Morning News Report; July 30, 2010

ARIZONA SHERIFF CONTINUES TO UPHOLD IMMIGRATION RULING

Arguably America’s most famous sheriff, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, is continuing his aggressive anti-illegal immigration enforcement despite a judge’s ruling on Wednesday to curb a state law that put some teeth in the federal law.

My take: Although I sometimes think Arpaio is a little over-the-top, he’s spot-on in this, in my opinion. If federal enforcement isn’t going to help curb the illegal immigrant problem, then — by God — I like the way Sheriff Arpaio is doing it.

Don’t get it twisted — I’m not for racial profiling in any sort of way. But if someone gets pulled over for a cracked windshield (which is the case in the above linked story), then why can’t you check that person’s papers? If I get pulled over for a cracked windshield, I fully expect the law enforcement officer to run my driver’s license to see if I am a wanted murderer, rapist or illegal immigrant.

Then what’s the difference with anyone else?

Good job, Sheriff Arpaio. Wish we had more law enforcement types like him.

BP STATION OWNERS TO RE-BRAND?

With the bad reputation that BP has earned over the past 100-plus days, many BP gas station owners are considering changing the “brand” of their stations to Amoco or another name.

My take: Not a bad idea — I know I am one of millions who will never put another drop of BP gas in my Jeep. But … if it goes to Amoco, I won’t buy it either.

STRASBURG TO THE DL

Washington Nationals’ super-rookie Stephen Strasburg was sent to the disabled list last night.

My take: Why did I include this? Because myself, Jonathan Massey and former Free Presser (and current Burlington Times-News dude) Chris Lavender are going to D.C. for the Phillies-Nats games this weekend — and Strasburg was scheduled to pitch Sunday. Eh, it’ll be fun anyway, but was hoping to see the flamethrower in action.

The iPod shuffle

Ride The Wind — Poison

Animal — Def Leppard

Little Amsterdam — Tori Amos

School’s Out — Alice Cooper

If You Leave — Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark

P.S.: It’s that time of the year again — fantasy football season is quickly approaching. I’m going to have a formal sign-up here on the ol’ blog soon, but I wanted to plant the seed in your heads. For the second year, I’m going to have a live draft league and an online league.

Some differences this year, though: both leagues are only going to have 12 teams each, as opposed to the one league that had 14 in it. Choose which one you want to be in, because I’m not going to allow anyone to be in both of them unless I need to fill one of them (but I doubt that is going to happen).

Secondly, the live draft is going to be held at East Coast Wings instead of here at the paper as it was last year. I just thought it would be more fun to do it in that setting this year.

Lastly — the live draft is going to be a money league, with a $20 entry fee. We can come up with payout info later, but I’m thinking (with a $240 pot) that we’ll go $120 to the Super Bowl champ, $60 to the runner-up and $60 to the player who scores the most points in the regular season.

Morning News Report; July 29, 2010

GREENE COUNTY DEPUTY KILLED IN LINE OF DUTY

Greene County Sheriff’s Office Dep. John Willis, 30, was killed last night when Daniel Meyers, 22, shot him twice in the Shine community of Greene County.  Willis was responding to a domestic disturbance call. After killing Willis, Meyers turned his weapon on himself and committed suicide.

There has been excellent coverage on this all night from the three TV stations:

My take: First off, another ridiculous and senseless tragedy has taken a man who has sworn to defend us. It was tough enough with Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office Det. Allen Pearson a little over a year ago — I can’t even begin to imagine what Lemmie Smith and his tightknit group of deputies are going through right now. Our prayers and thoughts are with Sheriff Smith and the GCSO.

Secondly, my apologies to the readers of The Free Press; when you picked up your paper this morning, you should’ve been able to read about this instead of having to watch TV news. Our deadlines to get copy down to our universal desk in Jacksonville are so early that our paper was already printing when this tragedy and aftermath was taking place. I’m probably going to delve into more of this later, but we’ll see.

But please stay with us at Kinston.com; Wesley Brown — our crime reporter — spent a good chunk of the night in Greene County and he’s back out there now, along with Greene County reporter Joel Gerber, getting to the bottom of this story.

