Friday, March 5, 2010

360 Friday PM News Briefs

Parents Of Pentagon Shooter Warned Authorities

A law enforcement official says the parents of the man who opened fire in front of the Pentagon warned authorities their son was upset and might have a gun.

San Benito County Sheriff Curtis Hill told the AP the parents of John Patrick Bedell filed a missing persons report and were worried about his mental stability. After reading an e-mail from their son to an acquaintance, the parents told deputies they were worried that he had purchased a gun.

The parents had reported Bedell missing on Jan. 4, one day after a Texas Highway Patrol officer had stopped him for speeding and was told he was heading for the East Coast.

The 36-year-old Bedell returned to his parent's home on January 18 telling them "not to ask any questions" about where he had been.

His father Oscar Bedell told deputies his son then left. They did not know where he had gone.

Gov't Aims To Attract Foreign Tourism To US

President Obama has signed a bill creating a program to promote the U.S. as a premier tourism destination for international travelers.

The U.S. Travel Association calls it a major step in addressing the drop-off in such visits to the U.S. during the past decade. The association says the U.S. welcomed 2.4 million fewer overseas visitors last year than in 2000. And that, the group says, has cost it an estimated $509 billion in total spending and $32 billion in direct tax receipts.

Government and private industry would evenly split the program's costs, with Washington contributing up to $100 million a year. That money will come from a $10 fee paid by foreigners who do not pay for visas to enter the U.S.

The bill is H.R. 1299.

Overdue DVD Lands Colo. Teen In Jail

A Colorado teen was recently arrested after he checked out a DVD from a library and forgot to return it, Denver TV station KMGH reported.

Aaron Henson, 19, claims it was an honest mistake, saying he checked out the DVD and then inadvertently packed it while moving. It's worth about $30, but it has ended up costing the Hensons hundreds of dollars and many headaches.

The teen was arrested during a traffic stop on Interstate 70 a few weeks ago on a failure to appear warrant from the city of Littleton, said Allen Henson, Aaron's father. Allen Henson got the call at home and couldn't believe it. His son was in jail for an overdue DVD from Littleton's Bemis Library.

"This is a clear violation of his right to due process," Allen Henson said.

According the family, Aaron had packed up the DVD, "House of Flying Daggers," as he was moving last fall. The library said it sent notices to Aaron Henson's old address and left two messages on his cell phone.

"He never got any of those notices or anything. He says he never got a phone call from the library, never got a message from them," Allen Henson said.

The Hensons ended up paying about $460 for the $30 DVD: $200 to get Aaron out of jail, $200 to get his car out of the impound lot and $60 in court fees.

All charges were dropped, but the arrest remains on Aaron's record. The family is now working to get the arrest erased from his record. Littleton Mayor Doug Clark said the city plans to change its policy on overdue DVDs and books as a result of the case.

"We're not going to arrest people who don't return $30 DVDs," he said.

Man's Steering Wheel Pops Off While Driving

State troopers said a man is lucky to have only minor injuries when he crashed his car into a barn after his steering wheel popped off while driving.

Trooper Keith Leary said the 59-year-old man was driving his 1978 Buick on Thursday afternoon on State Route 530 when his steering wheel came off, the car left the road, went down an embankment, up the other side, and crashed into a barn.

The man narrowly missed a power pole and several small barns with baby cows inside.

Rescuers said it's a miracle the man suffered only minor neck pain in the accident. The farm's owner said the car destroyed the farm's refrigeration and milking area and happened right as 140 cows were about to be milked.

Slugger Museum Looks Into Baseball's Past

Hillerich & Bradsby Co. - a fifth-generation, family-owned company - has been crafting bats since 1884 and currently churns out about 1.8 million Louisville Sluggers each year. About six in 10 big-leaguers currently use Louisville Slugger bats.

The sights and smells can tantalize visitors to the museum and factory - a must-see for baseball fans if they happen to be anywhere near Kentucky's largest city. Towering outside is a 120-foot-tall steel bat that looms as a landmark in downtown Louisville.

