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Scott Frost hiring brings business boost, renewed enthusiasm

Weeks before it was announced that Scott Frost would take over as coach of the Nebraska football team, shirts reading "Frost Warning" and "It's Gettin' Frosty!" started selling out at Best of Big Red.

Mike Osborne, who owns Best of Big Red, said that since Frost was hired Dec. 2, his stores have seen an enormous increase in sales.

"Our sales in December, of course you have to add in the bump from volleyball, but they've been two times as good as they were last year," said Osborne, son of legendary Husker coach Tom Osborne.

Husker Headquarters has also seen a boost in sales due to Frost joining the Huskers, manager Cheyenne Hemphill said.

"These last four weeks have been unbelievable," he said. "It's like we won a National Championship without even playing a football game yet!"

The stores have more than 15 different Frost T-shirts.

Mike Osborne believes the excitement about Frost's hiring led to increased support and excitement for all of Husker athletics.

"A couple of weeks later, we had the volleyball championship ... but it seemed like people were even more excited when they won," he said. "The overall affect of him (Frost) being hired put everyone in such a good mood, it's really just snowballed."

According to the state Department of Motor Vehicles, license plates bearing FROST are sold-out in a majority of special message styles, including: the standard-issue plates, the mountain lion plates, breast cancer awareness plates, Native American cultural awareness and history plates, choose life plates and, shockingly enough, the Husker plates. 

Fans have also already claimed FROSTED, SFROST, FROSTY, NUFROST and COACH standard-issue plates. As of Saturday afternoon, SCTFRST and MRFROST were still available, however. 

Osborne has been selling Husker merchandise for more than 25 years and has witnessed several coaching changes. But the enthusiasm behind Frost's hiring is something he hasn't seen before. 

After this season, many fans were disappointed. Alicia Bucci, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln alumna and life-long Husker fan, said she felt the Huskers couldn't have done worse in 2017.

Osborne was disappointed to see the excitement drain from Husker Nation. He watched as game tickets sold for as little as $10 apiece and as people changed the channel to cheer other teams. 

"Apathy set in and people weren't even watching the games anymore. ... People don't dislike the Huskers, but they didn't want to watch us lose," he said. 

The hype of a new coach, especially one with a Husker past, is exactly what Nebraska fans need, Osborne said. Fans have been purchasing DVD sets of the 1997 season when Frost played to "look back to what was then, and to look at what could happen again."

Bucci said fans like that Frost is a Nebraskan and former Husker.

"He was coached by Tom Osborne himself," she said. "There's no better mentor than that!"

Mike Osborne hopes to see the Huskers return to the championship glory of the 1990s.

"People 35 years old and younger really don't have any memories of the Huskers when we really had this 'All for one and one for all' attitude and we'd really all just pull together," he said. "I feel that coming back now. It's bigger than if we win or lose a few games — we trust this guy. His heart is in the right place and we know he cares like we care."

Cory Matteson contributed to this story.

NASA: Legendary astronaut, moonwalker John Young has died

Accomplished American astronaut John Young, who walked on the moon and later commanded the first space shuttle flight, has died, NASA said Saturday. Young was 87.

The space agency said Young died Friday night at home in Houston after complications from pneumonia.

NASA called Young one of its pioneers — the only agency astronaut to go into space as part of the Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle programs, and the first to fly into space six times. He was the ninth man to walk on the moon.

"Astronaut John Young's storied career spanned three generations of spaceflight," acting NASA administrator Robert Lightfoot said in an emailed statement. "John was one of that group of early space pioneers whose bravery and commitment sparked our nation's first great achievements in space."

Young was the only spaceman to span NASA's Gemini, Apollo and shuttle programs, and became the first person to rocket away from Earth six times. Counting his takeoff from the moon in 1972 as commander of Apollo 16, his blastoff tally stood at seven, for decades a world record.

He flew twice during the two-man Gemini missions of the mid-1960s, twice to the moon during NASA's Apollo program, and twice more aboard the new space shuttle Columbia in the early 1980s.

His NASA career lasted 42 years, longer than any other astronaut's, and he was revered among his peers for his dogged dedication to keeping crews safe — and his outspokenness in challenging the space agency's status quo.

Young remained an active astronaut into his early 70s, long after all his peers had left, and held on to his role as NASA's conscience until his retirement in 2004.

"You don't want to be politically correct," he said in a 2000 interview with The Associated Press. "You want to be right."

Young was in NASA's second astronaut class, chosen in 1962, along with the likes of Neil Armstrong, Pete Conrad and James Lovell.

Young orbited the moon on Apollo 10 in May 1969 in preparation for the Apollo 11 moon landing that was to follow in a couple months. He commanded Apollo 16 three years later, the next-to-last manned lunar voyage, and walked on the moon.

He hung on for the space shuttle, commanding Columbia's successful maiden voyage in 1981 with co-pilot Robert Crippen by his side. It was a risky endeavor: Never before had NASA launched people on a rocket ship that had not first been tested in space. Young pumped his fists in jubilation after emerging from Columbia on the California runway, after the two-day flight.

Crippen called flying with Young "a real treat."

"Anybody who ever flew in space admired John," said Crippen, a close friend who last spoke to him a few months ago.

Young made his final trek into orbit aboard Columbia two years later, again as its skipper.

Young's reputation continued to grow, even after he stopped launching. He spoke out on safety measures, even before the Challenger debacle.

"By whatever management methods it takes, we must make Flight Safety first. If we do not consider Flight Safety first all the time at all levels of NASA, this machinery and this program will NOT make it," he warned colleagues.

Throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s, Young maintained the United States should be doing two to three times the amount of space exploration that it was doing. NASA should be developing massive rockets to lift payloads to the moon to industrialize it, he said, and building space systems for detecting and deflecting comets or asteroids that could threaten Earth.

"The country needs it. The world needs it. Civilization needs it," Young said in 2000, adding with a chuckle, "I don't need it. I'm not going to be here that long."

Young spent his last 17 years at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston in management, focusing on safety issues. He retired at the end of 2004, seven months shy of NASA's return to space after the Columbia accident.

Young was born Sept. 24, 1930 and grew up in Orlando, Florida. He became interested early on in aviation, making model planes. He spent his last high school summer working on a surveying team. The job took him to Titusville due east of Orlando; he never imagined that one day he would be sitting on rockets across the Indian River, blasting off for the moon.

He earned an aeronautical engineering degree from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1952 and went on to join the Navy and serve in Korea as a gunnery officer. He eventually became a Navy fighter pilot and test pilot.

Young received more than 100 major accolades in his lifetime, including the prestigious Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1981.

Even after leaving NASA, he worked to keep the space flame alive, noting in his official NASA biography that he was continuing to advocate the development of technologies "that will allow us to live and work on the moon and Mars."

"Those technologies over the long (or short) haul will save civilization on Earth," he warned in his NASA bio, almost as a parting shot.

Frost refer

Scott Frost is home. In a special section in today's newspaper, the Journal Star looks at how stops at Stanford, the NFL, Northern Iowa, Oregon and Central Florida prepared him for his return to Nebraska to be the Husker head coach. INSIDE

Randy Moody 

Twilight descends on San Miguel de Allende.

Trump says he's 'like, really smart,' 'a very stable genius' (copy)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump felt compelled Saturday to let the world know he's playing with all his marbles and is among the sharpest cookies around.

In a series of tweets, Trump defended his mental fitness and boasted about his brains, saying he is "like, really smart" and "a very stable genius." It was the latest pushback against a new book that portrays him as a leader who doesn't understand the weight of his office and whose competence is questioned by aides.

"Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart," Trump tweeted from Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, a few hours before a strategy session on the 2018 legislative agenda with Republican congressional leaders and Cabinet members.

And when Trump addressed reporters later, the Ivy League graduate was ready for the question.

"I went to the best colleges for college," said Trump, who holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania. "I had a situation where I was a very excellent student, came out, made billions and billions of dollars, became one of the top business people, went to television and for 10 years was a tremendous success, as you probably have heard, ran for president one time and won."

His ire was directed at Michael Wolff, author of "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House." The book draws a derogatory portrait of the 45th president as an undisciplined man-child who didn't actually want to win the White House, and who spends his evenings eating cheeseburgers in bed, watching television and talking on the telephone to old friends.

The book also quotes Trump's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and other prominent advisers as questioning the president's competence.

"I consider it a work of fiction," Trump told reporters, then bemoaned the country's "very weak" libel laws.

"I don't know this man. I guess sloppy Steve brought him in the White House quite a bit and it was one of those things. That's why sloppy Steve is now looking for a job," Trump said.

In one of his morning tweets, the president said critics are "taking out the old Ronald Reagan playbook and screaming mental stability and intelligence."

He said his journey from "VERY successful businessman," to reality TV star to president on his first try "would qualify as not smart, but genius .... and a very stable genius at that!"

Trump also spoke about the special counsel's investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election at Camp David saying "everything I've done is 100 percent proper" and he insisted that his campaign didn't collude with Moscow or commit any crime.

His team has been "open" with special counsel Robert Mueller and "done nothing wrong," Trump told reporters at Camp David.

He bemoaned the unrelenting focus on alleged Russia ties, saying the probe is "very, very bad for our country. It's making our country look foolish and this is a country that I don't want looking foolish, and it's not going to look foolish as long as I'm here."

A number of news outlets, including The Associated Press, have reported that Trump directed his White House counsel to tell Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to withdraw from the Justice Department's investigation into potential ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Sessions' decision to step away prompted Mueller's appointment.

Trump told reporters at Camp David that The New York Times story first reporting the request was "way off, or at least off," — although he wouldn't say how.

He added: "Everything that I've done is 100 percent proper. That's what I do, is I do things properly."

While at Camp David, Trump was also able to address the upcoming talks between the Koreas.

Trump, who last year lambasted his chief diplomat for talking about negotiations with the nuclear-armed North, told reporters at Camp David that some dialogue or direct conversation with Kim Jong Un was not beyond the realm of possibility.

"Sure, I always believe in talking," Trump said. "Absolutely I would do that, I wouldn't have a problem with that at all." But he was quick to add that any talks would come with conditions, which he did not specify.

The first formal talks between North and South in more than two years are set to take place in a border town Tuesday as the rivals try to find ways to cooperate on the Winter Olympics in the South and to improve their ties. Tensions are high because of the North's nuclear and missile programs.

"Right now they're talking Olympics. It's a start, it's a big start," Trump said during a question-and-answer session.

Kim "knows I'm not messing around. I'm not messing around, not even a little bit, not even 1 percent. He understands that," Trump said.

Assessing next week's discussions, Trump said "if something can happen and something can come out of those talks, that would be a great thing for all of humanity. That would be a great thing for the world."

The president also said that he had spoken with South Korean leader Moon Jae-in, who "thanks me very much for my tough stance."

"You have to have a certain attitude and you have to be prepared to do certain things and I'm totally prepared to do that," Trump said, contending his tough words have helped persuade the North to sit down with the South.