Singer, actor, ‘The Gambler’: Kenny Rogers dies at 81

first_img(AP) — Actor-singer Kenny Rogers, the smooth, Grammy-winning balladeer who spanned jazz, folk, country and pop with such hits as “Lucille,” “Lady” and “Islands in the Stream” and embraced his persona as “The Gambler” on record and on TV, died Friday night. He was 81.He died at home in Sandy Springs, Georgia, representative Keith Hagan told The Associated Press. He was under hospice care and died of natural causes, Hagan said.The Houston-born performer with the husky voice and silver beard sold tens of millions of records, won three Grammys and was the star of TV movies based on “The Gambler” and other songs, making him a superstar in the ’70s and ’80s. Rogers thrived for some 60 years before retired from touring in 2017 at age 79. Despite his crossover success, he always preferred to be thought of as a country singer.“You either do what everyone else is doing and you do it better, or you do what no one else is doing and you don’t invite comparison,” Rogers told The Associated Press in 2015. “And I chose that way because I could never be better than Johnny Cash or Willie or Waylon at what they did. So I found something that I could do that didn’t invite comparison to them. And I think people thought it was my desire to change country music. But that was never my issue.”“Kenny was one of those artists who transcended beyond one format and geographic borders,” says Sarah Trahern, chief executive officer of the Country Music Association. “He was a global superstar who helped introduce country music to audiences all around the world.”Rogers was a five-time CMA Award winner, as well as the recipient of the CMA’s Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, the same year he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He received 10 awards from the Academy of Country Music. He sold more than 47 million records in the United States alone, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.A true rags-to-riches story, Rogers was raised in public housing in Houston Heights with seven siblings. As a 20-year-old, he had a gold single called “That Crazy Feeling,” under the name Kenneth Rogers, but when that early success stalled, he joined a jazz group, the Bobby Doyle Trio, as a standup bass player.But his breakthrough came when he was asked to join the New Christy Minstrels, a folk group, in 1966. The band reformed as First Edition and scored a pop hit with the psychedelic song, “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In).” Rogers and First Edition mixed country-rock and folk on songs like “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town,” a story of a Vietnam veteran begging his girlfriend to stay.After the group broke up in 1974, Rogers started his solo career and found a big hit with the sad country ballad “Lucille,” in 1977, which crossed over to the pop charts and earned Rogers his first Grammy. Suddenly the star, Rogers added hit after hit for more than a decade.“The Gambler,” the Grammy-winning story song penned by Don Schlitz, came out in 1978 and became his signature song with a signature refrain: “You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.” The song spawned a hit TV movie of the same name and several more sequels featuring Rogers as professional gambler Brady Hawkes, and led to a lengthy side career for Rogers as a TV actor and host of several TV specials.Other hits included “You Decorated My Life,” “Every Time Two Fools Collide” with Dottie West, “Don’t Fall In Love with a Dreamer” with Kim Carnes, and “Coward of the County.” One of his biggest successes was “Lady,” written by Lionel Richie, a chart topper for six weeks straight in 1980. Richie said in a 2017 interview with the AP that he often didn’t finish songs until he had already pitched them, which was the case for “Lady.”“In the beginning, the song was called, ‘Baby,’” Richie said. “And because when I first sat with him, for the first 30 minutes, all he talked about was he just got married to a real lady. A country guy like him is married to a lady. So, he said, ‘By the way, what’s the name of the song?’” Richie replies: “Lady.”Over the years, Rogers worked often with female duet partners, most memorably, Dolly Parton. The two were paired at the suggestion of the Bee Gees’ Barry Gibb, who wrote “Islands in the Stream.”“Barry was producing an album on me and he gave me this song,” Rogers told the AP in 2017. “And I went and learned it and went into the studio and sang it for four days. And I finally looked at him and said, ‘Barry, I don’t even like this song anymore.’ And he said, ‘You know what we need? We need Dolly Parton.’ I thought, ‘Man, that guy is a visionary.’”Coincidentally, Parton was actually in the same recording studio in Los Angeles when the idea came up.“From the moment she marched into that room, that song never sounded the same,” Rogers said. “It took on a whole new spirit.”The two singers toured together, including in Australia and New Zealand in 1984 and 1987, and were featured in a HBO concert special. Over the years the two would continue to record together, including their last duet, “You Can’t Make Old Friends,” which was released in 2013. Parton reprised “Islands in the Stream” with Rogers during his all-star retirement concert held in Nashville in October 2017.Rogers invested his time and money in a lot of other endeavors over his career, including a passion for photography that led to several books, as well as an autobiography, “Making It With Music.” He had a chain of restaurants called Kenny Rogers Roasters and was a partner behind a riverboat in Branson, Missouri. He was also involved in numerous charitable causes, among them the Red Cross and MusiCares, and was part of the all-star “We are the World” recording for famine relief.By the ’90s, his ability to chart hits had waned, although he still remained a popular live entertainer with regular touring. Still he was an inventive businessman and never stopped trying to find his way back onto the charts.At the age of 61, Rogers had a brief comeback on the country charts in 2000 with a hit song “Buy Me A Rose,” thanks to his other favorite medium, television. Producers of the series “Touched By An Angel” wanted him to appear in an episode, and one of his managers suggested the episode be based on his latest single. That cross-promotional event earned him his first No. 1 country song in 13 years.Rogers is survived by his wife, Wanda, and his sons Justin, Jordan, Chris and Kenny Jr., as well as two brothers, a sister and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, his representative said. The family is planning a private service “out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency,” a statement posted early Saturday read. A public memorial will be held at a later date.last_img read more

