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General Interest

Lincoln Logs production returning to USA for toy’s centennial

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Written by Manufacturer PR   
Thursday, 18 December 2014 16:10
Lincoln Logs Hill Station is an 83-piece Western-themed set that retails for $27.99. K'Nex image.

HATFIELD, Pa, – Lincoln Logs, the classic toy brand developed in 1916 by John Lloyd Wright, son of famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, will soon be manufactured again in the United States. Pride Manufacturing in Burnham, Maine, will produce the log sets that have been entertaining children for nearly 100 years.

Following industry trends, Lincoln Logs production was moved overseas in the mid-20th century.

K’Nex, which licenses the Lincoln Logs brand from Hasbro, has manufactured Lincoln Logs since 1999. A family-owned business, K’Nex is known for its made-in-the-USA construction toy line that encourages kids to build worlds they love. In 2012, K’Nex brought the production of Tinkertoy®, another line K’Nex licenses from Hasbro, back to the United States, where it is produced by its subsidiary company, the Rodon Group, in Hatfield, Pa.

Since the Rodon Group specializes in plastics manufacturing, K’NEX had to search for a wood manufacturing facility that could match the precision and detail required in the production of Lincoln Logs. They found that partner in Pride Manufacturing. Primarily known for the manufacturing of numerous engineered wood products, Pride Manufacturing is the world’s leading supplier of wooden golf tees and related golf accessories.

K’Nex will include 10 Lincoln Logs sets in its 2015 product line. Suggested retail prices start at $19.99. Highlights include:

– Country Meadow Cottage: A new Lincoln Logs building set designed especially for girls. The Country Meadow Cottage includes over 130 made in the USA, real wood logs, plus colorful figures and play accessories. Girls will have endless hours of fun building the cottage, decorating it with the included stickers and playing with the cowgirl figure and pony. Each set comes with building instructions and is packed in a handy storage container for quick and easy clean-up. Suggested retail price is $32.99. Ages 3+. Available Fall 2015 on knex.com and at toy retailers nationwide.

– 100th Anniversary Tin: In 2016 Lincoln Logs turns 100 and K’Nex celebrates the centennial with this nostalgic set. Inspired by an original Lincoln Logs building idea, the 100th Anniversary Tin is just like you remember. Set includes 111 made in the USA, real wood logs, and captures the true essence of the Lincoln Logs brand. Suggested retail price is $39.99. Ages 3+. Available Fall 2015 on knex.com and at toy retailers nationwide.

– Collector’s Edition Village: One of the biggest Lincoln Logs sets ever created. The LINCOLN Logs Collector’s Edition Village set is 100 percent made in the USA and includes 332 real wood Lincoln Logs pieces. Packaged in a large, collectible tin for fast and easy clean-up. Suggested retail price is $99.99. Ages 3+. Available Fall 2015 on knex.com and at toy retailers nationwide.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Lincoln Logs Hill Station is an 83-piece Western-themed set that retails for $27.99. K'Nex image.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 December 2014 16:31
 

British royals mull removal of trophies from museum

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Written by AFP wire service   
Thursday, 18 December 2014 13:16
Queen Elizabeth's Sandringham House near the village of Sandringham in Norfolk, England. Image by Elwyn Thomas Roddick. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0. LONDON (AFP) – Britain's royal family could remove some hunting trophies that include elephant tusks and stuffed rhinos from Queen Elizabeth II's Sandringham residence to avoid a possible debate with the EU over their legality.

Buckingham Palace said it will remove any items from the 62-piece collection that could break European Union rules on endangered species, according to a statement.

The collection is on public display in the museum at the country estate in eastern England, where the royal family traditionally spends Christmas.

The collection of stuffed lions, tiger and leopard skins, elephant tusks and two rare rhinos – all bagged by royal marksmen between 1870 and 1941 – is particularly uncomfortable for Prince William, the monarch's grandson, who has launched a campaign against illegal hunting and the trafficking of endangered species.

"The EU regulation covering such displays is complex and has been open to interpretation," said the statement.

