Trace Adkins: Country's king of the county fair!

Story and photo's by Ray Tharaldson
Monday night Trace Adkins performed before a sold out crowd at one of America's premiere county fairs in Goshen, Indiana . The crowd rose to their feet early in the show and never sat down again. Trace's new single 'Just Fishin' drew a thundering applause as the video played on giant video screen's in the background. Several songs had never been performed in public before and the fans loved them. Trace Adkins smooth deep voice swooned the crowd for about ninety minutes before ending with a final encore.

Lucky fan, Patty Baker (right) caught Trace Adkin's hat after he'd tossed it into the crowd.

Another fan suffering from a degenerative disease was invited back stage to meet the performer.

Trace Adkins has scored 30 Top 40 singles in his legendary career, including his memorable 2005 Top 5 hit, 'Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.' Still, the 49-year old admits that, in spite of his epic success, he is at a loss when determining which of his tunes will be a hit at radio.

"I've been doing this for 15 years now, but I still can't always tell a hit," he admits to Massachusetts newspaper, the Patriot Ledger. "Radio is a very fickle mistress. One day she is hot, one day she is not.

 My first single off this new album is a song called 'Just Fishin',' which I recorded a couple of years ago. It almost ended up on my last album, but it was too close to 'You're Gonna Miss This,' so I held it back. I have ultimate veto power over my singles, but I don't usually fight with the record label over what they want to do. The record label usually knows best."

The Louisiana native sold more than six million albums on Capitol Records, before moving to Show Dog-Universal Music in 2010, where he released his No. 1 CD, 'Cowboy's Back in Town.' Now, with the release of his second album on the label, 'Proud to Be Here,' scheduled for August 2, the former oil-rig worker says the new set of tunes marks a career milestone for him.

"This is my first time in the studio with Mark Wright," Trace says of the heavyweight producer. "He's worked with some of the biggest names in the business, everyone from George Strait to Brooks and Dunn and Reba McEntire. His pedigree as songwriter and record producer is bar none."

'Just Fishin'' is a single he didn't write, but he admits it's one of the most autobiographical songs he has ever recorded. "'Just Fishin'' sounds like it's some redneck thing, but it's a song about a father going fishing with his little girl, and she thinks it's just fishin', but it's about much more than that," Trace tells The Boot. "As a father of daughters, it hit all the right buttons. I've taught all my girls to fish, and it's about the lessons that you learn from teaching your children to fish. It's the time that you spend together doing it. That's what's really important."

The 6'6" star is in the midst of rebuilding his home following a devastating fire last month, all the while keeping up with a summer full of concert dates, including several shows in Ontario, Canada, later this week. Keep track of his schedule here.

For more information and tour dates visit:

Oslo anti-violence rally draws 100,000

(Reuters) - At least 100,000 people, many carrying white or red roses, rallied in Oslo on Monday to show support for victims of attacks that killed 76 people, police said.

"Tonight the streets are filled with love," Crown Prince Haakon told the crowd, gathered to mark opposition to a bombing and shooting on Friday.

Ola Krokan, operations chief at Oslo police, told Reuters there were at least 100,000 people at the demonstration. Rallies were being held in other cities around the nation.

(Reporting by Kjetil Stormark)

Bear Attack in Alaska, Teen Survives

By Patrick Barnard
A Westport teenager was among a group of seven who were attacked by a brown bear while learning survival skills in the Alaska wilderness Saturday night.

Samuel Boas, 16, of Morningside Drive South was training with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in Palmer, Alaska, with six other teens, aged 16-18, when they were attacked by a brown bear with cub at about 8:30 p.m., Alaska time.

Boas was not injured in the attack — however two other teenagers in his group suffered "serious, life threatening injuries," according to a press release from Megan Peters, a spokesperson for the Alaska State Troopers and Department of Public Safety.

Two other teens in the group were seriously injured but sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Three others suffered "minor injuries or had exposure-related issues," the release said.

The other teens in the group were not from Connecticut.

