March 31, 2006

AP Names Redick College Player of Year

INDIANAPOLIS - J.J. Redick, whose 3-point shooting led Duke to a No. 1 ranking for most of the season, was selected the national player of the year by The Associated Press on Friday.

The senior guard was second in the nation in scoring this season, capping his career as the Atlantic Coast Conference's all-time leading scorer and Division I's most prolific 3-point shooter.

Redick is the record sixth Duke player to win the award, with five winners coming since 1992. The award was first presented in 1961.

A repeat first-team All-America, Redick received 43 votes from the 72-member national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25. Adam Morrison of Gonzaga, who beat Redick in a season-long, bi-coastal scoring race, got the other 29 votes in the balloting conducted before the
NCAA tournament.

"There are so many great players in this country, specifically Adam Morrison and my teammate Shelden Williams, that it's a great honor to win this award," Redick said.

Redick averaged 26.8 points this season, shooting 47 percent from the field, 42 percent from 3-point range and 85 percent from the free throw line. A tireless worker on offense and an extremely intense player, he averaged 37.1 minutes for Duke, which finished the season with a 32-4 record.

The Blue Devils were ranked No. 1 for all but five weeks this season and were on top of the final poll for the fifth time since 1999.

He finished his career with 2,769 points and the record 457 3-pointers.

The other Duke players to be selected national player of the year were Art Heyman (1963), Christian Laettner (1992), Elton Brand (1999), Shane Battier (2001) and Jason Williams (2002).

"It's an honor to be one of the Duke players to win this award," Redick said. "Looking at the list, I know I'm the sixth man on that team."

UCLA is second with five awards — Lew Alcindor (1967, 1969), Bill Walton (1972, 1973) and Marques Johnson (1977).

Andrew Bogut of Utah won the award last season.

March 25, 2006

Wal-Mart's Organics Could Shake Up Retail

BENTONVILLE, Ark. - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is throwing its weight behind organic products, a move that experts say could have the same lasting effect on environmental practices that Wal-Mart has had on prices by forcing suppliers and competitors to keep up.

Putting new items on the shelf this year, from organic cotton baby clothes to ocean fish caught in ways that don't harm the environment, is part of a broader green policy launched last year to meet consumer demand, cut costs for things like energy and packaging and burnish a battered reputation.

Organic products are one lure for the more affluent shoppers Wal-Mart is trying to woo away from rivals like Target Corp., said Alice Peterson, president of Chicago-based consultancy Syrus Global.

A new Supercenter that opened this week in the Dallas suburb of Plano features over 400 organic foods as part of an experiment to see what kinds of products and interior decor can grab the interest of upscale shoppers.

"Like many big companies, they have figured out it is just good marketing and good reputation building to be in favor of things that Americans are increasingly interested in," Peterson said.

Wal-Mart's Lee Scott is not the first chief executive to advocate sustainability, a term for the corporate ethos of doing business in a way that benefits the environment. Industrial giant General Electric Co., for example, last year launched a program called "Ecomagination" to bring green technologies like wind power to market.

What makes Wal-Mart's efforts unique, sustainability experts say, is the retailer's sheer size and the power that gives it in relations with suppliers. Wal-Mart works closely with suppliers to shape their goods, if they want them on the shelves of Wal-Mart's nearly 4,000 U.S. stores and over 2,200 internationally.

"They have huge potential because it's not just Wal-Mart we're talking about, it's their entire supply chain," said Jeff Erikson, U.S. director of London-based consultancy and research group SustainAbility. The group says it does not do any consulting work for Wal-Mart.

Erikson said Wal-Mart could bring the same pressure it has exerted over the years on prices and apply that to pushing manufacturers and competitors to adopt more sustainable business practices and larger organic offerings.

"We love to see companies like Wal-Mart taking a big step and making pronouncements as they have, because their tentacles are so large," Erikson said.

Wal-Mart plans to double its organic grocery offerings in the next month and continue looking for more products to offer in areas such as grocery, apparel, paper and electronics.

Stephen Quinn, vice president of marketing, told an analysts' conference this month that Wal-Mart would have 400 organic food items in stores this summer "at the Wal-Mart price."

Some Wal-Mart critics call the effort just a public relations job. But others say Wal-Mart could make a real difference if the retailer brings a critical mass of organic products to market and pushes enough suppliers to adopt green practices.

Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope, who is a board member of the union-backed group Wal-Mart Watch that criticizes the retailer, said it is too soon to tell if Wal-Mart will deliver but that the impact could be good for the environment.

