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Archive for June, 2009

Visitor from UK makes her return home

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

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There is an update on a foreign visitor to our area who is making a triumphant return home Wednesday. Willamina, or Willie for short, arrived at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital on Topsail Island back in April.

What made her story so interesting is that she had washed up on the coast of southwest England. But after some rehab in the UK, and here in North Carolina, Willie is ready to go back to the wild.

She will be released at 2:00 p.m. on Topsail Beach south of the Sea Vista Motel.

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There is an update on a foreign visitor to our area who is making a triumphant return home Wednesday. Willamina, or Willie for short, arrived at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital on Topsail Island back in April.

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Associated poll

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Nike ad campaign gives Laney High a boost

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

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As schools across the state try to figure out how to handle budget cuts, New Hanover County’s Laney High is getting a little boost. A new ad campaign built on the legend of one of Wilmington’s most famous son’s and Laney’s most famous alum is giving the school some global exposure and some extra cash. We explore the fact, fiction and the gray area in between.

You probably know the story of Michael Jordan’s journey from Laney High to the Basketball Hall of Fame. But a new Nike ad campaign tells part of the Air Jordan story you may not know; maybe because it is not totally true.

There is a real-life basis for the character Leroy Smith in Harvest Leroy Smith, Junior – Jordan’s best friend in high school. “We were connected at the hip,” described Smith.

Smith has long been the answer to the trivia question of, who beat out Jordan for the final spot on Laney’s varsity team their sophomore year. “No. That was not the truth,” said current Laney coach and athletic director, Fred Lynch. Lynch knows, because he was an assistant for that 1978-1979 team. He said it is true coach Pop Herring put Smith on varsity and sent Jordan to JV.

“Because Michael was a sophomore, and he had some pretty good guards on varsity, that it would be better for Mike to play JV. That way he’d play all the time,” said Lynch.

It also helped that Smith was six foot six inches. Smith said, “I was the tallest kid in the school, so I guess the coach’s decision was, “Hey, let’s go with the real tall kid.”

Lynch and Smith said not making varsity likely did motivate Jordan, who they said hates losing, but they said it probably did not play the large role the farcical Nike commercials and website getyourbasketballon.com portray.

The real Leroy Smith is not just an entertainment executive in California; he is also a motivational speaker for high school kids. “I talk about just the value of having goals, setting goals and working through other people to achieve those goals,” Smith said.

As for the character Nike created, Lynch said actor Charlie Murphy’s over-the-top performance is fitting. “Leroy was a character. Leroy was very outgoing.”

And Smith, who said Nike contacted him about the ads last fall, after Jordan told the company about his old friend, said there are elements of him in the character. But what about the online petition that if Jordan belongs in the hall of fame, so does his motivator? “That’s a true statement. And I jest right now,” said Smith.

Smith is serious, though, about being able to help his alma mater, which a school district spokeswoman said will get $5,000 from Nike for using the Laney name. “To know that the school is getting some funds out of this and really helping the program, whatever they’re doing with the money, it’s a good feeling.”

Neither Smith nor Lynch know for sure what Nike plans for this ad campaign, but Smith said there has been talk about a new shoe and clothing.

Lynch said he would love to see a resurgence in sales of Laney merchandise, including Michael Jordan’s Laney jersey, which Lynch said has brought the school about $150,000 over the years.

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videoAs schools across the state try to figure out how to handle budget cuts, New Hanover County’s Laney High is getting a little boost. A new ad campaign built on the legend of one of Wilmington’s most famous son’s and Laney’s most famous alum is giving the school some global exposure and some extra cash.

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Associated poll

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Senate gives final approval to ban texting while driving

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

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The State Senate gave final approval Tuesday to legislation to ban drivers from text messaging or sending e-mails with their cell phones.

If Governor Bev Perdue signs into law, someone caught violating the law could face a $100 fine plus court costs.

Drivers that are younger than 18 are already barred from the practice. They are not allowed to talk on their cell phones, either.

The new law would go into effect December 1st.

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The State Senate gave final approval Tuesday to legislation to ban drivers from text messaging or sending e-mails with their cell phones.

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Associated poll

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Kure Beach drowning victim identified as St. Clairsville, Ohio, woman

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Authorities identified a drowning victim Tuesday who was caught in a large rip current at Kure Beach Saturday afternoon.

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Potential Medicaid cuts will affect private physicians

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

By Vicky EckenrodeVicky.Eckenrode@StarNewsOnline.com

Local doctors and administrators for mental health services said they expected to see a decline in state funding this year. But many said they were shocked at the size of recommended cuts that came from the House.

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