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Retired US couple island-hopping in the Caribbean vanish from their yacht

US couple Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry disappeared while sailing off the Grenada coast.

Their yacht, SV Simplicity, was found abandoned, blood-stained, and 80 miles off course.

The Royal Grenada Police Force links the couple's disappearance to the escape of three prisoners.

Nick Buro and Bryan Hendry were baffled by the sudden silence from their parents, Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry, who had lived on a yacht for over a decade, People reports.

The American couple vanished while sailing off the coast of Grenada on February 18. Their yacht, the SV Simplicity, was discovered abandoned 80 miles away. Authorities suspect foul play in the couple's disappearance.

Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel are seasoned sailors who had recently completed a " Caribbean Rally" from Virginia to Antigua , The Washington Post reports.

They were seeing out the winter island hopping in the Eastern Caribbeanin their catamaran, according to a statement from their sailing club, per The Washington Post.

According to the Post, the last sighting of Hendry and Brandel was near Grand Anse Beach in Grenada on February 18.

A sailing captain stumbled upon the ransacked vessel while paddle-boarding along the Saint Vincent shore, per People. The yacht was splattered with blood stains. The captain came across Brandel and Hendry's American passports, prompting him to call for help.

Authorities were swiftly notified, with the Coast Guard Service reporting the vessel as "unoccupied" and noting the blood stains.

Three prisoners escaped custody on the day the couple disappeared

Three Grenadian prisoners — Ron Mitchell, Trevor Robertson, and Atiba Stanislaus — escaped custody on the same day as Brandel and Hendry's disappearance. Police suspect a connection, suggesting the trio may have been involved in the couple's disappearance.

A statement shared by the Royal Grenada Police Force revealed that "Ron Mitchell was charged separately with one count of rape, three counts of attempted Rape, two counts of indecent assault, and causing harm." The three men were charged jointly with one count of robbery with violence.

They escaped from a holding cell at South St George Police Station on February 18, 2024, the same day the American couple disappeared.

The RGPF statement said the three men made their way to the nearby island of St Vincent "via a yacht which was docked in the St. George area. The RGPF is currently working on leads that suggest that the two occupants of the yacht may have been killed in the process. It is believed that the occupants of the yacht were American citizens."

In a statement posted to Salty Dawg Sailing Association , Nick Buro and Bryan Hendry requested that cruises and anyone not affiliated with the officials with presiding jurisdiction stand down. "The only way we feel this situation could be worse would be if anyone was hurt or endangered trying to conduct searches," they wrote.

A GoFundMe fundraising appeal started by Jessica Mause on behalf of Nick Buro said:

"It is with profound sadness and heavy hearts that we share the devastating news of the senseless act of violence that tragically claimed the lives of husband and wife, Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel."

Read the original article on Business Insider

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The 98.4m superyacht Aviva was built for British businessman Joe Lewis who owns Tottenham Hotspur Football Club

Aviva: Inside the 98.4m Abeking & Rasmussen flagship yacht

The owner of Aviva challenged his design team to build a yacht around a padel tennis court — and 98m, 4,966GT and a mere three years later, she was launched.

She’s big — let’s get that out of the way. At 98.4 metres,  Aviva  became the 46th longest yacht in the world when she was delivered by  Abeking & Rasmussen  in 2017, and there are very few boats of her length that can match her for volume.

Her 17.24 metre beam is so generous that the designers pulled in the bridge deck superstructure to add side decks — improving crew circulation and refining the profile — because “we just didn’t need that much beam”.

They were right: spaces on board are magnificently expansive, from guest suites the size of the master suite on a 50 metre to an owner’s wardrobe that is, designer Andrew Langton notes quite seriously, “bigger than my house in France”. The fact that scale sits fairly low down on the list of Aviva ’s extraordinary features speaks to the imagination and belief-beggaring ambition of this project.

Aviva is the third yacht of her name delivered to owner Joe Lewis, British businessman and major shareholder in Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. The first, a 62 metre Winch design, was built at Feadship in the Netherlands; the second, a 68 metre Reymond Langton design , at Abeking & Rasmussen on the banks of the Weser river in Lemwerder, near Bremen.

For his grandest project yet Lewis returned to Abeking. “They were, surprisingly, much less conservative than other people. Maybe it’s because of the military stuff they do,” says Toby Silverton, head of design on the project, working with Reymond Langton, and who was also involved in Lewis’s two previous projects.

The yard’s biggest project had been 82.48 metre Secret and to take on Aviva it extended its build shed to accommodate yachts of up to 125 metres — a bold move into a larger size category. And its courage didn’t end there.

“Build a big yacht around a padel tennis court was the main brief, I guess,” says the yard’s project manager Andreas Hering, with admirable understatement. “In three years.”

  • How 74.5m Abeking & Rasmussen Elandess sprang from a blank sheet of paper

A project of this size might easily take five years, even if the yard already had a shed big enough for the purpose. And this was a highly unusual project. Design was accelerated too: the complex interior was penned in six months, when they would have liked a year; and the exterior in just one month, when it might more comfortably have taken six.

Knowing that makes Aviva ’s elegant profile even more impressive. “There was a lot of work to [visually] break up the mass, using facets,” says Langton. “We also tried to keep the lines long, so the sheer line is very long and jumps up forward with a clean line.”

They also minimised the details that act as size references, to disguise the scale. Rub rails are eliminated, stanchions replaced with glass, crew quarters windows are grouped to create long lines of glazing and even the anchor pocket has been elongated and disguised, lest a little square of gleaming stainless gives the game away.

Some upright elements of the silver superstructure were also picked out in a darker shade. “They disappear a bit, which makes the slope of the boat more raked,” says Langton.

The long bow adds to the effect, but the aesthetic is the beneficiary of a practical decision: this boat will roam far and the long covered bow makes it likely to survive the kind of rogue waves that have battered a few cruise ships over the years.

“I talked to the captain of the QE2 who went through a wave, and what happens is all the wheelhouse windows smash, they had four foot of water, you then lose all your instruments and they had no ability to control the boat, communicate or navigate,” says Silverton.

To strengthen Aviva he added extra watertight doors and armoured the two forward VIP cabins and superyacht wheelhouse so that they could be sealed off to save the boat. “You can lose everything on the bridge and you can still navigate and control the boat from the engine room,” he says.

Apart from safety, the main aim of the naval architecture was stability. Before the build of Lewis’s second Aviva , Silverton had been frustrated by a lack of data on how rolling motion affects passengers, so he put 36 people in a motion simulator for three days.

“There’s two things: one is the period of roll and the second is the way it rolls,” he says. “The typical roll period of the 62 metre would be around 7.5-7.8 seconds, one of two roll periods people were particularly upset by. And we found that if it was a soft stop and then a soft movement away again, people were much more tolerant of it.”

The design of the second boat addressed those concerns and the new Aviva ’s hull — patent pending — is an evolution of that. It has a nipped in “waist” which bulges back out below the waterline. This both slows and softens the roll. Her near-vertical bow and narrow sailing boat-like stern (which helps reduce pitching) also aid efficiency.

So much so that they were able to go down two engine sizes from the original spec (she has two MTU 16V4000 M73Ls, which put out 2,880kW each) and still hit 20.3 knots in sea trials. Silverton notes that she runs most comfortably at a zippy 16.5 knots, despite an official cruising speed of 14 knots.

Supplementary electric motors offer smooth manoeuvring and silent 11 knot running at night, while extra solidity comes from MAGLift stabilisers aft and one pair of fin stabilisers forward.

But it is the padel tennis court that lies literally and metaphorically at the heart of this project. This high intensity squash-tennis hybrid is a daily routine for Lewis and his explorations with his previous yachts had been limited to destinations with courts.

“The original idea I had was to put it on the aft end main deck and have folding panels and sliding walls,” says Langton. “It never even entered my head to put it inside, because it’s so big.”

Not only would putting the court at the back have made for a profile that Langton likens to a pick-up truck, but Silverton notes that the court would not have been playable at main-deck level. “You’re way above the roll centre, so it’s moving sideways – humans can’t cope with sideways movement of the ground,” says Silverton. “So we looked at putting it as low down as possible.”

Achieving such a large area in that position was an engineering feat but the results are spectacular. Its dimensions short-circuit spatial understanding — it seems impossible that this towering 6.65 metre tall space could be accommodated in Aviva ’s profile.

But it is, and it functions beautifully. “We’re running along at 19 knots, white horses everywhere, and they’re downstairs playing padel having no idea that there’s any sea at all,” says Silverton.

This sort of intelligent ambition has transformed every space on board into something special. “The owner has been in many businesses – hospitality, hotels – so he really understands how spaces work,” says Silverton.

Apart from strategically placed pantries and concealed crew entrances, there are three massive dumb waiters, a lower deck entrance for loading supplies, a dedicated crew galley and much more. The final GA was version 57.

On the more glamorous side of this equation, the upper saloon is a highly functional family room that’s comfortable, bright and airy. The sofas are extra squashy, and there’s a games table as well as a sculptural Bogányi piano.

The head height is 2.6 metres and nine metres of openable full-height windows run along each side of the room – with balconies. Rather than the usual glass, doors to the aft deck are leather clad, making the room feel more private. In fine weather, with those doors open, glass panels slide out to surround the aft deck dining area, creating one long, protected inside/outside space.

Designing such a huge area without pillars for support was a challenge and the corners are, says Hering, packed with extra structure. “Also, in the ceiling, all the girders are very thick because the unsupported length is just enormous.”

In contrast to this space, the main saloon below is a glamorous introduction to Aviva , up the sweeping superyacht staircase from the swim platform and inside to take in starry pieces from the owner’s art collection from a round of sunken seating. Adding a dash of intrigue there’s a secret cinema forward of the space, behind a hidden door.

