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Danielle Olipra

Danielle Olipra is a DePaul University graduate with a degree in Creative Writing. In her free time she enjoys listening to music and comedy. Once she takes the world by storm with her pen, she plans to save the endangered species of the ocelot and record a soul album.

Starbucks to Serve Alcohol at More Locations

Coffee chain will offer beer and wine to lure evening crowd

The world’s most dominant coffee chain is ready to increase the number of locations that currently offer alcohol options, reports Businessweek.

Starbucks first sold alcohol in October of 2010 at a store in Seattle where the company is based.  By the end of the year, Starbucks will offer beer and wine in as many as 25 locations.  Chicago, Atlanta, and southern California are among the places that Starbucks will add alcohol to the menu.

The stores that have been chosen to offer the adult beverages are “larger and have more seating than regular Starbucks sites,” said Clarice Turner, senior vice president of U.S. operations.  Starbucks is selling fruit-and- cheese plates and focaccia with olive oil in the stores that currently serve alcohol.

The chain does not plan to expand this option to every location.  “It won’t be at every Starbucks store ever,” said Turner.

At the six stores that currently sell alcohol in Seattle and Portland, Oregon, beer is $5 and glasses of wine range from $7 to $9.

Read more facts about Starbucks here.

Over 100 Injured in Birmingham

Alabama saw extreme weather that took two lives

On Monday, storms and tornadoes wreaked havoc across the South.  The Birmingham area was hit especially hard, says The Global Post.  A town near Birmingham called Oak Grove experienced roofs being torn away from houses, windows blown out of cars and completely taking out homes.  Oak Grove also endured severe weather in April that killed about 240 people.

There have only been two casualties reported from the most recent storms.  An 82-year-old man who lived in Oak Grove, and a 16-year-old girl from the city of Clay both lost their lives.  Over 100 injuries have been reported, ranging from scrapes to broken bones.

Yasamie Richardson, a spokeswoman for the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, said of Monday’s damage “some roads are impassable, there are a number of county roads where you have either debris down, trees down, or damage from homes.”

Tornado warnings were also issued for parts of Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama.

Read more here.


Felicity Aston Travels Antarctica in Record Time

British woman Felicity Aston also first to do so alone

On Monday, Felicity Aston became the first woman to ski alone across Antarctica.  The adventurous 32-year-old from Kent began her journey 59 days before arriving at her endpoint.  She pulled two sledges behind her for the entire 1,084 miles, says the Daily Mail Reporter.

Aston took off from the Leverett Glacier on November 25 of last year.   She arrived at the Hercules Inlet on the Ronne Ice Shelf on January 23.  She made this journey in record time, and also set a new record.  Previously, a team of two made the trip without using machines or kites to pull or propel them.  Aston is the first person who has used the muscles-only method entirely solo.

Even after her exhausting journey has come to a close, she’s not home yet.  Severe weather is preventing a plane from landing to return her to base camp.  Aston has kept in touch with those following her journey by tweeting.  She posted that she is looking forward to “red wine and a hot shower” upon her return.

Prior to her solo adventure, Aston worked as a meteorologist in Antarctica.  Her fearless spirit has helped her lead team expeditions in the Antarctic, the Arctic and Greenland.

Read more about Aston’s incredible journey here.

Is Jim Carrey’s Daughter The Next American Idol?

Carrey’s 24-year-old daughter auditioned in San Diego

On Sunday night, “American Idol” showed us a slew of hopefuls auditioning in San Diego for a chance to go to Hollywood and begin to compete for the show’s title.
According to Yahoo!,  one of these hopefuls was Jane Carrey, the 24-year-old daughter of comedic actor Jim Carrey.

Jim Carrey once appeared on “In Living Color” with “Idol” judge Jennifer Lopez.  Jane acknowledged the association, but quickly reminded the panel this audition was about her with the quip, “I was two when you were on TV together.”

Jane impressed the judges and was granted the coveted “golden ticket”, her pass to participate in the Hollywood round of the competition.

Jane is the only child of Jim Carrey and former actress Melissa Womer, who were married from 1987 to1995.  Jane is married to musician Alex Santana, who performs with the group Blood Money under the name “Nitro”.  In February 2010, the couple welcomed their first child Jackson Riley Santana.

Read more about the San Diego auditions here.

Tracy Morgan Collapsed at Sundance Festival

“30 Rock” Star suffered exhaustion and altitude sickness

On Sunday, comedian and “30 Rock” cast member Tracy Morgan collapsed at the Sundance film festival in Park City, Utah, according to the Washington Post.

Morgan was escorted from the Creative Coalition Spotlight Awards ceremony Sunday night.  Morgan’s publicist Lewis Kay cites exhaustion and altitude sickness as causes of the collapse.  Elevation in Park City is 7,000 feet. 

Kay has stated that Morgan is seeking medical attention and is grateful for the care provided by the medical center staff.  Hospital officials report no drugs or alcohol were found in Morgan’s system.

Morgan is attending Sundance to promote “Predisposed,” one of 100 films featured at the festival.  He plays a drug dealer named Sprinkles in the comedy.

Read more about Tracy Morgan here.

