Globetrotters coming to Knoxville

By Michael Williams

The high flying comedic antics and basketball wizardry of the world renowned Harlem Globetrotters is coming to the Thompson Boling Sports Arena in Knoxville on March 18.

The Globetrotters are now in their 88th year and the new season features a new concept in which the fans can write the rules of the game.

“The fans can go to the web Site www.harlemglobetrotters.com and vote on which rules we will use in the game,” said Globetrotter Thunder Law. “The fans can vote up until game time and the team members won’t  know the rules until game time. You can’t prepare for it.”thundeer law

Fans can vote on two ball basketball, six on five basketball, the trick shot challenge and other options at the web Site. The four shot rule will be in effect as well. The four point shot is made from 35 feet away from the hoop.

Law grew up watching the Globetrotters on television and always dreamed of joining the team.  He realized his ambition in 2013 in grand fashion.  Law christened his rookie season by smashing the official Guinness World Records® record for the longest basketball shot – connecting from 109 feet 9 inches at US Airways Center in Phoenix as part of the ninth annual Guinness World Records Day on Nov. 14, 2013.  Law bested the old mark by 5 feet 2 inches.

“It’s been a great experience,” said Law. “I have met some of the legends of the Globetrotters such as Curly Neal and Meadowlark Lemon. We have become good friends and both of them have given me pointers.”

When not dazzling fans with his basketball expertise, Law appears at schools across the nation where he volunteers his time reaching out to kids in need. Law appeared at a school in Greenville, North Carolina recently to speak out about bullying.

“There is so much we do off the court that many people are not aware of,” said Law. “I love being out there helping out in the community.”

The Globetrotters will be playing Tuesday March 18th at Thompson Boling Arena in Knoxville. Tip-off is 7 p.m. For more information visit the web site at  www.tbarena.com.

The Big Game

image003BRISTOL, Tenn.  – While not scheduled to meet in the infield at Bristol Motor Speedway until September 10, 2016, the coaches for two of the nation’s tradition-rich football programs get together at the start/finish line for the March 16 Food City 500.

University of Tennessee football coach Butch Jones and Virginia Tech head man Frank Beamer, whose teams meet in the Battle at Bristol in two years, serve as co-Grand Marshals for NASCAR’s Sprint Cup stop in Bristol this week.

“We have been honored to host both Coach Beamer and Coach Jones as our guests at Bristol in the past,” said Food City President and CEO Steve Smith. “But the excitement that has continued to build since last October’s announcement of this game prompted us to invite them back.

“As two exceptional friends and partners of our company, they represent two great programs, two outstanding institutions and one of the most anticipated football games I can remember in my lifetime. On behalf of the more than 13,000 Food City associates, we’re thrilled to have them serve as co-grand marshals for the upcoming Food City 500.”

Beamer served as honorary starter for the 2005 Food City 500 and Jones was in Bristol last spring as grand marshal.

“People talked about this game for 17 years,” said Bristol Motor Speedway General Manager Jerry Caldwell. “It is hard to believe, but now that it has been announced, conversation and interest has just increased. People are excited, few more so than these two coaches.”

Jones’ experience at Bristol last year convinced him the speedway could host a game.

“I am honored to once again have the opportunity to travel to Bristol Motor Speedway and play a role, along with Coach Beamer, in the Food City 500,” said Jones. “We are very much looking forward to breaking the all-time college football attendance record in September 2016 at Bristol. While our game is still two years away, I had such a great time at last year’s race that I wanted to return to Bristol to witness again one of NASCAR’s most iconic and exciting events.”

A native of Carroll County, Va., less than two hours away, Beamer has been coming to Bristol for years and even drove the high banks in a 2009 charity race. He is looking forward to being back and teaming with Jones.

“As I said in my book, Let Me Be Frank, I think Butch Jones has the right “stuff.” I think he is going to have a great career at Tennessee. To be the Co-Grand Marshal with him is a pleasure as we represent the two schools that have a lot of fans in this area.

“Bristol Motor Speedway is one of the most exciting sports venues that I know and like to visit, and we look forward to playing Tennessee there in 2016 before the largest crowd to ever watch a football game.”

Tickets for Sunday’s Food City 500 start at just $70 and weekend packages for all three races are available for as low as $89. Fans may call (855) 580-5525 or visit www.bristoltix.com to experience this spring’s battle on the high banks of the Last Great Colosseum.

California students not allowed to wear American flag shirts

americanflagshirtA federal court ruled Thursday, February 27,  that a northern California high school did not violate the constitutional rights of its students when school officials made them turn their American flag T-shirts inside out on Cinco de Mayo or be sent home due to fears of racial violence.

The three-judge panel unanimously decided the officials’ need to protect the safety of their students outweighed the students’ freedom of expression rights.

Administrators at Live Oak High School, in the San Jose suburb of Morgan Hill, feared the American-flag shirts would enflame Latino students celebrating the Mexican holiday, and ordered the students to either turn the shirts inside out or go home for the day.

The school had a history of problems between white and Latino students on that day, and also had a documented history of violence between gang members and between racial groups. The court said these past problems gave school officials sufficient and justifiable reasons for their actions and that schools have wide latitude in curbing certain civil rights to ensure campus safety.

“Our role is not to second-guess the decision to have a Cinco de Mayo celebration or the precautions put in place to avoid violence,” Judge M. Margaret McKeown wrote for the panel. The past events “made it reasonable for school officials to proceed as though the threat of a potentially violent disturbance was real,” she wrote.

