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July 13, 2014

Former Plattsburgh man to appear in Travel Channel series

LOS ANGELES — Local viewers who tune in to the Travel Channel's "Insane Coaster Wars" tonight at 9 p.m. may spot a familiar face.

Plattsburgh High School alum Chris Lavigne will appear as a guest host on the episode "Beyond Vertical Drop" featuring the roller coaster Kumba at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in Florida.

"You introduce viewers to the park," he said. "We rode roller coasters a bunch of times.

"It's mainly a lot of fun, a lot of banter."

Each episode pits three or four roller coasters against each other, and judges pick one winner, said Lavigne, whose parents, Edward and Bonnie, along with his brother and nephew, Steve and Ryan, still reside in Plattsburgh.

He also has a son, Teague Lavigne, who studies business in Warsaw, Poland.

COMING FULL CIRCLE

Lavigne landed the role as "Coaster Wars" guest host through his agency, Alexa Model & Talent, which is based in Tampa, Fla.

He has enjoyed riding roller coasters since he was a kid, and his appearance in this episode of "Insane Coaster Wars" will bring him full circle.

"The first roller coaster I rode was at Busch Gardens in Tampa while I was visiting my grandparents," he said.

The episode will also feature Hersheypark's Fahrenheit roller coaster, which has a 97-degree beyond-vertical drop, and Germany's Silver Star, which has a 219-foot drop.

ACTING BY CHANCE

After graduating from PHS in 1987, Lavigne attended Siena College in Loudonville, where he earned a bachelor's degree in liberal arts and political science.

He then spent a year teaching English in Poland, where he had previously studied abroad, before moving to Washington, D.C.

Lavigne completed his graduate studies in information systems at Virginia Tech, then moved to Florida. where he worked writing software.

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