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That up 30 percent from the same period last year.

And while many were small mom and pop stores, dozens of major national retailers are on the list, including Toys R Us, Payless Shoes, Gymboree and Rue21. Those chains all remain in business, but The Limited shut down, and RadioShack closed almost all of its remaining stores with its second bankruptcy filing.

At a time when employers hired nearly 2 million workers and unemployment reached a 17 year low, retail was one of the biggest job losers employment fell by 36,000 jobs. Only telecommunications lost more.

But those in the industry say this was not what others referred to as a “retail apocalypse.” Instead, it a normal evolution.

“There is always going to be winners and losers in an industry like this. It constantly in a state of flux,” said Tom McGee, CEO of the International Council of Shopping Centers, a trade group of mall owners. Penney and Macy have closed some of their anchor locations.

But while it true that store opening announcements are also up compared to 2016, according to Fung, those openings total only 3,433. That just under half of the number of store closing announcements. And most of those opening plans were announced by Dollar Tree and Dollar General, two bargain brands.

As for the job losses, some of them are due to retailers using more automation, such as self checkout lanes, as they struggle to control costs and find the workers they need in a time of low unemployment.

Traditional brick and mortar retailers are shifting more jobs to their online operations, where the workers are counted as warehousing or logistics jobs rather than retail jobs, said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the National Retail Federation.

“It true that 2017 has been a challenging year. But things have picked up,” he said.

Kleinhenz said the biggest problem for retailers now is that customers can comparison shop so easily that even when they buy in the stores, “there very limited pricing power for retailers.”

“Margins are getting thinner and thinner,” he said. “Some of the closures are due to that.”

By all indications, this will be a good holiday shopping season overall. Sales are expected to be up about 4 percent compared to last year, according to industry experts.

He said he expects a rash of new store closing announcements and perhaps bankruptcy filings early in 2018 when the dust settles from this holiday season.

“There are A and B students out there who are worth celebrating,” he said. “But not everyone can be an A student.”
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Contact Us,Kevin Love strolls into Phillips Grooms Shoe Repair Cleaning with a thick roll of bills buried in the pocket of his black dress slacks and a need. Tall, big, built, Love has the kind of self confidence that leaves a wake of wow wherever he goes. Despite the scorching heat, his silky rayon shirt is mysteriously lacking wrinkles. On his feet, he’s wearing black dress leather oxfords, signaling a certain formality even though his shirt is untucked and short sleeved. Love climbs up into a high backed, upholstered, tweed chair and plants his feet on a wooden block. To the untrained eye, he appears one well groomed guy. But there’s always room for finishing flourishes. “Everybody’s different,” he says. “But I just don’t feel good unless my shoes are shined.”

Tyron Grooms swabs Love’s oxfords with black dye to fill in scuff marks and return the leather’s pristine finish before applying black paste wax. The two go way back. They met at what is now the Joseph C. Cotton recreation center. That’s where all black kids in Fort Lauderdale learned to swim, the 44 year old Grooms says. Love eyeballs the shoes as Grooms whips a cloth over the top to bring out the sheen. “When I shine shoes, I ask if you have sunglasses,” Grooms jokes. “Because if you don’t, I have you sign a waiver.”

Love, who’s 46 years old, says he’s been visiting the shop since he was a kid. He works in Hollywood now as a car salesman at Jumbo Auto and Truck Plaza. There’s plenty of shoe repair businesses between there and P “I wouldn’t go no place else,” says Love. “It would be like cheating.”

This repair shop, now on Northwest Seventh Avenue near Broward Boulevard, has had a shoeshine stand for the 48 years it’s been in business in Fort Lauderdale. Clients include Broward County Commissioner Joe Eggelletion, Broward County Sheriff Ken Jenne, and billionaire Wayne Huizenga.

Phillips Grooms is an anachronism in a world where most repair shops whisk shoes through an electric buffer. Tyron’s father, Ross, hates those machine shines. “Most people don’t like to take their car through the brushes,” Ross Grooms says. “They like a hand wax. That’s what this is.”

The shop got its start in Fort Lauderdale’s original black business district along Northwest Fifth Avenue between Second and Fifth streets. That was the heart of segregated black Fort Lauderdale, says Gwen Hankerson, whose grandfather moved to Fort Lauderdale in 1902. The first black movie house, the Victory Theatre, was there. Entertainers such as Duke Ellington and Count Basie performed at the Windsor Club in the 1940s. Businesses lined the streets.

Matthew “Bud” Walters opened Bud’s Community Shoe Shop which later became P at 301 NW Fifth Ave. in 1955. In the six blocks between Second Street and Sistrunk Boulevard on Fifth Avenue, the 1956 city directory lists a string of places that hints at the life in a bustling business district. Tucked between single family homes were a luncheonette, a couple of sandwich shops, a drugstore, a dentist, the medical offices of James Sistrunk, two churches, a beer garden, a couple of pool halls, a radio and television repair shop, barbershops and beauty parlors, a grocery, a department store, and a slew of other establishments.

