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General Interest

Crews begin demolition of Packard plant in Detroit

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Written by COREY WILLIAMS, Associated Press   
Monday, 20 October 2014 10:07
Ruins of the Packard plant in Detroit. Image by Albert Duce. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. DETROIT (AP) – Demolition started Friday on a section of the massive and crumbling Detroit Packard auto factory complex – a symbol of the city's blight and past manufacturing glory.

A high reach demolition excavator was used to rip out reinforced concrete exterior wall and floor supports.

Resembling a large toothy metal claw, the heavy equipment also sent chunks of wood, brick and concrete crashing to the closed-off street below.

Friday's work was meant “to make the area safer for the community, but also safer for our workers that are going to be here on site,” said Kari Smith, Packard project manager.

Peruvian developer Fernando Palazuelo bought the 40-acre site last year for $405,000 at a Wayne County tax foreclosure auction. He wants to bring in apartments, retail, high-tech entrepreneurs, light industrial operations and artist studios.

Palazuelo told The Associated Press in June that the total redevelopment cost should be near $350 million. It would be paid with rent he receives from his projects in Lima, he said.

Built in the early 1900s, the Packard plant was designed by Albert Kahn. The company became a dominant luxury carmaker in the United States in the late 1920s and by the 1940s had 36,000 employees.

The last auto was made there in the mid- to late-1950s and the various buildings eventually were used as warehouses, other manufacturing and small industrial projects.

Former owners failed to pay thousands of dollars in back taxes. City officials have said razing the structures and cleaning out polluted soil could cost as much as $20 million.

“We have clear ownership,” Smith said. “Taxes are paid and now we're moving forward with redevelopment. The whole thing takes time when you're dealing a project of this size.

“What we'll expect to see is a complete cleanup and remediation of all the environmental toxins, all the debris and the reinforced concrete pieces that are causing safety issues in the neighborhood.”

A sweep of the building's interior was done before work started Friday to make sure no one was inside.

“Security is an issue,” Smith said. “It's a very large place, but we're taking all the precautions.”

British graffiti artist Banksy is credited with painting a mural at the site with the message, “I remember when all this was trees.”

The art was moved to a gallery, but Palazuelo would like to get it back.

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

AP-WF-10-17-14 2105GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Ruins of the Packard plant in Detroit. Image by Albert Duce. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.
Last Updated on Monday, 20 October 2014 10:24
 

Gala festival rolling for Belle of Louisville centennial

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Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 10:42
The Belle of Louisville, originally christened Idlewild, operated as a passenger ferry between Memphis, Tenn., and West Memphis, Ark. During the World War II she served as a floating USO nightclub for troops stationed at military bases along the Mississippi River. Image by Bo - Belle of Louisville. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Birthday parties don't usually have hundreds of thousands of guests, but for riverboats turning 100, everything is a little bigger.

The Belle of Louisville's centennial birthday celebration is this week. The event has been years in the planning, and six riverboats are expected for the Centennial Festival Riverboats Tuesday through Sunday.

Planned events include dozens of cruises, riverboat races and parades, fireworks, a balloon glow and musical entertainment. The Courier-Journal says the events on land are free and open to the public.

The Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau expects all the activities to bring as many as 300,000 people, creating an economic impact of $6 million.

The Belle was launched in Pittsburgh as the Idlewild in October 1914. Jefferson County bought the boat at auction in 1962 for $34,000.

Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com

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

AP-WF-10-13-14 0903GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
The Belle of Louisville, originally christened Idlewild, operated as a passenger ferry between Memphis, Tenn., and West Memphis, Ark. During the World War II she served as a floating USO nightclub for troops stationed at military bases along the Mississippi River. Image by Bo - Belle of Louisville. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 October 2014 10:59
 

Rare WWII Army observation airplane to fly again

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Written by Associated Press   
Monday, 13 October 2014 10:42

Douglas O-46A at National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – A Michigan man has bought a rare World War II plane from a Topeka museum and plans to make it airworthy.

The Douglas O-46 aircraft is in pristine condition after being housed for the past 20 years at the Combat Air Museum, which hosts a static display of vintage aircraft. It recently was moved to the nearby American Flight Museum hangar at the Topeka Regional complex and will remain there for another week or two, The Topeka Capital-Journal reports.

“It's just unheard of, to look like this,” said Dan Stephens, director of sponsorships at the American Flight Museum. “This looks almost like the day they landed it. It just gives you chills, really.”

Stephens said the new owner is sending a team to Topeka to disassemble the plane so it can be hauled to Michigan for restoration. Stephens says the plane's frame is in “terrific shape,” as are its wings. But he says its 1,000-horsepower radial engine has seized up and will have to be rebuilt, which likely will take two to three years.