The San Jose Mercury News reports the parents of the students represented in the lawsuit claim their children’s First Amendment rights were violated. The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based American Freedom Law Center, a politically conservative legal aid foundation, and other similar organizations took up the students’ case and sued the high school and the school district.

“This is the United States of America,” the mother of one of the students Kendall Jones told the San Jose Mercury News. “The idea that it’s offensive to wear patriotic clothing … regardless of what day it is, is unconscionable to me.”

The parents have said in previous interviews with several publications that their children were only trying to be patriotic, not start a fight with Latino students.

William Becker, one of the lawyers representing the students, said he plans to ask a special 11-judge panel of the appeals court to rehear the case. Becker said he and the parents of the children are prepared to take the fight all the way to the Supreme Court.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Blount County Sheriff’s Office asks for help

1011088_731315056901152_1291248255_n

Even though no traffic stops were reported in the Old Niles Ferry Road area on Tuesday morning, February 25, a woman says she was pulled over by an unmarked car. She said the white vehicle had tinted windows and turned over a blue light on the dash and pulled her over at about 7:40 a.m.

 

The driver of the white vehicle came to her car and asked here some questions, but then got back in his car and drove off.

 

The woman described the man as having brown/gray hair, a medium build and was wearing dark clothing and a gray coat. She said the man did not identify himself and never showed a badge. The Sheriff’s Office says that deputies always identify themselves when they make a traffic stop.

 

If you are uneasy about the vehicle that is stopping you, drive to a safe location before pulling over and call 911.

 

This man, when caught, will be charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer.

Arizona governor vetoes anti-gay bill

Arizona Governor Jan BrewerArizona Governor Jan Brewer announced that she has vetoed a bill that would have allowed state businesses to discriminate against gay and lesbian customers.

“The bill is broadly worded and could result in unintended and negative consequences,” Brewer told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday. “After weighing all of the arguments I have vetoed Senate Bill 1062 moments ago.”

Brewer made her remarks during a press conference announced with little notice on Wednesday evening.

Despite the short notice, a large crowd of demonstrators quickly gathered outside the state capital in Phoenix before Brewer made her remarks. The crowd of demonstrators erupted into cheers after Brewer’s announcement.

Senate bill 1062 generated national attention after it was passed by the Republican controlled legislature. However, its momentum quickly stalled after it was criticized by a number of local business leader and the state’s two Republican U.S. Senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake.

“I have protected religious freedoms when there is a present concern,” Brewer said, defending her decision during the press conference. “And I have a record to prove it.”

Despite herself being conservative Republican lawmaker, Brewer used her remarks to criticize the state Senate for making the religious freedom bill a priority over other concerns.

The bill was pushed by the Center for Arizona Policy, a conservative group opposed to same sex marriage.

“This is the first policy bill to cross my desk,” Brewer said. “It does not address a specific concern related to Arizona. I have not heard one example where a business owner’s liberty has been put into jeopardy.”

Brewer said she had previously instructed state lawmakers that “passing a responsible budget that continues Arizona’s economic comeback,” should be the legislature’s top priority.

“I call them like I see them despite the tears or the boos from the crowd,” Brewer said. “I took the necessary time to make the right decision.”

Brewer said she met with attorneys and policy advisers who both supported and opposed the bill. She also offered condolences to religious individuals who feel their freedom is being called into question in light of rapid advancements in gay rights and marriage equality.

“Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value. So is nondiscrimination,” Brewer said. “Going forward let’s turn the ugliness over Senate bill 1062 into a greater search for greater respect and understanding among all Arizonans and Americans.”

 

Penn Station East Coast Subs

The popular sandwich restaurant, Penn Station East Coast Subs, is opening another location in the West Knoxville area at 7025 Kingston Pike with an opening date of March 4.

Managing Owner Jeff Cox, who left his nearly two-decade corporate career as a mortgage broker to pursue a business venture in the restaurant industry, will be opening the new location alongside Tim Wirtz and Rob Braum. This is the third location for the business trio; they already have one location on N. Peters Road and another in Fountain City. Their plans are to open two more locations in the Knoxville area by mid-2015.

With “coming soon” signs posted all over the area, the community has responded with much excitement and Cox is thrilled to bring the beloved sandwiches to the area.

“Our quality food and customer service is what sets Penn Station apart from other fast-casual restaurants, and we cannot be more excited to open our newest Knoxville location,” said Cox.

Penn Station has approximately 270 restaurants in 13 states including Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Projections call for the opening of 30 restaurants nationwide in 2014. Markets targeted for growth include Kansas City, Richmond, Chicago, Detroit, Nashville and North and South Carolina, as well as a number of other existing markets. For more information, visit www.penn-station.com.

Soldiers empty casket stunt

soldiers(AP) — A photograph showing soldiers clowning around an empty, flag-draped casket has sparked a furor online, with people saying it’s disrespectful of veterans and those killed in action.

The Wisconsin National Guard responded Tuesday by announcing it had suspended honor guard duties of the soldier who apparently posted the photograph on Instagram.

The photograph was taken at a guard training facility in Arkansas and shows about a dozen soldiers around the casket. Several hug playfully hug, one flashes a peace sign and another is pointing off in the distance.

The caption reads, “We put the FUN in funeral — your fearless honor guard from various states.”

The photograph was posted from an account belonging to Spc. Terry Harrison. That account has since been closed. Attempts to reach Harrison were unsuccessful.

_gaq.push(['_trackPageview']); (function() { var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true; ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })();