How Sweep it is!

The San Antonio Spurs proved to be far too much for LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Many people have said that the Spurs bored viewers to another NBA title. Whether you like to watch the San Antonio Spurs or not, they are now cemented as one of the top franchises of this era.

Everyone on the Cavaliers seemed to struggle in the third and fourth games, except LeBron James. Daniel Gibson was the biggest disappointment for Cleveland. He had provided a spark for the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals, but only scored 12 points during the third and fourth games.

The Cavaliers suffered another loss because of Larry Hughes’ bummed ankle. He scored only two points in the first game, none in the second and was unavailable for the third and fourth games

LeBron tried his best to carry the Cavs on his back, as he seemed to do in their series against the Pistons. However, it was not good enough to get a championship for Cleveland. The Spurs proved to the NBA that you can not win an NBA championship with one player carrying your team.

Some may argue that Michael Jordan carried the Chicago Bulls to their championships, but he always had the help of Scottie Pippen. If you look at the teams who have won the NBA title within the last 10 years, all the teams had more than one player expected to carry them.

The Spurs’ Tony Parker won the NBA Finals MYP award, making this the second time in NBA history that a player who did not attend college won the NBA Finals MVP (Moses Malone was the first person to do so). Parker is also the only foreign-born player to ever win the award.

With all said and done, the Spurs are NBA champions once again. Though they were seen as “bullies” in the Western Conference finals, the San Antonio Spurs did a lot of bullying in this series– where it counts– on the scoreboard.

You can contact Chris Sherwin at tua28057@temple.edu.

Sammy Sosa Joins the 600 Homerun Club

Things have quieted down in the national media for Sammy Sosa, after the 1998 homerun race against Mark McGwire for the single-season homerun record. Though they may have quieted down, that doesn’t mean they were forgotten.

On June 20, Sosa will become the fifth man in history, along with Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, and Willie Mays, to hit 600 homeruns. Ironically, he homered against his former team, the Chicago Cubs, who he was with from 1992-2004, during which he hit 545 homeruns for them.

After the 1998 season, Sosa emerged as one of baseball’s greatest, regardless of the fact that he finished behind McGwire’s 70 homeruns, with 66, as they both passed Roger Maris’s record of 61. That same year, he also won the National League MVP award; he earned every first-place vote, except for two St. Louis writers, who voted for McGwire.

The season following, Sosa hit 63 homeruns, but again trailed McGwire’s 65; in 2001 he hit 64 homeruns becoming the first player to have three 60+ homeruns seasons. Still, he trailed Barry Bonds, who broke the record with his 73. At present, Bonds is the center of all baseball with being six homeruns away from tying Hank Aaron’s record.

Sosa was surrounded in a controversy in 2003, when he was ejected during the first inning for using a corked bat. The MLB collected 76 of his other bats and had them examined; all of which proved to be clean. Sosa had five bats sent to the Hall of Fame in past years. They were also examined and found to be clean.

Sammy claimed that he had accidentally grabbed the bat that he uses for batting practice and homerun contests. Three days after his ejection, he was suspended for eight games, which was appealed and dropped down to seven.

Now in 2007, the spotlight is once again on Sosa and it couldn’t be sweeter. When Sammy hit number 600, in the Rangers uniform (which was his first team), the media shifted from Bonds to him, which is a nice breather for those who are sick and tired of hearing about how close Bonds is to tying the record.

The homerun was hit in the fifth inning off Jason Marquis who incidentally wears the number 21, which Sosa used to wear when he was on the Cubs. Marquis joins the other 364 pitchers who have had Sosa hit homers off them.

Think about this: Sosa hit his first homerun in 1989 as a member of the Rangers against Roger Clemens in Fenway Park.

Sosa had this to say, “Getting my 600th against the Chicago Cubs, and my first team [was] the Texas Rangers. It’s like everything clicked. My emotions, I don’t know what they are.”

What lies ahead for Sammy Sosa now that he has joined the ranks of those who have crossed the 600 HR mark? Only time will tell.