"I think the direction they've said is a positive direction. The question is, `Are they are going to go there strongly enough?'" Pope said.

Some of the new items will be seafood caught in the wild. Wal-Mart last month announced a plan to have all its wild-caught fish, which accounts for about a third of seafood sales, certified by the Marine Stewardship Council as caught in a sustainable way.

The London-based MSC, founded in 1997 as a venture of the conservation group World Wildlife Fund and global consumer products company Unilever, issues the certificates to let consumers know which fisheries avoid overfishing and use methods that don't damage the ocean environment.

Sustainability experts say what makes this program interesting is that Wal-Mart will work with its suppliers to get more fisheries around the globe certified by MSC, instead of just buying up the existing stock of certified fish.

Wal-Mart says this means there will be more sustainable fish that will also be available to Wal-Mart's competitors, such as Whole Foods Market, which already sells about 18 MSC certified items, according to the MSC Web site. Wal-Mart plans to offer between 200 and 250 items.

The way Wal-Mart hatched the fish plan is typical of how it operates.

Peter Redmond, vice president and divisional merchandise manager in charge of deli and seafood, said he conceived the idea after meeting MSC board chairman Will Martin last fall. Wal-Mart and MSC worked out details and then Wal-Mart called in its 25 to 30 fish wholesalers in January to tell them it was switching to MSC certified seafood.

Wal-Mart developed a plan to work with its suppliers to encourage fisheries to adopt MSC practices. The plan includes barring its suppliers from switching fisheries in the first year to 18 months, giving the suppliers more reason to promote the changes.

"We don't want to walk away from a fishery just because it is in fairly poor shape or poor shape," Redmond said. "We want to try and recover that (non-certified) fishery to where it becomes a sustainable fishery. Our point being that if we just go for sustainable fisheries, it won't be enough at the end of the day unless we recover a lot of these that are in trouble now," he added.

The term fishery refers to a particular species of fish and the fleet that harvests them. Redmond said about 60 percent of the fisheries that Wal-Mart buys from now can be brought up to MSC standards within a year or two, and the remainder may need three to five years to change.

Redmond says the decision to go with sustainable fish came after Lee Scott launched the environmental policy last fall and fits Scott's maxim of "doing well by doing good".

"The environmental piece is a company (policy) plank. Secondly and probably the main reason is, when I look at seafood now and how many dollars it does now and how many dollars it's going to do in four years, I'm extremely concerned that that product is simply not going to be there."

"So we have to take the position that if I want to have hake five or six years from now, we as a company have to get involved and do something because I don't think it'll be there for us otherwise," Redmond said.
Angela Lansbury Can Dance Again

LOS ANGELES - Angela Lansbury says she can dance again after having knee replacement surgery. "I'm not going to be dancing with the stars at this stage in my life," Lansbury said by phone from her Los Angeles home. "But I want to dance and bop around, and I did, and I can."

The 80-year-old actress, who is seeking to educate women about the procedure, says her dancer past left her "crippled" by intolerable knee pain for years.

"I found that people were helping me across the street. I had to pull myself up the stairs," said Lansbury, a four-time Tony Award winner for performances in "Mame," "Gypsy" and other productions. "I began to feel ancient, and I feel very young at heart."

But she waited to have the surgery — which replaces deteriorating cartilage of the knee joint with metal and plastic — because she feared it would be too painful. She finally had her left knee replaced last July.

"I had surgery, and I put it off for a long time. I want to tell women: Don't put it off," said Lansbury, who kicked off an education campaign Wednesday with DePuy Orthopaedics at a medical conference in Chicago.

Lansbury is famous for her role as crime novelist Jessica Fletcher in the long-running TV series "Murder She Wrote." Her film credits include 1962's "The Manchurian Candidate."

March 13, 2006

Actress Maureen Stapleton Dies at 80

LENOX, Mass. - Maureen Stapleton, the Oscar-winning character actress whose subtle vulnerability and down-to-earth toughness earned her dramatic and comedic roles on stage, screen, and television, died Monday. She was 80.

Stapleton, a longtime smoker who had been living in Lenox, died from chronic pulmonary disease, said her son, Daniel Allentuck.

Stapleton, whose unremarkable, matronly appearance belied her star personality and talent, won an Academy Award in 1981 for her supporting role as anarchist-writer Emma Goldman in
Warren Beatty's "Reds," about a left-wing American journalist who journeys to Russia to cover the Bolshevik Revolution.

To prepare for the role, Stapleton said she tried reading Goldman's autobiography, but soon chucked it out of boredom.