Walters moved the business to Northwest Seventh Avenue in 1976 as urban renewal swept through and tore down most of the businesses on Northwest Fifth Avenue. Many of the black businesses moved west, Hankerson says, as did the homeowners in the area.

Ross Grooms and his brother in law Thomas Phillips bought the business from Walters when he retired in 1988. Grooms says they were schooled by Walter’s long time employee Leon Smith. He taught the finer points of the shoe business to Grooms, who was semiretired from the construction business, and Phillips, a longshoreman. Smith has worked at the shop for 31 years.

When Ross Grooms and Phillips took over, they kept the homey feel of Walters’ shop. Behind the counter, they sell bags of roasted peanuts for $1 each. In the back of the shop, they still use Walters’ Landis shoe stitcher to attach a sole to a shoe. A church pew and a couple of chairs are placed near a small color television. People bring their footwear here because it’s where their mothers and fathers came. Word of mouth and that long history in the community still give the shop its core customer base. “It’s kind of a landmark to people now,” says Tyron. “They come in here to hash over old times.”

When you have a customer up on the stand for 10 minutes or so, conversation is part of the art, Ross explains. “You don’t have to be Einstein,” he says, “but you’ve got to keep up with the papers. If a conversation starts, you want to be able to carry it on a bit.”

When Tyron Grooms moved back to Florida from Detroit in 1996, he thought the shop was missing out on a potential new customer base. Tyron sat on a bench near the main library downtown, watching businesspeople bustling around downtown during their lunch hours. All those shoes, Tyron thought. So he convinced his father that the shoeshine part of their business had become a luxury practiced by the fastidious few.

It didn’t seem as though the suit and tie and high heel and hose crowd had acquired the habit of having their shoes hand shined. So P decided to evangelize. Tyron set up a stand on the first floor of the then First Union bank building at 200 E. Broward Blvd., right beside a bank of elevators that most of the employees used.

But even though plenty of people passed by Tyron’s stand, only a handful climbed into the chair. At $4 a shine, it hardly made it worth his time. Tyron began asking people why they didn’t step up and have a gleam put on their shoes. “No time,” he says was the usual response.

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That gave the P owners an idea. “There’s a market for anything you want to do,” Ross says. “It’s just a matter of finding the need for it.”

In the next several years, Ross developed a mobile business while Tyron managed the shop. Ross has a regular gig on Mondays at the Hollywood law offices of Becker Poliakoff. When business slows down at the stand the company set up for him, Ross strolls through the offices picking up shoes from people at their desks. On Tuesdays he sets up a stand in the breezeway between the parking garage and the offices at the SouthTrust bank building at 1 E. Broward Blvd. But he does the most shines when he wheels his mobile cart on Wednesdays through the 14 story 450 E. Las Olas Blvd. building where Huizenga Holdings has its corporate offices. It’s perfect for the computer tethered worker. “They turn around, kick their shoes off, and keep working,” Ross says.
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The campaign is being led by the International Brigade Memorial Trust (IBMT), which keeps alive the memory of the 2,500 volunteers from the UK who joined the International Brigades. Of these, 526 were killed.

The IBMT knows of 26 volunteers with links to Oxford and the surrounding area, seven of whom died in Spain.

Father of one Mr Carritt, who lives in Woodstock with wife Lesley and who is a former town mayor of Woodstock, said: “I am very much in favour of a memorial and think Bonn Square would be a good location.

“My father was a teacher at a school in Sheffield and one morning he disappeared to go to Spain.

“My uncle was driving an ambulance with a Red Cross marking on the roof when he died after fighting at Brunete.

“There are quite a few memorials in other cities, including Reading and Bristol, and some are quite grand while others are more modest. The city council has been very supportive and, in principle, has agreed to a memorial in Bonn Square.”

“It will be a reminder of the considerable impact the war in Spain had on many people from Oxford and of the extraordinary sacrifice and example set by the International Brigades.”

The IBMT hopes to organise a series of events linked to the memorial’s unveiling.

These could include an exhibition about the International Brigades, a public meeting with guest speakers, and a booklet telling the story of the Oxford volunteers.

s People can make donations to the Oxford Memorial Appeal by writing to: IBMT, 6, Stonells Road, London, SW11 6HQ.

Regarded by many historians as an important prelude to the Second World War, the Spanish Civil War began in July 1936 when army generals rebelled against the elected government of the Spanish Republic.

General Franco declared victory for the rebels 75 years ago on April 1, 1939, and remained Spain’s dictator until his death in 1975.

The volunteers fought Franco, Hitler and Mussolini on the battlefields of Spain, warning that appeasement of European fascism would lead to another world war.


THE International Brigade Memorial Trust’s list of volunteers from Oxford:

John Birrell Engine driver. Lived at 13 Paradise Square, Oxford. Arrived in Spain in December 1936. Saw action at Lopera and Jarama. Returned home June 1937.

