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The original Phillie Phanatic now trains future mascots

David Raymond, the original Phanatic, has become the go-to resource for teams, schools and businesses that want a mascot, or want to improve the one they have. Of course they want to learn from the best!

In the spring of 1978, a big furry green creature with a pot belly and a long snout appeared on a major-league baseball field in Philadelphia and forever raised the bar for the professional team mascot.

Beneath that Muppet-like exterior was David Raymond, who donned the costume as a young intern, stepped out on the field on a cool April night and began a career delighting crowds with wild, athletic antics unlike anything baseball had seen before. He spent 16 years as the Phillie Phanatic, the mascot of the Philadelphia Phillies, retiring in 1994...

Mr. Raymond charges $399 a person for a three-day Mascot Boot Camp, like the one he will be conducting at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania from March 20 to 22. His private Mascot Boot Camps range from $3,500 to $5,000 depending on the number of days and performers the client wants. If a client wants him to create a whole new character and have a consulting contract, it will cost $20,000 to $75,000. (Mr. Raymond contracts out the actual construction of the costume.) And if a client already has a mascot that does not quite work, Mr. Raymond will do what he calls “mascot intervention” for about $2,500.


Original source: The New York Times
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Two Philly spots make GQ's top 25 restaurants list

Two local restaurants have earned a place of honor of GQ's list of the country's 25 best restaurants.

Laurel at #8: The room might well be a shotgun apartment: front door leading to a tiny area (seating twenty) leading straight back to an undersized kitchen. There's not much decor, save for a few black iron sconces and hanging lamps. The chairs are exceedingly comfy, the service attentive, the stemware pleasing—all enhancements to a BYOB dining experience with a style of cooking I loved back when it was called “modern French.” Yet the most stunning dish was pure Americana, catfish in a coconut-clam broth. Hard to imagine a kitchen in Philly accomplishing what the South has been trying to do for centuries: make catfish elegant. Chef Nicholas Elmi does it gracefully. His meat dishes are intensely flavorful, particularly duck magret and foie gras. Stylishness has come to East Passyunk Avenue, once ground zero for cheesesteaks, now fast emerging as Philly's premier dining locale.

Lo Spiedo at #24: Come here for a little history and a lot of meat. Lo Spiedo is located just inside the old navy yard, where the battleship New Jersey was built. Almost as sturdy is the reginette bolognese. “Too much meat,” I griped. “Marc Vetri knows what he's doing,” argued a friend. He always does. Here you'll find glorified Americanized Italian food, including a gutsy celery-root milanese sandwich. If vegetarians gave out medals, it deserves the Navy Cross.
 
Original source: GQ
Read the complete list here.

Buzz Bissinger lists some Dos and Don'ts for the arriving DNC hordes

The curmudgeonly author of 'Prayer for the City' shares some tips with Politico readers. Some of our favorites:

DON’T come near a cheesesteak. They are gnarly and fundamentally deranged in conception. Until you eat one. Then they are almost worth the guilt you will inevitably feel because you just ate one and likely ingested fifty or sixty thousand calories. Instead satisfy your cravings in what is America's most interesting and diverse culinary city. Try one of the many BYOBs. They are small and intimate and the food stunning and the cost reasonable.

DO drive on the Schuylkill Expressway one night to see the twinkling lights of Boathouse Row against the backdrop of the art museum and the Fairmount Water Works and the city skyline. It is the single most spectacular view in the city. Then be prepared to die since the expressway is the worst engineered highway in history (for a real death thrill, take the South Street exit heading east and try to merge).

DO be prepared to have a ball. The city is truly divine and you will feel pampered. Now if only there was no convention …


Original source: Politico
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Drexel student starts feeding frenzy in the 'Shark Tank'

A Drexel student-entrepreneur started a feeding frenzy in the Shark Tank, eventually earning a deal with two sharks for his app Scholly. Check out the video here.

Original source: ABC

Philadelphia University basketball coach passes tremendous milestone

This local legend recently became only the second NCAA men's basketball coach to win 1,000 games. 

[Philadelphia University coach Herb] Magee hit the milestone with the Rams' 80-60 win over Post on Saturday. He has won all 1,000 games over 48 seasons at the 3,600-student private Division II university in Philadelphia.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is the only other NCAA men's coach to win 1,000 games. Krzyzewski won his 1,000th game on Jan. 25 against St. John's at Madison Square Garden. He is the fourth men's coach in all divisions to reach the milestone.
Magee needed two tries after the Rams (15-6, 9-3 Central Athletic Collegiate Conference) lost this week to Wilmington.

"Relief. I don't make that up," Magee said. "That's the way I felt. Ask my wife, she'll tell you. It's been a tough situation because the hype is there and everyone is pulling for us as a team but they're really pulling for me to get 1,000 wins because they know how important it is. It means a lot."


Original source: The New York Times
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Dinner service grows at public schools

Schools serving an after-school snack or dinner is a growing national trend, and Philadelphia is at the forefront. According to The New York Times, the number of students served dinner or an after-school snack nationwide rose to nearly 1 million last year.

