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Marietta Daily Journal Podcast

Wheeler heads West to face team of NBA legacies; Pebblebrook tabbed for 'Battle of the Bands.'

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Show Notes

The Wheeler boys basketball team is no stranger to taking on some of the best high school programs in the country.

Just this season, the number 1 Wildcats have already played Kimball High School from Texas, Columbus from Florida, Imhotep Charter School of Pennsylvania, Tampa Catholic,  Centennial from Calif. and John Marshall from Virginia in various events.

At home, Wheeler has already played defending Class 6A champion Grovetown, will see Number 10 Osborne twice in region play, Newton in a non-region game, and there is a chance Wheeler could meet up with Pebblebrook or McEachern in the playoffs. However, this weekend, Wheeler may be playing the most star-studded high school team in the United States — Sierra Canyon from the Los Angeles outskirts of Chatsworth, California. Wheeler will travel to Los Angeles to compete in The Chosen 1’s Invitational, a high school showcase put on in conjunction by the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, Nike and NBA superstar LeBron James.

The games will be played at the Galen Center on the campus of Southern California, the future basketball home of Wheeler five-star point guard Isaiah Collier and four-star forward Arrinten Page.

Wheeler was contacted about playing in Saturday’s game a couple of months ago. Camden from New Jersey, with the top recruit Dejuan Wagner, was supposed to play, but something happened and a space opened up. While Wheeler boasts the future Southern Cal duo, four-star guard Jelani Hamilton who is headed to Iowa State and three-star forward Josh Hill, it will face a team highlighted by four sons of NBA stars.

Sierra Canyon features James’ sons, Bronny and Bryce James, as well as Justin Pippen and Ashton Hardaway. Pippen is the son of Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen, while Hardaway’s father is former NBA star and current Memphis coach Penny Hardaway.

The Trailblazers also feature five-star shooting guard Isaiah Elohim, four-star forward Bryce Cofield, three-star forward Noah Williams, three-star forward Jimmy Oladokun and JoJo Phillips, a three-star wide receiver on the Sierra Canyon football team who has signed with BYU.

Hardaway has signed to play for his father at Memphis, while Oladokun has signed with San Diego. Of the remainder of the roster, Bronny James is the only other senior. The Wheeler-Sierra Canyon game, set for an 11 p.m. Eastern tip and streamed by the NFHS Network, is one of four on the schedule for The Chosen 1’s Invitational. The event will also feature the boys and girls teams from St. Vincent-St. Mary’s Catholic High School, LeBron James’ alma mater in Akron, Ohio.

A group of Cobb families that sued the Cobb County School District over its lack of certain COVID-19 protocols, such as a mask mandate, has won an appeal in federal court.

The suit, first filed in October 2021, argued that Cobb School District’s failure to follow guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention denied students with disabilities, medical conditions and respiratory ailments access to a safe, in-person learning environment.

The plaintiffs are four unnamed Cobb students and their parents, and are represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center and two metro Atlanta law firms. The defendants are CCSD, Superintendent Chris Ragsdale and the school board’s four Republicans.

The students all have disabilities, such as muscular dystrophy, leukemia and respiratory conditions, and argued they are at risk of severe symptoms or death should they be infected with COVID-19.

Adding to that risk, they argued, was the district’s choice to loosen its COVID policies ahead of the 2021-2022 school year, including not requiring masks to be worn in schools. As such, the children were forced to opt into virtual learning courses, causing them “irreparable harm” and subjecting them to discrimination.

The Southern Poverty Law Center argues the district violated the students’ civil rights as enshrined by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

The appeals court sent the case back to the district court, ordering it to “analyze whether virtual schooling is a reasonable accommodation for in-person schooling, not education in general.”

Cobb schools did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Cobb's own Pebblebrook High School is one of two Atlanta-area high schools that will be featured in a prestigious marching band showcase in February. 

