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Today in History: August 17, 2017

The Free Press WV

Today is Thursday, August 17, the 229th day of 2017. There are 136 days left in the year.


Today’s Highlight in History:

On August 17, 1807, Robert Fulton’s North River Steamboat began heading up the Hudson River on its successful round trip between New York and Albany.


On this date:

In 1863, Federal batteries and ships began bombarding Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor during the Civil War, but the Confederates managed to hold on despite several days of pounding.

In 1915, a mob in Cobb County, Georgia, lynched Jewish businessman Leo Frank, 31, whose death sentence for the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan had been commuted to life imprisonment. (Frank, who’d maintained his innocence, was pardoned by the state of Georgia in 1986.)

In 1943, the Allied conquest of Sicily during World War II was completed as U.S. and British forces entered Messina.

In 1945, Indonesian nationalists declared their independence from the Netherlands. The George Orwell novel “Animal Farm,“ an allegorical satire of Soviet Communism, was first published in London by Martin Secker & Warburg.

In 1962, East German border guards shot and killed 18-year-old Peter Fechter, who had attempted to cross the Berlin Wall into the western sector.

In 1969, Hurricane Camille slammed into the Mississippi coast as a Category 5 storm that was blamed for 256 U.S. deaths, three in Cuba.

In 1978, the first successful trans-Atlantic balloon flight ended as Maxie Anderson, Ben Abruzzo and Larry Newman landed their Double Eagle II outside Paris.

In 1982, the first commercially produced compact discs, a recording of ABBA’s “The Visitors,“ were pressed at a Philips factory near Hanover, West Germany.

In 1985, more than 1,400 meatpackers walked off the job at the Geo. A. Hormel and Co.‘s main plant in Austin, Minnesota, in a bitter strike that lasted just over a year.

In 1987, Rudolf Hess, the last member of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle, died at Spandau Prison at age 93, an apparent suicide. The musical drama “Dirty Dancing,“ starring Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze, premiered in New York.

In 1996, the Reform Party announced Ross Perot had been selected to be its first-ever presidential nominee, opting for the third-party’s founder over challenger Richard Lamm.

In 1999, more than 17,000 people were killed when a magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck Turkey.


Ten years ago: Hurricane Dean roared into the eastern Caribbean, tearing away roofs, flooding streets and causing at least three deaths on small islands as the powerful storm headed on a collision course with Jamaica and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.


Five years ago: In Moscow, a judge sentenced three punk rock-style activists, members of the band ##### Riot, to two years in prison for hooliganism for briefly taking over a cathedral in a raucous prayer for deliverance from Russian President Vladimir Putin; the court decision drew protests around the world. (One of the three defendants was later released on probation; the other two were released several months short of their two-year sentence in December 2013.)


One year ago: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump announced a shake-up of his campaign leadership, naming Stephen Bannon of the conservative Breitbart News website as chief executive officer and promoting pollster Kellyanne Conway to campaign manager. Caster Semenya of South Africa made her debut at the Rio Olympics amid questions about how track and field can deal with hyperandrogenic women; Semenya qualified for the 800 semifinals, an event she won three days later. Movie director Arthur Hiller (“Love Story”) died in Los Angeles at age 92.


Today’s Birthdays: Former Chinese president Jiang Zemin is 91. Author V.S. Naipaul is 85. Former MLB All-Star Boog Powell is 76. Actor Robert DeNiro is 74. Movie director Martha Coolidge is 71. Rock musician Gary Talley (The Box Tops) is 70. Actor-screenwriter-producer Julian Fellowes is 68. Actor Robert Joy is 66. International Tennis Hall of Famer Guillermo Vilas is 65. Rock singer Kevin Rowland (Dexy’s Midnight Runners) is 64. Rock musician Colin Moulding (XTC) is 62. Country singer-songwriter Kevin Welch is 62. Olympic gold medal figure skater Robin Cousins is 60. Singer Belinda Carlisle is 59. Author Jonathan Franzen is 58. Actor Sean Penn is 57. Jazz musician Everette Harp is 56. Rock musician Gilby Clarke is 55. Singer Maria McKee is 53. Rock musician Steve Gorman (The Black Crowes) is 52. Rock musician Jill Cunniff is 51. Actor David Conrad is 50. Actress Helen McCrory is 49. Singer Donnie Wahlberg is 48. College Basketball Hall of Famer and retired NBA All-Star Christian Laettner is 48. Rapper Posdnuos is 48. International Tennis Hall of Famer Jim Courier is 47. Retired MLB All-Star Jorge Posada is 46. TV personality Giuliana Rancic is 43. Actor Mark Salling is 35. Actor Bryton James is 31. Actor Brady Corbet is 29. Actress Taissa Farmiga is 23. Olympic bronze medal figure skater Gracie Gold is 22.


Thought for Today: “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it.“ — Edith Wharton, American author (1862-1937).

Today in History - August 16, 2017

The Free Press WV

Today is Wednesday, August 16, the 228th day of 2017. There are 137 days left in the year.


Today’s Highlight in History:

On August 16, 1977, Elvis Presley died at his Graceland estate in Memphis, Tennessee, at age 42.


On this date:

In 1777, American forces won the Battle of Bennington in what was considered a turning point of the Revolutionary War.

In 1812, Detroit fell to British and Indian forces in the War of 1812.

In 1858, a telegraphed message from Britain’s Queen Victoria to President James Buchanan was transmitted over the recently laid trans-Atlantic cable.

In 1937, the American Federation of Radio Artists was chartered.

In 1948, baseball legend Babe Ruth died in New York at age 53.

In 1954, Sports Illustrated was first published by Time Inc.

In 1956, Adlai E. Stevenson was nominated for president at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

In 1967, Louis Armstrong recorded “What a Wonderful World” by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss for ABC Records.

In 1977, a judge in New York ruled that Renee Richards, a male-to-female transgender, had the right to compete in the U.S. Open without having to pass a sex chromosome test. (In the opening round of the Open, Richards lost to Virginia Wade in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4). The Debby Boone recording of “You Light Up My Life” by Joseph Brooks was released by Warner Bros./Curb Records.

In 1987, 156 people were killed when Northwest Airlines Flight 255 crashed while trying to take off from Detroit; the sole survivor was 4-year-old Cecelia Cichan.

In 1987, people worldwide began a two-day celebration of the “harmonic convergence,“ which heralded what believers called the start of a new, purer age of humankind.

In 1991, Pope John Paul II began the first-ever papal visit to Hungary.


Ten years ago: Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen held for 3½ years as an enemy combatant, was convicted in Miami of helping Islamic extremists and plotting overseas attacks. (Padilla, once accused of plotting with al-Qaida to detonate a radioactive “dirty bomb,“ was later sentenced to 17 years and four months in prison on the unrelated terror support charges, but that sentence was later increased to 21 years.) A cave-in killed three rescuers in the Crandall Canyon Mine in Utah; the search for six trapped miners was later abandoned. Master jazz percussionist Max Roach died in New York at age 83.


Five years ago: Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney declared he had paid at least 13 percent of his income in federal taxes every year for the previous decade; President Barack Obama’s campaign shot back: “Prove it.“ A U.S. military helicopter crashed during a firefight with insurgents in southern Afghanistan, killing seven Americans and four Afghans. Ecuador decided to identify WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as a refugee and give him asylum in its London embassy. Actor William Windom, 88, died in Woodacre, California.


One year ago: Democrat Kathleen Kane, Pennsylvania’s first elected female attorney general, announced her resignation a day after being convicted of abusing the powers of the state’s top law enforcement office to smear a rival and lying under oath to cover it up. (Kane, who was succeeded by Republican Bruce L. Castor Jr., was later sentenced to 10 to 23 months in jail, but remains free while she appeals.) Simone Biles captured her fourth gold of the Rio Games with an electric performance in the floor exercise. Political commentator and TV host John McLaughlin, 89, died in Washington, D.C.


Today’s Birthdays: Actress Ann Blyth is 89. Actor Gary Clarke is 84. Actress Julie Newmar is 84. Actress-singer Ketty Lester is 83. Actor John Standing is 83. College Football Hall of Famer and NFL player Bill Glass is 82. Actress Anita Gillette is 81. Actress Carole Shelley is 78. Country singer Billy Joe Shaver is 78. Movie director Bruce Beresford is 77. Actor Bob Balaban is 72. Ballerina Suzanne Farrell is 72. Actress Lesley Ann Warren is 71. Actor Marshall Manesh is 67. Rock singer-musician Joey Spampinato is 67. Actor Reginald VelJohnson is 65. TV personality Kathie Lee Gifford is 64. Rhythm-and-blues singer J.T. Taylor is 64. Movie director James Cameron is 63. Actor Jeff Perry is 62. Rock musician Tim Farriss (INXS) is 60. Actress Laura Innes is 60. Singer Madonna is 59. Actress Angela Bassett is 59. Actor Timothy Hutton is 57. Actor Steve Carell is 55. Former tennis player Jimmy Arias is 53. Actor-singer Donovan Leitch is 50. Actor Andy Milder is 49. Actor Seth Peterson is 47. Country singer Emily Robison (The Dixie Chicks) is 45. Actor George Stults is 42. Singer Vanessa Carlton is 37. Actor Cam Gigandet is 35. Actress Agnes Bruckner is 32. Singer-musician Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes) is 32. Actress Cristin Milioti is 32. Actor Shawn Pyfrom is 31. Country singer Ashton Shepherd is 31. Country singer Dan Smyers (Dan & Shay) is 30. Actor Kevin G. Schmidt is 29. Actress Rumer Willis is 29. Actor Parker Young is 29. Actor Cameron Monaghan is 24. Singer-pianist Greyson Chance is 20.


