Fayette County native and partner say they’d do ‘The Amazing Race’ again – Tribune

Updated 2 hours ago

As soon as Jen Hudak and Western Pennsylvania’s Kristi Leskinen gathered the parts for their mock airplane — a task the duo called Team Extreme got to before the other two remaining teams on “The Amazing Race” — they thought, this is it. They were going to win the $1 million grand prize and come in first.

But then, Hudak’s mechanically oriented mind focused on the sensible assembly of an airplane, and missed the hidden puzzle in the maddening final challenge that one member of each team had to try repeatedly until they figured it out. Meanwhile, their partners watched and cheered them on as they endured the final task aboard the USS Hornet in San Francisco.

Without knowing it, Hudak — of Park City, Utah — came within one piece of finishing the plane on her first try, but she didn’t put a wing on backward, as the puzzle full of symbols from the journey of the CBS show’s 30th season required. Alas, Team Extreme — leaders all season — came in third place, and felt heartbroken initially.

Jen Hudak races to complete a model plane in the final challenge of this season’s “The Amazing Race.”

Photo by CBS

 

“I love puzzles and was looking forward to the final memory challenge,” Hudak says. “It was our life experience that caused us to look at it the way we did … of course, we can’t have a wing on backwards.”

Leskinen and Hudak, both retired champion skiers, say their backgrounds in extreme sports gave them a good foundation for the many challenges contestants face on “The Amazing Race,” but you never know what those will be.

“You just have to hope that your life experience up to that point is varied enough to help you get through those things,” says Leskinen, a native of Hopwood, Fayette County. “Jen and I both have quite mechanical minds, especially for women. It’s our life experience that kind of got us to the finals, but it’s also our life experience that gave us mechanical minds.

“It is what it is,” she says. “We all were dealt the same cards and dealt with the same obstacles.”

Kristi Leskinen (left) gets encouragement from her team partner Jen Hudak before climbing the center anchorage of the San Francisco Bay Bridge, and jumping with a bungee cord on “The Amazing Race.”

Photo by CBS

 

Leskinen and Hudak — who are enjoying watching skiing events on the Winter Olympics with pride -— and their fellow competitors faced many unpleasant and taxing challenges over the season, including one where Hudak had to eat cooked scorpions and a frog while live scorpions crawled on Leskinen’s shirt. But the most difficult challenges all came in Wednesday night’s final episode, starting with the task of tying up a few dozen hairy crabs on a fishing boat in the rain. Then, Leskinen had to smash into old electronics with a baseball bat.

“It was extremely painful,” says Leskinen, whose hands hurt for several months after filming ended and required an X-ray. “I was literally swinging those bats as hard as I possibly could, and some of those screens weren’t cracking.”

Jen Hudak (left) and Kristi Leskinen had to tie up a few dozen hairy crabs in Hong Kong.

Photo by CBS

 

Undeniably, Leskinen and Hudak have been kicking themselves for coming so close to winning $1 million, then watching it slip through their fingers. Still, they said, the race experience — which brought contestants to places including Iceland, Africa, France and Hong Kong — indeed was amazing, and they would be thrilled to join an all-star season of “The Amazing Race” if invited. Team Extreme was the only team in the show’s history that made the top three in every single episode.

“We have a feeling of immense gratitude and pride in the way we raced,” Hudak says. “We wanted to set an example for women … and show them that they can do anything that they set their minds to, and they can compete against anyone.”

The encouraging messages she and Leskinen have received, Hudak says, bring her to tears.

“It’s a really special opportunity to have a platform,” she says. “Yes, we’re disappointed that the final challenge didn’t work out a little bit differently, but we can’t let that one moment define everything else we achieved in that race.”

Leskinen agrees, and loved the adventure of being able “to wake up in random countries around the world … and not know where we’re going.”

“We loved every minute of it,” says Leskinen, who divides her time between her Western Pennsylvania hometown and Scottsdale, Ariz.

Both women thank all of their fans from home and around the country for their support.

