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Archive for November, 2009

Power wheelchair hockey at Hoggard

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

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Being a high school freshman can be a real challenge. You’re self-conscious, trying to learn your way around a new building, surrounded by a lot of new people. And then there’s the wheelchair.

Justin Verzaal is a freshman at Hoggard High School. He has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. He also admits to having the time of his young life at Hoggard.

“It’s been awesome. It’s been so fun and exciting. Everybody here is so nice and happy to help and stuff,” Justin said.

It’s been a two way street.

“It’s been good for Justin to be a part of our leadership class and it’s been good for us to have Justin. We’ve learned a lot from him and he’s learned a lot from us,” said Kim Bierstadt, Justin’s teacher.

When Justin came up with the idea to start a power wheelchair hockey team here in the Wilmington area, his classmates in Kim Bierstadt’s student council leadership class rallied to the cause.

They helped organize, publicize, and run the first event.

Justin said, “Over the summer, I went to a power hockey tournament at the RBC Center in Raleigh. It was crazy.”

This past Saturday, Justin’s dream took a big step forward with a start-up clinic in the Hoggard gym. His dad even revved up his wheelchair for the day.

This isn’t Justin’s dream alone. His mom knows the ground rules of Duchenne muscular dystrophy all too well and what this means. “It may sound strange but it’s freedom. Justin spends a lot of time inside these days. He used to play sports, he walked, he ran. But things have changed now so being able to do this puts him on the same playing field as his brother and sister that are off playing baseball and soccer. He’s able to have a sport that he can call his own and have his family cheer for him.”

This sport represents hope for a boy facing daunting odds.

This disease will ultimately sap his motor skills and quite possibly take him at an all too young age.

Justin is looking nowhere but forward. “I’m hoping I’ll be able to graduate from high school and maybe go on to college or something.” Maybe on a power wheelchair hockey scholarship.

The power wheelchair hockey team is open to anyone of any age in a power wheelchair.

You can contact the Muscular Dystrophy Association for more information at 763-3114.

The next event is planned for February 20th. Justin is hoping for a big turnout.

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Being a high school freshman can be a real challenge. You’re self-conscious, trying to learn your way around a new building, surrounded by a lot of new people. And then there’s the wheelchair.

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Associated poll

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Flu strain is lingering in area longer than usual

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

By Vicky EckenrodeVicky.Eckenrode@StarNewsOnline.com

The flu, likely the H1N1 virus that is predominant strain right now, continues to circulate among area students.Calvary Christian School, a private school in Wilmington, stopped classes for the rest of the week after some teachers and children in the 72-student school became ill.

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Food drives help keep shelves stocked at local food bank

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

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With the holidays approaching, donations are starting to pour in at the local food bank. Almost half of all food drive donations at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina come during the holidays.

An average food drive brings in between 100 and 300 pounds of food. That is enough food for 200 to 300 meals. This year, most of the organizations the food bank supports are reporting an increase in the number of people asking for emergency food assistance.

“Year round we have a need because we serve between 400 and 500 meals a day. So that equates to more than 100,000 meals a year,” said Verna Mansfield of Good Sheppard Ministries.

Jennifer Caslin of the Food Bank of Central and Eastrern North Carolina said, “There’s several larger businesses in town that are doing food drives at all their chains. So I expect that is definitely going to spike quite a bit.”

While more people tend to donate food during the holidays, Caslin said the biggest need for donations comes during the summer months, when children are home from school.

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With the holidays approaching, donations are starting to pour in at the local food bank. Almost half of all food drive donations at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina come during the holidays.

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Associated poll

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$95 million Veterans Affairs super clinic planned for Wilmington

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

By Gareth McGrath Gareth.McGrath@StarNewsOnline.com

Seventy-two hours after voting against a health care reform proposal championed by President Obama and other leading Democrats, U.S. Mike McIntyre was in Wilmington to announce a significant expansion of a health care program he does support – medical support to local veterans and their families.

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Update – Rain from Ida prompts flood watch for Southeastern N.C.

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

With a rainfall deficit of nearly 5 inches for the year, the region could use the precipitation. But that much moisture dropped over a 72-hour period could cause flooding.

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