ... VIRGINIA TECH 38-24.Kansas (minus 20) at No. 20 Kansas StateWildcats have won 11 straight in the series and Jayhawks RB Pooka Williams just opted out of the season ... KANSAS STATE 35-17.Florida Atlantic (plus 17) at No. 22 MarshallRedshirt freshman QB Grant Wells leads Conference USA in passer rating at 159.2 ... MARSHALL 34-14.Georgia Southern (plus 6 1/2) at No. 25 Coastal CarolinaEagles lead the Sun Belt in yards per rush (5.89) and Chanticleers lead in yards per pass (10.6) ... COASTAL CAROLINA 28-23.TWITTER REQUESTSFlorida State (plus 5) at Louisville — @_calebbaileySeminoles have found some offensive answers behind the running of QB Jordan Travis ... FLORIDA STATE 31-28.Iowa (minus 3 1/2) at Purdue — @uofi1998Boilermakers will play without coach Jeff Brohm on the sideline after he tested positive for COVID-19 ... PURDUE 27-23.Baylor (plus 9) at Texas — @TexasFancyBootsBears got a two-week break because of COVID-19 issues ... TEXAS 31-24.Houston (minus 14) at Navy — @alanwootenAppears the Midshipmen are returning to form after two straight victories ... HOUSTON 38-21.Auburn (minus 3) at Mississippi — @DaveCMckinneyMore freshman RB Tank Bigby and less QB Bo Nix might be a good plan this week; especially against the Rebels' weak defense ... AUBURN 38-31.___RecordLast week: 9-6 straight; 6-9 against the spread.Season: 49-21 straight; 33-36 against the spread.___Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at https://westwoodonepodcasts.com/pods/ap-top-25-college-football-podcast/___More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Trump the dancer? His moves to 'YMCA' at rallies are a hit

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — He adjusts his coat. He gazes out at the crowd. And then he goes for it. President Donald Trump, a man who is famously particular about his appearance, is fully embracing doing a dad dance to the Village People's “YMCA” as the finale to his rallies in the campaign's closing stretch.He starts with the arms, clenched fists pumping back and forth — sometimes to the beat — as though he's on an elliptical trainer. He claps. He waves. And then he starts to bop his head and move his knees. On some nights, he sticks mostly to pointing and clapping. But on others, he lurches from side to side and jerks his body as the crowd cheers.Backstage, top staff and campaign aides often join in with the more traditional take, using their bodies to spell out Y-M-C-A to the strains of the cheesy '70s anthem.Trump's rally dance has become a rare moment of levity in an otherwise miserable campaign year marked by a deadly pandemic, an economic recession and racial turmoil. And while Trump has largely been shunned by pop culture, the dance has spawned a viral TikTok video challenge (even though he's threatened to ban the site in the U.S.) and a parody on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” “Do you want to shake your groove thing but don’t know the steps? Then order 'Dancing with The Don’ and let President Trump teach you all the hottest moves!" Colbert's show advertised in a parody infomercial.Trump's campaign staff and family members have also been promoting clips and copycats as the president trails in most national polls and in many battleground states just two weeks out from Election Day.“Love it!” the president's daughter and senior adviser, Ivanka Trump, wrote as she retweeted a video posted by a young woman replicating the president's moves.When a reporter tweeted a video showing some of Trump's campaign aides dancing along — but not Ivanka Trump's husband, Jared Kushner, a top White House adviser — Ivanka tweeted back: “Party Foul!"Added Trump senior advisor Steve Cortes: “President Beast Mode can boogie...”The efforts to make the dance “a thing” come as the president has been trying to demonstrate his vigor after returning to the campaign trail following his infection with the coronavirus, which put him in the hospital for three nights.It has drawn a scowl from others, including CNN’s Don Lemon, who criticized Trump for dancing to the song during a pandemic that has killed so many.“That can’t be taken away no matter how many times he goes to rallies and dances to the Village People,” Lemon said. "He is having fun and dancing on the graves of 215,000 Americans. Dancing.”“YMCA,” widely considered a gay anthem, is a relatively new addition to Trump's rally playlist. It was swapped in this year after the Rolling Stones threatened in June to sue if Trump didn’t stop using their song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want" as his rally closer.Trump’s eclectic rally soundtrack — an integral part of the events — has sparked numerous threats of legal action, along with group sing-alongs, crowd dance sessions, confused stares and even boos.In the early days, the list was heavy on the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith (until they also threatened legal action), along with Trump favorites like Adele (until she objected) and the late tenor Luciano Pavarotti’s “Nessun Dorma” (until his wife objected, too.) Throughout much of 2016, the Backstreet Boys and ’N Sync were rally staples, as have been ballads from Broadway musicals including "The Phantom of the Opera," "Cats," and “Les Misérables."“Macho Man," also by the Village People, is another recent add.The Village People have said they are OK with Trump’s use of their songs.“Since our music is not being used for a specific endorsement, the President’s use is “perfect(ly)” legal,” they wrote on Facebook in February. “Like millions of Village People fans worldwide, the President and his supporters have shown a genuine like for our music. Our music is all-inclusive and certainly everyone is entitled to do the YMCA dance, regardless of their political affiliation.”“Having said that,” they added, “we certainly don’t endorse his use as we’d prefer our music be kept out of politics.’Trump's campaign declined to say who had the idea to use “YMCA” as his closing song — though members of his traveling entourage have jokingly tried to take credit.Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller agreed to reveal the secret to an AP reporter “only if we first get a clip of you singing YMCA.”AP's Jill Colvin declined.