The observation aircraft, built in 1939, had a three-man crew comprised of two pilots and a spotter who could climb down into the lower part of the plane to take photos, Stephens said. It's made mainly of aluminum—typical for aircraft at that time—along with fabric, which Stephens said made the plane lighter so the pilot could control it more quickly and easily, as controls weren't yet assisted by hydraulics.

Stephens said the aircraft's new owner will restore the plane so it can fly in air shows. With just four O-46 planes left, he said, that plan will make this plane unique.

“It will be the only one of the four that flies,” Stephens said.

___

Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com

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

AP-WF-10-11-14 2345GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Douglas O-46A at National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. 

Last Updated on Monday, 13 October 2014 10:50
 

Muscle Shoals embraces its rich musical heritage

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Written by RUSS COREY, Times Daily   
Monday, 13 October 2014 09:28

Official theatrical poster for the documentary film 'Muscle Shoals.' Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. It is believed that the use of this low-resolution images of posters qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law.

FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) – John Glenn could be using the nearly 40 feet of wall space inside Discount Dan's Home Center for more home improvement products, but he's not.

Instead, the space is reserved for glass cases filled with Muscle Shoals music memorabilia, including signed guitars, rare photographs, album covers, gold records and other items related to the area's rich musical heritage.

“We're embracing the music culture,” Glenn said.

Discount Dan's isn't alone. A number of local businesses and public buildings have displays on the Shoals' musical heritage that serve as unofficial tour stops for residents and visitors.

In Muscle Shoals City Hall there is a glass case filled with memorabilia, and the Northwest Alabama Regional Airport plans to build displays so that one of the first things visitors see involves Shoals music.

Ye Ole General Store, a downtown fixture since 1947 across from the Florence Post Office, is decorated with framed photos that owner Gordon Glasscock started putting up after becoming interested in the music scene a few years ago.

“I figured out there were people who live here that didn't know about the people who recorded here,” Glasscock said. “I started reading as much as I could and researching on the Internet.”

There are several photos of The Rolling Stones taken by Swampers bassist David Hood when the Stones recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in 1969.

Glasscock's favorite is a black-and-white shot of Linda Ronstadt when she recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound in the early 1970s.

He credited the Muscle Shoals documentary film for helping spread the word about the area's music heritage, where it came from and who was involved in it.

The photos on display at Ye Ole General Store have captions that identify the artists in the photos, the location and the date, if it is known.

Glasscock said many of the photos were provided by local music historian and photographer Dick Cooper and by Tommy Wright, who photographed many artists who recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound.

Glasscock, whose parents ran the store for 30 years before he took over after moving back from New Orleans in 2005, said he's had many people from out of state and out of the country visit the store and check out the photos.

“Last week I had some people from Oregon and Washington state,” he said. He also had some recent visitors from Sweden.

“They were just here to tour the studios,” Glasscock said. “The people at Fame told them to come over here. It's always good when people work together and refer people.”

At Discount Dan's, Glenn said the idea to do something unique for the Sheffield store was discussed before the store opened about two years ago.

“We were trying to think of things that would embed us more in the community,” he said. “Look at the number of people who are tied to the music industry in our region. Every 20th customer that comes in is a musician.”

The display runs along a wall at the front of the store and includes photographs of local artists like Walt Aldridge and Travis Wammack, songwriters Billy Lawson and Chris Tompkins, a Shoals native who now resides in Nashville.

There are photos of the Osmonds, who recorded at Fame Recording Studios, and The Black Keys, whose Grammy-winning album Brothers was recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios.

There is a Lynyrd Skynyrd road case covered in stickers and a red electric guitar signed by members of the band.

Glenn said local artists provided some of the items, as did Cooper. Songwriter Mark Narmore provided several items as did Peanutt and Charlene Montgomery, who co-authored a book about their relationship with the late country legend George Jones.

Peanutt Montgomery was a studio guitarist at Fame and wrote numerous songs for Jones. He and his wife own two businesses, Hobby Land and Charlene's Variety, in downtown Sheffield that feature a variety of memorabilia from the early days of the local music scene.

Another large collection of photographs hangs in Swampers Bar & Grill at the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa in Florence.

Swampers has photos from the heyday of Muscle Shoals music throughout the restaurant and lounge. Nearly every available inch of wall space is filled with framed color and black-and-white photos.

There are also six acoustic guitars that are covered with signatures of Muscle Shoals artists and musicians with connections to the area.

On another wall behind a small stage where local musicians frequently play are several mounted T-shirts from Fame and Muscle Shoals Sound.

“From the get-go we were looking for a way to showcase that story and introduce the story of Muscle Shoals music to the 100,000 guests that go through the hotel each year,” General Manager Larry Bowser said. “To me, our music history and heritage is one of the greatest attractions the Shoals has.”

