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Archive for February, 2012

Not Living in the Moment

February 14, 2012 By: admin Category: Consumer Education


No matter where you go, out to breakfast, lunch, dinner, at a meeting, seeing a movie/play/concert you will find people, young old and everyone in between, on their phones, iPods, and computers. Talking sometimes comes to a halt as people respond to texts, emails, tweets, respond to Face book, LinkedIn.

Hardly anyone is looking at the person they are with, looking instead down at some screen and typing on little keyboards afraid that if they don’t respond right this instant, something might happen, like looking and talking to the person they are with.

I have been out to lunch dinner, coffee with friends, family members, potential clients only to have them look down and see what’s going on, and then completely ignoring our conversation. Technology is great, keeps us informed connected and sometimes clueless about real face
to face or ear to ear (phone) communication

We should try living in the moment, call someone, and talk to them using more than 140 characters. Or better yet, meet with a friend or family member or business client and put the electronic device away. You may actually find yourself liking this new way of communication know as conversation.

Did you know about Midnight Ramble?

February 14, 2012 By: admin Category: Consumer Education


Did you know about Midnight Ramble? I didn’t. The first I heard about this was from Ruth Byrd-Smith, director of the Department of Minority Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise in Pittsburgh Pa.
There is not much written about this and so my research consisted of information obtained from Wikipedia.

There are videos Midnight Ramble
James Avery (Actor), Bester Cram (Director), Pamela Thomas (Director) | Format: DVD
Midnight Ramble - The Story of the Black Film Industry [VHS] (1994)
Available on www.amazon.com

Learning about minorities and women is something that we should do and celebrate every month.

Did you know ?
That Black characters have appeared in Hollywood films for as long as motion pictures have been produced. In the early years the hiring of black performers was rare?

That when feature roles requiring a black player came along, the film’ producers habitually hired white actors and let him, or her portray the character in “Blackface”?

That In the South, to comply with laws on racial segregation, race movies were screened at designated black theaters?

That even though northern cities were not formally segregated, race films were generally shown in theaters in black neighborhoods?

That many large northern theaters incorporated special balconies reserved for blacks?

That while it was rare for race films to be shown to white audiences, white theaters often reserved special time-slots for black moviegoers?

That this special time slot his resulted in race films often being screened as matinées and midnight shows?

That during the height of their popularity, race films were shown in as many as 1,100 theaters around the country?

That the films were produced primarily in northern cities and the target audience consisted primarily of poor southern blacks and southerners who had migrated northward?

That many of the race films, especially those produced by white studios, expressed middle-class urban values, especially education and industriousness?

That the common themes included the “improvement” of the black race, the supposed tension between educated and uneducated blacks, and the tragic consequences in store for blacks who resisted liberal capitalist values?

That the most famous race movie, The Scar of Shame, incorporated all of these themes?

According to Wikipedia:
“Race films typically avoided explicit depictions of poverty, ghettos, social decay, and crime. When such elements appeared, they often did so in the background or as plot devices. Race films rarely treated the subjects of social injustice and race relations, although blacks were legally disfranchised in the South and suffered discrimination in the North.

Race films avoided many of the popular black stock characters found in contemporary mainstream films, or else relegated these stereotypes to supporting roles and villains. Micheaux depicted his protagonists as educated, prosperous, and genteel. Micheaux hoped to give his audience something to help them “further the race”.
Black comedians such as Mantan Moreland, who had played supporting comedy roles in mainstream Hollywood films, reprised his character as the lead in such films as Professor Creeps and Mr Washington Goes To Town. Some black entertainers, such as Moms Mabley or Pigmeat Markham, starred in their own vehicles. Mabley and Markham did not appear in mainstream entertainment until the late 1960s, when both were featured on Laugh-In on American television.

Many black singers and bands appeared in lead or supporting roles in race films; Louis Jordan, for example, made three films.
Race movies are of great interest to students of African American cinema. They have historical significance, but also showcased the talents of actors who were relegated to stereotypical supporting roles in mainstream studio films. Hattie McDaniel and Clarence Muse are two of the most striking examples of talented performers who generally were given minor roles in mainstream movies. A few stars from race films were able to cross over to relative stardom in mainstream works – for example, Paul Robeson and Evelyn Preer. Hollywood studios often used race movies as a recruiting source of black talent.”

