- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tribune to sell Cubs, Wrigley

CHICAGO | Media conglomerate Tribune Co. announced a definitive agreement Friday to sell all but a 5 percent stake in the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field to the billionaire Ricketts family, capping a tortuous selection process that began nearly 2 1/2 years ago.

Tribune valued the transaction at about $845 million.

“Our family is thrilled to have reached an agreement to acquire a controlling interest in the Chicago Cubs, one of the most storied franchises in sports,” said Joe Ricketts, who founded the Omaha, Neb.-based online brokerage TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. “The Cubs have the greatest fans in the world, and we count our family among them.”

Tribune had announced on Opening Day in 2007 that the marquee baseball franchise and historic ballpark would be sold at the end of that season. But the process was slowed by CEO Sam Zell’s efforts to maximize sale profits, including a failed attempt to sell Wrigley separately, along with the collapse of credit markets and the Tribune’s 2008 bankruptcy filing.

Activities muted as Hawaii turns 50

HONOLULU | Hawaii is marking its entry as the 50th state with a new postage stamp, planning for the islands’ future economic development and protests.

State leaders are calling Friday’s events a statehood “commemoration” rather than a “celebration,” out of respect to native Hawaiians and their unresolved claims since the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom.

The events are light on flag-waving and parades, instead emphasizing preparations for the future. Panel discussions will focus on tourism, alternative energy and Hawaiian rights.

Outside the Hawaii Convention Center, protesters who would rather see Hawaii’s independence restored plan a march and a rally.

The stamp, available nationwide Friday, shows a painting of a longboard surfer and two paddlers in an outrigger canoe.

Judge nixes deporting acquitted Egyptian

MIAMI | An Egyptian man who was acquitted of terrorism-related charges earlier this year should not be deported, a judge in Florida ruled Friday.

Youssef Megahed, 23, was not immediately released after the decision by Immigration Judge Kenneth Hurewitz. He was due back in Judge Hurewitz’s courtroom Friday afternoon for a bond hearing, but Megahed attorney Charles Kuck said his client would likely remain behind bars if the government files an appeal, as expected.

Still, the decision was a victory for Mr. Megahed, who was found not guilty of federal explosives charges in April, but then was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

Elaine Komis, a spokeswoman for the Executive Office for Immigration Review in the U.S. Department of Justice, confirmed Judge Hurewitz’s decision to terminate the case, but did not comment further. A spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said he could not comment.

Two survive fiery plane crash

TETERBORO, N.J. | Two men ferrying medical specimens walked away from a fiery small-plane crash Friday morning at an airport, and emergency responders found them at a nearby bus stop, alert and conscious, but severely burned.

Both men were taken to St. Barnabas Medical Center. The pilot, identified as George Maddox, 54, of Sinking Springs, Pa., was listed in critical condition. Co-pilot Sanil Gopinath, 42, of Laurel, Md., was listed in serious condition.

Teterboro is the same airport where a plane took off earlier this month before colliding with a sightseeing helicopter over the Hudson River. Nine people were killed aboard the two aircraft.

Little Ferry, N.J., police Officer Adam Warne, who was among the first to respond to the scene, said he was taken aback to find the men alive and talking after the crash.

“They were sitting at the curb at the bus stop. Both of them were alert and conscious and answering questions,” Officer Warne said.

Little Ferry Police Chief Ralph Verdi said Mr. Maddox had burns over 20 percent to 30 percent of his body.

Travel guru says avoid Arizona

PHOENIX | Travel icon Arthur Frommer said he won’t be spending his tourism dollars at the Grand Canyon, or anywhere else in Arizona, because the state’s laws allow people he described as “thugs” and “extremists” to openly carry firearms.

The author of budget-travel guides said on his blog Wednesday that he was “shocked beyond measure” by reports that protesters openly carried guns and rifles outside a Phoenix building where President Obama spoke on Monday.

Mr. Frommer said he won’t personally travel in a state where civilians carry loaded weapons as a means of political protest.

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said he spoke with Mr. Frommer Thursday and invited him to visit the city to clear up any possible misconceptions about safety.

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