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Concert photo's by Ray Tharsldson
all rights reserved 2011

By Brian Mansfield
Kenny Rogers likes his Christmas & Hits tour because it draws a completely different crowd than his concerts do the rest of the year. "Everybody's looking to remember what Christmas was like when they were kids," says the singer of country crossover hits like Lucille and The Gambler.

The 20-city music tour, which also features Billy Dean, kicks off tonight in Columbus, Ohio, and runs through Dec. 23 in Westbury, N.Y. "We try to do a lot of it up North, so we usually run into some snow."
Once upon a Christmas: The Christmas & Hits tour celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. It all started with some guy in the back of Atlanta's Fox Theatre during a mid-December show. "I was singing along, and he yells, 'Are you going to do any Christmas music?' " Rogers says. "I said, 'Well, wait a minute, I think I can.' So without even rehearsing, we did some Christmas piece. And the next year, we did four or five songs. It got bigger and bigger."
A Scholar-ly pursuit: Rogers, 73, got his start in a band called The Scholars. "That name was such a misnomer — we were D students," he says. "But we'd all seen the Four Freshmen and thought, 'Well, that's a cool name.' " The Scholars traveled the region around Houston, playing places like Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. "As 19-year-old kids, you'd sing to your grandmother and be happy about it. We were thrilled we were able to perform as professionals, even though our first job, which I think was a hundred miles away, we made 20 dollars each on."

A Showman's life — and near death: During the late '60s, Rogers joined the New Christy Minstrels, a popular folk group whose skills didn't extend to an understanding of physics. Which is why it made perfect sense for Rogers and drummer Mickey Jones to put the big Fender Dual Showman amplifier on top of the station-wagon rack. "We thought, that's heavy enough," Rogers says. And it was, at 30 miles an hour. It was even OK at 40 miles an hour. "Once you hit 50, it's not OK anymore," he says. "That thing lifted up — thank God there was nobody behind us — and we looked in the rearview mirror and there were sparks flying for half a mile behind us. We hooked it up that night and it played, but it was a little bit scarred up."

A bridge too far: Rogers played upright bass during his year and a half with the New Christy Minstrels. On one tour, the constant shipping and jostling caused the wooden bridge that holds the strings away from the instrument's body to work loose. One night, "that sucker popped off and went flying out into the audience," Rogers recalls. "Then I couldn't play bass. Aside from the fact that we had no bass in the sound, I stood there like an idiot and held this bass that couldn't be played, with four loose strings on it."

Rogers has a theory: "The audience expects 100% entertainment," he says. "If the opening act only gives them 10, I've got to give them 90. But if the opening act gives them 90, I've only got to give them 10!" The audience got a few bonus percentage points during one early-'80s show in Chicago, when Rogers headlined a show that also featured comedian George Burns and R&B great Ray Charles. "It was one of the coolest things, that cross-section of humor and music, and it really worked somehow."

Traveling in style: The days of station wagons and Greyhounds are far behind Rogers, who now travels in a customized Prevost tour bus. "I have a flat-screen, I have a chaise lounge, I have a refrigerator," he says. "What else does a man need?"

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Happy Thanksgiving America!


Reagan's challenge to Soviets honoured

Lech Walesa, the former Polish President and anti-communist leader, unveiled a statue of Ronald Reagan in Warsaw yesterday.
Although the late US President's legacy is mixed at home, many in eastern Europe consider him a great leader for challenging the Soviet Union. AP

Tasmanians, Kiwis await eclipse treat

TASMANIANS and Kiwis will be among a select global audience treated to a front-row view of a partial solar eclipse this week.

