Monday, March 21, 2011

Enjoy Symphony on the Sand with the Grammy® Award-Winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

SYMPHONY ON THE SAND
Robert Pound, conductor
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra


SMITH (arr. Damrosch) The Star-Spangled Banner
SHOSTAKOVICH Festive Overture, Opus 96
BRAHMS Hungarian Dance Nos. 5 & 6
BIZET Suite No. 1 from L'Arl├ęsienne
VERDI Overture to I vespri sicilani
CHADWICK Jubilee from Symphonic Sketches, Opus 70
GOULD American Salute
(arr. Lowden) Armed Forces Salute
HERMAN Highlights from Mame
JOHN WILLIAMS Raiders March from Raiders of the Lost Ark


Enjoy Symphony on the Sand featuring the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) at Callaway Gardens® on Friday, April 29, 2011, at 8 p.m.

Columbus native Robert Pound will lead the Orchestra in a variety of popular and classical favorites, including the theme from Raiders of the Lost Ark, selections from the musical Mame, Shostakovich’s energetic Festive Overture, and an array of patriotic tunes, such as the Armed Forces Salute and Gould’s American Salute – and maybe a surprise or two! This entertaining, family-friendly program is perfect for a fun night out under the stars.

General seating* on the lawn at Robin Lake Beach is available at the gate for $20 per adult; $10 per child age six to 12; and children age five and younger are admitted for free. Admission is half-price for Callaway Gardens Annual Passholders and active/retired military and their dependents, upon presentation of a valid military identification card. Special ticket pricing is available for groups larger than 15.

A limited number of stage front tables* on the beach (with eight chairs and table cloths) are available for $280 each. A variety of food baskets and arrangements are available for purchase. To reserve a table, please call 706-663-5154. Dress is casual. The Robin Lake Beach gate will open at 5 p.m. The concert will begin at 8 p.m.

Proceeds benefit the Ida Cason Callaway Foundation (ICCF). For information on becoming a sponsor, please call 706-663-5096.

Overnight packages including concert tickets are available.

Callaway Gardens®, is in Pine Mountain, Ga., 60 minutes southwest of Atlanta and 30 minutes north of Columbus. For additional information, call 1-800-CALLAWAY (225-5292) or visit www.callawaygardens.com/aso.

*Tents and umbrellas are not permitted.

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Vision Airlines Puts Passengers on Cloud Nine With $19 Seat Sale on Flights to and From Destin/Fort Walton Beach

/PRNewswire/ -- Starting at midnight, Sunday, March 20, 2011, just in time for spring break vacation and to celebrate the start of its new service, Vision Airlines launches an introductory $19* one-way seat sale on the carrier's flights to and from cities in 11 states to NW Florida Regional Airport. It serves the Destin/Fort Walton Beach area, which is also known as Florida's Emerald Coast. The Destin/Ft. Walton Beach area is among America's top-10 spring break vacation destinations. Orlando, with its theme parks, is the nation's number one family spring break spot.

Vision Airlines offers service to the Orlando/Sanford International Airport from multiple cities.

Vision Airlines' specially-priced, limited $19* fares are also available on flights from NW Florida Regional to Orlando/Sanford International Airport; Punta Gorda/Fort Myers Airport and St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport.

The $19* fares apply to flights that take-off the morning of March 25, 2011 through May 21, 2011. There is a limited number of $19* seats on each flight. The sale ends on Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 11:59 PM (ET).

Inaugural Flights Launch

Between March 25 and April 1, 2011, Vision Airlines begins new service to the following cities: Atlanta GA, Baton Rouge LA, Destin/Ft. Walton Beach FL, Ft. Lauderdale FL, Ft. Myers/Punta Gorda FL, Greenville SC, Huntsville AL, Knoxville TN, Louisville KY, Savannah/Hilton Head, and St. Pete/Tampa FL.

Beginning April 1, 2011, Vision Airlines launches service to Asheville NC, Chattanooga TN, Columbia SC, Little Rock AR, Orlando/Sanford FL, Shreveport LA.

Vision Airlines is currently flying scheduled service to Atlanta, Destin/Ft. Walton Beach, Houston, St. Petersburg, Louisville, Gulfport, Miami and Niagara/Buffalo. More routes will be added on or after March 25th 2011.

Tickets and complete vacation packages are now on sale at www.VisionAirlines.com; or through the airline's reservations call center at 1-877-FLY-A-JET.

FLYING IS LESS EXPENSIVE THAN DRIVING TO FLORIDA

For decades people living in Vision Airlines' focus cities have been vacationing and retiring along the Emerald Coast. "Because there has never been affordable air travel to Destin-Fort Walton Beach, families have had to endure grueling drives to get to Florida's gulf coast says," COO, David Meers. "That all changes with the launch of our inaugural Florida flights."

