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Ekey close to her dream

June 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

Brad Bournival
The Gazette
SHARON TWP. — Kathleen Ekey would love to dare to dream, but right now the Sharon Township resident is too busy playing great golf to think about the future.
Just 73 days separate the 2005 Walsh Jesuit graduate from a LPGA Tour card.
If Ekey, who currently ranks second on the money list of the LPGA Futures Tour, can stay in the top five, she’ll earn a full exemption for 2012. If she stays in the top 10, she’ll have a limited exemption.
But that’s light years away, according to the two-time All-Southeastern Conference first team selection from the University of Alabama.
“You can not under any circumstances get ahead of yourself or you’re digging your own grave,” said Ekey, who is playing in this weekend’s South Shore Championship in Crown Point, Ind. “We still have eight tournaments left. There’s still work to be done.
“It’s a great feeling and really rewarding to see all the hard work paying off. But there’s still a lot of golf to play. I’m not one of those people that gets really high. In fact, I get low at times.”
So do Ekey’s scores as the 2011 season shows. She’s finished in the top 10 in five of eight tournaments and counts a win at the Ladies Titan Challenge in the first week of June.
Her $40,136 in earnings this year is just $2,453 behind current leader Lisa Ferrero and $18,823 ahead of the sixth-place spot. But with tournaments top-heavy in purse earnings, that could change fast.
What isn’t changing is some lights-out golf by Ekey.
Her 71.870 scoring average ranks third on the Tour and she ranks first in greens in regulation (0.797), total birdies (76) and eagles (4).
“There really hasn’t been any difference in my swing,” Ekey said. “I’ve just made some putts and a lot more birdies.
“My game is really in a good place right now. Everything is working together. I’ve been hitting it well and getting up and down. It’s just the little things in every round, the details that have made a difference this year.”
The little things came to a head last week in the final round of the Island Resorts Championship at Harris, Mich.
Tied for 25th to start the day, Ekey fired the low round of the day — a five-under par 67 — to finish tied for fourth.
That round included an eagle on No. 9 where she stuck an approach shot from 222 yards to 10 feet.
“I knew the Sunday round had to be something special,” Ekey said. “I said, ‘Go out there and make a couple birdies and make things interesting.’
“That was a good learning experience. The more you give yourself the opportunity for those experiences, the better you become.”
That’s what Ekey is taking into this week, though her competitive drive is pushing her even more.
While solidly in the No. 2 spot on the money list, the fact Ferrero is ahead of her is the motivating factor.
“If I wanted No. 2, I would quit playing golf,” Ekey said. “Yeah, you can say as long as I’m top five I’m fine, but if there is ever a day I would say, ‘I don’t want to be No. 1,’ there’s no point in continuing to play.
“What’s important is the top five at the end of year. That’s very important to me. When you put yourself in position to be in the top 10, you put yourself in position to win a golf tournament.”
For now, Ekey, who has played in two U.S Opens, will stick to the plan and hope for the best.
“I’ve positioned myself well, but that’s all it is,” she said. “It’s a great feeling to know I’ve worked hard to get myself there, but you have to stick to your goals and see where it takes it you. I feel like everything is starting to fall in place.”
Contact Brad Bournival at

