The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

First Dodgeball Tourney for Perry Hi-Way Hose Company !

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Erie, PA – Perry Hi-Way Hose Company held its first annual dodgeball tournament on Sunday to help raise funds.
 
Family First Sports Park donated use of their facility for the tournament and the Erie Sports Store donated the dodgeballs. 
 
Sunday’s tourney brought in more than three-hundred people, and 25 teams, including teams from Buffalo.      
 
Perry Hose is an all-volunteer fire, rescue, and EMS service that serves Summit Township and supports crews in the surrounding areas. 
 
 “It costs a lot of money to keep up with a fire department, even a volunteer one. The equipment costs a lot of money, the training costs a lot of money, so every single dollar helps,” said Kyle Liebold of Family First Sports Park, who is also a former volunteer at Perry HOse. 
 
“Anybody who’s willing to risk their life to save a house or save somebody else, that’s definitely a cause worth supporting every time,” said Jeff Kauffman of Erie, on the John V. Schultz team. 
 
“Especially in the brutal winter that we’ve had. I mean, give them all the props in the world. They’re true heroes,” added Caleb Schenk, a teammate also from Erie. 
 
The event raised about a thousand dollars. 
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New concession items coming to Comerica Park for 2014 season !

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Four new hot dogs included in menu additions !

Companies Sportservice announced today that several new menu items will be added for the 2014 season at Comerica Park.

DETROIT, MI – The Detroit Tigers and food, beverage and retail services partner Delaware North Companies Sportservice announced today that several new menu items will be added for the 2014 season at Comerica Park.

In the Tigers Food Court, four new hot dogs have been added to the Topped Dogs stand: The Slaw Dog (natural casing frank with Coney chili and coleslaw), the Pork & Beans Dog (natural casing frank with baked beans, cheddar cheese and bacon), the Late Night Dog (natural casing frank with fried egg, bacon and cheddar cheese) and the Poutine Dog (natural casing frank with French fries, cheese curds and beef gravy).

Also in the Tigers Food Court, the Mexican Stand will now feature a Burrito Bowl (a fried tortilla shell filled with lettuce, cilantro lime rice, roasted corn, black beans and slow-braised chicken or taco meat, topped with pico de gallo and cheddar cheese; a meatless bowl is also available).

In the Tigers Food Court, four new hot dogs have been added to the Topped Dogs stand: The Slaw Dog (natural casing frank with Coney chili and coleslaw), the Pork & Beans Dog (natural casing frank with baked beans, cheddar cheese and bacon), the Late Night Dog (natural casing frank with fried egg, bacon and cheddar cheese) and the Poutine Dog (natural casing frank with French fries, cheese curds and beef gravy).

Also in the Tigers Food Court, the Mexican Stand will now feature a Burrito Bowl (a fried tortilla shell filled with lettuce, cilantro lime rice, roasted corn, black beans and slow-braised chicken or taco meat, topped with pico de gallo and cheddar cheese; a meatless bowl is also available).

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Newport Beach Little League suspended; 700 players in limbo ?

League president: The regional office gave little explanation for the action, which comes less than a week after opening day.The Bonita Canyon Sports Park was vacant and not hosting any Little League games on Saturday afternoon.   The Bonita Canyon Sports Park was vacant and not hosting any Little League games on Saturday afternoon.

NEWPORT BEACH, CA  – Less than a week after celebrating opening day, about 700 children in the Newport Beach Little League suddenly have found their season in limbo.

The president of the organization, Gary Borquez, notified the players and their parents on Wednesday that the league had been suspended indefinitely for reportedly not complying with rules and regulations of Little League Baseball.

But Borquez said Saturday that the governing bodies had not specified what those rules are. He said he believed his league was sanctioned because its board had too many managers and coaches.

What’s certain is that the players can’t practice or play games until the suspension is lifted.

“Our main concern is to get the kids back on the field,” Borquez said. “Little League is all about the kids playing and having fun.”