Clear Lake’s Earth Day big event won’t happen this weekend, but you can still do things to participate

first_imgCLEAR LAKE — Clear Lake’s Earth Day activities were supposed to be held this weekend, but the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the event’s plans. Earth Day Committee member Jan  Lovell says one of the popular events, the 5K/10K, has switched to a virtual event.  “So essentially that means each runner can choose when and where to run anytime between now and Sunday at midnight. It can even be on your treadmill. A portion of the funds are going to a really wonderful organization. It’s a new organization, the North Iowa chapter of Ainsley’s Angels.”Lovell encourages people to get outside and use the parks and trails that are open.  “Check to see that the site you are going to is open. Our state parks are open during the day, and our county conservation areas are open during the day. Be sure to socially distance yourself six feet apart. Prepare for limited access to restrooms, most of those facilities are not open. Do bring hand sanitizer and use it often. Bring your own water bottle. This isn’t the time to be sharing water bottles or using drinking fountains for sure.” Lovell says another big event has involved large groups going out and picking up trash, which she says they are encouraging people to do as individuals.  “Clear Lake will be having a more formal kickoff later when it is safe to do as groups, but in the meantime, some individuals are going out and choosing their favorite areas, as long as they are separated, doing the social distance separating, wearing gloves, going on your own or just with one or two other individuals. In Clear Lake you can register online for this still. For more information head to earthdayclearlake.orglast_img read more

Secretary of State planning another absentee ballot request form mailing

first_imgDES MOINES — Late this afternoon, the state’s top election official will ask the Iowa Legislative Council for permission to mail absentee ballot request forms to every active Iowa voter.Secretary of State Paul Pate mailed the forms to voters before the June Primary, encouraging Iowans to vote-from-home during the pandemic rather than risk their health standing in line at a polling place. There was record participation in the primary and about 80 percent voted early.Ten days later, the Republican-led legislature voted to force Pate to seek approval from the Legislative Council if he planned a similar mailing in the future. Pate, in a document for the Council’s meeting today, said he’d use federal “Help America Vote” money to cover the cost of the mailing.Some county auditors have said they intend to mail absentee ballot request forms, with some of the information on the form filled in for the voter. Pate is asking the Legislative Council to prevent auditors from doing that and require only blank forms be mailed from county auditors to voters. A new state law about how county auditors may confirm and correct information on the forms they receive is being challenged in court.last_img read more