Meers emphasizes, "With gas prices creeping closer to $4 per gallon in many states, flying Vision Airlines to Florida is now less expensive than driving, especially since we are offering fares as low as $19*"

On average, Vision Airlines' normal one-way fares to Florida are $89 - $99.

REVITALIZE EMERALD COAST ECONOMY

Vision Airlines is expected to play a pivotal role in revitalizing Florida's Emerald Coast tourism industry as the economy was crippled by last year's Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Florida Governor Rick Scott forecasts that Vision Airlines will generate approximately 4,000 new jobs and will help fill the area's tens of thousands of hotel rooms, many of which remained vacant during the 2010 tourist season, due to the oil spill.

"While there were some tar balls on the Emerald Coast's beaches, there were no off-shore oil slicks," says Mark Bellinger, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Emerald Coast Convention and Visitors' Bureau. "Despite limited environmental impact, tourists avoided the gulf coast altogether in 2010."

The Governor and local tourism officials encourage tourists to see for themselves that Florida's Emerald Coast beaches are still sugary-white and the water is still crystal clear.

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Stone Mountain Park Debuts New Lasershow Spectacular™ in Mountainvision This Summer

/PRNewswire/ -- Stone Mountain Park (SMP), Georgia's No. 1 attraction, today announced plans to premiere an all new Lasershow Spectacular™, using an unprecedented digital, multi-dimensional projection called Mountainvision – set to debut Memorial Day Weekend.

The new Lasershow Spectacular™ in Mountainvision, brings state-of-the-art, multi-dimensional magic to one of the world's biggest outdoor screens - Stone Mountain. Mountainvision will be the first time this immersive, unparalleled technology is used in Atlanta and in the Southeast. The production is four to five times the size of an IMAX screen and is taller than the Statue of Liberty.

"This new technology will bring the mountain to life," said Gerald Rakestraw, vice president and general manager, SMP. "At times, it will even appear as if the mountain is crumbling right before your eyes. It truly is something you have to see to believe."

SMP has been home to the Lasershow Spectacular™ for more than 25 years. Seen by more than 25 million people since 1983, the multi-million dollar spectacle is the world's longest running lasershow.

"We are using all the tools in our arsenal: Digital projection, lasers, special effects and pyrotechnics in one of the most spectacular settings and with an 825 foot granite backdrop," said Rakestraw. "There is no other place on earth to see a show like this."

Construction and creative production already began and will continue through the spring. The Lasershow Spectacular™ in Mountainvision is scheduled to debut Memorial Day weekend.

The Lasershow is free with $10 vehicle entrance to SMP. The best way to view the new Lasershow Spectacular™ in Mountainvision is with reserved VIP Terrace Seating. SMP also offers a variety of value-priced options for families to enjoy the park attractions and the Lasershow such as the Gold Family Value Pass which includes four All Attraction Adventure Passes, four meal tickets and four reserved Lasershow seats for $149 plus tax.

Stone Mountain Park has again partnered this season with Full Spectrum, LLC to produce and operate the show, which in addition to introducing Mountainvision, will continue to feature original themed vignettes choreographed to inspiring music culminating with a dazzling fireworks display.

More information regarding Stone Mountain Park attractions and hours of operation is available at 770-498-5690 or by visiting www.stonemountainpark.com.

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wonders of Nature Take Center Stage at Callaway Gardens’ “Celebrate Spring!”

Looking to celebrate the arrival of Spring…look no further than Callaway Gardens,® which offers a seemingly endless array of choices to celebrate the beauty of the season.

During Spring, Callaway Gardens’ world-famous azalea displays move front and center. Home of the world’s largest azalea garden, the Callaway Brothers Azalea Bowl, Callaway Gardens a site to behold during Springtime. Wondering how the azaleas are progressing? Be sure to visit the 2011 “Azalea Watch” at www.callawaygardens.com.

Celebrate Spring! themed weekends, beginning March 26 and running through April 29, feature a series of family activities, workshops, seminars, events and unparalleled family fun…all set against the backdrop of one of the most gorgeous natural settings in America.

Gardening earns the spotlight from March 24 through March 27 when Gardening in the Gardens highlights the Callaway Gardens Annual Plant Fair and Sale, which has free admission to Plant Fair and separate admission for Gardens. This popular annual event features select nurserymen from around the Southeast showcasing their specialty plants and vendors selling unique garden-themed items beginning on Thursday (3 p.m. to 7 p.m.) through the weekend (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Friday marks the return of the Callaway Gardening School, featuring author and TV personality Erica Glasener offering the latest and greatest tips for full-bloom gardening success.

Sounds of the Gardens will be the feature April 2 and 3, where guests can explore the Gardens searching for the natural sounds of birds, water and more. Music wafting through the trees will add to the experience of visiting on a beautiful Spring day.

The first “Vegetable Gardening from A to Z” with Walter Reeves and David Chambers will be on April 8th. Then, April 9th and 10th will be the weekend for Flavors of the Gardens. Visitors will have the opportunity to sample Callaway Gardens’ signature items as well as a few surprises.