"At Sandringham the understanding has always been that items on display in the museum are exempt from the need for an Article 10 certificate (required to use listed specimens for commercial purposes).

"However in any case where there is a genuine doubt the relevant specimen will be removed from display before the museum re-opens in April 2015," added the spokesman.

Seven of the items in the collection were killed by king Edward VII, and his son king George V. George once killed 21 tigers during a trip to India in 1911.

None of the items was killed by current members of the family, although there are many keen hunters among them.

Prince Harry posed for a picture with a one-ton water buffalo that he shot during his gap year in Africa and his brother William shot deer and wild boar during a visit to Spain.

Queen Elizabeth's husband Prince Philip, the president emeritus of the World Wildlife Fund, is reputed to have killed one tiger, two crocodiles, many wild boar, stags and rabbits and around 30,000 pheasants during his lifetime.

Although the objects on display are antique specimens, they are still regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Queen Elizabeth's Sandringham House near the village of Sandringham in Norfolk, England. Image by Elwyn Thomas Roddick. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 December 2014 13:21
 

Replica of explorer Henry Hudson’s ship bound for Europe

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Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 18 December 2014 10:55
Another replica of Henry Hudson's ship Halve Maen, donated in 1909 by the Dutch to the United States on the occasion of the 300-year anniversary of the discovery of what is now New York. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – A full-scale replica of Henry Hudson's early 17th-century ship the Half Moon is heading to a new home port in the Netherlands.

The board of directors of the Albany-based New Netherland Museum announced Tuesday that the city council in Hoom, Netherlands, voted in favor of adopting the Half Moon.

The ship is a replica of the Dutch vessel Hudson sailed in 1609 when he discovered the river that now bears his name. Launched in Albany in 1989, the Half Moon has served as a floating classroom for New York students.

Operated by the New Netherland Museum, the ship suffered from financial difficulties and the lack of a home port.

Plans call for the Half Moon to set sail in 2015 for Hoom, where it will be part of a historic site managed by the Westfries Museum.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-12-17-14 1315GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Another replica of Henry Hudson's ship Halve Maen, donated in 1909 by the Dutch to the United States on the occasion of the 300-year anniversary of the discovery of what is now New York. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 December 2014 11:04
 

Lights out at longtime Oregon fiber optics company

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Written by JEFF DUEWEL, Grants Pass Daily Courier   
Thursday, 18 December 2014 10:16
A beer sign featuring optical fiber lighting. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com archive and Dirk Soulis Auctions. GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) – Hyla Lipson's creations consist of light shining through a spinning color wheel, and pulsing through hundreds, or thousands, of clear fibers to make a flickering candle, or Santa and reindeer on a downtown Christmas card.

Or just about any other piece of dazzling, blinking art.

Lipson and John Howard Jones, her life and business partner, parlayed those fiber optic masterpieces into a worldwide business that flourished for more than two decades in Grants Pass.

After a 27-year-run, the lights are going out on Fiberoptic Lighting, which at its peak employed 45 people and manufactured over 10,000 signs a year.

The business, already slowed by the onslaught of digital design and thinner displays beginning more than a decade ago, never recovered from the economic downturn that struck in 2008, Lipson said.

A liquidation auction is set for Saturday.

Fiberoptic's clients read like a list of celebrity and corporate who's who – singers Celine Dion and Tony Bennett, Macy's, Playboy, Discover Card, Nintendo, Nikon, Pepsi, Coke, Coors, Michelob, Molson.

“We made signs for almost every beer company in the world,” Lipson said. “We had a display in every toy store in the country.”

Oh, and Wrangler, Harley-Davidson, Iams, Fender, Texaco, and on and on and on, with numerous $250,000 jobs.

“We used to be the bar of excellence. If you had a Fiber optic sign you had the best,” said Lipson, sitting in her colorfully decorated office at company headquarters on Southeast M Street. “Maybe it will come back in 20 years, but it's gone.”

Grants Pass will remember the business into the future, because of those Magical Musical Christmas Murals that have graced the downtown for several years during the holidays.