Blatter ‘available to defend FIFA’ at US corruption trial

first_imgHe explained: “There was a contract between the FIFA president and Platini, an oral contract and then indeed a written one.“And so I paid the debt, generally when you pay a debt you are thanked. But in this case because I paid the debt I’m punished.“According to the principles instilled in me by my father who for me was a paragon of virtue, ‘ we, Blatters, pay our debts’.“And that’s also the principle that we adhere to at FIFA.”He made clear that should CAS reject his appeal, he will not give up trying to clear his name.“There are other ways to get the ban lifted,” he suggested, saying he could take his case to Swiss justice, or take out a civil action.“But for me I’m confident CAS will overturn the decision,” he stated.Irrespective of the outcome of his CAS hearing, Blatter plans to attend the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia as a guest of Russian President Vladimir Putin, although if he were to attend a match he would be flouting the terms of his suspension.“I’ve got an invitation to go to Russia,” he said.“I will go Russia. Going to Russia doesn’t mean that I’m going to watch games. They can’t stop me travelling. I go where I want to.”He refused to pass comment on his successor Infantino’s performance since taking over the top job in football in February.“I don’t have a verdict. I don’t even know his programme and I’m letting him get on with it.”Share on: WhatsApp Basel, Switzerland | AFPFormer FIFA president Sepp Blatter told AFP Friday he “is available” to appear as a witness at a United States trial into mass corruption in world football.“Yes. When they need me to defend FIFA, I will be available,” Blatter said, when asked if he would be prepared to attend the trial into the sweeping bribery scandal that has sparked an unprecedented crisis at the top of the game.US prosecutors were hoping the hearing of 39 officials and marketing executives accused of soliciting and receiving tens of millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks would begin in February 2017.But on Thursday, the US judge overseeing the corruption scandal postponed setting a trial date until after prosecutors share the bulk of evidence being collated in the massive investigation.Blatter, with suspended European football chief Michel Platini, was banned from all football activities for eight years in December over an infamous two million Swiss franc ($2 million, 1.8 million euro) payment Platini received in 2011 from the then-FIFA president.The suspensions were cut to six years in February.Blatter, since replaced as FIFA president by Gianni Infantino, is awaiting a date for an appeal against his ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).Platini was told earlier Friday his CAS appeal will be heard on April 29.Blatter, attending a debate on FIFA reforms at Basel University, commented: “It’s good news that CAS has made progress with Platini’s case. I think my case will be handled shortly after.”The 80-year-old Swiss added: “I believe that now, finally, at CAS, they are going to talk about justice, and not just speculation.“That means it’s justice that will prove if the accused is guilty and not the accused who has to prove his innocence.”He says his appeal is based on the principle that “the Blatters pay their debts”.last_img read more