Colors of the Gardens takes center stage April 16 and 17 as the second annual Plein Air Paint Out, Art Show and Sale finishes up with an exhibit available to guests. Thirty-three juried artists from throughout the United States will be on hand painting the beauty of Spring. Throughout the weekend, guests will be able to view and purchase these works so new that the paint may still be “wet.” For more details on Plein Air, visit www.callawaygardens.com/pleinair.

Easter is always a perfect time for Renewal in the Gardens, especially at Callaway and this year is certainly no exception. Easter Weekend, April 23 and 24, join the Easter Bunny for a fun-filled holiday showcasing a variety of activities highlighted by the annual Easter Egg Hunts on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. (don’t forget to bring your Easter basket). Easter floral displays at the Sibley Horticultural Center always add to the beauty. The traditional topiary exhibit includes chicks, bunnies, eggs and more. Guests will be awed by one of the nation’s largest display of Easter Lilies. On Sunday morning, celebrate the meaning of the day with a moving lakeside sunrise service starting at 7:30 a.m. free of charge until 8 a.m.. Following the service, attendees may want to enjoy a traditional Easter brunch featuring a variety of delicious options from Callaway Gardens’ culinary team. To make reservations, call 1-800-CALLAWAY (225-5292) ext. 6832 or 706-663-6832. For details, visit www.callawaygardens.com/easter.

And, returning for the fourth year, Symphony on the Sand featuring the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will wrap up Spring on Friday, April 29, with a concert under the stars on Robin Lake Beach. Tables of eight are available for reservation. General admission tickets will be available at the gate. More information is available at www.callawaygardens.com/aso.

In addition, guests can enjoy the year-round attraction favorites including the acclaimed Birds of Prey shows, butterflies in free flight at the Day Butterfly Center, touring the Gardens on the 10-mile Discovery Bicycle Trail, newly planted gardens in Mr. Cason’s Vegetable Garden, quiet moments at the Ida Cason Callaway Memorial Chapel and more.

Callaway Gardens is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Callaway Gardens special event admission for Celebrate Spring! is $25/adult; $12.50/child (ages 6-12); and children five and under are admitted for free. Tax is included. Most activities occur from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. A small fee may be charged for some activities. An Annual Pass is a great way to enjoy Callaway Gardens’ many events and seasons. For more information, visit www.callawaygardens.com/annualpass.

Make your reservations for Callaway Gardens’ Celebrate Spring! Weekends by calling 1-800-CALLAWAY (225-5292). Overnight lodging is available for those interested in a quick getaway. For more information, visit www.callawaygardens.com. For news, special offers and more, click “like” at www.facebook.com/callawaygardens.com.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Travel Industry, Security Experts Unveil Roadmap to New Air Travel Security Screening System in U.S.

/PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Travel Association and a panel of travel and security experts today unveiled a groundbreaking plan to improve security at America's airports and reduce the burden on travelers. Among the most notable recommendations are the creation of a trusted traveler program and a requirement that travelers be allowed to check at least one bag at no additional cost to the ticket price as a means to reduce the amount of luggage going through the security checkpoint.

The need for reform was made especially clear by recent research revealing that travelers are avoiding two to three trips per year due to unnecessary hassles associated with the security screening process. These avoided trips come at a cost of $85 billion and 900,000 jobs to the American economy.

The recommendations, the culmination of a year-long analysis to remake aviation security screening, were issued in a report titled "A Better Way: Building a World Class System for Aviation Security," and call on Congress to own responsibility for improving the current system through effective policy decisions.

"The country that put a man on the moon, invented the Internet and creates daily innovations in manufacturing can and must do better in screening passengers and improving our air travel experience," said Roger Dow, president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Travel Association. "Air travel is the gateway to commerce and an improved experience is directly tied to job creation and a stronger economy."

The panel was chaired by former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former Congressman Jim Turner and Sam Gilliland, president and chief executive officer of Sabre Holdings.

In helping U.S. Travel introduce the report, former Secretary Ridge said: "A strong aviation security screening system must feature several characteristics, including efficient methods of deterring and interdicting terrorists and criminals; tailored security based upon risk assessment; frequent, clear communication with the traveling public; and cost-effective use of resources."