Jim Brewer South Wales miner. Studied at Ruskin College, Oxford. Left for Spain in 1937. Quartermaster with the British Anti Tank Battery. Returned with the rest of the British Battalion in December 1938.

Edward Burke Actor (real name Edmund Cooper). Lived at The Grange, Dunston;
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also in London. Went to Spain in October 1936 and joined the Commune de Paris Battalion. Saw action in and around Madrid and at Lopera, where he was wounded and died in hospital on February 12, 1937.

Anthony Carritt Farm manager, Boars Hill. Arrived in Spain with British Medical Unit in April 1937. Served as ambulance driver. Badly wounded at Brunete in July 1937 and died in hospital on or soon after July 13, 1937.

Noel Carritt, above From Boars Hill. Attended Oriel College, Oxford. Worked as a teacher in Sheffield. Arrived in Spain in December 1936. Wounded with British Battalion at Jarama in February 1937. Served as a medic during the Battle of Brunete and later at Valdegana Hospital. Returned home in November 1937.

Victor Claridge Builder’s labourer of 4 James Street, Oxford. Arrived in Spain by early January 1937. Wounded while fighting with the British Battalion at Jarama in February 1937. He was also at Brunete in July, but was taken out of the line due to severe illness. Repatriated in October 1937.

Nathan Clark From Street, Somerset, location of family firm, Clark Shoes. Was undergraduate at Queen’s College, Oxford, but after two years went to Spain to serve as an ambulance driver. Left England in May 1937 and returned in September 1938. Was head of transport at the International Brigade hospital at Huete. Later designed the Desert Boot for Clark Shoes.

Lewis Clive From London. Went to Christ Church College, Oxford, was a rowing blue in 1930 31 and won a gold medal in rowing in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. Was a Labour councillor in Kensington Chelsea. Arrived in Spain in February 1938. Commander of No.2 Company of the British Battalion. Killed at Gandesa between July 28 August 1, 1938, in the Battle of the Ebro.

Dorothy Collier Surgeon. Studied in Oxford before graduating at University College Hospital, London, in 1922. Travelled to Barcelona in 1938. Worked at San Pablo Hospital with renowned Catalan surgeon Josep Trueta, and was instrumental in arranging his subsequent exile in Oxford, where he was part of the team that developed penicillin as an antibiotic.

Francis Dewhurst Musician and composer, living in Dulwich, south London. Had lived and studied in Oxford. Arrived in Spain in January 1937. Injured with British Battalion at the Battle of Jarama the following month. Killed on July 11, 1937,
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in the Battle of Brunete.

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Speech to Text for A Night to Shine in Terre Haute

Below is the closed captioning text associated with this video. Since this uses automated speech to text spelling and grammar may not be accurate.

graduation. but those events may not be reachable for everyone. that’s why one local church is taking part in a “night to shine”. it’s an unforgettable prom night for men and women with special needs. news 10’s patrece dayton is live right now at this event in terre haute. she has more on the fun night ahead. i’m coming to you live from mount pleasant church in terre haute. take a look at these beautiful boys and girls. it’s a special prom night put on by the “tim tebow foundation” and hundreds of churches across the world tonight. and boy. and get their pictures taken by local paarazzi. there will be a big prom dance of course. but first. here’s a look at
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The store’s core customers are females ages 12 to 24. Secondary customers are females ages 25 to 45 and males ages 12 to 24. The product mix is 98 percent gently used, the rest is new.

“Teens get tired of their clothes,” said Topolski, of Thornbury, Delaware County.

The merchandise is popular brand names that range from the lower to higher end. The store stays current because it only takes merchandise that has been on the racks at the mall within the last two years, Topolski said.

The goal is to be a trendy and thrifty place for teens to shop for clothes, belts, bags, jewelry, shoes and lots and lots of jeans. A Ralph Lauren Polo shirt that would sell retail for $60 or $70 would be priced at $20 at Plato’s Closet, Topolski said.

The store works like this: People bring in their clothes and a buyer at the Plato’s Closet store looks the merchandise over to determine if it is in good shape. The buyer then puts the brand, condition, size and age of the garment in a software program provided by Plato’s Closet. The program determines how much money the store will give to the customer and how much the store will charge when the garment goes on its rack.

In general, the store pays 30 percent to 40 percent of what it will charge, she said.

In a down economy, it is no surprise a store becomes very popular very fast when it gives out cash.

Topolski’s location opened for buying merchandise Sept. 29. There was a line outside before the doors opened, Topolski said. In the beginning, the store got 75 to 100 people a day bringing in clothes.

While buying cloths was the only way to fill the racks, it did take a huge cash outlay from Topolski.

“I’d go to the bank every day,” Topolski said. “You have to do it to start the business.”

