GM workers OK health cuts

first_img Under the proposed agreement, GM retirees will pay up to $752 annually for families and $370 for individuals for their health care. Right now, retirees pay no monthly premiums and a small fraction of other health care costs. The agreement requires GM hourly workers to contribute $1 per hour in future pay increases to a new fund to help pay for retirees’ coverage. GM will contribute $3 billion to that fund over the next six years. Mike Sheridan, the president of UAW Local 95 in Janesville, Wis., said hourly workers, who currently make around $57,000 a year before taxes and overtime, will contribute around $2,000 a year. Erich Merkle, senior auto analyst with the consulting firm IRN Inc., said the deal is significant but the automaker is facing a mountain of other challenges. GM has the labor force and plant capacity of an automaker with 33 percent of the U.S. market, Merkle said, but GM’s share fell to 26 percent in the first 10 months of this year. “A billion a year is a nice chunk of change, even for GM, but it’s really not even close to being enough in terms of what they have to do,” Merkle said. “This is the easy part.” Merkle said GM must make good on its promise to reduce manufacturing employment levels by 25,000 by 2008. The automaker has said it also wants to use 100 percent of its North American plant capacity by that time. GM uses around 85 percent of its plant capacity now. GM also needs to eliminate a jobs bank that pays salary and benefits to laid-off workers, Merkle said. Weinmann wouldn’t say how many workers are in the jobs bank, but it’s believed to be several thousand. In a recent interview with The Associated Press, GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner said the company’s UAW contract requires it to operate the jobs bank. “It’s one factor that’s important in our overall cost competitiveness. I can’t tell you it’s the only or the primary thing for us,” Wagoner said. GM also may be liable for pension costs at its former parts division, Delphi Corp., which filed for bankruptcy last month. GM shares rose 97 cents, or 4 percent, to close at $24.48 on the New York Stock Exchange. A day earlier, GM shares plunged to their lowest level in 13 years on news that the company would restate earnings for 2001. GM said it overstated earnings by as much as $400 million, or 35 percent, by booking supplier credits in the wrong period. On Friday, Himanshu Patel, an analyst with JPMorgan Chase & Co., said the market had overreacted. Patel said the restatement doesn’t indicate a broad pattern of deceitful accounting at GM, and said the company’s prospects are brighter as gas prices fall and new vehicles come to market in the beginning of 2006. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week GM spokesman Stefan Weinmann said hourly workers would see some changes in their health care immediately. Changes for retirees must still be approved by the U.S. District Court in Detroit, he said. GM and the UAW said that approval isn’t expected until early next year. Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler group are expected to ask for similar concessions from the UAW. The union’s contracts with all three automakers expire in 2007. Harley Shaiken, a professor and labor expert at the University of California at Berkeley, said that it’s extremely rare for the UAW to agree to concessions outside of its normal contract negotiations. The last instance of this happening was in 1982, Shaiken said. GM pays for health care for a total of 750,000 U.S. hourly employees, retirees and their dependents, including around 110,000 active workers. GM expects to spend $5.6 billion this year on health care for all its workers. The company says the new agreement would cut annual health care expenses by $1 billion after taxes and would shave $15 billion, or 25 percent, off its $60 billion in long-term retiree health care liabilities. DETROIT – General Motors Corp. got some relief from its spiraling health care costs as autoworkers agreed to pay more of their health costs, but analysts said the ailing automaker must do more to turn around its North American operations. The United Auto Workers said Friday that its members had agreed to a tentative proposal to make retirees and hourly workers pay more for their health care. The world’s biggest automaker asked the UAW for the unusual concessions this spring as health care costs rose and it lost U.S. market share to Asian competitors. GM lost more than $3 billion in the first nine months of this year. Hourly workers approved the proposals by a 61 percent majority, UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and chief GM negotiator Richard Shoemaker said in a brief statement. Retirees couldn’t vote on the proposal. Autoworkers voted through their local unions for a week starting Nov. 3. “Certainly we have mixed feelings about it,” said Oscar Bunch, president of UAW Local 14 in Toledo, Ohio, which was one of the first to approve the agreement. “Nobody likes to go to their membership and ask for concessions, but I don’t think that the UAW had any other choice.” last_img read more

