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Feb. 5, 2013 at 2:05 PM
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'Wild Thing' singer, Troggs frontman Reg Presley dead at 71

LONDON, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Reg Presley, lead singer of the 1960s rock band The Troggs, has died of lung cancer at his home in Hampshire, England, said his daughter, Karen. He was 71.

The Troggs were known for their hits, "Wild Thing," "With a Girl Like You," "I Can't Control Myself" and "Love Is All Around," which Wet Wet Wet covered in the 1990s and which was featured on the soundtrack of the romantic comedy "Four Weddings and a Funeral."

The BBC said Presley retired a year ago after he was diagnosed with lung cancer and had since suffered several strokes.

"As you all know, I was taken ill whilst doing a gig in Germany in December. During my stay in hospital, tests showed that, in fact, I have lung cancer," Presley wrote on his website in January 2012.

"I am receiving chemotherapy treatment and at the moment not feeling too bad. However, I've had to call time on The Troggs and retire. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the cards and calls and for your love, loyalty and support over the years."

Backlash for director trying to make film tied to Newtown

RIDGEFIELD, Conn., Feb. 5 (UPI) -- A director is facing a backlash for wanting to make a film near Newtown, Conn., about a mentally ill teen and his parents' fears after the Sandy Hook shootings.

"I will do everything in my power to prevent this," Ridgefield, Conn., First Selectman Rudy Marconi told The (Danbury) News-Times after Jonathan Bucari and a film crew scouted locations in Ridgefield over the weekend, including an elementary school.

The psychological wounds from the Dec. 14, 2012, mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 schoolchildren and six adult staff members dead are still too fresh, Marconi told WVIT-TV, West Hartford.

"Mr. Bucari is going to have to find another location," Marconi, a Democrat, told the TV station. "It will not be in Ridgefield."

Ridgefield, a town of 25,000 in southwestern Connecticut, is about 18 miles from Newtown, population 27,000.

Marconi, whose position as first selectman means he's the town's chief executive and administrative officer, told WVIT he received dozens of phone calls from constituents complaining about the film possibility.

Bucari, who grew up and went to film school in France, says on Facebook, "We are not making a movie about what happened in Newtown and never will do so."

The film, titled "Illness," is about mental illness and uses Newtown as a context, producer Carina Rush says in a message on the Indiegogo "crowd funding" website.

She describes the film, for which she seeks $3,000 through Indiegogo, as being "about the tragic fate of Benjamin, a 13-year-old boy with a terrible mental illness, and the ever-growing fear of his parents after they learn about the shooting in Newtown."

Bucari, who lives 20 miles west of Newtown and 12 miles northwest of Ridgefield in the Hudson Valley village of Brewster, N.Y., told News 12 Connecticut he selected Ridgefield "because it has the same look and feel as Newtown."

He says on Facebook he plans to dedicate the film "to the victims of the shooting in Newtown."

Rush says on Indiegogo any money the film earns from film festival awards "will be used for the formation of a foundation to help the many families with children struggling with mental illness."

"We believe that everyone can relate to this film and that we can make an impact on mental illness," her Indiegogo fundraising pitch says.

Bucari -- whose Internet Movie Database biography says he directed a TV pilot titled "The Sacrificial Lamb" -- did not immediately respond to a message from United Press International seeking comment.

Researcher: Scarlet fever didn't cause Mary Ingalls to go blind

NEW YORK, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- An American girl featured in the "Little House on the Prairie" books and TV series likely didn't go blind because of scarlet fever, researchers say.

Laura Ingalls Wilder penned the stories about her family's life as pioneers in Minnesota and Wisconsin. One of the most poignant tales of her youth was about how her older sister Mary went blind as a teenager. The accepted account of her blindness was she had contracted scarlet fever.

Dr. Beth Tarini, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Michigan, told CNN she spent about 10 years researching exactly what caused Mary to lose her sight. She said she has determined the culprit was not scarlet fever, but viral meningoencephalitis, which causes inflammation of the brain and the meninges, the membrane that covers the brain.

She said she and her team of researchers studied papers and letters Laura wrote, as well as local newspaper accounts of Mary's illness and epidemiological data on blindness and infectious disease during the time period.

Tarini said she looked closely at Laura's memoir, "Pioneer Girl," and found Mary suffered scarlet fever as a child, but not the year she went blind.

"She never says scarlet fever. She never says rash," Tarini told CNN about Mary's health in the months before she went blind.

The scientist said Laura had described in letters Mary's condition as "some sort of spinal sickness," while newspaper accounts said she suffered severe headaches.

Tarini told CNN she believes Laura may have changed Mary's condition in her books because she thought scarlet fever would be more relatable to readers at the time.

Tarini's findings were published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Report: Katie Holmes ready to date again, but is 'nervous and cautious'

NEW YORK, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Katie Holmes is said to be ready to start dating again, but the U.S. actress is adamant about not wanting to give up her freedom, RadarOnline said.

Holmes ended her 5-year marriage to film star Tom Cruise in 2012, reportedly, in part, because he was very controlling. The former couple have a 6-year-old daughter, Suri.

"Katie's in a dilemma because she wants to date, but is concerned where it could lead to from there," a family insider told RadarOnline Monday.

"She's worried that if she commits herself fully to another man, she will have to give up the freedom she's enjoying so much at the moment. As a single woman, she has no one controlling her nowadays, telling her what to do or who to see and she absolutely loves it," the unnamed source said.

"However, at the same time, she also misses being with someone special to share experiences with and she doesn't want to be alone for the rest of her life. Katie's got Suri for the time being, and she is her best friend, but she does eventually want to find a man she can be that close with as well. She's just a little nervous and cautious about relationships still right now."

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