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Atlanta United

    The only embarrassment and shame was felt on the other side. Two years later, the U.S. soccer team turned the tables on Trinidad and Tobago. Gyasi Zardes scored two goals in a three-minute span, Christian Pulisic added one during a five-goal barrage in the second half and the Americans unloaded on their nemesis in a 6-0 blowout in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Saturday night, earning a small dose of revenge over the team that handed them a nightmarish loss in 2017. Aaron Long scored his first two international goals — one with his head, the other off his chest — and Paul Arriola scored as the U.S. tallied five times in 25 minutes while cruising to its second shutout this week and advancing to the quarterfinals in Philadelphia on June 30. It was the first matchup between the U.S. and Trinidad and Tobago since Oct. 10, 2017, when the Americans, needing only a tie to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, lost 2-1 to the Soca Warriors. The embarrassing defeat snapped a streak of seven straight World Cup appearances by the Americans and triggered a top-to-bottom overhaul of the men's program, which has operated in the imposing shadow of the powerful U.S. women, seeking their fourth world title in France. There would be no repeat performance by this revamped U.S. team, which is determined to win back global respect. 'Every time we step on the field we want to make a statement,' said Zardes, who just missed getting a third goal. 'We're trying to change the way the world views American soccer.' The Americans posted their most lopsided win since beating Honduras 6-0 in a World Cup qualifier on March 24, 2017, when Pulisic, who took over this game in the second half, also scored and had a pair of assists. But while much of the pre-game talk centered on the U.S. getting payback, the Americans insist they've put the past behind them. 'For us, we advance to the next round,' coach Gregg Berhalter said. 'That's important. Our focus was to prepare for this game knowing that if we'd be able to go to the next round. That was the focus of the group. Trinidad was in our way.' Not anymore. With the U.S. leading 1-0 on Long's goal in the 41st minute, Zardes scored from right in front shortly after U.S. goalkeeper Zack Steffen made a diving save to stop Trinidad from tying a match the Americans dominated. Michael Bradley chipped the ball from the left side to a charging Nick Lima, who headed the ball to Zardes in front. The American striker only had to guide it by Trinidad keeper Marvin Phillip in the 65th minute. Two minutes later, Zardes buried a hard shot from the left side for his 10th international goal and second two-goal game for the Americans. Zardes nearly completed a hat trick, but his low shot from up top in the 70th minute hit the left upright. Next up for the Americans is a matchup with Panama on Wednesday in Kansas City, Kansas. The Panamanians improved to 2-0 in Group D of the 16-team tournament with a 4-2 win over Guyana, also clinching a quarterfinal berth. On a picture-perfect night along the shores of Lake Erie, the American team controlled possession and tempo while thoroughly outplaying T&T, which was blanked 2-0 by Panama in its opening match and was eliminated. The Soca Warriors were content to sit back and let the U.S. attack, hoping to spring counters. They nearly connected in the 61st minute as Cordell Cato eluded three defenders on the right side and hit teammate Levi Garcia in stride. But Garcia's shot was high and wide, a close call that prompted a collective gasp from the U.S. faithful. 'Big moment,' Trinidad coach Dennis Lawrence said. 'When you get in that position, you have to put that away.' Lawrence was upset with how his team collapsed following the U.S. team's second goal. 'How can you play so good for 65 minutes and then so awful for the last 25?' he said, repeating his postgame message to his players. 'We have to learn to stand up and fight. We lost focus and we paid the price.' Berhalter stuck with the same starting lineup he used in the opener over Guyana but gave the captain's arm band to Steffen for the first time. Bradley captained the Americans in the opening 4-0 win over Guyana. Long, who plays in the MLS for the New York Red Bulls, put the U.S. ahead off a beautiful feed from the left side by Pulisic. Shortly after the U.S. was awarded a free kick, the Americans kept pressing and maintained possession in Trinidad's half before Pulisic spotted Long inside the 6-yard-box and delivered an arching pass to the forward, who left his feet, connected and drove the ball past a sprawling Phillip. The score touched off a flag-waving celebration behind the goal by red-white-and blue clad U.S. fans, who have been anxiously awaiting their team's chance at some redemption. After a 20-month wait, they got a little.
  • Carrie Underwood will soon visit Mercedes-Benz Stadium to film the opening segment of NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.” This is the first time in the series’ 14 seasons that the open will be staged inside a venue. Underwood will perform on the stadium’s field and be accompanied by NFL stars as she performs the “Sunday Night Football” theme. She’s handled the weekly theme song since 2013.  “From the unique roof to the striking halo, with the perspective it offers relative to the action on the field, Mercedes-Benz Stadium has a number of features which will add to our creative execution of the show open,” Fred Gaudelli, executive producer of “Sunday Night Football” said in a statement. Mercedes-Benz Stadium has also hosted the 2018 college football championship, the 2018 MLS Cup and, in February, Super Bowl 53.  The 2019 “Sunday Night Football” show open will debut Sept. 8 when the New England Patriots host the Pittsburgh Steelers.  This article was written by Melissa Ruggieri with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • Two goals from Brandon Vazquez led Atlanta United past Columbus 3-2 on Tuesday and, for the first time in franchise history, into the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup. Vazquez has four goals in the past two Open Cup games to give him six in the tournament in the past three seasons. Miles Robinson scored the second goal, his first with Atlanta United. Atlanta United will host the winner of the game between Cincinnati and St. Louis in the quarterfinals of the Open Cup on July 10. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Atlanta United was eliminated in the Round of 16 in its previous two U.S. Open Cups. Of course, if it’s Atlanta United at Columbus, it’s going to rain. And it did. The game was delayed for almost 50 minutes in the second half because of a downpour that started just before halftime. An MLS game played between the teams at MAPFRE Stadium on March 30 was played in a heavier rain. That game wasn’t stopped. Manager Frank de Boer put out the strongest possible 11, with Ezequiel Barco making his first appearance since May 5. He has spent most of the past month with Argentina at the U20 World Cup in Poland. Also in the starting 11 were Pity Martinez, Justin Meram, who was traded from Columbus to Atlanta United earlier this season, and Vazquez, who scored two goals in the 3-1 win against Charleston in the tournament’s fourth round. The defense was composed of goalkeeper Brad Guzan, fullbacks Franco Escobar and Michael Parkhurst, centerbacks Robinson and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, and midfielders Darlington Nagbe and Eric Remedi. TRENDING STORIES: More widespread rain, severe storms possible today Former Panthers, XFL star 'He Hate Me' found safe BE ON THE LOOKOUT: This man is wanted for several home invasions, police say Vazquez kept his hot streak, giving Atlanta United a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute after he took the ball off the foot of David Guzman at the top of the penalty box and won his one-on-one with Columbus goalkeeper Jon Kempin. It was Vazquez’s fifth goal three seasons of U.S. Open Cup. Atlanta United took a 2-0 lead when Robinson headed in a corner in the 15th minute. Robinson was left unmarked at the back post. Robinson started near the penalty spot and make a looping run to the back post, where he headed the ball into the ground and into the goal. Barco was given the assist. Atlanta missed two chances to increase its lead. On the first, a left-footed shot from Meram rolled just wide after Barco played him through the defense. On the second, Vazquez intercepted a poor pass to Kempin. Vazquez tried to curl in a right-footed shot from near the end line. The ball hit the back post and bounced away. Columbus cut Atlanta United’s lead to 2-1 in the 40th minute on a goal by David Accam. Atlanta United’s players were upset with Columbus because Darlington Nagbe was down on the field with an injury. Columbus didn’t have to put the ball out so that Nagbe could receive treatment, but teams typically do. The Crew continued to play and Accam’s shot squirted past Guzan. As the rain, which started just before halftime, continued to pour, the game opened up. Pity Martinez tried to find Barco at the back post, only for the pass to be cleared at the last second. Columbus came down the field and Guzan made a diving save to preserve the 2-1 lead in the 59th minute. Vazquez scored his second goal in the 65th minute. It was another simple goal. Vazquez chased a ball deep in Columbus half. He easily rounded Alex Crognale and then put a low shot into the opposite corner. Columbus cut Atlanta United’s lead to 3-2 when a cross by Waylon Francis went off Guzan’s left elbow, rolled underneath his arm and into the goal in the 71st minute. The game was suspended in the 75th minute at 8:38 p.m. The game re-started at 9:27 p.m. Columbus pushed for the tying goal and Guzan made a save in the 87th minute to preserve the lead. Barco missed a chance in the 89th minute to secure the win when he put a shot over the cross bar after a long run.
  • Latin singer Prince Royce says he's looking forward to headlining the 2019 Major League Soccer All-Star Concert because he loves singing live. But another motive? To gain some new fans. The Dominican singer will perform at the free July 27 event in Orlando at Wall Street Plaza. Royce says: 'I think for me it's a great way to continue to gain a bigger audience. It's a whole different type of crowd.' The concert will kick off five days of soccer festivities, with the MLS All-Star Game capping off events July 31 at Exploria Stadium. Royce released his self-titled debut in 2010, topped the Latin charts with 'Corazon Sin Cara,' ''Las Cosas Pequenas' and 'Darte un Beso,' and earned 13 Latin Grammy nominations. He released a new song, 'Curame,' last week.
  • LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic is earning a Major League Soccer-record $7.2 million salary this season. The 37-year-old Ibrahimovic, who earned a relatively modest $1.5 million last year, broke the previous mark of Toronto's Sebastian Giovinco, who had $7,115,556 in total compensation in both 2017 and 2018. The MLS Players Association said Wednesday the average base salary for all players this year is $376,174 and the average guaranteed compensation is $417,643, including a prorated share of guaranteed money not attributable to a specific year. The average salary for senior roster non-designated players increased 13.3% to $345,867 and is up from $138,140 in 2014. Striker Giovani dos Santos, released by the Galaxy in March, is second with a base salary of $4.75 million and total compensation of $6.5 million. Toronto midfielder Michael Bradley ($6 million base, $6,428,571 total) is third, followed by Toronto striker Jozy Altidore ($4,891,250, $6,332,250), LAFC forward Carlos Vela ($4.5 million base, $6.3 million total), Chicago midfield Bastian Schweinsteiger ($5.6 million base and total), Montreal winger Ignacio Piatti ($530,000, $4,443,333), Toronto midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo ($3.8 million), DC United forward Wayne Rooney ($3.5 million, $3,507,500), Atlanta forward Josef Martínez ($3 million, $3,058,333), Seattle forward Nicolás Lodeiro ($2 million, $2,502,500), Orlando midfielder Nani ($2,333333, $2,486,250) and Colorado goalkeeper Tim Howard ($2 million, $2,475,000). The minimum salary for each team's 18-20 senior players rose to $70,250 this season and the minimum for its maximum eight reserve players increased to $56,250. This is the final season of a five-year labor contract. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • A fundraising bash honoring the 90th birthday of philanthropist Bernie Marcus, one of Home Depot's founders, has raised more than $117 million for Georgia charities. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Sunday's star-studded gathering at the Atlanta Aquarium, which Marcus built, quickly raised $102 million in pledges. Arthur Blank, another founder of Home Depot and an owner of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United of the MLS, contributed an additional $15 million. The event drew hundreds, including Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Atlanta's mayor. President Donald Trump sent in a video message praising Marcus. The paper says the funds will support charities including the Grady Health System's Marcus Stroke & Neuroscience Center and the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta. Home Depot is Georgia's largest public company based on revenue, according to the newspaper.
  • For all the players absent from Mexico's national team, new coach Tata Martino may still have a roster solid enough to make a strong run in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Martino returned to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for his first game in Georgia since leading Atlanta United to the MLS Cup last season, but his thoughts were only on El Tri, which beat Venezuela 3-1 in an exhibition on Wednesday night. Roberto Alvarado scored from the box to tie it 1-all in the 32nd minute, and Rodolfo Pizarro got the goa-ahead goal in the 53rd as he tapped in Jesus Gallardo's cross. Andres Guardado gave El Tri a 3-1 advantage in the 76th minute. This was Mexico's third exhibition under Martino and its first since El Tri beat Chile and Paraguay in friendlies three months ago. Mexico faces Ecuador in a friendly Sunday in Arlington, Texas, for its final tune-up before the Gold Cup. Mexico's roster has several notable absences heading into its June 15 match against Cuba at the Rose Bowl. Hirving Lozano is out with a knee injury. Carlos Vela, Javier Aquino and Jesus Corona reportedly declined call-ups. Javier Hernandez is absent because of the birth of a child. Miguel Layun is out with a medical issue. Hector Herrera is dealing with fatigue and has an impeding transfer. Marco Fabian and Ivan Rodriguez didn't play because of ankle injuries. Carlos Salcedo was out with a knee injury, but is hopeful to return for the