As of now, Topolski has a backlog of 200 boxes her buyers are sifting through. The backlog got so large, she said her husband rented a trailer to haul the clothes to a rented storage unit. Those customers are waiting for their cash, but once she is caught up, the store will be back to paying cash on the spot, she said.

The store opened for selling merchandise to the public Nov. 6. There was a line at the door that day, too, she said.

“I love the concept. It makes a lot of sense knowing how teenagers shop and how easily they get tired of their clothes,” said Topolski, 50.

And Topolski knows how teen agers shop. It was her teenage daughter that took her to a Plato’s Closet in Springfield that started Topolski thinking about buying a franchise.

She said she went on its Web site and saw it was looking for a franchisee in the Exton area, a location that fits the corporate demographic of a suburban retail center near a regional shopping mall with a solid teen draw.

Toposki bought her franchise from Winmark Corp., which also is a franchiser of such resellers as Play It Again Sports, Once Upon a Child and Music Go Round.

Winmark requres its Plato’s Closet franchisees have $48,000 to $95,000 in liquid assets plus $113,000 to $222,000 in assets that can be used for collateral.

Franchisees pay 5 percent of gross sales to Winmark, according to the company’s Web site.

Winmark, a Minnesota based company, traded on NASDAQ, has 800 small businesses in North America.

As sales slump at retailers reeling from downbeat consumer confidence, thrift stores are capitalizing on the public’s shift to frugality.

The National Association of Resale and Thrift Stores said in a survey that 72 percent of its members reported an average increase in sales of approximately 35 percent.

Good news for Winmark, as well. The company reported a 19 percent jump in profits this year.

The first Plato’s Closet store was opened in Columbus, Ohio, by founders Lynn and Dennis Blum who looked to their teenage son to help create the name for the business. At the time, the teen was doing a school project on Greek philosopher Plato.
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Skip the visor and the culottes.

For Jennifer Rosales, 25, a five year veteran of the ladies professional golf circuit, fairway flair is about finding a personal style. In a sport known for its conservative nature, the native of the Philippines expresses her individuality with eye catching pieces such as headbands, sporty pullovers and sweaters, and short shorts.

A new generation of celebrated young golfers is creating a market for less conservative, more fashionable apparel for the sport especially among women and designers are meeting the demand. Rosales’s sponsor, Bally Golf, an offshoot of the 150 year old Swiss leather goods outfit, is planning to launch the “JRo” line, a stylish women’s collection that she helped design, next year.

Bally is one of several clothing companies including Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger, and Polo Ralph Lauren that have teed off on golf’s popularity with collections of clothes, bags, and accessories.

Golf has gained a wider following thanks to such star power as Annika Sorenstam, Michelle Wie, and, of course, Tiger Woods, said Byron Kurt, Bally Golf’s vice president of sales. And younger participants and spectators alike are seeking a departure from traditional clothing styles.

“They don’t want to be wearing what the older customer is wearing,” Kurt said.

Alison Walshe, 19, a golfer from Westford, prefers the sporty,
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updated styles offered by companies such as Adidas and Ralph Lauren, and often chooses capri pants and sleeveless shirts for her regular outings to the golf course.

“Women’s [golf] fashion has totally gotten better,” said Walshe, who is transferring from Boston College to play in Tulane University’s golf program.

And make no mistake, the golf course can attract just as much scrutiny as your typical couture catwalk.

“Everyone notices everyone’s outfit,” Walshe said.

Professional tennis has had its share of flashy, fashion forward stars: Think Venus and Serena Williams.

While many golfers still abide by strict dress codes at country clubs collared shirts, long shorts, no bare midriffs like tennis players, their wardrobes can migrate beyond uniforms.

“There’s wonderful freedom for the athletes to express their individual style,” said Karen Durkin, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the Ladies Professional Golf Association.

After successful sales in Asia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, the LPGA is bringing its own clothing line to the United States, featuring athletic fabrics, tighter silhouettes, and finer detailing, said Helen Rockey, who works with the LPGA. The styles are meant to work on and off the golf course, whether or not you play the sport.

“You see a lot of people wearing it as everyday streetwear,” Rockey said.

Tara Joy Connelly, 31, a Duxbury golfer who buys merchandise for the Cohasset Golf Club, calls contemporary golf clothes “lifestyle pieces” and believes their popularity stems in part from the resurgence of preppy trends such as Lacoste pique polo shirts. Tommy Hilfiger has been a particularly big seller at her store, she said.