JUDGE BLOCKS KEY PARTS OF ARIZONA IMMIGRATION LAW

The new Arizona immigration law, which took effect at midnight today, had some teeth taken out by a judge yesterday afternoon. Still, protests are taking place all over the state today.

My take: A serious hot-button issue that, unfortunately, I can’t delve into right now because we’re tracking down leads in the sad death of the deputy. Discuss amongst yourselves.

The iPod shuffle

One Call Away — Chingy featuring J-Weav

Going Nowhere Slow — The Bloodhound Gang

Respectable — The Rolling Stones

It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll (But I Like It) — The Rolling Stones

Even The Losers — Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Morning News Report; July 28, 2010

WE’RE LAZY IN N.C.

According to a new study released in BusinessWeek, North Carolina is the fourth-laziest state in the U.S.

My take: Seriously? I don’t think N.C. is the busiest by any stretch, but the fact we’re in the top 10 surprises me.

T.O. JOINS OCHOCINCO IN CINCY

Terrell Owens will join Chad Ochocinco as a wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals next season.

Unfortunately, this blogger from the San Francisco Gate has the gall to think people reporting this fact are racist.

My take: Well, color me racist, I guess; T.O. is controversial and he has a competing TV show on VH1 with “85.” So, according to that guy, you’re racist if you report that. And yes, I can “draw up” a football play, so I can write whatever the hell I want. Your whole reaction is racist in and of itself … so get over yourself, you hypocrite.

Dude, it’s 2010 — GET OVER IT. There are people (you included, evidently) who will try to turn EVERYTHING into a racial incident. Geez.

SPORTS HALL OF FAME INDUCTION CEREMONY IS AUG. 14

The Kinston/Lenoir County Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2010 will be inducted at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 14 at LCC’s Sportatorium. Included in this year’s class are South Lenoir legends Jimmy Smith and Linwood Hartsell, along with our good friend — and renowned referee/umpire — Tommy Mattocks.

My take: As I’ve been on the committee since its inception, I can tell you A LOT of work has gone into this. It’s going to be a fantastic ceremony — and I hope to see a lot of you Blue Devil supporters out there. As the linked story states, tickets are $25 each and are available at The Free Press office, the Parks and Rec HQ, Grainger Stadium and (forgot to add this in the story) South Lenoir High School.

The iPod shuffle

Get On Your Boots — U2

Vasoline — Stone Temple Pilots

While You See A Chance — Steve Winwood

Love Rescue Me — U2

Mama — Genesis

Morning Sports Report; July 27, 2010

Not feeling news today, so here’s an MSR for your perusal…

HOKIES PICKED TO WIN ACC FOOTBALL TITLE

The Virginia Tech Hokies are the preseason favorites to win the ACC as they received 50 of a possible 98 first-place votes from ACC media representatives yesterday in Greensboro.

The Hokies were picked to win the Atlantic Division of the ACC, while Florida State was selected to win the Coastal Division. The voting (with first-place votes in parentheses) :

 Atlantic Division

1. Florida State (78) 565

2. Clemson (16)        479

3. Boston College (4) 389

4. N.C. State              283

5. Wake Forest         203

6. Maryland              139

Coastal Division

1. Virginia Tech (62) 532

2. Miami  (20)            444

3. Georgia Tech (11)  408

4. North Carolina (5)  379

5. Duke                         169

6. Virginia                    126

ACC Championship votes

1. Virginia Tech — 50

2. Florida State — 26

3. Miami — 10

4. Georgia Tech — 8

T5. Boston College — 2

T5. North Carolina — 2

My take: Not that surprised that Virginia Tech was picked to win … but shocked that UNC — which is supposed to be borderline Top 25 (or better) this year didn’t get more love.

The most depressing part to this ol’ Cavahoo, though? Virginia picked last in the Coastal Division … behind Dook. Yep, not a great way to start the ol’ morning…

HO-HUM … ANOTHER NO-NO

Matt Garza of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays threw the 2010 season’s fifth no-hitter, the most in one MLB season since 1991, in a 5-0 victory against Detroit. There have also been two no-no’s in Tampa Bay’s home park in the past 11 games.

My take: It certainly is the Year of the Pitcher. Since steroids have become truly banned (not the little fake “banned” of past years) and MLB is beginning to test for human growth hormone, you might want to get used to this for a few years until the batters catch back up with the pitchers.