Gold Cup. Diego Lainez and Juan Jose Macias, both starters on the Under-20 World Cup team, are not on the roster. Mexico has 10 victories and is unbeaten in 14 games against Venezuela. The last meeting ended in a 1-1 draw June 13, 2016, at the Copa America in Houston. Venezuela led 1-0 in the 18th minute when Jhon Murillo's goal from the right sideline sailed over goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco, glanced off the crossbar and into the corner of the net. Venezuela, which plays an exhibition against the U.S. on Sunday in Cincinnati, had goalkeeper Wuilker Faríñez back after he missed a friendly against Ecuador last week in Miami to play for his club team. Coach Rafael Dudamel is trying to finalize La Vinotinto's roster for the Copa America opener against Peru later this month in Brazil. Venezuela, the only South American nation never to qualify for a World Cup, was the runner-up to England in the last Under-20 World Cup, arguably its biggest achievement on the world stage. Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez did not start for Venezuela, but played the entire second half. He and Martino embraced and smiled before the match. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • ATLANTA (AP) - Josef Mart nez scored twice in the first half to help Atlanta United beat the Chicago Fire 2-0 on Saturday. Mart nez opened the scoring for Atlanta (8-5-2) in the 12th minute. Gonzalo 'Pity' Mart nez slotted a pass forward in the middle of the penalty area and Josef Mart nez put it into the back of the net. Josef Mart nez finished a breakaway from the top of the 18-yard box to make it 2-0 in the 43rd minute. He has 10 goals this season. Atlanta United rebounded from back-to-back losses with back-to-back wins and has won seven of its last nine. The Fire (4-6-6) announced during that game that 20-year-old midfielder Djordje Mihailovic was called into camp with the U.S. Men's National Team ahead of the Wednesday night friendly against Jamaica in Washington.
  • Josef Martínez scored twice in the first half to help Atlanta United beat the Chicago Fire 2-0 on Saturday. Martínez opened the scoring for Atlanta (8-5-2) in the 12th minute. Gonzalo 'Pity' Martínez slotted a pass forward in the middle of the penalty area and Josef Martínez put it into the back of the net. Josef Martínez finished a breakaway from the top of the 18-yard box to make it 2-0 in the 43rd minute. He has 10 goals this season. Atlanta United rebounded from back-to-back losses with back-to-back wins and has won seven of its last nine. The Fire (4-6-6) announced during that game that 20-year-old midfielder Djordje Mihailovic was called into camp with the U.S. Men's National Team ahead of the Wednesday night friendly against Jamaica in Washington.
  • Las Vegas is considering giving a developer exclusive rights to develop a proposal to reshape an aging downtown stadium area to boost a bid for a Major League Soccer expansion franchise. The City Council plans to vote Wednesday whether to give The Renaissance Companies Inc. six months to come up with a plan involving Cashman Field, which opened in 1983 as a Triple-A baseball stadium and now houses the minor-league soccer team Las Vegas Lights FC. The surrounding 62-acre (25-hectare) mixed-use development could also include hotel and apartment space, Mayor Carolyn Goodman told the Las Vegas Review-Journal . Lights FC owner Brett Lashbrook told the newspaper the plan would have him sell his United States Soccer Federation team to an investor represented by Renaissance. Lashbrook said Friday the goal is for the club to move up to the MLS and play in a new stadium built on the development site. Documents show the investor would be Baupost Group LLC, a hedge fund managed by Massachusetts billionaire Seth Klarman, the Review-Journal said. Goodman and Lashbrook said Lights FC soccer, which started as an expansion team last year, has benefited the Cashman Center area north of downtown and shown that professional soccer is popular in the city. Lashbrook told the Las Vegas Sun he expected the council will approve the agreement and said he was excited about the growth of soccer in Las Vegas. MLS began with 10 teams in 1996 and now has 24 teams. It plans to expand to 30 franchises, and league Commissioner Don Garber said last month that Las Vegas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Phoenix and Detroit were being considered for the last spot. In 2015, the league passed in 2015 on a Las Vegas bid that involved a proposed $201 million soccer stadium on vacant land west of downtown. Cashman Field hosted Triple-A farm teams in the Pacific Coast League called the Stars under the San Diego Padres, and the 51s under the Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets. Baseball moved this year to the new Las Vegas Ballpark in the suburban Summerlin community of northwest Las Vegas. The team is now called the Las Vegas Aviators and is affiliated with the Oakland Athletics.