Bally Golf received several calls after Rosales’s performance last month at the US Open in South Hadley. The company does not currently sell in Boston but is considering it (Copley Place is already home to a traditional Bally store). Women already represent 70 percent of the business, said Kurt,
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mostly because they’re more likely than men to buy several pairs of shoes and coordinated outfits.

polo chino A mother’s Love for a fallen son

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The end. Such a sad place for a story to begin. Brian Love was the best snowboarder on the mountain captain of the University of Virginia snowboarding team, in fact on Feb. 1, 2005, the day he slammed into a tree during a practice run at Wintergreen Resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The tree was a small one maybe five inches in diameter and none of his teammates saw the accident, but the coroner surmised that he died instantly, probably from a ruptured aorta. He was only 22. But we’ll move on now and tell you all about who he was, starting with the fact that he was the firstborn child and the only son of Carmel’s Susan Love, who will run today’s Big Sur International Marathon wearing a T shirt bearing his photograph. She quietly did the same thing last year, and the year before just three months after his death winning her age division (55 59) each time. Two years after the tragedy, she says it hasn’t gotten any easier to live without him. “But I think you have two choices when something like this happens: You either choose to go on, or you don’t,” she explains. “What I’ve discovered is that the coping, for me, involves getting more involved with running in every capacity: my work (she’s a full time employee of the Big Sur International Marathon), my sport (she’s run 32 previous marathons), my passion (she has a part time career as a motivational speaker, inspiring people to run). For me, everything is about running, and that’s where I’m focused right now.” Part of Love’s job with the Big Sur International Marathon is overseeing 4,200 children in the “Just Run” program, designed to promote healthy lifestyles in young people. Those kids, as a group, have jogged over 104,000 miles already this year. He was a 4.0 student at Virginia, about to graduate Magna Cum Laude with a degree in neuroscience basically the study of how the human brain works, and why it thinks the way it does. He wrote two books a fantasy adventure (ironically entitled “A Collision in Time”), and a compilation of his own poetry as a senior at Carmel High (Class of 2001), where, because he took advanced placement courses, his GPA was 4.2 on the 4.0 scale. He was an accomplished musician (clarinet and saxophone) good enough to perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival. He was a gifted photographer. He was in student government. He taught surfing and kayaking every summer at La Jolla Cove. He led hiking and mountain climbing excursions for the University of Virginia’s Outdoors Club. He was a martial artist with a second degree brown belt. He was a biker, a rollerblader, a rock climber, a skydiver, a skimboarder. And what a snowboarder. Less than two weeks before his accident, Brian won the men’s Giant Slalom event at Sugar Mountain in North Carolina. Days after his death, he received a letter from a major equipment company that had decided to sponsor his career. “He was an incredible snowboarder the best I’ve known, actually and he was number one in the conference,” said a teammate, Erin Houlihan. He was a kid with big plans enormous, in fact. He wanted to attend grad school at the University of San Diego, which has the best neuroscience department in the country. At the time of his death, he was planning a 2,000 mile kayaking journey down the coast of Mexico. He was also secretly training to run a marathon as a surprise for his mother. “He asked me for a new pair of running shoes that year for Christmas, so these are the last shoes I ever bought him,
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” she says, holding a snowy white pair of Mizunos. died, the shockwaves that rolled across the University of Virginia campus were startling. Brian, it turns out, was better at being a great guy than he was at all of those other things. “In the weeks following the incident, my inbox was flooded with e mails about Brian. I’ve never seen so many e mails on a single topic,” a classmate, Adam Reinhard, wrote in a letter to Susan. “I couldn’t bring myself to delete any of them, so they sat, stored, waiting for me every time I logged on to my web mail. Finally, I decided I had to print them out and send them to you, so you could see how much Brian’s life meant to UVA. He was the first person to befriend me on the ski team, and he drove me to Wintergreen twice a week during my first season on the team. When he died, I was struck by how much he and I had yet to do together. I just wanted you to know what a difference your son made in the life of this lonely student at Virginia.” Another classmate wrote, “You never know how many lives your littlest actions or gifts might affect. Brian has shown us all that. Thank you, B Love, for the time that you led us and the paths that you showed us. Earth, and now heaven, are better places for your presence.” Brian raised money for an organization called “Arc of the Piedmont,” which benefits mentally challenged children and adults. (His friends have changed the name of an annual fundraising run to “The Run For Love 5K.”) His postgraduation plans included an excursion to a third world country, where he intended to do whatever he could to help impoverished people. Susan Love points to a basket in her living room filled with 300 cards and letters of condolence. More than two years after her son’s accident, they’re still coming. But she still can’t read most of them, nor can she watch any of the many DVDs his friends have sent. would have wanted for his mother, or his now 22 year old sister, Amy (a senior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo), is unhappiness. “I didn’t wake up one morning and say, ‘Darn it, this is the day I’m going to turn things around and stop feeling so devastated.’ It wasn’t like that,” Susan says. “But my daughter, my son and I have always been doers, and we’ve always taken a lot of pride in what each other has done. I guess I feel a need for my children to still be proud of me, and I know he’d want me to go on, and keep accomplishing things the way he did. He accomplished so much in his 22 years more than I’ll ever achieve in my lifetime and I want to honor that. So that part of my life hasn’t changed there’s just a little bit of a veil over it now.” She says she eventually wants to use Brian’s almost new running shoes in her motivational speeches. That’s probably going to be a tear jerking experience for her, she says, but she’s going to do it anyway to help people win the mind over body battle that all marathon runners fight as they try to finish a 26 mile, 385 yard course. “Brian’s shoes are an image people can ponder as they’re running,” she says. “I’m going to tell them that no matter what befalls them during the race, visualize these shoes, and appreciate every single step of every mile. What are you going to complain about? You’re out there. You’re experiencing. You’ve got miles ahead of you, steps to take. You’re running the most beautiful marathon in the world. The Mountain Resort