Lights, camera, action in Diepsloot

first_img26 March 2014 Aspiring filmmakers in densely populated Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg, now have a real shot at making their movie dreams come true, with the opening of the first film studio in the township on Wednesday. The Department of Arts and Culture has partnered with 100% black-owned holding company Top Crew Home Brew Movies to make the studio a reality. Speaking at the opening of the studio, which located at the settlement’s Youth Community Centre, Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile said it would help the world to see Diepsloot through a different lens. “Diepsloot should no longer be seen as a notorious area where children are raped and murdered, but as a model of a society that is producing actors and actress, who will be making South Africa’s film industry vibrant,” Mashatile said. “With the opening of this studio, gone are the days where people would not dare to visit this area … You must produce the best actors so that people will always flock to the township in their numbers.” He said the studio offered the community access to the resources and skills they needed to tell their own stories in the languages of their choice, and to narrate their individual and community experiences through the medium of film. The minister urged residents to use the studio to produce movies that told authentic South African stories. “The world is hungry to hear our stories: stories of a nation that has overcome adversity, stories of a resilient people, stories of reconciliation and stories of how together we are building this nation on the foundation laid by giants such … Nelson Mandela.”Skills training programme The department has ploughed R1.5-million into a Top Crew Film training programme which will give youngsters, such as resident Marcia Mankhense, a chance to make it in showbiz. “I want to be an actress because it’s been my dream since childhood,” Mankhense told SAnews. “I’ve always wanted to see myself on TV. I’m thankful to government for giving us this chance and believing in us.” Shandukani Mashatana is equally passionate about wowing audiences. He beams when he tells SAnews about his dream of performing for the masses, saying he wants to be “the best actor and comedian”. Mankhense and Mashatana are two of 70 young people who have received training through the Top Crew Film programme, and who will continue to make movies as part of the programme. Mashatile said the programme would be taken to all other provinces, starting with Mpumalanga and North West, in a bid to get communities to get involved in South Africa’s R5-billion per annum film industry, and to help create local content for community television stations. Equally important for growing the local industry, he said, was nurturing a love of movies in communities. “Our audience development initiatives include efforts to bring back the old culture of bioscopes in our communities.” He added that his department was working to create opportunities for the local film industry to be showcased on major platforms such as the Cannes Film Festival and the Durban International Film Festival. “There is nothing stopping us from taking films made here in Diepsloot, at this studio, to Cannes. We say this because South African talent, including talent from Diepsloot, can match the best in the world.” Source: read more

Urban Airship Opens Turn-key In-App Sales System for iPhone

first_imgWhy IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Tags:#mobile#news#NYT#web What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Urban Airship, the Portland, Oregon-based iPhone infrastructure service provider, just announced that it is offering in-app purchase provisioning for iPhone apps. The company says customers can implement the service in four minutes and will be charged 5 cents per transaction. The service also enables delivery of free content to app users for the same cost.Urban Airship’s primary product prior to now has been push notification provisioning. The company says that both push and in-app sales are complicated enough to warrant outsourcing to specialists like them. We’ve written about the company’s vision at launch and its dramatic success on iPhone OS 3.0 launch day.As we wrote early this summer:Push notifications, like when Tapulous now tells users who don’t have the app running that they’ve been challenged to a music playing match by a friend, are something developers believe will increase ongoing engagement long after the initial download of an app. In-app sales will help monetize that engagement, something developers have found challenging after an initial flurry of sales, once they are lost in a sea of options in the app store and no longer making money sitting beside countless other apps on people’s phones.center_img Related Posts marshall kirkpatrick Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagementlast_img read more

