As the sun rises, hundreds gather in Westchester to see Endeavour



As sun rises, hundreds gather in Westchester to see Endeavour

October 12, 2012 |  7:45 am

Crowds at shuttle
Early morning light bathed Endeavour’s weathered body in a pink glow Friday morning as more than 500 people, many from the neighborhood, gathered in a Westchester parking lot to catch a glimpse of the space shuttle on the first leg of its final journey.

A chattering crowd of hundreds converged at the intersection of Sepulveda Boulevard and La Tijera Boulevard. As the sun began to rise, some thrust phones into the air to snap a picture. Others stood on stepladders and folding chairs, hunting for any elevation gain that would give them a better view.

Other crowds spilled into local businesses along Sepulveda Boulevard, including a Coffee Co. facing south toward the shuttle’s parking spot. Owner Gus Kazemi, 56, pulled tables off a raised concrete platform at the entrance to the café, where more than two dozen people leaned over the metal railings toward the shuttle.

“I feel like a part of a larger community, not just the United States,” said Matthew Lucy, 34, who gathered with his wife, Katinka, and daughters Sofia, 6, and Madeleine, 4, inside the Coffee Co. café.

In the parking lot, crews were working to widen the computerized transporters carrying Endeavour so they can travel over medians on Manchester Boulevard.The shuttle will continue east down Manchester, passing into Inglewood city limits at Glasgow Avenue, where it will again stop for several hours for more power line work. There, crews will also move the orbiter onto the dolly system that will tow it over the 405 Freeway beginning about 10 p.m. Friday.As the crowd grew, onlookers stayed quiet and orderly behind the police barricades erected to create a boundary for the shuttle. Officials said the crowd had been orderly all night, but are concerned that as more people arrive during the day, the sizes could get unmanageable.

Sidewalks will remain closed for much of the remaining route, said Los Angeles Fire Department Battalion Chief Michael Bowman.

“We just said, ‘Let’s keep it open, let people enjoy it,’ but we may not have that opportunity again,” Bowman said.

Many people wore hoodies and pajamas. Parents held hands with children wearing school uniforms and backpacks, stopping to see the shuttle on the way to school.

“When else do you get to see something like this in your own backyard?” said Jennie DiPaolo, 49, whose two sons, Luke and Matthew, were wearing red St. Anastasia Catholic School sweat shirts. “We can go see it in the museum, but this is our neighborhood. We drive by here every day.”

– Christine Mai-Duc and Andrew Khouri in Westchester

Photo: Folks gathered on the corner of Westchester Parkway and McConnell Avenue on Friday to see the space shuttle Endeavour leaving LAX for the streets of Westchester. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times.


Debate leaves some taxing questions about housing unresolved

Commentary: Obama and Romney need to provide more details on their positions


Inman News®

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama images via and WhiteHouse.govMitt Romney and Barack Obama images via and

Anybody who watched it knows that Mitt Romney scored a technical knockout of President Obama in last week’s debate. But are there some potential future costs and concerns for housing that have to be looked at in the wake of that victory?

On the one hand, Romney surprised Obama with sharp criticism over an issue that has plagued homebuyers and refinancers: the super-strict underwriting and documentation that banks are requiring for home loans, in part because they’re worried about forthcoming “qualified mortgage” federal rules under the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation.

“It’s been two years,” Romney said to Obama at the Denver debate, “We (still) don’t know what a ‘qualified mortgage’ is. So banks are reluctant to make mortgages … It’s hurting the housing market.”

There’s no question that regulators have proceeded at a frustratingly glacial pace since the passage of Dodd-Frank in July of 2010, and we don’t know what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will come out with on this issue in early 2013.