By Brian J. Love I meditate on the cool air with every step I take. While the melted snow puddles under my feet freeze my thoughts of trampled bricks wet with envy. Time ceases and excitement grows. The low hum of the chair lifts raise souls to the heavens. And the frosty air focuses all attention on my soul, waiting to be released from the earth and into the powder sky. I pass rows of skis and snowboards gazing at every passerby in hopes of finding their owner. Maybe in hopes of finding anyone. Anyone willing to strip off their chains and ride with them. I have my board and he loves me. We walk through the portal that is the resort center, and into the white happiness that takes us into another world. This resort is a gateway to a higher place. It elevates my board and me.
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The place is Aklavik, a tiny village in the Mackenzie River Delta in the northwest corner of Canada’s Northwest Territories and the man called himself Albert Johnson. He was dubbed “the mad trapper of Rat River” and was the fugitive in the most bizarre and dramatic manhunt in Canada’s history.

To this day, little light has been shed on the real identity of the strange man who was finally gunned down in the mid winter snows in Eagle River, Yukon on February 17, 1932.

To appreciate the degree of superhuman endurance, tenacity, cunning, savagery, desperation, mystery, ingenuity and suspense associated with the death of Albert Johnson, the reader must first appreciate the circumstances and conditions under which the events took place.

This is the great Mackenzie River Valley and the entire drama was played out in the killing sub zero temperatures of the mid winter darkness above the Arctic Circle.

For 48 days, a lone man withstood all attempts of a combined force of Royal Canadian Mounted Police assisted by Indian and white trappers to apprehend him for wounding a police officer.

The chase encompassed 240 kms. While Johnson travelled on snowshoes and broke trail, his pursuers used dog teams and were further aided by an aircraft and radio communication.

The forest and tundra of Arctic Canada is one of the most demanding environments on earth. This is the homeland of the Loucheux Indian.

The forest dwelling Loucheux, whose livelihood depends almost entirely on hunting, fishing and trapping, are acknowledged to be the most skilled hunters in the Arctic forests.

The inherent dangers associated with a semi nomadic existence in this remote and demanding Arctic environment make such high levels of skill tantamount to survival.

A white man, to survive in the high Arctic forests, had to be able bodied, keen of mind and experienced in the ways of wilderness living.

Albert Johnson was admirably well suited for the rigorous life of the high north trapper and prospector.

Johnson appeared in the Fort McPherson area on the Peel River around 1931. The taciturn stranger with the cold pale blue eyes was soon regarded as an unsociable loner who preferred his own company and the solitude of a cabin or bush camp.

In the sparsely populated river valleys of Canada’s Arctic, this was strange and unseemly behavior where friendly and social interchange was the basic fabric of life.

The cold eyed stranger’s surly silence in this already silent and lonely land made people uneasy.

A Mountie was obliged to question Johnson as a result of a formal complaint lodged against him by two Loucheux trappers. It was ascertained that Johnson refused to acknowledge or say a single word when the Mountie visited his lonely cabin on Rat River.

When the same officer returned with a search warrant several days later, Johnson, still without saying a word, shot and seriously wounded the constable.

On the third occasion, a heavily armed posse laid siege to his cabin for three days. They even used dynamite to blow the roof off and dislodge the trapper from his cabin but to no avail. He fired round for round and for the third time forced his attackers to retire for further supplies and to plan a subsequent assault.

Radio reports of the confrontation between the taciturn trapper and the famed mounted police force of Canada’s Arctic had reached the outside world and had fired up the interest of North Americans.

It has been stated that the daily reports of the chase and periodic shoot outs hastened the public acceptance of radio as a medium for blow by blow news coverage.

When a larger and better equipped posse was again ready to confront Johnson, it was learned he had abandoned his damaged cabin at Rat River. He had disappeared on foot into the frigid white world of the vast Mackenzie River Valley.

The wilderness trained Mounties, the Loucheux and white trappers live by sight, sound and a sixth sense, they interpret what they see and hear. Even the seemingly indefatigable and super elusive Albert Johnson must leave tracks in the winter snows.

A week passed before the Mounties found a faint trace of the trapper’s trail and resumed pursuit.

