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Archive for June, 2012

Surf City using ‘bird bangers’ to scare off cormorants

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

The DOT is entrusting the bird shooing to the federal Department of Agriculture, which sends in a crew with "bird bangers."

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CFCC joins consortium led by N.C. Wesleyan

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Strength in numbers is always a good thing, say officials at Cape Fear Community College.

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US Open winner has Wilmington ties

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — One week ago North Carolina native Webb Simpson won the US Open. One thing you may not know, the golfer developed his love for the game in the Port City.

The US Open winner spent many weekends and summers in his youth at the Country Club of Landfall.

“When he was like 10 years old, I used to get a call from the superintendent and he’d say, ‘That kid is out here playing again,'” said Drew Pierson, the former Landfall Director of Golf. “It was 5 o’clock in the morning, 5:30 and I’d say, ‘Well he’s not hurting anybody just let him play’ you know. So that’s what he did.”

Pierson spent time with Simpson from 1993-1998, giving him golf lessons.

Pierson says he even made him his first set of custom clubs after Simpson outgrew his junior golf set.

“My wife and I were playing and he came up behind us at Nicklaus (a golf course at Landfall) and so he joined us on 15,” said Pierson. “We played 15,16,17,18 and then we played 1 and 2, and he birdied four of the six holes, as an 11-year-old and he’s playing from the men’s tees.”

Simpson moved on to play at Wake Forest and then won multiple tournaments on tour in 2011.

No career win was more special than last week at the Olympic Club.

Those who knew him as a young man in Wilmington still support the North Carolinian.

“I just think it’s great. I think he’s a real credit to the sport and the players,” said Pierson.

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Child care facilities face deadline to upgrade

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

State licensing consultants will determine if facilities that committed to upgrading their star ratings are making progress toward that goal.

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Sandusky verdict may restore faith in judicial system, but long way still to go

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

To the credit of we the media and the American people at large, we didn’t dub this “The Trial of the Century.”

Perhaps it’s because we still can’t believe those LAPD officers who beat Rodney King on videotape walked out of a suburban LA courtroom two decades ago free men.

Perhaps it’s because we still can’t believe an old, blood-soaked glove that did not fit was enough to acquit O.J.

Perhaps it’s because we still can’t believe the young mother who partied with friends while her daughter was “missing” walked out of a Florida jail less than two weeks after the end of her controversial trial.

Whatever the reason, no one seemed to hype the Jerry Sandusky trial. It was too awful to hype. The fact was stranger than fiction. We just wanted it over.

And so, less than eight months after police in central Pennsylvania arrested the former Penn State assistant football coach a week after his old boss became Division 1 football’s winningest coach and on a Nittany Lion open date, Sandusky again walked to a police car in handcuffs. This time out the side door of a courthouse and off to jail, having been convicted on 45 of 48 counts in his child sex abuse case.

Despite other trials that seemed slam dunks and went a much different direction, we were all pretty sure of how this would turn out and confident it would happen as we expected. We knew the evidence was too strong. We knew the stories were too true, as painful as they were for the victims and witnesses to tell.

A jury of seven women and five men agreed. Their verdicts late last night allow us to remove words like alleged, accused and suspected from discussions of Sandusky. That’s one of the amazing things about the American criminal justice system. The decision of the jury is defining and binding, pending appeals, of course. So Sandusky is no longer an accused child rapist. He is a child rapist. He is the monster we suspected. It’s true, because that jury in Bellefonte, PA, says it is.

It is the verdict we wanted and needed, but as the mother of one of the victims said last night, there are no winners in this. Sandusky will likely die in prison. The young men he abused will have to deal with what happened long after he is gone. Penn State continues to pick up the pieces of its once proud reputation. And we as viewers of this great American tragedy must try to make sense of the absolute senseless.

But for now, at least, even the most skeptical likely have a renewed faith in “the system.” But that faith may be fleeting. This saga is long from over. Sandusky’s attorney made that clear last night.

Joe Amendola may go down in history as one of the worst lawyers in a high-profile case in modern American history for the things he said and did in public, but he believes he has legitimate grounds for appeal. The judge would not grant the Sandusky team a continuance, bringing this case to a rapid close. That judge also allowed heresay testimony; third-party accounts of what a one-time Penn State janitor, his mind too riddled with dementia now to testify, told other people he saw Sandusky do to a child.

Personally, I think Sandusky’s best chance for appeal may be to argue inadequate counsel. After all, Amendola reportedly was the one who offered Bob Costas that now legendary phone interview with Sandusky on national TV. You know, the one where Sandusky had to think before hemming and hawing about whether he is sexually attracted to young boys? That was perhaps the most significant nail in the proverbial coffin, as far as the court of public opinion goes. And the strange decisions and comments by the attorney continued from there.

Regardless, Sandusky now sits in a jail cell, where he’ll wait until September for a sentencing hearing. It will likely include more painful statements from victims about the horrors he inflicted on them, whether in a locker room shower, the dungeon of deviate behavior that was Sandusky’s basement or anywhere else. The minimum sentence for his crimes is reportedly 60 years. It doesn’t seem enough, despite it being a life sentence for the 68-year-old.

For now, we all wait to see if the verdicts will stand. Or will Amendola somehow prove his legal skills, leaving so many of us questioning the legal system once again?

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