Felix Baumgartner to attempt record-breaking supersonic freefall Tuesday

By Mike Wall | Published October 08, 2012 |

  • Felix Baumgartner prejump 2.jpg

    July 25, 2012: Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria steps out from the capsule during the second manned test flight for Red Bull Stratos in Roswell, New Mexico. (Jay Nemeth / Red Bull)

  • Felix Baumgartner prejump 3.jpg

    July 25, 2012: The balloon lifts up during the second manned test flight for Red Bull Stratos in Roswell, New Mexico. (Jorg Mitter/Red Bull)

  • Felix Baumgartner prejump 4.jpg
    Red Bull
  • Felix Baumgartner prejump 5.jpg

    The Red Bull Stratos balloon is ten times larger than the balloon used by the current record holder, Joe Kittinger, who jumped from an altitude of 102,800 ft in 1960. This graphic gives you a comparison. (Red Bull)

  • Felix Baumgartner prejump.jpg

    July 25, 2012: Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria celebrates after he lands at the desert during the second manned test flight for Red Bull Stratos in Roswell, New Mexico. ( / Red Bull)

Next Slide Previous Slide

UPDATE: Baumgartner’s jump on hold Tues. a.m., pending better weather. Read more

On Tuesday morning, Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner will attempt to break the world record for highest-ever skydive, leaping from a balloon nearly 23 miles above Earth’s surface.

If all goes according to plan, Baumgartner will step into the void 120,000 feet (36,576 meters) above southeastern New Mexico early Tuesday, then plummet to Earth in a harrowing freefall that will see him become the first skydiver to break the sound barrier.

After Baumgartner deploys his parachute and floats safely to the desert floor, he and the other architects of his mission — which is known as Red Bull Stratos — can celebrate breaking a skydiving record that has stood for more than 50 years.

One of those congratulating Baumgartner will likely be Joe Kittinger, who set the current record of 102,800 feet (31,333 m) back in 1960 while a captain in the U.S. Air Force. Kittinger serves as a Red Bull Stratos adviser.

If everything works out on Tuesday, Baumgartner will also shatter the marks for fastest freefall, longest-duration freefall and highest manned balloon flight. But the daredevil says his leap is about more than just etching his name in the record books.


‘Fear has become a friend of mine. It’s what prevents me from stepping too far over the line.’

- Felix Baumgartner


“Red Bull Stratos is an opportunity to gather information that could contribute to the development of life-saving measures for astronauts and pilots — and maybe for the space tourists of tomorrow,” Baumgartner said in a statement. “Proving that a human can break the speed of sound in the stratosphere and return to Earth would be a step toward creating near-space bailout procedures that currently don’t exist.”

Baumgartner’s 55-story-high balloon is slated to launch from Roswell, N.M. at dawn Tuesday, weather permitting. Winds must not exceed 2 mph (3.2 kph) at liftoff to ensure that the balloon — whose material is 10 times thinner than a plastic sandwich bag — isn’t damaged, Red Bull Stratos officials said.

Baumgartner will ride aboard a custom-built pressurized capsule that weighs about 2,900 pounds (1,315 kilograms). A hard landing during a July 25 practice jump from 97,146 feet (29,610 m) damaged the capsule, and the daredevil’s record-breaking attempt was delayed while his team made the necessary repairs.

During the July 25 jump, Baumgartner reached a top freefall speed of 537 mph (864 kph) — about as fast as a commercial airliner. But while his capsule got knocked around a bit, the skydiver landed safe and sound.

Baumgartner said he is nervous about Tuesday’s leap from the stratosphere. But the 43-year-old daredevil — who has jumped from some of the world’s tallest buildings and soared across the English Channel in freefall using a carbon wing — regards a tinge of fear as a good thing.

“Having been involved in extreme endeavors for so long, I’ve learned to use my fear to my advantage,” Baumgartner said. “Fear has become a friend of mine. It’s what prevents me from stepping too far over the line.”

Red Bull Stratos has described the Oct. 9 attempt as a jump from the edge of space. However, space is generally considered to begin at an altitude of 62 miles (100 km), or 327,000 feet.

Read more:



Regulator Vows New Rules to Repair Mortgage Markets

In a move aimed at making it easier for consumers to get mortgages, the federal regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac FMCC -2.12% said Monday the mortgage giants would address a big controversy of the housing bust: who gets stuck with bad loans.

Fannie and Freddie have forced banks to repurchase billions of mortgages that have defaulted over the past few years. To protect themselves from facing similar demands, banks have raised their lending standards beyond what the two mortgage companies require, scrutinized appraisals, and demanded extensive documentation of a borrower’s income and assets.


ReutersA bank-owned home for sale in Encinitas, Calif., in a file photo from 2009.

To ease lenders’ concerns, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said on Monday it would issue guidance that would detail steps that could limit their risk of having to buy back defaulted mortgages in costly loan “put-backs.”