The moon will appear to take a nibble out of the sun on Friday, a spectacle that will be visible from only a small sliver of the world.
It will be the fourth and last partial solar eclipse of the year.
Weather permitting, Tasmanians, Kiwis, people in some parts of South Africa may glimpse the phenomenon.
At its peak, 90 per cent of the sun will be blocked over Antarctica.
If you are not within viewing range, fret not. In May, an annular, or ring-shaped, solar eclipse promises to dazzle a larger audience, since it will be visible from the western US and eastern Asia.
Scientists urge people to wear protective glasses when viewing a solar eclipse.
For more information visit the NASA site at:

Penn State taps former FBI director Louis Freeh in child sex abuse investigation

By Associated 
Former FBI director Louis Freeh, tapped to lead Penn State’s investigation into the child sex abuse allegations against a former assistant football coach, said his inquiry will go as far back as 1975, a much longer period than a grand jury report issued earlier this month.
Freeh was named Monday to oversee the university board of trustees’ internal investigation into the abuse allegations that ultimately led to the ouster of longtime football coach Joe Paterno and university President Graham Spanier.
Freeh said his goal was to conduct a comprehensive, fair and quick review. His team of former FBI agents, federal prosecutors and others has already begun the process of reading the grand jury report and looking at records.
“We will immediately report any evidence of criminality to law enforcement authorities,” said Freeh, who has no direct connection to Penn State.
Penn State has faced criticism since announcing that its internal investigation would be led by two university trustees, Merck pharmaceutical company CEO Kenneth Frazier and state Education Secretary Ronald Tomalis.
Faculty members on Friday called for an independent investigation of how the university handled abuse allegations, and the faculty senate endorsed a resolution asking for an independent investigation.
In announcing Freeh’s appointment, Frazier stressed the former FBI director’s independence. Freeh will be empowered to investigate employees up to and including the board of trustees itself, Frazier said.
“No one is above scrutiny,” Frazier said. “He has complete rein to follow any lead, to look into every corner of the university to get to the bottom of what happened and then to make recommendations that will help ensure that it never happens again.”
Freeh said he had been assured there would be “no favoritism.” He called that assurance “the main condition of my engagement.”
Former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is accused of molesting eight boys over a 15-year period beginning in the mid-1990s. Authorities say some assaults happened on campus and were reported to administrators but not to police.
Authorities say Sandusky, who retired from Penn State in 1999, met the children through The Second Mile, a youth charity that he started in 1977. By going back as far as 1975, Freeh’s investigation would cover the entire time The Second Mile has existed and 24 of the 30 years that Sandusky worked at Penn State.
Amid the scandal, Penn State’s trustees ousted Spanier and Paterno. The trustees said Spanier and Paterno failed to act after a graduate assistant claimed he saw Sandusky sexually abusing a young boy in a campus shower in 2002.
Paterno, who has the most wins of any major college football coach, has conceded he should have done more. Spanier has said he would have reported a crime if he had suspected one had been committed.
Sandusky has said he is innocent. He has acknowledged he showered with boys but said he never molested them.
Former school administrators Tim Curley — who is on administrative leave — and Gary Schultz are charged with not properly alerting authorities to suspected abuse and with perjury. They maintain their innocence.

