Miley Says All Is Fine

By: Shawna O’Neal

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Miley Cyrus says she feels more at ease heading out on an international tour now that things are fine on the home front.

Earlier this year, her parents, Billy Ray and Tish Cyrus, were getting a divorce, and her father was critical of his daughter’s behavior. But the

Miley and her parents

The Cyrus Family

Cyruses recently called off their divorce and the family is spending time together.

“I think it’s good, especially when you go on the road. You have to make sure everyone is happy before you start traveling, you’re away. My family is good. They are stoked for tour. As long as I’m happy they are happy,” Cyrus said in an interview on Thursday.

The former “Hannah Montana” star is leaving for South America and Australia on April 27 for her Gypsy Heart Tour. It will be the first time Cyrus, whose most recent album is titled “Can’t Be Tamed,” has gone to South America, and she’s excited — even though she won’t be able to communicate with her fans in their language.

“I speak zero Spanish. I actually failed Spanish so I will have someone with me making sure I can get through my way,” she said.

She recently released one of the album’s songs, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” in Australia, and said she’s excited to sing the Poison cover (which featured Bret Michaels) there live.

But she won’t be releasing that song in the United States, and right now, she has no plans to tour in her native country either.

“I just think right now America has gotten to a place where I don’t know if they want me to tour or not. Right now I just want to go to the places where I am getting the most love and Australia and South America have done that for me,” she said. “Kind of going to the places where I get the most love. Don’t want to go anywhere where I don’t feel completely comfortable with it.”

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

Minors Need Supervision While at Chattanooga’s Coolidge

By: Shawna O’Neal

CHATTANOOGA, TENN. (UTC/TheLoop)-Minors will now need adult supervision when visiting Chattanooga’s Coolidge Park at night.

The hours of supervision are between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. after a 7-2 vote by the City Council Tuesday March 29.

The vote was a result of yet another shooting that took place at the park March 19.  The first shooting that occurred nearly a year ago was said to be the result of gang violence. This time around, a brawl broke out involving hundreds of teenagers that involved shots being fired.

The Chattanooga City Council met March 29 to decide whether or not to pass the new city ordinance. Councilmen Russell Gilbert and Andrae McGary were the only two opposed to going forward with the new

Coolidge Park


Councilman McGary said that he doesn’t support the legislation. He said that it has taken shootings for them to pass something concerning Coolidge Park.  He also stated that if the Council knows that the issue is with curfew and truancy, that the faulty legislation should be fixed before they create a new one.

“You do not plug a hole in a faulty sink by buying a new sink,” he said. “You fix the faulty plug in the sink!”

Councilman Russell Gilbert said he could not vote in favor of the new ordinance simply because there have been numerous shootings in his district and there was

Coolidge Park

never a conference to discuss them.

“It took two incidents to happen in one area and all of the sudden we need to do something,” he said. “But there are other people who have been killed in other areas and it’s like ‘one of those things’.”

Heather Sivley, a 23-year-old UTC student, was allowed to speak pertaining to the issue in front of the Council. . She thanked the Council for their involvement in making the city what it was today. But she also said that she felt they put a blanket age restriction, they would unfairly deny reasonable and responsible young people access to some of the things that makes the city of Chattanooga beautiful. She added that it also discourages them from taking part of their community on the simplest level. Click here to listen to Heather Sivley’s Speech.

According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, police officers are not likely to approach teenagers as long as they aren’t causing any problems.


-Chattanooga Times Free Press

-Minutes from the meeting on March 29

Royal Wedding Dress

By: Shawna O’Neal

LONDON (AP) — Only a handful of insiders know which designer Kate Middleton has chosen to create her top-secret wedding gown, but at least one person — dressmaker Elizabeth Emanuel — understands what that person is going through.

The woman who co-designed the taffeta confection that Princess Diana wore in 1981 when she walked down the aisle to marry Prince Charles believes Middleton’s mystery designer is probably more than a bit anxious as the April 29 royal wedding approaches.

“I’m sure they are nervous now,” said Emanuel, relaxed and chatty in her central London studio, surrounded by mannequins wearing dramatic handmade wedding gowns. “It’s such a big event, with billions watching, you cannot make mistakes. There is no second chance, it has to be perfect.”

Emanuel and her ex-husband David triumphed in their own pressure-packed moment, coming up with a showstopping gown that transformed Diana from a little-known nursery school teacher into a glamorous princess. The dress was groundbreaking for its tight bodice, cinched waist and what seemed like miles and miles of taffeta, silk and lace.

Rosemary Harden, director of the Fashion Museum in Bath, England, said the dress set trends throughout the globe.

“It definitely set the tone for 15 to 20 years,” said Harden. “It was something everyone remarked upon — it took people’s breath away. It was the archetypal fairy princess dress, with an incredible quantity of beautiful fabric and beautiful silk and that long train.”

Harden said the tight bodice, puffed sleeves and very full skirt Diana favored eventually fell out of style as strapless wedding gowns came in — and she believes styles will change again once Middleton’s dress is unveiled.

There have been leaks suggesting that Sarah Burton, creative director of the Alexander McQueen house, is designing the dress, but she has denied the reports — though some believe she may be covering up her involvement to maintain secrecy.

Middleton, with her long, lean figure, has likely chosen a classic design with some distinctive “edgy” detailing or feature to make the gown memorable, Emanuel predicted. She thinks Middleton may wear her long hair swept up, while other fashion figures have suggested Middleton should let it cascade to her shoulders as it usually does.

The designer, whose long career has encompassed making outfits for stage and screen, does not expect Middleton’s dress to resemble Diana’s. The two brides are very different: Diana was still in her teens when she married, and she had not yet plunged into the fashion world. Middleton is 29 and has developed her own style, which emphasizes her slender figure, pale skin, and dark brown hair.

