A growing number of Delaware products are moving the chains in the NFL. Our pigskin pride and even more football clichés below.
Quarterback, Baltimore Ravens
Delaware team: University of Delaware Blue Hens
Status: A first-round draft pick (18th overall, the highest ever for a UD player), Flacco is counted on to carry the franchise into the future.
2008-09 Prediction: Supermodels, parades and cereal boxes. OK, maybe not all at once. Flacco started the season opener in place of incumbents Kyle Boller and Troy Smith.
Circle your calendars: The Ravens take on the Eagles in week 12.
Center, Philadelphia Eagles
Delaware team: Delaware State University Hornets
Status: Starting center for the Iggles, despite a sub-par 2007-08 season.
2008-09 Prediction: Return to form. Jackson dedicated himself to a Jack LaLanne-like offseason training program that brought him into the season in great shape. Now if only he could cure Philly fans’ crippling depression.
Offensive tackle, Oakland Raiders
Delaware team: Newark High School Yellowjackets
Status: Penciled in as the Raiders’ starting left tackle, protecting quarterback JaMarcus Russell’s $68 million keister.
2008-09 Prediction: Rebound. The Raiders are high on Harris, who has been considered to this point a bad first-round bust with the San Francisco 49ers.
Running back, Jacksonville Jaguars
Delaware team: Concord High School Raiders
Status: Rising. Owens scratched and clawed his way onto the Jags’ RB-rich roster in 2006 and paid dividends as a standout on special teams.
2008-09 Prediction: Rising. Look for an increased workload after turning heads in training camp and preseason, a few snaps at fullback and serious Pro-Bowl consideration as a special teamer.
Defensive back, Cleveland Browns
Delaware team: University of Delaware Blue Hens
Status: Adams was valuable to the up-and-coming Browns as a sub and special-teamer last year. He registered 19 special teams tackles before blowing out his knee late in the season (which might be ironic considering Adams was known affectionately as “Pops” in his UD days).
2008-09 Prediction: Quality depth at safety, nickel back or special teams for Cleveland, which makes the playoffs.
Tight end, Arizona Cardinals
Delaware team: University of Delaware Blue Hens
Status: Muddled in a Cardinal tight end corps that includes Leonard Pope and Troy Bienemann.
2008-09 Prediction: Breakout. Patrick emerges as the go-to starter accumulating loads of yards after catch.
Offensive tackle, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Delaware team: Sussex Central High School Golden Knights
Status: Petitgout was bounced from the eventual Super Bowl Champion New York Giants to the Bucs and promptly tore his ACL.
2008-09 Prediction: Cloudy. Petitgout is 32 years old and coming off a major knee injury. If things go well with his recovery, he’ll swipe the starting job from Donald Penn and give coach Jon “Chucky” Gruden one less thing to be homicidal about.
Defensive lineman, Cincinnati Bengals
Delaware team: Newark High School Yellowjackets
Status: Kwame’s younger brother appeared on four NFL rosters and practice squads in a two-season span.
2008-09 Prediction: Practice squad. If not with the Bengals, somewhere else. Like Starbucks.
Page 2: Gunner Gets It Done
When it comes to getting the scoop on the Philadelphia Eagles, that is. Comcast SportsNet’s Derrick Gunn is digging even deeper into the birds’ nest this season.
Derrick Gunn always gets the dirt.
The Comcast SportsNet anchor-reporter has dug up so much interesting information during his 29-year career in broadcast journalism, he could publish a seriously juicy memoir.
“If I wrote a book about all of the things I’ve seen, I’d have to go into a witness protection program,” Gunn says with a familiar chuckle.
Gunn, ofBear, has spent the past 11 years at Comcast SportsNet in Philadelphia. His in-depth coverage of the Eagles and smooth delivery as an anchor has helped him become one of the city’s top TV sports personalities.
Gunner has gotten more airtime this season, since SportsNet adds “GameDay Live,” an hour-long pre-game show. Gunn handles taped and live interviews, presents profiles and discusses key matchups with players.
“We talk about things like what tendencies players look for in the players they’ll be facing,” Gunn says.
The cast of characters that drives the station’s popular “Eagles PostGame Live”—including host Michael Barkann, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, legendary sportswriter Ray Didinger and former Eagle Vaughn Hebron—will also man the pre-game show.
Gunn says the secret to his success (he’s been nominated for a Mid-Atlantic Emmy) is the hard work he’s put into gaining the athletes’ trust. Gunn is a “my word is my bond” kind of guy.
“I’m not just a face behind a camera or a microphone giving an opinion,” he says. “The players trust me. There are a lot of things I know that I can’t report. I think that’s why I get the stories that I do break. For every two or three stories I lose, I gain three or four stories. You can’t put a value on your integrity.”
Looks like we’ll have to wait a while for his memoirs.
Page 3: Fast Foodie
Nutritionist Robin Miller finds herself the hostess of a surprise hit cooking show.
When Robin Miller attended the University of Delaware, she rarely had time to cook. She was busy captaining the lacrosse team or hanging at Klondike Kate’s.
Nowadays her whirlwind career affords few moments to pore over recipes. Yet she’s found time to become a celebrity chef.
Miller, host of “Quick Fix Meals” on Food Network, is author of eight cookbooks. Her latest, “Robin to the Rescue,” uses her battle plan for family meals: slow cooking, big batches and pre-prep.
Her strategy grew out of necessity. Rammy kids (her 4- and 6-year-olds) don’t allow 30 free minutes to cook pasta or caramelize onions. Miller’s books recommend prepping—dicing, slicing, chopping and marinating—ahead of time. “It takes a lot of the grunt work out during the week,” she says. “And it makes life so much easier.”
Miller, now of Scottsdale, Arizona, was a psychology major at UD. She went on to New York University for a master’s degree in nutrition, then found herself hosting special segments on CNN and Food Network. “Quick Fix Meals” debuted in 2006.
“I have to say, it’s cool to be able to pick up the phone and call up Bobby Flay or Tyler Florence,” she says, referring to Food Network’s star chefs. “But the most gratifying part is being able to reach out to a lot of people at once. How else could you do that without being on TV? So I don’t feel like a celebrity, I feel like a mom.”
Page 4: Cool School
A beloved institution gets a new future.
Little things mean a lot to M. Jane Richter, so when it came to deciding the future of The Little School in Dover, a personal connection with her new partners and the school’s past and present went a long way.
Richter, Little School alum and parent Lisa Ratledge, and Shannon Mercer, also a current parent and teacher, joined with the owners of popular Kids Cottage in Lewes, Taryn Burris and Lori Schell to build a beautiful new facility on Walker Road: The Little School at Kids Cottage.
The Little School, founded in 1954, is a beloved Dover institution that has had several homes over the years. It has given several generations of Kent Countians the right start in life with equal amounts of love and learning.
Founder Hattye Mae Biddle handpicked Richter to take over ownership and operation of The Little School in 1975, but when the time came for Richter to choose her successor, the choice was not clear. When she sat down to negotiate with Ratledge, Mercer and additional investors, however, Richter was greeted by a table of Little Schoolers. “This is karma that a person cannot ignore,” Richter said to herself.
The Little School at Kids Cottage is now scheduled to open in January. Richter will remain director of the preschool and kindergarten. Ratledge and Mercer will manage day-to-day operations. Little School programs will remain intact, but new services—extended before- and after-school care, child care, monthly classes, summer camps and birthday parties— also will be available.
The excitement by all involved in The Little School at Kids Cottage is evident.
“It’s great to have this kind of feeling. It’s a shared kind of confidence,” Richter says. “This is just right. I don’t think this happens very often.”
Page 5: Eating, Sleeping and Breathing Green
Local hotels lead the way.
In today’s world, even hotels are taking steps to implement green practices.
The Courtyard Newark-University of Delaware Hotel and the Christiana Hilton were recently recognized for involvement in the Delaware Green Lodging Program. They were the first two hotels in the state to voluntarily reduce environmental impact.
“It’s great,” says Bill Sullivan, managing director of The Courtyard and chair of the Delaware Hotel and Lodging Association. “We are very happy to be one of the first hotels in Delaware to begin this program. It’s really what the traveling public is interested in.”
The Courtyard and Hilton are just two hotels in an industry that spends about $3.7 billion a year on energy. To be recognized by the Green Lodging Program, hotels must apply basic practices such as recycling, optional linen service, water and energy conservation plans, and a green events package.
Implementing only those basic practices will help reduce hotels’ environmental impact, says Crystal Nagyiski, manager of DNREC’s Pollution Prevention Program. To reduce impact significantly, hotels across Delaware will have to participate. “There are over 125 in the state, so it’s going to be a large task,” she says, “but there is a lot of interest in this market.”
To get the ball rolling, DNREC is planning an expo on green products and services.
“There are really two reasons for this program,” Sullivan says. “It’s the right thing for the environment, and it’s great for business.”
Page 6: Rockin’ with J
PCTV’s most colorful show host keeps it real, so you just never know what’ll happen next.
Combative, contentious and just a little bit sauced, J Rock fires back at a caller.
“This show is real,” he says. “It’s realer than reality.”
J Rock (real name Jeff Collins) is the incendiary host of cable access’ cult hit, “The Hot Spot,” a strange call-in comedy show that’s equal parts Howard Stern, “Community Crossfire” and “SCTV.”
He’s held down hosting duties for eight years, eons in public access life expectancy, and he has good reason for staying in the public eye.
Collins, a longtime Wilmington comedian, is developing two television pilots—one for MTV and one for the E! network. “I’m working on something special,” he says. “It’s the reason I’ve kept the show going.”
Originally aired to promote local comedy, “The Hot Spot”—which airs Monday nights at 10:30 p.m., ironically enough, on a station Comcast calls PCTV—devolved into a call-in show, peppered with bizarre skits and bits orchestrated by J Rock. It’s irreverent, the language is dirty and J takes no guff from his callers. His topics are taboo: race, crime and drugs in Wilmington, and disciplining children. The cameras wobble, the audio cracks and the show resembles at times a train wreck filmed by Super 8 camcorder.
“Sometimes I’ll write down some topics,” J Rock says. “But usually I go out and wing it.”
Still, “The Hot Spot” has a devoted following that has made J Rock into a cult celebrity. “Ten-year-olds watch it, 73-year-olds watch it. Potheads, alcoholics, businessmen watch it,” he says.
J plans to release a DVD of outtakes and too-hot-for-TV content. “It’s way beyond rated-R,” he says. “I won’t say it’s X-rated, but it’s definitely a hard R.
“I had a guy come on and chew up a live mouse. We did ‘Crackhead Idol,’ where actual crackheads came in and sang. One said the F-word three times and tried to pull her shirt up. That was a pretty good show.”
Page 7: Walk of Art
Rehoboth Beach is on its way to becoming an art destination. On the second Saturday of each month, Mosaic, the new Rehoboth Beach gallery collective, hosts its Destination Art walk.
Mosaic unites 11 fine art galleries in a show of paintings, photography, jewelry and stained glass. “We all have different artists and go in different directions,” says Detail Gallery co-owner Michael Muller. “But what ties us together is a love for art.”
During Destination Art walks, galleries stay open till 9 p.m. Most offer libations and finger foods. Exhibits change monthly.
Gallery owners hope to spread awareness about what has become a thriving art scene while creating a fun night on the town for visitors and locals. “We want to bring some class and culture to the town and enhance what’s already here,” says Amanda Ponko, associate director of Amandeline Gallery.
The vivid array of unique works will likely surprise the masses. Says Ponko, “It’s not all about seashells and T-shirts.”
For more, visit www.mosaicrehoboth.com.
Page 8: Journey to the Bottom of the Earth
For the sixth consecutive year, James Roth will spend 33 hours in an airplane only to arrive at the coldest, driest and windiest place on earth.
He can’t wait.
Roth is one of several UD researchers who travel to the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica each year to work on project IceCube: a huge, $242 million neutrino telescope. Roth, an electronics instrument specialist with UD’s Bartol Research Institute, assists with building, operating and maintaining custom electronics for the telescope, whose optical detectors are drilled more than a mile deep into the Antarctic ice.
“It’s summer there—a nice, warm minus-35 degrees,” Roth says.
Think your job is tough?
“When I first got down there, my first thought was, How do I breathe? The air is so cold,” he says. “Plus, you’re at a pressure altitude of 11,000 feet, so it takes you about three weeks to get used to the lack of oxygen. You get worn out after only a few steps.”
Still, Roth likes his time at the pole, where, donning his Canada Goose parka and insulated bunny boots, he calibrates electronics that power specially designed water tanks. The tanks drill into the ice using hot water, creating space for 4,200 optical detectors, which freeze into place some one and a half miles down.
His telescope doesn’t stargaze. The sensors look up through the earth for mysterious neutrinos—tiny particles of an unknown origin that zip through the universe like bullets, beaming through planets and space. When the neutrinos collide with molecules in the Antarctic ice, they leave a path of light for the telescope to detect.
“The fun is the sense of completion you get seeing all the materials come together,” Roth says. “The goal of the physicists is to better understand the universe and we’re all working toward that same goal. It’s such a tight community down there, and the people are the kind you want to work with.”
Page 9: Dancing to the Stars
A little ballet studio launches big talent.
An alumna of The Julliard School, Teresa Emmons has danced an extensive repertoire across the country. She has taught at several prestigious schools, and her works have been performed by the Dance Theatre of Harlem and by Olympic skating champions Kitty and Peter Carruthers.
Aristic director of Ballet Theatre of Dover, she has also guided hundreds of budding ballerinas since opening the company’s school, the Dance Conservatory, in the mid-1980s.
Dance Conservatory is known throughout the state as a rigorous school, starting with the basics of dance, then advancing to a pre-professional program that offers students opportunities to pursue careers in the performing arts. “The children progress at their own rate,” Emmons says.
Aficionados enjoy the Ballet Theatre’s signature “Nutcracker,” performed by students from the intermediate and pre-professional programs every December at Central Middle School in Dover.
In addition to her work with Dance Conservatory and the Ballet Theatre of Dover, Emmons is the director of the Dance Program and the Visual and Performing Arts Gifted Program at Dover High School. Dance and the arts are an important part of a child’s education,” she says. “The arts must integrated into a child’s education.”
But that’s not all—Teresa Emmons is also a proud mamma.
Daughter Andrea is a faculty member of the school who has worked with premier choreographer Eliot Feld. Son Brett danced in one of the lead roles in Twyla Tharp’s hit musical “Movin’ Out,” based on the music of Billy Joel.