In a phone interview this morning Carol Boas, Sam’s mother, said she was relieved that her son walked away “without a scratch,” but expressed concern for the welfare of the other teens, especially the two who are seriously injured.

“They were pretty bad,” she said of their condition.

“The fact that they were able to survive and get out of there was due to the survival training they learned through NOLS,” she said, adding, however, that there’s “never been a bear attack” in the organization’s 40-year history, as far as she knows.

Boas said her son, a student at Staples High School who also served on Westport EMS, administered first aid to the victims following the attack.

“It was because of the training my son got with Westport EMS that he was able to help save those victims,” she said.

As Boas explained, the group of teens had been on the wilderness expedition under adult supervision since June 30. “But during the last part of the trips they let the teens put their training to work and they let them spend the last 4 to 5 days on their own, with no adults,” she said.

“They had an emergency locater that they were only supposed to activate in the event of an emergency — which they did,” she said. “However they had to wait quite a while before the Alaska State Paratroopers were able to find them and get them out of there. As you know it’s pretty rough wilderness in that part of the state."

According to a report in Alaska Dispatch, a Fairbanks-based search and rescue helicopter was dispatched to locate the exact point from which the beacon was transmitting at about 9:30 p.m., Saturday. By 2:45 a.m. Sunday, rescuers had found the teens in a tent.

Boas said Sam “refused to leave” with the first transport, opting instead to stay behind and treat the other victims until the next helicopter could arrive.

“Because of his training with Westport EMS, he decided to stay there with the trooper and continue to administer first aid,” she said, adding that the trooper was not trained to deliver the same degree of emergency care.

Boas said Sam and the six other teens were hiking on a trail and coming down a ridge when suddenly the brown bear attacked — starting first with the two who were at the head of the line.

The first helicopter transported the two most badly injured victims — however the other victims had to wait another four hours for the next helicopter to come in.

The other teenagers were identified as Noah Allaine, 16, Albuquerque, N.M.; Shane Garlock, 16, Pittsford, N.Y.; Joshua Berg, 17, New York, N.Y.; Samuel Gottsegen, 17, Denver, Colo.; Simeon Melman, Huntington, N.Y.; and Victor Martin, 18, Richmond, Calif.

(Westport Patch will be following up on this story as more information becomes available.)

Norway: Powerful blast near Norwegian PM's office

Witnesses reported the massive blast blew out most windows in the building as well as nearby government departments including the oil ministry, in Norway's capital and most populated city.

Most of the windows in the 20-floor highrise were blown out, and the bottom floor appeared to be gutted. Nearby offices were also heavily damaged and evacuated, including those housing some of Norway's leading newspapers and news agency NTB.

Meanwhile, Norway's oil ministry has been evacuated following an explosion close to the government's headquarters amid reports that the oil ministry is on fire and may have been the target of the attack.

Ingunn Andersen, a journalist with Norwegian public radio NRK, said from the scene: "I see that some windows of the VG [a popular Norwegian tabloid newspaper] building and the government headquarters have been broken."

"Some people covered with blood are lying in the street. There is glass everywhere. It is total chaos. The windows of the all the surrounding buildings have been blown out."

NATO member Norway has in the past been threatened by leaders of Al Qaeda for its involvement in Afghanistan.

Norway has been part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan from its foundation in late 2001. Television footage from the scene showed rubble and glass from shattered windows in the streets - smoke was around some buildings. The wreckage of at least one car was in street.

Al Jazeera reports the blast blew out the windows of the building which houses the Prime Minister's office.

The cause of the blast is unknown, but a tangled wreckage of a car was spotted outside one of the buildings. The damage appeared consistent with that from car bombs. Police and fire officials however declined to comment.

Photos posted on the NRK website showed shattered glass in front of the devastated facade of the VG building, and soldiers closing off the area and people surrounding someone apparently injured in the blast.

Last week, a Norwegian prosecutor filed terror charges against an Iraqi-born cleric for threatening Norwegian politicians with death if he's deported from the Nordic country.

The indictment centered on statements that Mullah Krekar -- the founder of the Kurdish Islamist group Ansar al-Islam made to various media, including American network NBC.