Another nod to the Shoals musical legacy are suites named after The Father of Rock ’n’ Roll, Sam Phillips, and the Father of the Blues, W.C. Handy.

Phillips and Handy were both born in Florence.

In Sheffield, the Jameson Inn is building a collection of photos and memorabilia in the Singing River Bar & Grill. The lounge also features a weekly Shoals songwriters showcase hosted by local blues guitarist Max Russell.

On Avalon Avenue in Muscle Shoals, The Trojan House began embracing the Shoals Music scene when it opened about five years ago.

“We're just big music lovers,” co-owner Louisa Oswalt said of herself and her husband, Tommy. “There's so much music history here.”

The sandwich shop also features live music, focusing heavily on young up-and-coming artists.

“We wanted to give the young kids a place to play,” she said.

Their collection reflects that.

Among photos of David Hood, Travis Wammack, Max Russell and Spooner Oldham are photos of artists that many people might not recognize, like McKenzie Lockhart and the Valley Roots.

Oswalt said the photos and memorabilia are educational because they help inform people who aren't familiar with the area's rich musical heritage.

Not to be left out, the Muscle Shoals City Hall has a large wood and glass display case featuring several pieces of Muscle Shoals music history, including several Fame label 45 rpm records, photographs of Fame founder Rick Hall with the late Duane Allman and the Osmonds. There are also several pieces of old WLAY radio memorabilia.

The North Alabama Regional Airport will soon have display cases that will feature Muscle Shoals music memorabilia.

“Our goal is to capture our musical heritage in conjunction with an aviation-based theme in our airport advertising promotional displays,” Airport Director Barry Griffith said.

Griffith said items will likely be displayed in the terminal area and inside the area where passengers arriving on private or commercial flights will enter the airport.

Griffith said the airport wants to be a part of the resurgence of Muscle Shoals music.

“We have formed a subcommittee that is an offshoot of the air services committee to look at how we want to decorate and advertise for the new terminal renovation,” Griffith said.

Griffith said at one time one of the “Hit Recording Capital of the World” signs was displayed in the terminal.

One photo he wants to display is The Rolling Stones getting off an airplane in 1969. The Stones were in town to record three tracks at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Sheffield.

There are also photos and other memorabilia at Champy's Chicken in Muscle Shoals, Counts Brothers Music in Muscle Shoals and the Florence-Lauderdale Tourism office.

___

Information from: Times Daily, http://www.timesdaily.com/

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

AP-WF-10-11-14 1322GMT

 

 

 

Last Updated on Monday, 13 October 2014 09:36
 

Fire destroys 3 buildings at Flight 93 memorial

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Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 07 October 2014 10:37
Benches facing the main memorial and crash site. Image by Found5dollar. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. SHANKSVILLE, Pa. (AP) – A fire at the Flight 93 National Memorial destroyed three administrative buildings on Friday, leaving officials concerned about some of the memorabilia and archival material stored there.

Wind-whipped flames didn't touch the under-construction memorial and visitors center, which are about 2 miles away on the large property in rural Pennsylvania, National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst said. No one was injured in the fire, whose cause is under investigation.

The buildings comprised the park's headquarters, with conference facilities, storage space and the superintendent's office. About 10 percent of the memorial's archival collection was kept on site, and many objects were in fireproof safes, officials said.

Park staff saved an oral history collection and photo collection. The Congressional Gold Medal awarded to the memorial last month was not on site, officials said, but a full inventory will have to wait.

“Until the area is declared safe, however, staff will not be able to access the collection storage area and determine the condition of any other objects,” the park service said in a statement.

Among the items whose status is unclear is a flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 11, 2001. Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who led the chamber on the day of the attacks, donated it during an anniversary ceremony last month.

The memorial, in Shanksville, marks the spot where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed during the Sept. 11 attacks. The plane, which was traveling from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco, went down in a reclaimed strip mine after passengers fought back against its hijackers. All 33 passengers and seven crew members were killed along with the hijackers.

A memorial plaza was completed in time for the 10th anniversary of the attacks in 2011. It features a white stone wall, which traces the path of the doomed flight, with separate panels for each victim. There are plans for a 93-foot tower with 40 wind chimes.

Officials have said they hope construction of the visitors center, which is estimated to cost $17 million to $23 million, will be finished by June. That would give park officials three months to install exhibits in time to open for the 14th anniversary of the crash.

The president of the Families of Flight 93, Gordon Felt, issued a statement expressing sadness about the fire and saying the group awaited further information on the cause.

All told, the park is expected to cost about $60 million. The government spent another $10 million for the land, which is about 75 miles east of Pittsburgh.

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

AP-WF-10-04-14 0035GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Benches facing the main memorial and crash site. Image by Found5dollar. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 October 2014 10:46
 
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