Teenie Harris

February 14, 2012 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

(”C.Denise Johnson is a freelance writer based in Pittsburgh PA. Contact her at cdenisejohnson@gmail.com. This article is © Soul Pitt Media and was first published in www.TheSoulPitt.com ”Pittsburgh’s Premier Minority Community Website.” All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission. Visit us on the web at: www.thesoulpitt.com“)

Sometimes it’s hard to appreciate greatness when you see it every day. Those snippets of nirvana can become routine and taken for granted when it surrounds you all the time and it’s only after that daily aesthetic is gone that in hindsight you realize what you’ve missed. Such is the case with Black Pittsburgh.

Excellence and greatness was part of the mid-20th century with the two best Negro League baseball teams, Jazz luminaries, the National Negro Opera Company and likes of artists Romare Bearden and Jacob Lawrence all emanating from this singular speck of southwest Pennsylvania. It was all captured through the lens of Charles “Teenie” Harris’ camera and frequently ended up on the pages of the Pittsburgh Courier.

Although many knew of his skills as a photographer, few were aware of the significance that his work would come to symbolize. Harris was so efficient and proficient in his craft that Pittsburgh Mayor David Lawrence dubbed him “One Shot.” In the course of his 40-plus year career as a photojournalist, Harris amassed more than 80,000 images. Although not a nationally-known photographer like James van der Zee (best-associated with the Harlem renaissance), Life magazine photographer Gordon Parks or Pulitzer Prize-winning Ebony magazine photographer Moneta Sleet, “Teenie” Harris’ work is arguably the largest comprehensive photographic documentation of a minority community in the United States. The late Clarence Rolla Turner, a sociologist and historian of Black history, said Harris’ work constitutes “one of the most complete chronologies of a black community in the United States.”

Domestics, porters, teamsters, mill workers and their children are as present in these images as American presidents and other national celebrities. Moreover, despite the deeply sympathetic and often up-beat nature of the images, the viewer is still struck by the aura of racism and segregation that framed and inevitably marked the lives of Pittsburgh’s Black citizens.

Pictures do not lie and Harris did his work the old-fashioned way, before the computer-aided photography. His images documented the way we were. Segregated, relegated, denigrated by a Jim Crow America, yet Black folks were a hard-working, earnest and dignified lot who took pride in their communities, their appearance and their deportment. While mainstream media may have cast Negros as second-class citizens, Harris’ images told the story of dapper men who were “clean as a bean” and impeccably dressed women who conducted themselves with class in their everyday lives.

The fruit of countless hours of documentation and research over ten years is finally ready for a close-up examination as the Carnegie Museum of Art offers an extensive retrospective of Harris’ work. “Teenie Harris, Photographer: An American Story” is much more that a gallery showing of his pictures, it is a multimedia happening.

After passing through an obligatory introductory display, you enter a large, wide-open space with a scattering of benches to sit on as you as transported back in time by the seven large projected images on the wall and the original music recorded by the Manchester Craftsman’s Guild. You could easily spend a few hours in this first space alone to fully absorb the magnificence of photographic detail of each picture. Photos of men drinking in bars and children crowding around a summer swimming pool appear alongside scenes of civil rights protests and union-backed demonstrations.

An adjoining space houses 16 computers and 987 mounted and matted images hanging amid relaxing couches, A third gallery space contains a dozen photo favorites selected by experts of the exhibit committee, oral histories offered to enhance your perusal on MP3 players and the short “Artist at Work” film.
The archive project is as much as a labor of love as it is historical document. For some who worked on the project it was personal.
“I gave my own oral history recording and volunteered for four years bringing many others to share their stories of Teenie and what was occurring in the photos he took of them,” said Charlene Foggie Barnett, who is featured as a toddler in the exhibit. “I was particularly struck by the fact that the collection was not of cropped versions, but the unbelievably discerning raw negatives. At the beginning of 2011, I was hired to conduct and record close to 100 oral history interviews for the collection and to work in the gallery with the nearly 1,000 photos selected for this particular exhibit.”

