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Archive for January, 2012

Did Pop Herring really cut Michael Jordan?; A Sports Illustrated Special Report

Friday, January 13th, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (SPORTS ILLUSTRATED) — The most infamous roster decision in high school basketball history came down 33 years ago on the edge of tobacco country, between the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean, in an old town full of white wooden rocking chairs. The decision took physical form in two handwritten lists on a gymnasium door, simultaneously beautiful for the names they carried and crushing for the names they did not. A parade of fragile teenage boys passed by, stopping to read the lists, studying them like inscriptions in stone. Imagine these boys in the time of their sorting, their personal value distilled to a binary question, yes or no, and they breathe deeply, unseen storms gathering behind their ribs, below their hearts, in the hollows of fear and exhilaration.

The chief decision-maker loved those boys, which made his choice all the harder. He gave them his time seven days a week, whether they needed shooting practice at six in the morning or a slice of his wife’s sweet-potato pie. His house was their house and his old green Ford Maverick was their car and his daughter was their baby sister, and he liked the arrangement. He was tall and slender, like the longleaf pines that covered Cape Fear, and when he smiled in pictures, his dark eyes were narrow, hazy, as if he’d just awakened from a pleasant dream. His nickname, Pop, evoked some withered old patriarch, but Clifton Herring was only 26, one of the youngest varsity coaches in North Carolina, more older brother than father to his boys, still a better player than most of them. They’d never seen a shooter so pure. One day during practice he made 78 straight free throws.

To an outsider watching Pop Herring’s basketball tryout in November 1978, it would not have been obvious that the gym at Laney High in Wilmington, N.C., held a player destined to become the greatest in the universe. He was still Mike Jordan then, not Michael Jordan, just another sophomore guard among 50 eager boys competing for 15 spots on the varsity and 15 more on the junior varsity. There was no doubt that Mike Jordan could handle the ball, but his shooting was merely good and his defense mediocre. Mike Jordan was seven or eight inches shorter than Michael Jordan would be, only 5’10” at age 15, and at least one assistant coach had never heard of him before that day. If Jordan distinguished himself at all during the tryout, it was through his supreme effort. He was first in line for the conditioning drills, and he ran them as hard as anyone, and when they were over he wanted to run some more.

The coaches met in Herring’s windowless closet of an office to compare notes. Most of the varsity spots were already locked down. Herring had gone to the playoffs the previous season with two phenomenal junior guards, Dave McGhee and James (Sputnik) Beatty, and now they were even better. Although it’s hard to be certain now, because memorabilia hounds keep stealing the yearbooks from Jordan’s time at Laney, there were about 10 seniors on the 1978–79 roster. They knew Herring’s system. Some of them, like Mike Jordan himself, had learned to run and gun at the Boys Club under Earl (Papa Jack) Jackson, the man who had taught the game not only to Pop Herring but also to Meadowlark Lemon, the great Harlem Globetrotter.

But the Laney Bucs did have one major weakness, and that was size. They didn’t have a returning player taller than 6’3″.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE STORY: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1193740/index…

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3 killed at NC lumber company; gunman hurt

Friday, January 13th, 2012

STAR, NC (AP) — Police say a gunman who opened fire at a lumber company targeted four of his co-workers, killing three of them and critically injuring the other person.

Police say the shooter, 50-year-old Ronald Dean Davis, went home after the shooting at the warehouse Friday morning and shot himself in the head, leaving him critically wounded.

Montgomery County Sheriff Dempsey Owens says police found Davis slumped over on his couch. A handgun and a rambling, vague six-page note was on the couch next to Davis.

Owens says about 16 other employees were at the McBride Lumber Co. in central North Carolina when Davis started firing with a shotgun. Police say he was a disgruntled employee, but they have not said what he was upset over.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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DOT chief explains changes under way

Friday, January 13th, 2012

It’s going to be a busy 2012 for Gene Conti

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WWAY, NHRMC Health Fair offers free screenings, advice

Friday, January 13th, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — If you haven’t given up on your New Year’s resolutions yet, you may be looking for a way to get healthy. There was plenty of advice available today at the annual Taking Control of Your Health Fair hosted by WWAY and New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

People lined up for free screenings and free health information from the best health care professionals in the Cape Fear today at Independence Mall.

New Hanover Regional Medical Center says it wants everyone in Wilmington to stay healthy, so the hospital offered free services because they know times are tough.

“In this economy, one of the things New Hanover Regional recognizes is that a lot of people have lost their insurance and they don’t have doctors to go to, so we want to offer these screenings so that people can have access to screening,” NHRMC’s Iris Baker said.

Results for the free screenings were available within minutes and people were given steps on what to do next.

Many people we spoke with said they have little to no health insurance, so a trip to the doctor is costly. They said getting free screenings and flu shots may not have only helped their health but their wallets.

“I’m barely employed thanks to this great economy, and anything I can get for nothing is alright by me,” John Roebuck of Wilmington said.

Christina Smith of Wilmington said, “I don’t have insurance, so coming here allows me a first step if I really need to go see somebody. You know, they may guide me in the right direction.”

Visitors without insurance were guided insurance providers to learn how to get affordable coverage before it’s too late.

“Things like health insurance and life insurance, they’re one of the only products that once you need them, you can’t get them,” State Farm agent Jonathan Calhoun said. “You have to prepare for the unexpected prior to it happening, and that’s tough sometimes, but by going to see an insurance agent and talking to them, it allows you to look at the different things and protect yourself.”

Visitor said they wanted to start the year off on the right foot, and this was the perfect place to have their questions answered.

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Soles found not guilty of assault; Jernigan denies previous claims of sexual relationship

Friday, January 13th, 2012

TABOR CITY, NC (WWAY) — A judge has found former state Sen. R.C. Soles not guilty of assault with a deadly weapon.

Frankie Jernigan claimed Soles hit him in the face with a metal cane back in September. Weeks later, Jernigan said he wanted the charge dropped saying Soles was like a father to him.

In a two-hour trial today, Jernigan admitted he had gone to Soles’s home in September to ask for money. He said Soles, who was standing in the garage, told him to leave. When Jernigan wouldn’t, Soles pepper sprayed him. When Jernigan still wouldn’t leave, Soles hit Jernigan once with a metal cane belonging to Jernigan’s uncle Jason Fowler, who had been arguing in the garage with Soles.

Soles did not testify, but his attorney said that Soles, who was 77 at the time of the incident, felt trapped in the garage between the two younger men and acted in self defense. Soles had also filed papers months earlier saying he did not want Jernigan and others coming around his home and office.

During his testimony, Jernigan denied some of the things he said to police and the media in the days after the fight, including that he had had a sexual relationship with Soles. On the stand, he said that their relationship was strictly attorney-client and that Soles had been trying to help Jernigan get back on his feet.

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