Rooted in the diverse professional and political viewpoints of the panelists, the group did not always find consensus in how to address the difficult challenges. Among the panel's recommendations in the report:

* Implement a risk-based trusted traveler program. Congress should authorize the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to implement a new, voluntary, government-run trusted traveler program that utilizes a risk-based approach to checkpoint screening, with the goal of refocusing resources on the highest risk passengers;
* Improve preparation of travelers . Industry stakeholders should work with TSA to improve their education and communication on security rules and regulations, targeting locations and sources that travelers are likely to review as they book or prepare for a trip;
* Encourage fewer carry-on bags . The Department of Transportation (DOT) should issue regulations requiring airlines to allow passengers one checked bag as part of their base airfare and standardize existing rules covering the quantity and size of items that can be carried onto an airplane;
* Reduce duplicative TSA screening for international arrivals . DHS should enable certain low-risk passengers who are traveling to another domestic airport to forego checked baggage and passenger screening upon landing in the U.S.;
* Expand trusted traveler programs to qualified international passengers . DHS should expand access to international trusted traveler programs for international passengers entering the U.S., as well as lead efforts to establish a multinational network of streamlined entry procedures for low-risk travelers;
* Give TSA authority over the entire checkpoint area . Congress should immediately act to clear up confusion over "ownership" of commercial aviation security and authorize TSA to control the entire security checkpoint starting at the beginning of the security lines and ending after a traveler exits the screening area;
* Develop a comprehensive technology procurement strategy. TSA, in collaboration with technology vendors and the travel community, should develop a comprehensive strategy for implementing necessary checkpoint technology capabilities. Congress should provide multi-year funding plans for TSA to execute this strategy;
* Implement well-defined risk management processes. The Administration should convene an external panel of experts with appropriate security clearances to review TSA aviation security programs, assess the risk each is designed to mitigate and develop metrics for measuring progress to lessen that risk.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

TripAlertz is Giving Away a Free Trip to Space

/PRNewswire/ -- To celebrate its Grand Launch, TripAlertz, a private, members-only travel site that uses the power of collective buying to deliver guaranteed best prices, is offering the chance to win a " Free Epic Journey into Space !" You can lift-off with Colonel Rick Searfoss (retired), who is one of only seven astronauts with more than 50 flights in rocket-powered vehicles. Entry into this "out of this world" promotion is free. The winner can assign the trip, subject to certain restrictions, as a gift to family, friends or a charity.

"Everyone kept telling us that we needed a launch strategy, so we took it literately," said Founder & Chief Inspiration Officer Brendan Murphy.

The Epic Journey into Space is offered via a partnership with XCOR Aerospace, builder of the Lynx Suborbital reusable space plane and provider of rocket technology to leading global companies. Lynx pilot, Colonel Searfoss, has flown the Space Shuttle three times, twice as pilot and once as Commander. His first space flight as pilot in 1993 set the record for the longest duration Space Shuttle mission to date. In 1996, he piloted Atlantis to the Russian space station Mir.

According to Andrew Nelson, XCOR's COO, "The flight profile of Lynx provides an exciting and enriching personal space experience which promises the ride of your life – a Pinnacle Life Event! The two-seat Lynx Mark I vehicle takes off horizontally from a runway with a powerful ascent reaching over twice the speed of sound (Mach 2+) on its way to the edge of space. The profound blackness of space, the spectacular view of Earth's curvature, and 1600 miles of viewing are unforgettable sights while experiencing weightlessness at apogee."

Colonel Searfoss adds "flight participants accompanying me will not only experience the exhilaration of the launch, but mankind's rarest view of all – Earth from space -- its beauty, its fragility and its lack of borders. The sheer magnificence of it will be potentially life altering."

In keeping with the TripAlertz commitment to offer "out of this world" value through its member's collective buying power, space trips can be purchased at a fraction of Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic price. The TripAlertz Epic Journey into Space Package customarily sells for $95,000, yet as more people purchase, the power of collective buying can drive the price lower for everyone. Since words alone cannot describe this journey to space, pioneering space tourists will be presented with a personalized high definition DVD recorded by onboard cameras along with other stellar mementos, beyond specialized pre-flight training at a luxury resort in Arizona.

The TripAlertz Epic Journey into Space includes a five-night stay at the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa during training and preparation, medical evaluation and screening, a cancellation insurance policy, and of course the Lynx flight itself, which promises to be the greatest ride off Earth. A deposit of $20,000 begins the process of assigning each space tourist to the training and qualification program.

The winner of the Free Epic Journey into Space will be drawn live on broadband-streamed television at the "TripAlertz Summer Solstice Party" on June 21, 2011. The promotion is Free and simple to enter. Anyone over the age of 21 can enter and improve their odds of going orbital:

1. One entry for signing up - Take 10 seconds to join TripAlertz for free via http://TripAlertz.com/Space or http://Facebook.com/TripAlertz.
2. One entry for each friend you refer (no purchase necessary) - Invite 50 friends to join TripAlertz (for free), get 50 entries.
3. One entry for every dollar you spend on TripAlertz - Buy a $500 getaway package and get 500 more entries, plus, 1% of TripAlertz net revenues are donated to its featured charity Pachamama Alliance (www.pachamama.org) and their 4YEARS.GO (www.fouryearsgo.org) campaign to change the course of history.


