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Archive for September, 2009

‘One Tree Hill’ actors, athletes to sign autographs for police memorial fundraiser

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Several actors and former professional sports players are signing their names for a fundraiser to benefit Wilmington’s Officer Down Memorial Fund.The Wilmington Police Recreation Association is sponsoring the celebrity autograph fundraiser from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Independence Mall’s Belk wing.

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Jordan soars into the Hall of Fame

Friday, September 11th, 2009

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You might say it is a mere formality. Friday night in Springfield, Massachusetts, Michael Jordan, the man many people consider the greatest basketball player ever, will enter the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Of course, Jordan’s career started as a school boy in Wilmington. And as his Airness officially achieves basketball immortality, we talk to a couple guys who knew him when he was just a kid named Mike.

Fred Lynch saw how special Michael Jordan was three decades ago, when Lynch was an assistant basketball coach at Laney High School.

“When he was in the ninth grade, he was the best ninth grader. When he was a sophomore, he was the best sophomore,” Lynch said.

But as a sophomore, Jordan missed out on the varsity team when Coach Pop Herring decided the guard would get more playing time on the JV squad and instead filled the varsity’s need for size with Jordan’s taller, best friend Leroy Smith. Many people believe it was a decision that inspired Jordan to greatness.

“Michael was always a tremendous competitor anyway, and I guess that was enough to say, ‘you know what? I really don’t like this feeling, and I’m going to push and push and push,'” remembered Smith.

Jordan pushed his way to varsity, filling gyms and earning a scholarship to UNC, exceeding the expectations of many as he led the Tar Heels to the national championship as a freshman, hitting the game-winning shot in the finals.

“We kind of took bets with people saying he’ll come off the bench at Carolina. We’d say there’s no way. And watching him in college, we knew that he’d be a better pro than a college player, because the game’s different,” said Lynch.

Jordan was different than most everyone else; leading the Chicago Bulls to six world championships and transcending the sport.

He became a sight to be seen for fans, and especially for a friend who knew Jordan way back when he was a kid shooting hoops in the driveway of his family’s Gordon Road home.

“In some aspects, it’s surreal,” said Smith. “Michael was not just a great player. He’s iconic.”

Today, Jordan’s icon adorns the court at his high school alma mater. The gym bears his name. Now Laney’s athletic director, Lynch said despite all that and what Jordan’s achieved, his legacy does not cast a large shadow over today’s players.

“Now their heroes are Kobe, Lebron and those guys, so it’s a little bit different for the younger generation,” Lynch added.

Still, Lynch said he uses Jordan’s story as motivation for young people. “Here is somebody who could’ve not worked as hard, and he still would’ve been better than most people. But he wanted to be the best, so he worked hard at it.”

Both Lynch and Smith said they are very proud of Jordan’s enshrinement tonight. They are also proud of whatever small part they played in his success.

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videoYou might say it is a mere formality. Friday night in Springfield, Massachusetts, Michael Jordan, the man many people consider the greatest basketball player ever, will enter the Basketball Hall of Fame.

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Associated poll

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NC-based Marine guilty of shooting comrade in game

Friday, September 11th, 2009

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CAMP LEJEUNE — A North Carolina-based Marine has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter after shooting a fellow Marine to death in a game intended to show the comrades trusted each other.

The Daily News of Jacksonville reported Friday that Cpl. Mathew Nelson also pleaded guilty to seven counts of reckless endangerment for pointing his 9mm pistol at other Marines in the hut the unit shared in Iraq. Nelson was sentenced to eight years confinement during a court martial.

Lance Cpl. Patrick Malone died from a gunshot to the head.

Lance Cpl. David Skinner testified he’d often seen Marines point a gun and ask the target whether he trusted he wouldn’t be shot.

A Camp Lejeune spokeswoman said Friday she did not have ages and hometowns for Nelson and Malone.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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A North Carolina-based Marine has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter after shooting a fellow Marine to death in a game intended to show the comrades trusted each other.

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Associated poll

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Report: Easleys got big discount on NC property

Friday, September 11th, 2009

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RALEIGH — A Raleigh newspaper is reporting that former North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley and his wife accepted a $137,000 discount on a waterfront lot in 2005.

Closing documents made public by The News & Observer on Friday show the Easleys got a 25 percent “seller discount” for the property on Bogue Sound in Carteret County. The deed registered with the county doesn’t include the discount, recording the price as $549,880.

Easley spokesman Ace Smith told the newspaper that Easley received the same offer as everyone else and it would be “ridiculous” to suggest the discount was a gift. Several men involved in the subdivision project were Easley allies and campaign donors.

Federal authorities are investigating the Easleys in a wide-ranging probe.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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A Raleigh newspaper is reporting that former North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley and his wife accepted a $137,000 discount on a waterfront lot in 2005.

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Associated poll

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New rules could protect Masonboro Island

Friday, September 11th, 2009

By Patricia E. MatsonCitydesk@StarNewsOnline.Com

Jim Gregson, director of the N.C. Division of Coastal Management, said the options might include rule changes such as banning alcohol on the island.

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