Former school board chair John Hollar today announced his candidacy for mayor of Montpelier. He made the announcement at Onion River Sports. Hollar, 51, spoke about the positive qualities of Montpelier, including its parks, active citizens, and vibrant downtown. He also referenced two major challenges the city faces: Montpelier’s high tax rate, which he said is among the highest in Vermont, and its declining infrastructure. ‘These two competing demands will present us with some very difficult choices in the months and years ahead,’ he said. ‘But we cannot afford to shy away from them because they are hard.’ Hollar said he chose the sporting goods store as the venue for his announcement because the store epitomizes what is great about Montpelier ‘ its thriving downtown business, great employees and high quality service and merchandise. Hollar also said that he is an avid biker and cross-country skier. Hollar said that he would spend the next eleven weeks of the campaign ‘talking to as many people as I can to determine what our community values, and what our priorities are.’ Hollar has practiced law in Montpelier for 21 years and is a partner with Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC, where he is co-chair of its Regulated Entities and Government & Public Affairs groups. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma (BA 1982) and Georgetown University (JD 1989). He’s lived in Montpelier since 1990.Hollar is married to Jennifer Prescott Hollar, a 5th generation Montpelier resident, and they have three sons.The City of Montpelier uses a city manager type of government. The mayor is elected by the entire city every two years and sits on the City Council. The other six councilors represent three electoral districts and are also elected every two years. The council is the legislative body and the city manager runs the government.12.20.2011
UNDATED (AP) — Formula One driver Lando Norris embarrassed the field in his IndyCar iRacing debut by dominating Saturday’s race at virtual Circuit of the Americas in Texas.Norris was poised to begin his second F1 season with McLaren in March when a team member tested positive for the new coronavirus at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix and the series immediately suspended competition.The 20-year-old British driver is a skilled iRacer and competed in the virtual event for Arrow McLaren SP, an IndyCar team that McLaren partnered with for this season to enter the American series.Norris dominated qualifying to start from the pole and relinquished the lead during a pit stop. He then picked his way back through the 33-driver field on the virtual road course in Austin, Texas, and regained the lead with four laps remaining when Felix Rosenqvist spun.His victory snapped a three-race iRacing winning streak for Team Penske that included consecutive victories by Simon Pagenaud (see-MOHN’ PA’-zheh-noh). The first quarterback chosen on Day 3 was Washington’s Jacob Eason, who went to Indianapolis. The Colts already have Philip Rivers, who signed as a free agent, and incumbent Jacoby Brissett. But both have contracts only through this year. Eason transferred to Washington after losing out to Jake Fromm at Georgia. Fromm was claimed by Buffalo with the 167th overall pick.The New York Jets took Florida International QB James Morgan with the 125th pick.In other NFL draft news:-Maybe the Southeastern Conference should simply hold onto its players and become part of the NFL. The home of national champion LSU and perennial contenders Alabama, Georgia and Auburn, the SEC dominated the first four rounds of the NFL draft before the flow of talent slowed to a trickle. Or the conference finally began running out of top prospects. The top four rounds are where the vast majority of pro starters are found. Beginning with LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, who went first overall to the Bengals, the SEC provided the mother lode with 50 players as the draft headed into the sixth round.MLB-UMPIRE LAWSUIT In other college basketball news:— Gonzaga sophomore Joel Ayayi declared for the NBA draft on Saturday but will not hire an agent. The 6-foot-5 guard from France said his top option remains returning for his junior season. Ayayi averaged 10.6 points and 6.3 rebounds last season and was voted the most outstanding player of the West Coast Conference Tournament. He is the second Gonzaga player to declare for the draft without hiring an agent, joining Corey Kispert.