The following celebrities will be tweeting about the promotion: Ryan Seacrest, Jeremy Piven, Gary Vaynerchuk, Eva Longoria, and more. TripAlertz donated more than $33,000 to aHomeinHaiti.org for the first ever TwitChange Celebrity Auction in 2010, which allowed TripAlertz to save the tweets of its favorite celebrities for this exciting promotion that supports Pachamama.org. Variations of the following tweet will be sent by the celebrities "Win #FreeSpaceTrip with XCOR! Become @TripAlertz member 4 free 2 win & support @fouryearsgo. Go2 tripalertz.com/space . Plz RT."

For those preferring a more grounded experience, TripAlertz (dubbed by Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel magazine as the "Groupon for Travel") has added tourism experiences to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex along with epic prices on Orlando hotels & resorts and other extras like theme park tickets. Anyone buying an Orlando package during the initial offer period (March 15-June 21) will receive two tickets to Kennedy Space Center for free and increase their odds of winning a Free Epic Journey to Space!

"We are delighted to be included as a premier offering in TripAlertz's Orlando tour packages," said John Stine, Director of Sales and Marketing with the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. "The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is the only place on Earth where you can tour launch areas, meet a veteran astronaut, see giant rockets, train in spaceflight simulators, and even view a launch."

TripAlertz is also proud to announce its first cruise line partnership with Norwegian Cruise Line. Norwegian will be featured on TripAlertz alongside other prominent travel brands for the grand launch, including Fairmont Bermuda, Elite Island Resorts, Occidental Resorts, Jackson Hole Resort, Napa River Inn, Hilton New York, Renaissance Aruba & Asheville, Xeliter, The Reefs Bermuda, Cambridge Beaches Bermuda, Radisson Aruba, Recreo Costa Rica, Steele Luxury Travel, and many more.

"We are thrilled to be featuring Norwegian Cruise Line's Freestyle Cruising vacations on TripAlertz," said Founder Brendan Murphy. "We strategically chose to work with Norwegian as our founding cruise partner because their commitment to innovation matches perfectly with our member demographics who are seeking a revolutionary online travel experience."

For more information visit bit.ly/jointripalertz. To interview TripAlertz founder Brendan Murphy, Colonel Rick Searfoss, or Andrew Nelson of XCOR, please contact us. See attached video for a preview of the Lynx experience.

The complete rules of the promotion are available at TripAlertz.com or by mailing TripAlertz's administrative office at 3048 W. Clarkston Road, Lake Orion, MI 48362. This release summarizes some of the rules, but the state filed promotional rules are the sole legal determinant of the promotion's rules.

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Southwest Airlines Teams Up With Dude Perfect to Give Away Ten Million Points in the All-New Rapid Rewards Program

/PRNewswire/ -- Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) recently launched the carrier's new frequent flyer program, All-New Rapid Rewards, and to celebrate, Southwest is giving away ten million Rapid Rewards Points to Members (and those who sign up) through an online sweepstakes. In the Ten Million Point Giveaway, 100 lucky Members will each win 100,000 Rapid Rewards Points. The sweepstakes will run from March 15 through March 31, 2011. For complete promotion details and to register to win, visit: www.southwest.com/bigshot. If you're not already a Rapid Rewards Member, you can sign up for the program to become eligible to win. To read a blog post from Southwest's Senior Director of Customer Loyalty and Partnerships Ryan Green, visit: www.blogsouthwest.com.

Southwest teamed up with the internet sensation basketball trick-shot artists, Dude Perfect, to score points for the All-New Rapid Rewards program. Customers who register for the promotion will be entertained by Dude Perfect, which has filmed a variety of basketball trick shots to show off their skills using a Southwest Boeing 737, in a Southwest Maintenance Hangar, and around Southwest's corporate headquarters. Southwest and Dude Perfect will showcase the trick shots in a series of videos that will be unveiled throughout the promotion on www.southwest.com/bigshot, culminating in one fantastic Big Shot, which will be unveiled, along with the winners, on Monday, April 4, 2011.

"With the recent launch of the All-New Rapid Rewards program and the NCAA basketball tournament just around the corner, we teamed up with Dude Perfect to give away ten million points to our Members and entertain fans at the same time," said Southwest's Senior Director of Customer Loyalty and Partnerships Ryan Green. "Our new program has several winning attributes, including unlimited reward seats, no blackout dates, and no point expiration with any earning activity within 24 months."

Southwest announced the details of the new program in January 2011 to give Members advance notice of the coming changes, and the new program officially launched on March 1, 2011. Members' accounts were automatically transferred to the new program on March 1, 2011; therefore, Members will retain their current Rapid Rewards number, and they don't need to re-enroll. Members with existing credits and Awards from the old program will retain their active credits and Awards, which will maintain their value until they are used or expire. To learn more about the All-New Rapid Rewards, visit: www.southwest.com.