"There are many roads to good acting," Stapleton, known for her straightforwardness, said in her 1995 autobiography, "Hell of a Life." "I've been asked repeatedly what the 'key' to acting is, and as far as I'm concerned, the main thing is to keep the audience awake."

Stapleton was nominated several times for a supporting actress Oscar, including for her first film role in 1958's "Lonelyhearts"; "Airport" in 1970; and
Woody Allen's "Interiors" in 1978.

Her other film credits include the 1963 musical "Bye Bye Birdie" opposite Ann-Margret and
Dick Van Dyke, "Johnny Dangerously," "Cocoon," "The Money Pit" and "Addicted to Love."

In television, she earned an Emmy for "Among the Paths to Eden" in 1967. She was nominated for "Queen of the Stardust Ballroom" in 1975; "The Gathering" in 1977; and "Miss Rose White" in 1992.

Brought up in a strict Irish Catholic family with an alcoholic father, Stapleton left home in Troy, N.Y., right after high school. With $100 to her name, she came to New York and began studying at the Herbert Berghof Acting School and later at the Actor's Studio, which turned out the likes of Marlon Brando,
Paul Newman and
Julia Roberts.

Stapleton soon made her Broadway debut in Burgess Meredith's 1946 production of "The Playboy of the Western World."

At age 24, she became a success as Serafina Delle Rose in Tennessee Williams' Broadway hit "The Rose Tattoo," and won a Tony Award. She appeared in numerous other stage productions, including Lillian Hellman's "Toys in the Attic" and Neil Simon's "The Gingerbread Lady," for which she won her second Tony in 1971.

She starred opposite Laurence Olivier in Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." Stapleton's friendship with Williams was well-known and he wrote three plays for her, but she never appeared in any of them.

Along the way, she led a chaotic personal life, which her autobiography candidly described as including two failed marriages, numerous affairs, years of alcohol abuse and erratic parenting for her two children.

She often said auditioning was hard for her, but that it was just a part of acting, a job "that pays."

"When I was first in New York there was a girl who wanted to play 'St. Joan' to the point where it was scary. ... I thought 'Don't ever want anything that bad," she recalled. "Just take what you get and like it while you do it, and forget it."

Cast throughout her career in supporting roles, Stapleton was content not playing a lead character, Allentuck said.

"I don't think she ever had unrealistic aspirations about her career," he said.

Beside Allentuck, Stapleton is survived by a daughter, Katharine Bambery, of Lenox and a brother, Jack Stapleton, of Troy, N.Y.

March 07, 2006

Christopher Reeve's Widow Dies at Age 44

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Dana Reeve, the singer-actress who married the strapping star of the "Superman" movies and then devoted herself to his care and his cause after he was paralyzed, has died of lung cancer, a year-and-a-half after her husband. She was 44.

Although Reeve had announced her cancer diagnosis in August — to an outpouring of sympathy and support from admirers around the world — her death seemed sudden. As recently as Jan. 12, she looked healthy and happy as she belted out Carole King's "Now and Forever" at a packed Madison Square Garden during a ceremony honoring hockey star Mark Messier, a friend.

"Unfortunately, that's what happens with this awful disease," said Maggie Goldberg of the Christopher Reeve Foundation, where Dana Reeve had succeeded her husband as chair. "You feel good, you're responding and then the downturn."

Reeve, who lived in Pound Ridge, died Monday night at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Medical Center in Manhattan, said foundation president Kathy Lewis.

Officials would not discuss Reeve's treatment or say when she entered the hospital. But Lewis said she visited her there on Friday, when Reeve was "tired but with her typical sense of humor and smile, always trying to make other people feel good, her characteristic personality."

"The brightest light has gone out," said comedian Robin Williams. "We will forever celebrate her loving spirit."

Former President Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton described Reeve as "a model of tenacity and grace."

"Despite the adversity that she faced, Dana bravely met these challenges and was always an extremely devoted wife, mother and advocate," they said.

Christopher and Dana Reeve married in 1992. Life changed drastically for the young show-business couple three years later when Christopher Reeve suffered near-total paralysis in a horse-riding accident and almost died.

In his autobiography, "Still Me," Reeve wrote that he suggested early on to his wife, "Maybe we should let me go." She responded, "I'll be with you for the long haul, no matter what. You're still you and I love you."

Those were "the words that saved my life," Christopher Reeve said.

For his remaining nine years, Dana Reeve was her husband's constant companion and supporter during the ordeal of his rehabilitation, winning worldwide acclaim and admiration. With him, she became an activist in the search for a cure for spinal-cord injuries.

