WSAV TV reporter Alex Bozarjian was reporting live from a race in Savannah, Georgia, when a runner hit her on her backside.
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CNN's Michael Smerconish talks with hemp farm founder & CEO Iris Rogers about the problems in farming hemp and the plant's similarity to marijuana.
Westside Principal Glen Abshere has resigned, effective Jan. 10, to take on the role of executive director for the Oklahoma Association of Elementary School Principals (OAESP).
There has been a dramatic rise in anti-Semitic attacks on the French-German border with more than 40 different incidents of vandalism at schools and on village walls in the region this week. CNN's Melissa reports from Alsace.
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A Gulfport man is home free tonight after a jury unanimously found him not guilty on both counts of an armed robbery from 2016. The robbery was at the Exxon Station off 30th Avenue downtown. Police pulled Tevin Ball over shortly after the robbery and not far from the scene. He was arrested w…
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The Huntsville City Council is expected to put the finishing touches on a handful of food truck regulations that will put restrictions on hours and locations of mobile eateries within the city.
For the past seven years, Greg Osterland has decorated his Ohio home with 25,000 lights. His goal? A real life version of the Griswolds' creation in the classic movie "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation."
For the first time since 2005, the West Jackson County Planning Department will get a new facility. Today, ground was broken for the more than 1,600 square foot building. The $680,000 project will feature office space, a breakroom, and a conference room. Jackson County District Four Supervis…
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The Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church is having their International Christmas Festival tomorrow. This festival is a unique way to celebrate Christmas within the culture of 12 European countries including Russia, Moldova, Ukraine, Greece, Georgia, and more. There will be tons of traditional …
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The Gulf Coast Bicycle Club is spreading holiday cheer with a bike drive and ride taking place over the weekend in Long Beach. More than 120 bikes will be donated tomorrow to the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department to distribute. Before the giveaway takes place, there will be a bike ride st…
Something to look forward to each holiday season on the Coast is the annual Christmas display at the Railroad Museum in Gulfport. News 25’s Victoria Bailey is there with more.
When President Donald Trump mocked teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, she trolled him in response. CNN's Jeanne Moos wonders which one needs "anger management."
We are in the peak of holiday season so plenty of parties and gatherings are on everyone’s calendar and for a lot of people that includes drinking. Gulfport Police and the Transportation Department are working together to remind everyone of the importance of planning a sober ride home before…
A Biloxi man has been arrested and charged with credit card fraud and possession of a controlled substance. Today, Biloxi police arrested 52-year-old Michael Gillich III of Biloxi. His arrest stems from warrants issued as the result of an investigation into an incident reported back on Octob…
The Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church is having their International Christmas Festival tomorrow. It will be a way to learn about celebrating Christmas in different cultures while having fun with the whole family. News 25’s Gabby Easterwood has more.
He says you can put it on anything from burgers to cupcakes and ice cream. You have to taste it to believe it, but that’s just part of why J. Lee’s Gourmet BBQ Sauce is going national. Today’s Hometown Hero says it’s the mission behind the label that’s making the taste and his success that m…
Do you think your school has the best choir? If so, let your voice be heard and even possibly share the stage with Foreigner through our 25 Voices Choir Contest. WXXV is looking for the best two high school or middle school choirs here on the Gulf Coast to sing with the chart-topping band Fo…
A 13-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with the stabbing death of Barnard College student Tessa Rane Majors, according to a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation.
OLIVE HILL, Ky. -- It had the trappings of a scene from The Natural. A hand-crafted bat made from scratch for Tim Johnson’s son J.T.’s summer season in the North Carolina North State League, showcase for college baseball players with big league dreams.
It wasn’t “Wonderboy” made for Roy Hobbs from a tree split by lightning. But it lickety-split earned the reputation of whim-wham lumber from J.T.’s Piedmont Whitetails’ teammates, including the winner of the league’s 2019 home run derby.
From there, word of mouth spread so fast that Tim Johnson’s woodworking hobby moved to the early stage of a budding bat production company, making customized and model bats for baseball and softball players of all ages.
Located in the northeast Kentucky hamlet of Olive Hill, the informally named Big Johnson Bat Company includes marketing maven Madison, Johnson’s niece and a softball player at Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, Kentucky. She sells Johnson bats like they were hotcakes cooked in pork fat.
“I had to tell her to quit,” said the 54-year-old Johnson. “I couldn’t make them as fast as she sold them.”
With the assistance of his brother Shawn, Johnson fastidiously lathes blank cylindrical billets of ash or maple into sanded, customized bats, each taking three to four hours. Duplicates of non-customized bats take 20 minutes on a duplicator, a machine designed to ensure the legs on a chair are identical.
Customized bats are made to a hitter’s preferred length, weight and sweet spot. A wood-burning pen brands the barrel, then Johnson hand rubs each bat with seven or eight coasts of lacquer, a task performed in the bathroom of the family home because there’s too much humidity and dust in his workshop.
Johnson’s “plant” is his 576-square-foot garage, jammed with various machines, prototypes, raw wood, tool chests and a refrigerator for drinks in one corner. To cross the sawdust blanketed workspace, you carefully set your foot with each step.
Making bats is Johnson’s night job. During the day he’s an administrator for three area vocational schools, meaning he starts his bat-making around 4 p.m. He normally turns out two customized bats before calling it a night, though he’s made as many as five hand-turned bats in one very long night, an experience he doesn’t plan to repeat.
Johnson works on and off during the week, unless “Madison goes back to a selling rampage, then it’ll be every night.”
The Johnson customized bat sells for $125. Madison-designed bats for training, with an enlarged sweet spot, go for $75. One-handed bats cost $50. Johnson also makes long, lightweight fungo bats for hitting practice balls to fielders.
The Johnson brothers learned wood working at a young age, assisting their father, who owned a used furniture store that included refinished antiques. They also played baseball in high school and college before taking up successful high school coaching careers. That background has been helpful in bat production, said Tim Johnson.
“I know what a bat needs to feel like,” he said, “if it needs to be balanced or end-loaded, how thick or thin a handle needs to be, if you need a cupped end, a smaller taper on the barrel or a longer barrel, and what type of wood has the qualities that would be most productive with each particular swing.”
Johnson never thought his bat hobby would go this far. Yet he plans to retire from his school administrator’s position sometime next year, then decide whether to make bats for a living -- with the help of his brother Shawn, son J.T. and niece Madison.
They already have a tee-shirt slogan, “Swinging hard wood.” Now all they need is a natural like Roy Hobbs to popularize the power of the Johnson bat.
Zach Klemme, sports writer for the Ashland, Ky., Daily Independent provided details for this story.
TLC's "Hot & Heavy," a new reality show about plus-sized women and their thinner love interests, spurs controversy. HLN's Robin Meade and Melissa Knowles have more.
President Donald Trump says he's agreed to a "Phase One" deal with China that includes "many structural changes and massive purchases of Agricultural Product, Energy, and Manufactured Goods, plus much more" -- effectively calling a truce in a war that has roiled financial markets and the US …
Casual dating is still frowned upon in many parts of India. Whitney Wolfe Herd, Bumble's founder and CEO, tells CNN Business' Rachel Crane how the dating app that changed the way women date online in the US could do so in India as well.
Blévie Meyia Lucchesi has scored big on the court and is now passing her talents on to kids in Gabon. In Kenya, James Kamau has launched a successful basketball camp praised by Queen Elizabeth.
Ocean Springs Police Ask Public to Report Any Business Contract Violations After Home Repair Fraud Arrest
At least one person has been shot at a food-service container plant near Atlanta, Georgia, and the shooter is believed to be inside the plant, a federal source with knowledge of the situation said.
18-year-old Tessa Rane Majors was stabbed to death just blocks from Barnard College in an armed robbery, Barnard College President Sian Leah Beilock said. There have been no arrests, but "a couple" of people are being questioned by police, NYPD Chief of Patrol Services Rodney Harrison said.
A tour boat left White Island, New Zealand, shortly before a volcano erupted, but decided to turn around and help rescue the survivors. CNN's Will Ripley reports.
Harry Styles ate something disgusting on "The Late Late Show" to avoid telling Kendall Jenner which songs from his last album were written about her.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC-R) questions Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz about former British Intelligence officer Christopher Steele's possible bias against President Donald Trump.
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