BASEBALL STILL ON TOP
Just about every sport has a hall of fame these days. The first, the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., opened in June of 1939.
While baseball is not the dominant spectator sport it was in 1939, it still ranks first in the number of fans who go to games each year at more than 71 million.
College football draws the second largest number of sports fans at almost 40 million, horseracing 37 million, college basketball 30 million, the National Basketball Association 22 million, the National Football League 20 million, the National Hockey League 18 million.
According to the U.S. Census, a total 195 million people in the United States participated in recreational and leisure activities and sporting events attracted 41 percent. The activity that people do the most in their leisure time is exercise. Some 76 percent do some type of exercise.
Doing home improvements and going to movies tied for second place at 66 percent. Amusement parks attracted 57 percent. Forty-five percent participate in sports, 43 percent do acts of charity and 40 percent have computer hobbies.
A VACATION FIT FOR ROYALTY
Through June 18, eBay will be offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to vacation like royalty at Balmoral, the British royal family's estate located in the highlands of Scotland.
As Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 50 years on the throne, she has made the offer of a 7-day vacation stay for up to 12 people in her Alltnaguibhsaich Lodge -- a vacation cottage on the grounds of the historic Balmoral Estate.
Proceeds from the sale will benefit the National Football League's Alumni "Caring for Kids" charity.
The cottage is described as "an oasis of seclusion, that features a sitting room and study with open fires, a drawing room, dining room, nine bedrooms, five bathrooms, a playroom and kitchen.
The winning eBay bidder of the "ultimate fantasy vacation" will also have the opportunity to explore the moors, forests and miles of trails located on the massive 55,000-acre manor, as well as the ruins, castles, stone villages and distilleries that lie in the highlands of the local mountains.
Vacationers will be allowed to ride and tour the grounds on one of the queen's ponies, picnic in the sunken gardens covering some three acres, read under a tree by Queen Victoria's garden house or stroll the banks of the River Dee and enjoy the finest fishing Scotland has to offer.
Balmoral Estate has been the Scottish home of the royal family since it was purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852. Founded in 1995, eBay created a cyber platform for the sale of goods and services worldwide.
WATER VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENTS COSTLY
The American Water Works Association, a private company that manages municipal drinking water plants, announces recommendations for public water systems to comply with the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act.
The act includes significant new requirements for water utilities, intended to better prepare the nation for another possible terrorist attack.
The federal law requires water utilities serving more than 3,300 people to conduct vulnerability assessments that include a review of pipes and constructed conveyances, physical barriers, water collection, pretreatment, treatment and storage and distribution facilities by 2004.
Information contained in the vulnerability assessment is exempt from the Federal Freedom of Information Act disclosure.
"Clearly, we need to ensure that vulnerability assessments not be subject to disclosure that would enable this information to fall into the wrong hands -- it comes down to an issue of national security, says Tom Curtis, deputy executive director of AWWA.
AWWA's 4,500 water utility members serve 80 percent of the U.S. population and about 8,000 utilities would be required to prepare assessments under the new law. AWWA estimates that $450 million is needed to conduct vulnerability assessments, and an additional $1.6 billion will be needed to immediately restrict access to water treatment plants and other property through better fences, locks, alarms, etc.
This does not include the cost of capital-intensive security upgrades that may be identified as a result of the assessment process, AWWA says. The Act authorizes $160 million in 2002.
HELPING YOUR DOG RELAX?
A video produced to relax and comfort "man's best friend" is available just in time for June's Pet Appreciation Week.
"Comfort for Dogs," a 45-minute video, relaxes dogs while their owners are away is a sure bet for any dog owner, according to two Florida women who set out to relieve the guilt they felt when leaving their dogs at home for long periods of time while they worked.
"Comfort for Dogs" is the ultimate relaxation companion for the dog at home, featuring soothing video clips of engaging photography and specially scored music that enhances the dog's surroundings, say Kathleen Tagle and Rochelle LaMontagne.
The video is endorsed by Dr. Jane Leon, a veterinarian whose lifelong interest is helping people maximize their relationship with pets.
People can play "Comfort for Dogs" while they're at home with their pet when they can both enjoy the pleasant and soothing music, she said.
Repeating the experience with their pet can help create a positive association, Leon said.
When the owners leave and put on the video, they are repeating a positive association they had previously built with the dog, the video's producers say.
Why not just play the radio or television?
"Playing 'Comfort for Dogs' allows you to control the content and level of sound your dog hears and the soothing music ensures your sleeping dog won't be interrupted by traffic, weather reports or loud advertisements," the women said.