Joe Paterno Beset By Several Health Issues Since 2006


photo's by Ray Tharaldson
all rights reserved 2011

story by Mike Poorman
The revelation by Joe Paterno’s son Scott that the recently fired Penn State football coach hastreatable lung cancer is the latest in a spate of ailments that have beset the elder Paterno.
Paterno, who turns 85 on Dec. 21, has been battling a variety of ailments – many of them injuries attained on the football field – over the past six seasons.
Prior to the cancer discovery, the most recent occurred at the start of summer drills in August 2011.
During practice inside Penn State’s Holuba Hall on Aug. 7, Paterno was accidently blindsided by 5-foot-7, 157-pound receiver Devon Smith. He suffered shoulder and pelvis injuries and was hospitalized for a day. No surgery was required.
He returned to practice three days after the accident, but for most of the next several weeks spent practice in a golf cart. He appeared before the media on Aug. 10 with his right arm in a sling and seated in a cart labeled No. 1.
The effects of the injuries lasted through August and into November. For over a month he moved with the aid of a walker and then with a cane. In the nine games Paterno coached in 2011, he spent only six out of a total of 36 quarters on the field during a game.
BEGINNING IN 2006
Dating back to 2006, when he was 79, Paterno’s injuries and maladies included a broken leg, a busted hip and severe intestinal problems. They have caused him to miss a regular-season game following surgery in 2006, and to coach several games from the press box over two different seasons.
In 2006, in an away game in Madison against Wisconsin, Paterno was chopped down along the sideline when Badgers linebacker DeAndre Levy tackled Penn State tight end Andrew Quarless, and then Levy's helmet rolled into Paterno's knee. The top of Paterno's shin was broken and he also sustained two ligament injuries.
Paterno, then 79, missed the next game, a home contest against Temple, following surgery. He was in the Beaver Stadium press box for the 2006 regular season finale against Michigan State.
In 2008, during a preseason practice, Paterno, then 81, was demonstrating to his players how to perform an onside kick and he severely hurt his hip in the process. He spent much of that season coaching from the press box, while conducting practice in a golf cart. Much of the time, he walked with the aid of a cane.
Paterno had hip surgery the day after the final 2008 regular-season game, and coached along the sidelines in Penn State's Rose Bowl appearance 39 days later.
Then came myriad intestinal problems in 2010, which left Paterno looking frail and a bit dazed at the Big Ten Conference's Media Days last summer in Chicago. That came on the heels of a summer where Paterno spent much of his time close to home. He cancelled a number of alumni and booster events due to intestinal problems exacerbated by bad reactions to medication. Although he started the 2010 football season in apparently poor health, his appearance and countenance improved greatly as the year went on.
ROBUST TO START 2011
When on July 29 Paterno returned to Chicago on for the 2011 Big Ten Media Days, what a difference a year made. The Nittany Lion coach was tan and appeared robust: "I feel a lot better than I did a year ago," he told the assembled media, again and again.
He spent much this past summer getting into shape for the 2011 campaign, walking from 30 to 35 miles a week, and was a constant sight on the Penn State campus and around State College.
At that time, Paterno said although he is in the final year of his three-year contract with Penn State, he had no plans to retire after the 2011 season.
"Right now, I'm looking at four-five more years," said Paterno, adding with a shrug: "I may be optimistic; I don't know."

Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview

Labels: WRLTHD World News
by Roger Ebert
If Steve Jobs was right in 1995 and the computer is the most important tool in the history of the human race, then he was the most important toolmaker. In that year he was in exile from Apple, fired by the company he co-founded, and running his own much smaller company named NeXT. Soon he would sell NeXT to Apple and become Apple's CEO. Ahead lay a new generation of Macs and iPhones, iPods and lots of cool iStuff.



Jobs rarely sat down for interviews. He was highly conscious of message control as a part of marketing; note how tight Apple's security is on new product introductions. 


In 1995 he sat down for a 70-minute interview with Robert X. Cringely, technology writer and blogger. Bites from it were used in "Triumph of the Nerds," Cringely's PBS series. Most of it has never been seen and was thought to be lost en route from London to New York. Recently, Cringely says in his intro to this doc, a copy was found in London. Now, soon after Jobs' death on Oct. 5, it's being shown via HDNet in Landmark Theaters in 19 cities, including Chicago's Landmark Century. Most cities will see it at 7:15 and 9 p. m. on Nov. 16 and 17. In Palo Alto, where he lived and died, it will play for a week.


Jobs was 40 when this interview took place. He recalls with savor the early days when he and Steve Wozniak built the Apple I in a garage, and unknowingly invented cell phones by rigging it to send a telephone call around the world to ring the pay phone next door a minute later. "We realized we two could control billions of dollars in infrastructure!" he smiles. He also remembers them calling the Pope and hanging up when they realized they'd actually gotten through.


He and Cringely (a former Apple employee) were on good terms, and Jobs was unusually open. One of his motives was that he believed Apple was on a slow slide into extinction. He's frank about John Sculley, the executive he hired and who pushed him out: Scully knew little about computers but a great deal about survival.


He tells the story of how he saw a Graphical User Interface in Xerox's PARC lab in Palo Alto, and realized in an instant it represented the future of computing. He tells other hardware and software stories, but seems more interested in the process of running a company in which diamonds in the rough can polish each other by constant friction. He discusses his management theories, which made him arguably the best chief executive of his time, and remembers his first visit, as a 12-year-old nerd, to Hewlett-Packard. "It was the only company I'd ever seen," he tells Cringely. "I thought it was great how they had free coffee and doughnuts."


