Astronaut Food: It's a Good Thing

Being Martha Stewart's boyfriend means you eat well ... even in space.

For his first trip to outer space, Stewart has lined up a gourmet spread prepared by renowned French chef Alain Ducasse for Dr. Charles Simonyi, the domestic's diva billionaire main squeeze, according to the New York Post.

Simonyi will blast off April 7 aboard a Russian Soyuz craft headed for the International Space Station.

The deluxe dinner for six will include chicken parmentier, quail roasted in Madrian wine, duck and breast confit with capers.

"Charles wanted to treat the crew to a special meal, so he asked his friend, Martha Stewart, to help pick out the menu," said Stacey Tearne, a spokeswoman for Space Adventures.

Don King's Letter to God

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Don King got a front row seat at Pope Benedict XVI's general audience Wednesday.

The usually flamboyant boxing promoter, wearing a blue suit with his preferred high hair style primly flattened for the papal event, gave the pope a green-and-gold boxing belt and a handwritten letter asking for prayers for people ranging from President Bush to the world's sick and aged.

"I was thrilled to be there. It was a deep spiritual experience," King told The Associated Press after the two-hour open-air audience in St. Peter's Square.

In Rome to discuss possible boxing matches in Italy, King had expressed his wish to meet with the pope.

"Faith is the thing that carries us through," the 75-year-old King said as he walked through St. Peter's Square, waving Italian and Vatican flags and signing autographs.

Don King Productions spokesman Alan Hopper said the Vatican visit was arranged through a boxer King represents — Italian super welterweight champion Luca Messi, whose brother Alessandro is a Catholic priest.

King was seated in the front row of a special section on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica. He was able to hand the pope the gift and the letter as Benedict drove slowly by in an open jeep at the end of the audience.

King, who spent four years in prison for manslaughter, had hoped for a personal meeting with Benedict. Very few nonchurch people, however, receive private time with the pope during his Wednesday audiences.

Before arriving in Rome, King toured Messi's hometown, Bergamo. During the visit to the northern Italian city, King began a fundraising campaign to restore the city's church of St. Mary Major, which includes frescoed paintings on the walls of a pre-existing church buried underneath.

Almighty Gives Nun OK to Run for Office

FOREST HILLS, Pa. (AP) — After attending borough council meetings for months, a nun has decided to try to become one of the town's decision-makers.

"I need to be on the other side of the table. I need to listen and I need to be a voice for the people," said Sister Matthias Wemm, one of four Democrats seeking three open council seats in the May primary.

Wemm, 66, a Sister of Mercy, said she sought permission from her order and from the Almighty to run for the office.

"He says, 'This is your decision. I'm with you and holding you in the palm of my hand,'" Wemm said.

"Politics, from the best I can see, is a pretty rough game, and I said, 'Are you sure you want to do that, Sister?'" said the Rev. John Skirtich, pastor of the St. Maurice Roman Catholic Church in Forest Hills, about 10 miles east of Pittsburgh.

Wemm has taught at St. Maurice School for 21 years.

If she wins, Wemm wouldn't be the first nun to serve in an Allegheny County municipality. Sister Mary Gregory Schessler of the Sisters of St. Francis is a Millvale council member.

Alive and Smuggling

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — An 82-year-old man who was caught trying to smuggle 170 pounds of cocaine into the country from Mexico has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison, the U.S. Attorney's office announced Tuesday.

Oseas Mendoza-Cecena of Nogales pleaded guilty in federal court to possession with intent to distribute cocaine in January.

He was caught trying to drive his car through the Nogales border crossing in August. Customs inspectors found 79 kilograms of cocaine hidden in the car, and Mendoza-Cecena admitted to agents that he was being paid to deliver the drugs.

Crazed 'Mr. Belvedere' Fan?

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A woman once charged with stalking announcer Bob Uecker was asked to leave a Milwaukee Brewers spring training game.

The baseball team notified the Phoenix police that Ann E. Ladd was at Monday's game, Police Sgt. Joel Tranter said Tuesday.

A restraining order issued in September bars Ladd from games Uecker is announcing and requires her to stay at least 500 feet away from him.

Uecker was not announcing the Brewers' game against the Cubs. The Brewers would not say whether he was at the ballpark in Phoenix.

Ladd voluntarily left the game when asked, Tranter said.

"She was peaceful and had a ticket to the game," he said. "We were asked to escort her away. She's no longer welcome back."

Ladd received a trespass warning and was told that if she returned, she could be arrested, Tranter said. Assistant District Attorney Philip Arieff said his office is monitoring the situation.

A felony stalking charge against Ladd was dropped in October, but Milwaukee County Circuit Court kept active a restraining order it granted Uecker.

Ladd's lawyer, Jon Manzo, said if Uecker was not at the game, then Ladd was not violating the terms of her restraining order. Uecker's attorney, Andrew Wronski, declined to comment.

The 73-year-old Uecker has said Ladd stalked him for six or seven years, seeking his autograph, sending him unwanted gifts and appearing at ballparks and hotels where he was staying.

Ladd, 45, has described herself as a Brewers fan. Calls to her home in Prospect Heights, Ill., went unanswered Tuesday.

Uecker has been the voice of the Brewers since 1971 and won the Hall of Fame's 2003 Ford C. Frick Award for major contributions to baseball broadcasting.

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