News of the Weird

Wednesday June 05, 2002

Return to sender 


CLEVELAND – The Republican Party mistakenly invited an Ohio prison inmate to a $2,500-a-plate fund-raising dinner with President Bush. 

The invitation, complete with a letter from Vice President Dick Cheney, was sent to Robert Kirkpatrick at the Belmont Correctional Institution in eastern Ohio. 

The letter asked Kirkpatrick to “join the president and Mrs. Bush for a private dinner here in Washington, D.C.” on June 19. 

Kirkpatrick, 35, was sentenced last year in Canton to nearly three years for drug possession and escape. 

“I’m going to tell him that I’d be happy to attend, but he’s going to have to pull some strings to get me there,” Kirkpatrick said. 

Spokesman Carl Forti of the National Republican Congressional Committee acknowledged Monday that the mailing was a mistake. 


Let the good times flash  


HAMLIN, W.Va. – For years, Lincoln County has had only one stoplight. Now it’s down to a single flashing signal. 

The traffic light at an intersection featuring the county courthouse, a flower shop and a tanning salon was replaced by the flashing signal, and the change will be permanent if the state Division of Highways receives no strong objections within two months, the division’s Bruce Kenney said. 

Sharrell Lovejoy, 80, remembers when the stoplight was built in the 1940s, just down the street from his Bobcat Diner. 

“I think we still need it,” Lovejoy said. 

Tractor-trailers and loaded log trucks were among the vehicles that hesitated at the new flashing signal Monday, uncertain which had the right of way. 

“They’re just going to have a wreck there,” Joseph Melkus, 17, said during a walk downtown for a corn dog. 

The new flashing light has prompted jokes among some residents. 

“What are we going to do for entertainment?” said Loren Smith, an Alum Creek physician. “When people say, ’What do you do for fun?’, we tell ’em that sometimes after dinner on Sunday, we’ll take a carload of people down to the intersection and watch that thing go up and down.” 


Rock on in Sin City  


LAS VEGAS – High-rollers in Las Vegas can now enjoy a condo fit for the Rat Pack. 

The Park Towers condominium, located right on the Strip, offers everything from an elegant piano bar to a spa. 

“If you want a bottle of Opus (wine) at 2 a.m., you’re going to get it,” said Cindy DellaValle, Park Towers sales director. “It’s a Four Seasons lifestyle that’s very private.” 

The condominium is one of a handful of new high-end places to live that have started to show up in Sin City. 

“We are selling a lifestyle,” said Jeffrey Soffer, developer of the $600 million Turnberry Place. 

What many perceived as a gamble — the first upscale high-rise community to be built in Las Vegas in nearly 30 years — is paying off. More than half the 740 units in the four-tower project have been sold, Soffer said. 

In a city known for 99-cent shrimp cocktails and free drinks for gamblers, luxury doesn’t come cheap. The condos start at a half million dollars.