Ray Jr. on Sports




  1. Well I have to admit the Pittsburgh Steelers are looking pretty good right now. Go ahead and say it, yes it’s still early, but I think they have a ‘look’ that I haven’t seen since 2008, when they last won the Super Bowl.
  2. True, they kinda had that look in 2010 when they last went to the Super Bowl, but they lost that game. I think this team has what it takes to win it, provided they stay healthy (especially at the QB position) and the defense continues to get better. Time will tell.
  3. This Sunday, the Steelers (2-0) will take on the Philadelphia Eagles (also 2-0) at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. They haven’t played there since 2008 (or when my son was a baby) and in that game, the Eagles defense destroyed the Steelers 15-6 and sacked QB Ben Roethlisberger 9 times. That game gave me a headache. The Steelers redeemed themselves 4 years later with a 16-14 win at Heinz Field.
  4. As for Sunday’s Game, we know what the Steelers can do. It would help if WR Markus Wheaton was ready for this game, but the other WRs will be ready-and I like how Roethlisberger used all of his pass-catchers, including undrafted TE Xavier Grimble, who scored his first NFL TD in their 24-15 win vs. Cincinnati on Sunday.
  5. Speaking of Wheaton, he was a full participation in practice on Thursday so he looks like he’s ready to play Sunday. DE Cameron Heyward (back), FB Roosevelt Nix (back) and G Ramon Foster (non-injury related) was limited in practice, but I can’t see them missing Sunday’s game.
  6. Speaking of the tight ends, Free Agent signee LaDarius Green (Physically Unable to Perform List) expects to be ready by Week 7 when the Steelers host the New England Patriots. It would be huge to have him, but I am a fan of 2nd year man Jesse James and I like how Grimble is shaking up. But the deeper the depth, the better.
  7. To be honest, the Eagles look pretty good as well, they beat the Chicago Bears 29-14 Monday night and it looks like they’re responding to first-year HC Doug Pederson’s coaching. Of course it also helps that they got rid of the Chip Kelly regime, which truly destroyed that team.
  8. All the rave has been about rookie QB Carson Wentz who’s been pretty impressive as he has now thrown 71 passes without an interception. But it’s truly the defense that has really stepped it up for Philly. Their defensive line has been spectacular, shutting down the run against Cleveland and Chicago, something I’m sure the Steelers have noticed in the game preparation.
  9. With that being said, I really believe that the Steelers will win this game on the arm of Roethlisberger. RB DeAngelo Williams will do what he can, but Big Ben will need to air it out. And score touchdowns to win this game, not field goals. I predict a 27-20 Steelers victory.
  10. As for the rest of the NFL, I just had to shake my head when I saw Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson once again suffer an injury, this time a torn meniscus in the Vikings 17-14 win vs. Green Bay Sunday. The man is just 5 years away from recovering from ACL, MCL injuries. I honestly think he’s done for this year, no matter how coy Vikings HC Mike Zimmer is acting.
  11. Bears QB Jay Cutler is expected to miss some time after injuring his wrist in the loss to the Eagles. Veteran Brian Hoyer will start in his place with former Eagles starter Matt Barkley backing him up. Losing Cutler is obviously not what the Bears need right now.
  12. As for College Football, the Pitt Panthers (2-1) have licked their chops for their 45-38 loss to Oklahoma State and will now play their first Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) game vs. the North Carolina (also 2-1) Tar Heels Saturday at 3:30 PM at Chapel Hill.
  13. I didn’t realize this, but North Carolina is the only team in the Coastal that Pitt has not beaten. The Panthers are 0-3 against the Tar Heels in ACC play. Pitt’s last win vs. NC? At the Meineke Car Care Bowl in 2009.
  14. The Panthers need to beat the Tar Heels Saturday, but they have to play better than they did vs. Oklahoma State. Yes, it was a close game, but the defense played pretty horrible, giving up 640 total yards, plus the play-calling could’ve been better late in the game as they played conservative with over 3 minutes’ left. Not acceptable if you’re trying to take it to the next level.
  15. Nevertheless, The Panthers own the nation’s No. 10 rushing defense, surrendering just 75.7 yards per game, but it will certainly be tested this week when it faces the Tar Heels’ Elijah Hood who is averaging 6.2 yards per carry this year (266 yards on 43 attempts).
  16. Congrats to Pitt DE Ejuan Price for winning the ACC Defensive Player of the Week award. So far, price has been a beast with 11 tackles, 7.5 TFLs, 4.5 sacks, six quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles so far this season. He has to be in the running for ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
  17. Here is this week’s Top 5 AP Poll: 1. Alabama (despite getting a scare last week) 2. Ohio State 3. Louisville (deservingly so) 4. Michigan and 5 Clemson. I’m also impressed with #6 Houston and #11 Wisconsin, who’s coached by former Pitt HC Paul Chryst.
  18. As for MLB, apparently the Pittsburgh Pirates have caught fire, having lost just once in a week and they also reached .500 as well. I’m also impressed at the resurgence of OF Andrew McCutchen, who is now hitting over .250. It’s a shame that we didn’t see this earlier in the season. Plus 3B Jung Ho Kang (19 HRs) and utility infielder Sean Rodriguez (18 HRs) have also been hot. Impressive.
  19. But you know I’m a realist, and it’s truly too little, too late for the Pirates to get a Wild Card spot this season. They still have to catch Miami, St. Louis, the LA Dodgers and NY Mets. But I hope they finish strong and be ready for 2017, provided the Front Office does right by the team, that is.
  20. Speaking of which, did you know that former Pirate (and current Toronto Blue Jay) JA Happ has won his 20th game? Yeah, it would’ve been great if he had done that in Pittsburgh. Oh well..


Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him@urbanmediaRay on twitter

How To Prepare For A Job Interview

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For most people being employed is not a luxury, but a necessity. Depression sets in quickly and can leave you a mess. You need to do everything in your power to find the job that you need. This article is very useful in giving advice for anyone looking to land a new job.

While job searching, give it your all in your current job. You will get a bad reputation if you do not stay focused on your current job. Any potential employer might find out about your poor performance. Success depends on your ability to work to your full potential.

Head to school. At times, discovering the job you want requires that you expand your skills. The greater your knowledge, the more opportunities you will have. Lots of self-guided study options exist that can be built around your schedule.

When dealing with employees, especially lots of them, it is important to maximize their productivity. Think about it. If you have ten super productive employees, you can save yourself, hundreds of thousands of dollars on benefits and wages, as compared to hiring twenty or more employees. As such, find ways to maximize productivity.

Don’t get overly friendly with those that you work with. Keep things as professional as possible and always stay on task. Personal relationships can become difficult and lead to conflict in the workplace. You want to steer clear of disaster so you don’t risk your company position.

Try doing a practice interview before you go to interview for a new job. Have a friend or family member play the role of the interviewer. This will help you be prepared when you go to your interview. It will also help you remain calm and collected when you are at your interview because you are better prepared.

Curb your tongue during the first few months of employment. Remember, you are the new person. You may have a lot of great ideas, but if you stir the pot too early, you may never get a chance to set your ideas in motion. Your first job should be to get all those at your new work to like and trust you.

Prepare an “elevator pitch” about yourself. This is a 30 to 60 second statement that could be delivered on an elevator ride, hence the name. Include information about your biography and any pertinent career accomplishments. Use the statement on phone interviews or when asked why you should be hired for the job.

A good resume can get you the job you want. Your resume should be organized in a way to give employers a snapshot of your experience and abilities. Past work experience, skills and educations should be listed on your resume. Highlight any volunteer work that you have done. After writing your resume, look it over to be sure that nothing is missing!

Call your local library to ask what sort of help they could provide you. They may offer free Internet use, allowing you to job search and send resumes online. They may also have seminars on writing resumes or other classes, which could help. Lastly, they may be able to help you print your resumes at an affordable rate.

Set aside money for your job search. People do not realize how pricy it can get to search for a job. If you have a car, you will need money for gas. Also, when you are out job hunting all day, you will want some money to grab a bit to eat.

Call your references. This is important for a few reasons. The first is that they need to be warned that they may be called, plus you should let them know what sort of skills they should be highlighting. Second, their number or email address may have changed, so you need that update.

After an interview, be sure to pick up your phone when the company calls you back. And, if for some reason, you cannot answer, be sure to call them back right away. Waiting too long to return their call will have the company thinking you are not that interested in working for them.

After applying for a few jobs, you should start to get phone calls regarding interviews. How will you answer the phone? You need to make a great first impression on the person that could be hiring you, even if they’re only someone that does the interviews for that company.

Be sure that you are well-groomed before going on your interview. A professional appearance is very important if you want to make a strong, first impression on your interviewer. Wear clothes that are appropriate for the type of job that you are applying for. When you look the part, the hiring manager can visualize how you can fit into his organization.

Be honest on your resume regarding everything. If you have something that you aren’t proud of, don’t mention it on the resume. You have no way of knowing if the truth might be discovered by the potential employer.

Do not make negative comments about past employers. It’s likely that a prospective employer will peruse the social networks to find out more about you. If you don’t post certain things you don’t need to worry.

When starting your job, get some notebooks for taking notes. You’ll probably have a bit of training initially, so there is going to be quite a bit of information thrown your way. Taking notes properly can let you go back and see what you were taught.

Keep an open mind when trying to find a new job. Not only apply for the specific position you are looking for, but jobs that are related to that position as well. You might not end up landing the exact position you were looking for, but it will give you an opportunity to get into a company where you can transfer positions down the road.

The keys to getting a new job are having the proper skills and the right presentation. Combined with a pertinent skill set the job is yours. Keep the information that was shared here with you in mind and make good use of it to land a job. This is obtainable as long as you stay with it and don’t give up.

One Study, Three News Releases, and Big Results

One Study, Three News Releases, and Big Results.jpg

“High Cholesterol Fuels the Growth and Spread of Breast Cancer,” a research news release from Duke Medicine caught the attention of Newswise staff while it was being issued to reporters under embargo last fall. Upon further investigation, something interesting happened.

“I noticed that, in paragraph 8 or 9, there was a comment by one of the researchers,” says Client Services Manager Thom Canalichio. “They basically said that high cholesterol reduces the effect of one of the most common types of cancer treatment drugs, rendering it useless.

“I said to myself, ‘This could be an entirely separate news release!’”