Steve Jobs has held a special fascination for me since I bought one of the first Macs. And you? It's likely you already know if you want to see this documentary, which isn't really a film; it's raw material for a film, in the form of Jobs speaking in close-up. It's a tribute to the singular popularity of Steve Jobs that he's probably the only talking head people would pay to watch for more than an hour.


For more information visit:http://www.apple.com/

Billionaire heir to Cargill fortune dies in Calif.


The Associated Press
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Cargill MacMillan Jr., the multibillionaire heir to the Cargill, Inc. agribusiness fortune, has died in Southern California. He was 84.
MacMillan died of natural causes shortly after 1 p.m. Monday at his home in Indian Wells, where he was under hospice care, Riverside County sheriff's spokesman Angel Ramos said.


MacMillan was worth an estimated $2.6 billion based on his share in the family company, according to Forbes magazine, which placed him and other relatives on its list of the 400 richest Americans.

The family, which has a reputation for secrecy, holds 88 percent of Cargill. The Minnesota-based conglomerate, founded in 1865, has international interests that range from cocoa plantations to 
livestock and steel mills to commodities trading.


Cargill made headlines earlier this year when it recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey following back-to-back salmonella incidents that were linked to one death and 129 illnesses across the country. The company also reported its fiscal first-quarter earnings fell 66 percent amid a volatile global grain market.



While MacMillan was a longtime board member, he had no day-to-day role in the company.

The Yale graduate and his wife, Donna, moved from Minnesota to Indian Wells in 1990 and were philanthropists, donating a $20 million art collection to the Palm Springs Art Museum, the Desert Sun newspaper (http://mydesert.co/v3eInx) reported.

He is survived by his wife and four children.

Walt Disney World Speedway Adds Exotic Driving Experience


Whether you’re a kid or not, the name "Walt Disney" should instantly ignite a certain amount of joy. We’ve all been flipping through the television channels and stopped at a Disney cartoon just for a few minutes. Disney has been around for years bringing that kind of long-lasting joy for people, and now they are bringing it once again with the new additions to the Walt Disney World Speedway.
The Walt Disney World Speedway is a racing facility located on the grounds of the Walt Disney World resort near Orlando, Florida, but don’t expect to see Lightning McQueen racing around the track. The speedway has recently added a new Exotic Driving Experience that includes some of the most amazing supercars in the world – the Ferrari F430Ferrari 458 ItaliaLamborghini Gallardo LP560-4Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4Audi R8, and Porsche 911 GT3 RS 997.
If you are interested, the experience will officially begin on January 16, 2012.
For more information visit:

Justin Timberlake Attends Marine Corps Ball


Lance Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/
Cpl. Kelsey De Santis and her date Justin Timberlake at the Instructor Battalion Marine Corps Ball on Saturday.

Justin Timberlake was the belle of the ball Saturday night - the Marine Corps ball.
The singer-turned-actor fulfilled the promise he made in July and attended the military event on the arm of U.S. Marine Cpl. Kelsey de Santis, who asked him to be her date in a YouTube video.
Timberlake was snapped by a fellow partygoer looking dapper -- and a little shellshocked -- in formal wear at the Virginia event, seated at a table surrounded by marines in uniform, in a photo obtained by local TV station WTVR.
The wife of one of the marines at the ball said Timberlake "posed for pictures and seemed like a normal guy," according to WTVR.
De Santis, whose sassy YouTube invite was inspired by Timberlake's encouragement of costar Mila Kunis to accept a marine's invite to a similar ball, talked tough before the event, telling reporters she planned to challenge Timberlake to a dance-off.
“My friends keep saying, ‘Dance-off!’ They know about my skills,” she told Access Hollywood. “I honestly don’t think he’ll be able to keep up with my group of people."
No word yet on if she broke out one of the “multiple signature moves" she boasted of, such as “The Dougie.”
She and Timberlake are also staying mum on whether anything romantic happened, though De Santis left the door open for things to heat up with the "Sexy Back" singer in an interview before the event.
“Of course, I’m single!" she said before the event. "I don’t know [if a kiss will happen\]. I guess that’s all up to JT and what his plans are."
Kunis is still planning to attend the Marine Corps ball she was invited to, which is slated for November 18.

