June 5th, 2013 / Author: BTS
MARION COUNTY, FL (June 5, 2013) – An eyewitness told deputies “he was going to
burn down the house.” The eyewitness was talking about John Henry McDonald, 24, of
Ocala. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office received a call about a disturbance at a home
along N.W. 55th Court, where McDonald lived. The eyewitness told deputies McDonald
was arguing, throwing things around and before long, grabbed a red gasoline can.
McDonald proceeded to pour gas on the back porch of the home, according to the arrest
affidavit. Apparently, McDonald set fire to the porch. The eyewitness, McDonald’s brother,
was able to put out the fire. Inside the home at the time were McDonald’s mother, brother,
girlfriend and his 2-month-old infant.
McDonald was asked at the scene why he was trying to burn down the house. McDonald
told deputies, “his family betrayed him and he is sorry and he knows that what he did is
McDonald is in the Marion County Jail. His bond is $10,000.
June 4th, 2013 / Author: BTS
Marion County Sheriff’s Office detectives are looking for a couple suspected in a scam targeting senior citizens. Detectives want people to know how the scam works: a couple, white male/white female, approach a homeowner and make an unsolicited bid to do some kind of handyman work. In one case, the male did some tree service; in another case, the male filled cracks in a driveway. The couple finds a way to get inside the home to steal, by asking to use the bathroom or for a glass of water.
The suspects are both in their early 20’s. The male has a dark crew cut; he is tall and slim; and may identify himself as “Willie.” The female may spend time holding a 1-year-old baby. Victims say the couple is driving a 4-door late model dark gray pickup with yellow or orange stripes down the side.
If you have had interaction with this suspect couple, please call (352) 438-5920. If this couple comes to your home, please call 911.
May 31st, 2013 / Author: BTS
ProtectTheHarvest.com/MAVTV Top Fuel dragster driver Brandon Bernstein will undergo a procedure to repair a herniated disc in his back following this weekend’s Toyota NHRA Summernationals and will miss the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events in Bristol, Tenn., and Epping, N.H., Morgan Lucas Racing announced Thursday.
Bernstein, who will race in Englishtown, will be replaced in the ProtectTheHarvest.com/MAVTV dragster by six-time national event winner J.R. Todd.
“It’s a real bummer to have Brandon sit out for a couple of races,” Morgan Lucas Racing team owner Morgan Lucas said. “But first and foremost is his health, and his long-term health is the biggest priority to us as a team. We see everyone on our team as family, and Brandon is a key element to the family. We want to preserve his health and make sure he is capable of staying healthy for himself and his family.”
Bernstein has been bothered by the herniated disc since the race in Atlanta, where he posted a runner-up finish. He will have an outpatient procedure performed by noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. Terry Trammell of Indianapolis sometime next week.
“The bottom line is when my doctors told me my right foot could completely go numb and I could not have any feeling in my foot ever, that was when a red flag was raised: ‘OK, I’ve got to do this now,’ ” Bernstein said. “Honestly I would love to drive the rest of the season like this because I can deal with the pain, but when they told me that about my foot I thought, ‘That’s not just my career; that’s my quality of life.’
“Morgan told me, ‘You’ve got to do whatever is needed to get healthy because you’ve got a family.’ I thought the same thing.”
Bernstein currently sits seventh in the Top Fuel points standings and hopes to return to the race car in time for the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
“It’s a tough deal for me,” Bernstein said. “It was a hard decision because I really feel my team is everything to me and I let them down because of this. It’s unfortunate it happened but we’ve got to get it done now. Hopefully two races don’t kill us for the Countdown and we’ll be good to go.”
Bernstein will have a final consultation with Trammell on Monday, when the decision on the date of the procedure will be made.
An arthroscopic incision will be made in Bernstein’s back and a portion of the herniated disc will be removed. Doctors want the disc to scar over so there is no more herniation, and that recovery process usually takes three weeks.
“I’ll be able to walk out of the facility that night and stay in my own bed,” Bernstein said. “It’s a pretty minimally invasive procedure, and that’s why it’s only three weeks of recovery.”
Lucas and Bernstein are close friends with Todd, who is happy to fill in while Bernstein recovers.
“It’s kind of bittersweet,” Todd said. “I hate that Brandon has to miss some races because of that, but in the long run he’ll be better off. I felt honored that Morgan and Brandon called me up and I was the guy to fulfill the job. Hopefully I can live up to the expectations.
