Top tickets include Cave Spring High School Jazz Cafe, Knuckleheadz CD Release Party

THURSDAY Andrew Bird Flip back to Tuesday’s Extra to read more about this show. Details: 7:30 p.m. Jefferson Center, Shaftman Performance Hall. $65, $47, $39, $29 (plus $3 fee per ticket). 345-2550,, Hustle Souls Check out a soul, rock and roots quartet from Asheville, N.C. Details: 10 p.m. Martin’s Downtown, Roanoke. Free. 985-6278,, Sean Bera Bera is straight-up goofy, and he sure can sing and play pop-rock originals and covers. Details: 6:30 p.m. Starr Hill Pilot Brewery & Side Stage, 6 Old Whitmore Ave., Roanoke. Free. 685-2012,, Chase Altizer Wytheville-based singer and guitarist is into all sorts of jam, rock and folk music. Details: 6 p.m. Due South BBQ, Christiansburg. Free. 381-2922,, FRIDAY The 12th Annual Cave Spring High School Jazz Cafe: Sherrie Maricle Philadelphia-based drummer Sherrie Maricle leads a variety of all-woman bands in what could be called the Jazz City of Sisterly Love. She hits Roanoke to play sets with the Cave Spring Jazz Bands in the evening, after doing a dayside clinic for the band students. Maricle is into a quarter century of tight swinging on the drum set. She can burn. Details: 7 p.m. St. John Lutheran Church, 4608 Brambleton Ave., Roanoke. $10, $75 table of 8. 774-0712, [email protected], Tape Face New Zealand native Sam “Tape Face” Wills developed his own style of prop comedy and charmed ‘em on “America’s Got Talent” — Details: 8 p.m. Harvester Performance Center, Rocky Mount. $37, $27, $125 VIP meet & greet. 484-8277,, Levi Lowrey With Kyle Forry & Justin Arnett, Erin Enderlin Harvester trivia: Lowrey was the venue’s first headliner, in a soft-opening. Lowrey trivia: Continue Reading

Mystery surrounds killing of Blue Springs mother of two in Kansas City

Nearly two weeks after a Blue Springs mother was shot in Kansas City, police say there are no suspects in the case. The mother, Jaclyn Russell Burkhart, was in the area of 39th and Jackson Avenue when she was wounded by gunfire. She was first rushed to a home in the 3300 block of Jackson Avenue, where Kansas City officers found her, and then taken to a hospital. She died one week later, police said. Kari Thompson, a spokeswoman with Kansas City police, said Friday that it is “still unknown why she (Burkhart) was shot or if she was the target.” Burkhart, 32, was married in 2013 to a man she’d been with for nearly two decades. She and her husband had two children together, according to an obituary posted by the Ralph O. Jones Funeral Home in Odessa. Burkhart had been working as an office supervisor for Molly Maids in Blue Springs. She was born in Warrensburg and graduated from Blue Springs High School in 2004. “In addition to spending time with her family and friends, she enjoyed art, writing books and poems,” her obituary reads. Condolences to the family can be left at the funeral home’s website. A visitation is scheduled for Feb. 4 at 2 p.m. at the funeral home, at 306 S. 2nd St. in Odessa. A service is scheduled for Feb. 5 at 1 p.m. at the same location. Anyone with information about Burkhart’s killing is encouraged to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477. Continue Reading

Las Vegas high school dean loses hands and feet after contracting flesh-eating bacteria

A mystery flesh-eating bug has cost a Las Vegas high school dean his hands and feet. Father-of-two Eddie Garcia has been left a quadruple amputee after the aggressive illness took hold in January — causing his kidneys and lungs to fail and other organs to shut down. The dean of Canyon Springs High School says that, completely out of the blue, he passed out as he was walking to his kitchen to get a glass of water. In a coma and needing daily dialysis to keep him alive, doctors discovered he had contracted necrotizing fasciitis. They administered medication to keep blood flowing to his core organs, but it meant it didn't flow to his hands and feet — leaving their flesh to die. Waking up at University Medical Center one month later, he found his feet and right hand had been removed — and was told his left hand will also amputated in the near future. Garcia's bizarre condition has left doctors baffled, but he said he refused to be downbeat, telling KTNV this was "the beginning" of his story rather than the end. "I beat the odds: 20% chance of living and I did it. There's something that I have to do and I'm not going to miss out on this second chance," Garcia added. Due to leave hospital in the summer, Garcia's positive attitude has endeared him to medics, with Dr. Sameer Sheikh saying: "It's just been an amazing experience to be his physician." His wife, Antoinette, who is mother to their children, 10 and 6, added: "I had to grieve the life I thought we were living, the life I thought we were going to have. It's a new beginning, not an ending." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