“Teenie photographed me from my month-old baptismal photo through my young adult years,” recalls Barnett. “And each time it was always the same scenario: he would arrive in a flurry of motion, and then would survey the design of the shot, all the while his hands moving glass plates in and out of his large Speed Graphic camera. Routinely he’d bend to one knee and adjust my clothing or hair, and remind me he was only going to take “one shot”, so I was to stay still and look at the camera. He’d take the picture, pop the large flashbulb out of the camera and catch it in his pocket or behind his back, blow on it to cool its still glowing filament, and hand me the bulb as a treasured souvenir of the moment. I felt that Teenie was my personal friend, as he never spoke down to me nor as a child, and I looked forward to seeing him whether it be at a social event, or if he dropped by our home to deliver pictures to my parents (Bishop and Mrs. Charles Foggie), or at the YMCA, at our church (Wesley Center A.M.E. Zion) or at the Courier.”

If you can’t get enough of Teenie Harris, Photographer: An American Story, before the exhibition concludes its run on April 7, 2012, (it travels to Chicago, Atlanta and Birmingham, Alabama) you can take some of the show home with you. Teenie Harris, Photographer: Image, Memory, History, a fully illustrated book dedicated to the life and work of photographer Charles “Teenie” Harris is available for purchase. The 208-page book, which features a preface by Deborah Willis and significant essays by scholars Cheryl Finley, Laurence Glasco and Joe Trotter, analyzes Harris as an artist. It explores the social and historical context of his photographs and provides a detailed biography of the photographer whose archive of nearly 80,000 images is considered one of the most important documentations of 20th-century African American life. It includes 100 plates of Harris’ signature images and will be available for $24.95 in softcover and $55 in hardcover.

Road Tripping

February 14, 2012 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

By Anne Fleming

Road trips are exciting and fun to say the least, but sometimes you need a little more than the radio or your passenger and their sing-a-long to their headphones to keep you company on those long, endless stretches of open road.
So here we have it, www.Women-Drivers.com definitive guide to on-the-move karaoke, air guitar and scream-your-heart-out-with-the-windows-down songs. This time of the year, better keep the windows up, though!

Cake – The Distance A slow and heavy bass-guitar driven tune with heavy drum beats and a rockin’ guitar solo. Throw in some trumpets and Cake’s specialty of not-singing-not-rapping to music and you’ve got yourself a tune that will make you want to put down the roof and push the pedal to the ground.

Steppenwolf – Born to be Wild You have to play this at least once a day, if not more, to give yourself the sense of adventure and freedom that only becomes real on a road trip. Wind down the windows as you roar through sleepy towns to let the locals know what you’re all about.

Chuck Berry – No Particular Place to go “…Riding along in my automobile” – what better song is there for road-tripping? No particular place to go is the best motto for road trips with no plan and itinerary. Some good old fashioned guitar music will get you through the slumps of enthusiasm you’re bound to get from time to time when behind the wheel.

Deep Blue Something – Breakfast at Tiffany’s A feel good tune for groggy mornings when the night before was rough in more ways than one and a strong cup of coffee or three aren’t enough. This classic pick-me-up will get you through the roughest of days, as well as make nights by the fire with an acoustic guitar unforgettable.

Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody Recreate the infamous scene from Wayne’s World with the ultimate song. Think of the endless fun you’ll have when harmonizing your way down winding country lanes, air guitaring through the city streets of Paris or screaming after a bottle of vodka with your new friends in that bar in some odd town in Uzbekistan.

Rusted Root (Pittsburgh’s own) – Send me on my way This feel-good tune will bring back nostalgic feeling of those teenage years and endless summers of fun. Turn this up when the sun is shining and you can’t get that smile off your face.