Kellie B. Gormly is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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‘Big Brother’ beats ‘The Amazing Race’

The next time your dad tells you to stop lying around the house all summer and go out and make some money, tell him you’re training to win a million bucks. That’s pretty much what happened in the season finale of The Amazing Race on Wednesday night. Cody and Jessica, having spent the past season of Big Brother taking naps and snickering at everyone around them, proved themselves lively competitors in the 30th running of the “race around the world” and won the million-dollar first-place prize.

To accomplish this, the duo defeated the two other finalist teams, Yale graduates Henry and Evan and X-Games champs Kristi and Jen. For anyone who watched Cody and Jess’s time in the Big Brother house, their Amazing Race performance was startling. In BB, the duo was an isolationist pair, cutting themselves off from the rest of the household with surly sullenness — their go-to facial expressions were dead stares. On TAR, they came alive. Jess was affably chatty and frequently quite amusing in her analysis of the show’s challenges and other contestants. Cody dropped his tough-guy deadpan much of the time, extolled his love for Jess to the cameras, and powered his way through many of the most difficult “roadblocks.” It’s hard to make the case that they did not deserve to win.

Nevertheless, there was a lot of grousing on Twitter that Cody cyborg-ed his way through numerous physical challenges as Jess stood on the sidelines yelling, “You got it, babe!” “When did it stop being a requirement for the team members to split the challenges 50/50?” asked one tweet among many posing a similar question. And of course, Twitter is also mean: Sentiments like “Good job Jessica on making it an entire race without having to do ANYTHING” were common. But in the end, TAR’s fiendishly complex final challenge — building a model airplane from parts decorated with stickers from each leg of the race — was a grueling, knotty problem that Jessica solved all by herself and which secured the duo its win.

Sociology frequently enters these reality-TV competition shows in unexpected ways. In this season of the Race, it was interesting to see that, once the field had narrowed to four (with the inclusion of the two Indy car-race boys), the three teams who identified themselves as physical competitors excluded the cerebral #TeamYale from their downtime, socializing moments. Poor Henry and Evan and their polysyllabic vocabularies — at first they didn’t even seem to realize they were being given the cold shoulder by the others. They just went on cheerfully, jabbering in complex complete sentences about their strategy. It’s so rare to see a couple of academic types out in the real world and on television, this made #TeamYale a novel and welcome presence this season, and shame on the others for being clique-y and mean to them.

I wonder what the future of The Amazing Race is. CBS seemed to be burning off this season by scheduling numerous back-to-back episodes that risked exhausting the viewer. It’s fun to watch people race around the world for an hour; after two hours, you start feeling nearly as exhausted as the contestants themselves. Then too the show has a lot less presence in the culture than it used to. Survivor seems to be surviving by going ever more meta, as next week’s debut of the “Ghost Island” edition, an entire season based on knowing the mistakes made on earlier seasons, seems to prove. And Big Brother — now in the midst of its “celebrity” edition — just keeps getting more absurd, more trashy, and, alas, more buzzy and more talked-about. (Quick question: Is there any way the BB producers are not manipulating this game so that Omarosa makes it all the way to the end?)

I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for The Amazing Race, the show that allows armchair travelers like me to tour the world without getting up from the sofa. I just wonder whether America, now more than ever uninterested in what goes on around the world (we have too many problems at home to deal with), has enough interest in keeping The Amazing Race running.

Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:

 

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Museum features permanent Tuskegee Airman exhibit


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JOSEPH A. SARRA SR

GIRARD – Joseph A. Sarra Sr., 75, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018, at his residence.

“Joe” was born Aug. 15, 1942, in Youngstown, the son of Oddo and Elizabeth (Lorenzo) Sarra.

Joe served his country in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. He worked for Girard City Schools as a bus driver and later as a custodian for 26 years, retiring in 1999.

He was a member of St. Rose Church, The Short Circuit  R/C model airplane club and the Ohio AFSCME Retiree Chapter 1184. Joe loved watching all sports especially football and NASCAR. He had drag raced in his younger years, and enjoyed making and flying his model airplanes.

He leaves to cherish his memory, the love of his life, Debra Gutierrez; his son, Joseph A. Sarra Jr. of Georgia; his stepdaughters, Gina and Michelle Gutierrez, both of Girard; eight grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

Besides his parents, Joe was preceded in death by his brothers, Dominic and Ralph Sarra.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, Feb. 24, at 6 p.m. at the Blackstone Funeral Home, where the family will receive relatives and friends from 4 p.m. until the time of service.