Fashions have changed as well, with softer fabrics like tulle and organza more popular in gowns than the stiffer taffeta used in Diana’s dress. There also may be fewer frills, and less volume in the skirt.

“It was perfect for the ’80s, but not for today,” Emanuel said of her most famous work, which is often on public display at Althorp House, Diana’s ancestral home, or touring museums throughout the world.

Emanuel thinks Middleton’s designer has moved beyond the planning phase and is now cutting the actual fabric in a nerve-wracking, unforgiving process that can become quite expensive if an error is made and some of the pricey material ruined.

Emanuel remembers her own time in the spotlight as a blur. She and David worked around the clock, even making the bridesmaids’ dresses and backup gowns for emergency use by Diana in case the press discovered the real design ahead of time.

They were so worried that something might go wrong that they made an “overskirt” that could be worn on top of the real skirt in case someone accidentally spilled juice or coffee on Diana as she was dressing for the ceremony.

There were endless fittings with the incredible shrinking bride — Diana lost so much weight in the weeks before the ceremony that the designers had to make several successively smaller bodices. She had a 23-inch waist by her wedding day.

Emanuel, 57, said as the wedding date neared she started to worry that the gown’s 25-foot (7.6-meter) train would separate from the rest of the dress as Diana entered St. Paul’s Cathedral. She feared she would be remembered as the woman who designed the dress that fell apart.

Emanuel used safety pins, hooks and stitches to secure the train and make sure calamity didn’t strike.

“We made a parasol in case it rained,” she said. “Actually two: one ivory, one white, so the umbrella maker wouldn’t know the color of the dress.”

Sounds a bit paranoid? Not really. She remembers reporters constantly begging her for information, making up sob stories about how they would be fired if they didn’t find out details about the dress.

That was in the quaint, pre-Internet era. Today, Emanuel said, the pressure is even more intense and the need for secrecy even higher because anyone with a camera phone could flummox the palace’s best laid plans if they get a shot of Middleton entering a design salon for a gown fitting.

Regardless of the designer, Emanuel believes the fittings are taking place at one of the royal palaces in a secure environment, because the design studios are likely staked out by the ultra-competitive British press.

But why hasn’t the name leaked out? Why hasn’t the designer boasted to his or her partner, who told the dentist or the school teacher, with the whispered warning not to pass it on, starting a chain reaction that ends with the designer’s identity on the front page of tabloids?

Emanuel said it hasn’t happened because it’s in everyone’s interest to maintain secrecy so that Middleton can surprise fiance Prince William — and the world — on their wedding day. Keeping the design out of the news is an important part of the royal wedding gown commission, she said.

“It’s got to be a surprise, that’s the whole thing,” Emanuel said. “Bit by bit, all the details of the wedding are being released, and that’s the last thing, and everyone wants to know.”

She had faith that the designer — expected to be British — will engineer a showstopper.

“I’m sure it will be a fantastic surprise when she gets out of the car; that’s what everyone’s waiting for,” she said.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

It’s a “Barbie World”, But not in Shanghai

By: Shawna O’Neal

SHANGHAI (AP) — Barbie is hitting the road as Mattel Inc. closes down its Shanghai flagship store dedicated to the iconic brand after just two years.

The six-story store, complete with spa, cafe, design studio, fashion stage and shelves and shelves of Barbies and Barbie products, closed Monday, the world’s biggest toy maker said in a statement explaining that it plans to use its experience in Shanghai to reach customers across China.

“I have gone on a tour of China!” a cartoon Barbie says on the store’s website, explaining the brand is on a “Barbie Pink Bus Tour.”

Mattel is not the only foreign retailer with an extravagant investment in this huge but challenging market to change strategy.

The closing of Barbie’s citadel of all things pink on Shanghai’s Huaihai Rd. shopping belt follows the closure last month of all of electronics retailer Best Buy’s brandname stores in Shanghai. Best Buy is instead focusing on expanding outlets with its locally acquired chain Jiangsu Five Star Appliance Co.

Mattel, based in El Segundo, California, inaugurated the store on the 50th birthday of the Barbie brand, bringing together 45 product lines, including trampolines, jewelry and stationery.

Though sales of Barbie and other Mattel dolls have recently shown strong growth back home, the store never took off as a popular destination for local girls.

Shanghai is a hub for China’s fashion industry, but local parents are far more likely to splash out on extra lessons than on expensive toys.


Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

Kings of Leon Postponed

By: Shawna O’Neal

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Rock band Kings of Leon has been forced to postpone several international tour dates because their drummer is injured

A news release from the band says Nathan Followill’s surgery for a torn right bicep and labrum will force postponements of tours in South Africa and Australia until October and November.

The band will still play a few scheduled dates, including an appearance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 15.

Spokesman Ken Weinstein says Followill hurt himself while working out. The surgery will require several months of rehabilitation, but Followill is expected to play all shows with the band this spring, starting with Cochella and including European dates in May, June and July.

Kings of Leon, made up of Followill, his brothers Caleb and Jared, and cousin Matthew, is up for two Grammy Awards on Feb. 13.



Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

Phony Hollywood producer gets 4 years in prison

By Shawna O’Neal

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge has ordered a nearly four-year prison term for a man who posed as a Hollywood producer and fleeced investors out of $3.4 million for a phony show about the Department of Homeland Security.

Joseph Medawar pleaded guilty in May 2006 to tax evasion and conspiracy for the TV show investment scam. He was sentenced to jail for a year and community service.

But the Los Angeles Times reports Medawar padded his community service hours to go to movies and the gym.

On Tuesday, a Los Angeles federal judge sentenced Joseph Medawar to 45 months in prison for violating probation.


Information from: Los Angeles Times,

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.