For more information visit:

Glen Campbell Bids Farewell to Recording Career With Final Album


Singer Glen Campbell is saying farewell to his illustrious recording career with his final studio album, “Ghost On The Canvas.”
When Glen Campbell announced that he had Alzheimer’s disease, fans thought he would retire and never be seen again.  But, at age 75, Campbell had no interest in calling it quits.  He released a new album while embarking on a tour of the U.S. and Europe.

The album, which critics have described as “a musical biography,” marks the end of a career that garnered numerous music awards and best-selling records, film roles and a network television variety show, “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.”
Campbell grew up wanting to become a jazz musician, but, at the time, decided there was more work for pop and country artists.  As one of the era’s busiest studio musicians, he performed alongside Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys and other headliners.  Later, he became an international headliner himself with such hits as “Gentle On My Mind” and “Wichita Lineman.” 
After learning he had Alzheimer’s disease in 2009, Glen Campbell decided to record one last album while he was still in good health.
In the liner notes, Campbell writes, “‘Ghost On The Canvas’” is the last studio record of new songs I ever plan to make.”  He calls it a series of snapshots of his life and career, “a life that’s been greater than I ever could have imagined.”
The album comes with a little help from his friends; songwriters Paul Westerberg, Jakob Dylan and Julian Raymond, as well as guest vocalist Chris Isaak and fellow guitarists Brian Setzer, Rick Nielsen, Dick Dale and Billy Corgan.

Four members of Campbell’s family are performing with their father on his current farewell tour, including Cal and Ashley Campbell of the band Instant People.  The tour travels to England, Scotland and Ireland before returning to Branson, Missouri on December 2.

Ryman Auditorium Nashville, TN
The one and only Glen Campbell will grace our stage on Nov. 30 and Dec. 5. There are still a few tickets available for the Dec. 5 show -- grab them while you can!

Tracks:
1. A Better Place
2. Ghost On The Canvas 
3. The Billstown Crossroads
4. A Thousand Lifetimes
5. It s Your Amazing Grace
6. Second Street North
7. In My Arms - with Chris Isaak, Dick Dale, and Brian Setzer
8. May 21st, 1969
9. Nothing But The Whole Wide World
10. Wild And Waste Listen
11. Hold On Hope
12. Valley Of The Sun
13. Any Trouble
14. Strong - with Dandy Warhols
15. The Rest Is Silence
16. There s No Me...Without You - guitars by Billy Corgan, Marty Rifkin, Rick Nielsen, and Brian Setzer.

GLEN CAMPBELL'S GHOST ON THE CANVAS VIDEO
The first video from Glen Campbell's critically acclaimed album of the same name. The song's writer, Paul Westerberg, makes an appearance in the clip as well as Glen's children Ashley, Shannon and Cal, and it was directed by Kii Arens and Jason Trucco. FYI, Ghost On The Canvas is the final album to be recorded by the artist (charting on Billboard's Album Chart at #23), capping off an amazing career that has immortalized compositions such as John Hartford's "Gentle On My Mind," the Jimmy Webb-penned "By The Time I get To Phoenix," "Wichita Lineman," and "Galveston," plus "Rhinestone Cowboy," "Country Boy," "Southern Nights," and many others. Ghost On The Canvas also includes original songs by Jakob Dylan, Robert Pollard, and Teddy Thompson, and musicians Chris Isaak, Dick Dale, Billy Corgan, Brian Setzer, Rick Nielsen, Roger Manning, and The Dandy Warhols.
For more information visit:

Poll: Most Americans back Israeli strike on Iran

Some 57% of Americans say they support Israeli military action against Iran's nuke sites
Yitzhak Benhorin

Most Americans support an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear sites, while a smaller majority endorses such US strike, according to a poll commissioned by the Anti-Defamation League.

