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Swift gift will fund music education

Taylor Swift has taught a generation of kids to appreciate country music over the last five years. Now, she’s donating $4 million to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to make sure that education continues.

The gift is the largest given to the museum by an artist and is the second largest from an individual, officials said. It will fund the Taylor Swift Education Center, an exhibit and classroom space scheduled to open in 2014.

“In terms of what it will allow us to do, we do education very well now,” museum director Kyle Young said. “It will allow us to do what we do better, serve more people, develop new programs and I’m happy to say that as we talked through this opportunity with Taylor, she very much wants to be involved in an advisory capacity in what we do. Is there a better person out there who’s in touch with a young audience? I think not.”

The new education center is part of the museum’s $75 million “Working on a Building” expansion project that will increase the space more than 200,000 square feet to 350,000. The expansion is part of the new convention center project in downtown Nashville.

Buffett ‘suitable’ to own casino

Jimmy Buffett told gambling regulators Thursday that next week’s opening of his new Margaritaville Casino and Resort will be exciting, but creating jobs along his native Mississippi Gulf Coast has been a rewarding experience in itself.

Buffet was in Jackson on Thursday when the Mississippi Gaming Commission deemed him “suitable” for involvement in the casino, set to open Tuesday in Biloxi. Gaming Commission Chairman Jerry St. Pe told Buffett he’d already been approved, but showing up in person was required as part of the certification process.

In interviews after his brief commission appearance, the singer-songwriter wouldn’t say if he’ll perform at the casino’s grand opening, but he didn’t rule it out, either.

“I’m a shameless musician and coming home seems like a party to me,” he said.

Buffett was born in Pascagoula, Miss., and said he made his “first professional dollar in Biloxi back in the ’60s” so he’s excited to bring “a thousand new jobs to the Gulf Coast at a time they’re needed.”

The birthday bunch

Actor Bill Macy is 90. Actor Robert Morse is 81. Actor Dwayne Hickman is 78. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Brooks Robinson is 75. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Reggie Jackson is 66. Country singer Joe Bonsall (The Oak Ridge Boys) is 64. Rock musician Rick Wakeman (Yes) is 63. Country singer George Strait is 60. Comedian-writer Tina Fey is 42. Rock singer Jack Johnson is 37.


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