U2 – Beautiful Day Sing loud and sing proud to this road-trip must – any day on the road is a beautiful day, whether it be the sun beating down, the people you meet or the food you taste. This is the song to inspire road trippers across the globe: “See the world in green and blue. See China right in front of you. See the canyons broken by cloud. See the tuna fleets clearing the sea out.”

Johnny Cash – All It was too difficult to choose the best driving song by Johnny Cash, so we decided that no road trip playlist is complete without the whole Cash discography. If the whole get-up isn’t your thing, don’t leave home without I’ve Been Everywhere on at least 3 of the CDs you make.

Hanson – MMMBop Maximize your guilty pleasure of the 90s with the king of cheesy music. Your passengers may protest at first, but as soon as they hear those first chords being played they’ll start to sing and grin like they did when MMMBop first came out in 1997. Mix in some Spice Girls and you might be pushing it a little too far though

The Reason I was Late is…..

February 14, 2012 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

AnnaMarie Petrarca Gire

There are thousands of reasons why people show up late for work. www.careerbuilder.com has compiled their list of the most popular excuses — and the most outrageous – for why people are late to work. Among the most popular were: Getting the kids to school or daycare (8 percent); bad weather (11 percent) and lack of sleep (18 percent).

But the No. 1 most popular reason is …….

Traffic! Thirty-one percent of the workers surveyed said they were most often late to work because
of traffic. Employees apparently blamed everyone from their roommate to the governor, the cat, the TV and a fox. Here’s the top 10 list of the most outrageous excuses:

1. Employee’s cat had the hiccups.

2. Employee thought she had won the lottery (she didn’t).

3. Employee got distracted watching the “Today Show.”

4. Employee’s angry roommate cut the cord to his phone charger, so it didn’t charge and his alarm
didn’t go off.

5. Employee believed his commute time should count toward his work hours.

6. Employee claimed a fox stole her car keys.

7. Employee’s leg was trapped between the subway car and the platform (turned out to be true).

8. Employee said he wasn’t late because he had no intention of getting to work before 9:00 a.m. (his start time was 8:00 a.m.)

9. Employee was late because of a job interview with another firm.

10. Employee had to take a personal call from the state governor (turned out to be true).

So maybe using the fox stole my keys is off the table, you’ll have to come up with something more original. Being late puts me off balance and can affect my work, so my goal for this year is to be 15 minutes early, unless my bird throws my keys in the trash and I have to spend 15 minutes figuring out where they are. (True story)

If you are guilty of being late try the following to stop that bad habit.

1. Acknowledge your problem, you can’t fix what you think doesn’t exist.

2. Be conscious of the time, don’t think you can clean that car until 6, shower dress and be on time for dinner at 6:30

3. Be realistic about how long it takes to get everything , including yourself , ready to leave, re-examine how long your daily tasks really take.

4. Keep track of your activities for a few days to see where time is wasted.

5, It’s not a bad thing to be 15 minutes early. Bring something to read or work on and use that time wisely instead of being rushed and wasting someone else’s time.

Find ways that work for you , Check traffic weather, get enough sleep, don’t use the snooze alarm. Be on time, you’ll make someone happy, especially yourself.

But if all else fails, leave now— just in case!

Salute to Senior Service Contest

February 14, 2012 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

For fifteen years, the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise network has been devoted to providing seniors with the highest quality care in their own homes, and to arming families with the information they need to make the best decisions about caring for aging loved ones.

This month, our “Salute to Senior Service” contest is designed by Home Instead Senior Care to recognize the major contributions of the senior citizens in our lives. Nominated Senior Heroes have a chance to become a national Salute to Senior Service winner. Home Instead, Inc. will make a $5,000 donation to each of the national winners’ designated non-profit charity of choice.

Visit www.salutetoseniorservice.com to learn more—deadline for entry is March 15, 2012!

Know a senior hero that’s making a difference in your community? A true attitude of giving and volunteerism seeks nothing in return. Nevertheless, those who are committed to service end up receiving an abundance of rewards in return for what they do—a sense of purpose, social benefits and personal fulfillment, to name a few.

The Salute to Senior Service contest offers the opportunity for nominated Senior Heroes across the U.S. and Canada (excluding Quebec) to receive yet another much-deserved reward: recognition.