The master suite is in the nose of the main deck rather than higher up, for extra stability. It stretches from a full-beam cabin to a massive bathroom centred with a monolithic Corian bathtub (there’s a spa just aft of the cabin for even more serious pampering), to a wardrobe-cum-dressing room of spectacular scale and glamour, inspired by Chanel boutiques.

But while some spaces are grand in scale, others are decidedly intimate. Rather than a dining saloon, there are two art-filled “bistros” on board for cosy meals, and many other small dining areas elsewhere. The owner’s bridge deck office is also modestly proportioned, with a conference room next door for larger meetings.

In terms of interior style, the owner’s brief was for something revolutionary. “He didn’t want anything to be symmetrical, it had to be curvy or organic,” says Langton. “He wanted it to be very different. No wood, nothing traditional.”

From the furniture and fittings to walls and overheads, there is barely a straight line on this boat. That was no mean feat for Abeking & Rasmussen’s outfitter Rodiek, which, as well as building most of the yacht’s bespoke furniture in organic forms, produced undulating wall panels from high density CNC-milled foam. “Five or ten years ago this was only used to do models or moulds for the car industry. It is very expensive,” says Langton.

It is, however, perfect for creating curves. “For this boat we decided to use a lot of new materials, even for the base materials, because of the big curved ceiling spaces,” says Hilmar Westermeyer, COO of Rodiek, who had to buy a new CNC milling machine for the project. Rodiek works only for Abeking & Rasmussen (and vice versa) in a symbiotic relationship.

In terms of the interior styling, the ethos was love it or lose it — at least visually. “This door disappears when it is closed and becomes part of the wall,” says Langton in one of the forward VIPs, swinging it to the latch, where its undulations perfectly meet those on the wall. “You either make a door a feature, make it beautiful, or you make it disappear.” The same goes for handles: those on wardrobes are invisible, but ones used on cabin doors are gnarled and textural, incorporated into a cracked bronze plate “like desert clay”.

“Because we’ve not used any wood, basically the whole interior is a mixture of leather and lacquer, it’s really almost tailored.” Take the artfully stitched cream leather of window frames, or the iridescent shot silk that runs down the broad main deck corridor, printed with a bespoke cartographical motif.

A neutral palette is enriched with precious materials: sunset-toned onyx, vanilla marble, shagreen, shimmering leathers. There are glossy panels dripping with resin and acrylic by Alex Turco in the lobby, and panels of velvet mottled with gold, by Sabina Fay Braxton, above guest beds. Staircases are works of art; one with floating treads like turbine blades, another a leather and glass form that spirals up from the floor.

This interior — where, as Langton puts it, almost every surface has “richness and form” – melts into the deck spaces via visual tricks: organic patterns in the Esthec decking that continue in the interior carpets; or the bar that is half in the main saloon and half on the aft deck, a mirror image joining the two spaces.

The superyacht sundeck is the exterior equivalent of the upper saloon — a comfortable family lounge. This massive space, with sunshine yellow upholstery, runs from a shaded central area for dining, with a projector for movie nights, to an aft sunbathing area with sunpads (with a wedge shape to sit as well as lie) and another forward around a spa pool, set low against a glass windbreak for spectacular views.

This forward end is a cosy space like so many on board. It’s that understanding of usable, enjoyable spaces, of human scale, human comfort and passions that makes Aviva a truly grand design. Those 98 metres just help pack it all on board.

First published in the April 2018 edition of BOAT International. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.

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Washington’s hottest club is Joe Manchin’s houseboat

joe yacht

Generally speaking, the first rule of visiting Joe Manchin III’s houseboat is don’t talk about Joe Manchin’s houseboat.

Last week, however, when Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tested positive for the coronavirus after attending a weekend cruise on Almost Heaven — named after the opening line of John Denver’s elegy to West Virginia, “Take Me Home, Country Roads” — it’s all anyone in Washington wanted to discuss.

News releases began pouring out from the offices of Sens. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) admitting that the senators had been onboard but emphasizing that they’d followed public-health guidelines about testing and masking. Rumors spread throughout Capitol Hill that Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a regular on the boat, had been spotted wearing a mask outside of the Senate physician’s office (his office later said he tested negative). Some lawmakers made efforts to tamp down any sense of scandal or indulgence.

“It was a cookout,” Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) said walking through the Capitol basement on the way to votes Tuesday. “We literally had hot dogs and hamburgers at, like, 4 in the afternoon on top of a boat that was moving with a stiff breeze.”

“There’s no ‘parties,’ ” Manchin himself said of the semi-mysterious doings onboard his precious vessel. “Basically, there’s gatherings we have on Almost Heaven. We know each other and talk to each other.” The U.S. senator from West Virginia was sporting a bandage on his forehead while talking to reporters, an injury he says he sustained fixing a sink, not partying, on the boat.

So far, nobody beyond Graham has reported a positive test. But the notion that Almost Heaven might become the Diamond Princess of the Potomac put a spotlight on what has become a crucial destination for members of Official Washington.

At the ideological center of a 50-50 Senate, Manchin, a Democrat, has found himself in the captain’s seat for much of what gets done, or doesn’t get done, in Washington. This means that the Room Where it Happens is often a large pleasure craft/domicile floating on the capital waterways. At least three Biden Cabinet secretaries have spent time on Almost Heaven, as have the White House chief of staff and dozens of senators.

“The core group that worked on this infrastructure bill has been socializing on the boat together for a long time,” said Coons. “The bill probably would have fallen apart, after there were some strong crosscurrents, if not for the trust and relationships that were built, including during time on the boat.”

Climb aboard the Almost Heaven, which is somewhere between a trawler and a yacht, big and boxy. Step inside the cabin and marvel at the creature comforts: a semicircular, plush-leather couch with a matching ottoman, glass cabinets trimmed with dark wood, a marble dining-room table with thick white candles and a box of blue-and-white cocktail napkins with red cursive lettering: "Welcome aboard Almost Heaven." Below deck, the master bedroom is cozy but well-appointed, with an abundance of throw pillows. There's a guest room with a bed above the washer/dryer.

Up on the party deck, amid the wrought-iron chairs and tables with umbrellas, you might see Trump-allied Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), just months removed from objecting to President Biden’s election, talking college football with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

“Pete’s from Notre Dame,” said Tuberville, a former college football coach, recalling a visit to Almost Heaven. “So we talked about the ‘Catholics versus Convicts’ game I coached in 1988, when Notre Dame went on to win its last national championship. I was coaching in Miami. We went for two at the end of the game. Didn’t make it.”

And hey, look at that view! On one evening cruise, some years back, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) was so moved by the picturesque Washington skyline that she began singing “God Bless America.”

And see this chair here? Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is said to have once rested his foot atop this seat, standing in the Captain Morgan pose, polishing off three beers in a matter of minutes while talking to one of his most liberal colleagues, then-Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). “He was drinking those beers like water,” said former senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska), who watched the conversation in awe.

This is the promise of Almost Heaven: Anyone who scores an invite can loosen up for a few hours in a Washington precinct with no candid cameras or nagging aides or nosy reporters, and maybe get to see their colleagues as real people. It’s a place for Hawaiian shirts and shorts (Manchin’s go-to boat attire) instead of suits and ties, where senators dine on pizza from Harris Teeter or pasta platters from Nostra Cocina. Moonshine is available for drinking, and if the gatherings go late you can be sure there will be dancing and singing — and not just patriotic hymns from the likes of Murkowski. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), an Almost Heaven regular, has regaled fellow passengers with “American Pie.” Manchin, who declined to be interviewed for this story, has been known to crank the music and sing along to “SOB,” by Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, whose chorus begins: “Son of a b----, give me a drink!”

Stay late enough and you might even catch Manchin cheerfully cleaning up after everyone. “He’s a neat-freak,” said a guest who has been on the boat many times. “You could eat off that floor.”

“He’s really in his element there,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said of the gentleman from West Virginia. “It’s a great place to sit on the deck, have a beer, gossip and laugh and forget about the challenges of work and occasionally thereby get some work done.”

There are fewer and fewer bipartisan safe spaces like that in Washington, in Kaine’s estimation.

“It’s the weekly prayer breakfast, the gym and, I guess, Joe’s boat,” he said.

Guests are encouraged to keep private any scuttlebutt re: the boat, and that doesn’t just go for members of Congress. Over the years Manchin has invited many journalists aboard (present company excluded) under the condition that everything stay off the record.

“I organized some of the first press gatherings on the boat, and I made everybody swear on penalty of being cast into the abyss that they wouldn’t talk about it, since it was his home,” said Steve Clemons, a journalist and friend of Manchin.

There have been numerous failed attempts at writing about the boat over the years, attempts met with resistance from Manchin’s staff — for a mix of political and security concerns — and colleagues who knew to clam up.

“That’s a nice try,” Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) told a Washington Post reporter attempting to write a story about Almost Heaven in 2018. “But you’re talking to the chairman of the Intelligence Committee — I’m not talking about the boat!”

First Rule of Boat Club notwithstanding, there have been leaks. In June, as part of a longer Manchin profile , the New Yorker relayed an anecdote from February about Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) nearly plunging into frigid water after slipping on an icy gangplank following a dinner aboard Almost Heaven with Manchin and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). Manchin reportedly had lunged to his colleague’s aid and came away with an injured thumb. Asked by The Post to elaborate on that spill, Tester offered: “The shoes were warm and the ice was thick.”

Some of the more high-profile guests have seen their visits noted in the political press. Energy Secretary Jennifer Gran­holm was spotted there by Politico Playbook. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo met there for chats about the infrastructure bill, according to a Wall Street Journal reporter. The New York Times reported that Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, spent an evening “getting to know” Manchin earlier this year.

That meeting was set up by Clemons — who, while hesitant at first to talk to The Post about Almost Heaven, agreed to an interview after “The Manchin clan” had removed his “covenant with them on the boat.”

“They had a three-hour dinner, a fantastic dinner according to both accounts,” Clemons said of the Klain conclave. “And I think it was useful in bridging the senator and the White House. All I know is that a couple of days later the American Recovery Act got through.”

