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Jimmy Stewart museum rebounds from adversity
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 14:11

INDIANA, Pa. (AP) — For a time it looked like the Jimmy Stewart Museum wasn't going to make it.

It's in the actor's hometown of Indiana, Pennsylvania — an hour's drive from Pittsburgh and off the radar of many fans who might want to attend. And the pool of fans is shrinking as those who grew up during the era of Stewart's films die out.

The number of tour buses that made special trips to the museum began to decline in 2009 and 2010, said Timothy Harley, the museum's director. "The situation became very dire. That caused some pretty considerable concern, he said.

But the outlook has improved, at least of the next few years he said, thanks to loyal fans who began sending donations as the word got out about the plight of the museum.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 December 2013 14:59
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Storm death toll reaches 11
Written by ALANNA DURKIN, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 08:45

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Roads remained slick and utility crews were busy Tuesday trying to turn the lights back on from the Midwest to the Northeast on one of the busiest travel days of the year after a messy storm rolled across the country.

At least 11 people have been killed in the storm that started Saturday and lingered into late Monday, ice building up on tree branches and power lines and causing travel headaches in several states.

While the rain, freezing rain and ice was expected to subside, forecasters said cold temperatures would stick around for most of the week in areas socked by the wild weekend storm. There will be snow moving into the Northern High Plains and Central Rockies on Tuesday then sliding into the Great Lakes and Midwest by Wednesday morning.

States kept emergency shelters open for people who would be without power, some through Christmas.

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Vets return to streets to reach the homeless
Written by KEVIN FREKING, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 07:08

CONCORD, Mass. (AP) — Not far from where the Boston Massacre helped sow the seeds for the Revolutionary War, David Dyer points toward the underpass where he'd score crack cocaine by day and the train depot where he'd sleep some nights.

Now, he has a family, a home and a job — helping homeless veterans get off the streets, like he did.

Dyer is part of a team of veterans, some formerly homeless themselves, that the state of Massachusetts has hired to get veterans off the streets in the Boston area. Typically, they spend one day a week roaming the city's storefronts, alleys and shelters, which is what he was doing one recent morning outside Boston's South Station. "I guess you could call this my home for about a month," he reminisced.

The rest of the week is spent making sure those who have found housing are staying the course. The Veterans Affairs Department, which funds the effort, is considering doubling the size of the team in the coming year.

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Utah turns to higher court to halt gay marriage
Written by BRADY McCOMBS, Associated Press PAUL FOY, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 07:43

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah state lawyers have again turned to a Denver-based federal appeals court in their bid to put a stop to gay couples getting married, saying the state should not be required to abide by one judge's narrow view of a "new and fundamentally different definition of marriage."

About 700 gay couples have obtained wedding licenses since U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby on Friday declared Utah's gay marriage ban unconstitutional, but lawyers for the state are trying every legal avenue to halt the practice. Shelby on Monday denied their bid to temporarily stop gay marriage while the appeals process plays out, and they quickly went to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Utah is the 18th state where gay couples can wed, and the sight of same-sex marriages occurring just a few miles from the headquarters of the Mormon church has provoked anger among the state's top leaders.

"Until the final word has been spoken by this Court or the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of Utah's marriage laws, Utah should not be required to enforce Judge Shelby's view of a new and fundamentally different definition of marriage," the state said in a motion to the appeals court.

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California family celebrates three heart transplants
Written by GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 07:07

SAN MARCOS, Calif. (AP) — Deanna Kremis remembers the exhilarating day her young sons first had the energy to race each other up a flight of stairs.

The brothers, then ages 7 and 10, could barely walk before having heart transplants just a month apart. As they flew up the steps two at a time, jostling and shouting, she recalled, "my friend turned to me and said, 'Are YOU ready to get one now?'"

It was a joke that became prophesy. Her health, too, was slipping away because of the same inherited cardiac condition. By the time she received her own transplant in July, her heart was so weak she fainted while walking down the hall, collapsed mid-sentence and passed out in the middle of dinner at a friend's house.

Her decline was terrifying for her sons, who were just beginning to embrace their lives with donor hearts and now saw their worst memories reflected in their mother's struggle. All three have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a genetic condition that causes the heart muscle to thicken until it can't pump properly. Kremis' mother and brother also have it, as did her grandmother.

"We just didn't like seeing her go through the pain and stuff," said Trevin, now 13. "We knew what it felt like."

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