For example, banks will be released from having to buy back a loan under certain conditions if the mortgage has a record of on-time payments for the first 36 months, or for the first 12 months on loans that are part of an existing refinancing initiative. Those changes will take effect next year.

It isn’t clear how far the latest guidance will go toward making it easier for consumers to get a mortgage. While mortgage rates have fallen by a full percentage point over the last 18 months, demand for new loans remains nearly unchanged from one year ago.

“For the market to reclaim the strength it once had—and to provide a cornerstone for the mortgage market of the future—it is vital we consider ways to improve” the loan review process, Edward DeMarco, the acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, told an industry conference Monday.

Fannie and Freddie don’t make loans, but instead acquire or guarantee those made by banks and other lenders. Those banks make certain “representations and warranties” to Fannie and Freddie when they sell loans, and the mortgage giants can force banks to take back any loans found to run afoul of those standards. Over the past year, banks have charged that Fannie and Freddie are putting back more loans that defaulted for reasons that had nothing to do with an underwriting defect.

Fannie and Freddie have asked that banks buy back nearly $75 billion in loans that lenders sold to the mortgage giants since 2005, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, an industry newsletter.

The new rules won’t have any impact on the current battle over who winds up with the bad loans made during the boom years.

In exchange for shielding banks against put-backs on certain loans, Fannie and Freddie will step up screening for potential loan defects of new mortgages. Officials said Monday that a more robust data-collection system implemented in recent years has made it possible to increasingly review loans as they are acquired, as opposed to reviewing them after they default.

Because buying back one bad loan can wipe out the profit on 30 or 40 good loans, lenders have become extremely cautious in approving mortgages. “If there’s a question at some point, it’s the safer move to deny” the loan, said Bob Walters, chief economist at Quicken Loans.

An April survey of senior loan officers by the Federal Reserve showed that the risk of put-backs had become a leading factor preventing banks from easing credit standards for mortgages, even as they have eased standards for other loans, such as cars and credit cards.

“Lenders have pulled back because they don’t know what their future exposure around repurchases is going to be…. Ultimately that has limited the availability of mortgage credit,” said Maria Fernandez, associate director for housing and regulatory policy at the FHFA.

The agency’s goal, she added, “is to be very clear with lenders what our expectations are so we can help facilitate more liquidity.”

Industry analysts said the impact of the new rules would rest largely on the details of the rules issued by Fannie and Freddie, and how they enforce those rules. “If you have written guidance from these quasi-government agencies what their terms are, they can’t really walk away from that,” said Laurence Platt, a banking-industry lawyer at K&L Gates in Washington.

At the same time, banks face new regulation in the coming year that could keep them in a defensive position. One provision of the Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law, for example, carries potentially steep penalties if banks don’t properly ensure a borrower has the capacity to repay a loan.

Some large banks are also facing subpoenas from federal prosecutors as part of an effort by the FHFA’s inspector general to determine whether the U.S. could recoup money from banks that sold defaulted loans to Fannie and Freddie, according to people familiar with the investigation.

“It’s one step forward, two steps back,” said Mr. Platt. “You have a bunch of different legs that aren’t walking in unison.”



Olympic Medal Count 2012: Early Day 5 Standings and Bold End-of-Play Predictions


Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY

The London Olympics are going strong, and Day 5 looks to continue the fun and excitement.

After the crowing of Michael Phelps’ Olympic record on Tuesday, we turn our heads to some different action.

Medals will be handed out in 11 different sports on Wednesday. From kayaking to weightlifting, athletes will rise to the occasion for their countries or falter and return home without realizing their Olympic dreams.

Most of the medals being earned today are not in the high-profile events, but they add to to the overall medal count all the same.

London Olympics Medal Count as of Aug. 1, 8 a.m. ET.

Olympic Medal Tracker Gold Silver Bronze
China Total: 23 13 6 4
United States Total: 23 9 8 6
Japan Total: 13 1 4 8
France Total: 11 4 3 4
South Korea Total: 8 3 2 3
For full medal results, check out Bleacher Report’s official leaderboard.


Quiet Day for Americans

Wednesday won’t be a day filled with medal upon medal for the USA. There are opportunities here and there to snag a few, most notably in the men’s individual all-around gymnastics finals and women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay, but overall it should be fairly quiet on the American front.