You can contact Sara J. Gamble at sportsrec@campusphilly.org

GreenFest Philly Interns

The “greening” of America is a huge issue that has caught the attention of political officials at both the national and local levels. According to a recent MSNBC article, Philadelphia ranked in the top 10 greenest cities in America. “Green” actions in Philly include the heavy use of public transit, “green” buildings, and companies like PhillyCarShare making an effort to limit the number of automobiles on the road.

GreenFest Philly will be taking place from 11 AM to 6 PM on Sunday, September 9 on South Street. Summer interns are busy at work making sure this showcase of environmentally friendly products, businesses and films will be a success. In fact, there are still a few spots open for college student interns looking to help the earth and gain experience at the same time.

Several of the GreenFest Philly interns are area-college students enjoying the opportunity to make a difference in Philly. According to a GreenFest press release, Jessica Wyckoff, an environmental studies student at Temple University, says, “GreenFest is as much about fun as learning.” She describes the internship as an avenue to “really make a difference about things I care about.”

Richard Lay, a communications senior at Penn State Abington, is creating a new hospitality category for this region —“Green Lodgings”. “We’re pulling together hotels that recycle, use fluorescent light bulbs, installed low-flow shower heads, serve fair-trade coffee or use other sustainable practices. This list will be available on our website.”

GreenFest Philly’s website includes a list of companies and presenters. Many of the acts include music, puppet shows and other artists. There will also be speakers from local companies involved with the “greening” of the region. According to GreenFest Philly’s website, the Delaware Valley Green Building Council will present architects, designers and builders who are experts in residential issues, from energy to construction, interior to gardens. Their talks will be aimed at apartment dwellers, home-owners, designers and builders looking for guidance in greening.

Even if you are not interested or unable to intern with GreenFest Philly this summer, the actual event may present some career opportunities for those interested in finding work in the environmental sector. Where else can you find so many local, green-leaning comrades in one place?

It can be as easy as handing out your business card to a speaker you enjoyed or talking with presenters about opportunities available within their companies. Some corporate partners include Whole Foods Market and Philadelphia Weekly. Green sponsors include the Clean Air Council, Delaware Valley Green Building Council, PhillyCarShare and Farm to City.

GreenFest Philly 2007 is sure to be an excellent way to have some fun, help the environment and network with like-minded individuals.

For more information on GreenFest Philly 2007, visit www.greenfestphilly.org.

You can contact Clare Herlihy at professional@campusphilly.org.

NFL Educates Players on Concussions

Troy Vincent remembers going to the huddle and forgetting to look at the sidelines for the play, even though his job is to relay the signal.

When he sees the replay of himself getting hit, he cringes. In the days following just getting one concussion, he couldn’t remember phone numbers and had the distinct feeling that his car was running even when it wasn’t.

It is not uncommon for a player to shrug off being knocked unconscious or feeling forced to play in an important game after receiving a concussion. The NFL is taking steps to educate players on concussions and the consequences of not getting them checked out by a doctor. They have implemented a whistle-blowing system that will start with the beginning of training camp next month.

“It’s an important element of what we’re trying to accomplish here,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said on Tuesday, after a conference with the medical teams in the league. “I have said repeatedly and will continue to say that medical decisions must override any competitive decisions. And if anyone feels they are being forced onto the field when they are not ready to play, we want to know about that and look into it.”

With the recent deaths of four players, it has raised eyebrows and awareness of the issues concerning players going out into the field with untreated concussions.

The details are still being worked out with the players’ union about the system that will start this season. Players will be able to report anonymously, when situations arise, such as a doctor being pressured to clear a player or the player himself to play in an important game.

The height of the awareness reached a new peak when studies of players with multiple concussions have been found to be easily susceptible to neurological disorders later on in their life.

The study comes up in reports suggesting brain damage may have been a mitigating factor in the deaths of former Philadelphia safety, Andre Waters, former Pittsburgh offensive linemen Mike Webster, Terry Long and Justin Strzelczyk.

