now open

BILOXI, Miss. - The Margaritaville Casino is open. And it's already getting rave reviews. Pascagoula native Jimmy Buffett came home Tuesday and opened Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant in Biloxi. Buffett played for nearly an hour, sharing songs and memories of growing up on the Gulf Coast. Those who weren't among the 4,000 VIP guests formed an impromptu Parrothead yacht club near the marina and listened from their kayaks and party boats.

Blue river

HARTFORD, Conn. - The Connecticut River watershed is to be recognized as the first in the United States to be dedicated for conservation and recreation. U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar named the Connecticut River watershed Thursday as the nation's first National Blueway. It's part of an initiative by President Barack Obama known as America's Great Outdoors Rivers, which is intended to establish a community conservation and recreation agenda.

Tourist duty

WASHINGTON - More than 1,600 museums across the country will offer free admission to active-duty military personnel and their families this summer in a program that has more than doubled in size since 2010. The expanded Blue Star Museums initiative was announced Tuesday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City where more than 40 museums are participating. The offer of free admission runs from Memorial Day until Labor Day at sites nationwide.

Liberty's voice

NEW YORK - Visitors to the Statue of Liberty now can get a free audio tour with their ferry tickets. The National Park Service says audio tours soon will be included with the purchase of a ferry ticket to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. On Liberty Island, a 30-minute audio tour will explore the statue's history. On Ellis Island, a 45-minute tour will immerse visitors in firsthand accounts from immigrants.

Sexism-free skies

SAO PAULO - A Brazilian airline says one of its female pilots tossed a passenger off a flight because he was making sexist comments about women flying planes. Trip Airlines says the pilot ejected the man before takeoff as he made loud, sexist comments upon learning the pilot was a woman.


YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. - The cables allowing hikers access to the summit of Yosemite National Park's iconic Half Dome will be set in place this week, weather permitting. The 17-mile trail is strenuous with a 4,800 feet elevation gain, and is dangerous when wet. Officials say at least five people have died on the cables since 2006, nearly all with rain as a factor.

No happy price

ANAHEIM, Calif. - It's going to cost more to visit the Happiest Place on Earth. Disneyland has raised its ticket prices as much as 30 percent. The cost of a single-day pass for either Disneyland or its neighboring California Adventure Park jumped this weekend from $80 to $87, a rise of nearly 9 percent. The cost of a year-round pass now runs $649 - a 30-percent hike.