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Shuttle Launch

Shuttle LaunchSpace Shuttle Crew Prepares for Wednesday Launch.

The space shuttle Discovery is poised to launch into orbit under a full moon Wednesday night on a delivery mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

Discovery and her seven crewmembers are scheduled to blast off from a seaside launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center here at 9:20:10 p.m. EDT (0120:10 March 12 GMT) to begin their two-week construction flight.

Packed aboard the spacecraft is a new set of solar panels to be installed on the station, as well as the final stretch of the ISS's massive backbone-like girder.

Discovery is also due to deliver even more precious cargo: Koichi Wakata, a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut, who is to become his nation's first long-duration spaceflyer when he joins the station's Expedition 18 crew as a flight engineer for a six-month stay.

"I feel just lucky to be able to serve as a crew member to complete the assembly of the International Space Station," Wakata said in a NASA interview.

While onboard the orbiting laboratory, he will devote much of his time to working in Japan's Kibo module, which was launched into space last year.

Clear skies

The weather appears to be cooperating for Wednesday's planned launch, with shuttle weather officer Kathy Winters estimating a 90 percent chance of "go" weather conditions.

Ground crews plan to begin filling the space shuttle's giant orange fuel tank with its liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen propellant at 12:05 p.m. EDT (1605 GMT).

If for some reason Discovery is unable to launch Wednesday, mission managers have said they can try again up until March 16, though pushing the liftoff that late would mean cutting a few days off the planned 14-day flight.

This mission has been delayed for nearly a month because of concerns over suspect fuel control valves in the shuttle's main engines.

During the last shuttle launch, Endeavour's November 2008 liftoff, a valve on that orbiter cracked, though it did not affect the flight.

To be on the safe side, engineers replaced all three valves on Discovery with a new set known to be damage-free. Mission managers said they feel confident the issue poses no threat to the shuttle or its crew.

Teacher astronauts

Discovery's STS-119 crew, commanded by Lee Archambault, also includes pilot Tony Antonelli and mission specialists Joseph Acaba, Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold and John Phillips.

First-time spaceflyers Acaba and Arnold are both educator astronauts. Before joining NASA, the two men taught math and science. They have said they hope their trip to space will serve as an inspiration to students.

"If you look at our crew, we all come from very diverse backgrounds, different parts of the country, different experiences professionally, different family experiences," Arnold said in a preflight interview. "Yet, the one thing we do have in common is that education was a really important part of who we were growing up and even as adults. Those dreams are all out there for these kids that are sitting in school today to realize."

Acaba and Arnold are set to be the first teacher astronauts to walk in space when they help install the new hardware on the station during the mission's four planned spacewalks.

Home improvements

Discovery's payload represents the last major U.S. contribution to the space station, which will be 81 percent complete after the installation of the new girder.

The $298 million Starboard-6 (S6) truss will finish the backbone of the station, extending it to the length of an American football field.

Once installed, the new solar array panels should boost the space station's power generating ability by 25 percent — an important step toward expanding the station's crew size from three to six, planned for this summer.

Discovery is also ferrying up a replacement part for a failed processor in the station's urine recycling system.

The machine, which was delivered to the ISS in November 2008, was designed to turn the astronaut's pee into drinkable water, though it has been malfunctioning since the start.

Mission managers said they hope the spare part being carried up by Discovery will do the trick to fix the system, which is also essential for hosting double-sized crews on the space station.

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Curtis Stone

Curtis StoneChef Curtis Stone's Takeout Intervention.

Imagine if one of the top chefs in the country came knocking at your door and offered to teach you how to make your favorite meals. This is exactly what happened to Melissa and Matt, parents from Ashburn, Virginia, who spend up to $400 a week on food delivery and takeout.

Oprah Show producers dispatch Curtis Stone, the Australian host of TLC's Take Home Chef and a sandwich showdown competitor, to Melissa and Matt's home to stage a takeout intervention.

For years, Melissa says she spent hours making meals no one liked. Matt says they order out six—sometimes seven—nights a week.