CHRIS PAUL FLIP-FLOPS

After basically demanding a trade over the past few weeks, former Wake Forest star and current New Orleans point guard Chris Paul said he’s happy to be a Hornet – and that he hopes to be there for a long time.

My take: Wha-huh? Well, good for him … I guess. I think it would’ve been pretty hard to trade him anyway. Guess he’ll have to wait until his contract expires in two years. 

The iPod shuffle

Waterfalls — TLC

Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon — Urge Overkill

Small Town — John Mellancamp

Father Of Mine — Everclear

A To The K — Cypress Hill

Morning News Report; July 26, 2010

SHACKLEFORD HAS (FIRST) DAY IN COURT

Charles Shackleford had his first appearance in court today on charges of illegally selling prescription drugs and was assigned a public defender. He also claims to have no assets remaining from his pro basketball career.

My take: A sad, sad story that is only going to get worse before it gets better.

I don’t know how much Shack made in his six years of playing in the NBA (and overseas, for that matter), but it should’ve been enough to sustain him to now … wouldn’t you think?

THE ‘HAWK’ SPEAKS COMMON SENSE

Former Chicago Cubs/Montreal Expos/Boston Red Sox star Andre “The Hawk” Dawson was finally inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame over the weekend — and he had a special message for players thinking about doing steroids to improve their performance: “Don’t be lured to the dark side.”

My take: Awesome. I don’t know how such a message from a guy who has been out of the game for 14 years (he finally made it to the Hall after nine years of being on the ballot and the mandatory five years out of baseball), but I hope it helps. It’s why I don’t give a crap when A-Roid hits No. 600 — like Barry Bonds, anything that d-bag does has no weight with me because of his use of PEDs.

‘INCEPTION’ BEATS ‘SALT’ AT WEEKEND BOX OFFICE

The Leonardo DiCaprio thriller “Inception” was tops at the box office this weekend, pulling in $43.5 million in its second week. It held off the debut of Angelina Jolie’s “Salt,” which had $36.5 million in receipts.

Third through fifth were “Despicable Me” ($24.1 million), “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” ($9.7 million) and “Toy Story 3″ ($9 million).

My take: I have been really intrigued by the commercials for “Inception” and I want to see it. “Inception” did get the Jonathan Massey seal of approval, so it has that going for it.

However, I have no desire to see “Salt.” Yes, Angelina Jolie is still smoking hot, although she’s lost a large degree of that hotness (and appeal, at least to me) with her race to adopt more babies than Madonna.

The iPod shuffle

Public Enemy No. 1 — Public Enemy

Kiss — Prince & The Revolution

Legs — ZZ Top

Don’t Go Breaking My Heart — Elton John & Kiki Dee

Touchdown — T.I. featuring Eminem

(iPod shuffle note: two of my all-time favorite karaoke songs of all time — “Kiss” and “Don’t Go …” are in today’s shuffle. It’s this simple: you haven’t lived until you’ve heard me and Jon Dawson singing “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” – it’s a treat for the senses.)

Lovick, Deaver, Bynum earn all-state honors

Three area prep baseball players were named to the prestigious N.C. Baseball Coaches Association All-State 2A team today: Kinston’s Joshua Lovick, South Lenoir’s Logan Deaver and Greene Central’s Will Bynum.

For a complete list of all the honorees, click here.

My take: Very, very deserving trio of players, although I have to wonder how a player who won 10 games and had a sub-2.00 ERA (Kinston’s Blake Herring) didn’t make the team. There couldn’t have been more than a handful of 10-game winners in the state … and he didn’t make it?

