Florida

Two forest rangers killed battling Florida wildfire

Two forest rangers were killed and two others were injured while fighting a wildfire in north Florida near the Georgia line.

All four forest rangers were with the Florida Division of Forestry and they were battling the Blue Ribbon Fire in Hamilton County.

Josh Burch, 31, of Lake City and Brett Fulton, 52, of White Springs were killed. Both Burch and Fulton were married and had two children. Burch worked for the Forestry Division for more than 10 years and Hamilton for more than nine years.

The Blue Ribbon Fire, which began June 16, had been contained but dry conditions allowed it to flare up again on Monday. Burch and Fulton were operating tractors to cut fire lines to keep the blaze from spreading further when they were overrun by flames and killed.

Rangers Robert Marvin and Stephen Carpenter attempted to assist Burch and Fulton and they were injured while doing so. Marvin and Carpenter were treated at local hospitals for smoke-related injuries and released.

Since May 1, the Forestry Division has battled more than 1,500 wildfires, officials say. Those blazes have burned more than 200,000 acres.

Alexx Calise, hot up-and-coming indie artist.

Alexx Calise, hot up-and-coming indie artist.

Alexx Calise, hot up-and-coming indie artist.

 ”Throw your words at me, I’ll have my way with them,” mocks young and sharp-tongued singer, guitarist and songwriter, Alexx Calise.  Delivering a sound that is both fresh and uniquely her own, Calise combines hard rock, electronica, and urban-edged pop with crunchy guitars, angsty lyrics, and an instantly identifiable vocal that is hauntingly beautiful and completely raw all at once. Calise grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she spent her childhood mostly alone or in the pages of a notebook, finding comfort only in her parents’ vast record collection, which included everything from Mozart to Led Zeppelin. At 11, she picked up the guitar to emulate her father, also a talented musician, and began fusing the melodies she heard in her head with her own poetry and recitations. Now living in Los Angeles, California and continuing along the same path, Calise is endorsed by over 13 music gear/clothing manufacturers, she has appeared in several national TV commercials, shows and special programs (including the Discovery Channel documentary, “The Science of Sex Appeal”), and she has been featured in Blender magazine, Guitar World, and the how-to/method book, “How to Succeed as a Female Musician” alongside such notable musicians as Lisa Loeb and The Donnas. Her music is in heavy rotation on MTV/VH1 Networks, and on thousands of radio stations internationally. Most recently, Alexx’s song, “Morning Pill” was used in a One Tree Hill promo, she appeared as the lead guitarist for a Disney Imagineering DVD about soundwaves,  and she was featured on Boston’s #1 Hit Station, Kiss 108 FM as a “hot up-and-coming indie artist.”  Calise has just released her 2nd album, In Avanti, a high energy “rocktronica” collaboration with Grammy-nominated producer, Luigie Gonzalez. Immediately following will be her debut album with other music project, Sound of Cancer (with accomplished drummer/songwriter, Dennis Morehouse).  To visit her website click here

George W. Bush Promotes New Memoir At Miami Book Fair

George W. Bush Promotes New Memoir At Miami Book Fair

George W. Bush Promotes New Memoir At Miami Book Fair

George W. Bush Promotes New Memoir At Miami Book Fair. Former U.S. president George W. Bush appeared at the Miami International Book Fair on Monday to promote his newly-released memoir, “Decision Points.” Bush explained the content of his memoir, particularly the controversial decisions he made on several issues during his term and his personal decision to quit drinking, to a capacity crowd at the Conference Chapman Center of Miami Dade College’s Wolfson campus.The book tackles the disputed 2000 presidential election, the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, the invasion of Iraq, the controversial torture technique called waterboarding, the surge of American troops in Iraq and his response to Hurricane Katrina. Among those who attended the book event were Republican dignitaries as Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen – and Florida International University basketball coach Isaiah Thomas. Decision Points was released last Tuesday and sold more than 220,000 copies opening day. The figure makes the $35 book the second best-selling non-fiction title of publisher Crown after former President Bill Clinton’s 2004 memoir entitled “My Life.” Some 400,000 copies of My Life were sold during its launch.

Celine Dion has given birth to twin boys.

Celine Dion has given birth to twin boys.

Celine Dion has given birth to twin boys.

Celine Dion has given birth to twin boys. The ‘My Heart Will Go On’ singer is believed to have delivered the two babies via Caesarean section on Saturday (23.10.10) at St Mary’s Medical Centre, in West Palm Beach, Florida, at 11.11am and 11.12am. The fraternal twins ‘ which means they are non-identical siblings ‘ weighed in at 5lbs 4oz and 5lbs 10oz. Although they are both healthy, the babies will spend the next few days in incubators because they were born premature. The due date had been in November. A representative for the 42-year-old pop star ‘ who also has a nine-year-old son Rene-Charles with her husband Rene Angelil – said: ‘Celine, Rene and their son Rene-Charles are thrilled . Celine is resting now and they plan to discuss what to name the boys when she wakes up ‘Rene-Charles has been to the hospital to visit his brothers and is just so excited they are here.’ The twins were conceived via in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) just as Celine and 68-year-old Rene’s first child Rene-Charles was. The Canadian singer previously revealed she underwent six gruelling courses of IVF to get pregnant again and admitted the process was ‘mentally exhausting’. She said: “I feel like I’ve been pregnant for over a year. I never gave up. But I can tell you that it was physically and mentally exhausting.”

British Girl Wins America’s Perfect Teen

British Girl Wins America's Perfect Teen

British Girl Wins America's Perfect Teen

British Girl Wins America’s Perfect Teen. This year’s contest for “America’s Perfect Teen” ended up with more drama than usual as a British-born, Indian-origin 16-year-old was declared the winner, much to the chagrin of the American participants of the pageant. Anysha Panesar, from Wales in the United Kingdom, won the contest while she was on a holiday with her family in Kissimmee, Florida. Her victory, however, did not go down well with her co-contestants, who were left fuming at the fact that she was not even American.   Meanwhile, the pageant organizers pacified the “outraged” parents of about 30 contestants, saying that Panesar had not broken any rules participating in the competition, which includes girls as young as 13, fighting for the prize money of $2,000, in addition to a broadcasting scholarship in the U.S. worth $18,000. Panesar lives in the Llangan village in Vale of Glamorgan and studies at the Howells School in Cardiff. She plans to pursue her U.S. scholarship for broadcasting after she finishes her A-levels.

Gipsy Kings Rock Miami

Gipsy Kings Rock Miami

Gipsy Kings Rock Miami

Gipsy Kings Rock Miami. The Gipsy Kings impressed a packed crowd Sunday night at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The band, known in Europe for its “gitano” music, and in America for their expressive cover of the Eagles’ ‘Hotel California,’ jammed with an eclectic crowd at the Hard Rock Live. The audience was a testament to their staying power as a musical icon, with fans from three generations dancing in the aisles.  They played classics like ‘Djobi Djoba’ and ‘Un Amor’ during an hour-long performance that included solos from each of the band’s members. After they left, the crowd stayed put, begging for an encore. The Gipsy Kings returned to the stage and rocked an extended version of their signature tune ‘Bamboleo’ to a standing ovation. For those who missed the Gipsy Kings in the Magic City, the band will make a few stops this month in Texas before flying to London in June.

Legoland Theme Park To Open In Central Florida

Legoland Theme Park To Open In Central Florida

Legoland Theme Park To Open In Central Florida

Legoland Theme Park To Open In Central Florida.  Families visiting Central Florida will now have a ninth theme park to add to their itinerary when Legoland opens in 2011. Only the second Legoland theme park in the US, the new park will open in the former site of Cypress Gardens. Legoland Florida will be the largest Legoland in the world and is expected to open with at least 40 attractions. Among them are the Technic Coaster, the Lost Kingdom Adventure dark ride, and A Clutch Powers 4-D Adventure.  Some of original attractions found with Cypress Gardens will also remain, including one of the park’s two wooden roller coasters. Many of the park’s historical gardens will also remain intact.   The park is expected to open in late 2011. Legoland also saved itself 4 to 5 years and millions of dollars by retrofitting itself into an existing theme park and not building it from scratch, although the building is expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars and create over 1,000 jobs in Central Florida.   Legoland Florida will open in the town of Winter Haven, about 30 miles from Walt Disney World and 45 miles from the Universal Orlando Resort.  “Legoland Florida will be one of the most exciting and important projects Merlin has ever developed,” said Nick Varney, Chief Executive of Merlin Entertainment. “Florida is the biggest family tourist center in the world. We have been looking for the right site there for some time and in Winter Haven we plan to create one of the best and certainly most beautiful, theme parks in the world.”    Legoland Florida will be the fifth theme park of its kind. There are currently Legolands found in California, Denmark, Germany, and the UK.

Lady Gaga has reportedly been offered a Las Vegas residency at a high profile casino.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga has reportedly been offered a Las Vegas residency at a high profile casino.  Palms Casino Resort owner George Maloof caught the 24-year-old singer live in Sin City in December and says he was so “blown away” by her show that he thought she would be “a perfect fit” for a residency. According to the Daily Star, he was doubly impressed by Gaga’s refusal to attend an after party following the gig. Dubbing Gaga a “superstar”, Maloof added: “She was just so professional. She’s not a partier. That was really refreshing. She’s dedicated to being the top artist in the world.” Meanwhile Gaga rang in the New Year with a poolside show at the Fontainbleau on Miami Beach, Florida.

