Stuck, Wash., faces annexation
STUCK, Wash., April 24 (UPI) -- An island of unincorporated land totally surrounded by the city of Auburn, Wash., is fighting to keep its freedom.
The unincorporated community of Stuck consists of 45 houses on 20 acres surrounded by Auburn, a city of more than 200,000 south of Seattle. Many of Stuck's residents relish their freedom from Auburn taxes and Auburn ordinances.
If Harold Olson, a 78-year-old retired accountant becomes an Auburn resident, he will have to give up most of his livestock, including his chickens and his peacock, The Seattle Times reported. Auburn limits residents to four pets per household -- and only cats and dogs, no peacocks.
"I hope to hell I die before it goes in," Olson told the newspaper.
Auburn is eyeing Stuck and an even smaller enclave known as Thomas along with two larger swathes of unincorporated land with 15,000 residents. The Times said the final decision is in the hands of the residents and in both Stuck and Thomas the locals voted overwhelmingly in 2002 against annexation.
Duct tape hides objectional T-shirt slogan
SACRAMENTO, April 24 (UPI) -- Conservative high school students suspended for wearing offensive T-shirts in Sacramento, Calif., can wear them if the word "sodomy" is covered by duct tape.
The uproar began last week on the national Day of Silence, when supporters of gays and lesbians gave up small talk as a show of solidarity.
Several conservative students responded by wearing T-shirts with religious quotations, including the phrase "Sodomy is sin," the Sacramento Bee reported Tuesday. The students were suspended for what school officials said was offensive wording, and several protests were staged.
On Monday, Phillip Goudeaux, a minister, offered the compromise of covering the offending word with duct tape. He said he understood school officials' unease.
"We didn't have to use such strong language to get our point across," Goudeaux said.
School officials agreed, but Jade Baranski, a Sacramento activist who works with gay youth, told the Bee it was a shallow settlement.
"All the kids know what the shirt says," Baranski said.
Celebs relive prom night for charity
STUDIO CITY, Calif., April 24 (UPI) -- Students in U.S. high schools will have a chance to feel "like a prince or princess" for prom, courtesy of actress Sharon Stone's "Class of Hope Prom 2007."
The inaugural prom event for adults, sponsored by Stone and her sister, Kelly Stone, in Studio City, Calif., raised $150,000 for Planet Hope prom fund, The Los Angeles Times said.
Donations raised by the Saturday benefit will cover fees and provide gowns and tuxedo rental money to underprivileged students across the country so they can attend their high school proms.
"We truly believe that every young student across the nation deserves a chance to feel like a prince or princess on their prom night, regardless of their financial situation," the sisters said in a statement. "We are thrilled to help this dream come true for high school students in need."
The charity collected more than 2,000 prom dresses and shoes from top designers, including Sue Wong, Nicole Miller, Alberto Ferreti, BCBG, Dior Beauty, Roberto Cavalli, Fendi and Jessica McClintock.
Celebrities who revisited their prom days included singer Fergie, Shari Belafonte, Tom Arnold, opera singer Carlos De Antonis. Sharon Stone wore a white top, ankle-length pink skirt and tiara.
New car smell is bad for you
BERKELEY, Calif., April 24 (UPI) -- That "new car smell" can be hazardous to your health, The Ecology Center, a Berkeley, Calif., environmental group said.
The Ecology Center said toxic chemicals such as bromine, chlorine and lead found in cars' interiors give off harmful fumes for three years, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The group listed the 10 least toxic vehicles in a report: the Acura RDX; BMW X3; Chevrolet Cobalt; Chrysler PT Cruiser; Honda Odyssey; Nissan Frontier; Suzuki Aerio wagon; Toyota Matrix; and Volvo S40 and V50.
The 10 worst vehicles were: the Chevy Aveo, Express and Silverado; Hyundai Accent; Kio Rio and Spectra; Nissan Versa; Scion xB; Subaru Forester; and Suzuki Forenza.
Jeff Gearhart of the Ecology Center said consumers can avoid the fumes, which are emitted when the car's interior is exposed to heat.
"Don't park in the sun, and if you do, use a solar screen along the windshield to reduce heat getting into the cabin. And before driving on a warm day, first open the windows and doors to ventilate the car for 10 minutes," Gearhart told the newspaper. "Also, clean the cabin frequently by vacuuming and washing the windows because the greasy film on the inside windows is residue from the chemicals."