Visit www.blackstonefuneralhome.com to view this obituary and to send any condolences to the family.


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Hobby Drones Just Keep Flying

My own understanding of the complexities of the Part 107 commercial UAS regulations was about as helpful as Rakic’s. We both agreed Part 107 demanded roughly a 400-foot AGL altitude limit for drones and the need to remain clear of airports unless all the proper waivers were in place. The operation of hobby drones however, has absolutely nothing to do with Part 107 because the FAA looks at the machines, weighing up to 55 pounds as model airplanes and refers people to Part 101 where the only restriction on hobby drones is that, “No person may operate model aircraft so as to endanger the safety of the national airspace system,” and that “The aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft.” Part 101 makes no mention of altitude. That translates into the least experienced drone operators in America also being the least regulated pilots in the nation.

While most fixed wing aircraft pilots may have thought, like Rod Rakic and me (@jetwhine), that the system would at least legally keep hobby operators clear of manned aircraft, that turns out not to be true. nothing much in the way of guidance applies.

Almost coincidentally, this week seems to represent a perfect storm of sorts for others in the industry coming to much the same conclusion. In a letter sent to ICAO Secretary General Fang Liu, Flight Safety Foundation President and CEO Jon Beatty said, “Based on a number of recent incidents, we are increasingly concerned that uncertificated, untrained recreational drone operators are flying small UAS near airports and manned aircraft. … The proliferation and operation of small drones by people without aviation experience is becoming one of the most significant hazards to manned aviation. This poses unacceptable risks to aviation safety.”

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‘Big Brother’ beats ‘The Amazing Race’

The next time your dad tells you to stop lying around the house all summer and go out and make some money, tell him you’re training to win a million bucks. That’s pretty much what happened in the season finale of The Amazing Race on Wednesday night. Cody and Jessica, having spent the past season of Big Brother taking naps and snickering at everyone around them, proved themselves lively competitors in the 30th running of the “race around the world” and won the million-dollar first-place prize.

To accomplish this, the duo defeated the two other finalist teams, Yale graduates Henry and Evan and X-Games champs Kristi and Jen. For anyone who watched Cody and Jess’s time in the Big Brother house, their Amazing Race performance was startling. In BB, the duo was an isolationist pair, cutting themselves off from the rest of the household with surly sullenness — their go-to facial expressions were dead stares. On TAR, they came alive. Jess was affably chatty and frequently quite amusing in her analysis of the show’s challenges and other contestants. Cody dropped his tough-guy deadpan much of the time, extolled his love for Jess to the cameras, and powered his way through many of the most difficult “roadblocks.” It’s hard to make the case that they did not deserve to win.

Nevertheless, there was a lot of grousing on Twitter that Cody cyborg-ed his way through numerous physical challenges as Jess stood on the sidelines yelling, “You got it, babe!” “When did it stop being a requirement for the team members to split the challenges 50/50?” asked one tweet among many posing a similar question. And of course, Twitter is also mean: Sentiments like “Good job Jessica on making it an entire race without having to do ANYTHING” were common. But in the end, TAR’s fiendishly complex final challenge — building a model airplane from parts decorated with stickers from each leg of the race — was a grueling, knotty problem that Jessica solved all by herself and which secured the duo its win.

Sociology frequently enters these reality-TV competition shows in unexpected ways. In this season of the Race, it was interesting to see that, once the field had narrowed to four (with the inclusion of the two Indy car-race boys), the three teams who identified themselves as physical competitors excluded the cerebral #TeamYale from their downtime, socializing moments. Poor Henry and Evan and their polysyllabic vocabularies — at first they didn’t even seem to realize they were being given the cold shoulder by the others. They just went on cheerfully, jabbering in complex complete sentences about their strategy. It’s so rare to see a couple of academic types out in the real world and on television, this made #TeamYale a novel and welcome presence this season, and shame on the others for being clique-y and mean to them.

