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Volume 24 No. 132
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Names In The News

In N.Y., Hank Gola writes golfer PHIL MICKELSON "doesn't have to apologize for anything" after a recent diatribe on taxes. It is "almost more offensive that he feels compelled to apologize." Gola: "He said nothing wrong. The worst thing he's guilty of is a minor public relations gaffe." He has the "perfect right to feel he is over-taxed." If he wants to "consider joining a list of some 3.4 million who have left the state because of the cost of living there, he can do it without being pounced on" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/23).

NEW VENTURES: Former Rockets VP/Corporate Development JASON KOHLL is heading up a new Houston-based sports marketing firm, Professional Sports Partners. Kohll plans to "broker advertising deals and measure revenue impact for the kinds of corporate partners he once signed up" while with the Rockets. The firm is "an operating subsidiary spun out of high-profile Houston advertising agency Lopez Negrete Communications." Kohll said, "We're focused on helping brands drive revenue through sports" (HOUSTON BUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/18 issue).

CHARITY STRIPE: Giants third base coach TIM FLANNERY will "belt out '21 Days' and many more original songs in a series of concerts this week to benefit the family of injured Giants fan BRYAN STOW" (, 1/22)....Baseball HOFer GEORGE BRETT, Royals P JEREMY GUTHRIE, former MLBer JEFF MONTGOMERY and Royals broadcaster REX HUDLER "traveled to Fort Leavenworth on Tuesday as part of the Royals' 'Salute to the Military' trip." The soldiers "exchanged thank-yous with the Royals' representatives as they passed through the autograph line" (K.C. STAR, 1/23).

NAMES: Charlotte Motor Speedway announced THOMAS POPE of the Fayetteville Observer, KRIS JOHNSON of NASCAR Illustrated, ANDREW DODD of Charlotte's WSOC-TV, ROSIE BARRESI of SPEED and GARY NASTASE of National Dragster as the winners of its Russ Catlin Awards for Excellence in Motorsports Journalism (CMS)....NFL Jets coach REX RYAN "avoided injury after being involved in a three-car accident last week in Bethlehem, Pa." Ryan crashed after allegedly "running a red light at a four-way intersection." No one was injured and Ryan "received a written warning but was not fined" (, 1/22)....Subway announced that Australian snowboarder TORAH BRIGHT and retired U.S. gymnast NASTIA LIUKIN will walk the runway in "The Heart Truth Red Dress Collection" fashion show at N.Y.'s Hammerstein Ballroom on Feb. 6 (Subway).