In 2011, Terry Sullivan was living aboard his 50-foot Sea Ray Powerboat, when his friend, the dockmaster, told him a new neighbor was moving into the slip next door.

“He said he was some sort of congressman or something,” Sullivan recalled recently.

At the time Sullivan was deputy chief of staff to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and he was inclined to “leave all that political stuff” at the office.

“I was like, ‘Aww man, don’t put him next to me, please.’ ”

Sullivan changed his mind when Manchin and his buddies rolled up in the Black Tie, Manchin’s vessel before Almost Heaven, wearing T-shirts and drinking beers.

The new neighbors had multiple conversations before Manchin finally asked Sullivan what he did for a living — an uncommon feat in Washington. The senator seemed as if he’d fit in just fine at a marina where people would rather talk boats than business.

“There was a time he called me while I was in the office,” Sullivan said. It wasn’t a political favor he was after. “He wanted to know if he could get on my boat to borrow a socket set.”

Sullivan said he believes this is why Manchin brings people out on the water with him: to help wash away some of the toxicity of Congress.

Washington is more polarized than ever — but the bipartisan party scene rages on (from 2017)

When the National Republican Senatorial Committee heard that Sullivan lived next to Manchin, the Republican operative says, they asked if he might have any intel to share.

“I said: ‘Go to hell,’ ” he said. “First of all, I like the guy, and second of all, he’s my neighbor. On boats, you just wouldn’t do that.”

Among the landlubbers, all’s fair: In 2018, with Manchin facing a tough reelection bid, the NRSC ran ads knocking the Democrat for living on a $700,000 “luxury yacht.” (Manchin’s office has pointed to documents showing that he paid only $220,000 for Almost Heaven when he bought it, in 2014.) Manchin, meanwhile, has tried to make the boat work as a political prop in his favor, bragging about how he’s always just one anchor-pull away from fleeing Washington.

Manchin is now at a strange time in his relationship with the city. His colleagues like him, and admire him for getting people to like each other — or, at least, to try. But with Republicans going all-in on an ex-president who tried to overturn an election on false pretenses, and many Democrats increasingly fed up with compromise-minded moderates, American politics is no boat party. For those watching the news with rising alarm, there’s no comfort in the thought of Manchin taking calls from President Donald Trump aboard Almost Heaven (which he has done, according to Clemons), or Buttigieg and Tuberville bonding over college football on the roof deck, or Murkowski being moved to song by the sight of the capital skyline.

“All I’m saying is I don’t think our Founding Fathers anticipated the survival of this democratic experiment to rest in the hands of a man who lives in a house boat,” Jenna Valle-Riestra, a press secretary for the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote in a now-deleted tweet, after Manchin came out against a Democratic voting rights bill.

Not that this kind of criticism is keeping Manchin up at night.

“After January 6, he told me, ‘If we aren’t out there forcing people to come together to defend a safe space in the middle, then we will never have it,’ ” said Clemons. “People attack him for being naive. They think that criticism or pressure is somehow going to move him, but it actually makes him double down.”

There is much promise and peril, then, for Manchin and his boat. It’s a place where deals can be floated and bills can get watered down. Where trust can live, if fleetingly, among people whose constituents don’t trust each other at all.

It is, in other words, Washington in miniature. For some that sounds like Almost Heaven. For others that’s just a nice way to describe living in limbo.

Ashley Parker, Mary Jordan and Mike DeBonis contributed to this report.

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Caribbean Officials Search for Missing Couple After Yacht Hijacking

By Robertson Henry

KINGSTOWN, ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES (Reuters) - Police from two countries in the eastern Caribbean are investigating the possible murder of two people believed to be U.S. citizens who owned a catamaran that was hijacked by three fugitives in the waters off the island of Grenada.

The yacht's alleged owners, Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry, were last seen Sunday night, when three men escaped from the custody of Grenadian authorities. Police in St. Vincent and the Grenadines captured the men on Wednesday.

The Royal Grenada Police Force said in a statement released on Friday that preliminary information suggests the escaped prisoners had traveled from Grenada to St. Vincent and the Grenadines on a yacht. Investigators are now working on leads "that suggest that the two occupants of the yacht may have been killed in the process," the statement said.

Authorities have yet to officially confirm Brandel and Hendry as the owners of the yacht, but the Salty Dawg Sailing Association, which the couple were members of, released a statement citing the couple as the owners.

That statement said a cruising skipper had reported their yacht, Simplicity, abandoned off of the coast of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The person "found evidence of violence" on the boat, it said.

The organization noted the pair were seasoned sailors who had spent the winter sailing down the eastern coast of the U.S. into the Caribbean.

"This is a very upsetting event and details are still unconfirmed by the authorities, but this does appear to be a tragic event," said Bob Osborn, the association's president.

"Upon inspection, it was found that the yacht had been ransacked, and it was apparent a violent act had taken place," according to the Caribbean Safety and Security Net (CSSN), which collects and disseminates information relating to crimes involving yachts in the region. "Copious amounts of blood were found in the master stateroom, and the two owners were missing."

According to data from AIS, an automatic tracking system that uses transceivers on ships, the yacht left Grenada around 10 p.m. local time on Sunday. The vessel's speed was uncharacteristically fast for the couple, known as fair-weather sailors who go exceedingly slowly, according to the Grenada Cruisers Information Facebook page.

Ron Mitchell, 30, Trevon Robertson, 19, and Abita Stanislaus, 25, were being held at the South Saint George Police Station in Grenada on charges of robbery with violence before their escape to St. Vincent, according to police. Mitchell also faced additional counts of rape, attempted rape, and indecent assault, police added.

(Reporting by Robertson Henry; Writing by Sarah Kinosian; Editing by Paul Simao)

Copyright 2024 Thomson Reuters .

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Tags: crime , Grenada

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Joe Jonas parties on yacht after reaching custody agreement with Sophie Turner

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Joe Jonas.

Joe Jonas partied on a megayacht in Miami on Sunday — just days after he reached a custody agreement with Sophie Turner.

The “Sucker” singer, 34, was seen hanging out with a group of his friends while relaxing on the fully-staffed massive vessel, according to photos obtained by the Daily Mail.

Jonas was photographed interacting with a blond in a purple bathing suit before greeting another one, who was much more covered up, as well as a man with long brown hair.

At one point, Jonas was spotted chatting on his cellphone, and in another moment he was seen shaking hands with one of his friends aboard.

Joe jonas.

The “Camp Rock” alum was surrounded by his entourage as he enjoyed his day in the sun wearing a white linen shirt layered over a tank top, cargo shorts, a black flat-brim hat and Birkenstock clogs.

The Jonas Brothers performed a show in Miami on Saturday and are scheduled to put on a show in Orlando, Fla., on Monday.

Jonas’ day at sea came shortly after he and Turner, 27, settled on a  temporary agreement regarding the custody of their two children: Willa, 3, and  1-year-old Delphine .

Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner.

Until Oct. 21, the girls will remain with the “Game of Thrones” star and she is permitted to travel with them through the US or UK. Turner is then expected to hand over the kids to Jonas and they will remain with their father until Nov. 2.

From there, they will continue to hand off custody through Jan. 7, 2024, with the kids spending Thanksgiving with their dad and Christmas with their mom.

Last week, Jonas and Turner agreed to settle their divorce privately after they attended mediation for four days and came to a  temporary child custody agreement.

Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner with their child.

Their co-parenting plans were resolved just one month after Jonas filed to divorce Turner following four years of marriage.

Sources at the time claimed they had been experiencing serious problems in their relationship for months.

The “Do Revenge” actress responded by countersuing him for their daughters’ “immediate return” to England and creating her own divorce petition in the UK.

Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner.

Turner claimed that the DNCE alum had agreed to raise their family in England and accused Jonas of withholding their passports, though his rep later clarified that he did not “abduct” their children.

Things turned even nastier between the estranged pair when sources claimed that Turner’s partying played a role in their breakup.

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Meanwhile, another insider claimed that Turner was caught bad-mouthing Jonas on a ring cam , driving Jonas to end things for good.

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Jonas isn’t the only one enjoying the single life surrounded by blond beauties. Turner has been spending time with besties Taylor Swift and Blake Lively.

Turner was even staying in the “Cruel Summer” singer’s Tribeca home last month as her bitter divorce unfolded.

Turner and Jonas got married in Las Vegas in 2019 after dating for nearly three years.

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Virginia couple feared dead after 3 escaped prisoners steal their yacht in the caribbean.

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A Virginia couple is feared dead after three escaped prisoners stole their docked yacht from a Caribbean marina and fled to another island.

Ralph Hendry and his wife Kathy Brandel, who live on their yacht, Simplicity, were last seen by a boating neighbor on Sunday afternoon in St. George’s on the island nation of Grenada, as they headed to a restaurant.

The pair live on their boat during the winter and arrived on the island two weeks prior, intending to stay another week before they went missing.

“They went into town [on Sunday] to have a little bite and to walk back,” Hendry’s sister Suellen Desmarais  told WPTV-Tampa . “Somehow Ralph crossed paths in this teeny tiny town with these three men. What happened after that, we’re not sure.”

‘This was their whole life,” she added. “They didn’t own another home; they didn’t own cars; they owned Simplicity.”

Ralph Hendry and his wife Kathy Brandel were last seen by a boating neighbor in the St. George area on Sunday afternoon as they headed to a restaurant on the island nation of Grenada.

‘Ralph and Kathy are the kindest people in the entire world, and I just can’t understand how a tragedy like this could happen to people as kind and nice as them.”

Hendry and Brandel have sailed the same route for the past few years, from Virginia to Massachusetts before heading down to Florida to visit Desmarais, and eventually to the Caribbean where they would island hop,  according to ABC News.