With Curtis's help, that's all about to change!

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Tapout Founder Charles Lewis Killed

Tapout Founder Charles Lewis Killed

Charles "Mask" Lewis, a founder of the popular mixed martial arts-based clothing line and gear TapouT, was killed this morning in a Newport Beach car crash, Affliction Clothing executive Tom Atencio just told The Times.

"One of his partners called and told us," Atencio said. "He was a good guy, motivated to succeed."

The Times has dispatched Metro reporters to the scene, and we'll have more later on

"Mask" was killed driving a Ferrari, Atencio said, and Newport Beach police have reportedly arrested the driver of a Porsche that was said to have been racing Lewis.

Updated at 1:24 p.m.: Law enforcement authorities have not released the crash victim's name pending notification of next of kin.

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Michael McLendon

Michael McLendon
Alabama shooting spree suspect Michael McLendon kills 10 in Kinson and Samson, before killing self.

An Alabama man with an assault weapon burned down his mother's house around her, shot his grandparents, aunt and uncle dead, then killed five other people Tuesday before turning the gun on himself, authorities said. Coffee County coroner Robert Preachers identified the shooter as Michael McLendon and said he was in his 30s.

It was unclear if the mother, Lisa McClendon, who died, had been shot.

Authorities gave no motive for McLendon's rampage, which claimed victims in several homes in the small towns of Kinston, Samson and Geneva and along the highway connecting them, and ended at the metal plant where he once worked. Two of the dead were a sheriff deputy's wife and 18-month-old child.

Several other people were injured, including Geneva Police Chief Frankie Lindsey, who was saved by his bulletproof vest, and a state trooper wounded by flying glass when his car was hit with seven slugs.

"He sprayed bullets through the town," Kirke Adams, district attorney for Geneva and Dale counties, told the Associated Press.

Investigators Tuesday night were looking into possible shootings in other locations. "This is one of the most tragic events ever in Geneva County," state Sen. Harri Anne Smith said.

The carnage began in the late afternoon in Kinston, where Michael McLendon burned down his mother's home. Officials said McClendon then went to nearby Samson and shot his grandparents, aunt and uncle.

The sheriff deputy's wife and child were slaughtered in their mobile home, officials said. McClendon also killed another person at a Samson supply store and a woman at a service station, they said. The location of the shooting of the 10th victim was unclear.

Cops said McClendon fired randomly at people as his maroon Mitsubishi Eclipse traveled along Highway 52 toward Geneva's Reliable Metal Products, which makes grills and vents for heating and air conditioning systems, mainly for hotels. McLendon had reportedly once worked at the plant.

"He was just driving down the street shooting at people sitting on their porches," Smith said. "A family was just sitting on the porch and they were shot."

Cops caught up with McClendon at Reliable, where he was said to be a past or present employee. After firing 30 rounds at the officers, he went inside and shot himself to death.

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Disney Announces 'D23: The Official Community for Disney Fans'.

Disney's First Official Fan Organization Launches with New Quarterly Publication, Web Site, Fan Events and Collectibles Line

First Quarterly Publication Features Exclusive Interviews with Tim Burton, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, as well as behind-the-scenes visit to Pixar Animation Studios

OAKLAND, Calif. and BURBANK, Calif., March 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Disney today announced the launch of D23 (, the first official community for Disney fans in the Company's 85-year history. Through D23, fans will go backstage and behind closed doors to get the inside scoop from every part of Disney, while experiencing the nostalgia, adventure and fantasy of Disney as never before.

To view the Multimedia News Release, go to:

"We have a fantastic legacy that started in 1923 and is based on timeless stories, beloved characters and unforgettable experiences, but it's our fans that keep the spirit of Disney alive year after year, generation after generation," said Disney President and CEO Bob Iger at the Company's annual shareholder's meeting. "D23 is our way of saying 'thank you' and celebrating our fans, who bring the magic of Disney to life every day in every corner of the world."