On Wednesday, District 55 Administrator Tamara Alexander, who oversees leagues in the area, sent an email to Dave Bonham, the interim director of the Little League Western Region Headquarters, asking for a suspension of NBLL.

“As you will additionally see, I have exhausted extensive time in trying to get the President to take control of this situation, but my efforts have been futile, which I believe are directly related to the Manager/Coach ratio on the board of directors who are determined to customize the league’s program to their own liking and not consider the best interest of the players in the program,” Alexander wrote.

A couple of hours later, Borquez said, he received an email from Bonham, saying the league would be suspended effective Thursday.

“At the request of Tamara Alexander District 55 Administrator, I am requesting that the charter of Newport Little League put on regional hold, until such time as your organization comes into compliance with the rules and regulations of Little League Baseball and Softball,” Bonham said in the email.

Borquez said the email didn’t describe precisely what rules the league had violated, though it did state the league had too many managers on the board of directors.

He said he had received no advance notice that would have allowed NBLL to correct any violations.

NBLL immediately notified the parents that games and practices would be canceled until further notice. The league held its opening day March 8.

The league held a board meeting Thursday night, where five managers and coaches resigned from the board in an effort to bring it into compliance.

The rule that appears to be at the heart of the suspension states that managers and coaches cannot make up 50 percent or more of the board, Borquez said. NBLL started the season with 24 board members, 14 of whom were managers or coaches.

Borquez said he’s called and emailed District 55 multiple times to clarify the situation, but hasn’t heard back.

Officials at District 55 and Little League Western Region couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Saturday.

NBLL consists of about 70 teams, including two special needs teams, for boys and girls from ages 5 to 13.

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Healthy Foods Can Do Well at Concession Stands !

An Univ. of Iowa-led study shows that concession stands can add healthy products without denting sales and profits. The conclusion is based on tracking sales with a school booster club in Muscatine, Iowa. Image: Tim Schoon, Univ. of Iowa

You don’t just need to rely on hot dogs and pizza to make a buck at concession stands. A study led by the Univ. of Iowa examined sales, revenues and profits at a booster-run concession stand in Iowa that offered healthy food items, from apples to string cheese, over two fall seasons. The club registered stable sales and revenue, while profits remained intact. Results appear in the Journal of Public Health.

In the fall of 2008, the booster club in Muscatine, Iowa took a chance. Researchers from the Univ. of Iowa asked whether the club would add healthy foods – from apples to string cheese – to its concessions menu. And would it also consider putting healthier ingredients in big sellers like nachos and popcorn?

These were no idle requests. Booster clubs across the U.S. directly support schools’ athletic and extra-curricular programs like band and choir. The Muskie Boosters, for instance, raise $90,000 annually for athletics and other outside school activities. With crucial dollars at stake, clubs can be reluctant to tinker with a reliable cash generator like concession sales.

“I don’t think without [revenue from] booster clubs, especially with how schools are cutting things, how they’d be able to do it,” says Kate Hansen a former president of the Muskie Boosters.

The little gamble paid off for the Muskies. According to a new study published this week in the Journal of Public Health, the club netted stable sales and revenues with the healthy-food additions over one full season. Profits remained intact as well. Average sales per varsity football game rose to $6,849 in 2009 from $6,599 the year before, an increase of 4 percent. Moreover, the healthy foods made up 9.2 percent of concession sales, signaling the new products could boost overall sales. Parents and students also said they were happy with the healthy-food choices, according to surveys cited in the study.

“This study is the first to evaluate the results on satisfaction and sales of making changes to concession-stand offerings in school settings,” writes the research team, led by Helena Laroche, assistant professor in internal medicine and pediatrics at the UI and the study’s corresponding author. “It provides preliminary evidence that altering offerings and adding healthy options can be done by working in concert with parent groups. Furthermore, these modifications can provide reasonable revenue and profit margins without negative effects on customer satisfaction.”