Sponsor Post: Case Study of Contexa at ReadWriteWeb: Context Improves CTR

first_img8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#Sponsors#web rww sponsor 1 A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Editor’s note: we offer our long-term sponsors the opportunity to write ‘Sponsor Posts’ and tell their story. These posts are clearly marked as written by sponsors, but we also want them to be useful and interesting to our readers. We hope you like the posts and we encourage you to support our sponsors by trying out their products.Since the launch of the contextual link advertising product on ReadWriteWeb, we at Hakia have been anxious to see the results and evaluate the success of our contextual advertising product, Contexa. The Contexa system matches the semantic context of a blog post with a sponsor’s criteria on the fly to deliver relevant ads to the reader. Participating ReadWriteWeb sponsors have provided the contextual engine with up to three “trigger phrases” that define their business. As a reader of the blog, you may have seen the product’s implementation at the bottom of certain blog entries, as shown below. You can see another example here. Related Posts As we began this exciting journey, the ReadWriteWeb team defined its objective as follows:“To offer value to our readers by providing advertising links in the context of what they are reading, links that would therefore more likely be of interest to them, andTo offer a higher level of engagement to our advertisers, resulting in both more branding impressions and more click-throughs.”The preliminary aggregated statistics of the six participating sponsors (excluding Hakia), covering a 40-day period, demonstrate that the Contexa system has met ReadWriteWeb’s objectives:The Contexa system increased ad clicks by 14% (i.e. advertiser received, on average, 14% more ad clicks).The click-through rate (CTR) for Contexa was more than twice that of ReadWriteWeb’s 125 x 125 banner ads.We decided to turn the tables and interview Bernard Lunn, ReadWriteWeb’s COO and Feature Writer for his feedback! Hakia’s own COO, Melek Pulatkonak, poses the questions.Melek: Bernard, we have been working together on the ReadWriteWeb contextual link advertising system for a while. Has the system met your expectations?Bernard: Yes, it has. We wanted to see if it would generate a meaningful uplift in CTR, and it has.Melek: What feedback have you received from advertisers? And what would you recommend to participating advertisers going forward?Bernard: Advertisers have to get the traffic–relevance balance right. You can drive a lot of clicks with a hot term – something we are writing about a lot – but if the relevance is low, the advertiser won’t get good conversions. As with any new type of advertising, an art and science emerges over time. People know how to buy search terms on Google, but this is a bit different. I think we need to get better at creating more of a feedback loop (e.g. stats on how different terms have performed) so that advertisers can tune their keyword selection accordingly. Each advertiser has different needs and knows its market intimately, so it is best positioned to decide what works and how to tune its selection.Melek: What’s next? What is your vision?Bernard: For this first phase, we provided Contexa to our long-term sponsors. In the next phase, we want to offer Contexa as a standalone offering, so that advertisers can purchase keywords (or trigger phrases) directly on ReadWriteWeb. This will be an entry-level self-service advertising option that many smaller startups have requested.Melek: Anything else you would like to add?Bernard: Context matters to engagement. That is an obvious statement, but doing it right has been hard, and the opportunities for bloggers to offer ads that engage readers well and offer them value have been limited. Contexa is a good step in this important journey.We thank the ReadWriteWeb team for working with us closely to create a new contextual ad system for blogs and other publishers. To learn more about Contexa, please contact us at [email protected]last_img read more

Lead Your Client in the Sales Conversation

first_imgWho should lead the sales process, buying process, or what might more accurately be called “the sales conversation,” now that the “processes” are more nonlinear than linear, let alone predictable?When you are sitting across from your dream client, one of you has helped dozens, hundreds, and maybe some greater number of clients decide to change, determine the right solution, have the conversation necessary to bring their teams on board, build out the milestones of the change initiative, execute the solution, and trouble shoot that execution to make sure it delivered the outcomes.The other person (or more likely, people) sitting on the other side of the table may have purchased what you sell once or, if they have been in a certain role for a long time, maybe a half-dozen times, a good part of those experiences the result of not choosing the right partner.Of the two of you, who should know more about what conversations need to take place to get the best framing of the problem or challenge or opportunity with which the client needs help? Who has more of these conversation across more different companies and in varying industry verticals?Who knows what commitments the client needs to make the best decision and in what order they should make them? Who needs to be in the room when you frame the current state and future state? Who needs to contribute to the solution on the client’s side if they want consensus? Who needs help executing and what changes are they going to make on their side?The client has much to add this conversation, and they know their company (and the players) far better than you do. They may also have some idea of how to navigate within their company to get things done. But that experience doesn’t replace the need to have the right conversations at the right time with the right people and the right outcomes.One of the best ways to create value for your dream clients is to help them have the right conversations and make the right commitments necessary to get what they want. Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Nowlast_img read more