Gabrielle Giffords to Step Down After State of the Union

Representative chooses to focus on recovery from shooting

Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was caught in the fire of a shooting spree last year, announced via various social media sites on Sunday that she will be stepping down from her place in the U.S. Congress, says The Christian Science Monitor.

“I have more work to do on my recovery, so to do what is best for Arizona I will step down this week,” her statement read, “I will return and we will work together for Arizona and this great country”.

Giffords, a Democrat who gained a reputation as a centrist, is serving her third term. Before stepping down, she plans to attend President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday.  Obama has said of Giffords’ decision, “We know it is with the best interests of her constituents in mind that Gabby has made the tough decision to step down from Congress,” and that she “represents the very best of what public service should be.”

On Jan. 8, 2011, Giffords was shot through the head when a gunman opened fire at a congressional outreach meeting in Tucson, killing six people and wounding 12.  A 23-year-old college dropout named Jared Loughner was charged with attempting to assassinate Giffords. He pled not guilty and was found unfit to stand trial.

Read more about Giffords here.

Kim Kardashian’s Psychic Reading Predicts Divorce

Reality star saw psychic John Edwards

This season of E!’s “Kourtney & Kim Take New York” has given fans insight into Kim Kardashian’s marriage to Kris Humphries, but last night’s episode showed us a turning point in Kim’s thoughts on her short marriage, incited by an unlikely source-psychic medium John Edwards, says US Weekly.

Kim and Kourtney met with the famous medium with the intention of communicating with Robert Kardashian Sr., their deceased father.  Edwards began their meeting by recalling fond memories of the girls’ father, but went on to impress by predicting that a member of their family would soon announce a pregnancy. Kourtney and boyfriend Scott Disick have since confirmed they are expecting their second child in November.

The sisters supposedly became believers when Edwards brought up Kim’s first failed marriage to music producer Damon Thomas from 2000 to 2004.  Edwards asked on behalf of Kim’s late father if she had “learned anything” from that experience.  Kim replied that she had.

Later in the episode, Kim confided in her sister that Edward’s questioning on her past relationship had helped her realize that things with Kris were going nowhere fast.  A very emotional Kim admitted to Kourtney, “I feel like I got into this too fast and I don’t want to be married anymore.”

Read more about the Kardashian’s psychic session here.

Steven Tyler Bombs The Anthem

Rocker Tyler screeched his way through the tune

Steven Tyler disrupted the airwaves with his version of “Star Spangled Banner” prior to Sunday’s NFL playoff game between the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens in Foxborough, Mass.

According to People, Tyler struck the wrong chord with listeners by “missing notes and flubbing lyrics”.  This may not be a surprise to loyal fans of the 63-year-old rock legend and “American Idol” judge, who sang the song in his favored style.  A fan of Tyler tweeted, “He sang as he always does … what were you expecting?”.

Whatever critics have to say, it’s doubtful Tyler will sweat it.  He’s a rock legend  with a sweet gig with FOX, and a few cruel comments won’t damper his career.

Read more on Tyler’s performance here.

Oregon Coach Chip Kelly Decides Against Buccaneers

College coach opts to stay out of NFL

Chip Kelly, Oregon’s head football coach, has decided not to become a coach with the NFL, says USA Today.  Early on Sunday, reports stated Kelly was in negotiations with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a position.  However, late night reports claimed Kelly decided against the move.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking to replace Raheem Morris, their head coach who was fired on January 2 following a 4-12 season.  The Buccaneers lost their last ten games in 2011 and finished last in points allowed (30.9).

After assistant coaching with Columbia, New Hampshire, and Johns Hopkins, Kelly became Oregon’s offensive coordinator in 2007. He became head coach in 2009 and since then, the team went 34-6, won their conference, and reached a BCS game in all three seasons.  In 2011, the Ducks also won their Rose Bowl since 1917.

In 2011, Kelly ranked among the highest paid college coaches in the country with a base salary of $2.8 million.  Raheem Morris earned a $2 million salary during his last year with the Bucs.

Read more on Kelly’s career here.

Peter Dinkleage Draws Attention to Martin Henderson

Little person actor speaks out on violence

As Peter Dinkleage accepted his Golden Globe for his supporting role of Tyrion Lannister in the HBO series “Game of Thrones,” he encouraged audience members and everyone else watching to “google” someone named Martin Henderson.  And within minutes, Martin Henderson was trending on Twitter, says ABC News.

The “tweeters” and “googlers” soon learned that Martin Henderson is an aspiring actor who appeared as a goblin in two of the “Harry Potter” films, and friend of Dinkleage.  Henderson is also a little person who was viciously attacked outside of a pub in England last October.

A drunken stranger outside of the pub picked Henderson up before throwing him onto the ground.  The attack left him badly injured.  He suffered tissue damage to his back, and has not been walk to walk properly since.

The 37-year-old told  expressed his resulting fears to British newspaper The Telegraph, saying, “I think until someone steps out and says ‘this is not acceptable,’ all dwarfs are under threat.” He also voiced the concern that his condition could ruin his career.

Read more about Peter Dinkleage and Martin Henderson here.