News

  • Romance author Judith Krantz, best known for writing 'Scruples' and nine other best-selling novels, has died at age 91, multiple news outlets reported Sunday. >> Read more trending news According to The Associated Press, Krantz died of natural causes Saturday afternoon at her home in Los Angeles' Bel-Air neighborhood, said one of her sons, producer Tony Krantz. Before she published the racy 'Scruples' at age 50 in 1978, Krantz wrote for women's magazines such as Cosmopolitan, McCall's and Ladies' Home Journal. She eventually wrote 10 novels that sold more than 80 million copies around the world, CNN reported. She also published a memoir, 'Sex and Shopping: The Confessions of a Nice Jewish Girl,' in 2001. Several of Krantz's books, including 'Scruples,' 'Princess Daisy' and 'Mistral's Daughter,' were adapted into television miniseries in the '80s and '90s. A remake of the 'Scruples' miniseries was 'still in the works' when she died, Tony Krantz told the AP. Krantz was preceded in death by her husband, producer Steve Krantz. She is survived by their two sons and two grandchildren, the AP reported. Fellow authors took to Twitter after learning of Krantz's death, calling her a 'legend.' Read more here. – The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Police are investigating a shooting that left one person dead and two hurt in a South Fulton County apartment complex.  Channel 2’s Kristen Holloway is at the scene, where she talked to neighbors who say they heard about 12 gunshots.  The shooting happened at the Avery Park Apartments in the 2600 block of Charlestown Drive in College Park Monday. We’re at the scene talking to police about the shooting and the victims, for LIVE reports on Channel 2 Action News This Morning. BREAKING: Just got the scene of shooting at an apartment complex in College Park. Stay with @wsbtv for updates. pic.twitter.com/HE0HjejFRP — Kristen Holloway (@KHollowayWSB) June 24, 2019  
  • The search for a missing New York girl came to a sad end late Sunday when authorities found her body in Ontario's Casey Park. >> Read more trending news According to New York State Police, Zyvette Marquez-Rivera, 3, was found dead 'in a small body of water' about 11:43 p.m., nearly five hours after she was reported missing. Emergency crews, including an underwater rescue unit, responded to the park to look for the girl. The Monroe County Medical Examiners' Office will perform an autopsy on the child to determine her cause of death, authorities said. The investigation is ongoing.  If you have information about the case, call New York State Police at 585-398-4100. Read more here.
  • A New York man died unexpectedly while visiting the Dominican Republic last week, becoming the latest of at least 11 Americans who have died in the popular tourist destination since June 2018. According to Fox News, 56-year-old Vittorio Caruso, a recently retired pizzeria owner from Glen Cove, Long Island, died June 17 after he fell sick at Santo Domingo's Boca Chica Resort.  >> Read more trending news 'We found out he was brought by ambulance to the hospital in respiratory distress after drinking something,' Lisa Maria Caruso said of her brother-in-law, who had gone to the island nation alone. She said family members learned of Caruso's death via phone just minutes after officials had called to say he was sick, News 12 Long Island reported. However, Dominican Republic National Police told CNN that Caruso had begun 'receiving medical attention' six days earlier, on June 11. Caruso 'was not a sick person' and had been in good health, Lisa Maria Caruso told Fox News. A doctor said Caruso's cause of death was respiratory failure, but officials are still awaiting autopsy results, CNN reported.  Caruso's case appears to be similar to the other American deaths reported recently in the island nation. Most of the travelers died from respiratory failure, pulmonary edema and/or a heart attack, officials said. Some had taken drinks from a hotel minibar before falling ill, family members told multiple news outlets. According to CBS News, the Federal Bureau of Investigation 'is assisting Dominican authorities' as they look into the deaths. So far, investigators reportedly have not found any evidence that the incidents are connected.  'There are no mysterious deaths here,' Dominican Republic Tourism Minister Javier Garcia told Fox News. ''Mysterious' implies that things happened that science cannot explain.' Although the U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory in April urging American tourists to 'exercise increased caution in the Dominican Republic due to crime,' officials have not revised the notice to include any health warnings. In fact, the department said last week that it has 'not seen an uptick in the number of U.S. citizen deaths' in the popular vacation destination, ABC News reported. 'The overwhelming majority travel without incident,' a department spokesperson said of the 2.7 million Americans who go there each year.
