Reaching for American IdolA Tongue Point Job Corps Center student has a shot at being the next American Idol.

YELENA SOOGA-MASANIAI recently auditioned for the show in Orlando, Fla., and was selected as a regional finalist.

"It was packed," Sooga-Masaniai said. "When I first went out there I was like 'Oh my gosh, I hope I get chosen.' When I was standing on the stage I was scared, I couldn't believe I was there."

Sooga-Masaniai will head to San Francisco Oct. 5 to perform in front of show judges Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson.

From there, she could potentially make it to Hollywood.

Sooga-Masaniai, who won the Astorian Idol competition, has been listening to country, rock and roll, rhythm and blues, hip-hop and about every other genre to prepare for the stage. The judges will choose a song for the contestants to sing. She also plans to sing the gospel song, "Can't give up now," by Mary Mary.

Sooga-Masaniai, 19, is a dental assisting student but has plans to become a lawyer - in addition to keeping up her singing. Her instructors say she is an honor student and a role model in her vocation.

If you missed The Oregonian columnist Steve Duin's talk at the Columbia Forum in Astoria Tuesday night, it will be broadcast on KMUN radio, 91.9 FM, at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Alice Carol Wood of Seaside received the Silver Ribbon Advocacy Award in August. The award was presented by the Silver Ribbon Campaign for the Brain Silver Ribbon Coalition of Newport Beach, Calif. Wood was given the award for her efforts in educating the public about brain disorders and bringing cities and police departments together in understanding mental illness.

Wood works for the city of Astoria. She also works part-time as educational coordinator for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI). A few years ago, the People to People Ambassador program asked Wood and her husband, Albert wood, to represent the Oregon Mental Health Division as delegates to China. In an effort to build international understanding for those with mental illness, the Woods took silver ribbons, with the meaning imprinted on the back translated into Chinese, to be given to the Chinese representatives.

Former Vice President AL GORE has paid his $141 ticket for a speeding violation on U.S. Highway 26 in Clatsop County. Gore was on his way to meet relatives here on the coast Aug. 3, when he was stopped 12 miles east of the Cannon Beach junction for driving 75 mph in a 55 mph zone. Oregon State Police Lt. Dale Rutledge said Clatsop County Circuit Court notified OSP that Gore had paid the fine by mail.

DOUGLAS T. NELSON, a 1938 Astoria High School graduate, is featured in the April issue of America's Flyways, a national aviation magazine. Nelson, who achieved the rank of Major General during his long career in the U.S. Air Force, recently contacted his classmate, RICHARD PAULSEN and his wife, MYRTLE PAULSEN, who still live in Astoria. Gen. Nelson was one of the original test pilots of the SR-71 program. He told the Paulsens that in 1966 he flew one of the secret high-speed spy planes over Astoria at 2,000 mph and above 80,000 feet. He had to dress as an astronaut because the plane got so hot from flying at such a high speed He said he could see the white foam of the surf on the entire Oregon Coast as he passed. Nelson was also a project officer for the CIA's U-2 spy plane program. He was recently inducted into the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame. Gen. Nelson now lives in Page, Ariz. He often visits Astoria to see his brother, WALTER NELSON, and his family.

Residents of Suzanne Elise Assisted Living Community at 101 Forest Drive, Seaside and their family members will celebrate National Assisted Living Week Sunday through Sept. 18. Events include Tea Time, an ice cream social, a trip to Fort Stevens and, on Friday, Vintage Dress-up Day.

The "Shanghaied in Astoria" 20th anniversary season has been a grand success, organizers tell the Ear. More than 100 alumni actors, actresses, staff and crew returned during the summer to relive Shanghaied memories and recreate some of the magic they experienced the first time they became a part of the show.

However, some stalwarts have died. In remembrance, through a generous donation from Franko Stephan Lowey, a "Shanghaied Memorial Wall" has been created by Astoria Granite Works to honor these Shanghaied Angels.

On Sept. 18, a tribute will be held at the theater in the old Finnish Meat Market, 279 W. Marine Drive in the Uniontown District of Astoria.

The farewell tribute will begin at 5 p.m. with an open podium for family and friends to share memories, followed with a tribute to board member, actress and "Bimbo Booth" creator Pauli Palumbo and to Capt. Paul Jackson, original master of ceremonies.

This tribute will continue well into the evening with live music, food and refreshments. For information, call 325-6104

Send us your ears! If you have an item for In One Ear, send it to Patrick Webb, Managing Editor, The Daily Astorian, P.O. Box 210, Astoria OR 97103 or e-mail pwebb@dailyastorian.com. Include a daytime phone number for follow-up calls.

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