WATCH: Shore’s greatest high school pitchers ever

Scouts have been flocking to the Jersey Shore to see Barnegat left-hander Jason Groome, considered the No. 1 prospect in the country.And CBA's senior right-hander Luca Dalatri hasn't lost a game since the final start of his freshman year.Sprinkle in in a healthy dose of top-flight hurlers throughout Monmouth and Ocean counties this season, and what you have right now is a glorious time for pitching within the Shore Conference.When Major League Baseball conducts its First-Year Player Draft on June 9, any number of them could be selected. And Groome might just go with the first pick overall, which would make him the first player ever from New Jersey to be taken in that slot.But the area has long been a hotbed for live arms with the potential to succeed at higher levels.So who have been the greatest pitchers ever to take the mound at the high school level?It's not an easy task trying to sort through all the names and numbers.Someone like Middletown's John Montefusco, who went on to star for the San Francisco Giants in the 1970s, for instance, was better known as a shortstop in high school. He came of age as a pitcher playing at Brookdale Community College, helping put that program on the map.Although it's difficult to compare players from different eras with the current limits on innings often skewing the numbers, the talent pool has certainly been deep over the years, with no-hitters and state championships dotting so many resumes.So now, with so many storylines involving local hurlers this season, here's a look at some of the best over the past six decades, in alphabetical order: Jason Arre, Toms River South (1999)When Arre became only the second player at the time to reach 30 career wins at the Shore, he did it in style, beating Wall in the Shore Conference Tournament final.He finished his career on the mound with a 30-8 record. As a senior, Arre went 10-3, with a 0.88 ERA, allowing just 55 hits and striking out 95 in 80 innings.He also finished with Continue Reading

Disorderly conduct charge dismissed against Lehman High School student arrested for handing out pamphlets with Black Panther symbol

A group opposed to police in public schools trumpeted a dropped disorderly conduct charge against a Lehman High School student as a victory for student rights. Malik Ayala, 16, got the summons last spring and turned down a plea deal, demanding a trial that was supposed to happen last week. A judge dropped the charge after the officer who wrote the ticket failed to appear in court. Ayala faced 15 days in jail if convicted. A police source said the officer who wrote the ticket was never told of Ayala’s trial date. Ayala’s attorney, Marne Lenox of Bronx Defenders, called the charge against the teen “baseless,” in an emailed comment. “Not guilty of the offense charged, Malik refused to accept any plea offer and was vindicated today when a judge dismissed his summons ticket,” Lenox said. Ayala, a sophomore and member of the school's Student Leadership Council, said he got the ticket as he distributed flyers protesting the city’s plan to close the school. Ayala said a school security officer saw a Black Panther logo on the paper and claimed the symbol was illegal. Ayala admits he had some choice words for the cop, Police Officer Joseph Foreman. “I said something like, ‘You’re a disgrace to black people,’” Ayala said. “’The devil comes in disguises. Blue first, black second, I know how that goes.’” “Every time we demand a trial, they always end up dismissing the case,” said Agnes Johnson, a member of People Power Movement, which backed Ayala. “That tells us these things are really bogus.” In Bronx court last Tuesday, 30 members of People Power Movement there to support Ayala claimed Bronx Criminal Court officers mistreated them. “They made us take our shirts off and turn them inside out,” Johnson said. The red tees bore the group’s name, along with a large fist graphic. David Bookstaver, spokesman for Continue Reading

Andrew Zapata, Nelson Rodriguez headline the 2011 Daily News high school baseball All-Stars