Cavs trade Hickson

June 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

Brian Dulik
The Gazette
CLEVELAND — The Cavaliers played beat the clock Thursday, pulling off a significant trade just hours before the NBA lockout began.
Cleveland dealt enigmatic power forward J.J. Hickson to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for small forward Omri Casspi and a future first-round pick.
The 6-foot-9 Casspi — a fine perimeter shooter and hard-nosed defender — will likely step into the Cavaliers’ starting frontcourt alongside center Anderson Varejao and power forward Antawn Jamison.
“We had been constantly looking at Omri since he came out in the (2009) NBA Draft and had ongoing conversations with Sacramento for the last month,” Cleveland general manager Chris Grant said.
“He’s had two solid seasons, and he’s a willing defender who is a fighter and can run the court. We like all of those things about him, and this is also a move that helps us balance our roster more appropriately.”
Casspi led the Kings in 3-pointers (92) and 3-point percentage (.372) last season, while averaging 8.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in 71 games. He shot just .412 from the floor and .672 from the foul line, primarily serving as Sacramento’s first forward off the bench.
The first Israeli-born player to appear in an NBA game, Casspi had the best shooting night of his career last Oct. 30 at Quicken Loans Arena, making 6-of-7 threes in a win over the Cavaliers.
“I think Cleveland is a wonderful city with great fans, so I can’t wait to start,” said Casspi, who is currently conducting a basketball camp at a Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles. “There are a lot of natural things that I do. Play hard, tough defense on the floor, and team offense; the stuff that (Cavaliers coach Byron Scott) likes.”
The 23-year-old added with a laugh, “I play hard, sometimes I play too hard.”
Though both players are the same height and have multiple years under contractual control, their skill sets have nothing in common.
Hickson averaged a career-high 13.8 points and a team-best 8.7 rebounds last season, experiencing his greatest success while playing undersized center. He excelled near the basket, but frequently wandered outside the lane to take low-percentage shots.
The three-year veteran also added to his long list of mental lapses and displays of defensive indifference, making him one of the most maddening talents in franchise history.
It became clear that Grant and Scott had reached their tipping point last week when Cleveland used the fourth overall pick in the draft on power forward Tristan Thompson.
“Trades are never easy because this is a people business,” Grant said. “We drafted J.J., and he grew up here and helped us win a lot of games. He was great for our organization and good in the community, so we’re very happy for him and wish him nothing but the best.
“But with where our team is heading and the players that we’ve drafted, I thought this was the right decision for the franchise.”
Sacramento’s first-round pick is lottery protected in 2012 — meaning the Cavaliers won’t receive it unless the Kings make the playoffs — and high-pick protected from 2013-17.
Cleveland would not be conveyed the selection in 2013 (if it falls between pick 1-13), 2014 (if it falls between 1-12), or 2015-2017 (if it falls between 1-10) unless Sacramento takes a significant step forward in the NBA standings.
If the Kings fail to finish with one of the league’s top 20 records in 2017, they would send the Cavaliers their second-round pick to complete the trade.
“This is another step in our ongoing process to shape and position our team and roster for future growth,” Grant said. “We also were able to obtain another important asset with the additional first-round draft pick.”
Hickson has one season and $2.4 million left on his initial pro contract, but Sacramento inherits the option to tack on an additional year for $3.4 million in 2012-13. In the latter scenario, Hickson would become a restricted free agent, but the Kings have the right to match any offer sheet he receives.
Casspi is under contract for two years, totaling $3.6 million, along with Cleveland’s option season in 2013-14 (valued at $3.3 million).
Though Hickson is reportedly seeking a huge raise in his next contract, Grant denied it was a factor in the swap.
“At no point did we have any discussions about salary or contracts with J.J.,” he said. “This was a move about Casspi and realigning the balance of our roster.
“We’ve said all along that we need to have the flexibility to help ourselves going forward. This is another step toward us doing that.”
Contact Brian Dulik at

Finding your child’s dominant sense through their drawings

June 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

By Priscilla J. Dunstan, McClatchy-Tribune

As part of my research for my last book, I conducted a study about drawing and the senses. It involved children between the ages of 2-5 years, in a controlled setting who were given free rein to simply draw.

I found it a fascinating study because I was able to classify children into their dominant sensory modes, simply by their drawings. We then moved the study into the preschool classroom and found that based simply on a child’s drawing, a teacher could discover a child’s dominant sense.

Tactile children, preferring to stand, would survey the blank piece of paper quickly, grab one or more pencils in one hand and vigorously scribble across the page. Whilst they were aware of the edges of the paper, they were unconcerned about being within its border. As quickly as they started they would stop, throw the page on the floor and repeat the action on the next page. The younger children preferred crayons, as they “didn’t feel as scratchy” on the white page, whilst a ball point pen became the favorite for the older children. They usually picked one color, possibly adding another if pressed.

Auditory children, preferred to be organized before the stared. They had looked at the different pencils, crayons and colors of paint, made sure they were in a comfortable position, before picking their favorite color and proceeding to make circular patters all over the page. Their drawing style was balanced, organized using two or three colors. Even as young children they would prefer to use primary colors, being very aware, about boarders, spacial balance and symmetry.

Visual children would pick up each color of crayon, and mark the page, being careful to use the whole page and every color. Their drawings, from the start are colorful and expressive. Unlike the other senses they seemed to approach drawing or painting with the finished picture in mind, and were willing to spend time mastering little details. Their drawings tend to be pretty but not personal, and contain more popular representations rather than their own visual experience. The personal component for them seemed to come from others seeing and commenting on their drawing and not drawing as that expression.