Dembele suspended as Dortmund reject Barcelona bid

first_imgFootball: Dembele suspended as Dortmund reject Barcelona bidBerlin, Germany | AFP |  Borussia Dortmund on Thursday said they had rejected an offer from Barcelona for Ousmane Dembele, as the wantaway forward was suspended for missing training.Dortmund said a move by Dembele to the Camp Nou, where he is being lined up as a replacement for Neymar, was unlikely, after they turned down an offer that did not reflect the young winger’s “extraordinary” value or the current state of the transfer market.“As there is no other offer on the table, a transfer by the player to FC Barcelona is not at this time expected, nor currently very likely,” said a club statement.Dembele, who at the age of just 20 is considered one of the top talents in Europe, has been hotly pursued to fill the void left by Neymar’s move to Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record 222 million euros ($260 million) last week.German tabloid Bild reported that Dortmund want an eye-watering 150 million euros ($175 million) for their rising star, a price Barca appear unwilling to pay.Dembele, who has made no secret of his desire to play for Barcelona, failed to show up for practice on Thursday.“We don’t know why. We tried to reach him but we were unable to,” Dortmund coach Peter Bosz told reporters.Unimpressed, Dortmund promptly suspended the Frenchman for his unexplained absence.“We will of course sanction this misconduct,” Dortmund’s sporting director Michael Zorc said in a statement, adding that Dembele was suspended until after this weekend’s Cup match.Bild suggested that Dembele may have been trying to break the deadlock in the negotiations with his no-show.“Dembele really wants to go to Barcelona but yesterday he had to swallow the fact that the two clubs could not agree on a transfer fee,” it wrote.Speculation about Dembele’s possible move to the Camp Nou reached fever-pitch in recent days after the French international deleted the words “Borussia Dortmund” and the team’s slogan “true love” from his Twitter and Instagram profiles.Dembele himself told Gol TV last week that it was “a pleasure” to see his name on Barca’s wish list. – Couthino also ‘not for sale’-Neymar’s stunning departure to PSG has sent Barca scrambling for replacements before the transfer window closes.They are looking for someone to slot into the famed attacking line-up alongside the world-class talents of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.The Catalan giants have also approached Liverpool about signing Philippe Coutinho — though here too there has been no sign of a deal.The Spanish club were reported to have increased their bid for Coutinho to £90 million (100 million euros, $115 million) on Wednesday after two previous offers were rejected by the Premier League side.But Liverpool manager Klopp remains adamant the 25-year-old will stay at Anfield no matter what Barca are prepared to pay.“We want to have the best possible team. This means keeping the guys we have,” Klopp told Sky in Germany on Thursday.“Liverpool is not a club that needs to sell. That is set in stone. So what they pay in the end doesn’t matter.”Precocious forward Dembele joined Dortmund last summer from French side Rennes for just 15 million euros.He went on to enjoy a promising first season in the Bundesliga, scoring six goals in 32 appearances.Dembele’s skills on the pitch, including a series of dazzling assists, quickly impressed and earned him ‘wunderkind’ headlines in the German press, though he has been criticised at times for lacking discipline.“I’m not a phenomenon, I’m just trying to be decisive for my team-mates, there are a lot of talented young people in football,” a modest Dembele said last March.Dembele was already courted by Barcelona last year, but opted for a five-year deal with Dortmund to improve his game and gain more first-team experience.According to Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo at the time, the youngster however left Barca sporting director Robert Fernandez in no doubt about his true ambitions.“One day I will play for Barca,” he said.Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Man reportedly sets home on fire to kill his daughter after an argument

first_imgOfficials in Minnesota are reporting that they have arrested a 46-year-old man who reportedly set his mobile home on fire to kill his 22-year-old daughter after an argument.The incident occurred Tuesday in Paynesville.Authorities say they received a call from the victim, Jamey Newport stating that her father was going to set their home on fire. During the phone call, authorities reported that Newport than began screaming and coughing claiming that her father had set the home on fire and that she was trapped inside.A responding officer found black smoke coming out of the mobile home and could hear Newport screaming inside. The officer attempted to get inside the home from there rear where he heard the victim screaming, however, he was unsuccessful before the home was engulfed in flames.The officer then went back to the front of the home, where he found the victim’s father John Newport yelling at the victim through a broken window.He then attempted to get back into the home through a door and then through a broken window but eventually retreated.  He was eventually restrained by the officer and taken to a hospital to for treatment on his injuries.Firefighters arrived to the scene and immediately put out the fire and pulled the victim from the home.She was taken to an area hospital where she was pronounced dead.According to the report, the two argued about Jamey’s plans to move out of the home and that John posted on Facebook Friday that he planned to burn down his house.John has since been taken Stearns County Jail and charged with  second-degree murder.  He remains behind bars on a $2 million bond.last_img read more