—Chris Marcus, a two-time Associated Press All-America honorable mention during a decorated career at center for Western Kentucky, has died. He was 40. The school said Marcus died in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, but did not state a cause of death. Considered one of WKU’s most dominant big men, the 7-foot-1 Marcus posted 1,113 points and 795 rebounds for the Hilltoppers and led the nation at 12.1 boards per game in 2001. He was named Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year that season and earned his second consecutive Defensive Player of the Year award.INDYCAR-VIRTUAL RACINGF1 driver Lando Norris wins in IndyCar iRacing debut Associated Press MLB official thought Manfred would stop Hernández for SeriesNEW YORK (AP) — A major league official testified he suggested Ángel Hernández be removed from consideration for the 2015 World Series because he did not think Commissioner Rob Manfred would approve the umpire to work baseball’s premier event. The Cuba-born Hernández sued Major League Baseball in 2017, alleging race discrimination and cited his failure to be assigned to the World Series since 2005 and MLB not promoting him to crew chief. The documents and testimony from senior VP Peter Woodfork were filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.A member of the big-league staff since 1993, the Cuba-born Hernández worked the World Series in 2002 and 2005. He was not picked after Joe Torre was hired in 2011 to head baseball operations.Hernández was involved in a controversy in 2013 when Oakland’s Adam Rosales was awarded a double after a video review rather than a home run. The replay system in use at the time did not provide sufficiently clear images to the New York control room.COLLEGE BASKETBALL-NEWS Update on the latest sports In other developments related to the pandemic:— Boxing was set to resume in Nicaragua on Saturday with a televised eight-fight card in front of a live audience in Managua. The threat of the coronavirus was dismissed by promoter Rosendo Álvarez, a former two-time world champion. The government says there have been only 11 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and three deaths, though outside health officials are deeply skeptical. The country’s baseball and soccer leagues are still playing, too.— Poland’s premier soccer league plans to restart on May 29 after the government decided on Saturday to ease restrictions imposed to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The decision makes Poland one of the first countries in Europe to set a date to resume a league that was suspended on March 13. The agreement was worked out by the league, the Polish Football Association, and government. The restart will take place in stages, with the first stage — players going into self-isolation — already underway. After that, players will begin training under strict medical supervision.— The British government is stepping up its planning with sports bodies about the resumption of events once the coronavirus national lockdown is eased. Government medical officials are involved in the talks about the logistics and health procedures required to allow sports competitions to restart. The Premier League last played a game on March 9 and has plans to try to restart from June 8. The national lockdown is currently in place until May 7. Cricket authorities have already said their sport won’t resume until July, but horse racing is currently only suspended until June.— A top-flight Dutch soccer team is preparing for legal action to fight the Royal Netherlands Football Association’s decision to cancel the remainder of the league season FC Utrecht likely will not be alone in challenging the decision, which also allocated places in next season’s European competitions based on the standings when play was halted. The Netherlands was the first top-tier European league to cancel the remainder of the season. Neighboring Belgium could also end its season at a meeting Monday. VIRUS OUTBREAK-SPORTSEarnhardt race car up for auction to fund virus relief workUNDATED (AP) — NASCAR team owner Richard Childress is auctioning off one of racing legend Dale Earnhardt’s cars to raise money for coronavirus relief efforts.The Charlotte Observer reports that this is the first time Childress has sold or given away an original Earnhardt car from his personal collection. A news release from Richard Children Racing officials doesn’t specify which of Earnhardt’s trademark No. 3 race cars is up for auction. Childress tweeted Friday that parting with one of his cars is “a small sacrifice” for him to make.Earnhardt died in a crash during the last lap of the Daytona 500 in 2001. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditNFL-TRADES49ers make a series of tradesUNDATED (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers made a flurry of trades on Saturday, the final day of the NFL draft. San Francisco then traded wideout Marquise Goodwin to Philadelphia for a swap of sixth-round spots.NFL-DRAFTNFL draft wrapping upUNDATED (AP) — The NFL draft entered its third and final day with Cincinnati selecting an Appalachian State linebacker. Akeem Davis-Gaither was the Sun Belt’s defensive player of the year and a standout at the Senior Bowl, a game the Bengals coaching staff worked.The Redskins dealt their unhappy veteran tackle Trent Williams to San Francisco on Saturday morning, then chose LSU tackle Saahdiq Charles. They agreed to acquire seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams from the Washington Redskins on for a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft and a 2021 third-rounder.The 49ers had a big need at left tackle because their longtime standout left tackle Joe Staley has decided to retire. Staley announced Saturday that a deteriorating neck injury led to his decision to retire after 13 seasons. Staley also missed nine games last season with injuries to his leg and finger.The 31-year-old Williams must pass a physical for the trade to be finalized. He sat out the entire 2019 season because of a dispute with Washington’s front office. The Redskins did not trade him before the Oct. 29 deadline and Williams renewed his request for a trade this offseason. In November, Williams revealed he had cancer and said that situation led him to distrust the Redskins’ medical staff and organization as a whole.The deal reunites Williams with 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, who was the offensive coordinator in Washington when Williams was drafted fourth overall in 2010.The 49ers later sent Matt Breida, who was their starting running back for part of their NFC title season, to Miami for a fifth-rounder. They used the pick to select West Virginia tackle Colton McKivitz. April 25, 2020 — English Premier League team Chelsea says it will not impose a pay cut on its first-team squad and instead will ask players to continue their support for charities during the coronavirus pandemic. Chelsea also said it will not be furloughing any full-time staff, and casual workers and match day employees are being compensated by the club through to June 30. The Blues have been in negotiations with their players about a salary reduction, reportedly around 10%, in an effort to save money during the current crisis. That is lower than the Premier League’s suggestion of 30% for all clubs but Chelsea has now decided to take a different approach.— Aston Villa players will take a 25% pay cut to help the English Premier League club during the coronavirus outbreak. The club chief executive Christian Purslow says, “First-team players, first-team coaches and senior management have all agreed to defer 25% of their salaries for four months to assist the club during this period of uncertainty.” He added a further review will then take place.— The South Pacific island of Vanuatu (vah-noo-AH’-too) was likely the only venue in the world hosting a competitive sports final Saturday, and it was streamed live. Officials set up four cameras and commentary for the online stream on the Vanuatu Cricket Association’s Facebook site. Association chief executive Shane Deitz said there were 350,000 views of a men’s 10-over exhibition match followed by the women’s Twenty20 final won by the Mele Bulls, who went undefeated in the four-team competition.,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 Wake Forest fires coach Danny Manning after losing stretchUNDATED (AP) — Wake Forest fired coach Danny Manning on Saturday after losing seasons in five of his six years and only one NCAA Tournament appearance.The decision came more than six weeks after the Demon Deacons lost to Pittsburgh in the opening game of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament, capping a third straight losing season.Manning, a former No. 1 overall NBA draft pick, went 78-111 in Winston-Salem with a 30-80 mark in ACC regular-season games. Those league struggles included a 6-49 mark in league road games and 1-6 in the ACC Tournament.Manning had said after the Pitt loss on March 10 that he “absolutely” expected to return next season.
Remember when people were worried Gritty would frighten young hockey fans?The Flyers mascot surprised 7-year-old superfan Caiden O’Rourke at Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia after the boy was given a custom Gritty-themed prosthetic leg, sparking a priceless and heartwarming reaction. Take a look:SURPRISE: @GrittyNHL surprises 7 y/o fan Caiden O’Rourke at @shrinersphilly who just got a new custom Gritty prosthetic leg this morning. Look at his face! @6abc pic.twitter.com/jPMqtUVZ7x— Jeannette Reyes (@6abcJeannette) June 25, 2019Gritty also gave the boy a Flyers gift bag filled with goodies, including a custom jersey. Related News Capitals veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik announces retirement Golden Knights to sign William Karlsson to 8-year extension Blackhawks get Calvin de Haan, Aleksi Saarela in trade for goaltender, defenseman I have a feeling Caiden won’t be taking off this custom @NHLFlyers jersey lol pic.twitter.com/wdlFBDhudO— Jeannette Reyes (@6abcJeannette) June 25, 2019The encounter comes a week before O’Rourke’s eighth birthday, which is sure to be a memorable one.
