“The Choir Director” sequel electrifies, pulsates with excitement

51G328YUOgL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ (2)By Carmen Glover

The Choir Director 2: Runaway Bride (Grand Central Publishing, $25.00), Carl Weber’s highly-anticipated sequel to his well-received book The Choir Director, does not disappoint when it comes to delivering a taut, exciting and rich story that pulsates with action. Picking up where the first volume left off, the sequel focuses on choir director Aaron Mackie’s planned wedding to Tia Gregory, the church’s secretary.

As with all of Weber’s books, the plot thickens very quickly and what follows is a high octane ride of betrayal, compromise, questionable conduct and criminal behavior sprinkled with minimal biblical lessons. While the story rushes along at a breathtaking pace, however, there are certain profoundly troubling elements to The Choir Director 2 such as salty language.

Nevertheless, the storyline for The Choir Director 2 entertains with its engaging mixture of guile, deception, envy, jealousy, revenge and ego running amok and the dangers that people can expose themselves to unless they wholeheartedly embrace the principles that they claim are fundamental to their lives. In many respects, some of the serious events which occur in The Choir Director 2, could happen to anyone. The tale is woven together expertly illustrating pain and unresolved trauma, amidst a story of romance, juxtaposed between the natural tendency to succumb to inner desires and the battle of wills that often ensues as a result.

The Choir Director 2 will inspire soul-searching, personal reflections, burning questions and the desire to seriously examine what truly drives each person in working towards achieving life’s goals.  –OnPointPress.net. 

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Silver schedules 2:00 p.m. press conference, sponsors flee Clippers

 

NBA commissioner Adam Silver (l) will address the public in a press conference on Tuesday while Kevin Johnson (r) continues to organize efforts on the players behalf.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver (l) will address the public in a press conference on Tuesday while Kevin Johnson (r) continues to organize efforts on the players behalf.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced it will hold a press conference on Tuesday, April 29, to address the alleged statements made by Donald Sterling and the firestorm of anger that the recordings have caused. There has already been noticeable fallout since the recordings, allegedly featuring the Los Angeles Clippers owner, surfaced this weekend. In addition to players making public statements and displays of solidarity, there has also been financial ramifications. Several major sponsors, including State Farm, Kia and CarMax have withdrawn their support from the team.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers expressed how difficult this period has been for his team but he is not sympathetic to his team's owner.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers expressed how difficult this period has been for his team but he is not sympathetic to his team’s owner.

A handful of owners have voiced their displeasure with the situation and appear to favor  Sterling’s removal. Additionally, Kevin Johnson, Sacramento Mayor and the NBA Player’s Association’s special assistant, has expressed how serious the players are in seeing swift and harsh penalties levied against Sterling if the allegations are proven true. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers spoke to the media on Monday and made it clear that he believes that it is Sterling’s voice on the recordings.

“Yeah, I think he said those things,” Rivers said, stating his feeling of “anger” and the rage felt by his players.  Commissioner Adam Silver will have a chance to show great leadership in this situation, beginning with the press conference on Tuesday.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

Adam Silver must deliver stiff penalty to Clippers’ Sterling

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is expected to announce a decision about a penalty for Donald Sterling in the  next few days.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is expected to announce a decision about a penalty for Donald Sterling in the next few days.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

This week Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy created a stir when his idea of black people was captured on video. “Are they better off as slaves…or are they better off living off government subsidy?,” he asked about blacks. On Saturday, the world was reminded that racist attitudes come in different ways and from various levels. Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling found himself at the center of a controversy once a tape, allegedly of him making racist comments to his then-girlfriend, surfaced.

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling (r) sitting court side at a game with then-girlfriend V. Stiviano (l).

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling (r) sitting court side at a game with then-girlfriend V. Stiviano (l).

The almost ten-minute tape recording was released on TMZ.com and captures Sterling urging then-girlfriend V. Stiviano to keep her associations with minorities private. The conversation, prompted by an Instagram photo of Stiviano and Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson, has yet to be authenticated by the NBA. In a press conference on Saturday evening, NBA commissioner Adam Silver was emotionless  in his evaluation of the Sterling situation. In a somber tone, Silver stated:

“All members of the NBA family should be afforded due process…which is why I’m not yet prepared to discuss any potential sanctions.”

A small sample of the recording of the conversation between Sterling and Stiviano.

A small sample of the recording of the conversation between Sterling and Stiviano.

While Silver may be reticent to discuss potential sanctions against Sterling, it doesn’t change the fact that serious sanctions are in order once the recording is authenticated. Silver said: “We hope to have this [investigation] wrapped up in the next few days.” However, there is no real precedent for an issue of this manner. Typical punishments that commissioners mete out to executives like fines and suspensions will not have a significant impact in the long run for a multi-millionaire owner like Sterling.