"Something miraculous and wonderful happened amidst terrible tragedy, and a whole new dimension of life began to emerge," she wrote in a 1999 book, "Care Packages: Letters to Christopher Reeve from Strangers and Other Friends." "What we had yet to discover were all the gifts that come out of sharing hardship, the hidden pleasures behind the pain."

After her husband's death in October 2004, Reeve said she planned to return to acting. She had appeared on Broadway, off-Broadway and regional stages and on the TV shows "Law & Order," "Oz," and "All My Children," and she'd had to give up a Broadway role when she was widowed.

"I am an actress and I do have to make a living," she said.

However, her mother died of complications from ovarian cancer and her own diagnosis came the next summer.

"I thought that after everything that she had gone through with Chris that she would have time to smell the flowers and be in the sun," said Sen. Diane Feinstein of California. "But apparently that was not meant to be."

From the start, Reeve expressed confidence she would beat lung cancer. And four months ago, wearing a long formal gown at a fundraising gala for the foundation, Reeve provoked wolf whistles from Williams and said she was responding well to treatment.

"I'm beating the odds and defying every statistic the doctors can throw at me," Reeve said. "My prognosis looks better all the time."

At about the same time, Reeve taped a PBS show, "The New Medicine," about how doctors are paying more attention to a patient's cultural values and lifestyle as part of treatment. In her introduction to the program, Reeve said, "It has become clear to me that high-tech medicine, with all its wonders, often leaves out that all-important human touch."

PBS said Tuesday that the show will be broadcast as scheduled March 29.

Survivors include the Reeves' 13-year-old son, Will; two grown stepchildren, Matthew and Alexandra; her father, Charles Morosini; and two sisters.

Goldberg said Will was "in the loving care of family and friends" and that his mother had arranged for his future.

The foundation said no plans for a funeral have been announced.

March 05, 2006

(1) North Carolina 91, (4) Maryland 80

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- With another conference championship in hand, top-ranked North Carolina can finally start thinking about making a run at the national championship.

Erlana Larkins had a career-high 26 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Tar Heels past fourth-ranked Maryland 91-80, giving the program its second straight Atlantic Coast Conference title and likely locking up a No. 1 seed for the NCAA tournament.

Ivory Latta also scored 26 to earn MVP honors for the second straight year for North Carolina (29-1), which ranks second in ACC history with seven tournament titles.

The win allowed the Tar Heels to avenge their only loss, a 98-95 overtime home defeat last month to the Terrapins (28-4). But more importantly, it allowed coach Sylvia Hatchell to use her gold scissors again, the same ones the Tar Heels used to cut down the NCAA championship nets in 1994.

The scissors apparently weren't used again until North Carolina beat Duke last season to win its first tourney title in seven years.

"I was happy to be able to use those gold scissors because they have a lot of special memories," Hatchell said, "and we would like to use them again."

It was one of the most memorable seasons in Hatchell's 20-year tenure in Chapel Hill. This season, the Tar Heels' athleticism, depth and trapping up-tempo style have kept them atop a league ranked No. 1 in RPI.

"I've got great kids, they're playing their hearts out for each other and for me," Hatchell said. "We're healthy, we're an exciting team, we've got great chemistry. This is the kind of team a coach dreams of because these young ladies are like my daughters."

It was a disappointing end to the tournament for the Terrapins, who have won a league-best eight titles but none since 1989. They advanced by beating second-ranked Duke in Saturday's semifinals to end a 14-game losing streak in the series, which might have put them in position for a top seed.

Jade Perry scored 18 points to lead five players in double figures, while Ashleigh Newman scored all 14 of her points in the second half. Marissa Coleman, the ACC's rookie of the year, also scored 14.

"They played like warriors," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said of Perry and Newman. "They played like champions. That's why this team is so dangerous when you see the players and the rotation. ... That's what you have to have to be a championship team."

Maryland certainly had reason to be confident after winning last month's thriller against the Tar Heels. In that game, the Terrapins rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit and forced the extra period on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Newman.

This time, North Carolina led nearly the entire way and didn't let up.

"Remembering that we lost to Maryland before was pressure on us," said Camille Little, who scored 11 of her 13 points in the second half after early foul trouble. "We felt like we had something that we had to do because we didn't want to lose at home this year."

The Tar Heels led by seven at halftime and increased that margin to as many as 13 points. Maryland got as close as three points late, but Larkins and Latta kept the Tar Heels from repeating that first collapse.

