People talk 1/31

Saturday, January 31, 2004

Reba's in music awards spotlight again this year

LOS ANGELES -- Reba McEntire will be back on familiar turf as host of the 39th annual Academy of Country Music Awards. This will be the third consecutive ceremony -- and seventh overall -- to feature the singer-actress as host. The awards show is set for May 26 and will air on CBS. McEntire released "Room to Breathe," her first new album in four years, last November.

Jockey 'saddled' with plum job in France

PARIS -- Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens has put his acting career on hold to return to the saddle. Stevens, who played jockey George Woolf in the Oscar-nominated film "Seabiscuit," will move to France and ride for trainer Andre Fabre. Stevens, who lives in Los Angeles, will live in France from March through November.

Artist offers reward for return of the Jedi

PASADENA, Calif. -- Someone lifted a 170-pound bronze statue of Yoda, the "Star Wars" Jedi master. The theft from a flatbed truck was reported to police last weekend, and artist Lawrence Noble has offered a $1,000 reward for its return. The limited-edition bronze is worth up to $20,000. The statue was one of four bolted to a flatbed truck parked overnight Jan. 17 on Colorado Boulevard. Lucasfilm Ltd. commissioned the statues, a part of a planned series featuring other "Star Wars" characters. -- From wire reports

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SALEM, Ore. -- A branding iron that was once the possession of Capt. Meriwether Lewis is getting top billing at a national exhibition commemorating the legendary explorer. The artifact, on loan from the Oregon Historical Society, is featured in one of nine "treasure cases" at the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis, the first stop on a national tour. So far, the exhibition has been a huge hit. In the late 1890s, a Hood River man found the metal branding iron bearing the words "U.S. Capt. M. Lewis" among the rocks on the north shore of the Columbia River, near Celilo Falls. Lewis used the iron to brand trees and possibly boxes, barrels and other goods on the 8,000-mile journey by the 33-member Corps of Discovery, said Richard Engeman, public historian for the Oregon Historical Society. The object has drawn intense speculation from historians, some of whom believe it could have been used to signal ownership, allowing Lewis to lay claim to parts of the vast Western territory.

Two other artifacts from the Oregon Historical Society -- a Jefferson peace medal and George Shannon's sewing kit -- also are prominently displayed in the bicentennial exhibition, which will travel the country through 2006.

Oregonians will get their chance to see the state's contribution and many other rare artifacts, but not until November 2005.

-- From wire reports

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