Thought for Today: “In politics people give you what they think you deserve and deny you what they think you want.“ — Cyril Northcote Parkinson, British historian and author (1909-1993).

Today in History - August 15, 2017

The Free Press WV

Today is Tuesday, August 15, the 227th day of 2017. There are 138 days left in the year.


Today’s Highlight in History:

On August 15, 1947, India became independent after some 200 years of British rule.


On this date:

In 1057, Macbeth, King of Scots, was killed in battle by Malcolm, the eldest son of King Duncan, whom Macbeth had slain.

In 1483, the Sistine Chapel was consecrated by Pope Sixtus IV.

In 1812, the Battle of Fort Dearborn took place as Potawatomi warriors attacked a U.S. military garrison of about 100 people. (Most of the garrison was killed, while those who remained were taken prisoner.)

In 1914, the Panama Canal officially opened as the SS Ancon crossed the just-completed waterway between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

In 1935, humorist Will Rogers and aviator Wiley Post were killed when their airplane crashed near Point Barrow in the Alaska Territory.

In 1939, the MGM musical “The Wizard of Oz” opened at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

In 1945, in a pre-recorded radio address, Japan’s Emperor Hirohito announced that his country had accepted terms of surrender for ending World War II.

In 1965, the Beatles played to a crowd of more than 55,000 at New York’s Shea Stadium.

In 1967, a 50-foot-tall sculpture by Pablo Picasso was dedicated in Daley Plaza in Chicago by Mayor Richard J. Daley.

In 1969, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair opened in upstate New York.

In 1974, a gunman attempted to shoot South Korean President Park Chung-hee during a speech; although Park was unhurt, his wife, Yuk Young-soo, was struck and killed, along with a teenage girl. (The gunman was later executed.)

In 1989, F.W. de Klerk was sworn in as acting president of South Africa, one day after P.W. Botha resigned as the result of a power struggle within the National Party.


Ten years ago: Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy pleaded guilty to felony charges for taking cash payoffs from gamblers and betting on games he’d officiated in a scandal that rocked the league. (Donaghy, sentenced to 15 months in federal prison, was released in November 2009.) A magnitude-8 earthquake in Peru’s southern desert killed 596 people.


Five years ago: Felix Hernandez pitched the Seattle Mariners’ first perfect game and the 23rd in baseball history, overpowering the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0; it was the third perfect game and sixth no-hitter of the season. The United States soccer team broke a 75-year winless streak at Mexico’s intimidating Azteca Stadium with an 80th minute goal and a series of saves that delivered a 1-0 victory.


One year ago: Republican Donald Trump called for “extreme” ideological vetting of immigrants seeking admission to the United States, vowing during a speech in Youngstown, Ohio, to significantly overhaul the country’s screening process and block those who sympathized with extremist groups or didn’t embrace American values. President Barack Obama, in Chilmark, Massachusetts, urged Democrats to campaign aggressively for the next 80 days to elect Hillary Clinton, saying “if we do not do our jobs, then it’s still possible for her to lose.“


Today’s Birthdays: Actress Rose Marie is 94. Actress Abby Dalton is 85. Actress Lori Nelson is 84. Civil rights activist Vernon Jordan is 82. Actor Jim Dale is 82. Actress Pat Priest is 81. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is 79. U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., is 79. Musician Pete York (Spencer Davis Group) is 75. Author-journalist Linda Ellerbee is 73. Songwriter Jimmy Webb is 71. Rock singer-musician Tom Johnston (The Doobie Brothers) is 69. Actress Phyllis Smith is 68. Britain’s Princess Anne is 67. Actress Tess Harper is 67. Actor Larry Mathews is 62. Actor Zeljko Ivanek is 60. Actor-comedian Rondell Sheridan is 59. Rock singer-musician Matt Johnson (The The) is 56. Movie director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is 54. Philanthropist Melinda Gates is 53. Country singer Angela Rae (Wild Horses) is 51. Actor Peter Hermann is 50. Actress Debra Messing is 49. Actor Anthony Anderson is 47. Actor Ben Affleck is 45. Singer Mikey Graham (Boyzone) is 45. Actress Natasha Henstridge is 43. Actress Nicole Paggi is 40. Christian rock musician Tim Foreman (Switchfoot) is 39. Actress Emily Kinney is 33. Figure skater Jennifer Kirk is 33. Latin pop singer Belinda is 28. Rock singer Joe Jonas (The Jonas Brothers) is 28. Actor-singer Carlos PenaVega is 28. Actress Jennifer Lawrence is 27. Rap DJ Smoove da General (Cali Swag District) is 27.