“The cool thing is, Grants Pass is going to save our legacy,” Lipson said. “Each Christmas I'll be able to go back and say, ‘We did a really good job.’”

The scope of Fiber optic shines far away from Grants Pass – the ceiling at the Meridian Hotel in Cairo has a Fiber optic star display, Disney Paris has millennium displays by Fiberoptic on Main Street. Bell South was a big client during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Casinos around the world used them.

The largest Fiberoptic sign ever built was 40 feet by 20 feet, made up of numerous panels, and hung in the Queen Center Mall in New Jersey, Lipson said.

But the backbone was probably the small stuff, used to brighten up the fountain drinks in the back of the convenience store, or the food at the end of a supermarket aisle.

Jes Webb of Grants Pass bought one of Fiberoptic's signs when he was starting Sights and Sounds Unlimited in 1991.

“My business consisted of a pickup truck, a small sound system, and a landline next to my waterbed,” Webb said. “The sign is one of three items that I still use after all these years. It has never failed or needed repair, and only had two bouts of minor maintenance. The signs were one part science and one part art, and mesmerizing in the least.

“It bums me out to see them close, but I'm hoping Hyla will still remain a regular force in our little community. She is one of the most creative business owners I've ever met in a market where it's sometimes more about the numbers than it is about the end result.”

Lipson had never heard the word fiber optic when she arrived in Oregon in 1982 but was experienced in all things marketing and media.

After working with Jones at another company, they moved to Grants Pass in 1987 and launched their business, originally called Fiber Light, but changed to Fiberoptic in 1990.

The fledgling company took off when video game giant Nintendo's marketing director spotted the company's work at a trade show in Chicago in 1987, Lipson said.

“Nintendo was just beginning. He was mesmerized. I got home and he called and said ‘I want a prototype, now.’ Then he said he wanted 500 signs. We'd never done more than 20.”

“When we first came out of the gate, people hadn't seen anything like it,” Lipson added.

The largest order ever processed was 5,000 signs for R.J. Reynolds.

“The market was huge in those days,” Lipson said. “The bean counters hadn't taken over yet, and the mergers and acquisitions in the corporate world hadn't happened yet.”

“We sold around the world, but we brought the money to Grants Pass.”

Over the years Fiberoptic worked closely with local businesses Photo Den, Imprints, Western Signs and Logan Design.

Lipson said she should have shut down in 2008, but still had one big client, Town Pump, which runs casinos, convenience stores and RV parks in Montana.

But that dried up, and in 2010 the workforce was cut from 20 to six.

Nearing 70 years old, Lipson says she's not sure what's next. She's been active in civic affairs, arts, and other ventures for many years.

“I think I'm going to write a book about the stories behind these signs,” she said.

___

Information from: Daily Courier, http://www.thedailycourier.com

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-12-15-14 2053GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
A beer sign featuring optical fiber lighting. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com archive and Dirk Soulis Auctions.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 December 2014 10:32
 

Late Japanese architect Kurokawa's firm files for bankruptcy

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Written by AFP wire service   
Monday, 15 December 2014 10:27
National Art Center, Tokyo Japan, designed by Kurokawa. Image by Wiiii, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. TOKYO (AFP) – The office of late Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, known for his grand futuristic designs in projects including Kuala Lumpur International Airport, filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday.

Kurokawa's works include Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum, described as a bridge between Western rationalism and Eastern asymmetry, and Melbourne Central, a hub of shopping, entertainment and dining behind the train station in Australia's second city.

He also designed the Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo, which appears as a Japanese love hotel in the 2013 blockbuster The Wolverine starring Hugh Jackman.

Kurokawa died in 2007, and his office – Kisho Kurokawa Architect & Associates – run by his son, Mikio, has racked up debts worth 1.2 billion yen ($10 million), according to Teikoku Databank corporate research agency.

The office will be restructured under the aegis of Japanese engineering consultancy Nippon Koei, which will create a subsidiary to take over its operations and its employees, the firms said.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
National Art Center, Tokyo Japan, designed by Kurokawa. Image by Wiiii, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Last Updated on Monday, 15 December 2014 11:05
 
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