Many people don't like billboard ads, but for some Floridians, they're literally the roofs over their heads.

After Hurricane Ivan struck the Panhandle in September, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (search) gave out thousands of blue plastic tarpaulins to people whose homes or businesses had been damaged.

Six months later, many repairs still need to be made. But thanks to sun, wind and rain, the tarps are wearing out, and FEMA's not giving away any more.

Enter Lamar Advertising Co., (search) based in Baton Rouge, La. Through the United Way, the company has been handing out vinyl billboards — thicker and more durable than the FEMA tarps — to local residents to cover their roofs.

Atop one house in Gulf Breeze, the black-and-white painted faces of the rock band Kiss appear. In Pensacola, Allan Weaver's auto repair shop sports an ad for a plumbing service.

"People with houses, they needed roofs worse than we did, so we didn't get a FEMA blue roof," Weaver said. "Now that we have these, we'll wait until summer or even next year, so the people who need a roof at home can get one first."

Nearly 200 Ivan victims have contacted the United Way (search), which is coordinating distribution locally, and there has been interest from the parts of Florida that were hit by Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne.

Dana Morris, whose house bears the Kiss billboard, even sees a future use for the ad.

"When I get a new roof, I think I'm going to clean it up and sell it on eBay," he joked.

— Thanks to Out There reader Harley W. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Hi, Classmates! Remember Me?

SWARTHMORE, Pa. (AP) — A man who shot a sleeping student to death during a rampage in a Swarthmore College (search) dormitory in 1955 says he plans to attend his 50-year class reunion in June.

Robert Bechtel was acquitted by reason of insanity for the slaying. He spent five years in a psychiatric hospital before he was judged well enough to return to the community, and went on to become a psychology professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

"I am certainly planning to attend, assuming people aren't too disturbed by me coming there," Bechtel told The Philadelphia Inquirer for Sunday's editions.

Swarthmore officials issued a statement saying Bechtel has offered a misleading portrayal of the events surrounding the killing and rejecting his assertion that he had been intimidated or bullied by other students.

Alumnus Harry Roeder, 70, of Kentucky, said Bechtel will find "no sympathy" at the school.

"Over 50 years, he has rationalized that what he did was not evil, not a crime, but retribution," said Roeder.

Bechtel was 22 when he slipped into a fellow student's room in Swarthmore's Wharton Dormitory and shot him in the head with a rifle. Police said that after the killing, Bechtel ran through the building firing into walls before surrendering.

University of Arizona officials were unaware of Bechtel's past when they hired him in 1976, and he stunned students last year by talking about the shooting in his class on the psychology of happiness.

Barely Literate Bank Robber Busted

NEW YORK (AP) — Police in Nassau and Suffolk counties say they were able to tie at least 13 bank robberies to the same man because of the spelling errors in his hold-up notes.

Nassau County Police said Bart Thomas' hold-up notes misspelled the word "robbery" — which he spelled "robri" — and the word "quick" — which he spelled "kwik."

Thomas, 43, of Ronkonkoma, was arrested last Tuesday and charged with six counts of robbery. He's believed to have been involved in nine more bank robberies in Suffolk County dating back to March 2003.

City-Suers Need Not Apply

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Mayor Don Williamson (search) is taking a novel tack in fighting lawsuits — he's withholding city business from anyone who has sued Flint within the past five years.

Williamson said the Jan. 21 policy is in the taxpayers' best interests. In recent years, the city faced a multimillion-dollar deficit that prompted the state to declare a financial emergency.

"Who in the world would want to do business if you're sued by 'em?" Williamson said.

But Greg Gibbs, chairman of the Greater Flint branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (search), said he would go to federal court to have the policy declared unconstitutional.

"That's just a reckless, retaliatory action [against] people who exercise their rights to go to court," Gibbs said. "It's reactionary. It's extreme."

The city attorney's office would not immediately release a list of people or businesses the policy would affect.

Huge Bag of Money Found, Not Kept

ROTHSCHILD, Wis. (AP) — Jon Jazdzewski made a valuable discovery while driving out of town for business.

Jazdzewski, 52, an employee of Wausau Supply, was leaving town around 4 a.m. on Jan. 28 when he spotted something on the road near the Rothschild Village Hall.

"I knew it was a money bag, and I picked it up. But there was no doubt in my mind that this thing was going back to [the village]," said Jazdzewski, of Kronenwetter.

More than $850,000 in cash and checks was inside the locked bag, according to city officials.

A police officer had set the bag on the trunk of a squad car and then was called to an emergency, Jazdzewski said. The bag apparently slid off the back of the car when the officer pulled away.

Rothschild Police Chief Bill Schremp declined to discuss the contents of the bag, but he said he was grateful.

"Someone that found the bag was very honest. We are planning on doing something for him," Schremp said.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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