ClearwaterThe St. Petersburg Times reported on August 14th that Scientology has completed a new housing complex in Clearwater, Florida. "The Church of Scientology boasts more hotel rooms and religious counseling spaces in Clearwater than ever before with the completion this summer of $9-million of construction downtown. The church now has 565 hotel rooms in and near downtown Clearwater. In a typical week, about 1,300 visiting Scientologists from around the world lodge there while receiving spiritual counseling and training. "The newest expansions at the Sandcastle retreat and the Osceola Inn are part of a construction boom that marks Scientology's fastest period of growth in Clearwater since it arrived in 1975. Construction continues on the massive $50-million Flag Building downtown slated to open in March 2003. "At the Sandcastle a three-story, 34,000-square-foot addition was recently finished. It has 84 rooms that are 8 by 10 feet, and are finished in cherry wood and brushed brass. The rooms are used for spiritual counseling known as auditing. "The 'Osceola at the Sandcastle' opened this summer with 76 rooms, including two stylish penthouses on the sixth floor with spectacular views of the bay that go for $425 a night. The penthouses are the best church accommodations in the city. The Osceola is already fully booked with a months-long waiting list, officials said. It has 14 suites, smaller versions of the penthouses; a fully equipped fitness center with saunas in the locker rooms and a personal trainer; and a tropical-themed cafe that serves smoothies, sandwiches and dessert. Suites are $120 to $140 nightly. Regular rooms rates are between $45 and $70." Message-ID: email@example.com
Chick CoreaThe Los Angeles Times published an interview with Scientology celebrity Chick Corea on August 18th. "Q: How did you make the decision to move to Clearwater? "A: The main draw was the fact that Clearwater is the largest religious retreat in Scientology. It's called Flag Land Base, the place where L. Ron Hubbard put the highest level of training and courses and study, and it's turned into a totally international spot for Scientologists. "Q: About 10 years ago, maybe around the time of your 50th birthday, you described the extent to which Scientology had impacted you as person and as an artist. Does that still hold? "A: Not only does it still hold, but it has expanded. I first got interested in Scientology for pretty personal reasons. I wanted to clean myself up, I wanted to tweak my awareness, I wanted to learn about the nature of the spirit. I wanted to learn about things like immortality, about detaching oneself from a body, about the philosophy and the nature of life, and so on. But what the subject very naturally led me to is that life is made up of people. And the very first thing I started to look at was others - not even myself. My whole life is about my relationship with people. "Q: How did Scientology affect that view? "A: L. Ron Hubbard uses the word 'communication' to identify the importance of people giving and sharing ideas - but in the way that they really do. Communication is the study of how actual people relate to one another, successfully or not. And you learn that communication is a skill that one can increase, and is not just part of one's fixed personality. "Q: You have been a Scientologist long enough to realize that it is still viewed questionably by many, both here and elsewhere. And that a number of European countries refuse to recognize it as a religion. "A: We found that out firsthand in the early '90s, when we began to have some pretty visceral experiences with the German government. That was a hard condition to confront, when people are saying they don't like you because [of what you are], and [engaging in] name calling. It's not an environment you feel comfortable going into. But the actual truth was that when I confronted it and went into the environment, I found that the audiences themselves were not really part of it. Sure, they had the [negative] PR from the newspapers and the government. But when I got in front of them, they were totally there for me. "Q: Still, you haven't returned to Germany to perform since 1993. "A: No. But the good news is that I'm going back in October to play 13 solo piano concerts all throughout Germany. And that's happening because I persevered in approaching the situation by doing a really positive, straight-ahead, friendly sort of protest. By going to the U.S. government, appealing to the basic principles in human rights that are written not just into the U.S. Constitution, but the German constitution. Then, when the Kohl government changed, things seemed to calm down in relation to me and Scientology, anyway." Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
Keith HensonKeith Henson reported that he is being sued by Scientologists for allegedly violating their civil rights. "HILLARY DEZOTELL, KEN HODEN, and BRUCE WAGONER, Plaintiffs. "H. KEITH HENSON, Defendant. "COMPLAINT FOR: VIOLATION OF CIVIL RIGHTS, INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS, NEGLIGENT INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS "Dezotell, Hoden, and Wagoner are each parishioners of the Scientology religion and are members of a Scientology religious order who have dedicated their lives to helping others through application and dissemination of Scientology religious tenets and scriptures. Each lives in Riverside County, and works at a Scientology religious facility located in Riverside County several miles from their residences. The religious facility is called Golden Era Productions and each of the Plaintiffs is employed by Golden Era Productions. "From May 26, 2000 through September 3, 2000, Defendant engaged in anti-religious conduct in violation of the civil rights of Plaintiffs in repeated, planned, willful, and malicious acts of harassment, stalking, threatening behavior, and other