The American contingent will be focused on preliminary action. Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings look to continue their Olympic set and match records in beach volleyball, and Team USA attempts to continue their domination in women’s basketball.

Don’t look for a big influx in gold on Wednesday.

Gymnastics Redemption

After a disappointment in the team competition, the men will go their separate ways and look for individual gold. This will be their chance to some sort of redemption after not claiming a medal as a group.

The men are talented and can come away with some individual hardware. Supposedly they have the best talent since the 1984 squad, but they have yet to live up to that potential in London.

It will be interesting to see what their mindset is entering the competition after their previous performances. As much as they were celebrated entering the Games, it is time for the men to step up. Maybe they can be inspired by what the women did on Tuesday.

China Will Extend Gold Lead

With the Americans only having a select few opportunities to close the gap on gold, look for the Chinese to extend their lead.

They already have one gold guaranteed as the gold-medal match in women’s table tennis features Ding Ning and Li Xiaoxia.

Their early grasp on gold may be difficult to overcome, but it’s still early in the Games, and the Americans have plenty of opportunities to close the gap as the days pass. But for today, it looks as if they will extend the lead and continue their firm grasp over the rest of the world.

I hope you enjoyed the article! -


Joel Schumacher Lists California Estate for $9.5 Million


Filmmaker Joel Schumacher has listed his Carpinteria, Calif., home for $9.5 million. Candace Jackson has details on The News Hub. Photo: Jim Bartsch.

Filmmaker Joel Schumacher has listed his 7-acre Carpinteria, Calif., estate for $9.5 million.


Jim BartschFilmmaker Joel Schumacher has listed his 7-acre Carpinteria, Calif., estate for $9.5 million.

Just outside of Santa Barbara, the compound was built by Mr. Schumacher on four separate parcels and includes a 6,500-square-foot main house with three bedrooms. Built in 2000, it has both mountain and ocean views and was built in a modern-rustic style with reclaimed barn wood. The home’s large living room has vaulted ceilings, two fireplaces and a loft currently configured as an office. A rotunda-shaped dining room has large windows overlooking a swimming pool. The master suite has a fireplace and a terrace.

The property also includes a guesthouse and a home for a property manager, each of which has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and a pool house.

Known for such movies as “Batman Forever” and “A Time to Kill,” Mr. Schumacher is selling because he’s no longer using the property as much as he used to, according to a listing agent.

Rebecca Riskin & Associates is handling the listing.

A Miami, Fla., home has re-listed for $19 million, up from an original list price of $16.5 million. The seller is Dean Ziff, a private investor whose family founded and owned SunglassHut retail stores. Candace Jackson has details on The News Hub. Photo: Sotheby’s International Realty.

Miami Home Relists and Ups Its Price by 15% to $19 Million

A Miami home has relisted for $19 million, up from an original list price of $16.5 million. The seller is Dean Ziff, a private investor whose family founded and owned Sunglass Hut retail stores.

Built in 1990, the home is on 2½ acres of waterfront along Biscayne Bay. Located in a neighborhood with 24-hour security, the property is surrounded by tropical landscaping. The 14,400-square-foot main house, with Colonial Colombian architectural influences, has eight bedrooms and 10 bathrooms. The home is built around a central atrium, and includes a large master suite and a second-story loggia overlooking the water.

Outside, there’s a swimming pool with an island in the middle and a tennis court. There are also two one-bedroom casitas and a guesthouse with its own kitchen and living room.

The home’s listing agent, Mayi de la Vega of Sotheby’s International Realty, says the listing price was raised because home underwent restorations and updates when it was taken off the market. She shares the listing with Jorge Uribe, also of Sotheby’s.

A Southampton, N.Y. home has listed for $30 million. On more than five acres, the property is directly on the beach with about 200 feet of oceanfront. It includes a two-story, 5,000-square-foot contemporary home with five bedrooms and six bathrooms. Candace Jackson has details on The News Hub. Photo: Philip M. Stamm.

A Home in the Hamptons Lists for $30 Million

A Southampton, N.Y., home has listed for $30 million.

On more than 5 acres, the property is directly on the beach with about 200 feet of oceanfront. It includes a two-story, 5,000-square-foot contemporary home with five bedrooms and six bathrooms. The two-story home has two kitchens, one on each level. There’s a swimming pool surrounded by a glass atrium. It also has a gated entry and a tennis court.