Anna Kournikova Pregnant with Enrique Iglesias Baby

Anna Kournikova Enrique Iglesias Who would have ever thought that Enrique Iglesias’ steamy music video — you know, the one where he’s practically having sex on the floor of the ladies room with former (barely) tennis player Anna Kournikova — will be start of something so special. Reports, first brought to light by the New York Daily News, indicate that the Russian beauty, Anna Kournikova has been sperminated and is two months Pregnant with Enrique Iglesias’ Baby.  According to the report, Kournikova was scheduled to run in last Sunday’s Malibu Triathlon in Southern California but she obviously couldn’t make it because of a minor complication. Continue reading →

Rob Thomas’ new album explores darker themes

 Music Rob ThomasRob Thomas’ new CD, “Cradlesong,” reveals a more complex side of the singer: Themes of despair, and even death, are explored in various songs.  While it may suggest a darker mood, the 37-year-old, best known as the frontman for Matchbox Twenty and hits like his “Smooth” collaboration with Santana, says it simply reflects life from a more mature vantage point.  “As you get older, your themes change and the things that are important to you change, your focuses change,” said Thomas as he talked about his sophomore CD, which was released last month.  “And so there’s a lot of stuff on here about — obviously, not about being old, but just about being older. And the things that were important to you maybe not being as important to you now, and you have a whole new set of burdens to bear as you take on the responsibility of family, the responsibility of wanting to be an adult — not just getting older, but being an adult, which are two separate things.”  The first single, “Her Diamonds,” was written for his wife, Marisol, who suffers from an autoimmune disease. It deals with his sadness over her health challenges (the music video features Alicia Silverstone).  Thomas said that to him, the process of making music is fundamentally about being honest.  “That’s my job as a songwriter,” he said. Thomas also mused about his starkly dramatic album cover, which features a haunted-looking Thomas, his face half-shadowed, embellished by artwork. Thomas says he was inspired by French surrealist paintings.  “Like, some people hate it, and I think I love that. I can’t remember the last time that people have cared about an album cover enough to hate it. So I think I’ve done something right,” he said. “But I think it’s a striking image.”   Thomas begins rehearsals for his tour in support of “Cradlesong” in September. But even in the midst of developing his solo career, Matchbox Twenty isn’t far from his mind. Thomas said before he hits the road, he plans to meet with his bandmates and start hashing out ideas for the next album to keep their “forward momentum” in high gear.

More about Rob Thomas’
As the lead singer and principal songwriter for Matchbox Twenty, Rob Thomas found success with a blend of ’70s rock influences, slick hooks, and 1990s post-grunge crunch. The Florida-based band broke through in 1996 with “Push” and never looked back, issuing single after single, scoring hits in various radio formats, and watching their debut LP, Yourself or Someone Like You, go platinum 12 times over in the U.S. Thomas himself won numerous songwriting awards as the scribe of such Matchbox hits (including “Real World,” “If You’re Gone,” “Bent,” and “Mad Season”), and he later parlayed that success into a career as a solo artist. Rob Thomas was born February 14, 1972, on an Army base in Landstuhl, Germany. His parents divorced, and the ex-Army brat spent most of his childhood in South Carolina and Florida. After dropping out of high school at 17, he bounced around the South singing in pickup rock bands before relocating to Orlando in 1993. There, he helped form the band Tabitha’s Secret, a precursor to Matchbox Twenty. Although the group enjoyed some regional success, Thomas eventually left the lineup with bassist Brian Yale and drummer Paul Doucette in tow, and the departing musicians formed Matchbox Twenty with guitarists Adam Gaynor and Kyle Cook. The band’s multi-platinum debut, Yourself or Someone Like You, established Matchbox Twenty as a superstar act, but Thomas wasn’t individually well known. That all changed when Thomas co-wrote the chart-topping single “Smooth” for the Carlos Santana album Supernatural. “Smooth” was ubiquitous in 1999, and it made Thomas a star. The track took home three Grammys, including the coveted “Song of the Year” award, and Thomas landed on People’s “Most Beautiful People” list. Meanwhile, he also married model Marisol Maldonado. Mad Season (2000) and More Than You Think You Are (2002) continued Matchbox Twenty’s success, but after years of touring in support of both records, the bandmembers decided they needed a break, and Thomas used the hiatus to write and record his first solo album. When “Lonely No More” debuted in early 2005, its sleek and funky dance-pop sound was closer to Justin Timberlake than Matchbox, and it helped stir up anticipation for the April release of the chart-topping Something to Be. Rob Thomas returned to the Matchbox Twenty fold several years later, but he also maintained work on his solo material, the second batch of which arrived in 2009 under the title Her Diamonds

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