Ed Gutierrez, Andrew Zapata, Nick Carbone and Nelson Rodriguez lead the pack as the Daily News names its high school baseball All-Stars for the 2011 spring season. The News' star-studded list includes a coach of the year, player of the year, all-city teams and honorable mention athletes for both the CHSAA/Independent and PSAL. CHSAA/INDEPENDENTCOACH OF THE YEAREd Gutierrez, All HallowsJames Norwood, his standout senior pitcher, and got strong production from underclassmen like sophomore pitcher Jayson Reyes and shortstop Stephen Alemais. HONORABLE MENTIONRich Duffell, Xavier; Bob Mulligan, Farrell; Lou Piccola, Xaverian; Matt Roventini, Poly Prep PLAYER OF THE YEARThe righthander became one of the most heralded players in the city, going 6-1 for the NYSAISAA champions by effectively mixing four pitches, including a fastball clocked in the mid 80s. He pitched the Blue Devils over George Washington, the eventual PSAL champion, and CHSAA champion Xaverian. ALL-CITYC Chris Cannon, St. Francis Prep, Sr. INF Cristian Fiorito, Iona Prep, Sr.Bronx-Westchester champions. George Washington catcher Nelson Rodriguez, the Daily News' PSAL Player of the Year, bats .500 as the Trojans capture the city title. (Ron Antonelli/News) C/INF Nat Irving, Riverdale, Sr. P/INF James Norwood, All Hallows, Sr.St. Louis University-bound righthander displayed great control in going 4-1, and pitched a regular-season no-hitter against Xavier. OF Robbie Paller, Berkeley Carroll, Sr. P Anthony Pastrana, Xaverian, Sr. P/INF Jonathan Ramon, Molloy, Jr. C Elvin Soto, Xaverian, Sr.Pittsburgh-bound switch-hitter was strong behind the plate while hitting .376 with five HR and 37 RBI. OF Andrew Velasquez, Fordham Prep, Jr. P Nick Thorgersen, Farrell, Sr. HONORABLE MENTIONP Rob Ambrosino, Iona Prep, Sr.; OF Harrison Bader, Horace Mann, Jr.; P Andrew Battaglia, St. Joseph by-the-Sea, Sr.; INF Joe Calabrese, Poly Prep, Sr.; INF/P Alex Gounaris, St. Continue Reading

The revival of Lakewood High School, sock by sock

LAKEWOOD - For 20 straight days, Karen Mendez had perfect attendance at Lakewood High School. No lateness, no cuts, no truancy.On Thursday, she got called into the assistant principal’s office.“Take your pick,” Scott Horowitz said, opening the door to a closet full of customized school merchandise.Mendez selected a blue baseball cap — a reward for her improved attendance.“I wanted to get my grades up,” the sophomore said, glancing at the cap. “I also wanted this, to represent my school.”She’s not alone. To revitalize a school with a poor reputation — a 2007 brawl involving 150 teens was the low point — administrators tried something different. They focused on rewarding kids for simple things, such as showing up on time. They branded the hallways with positive-message signs everywhere — all deep blue and white, the school colors. They beat the bushes for community partners and brought in motivational speakers.A big name has taken notice. Longtime NBA player J.R. Smith, whose path to basketball stardom began at Lakewood, pledged $45,000 to redo the school's weight room.This is what a culture change looks like.“In the past, kids said, ‘It doesn’t matter, we’re from Lakewood,’ ” Superintendent Laura Winters said. “Now they are like, ‘We’re from Lakewood, we demand the best.’ ”Lakewood is not the first school to push positive reinforcement. The staff, however, is “taking it to another level,” as Principal Marcy Marshall put it.“Any staff member who catches a kid doing something positive in our school, they’re required to give them instant recognition for it,” said Marshall, who is a Lakewood alum.Run that sentence back in your head. Teachers are tasked with “catching” kids doing good things. It’s a fascinating inversion of conventional Continue Reading

At which college campus did these high school sweethearts wed?