Concussions can be difficult to diagnose. Players, who have been trained since they were children, may or may not be reluctant to reveal an injury because it may cause a decrease in playing time.

Former Steelers tight-end Mark Bruener, a member of the National Football League Players’ Association (NFLPA) board, said that, “When you’re asking a player on the sideline if he wants to go back in the game, the answer is going to be, ‘yes’.”

Getting players to report the injury is a key factor. If this new policy works, we may see an increase in the players’ safety.

You can contact Sara J. Gamble at sportsrec@campusphilly.org

Philadelphia Rose of Tralee

Spirits were high at the Hyatt Penn’s Landing on Friday, June 22 as young women in pastel-hued satin gowns competed for the title of Philadelphia Rose of Tralee at the 6th Annual Philadelphia Rose of Tralee Selection Ball. Sponsored by the Irish Immigration and Pastoral Center of Philadelphia, the Selection Ball takes place every summer and brings together members of the Philadelphia Irish community for a night of dancing, food and fun.

Highlights of the night included music by the Andy Cooney Band, which played a mix of American classics and Irish tunes. Ceilis, an Irish square dance, took place every few songs, as many of those in attendance were either natives of Ireland or Americans who had taken Irish dancing lessons.

Rose candidates were interviewed on stage by Karen Conaghan, the Rose Candidate Coordinator. Questions about the Irish counties of origin of each Rose brought on cheers from different tables at the ballroom.

Irish Immigration and Pastoral Center Executive Director, Tom Conaghan, also spoke of the center’s immigration reform lobbying efforts. He emphasized the help available at the center for those struggling with immigration and acclimation issues.

At the end of the night, the band played both the Irish and American national anthems, a unifying act for the mixed audience of Irish citizens, immigrants, and Irish-Americans.

Eight Rose candidates, including three Philadelphia area college students, competed this year, although most of them would agree that the whole process was more about fun than competition. The local college student candidates included Clare McKenna, a senior at Temple University; Mairead Comaskey, a sophomore at Arcadia University, and Clare Herlihy, a graduate student at St. Joseph’s University.

The selection process spanned several weeks, including a personal interview with a panel of judges and a tea party with 2006 Rose Christine Frawley, Rose candidates and their families. There was also a cocktail hour held at the Willows Mansion in Villanova two days before the selection ball.

At all of the events were the Rosebuds, a group of girls, who ranged from preschoolers to preteens. Many of the Rosebuds are younger sisters or cousins of the Rose candidates. Sarah Conaghan and Ciara O’Farrell served as coordinators for the bouncy, playful group of Rosebuds.

The Rosebuds were a tradition added this year in hopes of cultivating future Rose candidates. They helped escort the Rose candidates into the Selection Ball and they were even given a special table of honor.

Organizers for this year’s Philadelphia Rose of Tralee Ball comprised a 10 person committee chaired by Tom Conaghan, executive director of the Irish Immigration and Pastoral Center of Philadelphia.

The winner, Colleen Gallagher, is a native of Havertown and graduated from DeSales University in 2006. Two of her six younger sisters, Suzanne and Bernadette, served as Rosebuds.

As the Philadelphia Rose of Tralee, Gallagher will travel to Tralee located in County Kerry, Ireland to participate in the five-day International Rose of Tralee Festival. The contest is wildly popular throughout Ireland and brings in both Irish natives and contestants of Irish descent from eight countries around the world. It has been seven years since an American has won the 48-year-old competition. A winner will be crowned on Tuesday, August 21.

For more information, visit www.philadelphiarose.com

You can contact Clare Herlihy at professional@campusphilly.org.

Duke Prosecutor Disbarred

Mike Nifong, the district attorney who charged three Duke University lacrosse players with rape, won’t have to worry about re-election to his post. Nifong headed the prosecution of three Duke University Lacrosse players accused of rape and sexual assault.

The case began in March 2006 when woman hired to dance at a team party accused three players of attacking her in a bathroom. In the months that followed, the case fell apart, riddled by a lack of evidence and an accuser who changed her story repeatedly. Nifong was disbarred this week for his sloppy and disastrous prosecution of the three players who were falsely accused.

The disciplinary committee chairman F. Lane Williamson claimed that Nifong’s early comments on the case were designed to give his political campaign a boost. Nifong had said that he would not allow Durham to become the place known for “a bunch of lacrosse players from Duke raping a black girl.”

Nifong’s lawyer said that he will not appeal the punishment because he wants to restore order and trust into the criminal justice department.

The committee believed that Nifong’s actions were dishonest, fraudulent, and misrepresenting. It was brought to the attention of the committee that the DNA test results took months to come in, and when they finally arrived, they indicated that the DNA found on the accuser’s underwear and body did not match the players.

Nifong withheld this exculpatory evidence and also lied to the judges. The DNA found was from four other men, and matched none of the Duke players.

The facts were clear. Nifong’s oversights were grave. Even thought he was aware of the evidence he pushed through and got indictments for all three players, in what was called a “tragic rush to accuse.”

The three players who were accused of raping a black dancer at a party last year were ultimately cleared of all the charges in April.

David Evans Sr., whose son Dave was charged, said in the courtroom that he was “floored” when he heard Nifong tell the media that the players weren’t fully cooperating. He told of how his family had learned of Dave’s indictment on his graduation day and how his son’s prestigious job offer with the Wall Street firm J.P. Morgan was withdrawn.

Nifong says now that looking back he crossed the line when he maligned the entire 47 player team, their parents and even grandparents.

Doug Brocker of the North Carolina State Bar said that, “Mr. Nifong did not act as a minister of justice, but as a minister of injustice.”

You can contact Sara J. Gamble at sportsrec@campusphilly.org

Johnny Apples

The atmosphere of Johnny Apples can be described as open and laid-back. You come in your jeans and tank top or your cutest sundress. However, the bill will be a little pricier than your average trip to the diner, as we found out. Though you can opt to sit in the bar area, and munch on chicken fingers and onion rings, you may want to take a chance, like we did, and enjoy some quality meals in the dining room.

We started off with stuffed mushrooms as our appetizer. The mushrooms were small, but overflowing with crabmeat. One of my friends pointed out that restaurants don’t normally stuff the mushrooms to that extent.

I ordered roasted peppers and tomato soup with my meal. I tend to stick with plain old chicken noodle, but I was pleasantly surprised with this. The tomato was very strong and rich, which I loved. The peppers made the piquancy of the soup just right.

For my meal, I chose Chicken Carbonara, consisting of pasta in an Alfredo and Parmesan sauce, topped with grilled chicken, peas, and bacon. Though I didn’t particularly care for the bacon, the mixture of the various flavors made the dish out of this world. The chicken was grilled and seasoned to perfection. I found the sauce to be very creamy and heavy. My friend, who had the Fettuccine Alfredo, felt the same way, as the Alfredo sauce made her ordinary meal far more than she had imagined.

Johnny Apples is best known for its seafood, so we had to put it to the test. I would recommend the Alaskan Snow Crab to all of the seafood lovers out there. You might get a little messy, but once again, these guys certainly don’t skimp on the crabmeat.

The Maryland Crab Stuffed Ravioli, on the other hand, turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. This dish incorporates crab-filled (what else?) raviolis and shrimp. Unfortunately, the shrimp sauce it was drenched in had too much of a tart lemon taste for my friend to enjoy. Aside from this, the seafood did meet our expectations.

To top it all off, the service was really great. Our waitress was very friendly, and even offered to ask around when my friend randomly asked her if she knew what time the NBA finals were starting that night.

If you’re a commuting student living in the ‘burbs, or you’re in the mood for a small road trip, Johnny Apples is only about 15 minutes outside of Northeast Philadelphia. Trust me, it will be worth the trip.

Johnny Apples Bar and Restaurant
184 Buck Rd., Holland, PA 18966
215.354.4460

You can contact Erin Pollock at food@campusphilly.org.

