Pitt Hopes to finish strong to keep NCAA Tourney Hopes Alive


It has truly been an up and down season for the Pitt Panthers basketball team. Although they started the season with a tougher non-conference schedule, they still breezed through with ease. Their toughest loss was against #16th ranked Purdue.

But once again, their challenges-and their struggles waited for them when they began league play in the Atlantic Coast Conference, which is arguably the best conference in College Basketball. When they began Conference play, the Panthers started 3-0, with their biggest win coming against nemesis, Notre Dame. But then they face another nemesis, the Louisville Cardinals and after losing to them, they went on a slump that saw them lose 5 of their next 8 games, mostly to ranked opponents (Virginia, Miami, North Carolina) and get stunned by Clemson and North Carolina State.

Pitt did rebound by beating Wake Forest and Syracuse and as a result, are surprisingly still predicted to make the NCAA Tournament, something that they haven’t done in 2 years. espn.com and usatoday.com projects the Panthers as being a 9th seed when Selection Sunday takes place March 13th. Regardless of their struggles, the Panthers are on the verge of another 20-win season (19-7) and are 8-6 and 8th place in the conference.

Pitt’s 66-52 win at Syracuse on Saturday was exactly what they needed, and seems to have given them lightning bolt of encouragement that they’ve needed for some time. They were so charged-up that even HC Jaime Dixon was dancing in the locker room. Dixon has owned Syracuse since he became the Panthers HC in 2003 and he’s 7-2 against the Orange at the Carrier Dome. So this was truly what the doctor ordered.

But the question is, will it inspire them to finish strong in the 4 remaining regular-season games? And the first 2 games are certainly no doozy as they face 2 of the ACC’s best in Louisville and Duke, both at the Petersen Events Center. The rematch against the Cardinals will me Wednesday night at 8pm and the game against the Blue Devils will be Sunday at 2:30, before a national TV audience Pitt hasn’t fared well against either team, especially in ACC play.

The Panthers will then finish the season with 2 rematches against Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, teams that the Panthers beat earlier in the season, so it would truly benefit them if they could complete the season sweep against these two teams.

But the games against Louisville and Duke are more critical because the Panthers haven’t had a win vs. a ranked team all season, and that telling stat could still determine whether the Selection Committee gets them in the Big Dance or not. What could benefit the Panthers is the fact that the Cardinals are banned from postseason play this season, but after beating Duke on Saturday, Louisville is still obviously a force to be reckoned with.

If the Panthers want a prayer against Duke and Louisville, they need to be one thing:

Consistent: And that means on offense and defense. When the Panthers on on their game on offense, Forwards Mike Young and Jamel Artis are usually on their game because like the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Panthers strength is their offense. The problem is, Young and Artis haven’t been that consistent lately, with under-achieving performances in recent weeks.

And that especially goes for Young, who truly is the heart and soul of this team. His scoring average (16.3 PPG) is up this season, but it could be closer to 20.0 PPG if he would overcome his absent-minded struggles that often leads to missed scoring opportunities and turnovers. When his head is in the game, he takes the Panthers to another level.

Artis (15.1) is the perfect complement to Young in the scoring dept., and he’s the team’s only true scorer. His 21 points against Syracuse was pretty impressive and he can truly take over a game. And you can just admit that it would be amazing if we could see another 22-point effort from G James Robinson like he did in the 2-OT win vs. Wake Forest. But scoring hasn’t exactly been Robinson’s strong suit and he’s currently 3rd on the team with a 10.2 average.

Forwards Sheldon Jeter and Chris Jones have also added 20-point efforts as spot starters and bench players, and graduate-transfer Sterling Smith is the team’s best 3-point threat, but has since cooled off. The Panthers need A games from each of these players if they want to find a dent vs. Duke and Louisville.

The defensive struggles speak for themselves, which is a far cry from the Pitt Panther team of old. Although Young leads the team with 7.0 rebounds/game, the team needs the rest of the starters and bench players to step it up, especially now. It’s no secret that they’ve lacked a big man at center since Steven Adams left in 2013, and although graduate transfers Rafael Maia and Alonzo Nelson-Ododa have had bright spots in the paint, they Panthers need more from them in these final 4 games.

If the Panthers can step it up and get at least 3 wins in these final 4 games, plus make an impression in the upcoming ACC Tournament, then they may very well will RSVP for the Tourney. But starting Wednesday, it’ll be time to go to work.

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter


photos courtesy of elle.com
photos courtesy of elle.com

Fаѕhіоn Week is over аnd spring is nеаrlу here! Its tіmе tо сhесk оut wоmеn’ѕ fаѕhіоn trеndѕ fоr 2016. Thіѕ уеаr’ѕ ѕtуlеѕ are a blеnd оf thе раѕt, present, аnd futurе, frоm thе mоdеrnіzаtіоn of retro silhouettes, to Sраnіѕh ruffles, аnd раjаmаѕ аѕ dауwеаr. Bе оn the lооkоut for thеѕе muѕt-hаvе аddіtіоnѕ tо уоur wаrdrоbе.

Whіlе some mау рrосlаіm mіnіmаlіѕm іѕ dеаd, that ’90s ѕtарlе, thе ѕlір drеѕѕ, is mаkіng a comeback. This tіmе, simple strappy numbеrѕ аrе rерlасеd wіth ѕlірѕ wіth bits оf lасе, ruсhіng аnd graphic соlоr рlау.

Suеdе, fringe, and аll thе ассоutеrmеntѕ of thе соwbоу-ѕtуlе are bасk but wіth a lеѕѕ lіtеrаl, mоdеrn flаіr, like a drеѕѕ with swinging leather frіngе.


Bоld, brіght oranges and уеllоwѕ are bеіng uѕеd іn stripes аnd рlаіdѕ for wоrk, casual, аnd еvеnіng wear.

Rоmаnсе is bасk with рlеаtѕ, lасе, аnd lots of ruffles on fetching оff-thе-ѕhоuldеr dеѕіgnѕ.

Aѕ fоr wоmеn’ѕ accessories, metals оf all kinds – ѕіlvеr, gоld, brоnzе аnd сорреr – are еvеrуwhеrе. Many dеѕіgnеrѕ іnсludіng Guссі, аrе piling оn thе jewelry and ассеѕѕоrіеѕ, lауеrіng ѕсаrvеѕ and nесklасеѕ, ѕhоwіng rіngѕ оn еvеrу fіngеr, and аddіng brасеlеtѕ аnd wаtсhеѕ up tо the еlbоw.

  • Chunkу сhаіn lіnkѕ are making a bold ѕtаtеmеnt аѕ сhоkеrѕ and hаndbаg hаndlеѕ.

Mismatched ѕhоuldеr-grаzіng еаrrіngѕ provide grеаt conversation ѕtаrtеrѕ. Lооk in уоur jewelry bоx and рісk one еасh frоm two dіffеrеnt раіrѕ.

Tіаrаѕ аnd оrnаtеlу еmbеllіѕhеd hеаdbаndѕ complete thе look both fоr thе office аnd thе   еvеnіng.

As for wоmеn’ѕ shoes, pick a new pair оf flat mulеѕ іn designer fаbrісѕ.

Thе humblе ruсkѕасk, nоw wіth personalized аnd іn dеѕіgnеr fabrics, іѕ back.

Whаtеvеr wоmеn’ѕ fаѕhіоnѕ уоu сhооѕе, thе рrоfеѕѕіоnаlѕ аt Flair Clеаnеrѕ in Sаntа Mоnіса, Studіо Cіtу, Vаlеnсіа, Burbаnk аnd Redondo Beach аrе hеrе to hеlр you kеер уоur сlоthеѕ сlеаn and ready for аnуthіng!

Flоwіng fаbrісѕ: Voluminous frосkѕ аrе flоwіng dоwn thе runway, in рrіmаrу colors, аnd уеѕ – in flоrаlѕ! Thеу mау bе great for thе рооlѕіdе оr vеrу саѕuаl evenings, but thеу are tоо casual fоr thе wоrkрlасе. Whаt’ѕ more, thеу оvеrwhеlm small frаmеѕ. If уоu аrе petite, lооk fоr this trеnd in items thаt hаvе lеѕѕ volume, ѕо you wоn’t dіѕарреаr іntо thе fаbrіс.

Artѕу: Art hаѕ аlwауѕ inspired dеѕіgnеrѕ, and this year bruѕh-ѕtrоkе patterns are in. In раrtісulаr, уоu’ll ѕее beautiful fabrics inspired bу wаtеrсоlоrѕ. Dеlісіоuѕ to wеаr!

Crаftѕу: Designers are combing thе glоbе, оffеrіng uѕ сhunkу chokers, bеаdеd brасеlеtѕ, and раttеrnѕ аnd frіngеѕ inspired bу еvеrуthіng frоm Amеrісаn Indіаn аrt tо Afrісаn аrt. Yоu may аlrеаdу hаvе some chunky ѕіlvеr or turquoise. Pull оut your brасеlеtѕ аnd chokers, аnd ріlе thеm on. But be moderate for thе оffісе.

Snazzy ѕhоеѕ: Shоеѕ аrе еxtrеmе thіѕ season, frоm flаt gladiators tо teetering hіgh hееlѕ аnd wеdgеѕ. Thеrе’ѕ nothing basic about these hоt соlоrѕ, раtсhwоrk patterns, аnd ѕсulрtеd hееlѕ. Juѕt wаlk carefully.

Bags аrе big, аnd patterned tоо. Or tiny. And соlоrful, chunky, and bold. Nаmе уоur ѕtуlе. Add ѕоmе embellishments, ѕuсh аѕ jеwеlrу fоr a unique ріесе. editor@urbanmediatoday.com



Reverend Donald P. Turner, Homestead pastor and retired paratrooper
Reverend Donald P. Turner, Homestead pastor and retired paratrooper

Homestead pastor and retired paratrooper Donald Turner (b. 1936) reflects on racial tension in his adolescent years and his faith in God based on interviews conducted by teens Darnel Youngblood and Alon Rutledge in 2015.  More stories like this are available at www.neighborhoodvoice.org/crossingfences

Texting Lingo Every Parent Needs to Know

Texting Lingo Every Parent Needs to Know by beconrad
You are probably already familiar with terms like OMG, LOL and WTF, but teen texting lingo
does not end there. Chances are your kids speak text far be
tter than you do, but it is important to
stay as fluent as possible.
While many texting terms are harmless – the equivalent of
slang used by teens of every
generation – others are more worrying. There are texting acronyms for everything from sex and
violence to drug use and smoking. Knowing what all those acronyms mean will make it easy to
spot potential dangers and counsel your kids on how to stay safe.
If you spot any of these acronyms on your child’s phone or
in their browsing history, you might
want to schedule time for a face-to-face chat.
MOS in teen speak means Mom Over Shoulder. If you see your child or teen typing in this
acronym, you would be right to wonder what they have to hide.
PAL, PAW and PIR are similar acronyms, translating to Parents Are Listening, Parents Are
Watching and Parents in Room respectively. Again, this lingo c
ould indicate that a young person
has something to hide.
You may already know that 420 is code for marijuana, so keep a sharp eye out for this
troublesome number. That is not the only number you need to
watch out for – 1174 is teen speak
for an invitation to a wild party – one that may include drugs, alcohol and sex.
The acronym IWSN translates to I Want Sex Now. If you spot
this text on your teen’s phone, it is
time for an immediate conversation about risky behavior.
GNOC is nearly as bad. This common teen-speak acronym means
Get Naked on Camera, and it
is often an invitation to sexting and other inappropriate
behavior. Parents who spot this
troublesome text should take the opportunity to point out that anything posted on the Internet is
there forever.
F2F and LMIRL could be indications that your teen has fallen victim to an online predator.
These two texting terms mean Face to Face and Let’s Meet
in Real Life. If you spot either term,
your son or daughter’s safety could be at risk.
As a parent, it is your job to keep your child safe. In the
Internet age, safety means more than
teaching them how to cross the street and not to talk to strangers. Taking a proactive approach to
their use of technology can enhance their safety, improve your relationship and keep them from
making mistakes that could last a lifetime.


black quotes
— The best inspirational quotes from Bob Johnson, Oprah Winfrey, Daymond John, Russell Simmons, Tyler Perry, Cathy Hughes, and more! —

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Successful Black business owners have been saying a lot over the years, but perhaps we haven’t been listening. And so one new e-book reveals exactly what they’ve been saying!

Published by Urban Ebooks, its called Top 365 Inspiring Quotes From Black Millionaires and Billionaires (exclusively available for just $2.99 at www.urbanebooks.com), and its the first publication ever that features famous and inspiring business quotes solely from African American millionaires and billionaires. Readers can not only benefit from their priceless advice and wisdom, but also the valuable life lessons that they share.

According to federal statistics, African American business owners continue to increase in numbers but most have just 1-2 employees, and generate revenues of less than $50,000 a year. Even worse, 1 in every 5 Black-owned businesses fails within five years. It was those devastating statistics that became the motivation behind publishing and releasing Top 365 Inspiring Quotes From Black Millionaires and Billionaires.

The book features famous quotes from:
* Bob Johnson, founder of BET and first ever Black billionaire
* Oprah Winfrey, founder of OWN and first Black woman billionaire
* Daymond John, founder of FUBU and star of ABC’s Shark Tank
* Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam and Phat Farm
* Tyler Perry, actor, director, playwright and filmmaker
* David Steward, founder and CEO of World Wide Technology which makes $2 billion a year
* Cathy Hughes, founder of Radio and TV One
* Magic Johnson, NBA legend and founder of Magic Johnson Enterprises
* Sheila Johnson, co-founder of BET and founder Salamander Hotels & Resorts
* Jay-Z, founder of Rocafella Records and Rocawear Apparel
* Percy “Master P” Miller, founder of No Limit Records
* Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, founder of Bad Boy Records and Sean Jean Apparel
* Will Smith, actor, rapper, and co-founder of Overbrook Entertainment
* Madam C.J. Walker, first female self-made millionaire in America

Here are a few sample quotes from the book:

“I got my start by giving myself a start.” — Madame CJ Walker

“If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.” — Will Smith

“You’re not in the music business unless you have a hit record.” — Master P

“The thing about using other people’s money is they’re going to set the rules.” — Tyler Perry

“Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.” — Oprah Winfrey

Great tool for both aspiring and existing entrepreneurs

The insight and knowledge from these successful African American business owners can be used to help readers so that they too can be successful in business, build their own empires, and create your own destinies. It’s a great book for both aspiring and existing entrepreneurs. All in all, the book features 365 different quotes. That’s one quote for every day of the year!

For more details and/or to purchase the book, visit www.urbanebooks.com

Kanye West represents the victimhood, paranoia plaguing black men

Kanye West represents the victimhood, paranoia plaguing black men by David A. Love

What’s up with Kanye man?

It’s a question that people are asking these days about the larger-than-life celebrity, and they are worried about him. Although he is a recording giant and a big-name player in the music industry, Kanye West is still a black man like any other black man.

And Kanye represents the victimhood and paranoia that plagues brothers, you know?

He has been all over the place recently, even more than usual for the often chaotic, flamboyant, grandiose and attention-attracting artist, producer and entrepreneur.

Kanye reportedly had a meltdown and went off on a tirade before a performance on Saturday Night Live. At first it was reported that his anger was directed towards SNL production staff, though according to Access Hollywood he was addressing his own team. “Look at that s**t, they took my f**king stage off a ‘SNL’ without asking me,” West reportedly said in an audio recording presumed to be of West’s voice. “Now I’m bummed. That and Taylor Swift, fake a**.”

“If I am going to do this, we are breaking the m———–g Internet,” he said.

One source said, “It was like he was having an emotional breakdown. He was calling the crew ‘white m———–s’ and then said he was going to walk out. The only thing that stopped him from actually leaving right then was that nobody had access to the freight elevator. If he’d walked out on the live show, it would have been a disaster. And the whole meltdown was just because of the floor. ”

Following his SNL appearance ad after his Taylor Swift comments emerged, West said “It’s like, I want the best for that person, but there’s people going through real issues out here.”

“There’s people out of work. There’s people in debt that can’t make it out of the debt,” he added. “There’s people that’s in debt that don’t have a shoe. There’s people that are in debt that don’t have a hit album out also — you know what I’m saying? … I don’t think people care about me or her in that way. People care about their families, their kids. If you like my music, listen to it. If you like her music, listen to it.”

Just to add to all of this, Kanye—who recently dropped his new album The Life of Pablo, asked Facebook mogul Mark Zuckerberg for a $1 billion investment to help with his financial issues. The prolific tweeter claimed he is $53 million in debt:
The hip-hop artist, known for his inflated ego and audaciousness, also has demonstrated more humility and self-reflection recently:

Twitter is talking back on the issue of Kanye in a typically biting and spirited manner, but also with advice:
Kanye West is part of the rich and famous, and as a black man overcame a lot of get where he’s gotten and become who he is.

And along the way, his mother died, just to add that to the mix. Like black men in general, West is the underdog. He thrives on being the victim. For black men, this is the case because there is a long history of society keeping us down, haters wanting to steal our thunder, steal our success and ensure our downfall.

Real world conspiracies against black men are in no short supply–from the Tuskegee experiment to the crack cocaine epidemic to COINTELPRO— and that can make a brother paranoid. Sometimes, Kanye plays the role of the guy watching the football game on TV, and as the team is huddling together he wants to know why all the players are talking about him.

But now, Kanye appears to have challenge dealing with his own success. While he made it to the top, he still needs to be the underdog, because that’s his shtick, his M.O. West needs his boogeymen to keep the party going, to survive—even when those boogeymen don’t exist beyond his own imagination. He can’t turn it off, which is why he creates more enemies.

On another note, black men and boys need to come to terms with our mental health, including depression, stress, and the real effects of the pressure that racism causes us. The recent suicide of Black Lives Matter activist MarShawn McCarrel is a cautionary tale for black men.

We have to root for Kanye West, even as he does things that make us cringe, because he is every black man.

Follow David A. Love on Twitter at @davidalove

Ray Jr. on Sports


    1. The NBA has now taken center stage as they’re coming out of their All-Star Break and have finished their annual Trade Deadline. You know, when the contending teams acquire top players from non-contending teams in exchange for prospective players.
    2. Apparenly the top trade of the day is the The Los Angeles Clippers acquiring forward Jeff Green from the Memphis Grizzlies for Lance Stephenson. This one truly has the most star power of all the deals. Green helps a contending Clippers team, while the struggling Suns get the struggling Stephenson.
    3. The other top deal of the day involves the top team in the Eastern Conference as the Cleveland Cavailers Cleveland Cavaliers get: Channing Frye, F (from Magic), while the Portland Trail Blazers get: Anderson Varejao, C (from Cavs); conditional first-round pick (from Cavs) and the Orlando Magic get: Jared Cunningham, SG (from Cavs); second-round pick (from Blazers)
    4. The 6-foot-11 Frye is a ‘stretch’ forward who is averaging 5.2 points and 3.2 rebounds in his second season in Orlando. Not very impressive stats in my opinion, but he’s apparently the player that the Cavs have wanted.
    5. The Suns stayed busy as they received Kris Humphries, PF; DeJuan Blair, PF; protected first-round pick from the Washington Wizards who get. Markieff Morris, PF. the Wizards are desperately fighting for that 8th and final playoff spot.
    6. And the other notable trade was the Oklahoma City Thunder getting Randy Foye, SG from the Denver Nuggets for  Steve Novak, SF; D.J. Augustin, PG; two second-round draft picks. Foye’s stats are also not impressive, but the contending Thunder hope that he can help their title hopes.
    7. All in all, it was a decent trade deadline. I think fans have been spoiled over the years because we’re used to seeing huge names switch teams. It was rumored that the Houston Rockets were trying to deal C Dwight Howard, but those talks broke down when Howard refused to opt out of his final year of his contract.
    8. As for the standings, the Golden State Warriors (48-14) are the NBA best, with the 45-8 San Antonio Spurs right behind them. The Eastern leading Cavs are 38-14 and the 8-45 Philadelphia 76ers are the NBA’s worst team, with the 11-44 LA Lakers the worst in the Western Conference.
    9. Speaking of the Lakers, as you know, G Kobe Bryant will be retiring after this season, and the NBA is truly sending him out in style with presentations, etc and the All-Star Game really honored the 18-time All-Star. But what Michael Jordan gave him topped them all.
    10. Jordan gave Bryant 30 pairs of his signature Air Jordan shoes and they will be auctioned off to the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Foundation for $100,000. Classy move.
    11. Now onto College Basketball where we see the Pitt Panthers (18-7, 7-6 ACC) who just ended a 3-game losing streak after ‘getting by’ the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (10-16, 1-13) 101-96 in Double Overtime.
    12. I give the Panthers credit for fighting for this win, but it’s truly a shame that they had to do so against one of the worst teams in the conference. When their minds are focused, they can beat anybody, but when they struggle and are clumsy, they will lose.
    13. I think the key to Pitt having a chance at making the NCAA Tournament depends on the performance of F Mike Young. When he’s on, they do well, but when he’s off. (as he’s been recently) the team struggles. Even in Tuesday’s win, he had absent-minded moves, dropping the ball on potential baskets and turning the ball over. He needs to get it together.
    14. As for the rest of the ACC, whoever said the Duke Blue Devils (20-6, 9-4) were struggling needs to retract that statement as they’ve been on a roll lately. First, they beat #7 Virginia on Saturday in a buzzer-beater, and then they got past #5 North Carolina Wednesday night. You can never count this team out.
    15. I honestly still can’t believe that the Villanova Wildcats are ranked #1. They are truly getting things done in the new Big East Conference. Kudos to HC Jay Wright who has this team pointed at a #1 seed in the Big Dance.
    16. As you know, Major League Baseball has begun Spring Training in preparation for the 2016 season. Hard to believe that a new season is near, I’m still thinking about the KC Royals winning it all for the first time since 1985. Can they repeat? I doubt it, but you never know. I can’t wait to see their championship rings.
    17. As for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who hope to capitalize off a 98-win season, they added another player to a minor-league deal in OF Matt Joyce, whose best years were with the LA Angels. I believe Joyce can be an effective 4th OF, replacing Travis Snider, who has joined the Royals.
    18. The Pirates also made news as they’ve went back in time and added their 1979 uniforms as they’re Sunday Alternates for home game. I love it. It’s the yellow tops, black pants and the pillbox striped hats. Why not keep wearing the uniforms of winners? They had worn the 1971 units on Sunday from 2013-2015.
    19. As for the NFL, apparently the retirements keep coming as Carolina Panthers DE Jared Allen made his announcement Thursday, ending a spectacular 12-year career. He’s the NFL All-Time sack leader with 136. New England Patriots LB Jarod Mayo announced his retirement after an 8-year career.
    20. One NFL player who won’t be retirement yet is Pittsburgh Steelers LB James Harrison who will be returning for his 14th season. He will be 38 years old.

    Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

    Follow him @ urbanmediaRay on twitter

What is Laminate Flooring?

What is Laminate Flooring?  by: Jason Ashby
What is Laminate Flooring? by: Jason Ashby

Laminate flooring mimics the look of traditional woods while offering easy installation and lasting durability. At first glance, it can be difficult to spot the difference between hardwoods and laminate flooring. What appears to be a natural wood grain pattern is really a thin layer of decor paper (a photographic image) under a tough-as-nails protective film that is glued and pressed to a high-density backing board. Laminate Flooring comes in an array of wood effects as well as stone and ceramic effects.

Laminate floorings main advantages are that it is easy to install, is very hardwearing and relatively inexpensive compared to real hardwood flooring.

Laminate flooring is a floating floor, which means it does not fasten directly to the sub-floor. Instead the planks are clicked together. This enables the floor to be fitted fast and with no real mess.

Laminate flooring has been around in Europe for around 15 years and has seen massive growth in the past few years. In 2004 over 750 million square meters of laminate flooring was sold worldwide this was an increase of 13% on the previous year. The biggest growth market is in the US with an impressive growth rate of 25%.

What Is Laminate Flooring Made from?

Laminate flooring is made up of four layers. The bottom layer is the stabilizing layer; this is what gives the laminate floor its stability. It is made up of moisture resistant resins.

Above this there is the core layer; this is made up of high density fiberboard (H.D.F.). This is saturated in resins to make it extremely hard. Most manufactures also add a moisture resistant resin to the core. This is important as it helps keep the flooring protected against moisture penetrating the boards.

On top of the core layer is added a high strength paper along with the decorative paper. It is this decorative paper which gives the laminate flooring its individual appearance, ranging from highly authentic wood reproduction, ceramic or stone designs.

The top wear layer is provided by the melamine resin, a highly wear resistant material that makes laminate flooring so hard wearing. This top layer is very similar to the top layer on counter or kitchen work tops but is usually around 40% stronger. This makes the laminate flooring highly resistant to scratches, burns, dent’s, stains, etc.

There are a lot of laminate flooring manufactures who have products in the market place, each saying theirs is the best. Our advice is to stay with the leading ones these are QUICK-STEP, ALLOC, PERGO, BRUCE, and KRONOTEX. Theses manufactories have been around a long time and offer quality products that you can trust.

How Does Laminate Flooring Fit Together?

Most laminate floors today fit together with a click system with the most common being the UNICLIC system as used by Quick-Step. This is extremely easy and fast to fit. The ingenious UNICLIC-system has a special shape of tongue and groove. You simply place the tongue of one plank into the grove of another at an angle and press down. Their sophisticated and very accurate milled shape makes it possible to create a very tight connection during the installation. The floor can be walked on straight away.

If you are laying laminate flooring over a concrete sub-floor then you will fist need to lay down a damp proof membrane (DPM). This is basically a sheet of plastic usually around 5mm which helps protect the Laminate from moisture. On top of this goes the foam underlay this acts as sound absorption and also helps even out minor irregularities in the sub-floor.

Most manufactories now offer a combined DPM and underlay along with several underlays’ that have better sound absorbing qualities.

About The Author

Jason Ashby has over 20 years’ experience in the flooring trade.


Violence against the black community gives me fear about becoming a black mom

Violence against the black community gives me fear about becoming a black mom Opinion by Candace Bond-Theriaul
Grio-Violence against the black community gives me fear about becoming a black mom
by Candace Bond-Theriaul

The Grio-As a black feminist, February marks the beginning of my two favorite cultural awareness months of the year: Black History Month and Women’s History Month, which starts in March. This time each year, I reflect on the enormous contributions of black women and the ongoing challenges that we face in this country.

Last year, while I accomplished many of my personal goals, it was also a year marked by senseless tragedies in the black community. On the one hand, I found a job that I love — where I get to advocate for reproductive rights, health and justice every single day as policy counsel at the National LGBTQ Task Force. I also married my sweetheart in April of 2015. Yet, as I reflect on this past year and think about the movement for reproductive justice, one word comes to my mind – violence. For me, this past year was marked by:

  • Gun violence against black and brown communities at the hands of the police,
  • Mass shootings and arsons at Planned Parenthood clinics,
  • Violence against transgender women of color, just for being who they are,
  • The bombing of black churches, and
  • In Charleston, S.C., I am still grieving after 9 innocent black churchgoers were shot dead while practicing their faith. They welcomed a stranger into their community with loving open arms, only to be brutally killed in the name of hate.

This senseless and tragic violence is a reproductive justice issue. I believe that all people have the inherent human right to raise children in a safe and healthy environment.


For me, this is also personal. I want to raise children. I’ve always wanted to; but being a black mother to a black child in America is especially hard. This isn’t new. It’s historically been hard.

In the spirit of full transparency and authenticity, I have to let you know that my husband is white, and our kids will be biracial. I recognize that my children may have privileges that I never had. I also know that they will likely be seen as black by American society if their skin is remotely dark.


I am finally at a point in my life where I am ready to start having children, but fear of raising black children in America — because of the number of kids who never grow up to become adults — gives me pause. My fear is a reproductive justice issue because I should never be afraid to raise children. I advocate for reproductive justice so that I can have and raise kids without fear of how they will be treated when they are on their way to school or, worse, when they are in school.

My hope is that the larger social justice movement will create a future where our daughters can go to school with a sense of pride in their #BlackGirlMagic and our sons can walk home from school while wearing a hoodie. No matter how they look, the color of their skin, the style of their clothes, their sexual orientation, their sex, or their gender identity. My children and all of our children need us to provide them a socially just world.


For me, Black History Month and Women’s History Month are also about looking towards the future. I know that I will never let my fear cripple me. I will have children one day. And, thankfully I have fierce black mothers to look to as role models (shout out to my law school crew of #BlackGirlMagicMothers). With time, I will become more confident that I can raise children in this world, despite its treatment of black youth, because I have the privilege of watching brilliant friends and family members do it every day all across the country. They give me hope. They give me exactly what I need to carry on until Black History Month next year. And, for me, that hope is everything.

Candace Bond-Theriault is the Policy Counsel for Reproductive Rights, Health and Justice at the National LGBTQ Task Force, where she primarily works to combine the Reproductive Rights communities and the LGBTQ communities to fight against religious refusals at the federal legislative level. Previously, Bond-Theriault worked as a Legislative Assistant in the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office. Bond-Theriault received her LL.M. degree from the American University Washington College of Law, her J.D. degree from North Carolina Central University School of Law and her B.A. in Human Rights with a focus on race, gender and sexuality from the College of William and Mary.

Reverend Johnnie Monroe, Voice of Hope

-Reverend Johnnie Monroe, Voice of Hope
-Reverend Johnnie Monroe, Voice of Hope

Hill District pastor and community leader Rev. Johnnie Monroe (b.1941) reflects on the importance of the church and his faith in today’s youth to become the leaders of tomorrow based on interviews conducted by teens Timothy Zigler and Isaiah Brice-Pickens in 2012. More stories like this are available at www.neighborhoodvoice.org/crossingfences