“Last year I lost three matches in a row before I came here, so I just wanted to get one match. Then it just kept building on from that,” she said.“This year I went to two quarter-finals back to back and I feel very confident about how I am right now.”While it’s Osaka’s first time defending a Slam, she had her first taste of defending a title this year at Indian Wells.“Going to Indian Wells and learning how defending champion pressure feels, I think it definitely helped me out going into this tournament,” Osaka said. “Because I just feel more loose and comfortable here.“I’m not sure if it’s because the last couple of months have been kind of turbulent but definitely I feel really comfortable and I know that, despite everything, I play well here every year. So I’m not too worried about that.”And she’s much better after pulling out in Cincinnati with a left knee injury.“It’s getting better. I’ve been playing more, longer every day,” she said. “Luckily I’m a fast healer so I think it’s looking good.”– Halep’s confidence high –Halep, who has crashed out of the US Open in the first round the past two years, enters with confidence after beating Williams at Wimbledon.“It cannot be worse than the last two years, to lose in the first round,” Halep said. “I’m really good. I’m feeling healthy. I’m feeling fresh.“The pressure of doing something special, it’s off. Now what comes, comes as a bonus. I’m still working, I’m still motivated to win titles. I’ve started to feel more and more that I’m capable to do that so my confidence is very high.”Barty says “nothing has really changed for me” since her title at Roland Garros.“I just come here to play and do the best that I can,” Barty said. “I’m focused on my first round on Monday and that’s all I’m worried about for the moment.”Share on: WhatsApp Eighth-seeded Serena Williams will be commanding the first day of US Open as she faces Maria Sharapova in the first round.New York, United States | AFP | Serena Williams has the US Open spotlight as she chases tennis history, but a host of Grand Slam winners and high-ranked rivals are also taking aim at the title.The 37-year-old American will be the focus of attention when the Flushing Meadows fortnight begins Monday with her first-round night match against Russian Maria Sharapova the most anticipated of the women’s openers.“Of course I’m going to watch it,” said top-seeded defending champion Naomi Osaka, who beat Williams in last year’s US Open final. “I think everyone in New York is going to watch it.“I’m not that surprised that that happened, because at every Grand Slam there’s always some sort of drama. Like a first round. Like, Oh my God. So this match just happens to be that for this tournament.”Williams will try to capture her 24th Grand Slam singles title to match the all-time record set by Margaret Court.Eighth-seeded Williams, who could meet second-seeded French Open champion Ashleigh Barty of Australia in the quarter-finals, has not won a Slam since the 2017 Australian Open when she was pregnant, losing the US Open final to Osaka last year amid controversy and the past two Wimbledon finals — including last month to Romania’s Simona Halep.Barty, Osaka, Halep and Czech third seed Karolina Pliskova, seeking her first Slam title, are among the foes trying to deny Williams yet again in a quest she insists doesn’t dominate her thoughts.“I think it’s definitely meaningful, but at this point in my career, I just try to think of different things and even bigger goals — so it’s just like 24 is just a thing,” Williams said earlier this month.“There are so much more important things in my life. And obviously tennis is super important to me… but yeah there are always other things in life, I feel, that are really big on my plate too.”Williams has not played since retiring from the WTA Toronto final with back spasms, handing Canada’s Bianca Andreescu the title.“Definitely if she manages physically, then I think she can do really well here,” Andreescu said.“She’ll do great, as she always does,” added 2017 US Open winner Sloane Stephens.– Osaka ‘very confident’ –Osaka won last year’s final after Williams was given a game penalty by umpire Carlos Ramos, who US Open officials have decided will not work on any match with Serena or Venus Williams at this year’s US Open.This time, Osaka has had a better run-up to the Open despite a first-round Wimbledon crash out.