To date, six other school booster clubs in Iowa have added healthy foods to their concession menus, following a how-to guide written by Laroche based on her experience in Muscatine.

“Booster groups have worried that healthier items wouldn’t sell, and it’s important for them to make money to support student activities,” Laroche says. “This shows it can be done.”

The Muskie Boosters offered eight healthy foods: apples, carrots and dip, chicken sandwiches, granola bars, pickles, soft pretzels, string cheese and trail mix. The items were sold during the 2009 fall season at Muscatine High football games, volleyball matches and swim meets. Additionally, boosters substituted canola oil for coconut oil bars in the popcorn, and swapped the cheese in the nachos, eliminating trans fat from the products. The group advertised the new offerings in a poster and marketing campaign with the slogan, “Great taste, more variety.”

While all the healthy foods sold, chicken sandwiches and pretzels dominated, accounting for 7.6 percent of all food sales, sales data showed. Sales of other items varied according to weather, venue and product visibility. Granola bars and trail mix sold better indoors, while carrots and dip were popular in benign, outdoor weather. String cheese suffered from being tucked away in a refrigerator. Pickles were especially popular with students. And, no one noticed the healthier changes to the popcorn and nachos, which continued to sell briskly.

Researchers from Cornell Univ.’s Food and Brand Lab analyzed the sales data.

“If you’re a concession-stand sponsor, and you want people to eat better, and you want to make more money, add at least five healthy items,” says Brian Wansink, the Cornell lab’s director and a marketing professor. “There’s got to be a critical mass, and we find that five’s a very lucky number, and ten is even better.”

To be sure, classic concession items – hot dogs, pizza and candy bars – continued to sell well. But Hansen says she noticed a shift in people’s perception and attitudes about the new offerings.

“I think what it comes down to is people want to have choices,” says Hansen, who was the Muscatine booster club president during the study. “We still sell hot dogs, we still sell pizza, we still sell candy bars. But everything in life is about choices, and it’s important to put choices out there that meets everybody’s needs and wants, and more people — it seems — want to lead healthier lives.”

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Temecula’s Ronald Reagan Sports Park Selected Beneficiary of Macy’s Program !

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Temecula, CA.- Macy’s partners with the National Recreation and Park Association to raise funds for local parks nationwide, with every dollar matched by Macy’s, up to $250,000.

Ronald Reagan Park has been selected for “Heart Your Park,” a program introduced as part of Macy’s “Secret Garden” campaign that aims to raise awareness and dollars for local parks across the country. From March 7 to March 31, customers at Macy’s Temecula on Winchester Road can donate $1 or more at the register, with 100 percent of the donations benefiting Ronald Reagan Park. To further spread the love, Macy’s will match the total customer donation across all stores, dollar for dollar, up to $250,000 in total.

Ronald Reagan Park is one of more than 550 parks nationwide that will benefit from Macy’s “Heart Your Park” this spring. In partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the national non- profit organization dedicated to the advancement of community parks, recreation and conservation, Macy’s stores across the country have each selected a local park or green space in their community to support through the program. Donations will go toward making improvements, such as maintaining trails, playgrounds, and ball fields, and everything in between.

“We are thrilled to partner with Macy’s and NRPA for ‘Heart Your Park’ this spring,” said TCSD President, Jeff Comerchero. “Through this wonderful program and donations by Macy’s customers, we are excited about the increased awareness and additional funding for Ronald Reagan Park. This park is a great asset to the community, and we greatly appreciate Macy’s support.”

“Heart Your Park” is part of Macy’s “Secret Garden” spring campaign that will come to life at Macy’s stores and on macys.com with an infusion of garden-inspired merchandise, special promotions and events. For more information on “Secret Garden,” visit macys.com/secretgarden. For a full list of the parks benefiting from Macy’s “Heart Your Park,” visit macys.com/parks.

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