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Notes / In brief

Race to the face

A tribute to NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt has been unveiled at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas in the form of a meticulously created $200,000 wax figure in a driving uniform.

The figure is part of the wax museum's newest interactive attraction, called SPEED, dedicated to auto racing.

Earnhardt died in an accident on the final lap of the 43rd Daytona 500 in February 2001. "He was instrumental in introducing the sport of auto racing to millions and his presence best represents the country's fastest-growing spectator sport," said Adrian Jones, general manager of Madame Tussauds Las Vegas.

Jones said additional wax figures of famous sports and racing legends are planned for the site.

Madame Tussauds Las Vegas is located in the Venetian hotel-casino.

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Maine event

Fall is Maine's busiest season for cruise ship visits, and Portland and Bar Harbor are poised to welcome tens of thousands of passengers in September and October.

Bar Harbor, the state's No. 1 cruise ship destination, will welcome nearly 50 ships during that period, more than twice the number that visited in July and August. The resort town could see 103,000 cruise ship passengers this year, according to the Portland Press Herald.

Portland expects 15 large ships to come in, including the Queen Mary 2, which will be carrying 2,600 passengers when it calls Oct. 5.

"Summer is never the busiest part of the cruise ship season," said Monroe, pointing to the autumn foliage as the major draw for cruise ships. "Everybody likes to visit Maine and the Canadian Maritimes in the fall."

The opening of a new $20 million berthing terminal in 2007 is expected to draw more cruise ships to Portland, said Amy Powers of Cruise Maine, which markets Maine's 12 ports to the cruise ship industry. The Ocean Gate terminal will be on the city's eastern waterfront.

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Antietam Trail

The final attack on the bloodiest day of the Civil War was literally an uphill battle.

Now a trail at the Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md., lets hikers walk the route soldiers took as they marched over hilly farm fields toward a meeting that ended with the Union failing to corner Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The Final Attack Trail officially opened during a weekend of activities marking the 133rd anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg. More than 23,000 men were killed, wounded or reported missing at the western Maryland site on Sept. 17, 1862, in the bloodiest one-day clash of the War Between the States.

The Final Attack Trail winds through a cornfield where the day's last engagement took place, starting at about 3:40 p.m. Lee's 2,800 troops were retreating, aiming to cross the Potomac River to safety. Union Gen. Ambrose Burnside's 8,000 soldiers were moving through the 40-acre cornfield on a course that would cut off Lee's line of retreat.

Then Confederate Gen. A.P. Hill arrived from the south with 2,500 troops. Burnside's troops were driven back in a nearly two-hour clash that resulted in 3,470 casualties. There were twice as many Union casualties as Confederate. The next day, Federal and Confederate leaders struck an informal truce so they could gather their wounded and dying, and that evening, Lee began withdrawing across the Potomac.

For more information, go to www.nps.gov/anti/home.htm, or call the local convention and visitors bureau, (301) 791-3246.

Associated Press

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