For taste and smell children, a blue squiggle on a blank page would be a representation of something precious and contain lots of meaning. The squiggle often was of someone the child knew and loved, and the color often one they associate with that person. They drew, with an intent in mind, and whilst the drawing might not look, to us as adults, like anything in particular; to the child it was very clear, and very important that the viewing ordinance appreciated and knew what the squiggle was. Their drawings mostly consisted of family members, pets and close friends.

Drawing is a wonderful creative expression for your child, and therefore a great way to determine your child’s sense. If there are difficulties between two children playing, give them some paper, pencils and determine the solution based upon what you’ve learnt about their dominant sense.

Priscilla J. Dunstan is a child and parenting behavior expert and consultant and the author of “Child Sense.” Learn more about Priscilla and her parenting discoveries at

Number of single dads is on the rise

June 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

By Hannah Dreier, Contra Costa Times

RICHMOND, CALIF. — The first rays of sunlight are touching the iron fence outside Larry Cook’s home, but his day started hours ago.

He laid out his daughter’s clothes before leaving for work, shuttling teens to a construction apprenticeship program, and is now circling back.

His 4-year-old greets him at the door. A niece has brushed Marianna’s teeth and dressed her, but there is still the matter of a book for show-and-tell. Cook chooses a nursery rhyme anthology.

“Leave it up to her and she’ll bring Curious George every time,” he explains, hustling the preschooler into a fluffy jacket. She giggles, falling against his knees, and then they’re out the door. Cook is due back at work by 8 a.m.

The hectic routine is one faced by an increasing number of fathers. As a single dad, Cook, 42, belongs to a fast-growing demographic — single dads.

Where Cook lives, in Richmond, Calif., the number of single dads climbed 28 percent over the past decade, while the number of single mothers declined for the first time since at least 1970 — as far back as data is available.

Men also now head more than a quarter of all one-parent households in surrounding Contra Costa and Alameda counties, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

In Richmond, The Bureau counts single fathers in a category that allows other adults such as girlfriends or grandparents to be present, but census research shows that most of the men in the category are raising a child alone.

While women still far outnumber men as heads of single-parent households, experts say families and courts increasingly acknowledge that sometimes the best place for children is with their fathers.

“Many years ago, family courts would be reticent to award custody to the father even in the face of the mother having some issues” said Hans Johnson, of the Public Policy Institute of California. “Today, fathers are expected to take on more child-rearing responsibilities than they were 30 years ago.”

A 2006 survey found that 22 percent of American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers members are seeing a rise in cases in which a father wins sole custody, while none are seeing an increase in mothers getting custody.

Fathers groups cite the changing demographics as a sign that men want to take on the job of primary parenting, and can do it as well as the partners who gave birth to their children.

But the way Cook sees it, he’s just doing what he’s supposed to.

“People see us walking down the street and say, ‘I give you all the props in the world,’ but I always say, ‘For what?’ When you have kids that’s your responsibility.”

Cook never knew his own father — he died a young man — and he figured he would one day be a different type of dad. That didn’t happen at first. He had his first child out of wedlock by the age of 18 and five more children over the next decade. When disagreements came up between him and the mothers of his children, it was easier to walk away.

When Marianna came along, Cook was determined to do things right. And with her mother in and out of drug rehabilitation, he had no choice but to do it alone.

Community organizers here say they have been fighting a “culture of fatherlessness” for decades, but are now also being called upon to make space for custodial dads at support groups and service centers.

“Programs are having to learn how to make the dads feel welcome,” said Tracy Ward, who helps run the Supporting Father Involvement Project in Richmond and Concord. “It’s been a culture shift for a lot of agencies.”

Getting help can be difficult

Razvan Barna, of Antioch, Calif., has learned to fit into lavender-walled, female-staffed family services offices. His advice: bring your own reading materials and be prepared for questions.

“You go to get benefits, they look at you funny,” he said. “The first thing they ask you: ‘Where’s mom?’ You gotta be prepared for that.”

These days, Barna, 36, holds down a full-time job, takes bookkeeping classes and volunteers at church and at his children’s school. He was recently named parent of the year by the National Head Start Program.

