August 30, 2010

Notebook: Enterprise opens new stadium

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The south Alabama town of Enterprise has taken another step on its long road to recovery from a March 1, 2007, tornado that destroyed Enterprise (Ala.) High School and killed eight students.

The Enterprise Wildcats played their first game Friday night in the school's new stadium and defeated Montgomery (Ala.) Sidney Lanier, 49-21.

The game came just days after students and teachers had moved into the state-of-the-art new high school that replaced the one destroyed by the tornado. The $89 million school opened for the first day of classes Monday.

The school had been using temporary facilities at Enterprise State Community College since the 2007 tornado.The new 520,000-square-foot facility boasts more than 100 classrooms, each with an LCD monitor and projector, about 10 science labs and three distance-learning labs.

At the instruction of former President George W. Bush, who visited the school after the tornado, a Wildcat mosaic tile at the old school was preserved and moved to the new school.

The 8,000 seat stadium was filled Friday for the first game. Former and current Enterprise students and town residents told The Dothan Eagle the new stadium was a sign of how the city has rebounded from the tragedy.

Illinois: School cancels games after cheerleading coach killed

Most sports events at an eastern Illinois high school are canceled this week after the school's cheerleading coach died in an accident.

Authorities say St. Joseph (Ill.) St. Joseph-Ogden coach Tammy Walsh died Saturday after being hit by a falling utility pole on a football field in nearby Jamaica. The pole fell in a chain reaction that started with a driver hitting a guy-wire attached to another pole in a parking lot.

Vermilion County Coroner Peggy Johnson says an autopsy is planned.

The accident injured the 36-year-old Walsh's teenage son and her father-in-law. The son, Dalton Walsh, is in fair condition at an Urbana hospital. The father-in-law was treated for less-serious injuries.

St. Joseph is about 12 miles east of Champaign.

Minnesota: Elk River defends response to hazing claims

If anyone thinks the hazing incident that prompted the dismissal of four Elk River (Minn.) High football players was a joke, the district says they are mistaken.

On Sunday night, the district dismissed the four players, suspended three players for four games and two players for one game. Five coaches remain on paid administrative leave.

After the school board announced its decision, two players told KSTP-TV they thought the incident was blown out of proportion. One player called it a joke.

District spokesman Casey Mahon says that's not how the district sees it. He noted the district hired an outside attorney to investigate and the police are also checking into it.

He says anyone who thinks the incident was funny, really should be looking at the consequences.

Kansas: Several high schools to begin concussion testing

More than a dozen high schools in northeastern Kansas are testing how the brains of their student-athletes work normally in case any of them suffer concussions.

De Soto (Kan.) High athletic trainer Steve Hawkins says the high schools are relying on something called ImPACT, which stands for Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing. A handful of Kansas high schools used the test last year, but most are adding it this fall.

The test can be taken at the beginning at the season and measures such things as the athletes' memories.

If an athlete suffers a suspected concussion, the test can be retaken, and the post-injury results can be compared to the pre-injury results.

The program already is used by the NFL, NHL, Major League Baseball, NBA teams and universities across the country.

North Dakota: New stadium gets boost from anonymous donor

Fargo (N.D.) Shanley is using part of an anonymous $2 million donation to add the finishing touches to its new Sid Cichy Stadium.

Development Director Todd Mickelson says the $475,000 project will add fencing and entry gates, a press box, walking paths and permanent seats for 1,500 fans.

Officials hope to complete the work by the homecoming football game against Valley City on Oct. 1.

Half of the $2 million donation pledged over five years will go to an activities-focused fundraising campaign the Fargo Catholic Schools began in 2006. The other half will go toward academic and faith programming and efforts to keep tuition costs affordable.

Idaho: Lighthouse Christian football player killed in crash

Minidoka County officials say a Rupert man and a Twin Falls teen were killed in a head-on crash on Idaho Highway 24 between Heyburn and Rupert.

Sheriff's officials say 15-year-old Dedrik Lovato-Rodriguez, a sophomore and varsity football player at Twin Falls (Idaho) Lighthouse Christian School, died at the scene of the crash, shortly after 9 p.m. last Wednesday

Danny J. Gonzales, 69, died at the hospital.

The Times-News reports Lovato-Rodriguez was southbound when his vehicle crossed the median and into the northbound lane at high speed. His car passed one vehicle and crashed head-on into Gonzales' northbound pickup.

The investigation into the crash continues and lab results are pending for both drivers. Both were wearing seat belts.

Connecticut: Hoops coach pleads not guilty to alcohol charges

A former Connecticut high school sports coach has pleaded not guilty to charges she gave alcohol to students at a dance last February.

Thirty-two-year-old Jennifer Jackson, a former math teacher and girls' basketball and volleyball coach at Southbury (Conn.) Pomperaug, pleaded not guilty Thursday in Waterbury Superior Court to charges including illegal sale of alcohol to minors and reckless endangerment. Her case was continued to Sept. 20.

Jackson resigned her jobs after the school year ended last June.

Police say Jackson gave alcohol to students at the senior semi-formal dance in Watertown, and offered to buy members of the girls' basketball team alcohol before the dance.

Jackson remains free on $27,500 bond.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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