Hometown celebrates American Idol winner
Blue Springs, Mo. - The mood was surprisingly low-key Thursday at David Cook's alma mater, Blue Springs South High School, a day after his "American Idol" win.
Some said it's probably because everyone spent so much of their energy Wednesday night cheering Cook to victory in the popular, nationally televised competition.
There were a few pockets of energy at the school though, mainly in the front office where the school secretaries shared their memories of Cook and wore black T-shirts proclaiming him as the Idol champion.
Cook, 25, a Blue Springs native, beat teenage crooner David Archuleta by 12 million votes to become the seventh "American Idol" and take the top prize - a recording contract and SUV.
"We've had David Cook enthusiasm here for weeks now," said secretary Karen Sturges, who was decorating an office bulletin board in honor of Cook.
Blue Springs South activities director Mark Bubalo said no plans have been made for an official celebration for Cook, who graduated from the school in 2001. He said officials are waiting to hear from Idol organizers before planning an event.
Winehouse wins songwriting award
London - Amy Winehouse has won a prestigious songwriting award for "Love Is a Losing Game" from her "Back to Black" album.
The song won the Ivor Novello award for best song musically and lyrically at a ceremony in London on Thursday. Her father, Mitch Winehouse, accepted the award after the 24-year-old singer-songwriter arrived too late to collect it in person.
Her song "Rehab," also from the "Back to Black" album, won a Novello last year.
The awards are given out annually by Britain's songwriting community.
Garner, Affleck sign up for W.Va. fundraiser
Charleston, W.Va. - Jennifer Garner and husband Ben Affleck have signed up to help raise money for an athletic complex at her hometown university in West Virginia.
University of Charleston President Ed Welch says Garner and Affleck will serve as honorary hosts at a Sept. 19 fundraiser.
Garner says the University of Charleston was "incredibly positive when I was a kid" growing up in Charleston. She says she's excited to hear the university is growing.
Welch says the university hopes to raise more than $500,000 at the fundraiser. The complex will house the school's basketball and volleyball programs and is projected to cost at least $20 million.
Ex-Phish frontman gets reduced sentence
Fort Edward, N.Y. - Trey Anastasio received a reduced sentence of three years' probation for a drug conviction after he successfully completed a counseling and treatment program.
The former Phish frontman had pleaded guilty to a felony charge for possessing painkillers without a prescription during a traffic stop in December 2006. He faced up to three years in state prison if he failed the drug program, which he began in April 2007.
The 43-year-old's guilty plea was reduced to a misdemeanor Wednesday because he will graduate from the drug program next month and has completed community service. In January, he spent two days in jail for missing a scheduled drug counseling session.
The Richmond, Vt., resident lived in Saratoga Springs during treatment.
Former child star tries on TV hero role
Los Angeles - Barry Livingston admits he's not movie hero material. The former child star from "My Three Sons" definitely doesn't look the part.
Livingston usually gets mild-mannered, science-geek roles, so he was excited to land a role in the action movie "Final Approach," airing 7 p.m. Saturday on the Hallmark Channel.
The 54-year-old actor plays an airline passenger whose expertise as an aeronautical engineer allows him to help Dean Cain's character as they attempt to foil hijackers.
"I ultimately get to step up and be a hero in my own right," Livingston says. "When I got to that part in the script, I said, 'Wow, I've never done that before! How can I pass this up?"'
Anthony Michael Hall, Lea Thompson, Ernie Hudson and Richard Roundtree also star in the movie.
Livingston is best remembered as Ernie Douglas on the hit sitcom "My Three Sons" that aired in the 1960s and early '70s.
"Unlike many former kid actors who struggle to find good roles as adults, my 'My Three Sons' fame has never been a burden for me," he says. "I've worked hard to be good at what I do and it's paid off in the respect I get from producers and casting people. They see me as a capable actor they want to hire."
Livingston's credits include the TV series "Mad Men," "Eli Stone" and "Crossing Jordan." He has a role in the upcoming Adam Sandler movie comedy "You Don't Mess With the Zohan."