 "Norway will pay a heavy price for my death," Krekar had said. "If, for example, Erna Solberg deports me and I die as a result, she will suffer the same fate."

A second theory that has been proposed behind Friday's attack is the cartoon crisis. In early 2006, a small Norwegian newspaper had angered many Muslims by reprinting Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

Senior adviser Oivind Ostang told Norwegian TV2: "We can confirm that everybody who was working in the prime minister's office today are safe.

"The only thing I know is that there has been a fire or something approaching a fire in the R4-buildling which houses the oil- and energy office."

A second theory that has been proposed behind Friday's attack is the cartoon crisis.

In early 2006, a small Norwegian newspaper had angered many Muslims by reprinting Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

Meanwhile, chaos prevails in Oslo.

The police depatment has asked people to nefrain from using cellphones, as the networks are at a breaking point.

Oistein Mjarum, head of communications at the Norwegian Red Cross, told the BBC the area hit by the blast would have been "very busy" on Friday afternoon.

Actor Gary Sinise Launching Foundation”

By Richard Webster.
Award-winning actor Gary Sinise launched the Gary Sinise Foundation on July 4th, 2011 to honor the Nation’s defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need. The foundation will provide and support unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen and build communities.

Some of the many programs include relief for wounded warriors, entertainment for service members and their families, school supplies for children where U.S. troops are deployed, and scholarships for veterans.  The foundation will also support and promote several quality organizations, some of which include The United Service Organization (USO), Operation International Children, Snowball Express, Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial, Fisher House Foundation, People to People International, Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, TAPS-Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, The FDNY Fire Family Transport Foundation, Hope For The Warriors, The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, The Navy Seal Foundation, and Disabled American Veterans.

 The launch will coincided with the release of Jonathan Flora’s documentary “Lt. Dan Band: For The Common Good”.  During the 30-day online release, when people stream the film at www.LtDanBandMovie.com , one out of every four dollars will go to the Gary Sinise Foundation to support its programs.

In 2008 he received the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second highest civilian honor awarded to citizens for exemplary deeds performed in service of the nation. He is only the second actor, and one of only 110 people in history to have received the honor. Other awards include The Medal of Honor’s Bob Hope Excellence in Entertainment Award, The Spirit of the USO Award, The Ellis Island Medal of Honor, The Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award, and the Heart of a Patriot Award from USO of Illinois.  In April 2011 he received the USC School of Social Work’s Crystal Heart, the school’s highest honor for his outstanding community service, and the university established the Gary Sinise Endowed Scholarship in the School of Social Work in his name to support further education in the area of military social work.

Sinise has done hundreds of personal appearances and concerts with the Lt. Dan Band worldwide, mostly for military related organizations.  He has participated in over 40 tours and made over 150 appearances for the USO alone, and traveled to bases in Alaska and throughout the US, and overseas to locations such as Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Belgium, The UK, The Netherlands, Italy, UAE, Qatar, Korea, Singapore, Diego Garcia, Okinawa and Guantanamo Bay, raising the spirits and boosting morale of hundreds of thousands of troops and their families.

As a result of Sinise’s first two trips to Iraq, he started Operation International Children with Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand, which has worked with schools in the U.S., corporate sponsors and People to People International to supply the military with well over a quarter of a million school supply kits, along with more than half a million toys and thousands of blankets, backpacks, pairs of shoes, Arabic-language books, and sets of sports equipment to provide to children in conflict areas.

Sinise serves as the spokesperson for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial (www.avdlm.org/site/c.gnKFIJNqEqG/b.5307877/k.B20F/About_the_Memorial.htm), traveling the country to raise funds to build the memorial to honor America’s 3 million living disabled military veterans, which broke ground in 2010.  He was involved in raising funds for The Pentagon Memorial (www.whs.mil/memorial) located just southwest of The Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, where one can find a permanent outdoor memorial to the 184 people killed in the building, and on American Airlines Flight 77.  He also helped raise funds to build The Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance (www.brooklynwall.us) in KeySpan Park, to honor the first responders, those fire, police and emergency personnel from across the nation who raced to the sites after the terrorist attacks, risking their lives in service to others.