Grand Prize Winners
National Senior Hero winners will be honored at a recognition ceremony and Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® network, will make a $5,000 donation to each national winner’s designated non-profit charity of choice to support continued service in their community.

State and Province Winners
One Senior Hero from each U.S. state and Canadian province (excluding Quebec) will be selected to receive a plaque in recognition of their outstanding volunteer efforts and will be featured in the Wall of Fame here at www.SaluteToSeniorService.com

If you, or any organization of which you are a part, is interested in learning more about Alzheimer’s, please contact our office. We would be happy to speak to your group free of charge about this subject, our services, and even employment opportunities.

Rebecca Champagne, Human Resource Coordinator
Home Instead Senior Care
1102 S Braddock Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15218
Phone: (412) 731-0733


Three Super Powered Mental Strategies To Jump Start Weight Loss for 2012

February 01, 2012 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

By Sanna Carapellotti

It’s early 2012 and you realize that it’s time to do something about the holiday indulging. Maybe it was oneof those seasons of too much drink and too many glittery consumptions.

You consider meal plans, work out trainers and elastic waist pants. With a deep sigh, you still feel lastyears ‘holiday love’ draped around your middle. If you are bemoaning the seasonal excesses and neededweight loss- STOP!

Direct your mind toward your goals using words and images to empower yourself. Remember these
three super powered strategies to reclaim your self-control around food and begin the new year thinner -
in mind!

1. Develop a Personal Eating Philosophy (P.E.P.).
This core tenet defines your actions and could protect you from unnecessary eating. P.E.P. is your self-
talk for all food related decisions and also offers a chance for contemplation when you feel the impulsiveurge to grab food.

Keep your P.E.P. simple, meaningful and personal. I am not referring to a flimsy rant, such as, “I’m noteating.” “I’m not eating.” Choose words that feel right and true for you so you stay decisive.

“I decide.” “I have enough.” “I stop now.”

Think your P.E.P. when someone approaches you with food and when it’s time to eat.

2. Imagine Being Thinner Now
Pull down an imaginary movie screen in front of you. Construct an image of yourself fitting comfortably
into clothing that currently fit too tight. See yourself thinner. Breathe in the joy of accomplishment. Behaveas if you have already achieved your goals, i.e. walk taller, be happier, and eat less. Visualize this imageseveral times a day.

3. Visualize Ultimate Discipline
Mentally rehearse yourself being disciplined in a high risk environment, even if it’s the family room.

Get clear on how you will respond to cues (someone’s guilt trip, the chips in the pantry). Visualize yourselfbehaving with an authority that supports your goals. Imagine how you will think and act through every
moment while in the hot spot. Plan, then visualize, your evening on the way home from work or on the
way to an event.

To experience the feel of ultimate discipline, breathe in your P.E.P., create images of yourself thinner andthen visualize a mental and behavioral strategy to stay attentive and empowered during times ofchallenge.

Applied mind power strengthens your goals. Practice these three super powered strategies to create thechange you want as you step into the new year!

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHtPittsburgh Advanced Hypnotherapy412.344.2272 sanna@pahyp.com


I love a good laugh

February 01, 2012 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

AnnaMarie Petrarca Gire

How did the crab contact the shrimp? Called him on his shell phone….Okay, maybe not so funny

Make the spontaneous sounds and movements of the face and body that are the instinctive expressions of lively amusement and sometimes also of contempt or derision

My day isn’t compete without a real LAUGH, caused by some off handed remark from a friend or a TV show or something that causes me to laugh out loud. Seinfeld does that for me, I laugh before the characters say their lines, I love that show. Sometimes when I am not in such a good mood, I seek out people who make me laugh; my friend Linda in Kentucky, my husband in Illinois, his humor is dry and sometimes dark, but very funny. I watched a commercial a few months ago, a parody of the beer commercial with the man who is perfect, Dos Equis ), he says “stay thirsty my friend” The Puss and Boots movie trailer was of the kitty leaning on one side and says with a glass of milk in hand/paw, “stay furry my friend’ I still laugh when I think of that.

