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May 3, 2010 at 6:00 AM
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Thousands attend G.I. Joe fest

PROVIDENCE, R.I., May 2 (UPI) -- Thousands of G.I. Joe fans and collectors assembled in Providence, R.I., this weekend for the 17th annual G.I. Joe Collectors Convention, organizers said.

For more serious collectors, the occasion was extra special because it was the first time the convention has been held in Providence, the headquarters of Hasbro, the company that introduced G.I. Joe to the toy market in 1964, The Providence Journal reported Sunday.

Since its debut, G.I. Joe has appeared in dozens of forms, including a Heavy Metal figure and Cobra Commander, as well as comics, an animated TV series and a Hollywood action picture in 2009.

The convention attracted collectors including Michael Rush, 30, of Beverly, Mass., who told the newspaper he started collecting 3 3/4-inch G.I. Joe action figures when he was 18 because his parents couldn't afford to buy them for him when he was a kid.

"I didn't have them," he said, "but I always wanted them."

Sam Petrucci appeared at the convention, signing paintings he made of G.I. Joe characters in the 1960s when he worked on advertising campaigns for the product.

His son, Ken Petrucci, acknowledged the connection gives the old man a certain coolness.

"He's like a G.I. Joe rock star," the younger Petrucci said as fans waited in line to meet his father.

Polish student is Sudoku champion

PHILADELPHIA, May 2 (UPI) -- About 120 Sudoku solvers from 32 countries competed in Philadelphia, with a Polish puzzler becoming the world champ the second time in a row, organizers say.

Jan Mrozowski, a 23-year-old Krakow engineering student, claimed victory Saturday after finishing the last puzzle in a round of 10 that took him 54 minutes, 4 seconds to solve, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Although the puzzler won last year in Slovakia, he said this year was different.

"This time, it was really hard," he said.

"I made some stupid mistakes," Mrozowski said. "...really hard -- especially in these conditions."

The finals had more than 100 people watching under the glare of lights and cameras.

"Because this is a world championship, we had already expected this level of difficulty," said 13-year-old MengLei Ma, the youngest competitor, whose mother translated for her.

The German team claimed the national trophy, followed by the Czech Republic, Japan, Canada, Britain and Mrozowski's Polish team, the Inquirer said.

Sudoku generally involves a grid of 81 squares, some of which contain numbers 1-9. The object is to fill in the remaining boxes with single-digits while avoiding repeating numbers in a row, column or the nine interior 3-by-3 boxes.

Police: Drunk driver was busy texting

CHICAGO, May 2 (UPI) -- An Illinois man driving his car the wrong way on a busy highway was not only drunk, police say, but also distracted -- by the text message he was busy sending.

Raymond A. Dryier, 40, faces trial on charges including drunk driving, wrong-way driving and operation of a vehicle while texting, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Sunday.

Dryier was spotted by an officer on routine patrol early Thursday.

"What really drew his attention to this guy was that he was (driving) northbound in the southbound lanes of Route 59 for 20 or 30 feet," Police Sgt. Gregg Bell said.

Dryier allegedly disobeyed a traffic sign entering Route 59 in Aurora, Ill., and drove over the median before being pulled over, Bell said. "As the officer approached (Dryier) in his vehicle, he found the driver was texting on his phone."

Dryier allegedly denied having driven north in Route 59's southbound lanes "but he did apologize for the texting," Bell said.

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