 “The Foundation is a strong, dependable resource to spread the ‘give-back goodness’.”  That’s what Gary Sinise wants his Foundation to do,  “provide opportunities for people to give back.”

 Currently, Sinise stars as Detective Mac Taylor and is also a producer of CBS’ highly successful “CSI: NY.”

Gary Sinise is an actor/musician who has long supported our troops.  He takes time to do USO shows and meet as many military service people and families as he can, just to say Thank You! Now he’s made a documentary that will support the troops every time you watch it.The documentary visits and spotlights our military service people from all branches.  Gary Sinise formed a band named after his character “Lt. Dan” in the Forrest Gump movie.  The Lt. Dan Band has since toured many bases and towns both overseas and right here in the states to entertain the military and their families.

This new documentary “Lt. Dan Band: For The Common Good” will be released July 4th and one of every four dollars raised goes to the Gary Sinise Foundation.  That organization supports others such as the USO, Operation International Children and Snowball Express.

For more information about the Lt. Dan Band and the Gary Sinise Foundation check out the websites.

Merle Haggard: New Album Due Oct. 4

Photo by Ray Tharaldson
all rights reserved 2000

Merle Haggard will release a new album, Working in Tennessee, on Oct. 4 on Vanguard Records. Along with many of his new songs, Haggard recorded a version of "Working Man Blues" featuring his son, Ben, as well as Willie Nelson. In addition, Haggard wrote one new song with his daughter, Jenessa, and three others with his wife, Theresa. The album concludes with a rendition of "Jackson," the classic Johnny Cash-June Carter Cash duet, sung with Theresa. Haggard recorded the project in his home studio in California with producer Lou Bradley.

Heirs Lose Fight With Gov't to Keep Rare Gold Coins

By Maryclaire Dane

A jury has decided that a set of rare gold coins found in a bank deposit box rightfully belongs to the U.S. government.

The decision, made on Wednesday, caps an unusual civil case that combined history, coin collecting and whether the set of rare $20 "double eagles" should have ever let the U.S. Mint in 1933.

Federal prosecutors had asserted that the coins never circulated when the country went off the gold standard. Most of the batch was instead melted down.

But Joan Langbord, the daughter of a Philadelphia jeweler, said she found the 10 coins in her father's bank deposit bank after he died.

She said that her father could have acquired them legally, perhaps through a trade of gold scrap.

One 1933 double eagle sold for $7.6 million in 2002.

Betty White Declines Marine Invite

Betty White attends her 89th birthday party at Le Cirque in New York City
Betty White became the first celebrity to turn down an invite to a Marine Corps event on Monday.

Access Hollywood reported that Sgt. Ray Lewis, who has served in Afghanistan and Iraq, invited White via YouTube, following in the footsteps of previous marines who had gone the same route and earned dates from Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake.

"She's funny, she's sweet, she's mature. She's the all-around perfect woman," Sgt. Lewis said of White. "I really think we'd have a good time. I'm fun, you know… I think I can make her laugh. I think she can make me laugh. I think we can laugh together," he said, before adding "Call me!"

White released her statement to Access Hollywood:

"I am deeply flattered and truly appreciate the invitation, as everyone knows I love a man in uniform… but unfortunately I cannot accept, as I will be taping an episode of 'Hot in Cleveland. Love, Betty White."

Kunis and Timberlake appeared on NBC's "Today" show on Monday to confirm they would both be attending separate Marine Corps Balls, Kunis with Sgt. Scott Moore and Timberlake with Cpl. Kelsey De Santis.

The two noted that there is more than one Marine Corps ball: Kunis will be attending the one in North Carolina on Nov. 18, while Timberlake will be going to one in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 12.

"Marines have a lot of balls," Kunis joked.

Campbell shines in 1st show since Alzheimer's news

© AP
BILOXI, Miss. (AP) -- Glen Campbell leaned over his blue electric guitar, plucked a few strings and made a sour face.

"Dadgum it," he said.