Sena Hope Neihaus is nothing short of giddy as she recounts her wedding day. The best part? She married her high school sweetheart on their college alma mater’s campus.  It all started back in 2007, when Sena and Will were mere sixth-graders at Northwest Rankin Middle School. “We were on the same rotation of teachers, so we saw each other a good bit,” Sena said. “We both had crushes on each other, but neither of us would admit it."So the years went by and we remained friends. Will was on the baseball team, and I, along with all of my girlfriends, was a baseball groupie. In March, at the first baseball game of the year, I saw Will in his uniform for the first time. As cliché as it sounds, I knew then that I was going to love that boy with the number 16 on his jersey.” More: How not to blow up a wedding, other lessons Finally, on April 13, 2010, Will asked Sena to “officially” be his girlfriend. He continued to play high school baseball at Northwest Rankin and she continued to be his biggest fan on and off the field. The high school lovebirds graduated from Northwest Rankin together in 2014. But graduation also meant that, for the first time ever, they were about to go their separate ways. Will received a scholarship to play baseball at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson, and Sena was set to attend Holmes Community College in Ridgeland. “During the fall semester, we both realized that being separated wasn’t all that great, so Will moved back home and started attending Holmes with me in the spring of 2015,” Sena said. “Reunited and it felt so good!”  More: Who needs a designer when your mama can sew? The couple earned their associate's degrees from Holmes in December 2015. Will was accepted into the Electrical Lineman Program housed on Holmes' Goodman campus, and Sena was accepted into the Health Informatics and Continue Reading

Nathan Blue, adviser to high school basketball players, gets a mixed reaction around New York City

He is not a coach, but he has served as an assistant at two schools and run his own AAU team.He runs a scouting website, but says its main purpose is to generate publicity.He claims he has nothing to hide, and yet expresses a strong dislike for background checks (a key reason, he says, that he no longer runs an AAU squad).Meet Nathan Blue, one of the enigmatic figures on the city high school basketball scene. The 32-year-old from Corona, Queens, has been playing an ambiguous role for more than a decade, making plenty of friends and enemies along the way.Some regard Blue as a key basketball insider, a friend to anyone in need of a college scholarship. Others clam up at the mention of his name, revealing a disdain for a sometimes shadowy figure who's been accused of steering players into questionable career decisions.The true Blue likely lies somewhere in between, occupying a realm that he himself can barely discern. One moment, he calls himself an "adviser." The next, he provides a more nebulous description."I'm just a guy who floats around and makes things happen," he says.Since he first appeared on the high school scene in the late 1990s, Blue has made a lot happen, using his growing influence among the college ranks to help scores of players find schools.He's also left a handful of high school programs in tatters, and damaged his own reputation with some local coaches."He's burned a lot of bridges around here," said one PSAL coach who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "He's running out of bridges in New York City."Such bonds matter little, Blue says, adding that his primary objective is to assist players."It's free," he says of the advice he dispenses to any athlete who'll listen. "I do it to help the kids. All I get is the satisfaction of seeing a kid reach his goals."Buried under such seeming altruism is a personal motive: If Blue consistently develops players and sends them to college, he believes he'll eventually land a job as an NBA scout."It's my dream Continue Reading

Daniel Alfonzo, son of former Mets 3B Edgardo Alfonzo, rising star at Bayside High School

Like father, like son. That became clear this spring when a sophomore slugger at Bayside High School named Daniel Alfonzo led the city’s public school baseball league with eight home runs in 48 at-bats over 17 games. Some of those homers were hit at the Commodores’ home field, just a few miles from where Shea Stadium used to stand and where Alfonzo’s father — former Met infielder Edgardo Alfonzo — used to make the old stadium’s iconic home run apple pop up beyond the center-field wall. Edgardo Alfonzo hit 120 homers in eight seasons with the Mets, and now his son is doing the same kind of damage with his bat on the high school level, all while wearing the same colored uniform his father wore in Flushing. “Every day, especially since I started playing baseball, he’s taught me so much,” says Daniel of his father’s impact on his game. “As I grew more, he taught me more advanced stuff, but he’s one of the reasons why I’m here playing today.” Edgardo Alfonzo, known as “Fonzie” during his playing days, was a popular Met from 1995-2002, playing mostly third base and second base. Over the course of his 12-year major league career, Fonzie hit a solid .284 with 146 homers and 744 RBI. After leaving the Mets, he played for the Giants, Angels and Blue Jays, and he spent last season as a coach for the Brooklyn Cyclones. But when Bayside coach Pat Torney first met son Daniel at baseball tryouts, he wasn’t aware that Alfonzo was the son of the former Mets star. Daniel told Torney that his father was interested in helping out with the team, and Torney told him thanks but no thanks, since he already had three former players as assistant coaches at the time. “I felt kind of silly when I found out who it was,” Torney jokes. “I was turning down a major league All-Star to work with the team.” After Torney found out who the young Continue Reading