Some 63% of poll respondents characterized Israel as a "crucial ally" and said that the Jewish state's relationship with the US does not undermine America's image in the world.

As to Iran's development of nuclear weapons, the poll showed that 57% of Americans support Israeli military action to prevent such scenario while only 31% opposed such move. Some 50% of respondents supported US military action against Iran, while 44% expressed their objection to such strike.

Meanwhile, nearly half of all Americans said they sympathize with the State of Israel, while only 18% said they sympathize with the Palestinians. Some 63% of respondents said they believe Israel is serious about peace, while only 37% thought otherwise.

 Overall, 73% of Americans said that the US can count on Israel as a strong ally.

"The poll demonstrates once again that no matter the degree of change in the Middle East, the one constant is the American people's strong support for Israel," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "It is particularly significant that Americans 'get it' with regard to the need for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians as well as the need to act to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power."

The poll, titled American Attitudes Toward Israel, the Palestinians and Prospects for Peace in the Middle East, encompassed 1,754 adults and was undertaken in October.

CMA Awards: show highlights!

photo's by Ray Tharaldson all rights reserved 2011
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Though still largely the domain of men, triumphs by Taylor Swift and The Band Perry at the Country Music Association Awards show that the young women of country music are finding their voices and shoving the boys out of the way.

Swift won the CMA's entertainer of the year for the second time Wednesday night, Kimberly Perry of sibling act The Band Perry took home song of the year and two other awards with her brothers, Neil and Reid. Add in wins by Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum and Sugarland, and the songwriting strength of today's country girls is undeniable.

"When Taylor won entertainer I secretly sang (Beyonce's) 'Who runs the world? Girls,' to Blake," Lambert said after she and husband Blake Shelton repeated as male and female vocalist of the year. "I'm just really happy that females are starting to be very prominent and it is the female singer-songwriter.

"It's so cool that Kimberly wrote song of the year by herself. And that's a dream of mine. I'm just so happy the girls were really celebrated tonight."

Celebrated like rarely before. Swift became the second woman to win entertainer of the year twice, joining Barbara Mandrell, and she did it by the age of 21.

"To win it twice is like the coolest thing ever happening to me twice," Swift said backstage. "I'm freaking out right now."

She's inspired legions of young girls to take up guitar and write their own songs, and she has spread the gospel of country music to the Far East, filling stadiums like few others can. She crossed the 20 million mark in album sales and has almost no rival in the genre when it comes to bringing converts over the wall.

She's made all that headway on the strength of her songs. She loves nothing better than the process of turning inspiration into something that makes a connection with people all over the planet.

"All of the sudden this idea that was just yours is now everybody else's and they sing it in their cars and sing it about their breakups or falling in love and they incorporate it into their lives," Swift said.

Perry experienced a similar kind of revelation when her song "If I Die Young" conquered country radio then began to crossover on to pop stations. Rarely do country songs resonate across genres, and that the melancholy "If I Die Young" ran hard in the face of the successful formula so many follow made it even more impressive.

The song earned Perry song of the year, which goes to the writer, and The Band Perry, which includes her brothers, single of the year and new artist of the year.

Perry said the song came to her one afternoon and she got most of it down right away. She showed it to her mom and said she thought she'd bring it to Nashville to get help from another songwriter to finish it, but her mother encouraged her to keep ownership. It turned out to be the right choice.

"We sort of feel like we are part of the country evangelism scene and we love to hear country songs on pop radio," she said.

Crossing over was another strong theme of the night.

Jason Aldean, who earned his first major CMA award when his platinum-selling "My Kinda Party" won album of the year, also won musical event of the year for his duet "Don't You Wanna Stay" with pop star Kelly Clarkson. And Kenny Chesney won music video of the year for his duet "You and Tequila" with rocker Grace Potter.

Lady Antebellum, whose crossover appeal is rivaled only by Swift's, won its third straight vocal group of the year award and Sugarland took vocal duo of the year for the fifth straight time.

