Massive fire engulfs beloved Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Fire rages at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019. Photo by LeLaisserPasserA38, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

PARIS (AP) — A catastrophic fire engulfed the upper reaches of Paris’ soaring Notre Dame Cathedral as it was undergoing renovations Monday, threatening one of the greatest architectural treasures of the Western world as tourists and Parisians looked on aghast from the streets below.

Read more

Judge OKs suit aimed at halting Obama library in Chicago

Portrait of Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley, displayed at The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Image courtesy National Portrait Gallery

CHICAGO (AP) – A federal judge gave the green light Tuesday to a parks-advocacy group’s lawsuit that aims to stop for good the delayed construction of former President Barack Obama’s $500 million presidential center in a Chicago park beside Lake Michigan.

Read more

Ken Burns American Heritage Prize to be awarded to N. Scott Momaday

Image courtesy of American Prairie Reserve

BOZEMAN, Mont. (PRNewswire) – Essayist and poet N. Scott Momaday Ph.D. has been named the recipient of the 2019 Ken Burns American Heritage Prize. The award will be presented May 1, 2019, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The evening’s festivities will include remarks by Ken Burns, Dr. N. Scott Momaday, Meryl Streep, the 2019 chair of the National Jury Dawn Arnall, and American Prairie Reserve CEO Alison Fox.

Read more

Group raises $59,000 to save historic Georgia gas station

Old gas stations, like the one in Biggs Junction, Oregon depicted in this historical photo, have all but disappeared from America’s landscape. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers and Matthew Bullock Auctioneers

PERRY, Ga. (AP) – Fenced in as a potential safety hazard, the vacant former gas station where Depression-era motorists once fueled their Model T Fords in this rural Georgia city was facing demolition until a group of preservationists raised $59,000 to help save it.

Read more

Travel: In the high mountains of Sicily, a quieter and wilder world

Goetze 1801 map of Sicily and Malta. Gangi is located in far north-central Sicily. Image courtesy of Jasper52

GANGI, Sicily (AP) – Far from the packed beaches of Sicily’s busy coastlines, there’s a quieter and wilder world in its high mountains.

Read more

Quackarazzi: Mandarin duck holds NYC in its spell

Central Park’s newly famous Mandarin duck, known to some as Mandarin Patinkin. Image courtesy of

NEW YORK (AP) – It took just days for the brightly colored Mandarin duck that appeared suddenly in a Central Park pond to turn both New Yorkers and visitors into a new gaggle: the quackarazzi.

Read more

Elder Bushes are gone but family’s Maine retreat to stay alive

Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. Photo by Zollernalb, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine (AP) – “Poppy” and “Bar” are gone, but the passing of George H. W. and Barbara Bush won’t mean an end to children’s laughter, splashing in the pool, barking dogs or clinking horseshoes at the family’s property on the Maine coast.

Read more

A huge array of rustic antiques shown by Cherry Gallery of Damariscotta, Maine. Photo copyright Catherine Saunders-Watson.

NHADA announces 2019 Board, next show dates

A huge array of rustic antiques shown by Cherry Gallery of Damariscotta, Maine. Photo copyright Catherine Saunders-Watson.

A display of rustic antiques at a past NHADA antiques show. Photo copyright Catherine Saunders-Watson.

CONCORD, N.H. – The New Hampshire Antiques Dealers Association held its annual meeting on November 15, 2018 at the Common Man restaurant in Concord, New Hampshire. After a buffet luncheon, speaker Cliff Wallach gave a presentation about the company Jasper 52, which is a marketing platform for weekly antique auctions.

Read more

Liz Weston: 5 guidelines for holiday tipping

A tip left in a Spanish restaurant. Image by Adeeto, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license

NEW YORK – Holiday tips are a way to thank the people who make your life easier. So why is it so hard to figure out whom to tip and how much? Guides published by etiquette experts don’t always agree on what’s appropriate. What people actually do is another matter altogether.

Read more

Wildlife Trafficking Alliance urges use of Tiger Stamps for holiday postage

Save Vanishing Species Tiger Stamps. USPS image

NEW YORK – The Save Vanishing Species stamps sold by the US Postal Service are administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and provide funding for projects to conserve endangered species in the wild. The Wildlife Trafficking Alliance and Association of Zoos & Aquariums are urging consumers to purchase the stamps for their holiday mailing needs.

Read more