But things were very different when his wife walked away from the family three years ago. Barna felt he had nowhere to turn. He decided to “check out” and spend all day with his two preschool-age sons.

Josh Rose, director of Family Works Community Counseling in Richmond, says Barna’s reaction is not uncommon. Men faced with the task of raising a family can feel overwhelmed and lonely, yet unable to turn to others for help for fear of being labeled unmanly, he said.

Barna says he found himself without a peer group. Men in his world just didn’t raise children by themselves.

Eventually, he had no choice but to move into a shelter. There, he learned about resources for parents and began working toward a more stable life. His first step was fixing a suspended license he had been driving with for more than a decade.

“I’ve got these two little angels with me now,” he said. “I realized, if I lose my car because of something dumb, what makes me think I can get us a house?”

Like all single parents, solo dads tend to be less well-off than their partnered counterparts. Experts speculate that they may also be reluctant to go after child support because they fear that if the mother steps in, she’ll regain custody.

Dads now account for 30 percent of single parents statewide, but still make up only 15 percent of child support recipients, according to data kept by the state attorney general’s office.

Challenges are more than financial

Even when money is not tight, the scripted, jam-packed schedule of a single father can be daunting.

Eric Reynolds, of Oakland, Calif., found that he had to switch careers after winning sole custody of his three children in 2005. No longer able to tour the world as a DJ, he turned his tech skills to computer programming.

“It was difficult pulling away from the music world,” Reynolds, 42, said. “But you have to look at what’s more important — your career or your children.”

Reynolds, who has seen his teen daughters through everything from boy troubles to bullying problems to Lady Gaga fixations, founded the group Single Parents Rock! to guide other men through the sometimes fraught transition to single fatherhood.

Cook has also become an unlikely role model — in his case, for the young men he works with every day at the Richmond vocational training program.

Community organizers say young fathers are often reluctant to cultivate emotional relationships with their children because of notions about what means to be strong and manly.

When Cook brings Marianna to work, the teens respond. One student recently told Cook that after watching them together, he felt that he too could be an involved father, and was inspired to babysit his daughter for the first time.

“I was like, ‘Man, you should have been feeling like that the moment your baby was born,” Cook said, laughing.

Turning serious, he added, “I wanted to tell him so he doesn’t have regrets.”

For the most part, Cook says he has trouble seeing himself as a role model when really it was his daughter who humbled him and set him on the right path.

“It’s all about her,” he said. “She keeps me focused. And for the last four and a half years I haven’t had one bad day.”

Carrasco stays hot, leads Indians past Diamondbacks and back into first place

June 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

PHOENIX – Chalk up another gem for Cleveland’s young Carlos Carrasco.

The 24-year-old right-hander gave up solo homers to Justin Upton and Stephen Drew, but otherwise stifled Arizona through seven innings in the Indians’ 6-2 win Wednesday as Cleveland took two of three in the interleague series.

The win, coupled with Detroit’s 16-9 loss to the Mets, put the Indians back in first place in the AL Central Division by a percentage point.

“Unbelievable,” Indians teammate Orlando Cabrera said. “Carlos, he’s been incredible the last five, six starts. When we need him, he’s just been incredible for us.”

Carrasco (8-4) gave up four hits, striking out seven with no walks, though he did hit two batters. He has allowed a combined four earned runs while going 4-1 in his last five starts, a span of 362⁄3 innings.

Manager Manny Acta said that since Carrasco came off the disabled list (right elbow inflammation) May 11, he’s been more willing to use all four of his pitches rather than just his fastball and changeup.

The young Venezuelan agreed.

“I mix up everything,” he said.

Cabrera, who delivered the deciding home run in the series opener, had a season-high four hits. He doubled, scored twice and drove in a run as the Indians won for just the third time in nine games.

Asdrubal Cabrera added three hits, including a double and an RBI single. The Indians could have made it much worse – they outhit the Diamondbacks 15-4 but stranded a season-high 15 runners.

The series victory came after the Indians scored just four runs while being swept in three games in San Francisco.

“I thought it was a very good bounce-back after yesterday (a 6-4 loss) and after the series in San Francisco,” Acta said. “Our pitching continues to be good. Carrasco was outstanding.”

The Diamondbacks play their next 10 on the road leading up to the All-Star game, to be played in Phoenix on July 12.

