WaPo highlights Minor's horse racing dreams

Could Internet entrepreneur and Landmark Hotel owner Halsey Minor be horse racing's savior? That's what sports writer Andrew Beyer suggests in a column that ran in the April 11 edition of the Washington Post. Calling Minor a "smart, innovative optimist," Beyer profiles Minor's attempt to purchase the holdings of Magna Entertainment, a bankrupt company which owns several racetracks, including Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course. "Turning around American racing is my passion," Minor tells the Post. "It's what I think about all day. It's a psychological weakness." The article states that Minor spends hours each day looking for sites on which to build new racetracks, but did not mention the four different lawsuits from Minor's creditors seeking $60 million, including a suit over $10.5 million in allegedly unpaid construction loans on the Landmark Hotel.
–updated on April 13 at 5:22pm


The Post columnist's name is actually Beyer (not Meyer).

This guy minor is like a child with a very short attention span, and no shame. He can't even afford the toys he already has. I say we rename the Landmark Hotel (that is, what there is of it) and call it "Halsey Minor's Failed Erection."

Pete Deer

another candidate for the Hotel's name I have heard is Hotel Beirut

monorail! Monorail! MONORAIL!!!!!

Dear Pete,

My mistake. See the correction above.

Lindsay Barnes

This is a very thoughtful well written story. My position is clear from the story but it amazes me sometimes that people in authority who know these studies and facts don't say "Gee this is a big deal - we need to do something about it". I can't help but wonder if the people that serve on commissions charged with our safety are "Professional Administrators" and are worried that if they take a stand they won't be on the commission next year.

Thank you Courtney for caring enough to continue to spread the word. As a concerned Mom, I just called my daughter, living in North Carolina, to ask her to buy a photoelectric detector. She's in a multi-story apartment building with, you guessed it, ionization detectors. I truly believe your reporting and the efforts of these two Dads will save lives. In the age of e-mail surely we can all spread the word to our friends. Just think how you'd feel if someone you knew died in a smoldering fire without this type of detector and you hadn't told them what you knew--even worse what if it was a member of your own family ?

Congratulations from Australia to Courteney Stewart and The Hook!
This really is a stunning article and we here at The World Fire Safety Foundation have already had positive feedback from fire fighters and fire safety professionals in Australia and New Zealand. Courteney has sifted through 30 years of misinformation with her meticulous research and she's 'hit the nail on the head'.
Doug and Dean's, 'Father's For Fire Safety' campaign has been an ongoing inspiration for us. We are so pleased to see the tremendous progress they are making in Ohio. Their 'Fire Chiefs Presentation' has been well received by Fire Industry professionals here in Australia and in New Zealand and we know that as the truth spreads it will play a big part in bringing awareness to fire fighters around the world.
By providing the link to our website (fourth paragraph from the bottom) your readers will be able to send their 'Tenants Letter' enabling tenants and landlords in Virginia, the US, and down-under, to find out the truth about the dangerously defective smoke alarms in their own homes.
On behalf of everyone at The World Fire Safety Foundation . . .

Thank You!

Adrian Butler

My brother, Kyle, died in the same fire as Andrea at Ohio State in 2003. While it is still hard for me to read articles 6 years later relating to that night, I found this article to be an excellent one. By educating others about safer smoke alarms, maybe others in the future can be helped. It's so sad for me to think that lives could have possibly been saved if photoelectric alarms had been in place. So, please pass this message along to others. I remember hearing about the fire at Miami and feeling pain for those families. It made me think about my brother and his friends almost exactly 2 years later. I'm glad Mr. Dennis and Mr. Turnbull have helped bring each other some comfort about a special person in their lives who could never be forgotten. 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:)

EXCELLENT JOB AGAIN COURTENEY!! As from your earlier stories, and my posts, I have to commend you for all of your effort. Again, as a volunteer Fire-Fighter, I can only say that this is the most important issue facing the fire protction industry today.

Recently, after an apartment fire in my fire district where somebody made it out by having a photoelectric alarm that they installed (Not by the complex) the entire apartment complex went ahead and changed over to all hard wired Photoelectric, over 400 smoke Detectors, but it was worth every penny.

Sadly, over the past few years, we still had few deaths in other places, and in all of the situations, there were ION alarms, Some Worked, some had the batteries removed, or were disconnect from the AC power source.

I still find it kind of disturbing that you can put in a fire report that the alarm was tested and worked fine.... Then how do you explain the dead person that you just carried out? Is common sense taking a nap?