The only suitable punishment in the eyes of many would be his removal as owner. Whether that happens or not, Silver needs to demonstrate that he is willing to lead the owners to come to the decision that illustrates the outrage the NBA shared about Sterling’s comments.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

9 critically injured in the Bronx, in accident on I-95 north, Exit 13

 

crash

The scene of the early morning crash on the New England Thruway off the I-95 at Exit 13/Conner Street in the Bronx where 9 people were critically injured.

By Carmen Glover

Nine people were critically injured in the Bronx this morning at about 5:15 a.m. on the I-95 at Exit 13/Conner Street, between the New England Thruway, bordering Co-op City and Westchester County. The passengers in the vehicle were transported to Jacobi Hospital, according to WABC News.

A black SUV hit the wall at the exit, making it difficult to determine if the driver was speeding and lost control, fell asleep, was trying to exit or was otherwise distracted. The crumpled black SUV with shattered glass and vehicle parts as well as a phalanx of news helicopters, police and emergency workers are on the scene, piecing together what happened, while the exit remains closed.

As helicopters hover overhead, the noise from their propellers create an ongoing buzz for Co-op City residents, who know by now that when they awake to the persistent sound of helicopters it means only one thing: an accident on the I-95. Stay tuned to OnPointPress.net for details as the story continues to develop.  –OnPointPress.net.

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Penn Relays 2014 will feature fierce competition, excitement

Kayla Hunt

Kayla Hunt holds the trophy her team won at the Penn Relays last year after the 4 x 400 meters race.

By Carmen Glover

In much the same way that religious believers celebrate certain events every year, dedicated track fans make the trip annually to the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field during the last full week of April. Those making the trip venture out to cheer on their favorite athletes at the Penn Relays, also called the Penn Relays Carnival, from Thursday through Saturday. This year, the event gets underway on Thursday, April 24 and runs through Saturday, April 26.

Jamaica is celebrating 50 years of successful participation at the Penn Relays

Jamaica is celebrating 50 years of successful participation at the Penn Relays, an honor that is acknowledged this year on the cover of the event’s bulletin.

The Penn Relays competition is a celebration of track and field stamina and dominance. The event is the most enduring and comprehensive track and field competition in the United States and this year there is a palpable air of excitement in the Caribbean community as several milestones are being celebrated at the high energy athletic event.

First, the Penn Relays Carnival has steadily attracted fans and sponsors since its inception on April 21, 1895 so the numbers are expected to be huge for the 120th celebration of the event. Also, Jamaica, which often dominates the event with spectacular performances from its athletes, is celebrating 50 years since its track stars have participated victoriously at the event. Additionally, Team Jamaica Bickle (TBJ), is marking 20 years of providing nourishment to Caribbean athletes at the event.

2013 Penn Relays Villanova athletes.

2013 Penn Relays Villanova athletes pose proudly with their trophy after winning an event.

“Every year when January comes around I make plans to go to the Penn Relays but this year I procrastinated and waited too long and I regret that,” said Sharon Hazle, a Jamaica-born nurse supervisor residing in Queens, New York. “I just love going to Penn for the sense of excitement and achievement for the Jamaican athletes. American athletes just have to sit back and watch Jamaica beat them and when I see the crowds and the flags from each country I just get excited. There’s nothing like it.”

It is no secret that Jamaican track stars tend to dominate the Penn Relays, trouncing the American athletes with a fierce, indomitable spirit. It is almost as if it is their birthright to arrive at the Penn Relays each year, participate in the races, rack up medals and leave other teams in the dust while being surrounded by a sea of adoring fans proudly waving their vibrant black, green and gold Jamaican flags with cheerful abandon.

Athletes giving their best at the Penn Relays.

Athletes giving their best at the Penn Relays, determined to make their teams proud.

But athletes from other Caribbean nations have made their mark at the Penn Relays as well and they are determined to represent their countries, institutions and families with confidence and laser-like focus. One such athlete is 16-year-old Kayla Hunt, a junior at Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth, New Jersey, whose family hails from Barbados. Hunt has enjoyed success at the Penn Relays in the past, winning in spectacular fashion. For her, early exposure to the meet as well as an outstanding family lineage in track and field exploits have made a strong impact on her athletic career.

“I used to go to the Penn Relays every year when I was little. When I was 13 I went to a track camp,” she said, explaining how her interest was piqued in the sport. “My dad ran track and field at Penn Relays and I have an uncle and cousin who ran track.”

Hunt, who typically competes in events during the winter and spring, said she enjoys the camaraderie that her involvement in track and field brings.

Athletes compete for the edge at Penn Relays.

Athletes compete for the edge at Penn Relays, eager to bring home a trophy for their efforts.