NEW PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS:

* No blackout dates
* Unlimited Reward Seats (no seat restrictions or capacity controls)
* Points don't expire as long as Members earn by flying or using a partner once every 24 months
* Points are based on the purchased fare and fare product
* Rapid Rewards Credit Cardmembers can redeem their points for flights to more than 800 international destinations, stays at more than 70,000 hotels worldwide, and gift cards at more than 45 major retailers

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Vision Airlines' Sensational Spring Break Seat Sale Ends Saturday

/PRNewswire/ -- Vision Airlines' Sensational Spring Break Seat Sale, featuring fantastic $59* Florida fares, ends Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 11:59 PM (ET).

The spring break sale concludes just six days before Vision Airlines' maiden voyage flights start taking-off on March 25 to six Florida destinations from 16 southern U.S. cities and the new Niagara Falls International Airport, New York. It is near Buffalo and Toronto, Canada.

"The $59 spring break seat sale began on February 21, 2011," says Vision Airlines' spokesman Bryan Glazer. "Due to customer demand for these discounted one-way fares, Vision Airlines added more specially-priced seats—ensuring first-time passengers an affordable and enjoyable experience."

The $59 fares are only available on non-stop Florida flights from March 25, 2011 through September 10, 2011, according to Glazer.

"The majority of Vision Airlines' $59 seats are on non-stop flights to and from Northwest Florida Regional Airport, located in the Destin-Fort Walton Beach area, also known as The Emerald Coast," says Glazer.

These specially-priced $59 seats are also available on non-stop flights from Louisville, KY to Fort Lauderdale, FL, according to Glazer.

"However, these one-way fares are not available on Vision Airlines' flights from our 17 focus departure cities to Miami, Punta Gorda/Fort Myers and Sanford/Orlando," says the company's Chief Operating Officer David Meers. "All of those flights stop at our hub at Northwest Florida Regional Airport before continuing to their final destinations."

Meers urges, "Consumers should understand that these specially-priced fares do not apply to what are known as direct or through flights to other Florida cities. Nonetheless, these are still fantastic fares, whether you are flying from out-of-state or within the state."

Vision Airlines' one-way fares, on most flights, average around $89* each way, according to Meers.

Spring Break 2011

Most American families with school-aged children take their spring break vacations in Florida starting in late March and early April.

While most colleges and universities are now wrapping-up spring break, many fraternities, sororities and other social organizations schedule spring beach weekend getaways in April and May, prior to final exams and graduation.

Florida's Emerald Coast

"Florida's Emerald Coast is America's number one domestic spring break destination," says Mark Bellinger, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Emerald Coast Convention and Visitors' Bureau.

The Emerald Coast stretches from Panama City, FL to Pensacola, FL.

"Northwest Florida Regional Airport is at the epicenter of the Emerald Coast," says Greg Donovan, Executive Director of Northwest Florida Regional Airport. "It is minutes from the sugary-white shores and clear emerald waters of Destin and Ft. Walton Beaches."

Donovan also points-out, "The airport is a 65 mile drive to Panama City Beach to the east and a 45 mile drive to Pensacola Beach to the west."

Vision Airlines is the nation's only big jet, low-cost carrier that provides non-stop flights to Florida's Emerald Coast, according to COO David Meers.

"Our airline is committed to helping revitalize the Emerald Coast tourism economy, which was damaged by last year's gulf coast oil spill," says Meers.

While there were some tar balls on the beaches, there were no offshore oil-slicks or petroleum-scented sea breezes, according to Donovan. "It wasn't pollution that crippled our local economy, it was the wave of negative publicity that warded-off tourists from visiting the gulf coast altogether."

The CVB's Bellinger adds, "The Destin-Fort Walton Beach area is one of the most popular seaside resorts along the U.S. gulf coast."

He says, "Each year, millions of people from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina drive to the Emerald Coast for spring break and summer vacation. Yet, less than 3 percent of our visitors fly here because airfares have traditionally been very expensive."

Conversely, this year, Bellinger forecasts significant increases in airport passenger traffic. "With the advent of Vision Airlines, this is the first time that we've been able to offer affordable, non-stop flights just in time for spring break."

Vision Airlines will also likely bolster the Emerald Coast's weekend tourist business, according to Bellinger. "People, who might not otherwise drive several hours to the Emerald Coast for two or three days on the beach can now fly here in about an hour for a price comparable to the cost of driving."

Vision Airlines Mega-Expansion

Vision Airlines currently operates twice daily service between Atlanta, GA and Louisville, KY.

The carrier also flies Fridays and Sundays between Niagara Falls International Airport, NY and Northwest Florida Regional Airport and Miami International Airport.

The company started flight service to and from these airports in December 2010.

Sixteen years ago, Vision Airlines began as a small tour operator with flights from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon. It later grew to become one of the world's most-respected charter carriers. Its clients have included presidential candidates, entertainers, some of the world's best-known resorts and the federal government.

On January 18, 2011, Vision Airlines announced its mega-expansion into regularly-scheduled commercial passenger service and started selling seats on flights from some of the nation's most-seriously underserved southern U.S. cities to some of the most-desirable destinations in Florida.

