TRAVERSE CITY — The annual North American VASA Festival of cross country ski races on Feb. 8 has added a 12K event open to skiers of all abilities in which finish times will mean far less than who is on the trail.
The new event is called the Human Inspiration 12K Tour, a non-competitive ski run to honor George Lombard and George Kuhn, two men who have been at the heart of the region’s Nordic ski community for decades. Lombard (83) and Kuhn (81) regularly ski the VASA trail system. Lombard will lead the tour.
VASA President Pete LaPlaca said the easy pace of the 12K tour should be perfect for beginners who would like their first VASA experience. There will be plenty of veteran skiers on the tour to provide help and support. “The tone will be light and fun,” LaPlaca said.
The Human Inspiration 12K Tour is scheduled for 1 pm Saturday, Feb. 8, as part of the 38th annual North American VASA Festival of Races held at Timber Ridge Resort.
Registration for the special 12K tour is $35. Skiers registered for other VASA races may participate at no extra charge. Advance registrations are available at www.Vasa.org. Registration on race day is available from 7 am-12:30 pm at the Timber Ridge main lodge.
BROADCASTING: Hall of Fame broadcaster Jerry Coleman has been remembered with a service at Petco Park that included an F-18 flyover, a 21-gun salute and a eulogy by former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre
Coleman, 89, died Jan. 5. He won four World Series titles with the Yankees and was the only major leaguer who saw combat in both World II and Korea, flying a combined 120 missions as a Marine Corps pilot.
Says Torre: “If you loved baseball and your country, you loved Jerry Coleman. What a life, what a man. God bless him.”
An F-18 flyover, including one jet peeling off in the missing-man formation, followed the national anthem played by a Marine band at Saturday’s service. The stage was set up near second base, a nod to Coleman’s position.
Coleman was buried Monday with full military honors.
ARKANSAS STATE: A second man has been arrested and charged with the shooting death of Arkansas State football player Markel Owens and his stepfather in Tennessee.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Seth Bruce says investigators found Johnny Wade in Ripley, Tenn., on Saturday. Bruce says investigators found two handguns inside the house where Wade was staying.
Jackson police were looking for Wade in the death of the 21-year-old Owens and 36-year-old Johnny Shivers. Johnny Wade and Derrick Wade of Jackson also face charges of attempted first-degree murder of Owens’ mother, 37-year-old Chermaine Owens; aggravated assault of Shivers’ 16-year-old son; and tampering with evidence.
Police were called to the home in Jackson Wednesday night.
Police found Derrick Wade at a relative’s home Thursday after he sought treatment at a Memphis hospital for a gunshot wound.
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
BOMB THREAT: Two bomb threats at Mississippi Valley State University last week have prompted school officials to close the campus until Tuesday, evacuating students and moving Saturday’s men’s and women’s basketball games against Alcorn State to Lorman, Miss.
Monday’s men’s and women’s games between MVSU and Southern have been postponed.
A news release at the MVSU website indicated no explosive devices or materials were found after law enforcement searches of campus buildings and the Leflore Civic Center on Friday, and that campus would reopen Tuesday after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday.
Officials at the Leflore County sheriff’s office did not have any more information early Saturday afternoon. Local media reported bomb-sniffing dogs were searching all 20 buildings on campus. Local, state and FBI investigators have responded.
A letter outlining the bomb threats was received by university officials last week and the campus was evacuated by mid-day Thursday.
DOWNHILL SKIING: Downhill racer Jared Goldberg pressed his claim Saturday for a spot on the four-man United States team in the glamor event of the Sochi Olympics.
A career-best 12th-place finish in World Cup races, from start number 40 in a shortened Lauberhorn downhill, lifted the 22-year-old Goldberg chances and put pressure on more experienced teammates with one qualifying race remaining.
“Jared did a great job,” U.S. men’s head coach Sasha Rearick said. “Marco Sullivan has been consistent in there but having a young guy step up and say, ‘Hey guys, wake up. I’m here,’ is exactly what I wanted.”
“I couldn’t be happier,” Rearick said.
Only Bode Miller, who finished fifth Saturday, and Travis Ganong, who was 28th, have secured selection for the Feb. 9 Olympic race by already finishing top-10 in a World Cup downhill this season.
U.S. team coaches have discretion to award places next weekend after the classic Austrian downhill at Kitzbuehel.
“They are fighting it out and Jared did what he needed to do,” Rearick said.
Goldberg also impressed at Wengen in the downhill portion of Friday’s super-combined. He was 10th fastest in the speed event which followed a morning slalom to place 20th overall.
That performance might have secured the resident of Holladay, Utah, a place in the Olympic super-combined race on Feb. 14, alongside defending champion Miller. Downhill is also in his sights.