“That car is more than capable of winning every race it goes to. Once they called and asked me, I didn’t have to think twice about climbing in there and driving it. I’m looking forward to working with (crew chief) Joe Barlam and the team. It should be a fun couple of races.”
Putting Todd in the car was an easy decision, Lucas said. Read the rest of this entry »
May 30th, 2013 / Author: BTS
The College of Central Florida is looking for a new softball coach.
Kerri Ryskamp, who led the Patriots to the Atlantic District Championship Game this past season, resigned Wednesday.
“She’s leaving to explore other options in her life and career,” CF athletic director Bob Zelinski said. “We thank her for her contributions to the program and our school.”
Ryskamp spent time at CF as a player, assistant and head coach.
She played two years for the Patriots and was named NJCAA All-American in 2003.
Ryskamp had 12 career home runs, which was the career record, until Amy Szymanowski surpassed that with 16 this season.
From there, she played two seasons for Mercer (Ga.) University and eventually came back to Ocala to serve as an assistant coach under Kris Cox, before taking over the program.
In 2009, Ryskamp led CF to the FCSAA State Tournament and an upset win over nationally-ranked Indian River State, before losses to Brevard and eventual state champion FSC-Jacksonville eliminated the Patriots.
After missing the playoffs for two years, she led CF back to the postseason in 2012, thanks to a 2-1 win over St. Johns River in the Mid-Florida Conference play-in game.
The Patriots nearly pulled off an upset of FSC-J, but suffered an extra-inning defeat and then was eliminated from tournament play.
This season, CF had its best-ever showing at the state tournament, as it won four straight elimination games, before a loss to rival Santa Fe ended its season.
The Patriots finished 36-23 under Ryskamp in 2013, including a 17-5 mark home, which was boosted by a 16-0 start.
CF’s 36 wins represented the third-most wins in the program’s history dating back to 1997.
The Patriots won 44 games in 2001 and 38 in 2000, but the 2009′s team 34-win total and this year’s 36-victory total joined the aformentioned teams as the only ones in school history with over 30 victories in school history.
Prior to this year’s state tournament at Exchange Park in Pensacola, CF’s only state tournament wins were over Seminole (2006) and Indian River (2009).
May 30th, 2013 / Author: BTS
The FCSAA State Basketball Tournament is headed to the College of Central Florida.
After residing in in Marianna at Chipola College since 1996, both the men’s and women’s tournaments will take place in Ocala from March 5-8 of next year, which will start a run of three years for CF to host the events.
“This is a great opportunity for the college and community to show our pride and commitment to the Forida College System athletic programs,” said CF President Dr. James Henningsen. “It is a great honor to host the state tournament.”
On Wednesday, CF was given final approval by the FCSAA in Tampa
“It’s been a long process and we are excited about this opportunity,” CF athletic director Bob Zelinski said “I think it is great for our community and a great opportunity for fans to see the best basketball in the country at the two-year level.
“We’re looking forward to it and we know it is going to be a lot of work, but we are ready to get started. We are very happy about this. It’s a great central location and I think we have a great team in place to make everyone happy.”
Former CF athletic director Mike McGinnis was thrilled the college will have a chance to host the event.
“What it means first, is a tremendous amount of work for the college and athletic staff specifically,” McGinnis said. “As the athletic director years ago, we hosted the women’s state basketball tournament for several years so I know from experience.
“Things have changed considerably and with Zelinski’s many years of athletic administration experience throughout the state I’m comfortable he’ll have it all under control and the tournament will be very successful in all regards.”
McGinnis also served as director golf for Ocala in the past and the Marion County community has earned a reputation as one of the best amateur groupings in the nation.
Now, with the state basketball tournament headed to Marion County, the area will have the chance to shine in a different aspect.
“It certainly will bring teams and visitors to stay and eat while here, thus enhancing the communities’ dollars taken in,” McGinnis said. “It’ll be a chance for Ocala to “show off” what a wonderful city we have while perhaps enticing some of the visitors to return later.”
In all, CF’s major victory in earning the rights to host the tournament have made winners out of many.
“Florida JUCO basketball is at the top in the nation and those choosing to attend will be entertained by a very high level of skillful basketball,” McGinnis said. “But for coach Tim Ryan and his CF Patriots, the pressure is on.
“There’s no guarantee that the current state of Florida champions and reigning national champion team will make the tournament. That’s a tough task in itself, but one I’m sure will be met head on by Tim and his team.
“Beyond being centrally located, earning the bid to host the state tournament speaks volumes for the amount of trust and confidence others have for Zelinski and his staff.” Read the rest of this entry »