They went missing the same day that three fugitives, Ron Mitchell, 30, Trevon Robertson, 19, and Abita Stanislaus, 25, escaped the South St. George Police Station. The escapees then made their way to the marina, where they fled to another Caribbean island, authorities said.

They were subsequently captured on Wednesday in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The Simplicity was recovered by authorities after a good Samaritan found it anchored off of a St. Vincent beach, where they boarded it and discovered the boat had been ransacked and "found evidence of apparent violence."

“The RGPF is currently working on leads that suggest that the two occupants of the yacht may have been killed in the process,” the Royal Grenada Police Force said in a press release.

“It is believed that the occupants of the yacht were American citizens.”

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The suspects each face one count of robbery with violence. Mitchell, a sailor, was separately charged with one count of rape, three counts of attempted rape, two counts of indecent assault and causing harm.

The Simplicity was recovered by authorities after a Good Samaritan found it anchored off of a St. Vincent beach. When they boarded, they discovered the boat had been ransacked and “found evidence of apparent violence.”

Authorities spotted bloodstains in the interior but no sign of the couple,  according to People magazine .

Desmarais, however, is holding out hope the couple is still alive.

“It feels made up, and I just can’t comprehend why someone would do this?” she said. “Why didn’t someone just take the boat?

‘What happened in Grenada was a perfect storm. It was a perfect tragedy of a perfect storm of a perfect love story.”

She also  told Fox 5 DC,  “Why would I presume anyone is dead with no body and DNA? I want to remain positive. I want to believe that they are alive,”

Hendry and Brandel’s two children and Hendry’s nephew traveled to St. Vincent and the Grenadines to join the search for the couple on Friday, according to reports.

“This investigation is in its infancy stage and the RGPF have dispatched a team of senior investigators and a forensic specialist to St. Vincent in furtherance of this investigation,” the RGPF said.

Ron Mitchell, a sailor, was separately charged with one count of Rape, three counts of Attempted Rape, two counts of Indecent Assault, and Causing Harm.

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Joe Manchin leans over deck of his yacht to tell protesters why he’ll oppose funding healthcare expansion

West virginia senator confronted by kayaking protesters in dc, article bookmarked.

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Democratic senator Joe Manchin had an awkward exchange with protesters from the deck of his yacht this week as his party was forced to delay voting on two infrastructure bills because he has opposed parts of the legislation.

From his $250,000 boat named “Almost Heaven” on the Potomac River in DC, the centrist from West Virginia explained why he opposed a major part of the bill championed by progressives - the expansion of Medicare to include dental and vision care, and hearing aids .

“We will get to that eventually, but right now we can’t even take care...it’s going to go broke in 2026,” he said of the medicare trust fund. “Let us fix and repair that first.”

Mr Manchin’s words were booed by activists who had reached the senator in a small fleet of kayaks to urge him to support various aspects of the reconciliation bill.

Democrats hope to pass the bill on a party line basis and sign into law using a budget measure to avoid expected unified opposition from Republicans.

“This is our one chance right now to pass this legislation,” one protester told the senator, pointing out that Republicans are widely projected to win control of at least one chamber of Congress next year.

Activists demonstrate in the water near the houseboat owned by Senator Joe Manchin

The Independent contacted Mr Manchin’s office to inquire about whether the image of him appearing onboard an expensive houseboat clashes with his demand that Democrats slash roughly $2trillion worth of programs from the $3.5tn reconciliation bill.

Mr Manchin is opposed to the expansion of Medicare. He told the protesters that it will be unable to fully cover health insurance costs by 2026 unless action is taken by Congress to increase revenues or cut spending.

Democrats reset the deadline for the passage of their two infrastructure bills to 31 October on Saturday after Mr Manchin and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema indicated they both opposed the reconciliation bill at its current size, triggering a threat from dozens of House members to vote against the bipartisan infrastructure compromise bill unless the Senate first passed the $3.5 tn package and sent it to the House.

Progressives have seethed at the two conservative members of their party’s Senate caucus in recent days over their opposition to the $3.5tn number and publicly vowed to seek out and fund primary challengers to the pair, though Ms Sinema and Mr Manchin are not up for reelection until 2024.

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This is a screenshot from a National Republican Senatorial Committee ad against Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

This is a screenshot from a National Republican Senatorial Committee ad against Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

Does Joe Manchin have a $700,000 luxury yacht?

The National Republican Senatorial Committee -- the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm -- didn’t hold back in a campaign ad aimed at Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

The ad, released in early August, charged that "West Virginia Joe" had transformed himself into "Washington Joe." And a key exhibit for this argument was a pricey boat he owned.

Manchin owns a "$700,000 D.C. luxury yacht," the ad said, illustrating the claim with a photograph showing a docked vessel.

pic.twitter.com/GNwdXbFCM4 — The Senate Majority (@NRSC) August 7, 2018

Is this accurate? We took a closer look.

Manchin’s campaign does not dispute that he owns a boat, "Almost Heaven," saying it is where Manchin has typically lived when in Washington and not back home in West Virginia.

In fact, the boat is hardly a secret. It has been written about periodically before; articles often mention sessions he’s held on the boat with other lawmakers to negotiate legislation and strategy.

In 2014, for instance, Time magazine wrote that both "Almost Heaven" and Manchin’s previous vessel, the "Black Tie," serve as "a kind of floating incubator of that tenderest of Washington flowers in the first decades of the 21st century: bipartisanship."

To back up its assertion, the NRSC provided PolitiFact with a document labeled " general index or abstract of title continuation sheet No. 1 ," the cost of the vessel was listed $700,000.

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Manchin’s campaign instead offered a different document with a lower dollar figure.

That document, a memorandum of sale from 2014, said the purchase price for the vessel was $220,000. The document says that Manchin purchased the boat from M&T Bank, with National Liquidators as the broker of the sale.

Independent experts we contacted were unable to explain the difference in the two dollar figures, beyond speculating that the vessel was purchased from a seller eager to get rid of it and later insured at the boat’s market value.

According to Boats.com , any vessel "over 40 feet long almost always qualifies" as a yacht. By the length standard alone, that would qualify "Almost Heaven" as a yacht: The vessel, built in 2001, is 65 feet long, according to Coast Guard documents provided to PolitiFact by the NRSC.

Whether it’s a "luxury" vessel, however, is in the eye of the beholder.

According to the Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology , the word "yacht ... connotes elegance and expense." Boats.com adds, "Just as a cocky walk would never be mistaken for a limping shuffle, yacht attitude is the net result of a combination of factors that are easy to spot as a group but hard to quantify individually."

The vessel is listed as "recreational" on documents. However, a less confrontational -- but similarly accurate -- description could be "houseboat," since it is Manchin’s residence in Washington.

The NRSC said that Manchin has a "$700,000 D.C. luxury yacht."

There’s no dispute that Manchin has a boat docked in Washington, D.C. Its 40-foot length would generally qualify it as a yacht, but since Manchin lives there when he is in town, it could be just as easily described as a houseboat. The vessel was purchased for much less, but it appears to be insured for $700,000. Whether it qualifies as a "luxury" vessel is a matter of opinion.

The information we’ve found backs up elements of both the NRSC’s original assertion and Manchin’s counterargument, so we rate it Half True.

PolitiFact

Our Sources

National Republican Senatorial Committee, tweet , Aug. 7, 2018

Boats.com, " When is a Boat Also a Yacht? " Aug. 22, 2018  

Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology, " Definitions of: Boat, Yacht, Small Craft, and Related Terms ," Aug. 28, 2018

Time magazine, " Joe Manchin: The Outlier ," Aug. 25, 2018

West Virginia Secretary of State, website , accessed Aug. 28, 2018

Email interview with Bob Salera, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Aug. 29, 2018

Email interview with Jonathan Kott, spokesman for Joe Manchin, Aug. 29, 2018

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For a full list of all available amenities & entertainment facilities, or price to hire additional equipment please contact your broker.

PADI CERTIFIED TRAINING CENTRE

Your family and friends could learn to scuba dive on your charter vacation onboard this luxury charter yacht. Motor/Sailer Papa Joe is a certified PADI Dive Centre yacht so you could obtain your PADI diving card .

'Papa Joe' Charter Rates & Destinations

Mediterranean Summer Cruising Region

Summer Season

May - September

€28,000 p/week + expenses Approx $30,500

High Season

€42,000 p/week + expenses Approx $45,500

Cruising Regions

Mediterranean Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, Turkey

HOT SPOTS:   Mykonos

Mediterranean Winter Cruising Region

Winter Season

October - April

This yacht is available for Corporate Yacht Charter and Events

Charter Papa Joe

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Raskin blasts GOP's top Biden impeachment witness Tony Bobulinski over interview with Oversight panel

Bobulinski appeared last week before the House Oversight Committee.

The top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Jamie Raskin, slammed Tony Bobulinski, one of House Republicans' top witnesses in their impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, in a letter first obtained by ABC News.

Bobulinski, a onetime business associate of Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden who has since become a critic of the Biden family, appeared last week before the Oversight Committee, where he reiterated claims he made during the 2020 election that Joe Biden was "an enabler" of several of his family's overseas business schemes that "sold out to foreign actors who were seeking to gain influence and access to Joe Biden and the United States government."

"Your client's interview was chaotic to the point of burlesque as he repeatedly yelled, shouted, filibustered, and hurled outlandish and baseless accusations and insults against Democratic Members and staff," Raskin wrote in the letter sent on Tuesday to Bobulinski's attorney as well as Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer.

MORE: Biden critic who once worked with Hunter tells lawmakers Joe Biden was 'enabler' of son's overseas business

"Mr. Bobulinski did not offer any evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden," Raskin said in his letter. "He also did not provide any evidence that President Biden was involved in his family's business dealings."

The transcript of Bobulinski's appearance appears to show that when pressed, Bobulinski -- who Comer has described as "the one honest, credible guy that was involved with the Bidens" -- could not point to direct evidence that Joe Biden was involved in his family's business dealings.

