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By United Press International   |   April 20, 2005 at 6:30 AM   |   Comments

Pope impersonator ends career

MIAMI, April 19 (UPI) -- After Pope Benedict XVI was named pontiff in Vatican City Tuesday, the career of an U.S. impersonator of Pope John Paul ended.

Seventy-nine-year-old Eugene Greytak has impersonated Pope John Paul II for more than 20 years at some 1,000 parties and hundreds of events, the Miami Herald reported.

Greytak also appeared as the pope in 20 movies, including "Sister Act" with Whoopi Goldberg, "Hot Shots!" with Charlie Sheen, and "Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult" with Leslie Nielsen.

Greytak, who had been a real estate agent in 1978 when his likeness to Pope John II provided him with a new career, is getting calls of condolence instead of job offers.

"I was walking along the street in Las Vegas and there on the front page was a picture of him on the day he was named pope," Greytak recalled. "I said 'Geez, he looks just like me.' "


$17 million homeless shelter opens in LA

LOS ANGELES, April 19 (UPI) -- A $17 million state-of-the-art homeless shelter opened in Los Angeles, complete with a full-sized gym, a hair salon and a professional kitchen.

Midnight Mission, a modern structure of concrete and steel in the heart of one of the city's largest poor neighborhoods, opened Monday to help Los Angeles' more than 6,000 homeless amid criticism that the facility does little to address the city's lack of affordable housing, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

"Since the late 1980s, America has built a mammoth infrastructure of shelters and the number of homeless has gone up, not down. It's a bit of the if-you-build-it-they-will-come phenomenon at work," says Nan Roman, president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

"That same $17 million could have gone a long way toward creating homes and jobs," says Bob Erlenbusch, vice president of the board for the National Coalition for the Homeless. "Affordable housing is what these people need, not a way to institutionalize their temporary status."


Land for federal cemetery sold in snafu

CECIL, Pa., April 19 (UPI) -- A national veterans cemetery to be built near Pittsburgh has hit a snafu -- the county has sold part of the land at auction.

Federal officials paid $2.3 million for 139 acres of farmland in Cecil, Pa., in 2002. But part of the property was sold for $40,000 at auction, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Tuesday.

At issue is an $8,483 tax bill. While the federal government does not pay property taxes on land it owns, the county said the tax bill came with the property when the government made the purchase.

The former owner said all taxes were paid when the land was sold.

The Department of Veterans Affairs said it was unaware of the auction until the Post-Gazette asked for a response.

"I can't believe this," department spokeswoman Jo Schuda said.

© 2005 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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