Carrasco held the Diamondbacks hitless until Upton’s 13th home run of the season, with one out in the fourth, cut the lead to 4-1. Drew’s homer, leading off the sixth, landed in the Cleveland bullpen down the right-field line to make it 4-2.

The Indians scored four times on eight hits off Zach Duke (1-3) in the first three innings. Asdrubal Cabrera, Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley each had RBI singles in the early flurry.

The fourth run scored on Jack Hannahan’s groundout when first baseman Juan Miranda’s throw to second for what could have been a double play hit the runner.

Consecutive singles by the Cabreras and Santana made it 1-0 in the first, then two-out RBI singles by Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera put Cleveland up 3-0 in the second.

The Indians scored off newly arrived reliever Yhency Brazoban in the eighth when Orlando Cabrera doubled and Travis Buck singled with two outs.

Cleveland made it 6-2 in the ninth off David Hernandez when Orlando Cabrera singled home Lou Marson from second, the runner barely avoiding Miguel Montero’s tag on the throw from strong-armed Gerardo Parra in left.

“I don’t think we played very good today,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. “Yeah, he (Duke) gave up nine hits in five innings but we all feel like we could have played better today. Their guy threw the ball very well. They had 15 hits and left 15 on base. They pressured us very well, they outplayed us and they beat us.”

Duke has allowed 20 runs in his last four starts, none of them longer than five innings.

“You want to see better results and for him you worry about his confidence,” Gibson said. “I talked to him a little after he came out of the game. I thought he actually threw the ball better. I didn’t feel like we were particularly sharp.”


Gibson said after the game that the team would release third baseman Melvin Mora today. The corresponding move would be made Friday, he said.

• Struggling Arizona closer J.J. Putz is expected to get some time off with what general manager Kevin Towers believes is a “dead arm.”

• Entering the game, right-handers were hitting .393 against Duke this season, lefties .115.

• Carrasco had given up four homers all season entering the game.

• This marked the eighth time Upton and brother B.J., who plays for Tampa Bay, homered on the same day.

• Arizona topped 1 million for home attendance this season.

• Miranda is hitless in his last 30 at-bats at Chase Field.

• Cleveland plays a three-game series weekend in Cincinnati to end a nine-game road trip.


• WHO: Cleveland at Cincinnati
• WHEN: Friday, 7:10 p.m.
• WHERE: Great American Ball Park
• PITCHERS: Masterson (5-6, 2.98 ERA) vs. Arroyo (7-6, 5.01)
• TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM

Sheen says he was ‘Major League’ juicer

June 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

NEW YORK – Turns out Wild Thing’s fastball had a little extra juice.

Actor Charlie Sheen tells Sports Illustrated in its latest issue that he took steroids “for like six or eight weeks” while filming the 1989 movie “Major League.” He adds that the performance-enhancing drugs helped his fastball go from 79 mph to 85 mph.

Sheen played fireballing relief pitcher Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn, whose wayward pitches were often “jussst a bit outside,” as Bob Uecker’s character, radio broadcaster Harry Doyle, sarcastically announced during the hit comedy.

Sheen, who has made recent headlines for erratic behavior and his firing from the show “Two and a Half Men,” says it was the only time he took steroids and they made him a bit more irritable than normal.

Grant to help showcase city’s advantages

June 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

MEDINA — As the city’s new economic development director, Kimberly Rice said one of the first items topping her to-do list is to get a small business initiative in the form of training and technical assistance up and running.

“One of the challenges of small businesses is to make people appreciate what they have in Medina and getting them to support merchants here,” Rice said. “Just by going around the square to shop during the recent Ladies Night Out event, I was amazed at the wonderful things they have, things you can’t find at the big-box stores.”

Events like Ladies Night Out and the Chalk Art Festival promoted by the Main Street Medina organization help draw people to Public Square, with the hope they will return to patronize shops and restaurants, she said. It’s one way to showcase some of the items and services they offer.

To assist small businesses to use more technology and become more proficient at getting their name and products noticed, the city plans to initiate a program using a $40,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Development, with $15,000 of the money set aside for loans.

“It’s Community Development Block Grant money,” Rice said, explaining that her predecessor, Tom Krueger, applied for the micro enterprise program grant last summer, with grant approval awarded to the city Sept. 3. There is no matching fund requirement.

Attracting new businesses, filling vacant stores and developing land are important components of economic development, but “a big piece of the picture is business retention,” Rice said, adding a business-friendly government was essential to growth and expansion. “We focus first on businesses already here, businesses already loyal to the area, and help them expand if those businesses want to grow.”

The micro enterprise program will be a part of that by providing training and technical assistance to people who want to start, improve or expand a small business venture.

“The program is still being formulated, but we want to roll it out this fall, or winter at the latest,” Rice said. “We’re getting partners for the program in place. We’re in discussion with Akron’s Small Business Development Training, SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) and a few other organizations that can plug into the coursework that will be offered.”

Rice said the city will collaborate with the Medina County University Center in Lafayette Township to establish a nine-week course, with a two-hour class one night a week. There will be a fee to attend, Rice added.

The course will cover everything from defining and writing a business plan and learning about cash-flow analysis to marketing, human resource issues and government regulations.

“We’re looking at this as a springboard,” Rice said.

Anyone can sign up for the training and technical assistance, but the $15,000 earmarked for loans ranging between $2,000 and $10,000 will be allocated to city residents who complete the nine-week series of classes.

The loan portion of the program will target low-to-moderate income small business owners who have:

– a four-person household, a yearly adjusted gross income of $51,850 or less and a business that employs five or fewer people, including the owner; or

– a business with five or fewer employees, including the owner, with half of them at the $51,850 or lower income level, and an owner who may have had difficulty securing a traditional loan.

“The state would like to see two loans issued,” Rice said.

The grant is good for two years, and Rice said the city will explore ways to sustain funding and keep the program going.

Contact Judy A. Totts at

Splash pad awaiting part goes dry

June 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

MEDINA — Ethan Demrovsky, 8, and Luke Ramsier, 7, both of Wadsworth, made the trip to Medina on Wednesday morning for one purpose only: the splash pad.

But to their disappointment there was a pad, but no splash.

The splash pad at Fred Greenwood Park, is out of service due to a broken part, Parks and Recreation Director Tim Swanson said.

The part broke Sunday afternoon, he said, and city employees are waiting for the replacement to arrive.

“We service the splash pad twice a day seven days a week, so we were made aware as soon as there was a problem,” Swanson said. “The part, a pipe, could not be purchased from our local vendor, so it had to be ordered elsewhere. Right now we are just waiting on the part to arrive. As soon as it gets here, it will be installed.”

Swanson said the city hopes to have the attraction up and running for the weekend.

“We are really shooting to get it back up before this weekend, but there are no guarantees, of course. As soon as the part arrives, we’ll do our best to get everything up and running,” Swanson said. “We know how popular it is and how much everyone loves it, and we do apologize for the inconvenience.”

The part is estimated to cost less than $200 and will be covered through the park maintenance fund, he said.

Ethan and Luke’s moms, Christine Demrovsky and Julia Ramsier, were still at the park two hours after arriving Wednesday afternoon. Both traveled from Wadsworth with three kids each and took advantage of what the park still had to offer.

“We’re still having a great day,” Ramsier said, laughing. “The kids are having a great time at the playground, they have each other to play with, and it’s a beautiful day out … what more can you ask for? We absolutely love the splash pad, though, and it’s always worth the drive into the city. The kids were pretty bummed when we first got here, but they’re definitely fine now.”

Residents can check for updates. The closing is listed on the right side of the page.

Swanson said the Medina City Pool, 421 E. Homestead St., is open for business 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Sunday.
Admission is $3 per person for a daily pool pass. Children younger than age 5 and seniors older than 60 are admitted free.

Contact Dani Orr at (330) 721-4049 or

Sides still far apart as NBA deadline looms

June 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

NEW YORK – The NBA is headed to deadline day, with perhaps one last chance to avoid a lockout.

Negotiators for owners and players will meet today, about 12 hours before the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement and seemingly nowhere close to a deal.

The sides remain far apart on just about every major issue, from salaries to the salary cap, revenues to revenue sharing.

After meeting twice a week for most of the month, this is the only session scheduled this week.

The two sides could continue bargaining past the deadline, but that probably requires owners to see evidence of the gap narrowing today.

Otherwise, they could lock out the players for the first time since the 1998-99 season was reduced to 50 games, though Commissioner David Stern has refused to say what would happen if a deal is not done today.

“We’re not going to negotiate in the media,” he said Tuesday after meeting with owners. “We haven’t before, we’re not going to do it now. We’re looking forward to having our discussion with the players.”