  • Cardi B, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Childish Gambino and the late Nipsey Hussle won top honors at the 2019 BET Awards, held Sunday night at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. >> Read more trending news Here's the complete list of winners:  Album of the year: Cardi B, 'Invasion of Privacy' Best new artist: Lil Baby Best female hip-hop artist: Cardi B Best male hip-hop artist: Nipsey Hussle Coca-Cola viewers choice award: Ella Mai, 'Trip' Best collaboration: Travis Scott feat. Drake, 'Sicko Mode' Best international act: Burna Boy (Nigeria) Viewers' choice: Best new international act: ShoMadjozi (South Africa) Best female R&B/pop artist: Beyoncé Best male R&B/pop artist: Bruno Mars Young stars award: Marsai Martin Best group: Migos Video of the year: Childish Gambino, 'This Is America' Video director of the year: Karena Evans Best actress: Regina King Best actor: Michael B. Jordan Dr. Bobby Jones best gospel/inspirational award: Snoop Dogg feat. Rance Allen, 'Blessing Me Again' Sportsman of the year: Stephen Curry Sportswoman of the year: Serena Williams BET HER award: H.E.R., 'Hard Place' Best movie: 'BlacKkKlansman' Lifetime achievement award: Mary J. Blige Ultimate icon award: Tyler Perry Humanitarian award: Nipsey Hussle
  • Plans to develop thousands of acres of Ohio farmland to take advantage of the sun’s energy — but not for growing food — have divided area rural communities. >> Read more trending news  Solar energy development companies are seeking approval from the Ohio Power Siting Board for construction of large solar farms in the state’s rural areas. Some land owners have agreed to long-term leases with solar companies, while their neighbors who oppose the massive electric-generating facilities are hoping to stop the projects from going forward. The recent increase in solar arrays in Ohio is partially because solar power technology has improved to make it more competitive with other energy sources, according to Doug Herling, director of business development at Open Road Renewables. >> Related: Greene landowners concerned over potential solar farm “Until recently, solar did not make sense in Ohio,” Herling said. “The technology is vastly more efficient and can now compete with wind and coal. It comes down to the economy of producing power. We can’t build one of these if it’s not competitive on the power market.” Open Road Renewables has applied to install two solar arrays in Preble County. A grassroots effort is underway to try to block the projects. Among residents opposing the projects is Rachel Vonderhaar, who farms thousands of acres as a family business. Vonderhaar questions the transparency of the process, saying few people took notice of the flyer that came in the mail two weeks prior to the first public meeting. “When it comes to transparency, there’s a real problem with how the system operates,” Vonderhaar said. “Two weeks before a meeting is not enough notice for someone to figure out what their rights are, let alone to participate, to prevent an application from being submitted.” >>Trending: Cops pose as utility workers to catch distracted drivers Daniel Sawmiller, Ohio’s energy policy director for the Natural Resource Defense Council, said solar is becoming more prevalent in Ohio as coal plants are shutting down. Sawmiller, who was formerly with the Sierra Club, said he worked on the settlement with American Electric Power, which resulted in a commitment by AEP to add 900 megawatts of renewable energy sources, including 400 megawatts from solar power. Projects in Highland and Brown counties, where the local economy has been hit hard by the decline in the coal industry, are a direct result of that settlement, Sawmiller said. Sawmiller said adding solar and other renewable energy sources to the grid will ultimately result in “lower wholesale energy prices,” which leads to lower electric rates for consumers. Solar farms as big as a lake Six solar electric generation facilities have been approved in four Ohio counties, amounting to 12,573 acres, according to records on file with the Ohio Power Siting Board. By comparison, Grand Lake St. Marys is 13,500 acres across Mercer and Auglaize counties. Three proposed projects are pending approval by the OPSB, including two in Preble County that would occupy about 1,800 acres of farmland, according to records. >> Trending: 7 motorcycle riders killed in fiery crash identified; range in age from 42 to 62 The three pending applications were filed with the state in December 2018; among the approved projects, the first application was in March 2017 for approximately 1,200 acres in Vinton County, according to the records. Greene County property owners near Yellow Springs and Cedarville have also been approached about lease agreements for a solar farm there. Open Road Renewables is an Austin, Texas-based company that has applied for the two solar projects in Preble County, called Alamo and Angelina. Herling said the solar arrays proposed in Preble County would result in $1.7 million annual tax revenue, $9,000 per megawatt generated, that would benefit the county, school district and other taxing jurisdictions. ‘Animosities with neighbors’ Concerned Citizens of Preble County is a grassroots effort aimed at stopping the projects. The group