LITTLE SILVERThe Seniors of Little Silver will have their last meeting of the season at noon Tuesday, June 25, at the Club House, Church Street.A luncheon, prepared by Sickles Market with special treats from members, will be served at noon and the regular meeting will begin at 1 p.m. Members who would like to prepare their favorite dish to share should call Linda Rizzo, the hospitality chairwoman, at 732-741-5339.Those attending should RSVP by June 20. The cost is $10 for members, $12 for nonmembers. Checks, made payable to Seniors of Little Silver, should be mailed to Diane Tresente, treasurer, at 61 Seven Bridges Road, Little Silver.Following the board meeting, board-assembled baskets will be raffled off.Informal gatherings will be held, beginning in July, at 1 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month at The Turning Point on Prospect Street. All are welcomed.Regular meetings will resume in the fall on Sept. 24 – the fourth Tuesday of the month. Conservation Foundation Holds Kids Photo/Art Contest ATLANTIC HIGHLANDSThe 5th Annual Atlantic Highlands Car Show will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday June 15, with June 22 as the rain date.The event, which will run along First Avenue, usually features more than 160 cars and trucks and brings out thousands of spectators.Handcrafters and automotive-related vendors will be set up in the park and the borough’s shops and eateries will be open.There will be two areas of entertainment: one stage in the center of the show and another in the park. This year’s entertainment will include D.J. Riff Raff, The Battery Electric, Michael Melore & The Winjen Band, Plato Zorba, Christina Alessi, The Brigantines, Poppa John “Bug” with Gary Wright performing acoustic and Nine Below Zero.For information about registering a vehicle or inquiring about vending, visit www.atlantichighlands.org/events/car-show or call or email Meredith at 347-528-5372 or firstname.lastname@example.org. * * * * *Daylily Day will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 29 at Deep Cut Gardens.Area residents are invited to visit Deep Cut Gardens, Red Hill Road, Middletown, and enjoy an assortment of daylilies. In addition to colorful displays, expert daylily growers will be on hand to discuss this hardy flower and give horticultural advice.The event is presented by the Monmouth County Park System and the Garden State Daylily Growers.Deep Cut Gardens is the Monmouth County Park System’s site dedicated to the home gardener. The 54 acres of gardens and greenhouses are planned as a living catalog of cultivated and native plant materials to be observed through the seasons. For more information on Deep Cut Gardens or the Monmouth County Park System, visit www.monmouthcountyparks.com or call the Park System at 732-842-4000.The TTY/TDD number for people with hearing impairment is 711. MONMOUTH COUNTY – Monmouth Conservation Foundation (MCF) announces its Fall 2013 Kids Capturing Conservation Photo/Art Contest for preschools located in Monmouth County. The purpose of this contest is to increase awareness of the importance of nature and land conservation in Monmouth County.There are two ways to win: the winning school will be awarded a grant of $1,500, the three top winning student entrants will each be awarded an exciting birthday party at Huber Woods Environmental Center in Locust (Middletown Township) and the second three winning students will each win a digital camera.The contest invites students enrolled at registered preschools to photograph or draw a special moment in nature that is then posted by an adult family member on Monmouth Conservation Foundation’s Facebook Contest Page. The winning school will be determined by the highest percentage of entrants based on school enrollment. The student winners will be based on receiving the most social media votes.Preschools must register on the MCF website contest registration page by June 21 for the opportunity to win the grant. The actual contest takes place in the fall, and student photo/art entries may be submitted from October 1 through October 15. Student entries must be from a preregistered preschool. Please visit our contest page for more details. To register online: MonmouthConservationFoundation.org/Capturing-Conservation. For more information, contact Lisa McKean at 732-671-7000.Monmouth Conservation Foundation is Monmouth County’s only countywide land trust whose overarching mission is to create a permanent legacy of open space, parks, and protected natural resources for our generation, our children’s generation and future generations. Established as a 501(c) 3 in 1977, the foundation has preserved over 6,500 acres of open space, farmland, wetlands and parks throughout Monmouth County. The conservation and preservation of land creates a better quality of life – protecting the character and integrity of Monmouth County for all to appreciate and benefit from. With continued support, MCF will continue to preserve the beauty of Monmouth’s County for future generations. * * * * *The American Association of University Women (AAUW) will be holding a book sale 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 29, at the Old First Church, 60 King’s Highway.Shoppers can fill bags with as many books that fit for $5 per bag. Treasures include complete sets, classics, children’s and young-adult books plus current fiction, mysteries, history titles, hardcovers and paperbacks.Proceeds provide scholarships for local women. MIDDLETOWNYouth from the Middletown United Methodist Church, 924 Middletown-Lincroft Rd., will host a dinner and live band on Saturday, June 15, on church grounds to raise funds for a service mission trip to upstate New York.Area families with youth and small children are invited to join in this fun summer evening of dinner and live music in a mix of music styles.Every year 15 youth and six adults from the church travel to upstate New York to help fix up the homes of those in need.Projects can include painting, roofing and building ramps, stairs or porches. The youths volunteer a week of their summer to sleep on air mattresses in schools or churches and do manual labor.The experience goes a long way in molding character, learning new skills and building lasting friendships and relationships among themselves and the families and communities they serve.It also moves youth forward in their academic pursuits and their service to their communities and those in need.Additional information is available by calling 732-671-0707 or visiting the website at www.middletownumcnj.org. * * * * *The Monmouth County Park System is hosting a pottery open house from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, June 20, at the Thompson Park Creative Arts Center, Newman Springs Road.Visitors can sample hand-building techniques and try the potter’s wheel.Additional information is available by visiting www.monmouthcountyparks.com or calling 732-842-4000. For people with hearing impairment, the TDD/TTY number is 711. LINCROFTThe monthly social-action film screening will be held 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 25, at the Unitarian meetinghouse, 1475 W. Front St.The film, Living Downstream, follows scientist, professor, author and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber as she travels across North America, working to break the silence about cancer, its environmental links and the urgent human rights issue therein. Both personal journey and scientific-social exploration, the film is a powerful reminder of the intimate connection between the health of our bodies and the health of our air, land, and water.Additional information is available by calling Dan Ciaglia at 732-284-6312 or emailing email@example.com.
By The Nelson Daily SportsThere’s another Taylor making waves on the golf circuit, albeit the Zone One West Kootenay Junior tour.But a win is a win wherever you play.Nolan Taylor, the brother of Portland State sensation Lauren Taylor, used his superior ball-striking to edge Tanner Kopan of Christina Lake to capture the Champion Lakes title Saturday outside Fruitvale.Both players finished the 18-hole tourney with 3-over 75 scores. However, Taylor blasted a long drive down the par-five playoff hole to beat the Christina Lake golfer to the cup.Kopan did manage to top the 17-18 division ahead of Kevin Bennett of Redstone in Rossland.Tyler McKay won the 15-16-division. However, the Rossland/Trail golfer thought he had bigger fish to fry until a double bogey on the 18th hole took him out of contention for the overall prize with a 76.Brenan Moroney of Rossland/Trail finished second with Garrett Underwood from Champion Lakes third. Braden McKay continued winning ways edging Dugan McInnes from Nakusp in the 13-14-division. Nolan Renwick of Granite Pointe was third.Sunday in Creston Bennett outlasted the field of 33 players to claim the overall low gross title ahead of Tyler McKay.Bennett finished with a 27-hole score of 114, two strokes ahead of McKay.Third overall was Kopan followed by Aaron Jenkins of Radium Hot Springs and Underwood, finishing six shots behind the winner.Rounding out the top ten was Moroney, Braden McKay, Jordan Hoodikoff, Tepper Cole of Cranbrook and MacKenzie Field of Christina Lake.The field was cut to 15 players after 18 holes with the top players playing an additional nine holes.Hoodikoff earns victory in CastlegarJordan Hoodikoff of Christina Lake fired a 3-over-par 75 to claim the Castlegar stop on the Zone One West Kootenay Junior Golf Circuit in May.Kevin Bennett of Redstone finished one shot behind Hoodikoff while Tanner Kopan of Christina Lake shot a 77.Brenan Moroney and Tyler McKay of Rossland/Trail finished fourth and fifth, respectively, with Alex Rugg of Champion Lakes, Braden McKay of Rossland/Trail, MacKenzie Field of Christina Lakes, Amber Arnold of Castlegar and Nathyn McInnes of Nakusp rounding out the top ten.Granite Pointe golfers Nolan Taylor (12th), Carson Arcuri (16th), Nolan Renwick (16th) finished out of the top firstname.lastname@example.org
Argentina, lacking the inspiration of injured captain Lionel Messi, suffered a humiliating setback in their World Cup qualifying campaign when they lost 1-0 at home to Paraguay on Tuesday.Paraguay stunned the twice world champions with a fast break from deep in their own half, Angel Romero playing the ball into the path of Derlis Gonzalez who beat Sergio Romero with a shot inside the near post in the 18th minute.The defeat left Argentina, who dropped seven points in three successive matches without Messi, in fifth place in the South American group with 16 points, one point ahead of Paraguay who had never won a qualifier in Argentina before.BRAZIL SURGE AHEADArgentina are five points behind new leaders Brazil, who won 2-0 in Venezuela, before visiting their arch-rivals in Belo Horizonte on Oct. 10.Uruguay dropped to second on 20 points with Ecuador third on 17, level with Colombia, who are in fourth on goal difference.The top four go through to the 2018 finals in Russia while the fifth placed team qualifiers for an intercontinental playoff for another berth.Argentina could have got back on level terms two minutes into the second half but Paraguay captain Justo Villar saved Sergio Aguero’s weak penalty.”There are no excuses, we played badly,” Aguero told reporters. “We’ve got to pick ourselves up… turn everything around.”Paulo Dybala, who came on in the second half to try and bring more creativity to the team, was also unimpressed.”It’s a bad moment. We’ve got to try to get out of this rut in the next matches,” he said. “A national team like ours has to participate in the World Cup.”advertisementLeft back Marcos Rojo, one of three men in a makeshift Argentine defence with little or no club action this season, had the ball in the Paraguay net at a free kick in the second half but the referee ruled it offside.In the first half, Angel Di Maria hit the Paraguay post with a shot across the face of goal.URUGUAY HELD, CHILE WINUruguay were held to a 2-2 draw away to Colombia with Luis Suarez scoring his 19th goal in qualifying matches, equalling the record held by former Argentina striker Hernan Crespo.The Uruguayans were pegged back in steamy, rainy Barranquilla by Colombia striker Yerry Mina’s late headed equaliser after Suarez had put them ahead in the 73rd minute.Midfielder Cristian Rodriguez had headed a 27th-minute leveller for Uruguay to cancel out Abel Aguilar’s opening goal.Ecuador’s Enner Valencia scored twice, including an 89th minute equaliser, when they were a man short as they came from two goals down to draw with Bolivia in La Paz. Midfielder Luis Caicedo was sent off 12 minutes from time for a second booking.Pablo Escobar scored both goals for Bolivia.Copa America holders Chile, who had not won in three games, produced a 2-1 victory over arch-rivals Peru in Santiago that keeps them in seventh place on 14 points, one behind Paraguay.Arturo Vidal scored both Chile’s goals, the winner in the 85th minute after Edison Flores’s equaliser.