Find: Glen Campbell videos, discography and more

Campbell, 75, fiddled a few seconds longer while standing backstage Friday night at the IP Casino and finally found a perfect D chord.

"There it is," he said, before turning on his heel and marching into the spotlight. He launched into "Gentle on my Mind" and — without so much as clearing his throat — nailed it.

"That first one is a doozey, ain't it?" Campbell asked the crowd.

It was classic Glen Campbell. Alzheimer's disease may have changed a lot of things in the Country Music Hall of Famer's life, but his ability to create sounds that still resonate in our shared memory with his blue G&L Comanche on "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" or his Hamer 12-string on "Southern Nights" is virtually untouched.

In the night's finest moment, Campbell brought the crowd to its feet after nailing the delicate runs in the middle of his classic "Wichita Lineman."

Campbell's first performance since announcing he has Alzheimer's, the degenerative brain disease that's slowly robbing him of his memories and abilities, was largely a triumph. His family and road crew were worried he might be rusty after a long layoff since his last performance. Except for a few flubbed lyrics, quickly corrected with the help of teleprompters, Campbell and his band powered through a tight 22-song set interspersed with self-deprecating jokes.

Fronting a band that includes four of his children and close friends, Campbell played favorites like "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "Galveston" and finished the evening with two songs from his new album, "Ghost on the Canvas," out Aug. 30 on Surfdog Records.

The album, which features guest appearances and song contributions from Paul Westerberg, Jakob Dylan, Keith Urban, Billy Corgan, Brian Setzer, Rick Nielsen and Dick Dale, is Campbell's last studio album.

Tour manager Bill Maclay said the good mood is due to the presence of Campbell's family. His wife, Kim, began coming on the road with him three years ago. And his band includes his oldest daughter, Debby Campbell-Cloyd, who sings harmony, and his three youngest children: sons Cal on drums and Shannon on guitar, and daughter Ashley on banjo and keyboards. All those familiar faces make Campbell feel comfortable.

 The original video of Galveston, one of Glen's most loved classic's!

'Soul Surfer' is heart, grit and inspiration

Movie Review:
By CONNIE OGLE, McClatchy Newspapers
The real story of surfer Bethany Hamilton is so remarkable that it makes the film version seem embroidered by Hollywood's heavy hand, even though it's not.

AnnaSophia Robb plays Bethany Hamilton in “Soul Surfer,” a dramatization about a real shark attack that forced Hamilton to deal with the many challenges of losing her arm when she was 13 years old.

"SOUL SURFER," starring AnnaSophia Robb, Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt, Carrie Underwood and Kevin Sorbo. Directed by Sean McNamara. Rated PG for intense action sequence, thematic material. Running time: 1:46

At 13, Bethany was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark while surfing with friends off Kauai's North Shore. Her arm was severed, and, though she lost 60 percent of her blood, she survived. Even more surprising, she never lost her drive to compete or her irrepressible spirit: A month after the attack, she was back in the water, training for her goal of becoming a professional surfer. A little more than a year later, she won her first national title. Two years after that, she turned pro.

"Soul Surfer" is a feel-good dramatization of Bethany's story, and while it may not be perfect in moviemaking terms, everyone comes away from it feeling hopeful and more than a little of ashamed of their comparatively petty complaints. It's a good, solid family film, too; if there ever was a better movie to pass along a message about perseverance, courage and faith and also highlight the sheer glory of riding a wave, I can't imagine it. (Perhaps unintentionally, the movie also does some nice pro-bono visual work on behalf of the Hawaii tourism board.)

Such an inspirational story runs the risk of making its heroine into something of a saint, but as played by AnnaSophia Robb ("Bridge to Terabithia"), Bethany seems to be a normal kid. Born into a family of surfers, she goes to church and has a close relationship with her youth counselor (singer Carrie Underwood) but sneaks out with her best friend to a party late at night. She has a jokey, one-of-the-boys relationship with her brothers and dad (Dennis Quaid) but isn't above trying to weasel out of studying with her home-schooling mom (Helen Hunt). Quaid and Hunt surf a little in the movie; Robb surfs a lot, and the competitive scenes of girls riding waves is as much fun as anything you saw in "Blue Crush."