first_imgThe 2007 PowerAde Isotonic South East Queensland Touch League (SEQTL) Preliminary finals were contested across six divisions tonight, Friday 14 September 2007 at the Brisbane Metropolitan Touch Association’s Whites Hill Complex.Teams battled it out for the right to play in tomorrow night’s prestigious 2007 PowerAde Isotonic SEQTL Grand Finals in determined fashion with several outstanding performances punctuating preliminary final night.The Preliminary Finals were originally scheduled for last Friday night, but due to inclement weather were moved to this week for a bumper Finals weekend featuring Preliminary and Grand Finals on consecutive days.In the premier Women’s Division 1 Preliminary Final, Dodgers were too strong for an out of sorts Colts combination to the tune of 5-2.Dodgers were aggressive and dominated field position early and were rewarded with a touchdown to Ash Fanning after good lead up work from Australian Open Mixed gun Amy Fong.At 1-0 up, Dodgers continued their control of the midfield and it was not long before star turn Amy Turner worked a switch play with Emma Giarola who showed good speed to consolidate the lead at 2-0.Dodgers went to the break 2-0 up and very much in control.Two minutes into the second stanza, Emma Giarola, who was Dodgers best, took advantage of some sloppy 5th touch defence to blitz Colts from acting half to find Amy Fong in the in goal area for a 3-0 advantage.Colts tried hard to get their driving game together, but lacked continuity and attacking punch when it mattered most and could not penetrate a very solid Dodgers defensive line.Dodgers let the ball do the work and a long ball to the wing resulted in an unassailable 4-0 lead that resigned Colts to acquainting themselves with the hill tomorrow night to watch the 2007 PowerAde Isotonic SEQTL Grand Final.To their credit though, Colts tried hard to lift, and irrepressible Australian Women’s Open play maker Peta Rogerson made a customary bust from acting half close to the line to find the ever present Nikki Etheridge backing up to make the score 4-1 and show the fighting Colt’s spirit that had been missing for most of the game.Dodgers fired back with a great piece of play by the ball playing Amy Fong to giftwrap a touchdown for Tara Mako for a 5-1 scoreline.Peta Rogerson refused to go quietly and split the Dodgers defence from acting half again, she then pulled the trigger on a long ball for Nikki Etheridge to claim a consolation double in a 5-2 loss in the shadows of full time.Dodgers were best served by Emma Giarola, Amy Fong, and Sharon Cassell who frameworked the impressive victory.Peta Rogerson, Lauren Potter, and Casey Clark tried hard to lift a Colts team that failed to produce their best when it mattered most.Dodgers will now meet University Rebels who will be shooting for their third straight premiership tomorrow night in the PowerAde Isotonic SEQTL Women’s Division 1 Grand Final on Field 1 at 7.00pm.In the PowerAde Isotonic Men’s Division 1 Preliminary Final the Southern Storm outclassed Colts 8-2 in a comprehensive demolition that bodes well for tomorrow night’s Grand final clash with Country Club United (CCU).The wall to wall superstar Storm line-up just had too much firepower for a brave, but bowed Colts team who failed to cope with the subtle variations in Storm’s attacking repertoire. Fleet footed 2007 Australian Men’s Open World Cup hero Drummayne Dayberg- Muir, was simply untouchable early on conjuring a touchdown for himself, then working a sweet short play with the inform Chris “Kiwi” Lukins for a 2-0 lead after 5 minutes.The Storm were firing on all cylinders when winger Jesse Green dotted down off a long ball to skip out to a 3-0 lead.Colts were battling hard to stay in the game and it was through impressive National 20 Years Youth Squad member Jason Schmidt that they got on the board when some quick phase enabled the gifted Schmidt to find Dean Taylor free and clear for the money ball in the corner to make the score 3-1.The touchdown was just the tonic Colts needed, and the old firm of Australian Mixed Open playmaker Ben Roberts and his Queensland Mixed Open partner in crime Troy Clark, produced a short side “D” play to catch the over reading link defence out to gift the touchdown for the winger, and it appeared game on at 3-2 to the Storm.Just before half time the Storm’s Chris Lukins kept the scoreboard attendant on the hop when he ran an intelligent line from acting half to link up with Keith Mc Donald who planted the ball for the touchdown and a safety net 4-2 lead at oranges.After half-time, the Storm’s big name