CVS, Walgreens Ask Customers Not to Open-Carry Guns in Stores

first_imgPharmacy chains Walgreens and CVS are joining some other big name retailers who have recently asked customers not to open-carry guns within their stores.Walgreens posted a statement on its website Thursday morning to announce the change. It reads in part, “We are joining other retailers in asking our customers to no longer openly carry firearms into our stores other than authorized law enforcement officials.”Shortly afterward, CVS issued a similar statement. The company explains, “We support the efforts of individuals and groups working to prevent gun violence, and continually review our policies and procedures to ensure our stores remain a safe environment. We join a growing chorus of businesses in requesting that our customers, other than authorized law enforcement personnel, do not bring firearms into our stores.”Earlier this week, Walmart and Kroger also announced new policies asking customers to stop openly carrying guns in their stores, even in states in which open-carry is legal. That includes Sam’s Club locations.Walmart also announced last Tuesday that it will no longer sell handgun ammunition after its current stock runs out.last_img read more

Lion Country Safari drive-thru safari reopens Thursday

first_imgThe Lion Country Safari announced the reopening of its drive-thru safari.The zoo was forced to shut down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.The announcement for the reopening was made on Wednesday.The zoo’s drive-thru will reopen on Thursday, May 7 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with the last car admitted at 4:30 p.m.Zoo officials said tickets must be pre-purchased and are only valid for the drive-thru on the selected date.The walk-thru park will remained closed.last_img

England Golf County Rules Schools heading to the North and South of England

first_img England Golf has announced that it will be running another two County Rules Schools this spring, at venues in Cheshire and Devon. Following the success of seven County Rules Schools in 2011, which proved to be very popular attracting over 200 delegates, England Golf are delighted to be offering the chance for more people to participate in rules education. To date, 67 of those delegates who sat the County Rules exam last year achieved a distinction. This in turn has provided their respective County Unions with a potential new source of qualified ‘County Referees’ to assist at county tournaments. Barry Morgan, Secretary of Hampshire County Golf Union, who hosted a Rules School at Basingstoke golf club last year said, “The England Golf County Rules School has proved to be an invaluable tool, enabling Hampshire Golf Union to formulate the nucleus of a tournament panel for our County events. Those that attended are now much more confident in their knowledge of the rules and the school has given them the confidence and self belief to be able to deal with rules situations on and off the golf course”. Toby Thorne, England Golf Deputy Championship Manager says, “The schools cater for all levels of rules knowledge, endorsed by the wide variety of delegates who have attended and the feedback that we have received. There is something for everyone to learn about the rules of golf and with the new changes coming into effect from 1st January it will be important to ensure all delegates are aware of and well informed about these changes. The format of the School, with a mix of outdoor practical demonstrations, refereeing role-play scenarios and some indoor tutorials, keeps everyone interested and on their toes throughout the day”. Delegates should have at least a basic understanding of the Rules of Golf before attending the school, although advice will be given on how to prepare for the exam which is several weeks after the first day of practical tuition. The following dates and venues are finalised for spring 2012: Cheshire: Day 1: Wed 28th March Day 2 (inc. Exam): Thu 3rd May (North) Entry deadline: Fri 9th March Venue: Sandiway Golf Club, Northwich Devon: Day 1: Thu 26th April Day 2 (inc. Exam): Thu 7th June (South West) Entry deadline: Fri 30th March Venue: Exeter Golf & Country Club, Exeter The fee for attending an England Golf County Rules School is £50, which includes all tuition, lunches, teas and coffees on both days. Although hosted in a particular county, delegates from other counties will also be made welcome. Further Schools are being scheduled for Autumn 2012 and will be announced in due course. For more information regarding the England Golf County Rules Schools and how to register for an event, visit www.englishgolfunion.org/rulesschool. 24 Jan 2012 England Golf County Rules Schools heading to the North and South of England last_img read more