Vision Airlines Cities

Starting on March 25, Vision Airlines begins flying to and from the following cities.

- Asheville, NC - Atlanta, GA - Baton Rouge, LA - Birmingham, AL - Chattanooga, TN

- Columbia, SC - Destin/Ft. Walton Beach, FL - Ft. Lauderdale, FL

- Greenville/Spartanburg, SC - Gulfport/Biloxi, MS - Houston, TX - Huntsville, AL

- Knoxville, TN - Little Rock, AR - Louisville, KY - Macon, GA - Miami, FL

- Niagara Falls/Buffalo, NY/Toronto, Canada - Punta Gorda/Ft. Myers, FL

- Sanford/Orlando, FL - Savannah, GA - Shreveport, LA

- St. Petersburg/Clearwater/Tampa, FL

FINE PRINT


* All fares are per person, one-way and non-refundable. A $50 fee per person applies to any change or cancellation made after purchase of SAVER and ADVANTAGE fares, plus any applicable increase in fare. Fares do not include airport Passenger Facility Charges of up to $18, September 11th Security Fees of up to $10 and U.S. Segment Fee of $3.70 per passenger, per segment. A segment is defined as a takeoff and a landing. A first bag may be checked for a fee of $15 each way and a second bag may be checked for a fee of $20 each way if purchased more than 24 hours prior to departure. A first bag may be checked for a fee of $20 each way and a second bag may be checked for a fee of $30 each way if purchased less than 24 hours prior to departure. All reservations must be completed by 11:59PM on March 19, 2011. Valid for travel on March 25th through September 10 for nonstop flights to/from VPS and to/from FLL. Fares are limited and may not be available on all flights and are subject to availability at the time of purchase. Fares, routes, and schedules are subject to change without notice. 

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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Find Crappie in Deep, Cool Waters Right Now

The brief Georgia winter provides a great opportunity to get excellent results for crappie fishing, and several reservoirs across the state offer rewards for anglers willing to brave the bitter cold temperatures.

“Anglers searching for crappie need to concentrate on cold weather ‘hot spots’,” says John Biagi, chief of Fisheries Management for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. “Crappie fishing brings a lot of action which means it is an excellent time to engage the entire family and/or to introduce someone new to the fun aspect of the sport.”

During the winter cold, crappie tend to congregate in deeper water, generally 15-30 feet deep, near the mouths of major tributaries and in the main lake. Large schools are easily located with sonar electronics.

As the water warms in March, crappie will move to more shallow water toward the middle and back of major tributaries, preferring to congregate around woody cover such as stumps, logs, downed trees, fish attractors and creek ledges. Minnows and small jigs are favored bait, and light spinning tackle spooled with 6 or 8-pound test line is recommended.

Cool weather hot spots

In northwest Georgia, visit Lake Allatoona and look for the man-made fish attractors, especially those in the Kellogg Creek, Illinois Creek, Tanyard Creek and Sweetwater Creek areas. Fish attractor location maps are available at www.gofishgeorgia.com . The Coosa River, which begins in the city of Rome and flows roughly 30 miles west-southwest before entering Lake Weiss, is another area to target; concentrate in the river immediately below Mayo’s Lock and Dam Park and the tributary backwaters off the main river channel, especially in the Brushy Branch area of Big Cedar Creek. 

Northeast Georgia offers three different reservoirs for targeting crappie. Metro area anglers should look to Lake Lanier, located just 50 miles northeast of Atlanta. The upper part of the reservoir, especially the Chattahoochee River arm, Wahoo Creek and Little River are considered hot spots. Anglers should also consider the upper part of Lake Hartwell, located on the Georgia-South Carolina border near Franklin and Hart counties. The Eastanollee Creek area is considered a crappie haven. The manmade fish attractors around the upper half of Lake Nottely rank as another active location.

Several east-central area lakes offer prime crappie habitat, including Clarks Hill Lake where excellent fishing is predicted for the year, especially at Soap, Fishing, Grays and Newford creeks, and the Little River arm. On Lake Oconee, Beaverdam, Sandy, Rocky, Richland and Sugar creeks and Appalachee River arm are good target areas. At Lake Russell anglers should concentrate at Rocky River, Beaverdam, Coldwater and Allen creeks. Lakes Blalock and J.W. Smith in Clayton County offer good bank fishing opportunities near boat ramps. Areas of standing timber are key targets at Lake Blalock while J.W. Smith offers good boat fishing around the Panhandle Road Bridge, the overflow structure near the dam and the submerged pond and dam on the south side of the lake. Anglers can count on Lake Varner for good numbers of crappie and Randy Poynter Lake for larger crappie.

