America's newest champion is being honored by Wheaties. At a news conference Monday in Salt Lake City, Wheaties announced that women's figure skating gold medallist Sarah Hughes would be pictured on the 18-ounce package of the cereal beginning next month.
"Winning a gold medal is something that I've dreamed about for most of my life," said Hughes, who began figure skating at age three. "To top it off, now I have my own Wheaties box. This is really a dream come true."
Hughes, 16, entered last Thursday's long program in fourth place. She skated flawlessly and won the gold medal.
The box featuring Hughes continues Wheaties' tradition of honoring great athletic champions dating back to Johnny Weismuller and Babe Didrickson in the 1930s. Other notable winter sports honorees include Kristi Yamaguchi, Eric Heiden, the 1980 U.S. men's hockey team and the 1998 U.S. women's hockey team.
THINGS WE DON'T UNDERSTAND
Officials in the Kazakhstan city of Aktobe said they'll continue to encourage people to become janitors by offering the best custodians luxury vacations on the beaches of the United Arab Emirates.
The Kazakh Khabar news agency reports that low monthly salaries -- about $30 -- were the reason officials began offering vacations as an incentive for Kazakhs to pursue the custodial arts. Previously, janitors were promised government housing.
This year, 22 janitors received top honors. Two of them will vacation in the U.A.E., while the rest were awarded free passes to health spas.
(Thanks to UPI's Marina Kozlova)
NEWS OF OTHER LIFE FORMS
Long Island, N.Y., native and retired science teacher Irv Gordon will reach a milestone next month that no other individual has accomplished in the more than 100 years of the automobile: driving two million miles in the same vehicle.
To mark the occasion, Gordon on March 27 will his red 1966 Volvo P1800 through the heart of New York City to Times Square, where he'll be the honored guest at Volvo Cars of North America's 75th anniversary party. The bash will be held at the Times Square Studios of ABC-TV's "Good Morning America."
Gordon bought his P1800 on June 30, 1966, for $4,150. His long commute to work (a 125-mile daily round trip) and his passion for driving enabled him to log his first 250,000 miles in five years. "The car never gave me any problems -- didn't overheat, never failed to start. At about half a million miles, the car was driving better than ever, and that's when I was sure this is an extraordinary car," Gordon said.
In October 1987, Gordon celebrated his one-millionth mile by driving a loop around the Tavern on the Green in New York's Central Park. Following his retirement a few years later, he made driving his pastime -- going to Cincinnati for coffee or to Denver for lunch.
In 1998, the Guinness Book of World Records honored Gordon's Volvo P1800 as the vehicle with the "the highest certified mileage driven by the original owner in non-commercial service."
TODAY'S SIGN THE WORLD IS ENDING
Police in Detroit said an apparent dispute over a $40 radio led to a shooting that killed a 6-year-old girl and left three other children and a woman wounded.
Police Cmdr. Bryan Turnbull said investigators are looking for as many as two suspects who fired into a car containing the woman and four children. He said one of the suspects allegedly believed he had been given a counterfeit $20 bill when he sold a radio to someone in the victims' house.
AND FINALLY, TODAY'S UPLIFTING STORY
It was quite a sight last weekend in Chicago -- more than 350 firefighters, men and women in full, heavy regalia, climbing the steps of the city's John Hancock Center, running to the 100th floor.
The event was more than just a tribute to their fallen comrades of the Sept. 11 attacks; they did so as part of the American Lung Association's annual fun run in the tower. One of the firemen told a reporter that many people burst into tears at the sight of the show of solidarity. Firefighters from nearby Indiana and Wisconsin and other parts of Illinois also took part.
(Thanks to UPI's Dennis Daily)