Team Of The Week: Florida Everblades

florida_everblades_logo_svgClever nickname for this minor league hockey team located in Estero, Florida near Fort Myers.  The team plays in the ECHL and are affiliated with the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League (NHL).  They began play in 1998 and have only missed the playoffs once in team history.  They have been in the finals three times and won the title in 2012.

The name came about when the current general manager, Craig Brush, was inspired to bring a minor league hockey team to Southwest Florida while reading a free copy of a National Geographic magazine that featured articles on the Florida Everglades.

The Everblades are one of the ECHL’s stronger franchises and constantly at the top of the league in attendance.

Most notable former players include:  Scott Darling (won Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2015), Shane Hnidy (won Stanley Cup with Boston in 2011) and Chad LaRose (won Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006).

The Everblades are currently in second place in the South Division with a record of 4-0-1.   They are one of two last remaining teams in the ECHL which has not lost a game this season.



Driving 101: We All Need Our Space

tailgating1Okay, it happened to me again this morning on the drive to work.  Someone behind me was so close that I could see the whites of their eyes.  A bit too close don’t you think?

Some drivers just don’t understand the rules for space between vehicles.  I know I’m going slow but you can’t push me when I don’t have anywhere to go.  Riding my bumper isn’t going to get you there any faster.    This is commonly referred to as “tailgating” which can really trigger some anger management issues.  Most rear end collisions are caused by the vehicle in the back following too closely.

So what are the rules for spacing?

Title 55, Chapter 8, Section 55-8-124 of the Tennessee Code states:

The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of the vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.

Okay, what does that mean in the real world?

Use the three-second rule to avoid tailgating.  Essentially, you should pick a focal point that is parallel to the car in front of you, such as a building or road sign.  You then count the seconds it takes you to arrive at that same point.   Another rule is to ensure that you can see the bottom of the other driver’s wheels.  If you cannot, then you are driving too closely and need to slow down.

If you can visually translate into feet:

  • 25 mph – 111 ft
  • 35 mph – 166 ft
  • 45 mph – 198 ft
  • 55 mph – 243 ft
  • 65 mph – 288 ft
  • 75 mph – 333 ft

If you are being tailgated remain calm.  Do not slam on the brakes.  Don’t add more rage into a dangerous situation.  Let the tailgater go around or change lanes.  This isn’t a competition nor is it a NASCAR event.  The goal isn’t to be the fastest, it is to get to the destination safely.


Georgia High School Football Review


Teams that were left for dead are suddenly knocking on the door for the 2016 GHSA postseason.  In this trick-or-treat edition we find the Houston County Bears who were ranked #1 in Class 6A a few weeks ago, lost back-to-back games to Lee County and Coffee.  They were left for dead but after their 45-35 win over Northside-Warner Robins this week, they need a win against Valdosta this week in the season finale.  Jake Fromm was 28-of-43 for 530 yards and five touchdowns.

Two-time defending Class 7A champions Colquitt County started the season losing their first four games have now returned from the football dead and have won six straight as they defeated Lowndes 42-35 over Lowndes to win the region title.  They now have a week off before the state playoffs begin.  They will be a number one seed in the first round.

Valdosta, who has been dead for several years, beat Coffee 15-10 to clinch their first region title since 2011.  The Wildcats are still the top team in Class 6A.

Jenkins ended a 50-year zombie existence as they claimed their first region championship since 1966 with a 55-28 win over Windsor Forest.   It was also the first region title for a Savannah-Chatham County public school team since Savannah High in 1993.

Clinch County won the battle of swamp as they defeated Charlton County 38-10.  They also exorcised some demons with their first win at Charlton County since 1993.

Grayson beat Alabama’s #1-ranked Hoover, 36-14.  Georgia teams are 3-2 since 2008 against Hoover, which has won nine state titles since 2000.  It appears that the Rams are peaking at the right time and with Coach Jeff Herron creating a monster of a team.  Look out for the Rams when the postseason starts.

In my Ripley’s Believe it or not moment, Ware County beat Wayne County 27-3 and is ranked #6 in Class 5A but with a 5-3 record I’m not sure why they are even in the Top Ten.