Director Sean McNamara and his team of writers wisely underplay the shark attack; in the compelling immediate aftermath, Bethany bobs on her board in shock, and a family friend (Kevin Sorbo) grimly sets about the crucial task of getting her out of the water before she bleeds to death. The effects that show Robb minus an arm are realistic, and nothing quite displays the measure of Bethany's mettle as her steely reaction to her first good look at her stump.

Sure, peppered as it is with hokey lines ("Let's let the surfing do the talking!"), the dialogue isn't terribly compelling, and Underwood's presence may seem merely a device to pile on the Christian message. But the real Bethany, the closing credits show us, is religious and had a close relationship with her youth minister. She even traveled with a group to Thailand in the wake of the tsunami to help with relief efforts. The film's portrait of a loving, quietly devout family will doubtless put off more cynical viewers, but even they would be hard-pressed to disdain such a recovery -- and such a life.

For more information visit: 

U.S. women's soccer captures America's attention

Every once in a while, a sports story transcends the field and grabs the nation's collective attention.

And so it is with the U.S. women's soccer team, a fabulous group of athletes who have ridden a wave of mettle and moxie to today's World Cup title game against Japan.

What's not to like about this team?

The goalie's name is Hope Solo. You couldn't make up a better name for a goalkeeper. And her spectacular saves against Brazil - allowed and disallowed - made the difference in one of this country's most dramatic wins since Mike Eruzione was skating around in Lake Placid. Even the Brazilian public, soccer-mad by anyone's estimation, embraced her as a conquering hero after the big win.

Abby Wambach has become one of the most prolific performers in U.S. soccer history, using her head to win in the most literal way possible. Not since Michelle Akers and Alexi Lalas were outjumping opponents for winning headers in the 1990s has U.S. soccer had someone so adept at scoring with the noggin. Wambach has 12 career goals in the World Cup, which ties her for the most by a U.S. player and third most for any World Cup player.

Megan Rapinoe, born and bred in Redding, has emerged as the team's killer waif, finding a way to impact most every game of the tournament in dramatic fashion. Her left-footed cross to Wambach with seconds to go against Brazil soared across the pitch and into history as one of the great passes of all time. And she's not too bad with a microphone in her hand, either, singing "Born in the USA" into one of the field mikes during a game and charming the world with pithy quotes in her postgame interviews.

Cal's own Alex Morgan has emerged, as photogenic as she is talented, providing late spark and scoring opportunities as a substitute while winning over photo editors around the world with her exuberant celebrations. As her father, Mike Morgan, told The Chronicle's Tom FitzGerald, "I didn't think she'd be anything like this. I don't think she's reached the top of her game even yet." At 22, Morgan has a lot of soccer in front of her.

And on the sideline, coach Pia Sundhage has pulled all the right levers. One of the greatest female players in history for her native Sweden, Sundhage scored 71 goals over a 22-year career. And as a coach, she's known for her unorthodox methods. When she first took over the U.S. squad, she famously walked into the locker room, pulled out a guitar and started singing Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'." Four years later, Sundhage pulled off an absolutely brilliant substitution in the semifinal against France, playing Lauren Cheney and Rapinoe together for the first time. It resulted in an offensive surge that capped the win.

So, here they stand. America's team in Germany. Poised to make history. They face a Japanese squad that is playing brilliantly on behalf of a nation that was nearly broken by a brutal tsunami in March. It will be emotional on both sides of the ball.

Win or lose, women's soccer has the world's attention. And it couldn't have happened to a better group of athletes.

Dons coach: USF baseball coach Nino Giarratano is recovering from surgery, having donated a kidney to his 80-year-old father, Mickey.

Both made it out of surgery in good shape. Nino will spend two days in the hospital and then another week in the Denver area before he is cleared to travel back to San Francisco. Mickey is told he will spend a week in the hospital and then up to another month in the Denver area for daily checkups.