Review: Zemeckis makes Dahl’s ‘Witches’ a brighter affair

No matter how you cut it, “ The Witches ” is a really disturbing tale. Not that one should expect anything else from Roald Dahl, but for some reason this story about a group of grotesquely disfigured women who hate children always seemed extra sinister even within his generally sinister oeuvre. Perhaps it’s because I happened to be a child when the Nicolas Roeg adaptation came out in 1990 and, well, let’s just say the nightmarish image of Angelica Huston transforming into a bald, warty witch made a lasting impression. For many children of the era, Roeg’s “The Witches” was a first foray into horror and a traumatic one at that. This was clearly not lost on the people who hired Robert Zemeckis to do a new adaptation for another generation of children. There are scores of filmmakers who could have done their own Roeg-adjacent update, but this time they decided to soften the edges and lighten the tone. And even though the story is still fundamentally troubling (not least because there seems to be a not-so-subtle message that childless women are dangerous, child-hating demons), Zemeckis has put a brighter and more family friendly stamp on the material. Zemeckis shares credit for the new script with Guillermo del Toro and Kenya Barris. This unexpected but inspired grouping updates the story to focus on a Black family in the 1960s South. Chris Rock provides the voice of the protagonist, Hero Boy, who is recalling his experience first encountering witches as a young orphaned boy played by Jahzir Bruno. After his parents die in a car crash, he moves in with his kind Grandma (Octavia Spencer) who has her own history with witches. When the boy has a run in with a witch in the local store, they flee the town to hide out at a fancy hotel. Unfortunately for them, the Grand High Witch (Anne Hathaway) has decided to hold a convention there at the same time to hatch a plan that would turn the world’s children into mice. Hathaway goes full vamp as the Grand High Witch with an over the top, vaguely Eastern European accent and grand gestures to match. Although less horrific than Huston was, Zemeckis can’t resist going big with the digital effects and gives her elaborate scars on the sides of her cheeks that open into a Venom-like mouth when she’s not in disguise. It’s more cartoon than body horror, which seems to have been a guiding principle for the whole production. Oddly the strongest parts of the film are before the whole witch aspect kicks in when it’s just Grandma and Hero Boy getting used to life together after the horrific loss. Spencer is an unambiguous delight. Part of you might even wish that the film was just about their life together. Once they get to the hotel, it’s all plot and spells and crazy CGI mice and there’s barely any time to breathe or enjoy the characters — even Stanley Tucci as the hotel manager gets a little overshadowed by it all. They’ve also decided to keep a running joke in about an overweight child (who also turns into a mouse) consistently being sidetracked by his desire for more food, which just feels cruel, outdated and cheap. Still Zemeckis has done a fine job with the film on the whole, which was a much-needed win after the dreadful “Welcome to Marwen.” It’s not going to be as iconic as Roeg’s, but it should provide some nice family entertainment at home for Halloween. And, bonus, post-viewing nightmares and trauma should be minimal this time. “The Witches,” an HBO Max release, is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for “scary images/moments, language and thematic elements.” Running time: 106 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four. ___MPAA Definition of PG: Parental guidance suggested. ___Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr

Despite 1 win each, Eagles, Giants have first place in sight

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — It’s Week 7, the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants each have one win and both teams are right in the mix for first place.Welcome to the NFC East.A division that has produced more Super Bowl champions (13) than any other is the worst in the NFL this season with five combined wins. The victory total will increase after the Eagles (1-4-1) and Giants (1-5) meet Thursday night, unless they tie. Dallas (2-4) visits Washington (1-5) on Sunday.“Everything is still kind of up for grabs and we’re just trying to figure out how to win a game and how to get guys healthy to play," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. The Eagles have been depleted by injuries, finishing a 30-28 loss against Baltimore with only quarterback Carson Wentz and center Jason Kelce healthy among the preseason starters on offense. Right tackle Lane Johnson and wide receiver DeSean Jackson are expected to return for this game but running back Miles Sanders and tight end Zach Ertz are out after getting hurt against the Ravens. The Giants are coming off their first win under coach Joe Judge. They haven’t won in Philadelphia since 2013 and have lost seven straight in the series but they’re facing an undermanned club.“You want to play teams when they’re at their best,” Judge said. “That’s what competition is all about. ... They know how to use their receivers, their backs and their tight ends all very well, so it doesn’t matter who’s in there. They’re all very capable.” GIVE IT TO BOSTON With Sanders out, Boston Scott will be Philadelphia’s primary back. Scott emerged from the practice squad last year and had his two best games against the Giants, including a career-high 138 scrimmage yards and three TDs in the division-clinching win in Week 17.Scott is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry behind a banged-up offensive line. He has seven catches for 48 yards. “I’m definitely ready,” Scott said. “I know everyone is going to be firing on all cylinders and I’m looking to contribute any way I can.” JUDGE HOMECOMINGJudge, who coached at Alabama and New England before going to New York, is a Philadelphia native. He went to Lansdale Catholic High School and most of his family are Eagles’ fans.The 38-year-old quipped he was going to wear a hard hat at the game to be safe from family members tossing batteries at him. Others have asked for tickets.“My only rule is anybody who shows up that I either grew up with or have blood ties with, they have to wear blue,” Judge said. “I respect their love for the Eagles from being in the town, but hey, look man, you ain’t showing up cheering against my kids’ Christmas. You better come out in some blue cheering for us.”DEEP THREATSWentz completed just four passes of 40 or more yards to wide receivers all of last season, none between Week 3 and 16. He already has three this season. Rookie Jalen Reagor had a 55-yard catch in the opener. Second-year pro Travis Fulgham caught a 42-yard TD pass in a win at San Francisco three weeks ago. Rookie John Hightower had a 50-yard reception last week against Baltimore and also dropped a perfect throw deep that would’ve been at least a 50-yard gain.“The ability to stretch the field and create big plays is a game-changer,” Wentz said.HELP ON THE WAYNew York quarterback Daniel Jones was 12 of 19 for 112 yards with a touchdown and an interception against Washington. The attempts, completions and yards were the lowest in his 18 career starts.His wide receivers had five catches for 61 yards with Darius Slayton catching two, including a touchdown.Veteran receiver Sterling Shepard, who was placed on injured reserve after Week 2 with a turf toe injury, practiced Tuesday. He had eight catches for 76 yards in two games.LONG KICKS Eagles kicker Jake Elliott missed a 52-yard field goal at the end of the first half against Baltimore that proved costly in a 2-point loss. He’s made one of four tries beyond 50 yards this season and is 5 of 13 from that range after going 5 for 6 as a rookie in 2017. But Elliott has hit all of his field goals under 50 yards this season and 89.9% in his career.Meanwhile, Giants kicker Graham Gano is 15 of 16 this season. He made kicks of 55, 54 and 50 against Dallas two weeks ago. ___AP Sports Writer Tom Canavan contributed to this report.___More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Spain 1st in western Europe to hit 1 million virus cases

MADRID (AP) — Spain has become the first country in western Europe to accumulate more than 1 million confirmed COVID-19 infections as the nation of 47 million struggles to contain a resurgence of the virus.The health ministry said Wednesday that its accumulative case load since the start of the pandemic reached 1,005,295 after reporting 16,973 more cases in the past 24 hours. The ministry attributes 34,366 deaths to COVID-19. Experts say the real numbers of infections and deaths are probably much higher because insufficient testing, asymptomatic cases and other issues impede authorities from capturing the true scale of the outbreak.As the numbers rise, authorities in charge of health policy in Spain’s regions are tightening restrictions. They want to stem the surge that has been building in recent months while avoiding a second total lockdown of home confinements that stemmed the first wave of the virus but left the economy reeling. The regional government of northern Aragón announced Wednesday they have closed the city limits of Zaragoza, Huesca and Teruel. Neighboring Navarra, which leads Spain in infections per 100,000 over 14 days, is preparing to become the first Spanish region to close its borders on Thursday. La Rioja will also close its regional borders on Friday.Spain’s health minister and regional heads of health will meet on Thursday to discuss their virus strategies and consider employing nightly curfews to target late-night partying as a source of contagion.___Follow AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

Virus spikes have officials looking to shore up hospitals

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Hospitals across the United States are starting to buckle from a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, with several states setting records for the number of people hospitalized and leaders scrambling to find extra beds and staff. New highs in cases have been reported in states big and small — from Idaho to Ohio — in recent days.In Kentucky, the governor called the number of daily confirmed cases “grim," forcing another round of preparations to expand hospital capacity. “We are now going back to our plans about capacity in hospitals, looking — if we have to — at hotel options and the use of state parks,” Gov. Andy Beshear said during a recent briefing. “Ensuring that we have the operational plans to stand up the field hospital, if necessary.”Hotels or state parks could potentially be used to house people who need to quarantine or isolate. The governor reported 776 people hospitalized, including 202 in intensive care and 96 on ventilators. There were 1,312 new COVID-19 cases statewide Tuesday — the fourth-highest one-day total since the pandemic began. At the other end of the country, Idaho reported its largest coronavirus spike, with new cases increasing by some 47% over the past two weeks. Idaho is currently sixth in the nation for new cases per capita, with a positivity rate of just over 15% — one of the country's highest. Still, Gov. Brad Little has resisted calls for a statewide mask mandate or ramped up restrictions, saying it's up to individuals to take the necessary steps — wearing masks, social distancing and practicing good hygiene — to stem the surge.“As a health system, we’re all very concerned,” said Dr. Bart Hill, the vice president and chief quality officer of St. Luke’s Health System, the state's largest. “It’s indicative of anticipating we’re going to see more hospitalizations affecting an older population in the next two, three, four weeks.”Still, Hill said health care providers knew the pandemic would ebb and flow over time, and the temporary statewide shutdown Little ordered back in March gave medical facilities time to prepare for the current spikes. St. Luke’s Health System still has adequate capacity for now, he said.Nevertheless, “the direction we’re heading is one that looks real problematic,” he said.Since the virus was first detected earlier this year, more than 40 million people around the globe have been infected and more than 1.1 million people have died. In the United States, there have been more than 8 million confirmed cases and more than 