As a part of this new Disney fan experience, today also marks the launch of D23's new quarterly publication, Disney twenty-three; the all-new D23 Web site at; and a new collectibles line, The Walt Disney Archives Collection, which was created specifically with D23 members in mind. D23 also will host special events for its members throughout the year, highlighted by the organization's signature event, the D23 Expo, which will be held in Anaheim this September 10-13.

A one-year D23 membership ($74.99) includes:

  • Disney twenty-three quarterly publication: A one-year subscription (four issues) to D23's new collectible magazine filled with stunning photography, dazzling illustrations and the ultimate Disney insider perspective. This advertising-free keepsake is the all-access pass to discovering the magic of Disney's past, present and future.
  • Membership Certificate and Card: The D23 membership card and suitable-for-framing member certificate -- both specially created for D23's Charter Year -- feature many of Disney's most beloved characters.
  • Surprise Collectible Gift and Member Merchandise: Each member who joins D23 will receive an exclusive collectible gift from the new Walt Disney Archives Collection. This merchandise line was created specifically with D23 members in mind, and each piece is authorized by the Walt Disney Archives. D23 members will have exclusive or early access to a wide assortment of Walt Disney Archives Collection pieces.
  • D23 Expo and Member Special Events: The D23 Expo -- to be held at the Anaheim Convention Center from September 10-13, 2009 -- will be "The Ultimate Disney Fan Experience," featuring incredible speakers, celebrity appearances, breathtaking exhibitions, interactive experiences, sneak peeks, film screenings, one-of-a-kind merchandise, and much more. All Disney fans are welcome, but D23 members will receive a discount on Expo admissions and early access to the show daily. D23 also offers unique members-only special event opportunities throughout the year.
  • All fans can stay connected to Disney every day through D23's new Web site, featuring up-to-the-minute Disney news, feature stories, event info and more, but only D23 members will receive regular email updates on special event and merchandise opportunities exclusive to them.

Disney twenty-three quarterly publication

Disney today launches its new quarterly publication Disney twenty-three, a hybrid entertainment and lifestyle magazine that is the all-access pass to discovering the magic of Disney's past, present and future. Its name pays homage to 1923, the year The Walt Disney Company was founded.

The premiere issue of Disney twenty-three includes exclusive features such as:

  • Interviews with Tim Burton, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens
  • Inside look at the new Disney/Pixar animated film Up, featuring interviews with Director Pete Docter and Producer Jonas Rivera, concept and production art, and a look at the new animated short Partly Cloudy.
  • A rare look inside Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, California. Meet the Pixar team and learn the secrets behind the success of their films.
  • The doors open for two of the most exclusive, magical suites in the world: the Cinderella Castle Suite at Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Dream Suite overlooking New Orleans Square and the Rivers of America at the Disneyland Resort.

Disney twenty-three's regular featured departments include:

  • A Walk with Walt: A look back at the trials and triumphs of the man who made dreams come true and whose imagination started it all.
  • D Society: From gala movie premieres and grand openings to candid Disney moments and memories, D Society takes readers backstage and onto the red carpet.
  • PHOTOfiles: The legendary Walt Disney Archives Photo Library houses millions of Disney's most cherished photographic memories, and the Archives team shares its Top 100, five in every issue. Let the countdown begin!
  • Where in D?: Try to identify where in the world of Disney each issue's mystery photo was taken.
  • The Funny Pages: For the first time in decades, enjoy the vintage newspaper comic strips that helped make many of Disney's most popular characters famous.
  • Making Magic: Crafts for children of all ages, inspired by Disney's favorite stories and experiences.
  • Recipes from Disney's most popular restaurants and eateries, past and present.

Disney twenty-three subscriptions are available only by becoming a member of D23: The Official Community for Disney Fans. Individual issues of Disney twenty-three retail for $15.95 and are available exclusively at all U.S. Barnes & Noble booksellers, all domestic Disney Stores, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World, and


The D23 site on will serve as the premier online destination for Disney fans, highlighted by breaking Disney news, exclusive feature stories, blogs, historical retrospectives, a collectibles boutique, special event information, and other content. The D23 online experience includes News & Features, Walt Disney Archives, Disney twenty-three, Expo & Events, and Boutique23. Highlights include:


  • Late-breaking news, press releases, and photos of interest to fans from every part of Disney.
  • "Twilight Bark" -- inspired by the Disney animated feature 101 Dalmatians -- offers up the latest tidbits and news "bites" from all around the world of Disney.
  • Feature articles and interviews on current Disney topics from theme parks and animation to television and motion pictures, as well as historical retrospectives.
  • Official Disney Bloggers -- Get regular updates on films in production at Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, current Walt Disney Imagineering projects, and the Walt Disney Archives.


  • "This Day in Disney" -- A daily walk down memory lane.
  • "What's Old Is News" -- Go back in time and enjoy rare, vintage and classic articles, stories, interviews, press materials and other highlights from deep within the Disney Archives.
  • "Ask Dave" -- Disney Legend and Chief Archivist Dave Smith answers your questions about Disney history.
  • "Archives Library" -- helpful Disney reference tools including biographies, filmographies, award chronologies, Disney A to Z updates, historical profiles and other archival information.


  • The online home of Disney twenty-three, D23's quarterly publication.
  • Expanded stories, interviews and imagery.
  • "D Society: Online Edition" -- regularly updated photo gallery.
  • "The Funny Page: Daily Edition" -- a delightful daily dose of vintage Disney comics that haven't been seen outside the Disney Archives in decades.
  • "Making Magic" -- An archive of the unique crafts featured in Disney twenty-three.
  • "Disney Dish" -- Always be able to find your favorite recipes from Disney twenty-three.


  • "D23 Expo" -- The official Web site for everything you need to know about "The Ultimate Disney Fan Experience" September 10-13, at the Anaheim Convention Center, including programming, show hours, celebrity appearances, keynote speakers, ticket information, vacation packages, and more.
  • "D23 Member Special Events" -- Throughout the year, D23 hosts special events created just for its members. Members can find out which ones they want to attend and how to register.


  • D23 merchandise and collectibles, including D23 member-only offerings from the Walt Disney Archives Collection
  • Hosted by

D23 membership

D23 membership is not required to visit, but some merchandise and special event opportunities are exclusive to D23 members.

Fans can join D23 at, all Disney Store locations within the United States, select shops at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort, and

About D23

The name "D23" pays homage to the wonder and excitement that began in 1923 when Walt Disney opened his fledgling studio in Hollywood. Through the years, Disney has captured the imagination of millions around the world, and, as requested by Disney fans everywhere, D23 gives them a greater, richer connection to the entire world of Disney by placing them in the middle of the magic.


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Lilly Pulitzer

Lilly PulitzerFashion designer’s 50th anniversary to be marked in Bonita Springs.

The Pink Pineapple will celebrate the 50th anniversary of fashion designer Lilly Pulitzer with a reception at its Bonita Springs location in The Promenade at 5 p.m., Friday, March 20.

The event will feature fruity drinks, fabulous treats and fashionable fun, plus the unveiling of the Jubilee Retrospective and the spring line.

For more than 50 years, Lilly Pulitzer's signature prints have revolutionized American fashion. Her colorful creations continue to influence many of today's top designers.

The evening will also include a raffle and the exclusive presentation of the new Lilly Pulitzer Fragrance Collection.

Tickets will be available for an opportunity to win a crown jeweled clutch in Pulitzer pink society girl and a Jubilee Clarkeson dress in embroidery faille.

All of the proceeds from fragrance and raffle sales will be donated to the Children's Museum of Naples. The C'mon program will be Collier County's first learning environment devoted exclusively to child's play and the serious business of discovery that helps children attain hallmark milestones on the journey into adulthood.

For more information, call 947-7462.

The Pink Pineapple is at 26851 South Bay Drive, Suite 142.

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