Archive for Wednesday, September 10, 2003

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September 10, 2003

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Opus returning to comic pages

Washington -- Cartoonist Berkeley Breathed is resurrecting Opus the penguin from the 1980s comic strip "Bloom County" for a new series to appear in Sunday comics this November.

The Sunday-only strip, to be called "Opus," begins Nov. 23, the Washington Post reported Tuesday. It will be syndicated by The Washington Post Writers Group.

A 1987 Pulitzer Prize-winner for editorial cartooning, Breathed stopped drawing the daily "Bloom County" in 1989 when it was running in nearly 1,300 papers. He began a Sunday strip, "Outland," with many of the same characters -- including the penguin's hairball-hacking sidekick, Bill the cat -- but quit that in 1995, partly chalking it up to artistic burnout.

Rosie's property disputes

South Nyack, N.Y. -- Rosie O'Donnell has complied with a village ordinance that required her to lower the height of the fence surrounding her properties in this Rockland County community.

South Nyack Village Atty. Keith Cornell said the comedian and former talk show host was issued violations recently for extending her fence with a fabric attachment beyond the height the village allows. Cornell said the case was resolved when O'Donnell took down the fabric.

Separately, a court hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 3 on several summonses O'Donnell received for cutting down trees on the same properties without a permit.

Jacko loses tax break

Santa Barbara, Calif. -- Michael Jackson's agricultural property tax break may soon be history.

Five months after an inspection of Jackson's Neverland Ranch revealed he was getting an undeserved property tax break, county officials apparently are ready to accept the pop star's offer to remove his house, amusement park and zoo from the agricultural preserve program.

With the encouragement of the state, county officials also are considering punitive action.

The assessed value of Neverland was about $12 million under the 2002-03 agricultural preserve contract, according to county records. Without the agricultural contract, the assessed value of Neverland would be about $5 million to $6 million more, and Jackson's taxes would rise about $75,000 annually.

No doubt, they'll sell

New York -- Gwen Stefani says she's got designing in the bag. This week she launched a handbag collection, produced by LeSportsac for Stefani's L.A.M.B. brand.

"My mom made my clothes when I was little," said the Grammy-winning No Doubt frontwoman, "and then when I was in high school, I got to pick out the pattern and the fabric and then she would make it and then I just started making my own stuff when I was in the band. And then I finally hooked up with someone that I could just tell them to do it."

L.A.M.B. stands for love, angel, music, baby -- some of Stefani's favorite words. Following the accessories line will be a spring ready-to-wear collection that matches Stefani's own punk-to-Paris fashion aesthetic.

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