Also, I took a look at false alarm runs in my fire district, and it over 82% of the time, when the smoke detector was identified, IT WAS AN IONIZATION UNIT that caused the Alarm.

After the BRK/First Alert ruling, this is going to be an even bigger issue now that the cat is out of the bag, and Lawyers can start looking into more Lawsuits.

Sadly, this is the way of the world, and until you hit them where it hurts, not much will be done.

Using photoelectirc alarms also has another benefit, it reduces the risk for fire-fighters as well. If we roll up to a scene, and the place is fully involved, we need more manpower and equipment to do the job, not to mention the risk factor just shot up.

Last year, one of our companies in our district responded to a house fire call, they got there and were greeted by the wife and 2 children, while the husband was inside wetting down the carpet, and airing the house out. A space heater was being used and an older extension cord overheated and began to smolder, well the homeowners had instlled dual-sensor smoke alarms only 2 months earlier, and guess what? The Photoelectric side of that alarm saved their lives, and their home. The fire companys helped them with securing the damaged equipment, checked for any extension, and smoke removal. They were back inside within 2 hours. There was no breakout of flames, and damage was very minimal.

That is a situation where we all could live with.

Again, please keep up the good work.

As a parent of college students I found this article very intereting. Maybe I missed it but I couldn't find anything in the article that told me how to tell the difference between the two. You have a picture of an ionization detector. Is there a quick and easy way to tell the difference? Do photoelectric sensors have to be hardwired?

@Curious: It's really hard to tell, but there are a few ways. Most of the time, you'll need to take the detector off the wall and look at the back (you can do this even with hardwired models most of the time, leaving the wires attached...) If you see the words "radioactive" or "Americium-241," it's ionization. Sometimes, there's an "i" in a circle on the front of the detector. Often, though, especially in older detectors, there's no information or the label on the back is worn off. If in doubt, you can safely assume it's ionization since the vast majority (more than 90 percent) of detectors in American homes are that type. Hope that helps.

And no, photoelectrics don't need to be hardwired. You can purchase battery operated photoelectrics in certain hardware stores (you'd probably want to call first before making the trip) and also on amazon.com and other online building supply stores.

Wow - Tremendous story. My daughter Christine died in the OSU house fire in 2003 also. With all this we continue to allow families & sturdents to beleive they are protected with IONIZATION smoke Detectors. We need to mandate that Photoelectric Smoke detectors are required on all floors.

That is correct, anything dealing with radiation will mean ionization. Photoelectrics will sometimes have a small "P" on them, or a blue triangle.

I know that Wal-Mart carries a First Alert Model SA710 (Maybe a letter or two after the model) for around $13. 9 Volt Battery Model.

First Alert also has their One Link Wireless Interconnect Units. These are Photoelectric, and when one sounds, they all sound, some models are also CO detectors, and the top end ones talk to you, and tell you where the fire or CO problem is.

I am so grateful to you, Courteney, as you continue to pursue the importance of smoke alarms and the tragedies of fire. As Ashley mentioned, we attended the Phoenix Society's World Burn Congress in NYC. Everyone gathered... burn survivors, their caretakers, firefighters, first responders, burn unit nurses, techs, doctors,and social workers, with so many tragic, yet inspiring stories. Their tales are not often at the forefront, but the survivors live with the scars, pain, and memories their entire lives. The recovery can be another very arduous journey. They are all heroes in my eyes.

I also found it puzzling that last year, my classroom of fourth graders was in a trailer with no smoke alarm. I had a fire extinguisher and was next to a trailer stuffed with boxes, papers, and furniture. It took me until May to have a smoke alarm installed! Not only that, but the students in trailers were not required to exit the trailers during a fire drill. We exited anyway as noone could convince me that a fire in the building could not affect us in the trailers.

People are now starting to pay attention after years of research testing and failures. Wired in still needs reliable battery back up should the power be off as in electrical fires. Even worse the combo and photoelectric are often made by the same brk subsidiaries as the ionization. Do you want to trust them again with their overseas garbage??

This is to debbie. I do agree that People are finally waking up to the dangers of ionization smoke detectors. However, the problem is not the manafactures, it is the technology. Ionization is not designed for smoldering fires, period. It could be BRK, Firex, Kidde.... Whoever, Ionization is the issue, not who or where it is made. I also agree that the 120v units also have a battery back up in certain cases. And with First Alert/BRK, their model SA710 series 9 volt Photoelectric units are Excellent Smoke Detectors. And they are in the $10-15 dollar range. They also have one of the better wireless units out there as the Onelink product line uses Photoelectric Sensors.