Preseason prep football rankings

NCPreps.com has the preseason coach’s polls and players of the year for our area conferences, as voted upon by the league’s coaches:

Eastern Plains 2A:

1. SW Edgecombe
2. Tarboro
3. Kinston
4. Beddingfield
5. Farmville Central
6. Greene Central
7. North Pitt

POY:RB Quandre Pittman – SW Edgecombe

East Central 2A

1. East Duplin
2. Northside-Jacksonville
3. Croatan
4. South Lenoir
5. Clinton
6. Richlands
7. Topsail
8. Swansboro

POY: QB Garrett Bridges – Croatan

Eastern Carolina 3A

1. South Johnston
2. C.B. Aycock
3. Triton
4. Eastern Wayne
5. Southern Wayne
6. North Lenoir

POY: WR Craig Murdock – C.B. Aycock

Carolina 1A

1. Goldsboro
2. Ayden-Grifton
3. North Duplin
4. Princeton
5. Rosewood
6. Spring Creek

POY: RB/LB Andre Montgomery – Goldsboro

Coastal Plains 1A

1. Southwest Onslow
2. Jones Senior
3. Pamlico
4. East Carteret
5. Dixon
6. Lejeune

POY: RB Chris Hairston – SW Onslow

My take: Funny how something as small as this gets my old blood pumping!

I’m not at all surprised that Kinston is picked third in the EP2A, North Lenoir is picked to finish last in the EC3A, Jones Senior is picked second in the CP1A or that Ayden-Grifton is picked second in the C1A.

However, I am pleasantly surprised that South Lenoir is picked fourth in the East Central; when’s the last time SL was picked to finish ahead of Clinton? AWESOME. And I’m a little surprised that Greene Central is picked so low in the EP2A; there’s a ton of talent in Greene County — when are they going to turn it around up there back to the days of Jim Bob Bryant?

Finally: thank God for Deana King — the publisher and owner of the state’s best prep football preview/website. Check out all the predictions for every N.C. prep conference here. You can also order the N.C. Prep Football News by going here. I’ve just sent my order in for it!

Morning News Report; July 23, 2010

SHACKLEFORD ARRESTED REDUX

As reported first at Kinston.com, former KHS, N.C. State and NBA basketball player Charles Shackleford was arrested in an undercover prescription drug sting yesterday.

My take: Yep, I’m still as disgusted as I was yesterday. If there has ever been a precautionary tale, this is it; here is a guy with a fantastic support system (his sister is an awesome person) who has allowed drugs to control his life. Good luck to him, because down-deep, he’s a pretty good guy who continually makes poor life decisions.

‘PRICE IS RIGHT’ IS CHANGING

Some big changes are coming to the daytime game show “The Price Is Right,” including a new “Come on down!” guy, the possibility of turning the show into more of a hybrid variety/game show and bigger prizes.

My take: Doesn’t this smack of desperation? The beauty of TPIR to me for decades was that you could go without watching it for two years — and it was the same show it ever was.

Don’t get it twisted: I really like Drew Carey; I think he’s funny and he’s a comedic genius, in my opinion. But I still am not comfortable with him hosting TPIR. There’ll never be another Bob Barker.

‘DANCE LIKE THE STARS’ SHOW IN TRENTON TONIGHT

A fundraiser will take place at the Jones County Civic Center in Trenton tonight when the “Dance like the Stars” show begins at 7 p.m. Several contestants, including Jones County Sheriff John Hall, Jones County Manager Franky Howard and longtime Jones County commissioner Sondra Ipock Riggs will take place in the show which is loosely based on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 and all money goes to support the Jones County Association of Educational Office Professionals’ scholarship fund.

My take: And the best part? I have been asked to be a judge. Yep.

I know as much about dancing as Jon Dawson does about personal grooming, but I guess I’m supposed to be the Simon Cowell-type bad guy. I think I can fill that bill.

I do need some advice from any of you guys (or gals) who watch DWTS; hit me up in comments or by e-mail (bhanks@freedomenc.com) on some funny lines for me to use tonight.

So, come on out to Trenton tonight! Laugh at the dancers, laugh at me and let’s raise some money for Jones County students.

The iPod shuffle

The Electric Co. — U2

Find The River — R.E.M.

Something — The Beatles

4 My Town (Play Ball) — Birdman, Drake & Lil Wayne

I’m Still Standing — Elton John

Congrats to Michael Jenkins!

Congratulations to former Kinston High School and Winthrop University basketball star Michael Jenkins, who signed a contract to play hoops for a Greek pro league today.

My take: Michael is one of the most understated and soft-spoken assassins I’ve ever been around. He signed late to attend Winthrop – then lit it up for four years, including sticking it to East Carolina four times. He wanted to play at ECU, but then-coach Bill Herrion didn’t even pay Jenkins a visit.

Anyhoo — congrats to one of the good guys!