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Despite floods, Grand Ole Opry held across town

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The venue is different, the tickets are handwritten and the gear is cobbled together. But the floodwaters that deluged Nashville couldn't stop The Grand Ole Opry.

Marty Stuart kicked off Tuesday night's show, which was moved to the city's War Memorial Auditorium after 4 to 6 feet of water from weekend storms flooded the Grand Ole Opry House east of downtown.

Stuart, an Opry veteran, says it's not surprising the show went on: "That's what we do at the Opry."

Hundreds of fans waited patiently outside for the show to start, then clapped along as Stuart played an acoustic set.

The historic stage and dressing rooms were flooded at the Opry House. Officials say it's not clear if the Opry's archives, museum or collection of instruments survived.

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On the Net:

The Grand Ole Opry: http://www.opry.com

Airlines required to check no-fly list more often

WASHINGTON – The government is requiring airlines to check no-fly lists within two hours of being notified of list updates -- a move aimed at preventing known terror suspects from boarding airplanes as the man accused in the Times Square bombing attempt did.

Faisal Shahzad, who prosecutors say tried to blow up an SUV in Times Square on Saturday, was added to the no-fly list Monday only hours before he boarded an Emirates flight bound to Dubai.

When updates are made to the no-fly list, notifications are sent to airlines instructing them to check the updated list. Until now, airlines have been required to check for updated lists every 24 hours. Effective immediately, airlines will have to check the updated list within two hours of being notified of changes, according to a U.S. homeland security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the policy change. The official says airlines could be fined if they don't comply.

The no-fly list has been one of the government's most public counterterrorism tools since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. But the list is only as good as the officials who analyze it and those who match names against it. If an intelligence lead is not shared, or if an analyst is unable to connect one piece of information to another, a suspected terrorist could slip onto an airplane. And if an airline decides not to look at an updated version of the list, someone on the list can board an airliner.

Shahzad was able to purchase a last minute ticket from Emirates airlines and board a Dubai-bound airplane at John F. Kennedy International Airport late Monday night.

But Emirates airlines apparently failed to check the latest version of the terror watch list that included Shahzad's name.

Customs and Border Protection officials saw Shahzad's name on the list of passengers 30 minutes before the flight was to take off. They pulled Shahzad off the plane and arrested him before the plane left the gate.

First bag free on Delta with airline's AmEx card

Delta says it will waive the fee on the first checked bag for most customers with Delta SkyMiles credit cards.

The move on Wednesday by Delta and the card issuer, American Express, could pressure other airlines to waive bag fees for their credit card users, too. The cards are popular with travelers and lucrative for credit-card issuers.

Starting June 1, Delta Air Lines Inc. will waive the fee for up to nine people on the same reservation. The fee to check the first piece of luggage on Delta flights is $25 each way.

The change applies to people who hold business or consumer versions of American Express Gold, Platinum, and Reserve SkyMiles cards.

Ski industry group reports more visits in '09-'10

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – A ski industry group's preliminary report says visits to U.S. ski resorts rose 4.2 percent to 59.7 million last season.

The National Ski Areas Association said Tuesday that preliminary figures show the 2009-10 season was the second-best on record, after 60.5 million visits in the 2007-08 season.

A visit is one person skiing or snowboarding one day. The figures are based on the Kottke National End of Season Survey and will be updated in July.

Resorts in the northeast had a 2.7 percent decrease. Visits in all other regions increased by 3.2 to 7.2 percent.

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On the Net:

National Ski Areas Association: http://www.nsaa.org/nsaa/home/

Economy hurting travel plans in South Jersey

CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE, N.J. – The sluggish economic recovery has potential vacationers hesitating to commit to visiting southern New Jersey.

The preseason survey for Cape May County, which includes such popular shore resorts as Ocean City, Wildwood and Cape May, indicated 57 percent of respondents planning to visit. That's down from 78 percent who said yes in last year's preseason survey.

The number of undecideds is also way up this year: 36 percent, compared to only 19 percent last year.

Still, tourism officials are optimistic that day trippers and family vacationers will help improve the tourism market this year.

The figures were released at a tourism conference Tuesday in Cape May Court House.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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