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Stuck in Brazil with premature baby, Minnesota family fights bureaucracy to return home

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Stuck in Brazil with premature baby, Minnesota family fights bureaucracy to return home


This week, Greyson Leo Phillips turned nine weeks old. He’s finally out of neonatal intensive care after 51 days, and he has more than doubled his birth weight of 2 pounds, 2.6 ounces.

But he’s not home, unless an Airbnb in the Brazilian coastal city of Florianópolis counts at home. Instead, Greyson is stuck in a Brazilian bureaucratic nightmare, unable to leave Brazil and go to his real home in Minnesota.

Greyson and his parents, Chris and Cheri Phillips of Cambridge, have been battling a maddening bureaucratic Catch-22 after his premature birth during a winter trip to Brazil. Because of a technicality, Brazilian authorities haven’t issued his birth certificate; the office said it cannot issue a birth certificate because Chris and Cheri’s passports, like all American passports, don’t have their parents’ names.

Without a birth certificate, Greyson can’t get a U.S. passport.

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Without a U.S. passport, Greyson can’t go home to Minnesota.

“We’ve been working on this since day one, and we have nothing yet,” Chris said.

Their odyssey began in mid-February. Chris, who used to live in Brazil, has a daughter from a previous relationship who lives with her mother in Florianópolis, about 700 miles southwest of Rio de Janeiro. He and Cheri traveled there to celebrate his daughter’s eighth birthday. Cheri’s doctors encouraged her to make the trip; she’d had zero complications and was yet to enter her third trimester. This was the time to do it, they told her.

A couple days before their scheduled return in March, Cheri felt back pain, then contractions. Early the next morning, Cheri was bleeding. They went to a hospital at 4 a.m. For days, doctors tried to stop labor.

“That was our hope — just calm down her body and get on planes and go home,” said Chris, who works in marketing and communications at Children’s Minnesota. “It soon became apparent that was not going to happen. This baby was go to be born in Brazil.”

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Greyson was born March 12 with a hole in his heart, struggling with apnea. As Chris and Cheri huddled over their son in an incubator, their Realtor and mortgage broker completed the sale of their St. Louis Park condo and purchase of their Cambridge house. Friends and family moved their stuff into their new home.

The main holdup seems mundane. Brazilian hospitals give parents a certificate of live birth, then parents must visit a local registry office for an official birth certificate. But officials refused to issue the birth certificate, Chris said, since Chris and Cheri’s passports don’t have their parents’ names. (American passports don’t include parents’ names, but Brazilian passports do.)

Chris’ uncle shipped the couple’s birth certificates and marriage license, which have their parents’ names. Those were deemed unacceptable because they don’t have an apostille stamp, which authenticates a public official’s signature for use in a foreign country. They hired a lawyer to secure Greyson’s documentation. A month later, their case hasn’t gone anywhere.

After the Brazilian birth certificate, the couple will need a consular report of birth abroad and a U.S. passport from an embassy or consulate in Brazil. But according to U.S. State Department policy, applicants must physically go to the appointment.

This presents multiple problems: The nearest consulate is 300 miles away in a region that’s experiencing severe flooding. Greyson can’t fly without documentation. And Greyson is too small for his car seat, so they can’t drive.

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The family received a bit of good news this week: After pressure from U.S. Sen. Tina Smith’s office, the embassy agreed to send a representative to Florianópolis to process Greyson’s American documentation.

But only after they secure a Brazilian birth certificate.

“Mentally, we are not doing well,” Chris said Wednesday as he drove to a federal office in Florianópolis to extend their tourist visas. In their “first piece of bureaucratic good news yet,” Chris said, Brazilian authorities extended their visas until Aug. 21.

“It’s mentally exhausting,” said Cheri, who works as a philanthropy services manager at Saint Therese Senior Living. “Now that he’s quote-unquote ‘home’ in an Airbnb, it’s honestly even harder on me. The only reason we’re here now is because of all the bureaucracy. I’m either on the verge of crying or I’m mad or I’m just sitting on couch with Greyson, cuddling or nursing him.”