That theme also carried over to the stage where stars from different genres came together for some of the CMA's strongest performances. The show also featured plenty of sexy dancing, fire and belching smoke special effects and, at one point, acrobats spinning down from the ceiling on lengths of unspooling fabric.

Lionel Richie had every star buzzing on the red carpet before performing duets from his new country album with Rascal Flatts, Darius Rucker and Little Big Town. He posed for a picture with Lambert and gave advice to Lady Antebellum on the red carpet.

Gregg Allman joined fellow Peach State natives Zac Brown Band on "Georgia on my Mind," Natasha Bedingfield, in a dress that featured a fluffy red skirt, joined Rascal Flatts on stage to perform their duet "Easy," and that was just the start of genre shuffling.

Shelton and Kenny Loggins opened the show with a high-energy version of Loggins' hit "Footloose." Later, Glen Campbell, one of country's biggest crossover pioneers who is now battling Alzheimer's disease, was given a musical tribute when Vince Gill, Keith Urban and Brad Paisley sang three of his songs.

Richie hadn't performed on the CMAs since 1986 when he appeared with Alabama. He noted the show has changed dramatically over the decades, as has country music.

"It's Cirque de Soleil ... it's full-on production," Richie said. "This is off-the-chain. This is the Oscars of the music business, the CMAs."

Lambert and Shelton made a little history when they took male and female vocalist of the year. They're the second married couple to win the awards in the same year.

"Congrats to my hubby, too," Lambert shouted from the stage to Shelton on the eve of her 28th birthday. "It's going to be a good night tonight, baby!" The camera cut to Shelton, who rubbed his hands together and smiled devilishly.

National Softball Hall of Fame Class of 2011


Ten people will enter the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame during the 31st Annual Induction Ceremonies on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 in Myrtle Beach, S.C.. Although they are in different categories, there is one common bond they will share for life. They all went above and beyond in their dedication to contribute and support amateur softball, whether on or off the field.
Gary Tharaldson – Sponsor – Fargo, North Dakota
Gary has dedicated much of his life to supporting ASA Softball as a sponsor for not just one or two divisions but across the whole spectrum of ASA Softball. He was a sponsor for 38 years of the Men’s A, B and C Slow Pitch Divisions and supported five different levels of senior ball for a total of 24 years.  Tharaldson sponsored women’s teams for 15 years as well as both Boys and Girls Junior Olympic Teams.

His sponsored teams have participated in over 30 National Tournaments. Outside of his teams, Tharaldson gave back by providing North Dakota state tournament trophies and banners for all divisions for 12 years. He also sponsored the North Dakota Hall of Fame Banquet for 10 years.

Tharaldson has been a key component in keeping the upper division of the McQuade Charity Tournament going. Tharaldson was also a player during his time as sponsor winning two National Championships and over 1,000 games as a pitcher. He had a best year record of 58-2 and a career batting average of over .600.




For more information visit:

PENN STATE UPDATE: An interesting twist in the Jerry Sandusky case


The Jerry Sandusky case has just gotten much more interesting. In 1998, Ray Gricar was the 
Centre County District Attorney. According to the Sandusky Grand Jury report, in 1998 Gricar decided not to prosecute then-Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky after evidence that Sandusky had molested a young boy was brought to his attention.

Seven years later, then-District Attorney Ray Gricar went missing. His car was later found abandoned, and his laptop was found in the Susquehanna River, without a hard drive and damaged beyond repair. Police reported that before he went missing, he had researched “how to destroy a hard drive” on his home computer.
  
While still early in the Sandusky trial, and a leap to assume that the two incidents are connected, Gricar’s reasoning not to prosecute Sandusky will never be known. There is no proof that Gricar had heard of the 2002 shower incident, and whether Sandusky had gone missing because of the Sandusky allegations will probably never be known. However, it does add an interesting twist in the recent allegations, and more information of Gricar’s disappearance may surface in the coming months as the case moves forward.

Authorities are looking into whether the man pictured above at left is former Centre County prosecutor Ray Gricar, who was just declared legally dead. 
Investigators in Centre County are checking with authorities in Utah to see if this John Doe prisoner might be the prosecutor who has been missing for more than six years.
Basically, a man who is about the same height and weight as Gricar was arrested on misdemeanor charges, but refused to give authorities his name. His fingerprints had no match to anyone in the system.
He is estimated to be in his late 60s or early 70s. Ray would be 65 if he was alive today.
At the request of Gricar's only daughter and sole heir, Lara, a Centre County judge declared Gricar deceased by law. It means his estate can be distributed, but it won't stop investigators from following up on leads, like this one.

If Gricar were to be found alive after being declared legally dead, his estate would probably not be affected, but there are no cases like that in Pennsylvania history. 

Penn State: Joe Paterno released a statement today, "If this is true we were all fooled."

Photo's by Ray Tharaldson all rights reserved 2011

By SARA GANIM & JOE HERMITT, The Patriot-NewsPenn
State coach Joe Paterno says he was only told witness had seen Jerry Sandusky doing 'something inappropriate' in the shower.

Penn State Head Coach Joe Paterno released a statement today regarding the child sex abuse charges filed against his former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, saying "If this is true we were all fooled."

Perjury and failure to report charges were also filed against university Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice President for business and finance, Gary Schultz, after prosecutors say they ignored a report in 2002 from then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary that McQueary had witnessed Sandusky performing a sex act with a boy in the Penn State football locker room.


 Paterno, 84, told Curley about what McQueary witnessed, but said in his statement that he was never told the specifics of what McQueary saw.

This is the statement, in full:

"If true, the nature and amount of charges made are very shocking to me and all Penn Staters. While I did what I was supposed to with the one charge brought to my attention, like anyone else involved I can't help but be deeply saddened these matters are alleged to have occurred.

"Sue and I have devoted our lives to helping young people reach their potential. The fact that someone we thought we knew might have harmed young people to this extent is deeply troubling. If this is true we were all fooled, along with scores of professionals trained in such things, and we grieve for the victims and their families. They are in our prayers.

"As my grand jury testimony stated, I was informed in 2002 by an assistant coach that he had witnessed an incident in the shower of our locker room facility. It was obvious that the witness was distraught over what he saw, but he at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the Grand Jury report. Regardless, it was clear that the witness saw something inappropriate involving Mr. Sandusky. As Coach Sandusky was retired from our coaching staff at that time, I referred the matter to university administrators.

"I understand that people are upset and angry, but let's be fair and let the legal process unfold. In the meantime I would ask all Penn Staters to continue to trust in what that name represents, continue to pursue their lives every day with high ideals and not let these events shake their beliefs nor who they are."

Ali Has Frazier In His Prayers

photo's by Ray Tharaldson 
all rights reserved 2011

by Mark Memmott
March 8, 1971: Joe Frazier, left, hits Muhammad Ali during the 15th round of their heavyweight title bout — the "Fight of the Century" at New York's Madison Square Garden.

You didn't have to be a boxing fan in the '70s to know the name Joe Frazier and to know that he'll forever be linked to Muhammad Ali.



Smokin' Joe was, as The Associated Press reminds us, the first man to beat Ali, "knocking him down and taking a decision in the so-called Fight of the Century at Madison Square Garden in 1971. He would go on to lose two more fights to Ali, including the epic 'Thrilla in Manila.' "

Now, the 67-year-old Frazier is in hospice care. He has liver cancer.


And Ali, 69, says "the news about Joe is hard to believe and even harder to accept. ... Joe is a fighter and a champion, and I am praying he is fighting now." The Philadelphia Inquirer adds that:

    "While promoting their fights, Ali infamously labeled Frazier an 'Uncle Tom' and a 'gorilla.'

    "[But] it was Frazier who petitioned President Richard Nixon to intervene to have Ali's boxing license reinstated after Ali refused induction into the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. Frazier also boycotted the tournament to crown a new champion after Ali was stripped of the title in 1967.



"Both [Leslie Wolff, Frazier's manager] and Ali's publicist, Craig Bankey, said they believed the two to be on good terms, as they had done a photo shoot together at Frazier's now-shuttered North Philadelphia gym a few years ago."



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