Philip Stamm, an attorney for the owner, whom he described as an 83-year-old relative, says the owner is selling because he has had the property for more than 25 years and is looking to move on. Mr. Stamm is handling the listing; Ryan Podskoch and Matt Podskoch of Global Real Estate Network are also marketing the property.

—Candace Jackson—Email:

A version of this article appeared July 27, 2012, on page D8 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Private Properties.

I hope you enjoyed the article! -


For Olympic Winners, Losing Track of a Medal Is a Personal Bust

Michael Phelps, Shaun White Had Prizes Go Missing; When an eBay Knockoff Will Do


Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez won gold for Cuba’s baseball team in 2004. But he lost the medal when he moved to Chicago. Losing an Olympic medal is more common than you might think, but getting a replacement can be an Olympian task.

When Dutch rower Diederik Simon arrived at an Athens beach party during the 2004 Olympics, he noticed something missing from his pocket: the silver medal he had just won. “I was panicking, and I didn’t tell anybody,” he says.

Mr. Simon spent the celebration quietly searching for his medal. Before midnight, though, he gave up and went to the police station. Filling out a lost-property report, the officer asked him, “What color was the lost item? Ah, yes, silver.”

In the coming days, Olympians at the London Games will win about 3,000 medals, each the culmination of years of hard work. And in a moment’s carelessness, a few of those medals will be lost, perhaps as soon as the medal celebration itself.


Chicago White SoxAlexei Ramirez’s gold medal replica.

After winning gold in the 1988 Seoul Games, Italian rower Davide Tizzano made the traditional leap into the water. Then a teammate jumped on him, jarring the medal from his hand. It sank to the muddy bottom of the Han River.

“I feel exactly like it was yesterday, the feeling of the medal going down, going down,” he says. For the team picture, he borrowed a medal from another Italian rowing team that won gold. A security guard who was also a diver eventually recovered the hardware.

It is up to the Olympic host countries to make the medals, which are typically alloys. Organizers of the London Games say their gold medals, which weigh just under a pound, are actually 92.5% silver and just 1.34% gold. The remainder is copper.

Journal Report

Read the complete Olympics Preview report.

Losing a medal happens more often than one might think. Snowboarder Shaun White once found one of his gold medals, which he has admitted to misplacing a few times, in a seat pocket of his mother’s car. Another time, his mom had taken the medal to the dry cleaner—the ribbon was dirty—and had forgotten about it.

It can be harder to keep track of multiple medals. Swimmer Michael Phelps recently admitted that he was a little foggy about where one of his 16 medals was located. “There are a couple of options of where it could be, but I think when we were traveling—uh, somebody was holding on to it,” he said in an interview on “60 Minutes.”

The police can sometimes solve medal mysteries. Tristan Gale, a skeleton-racing champion at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, had her gold stolen by burglars last year. She recalls visiting San Diego-area pawn shops and asking, “Hi, I’m looking for an Olympic gold medal.” It took police a week to recover the medal. They busted three thieves, who pleaded guilty.

Mr. Simon, the Dutch rower, grew nervous with each passing day about a planned photo-op with Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. “I didn’t want to be standing there without a medal,” he says.

A taxi driver found the award in his cab and, after taking photos with it, turned it in. Athens officials gave him his own medal ceremony with Mr. Simon, as well as a set of commemorative stamps.

It is hard for thieves to pawn a medal since it is easy to identify the award’s rightful owner. Athletes can sell their own medals, but Olympic officials frown on the idea. In a 2010 sale from Heritage Auctions, of Dallas, a gold medal from the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” hockey team fetched $310,700.

For athletes who don’t find their missing awards, the International Olympic Committee does offer replicas.



The IOC keeps medal molds from modern Games in the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, a spokeswoman says. She adds the organization, which has 34,237 medalists in its database, gets one or two replacement requests every year. The replacements have the word replica on them, usually in tiny print on the bottom edge.

The U.S. Olympic Committee says replicas generally cost the athlete between $500 and $1,200, depending on the intricacy of the design.

Getting an Olympic replica takes months. Alexei Ramirez, a Chicago White Sox shortstop who won gold for Cuba’s baseball team in 2004, says someone stole his medal as he and his wife relocated to the U.S. The White Sox sent the IOC a police report and payment this past spring. Two months later, the team received the new medal—without a strap, since the IOC doesn’t supply replica ribbons—via DHL and surprised Mr. Ramirez with an on-field presentation.