He was found, a gun battle ensued and a Mountie was shot dead by Johnson. He then scaled an ice covered canyon wall and disappeared once more into the twilight of the Arctic wilderness.
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order polo shirts A model booking for Blenheim’s literature

burberry brit polo A model booking for Blenheim’s literature

I don’t know why they call me a supermodel, but they do,” Daphne Selfe laughs. “But I’m game for anything within reason and have to keep remembering I’m 87 and not 18 any more, and to work within my limits.” As Britain’s oldest supermodel, Daphne is enjoying her renaissance enormously.

Talking to me from her Hertfordshire home, she has recently returned from a fashion shoot in Sydney and also fronted a massive campaign for new High Street clothes label Other Stories “I travelled first class all the way to Australia. It was such fun,” she says, “and the clothes were lovely, lots of Dior and Chanel.

“And before that it was Stockholm although you don’t get to see much more than the inside of the studio,” she laughs, “which is a shame because half the fun of modelling is seeing the places you go to.

Welcome to the world of Daphne Selfe, who was scouted aged 70 and has been working hard in the world of fashion ever since.

Having written all about it in her latest book The Way We Wore A Life in Clothes, she will be appearing at The Blenheim Festival of Literature Film Music to talk about her life and advise women how to dress and have confidence in themselves.

“It’s for any woman who feels invisible,” she says “and wants to make the best of themselves.”

Selfe’s memoir is the story of her lifelong affair with clothes and fashion that stretches from her 1930s childhood to the pages of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Vanity Fair. She has been photographed by Mario Testino, Nick Knight and David Bailey, for both designer and high street brands.

Selfe grew up in the Home Counties before being sent to boarding school during the Second World War. She won a local magazine cover girl competition aged 21, signing to the Gaby Young Agency in London.

“They gave you three weeks training in those days, which of course you don’t get now, which is why my daughter and I are setting up an online modelling academy for anyone who wants to be a model, because otherwise how would you know?” she asks raising those famous arched eyebrows.

As for the book, Daphne had been pestered to write one for decades and eventually gave in. “I hadn’t written it before because I was so unsensational. We all have our ups and downs of course but there was no divorce or unhappy childhood, no terrible stories. But I always kept diaries and gradually got the book together,” Daphne says.

Despite Daphne’s unquestionable success and glamorous lifestyle, she is as down to earth as they come and totally unaffected by it all. No diva tantrums or VIP demands here. “They didn’t have celebrity models in my day, back in the 50s, not until Twiggy certainly. And I’m no threat to anyone. I’m fairly low maintenance. I’ve been far too busy bringing up a family to worry about being a diva,
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” she laughs.

Was that a sacrifice then, giving up her modelling career to get married. “Not at all, why would it be?” she asks in surprise. “It’s just part of the rich tapestry of life,” and then she pauses.

“I did try to go back to modelling later but of course by then it had moved onto the 60s and 70s and I was definitely out of vogue, too classical in their minds. But that was fine. My husband worked in TV so I became a film and TV extra for the rest of my career and had a marvellous time. It was great fun.”

And then? “And then I was asked to go to Vogue to contribute to an article on ageing and was scouted aged 70. My first assignment was with Red or Dead but I knew what I was doing and have been working ever since. It’s terribly rewarding, but I enjoy it rather than rely on it,” she says sagely. “You should never rely on modelling.”

With several big campaigns under her belt including a recent shoot for Van shoes, Daphne is literally back in fashion, showing us all how to adapt to a modern day wardrobe.

So is there anything she won’t wear? I’m fairly open to ideas and love prancing about in nice clothes. I did a shoot wearing rubber recently which was great fun. But I try not to wear black unless its mixed with a bit of colour. I prefer trousers and skirts. I dress for my age so no leggings, shorts or anything without sleeves. And as for beige, don’t do it, it will kill you,” she jokes.

So why don’t more women try harder? “It’s an age thing I think, maybe circumstantial. They just give up and lose all their confidence. But we should make the effort. Of course when I’m gardening I’m in jeans and an old cardigan, but if I go out to the theatre I dress up. I’ve got more time now,” she laughs.

Daphne’s beloved husband died in 1997. “I wouldn’t be doing this now if he was still alive, so while I miss him dreadfully, in many ways he did me a favour. It’s just a shame he can’t see it, and my mother would have loved all this.”

“But I keep up with fashion by reading papers and magazines. I like knowing what’s what. And yes there are designers that I favour, but I can’t wear all of their clothes. You have to know what suits you and stick to it. I can’t be wearing mini skirts at my age or necklines down to my navel. So you have to be careful what you pick nice coats, skirts below the knee, polo necks.

“I’ve always made my own clothes as well, so I can change a hemline or neckline if I don’t like it. Even so, Daphne must make an effort to stay looking so good? “Well I’m lucky I have a dancer’s frame, but I do exercises everyday when I wake up and have an exercise bike. I don’t go out cycling any more because it’s too dangerous on the roads, but I walk a lot.