“My experience with track and field has been wonderful. All of my teammates are my friends and they are like family to me,” she stated. “It makes you want to be a part of the team.”

Hunt explained that her sister “likes track and will make her own decisions,” about whether to pursue the sport in a serious way. But while Hunt is pleased with her past performances at the Penn Relays and other track meets, she is shrewd and single-minded as she considers her future, which, for her, will not include track and field when she enrolls in college.

“I’ve known people who have done track in college and their grades dropped,” she said, describing the “sacrifice that is necessary” to pursue both a quality college education while devoting time to track and field simultaneously. “I want to major in biology and African-American Studies because I’ve always liked science and I’ve been interested in African-American Studies,” she said, while making it clear that her career goals are still being fleshed out.

Athletes listen intently and strategize at the Penn Relays.

Athletes listen intently and strategize at the Penn Relays, aware that deep concentration is crucial.

She intends to continue enjoying her athletic career in high school but she will have no difficulty closing that chapter once she gets to college. Her coach, Angelo Clark, admitted to being perplexed about Hunt’s philosophy regarding the matter.

“I’ve been coaching Kayla for three years. She takes instructions well, does her best and executes,” he said, describing Hunt’s successful performance in multiple events including the 100, 200 and 400-meter dash as well as  the 55 and 100-meter high hurdles. According to Clark, a high school student is only allowed to run four times in any track meet. Clark said that Hunt has grown “in all of the events,” and he describes Kayla and her sister, Sandra, as “academic girls who run.”

“Kayla can be a full scholarship student in college but ironically, she doesn’t want to go to college to run track,” he said in awe. “She’s scholarship material and this year we have the addition of her sister, Sandra. They are great athletes who come from strong genes.”

Kutztown University Rachel Eshleman  is unsuccessful in her efforts at the Penn Relays in 2013.

Kutztown University Rachel Eshleman is unsuccessful in her efforts at the Penn Relays in 2013.

 

As far as Hunt is concerned, however, a burning desire for track and field, born out of true love for the sport, is integral to pursuing the activity long-term and she firmly advises athletes to make sure they are guided by those feelings.

“You should make sure that you really love track and that you will put in the extra time. Don’t just do it for the scholarship,” she said about navigating the steps to deciding whether it is feasible to pursue both. In her case, the decision is clear: no track in college. As she gears up to make another appearance at the Penn Relays, Hunt is determined to put her best effort forward while enjoying the festivities at her own pace.

Usain Bolt thrilled at the Penn Relays in 2010.

Usain Bolt thrilled at the Penn Relays in 2010 but it is unclear if he will return this year.

Meanwhile, Caribbean track and field fans who journey to view the three-day event will clutch their flags, wear clothing that showcase their teams and revel in the excitement and competitive air while being prepared to snap pictures of any international track stars who make an appearance.

In 2010, the relays had a “USA vs. the World” event which saw American stars competing against Jamaica’s track phenomenon Usain Bolt  and Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce, which led to an attendance bonanza of 54,310 for a single day and 117,346 over the three-day period. Although it is not clear if any powerhouse athlete will participate in the competition this year, athletes will offer fans an electric showcase of track and field excellence, highlighting a sport that thrills and excites while keeping fans on the edge of their seats.–OnPointPress.net.

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Deadline to apply for free, universal pre-K slots in NYC

Wednesday, April 23 is the deadline for applications to be submitted for free pre-K in NYC.

Wednesday, April 23 is the deadline for applications to be submitted for free pre-K in NYC.

By Carmen Glover

New York City parents who act before the close of business on Wednesday, April 23 to apply for free, universal pre-kindergarten classes will be able to breathe a sigh of relief. After making free pre-K the number one priority of his campaign, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was rewarded when Governor Andrew Cuomo allocated $300 million to fund the initiative, in his recent state budget, while making it clear that he did not support de Blasio’s initial idea of taxing the rich to pay for the program. Up to 20,000 pre-K seats will be utilized by children in September as long as parents meet the application deadline.

pre-k

Children’s participation in pre-K have positive impact on their ability to socialize and learn.

Parents who have children younger than five years old now have the opportunity to enroll their children in properly staffed and operated pre-K programs in the city, now that the offerings have expanded due to the Governor’s budgetary allocation.  New teachers are being hired to fill spots and the salary has been increased from the less than $35,000 that is currently being paid at some community-based pre-K programs to $44,000 for the upcoming academic year starting in September.

This new initiative is as win-win for parents who want to work but had limited or no options for all-day childcare programs that provided academic stimulation for young children. Act now to take advantage of this helpful program that will provide a strong educational foundation for the next generation of leaders. For more information call (718)-935-2009 or visit www.nyc.gov/schools/prek. —OnPointPress.net.

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