It all started last September, when Mickey went in for routine gall bladder surgery. Afterward, his kidneys failed. Facing life on dialysis, his only other choice was a transplant. That's when his son stepped to the plate.

The two men decided the donation was the best course of action, and shortly after the Dons finished their baseball season with a trip to the NCAA Los Angeles Regional, Nino was able to make his way to Denver for the procedure, performed July 11.

Women's World Cup

Today's game

Who: U.S. vs. Japan

When: 11:45 a.m.

TV/Radio: ESPN/1050

Las Vegas-Southern California train project clears environmental study Tools


Representatives of the DesertXpress high-speed train cleared environmental hurdles this week, allowing team members to move forward with their design and applications to secure funding.

The Department of Transportation on Tuesday issued its Record of Decision for the train, the final step in the environmental impact study process. The approval gives the train a significant advantage over its competitor, the magnetic levitation train.

"Today's announcement is about one thing: creating good paying jobs right here in Nevada," U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement, adding that 32,000 jobs will be created if the project moves forward.

The DesertXpress would travel to Victorville, Calif., in 84 minutes at speeds of 130 miles per hour. In contrast, the maglev would reach Anaheim, Calif., in 81 minutes at speeds up to 300 mph.

Reid initially supported the Maglev technology but jumped off board two years ago and dedicated his support to the DesertXpress, an endeavor whose partners include political consultant Sig Rogich; transportation expert Tom Stone; Gary Tharaldson, a North Dakota-based self-made centimillionaire; and resort builder Tony Marnell.

Ray LaHood, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, has visited Las Vegas twice to promote the DesertXpress train with Reid. But while the Obama administration has announced funding for various high-speed trains across the nation, the DesertXpress, which will be both privately and publicly funded, has not made it to the list of projects receiving federal help.

It’s A Girl For Victoria & David Beckham!

Victoria and David Beckham named their daughter, who was born Sunday morning in LA, Harper Seven Beckham. She follows her siblings Vanity Six Beckham and Marie Five Beckham. No, just kidding. Her brothers are Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz but what a dumb middle name anyway. The only reason you should name your kid after a number is if you’re going to have trouble remembering like OctoMom.

Meanwhile, Kate Hudson gave birth to a healthy baby boy on Saturday in LA. Kate had a hunch she was having a girl when she scientifically put a pendulum over her belly and noted if it swung back and forth or in a circle. Turns out science screwed her over as her new son will be joining her 7.5 year old, Ryder Russell. There’s no name yet but because since she’s so logical, she probably wrote a bunch of letters on a piece of paper, put them in a hat and named him with five letters she picked out.

Derek Jeter homers for 3,000th hit


The fairy-tale life of Derek Jeter added a stirring chapter Saturday nobody could have predicted.

On a flawless summer day inside a packed Stadium, the perfect Yankee not only reached 3,000 hits with a monster home run in his second at-bat, but he went 5-for-5 with the game-winning hit in a 5-4 victory over the Rays.

“If I had tried to written it and given it to someone, I wouldn’t have bought it,’’ Jeter said of scripting the amazing day. “It was one of those special days.’’

Japan: 7.3 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Northeastern Japan

July 10, 2011A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 hit Japan's northeastern coast on Sunday, prompting a brief tsunami warning for the area still recovering from a devastating quake and killer wave four months ago.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 hit the north-eastern coast of Japan today, briefly triggering a tsunami warning for the area still recovering from the devastating quake and killer wave four months ago.

The tremor, which hit at 9:57 a.m. local time, caused more concern than problems. No major injuries or damages have been reported. The residents of coastal areas were evacuated for about two hours after the earthquake, but the tsunami warning has since been lifted.

The earthquake's epicenter was off the coast of Japan's main island, Honshu, in the Pacific Ocean.
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Life in the Aftermath of a Tsunami Watch Video
FBI Camera Captures Samoan Tsunami Watch Video

There is no tsunami danger for the United States' West Coast or Hawaii, according to officials, and the Japanese nuclear power plant in the region was not affected.