That idea wasn’t in the original headline, so after some collaboration with the communicators at Duke Medicine, and with the review by and approval of the researchers, Newswise conducted the following experiment: approach the story from different angles to attract more attention from a wider variety of readers, and get more coverage.

Media outlets from around the world and across the spectrum took notice. Some outlets included the Newsweek Poland, Jerusalem Post, Ladies’ Home Journal, New York Times, National Geographic, National Public Radio, and more. To date, these four releases have received a combined total of 18,678 page views and 161 media outlet views.

“High Cholesterol Fuels the Growth and Spread of Breast Cancer”
5,513 page views, 70 media outlet views.

“High Cholesterol May Make Breast Cancer Worse”
4,384 page views, 28 media outlet views.

“Cholesterol Could Counteract Breast Cancer Treatment”
4,436 page views, 14 media outlet views.

“Should Women Take Statins to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk?”
4,345 page views, 49 media outlet views.

The process… produce three releases summarizing the original article, “High Cholesterol Fuels the Growth and Spread of Breast Cancer”

The first release “High Cholesterol May Make Breast Cancer Worse” was given a straight forward headline and clarified the research for a lay audience. The second release “Should Women Take Statins to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk?” picked up on the finding that statins could reduce breast cancer risk and severity. The third release “Cholesterol Could Counteract Breast Cancer Treatment” highlighted the reason why breast cancer treatment may not be as effective in women with high cholesterol.

We want your feedback!

What do you think of this strategy?  Do you want Newswise’s help to execute this process on one of your own releases?  Newswise is the only service of its kind to offer this level of custom feedback and professional development.  Please contact us if you are interested in discussing what you could do to maximize your news at info@newswise.com or by calling 434-296-9417.

InnerSections: OpticVoices Interactive exhibit documents Pittsburgh’s social change movement

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The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust proudly presents InnerSections: OpticVoices, curated by Emmy Award winner Emmai Alaquiva. OpticVoices is an interactive photography exhibit that captures the essence of social change activists in Pittsburgh. The exhibit opens September 23, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at The August Wilson Center as part of the fall gallery crawl. The exhibit will remain open until December 2, 2016.

“We, at the Trust, firmly believe in the power of art as a catalyst for social change and hope that the community engages in a meaningful, honest exchange of ideas and dialogue around the OpticVoices exhibit,” says Janis Burley Wilson, Vice President, Strategic Partnership and Community Engagement/Director of Jazz Programs for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. “This is essential to the mission for the programming at the August Wilson Center.”


This innovative multi-media exhibit allows the viewer to experience the passion and diversity that unites a broad cross-section to be heard. This exhibit presents an authentic and true narrative of these social change agents through the lens of captivating and thought-provoking imagery.


How does it works? Once the audience views the image; they are charged with captioning the photos on exhibit tablets to share with the world, fostering conversations that lead to social change; the Optic is provided and you provide the Voice.


OpticVoices presents different mediums for people to engage in conversation on topics ranging from Black Lives Matter, oppression, racism, homophobia and xenophobia to the support and success of young black males. Through this exhibit, participants will be able to ask the hard questions: what does it mean to be heard?


Grant Oliphant, president of the Heinz Endowments commented, “Is this what we have come to, that even little children must assert their humanity? His images raise questions that should make us uncomfortable, angry, uplifted, empathetic and brave. At a time of resurgent racism, when a movement rooted in a simple demand for respect and dignity has been greeted with so much anger and scorn, Emmai’s images, like the protests they chronicle, bear witness to the spirit of hope and defiance that is our only path forward as a people.”


“In the face of the false and negative reporting in the media, it is imperative that the true story behind the movement for justice and humanity be told in every facet” said Brandi Fisher, president of the Alliance for Police Accountability. “Nothing more powerful…nothing more real, than the raw emotion captured in these visuals, voicing the authentic meaning of the movement for Black lives. This is our narrative.”


Alaquiva is the founder and CEO of Ya Momz House, Inc., a full service multimedia company located in Pittsburgh. He is the founder of Hip-Hop on L.O.C.K, an award-winning arts education program. Alaquiva’s work transcends borders across the world, establishing him as the “go to” visionary for CBS, NBC, PBS, Questlove and the late Dr. Maya Angelou. He is a five-time Telly Award-winner recognized for his community service by Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 under 40, The New Pittsburgh Courier’s FAB 40, WHIRL Magazine’s 50 Finest as well as a proclamation from Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto.


Alaquiva was recently awarded as a 2016 national BMe Community Leader and recognized by President Barack Obama.


Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has overseen one of Pittsburgh’s most historic transformations: turning a seedy red-light district into a magnet destination for arts lovers, residents, visitors, and business owners. Founded in 1984, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is the cultural and economic revitalization of a 14-block arts and entertainment/residential neighborhood called the Cultural District. The District is one of the country’s largest land masses “curated” by a single nonprofit arts organization. A major catalytic force in the city, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a unique model of how public-private partnerships can reinvent a city with authenticity, innovation and creativity.  Using the arts as an economic catalyst, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has holistically created a world-renowned Cultural District that is revitalizing the city, improving the regional economy and enhancing Pittsburgh’s quality of life. Thanks to the support of foundations, corporations, government agencies and thousands of private citizens, the Trust stands as a national model of urban redevelopment through the arts.