acts inspired by his hatred for Scientology and Scientologists. "Throughout that period, on repeated occasions, Henson followed Plaintiffs from their homes to work and from work to their homes, taking photographs and writing down license plate numbers, lurking around their residences and their Church employer's facility, and taunting and harassing them because of their religion. He stalked the entrance to their Church with anti-Scientology signs that were derogatory, menacing, and hate-filled. "Defendant's menacing and threatening conduct culminated when he, along with a cohort, used a Global Petitioning System ('GPS') device to plot the satellite coordinates of several buildings located at the religious facility at which Plaintiffs work, calculating sufficient coordinate information to launch an accurate missile strike on those targets, and posting those coordinates to the Internet, thereby inciting others with the suggestion that just such a missile strike might he made by using the coordinates he calculated. "WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs pray for judgment as follows: For general damages in the amount of $1.00; For the maximum civil penalties available under Civil Code arising out of Defendant's acts in denying Plaintiffs their constitutional rights; For punitive damages according to proof at time of trial; For an order of permanent injunction ordering Defendant to cease and desist from conduct or activities which interfere with Plaintiffs' exercise or enjoyment of rights secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; For an order of permanent injunction ordering Defendant to cease and desist from making any further threats against Plaintiffs and prohibiting Defendant from coming within 500 yards of Plaintiffs' residence, their work place and their persons." Message-ID: email@example.com
John TravoltaThe Montreal Gazette published an article on August 13th on films made in Montreal, including Battlefield Earth. "Travolta's Montreal film, Battlefield Earth, was dogged by controversy. From the moment filming began, Travolta, who starred in and produced the film, was dogged by questions about the sci-fi thriller and its ties to controversial religion Scientology. The film was based on the novel by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and Travolta is one of the religion's highest-profile defenders. "At a press conference in Montreal during the filming two years, the amiable Travolta shrugged off the Scientology queries. Just prior to its release last summer, Travolta came back to town to promote the flick, but, in an unusual move, refused to talk to print journalists. This was widely seen as an attempt by Travolta to avoid any in-depth interviews about the film and its relationship with Scientology. Whether or not it was the fault of the Hubbard connection, the film tanked at the box office and was universally scorched by critics. "On MusiquePlus last year just days before the release, Travolta said the same team would be back in town this summer to film the sequel. Likewise, his manager, Jonathan Krane, had been loudly proclaiming he would be setting up a mini-studio in Montreal. Neither Travolta nor Krane have been seen in town since." Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
NarcononThe Associated Press reported on August 17th that Narconon has opened its new facility in Oklahoma. "An international drug rehabilitation program will more than double its bed space in Oklahoma when it opens in a former state lodge in eastern Oklahoma. Narconon Arrowhead is to open a 230-bed campus Saturday on Lake Eufaula with federal and international drug rehabilitation experts on hand. "The center has operated since 1990 as the Chilocco New Life Center with a 105-bed facility in Newkirk. Narconon uses saunas, vitamins and a special diet as part of a three-month program to help people stop using drugs. The plan was developed by the Church of Scientology founder, the late L. Ron Hubbard." Message-ID: email@example.com
Protest SummaryMartin Poulter and Dave Bird reported a protest at a What is Scientology exhibit in London on August 18th. "Yesterday from 12:30 to 15:30 there was a picket of the Scientology exhibition at the QE2 Conference Centre, adjacent to Westminster abbey. It was a successful and eventful picket (one Jive Aces band member went a bit berserk towards the end). Present were Dave B, John R, Hartley P, Jens T, myself, I. P. Freely, Duke the Dog, two placards, many hundreds of leaflets, the portable public address system and a helium canister to inflate our 'Xenu loves you' balloons. "The Jive Aces band were doing their thing in the square in front, and there were many body routers enthusiastically handing out leaflets and urging the public to go inside. The square was busy with tourists, so hundreds of pro- and anti- leaflets were taken. A large proportion of the public reacted very negatively to the Scientologists and shouted encouragement to us. We saw very few public actually go into the exhibition, and I.P. Freely did a scout mission just before the picket and saw that the visitors were greatly outnumbered by Scientologists. A lot of the public who did go in to the exhibition collected leaflets from us on the way out. "The Jive Aces were their usual plastic, smiley selves through much of the picket. As they were packing up the band's trombonist Alex Douglas went nuts, charging up to Jens and shouting in his face, literally nose-to-nose. Others from the band came and pulled him away. John remarked over the sound system that this guy's repeated shouting of 'Wanker! Wanker! Wanker!' was not a good advert for Scientology and maybe he should re-take his communication course. Douglas ran back and did his yelling routine in John's face, eventually backing away, pointing at John and yelling 'PEADOPHILE! PAEDOPHILE! PAEDOPHILE!'" "Huge crowds of tourists, many in guided tour groups and