A missing heart
CORAZON, N.M. — The U.S. Census Bureau has missed a lonely heart in northeastern New Mexico.
The bureau reported in February that there were only four communities in the nation with the word “heart” in their names.
Corazon wasn’t on the list.
Corazon — Spanish for “heart” — is in San Miguel County, about 40 miles southeast of Las Vegas.
But there isn’t much left of the community — mostly rubble and old wooden rafters.
A book called “The Place Names of New Mexico” says Corazon had a post office from 1903 to 1909.
“People in Las Vegas have heard about the ruins out there, but they don’t talk a lot about it,” said Gus Pacheco, an area resident. “And there are fewer and fewer old-timers around here. We have a funeral almost every month.”
For the record, the four “heart” places listed by the bureau were Heart Butte, Mont.; Sacred Heart, Minn.; South Heart, N.D.; and Heartwell, Neb.
Get the public out on their porches
ERIE, Pa. — Fences may make good neighbors, but a city councilman says front porches make better neighborhoods.
Jim Casey wants Erie to study whether the city should require all new homes to be built with front porches.
“The public today, they’re all withdrawing into their homes because of television, computers and all these other sophisticated mechanisms we have,” Casey said. “We need to get out and meet our neighbors. If porches can help us get back to that good quality of living, then good.”
Homes with porches look nicer and encourage neighbors to interact, Casey said.
Erie’s City Council is expected to consider the idea Wednesday.
One Erie builder called Casey’s idea “off-the-wall.”
“We have enough regulations as it is,” said Charles Buckeye of Buckeye Builders.
Porches should be a homeowner’s choice, he said, adding that each owner’s lifestyle is different.
He’s got a porch, he said, but when he finds the time to sit down, it’s usually in the backyard.
LUDINGTON, Mich. (AP) — It’s not your ordinary lawn ornament.
Since 1947, Henry Marek has kept a World War I-era cannon in his front yard.
Marek obtained the cannon in 1942 for $25 as scrap from the Work Projects Administration. Over the years it has become a Mason County landmark.
But a Defense Department worker happened to notice the cannon last week, knocked on Marek’s door and told him that the cannon is government property. That means it could be seized and destroyed.
That’s when Marek brought out his heavy gun — U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, who has ridiculed the government’s sudden interest in the weaponry.
“This cannon has been in the community for more than 50 years without a problem,” Hoekstra said Monday in a news release. “And the only problems surrounding this cannon now are being caused by the government.”
Hoekstra said the cannon’s breech was welded shut and its barrel was cut, making it unusable as a weapon. His office contacted the Defense Department and expects a quick resolution to the matter.
“At a time when the Defense Department is fighting a war against terrorism, it seems strange they would want to fight Mr. Marek over an 80-plus-year-old cannon that was long-ago disabled,” he said.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Take that, Osama bin Laden.
A bill introduced Monday in the Minnesota House would put bin Laden’s image on a state lottery scratch-off ticket. Players would discover any winnings by scratching off “and thus obliterating,” as the bill notes, bin Laden’s face.
Sixty percent of the proceeds — the maximum allowed under the state Constitution — would go to anti-terrorism efforts.
The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Rich Stanek, is a Minneapolis police officer who also is pushing for a broad new state security plan. It has a price tag of $25 million to pay for training and equipment, although a state budget deficit has made funding scarce.
Stanek said he’s gotten nothing but positive reactions to the bill.
“Can you imagine the guys sitting in the American Legion, how they’ll respond?” asked Stanek. “They might go out and buy 100 tickets.”
If the bin Laden idea falls through, Stanek said he still wants a themed lottery ticket. Like what? “Three cruise missiles is a winner. I don’t care.”