PA Convention Center Expansion

Gov. Ed Rendell has big plans for the future of downtown Philadelphia–with a price tag of $700 million. That amount is the estimated cost of renovations and expansions Rendell envisions for the Pennsylvania Convention Center, which has already been appropriated by the General Assembly.

Rendell hopes that the expansion will allow for more businesses and trade shows to meet there, which would in turn boost both the tourism industry and Philadelphia’s image as a thriving business center. This will be the largest capital project the state of Pennsylvania has ever taken. Construction is set to begin this summer so that the Center can be ready for shows by 2010.

The new Convention Center will have approximately 60 percent more meeting and exhibit space, and will be large enough to allow two large conventions or trade shows to convene there at the same time. Its new size will place the PA Convention Center in better competition with similar-sized facilities in major cities like New York and Washington, D.C.

In a recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, John Masch, Rendell’s budget secretary, stated, “The Convention Center as an economic-development project has proven itself, he said. “We’re not dealing with a new project. It’s a question of how we will meet the competition.

Almost all convention centers operate at a budgetary deficit, and the PA Convention Center is no different. In response, Gov. Rendell has allocated an additional $6 million per year for the Center, increasing the city’s spending from $15 million to around $21 million annually. His moves have been met with approval from the current city government, including Mayor John Street. In addition to changes in the city’s contribution, the state will now take a greater administrative role over both the Convention Center budget and its Board of Directors.

The budget will also include approximately $23 million annually from Philadelphia’s hotel-occupancy tax to pay debt and operating costs. The Rendell administration has suggested that Philadelphia raise its hotel-occupancy tax to 7 percent from 6 percent to provide an additional $5 million a year in budgetary funds.

All that is left now is for the General Assembly to officially approve the funds they already appropriated for the project, a move that is sure to happen soon with the wide public and governmental support of the project.

With an expanded Convention Center, Philadelphia will be one step closer to boasting the sort of economic opportunities and development already present in other big cities such as Boston and New York. The move that is vital toward boosting the economy of both the city and surrounding areas.

You can contact Clare Herlihy at professional@campusphilly.org .

Craigslist: Exposed!

Ah, Craigslist. We’ve all been a little bored, a little desperate maybe, and somehow ended up on this infamous website, a virtual world that seems to hold the answers to all of our questions. What is so great and impressive about this magical land of inquiry and discovery? It’s tough to answer that question once you’re sucked into its insatiable vortex, especially after hours of disorienting searching, but I will make an attempt.

This site has a lot more to offer than personals, and much of it is often overlooked. There is the jobs section, which has listings in areas of work as diverse as sales and marketing to acting and performing. Some jobs are part-time, short term positions and others are more permanent. Recent grads looking to earn part-time cash until a serious job comes along should check this section for opportunities.

Please note, however, that these positions, as well as every aspect of Craigslist, range in seriousness and legitimacy. So be warned, and watch out for anything that reeks of “scam”.

However, the most forgotten section on Craigslist for job-hunting would have to be the gigs section. This area often includes jobs that aren’t necessarily listed in the jobs section, and is perfect for anyone who is looking for something part-time, or even an occasional paying experience that utilizes his/her skills in an interesting and exciting way. This is also a good place for anyone who already has a job, but would still like to earn some extra money on the side on a one-time basis. A sample job posting under the salon/spa/fitness section included a help wanted ad for someone to referee a soccer game that very night. It pays to check Craigslist daily as the postings are constantly evolving.

The services and housing sections are a good option to explore if you’ve already looked in other places for apartments and are running out of options. Listings often appear on Craigslist before traditional print mediums.

For all the musicians out there, the community section has one of the greatest selections of musical endeavors around. From serious paid playing opportunities that could lead to a big break, to casual, less experienced groups getting together and playing the music they love for fun, it’s a perfect way to start or finish a musical search.

And as far as the personals are concerned, all I can say is: good luck!

You can contact Allison Saft at aes093@albright.edu.