At one point in the interview, New York Rep. Dan Goldman questioned Bobulinski about a report by The Wall Street Journal that found that text messages and emails that Bobulinski handed over "didn't show either Hunter Biden or [President Biden's brother] James Biden discussing a role for Joe Biden in the venture" that was being discussed.

"Can you point to anything in this text message where Jim Biden discusses Joe Biden at all?" Goldman asked.

Bobulinski responded, "Well, Jim Biden doesn't actually respond to me in this text message. This is a text message on May 2nd at 11:40 p.m. from myself to Jim Biden that he doesn't respond to."

The transcript of the interview also shows that when Republican investigators asked Bobulinski to describe his two interactions with Joe Biden, who was a private citizen at the time, Bobulinski said the meetings did not include any direct discussion of any involvement in the business venture by Hunter Biden, James Biden, or two other partners, James Gilliar and Rob Walker.

In Bobulinski's retelling, one encounter with Joe Biden focused on Bobulinski's "background in detail," the Biden "family's background," as well as President Biden's "appreciation for the military" -- but not any specifics regarding any business.

"I shook his hands, and we sat down. And I think the meeting was, you know, 45 minutes to an hour," Bobulinski said regarding a meeting with Joe Biden in May 2017. "I remember going through my background in detail. I was very proud of it. I think he actually went first out of, you know, obviously, general respect at the time, and, you know, talked about some of the things they had dealt with as a family, their appreciation for the military, and stuff like that."

Raskin, in his letter, also blasted Bobulinski for accusing "a broad group of individuals and organizations of lying," including the multiple agents for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Wall Street Journal, and former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.

In Hutchinson's book, "Enough," she wrote that she recalled that Bobulinski chose to wear a "ski mask" to conceal his identity during a secretive encounter with Trump's then-chief of staff, Mark Meadows, at a campaign rally in Rome, Georgia, at which Meadows handed him a "folded sheet of paper or small envelope."

PHOTO: Tony Bobulinski, who claims to have been an associate of Hunter Biden, speaks to reporters at a hotel in Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 22, 2020.

"Cassidy Hutchinson is an absolute liar and a fraud," Bobulinski told the panel. "[Meadows] didn't hand me a single thing."

Comer, speaking to reporters following Bobulinski's appearance last week, said that Bobulinski had "articulated under oath that Joe Biden was 'the brand' the Bidens sold to enrich the family."

"Tony Bobulinski testified he believes Joe Biden committed wrongdoing and continues to lie to the American people about his participation in his family's influence peddling schemes," Comer said.

In a subsequent statement to ABC News, a House Oversight spokesperson said, "Joe Biden not only knew about his family's dealings with a Chinese Communist Party-linked energy company, but he also enabled them and participated in them. ... We now have evidence revealing Joe Biden met with nearly all of his son's foreign associates who funneled him millions of dollars, and evidence revealing he benefited from his son's influence-peddling schemes. Democrats continue to ignore this corruption and smear Tony Bobulinski as they play defense attorney for the Bidens."

Responding to Raskin's letter, Bobulinski's attorney, Stefan Passantino, said, "These dishonest criticisms entirely ignore the facts and substance of Mr. Bobulinski's actual testimony, delivered under oath before Congress last week. The Democrats are deliberately misleading the American public and obfuscating the facts. Mr. Bobulinski has laid out the facts under oath and remains willing to appear before Congress live, under oath, and next to his former business associates to lay out the facts and the importance of his testimony."

MORE: Hunter Biden business associate tells Oversight Committee President Biden was 'never involved' in Hunter's business dealings

In his appearance before the panel, Bobulinski repeated previous claims that, while working on the prospective Chinese joint venture, Gilliar penned an email proposing a 10% cut for the "the big guy," a reference he said referred to Joe Biden, which Republicans have cited as evidence of the president's involvement in his son's overseas work. Others involved in the proposed venture have derided Gilliar's proposition as "not serious," and Walker has testified that nobody responded to Gilliar's proposition after he sent it. While the email chain continued, it appears there was no further discussion of the "big guy" reference.

Gilliar told the Wall Street Journal in 2020 that he was not aware of "any involvement at anytime of the former vice president" and that "the activity in question never delivered any project revenue."

Bobulinski told the committee last week that none of his disclosures to JPMorgan Chase had described President Biden -- or the "the big guy" -- as having any share or role in the venture.

"No 'big guy' secretly being involved in the company in your disclosure to JP Morgan?" Republican investigators asked Bobulinski, who replied, "I did not."

Notably, three days after Bobulinski's email was sent, a draft agreement setting up the prospective venture showed that each partner would receive 20% -- but there is no mention of Joe Biden.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story misidentified the author of the email that referred to "the big guy." The error has been corrected.

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Professional Yacht Broker [email protected] 508-274-4460

Joe Guard grew up on the waters of Buzzards Bay and is a life- long resident of Southeastern Massachusetts. He has a strong passion for the ocean and all things pertaining to boating and sailing. He graduated from North Carolina State University in 1994 and has owned his own multi-faceted, service-oriented business ever since.

Beginning brokering boats professionally in 2004. He initially brokered only Regulators, but Joe quickly expanded to other brands. Thanks to word of mouth from customers who were ecstatic about the service he offered, Joe was able to realize a life-long dream with the establishment of Falmouth Yacht Sales in 2012.  After meeting several United Yacht Sale Brokers over the years and with his own Brokerage Co growing at a rapid pace coupled with United’s network of Professional yacht brokers and vast resources in marketing, adverting’s and closing department, just to name a few. Joe knew that by merging Falmouth Yacht Sales with the United Yacht Sales team as the new United Yacht Sales Cape and Island division, would allow the ability to expand on the already high level of customer service for which he currently provides

Joe has been a U.S. Coast Guard Master Captain since 2000. He loves nothing more than sharing his wealth of knowledge regarding all aspects of boats, from engine repair to boat handling, with fellow veterans or those new to boating. Joe prides himself on helping his seasoned customers find the boat of their dreams or helping new clients decide just what the boat of their dreams will be if they are planning to head out on the water for the first time.

Joe is an active member of the Beverly Yacht Club, the Hyannis Anglers’ Club and co-founder of the Buzzards Bay Anglers Club. He is an avid boater, sailor & angler. Enjoys days on the water with his three kids.

2019 United Yacht Sales - "Best of the Best - Most Deals"

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47' Custom Carolina Bennett Brothers 2000

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Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin outside of the White House in Washington D.C.

Inside Joe Manchin’s Yacht He Insured for $700,000

Joe Manchin’s boat , Almost Heaven, has drawn a lot of attention in the media in recent weeks. The Washington boat of the Democratic senator from West Virginia is said to be a rustic political getaway where you’ll find beer and pizza but no pretensions. You’re more likely to see shirts and shorts in the laid-back atmosphere of Almost Heaven than suits and ties. So, when did the senator buy the vessel ? How much did it cost for insurance ? Was the boat always like it is now?

Technically, Joe Manchin’s Almost Heaven is a yacht

Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin outside of the White House in Washington D.C.

While Manchin’s craft doesn’t sound like a yacht , it very much is. According to a 2004 article in the Washington Post , the vessel is a custom-built 65-by-20-foot, three-story hull. There are 1,500 square feet of air-conditioned interior living space with more amenities than you’d find in most condos.

The craft features an open, light-filled living room and dining area with a granite dining table. There’s enough space to entertain as many as 50 people on the vessel. Meanwhile, its kitchen was described as having a full-size electric stove, granite countertops, a Sub-Zero refrigerator, two dishwashers, and a trash compactor. It also boasts a good amount of cabinet and drawer storage space.

The house boat/yacht is insured for $700,000

The media describes it these days as a rustic houseboat. Once touted as a $700,000 luxury yacht in a 2018 Republican attack ad, Manchin’s own office reported that the used vessel was acquired for $220,000, according to the Daily Poster .

According to PolitiFact , the documentation was a 2014 memorandum of sale that listed the sale price for the boat as $220,000. The document showed that the boat was purchased from M&T Bank and National Liquidators brokered the deal.

When independent experts were asked to account for the difference between the two dollar amounts, they could not provide an explanation. It was likely the result of someone eager to sell the craft, and it was later insured at the boat’s original market value of $700,000.

Docked as a home on the Potomac River

Manchin’s home on the Potomac River has become a popular and critical destination in Washington lately. It’s reportedly been the site of core group negotiations on the bipartisan infrastructure bill that was just signed into law by President Biden in November. 

Manchin, according to TIME , wasn’t enthusiastic about buying real estate in Washington with its higher cost of living. The boat, which is anchored about eight miles south of the Capitol, is where he stays three nights or so a week when the Senate is in session. Manchin thinks the craft provides a setting to foster bipartisanship among lawmakers who arrive and don’t know anyone else there.

Manchin regularly invites Senators from both sides of the aisle out for cruises in the evening. Manchin told TIME that it’s surprising what people find they have in common. He named current Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York a fan of the boat, claiming he likes the boat’s ambiance. 

With his self-appointed task of trying to restore civility in a time of growing political division in Washington, Manchin’s yacht likely can’t carry enough beer or Merlot to get that job done. The conservative senator is a practitioner of an older form of politics. Manchin is admittedly frustrated at times but not ready to give up just yet. Manchin is a fan of results that aren’t easy to come by in Washington. Almost Heaven then serves as a means of escape for the senator when things get particularly stressful as they so often do.

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Tina Pavlik began as a contributing writer for Endgame360 in 2018. She has over 20 years of publishing experience and has written content for MotorBiscuit, Showbiz Cheat Sheet, and Sportscasting. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at Virginia Tech.