Inside, visitors stroll through the heart of the factory -- where fast-churning machines turn cylinder-shaped billets of wood into bats used from recreational leagues to the big leagues. The factory is enveloped by the smell of the wood and the whirring sound of the equipment.

Next to the factory is the museum, which features a treasure trove of bats once gripped by a "Who's Who" of baseball greats. There are lots of photos and interactive displays.

The most eye-catching display might be a bat used by Babe Ruth in 1927, when he hit 60 home runs. The 40-ounce bat has 21 notches carved along the top of the Louisville Slugger logo - one for each round-tripper that Ruth slugged with the bat.

Another display shows the Louisville Slugger that Hank Aaron used for his 700th home run on his way to surpassing Ruth on the career home run list. Opening a drawer in the same case reveals bats used by such greats as Cal Ripken Jr., Eddie Murray, Mike Schmidt and Tony Gwynn.

Just a short toss away is a bat used by Ted Williams late in his fabled career, and a nicked bat once swung by the tragic "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, who was banished from baseball along with several teammates after being accused of conspiring to throw the 1919 World Series.

All those wooden treasures are under case, but visitors can take hold of baseball history in a popular display featuring bats used by Bench and New York Yankees great Mickey Mantle, plus two contemporary sluggers - David Ortiz and Evan Longoria.

After donning white gloves, visitors in the "Hold a Piece of History" exhibit can clutch the bats, pretending they're sending a fastball soaring over the outfield fence. They're asked not to swing the bats, but it's OK to slowly move the bat around to get a feel for it.

There's a batting cage where visitors can take cuts at 10 pitches for $1. Hitters can swing replicas of models used by Babe Ruth, Derek Jeter or other stars, or can use the company's line of aluminum bats. Nearby is a 17-ton glove sculpture carved from Kentucky limestone.

There's a theater where visitors can hear anecdotes on hitting from top players past and present. Other fan favorites are life-size mannequins of Ruth, Williams and Ken Griffey Jr. in the middle of the spacious exhibit area. Many visitors pose for pictures next to the sluggers.

Elsewhere is an exhibit showing the tremendous skills needed to hit big league pitching. The "Feel the Heat" exhibit shows how fast a 90 mph fastball travels from the mound to the plate. The ball pops with a loud thud into a dummy catcher after a lightning-quick trip to the plate.

Another room is devoted to special exhibitions. From April 25 through Sept. 6, it will feature a collection of paintings and sketches chronicling the Negro Leagues. The approximately 30-minute factory tour gives visitors another hands-on experience. They move past cylinder-shaped wood billets shaped into bats - one every 30 seconds or so.

An employee demonstrates how bats used to be made on hand-turning lathes. Tiny wood chips fly as he shapes a bat using a process that used to produce one bat every 25 or 30 minutes. Along the production line, visitors hold bats fresh off the production line, with nubs still on each end to help hold the bats in the machinery.

Nubs tossed into buckets can be taken home by visitors as mementos. The tour passes piles of bats that are bound for use by major leaguers, who generally order 100 to 120 bats each season. Visitors watch rows of bats being dipped in various finishes. At the end of the tour, each visitor is given a complimentary mini-Louisville Slugger. A spacious gift shop offers a wide range of T-shirts, sweat shirts, caps and other apparel. Visitors can also pick up personalized bats, complete with their favorite team's logo.

At the front of the museum is "Signature Wall," containing the signatures of more than 8,000 big leaguers who had contracts with Hillerich & Bradsby, from Hall of Famer Honus Wagner -- who agreed to the first contract - up to today's players.

The museum and factory are a short stroll from such other downtown attractions as the Muhammad Ali Center, a science center and the Frazier International History Museum.

The city's performing arts center is down the street and Churchill Downs - home of the Kentucky Derby - only a short drive away.

800 W. Main St., Louisville, Ky.
502-585-5226 (toll free 877-775-8443)
Admission: adults $10; seniors (60+) $9; children (6-12) $5;
children 5 and under free. Open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.;
Sundays noon-5 p.m. Check Web site for details on bat production schedule, which varies.


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