import Australian Men’s Open king Jason “The Postman” Stanton delivered with a long ball that was magnificently picked up inches from the turf by Graeme Clancey who proved he has better hands than a Swedish masseuse in picking up the dregs for a 5-2 lead to the Storm boys.Storm’s consistently hard working Queensland Men’s Open bookend Ryan Pollock, worked a short play with Dayberg- Muir and Stanton who produced a back yard rehearsed play to beat the defence all ends up to consolidate the 6-2 advantage.Dayberg-Muir declared happy hour on the Colts defence and let his feet do the talking, slicing the heart of his opposition with a slashing snap from acting half to link up with Australian 18 Years Youth squad member 16 year-old Peter Norman who gratefully dotted down for a 7-2 scoreline that was expanding faster than your Dad’s waistline after Christmas dinner.The “Stop the fight” call went up on the hill with disappointed Colts fans tearing up their tickets and heading for the turnstiles early.With time winding down, The Storm’s most industrious player, 2007 Australian Mixed Open tyro Benny “Boozer” Mc Cullen, hammered the final nail in the Colts coffin with a clever play close to the scoreline.Mc Cullen called for a 5 metre “down and back for you” play with the dangerous Day-berg Muir.The Colts defence, ever mindful of Dayberg- Muir, committed themselves to the smart off the ball line the mercurial Dayberg-Muir ran, Mc Cullen faked the pass back to Dayberg-Muir and then threw a face ball bounce across his body to find Keith Mc Donald backing up to claim a double and complete the scoring at 8-2.The full time siren sounded mercifully for a disappointed Colts team who were below their best, but ran into a white hot Storm side who have now been the subject of a late night betting plunge for tomorrow night’s Men’s Division 1 Grand Final blockbuster against Country Club United.Dayberg-Muir, Stanton, Mc Cullen, Chris Lukins, and the youthful Peter Norman were Storm’s best, whilst Benny Roberts, Troy Clark, and the impressive Jason Schmidt went down with all guns blazing for Colts.The rampaging Storm will now face the well heeled Country Club United combination who are hoping to go one step further than last year and claim the 2007 PowerAde Isotonic SEQTL crown in the decider on Field 1 at 8.00pm tomorrow night.In the Men’s Division 2 Preliminary final, CCU got home 4-3 over the Southern Storm to set up a Grand final match up with the First Contact All Stars at 6.00pm tomorrow night.In the Women’s Division 2A Colts won a hard fought battle with Brothers 3-2 to earn a shot at the well drilled Southern Storm line-up at 5.00pm tomorrow afternoon.In the Women’s Division 2B University-Rebels Maroon defeated Crushers Hoodz 8-4 to advance to the Grand Final against Tigers at 5.00pm tomorrow afternoon.In Men’s Division 3A, Uni-Rebels Maroon had a comfortable 5-2 win over Tigers Cobras to advance to the Grand Final against Custard at 5.00pm tomorrow night.In Men’s Division 3B, Storm beat Tigers 5-3 to progress to tomorrow night’s Grand Final against Crushers at 5.00pm.In Women’s Division 3A,Uni-Rebels Gold beat Caboolture Colts Blue 3-1 to make it through to a Grand final showdown with Caboolture Colts Red at 6.00pm tomorrow night.In the Women’s Division 3B Rochedale High enjoyed an emphatic 8 – 3 drubbing of RATC to set up tomorrow night’s grand final against Tigers at 6.00pm.First Grand Finals in the 2007 PowerAde Isotonic SEQTL commence at 5.00pm, with the premier Women’s Division 1 at 7.00pm, and the Men’s Final at 8.00pm.Reserve seating has already been sold out for tomorrow night’s feast of fast and furious grand final action, with the commercial networks now contemplating a live telecast of that “One day in September” for Touch Football fans all over Queensland.A reminder to all teams that Presentations for the 2007 BMTA SEQTL season will be held at The Brewhouse Sports Bar and Grill, located at level 1, 142 Albert street, Brisbane City, commencing at 2pm (presentations from 3pm) on Sunday 16 September 2007.Trophies for winning teams and runners up will be presented as well as the announcement of the prestigious Terry Jacks Medal (Men’s Division 1) and the Sally Urquhart Memorial Medal (Women’s Division 1) for Player of the Final in the Premier division of the SEQTL, along with the Inaugural Player of the Year in all divisions.Good luck to all teams for the 2007 PowerAde Isotonic SEQTL Grand Finals.Remember; when in doubt throw the flick pass.For full results and game times, please visit the Brisbane Metropolitan Touch Association website at: read more

10 months agoBarcelona furious with PSG Rabiot claims after Rakitic, Busquets attempt

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Barcelona furious with PSG Rabiot claims after Rakitic, Busquets attemptby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveBarcelona are furious over the complaints from PSG about their pursuit of Adrien Rabiot.Barca released a statement yesterday denying French media claims of an agreement with Rabiot about a contract.The decision to go public was made after PSG chief Antero Henrique had claimed on RMC on December 20 that “Barça already has an agreement with Adrien (Rabiot)”, adding that “it always surprises us that the clubs do not respect the rules”.Barca are furious with Henrique’s complaints, knowing PSG made attempts for Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic last summer.Both approaches were made without PSG seeking permission from Barca to speak with either player. last_img read more

Meet the Next Big Things of the Baroness Von Sketch Show Did

first_img Facebook Advertisement Two years ago, just before the Baroness Von Sketch Show premiered on the Canadian broadcaster CBC, the series released its first sketch segment online, a preview of the series its four co-creators (the Baronesses) had spent the previous year developing. The reaction to “Locker Room,” which depicts a utopian gym locker room of body positivity for post-40-year-olds, was swift and overwhelmingly positive: The next day, Meredith MacNeill, one of the Baronesses, was taken aback by the comments rolling in, the friends tagging each other on Facebook.“As a person in comedy, once you’re creating, you have to put blinders on and just work on the thing you’re working on and not even look at the outside world,” Aurora Browne, a fellow Baroness, said recently. “All of the sudden, we came out of the creative hole and we were like, ‘Wait a minute…’” MacNeill added. The response confirmed they were onto something with their relatable, gently absurd humor—and for the four Baronesses, relatability is tantamount.Baroness Von Sketch Show, the Canadian sketch comedy series that was picked up by IFC earlier this year, is the collective brainchild of the comedians and actors MacNeill, Browne, Carolyn Taylor, and Jennifer Whalen. They were in the midst of pre-production for the series’ third season when we connected over the phone, just a week after it had debuted on IFC. (Frazzled by the process, MacNeill said she had just told a Virgin Mobile sales clerk, “Lots of love, bye!”) Photo by Gemma Warren for W Magazine. Login/Register With: Advertisementcenter_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment The four performers had observed a dearth of comedy they found relatable, and a deficit of jobs available to women actors beyond a certain age: “Women that I knew really hit a wall at 40, and it became harder to get jobs and harder to get seen,” Whalen said. “The frustrating thing is, you hit 40, and you’re like, ‘Oh, I actually have some things to say now. I have a worldview. I think I’m a more interesting person than I was at 25, but suddenly, I have nowhere to put this.’”READ MORE Twitter Advertisementlast_img read more

Former Ohio State player Jared Sullinger needs to turn NBA career around

Former OSU basketball player Jared Sullinger (center) plays in a game against Iowa. Sullinger plays as a forward for the Boston Celtics and appeared in 45 games in his rookie season. Credit: Lantern file photoFormer Ohio State basketball star Jared Sullinger has had a less than easy transition into the NBA, personally, physically and mentally.Sullinger appeared in just 45 games in his rookie season as a forward for the Boston Celtics, averaging just 19.8 minutes a game.A back injury kept the former two-time AP All-American from meeting his full potential. Sullinger underwent surgery to repair a lumbar disk in February, which sidelined him for the remainder of the 2012-13 season.At a Sept. 30 press conference, before the start of training camp, Sullinger told reporters that his back is “not close” to game fit and he wasn’t sure whether he would be available for the start of the regular season. Sullinger told the media, “I got a lot of work to do. And only training camp can help that.”The next day, Sullinger brushed off the situation, saying that his back was 100 percent healthy. He clarified, telling reporters that from his point of view he didn’t feel close to game fit. He seems to be proving himself wrong. The Celtics have played four preseason games and Sullinger is averaging 12.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Though, Sullinger still relents that he isn’t where he feels he should be fitness wise. Having not touched a ball for six months, his fitness level will rise with time.On top of his injury, Sullinger was arrested in September.Sullinger appeared in Waltham District Courthouse for the second time Sept. 23, facing charges of assault and battery, intimidation of a witness and destruction of personal property, stemming from a confrontation with his then-girlfriend, Deann Smith Aug. 31. Prosecutors plan to pursue domestic assault charges on the 21-year-old, even though Smith has dropped all charges. Sullinger will return for a second pretrial hearing Oct. 28.The Columbus native pled not guilty to all charges after he turned himself in but took full responsibility for his actions and said “the experience was humbling and embarrassing” for him.If the former Buckeye great doesn’t turn things around quickly, he could very easily become another in the long line of OSU big men who flare out in the NBA. That will take a big time change, though, in his life.Since being selected 21st overall in the 2012 NBA Draft, Sullinger hasn’t been given the opportunity to prove himself, and his sophomore season could be that chance.Boston is rebuilding after losing coach Doc Rivers and forwards Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in the offseason. If he is able to stay healthy and realize his full potential, this year could be the time for him to step up and show the NBA what he is all about.He still has a long way to go, including resolving his off-the-court issues and making sure he’s no longer in the news for the wrong reasons. But, if he is able to make these changes, he could make a comeback. read more

Buckeyes put emphasis on special teams

Sophomore punter Cameron Johnston (95) and freshman kicker Sean Nuernberger (96) walk off the field during a game against Maryland on Oct. 4 in College Park, Md. OSU won, 52-24.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorDuring the Jim Tressel era at Ohio State, Buckeye fans knew what to expect: a largely conservative offense with an emphasis on special teams.One of those things remains true under third-year OSU coach Urban Meyer. Following an Oct. 4. win over Maryland, in which the Buckeyes held the explosive Terrapin return game to just 12.7 yards per kickoff return, Meyer was ecstatic about his special teams unit.“That kickoff team, those are my guys. I might put them in first-class on the flight home. I have so much respect for those guys,” Meyer said after the game. “I love their demeanor and how they answer challenges. I was very impressed with our coverage units.”Not only did the Buckeye kickoff team shut down the Terrapins, the punt team, despite only seeing the field twice, did not allow Maryland to attempt a return. In fact, one of those punts — a 69-yard boot from sophomore punter Cameron Johnston — pinned Maryland inside its own 10-yard line. OSU redshirt-freshman linebacker Darron Lee picked off Maryland redshirt-senior quarterback C.J. Brown on the first play of the ensuing drive, eventually leading to a Buckeye score. Johnston said seeing his teammates capitalize on the exceptional special teams play is always enjoyable.“It was nice to be able to get it down there and then Darron (was) able to take that.” Johnston said. “It definitely feels good.”Junior linebacker and special teams specialist Craig Fada said Wednesday that the special teams units get a lot of attention in practice.“We work on special teams countless periods every day in practice and it’s just a way for us to change the game,” Fada said. “It’s a way for us to have our defense in a better position, our offense in a better position, just to help all around.”He added that playing special teams for the Buckeyes is another way for younger players or unproven players to show the coaches they are deserving of more playing time. “We put a big emphasis on special teams and it gives younger guys a place to make an impact on the game,” he said. “And all the younger guys always want to get on those, and even the guys that aren’t fully equipped to get on defense yet want to get onto special teams, and that’s just a way to help.”During last Tuesday’s Big Ten teleconference, Meyer mentioned one specific player whose play on special teams has kept him in a scarlet and gray uniform. Redshirt-sophomore running back Bri’onte Dunn, who has seen limited time on offense this season, saved his Buckeye career on special teams, Meyer said. “He was gone. He would not be renewed next year if he would not have made a jump on the field and off the field,” Meyer said. “He earned it, for about two, three weeks in a row in practice on scout punt rush he was our best player. (Gave) incredible effort, and he earned some playing time. He is now starting on three special teams phases and we are going to think about working him into the offense now.“What an incredible journey he has been on, and we hope it sticks.”Johnston, Fada and Dunn might not be household names in Columbus but neither were Mike Nugent, Jake McQuaide or Nate Ebner when they first entered Ohio Stadium. All three are now on NFL rosters as special teams standouts.The Buckeyes are scheduled to take on Rutgers on Saturday at Ohio Stadium. The homecoming kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. read more