Teams that have clinched region titles:

  • 7A-1:  Colquitt County
  • 7A-2: Westlake
  • 7A-6: Mill Creek
  • 7A-7: Norcross
  • 6A-1: Valdosta
  • 6A-2: Glynn Academy
  • 6A-8: Dacula
  • 5A-4: Stockbridge
  • 5A-6: Grady
  • 5A-8: Buford
  • 4A-1: Cairo
  • 4A-2: Mary Persons
  • 4A-3: Thomson
  • 4A-4: Woodward Academy
  • 3A-3: Jenkins
  • 3A-5: Westminster
  • 3A-8: Morgan County
  • 2A-2: Benedictine
  • 2A-3: Washington
  • 2A-5: Callaway
  • 2A-8: Rabun County
  • 1A-2: Clinch County
  • 1A-3: Emanuel County Institute

Top Ranked Teams:

  • Class 7A: Roswell (9-0) beat Woodstock 59-7.  Next:  Cherokee (6-3)  Roswell beat Cherokee 42-21 last season.
  • Class 6A: Valdosta (8-1) beat Coffee 15-10.  Next: at Houston County (7-2) Valdosta is 7-1 all-time against Houston County.
  • Class 5A: Buford (8-1) beat Loganville 35-10.  Next: Flowery Branch (3-6)   This will be their first meeting.
  • Class 4A:  Cartersville (9-0) Bye.  Next:  Troup (8-1)  Cartersville is 2-0 all-time against Troup.  They last played in 1989.
  • Class 3A:  Greater Atlanta Christian (8-1) Bye.  Next:  at Dawson County (7-1)  GAC has won five straight against Dawson County.
  • Class 2A: Benedictine (9-0) beat Metter 50-0.  Next:  at Jeff Davis (2-6)  Benedictine is 6-0 all-time against Jeff Davis.  Jeff Davis has been outscored 252-7.
  • Class 1A (Public): Clinch County (8-1) beat Charlton County 38-10.  Next:  Telfair County (5-3)  Clinch County is 9-0 all-time against Telfair County.
  • Class 1A (Private): Eagle’s Landing Christian (9-0) beat Mt. Vernon Presbyterian 49-7.  Next:  at Landmark Christian (9-0).  ELCA has won the last four meetings in the series.


Friday Flashback: 1906 Chicago Cubs


With almost everyone a Cubs’ fan right now as they host their first World Series game since 1945, we go back to 1906 when the Cubs still hold the record for the highest winning percentage in a single season when they won 116 games and lost 36 for a .763 winning percentage.  This is the highest ever in modern Major League Baseball history to date.

The Cubs finished 20 games ahead of the New York Giants.  They moved into first place on May 9th and were almost unbeatable in the last two months of the season as they had winning streaks of 11, 14 and 12 games during a stretch when they posted a 50-8 record.  Their longest losing streak was three games.

Frank Chance was the manager and also played first base.  The key players for the Cubs were second baseman Johnny Evers, shortstop Joe Tinker and pitcher Mordecai Brown.

Unfortunately, the Cubs were defeated by the Chicago White Sox in the 1906 World Series.  Some consider it one of the greatest upsets in World Series history.

The Cubs dominated the league as they led the league in runs scored and fewest runs allowed.  Their record of 116 wins has never been beaten, although it was tied by the 2001 Seattle Mariners.

The Cubs finished 107-45 in 1907 and won their first World Series over the Detroit Tigers.

Most Memorable Moments in Lit Support


Officially, I have been doing this line of work since 1996 and over the past 20 years I have been involved in hundreds of trials.  This experience has given me some memorable moments that I will not forget.   Here are just a few:

  • While awaiting a verdict from the jury, I was packing up some equipment that we used in the trial.  The defense attorney said, “Mr. Hooper, good job.  That was some good technology the government used.”   His client sitting next to him added, “Yeah man, that was pretty cool.”    He was later convicted of conspiracy, making false statement and wire fraud.
  • During a break in the trial, the main defendant in a prescription drug trial walked over to me and asked how much the equipment costs that I was using.  He said, “I would like to buy one of those to use to teach my Sunday School class if I am not in jail.”    He didn’t have to buy one since he was convicted on 32 counts of wrongfully distributing prescription drugs.
  • Sitting at the table during a huge conspiracy trial, one of the attorneys whispered to me:  “Get the tape ready.”   Puzzled, I asked:  “What tape?”   They apparently had not informed me that they were going to play a videotape of a fire for the next witness.  I grabbed the tape and rushed down to the post office and found a VCR where I cued up the tape then rushed back into the courtroom in time for playing the tape.
  • A defendant representing themselves is always quite entertaining.  In one of these trials, the defendant started referring to me as “media man” until he learned my name.  It was the same as his.  He spent a few minutes on that until the judge told him just to refer to me as the Government’s Technical Expert instead of my name.
  • In a very sensitive case, I had to set up separate monitors for the jury so that the gallery could not see the evidence that we were going to present.  As the trial started, the defense attorney complained that the monitors were in his way of seeing all the jury members.   The judge rejected his statement and said “I have instructed Mr. Hooper to set up these monitors and if they are in the way then you need to move.”
  • In a death penalty case, I had spent all morning setting up the equipment and was having trouble with the monitor in the witness stand when the judge decided to come in early.  I had to stop and return to the table not sure if the monitor would work then when it came time, I pressed the button on my control panel and it worked.  Whew!
  • In preparation for closing arguments in one of the longest trials I had ever been involved in, I set up the PowerPoint presentation that the attorney was going to use.  After setting it up, I had to go to another courtroom to set up some equipment.   As I was leaving, one of the observing attorneys asked:  “Aren’t you going to stay?”   I answered:  “No, I have another courtroom to go to right now.”   He asked:  “What is something goes awry?”   I responded:  “Then it goes awry”
  • In the middle of another prescription drug trial, I got a message that our attorney was having problems with the document camera.  I walked in, pushed the on button and left.   I heard several jurors snicker as I passed on the way out.
  • In the boring stretch of a trial of a cult leader, I switched my computer and killed the display to the monitors and started playing solitaire.   The judge was smiling at me and then I realized that I hadn’t killed his monitor.

Yes, there has been several entertaining moments in this job.  I assume that I can handle stress pretty well since there have been many moments that challenged me.  There are many more moments I’m sure that I will think of later that I forgot to include in this list.  Many times they refer to the time in the courtroom in this job as being in the “hot seat” and it is clear why.   It doesn’t matter how much you prepare, there is always something new that is going to blindside you sooner or later.

Team of the Week: Los Angeles Sparks


The Los Angeles Sparks won their first Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) title since 2002 when Nneka Ogwumike’s connected on a short jump shot with 3.1 seconds left to give the Sparks at 77-76 win over the Minnesota Lynx in Game 5 of the series.

The Lynx were playing in their fifth title series in the last six years.

There was some controversy in the game as Renee Brown,  WNBA chief of basketball operations and players relations, released a statement that in reviewing the postgame video, Ogwumike’s shot with 1:14 remaining should not have counted due to a shot-clock violation.  Earlier in the series, the officials missed an 8-second backcourt violation that benefitted Minnesota in Game 4.  The Lynx won the game 85-79 to force the deciding game.

Candace Parker and Kristi Toliver joined Qgwumike as the team’s leading players in 2016.  The Sparks defeated the Chicago Sky in the semifinals, 3 games to 1.

In the finals:

  • Game 1:  Los Angeles 78, Minnesota 76
  • Game 2:  Minnesota 79, Los Angeles 60
  • Game 3:  Los Angeles 92, Minnesota 75
  • Game 4:  Minnesota 85, Los Angeles 79
  • Game 5:  Los Angeles 77, Minnesota 76

This was the Sparks’ third WNBA title having won the title in 2001 and 2002.




Driving 101: Navigating Pedestrians


Another huge problem with driving in and around Nashville is the constant issues with drivers and pedestrians.  We have a lot of tourists and visitors here every week.  I have yelled at many people as a pedestrian myself when I have seen them walk when they aren’t supposed to.  On at least two occasions I have helped someone from being hit by a car.  Even as cautious and obey-by-the-rules guy that I am, I have also had my own close calls was distracted or aggressive drivers.

Here are the rules for dealing with pedestrians:

  • STOP for pedestrians at crosswalks.  Don’t roll through it or try to beat the pedestrian through the crosswalk.
  • Be patient, especially with seniors or pedestrians with disabilities who need more time to cross the road.
  • Slow down and obey the posted speed limit.
  • Yield to pedestrians when turning.  This is one of the most common problems.  Drivers do not want to wait for pedestrians to move safely through the crosswalk when turning.
  • Be especially alert at night.  Not all pedestrians will wear reflective clothing.

Even if pedestrians are not obeying the rules or the signs that are posted, drivers should still yield.  A pedestrian can’t compete in a game of chicken with an automobile.   Pedestrians are SUPPOSED to give the right of way to moving vehicles but it doesn’t always work that way.  If a pedestrian is already in the crosswalk and crossing then a driver must stop.

The main thing for drivers to have when navigating traffic with pedestrians is PATIENCE.  The city is a tourist attraction and there are going to be people downtown.  We all need to factor that into our drive and make sure that we all get to where we are going safely.