My friend Linda and I went to movie, Signs. It made me laugh so hard that I had to leave the theater; the lines were so banal that I lost control, laughing so hard that my stomach hurt and soda was coming out of my nose. I can’t think of a single line that caused that reaction, but I still laugh when I talk about Signs with Linda.

When I was younger, laughing at me was not so easy. Youth can be a time of insecurity, so I kept those funny moments buried. Then one day I thought of them and they were funny and I found myself sharing the stories and people laughed, not at me but with me.
One such story had me searching for a dress in the east end of Pittsburgh when I was around 22 or 23. I walked into the store looked around looked up and noticed a woman who seemed to resemble me, so I said, “ we look a lot alike” she didn’t answer, so I looked harder and said, we’re wearing the same clothes, and to my embarrassment realized I was having a conversation with my image in the mirror. The sales clerk came over and said, “ May I help you”, I said “no” and scooted out of that store as fast as I could, never to return.

I have a bird, Sal and she has a book coming out soon. Her stories are funny and a bit strange.
For instance:
Chapter 3
“The Thermostat”
“A small device used to regulate the temperature in one’s home or business”
For Sal, the thermostat became a wonderland for destruction. Sal loved the thermostat, landing on it whenever the opportunity arose, which it did, often. I would catch him right away, and remove his curious little body from the device.
But the more he was removed, the more attractive it was. Sal would be perched on the curtain rod, look longingly at the thermostat and swoop down, trying hard to see if it could be destroyed in one quick movement. But, my quick response saved the thermostat from certain destruction.

That changed when Dave decided not to put Sal in a safe place when he left the house. One day, I returned home from work and the house was unusually hot. I went to check the thermostat and found most of it scattered on the dining room floor. Sal was clucking away on his perch in the hall looking very innocent. I attempted to turn it down, but it wouldn’t move; it just sat there while the house became hotter and hotter. The mercury had also been bitten into, so I was sure that Sal had done himself in, but he never suffered any ill effects from the mercury. (Sometimes, Sal seems to truly be a Super Bird.)

I couldn’t turn the thermostat down and for some inexplicable reason called his former owner,
Debbie, and said quite frantically, because by now I was sure the house would explode from the heat:
“WHAT should I do?
She said quite calmly, with a hint of a smile in her voice,” Maybe you should call a plumber.” Now why didn’t I think of that?
So I hung up. It was now about 90 degrees in the house so I called the plumber in my somewhat controlled voice. A woman answered and I explained the dilemma. “MY bird ate my thermostat” There was dead silence for a moment, and then she repeated what I had said, cheerfully and with a little disbelief and asked if I wanted someone to come out right away. Hmmm, right now, or later, when the house had melted away?

So the repairperson came, and he said with a smile, “the bird ate the thermostat”- and he said it again, and again. Funny for him. Sal was now in big trouble. I would watch him very closely, but he had Dave on his side, and so we continued to play games, me watching Sal, and Sal waiting for that special moment, the moment when I wasn’t looking. Of course, it happened again, but Sal was not near the thermostat and the thermostat was not working but I figured Sal was guilty. Who or what else would do that but the little darling? Once again, I called the repair shop and once again talked with the same woman who with the same bemused voice, said, “So the bird ate the thermostat?” This was starting to look like a habit, so I asked the repairperson to protect the thermostat with a plastic box. Now Sal had a real surface to land on, but the thermostat was safe. Or so I thought. Eventually, Sal figured a way to dismantle the box, but the thermostat stayed intact, Sal had better things to do…..

There is nothing better or more therapeutic than a good solid laugh, better than any therapy and sure to make you feel good. So find that funny friend or movie or book and laugh laugh laugh. You will feel better, sleep better and work better.

Women’s Professional Soccer Suspending the 2012 Season

February 01, 2012 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) announced today that its Board of Governors has voted to suspend the 2012 season to permit the League to focus on the resolution of certain pending legal issues and the challenges that now face the League as a result of its ongoing dispute with a former owner.