There may not be much to discuss. Players declined to offer a new economic proposal in the most recent meeting Friday, and they may still feel their previous offer to reduce their salaries by $500 million over five years is going far enough.

Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said the league didn’t know if the players would make another proposal.

Both sides have moved, but not nearly far enough for the other.

Players still consider the owners’ proposal for a “flex” cap, where each team would be targeted to spend $62 million, a hard cap because there is an eventual unspecified level that can’t be exceeded. And though the league said total player compensation would never dip below $2 billion over the life of its proposed 10-year deal, that would amount to a pay cut for the players, who were paid more than $2.1 billion this season in salaries and benefits.

Owners have dropped their insistence that no contracts could be fully guaranteed, an issue the players strongly opposed.

“In this league, teams can easily just say, ‘We don’t want this guy on our team anymore.’” I think the security of having that contract goes a long way because you’re taking care of your family, you’ve got a lot of things you’re doing and this is your way of living,” All-Star Kevin Durant said.

“I think that’s the biggest thing with us, having that security as a player, knowing coming in that you’re guaranteed and you’re straight. Hopefully we keep that.”

Owners still want a reduction in the players’ guarantee of 57 percent of basketball revenues. Players said their latest proposal would have taken them down to 54.3, but say the league’s offer would have them down to around 40 percent.

The meeting today will include just small groups from each side, after many players attended the last session. Without a deal, there will be no free agency starting Friday, and the summer league in Las Vegas has already been canceled.

Real games could be next to go. Stern has said the offers only get worse once a lockout has started, though there is still plenty of time even if nothing gets done today.

“I don’t see us missing any games. But I see it coming down to the wire, though,” Milwaukee’s Stephen Jackson said.

Cavs stay with Eyenga, say so long to assistant coach Jent

June 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

CLEVELAND – Swingman Christian Eyenga is staying with the Cavaliers, but assistant coach Chris Jent is not.

Cleveland exercised its option on Eyenga’s contract for the 2012-13 season Wednesday, keeping the native of the Congo in the wine and gold for at least the next two years.

The 6-foot-7 Eyenga showed athleticism and solid fundamentals last winter during his rookie season, averaging 6.9 points and 2.8 rebounds in 44 games with the Cavaliers.

He was expected to spend much of the season with Cleveland’s NBA Development League affiliate in Erie (Pa.), but wound up averaging 21.5 minutes for the Cavaliers – and started 18 games – once their focus switched to rebuilding mode.

Eyenga was the 30th overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft, but the team opted against signing him that summer because it was in full championship-or-bust mode with free-agent-to-be LeBron James.

At just 22 years old, Eyenga was the youngest player on Cleveland’s roster last season, even though he had three years of professional experience in the Spanish League.

While Eyenga is one of the building blocks on the Cavaliers, Jent will not be part of the construction process as he is returning to his alma mater.

The former Ohio State standout has accepted an assistant coaching spot on Thad Matta’s staff with the Buckeyes. Jent previously served as a volunteer under Matta in the 2005-06 season when he went back to school to earn his bachelor’s degree.

Jent had been with Cleveland for five years after previously working in the NBA with Orlando and Philadelphia. He also spent parts of two seasons playing in the league with the Rockets and Knicks.

The 41-year-old shooting instructor was the lone holdover from Mike Brown’s coaching staff to remain with the Cavaliers under Byron Scott. Jent’s contract with the franchise expired at the end of last season.

Both transactions came on the eve of the final scheduled negotiating session between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association. Their collective bargaining agreement expires at 11:59 p.m. tonight and could lead to a lockout once the calendar turns to July.

The two biggest questions facing Cleveland are the fate of its $14.5 million trade exception and the contractual statuses of its two first-round draft picks.

The former – acquired from Miami in exchange for James – is set to expire on July 9, which is eight days after the CBA runs out.

The latter refers to guard Kyrie Irving and forward Tristan Thompson – the first and fourth overall selections, respectively – who are unable to sign with the Cavaliers at this time because no rookie contract structure is in place.

Cleveland owns their rights going forward, but does not know if they will include the current four-year package of team options (as Eyenga’s does).

NBA senior vice president Tim Frank told the Chronicle-Telegram that both “are questions that will be answered during collective bargaining,” which could lead to many sleepless nights for Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and general manager Chris Grant.

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