KEY WEST, Fla. -- The "Pirates in Paradise Festival," held annually in Key West, is getting a new highlight this year -- an "Official End of Florida's Hurricane Season Party."

The celebration, which commemorates Key West's maritime heritage, takes place Nov. 25 through Dec. 5. The island city was settled in the early 1800s and later became home to seafarers ranging from fishermen to rumrunners to shipwreck rescuers and scavengers.

The hurricane party will take place Nov. 30, the day the National Hurricane Center deems the close of the 2004 storm season.

Events will include a window-taping contest carried out by blindfolded participants, dart-throwing at storm maps and a relay race to gather hurricane supplies. Admission to the party at El Meson de Pepe (410 Wall St.) is free. Attendees are asked to contribute canned goods and supplies to be donated to hurricane victims in the Caribbean.

For details, visit or call (305) 296-9694.



ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The U.S. Forest Service has granted a five-year permit for heli-skiing despite the protests of some Kenai Peninsula residents concerned about increased air traffic and possible wildlife disturbances.

The permits allow Chugach Powder Guides to use helicopters to drop skiers in 160,000 acres of hard-to-access backcountry terrain through 2010, said owner Chris Owens. The company also received new one-year permits for about another 100,000 acres.

Heli-skiing has been a part of Alaska's growing outdoor-adventure economy for more than 10 years, but the industry has been tied to the annual permits. The five-year permit will allow the company to plan for long-term growth.

The heli-skiing season runs from February through mid-April.


OKLAHOMA CITY -- Country music star Toby Keith has broken ground for a 600-seat restaurant and music hall along a canal in the Bricktown entertainment district.

"Toby Keith's I Love This Bar &; Grill" will be built for $4.7 million and is scheduled to open next spring.


"The whole concept reflects my passion for Oklahoma and where everyone will feel comfortable," Keith said.

The 12,000-square-foot venue is named after a popular Keith song, "I Love This Bar."

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said city officials were thrilled with the project.

"This further solidifies Bricktown's reputation as a premier destination entertainment center and fits into our goal of increasing our tourism opportunities," Cornett said.

Keith lives in the Oklahoma City area.

"When I'm home, I plan to come by my bar for a cold one, kick back and enjoy the music," he said.

The entertainment district includes a 16-screen theater.

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