Wildlife Resources Division biologists recommend five areas in the west-central area of the state for crappie fishing - West Point Lake in Troup County, Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield, Big Lazer Public Fishing Area in Talbot County, Ocmulgee Public Fishing Area in Bleckley County and Lake Sinclair just north of Milledgeville. At West Point, concentrate around fish attractors, deep water areas, mouths of creeks and bridges. Visit Bennett, Shepherd or Margery Lake at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center and look for deep water and flooded timber or fish attractors. At Lake Sinclair, Beaverdam Creek provides good opportunities for early spawning due to the warmwater discharge from the steam plant. When temperatures warm, anglers should target larger islands such as Optimist, Budweiser and Goat. Sinclair bank anglers should concentrate on the riprap along Highway 441 at Little River, Beaverdam and Rooty Creek. Additionally, the riprap at Twin Bridges and Potato Creek along Highway 212 also provide good bank access. Big Lazer and Ocmulgee Public Fishing Area anglers should seek flooded timber near the creek channels and deep water.

Southwest Georgia also offers key areas for crappie. Lake Walter F. George, located on the Georgia-Alabama state line between Columbus and Ft. Gaines, provides good fishing at the mouths of Pataula Creek, Rood Creek, Sandy Branch and Sandy Creeks. On Lake Seminole, in the southwest corner of the state, anglers should fish the main river channels around Ford Scott Island, the Chattahoochee River mouth between river miles three and four, the mouth of Spring Creek and the old river channels and submersed structures. Lake Blackshear, an impoundment of the Flint River north of Albany also offers good fishing for black and white crappie. Good areas to try are Swift Creek, Collins Branch, Cedar Creek and the numerous sloughs located off the main river channel between Highway 27 and Highway 30.

For more information on crappie fishing in Georgia, visit www.gofishgeorgia.com or call a Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Management office.

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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Zoo Atlanta Library Program Launches Statewide

Check out the Zoo Atlanta Family Pass at any participating public library in Georgia

February 23, 2011 ― Georgia families can now check out free excursions to Zoo Atlanta, just by owning a library card. Announced today from the steps of the state capitol, a new partnership between Zoo Atlanta and the Georgia Public Library Service allows adults with valid library cards access to the Zoo Atlanta Family Pass at any participating public library branch throughout the state of Georgia.

Launched in 2009, the program originally applied only to branches of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System. Today’s announcement marks the first time the program has been available in all 159 Georgia counties.

“As one of the state’s largest living science labs, Zoo Atlanta is a resource for all of Georgia, not just Atlanta,” said Raymond B. King, President and CEO of Zoo Atlanta. “We’re proud to partner with the Georgia Public Library Service on increased access for everyone in our state.”

“This wonderful collaboration between Zoo Atlanta and Georgia’s public libraries brings a new dimension to our services,” said Dr. Lamar Veatch, Georgia’s State Librarian. “We are very pleased to play a role in bringing this Georgia treasure to all corners of our state.”

One Zoo Atlanta Family Pass is available for checkout in each participating public library. The pass may be checked out once per year, per card, per household, and is valid for two adults and up to two children. The pass is not valid for fee-based events or programs and may not be combined with other discounts or promotions. Standard general admission will apply to families with additional children; children must be accompanied by an adult.

“We are very excited about seeing this program expand not just throughout the Atlanta metro area, but throughout Georgia,” said Marcus E. Margerum, Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Zoo Atlanta. “It’s an important part of our mission to extend opportunities for all Georgians, not just those living within a particular mile radius of the Zoo.”

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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Yurt Village added to Pine Mountain Resort‏

Pine Mountain, an RVC Outdoor Destination has announced a unique addition to their property with their “Yurt Village.” The construction of three new yurts was completed last week with a few finishing touches to be made within the month. Additionally, Pine Mountain has completed renovation of their shower and restroom facilities, which are in close proximity of Yurt Village.

“We decided to build more yurts because they’re our most requested and sold out accommodation type,” said Yale Spina, Vice President of RVC Outdoor Destinations. “As seen on the Clark Howard blog, the Pine Mountain yurts offer one of the best glamping values in the market,” Spina added.

Each yurt was built with quality indoor and outdoor features for guests to enjoy. Every yurt has a fire ring and deck for outdoor activities. Indoors, guests will find attractive furnishings with a place for dining in case of inclement weather. Standard yurt features include beds with fresh linens, a tent-like design, wooden floors, advanced heating and A/C units, windows, and a skylight.

Yurts are often associated with a luxury camping experience and are a rare find in the United States. Jim Anderson, General Manager at Pine Mountain, said people “love” yurts because they “provide a fresh and fun overnight experience while eliminating all the negatives associated with camping: extreme temperatures, rain, bugs, and dirt.”

The price of nightly stay starts at $34.95 (off season) for a 16 inch yurt, sleeping four persons. Pine Mountain also has 20 inch and 24 inch size yurts, sleeping up to eight comfortably.

Yurts will also be available for rent at RVC Outdoor Destinations’ newest resort in Hot Springs, Arkansas – “Catherine’s Landing,” opening this spring.

For more information on Pine Mountain, an RVC Outdoor Destination, visit www.pinemountain.rvcoutdoors.com

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