People talk 12/16/02

Monday, December 16, 2002

Bon Jovi: Swimming fan won't drown in fines

SYDNEY, Australia -- Jon Bon Jovi won't let a fan who plunged into Sydney Harbor and swam to a floating stage drown in fines.

The 32-year-old fan swam with two women toward the stage where Bon Jovi was playing a free concert Friday in Darling Harbor. The two women got out of the water when asked by security staff, but the man continued on to the stage -- where the New Jersey rocker helped haul him out, to a huge ovation from the crowd of 20,000.

Authorities said the swimming fan would likely be charged and fined, but it was not immediately clear how much.

"We're gonna pay his fines," Bon Jovi told reporters Saturday. "We'll deal with it for him."

Police were not impressed by his generosity.

"The laws are there to protect your safety along with the safety of others," a police spokesman said. "Young revelers shouldn't be encouraged by anyone to break the law."

Begley braves his fear to help save tree

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. -- Actor-activist Ed Begley Jr. overcame his fear of heights and scaled an ancient oak tree in an effort to keep it from being cut down to make way for a road-widening project.

Begley joined John Quigley, an environmental activist who had spent 44 days in the branches.

"I'm not a climber," the actor said Saturday. "I'm not good with heights, but it was very important so I put that aside and just climbed on up."

Begley hung out in the 400-year-old tree for 90 minutes. The conservation advocate supports asking the developer to postpone the road-widening project, or rerouting the road around the oak.

Gordon Lightfoot recovering from surgery

TORONTO -- Singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot is back home and recovering more than three months after being hospitalized for serious abdominal bleeding.

Longtime manager Barry Harvey said Lightfoot, known for hits such as "If You Could Read My Mind" and "Sundown," was in "good spirits."

Lightfoot, 64, was flown to McMaster University Medical Center in Hamilton, Ontario, on Sept. 8 with internal bleeding from a weakness in an abdominal blood vessel. He went home Thursday.

The surgeon who operated on Lightfoot said he was pleased to see him move on to the next phase of recovery.

"Mr. Lightfoot's physical fitness and personal strength have helped him overcome a life-threatening condition," said Dr. Michael Marcaccio, a gastrointestinal specialist.

The illness forced Lightfoot, whose accolades include 17 Juno awards, the Order of Canada and the Governor General's Performing Arts Award, to cancel performances in Canada and the United States.

Thoreau's birthplace may be saved by hotel owner

BOSTON -- A hotel magnate wants to save the deteriorating birthplace of author Henry David Thoreau near Walden Pond.

Donald Saunders, co-owner of the Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers, offered to donate more than $1 million and establish a nonprofit trust to fix crumbling walls and ceilings and make other repairs at the Concord home. A portion would also be used to staff the house as a museum.

"It's a tragedy that this historic Thoreau home is threatened. I would be honored to be part of its restoration," Saunders told The Boston Globe for Saturday's editions.

Historians say the house should be saved, even though Thoreau is better known for the cottage he built near Walden Pond in 1845, where he lived for two years and wrote "Walden."

The town of Concord, about 15 miles west of Boston, bought the 1730s farmhouse to prevent a developer from building on the 20-acre parcel.

-- From wire reports

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