Thought for Today: “To feel that one has a place in life solves half the problem of contentment.“ — George Edward Woodberry, American poet, critic and educator (1855-1930).

Today in History - August 14, 2017

The Free Press WV

Today is Monday, Aug. 14, the 226th day of 2017. There are 139 days left in the year.


Today’s Highlight in History:

On August 14, 1947, Pakistan became independent of British rule.


On this date:

In 1848, the Oregon Territory was created.

In 1900, international forces, including U.S. Marines, entered Beijing to put down the Boxer Rebellion, which was aimed at purging China of foreign influence.

In 1917, China declared war on Germany and Austria during World War I.

In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law.

In 1945, President Harry S. Truman announced that Imperial Japan had surrendered unconditionally, ending World War II.

In 1951, newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, 88, died in Beverly Hills, California.

In 1967, folk singer Joan Baez performed a free concert on the grounds of the Washington Monument a day after she’d been denied the use of Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution because of her opposition to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

In 1969, British troops went to Northern Ireland to intervene in sectarian violence between Protestants and Roman Catholics.

In 1973, U.S. bombing of Cambodia came to a halt.

In 1980, workers went on strike at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk, Poland, in a job action that resulted in creation of the Solidarity labor movement. Actress-model Dorothy Stratten, 20, was shot to death by her estranged husband and manager, Paul Snider, who then killed himself.

In 1992, the White House announced that the Pentagon would begin emergency airlifts of food to Somalia to alleviate mass deaths by starvation. Federal judge John J. Sirica, who had presided over the Watergate trials, died in Washington at age 88.

In 1997, an unrepentant Timothy McVeigh was formally sentenced to death for the Oklahoma City bombing.


Ten years ago: Teacher-astronaut Barbara Morgan transformed the space shuttle Endeavour and space station into a classroom for her first educational session from orbit, fulfilling the legacy of Christa McAuliffe, who died in the Challenger disaster in 1986.


Five years ago: Vice President Joe Biden sparked a campaign commotion, telling an audience in southern Virginia that included hundreds of black voters that Republican Mitt Romney wanted to put them “back in chains” by deregulating Wall Street. (Biden later mocked Republican criticism over the remark while conceding he’d meant to use different words.) Ron Palillo, the actor best known as the nerdy high school student Arnold Horshack on the 1970s sitcom “Welcome Back, Kotter,“ died in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, at age 63.


One year ago: At the Rio Olympics, U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte and three teammates reported being robbed at gunpoint; police later said the men were not robbed, and instead vandalized a gas station bathroom. (Lochte was charged with filing a false robbery report, but a Brazilian court dismissed the case.) Usain Bolt of Jamaica became the first person to win three straight Olympic 100-meter titles, blowing down the straightaway in 9.81 seconds. Actor Fyvush Finkel, 93, died in New York City.


Today’s Birthdays: Broadway lyricist Lee Adams (“Bye Bye Birdie”) is 93. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Russell Baker is 92. College Football Hall of Famer John Brodie is 82. Singer Dash Crofts is 79. Rock singer David Crosby is 76. Country singer Connie Smith is 76. Comedian-actor Steve Martin is 72. Movie director Wim Wenders is 72. Actor Antonio Fargas is 71. Singer-musician Larry Graham is 71. Actress Susan Saint James is 71. Actor David Schramm is 71. Author Danielle Steel is 70. Rock singer-musician Terry Adams (NRBQ) is 69. “Far Side” cartoonist Gary Larson is 67. Actor Carl Lumbly is 66. Olympic gold medal swimmer Debbie Meyer is 65. Actress Jackee Harry is 61. Actress Marcia Gay Harden is 58. Basketball Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson is 58. Singer Sarah Brightman is 57. Actress Susan Olsen is 56. Actress-turned-fashion/interior designer Cristi Conaway is 53. Rock musician Keith Howland (Chicago) is 53. Actress Halle Berry is 51. Actor Ben Bass is 49. Actress Catherine Bell is 49. Country musician Cody McCarver (Confederate Railroad) is 49. Rock musician Kevin Cadogan is 47. Actor Scott Michael Campbell is 46. Actress Lalanya Masters is 45. Actor Christopher Gorham is 43. Actress Mila Kunis is 34. Actor Lamorne Morris is 34. TV personality Spencer Pratt is 34. NFL quarterback-turned-baseball player Tim Tebow is 30.


Thought for Today: “The old forget. The young don’t know.“ — Japanese proverb.

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