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Out there

Freedom for all

They came together at Levon's place to sing for freedom -- 50 artists for 50 years of Amnesty International.

Now, "Toast to Freedom" can by purchased online via The song, written by Carl Carlton and Larry Campbell to mark Amnesty's half-century of crusading for human rights, is also now a tribute to Levon Helm, former drummer for The Band. He and his fellow musicians recorded the master track for the song in his Woodstock studios shortly before his death from cancer April 19.

Among those heard of the recording are Kris Kristofferson, Carly Simon, Angelique Kidjo, Ewan McGregor, Donald Fagen, Warren Haynes, Keb Mo, Eric Burdon, Taj Mahal, Florent Pagny, Marianne Faithfull, Jane Birkin, Jimmy Barnes, Rosanne Cash, Shawn Mullins and the Blind Boys of Alabama. Video of the song can be seen on YouTube.

Also, to mark World Press freedom day (which was May 3), Amnesty International is asking people to take action on behalf of Chinese journalist Shi Tao and Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen, both of whom are in prison. For more information, visit


A greener planet

Children's author and filmmaker Lynne Cherry, who will be presenting some of her Young Voices for the Planet this week at Smallwood Drive and Windermere Boulevard elementary schools, will also share her work with in a public lecture Tuesday at 7 p.m. The program is free.

Cherry, author of "The Great Kapok Tree" and other books with environmental themes, uses her films to help young people realize they can make a difference on their own, just like some girls in a Florida school, whose energy audit saved $53,000 a year.

Cherry also has appeared on NPR's "Living on Earth" program, and can be heard reading from her books at

For more on her work enlisting children to be thoughtful stewards of the planet, go to