220,000 deaths. The seven-day rolling average for daily new cases has reached nearly 60,000 — the highest since July. In some cases, spikes are happening as schools reopen and as Americans grow weary of wearing masks and practicing social distancing. Selin Bert, 48, who lives in Portland, Oregon, told The Associated Press that her mother-in-law, who is in her early 70s and lives in Mesquite, Nevada, recently got a severe case of COVID-19 and had to be taken to the ICU in a Las Vegas hospital, about an hour’s drive away. She suspects her mother-in-law was infected during a visit from her grandchildren, who traveled from Montana. Her in-laws, Bert said, were religious about social distancing and wearing masks. But she's not sure the grandkids were as much sticklers.“They wear masks when they’re outside, the in-laws. I don’t know about the kids, but I do know that that part of the family isn’t big on the whole mask thing, especially because of where they live," she said, adding she's not sure the grandkids have since been tested. "We don’t think they have been. I — we don’t want to even ask because now it’s become a very touchy subject. Because if someone says to you, ‘Hey, you potentially killed your mom, or could have killed your mom,’ it doesn’t really bode well for the family reunion.”Her mother-in-law had symptoms for a few days at home and her health deteriorated so much that she had to be rushed to the hospital after a family member found her on the bathroom floor. She's now doing better, but remains severely fatigued, Bert said. Coronavirus cases are rising so fast in North Dakota that it’s taking officials up to three days to notify people after they test positive, and as a result the state has also fallen way behind on tracing their close contacts who might have been exposed.Republican Gov. Doug Burgum and the North Dakota Department of Health announced late Tuesday that they’re shifting 50 National Guard members who had been working in contact tracing to simply notifying people who test positive. And public health officials will no longer notify close contacts of people who tested positive; instead those individuals will be instructed to self-notify their close contacts and direct them to the department’s website.North Dakota, with its loose regulations, still has the country’s worst per-capita spread rate, with 1,224 new cases per day per 100,000 residents, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The state’s worsening numbers have prompted sharp questions over how Burgum has handled the virus. Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney has called for a mask mandate statewide.In Oklahoma, Gov. Kevin Stitt and state health officials launched a new plan to handle a surge in the number of people hospitalized due to the coronavirus. The plan, announced as hospitalizations in the state reached a record one-day high of 821, includes transferring virus patients from facilities in regions where hospitalizations are high to those with more bed capacity.Meanwhile, Wyoming health officials have reported the number of people hospitalized with the virus has increased to 73, the highest since the pandemic started in March. Health officials say the increase mirrors an increase of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases reported across the state since late September. October has been a record-setting month for cases.Hospitalizations in Ohio have also hit a new high, with 1,154 people hospitalized and 158 on ventilators — the highest number since July.Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Monday he was caught off-guard by the spike in cases and pleaded again for Ohioans to wear masks and keep themselves socially distanced.And in Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh said public schools will switch to all-remote learning because of a rising number of cases. The city’s seven-day average positive test rate is currently 5.7%, an increase from 4.5% last week. Walsh said students will remain in remote learning until there are two full weeks of falling infection rates.___Peters reported from Milwaukee. AP journalists from around the United States contributed to this report.