I wonder what the future of The Amazing Race is. CBS seemed to be burning off this season by scheduling numerous back-to-back episodes that risked exhausting the viewer. It’s fun to watch people race around the world for an hour; after two hours, you start feeling nearly as exhausted as the contestants themselves. Then too the show has a lot less presence in the culture than it used to. Survivor seems to be surviving by going ever more meta, as next week’s debut of the “Ghost Island” edition, an entire season based on knowing the mistakes made on earlier seasons, seems to prove. And Big Brother — now in the midst of its “celebrity” edition — just keeps getting more absurd, more trashy, and, alas, more buzzy and more talked-about. (Quick question: Is there any way the BB producers are not manipulating this game so that Omarosa makes it all the way to the end?)

I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for The Amazing Race, the show that allows armchair travelers like me to tour the world without getting up from the sofa. I just wonder whether America, now more than ever uninterested in what goes on around the world (we have too many problems at home to deal with), has enough interest in keeping The Amazing Race running.

Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:

 

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Qatar says may switch part of A350 order to biggest model

TOULOUSE, France (Reuters) – Airbus got a boost for its largest twin-engined jet on Tuesday when Qatar Airways said it was considering upgrading some of its A350 orders to the largest model as it took delivery of the first such plane.

The A350-1000 is designed to seat 366 people and competes head-to-head with Boeing’s profitable 777. The first A350-1000 was handed over to the Gulf carrier on Tuesday, joining the smaller A350-900, which has been in service for three years.

Airbus says the lightweight A350-1000 is 25 percent more efficient than the most popular current version of the 777, the 777-300ER.

But sales of the 777-300ER have picked up, and Boeing is working on plans to leapfrog the A350-1000 with an upgraded 777X boasting over 400 seats.

  • Qatar Airways CEO says U.N. aviation body needs to do more over Gulf crisis
  • Qatar Airways says some orders may be upgraded to A350-1000 planes
  • Airbus sees A320neo progress, upbeat on A350 suppliers

Boeing last year sold 32 777-300ERs against just one order for the A350-1000. Some airlines have begun downgrading some A350-1000 orders to the 325-seat A350-900.

Qatar Airways, which has ordered both the A350-1000 and the 777X, indicated it was moving in the opposite direction and said it could shift more of its A350 orders to the largest model.

“There is a possibility that we could convert some of the 900s to the 1000,” Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said.

Qatar is the top A350 customer with 76 on order, including 37 A350-1000s, which have a list price of $367 million.

It recently canceled four A350-900 orders following delays, but subsequently re-committed to the new European jet family.

NO NEW A350 MODEL

The prospect of upgrades will come as a relief to Airbus, which is gambling on the A350-1000 to contain any market pressure from the 777 as Boeing develops its new model.

Last summer, the European planemaker shelved tentative plans for an even bigger A350 that would compete more directly with Boeing’s planned 777X.

Fabrice Bregier, speaking on his last day as Airbus chief operating officer, said on Tuesday studies had shown the idea worked in principle, but that Airbus would focus instead on pushing the A350-1000.

“It’s now time to start to be more aggressive and to explain to our customers, or Boeing’s customers, that this aircraft will be a better choice than a 777-9X,” Bregier said.

Boeing insists that its jet will be the world’s most efficient aircraft in its category, thanks to new wings.

Baker said Qatar Airways, one of the world’s major fleet buyers, is not interested in an ultra-long-haul version of the A350-900 being floated by Airbus for carriers like Qantas (QAN.AX) but could buy more of regular A350 jets.

“Yes, there may in future be a requirement for more of these airplanes for Qatar Airways, especially when we do further enhancements of our acquisitions,” he said.

“And of course there is a probability we will buy more of these airplanes to put in our leasing company.”

He also ruled out orders for the largest and smallest Airbus jets – whether the 544-seat A380, of which it has bought 10 and has options for another three, or the Bombardier (BBDb.TO) CSeries, a 110 to 130-seater that Airbus agreed to rescue last year.

(For a graphic on Boeing and Airbus earnings click tmsnrt.rs/1UdCZbG)

Writing by Alexander Cornwell, Tim Hepher; Editing by Larry King

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