More recent research indicates while family dinners can be linked to fewer symptoms of depression, most of the other benefits seem to decrease when demographic and other environmental factors are taken into account. At a time when many families have hectic schedules, dinner at school could provide some relief, said Rachel Dunifon, a policy professor at Cornell University.
"If these meals help alleviate stress, it could actually be good and open up more time for families," she said.

[The Los Angeles Unified School District] currently serves supper to 75,000 students and plans to expand the program to about 150,000 over the next two years. School officials estimate it will generate $16.6 million in revenue, which will go toward expanding the program.

Other large, urban districts with dinner programs include Philadelphia and District of Columbia public schools. Wayne Grasela, senior vice president for food services, said the School District of Philadelphia now serves 4,500 dinners each day.


Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Local cab driver gets big surpise: A $1,000 tip

A taxi driver in Philadelphia got a tip big enough to make national news.

An anonymous passenger brightened a Philadelphia cab driver's night with the tip of a lifetime: nearly $1,000 on a $4.31 fare.

Oumar Maiga's bosses revealed the hefty, holiday-season gratuity Wednesday after waiting to make sure the credit card cleared and it wasn't an error.

The West African immigrant received the $989.98 tip Dec. 13.

Maiga's bosses tell Philly.com the cabbie and passenger chatted briefly during the mile-long trip from the city's Old City section to Columbus Boulevard.

Maiga said his shift had been a little hectic. The passenger said he'd make it a great night and punched in the tip.


Original source: The Associated Press (via The New York Times)
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Rideshare company Lyft plans Philadelphia roll-out

Lyft, the rideshare competitor to UberX, is planning to launch in Philadelphia; it already operates in Pittsburgh.

Billy Penn reported on a Craigslist ad asking for drivers as well as Lyft signage at City Coho, a co-working space at 2401 Walnut Street.

After several controversies surrounding Uber, 
The New York Times Nick Bilton wrote the company is a “moral alternative.” Lyft costs about the same as UberX, the lower-cost alternative to Uber Black.

Original source: Philadelphia Magazine
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Pope's visit causes headaches for engaged couples

Pity the local couples who had selected September 26, 2015 as their big day.

Nearly everything was set by the end of August.

The church was chosen, hall booked. The groomsmen would wear gray tuxes and light blue dresses for the bridesmaids. At the reception, there will be touches of the Jersey Shore — the place where Brittany Lowell and Jeff Doney first went steady...

Everything was going smoothly and then last November planning hit a big roadblock: Pope Francis.

The leader of the world’s largest Christian church confirmed he'd make his first trip to the United States and spending three days in Philadelphia from September 25-27 to take part in the World Meeting of Families conference and deliver mass to some 2 million people.

“As soon as that happened I went into panic mode,” the 26-year-old legal secretary and dance instructor from Northeast Philly said.

It’s not the serious influx of visitors or the traffic or the increased security that is causing a snag, rather, finding a place for the newlyweds-to-be and their guests to stay.


Original source: NBC 10
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Temple's online MBA program ranked No. 1

U.S. News and World Report has named Temple University's Fox School of Business the nation's best online MBA program.

Temple, tied with Indiana University and theUniversity of North Carolina, scored a perfect score of 100 when judged on faculty credentials and training, student services and technology, student engagement, peer reputation and admissions selectivity.
Is it validation for Temple? "Absolutely, yes," said Darin Kapanjie, academic director of the online MBA program.

Temple's online MBA program launched in fall 2009 under Kapanjie's leadership. He came to Temple in 2003 as a faculty member in the statistics department, and actively took to integrating technology into the classroom...

The program has since developed an online and digital learning team, which has seven in-house instructional designers that help the Temple faculty organize and deliver their courses online most effectively. There are also two technology support specialists and two staffers in charge of video production. (The Fox school has its own TV studio, where faculty members can record their lectures).


Original source: Philadelphia Business Journal
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Philly named No. 3 'Place to Go in 2015' by New York Times

Philly earns a coveted spot on this yearly list of "52 Places to Go."

"A series of projects has transformed Philadelphia into a hive of outdoor urban activity. Dilworth Park, formerly a hideous slab of concrete adjoining City Hall, reopened this past autumn as a green, pedestrian-friendly public space with a winter ice-skating rink (and a cafe by the indefatigable chef Jose Garces). Public art installations, mini “parklets” and open-air beer gardens have become common sights. The Delaware River waterfront was reworked for summer 2014 with the Spruce Street Harbor Park (complete with hammocks, lanterns and floating bar) becoming a new fixture, following the renovation of the Race Street Pier, completed in 2011, and offers free yoga classes on a bi-level strip of high-design decking and grass. The city’s other river, the Schuylkill, has its own new boardwalk. To top it off, this spring, Philadelphia will get its first bike share program, making this mostly flat city even more friendly for those on two wheels."

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete list here.

Knight Cities Challenge finalists announced, including 20 from Philadelphia

The Knight Cities Challenge has announced its finalists, including a healthy list from Philadelphia.

How do you choose 126 good ideas for cities from the more than 7,000 proposals submitted to the first Knight Cities Challenge?
It wasn’t easy.  But, as of today, we’ve asked 126 happy finalists to submit final applications in three weeks with more details about their ideas.