“We are proud of what the League has accomplished in the first three seasons, but we do recognize the necessity to resolve our existing legal and operational issues so that we can continue to support and grow WPS the right way,” said Sky Blue FC Owner
Thomas Hofstetter. “This was a very difficult decision, but one we as owners feel is the best business decision for the League at this time.”

The Board voted on Monday morning to suspend the 2012 season. Over the last year the league has faced significant challenges, including a lengthy and expensive legal battle with a former owner. The litigation has diverted resources from investment in the
league and has forced the Board to take action, suspending the 2012 season in order to address the legal issues head-on before moving forward with competition.

“We firmly believe there is a place in the global sports landscape for Women’s Professional Soccer”
said WPS CEO Jennifer O’Sullivan. “Making the decision to suspend the 2012 season was a difficult and painful one, but it is necessary to take the time to address current issues and solidify our business
in order to provide appropriate support needed to achieve the League’s long-term goals. Those that take part in our League - players, partners and fans - deserve the best, and that is what we are taking the time to ensure we deliver when we resume play in 2013 and beyond.”

WPS has established its plans to return to play in 2013, and all five owners of the League’s existing teams - Atlanta Beat, Boston Breakers, Philadelphia Independence, Sky Blue FC and Western New York Flash - will remain active with the CEO, Jennifer O’Sullivan, in the governance of WPS throughout the current year.

“We are deeply grateful to our fans and partners for the tremendous support they have shown for WPS,
our players and the sport,” added O’Sullivan. “With our supporters and athletes in mind, we are committed to complete the hard work necessary to resume play in 2013 and reestablish WPS as the premiere women’s professional soccer league in the world.”

10 Ways To Make Your Website Work Harder For You

February 01, 2012 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

By Janet Attard


You bit the bullet. You set up a Web site because new prospects and existing customers kept asking you for your Web site address. Then, too, there were all those stories you kept hearing about small companies bringing in significant business through their Web sites. So, you paid a Web developer thousands of dollars to put your business on the Web, or spent countless hours of your own time learning enough about the Web and about html to put up the site yourself.

But your site’s been up a couple of months and you haven’t gotten a single sale you can trace to the Web site. What happened? What’s wrong? What do you need to do to make your Web site start bringing you business? Here are several tips that will help you fine tune your site to make it a more effective marketing tool.

Make Sure Your Site Looks Professional
Take a hard, cold look at your site—or ask a friend who will be brutally honest to look at the site. Does it look professional? Are the graphics professional-quality and clear? Are the fonts, font sizes, and font colors used in a consistent way? Or does your site include design flaws like these that immediately mark it as an amateur production:

Photos that are squeezed or stretched out of proportion

Multiple elements on the page that are blinking, bouncing, scrolling or turning in circles

Multiple styles of type used for headlines and body copy

Colored background graphics or textures that make it difficult to read the type

Background graphics that are inappropriate for the content of the site (eg.: bubbles on a site selling bookkeeping services)

Text blocks that are out of alignment

First impressions matter on the Web, just as they do anywhere else. And, the first impression your site makes should be one of professionalism and appropriateness for the markets you serve.

Don’t Use the Name of Your Company as the Web page Title
Every Web page has a windows-style title bar. The title that appears in that title bar is determined by what you include in the title “tag” in the html code for the page. You or your Web site designer may want to make the name of your company the title of the page.

That’s not a good idea, however, unless the name of your business includes a descriptive term that someone looking for your services would search for to find what you sell. The reason: Search engines place heavy emphasis on the words in the title bar. Like the text on your page, the closer the text in the title bar matches the term a Web surfer is searching for, the higher your site will rank when the results of the search are displayed. So, if your company name is non-descriptive and little known, leave it out of the title page, or put it at the end of the title.

Don’t Let Your Home Page Be a Flash Presentation
Flash is a technology that allows you to put animated presentations and demos on the Web. Designers love it because it shows off their multimedia skills, to say nothing of increasing the amount they can charge for the site. Business owners often think it makes their site look impressive and make their businesses appear to be on the cutting edge.

But, Flash presentations can make your Web page take a long time to load. Search engines don’t pick them up, and they often annoy visitors who come to your site for product information or facts in a hurry, not entertainment. If you have a product or service that benefits from an animated demonstration, make that one of the choices on your home page (e.g.: “Watch a demo.”) Don’t make the Flash presentation the entire home page. And if your products or services don’t need an animated demo, don’t use the technology at all.

Focus the Home Page & Product Pages on Your Customers’ Interests, Not Yours
You’re proud of your business and your accomplishments. (As you should be.) So, it’s tempting to write a lengthy description of your business accomplishments and run it on your home page with a big photo of yourself, your building and/or your employees, saying, “We’re here to serve you.” But prospects and customers aren’t coming to your site to learn about all the great things you’ve accomplished. They’re coming to your site to find out what you sell and how it will help them.

Get their attention with benefits-oriented headline and text. The headline should make clear what you do and suggest a benefit. For example, “Fast, accurate transcription for Monroe County Medical Offices and Hospitals,” or “Phone systems that grow with your business.”

Don’t toss out that company information, though. After you interest the customer in your products or services, they may want to know more about your company before deciding to do business with you. So, if the purpose of your Web site is to sell your product or services, make the company information a link off your home page, not the focal point of the home page.

Avoid a Cluttered Look
If you sell multiple products, you want them all to be found. And if you are being billed by the number of “pages” on your Web site, you may want to keep costs down. But don’t try to squeeze dozens of images or product descriptions on a single page. The page will look cluttered and make it difficult for visitors to find the products or information they want.

Instead, put small photos of a few of your best-sellers or most representative products on the home page, and then have links to other products in your catalog. Break up the links into logical categories. For instance, if you sell sandals, you might have categories for women’s sandals, men’s sandals, and children’s sandals. If you sell footwear, you might have pages for men’s footwear, women’s footwear and children’s footwear, and then break down each of those pages into categories such as sneakers, shoes and sandals.

Minimize Graphic Sizes to Make Sure Your Pages Load Quickly
Photos and other graphic images make your pages look appealing and help illustrate what you sell. So, they are important to include. But don’t let the size of graphics slow down your Web site. In most cases, images should be thumbnail size—no more than 1 to 1 1/2 inches in size. If a larger image is needed to properly display an item, then you can add a link that says “Click here to see a larger image.” That way big images that take a long time to display will only be displayed by people who really need to see a bigger picture.

Be Sure You’ve Included Important Supporting Information
To turn Web surfers into customers, you’ll want to provide enough supporting information about what you sell to make them feel comfortable buying from you. If you sell software, for instance, you’ll need information about what platform the software uses, compatibility with other products, system requirements and links to press reviews, if any. If you sell graphic design services, the “supporting information” you need should include a portfolio of work you’ve done. If you provide consulting services, it would be a good idea to include case studies describing client problems, what you did to solve them and how they benefited as a result. (Be sure to get the client’s permission before using their name in this way on your site.) A page with testimonials from satisfied customers is beneficial as well.

Make Sure It’s Easy to Place an Order
Imagine how annoyed you’d be if you ran into the supermarket to pick up a container of milk, and couldn’t find the checkout counter? Web site visitors are no different. They will get annoyed if they have to scroll up and down or side to side to find a place to order from you. Avoid the problem by keeping pages short and including a buy now button or link in the same location on every page. A good location is just below the text that describes any product or service.

Be Sure Your Contact Information is Easy to Find
Customers not only want to know what you sell and who you are, they want to know how to reach you. They may have questions about the merchandise you are selling, want to know who they can contact if there is a problem with their order, or prefer talking to a “real person” instead of ordering online. Avoid losing sales by including your phone number, store location (if you have one) and phone number on every page.

Share Links With Other Businesses in Your Community
The tips above will help you get found in search engines and help make your pages more appealing to potential customers. But even in the Internet age, business still has as much to do with who you know as what you do. So talk to business owners who sell different products and services than you do, but serve the same market. Help get each others’ pages found by swapping links and giving each other referrals.