Mr. Ramirez says he keeps his replica in a safe place, but he won’t say exactly where. “That’s a secret,” he says. “I’m not going to tell anybody to make sure it doesn’t get stolen again.”

Some Olympians don’t like talking about their absent-minded moment. Glenn Eller, a shotgun shooter who won gold in Beijing, says only that someone took it while he was out with colleagues in Fort Worth, Texas, in late 2008. “I put myself in a situation that I probably shouldn’t have been in, and someone stole it out of my pocket,” he says. “I’m trying to forget it and go ahead.” He has since received a replica.

Olympic officials warn it can be tough to replicate certain medals if they contain materials other than metal. U.S. water polo goalie Merrill Moses, who had his silver from the 2008 Beijing Games stolen in a burglary of his parents’ house, says his replica medal contained jade that looked painted on, rather than a piece embedded in the back.

Mr. Moses returned that replica to Olympic officials, who told him they found a way to make a better one. In the meantime, he is toting around something else: a $75 knockoff silver medal he bought on eBay. “I do a lot of camps and clinics…and the kids want to see a medal,” Mr. Moses says, adding that he tells them it isn’t the real thing.

Before there was an official process for getting replacement medals, athletes made do with makeshift ones. Olympics historian David Wallechinsky says Canadian high jumper Duncan McNaughton lost his 1932 gold medal. So his friend Bob Van Osdel—the high-jump runner-up who happened to be a dentist—made a mold from his silver medal, filled it with gold and sent the replica to Mr. McNaughton, the historian says.

Corey Codgell, a shotgun shooter who won bronze in Beijing, doesn’t take any chances. She usually keeps her nicked-up medal in her front pocket when she travels. Before letting an audience at an event handle it, she warns everybody: “No one leaves this room until I get my medal back.”


Streaming Coverage: Get the latest Journal coverage of the 2012 Games right here – every story, video, photo or tweet related to the competition and all news off the field.

Plus, watch videosee photos and view a schedule of events at

Write to Stu Woo at and Geoffrey A. Fowler

Enjoy the Games! -


Olympics social media: Get as connected as the rings for 2012 Games

Olympic FacesThe International Olympic Committee is enhancing its social media hub to include Instagram photos from the Olympic Village (IOC / July 19, 2012)
By Michelle MaltaisJuly 19, 2012, 1:20 p.m.

This summer’s Olympics will be more connected than the five rings of its emblem. It’s on Twitter,FacebookGoogle+, Instagram (@Olympics) and foursquare.

And the International Olympic Committee is building up an Olympic Village online by integrating these social media to help connect a worldwide audience with the athletes in the London 2012 Games.

“When I went to the Games for the first time it was back in Barcelona in 1992—those games had an internal email system, and it was groundbreaking,” six-time Olympic British archer Allison Williamson told a press conference unveiling the hub. “In London, I will be sharing photos of the Athletes’ Village and other fun things.”

Through the IOC’s Olympic Athletes’ Hub, you can virtually enter the exclusive Olympic Village to connect with your favorite competitor’s Facebook and Twitter profiles, get Instagram portraits of the athletes and chat directly with a featured athlete in a Twitter #asknathlete Q&A.

“Social media has been a great way to connect with fans and share not just my stories but the stories of other amazing people and athletes,” said South African Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius at the press conference. “I am truly blessed and thrilled to be participating in the 2012 London Olympics and look forward to sharing my Olympic experiences with the social media community and inspiring young athletes to do amazing things.”

Since we all like to pretend we are as informed as the judges, the IOC will soon launch the Olympic Challenge in the Athletes’ Hub, a social game that lets fans compete to predict the outcome of various Olympic events and see how they rank on the leaderboard against their friends and fans around the world.

Photos from various angles of the events will be available on Tumblr: an aggregation of existing social feeds, live from inside the Village with the Instagram portraitsGetty Images shots as well as shots and commentary on the fashion scene.