It’s an exciting time for them but also for us at Knight Foundation. It is a privilege to meet so many people who are passionate about their communities and who are working to make them better. Soon, we’ll have plans and budgets and bios that we and our reviewers will pore over to make the even tougher decision about which applicants become Knight Cities Challenge winners...

We identified the biggest category of finalists as projects that sought to bring public life back to public spaces with almost 24 percent of the total. That was followed by supporting a changing urban economy, 20 percent; promoting a robust civic life, 17 percent; building connections between diverse communities, 11 percent; changing the stories communities tell about themselves, 11 percent; reimagining civic assets, such as libraries, parks, trails and school grounds, 10 percent; and retaining talent, 7 percent. Seeing these themes emerge, we are so excited to learn more about what the challenge finalists are planning...

In three weeks the final applications will be in, and we will announce the winners, who will receive a share of $5 million, before April 1. 

Source: The Knight Foundation
Check out the complete list here.

Philly will be home to Forbes' Under 30 Summit for years to come

Forbes has announced that Philadelphia will play host to its yearly youth-oriented summit for the foreseeable future.

After a successful first yearForbes magazine's Under 30 Summit will be back in Philadelphia this October. The announcement came as the media company unleashed its newest 30 Under 30 Who are Moving the World list Monday.

The inaugural summit brought together about 1,500 young movers-and-shakers, mostly from past Under 30 lists, for educational panels, pitch contests, TED-style presentations, music and food festivals. Last year's speakers included Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Prize Laureate, who detailed her campaign for girls' education, and Monica Lewinsky, who talked about the culture of digital harassment. Also on the lineup were Pete Cashmore, founder and CEO of Mashable; Neil Blumenthal, co-founder of Warby ParkerJosh Kushner, managing partner of Thrive Capital; and Steve Case, founder of AOL.

"While we have no multi-year contract, we have every intention of making Philadelphia our long-term home," said Wendy Furrer Egan, senior director of editorial publicity at Forbes.

This year's summit will take place Oct. 4-7 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and other venues in the city...

Lane, from Forbes, told the Philadelphia Business Journal last year that the No. 1 reason he chose Philadelphia as the go-to destination was because of its location. He named its proximity to other major cities, like New York and Washington, D.C., as well as its simplicity to get to via public transportation — whether train, bus or plane.

Of course, Philadelphia's young crowd and "increasing entrepreneurial world view," he said, is a plus.


Original source: Philadelphia Business Journal
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Saying goodbye (and thank you) to Jimmy Rollins

A writer for the Huffington Post reflects on the Phillies great's impressive legacy.

Rollins ends his decade-and-a-half tenure in Philadelphia this week. His final curtain call comes as the franchise's all-time leader in hits, at-bats, doubles, and stolen bases. He also ranks second in games, singles, triples, runs, total bases and extra-base hits. With all due respect to Phillie-for-Life Larry Bowa, the man affectionately known as J-Roll stands as the clear choice for Greatest Shortstop in Phillies History...

Where Iverson and Dawkin came up short, Rollins delivered. For the first time in a quarter of a century, the sports fanatics of Philadelphia could raise their heads high and call themselves World F&%$ing Champions... just like Jimmy had promised.
The Phillies would remain the team to beat in the NL East for three more seasons, including a franchise record 102-wins in 2011, however it was those delivered-upon promises that will forever define J-Roll's time in South Philly.

Jimmy preached expecting the best at a time when Philadelphians were instinctively expecting the worst. More than any other player, Rollins changed the culture, not just in the clubhouse, but in the city itself.


Original source: Huffington Post
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Grantland's Wesley Morris pens a year-end ode to Mo'ne Davis

Pulitzer Prize winner Wesley Morris included his thoughts on Philly's own Taney Dragon Mo'ne Davis in his end-of-year reflections.

In mid-August, as racial protests roiled suburban St. Louis, sectarian violence inflamed the Middle East, and Vladimir Putin toyed with the mouse also known as Ukraine, a force of serenity seemed to emanate from South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. A girl stood on a hill of dirt and, with great style and cool poise, threw baseballs to boys at bat. Except this wasn’t just some girl. This was a goddess of bewitching precision, the apotheosis of seizing a moment before a moment seizes you. In the two star-making shutouts pitched by Mo’ne Davis at the Little League World Series, 14 batters were sent trudging back to the dugout. I felt for them. No one could touch her fastball. No one could handle her changeup. But most important: Nothing could stop her hair.

I know. That hair.

...It’s possible that the hair’s motion — part whip, part whirlpool; some combination of violence, beauty, and grace — seduced constituencies predisposed to understand the story of that hair. It invoked Valkyries, graphic novels, and photo shoots. Her hair effortlessly did whatcertain pop stars need industrial-strength wind-generating fans to do. By itself, the hair would give you pause. As worn by Davis, it conferred upon her unself-conscious strength, majesty, otherworldliness. That’s how she seemed to throw: with abandon.


Original source: Grantland
Read the complete story here.
232 Media Articles | Page: | Show All
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