The 6-foot-1 Larkins, a first-team all-ACC pick, went 9-for-14 from the field and 8-for-10 from the line. Latta, a 5-6 point guard and ACC player of the year, also had four assists to go with five steals.

They even worked together in celebration, with Latta giving the ball to Larkins to dribble out the clock before the sophomore threw the ball skyward at the horn.

Behind Larkins, North Carolina controlled the inside with 58 points in the paint, including all 32 second-half points from the field. They also took a 48-37 rebounding advantage with 20 on the offensive boards -- an area of such emphasis that Hatchell promised to give her players T-shirts reading "WWR: Wild Women Rebounders" if they outrebounded the Terps.

After building a 42-35 lead at the break, North Carolina kept the pressure on by forcing the ball inside throughout the second half.

"Coach always tells us to get them off balance," Latta said. "See your driving hole, and if they come, dish it off to your teammate."

Maryland came within 79-76 on a layup by Newman with 5:19 left. But Larkins answered with a pair of free throws, followed by one of several runners in the lane from Latta. Then, Larkins grabbed a Latta miss and put it in for an 85-78 lead with 3:26 left to end Maryland's final flurry.
(4) Maryland 78, (2) Duke 70

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Crystal Langhorne couldn't contain her excitement. Finally, after losing 14 games in a row to Duke, the fourth-ranked Maryland Terrapins had won.

And Langhorne yelled it to her teammates before they even got to the locker room.

"I think it was like 10 seconds after the game," quipped her coach, Brenda Frese.

No one would blame the Terrapins for savoring this one.

Laura Harper had 17 points, Marissa Coleman added 16 points and 13 rebounds and Maryland beat the second-ranked Blue Devils 78-70 Saturday in the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference women's tournament.

Kristi Toliver also scored 16 points for the Terrapins (28-3), who advanced to Sunday's final against No. 1 North Carolina. Earlier this season, they gave the Tar Heels their only loss in a thrilling game that was decided in overtime.

"It definitely gives us confidence, but at the same time, they want revenge," Harper said. "So we're going to have to play an even better game than we did at their place."

Perhaps that matchup can satisfy fans who were hoping to see North Carolina and Duke decide the ACC championship for the a fifth consecutive year in the heart of Tobacco Road. This will be Maryland's first chance at a tournament title since losing to Virginia 106-103 in triple overtime 13 years ago.

"I love it when the media continues to hype up the Carolina schools," Frese said. "This team is motivated by any challenge you give them, and they definitely responded."

Monique Currie finished with 18 points but couldn't stop the Blue Devils (26-3) from failing to advance to the final for the first time in seven years. Lindsey Harding had 16 points.

"I'm not worried," Duke coach Gail Goestenkors said. "Every time we've lost, we've learned. Now we have several days to really work on some of the things we need to, to get ready for the NCAA tournament."

Maryland appeared in command after a 15-4 run early in the second half, and Coleman was the spark. She had a 3-pointer and another jumper before dribbling through a double team for a twirling layup. When Jade Perry worked inside for another basket, the Terrapins led 53-38.

"I was just trying to help my team out," said Coleman, named the ACC's top freshman earlier this week. "I just wanted to get that win. It was a very exciting environment."

Slowly, Duke came back, with a switch from its man-to-man defense to a zone trap. Toliver, Maryland's freshman point guard, had trouble finding open teammates to start the offense, and five straight possessions ended in turnovers.

The Blue Devils turned almost all of them into points on the other end. Currie made a 3, then converted a steal by Wanisha Smith into a three-point play. Smith's long pass led Currie perfectly, and after scoring, she leaped to bump chests with Smith.

And Duke wasn't finished. Smith got a nifty feed from Harding on an in-bounds play to make it 16 unanswered points, and suddenly, the Terrapins trailed 54-53.

"I was thinking, 'Thanks goodness we had a cushion,' because we did have some breakdowns," Frese said. "All the credit goes to Duke."

Crystal Langhorne quickly put them back in front, Harper had five points in less than 60 seconds and Langhorne worked free again in the paint to help Maryland resume control. The Blue Devils only got as close as six points down the stretch.

"They did a great job of moving the ball, going inside and outside, and knocking down the shots," Harding said. "Especially knocking down the big shots when they counted."

The outcome might have been enough to give the Terrapins a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, while Duke can only hope the committee rewards it for another stellar regular season.

"I think that speaks for itself," Frese said of winning. "It's up to the selection committee. But I said this going into the tournament: the biggest thing we can do is win, and put yourself in the championship game. It speaks volumes for this team."