Steelers overcome elements and Bengals to win 24-16

It wasn’t easy as the rains kept falling, which caused a lot of dropped passes, bad passes and slips and falls, but the Pittsburgh Steelers endured it all and made the necessary plays to beat their AFC North Rival-Cincinnati Bengals 24-16 in their first matchup since their dramatic Wild Card Game just 8 months ago in which the Steelers won 18-16 in Cincinnati.

Sunday’s game was supposed to be one that was a reminder of that Wild Card thriller, although it was missing some of the key role players of that game: Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict was suspended the first 4 games this season after injuring Steelers WR Antonio Brown in that game, and Steelers WR Martavis Bryant, who scored the Steelers only TD in that game is suspended the entire 2016 season for violated the NFL’s Substance Abuse Policy.

Nevertheless, the two teams faced off before a torrential downpour at Heinz Field and the Steelers made a good impression at their Home Opener by getting the win and improving to 2-0, tied with the surprising Baltimore Ravens for first place in the AFC North Division. In a sports world where they have stats on everything, the Steelers showed that stats aren’t always everything as they made sure the most important stat mattered, on the scoreboard.

As was mentioned before, it wasn’t pretty and Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger confirmed that as the ball slipped out of his hand a few times on their opening drives. Such miscues proved to be costly to the Steelers as they were forced to punt on their first drive, and on their second drive, the Steelers boldly went for it on 4th down, but Roethlisberger threw a pass that was beyond it’s intended target and settled into the hands of Bengals CB Adam “Pacman” Jones for an interception.

Fortunately for the Steelers, the Bengals and QB Andy Dalton couldn’t fare any better as they also suffered from sloppy play on their first 2 drives that ended in 3-and-outs. But the Steelers struck gold on their 3rd drive as they went 66 yards on 5 plays when Roethlisberger found TE Xavier Grimble for a 20-yard TD to give them a 7-0 lead. The play was supported by a 44-yard pass from Roethlisberger to WR Sammie Coates.

The Bengals then had an impressive drive of their own as they went 8 plays for 68 yards, but thanks to the Steelers improving defense, the Bengals had to settle for a 25-yard Mike Nugent FG to close the Steelers lead to 7-3. When the Steelers got the ball back, the sloppiness continued as well as they were unable to convert and had to punt the ball back to the Bengals, and then the Bengals eventually had to punt the ball back to the Steelers. In fact, both teams exchanged punts 2 more times, before the Steelers put more points on the board via a 49-yard FG by K Chris Boswell to extend their lead to 10-3.

After the Bengals punted once more, the Steelers took over and ended up with another miscue as Roethlisberger through his second interception of the game when his deep pass landed into the hands of Bengals CB Dre Kirkpatrick. That pass was intended for Coates. The Bengals were able to convert that turnover into another Nugent FG, this time from 33 yards to close the Steelers lead to 10-6. That FG also ended the first half.

In the second half, the rain settled and the Steelers woke up after both teams once again exchanged punts. Once again, on their 3rd drive, Roethlisberger and the Steelers drove down the field for their second TD when Roethlisberger found TE Jesse James for a 9-yard pass to extend their lead to 17-6, and after Nugent’s 3rd FG closed the Steelers lead to 17-9, the Steelers were at it again as the 4th quarter began. Roethlisberger once again put on another impressive drive and he also ran for 14 yards to the Bengals 5-yard line to set up a first and goal. Roethlisberger then found a wide-open DeAngelo Williams for a 4-yard TD, extending their lead to 24-9.

If you might have thought the game was over no worries, because the Steelers defense thought it was over too. Which explains why they played so sloppy on the ensuing drive. Dalton and the Bengals reverted to short passes and slowly drove down the field and into the endzone when Dalton found RB Giovanni Bernard for a 25-yard TD pass to close the Steelers lead to 24-16.

Apparently, the Steelers offense also thought the game was over, because they were absolutely putrid on their next drive, and they punted the ball back to the Bengals with over 3:00 left in the game. But the Bengals would basically shoot themselves in the foot when rookie Tyler Boyd’s catch from Dalton slipped out of his hands for a fumble, which was recovered by Steelers S Robert Golden. Even though the review showed that Boyd’s knee touched when he fumbled. The call stood and the Steelers took over and eventually killed the clock and punted the ball back to the Bengals with seconds left. Time eventually expired, securing the Steelers 24-16 victory.

Roethlisberger didn’t have his best game as he threw for 3 interceptions, but he was great when he had to be as he passed for 259 yards and 3 TDs, including his 14-yard run. Williams had another great game as he rushed 32 times for 94 yards and caught the 4-yard TD. He also had 4 receptions for 38 yards, but it was Coates who was the receiving leader with 97 yards on only 2 catches, with his longest being 53 yards. Missing from the stat party was Antonio Brown as he was the victim of dropped passes and being overthrown. His day ended with only 4 catches for 39 yards.

But Brown did make some history as he surpassed HOF John Stallworth (537) for the third-most receptions in Steelers history, with 538 and has Extended his consecutive regular-season games started streak to 38 – the third-longest active consecutive games started streak among NFL wide receivers.

