Students Packing Extra Luggage for Peru Trip

Students from Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School heading to Peru during April vacation are planning to bring more than just their own suitcases.

The students going on the Regional's third trip to Peru with Spanish teacher and mentor, Kevan Sano, will also bring along clothing, school supplies and other necessities.

Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, students traveled to Spain to immerse themselves in the language, yet Sano always had a passion for Peru, where she had traveled on her own. The school's recent Spanish trips have now been to Peru.

Before they leave, the students on the trip will be collecting supplies to take with them and money to pay to get the supplies there.

Students going on the trip are looking for suitcases to bring along the donations of clothing, shoes and school supplies.

Since there are 34 students on the trip, they are looking for 34 suitcases to fill to capacity, at 50 pounds each. They are also collecting eyeglasses, sunglasses and cash donations to help fund the airline fees for the second suitcases. Each additional bag is $30.

They are selling paper suitcases which decorate the wall outside the Foreign Language Office. People can buy a paper suitcase in any denomination. Any excess money collected from suitcase sales will go toward "Llamas for Peru" a Heifer International Project, according to Sano.

In 2009, they raised enough money to fund 42 suitcases and make a $2,000 donation to Heifer.

Anyone wishing to make a donation can do it at the high school's Foreign Language office or at the Community Drop-Off day for suitcases and donations on Saturday, March 26 from 8 a.m.-noon in the high school parking lot.

In Peru, students will spend 10-11 days visiting many historical sites, a school, participate in a typical "shaman" tribute to mother earth, explore Machu Piccu and take in the "breathtaking geography of Peru," said Sano.

Individual students pay for their own trip. There is no fund raising to pay for travel expenses and all fundraising is for donations.

Artificial waves gain traction for surfers

The wave pool arms race has just escalated. One hundred kilometers south of Peru's capitol city of Lima, in a massive outdoor mall facility, the California-based American Wave Machines recently unveiled a wave park of epic proportions.

Being touted as the "biggest standing wave in the world", the Ola Movistar surf arena, with its multiple wave options and ability to pump out 4-to-5-foot barreling rights and lefts, had its official opening earlier this winter -- a fact that was largely overlooked by the surf universe. Two other fake wave Shangri-Las, Kelly Slater's as-yet-unseen Wave Company (KSWC) and Spain's Wavegarden, also captivated the masses this winter with their high-profile promises of ocean-free stoke factories.

However, with ringing endorsements starting to come in from folks like former World Champion Sofia Mulanovich and the Peruvian National Surf Team (who use the park as a training facility), the only artificial surf spot in South America is starting to steal the spotlight."The park has been packed and people are really taking to it," explained Bruce McFarland, founder of American Wave Machines. "From total beginners to some of Peru's best surfers, we can generate a wave for everybody that truly replicates the shape of what we ride in the ocean."

Interestingly enough, Slater's purported designs and the Wavegarden's long synthetic peelers are "traveling waves." That is to say, the wave actually peels off down the line, you paddle in to it, and, like you would in real surf, you physically travel forward as you ride the wave. But the new Peruvian playground works more like the old flow-rider parks that came into popularity in the late 1990s -- the wave stands still and constantly pitches out over itself using the same water while also providing a small shoulder section in front of you for endless cutbacks and roundhouses. In short, the wave never ends.

According to McFarland, however, unlike the flow-riders of old, which required special, decidedly un-surflike boards to ride, his companies patented "Surfstream" technology, which allows for an experience more in sync with actual, real world wave-sliding. A deeper pool bottom with contours and a pneumatic air pump that blasts out circular bursts into the water creates a wedging wave shape virtually identical to what you would find in nature, allowing riders to shred the man-made gnar on actual thrusters. "The key in all of this, no matter what technology you are using, is the profile of the wave you create and ours truly is the shape of a wave in the ocean," says McFarland.

Despite the recent uptick in wave park buzz, the concept of man-made waves in a place that has no ocean is nothing new. Disney's Typhoon Lagoon, Rick Kane's Arizona surf antics in the movie "North Shore," and the 1985 ASP contest in Allentown, Penn. come immediately to mind.

Even more intriguing, as McFarland admitted, is that "In a lot of ways, that original technology was the most accurate [to simulating real world surfing]." So why then, if everyone loves surfing so much and the best breaks the world over are jammed up with the wave hunting masses on any given day, hasn't the wave park revolution caught on? (Even Japan's Seagaia Ocean Dome, widely considered the best wave park of all time and located right in the middle of a major league surf culture, ultimately shut its doors.)