Bjorkgren describes plan to take Pacers in new direction

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — New Indiana Pacers Kevin Bjorkgren went right to work Wednesday.Less than 24 hours after accepting the job, the 45-year-old former Toronto Raptors assistant started explaining his plan.He expects the Pacers to move the ball and take more 3-pointers. He wants the defense to be more disruptive. He promises not to get locked into rotations and will be willing to take risks. Perhaps most important, he believes there needs to be more communication between coaches and players.Those are exactly the traits president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard hoped to find when he embarked on a coaching search two months ago and Bjorkgren became the perfect fit.“There are people in this world who bring energy and you like being around them," Pritchard said after introducing Bjorkgren on a Zoom call. “I think the litmus test is when those guys call you, you can’t wait to pick up the phone. Nate has those characteristics, and when he went through his presentation he created a vision that I could physically see in my mind how he was going to coach. We knew he was the right guy."The proof will come in time.But the 45-year-old, first-time NBA head coach certainly presented a different kind of vision, one Pacers fans may embrace after watching years of stodgy, half-court basketball.Bjorkgren wants to shatter those norms. He prefers an evolving style that conforms only to circumstances.“We’ll be a fun team to watch," he said. “You’re going to see a lot of movement on both sides of the ball, different guys handling the ball, pushing it up the floor. We want to utilize the 3-point line. My approach to defense is you change and change quite frequently, between quarters, after timeouts, during an 8-0 run, I think that's the disruptive part."Bjorkgren developed his coaching style working largely with Raptors coach Nick Nurse.Nurse first hired Bjorkgren as an assistant in 2007 with the Iowa Energy. Following their first season together, Bjorkgren described how he and Nurse held daily whiteboard sessions to discuss strategy.It was there, in the G-League over the next seven seasons — three as Nurse's assistant, four as a head coach — where Bjorkgren learned the value of flexibility. With small coaching staffs and ever-changing rosters, Bjorkgren managed to go 126-74 with the Dakota Wizards, Santa Cruz Warriors, Energy and Bakersfield Jam before joining the Phoenix Suns in 2015.“You have to adapt very early and quite often," Bjorkgren said. “You could be at a shootaround and two guys get called up and another is going overseas so you have to coach on the fly. You have to know the next guy will be there and that’s the part of the coaching, keeping everybody ready at all times."He put those lessons to work when he was reunited with Nurse in Toronto two years ago.In Bjorkgren's first season with the Raptors, Kawhi Leonard led the Eastern Conference's No. 2 seed to its first NBA championship. Leonard's departure in free agency last summer didn't change much in terms of philosophy or success.The Raptors still went 53-19, still earned the second seed in the East and still reached the conference semifinals before losing to Boston in seven games.So when Pritchard saw Toronto's 23-12 postseason record over the past two seasons and compared it to the Pacers playoff mark of 3-16 over the last four seasons, he was sold.“I think it’s important to take risks in the NBA today," Pritchard said. “We think that helps you down the line. Maybe not early, but down the line in the playoffs and that's where we want to get better."The biggest offseason question for Pritchard is the future of two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo, who has been cleared to do his full complement of workouts. Oladipo can become a free agent after next season.“He feels good about the team. He’s talked to me about how he thinks this tam can be very good," Pritchard said. “We hear a lot of things, but until it comes to me, I don’t really worry about that."And perhaps Bjorkgren can help help convince Oladipo to stay with his new approach, too.“I wanted this job so bad because of the talent on this team," Bjorkgren said. “As you know they're great basketball players, and they’re even better people. Just getting to know them more in the last 24 hours is really special to me, and I look forward to getting to know them more as we move forward."___More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Gunman holds hostages at bank in ex-Soviet republic Georgia

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — An armed assailant took bank employees and customers hostage Wednesday in the ex-Soviet nation of Georgia, authorities said. Local media reported that up to 19 hostages could be inside the bank.The Georgian Interior Ministry didn’t comment on how many people were being held in the western town of Zugdidi or what demands the hostage-taker had made. Police sealed off the area and launched an operation “to neutralize the assailant,” the ministry said in a statement. Georgia's national Mtavari TV channel reported that the captor was armed with a hand grenade and demanding $500,000 in cash. Mtavari TV said it spoke to one of the hostages, who relayed that the assailant was holding 19 people inside the bank. The TV channel aired footage of a room with people sitting on the floor and a man dressed in a military uniform and covering his face holding a rifle. Georgian broadcaster First Channel reported, citing the Interior Ministry, reported later Wednesday that two hostages had been released while 17 people remained in the bank. Negotiations with the hostage-taker continued, First Channel said.