“It’s about looking after yourself, what you eat and drink. But more than anything it’s about having a positive attitude. And at this great age I want to inspire people.” So what next? “I would love to be on Strictly. I love dancing. But maybe they’d think I was too old?”
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Grammys newcomer Sam Smith looked dapper in a white bow tie and Madonna rocked one of the season most eclectic red carpets Sunday in a bedazzled two corner black hat and burlesque esque corset with matching thigh high boots.

Fashion is always a little crazy at the Grammys, guys included, but first time winner Smith soaked it all up in a more traditional tuxedo as he managed his nerves going up against some of his idols.

Madonna big shouldered shorty outfit was custom Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci. She wore not much underneath, flashing a black thong and fishnets at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. She wasn a hit with some in the Twitter peanut gallery: got a glimpse of Madonna arriving. Seems to be channeling some mix of the Duchess of Windsor and Mae West, one chimed in.

Fashion is always a little crazy at the Grammys, guys included, but first time winner Smith soaked it all up in a more traditional tuxedo as he managed his nerves going up against some of his idols. [Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP]

Madonna big shouldered shorty outfit was custom Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci. [Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP]

Rihanna dashed into the live show at the last minute in a poofy, tiered pink confection of silk and tulle from Giambattista Valli that had some online comparing her to a party cupcake. She was dripping in Chopard diamonds.

Beyonce and Miley Cyrus went for black Cyrus in strategic, sexy cutouts and the queen in a low V neck embellished gown with a train from Proenza Schouler. Also in black was Gwen Stefani in a stunning strapless black Versace Atelier jumpsuit with a structured spiderweb swirl up top.

Audacious singer actress Joy Villa was encaged in revealing bright orange, and it was unclear how Sia could see under her huge shaggy white wig.

Rihanna dashed into the live show at the last minute in a poofy, tiered pink confection of silk and tulle from Giambattista Valli. [Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP]

From left: Beyonce, Miley Cyrus and Gwen Stefani went for black. [Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, left; Jason Merritt/Getty Images]

Brandy Clark showed off a killer pair of metallic silver Prada pumps under a sparkly, second skin silver and black gown, while Nick Jonas chatted, hands in pockets of a light grey tweed suit with a touch of yellow and ultra skinny trousers.

Among Clark tasks in handling newfound fame and regular everyday life: myself into this dress, for starters, she told The Associated Press.

Ariana Grande had her signature high ponytail in place, wearing a white and silver, one shoulder Versace with a cutout back Big Sean by her side. wearing Saint Laurent man, head to toe, he added of his shades of black tuxedo.

Aloe Blacc, left, in an edgy royal blue tuxedo from Sand Copenhagenm and Pharrell Williams in Adidas. [Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images]

Black hatted Aloe Blacc went with a patterned bow tie and edgy royal blue tuxedo trimmed in black from the Danish fashion house Sand Copenhagen. Known for leg baring, Pharrell Williams didn break from tradition. He was dressed in a grey short suit, matching bow tie and shoes, from Adidas.

Tuxedos aren just for the dudes these days. Charlie XCX did her white tailed tux trouser look justice from one of her favourites, Moschino, paired with a bright pink bow tie and blush fur stole.

hate boring fashion so I wanted to do something and fabulous, she said. like unpredictable. Trainor brought the bass and her dad. She wore a tight sheer miniskirt under a full black, long sleeve overskirt adorned with black lace for her first Grammys walk.

Katy Perry, left, in Zuhair Murad and Lady Gaga in Brandon Maxwell [Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP]

Katy Perry tousled lavender hair popped against her silver backless sheer dress. It fell below the knee and had long sleeves and swingy crystal fringe fresh from the Paris runway of Zuhair Murad. She wore a $2 million canary yellow diamond ring from Harry Kotlar.

just want to shine like a diamond, she said, referring to one of her songs.

Later, Perry white caped performance gown drew comparisons to the Stephane Rolland wedding gown of Solange Knowles.

Perry was greeted on the red carpet by Nicki Minaj in black Tom Ford, her decolletage out in a front slit cut to her waist. Ford also dressed Jennifer Hudson in a stunning bright white strapless dress that fell just below the knee, her sassy short hair a perfect complement. So was her Marli diamond choker.

Lady Gaga went grey for grey with date Tony Bennett. On their heads, that is. She showed off a high slit in her silver gown by Brandon Maxwell, Lorraine Schwartz diamonds in place with a touch of emeralds.

From left: Taylor Swift in Elie Saab, Kim Kardashian in John Paul Gaultier, and Iggy Azalea in Armani Prive. [Larry Busacca/Getty Images; Jason Merritt/Getty Images; Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP]

Taylor Swift turquoise Elie Saab red carpet gown drew some online snark: over a mini dress, one tweeter offered of her sleeveless short under billowy, long look.

Kim Kardashian gold John Paul Gaultier screamed bathrobe, but her new shorter looked great. No matter.

love how sparkly it is, she said. love it. Azalea hair? Not so much. It was a thick braid wound around her head like a crown against a tight tight bright blue custom Armani Prive gown.
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