The reason, it seems, is the money. Surf parks aren't cheap and finding the right business model to sustain them has proven to be a heck of a lot harder than you would think. How do you rent them out, what do you charge, what type of amenities to surround them with and what type of wave (i.e. small, slow crumblers for beginners, fast, pitching pits for experts, standing waves or traveling waves) is most marketable?

For McFarland and his American Wave Machines, who already have six different parks open around the world since incorporating in 2000 and "several more" in the works, the answer seems to be a little bit of everything. Not only does their Surfstream technology offer four different types of waves in pools of all different sizes, but AWM also has a patent on a traveling-wave technology -- akin to the Wavegarden -- but has yet to find a deep-pocketed enough investor to help them build it.

"The reality is, machine surfing is here to stay," summed up McFarland. "The technology is out there to make a truly incredible artificial surfing experience but you have to find the right buyer that is willing to go to the next level." Right now, for good or bad, at a huge outdoor shopping mall in Peru complete with 10 discotheques and two million annual visitors, what exactly that next level might look like is becoming a bit more clear.

Miley Cyrus Announces First Dates of 2011 World Tour

Shortly after her father Billy Ray Cyrus called off his divorce from her mother Tish, former "Hannah Montana" actress Miley Cyrus announced she's going on a world tour. The "So Undercover" star has revealed the first tour dates of the traveling show.

Miley is set to kick off the gig with a stadium concert on April 29 at Estadio Olimpico Atahualpa in Quito, Ecuador. The "Can't Be Tamed" singer then will fly to Lima, Peru on May 1 to hold another stadium show at Explanada del Monumental.

Tickets for the former gig will go on sale starting Saturday, March 26, and tickets for the latter can be bought on Wednesday, March 23. "Where should I go next? More tour dates will be announced soon!" Miley promised on Facebook.

Miley Cyrus released her third studio album "Can't Be Tamed" in 2010. The next single from the CD reportedly will be a cover of Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn". It was supposed to be released last year, but delayed because Bret Michaels was caught up in affair rumors with Miley's mother after Billy filed his divorce papers.

Bret said, "The record label was supposed have to this huge humongous release of Every Rose. It was going to be Miley's next-step song, but, because of that (affair rumours), they stepped back. It really bummed me out. I worked hard on that."

Old sketches illuminate story of old Interurban

History enthusiast and artist Brian Nolan was having trouble finding many people with extremely clear memories of the Interurban rail system.
Instead, he found the memories — actually nearly 45 sketches — but not the person who recorded them about 100 years ago.
“A young boy in 1910 started riding the Interurban and as he was traveling he made sketches,” says Nolan, who was shown the collection of sketches by one of the historians at the La Salle County Historical Society in Utica, where Nolan sells his own sketches, prints and cards of historical sites of La Salle County and the Illinois & Michigan Canal.
Nolan has spent the past four months traveling from Spring Valley to the Joliet area, trying to stand in the same locations where the sketches were made and taking photographs of the present-day locations to match up to the scenes created a century ago.
Now the Morris man has created a DVD based on the old pen-and-ink, pencil and colored pencil drawings as well as his photos and an occasional sketch of his own made from the same views as the early doodler. He will present his findings and DVD at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 22 at Grundy County Historical Society Museum in Morris, and hopes to provide more programs (and sell DVDs) elsewhere.
He finds the early artist’s sketches historically significant because they provide views of the Interurban line that were not commonly photographed. For example, he said there are no sketches of commonly photographed scenes such as factory workers getting on and off the Interurban trolleys at Westclox in Peru.
One old sketch depicts an Interurban trolley obviously near the intersection of St. Bede Lane and the highway that links Spring Valley and Peru. Another depicted a trolley traveling over an arched, long-since-demolished bridge over the Fox River not far from Ottawa High School.
There are east and west views of Interurban trains crossing the canal on a bridge that spanned Split Rock between Utica and La Salle. He notes hikers on the canal towpath still can see a berm south of the canal that used to carry the Interurban trolleys to Utica. He found sketches and old photos of a Utica depot, and also was fascinated by sketches evidently made by the artist while on an Interurban trolley where the tracks headed south from Utica to a “Starved Rock station,” where passengers would disembark and take a boat to Starved Rock. One sketch clearly shows the Starved Rock butte, but, like all of the sketches, the focal point was the Interurban system, Nolan said.
Another sketch mapped out the Interurban system, which had several privately-owned, for-profit sections linking communities and which were interconnected from Rock Island to Chicago and to many other cities throughout Illinois.