Enjoy the Games! -



The Top 5 Things Buyers Love

The Top 5 Things Buyers Love

This week’s blogs are chock-full of ways to translate what buyers love into strategies for selling your home this spring. 
Here are the top five things potential buyers want in a brand-new house, according to a recent survey by trade publisher Hanley Wood:
  • Everything is new
  • Less maintenance
  • More energy-efficient
  • Opportunity to customize
  • Contemporary floor plan

And here are the top five things potential buyers like about existing homes:

  • More affordable
  • Established community
  • Opportunity to remodel
  • Character
  • Better neighborhood

Now you know what to emphasize in your listing, whether you are selling a new house or an existing house.

Image courtesy of Morguefile contributor Taliesin


Rosenthal Wine Estate in Malibu Is Listed for $59.5 Million


A 235-acre Malibu, Calif. wine estate has listed for $59.5 million. Candace Jackson has details on Lunch Break. (Photo: Simon Berlyn)

A 235-acre Malibu, Calif., wine estate has listed for $59.5 million. The seller is George I. Rosenthal, the chairman of Raleigh Enterprise, which owns and operates commercial real estate, hotels, and movie and TV studio complexes.

Mr. Rosenthal assembled the Rosenthal Wine Estate beginning in 1977. The property includes a 12,000-square-foot hacienda-style main residence with two swimming pools. There are also horse stables and two guesthouses, including one with an additional pool.

Photos: Private Properties

Nick SpringettA 235-acre Malibu, Calif., wine estate has listed for $59.5 million. The main house has two swimming pools.

The property includes 25 acres of hillside vineyards as well as a wine-tasting room, banquet room and office. The home’s furnishings are included in the purchase price.

“It’s been a great joy in my life but it’s time to take on other things,” says Mr. Rosenthal. His 90-acre Aspen, Colo., property, known as Jigsaw Ranch, is also on the market in two separate parcels, one asking $36 million and the other $22 million.

Irene Dazzan-Palmer and Sandro Dazzan of Coldwell Banker Previews International have the Malibu listing. Joshua Saslove of Joshua & Co. has the Aspen listings.

Former Congressman William Stuckey has listed his Washington, D.C. home for $6.25 million. Candace Jackson has details The News Hub. (Photo: Tom Schweda/Matt and Ryan Podskoch Global Real Estate Network)

Williamson Stuckey Asks $6.25 Million for Washington, D.C., Home

Former Rep. Williamson Stuckey and his wife, Ethelynn, have listed their Washington, D.C., home for $6.25 million.

Located on an acre in the Spring Valley neighborhood, the 8,000-square-foot house has six bedrooms and seven bathrooms. The 1920s-era home has a stone exterior and a slate roof, and there are extensive gardens. Inside, there’s a large dining room, a sunroom and a library. The home was extensively renovated and updated in 2006, though the original windows and exterior features were kept intact.

Mr. Stuckey, who is the chairman of Stuckey’s, a large chain of highway rest stops, purchased the home with his wife 45 years ago from then-Commerce Secretary John T. Connor. According to Mrs. Stuckey, Mr. Connor told Mr. Stuckey about the home over dinner at the White House and he decided then to buy it. They paid about $180,000 for it, says Mrs. Stuckey.

Mrs. Stuckey says they are selling because they plan to return to Georgia, where they are from. “I really have a lot of my heart in the house and the garden,” she said. Cathie Gill of Cathie Gill Inc. Realtors has the listing.

An Evergreen, Colo. home has listed for $18.95 million. Candace Jackson has details on The News Hub. (Photo: Cathie Gill, Inc./HomeVisit)

Home on 160 Acres Near Denver Is Listed for $18.95 Million

An Evergreen, Colo., home has listed for $18.95 million.

The property, about 40 minutes from downtown Denver, includes 160 acres on five separate parcels adjacent to a national forest. It includes a 9,500-square-foot stone and stucco main house, a 3,000-square-foot caretaker’s residence and two barns. The main house has a terrace along the back with mountain views.

The seller is Robert Truscheit, the owner of a private investment firm, who is based in Washington state. Mr. Truscheit assembled the property in 2004 and built the home in 2009. “Admittedly, it’s a high price,” says Mr. Truscheit. “The right person has to come along who wants the privacy.” Matt Podskoch and Ryan Podskoch of Global Real Estate Network have the listing.

—Candace Jackson—Email:

Corrections & Amplifications
Former Rep. Williamson Stuckey’s first name was incorrectly given as William in an earlier version of this article.