For the Bengals, Dalton passed for 366 yards and a TD, and Bernard caught 6 passes for 100 yards and the TD. Boyd who played his college ball at Pitt also had an impressive game when he caught 6 passes for 78 yards. Star WR AJ Green was also missing as he was held to only 38 yards on 2 catches.

On defense, Steelers LB Ryan Shazier led his team with 11 total tackles and fellow LB Arthur Moats got the game’s only sack. For the Bengals, LB Karlos Dansby led his team with 10 total tackles, DE Will Clarke got his team’s only sack and Jones and Kirkpatrick had the interceptions.

Ray’s take: Overall, I think the Steelers were the better team and although I felt like they could’ve put more points on the board on offense, they did so when they had to. I like the fact that they’ve scored more TDs than field goals in their first 2 games. Big Ben could’ve played better, but it was the result of the weather. Brown knows he could’ve played better, and yes, he was overthrown a few times, but sometimes if you’re the best at what you do, you have to be reminded that ‘just showing up’ won’t get the job done. I think it was a humbling experience for the NFL’s best WR. But he’ll be back next week. On defense, the Steelers put significant pressure on Dalton, resulting in several bad passes and for the second-straight game, the defense didn’t give up a TD. Impressive.

The Steelers will now head back on the road to face the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field next Sunday while the Bengals will host the Denver Broncos.

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter

4 Factors That Affect Your Credit Score


A good credit rating means easier access to finance, so it’s very important that you maintain the best rating possible. Although credit ratings are based on complicated calculations, and vary depending on which company does the calculation, there are some constants. Here are four important factors that affect your rating, no matter who calculates it.


Payment history


Your payment history consists of the number of bills you have paid, on time or not, and the amount of time taken to clear late payments. Generally speaking, it is best to pay your bills in full, and on time. One notable exception to this is credit card payments, where paying the minimum each month can actually improve your rating. There’s more about this later.


The biggest negatives in this section are bankruptcies and foreclosures. Both of these represent major events, so they are serious black marks. Despite what many debt companies advertise, declaring bankruptcy does not give you a clean slate, and can have some nasty long-term effects.


Current credit


The amount of money you owe at the moment, and your credit balance, will also impact your credit rating. Whether it is auto loans, housing loans, or credit card debts, they all count.


This does not mean that you should have zero credit to get a positive rating. Lenders want to see that you are financially competent, stable, and able to repay all your existing loans on time. This is a sign that you can be trusted with further credit, as long as it is within your budget.


A great example of this is credit cards. As mentioned earlier, paying less than the full amount every month can actually improve your rating, because the card company sees you managing your money (and likes the fact that you pay them interest). Provided the balance does not get out of hand, and that you pay it all off eventually, spending a little money in card interest can improve your credit rating.


Credit history


Your credit history also helps determine your credit rating, in a similar way to your current credit and payment history. Basically, the longer your positive credit history is, the better your credit rating will be.


Lending risk assessment is always based on measuring how likely a borrower is to repay the money, without hassle. Consequently, lenders want to see how much credit you have taken in the past, and how you managed to repay it. A long list of borrowed money, along with an equally long list of repayments, will ensure a high rating.


New accounts and checks


Opening a lot of new credit accounts can negatively impact your credit rating, for two reasons. First, lenders will assume that the fact you have more credit will result in you making more credit purchases. This may impact your ability to honor repayments. Second, opening too many accounts can be considered as a sign that you have cash flow problems, which implies financial incompetence.


It is also important to note that credit checks can affect your rating as well. Lenders are allowed to perform “hard” and “soft” verifications of your credit rating; most do the “hard” version, which is marked on your history and counts as a negative. If you have any influence or control over your credit checking, get your potential lenders to do “soft” checks: the results are similar, but the check is not noted on your record and does not affect your rating.


A good credit score is essential for all of life’s big purchases – a mortgage, a business loan, or any other substantial sum of money. That’s why it’s important to manage your finances properly and pay your bills on time. The healthier your credit rating, the easier it is to access finance when you need it!

HBCU enrollment increased in 2016


Freshman enrollment at historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, has increased dramatically for the fall of 2016; as much as 49% at Shaw University in North Carolina, as reported by The Washington Post[1]. The rise is seemingly buoyed by the desire to avoid racial tensions plaguing many predominantly white institutions (PWI) within the last year at campuses across the country, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and most infamously, the University of Missouri.


Ignoring racial campus climate during the college decision process at such a critical juncture in race relations and dialogue in the US could prove costly for black students. Starting college is often a stressful transition for most students, however, the prevalence of stressors is often higher for students of color. Since 2011, The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education has maintained blog of alleged campus racial incidents and reports of discrimination. In addition to blatant and intentional instances of racism, black students report feeling the most “drained” from repeated incidents of covert racism, such as microaggressions[2].


Diversity Weekends or “Fly-Ins” are a great resource for students of color still considering non-HBCUs as they narrow down their college choice. These programs are held each fall to give students a preview of a university’s campus culture and ostensibly, its commitment to diversity. This is an excellent alternative to an average college tour, which largely consists of a one-hour tour of the school’s newest buildings and amenities, which as one wise admissions veteran warns, should never play major role in students’ decision to attend. The first obvious advantage of these programs are the length: prospective students have the opportunity to stay in the dorms with current students–selected by faculty and staff and actively involved in student affairs–, eat in the cafeterias, attend classes, sporting and campus events. Also, these programs generally provide full or partial funding for student travel to and from campus. Lastly and most important, attendees are introduced to institutional support systems, including diverse faculty, student associations and mentoring programs, that will serve as a vital resource should they decide to enroll.


Visit the links below for a listing of Diversity Weekend application details and deadlines.





Shanna Houser BS Human Development; MA Psychology

[1] Strauss, V. (2016, September 11). Enrollments surge at historically black colleges amid rise in racial tensions. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2016/09/11/enrollments-surge-at-historically-black-colleges-amid-rise-in-racial-tensions/


[2] Solorzano, D., Ceja, M., & Yosso, T. (2000). Critical race theory, racial microaggressions, and campus racial climate: The experiences of African American college students. Journal of Negro Education, 60-73.

Ray Jr on Sports


  1. Question: Were you just as surprised as I was about the Steelers 38-16 demolition of the Washington Redskins? Sure you were. There were probably some who were worried about the Steelers 1-3 Preseason record, right? This is why you shouldn’t worry. The regular season is when it counts, baby. And the real Steelers proved it.
  2. To be honest, I wasn’t that surprised about the Steelers performance (although I predicted a 24-13 win) because I figured that if the offense would utilize its weapons, they would dominate. Which they did. And I stand on record of saying that if they keep this type of performance going throughout the 2016 NFL season, they may be standing alone in February. You heard it from me first.
  3. WR Markus Wheaton was able to practice Thursday, and is expected to play in Sunday’s game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. That will be a good thing because it’ll add to the depth of an already -good WR corps, but one thing that Wheaton adds that Sammie Coates and Jordan Rogers still doesn’t have-is experience.
  4. Speaking of Coates, I am a Sammie Coates He will be good and his 2 catches for 56 yards proves what he can do when he concentrates. He has skills that no man can teach. Just keep watching.
  5. Congrats to Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams on winning the AFC Offensive Player of the Week award for his 143-yard 2 TD performance Monday Night. I have named the 33-year-old veteran ‘Bowling Ball’-because he rumbles like one. The Steelers are fortunate to have a veteran like Williams on the team in the absence of the suspended Le’Veon Bell.
  6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston won the NFC Offensive Player of the Week award for his 281-yard-4 TD performance in their 31-24 win vs. Atlanta Sunday. I think the kid will have an awesome season-to the point that it can turn the Bucs around. He has a decent team around him, the key to it all is if their defense can improve.
  7. Apparently the Oakland Raiders have cleared a huge hurdle in their interest in moving to Las Vegas as they when a Nevada oversight committee voted unanimously to recommend $750 million in public funding for the project.
  8. Good for them. I hope they do end up in Vegas, because it’s only fitting to see a team like the Raiders there. Plus, they’re really interested in going there, so how can the NFL owners ignore that come voting time? They no longer want to be in Oakland, sad to say.
  9. As for College Football, the Pitt Panthers are fresh off their 42-39 win vs. Penn State at Heinz Field. Of course the real story was the fact that they renewed the rivalry, but the fact that Pitt won, makes it all the more special.
  10. So now, the Panthers (2-0) will go on the road to face a real test in Oklahoma State (1-1) Saturday at 3:30pm. The Cowboys, are 1-1 following a bizarre 30-27 loss to Central Michigan. The Chippewas, mistakenly given an untimed down when the game should have been over, completed a desperation pass and lateral for the winning touchdown. Needless to say, OK State will be pretty angry.
  11. This marks the first time that Pitt has ever faced Oklahoma State, and it is also the first of a two-game scheduling agreement with Oklahoma State. The Cowboys will visit Heinz Field next season on Sept. 16, 2017.
  12. I think if I had concerns about Pitt, it would be that they do not get complacent like they did after going up 28-7 on Penn State. QB Nate Peterman got careless and he still needs to find a go-to WR. It can’t all fall on the RBs. And the defense stopped sending DE Ejuan Price after the QB. They can’t play like that against the Cowboys. This will be a real test.
  13. Congrats to Pitt S Ryan Lewis for winning the Jim Thorpe Player of the Week award clutch interception sealed the Panthers’ 42-39 victory over Penn State. He also had a career-high 9 tackles. Lewis also won the ACC Defensive Back of the Week
  14. Speaking of Penn State, they will honor former HC Joe Paterno by having the co-captains from his first Nittany Lions team participate in the coin toss and by airing video presentations vs. Temple at Beaver Stadium on Saturday.
  15. Of course, it’s cause lots of debate because of Paterno’s role in the Jerry Sandusky scandal. I have a mixed opinion about it all. Paterno was Penn State (football and University) for over 45 years, and that’s probably the reason why he also played a part in the scandal. But there’s no denying that he was one of the greatest coaches in College Football history.
  16. Here is the recent AP College Football Top 5 Poll: #1 Alabama, followed by Florida St, Ohio State, Michigan and Clemson. Same teams, but different rankings after Alabama.
  17. As for the Pittsburgh Pirates, as I’ve said the past few weeks, they’re done. Their 2016 season is over. The best thing for them to do is try to finish above .500 and they still have a chance to do so, but no postseason for them this year.
  18. The Chicago Cubs are closing in on their first NL Central Division Title since 2002. They were truly wire-to-wire and they’ve earned it-especially after making sure they were better after their 97-win 2015. Just give 3B Kris Bryant the NL MVP right now. No other player has earned it. I hope the Cubs win it all.
  19. In the AL, the Cleveland Indians are closing in on the AL Central Crown and I hope they go all the way to the World Series, but they have to get by lots of AL talent, which includes teams like the Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles. It should be interesting.
  20. It’s a shame that Serena Williams was upset last week at the US Open, but it certainly doesn’t diminish a year in which she won Wimbledon.


Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter

Keeping Your Home Business From Failing


If you want to get started in a home business, this article is perfect for you. No matter what the reason you have is (being able to work from home, being able to set your own hours, or anything else), you will find great and useful tips on how to make your home business a success.

Don’t quit your day job before starting your home business. It may take awhile to make any money, so do not give up your day job. Having another source of income while waiting to build your new business is vital.

Have the proper equipment to run your business. Equipment that is related to your business like a computer or printer is tax deductible in the year that the expense occurred. To qualify for a tax write off the equipment must be primarily used by the business and necessary for your business to run properly.

Assemble a profile of your typcial customer. How much money do they make? Where do they live and work, and what are their needs? How old are they and do they have children? Identify them, figure out where they shop, then get your products into those locations. If your market is parents, try organizing a fundraiser program with local schools, allowing the school or organization to keep a portion of the sales.

One key advantage that a home business has over a large company is flexibility. A home business can more readily adapt to new opportunities and new ideas whereas a large company will have to spend more resources and time making an adjustment. You should therefore organize your home business with this flexibility in mind such that should a new opportunity present itself, you can quickly shift gears to profit from it!

Keep a detailed log of all business expenses, including miles driven and supplies purchased. Make sure to attach relevant receipts. This will help you when you need to file taxes. Additionally, if your business is ever audited, it will be much easier to face the audit if you already have detailed, day-by-day accounts.

Do you have the drive and determination to make a home business work? If you are like many people and want to be your own boss and work from home, then find something you like to do. It may sound easy, but it isn’t. While passion for something is a good thing, the passion to work with it and the willingness to see it done are even better.

If you do not live alone you need to make it clear to housemates and/or family that you have to work at a designated time and you are not to be disturbed. Let them know that this will decrease your profits and that you will set aside time for them at another opportune time.

Manage your time and priorities to allow the main operations to be completed efficiently and properly. This may sound to be obvious, but there are many that fail to realize time and priority management as such an essential practice. Managing time and priorities ensures that you give your main operations the best focus and most efficient care possible.

The homepage of your business website should be an advertisement for your product. While this doesn’t mean you should go for over-the-top, flashy presentation, you should make sure your content points out why they want to explore your website. Convincing your customers to familiarize themselves with your product is the first step to convincing them to buy it!

A good home business tip is to take a breather when you’re feeling stressed out. Running a home business can be very taxing because there’s so much you have to pay attention to. In order to keep your stress levels down you should take a break once in a while.

Peruse government surplus sales. You’ll find all kinds of supplies to outfit your home business. You will be amazed at what the government gets rid of every day! These sales have everything from used office furniture to surplus trucks, cars and other vehicles that the government no longer needs.

There are so many pros to starting a home business. Once you figure out that is what you want to do, use the tips from this article to get started. It may take a while to start off, but the rewards will definitely be worth it once you are on your feet.

Steelers Offense Steamrolls Redskins 38-16

In the NFL, Slow starts can be agonizing and frustrating, because it seems like a team is wasting opportunities when they don’t capitalize. But one thing we can remember about football is that it’s a 60-minute game, and when you play those 60 minutes’ things can change-including those slow starts.

Such was the case of the Pittsburgh Steelers who endured their slow start and ended up destroying the Washington Redskins 38-16 at FedEx Field in their first game of the NFL season. In my years of watching the Steelers, I’ve learned that it may take them a minute to get hot, but never to boil, and when they start that boil, no team can stop them.

Just ask the Redskins.

It’s no surprise that the Steelers offense is what carries the team now, and they truly lived up to that fact as they piled up 435 total yards against the Redskins, 300 of them by way of QB Ben Roethlisberger, 143 (147 total) by way of RB DeAngelo Williams and 126 by way of WR Antonio Brown. Kudos to the offensive line who only allowed Roethlisberger to get sacked once, and also to Big Ben, who avoided potential sacks by stepping up in the pocket to extend the play.

But if you watched the first few minutes of the game, you wouldn’t have been so convinced that the Steelers had it together as they failed to convert on their first 2 drives, one of them resulting in a tipped pass off rookie WR Eli Rogers-that landed in the hands of Redskins DB Bashaud Breeland.

Fortunately for the Steelers, the Redskins didn’t really capitalize off the Steelers slow start, although they managed to get a 6-0 lead courtesy of 2 Dustin Hoffman field goals. But as I’ve said time and time again, field goals are a good appetizer, but touchdowns are the mail course and on their 3rd drive, the Steelers were finally ready to eat as they drove down the field on the Redskins defense on their 3rd drive. But let’s be real: At first It looked like they had fallen short after not converting on 3rd down, but Steelers HC Mike Tomlin decided to gamble by not only letting the Steelers ‘go for it’ on 4th down, but as the Redskins put several men in the box anticipating a run by Williams, but by allowing Roethlisberger to fake it to the veteran RB and loft a pass into the endzone-that fell into the hands of Brown for their first TD-and a 7-6 lead.

That’s why I say TD’s matter-because they do. And after that score, the Steelers never trailed again the rest of the game. After the Steelers forced the Redskins to punt, Roethlisberger was at it again, mixing passes with runs as they once again drove down the field on the Redskins stunned defense and when they got to the 3-yard line, Big Ben fired a pass that bounced off-and then settled into the hands of Rogers for their 2nd TD of the game. It was Rogers 1st career TD of his career.

Early in the 3rd quarter, the Steelers ran on the Redskins again, but this time they had to settle for a 46-yard Chris Boswell FG, extending their lead to 17-6. But when the Redskins got the ball, the Steelers defense stepped it up and forced QB Kirk Cousins to throw the ball and when he did, it landed into the hands of LB Ryan Shazier for the interception. Even though a penalty pushed the Steelers back, it didn’t stop Roethlisberger from moving his team forward as he fired a pass that landed into the hands of WR Sammie Coates for an impressive 32-yard gain, and then he found Brown for his 2nd TD of the game-this time a 26-yarder to extend their lead to 24-6.

Since it was late in the 3rd quarter, it’s sometimes easy to put things in cruise control, right? That’s what I believe the Steelers defense did, as they allowed 10 unanswered Redskins points to close the Steelers lead to 24-16. Hoffman kicked a 34-yard FG and then Cousins and the Redskins offense switched to short passes and drove down the field on the Steelers and scored their first TD of the game when RB Chris Thompson ran it in from the 1-yard line.

I honestly believe that that TD woke the Steelers up and reminded them that they still had over 12 minutes to play in the game. ‘No problem’ replied the Steelers as they switched to Williams and the running game and he made it word as he ran roughshod over the ‘Skins en route to a 15-yard TD, extending the Steelers lead to 31-16. In my opinion, that was the Coup De Grace, but believe it or not, the Steelers weren’t done.

After the Redskins failed to convert on 4th down, the Steelers went back at it again, and gave the ball to Williams, who looked like a bowling ball out there as he wore the Redskins defense out. Williams scored his 2nd TD of the game, a 6-yarder to extend their lead to 38-16.

With seconds left, the Redskins looked like they were about to score their 2nd TD of the game, but Cousins fired a pass that landed in the hands of 38-year old LB James Harrison for the Steelers 2nd interception of the game. The Steelers offense then took a knee to run out the clock, preserving their 38-16 victory, earning them a 1-0 record.

Roethlisberger threw 3 TD passes, and is now the first player in NFL history to throw at least 500 completions to three different teammates (Heath Miller: 540, Hines Ward: 512 and Antonio Brown (502). He also Surpassed Dan Fouts (43,040) for the 12th-most passing yards in NFL history, with 43,295, surpassed Kerry Collins and Philip Rivers (3,487) for the 12th-most pass completions in NFL history, with 3,503, and Surpassed HOF Joe Montana (273) for the 13th-most touchdown passes in NFL history, with 275. He also tied Vinny Testaverde (275) for the 12th-most touchdown passes in NFL history.


Williams ran for 2 TDs and Brown caught 6 passes and scored 2 TDs. The Steelers also got signature performances from Rogers who caught 6 passes for 59 yards, and Coates who had 2 catches for 56 yards, and TE Jesse James caught 5 passes for 31 yards. It may have been a slight concern that the Steelers didn’t have RB Le’Veon Bell (suspension), WR Martavis Bryant (suspension), Markus Wheaton (injury) and TE LaDarius Green (injury), but you would never have known it after the way their ‘backups’ performed.


For the Redskins, Cousins had a decent game, passing for 323 yards, and veteran WR DeSean Jackson caught 6 passes for 102 yards. But the Redskins could only generate one TD against the Steelers defense, who had their struggles, but got the job done. In addition to Shazier and Harrison’s interceptions, LB Lawrence Timmons led the team with 8 tackles. For the Redskins, LB Mason Foster led with 14 tackles with LB Ryan Kerrigan getting the game’s only sack.

Overall, I was impressed with the Steelers today, they ‘pitched’ a complete game and scored 5 TDs today. Usually that will get you a W. Roethlisberger looked like the Roethlisberger of old as he extended plays and didn’t hold onto the ball too long and Williams looked like the young man who ran for the Carolina Panthers several years ago and Brown…well…he’s the NFL’s best WR…I’ll just leave it at that. I feel that the defense needs to get their pass rush going on a consistent basis. Every time they did so, they forced Cousins into mistakes. But overall, I think they did a decent job.


The Steelers imposed their will on the Redskins Monday night, and if they continue to do so the rest of the season, I think we may see ever greater things from them.


Next up: The Steelers return to Pittsburgh for their home opener on Sunday vs. the Cincinnati Bengals (1-0)


Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter