- - Thursday, October 20, 2011

President Obama to visit Leno’s ‘Tonight Show’

President Obama will have a late-night chat with Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show” next week, the Associated Press reports.

White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer wrote in a tweet that Mr. Obama will be on the show Tuesday. The president will be traveling on the West Coast next week, raising money for his re-election bid and trying to boost public support for his jobs bill.

This will be Mr. Obama’s fourth time on Mr. Leno’s show. He made two appearances as a presidential candidate. His last appearance was in March 2009, shortly after taking office.

‘Extreme Makeover’ building homes in tornado-torn Joplin

When executives with “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” contacted builder Sam Clifton about a project in Joplin, Mo., he told them it was a great idea, but building a single home wouldn’t send much of a message to a community that lost more than 7,000 of them to a devastating spring tornado.

So on Wednesday, work began on a project to build seven homes in seven days that will be featured on the popular ABC show, the Associated Press reports. It is another effort by volunteers to reshape the southwest Missouri community that still is in the early stages of recovering from the May 22 twister that killed 162 people, one of the worst tornadoes in U.S. history.

The homes, which are going up a few blocks from where the city’s destroyed hospital used to be, will be far from opulent. Mr. Clifton, who is overseeing the project, said the new units will be functional, 1,300- to 1,800-square-foot homes, similar in size and style to many of the dwellings destroyed in the tornado.

“We want to help get the community going,” Mr. Clifton said. “Get some excitement going in the town. That’s my goal.”

The TV show typically rebuilds a single home for a family that has been struck with some tragic circumstances. In Joplin’s case, the seven homes are being built along the same street.

“This is what we do,” said Diane Korman, senior producer for the program. “We look for families in trouble and how to help them.”

Miss Korman said the show’s staff gathered May 23, the day after the tornado, to discuss a project in Joplin. They contacted Mr. Clifton, with whom they had worked on a 2009 show in Ash Grove, Mo., and concurred with his assessment that the project needed to be bigger than one home.

Mr. Clifton said 10,000 volunteers have signed up to help with the project, along with 21 general contractors from around the region and hundreds of skilled tradesmen.

The show paid for the families to take a trip to Disney World for the week. They’ll be back Wednesday, when host Ty Pennington will deliver the famous “move that bus” proclamation and the families will see the homes for the first time.

The episode is scheduled to be the 200th for the program, and is tentatively set to air Jan. 20.

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