People talk 08/15/02

Thursday, August 15, 2002

'Stone Cold' arrested on charges of assault

SAN ANTONIO -- The pro wrestling star known as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin surrendered to authorities after a judge issued an arrest warrant for him on a domestic violence complaint.

Steve Williams was charged with assault with bodily injury, a Class A misdemeanor, police spokesman Sgt. Gabe Trevino said. He was free after posting $5,000 bond.

"Nothing happened," the 37-year-old Williams said Tuesday as he left the Bexar County Courthouse, the San Antonio Express-News reported on its Web site. He declined further comment.

Debra Williams, the wrestler's wife, called police around 4 a.m. June 15. The officer who arrived at their San Antonio home found the woman at the front of the house crying, and said he saw "a large noticeable welt" just below her right eye.

The wrestler left the house before police arrived but later spoke to the responding officer by phone.

The police department forwarded the case to the Bexar County district attorney's office, which pursued the case and presented it to the judge this week.

The Williamses married last year in Las Vegas. It is the wrestler's third marriage.

In June, officials at World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. said Williams had failed to show up at two events and "is no longer an active member of WWE's talent roster."

DeGeneres to write book of comic essays

NEW YORK -- Ellen DeGeneres is writing a book of comic essays to coincide with the launch next year of her syndicated talk show.

DeGeneres' previous book, "My Point ... and I Do Have One," was a No. 1 bestseller on The New York Times' nonfiction list.

"Why write a second book, you ask?" the actress and comedian said in a statement this week. "Because there are some words I didn't use in the first one."

DeGeneres starred in her own television series, "Ellen," and made history in 1997 when her character came out as a lesbian. DeGeneres herself is openly gay.

The new book, currently untitled, will be published by Simon & Schuster in the fall of 2003, at the same time DeGeneres begins her talk show. Her editor will be Rob Weisbach, with whom she worked on her first book.

Director Jackson calls for organ donations

WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- Film director Peter Jackson called on fellow New Zealanders to donate their kidneys, livers and hearts to those in need.

Jackson told New Zealand Woman's Weekly magazine that he was appalled to discover people were dying because New Zealanders are failing to donate healthy organs.

Organ donation is a lifesaving gift which costs nothing, said the director of the Oscar-winning "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring."

"It's not until you're facing heart disease or liver failure that you realize how bleak the prospects are here for people who are critically ill," he said in the article.

"We have the skills here, the hospitals and the surgeons. What we lack is a population willing to give," he said.

Health Ministry figures show New Zealand has one of the lowest organ donation rates in the developed world. Since 1998, 15 people have died because they didn't receive a liver transplant.

His comments were inspired by the plight of 11-month-old Katie Tookey, who suffers from biliary atresia, a rare condition that blocks the liver's ducts, causing permanent deterioration.

Her father, Andy Tookey, said Katie will need a liver transplant sometime in the next five years.

"At the current rates you're left wondering if there will be a liver available when the time rolls around. ... It's heartbreaking," Jackson said.

Miss North Carolina keeps money, loses title

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -- The winner of this year's Miss North Carolina pageant will be allowed to keep $12,000 in scholarship money, even though she resigned her title.

Pageant officials initially told Rebekah Revels she would forfeit the money, but she was notified later in a letter that she could keep it.

Revels, who competed in the Miss North Carolina pageant after winning the Miss Fayetteville crown, resigned July 23. Afterward, she said a former boyfriend had contacted the Miss America organization, saying he had nude photos of her.

Revels said he took the pictures while she was changing clothes, and that they show her nude from the waist up.

The 24-year-old took a year's leave of absence from her job as a sophomore English teacher at Lumberton High School to serve as Miss North Carolina and compete for Miss America. She said she hasn't decided when she'll return to teaching.

Officials in her hometown of St. Paul's plan to have a parade and reception in her honor Friday.

Environmental group commemorates Denver

ASPEN, Colo. -- A nonprofit environmental group that John Denver founded is raising money for a life-size bronze statue of the singer.

The Windstar Foundation plans to display the statue Oct. 13 to commemorate the five-year anniversary of Denver's death.

Denver and Aikido master Thomas Crum founded Windstar in 1976 with the purchase of 1,000 acres in Snowmass. The foundation promotes individual action and responsibility to protect the environment.

Windstar volunteer Doug MacDonald said he hopes the statue will inspire others to embrace Denver's ideals of taking personal responsibility for the environment.

The memorial was made by Sue DiCicco, illustrator of many children's books, including Winnie the Pooh. DiCicco also cast 200 bronze reproductions of the statue that are for sale.

Denver died at 53 on Oct. 12, 1997, when his home-built plane plunged off the California coast.

-- From wire reports

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