'Bad Hair' movie explores Black women and hairstyle messages

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Several scenes in the film “Bad Hair” were so horrifying that some cast members initially second-guessed their own use of hair weave or extensions. The dark comedy horror is “only a film," they say, but the story’s underlying messages of harmful hair weave and false beauty standards for Black women had a lasting effect. The film, a period piece set in 1989, follows an ambitious young woman who —- after being criticized for her hairstyle — gets a lengthy weave in order to succeed at her music television network. Ultimately, she discovers that her newly installed hair is possessed, taking over her body and causing harm to others.“Bad Hair,” which releases Friday on Hulu, certainly left an impression on the Emmy-nominated actor Laverne Cox who thought twice while wearing her 28-inch long, lace-front wig after watching an early screener of the film.“I was just horrified by this hair on my head,” said Cox, who plays Virgie, a mysterious hairstylist. “There is something kind of bizarre when you think about it.” Hair extensions are usually clipped, glued or sewn into natural hair. A weave is a popular method where hair wefts are sewn onto braided hair and styled in any manner. Lace-front wigs can be applied with tape or glue. The hair can be synthetic or human. “Like, I’m wearing someone else’s hair," Cox continued. “Like, literally someone grew this. When you break it down and think about it, someone probably harvested, shipped and processed it. After watching this movie, it’s hard not to be confronted with that.”Elle Lorraine, who stars in the lead role as Anna, said she struggled to watch the gruesome scene of her character getting hair sewed into her head while under obvious pain and discomfort.“That was the hardest scene for me to watch, because I feel the trauma that the character is going through,” she said. “It’s literally sewing someone’s hair into your head. Of course, it’s a film. ... But the trauma I experienced from watching it every time, just reminds me of something about what I take myself through, and how I want to move forward in what I put in my body.”Lena Waithe, who plays Brook-Lynne, said the film touches on the issue of conformity in the workplace through the main character and her new boss. “If you work in an office where everybody is mean, you tend to be mean as well to be a part of the in crowd,” Waithe said. “It’s really about energy and how a person can come in and transform the whole office based on what they want and what they want to be surrounded by. ... It’s more about what kind of environment do you want to create in a workspace. The person who is at the top, that’s what the rest of the company looks like.”Filmmaker Justin Simien said the idea of “Bad Hair” came to him after watching a few Asian horror films about demonized hair. He then thought to himself: “Why isn’t there an American version of this?”“Some of my favorite horror movies are psychological thrillers,” said Simien, who directed and wrote Netflix’s “Dear White People.” “The truth of the Black American experience is that without any of the supernatural stuff, it’s already pretty horrific.”From there, Simien did his research. He said the writing process started with talking to some of his closest friends who are Black women. He invited some of them to a retreat in Palm Springs, California, where he gathered more insight about their plight in corporate America.“As a Black queer filmmaker, telling female stories is my way of connecting with popular culture,” said Simien, who named some of the characters after his mother and sisters. “I wanted to speak to an experience that I was seeing as an ally from my standpoint of view. But I never walked literally in those shoes.”Lorraine believes Simien told a Black woman’s perspective in an excellent manner, while challenging social norms. “It’s dealing with ideals of beauty that are buried in European ideas and European looks,” Lorraine said. “This is confronting it. It’s thinking about it out loud. It’s wrapped in the comedy and folklore. ... We’re looking at colorism and the stereotypes of how we define hair. A lot of definitions that were given to us, as supposed to what we gave ourselves, we’re taking it back.”___Follow AP Entertainment Writer Jonathan Landrum Jr. on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrLandrum31