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Volume 24 No. 117

People and Pop Culture

Chicago native and WNBA Sky Owner MICHAEL ALTER has much to be thankful for this holiday weekend. That includes his eldest son graduating from college in Amherst, Mass., as well as his daughter’s high school graduation celebration back in the Chicago area. There is also the small matter of the WNBA opening its season. Alter's club will be front and center to start the '13 campaign in a nationally-televised game on Monday that will feature highly-touted draft picks in Sky C ELENA DELLE DONNE and Mercury C BRITTNEY GRINER.

REGALIA READY: My son is graduating from college this weekend. He goes to Amherst College in Massachusetts. Graduation is Sunday so we’ll be there a couple days, spend some time with him and his friends. My daughter is coming Saturday to join us with the grandmothers. We’ve gone pretty regularly. He is the assistant coach of the women’s basketball team there (they’re D-III), so we went down a lot for games. But this weekend we’ve got some nicer restaurants that we haven’t been to yet. Normally, we go with sushi because college students can’t afford sushi. So they’re happy -- at least my son -- when their parents come and their friends and we all go have sushi. But the places we’re going this time are relatively new places that are sort of organically-grown, healthy, foody kind of places that I’ve heard were really good.

SAVE THE PAGE: I’m just finishing a book, JAY BILAS’ new book “TOUGHNESS,” which is really about mental toughness. I will probably finish that on the way to Amherst. Then on the way back, I’m going to start PHIL JACKSON’s new book, “ELEVEN RINGS.” I’m not very technologically savvy, so it doesn’t take much for me to tap out. I do have an iPad, however, which I do like. I’m sure I underutilize it tremendously, but it’s a nice little thing. I prefer the physical books, but not always.
BIKE PATH: I’m into commuting more than I am into cycling. I ride my bike to work, so when I don’t ride is usually on the weekends. I need to have somewhere to go. So I ride to work every day, pretty much all season long. If I need to go somewhere for errands or whatever, then I’ll ride my bike. But I don’t go riding. It’s about 8-9 miles each way, so it’s a nice little distance. It’s not crazy but it’s enough to get a decent workout and actually, I think it saves me a lot of time.

SLEEP PATTERN: Sunday nights after dinner is kind of my chill time. So I’ll take my calendar and my notebook and think through the week, watch something stupid on TV and just try to clear my head a little bit. The one thing I do on the weekends as often as possible -- I usually do it once a weekend, try to do it twice -- is take a nap. Maybe an hour or so, usually around 5:00pm on the couch. There’s a favorite spot, I usually have the TV on something that I’m not that into. I’ve been doing this since college actually, but it has come and gone. When my kids were first born, I could nap with them. Then that napping went away for a long time. Now that my kids are older and not around, I’ve been able to reinstate my naps very happily.

HOLIDAY HEYDAY: We need to get back in time to watch our season opener on ESPN on Monday afternoon. I’m not overly superstitious. Having not been to the playoffs yet, I haven’t had a lot of success with anything I’ve done in terms of superstitious luck to the team. So everything is kind of a new beginning. We’ll have to see. If something starts to seem like it’s working, maybe I will make that more of a mandatory thing. I try to avoid wearing a tie as much as possible. I definitely won’t have a tie for graduation. My daughter is also graduating from high school so after the game there’s a little graduation BBQ at her friend’s house. Technically her graduation is next weekend, but we have a graduation party for her this weekend.

The Avalanche named Hockey HOFer PATRICK ROY head coach and VP/Hockey Operations. He will work with Exec VP/Hockey Operations JOE SAKIC on all player personnel decisions (Avalanche)….The Stars “have parted ways” with Assistant GM FRANK PROVENZANO “in a split both sides said was amicable” (, 5/23)….Western Illinois Univ. AD TIM VAN ALSTINE resigned from his position (WIU)….Midland Univ. named DAVE GILLESPIE AD (MU)….Allegheny College promoted Assistant AD/Compliance & Internal Operations MANDY PRUSIA to Associate AD/Compliance & Internal Operations (Allegheny)....Ithaca College named Carnegie Mellon Univ. AD SUSAN BASSETT to the same position. She will succeed KEN KUTLER, who is stepping down after more than 10 years in the role. Bassett will begin July 1 (Ithaca)….Ole Miss named Chiefs Player Development Coordinator JAMIL NORTHCUTT Assistant AD/Internal Operations (Ole Miss)….High Point Univ. named TAYLOR BLAKELY Dir of Marketing. He had been the Assistant Dir of Marketing at Ohio Univ. (HPU).

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In Milwaukee, Lori Nickel notes former Packers Chair & CEO BOB HARLAN is a "10-year survivor of melanoma," and he has "immersed himself in projects that help the community." The Madeline & Robert Harlan Humanitarian Fund helps "cover the expenses like babysitters, lodging, food and gas for cancer patients who aren't covered by insurance." Hospital Sisters Health System of Eastern Wisconsin President & CEO THERESE PANDL said that the Harlan Humanitarian Fund "even helps with the costs of medication, art therapy and diet counseling, which makes the St. Vincent/St. Mary's regional cancer centers among the best in cancer treatment and care" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 5/23).

SILVER & BLACK HOLE:'s Ashley Fox wrote AMY TRASK's resignation as Raiders Chief Exec is not only "a huge loss" for the team, but also is a "massive loss for the NFL." The league is "understandably hypersensitive about its minority hiring practices when it comes to coaches and general managers." Now it has "lost its most high-profile female." No other woman "unrelated to the team's owner has come close to achieving the level of success that Trask did in Oakland" (, 5/23).

PAY DAYS: In Chicago, Brian Hamilton reported Notre Dame's "tab for the dismissal" of former football coach CHARLIE WEIS "may approach" $19M. Weis received another buyout payment of $2.05M "as part of the separation agreement for his firing in 2009, bringing the total amount paid" to nearly $10.8M. Notre Dame is scheduled for "additional annual payments" through December '15 (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/24)....Marquette men's basketball coach BUZZ WILLIAMS earned $1.89M "in the year ending" June 30, 2012. In addition, Williams' Team Buzz Williams LP professional services business was "paid an additional" $1M. Williams' total compensation "does not include potential outside income, which could come from endorsements, radio and television appearances or shows and basketball camp revenue" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 5/24).

: Nationals 3B RYAN ZIMMERMAN on Thursday held his fourth annual "A Night at the Park" charity event, packing "almost 2,000 people into the concourses and luxury club areas of Nationals Park for dinner, drinks, a live auction, silent auction and performance by THIRD EYE BLIND." The event "raised over $300,000 for the ziMS foundation" (, 5/23).

NAMES: ESPN NFL analyst RAY LEWIS on his Twitter page said that next month he will "climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to raise money and awareness for clean water projects in East Africa" (, 5/23)....Heat G DWYANE WADE on Thursday was named winner of the NBA's '12-13 Community Assist Award, in recognition of his "efforts in the community and his philanthropic and charitable work" (, 5/23)....NASCAR and Charlotte-based Levine Children's Hospital on May 15 hosted a "New York Fashion Week-style runway show" at Michael Waltrip Racing in Cornelius to "accommodate the sold-out crowd of 450." The event is organized by Mooresville-based Lavender Boutique owner SHERRY POLLEX, the longtime girlfriend of NASCAR driver MARTIN TRUEX JR. (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/23).