There’s been only one blessing from this experience, Chris said: Spending more time with his 8-year-old daughter, Melory, who he typically only sees three times a year.

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“And she’s had the opportunity to bond with Greyson,” Chris said. “That’s the only silver lining.”



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First responders emphasize water safety during Memorial Day weekend

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First responders emphasize water safety during Memorial Day weekend


MINNETONKA, Minn. — For many Minnesotans, Memorial Day weekend marks the official start of boating season.

At Lake Minnetonka, first responders are preparing for crowds of thousands to hit the water.

This week, however, the U.S. Coast Guard is emphasizing the importance of water safety, sharing data showing the prevalence of accidents and injuries while boating.

In 2022, the USCG says, 636 people died nationally in boating accidents – and another 2,222 people were injured. Moreover, boating accidents caused $63 million dollars in property damage.

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“It’s a lot of people’s first time out on a lake — they might not know how to ride a boat as well — driving, could be a little more careless, not aware of the dangers as much,” said Brent Anderson, a paramedic with Hennepin Healthcare who spent Saturday riding along with Hennepin County Sheriff’s Water Crews on Lake Minnetonka.

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WCCO


Anderson says boaters early in the season are still at risk for hypothermia – even if outdoor temperatures are hot.

“If you get hypothermia, you’re not thinking clearly. You could think you’re warm. You’re just not functioning properly -you’ve got to be careful with it,” Anderson said. 

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New research from the Centers for Disease Control also reveals a startling rise in the number of drownings across America since the pandemic. Between 2020 and 2022, 4,500 people drowned each year in the U.S., which is roughly 500 more drowning deaths each year compared to 2019. 

It’s also the leading cause of death among children ages 1-4, and drowning increased by 28% in that age group in 2022 compared to 2019.

“CDC’s drowning prevention experts collected high-quality drowning data to better understand how we can protect people in communities across the United States,” said Debra Houry, the CDC’s Chief Medical Officer. Understanding the barriers people face to accessing basic swimming and water safety skills training can help us better understand how to address those barriers, decrease drowning rates, and save lives.”

More than a third of Black adults reported not knowing how to swim compared to 15% of all adults, and 72% of Hispanic adults reported never taking a swimming lesson, according to CDC data.

In Minneapolis, the Park Board is offering swim lessons for kids ages 3-17 at five different locations starting June 17. There are scholarships available to help improve access and affordability.

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NY Liberty vs. Minnesota Lynx preview: A Saturday matinee

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NY Liberty vs. Minnesota Lynx preview: A Saturday matinee


Every day is a learning opportunity. And for the New York Liberty, Thursday night will provide one they’ll keep in mind for the future. Teresa Weatherspoon brought her Chicago Sky back into her old stomping grounds, and Chicago outworked the Liberty on the way to handing NY their first loss of the year.

The opponent today has been one of the pleasant surprises of the season so far. The Minnesota Lynx have been pretty excellent to start the year as they try to go on a big run this year. They were able to get Thursday’s game into overtime, but the Connecticut Sun proved to be a bit too much to handle as they beat the Lynx by one point.

Where to follow the game

CBS is the place to be. Brunch and basketball so we getting the party started at 1 PM.

Injuries

All clear for the seafoam.

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Diamond Miller left Thursday’s game with a knee injury. She had knee surgery during the off-season, and the team has been working her back into things slowly. Last night, the team announced that she will be out indefinitely after undergoing and MRI. Dorka Juhasz had overseas obligations, but she was activated last night. She’ll be available today.

The game

The Lynx have played a lot of basketball in the past week and change. They went to OT vs. the Sun and the game before that, it took them two overtimes to beat the Seattle Storm. Prior to Thursday’s game, they had a few days off, but the minutes do start to add up after a while. Luckily for them, they’ll be staying home for a while before they return to action on Wednesday vs. the Las Vegas Aces.

Foul trouble made things hard for Jonquel Jones on Thursday as she couldn’t get things going. Without Jones, the Liberty didn’t have their usual rhythm and crispness that they typically do. The rim protection wasn’t where it usually is and everything was off just a hair. When you have a game like Jones did, you always want to get back out there and get back on the good foot. With Juhasz likely on a minutes restriction and rookie big Alissa Pili getting comfortable in the pros, look for the team to place some extra emphasis on getting Jones the ball early and often.

Sabrina Ionescu has been getting downhill more often, and it’s helped keep the Liberty offense going. That increased success at the rim helps against a Lynx team that has kept teams off the three point line. Through the first week and change of the season, the Lynx are first in opponent’s three point attempts and third in percentage. Ionescu’s three point shot hasn’t joined the party yet, so look for her to keep attacking downhill to find those quality shots for herself and her teammates.

On the other side, Kayla McBride will try to match Sab shot for shot. McBride has been in the top 25 in three point attempts in each of the past three seasons and is currently ninth this season. Cheryl Reeve and the coaching staff trust her to find her shot late in close games and to guard players like Ionescu. With Miller out for the foreseeable future, they’ll have to count on her even more to handle shooting guard duties.

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Player to watch: Napheesa Collier

It’s always great to watch a player break into the top tier of the league. After finishing fourth in the MVP vote last year, Napheesa Collier is back and picking up where she left off. Phee was named Western Conference Player of the Week, and she’s done everything well for her team. How good has Phee been?

That’ll do. After the game on Thursday, she was asked about a tough foul call and said

Well alright!

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Phee will be matched up with her pal from UConn, Breanna Stewart! It’s hard to see an 18/10/5/4/1 and say it was a C+ game, but that’s what Thursday was for Stew York City. The team missed its fair share of shots at the rim, and when you miss layups, it allows the opponent to go on back-breaking runs. Look for New York to get Stewart those shots at the rim within the flow of the offense so she can keep Minnesota on its heels.

From the Vault

Over in the NBA, the Minnesota Timberwolves are trying to make it to the Finals for the first time in franchise history as they face the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals. It’s been a minute since a Minnesota sports team made it this far in the playoffs. Let’s take a trip back into time and relive some Minnesota glory

More reading: Canis Hoopus, Swish Appeal, The Strickland, The Local W, New York Daily News, New York Post, The Athletic. Fansided, Just Women’s Sports, SI All Knicks, Winsidr, Her Hoop Stats, CBS Sports, and The Next





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Mavericks’ magic: Biggest takeaways of Game 2 between Dallas and Minnesota

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Mavericks’ magic: Biggest takeaways of Game 2 between Dallas and Minnesota


A late one-point victory in a tight Western Conference finals between the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Mavericks escaping Minnesota up 2-0 is another story.

Dallas rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit to take Game 2 109-108 behind a brilliant step-back 3-pointer from Luka Doncic over center Rudy Gobert with three seconds remaining that silenced the home crowd. The Timberwolves had one final possession, but Naz Reid’s 26-footer missed, and now the Mavericks will travel back to Dallas with a commanding series lead.

“I can’t move fast, but I can move faster than him,” Doncic said of his shot over Gobert during his postgame interview on TNT.

With his winning 3 over the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Doncic finished with a game-high 32 points with 10 rebounds and 13 assists to record his eighth career playoff triple-double.

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The Mavericks trailed by as many as 16 points in the third quarter, but they methodically cut into Minnesota’s lead behind Doncic’s playmaking and clutch shooting from guard Kyrie Irving, who went 4-for-7 from 3 in the game.

Reid led the Wolves with 23 points as Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns once again struggled; the duo combined to shoot 9-for-33.

Dallas heads home with the chance to close out the series and reach the NBA Finals — despite outscoring Minnesota by just four points over the first two games. The Timberwolves’ comeback attempt will begin Sunday in Game 3.

Our NBA insiders break down Doncic’s clutch shot, the Timberwolves’ chances at getting back into the series and the biggest takeaway from a memorable Game 2.

1. Luka’s step-back winning 3 over Gobert was ______.

Ramona Shelburne: Legacy-making, for both him and Gobert. As much as it was an incredible clutch shot by Doncic, it was also ammunition for all the Gobert detractors (See: Green, Draymond) who point out that the Defensive Player of the Year can be a liability when he switches onto a perimeter player. Of course, you can also question the defensive strategy of switching everything with Gobert on the floor. Instead, the Wolves watched Doncic put Gobert on skates for the win.

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Andrew Lopez: Excellent, yet expected. Watching Doncic in clutch situations, it’s starting to get to the point where you expect him to make tough shots no matter what and no matter who is standing in front of him. It’s incredible to think he just turned 25 in February by the way carries himself in pressure moments. As soon as he got the switch, you felt the shot was going in even though he had missed his two other attempts in the fourth quarter.

Brian Windhorst: Let’s use Doncic’s own words on the court after his game winner: “You can’t f—ing guard me.” In that moment, it was the slower-footed Gobert against the expert footwork of Doncic. As TNT’s Shaquille O’Neal would say, “Barbecue chicken.”


2. What is your biggest takeaway from Game 2?

Shelburne: The Mavericks weren’t perfect in this game, but for the second game in a row they showed much more poise than the Timberwolves when it mattered. Minnesota should probably just flush the tape of its critical turnovers down the stretch. People are going to point to the poor shooting performances by Wolves stars Edwards and Towns, but Reid and Mike Conley did enough to pick up the slack for Minnesota to win the game if it hadn’t had so many unforced errors.

Lopez: As much as Doncic seemingly struggled to get going until late in the fourth quarter because of his various injuries, the Mavericks were able to pull this out because of the play of Irving. Doncic is clearly not 100 — left ankle soreness and right knee sprain are among his ailments — despite coming through with the game winner. But when Doncic rested, Irving stepped up. After just seven points in the first three quarters, Irving had 13 in the fourth quarter with four 3s, including with 1:05 to go to cut the Wolves’ lead to two.

Windhorst: Edwards is going through a tough patch at the worst time. His unforced turnover with 12.8 seconds left was a crucial mistake. But he’s really mired in a slump, shooting just 30-of-90 over the past five games. Unlike Game 1, when he settled for 3-pointers, he attacked the basket and forced the action Friday. But as one of the best finishers in the league, 70% in the restricted area during the regular season, Edwards was ineffective going up against Dallas’ size.


3 . The Wolves’ trailing 0-2 for the first time these playoffs is ____.

Shelburne: What it looks like when a young team experiences growing pains in real time. As disappointing as these two games were for the Wolves, I’m not ready to write them off. Not after they won Games 6 and 7 against the defending champion Denver Nuggets following three straight losses in the last round. Edwards has struggled in this series. I think the demands of defending Irving in addition to the energy Minnesota needs from him offensively are wearing on him. He even needed oxygen in the fourth quarter of Game 2, but I’ve seen enough from Edwards this season to know he will never lack confidence or energy when his team needs him.

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Lopez: Heartbreaking. It looked as if Reid was going to save the day after he hit seven 3s and was carrying Minnesota in the second half, but he couldn’t get his eighth triple to fall as time expired. Towns and Edwards combined to go 9-of-33 in a one-possession game at home. This was after going 12-of-36 in a one-possession game at home in Game 1. Both games have been there for the taking. Minnesota has bounced back from the brink before, but to do so again, both players will have to take big steps in Games 3 and 4 in Dallas.

Windhorst: Regret. That’s what the Wolves were feeling in their locker room after the game. Ant for the turnover. Gobert for not getting the final stop. Coach Chris Finch for not using one of his two remaining timeouts. Towns for not having a better game. Two one-possession losses, lots of agony.



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