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Sept. 14, 2012 at 6:00 AM
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Man helped by same stranger 8 years apart

PARMA, Ohio, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- An Ohio man said a kindly passerby stopped to help him with a flat tire and he soon realized he was the same man who helped him eight years earlier.

Gerald Gronowski of Parma said he pulled his van over to the side of an Auburn Township road Saturday evening to fix a flat and Christopher Manacci of Chagrin Falls pulled his car up behind the vehicle to offer his assistance, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported Thursday.

Gronowski said an out-of-control pickup truck hit Manacci's car moments later, narrowly missing the two men and Gronowski's son.

"His actions probably saved those people's lives," Ohio State Patrol Lt. Mark Neff said of Manacci.

The driver of the truck, Joseph Pawlowski of Burton was charged with drunken driving and treated at a local hospital.

Gronowski said the close call got him talking about an encounter with a helpful man eight years ago.

"I told the story about how I was fishing and I got a triple hook embedded deep into my hand," Gronowski said. "I was in a lot of pain and my son asked if anyone was a doctor and this guy paddles up in a kayak. He was a nurse practitioner and he surgically removed the hook from my hand. Chris looked at me and said, 'That was me.'"

"And then I recognized him," Gronowski said. "The odds of that happening are astronomical. Now I know it's my job to repay this by helping someone else."

Mint backs down on penny-ante royalties

OTTAWA, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- The Royal Canadian Mint has relented on demands for royalties from a folk musician whose CD album art included copyrighted images of pennies.

Musician Dave Gunning's CD "No More Pennies" is due for release Tuesday and the first 2,000 copies of its cover art feature various images of the Canadian penny, which are due to be taken out of circulation beginning next spring.

The mint had told Gunning they would waive copyright fees on the first 2,000 CDs, but wanted $1,200 for subsequent releases of 2,000 albums.

The Halifax, Nova Scotia, folk singer's plight gained international attention this week and Thursday, the mint issued a release acknowledging its policy needs re-examination.

"The Mint's recent interaction with Mr. Gunning has brought attention to our current intellectual property policy," the statement said. "We now recognize that our policy as it is today may not consider the individual needs and circumstances of those who request to use our images.

"As a result, the Mint has made the following two decisions. First, we will allow Mr. Gunning to use the image of the penny on subsequent reprints of his CD's artwork at no cost."

Gunning had announced he would be collecting pennies at coming fall concerts to donate to a children's hospital.

G.I. Joe voted top toy of the century

INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Visitors to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis' website have picked G.I. Joe as the top toy of the past century followed by Transformers and Lego blocks.

Museum officials picked their top 100 toys of the past 100 years and more than 24,000 votes were cast online to narrow the list down the top 20, which was topped by G.I. Joe, Transformers, Lego blocks, Barbie and the View-Master.

The list also included the bicycle, Cabbage Patch Kids, Crayons, Play-Doh, Monopoly, Raggedy Ann, Spirograph, Etch A Sketch, Little Golden Books, Hot Wheels, Lincoln Logs, Candyland, Roller Skates, Silly Putty and Mr. Potato Head.

"The feedback and support from the public for this initiative has been extraordinary," said Jeffrey Patchen, president and chief executive officer of the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. "The stories people have shared about intergenerational learning, family traditions and memories has been heartwarming and life-changing in some cases. Toys are a powerful tool for exploration and imagination as we learn and grow. They foster many shared memories across generations and, as was represented in the voting and story sharing for 100 Toys, across cultures as we read stories submitted from Germany, Canada, Australia and Israel."

Texas asks voters if they're dead

AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Thousands of registered voters in Texas are getting letters from elections officials, asking for verification they are not dead.

Nearly 77,000 letters, referred to as notices of examination, were sent to comply with a 2011 state law requiring the Texas Secretary of State's office to cross-reference voter rolls with the massive Social Security Administration's death master file to determine whether an eligible voter is deceased, the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman reported Thursday.

Use of the federal death file and its 89 million entries has resulted in a large number of letters mailed, said Tina Morton, Travis County tax assessor-collector and voter registrar.

The letters were sent out two months before the presidential election because of delays caused by redistricting issues, said Rich Parsons, the Secretary of State office's director of communications.

"The primary was delayed, as were several deadlines related to the primary election. This was the first window of opportunity we have had to do this," he said.

Still-living voters have 30 days to complete and return forms accompanying the letters, but county clerks are encouraging voters to report their eligibility by telephone, the newspaper said.

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