of residents who live or own land near the proposed sites say they were not aware of the projects until late last year, despite representatives from Open Road Renewables beginning talks with local officials and land owners years earlier. The group has myriad concerns beyond what they said will be negative effects on the aesthetics of their farming community and their property values. Among the group is Joe DeLuca, former superintendent of Eaton schools. DeLuca said he’s always been an admirer of solar power, but it’s concerning when out-of-state companies looking to make a profit on large projects can go to the state level for approval and not worry about local opposition. >> Trending: Exonerated 5, formerly Central Park 5, bring crowd to their feet at BET Awards “The big picture for me: why would anyone want to take some of the best productive farm land in the state or anywhere and put solar panels on it to take it out of production?” DeLuca said. In Oregon, a commission for land conservation and development has implemented a temporary ban on installing solar arrays on prime farmland. Resident Marja Brandly’s home on Fairhaven College Corner Road is surrounded by hundreds of acres used for growing soy beans and corn. Brandly, who is the fifth generation to inherit the property, pointed to the horizon where one of the proposed solar arrays would be within sight. “It really has torn us apart and created animosities with neighbors, because we feel by their secrecy and not letting the rest of us know that they really set out to knife us in the back,” Brandly said. “If these same people had come to us two years ago, I would have had a lot more respect for their openness and forthrightness. Now, nobody trusts them. We don’t want them on our property … That’s how far down the relationship has descended.” Greene County next? The groundwork preparing for other potential solar farms is also happening in the state before any official applications are filed. The Dayton Daily News reported in May about farmers in Greene County who are being solicited for lease agreements by a law firm working on behalf of Australia-based Lendlease, which has plans to install solar arrays on more than a thousand acres around Yellow Springs and Cedarville. Greene County resident Mark Pinkerton said he is bothered by what he described as the sneaky way in which solar development companies are securing lease agreements. Pinkerton said he also questions the efficiencies espoused by solar array proponents after he invested in a project that wasn’t profitable in Colorado. “Certainly there needs to be some land use policies put in place. There needs to be public hearings ahead of time,” Pinkerton said. “I want people to use the land how they feel is appropriate, but those of us who have invested in the community want to protect our investment and property as well.” Cedarville resident Ryanne Rinaldi, an environmental biology and chemistry student at Grace College, said a neighbor’s field behind her family’s home is one of the areas where the solar array would be installed. She said her research has given her concerns for the toxins that are inside the solar panels, the impact to wildlife and the environment. “This will ultimately reduce our property value, and we won’t be able to either sell or enjoy the space that we live in anymore,” Rinaldi said. >> Trending: SEE: Hot air balloon crash-lands into crowd at Missouri festival Lendlease has not submitted a formal application with OPSB. Messages left with the company have not been returned. Approval, but no construction yet The OPSB technical staff has recommended approval of the Preble County projects, with conditions, according to Matt Schilling, spokesman for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. Though the power siting board has approved six projects in the state, no construction has begun on any of them, Schilling said. An evidentiary hearing is scheduled July 26 for the projects in Preble County. The Preble solar projects could come up for the state board’s consideration before the end of the year, according to Schilling. State approval is required of energy projects that produce 50 or more megawatts. By comparison, the village of Yellow Springs’ solar array sits on a little more than 6 acres and is designed to produce 1 megawatt of power. Ohio House Bill 6 has passed the Ohio House of Representatives and could come up for a Senate vote this week. If the bill becomes law, electric rates for Ohio consumers would be raised to pay for subsidies on two nuclear power plants owned by FirstEnergy Solutions as well as two coal-fired plants owned by Ohio Valley Electric Corp. >> Trending: Former Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak jumps into crowded Democratic primary The proposed legislation also seeks to remove existing renewable energy and energy efficiency standards established since 2008. Proponents of HB 6, including Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Alliance, say it’s needed to keep jobs from disappearing with the closure of two nuclear power plants within the next two years. Opponents, including Americans for Prosperity, say the bill is a bailout for the company operating the nuclear power plants, First Energy Solutions, which filed for bankruptcy protection last year.