Big money

| February 01, 2007

The Deal or No Deal audience rooted for Sollena every time he had to make the now-famous decision: take the money or try for more. The “bank,” an all-powerful man upstairs shown only in silhouette, calls Mandel and offers the contestant large sums of money if he will do one thing: take it and end his turn on Deal or No Deal. When the bank offered Sollena $675,000, his wife was beside herself.

“I was overwhelmed with joy, but I was mad at my wife,” Sollena says. “She was screaming, ‘Take the money!’ and after I took it, we found out that my case had $3 million in it. She was about to have a nervous breakdown.”

Sollena’s daughter Alexandra, 16, also wanted her mom to relax a little.

“I was thinking ‘no deal’ the whole time,” Alexandra says. “I wanted my mom to be quiet, and I tried to scream over her, ‘No deal!’ It was intense.”

Sollena decided to take the deal.

“It was a lot of money for me,” Sollena says.

But what has changed about Sollena’s life since he won big on Deal or No Deal?

“I’m just a little more popular,” Sollena says. “All the big-money guys who never said hello to me now all pat me on the back and say hello. It’s nice; I’m kinda liking it.”

Sollena is still a member of the Teamsters union and drives for Superior Ink. He plans to keep trucking for seven more years, then retire. But a long, hard-earned vacation is in the works for the Sollena family, perhaps somewhere near a cannoli bakery in Italy.

For more information about Deal or No Deal, or to apply to be on the show, log on to the NBC website.
–Rachel Telehany

Carbon-Free Hauling
A truck driver concerned about the environment can now pay back Mother Earth for his truck’s pollution.

FactorLoads, a company that provides a factoring program for drivers, has teamed up with, a nonprofit based in Silver Spring, Md., that seeks to help people reduce their carbon “footprint” and embrace environment-friendly ways to do business.

Excessive amounts of carbon dioxide, or CO2, in the air cause global warming and local climate change. Environmental scientists predict that any rapid climate change will have detrimental effects on Earth, including accelerated glacial melting, more severe storms and hotter warm seasons. helps people reduce the amount of energy they use by educating them on their own emissions. For what emissions can’t be eliminated they encourage partners to become what Partnerships Director Craig Coulter calls “carbon neutral” by donating money to projects that reduce carbon emissions or add oxygen to the atmosphere.

“We make it simple and inexpensive,” Coulter says. “A small input can make a large impact, and people don’t realize how small. Donating $55 a year to carbon offset projects, or $4.58 a month, can make one person carbon neutral.”

The organization funds tree planting, renewable energy and efficiency research, or a combination of projects. Carbon offset participants choose which projects their money helps.

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