Prof gets down with Downtube Bikes

A company with a decade-long history of making foldable bicycles is finding high gasoline prices — and eBay — to be tonic for sales growth. Downtube Bikes, which was started in 1996 by mathematics professor Yan Lyansky, has benefited from higher gas prices and a recent surge in the sale of foldable bicycles — what some call “folders.” Lyansky expects sales to surge from last year’s $2 million.

But the 36-year-old mathematician, who has had a string of adjunct professorships — most recently, at East Carolina University — is in it because he loves bikes.

“I have a lot of bikes — all kinds of bikes, I don’t even know how many. Twenty, maybe. I go everywhere on my bike. I don’t use a car,” Lyansky said. “I’m not into this for the money. I’m, like, whatever — I’m cool, I teach.”

Lyansky, who was born in Kiev, in what is now the Ukraine, immigrated with his family to Philadelphia. He earned his bachelor’s degree and doctorate at Temple University. His first teaching job was at Villanova University and, since then, he has been on an academic pilgrimage, of sorts, with stops at the University of the Virgin Islands, Temple, Penn State, Lafayette College, Furman University, Coker College and finally East Carolina.

While a graduate student, Lyansky did the first of two cross-country bike trips. After a year of designing bikes, Lyansky started Downtube in 1996. Teaching stops allowed him to refine the product. For instance, the hilly, unpaved roads in the Virgin Islands were a good testing ground for gearing, brakes and tires and, according to the company’s promotional material, the “test bikes were brutalized for months in this difficult terrain.” Folding bikes got a lift in the 1970s, in that era’s gas crunch but have taken off in recent years, driven by the commuter market and urban dwellers — and, again, by high gas prices. The theory was that you could combine a train or bus commute, which could more easily accommodate a folding bike. The bikes fold into three parts and take two or three minutes to be restored to full size.

A Philadelphia bike merchant, Mike McGettigan, owner of Trophy Bikes, is passionate enough about the bikes that he holds an annual convention in Philadelphia each June, the Annual Folder and Small Wheel Bike Fest, which this year included the Commerce Bank Manayunk Hill Climb, the Lincoln Mercury Time Trial and other events.

Much of the folding bike market is controlled by Dahon, a Los Angeles-based company founded in 1975 by David Hon, then a physicist at Hughes Aircraft Corp. Dahon, which has manufacturing operations in Asia and the Czech Republic, sells its bikes for between $380 and $2,300, through retail shops worldwide.

Lyansky has taken a somewhat different approach, hoping to target a more modest price range. The bikes are made to his specifications at a factory in China, incorporating components manufactured elsewhere in Asia. The bikes are shipped in finished condition, meaning they require no stateside assembly and can be re-shipped in the same box to the customer.

Downtube has a Bensalem location and a tiny store in Ocracoke, N.C., near where Lyansky teaches during the school year.

The bikes have multiple gears and suspension systems, but a lower price tag than most folding bikes. They retail for $269 to $299, though Lyansky sells many of the bikes on eBay, meaning the prices — and his profit margin — can vary widely. Last year, the company sold 2,000 bikes.

Customers include boaters, pilots and owners of recreational vehicles — all of whom need a compact means of local transportation. Within those groups, many customers are retirees.

“Boaters are our best customers. Seniors like our bikes for the convenience,” he said. But, he added, “they’re too expensive for college students.” To target retirees and other customers, Downtube advertises on CNN, the History Channel, the Golf Channel and American Movie Classics.

Yet what may set Lyansky apart is that, in addition to being chief designer and CEO, he also handles orders and warranty claims and answers the phone.

On an online bike chat site a lengthy chain of comments about Downtube bikes was followed by an unusual entry: “I am the designer of the Downtube Bike, my name is Yan Lyansky.”

Lyansky went on to address critics who said that the company could be hard to reach. Questions, he said, could be addressed to him by e-mail or on his cell phone, which he provided.

All in a day’s work for the professor.

“I have no employees,” he said. “I take all of the sales calls and answer all of the e-mails. I process the orders.”

This article is reprinted with permission from the Philadelphia Business Journal. You can visit the PBJ online.

You can contact Peter Van Allen at pvanallen@bizjournals.com.