Tina grew up surrounded by cars. Her father was an auto mechanic, her uncle owned a body shop, and all three of them dragged race for years. She covers everything from electric vehicles to van life. She has also worked as an extra in several movies and shows like Halloween (2018), The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2021), Homeland (Showtime), Banshee (Cinemax), and Vice Principals (HBO). Further, Tina works part-time as an extras casting assistant for Tona Dahlquist Casting.

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AVIVA Yacht – Unique $250 M Superyacht

Delivered in 2017, the AVIVA superyacht is a striking sight with its length of 98.4 meters (322.83 ft), ranking it high on the list of largest yachts worldwide .

Built by the renowned German shipyard Abeking & Rasmussen, AVIVA has been a standout in the world of luxury yachts since its inception, winning the Motor Yacht of the Year award at the World Superyacht Awards in 2018.

AVIVA Yacht

Mr. Lewis started his early entrepreneurial life by currency trading, enabling him to have a more thorough insight into the business world.

Making him one of the wealthiest people on the earth with an accumulated net worth of over 4.5 billion pounds; enabled him to buy many luxury cars and Aviva yacht, the 250-million-dollar beast.

AVIVA was built by the boat building company Abeking & Rasmussen , situated in Lower Saxony. Abeking & Rasmussen is a company aimed at engineering yachts, naval vessels, and cruise ships.

They were also responsible for building AVIVA’s sisters Elandess , Cloudbreak, and Excellence.

AVIVA 3

Reymond Langton Design was responsible for designing this gorgeous yacht. They are an award-winning company that prides itself on its creativity and passion with well over a decade of experience in the superyacht designing industry.

They were also responsible for creating the Serene superyacht and Nobiskrug yacht  Mogambo.

AVIVA Yacht Exterior

AVIVA’s exterior displays a sleek and modern all-blue design, distinctive among today’s superyachts. Notable outdoor facilities include a Jacuzzi, a large swimming pool, a helipad, and a spacious sundeck for relaxation and entertainment.

The yacht also boasts a collection of water toys, including jet skis, sea bobs, and inflatable slides for guests to enjoy.

AVIVA Yacht Interior

Designed by Reymond Langton Design in collaboration with Toby Silverton, AVIVA’s interior offers a contemporary and luxurious aesthetic. The yacht can accommodate up to 16 guests in eight state-of-the-art suites, complemented by a crew of 35.

The owner’s suite, located on the upper deck, features an office, private lounge, and a large en suite bathroom. The remaining guest cabins, consisting of two VIP suites and five double cabins, can be found on the main deck, each outfitted with en suite facilities.

AVIVA’s standout feature is a full-size padel tennis court, located in the lower deck. The yacht also features a beach club, a spa, a gym, a swimming pool, and an elevator connecting all the decks.

Similar to her sister yachts, she is also made of steel and has a solid superstructure made out of aluminum.

Powering this 98-meter-long superyacht are twin diesel-electric MTU engines capable of outputting 3,862 horsepower.

Along with her 364,705-litre fuel tanks, she can run comfortably at a speed of 14 knots and reach a max speed of 20 knots.

AVIVA can now comfortably accommodate 16 guests and carry up to 35 crew members after being refitted twice since its launch.

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AVIVA Yacht Price

The estimated cost of AVIVA was around US $150 million. The annual running costs are estimated to be between US $12 to 15 million, based on usage.

AVIVA is not currently for sale or available for charter.

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98M SUPERYACHT- 'AVIVA' 

Joe Lewis, the British billionaire, Chairman of Tavistock Group and the 5th richest man in the UK, commissioned this stunning superyacht which was launched in January 2017. She is believed to be valued at US$250 million! That’s £204,225,000.00 GBP!  

When Joe’s not at his home in the Bahamas, where Tavistock Group is based, he will be enjoying the luxury on board this 98-metre (322 ft) vessel. He says it’s his ‘home away from home’ and spends much of the year on board, using it as a floating office, wherever in the world it might be. 

At the time, Aviva was the largest creation designed by Reymond Langton. It was built by Abeking & Rasmussen who had to create a special system and pontoon in order to launch the super structure, 33 months after signing the contract. 

Her hybrid drive system is a special feature whereby using just electric power, and not the main engines, she can cruise at 11 knots. With an eco-friendly system that requires less engine output and reduced fuel consumption, she can reach a max speed of 20 knots. 

She sleeps 16 guests in 8 cabins and accommodates a crew of 25 over 12 cabins. 

TENNIS COURT

  Although you won’t see Aviva in the first half of the ‘top 100 largest yachts in the world’, she is the first yacht to house a full-sized padel tennis court. The indoor court stretches across a 10 metre width, 20 metre length, and 6.65 metre height. It’s hard to imagine a space like this inside any type of yacht, but with her 5000 gross tonnage of interior volume, the size of the court didn’t have to be compromised. 

 Joe plays the sport with his guests or his crew members, who are also encouraged to use the ‘sports hall’ for football and other exercise activities when the net is removed. Not only that, but there is a small lounging area for spectators, hidden behind a protective net. 

Aviva’s tenders are launched through her side doors, and she also boasts a ‘beach club’ area created by a swimming platform that opens up onto the ocean.  

This year Forbes valued Joe Lewis at £4.358 Billion

  The 82-year-old owner has an impressive portfolio after starting his career at the age of 15, joining his father’s catering company in London. He made his initial wealth from the sale of that company in 1979, then switched his residency to the Bahamas and moved into currency trading. He now has investments in over 200 businesses and is a Tottenham Hotspur FC major shareholder.  

FOURTH YACHT

  Prior to his 98-meter flagship, Joe owned 3 other yachts. His first was a 62-meter Feadship in 1998, called Lady Aviva. However, this caught fire later, in the Red Sea, and was eventually salvaged by Dennis Washington, who transformed the yacht, renaming her Attessa III. Joe’s second yacht was the 60-meter Oceanco, named Alfa Four, which was built in 2004. She is now known as Sea Pearl. In 2007, Joe took delivery of a 68-meter Aviva, also built by Abeking & Rasmussen. 

Joe must like his toys as we are also aware that he owns a private jet worth US$30 million (£24,504,600.00 GBP). The Embraer Legacy 600, which seats 12 passengers, has a registration that refers to Tottenham Hotspurs FC and reads; ‘G-THFC’. 

 Aviva was recently moored at Keppel Bay in Singapore, where we managed to get a few shots of her in all her glory! 

The blue innovative steel hull design really stands out in the crowd.  

  For more Motor Yacht News, click the link below.

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How is an ex-FBI informant charged with lying about Bidens allegedly linked to Russian intelligence?

Members of Congress react to an FBI informant in the Biden investigation being charged with lying to his FBI handler. Prosecutors laid out “extensive and extremely recent” contact Smirnov had with people aligned with Russian intelligence. (Feb. 21) (AP Video/Dan Huff)

Former FBI informant Alexander Smirnov, center, leaves the courthouse on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, in Las Vegas. Prosecutors say that Smirnov, who is charged with making up a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving President Joe Biden, his son Hunter and a Ukrainian energy company, had contacts with Russian intelligence-affiliated officials. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

Former FBI informant Alexander Smirnov, center, leaves the courthouse on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, in Las Vegas. Prosecutors say that Smirnov, who is charged with making up a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving President Joe Biden, his son Hunter and a Ukrainian energy company, had contacts with Russian intelligence-affiliated officials. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

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The government’s memorandum in support of detention of Alexander Smirnov is photographed on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2024. Prosecutors say Smirnov, the former FBI informant charged with making up a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving President Joe Biden, his son Hunter and a Ukrainian energy company, had contacts with officials affiliated with Russian intelligence.(AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

FILE - Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, speaks during a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol, Dec. 13, 2023, in Washington. Hunter Biden’s lawyers say claims made by a former FBI informant charged with fabricating a bribery scheme involving the presidential family may have tainted the case against the president’s son.(AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The explosive allegations at the center of an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden were false, federal prosecutors said, and came from an ex-FBI informant who said he was in touch with Russian intelligence.

The informant, Alexander Smirnov , is “actively peddling new lies that could impact U.S. elections,” federal prosecutors said Wednesday, as they appealed to a judge to keep him behind bars ahead of trial on charges alleging he lied to the FBI about a phony multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving the Bidens and the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

Defense attorneys have not directly addressed prosecutors’ claims about Russian intelligence contacts but said they look forward to defending him at trial. Republicans in Congress have distanced themselves from Smirnov’s claims and resisted calls to end the impeachment inquiry.

Here’s a look at what’s known about Smirnov, the case against him and fears about potential effects on U.S. elections:

WHO IS ALEXANDER SMIRNOV?

Smirnov had been an informant since 2010, growing close to an FBI handler he spoke to “nearly every day,” prosecutors said in court documents. He met with Burisma executives starting in the spring of 2017 because the company was interested in buying an American company and making an initial public offering on a US stock exchange, according to court documents.

Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, talks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, Dec. 13, 2023. Prosecutors say a former FBI informant charged with making up a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving President Joe Biden, his son Hunter and a Ukrainian energy company had contacts with officials affiliated with Russian intelligence.(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

Prosecutors say he has access to more than $6 million, with some money held in the name of his longtime partner. His recent reports to his handler included the guest lists from parties on mega yachts with Russian oligarchs, prosecutors said.

He holds dual Israeli-US citizenship and lived in Israel for more than a decade, later moving to Los Angeles and finally Las Vegas in 2022, prosecutors said.

WHAT IS HE ACCUSED OF?

Smirnov has been charged with falsely reporting that Burisma executives paid Hunter and Joe Biden $5 million each around 2015 after hiring Hunter Biden to sit on its board and “protect us” from an investigation by the then-Ukrainian prosecutor general. The charges were filed by the Justice Department special counsel who has separately filed gun and tax charges against Hunter Biden.

No evidence has emerged that Joe Biden acted corruptly or accepted bribes in his current role or previous office as vice president.