The HBCU All-Star Battle of the Bands will feature marching bands from four historically Black colleges and universities, as well as those from Pebblebrook and Westlake high schools.

The event will take place Saturday, February 4 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. 

The Pebblebrook band's participation in the event will come just over a month after the Mighty Marching Machine traveled to New Orleans to perform at the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

The HBCU All-Star Battle of the Bands, which has also partnered with Allstate for the event, will host a college fair at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta before the showcase, according to a news release.

Forty-five different HBCUs from around the country will waive student application fees, accept applications on-site, and even offer opportunities for scholarships. High school students and recent graduates are invited to attend the college fair, averaging 7,000 attendees in past years, prior to the band performances from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on February 4. 

A familiar name in the Kennesaw dining scene is back, this time with a new restaurant offering a fresh take on Mexican and Southwestern cuisine.

Bernardo's Modern-Mex, owned by Brett and Laura Olszeski, is now open in downtown Kennesaw. It takes the place of Trackside Grill, which the Olszeski family owned and operated for 20 years.

A recent remodel brought Bernardo's to life in the former Trackside space. The new restaurant includes a spacious dining room and an indoor patio with a fireplace. A planned rooftop bar is supposed to open sometime in the spring. 

Bernardo's is a return to Brett Olszeski's roots in the restaurant industry, which he said was some time in the making.

The "family" in this family business is also connected to the cuisine: Brett and wife Laura met in a Mexican restaurant.

Bernardo's may sound familiar to another restaurant the Olszeski family owns and operates across the street: Bernie's Social Bar, which has been open in downtown Kennesaw for five years.

Brett Olszeski explained that "Bernie" is a family name, and Bernardo a Spanish variation of the name: Brett's father was named Bernard, Brett's middle name is Bernard, and Brett's brother is named Bernie. 

Brett said Bernardo's is not your typical Tex-Mex. The restaurant's main culinary influences come not from Texas but from Mexico, Arizona and New Mexico. All of the food is fresh, and Brett says the restaurant hopes to serve as many as 40 different tequilas.

 As the clouds gave way to sunshine Wednesday afternoon, much of Cobb had dried up after heavy rain Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

However, the effects of the deluge were still felt in some parts of the county, notably Noonday Creek Park and East Cobb Park.

Cobb County Parks announced late Wednesday morning the two parks would be “closed until further notice” because of flooding, though just before noon, it announced East Cobb Park would reopen at 1 p.m.

The county had not announced a reopening timeline for Noonday Creek Park by 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, with the parking lot at the park that sits adjacent the creek still mostly flooded.

Around 8:30 Wednesday morning, a county spokesperson told the MDJ the Cobb Department of Transportation was not working on any issues related to the storms that swept through the area Tuesday evening.

Cobb DOT responded to four calls about flooding and one regarding a fallen tree, but those were cleared as of 8:30 a.m., according to the spokesperson.

Cobb and nearly 50 other counties in Georgia were under a tornado watch until 9 p.m. Tuesday, as strong storms swept through the area after making their way across the Alabama-Georgia border.

A flash flood warning was in effect for Cobb until noon Wednesday. The county postponed a test of its emergency outdoor sirens to Thursday as a result of the storms.

Kennesaw State offensive coordinator Grant Chesnut will be hired as Navy football’s new offensive coordinator, multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation told The Capital on Monday.

Newly-hired head coach Brian Newberry could not be reached for comment, while senior associate athletic director for sports information Scott Strasemeier said Navy was not prepared to make any announcements regarding assistant coaches at this time.

Chesnut just completed his eighth season at Kennesaw State under head coach Brian Bohannon. The Owls ranked 10th in rushing offense in the Football Championship Subdivision this season, averaging 232.2 yards per game.

Chesnut coached alongside Newberry for four seasons at Kennesaw State, while Newberry served as defensive coordinator. The two matched wits in practice on a daily basis. Both men worked under Bohannon, a disciple of former Navy and Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson.

#CobbCounty #Georgia #LocalNews     






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