On March 11, the northeastern coast of Japan was hit by a 9.0 earthquake -- the strongest in Japanese history -- and a tsunami that devastated the region, triggered a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima power plant and left nearly 23,000 people dead or missing.

Since then, dozens of strong aftershocks have rattled the region, including a 5.6 quake in the Pacific off Honshu on Thursday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The area still has a long way to go toward recovery. Because seawalls were destroyed in the March 11 disaster and many of the buildings are still structurally weak, even smaller-scale earthquakes can do damage, but for now, the Japanese are in the clear.

Grizzly Bear Kills Man at Yellowstone National Park

By Associated Press Staff Writer

Yellowstone National Park officials say a grizzly bear has killed a hiker in the park's backcountry — the first fatal bear mauling in the park since 1986.

Park spokesman Al Nash says it appears the man and his wife surprised a female grizzly and her cubs Wednesday morning.

Nash says investigators have been interviewing the woman about the bear attack, which took place close to Canyon Village, near the middle of the park. He says authorities aren't prepared to release the man's name, age or hometown and likely won't release more details until Thursday.

Nash says park officials haven't taken any action against the bear.


Argentina, France and the USA win individual gold
Australia took the overall team gold medal. It's the fifth time in 10 attempts the Aussies have won the title.

Team Australia has won the overall Teams Title at the 2011 Billabong ISA World Surfing Games, finishing ahead of 26 other nations at the annual week-long event which concluded today in two- to three-foot waves at Playa Venao in Panama.
The title is Australia's fifth team gold in 10 outings and further cements the green n' golds history of dominance at the ISA level. Australia's last win was in Portugal in 2008.

Five Australian surfers made finals today and were rewarded individual medals, including Open Men's competitors Mick Campbell and Thomas Woods, Women's representatives Jessi Miley-Dyer and Dimity Stoyle, and Longboarder Harley Ingelby.

Along with team members Drew Courtney, Nathan Hedge and Dane Pioli (who were eliminated late in the repercharge rounds), Australia's combined individual placings put them into an unbeatable position, with Brazil finishing second, France finishing third and Argentina finishing fourth.

The USA once again failed to impress, finishing eighth.

Individual gold medals in the three divisions were awarded to Argentinean Santiago Muniz, Frenchwoman Canelle Bulard and American Longboarder Tony Silvagni.

Underdog Muniz made history for Argentina by capturing the country's first-ever ISA gold against a host of international rivals.

Less than a point separated the top three on the final buzzer with Muniz finishing on 17.00 points to Campbell, 2nd (16.77 points), with Woods third (16.23 points) and Brazilian Ian Gouveia fourth.
"The USA once again failed to impress, finishing eighth."

Former 2004 ISA World Surfing Games gold medalist, Sofia Mulanovich of Peru, entered the water the favorite in the women's final versus Jesse Miley-Dyer and Bulard and the Peruvian held the lead until the last five minutes.

 Bulard rallied in the dying stages, however, and posted two big scores to put all three of her opponents on the ropes in a combination situation, each surfer requiring two waves to catch the French runaway.

Bulard's final two-wave combined heat total was 16.43 out of a possible 20, and the Open Title makes it an international double for her after she swept the field in the ISA junior division in Peru last year.

The USA claimed its first World Surfing Games gold longboard medal in 15 years with a strong performance from North Carolina's Silvagni. Silvagni did not drop a heat the entire event, winning every time he pulled on the colored jersey.

 In the 30-minute final, Silvagni was up to his feet early, locking in two excellent scores from the judges, including an 8.17 and an 8.73. With five minutes remaining, Australian favorite, Harley Ingleby challenged, posting an 8.37, but it proved too little too late to steal Silvagni's lead.

2010 defending ISA World Surfing Games champions, Peru, placed fifth overall.

Top 10 team placings (from 27 starting nations)
1) AUSTRALIA 15,000
2) BRAZIL 12,132
3) FRANCE 11,816
4) ARGENTINA 11,312
5) PERU 10,930
6) VENEZUELA 10,342
7) SOUTH AFRICA 10,008
8) USA 9676