Smirnov, meanwhile, had only routine business dealings with Burisma, and they did not start until 2017 after the prosecutor general was gone and when Joe Biden was unable to influence U.S. policy since he was out of office, prosecutors said.

Smirnov “expressed bias” against Joe Biden before he made the bribery allegations in June 2020, years after they supposedly occurred, prosecutors said. An FBI field office investigated the allegations and recommended the case be closed in August 2020, according to charging documents.

Smirnov’s defense attorneys have said he is presumed innocent, and they successfully pushed for his release from jail ahead of trial. U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Albregts in Las Vegas said Tuesday he was concerned about Smirnov’s access to money but that federal guidelines require him to fashion “the least restrictive conditions” ahead of trial. Prosecutors are appealing that decision.

WHAT TIES ARE THERE TO RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE?

Prosecutors laid out in court documents “extensive and extremely recent,” contact Smirnov said he had with people aligned with Russian intelligence.

Smirnov had told his FBI handler that he had been in touch with “multiple” other foreign intelligence services, including officials linked to Russian intelligence, according to court documents.

As recently as December, court documents state he was relaying details about meetings with Russian officials, one of whom said the country’s intelligence services had intercepted calls from prominent Americans that “the Russian government may use as ‘kompromat’ in the 2024 election, depending on who the candidates will be,” using a word for compromising material.

That echoed a previous bogus story from months before when he pushed his handler to investigate whether Hunter Biden had been recorded in a Ukrainian hotel, prosecutors said. The president’s son has never traveled to Ukraine, according to court documents.

“What this shows is that the misinformation he is spreading is not confined to 2020. He is actively peddling new lies that could impact U.S. elections after meeting with Russian intelligence officials in November,” prosecutors wrote in court documents.

National security experts have warned for years that foreign governments — primarily Russia, China and Iran — want to undermine the U.S. and see elections as a way to do it.

In a threat assessment late last year, Microsoft warned Russia remains “the most committed and capable threat to the 2024 election,” with the Kremlin seeing next year’s vote as a “must-win political warfare battle” that could determine the outcome of its war against Ukraine.

WHAT ARE REPUBLICANS SAYING?

Smirnov’s claims have been central to the Republican effort in Congress to investigate the president and his family and helped spark what is now a House impeachment inquiry into Biden.

They became a flashpoint in Congress in July as Republicans demanded the FBI release the unredacted form, a so-called FD-1023, documenting the unverified allegations. Republican Rep. James Comer of Kentucky had subpoenaed the form as Republicans deepened their probe ahead of the 2024 presidential election. Republicans acknowledged they couldn’t confirm if the allegations were true but said they were significant in their investigation of Hunter Biden .

The allegations of Russian contact with the source of those allegations should be a death knell for the impeachment inquiry, said Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland. “It appears like the whole thing is not only obviously false and fraudulent but a product of Russian disinformation and propaganda,” he said.

Republicans, on the other hand, have downplayed the importance of Smirnov’s allegations. Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, pointed to Smirnov’s long track record as an FBI source but said the impeachment inquiry goes beyond his allegations. The case against him “doesn’t change the fundamental facts” at issue in the impeachment probe, he said.

Associated Press writers Rio Yamat in Las Vegas, Christina A. Cassidy in Atlanta and video journalist Dan Huff in Washington contributed to this report.

LINDSAY WHITEHURST

High School Sports | District 11 basketball quarterfinals: Panther…

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High school sports | district 11 basketball quarterfinals: panther valley stuns palmerton; saucon valley and stroudsburg advance.

Palmerton's Brayden Hosier drives down court against Panther Valley in a District 11 boys basketball tournament 3A quarterfinal Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, at Allen High School in Allentown. Hosier had 24 points, but Panthers stunned the Blue Bombers 59-57. (Amy Shortell/The Morning Call)

The cruelty of the quarterfinals hit Palmerton, Northampton and Salisbury on Saturday at Allen High’s Sewards Gym.

Three quality high school basketball seasons came to an end in the District 11 tournament, but for three others it’s on to the semifinals and at least two more games.

In the third game of a quarterfinal-round tripleheader, Stroudsburg ended Northampton’s season 59-52 in a 6A game after Saucon Valley eliminated Salisbury 40-37. And in the day’s most stunning result, Panther Valley used its grit to fight back from a 12-point halftime deficit to beat Colonial League runners-up Palmerton 59-57 and end the careers of two 1,000-point scorers.

It all makes for some interesting pairings in Wednesday’s semifinals.

In 6A, it will be Stroudsburg vs. No. 1 seed Parkland, while Emmaus plays Liberty. Those games will be at Allen starting at 6 p.m. with Emmaus and Liberty.

In 3A, Panther Valley will match up with Notre Dame-Green Pond at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Catasauqua and five-time defending district champion and No. 1 seed Executive will meet Saucon Valley in a rematch of last year’s district final in the nightcap at Catty.

A look back at Saturday’s action:

Stroudsburg advances

The Mounties, who qualified for the District 11 tournament for the first time since 2017 when they lost to Parkland, won a District 11 game for the first time since beating Freedom 49-45 in a Class 4A pigtail-round game in 2016.

They did thanks in large part to a huge performance by senior guard Micaiah Brown, who scored 20 points and made six 3-pointers, including two treys in the fourth quarter as Northampton tried to scramble back after falling behind 43-33 after three quarters.

“It couldn’t happen to a better kid, truly,” said second-year Stroudsburg coach Tarik El-Bassiouni. “He’s a phenomenal kid and a kid that lights up the practice when he walks into the gym. He dedicated himself since the day I met him and dedicated himself over the summer to make himself into a good shooter. We knew we have some size and athleticism, but we needed somebody to be able to consistently knock down outside shots or else teams will pack the paint. I couldn’t be more excited for him to have this type of day.”

It was a case of what Brown can do for you.

He had five 3-pointers in a game against Dieruff and scored 25 points against East Stroudsburg South, but playing in arguably his school’s biggest game in the 2020s, came up clutch time and time again.

“To be honest there are times when I would hesitate to shoot some of those shots, but today I just had to let it go,” he said. “Me not shooting is going to hurt my teammates. I had good games against South and Dieruff, but this was a playoff game so it was really important. It was a really important win because now we have two chances to get into states and I think we can give Parkland a dogfight.”

Northampton coach Matt Scholl, whose team rose from 10-13 last year to 14-10, complimented Stroudsburg.

“They now have 14 wins [a 14-9 record] and anytime you win 14 games in this league you’re a good basketball team,” he said. “They’re long. They play incredibly hard and it looks like they like to lift weights. They played together today and [El-Bassiouni] did a great job. They had a long layoff, but he had them ready to play. I think they’re going to give Parkland a battle.”

Northampton graduates seven seniors and most of them played significant minutes.

“Even the players that didn’t play a lot brought intensity to practice every day,” Scholl said. “It was a special group that’s going to be hard to replace. The younger guys have something to live up to. I know we didn’t have a championship to show for it but these seniors really did a good job when we went to the state quarterfinals two years ago because they battled every day in day. They’re going to go on to successful careers.”

One of the seniors, JJ Kolumber, finished his career with a 27-point effort and scored nine in the fourth quarter when Northampton fought back to within 52-51 with 2 minutes left before Stroudsburg closed the game with an 8-1 run.

Northampton plays Stroudsburg in a District 11 boys basketball tournament 6A quarterfinal Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, at Allen High School in Allentown.(Amy Shortell/The Morning Call)

STROUDSBURG 59, NORTHAMPTON 52

Stroudsburg 12 – 14 – 17 – 16 — 59

Northampton 13 – 9 – 11 – 19 — 52

STROUDSBURG (59)

Micaiah Brown 7 0-0 20, Tymel Welcome 1 0-0 3, Richard Gilmore 4 6-6 14, Kameron Knight 0 0-0 0, Denzel Key 1 6-8 8, Kevin Polonia 2 0-2 4, Kamani Smith-Johnson 3 3-7 10. Totals 18 15-23 59.

NORTHAMPTON (52)

JJ Kolumber 10 4-5 27, Tristen Pinnock 2 0-0 4, Brody Graff 2 0-0 6, Noah Walakovits 0 4-4 4, Brady Simock 2 1-2 7, Shakim Dunbar 2 0-0 4. Totals 18 9-11 52.

3-pointers: Stroudsburg (8) Brown 6, Welcome, Smith0-Johnson. Northampton (7) Kolumber 3, Graff 2, Simock 2.

Officials: Norris Bullock, Mark McKenna, Karen Pammer.

Palmerton's Aiden Leister drives down court in a game against Panther Valley in a District 11 boys basketball tournament 3A quarterfinal Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, at Allen High School in Allentown.(Amy Shortell/The Morning Call)

Panther Valley diffuses Bombers

Panther Valley trailed Palmerton 39-27 at halftime and it looked like the Blue Bombers would blow out the Lansford program just as they did last year, 72-50, in the quarterfinals.

But veteran coach Patrick Crampsie had other ideas.

“We always talk about Panther grit, Panther grit and it showed today,” Crampsie said. “Down 12 at half, we told them to relax. We knew they’d make their runs with Matty [Machalik] and Brayden [Hosier] and had our own run in us. We had to make some defensive adjustments and our kids bought in 100% and we locked down and only gave up 18 second-half points. We made big plays when we needed to and a lot of contributions off the bench. I’m just so thrilled for these guys because we waited a year to play these guys again.”

Hosier finished with 24 points after scoring 22 in the first half. Machalik tallied 19 with 11 of them coming before halftime. Palmerton, which finished 15-10, scored just six field goals in the second half and went 5-for-10 at the foul line.

Sixth-seeded Panther Valley (14-9) got 21 points, including three 3s, from Stephen Hood. But the biggest basket came from Logan Fisher with about 14 seconds off a timeout and an inbounds pass. Fisher curled around the defense which was following others, and spotted up underneath the basket. He took the inbounds pass from Chase Weaver and made the layup of his life.