speaking mainland European languages or Japanese, were doing five minutes at the abbey then five minutes at parliament. They had zero interest in a 'What is Scientology' exhibition. Our people who went inside say it was practically empty. "The Jive Aces played their hearts out, and the clams sent furious amounts of people to come out and handle us or counter leaflet - maybe eight at any time, with some rotation? - we had their entire attention. They did not seem very happy. The Spanish twit from London Org seemed to think I wanted a gift of washing powder and would be photographed with it. A fat girl with a Scots accent asked for a couple of balloons then burst them. I was feeling tired, but if they wanted to be nasty to us that increased my resolve to stick out the full 2 1/2 hours and not leave till they had. "The Spanish twit held a leaflet in front of our videocam, until I reached out for the leaflet and she withdrew it. Another shorter skinhead type with identical cropped blond hair turned up and started to drag him off. These, I gather, are JIVE ACES MUSICIANS. Three of us stood on the corner and watched until the band's white van drove away. Then we wandered off along Victoria Street and found a pub nearer Victoria to celebrate on the way back." "Kaeli" reported a protest in Toronto on August 18th. "Picketers: Gregg Hagglund, Kaeli, and Zeratul 110 ft away: Keith Henson. At 4:30 we picked up the signs and made our way to the Org. Keith stopped at his now-customary 110 ft away from the Org, while Gregg, Zeratul and I made our way to the Org itself. We noticed that they were promoting their free stress test. Gregg walked up to the person Mario was trying to reg, and began speaking. Mario stood up, yelling, 'This is harassment I'm calling the police!' and rushed into the Org. He came back out within a minute saying, 'OK, OK, are you happy now? You upset me!' Gregg mentioned that Mario condoned the harassment of his family, and Mario attempted to turn it on Gregg, saying, 'this man' while pointing to the customer 'has not been picketing your home' I interrupted. 'Now, Mario, don't accuse him. We know it's not him and you're trying to get him involved.' The person walked off after that, shaking his head. "The picket after that was uneventful. The staff, apparently according to OSA orders to appear 'scared,' either milled around near the back or disappeared somewhere else. No goon squad. No handlers. We finished the picket at 5:30." Message-ID: GIBDsE.EE3@bath.ac.uk
Reed SlatkinThe Santa Barbara News-Press reported that Scientologist and investment manager Reed Slatkin's assets are to be auctioned as a result of his bankruptcy. "On Wednesday, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robin Riblet in Santa Barbara approved the sale of Mr. Slatkin's Earthlink stock and other publicly traded securities. A 100,000-share chunk of his Earthlink stock will be sold immediately, and there is a buyer ready to purchase his La Cumbre Country Club membership. Within a few days, Mr. Slatkin's Hope Ranch home and other properties will be put on the market, said Sue Montgomery, a lawyer working with the court-appointed trustee to liquidate many of his assets. "Mr. Slatkin is not objecting to the liquidation of most assets. However, he is petitioning the bankruptcy court to exempt some property from sale. That includes his $4 million Hope Ranch home, a handful of life insurance policies, a 1998 Volvo coupe, $17,000 in clothing, household furnishings, jewelry and art, plus a couple of retirement accounts. A court-appointed trustee is moving to sell many of Mr. Slatkin's assets and use proceeds to help reimburse creditors. "Mr. Slatkin is the subject of a federal investigation for allegedly defrauding investors through his unregistered investment advisory business for 15 years until he declared bankruptcy May 1. He promised investors annual returns of up to 60 percent, but creditors' lawyers suspect it was a Ponzi scheme in which early investors are paid with money belonging to more recent participants. "Among Mr. Slatkin's assets are three country club memberships. A Santa Barbara resident is ready to buy Mr. Slatkin's La Cumbre Country Club membership for $140,000. Mr. Slatkin has 10 properties worth more than $7,880,000, records show. These include his Hope Ranch estate at 4480-4484 Via Esperanza; 96 acres of undeveloped land north of Solvang in Ballard Canyon, worth an estimated $1 million; a two-story, 2,200-square-foot house at 890 N. Kellogg Ave. in Goleta worth $500,000; and an 1,800-square-foot house at 3125 Riley Road in Solvang." The News-Press reported on August 11th on an exemption claim on Slatkin's home. "Mr. Slatkin is claiming a $75,000 homestead exemption on the home but is not trying to stop its sale, the attorney said. When it is sold, after the payment of any deeds of trust and the costs of sale, Mr. Slatkin would receive his exemption and the remaining proceeds would go into the bankruptcy estate to pay creditors. The home is worth an estimated $4 million. "The trustee in the bankruptcy case is contending that Mr. Slatkin failed to file a timely claim and has therefore waived his right to claim any estate assets as exempt, according to papers filed Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Barbara. Also Thursday, Mr. Slatkin's wife, Mary Jo Slatkin, filed an exemption request for the same items in what attorneys described as a precautionary tactic. "Separately, a commercial property in Florida of which Mr. Slatkin is part-owner is being sold this month to a school board for $1.65 million, according to a recent court filing." Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: email@example.com
A.r.s. Week in Review is put together by Rod Keller ©
This collection is organised for WWW by Andreas Heldal-Lund.
Only edits done by me is replacing word encapsuled in * or _ with bold and underscore, and made links into HTML.