“Coach drew it up and Drew [Kokinda] and Stephen came across and then Stephen set a great screen for me and I ended up with an easy shot,” Fisher said. “We bared down in the second half and held them to 18 points. It’s Panther grit, that’s all it is.”

A last-second shot by Machalik wasn’t close and Panther Valley was able to celebrate.

Palmerton not only had a season end, but also a glorious era of basketball that featured two 1,000-point scorers in Machalik and Hosier.

“It’s a disappointing loss,” said interim coach Joe Egan. “They outplayed us today. They were better fundamentally. We didn’t shoot well enough and didn’t do the little things and it cost us in the end. I can’t thank Matt and Brayden enough for what they’ve done for this program. I was an assistant on the JV team when they were freshmen, so it has been quite a journey to see them grow as people and players. But now it’s on to a new era of Palmerton basketball.”

PANTHER VALLEY 59, PALMERTON 57

Panther Valley 17 – 10 – 17 – 15 — 59

Palmerton 19 – 20 – 6 – 12 — 57

PANTHER VALLEY (59)

Drew Kokinda 1 0-0 2, Chase Weaver 4 4-8 14, Logan Fisher 4 2-4 10, Conner Penberth 3 0-0 7, Brady Jones 1 0-0 3, Stephen Hood 9 0-1 21, Hayden Goida 1 0-0 2. Totals 23 6-13 59.

PALMERTON (57)

Corey Serfass 2 0-0 6, Matt Machalik 6 7-9 19, Jason Grammes 1 2-4 4, Aiden Leister 0 0-0 0, Brayden Hosier 11 0-3 24, Stahler 2 0-0 4. Totals 22 9-16 57.

3-pointers: Panther Valley (7) Hood 3, Weaver 2, Jones, Penberth. Palmerton (4) Hosier 2, Serfass 2.

Officials: Johnny Hymans, Jack Keiter, Mike Peterson.

Saucon Valley's Adam Clark shoots the ball in a game against Salisbury in a District 11 boys basketball tournament 3A quarterfinal Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, at Allen High School in Allentown(Amy Shortell/The Morning Call)

Saucon’s semifinal bound

It was the fourth meeting between the Panthers and Falcons and after two losses during the regular season, Saucon Valley was able to get its second postseason win over Salisbury.

But it wasn’t easy.

“I take my hat off to Salisbury and I’ll say this again, [Salisbury coach] Jason Weaver has done one of the best jobs in the Lehigh Valley this year,” Saucon coach Brett Snyder said. “Their kids are so fundamentally sound and they share the ball well and almost always make the right pass. They go backdoor well. It’s a shame someone had to lose and a season has to come to an end. I’m just happy our kids get to practice on Monday.”

Fourth-seeded Saucon (17-8) not only gets to practice some more but will also get two more games starting with a semifinal matchup against five-time district champ Executive on Wednesday.

The Panthers will need to play the same quality defense that turned around the game against Salisbury.

A 3-pointer by Andrew Grejda gave Salisbury a 26-19 lead with 5:25 left in the third quarter but Saucon went on a 10-0 run and took a 29-28 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Panthers then allowed just two points — a field goal by sophomore Drew Petrie — over the first seven minutes of the final period. Saucon Valley was able to take a a 36-30 lead before Brady Leiner made two free throws to cut the deficit to four.

But junior point guard Jack Robertson was able to make four of six at the line over the game’s final 37 seconds to open a 40-34 lead before Jack Foley’s 3-pointer with 3.8 seconds left provided the final points of the game and Salisbury’s season.

Foley led Salisbury (14-10) with 15 points. The Falcons made a vast improvement after going 5-17 last year. They will graduate six key seniors, however.

“Salisbury is a good matchup for us,” said Robertson who led his team with 14 points. “They’re a scrappy team and we’re the same way. But we pride ourselves on defense and we tried to take away their 3-point shots.”

Robertson said it was tough losing to Palmerton in the league semis and now the team is in another final four and will be matched up with a five-time district champ in Executive Education.

“We have a lot of energy going into the next game and we’re so confident,” Robertson said. “Coach Snyder always talks to us about playing our best basketball in February and March. We started off slow this year and now we’re starting to pick it back up and everyone is starting to understand what they need to do to win. I’m stoked to play Execurtive. I have some good buddies on that team and it will be fun to be playing against. We want to be the ones who knock them off and we’re fully capable of doing that. We’re playing good basketball right now.”

SAUCON VALLEY 40, SALISBURY 37

Salisbury 9 – 8 – 11 – 9 — 37

Saucon Valley 8 – 7 – 14 – 11 — 40

SALISBURY (37)

Brady Leiner 0 2-2 2, Andrew Grejda 1 0-0 3, Jack Foley 6 0-0 15, Jake Zellin 1 0-0 2, Thomas Lovelidge 2 0-0 5, Drew Petrie 1 0-0 2, Bryan Gonzalez 3 0-0 8. Totals 14 2-2 37.

SAUCON VALLEY (40)

Andrew Gilbert 0 1-2 1, Braden Weiss 2 4-6 9, Constantine Donahue 2 0-0 4, Jack Robertson 4 5-7 14, Adam Clark 3 0-0 6, Caleb Grim 3 0-0 6. Totals 14 10-15 40.

3-pointers: Salisbury (7) Foley 3, Gonzalez 2, Zellin, Grejda. Saucon (2) Weiss, Robertson.

Officials: Will Cordero, Chris Pincin, Kevin Strobl.

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Fact-check: Does Joe Manchin have a $700,000 Luxury Yacht?

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The National Republican Senatorial Committee — the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm — didn’t hold back in a campaign ad aimed at Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

The ad, released in early August, charged that “West Virginia Joe” had transformed himself into “Washington Joe.” And a key exhibit for this argument was a pricey boat he owned.

Manchin owns a “$700,000 D.C. luxury yacht,” the ad said, illustrating the claim with a photograph showing a docked vessel.

pic.twitter.com/GNwdXbFCM4 — The Senate Majority (@NRSC) August 7, 2018

Is this accurate? We took a closer look.

Manchin’s campaign does not dispute that he owns a boat, “Almost Heaven,” saying it is where Manchin has typically lived when in Washington and not back home in West Virginia.

In fact, the boat is hardly a secret. It has been written about periodically before; articles often mention sessions he’s held on the boat with other lawmakers to negotiate legislation and strategy.

In 2014, for instance,  Time magazine  wrote that both “Almost Heaven” and Manchin’s previous vessel, the “Black Tie,” serve as “a kind of floating incubator of that tenderest of Washington flowers in the first decades of the 21st century: bipartisanship.”

To back up its assertion, the NRSC provided PolitiFact with a document labeled “ general index or abstract of title continuation sheet No. 1 ,” the cost of the vessel was listed $700,000.

Manchin’s campaign instead offered a different document with a lower dollar figure.

That document, a  memorandum of sale  from 2014, said the purchase price for the vessel was $220,000. The document says that Manchin purchased the boat from M&T Bank, with National Liquidators as the broker of the sale.

Independent experts we contacted were unable to explain the difference in the two dollar figures, beyond speculating that the vessel was purchased from a seller eager to get rid of it and later insured at the boat’s market value.

According to  Boats.com , any vessel “over 40 feet long almost always qualifies” as a yacht. By the length standard alone, that would qualify “Almost Heaven” as a yacht: The vessel, built in 2001, is 65 feet long, according to  Coast Guard documents  provided to PolitiFact by the NRSC.

Whether it’s a “luxury” vessel, however, is in the eye of the beholder.

According to the  Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology , the word “yacht … connotes elegance and expense.” Boats.com adds, “Just as a cocky walk would never be mistaken for a limping shuffle, yacht attitude is the net result of a combination of factors that are easy to spot as a group but hard to quantify individually.”

The vessel is listed as “recreational” on documents. However, a less confrontational — but similarly accurate — description could be “houseboat,” since it is Manchin’s residence in Washington.

The NRSC said that Manchin has a “$700,000 D.C. luxury yacht.”

There’s no dispute that Manchin has a boat docked in Washington, D.C. Its 40-foot length would generally qualify it as a yacht, but since Manchin lives there when he is in town, it could be just as easily described as a houseboat. The vessel was purchased for much less, but it appears to be insured for $700,000. Whether it qualifies as a “luxury” vessel is a matter of opinion.

The information we’ve found backs up elements of both the NRSC’s original assertion and Manchin’s counterargument, so we rate it Half True.

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    Palmerton's Brayden Hosier drives down court against Panther Valley in a District 11 boys basketball tournament 3A quarterfinal Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, at Allen High School in Allentown.

  27. Home [www.voteforjoecampbell.com]

    Home. I've lived in college towns my whole life, and Moscow is among the best, an incredibly livable community. Education, the arts and entertainment, the Farmer's Market, the availability of natural outdoor activities, transportation variety, and commerce all make Moscow unique.A pride point is our thriving downtown and the friendly support ...

  28. [JOE LEWIS] Inside his US$ 150,000,000 Yacht AVIVA

    [JOE LEWIS] Inside his US$ 150,000,000 Yacht AVIVA.Yacht Length: 98 (323 ft) - Guests: 16 in 8 cabins (est) - Crew: 25 in 11 cabins (est) - IMO 1012957 - Dis...

  29. Fact-check: Does Joe Manchin have a $700,000 Luxury Yacht?

    The NRSC said that Manchin has a "$700,000 D.C. luxury yacht." There's no dispute that Manchin has a boat docked in Washington, D.C. Its 40-foot length would generally qualify it as a yacht, but since Manchin lives there when he is in town, it could be just as easily described as a houseboat.

  30. Vote for Joe Campbell

    Moscow holds a special place in all our hearts, and we will continue to advocate for what's in the city's best interest for the years to come. Thank you all again, and although the outcome is not what we hoped for, it was an honor to have your support during this journey. Sincerely, Joe Campbell.