December 29, 1997 12:00 PM


Adrienne Barbeau glows as a tired but tickled over-50 mom

For most 51-year-old women, having a baby, let alone twins, would be challenge enough. But since the March 17 birth of identical sons William and Walker, Adrienne Barbeau has blithely accepted several acting offers. “It’s just because I have no imagination,” says the former Maude star with a smile. “I think, ‘Sure, I can do it’ ”

Now 52, Barbeau, aided by a full-time housekeeper, has balanced baby care with commercial voice-overs, a guest spot on the sci-fi series Sliders and even a lead role in a musical revue at a Long Beach, Calif., theater. “She has so much love and patience and stamina,” says her husband of five years, writer-producer Billy Van Zandt, 40. “She’s older than me and she’s wiping me out.”

Concentration is key, says Barbeau: “When I sense myself getting overwhelmed, I make a list and focus on the thing that has to happen that day.” But often, many things must happen at once. She nursed the boys during singing rehearsals for the musical revue and rushed offstage during intermission to express breast milk. She also recalls being “on the tennis court learning to tap-dance on roller skates” while the boys watched from their stroller.

Naps help, as does the support of Van Zandt and Cody, 13, her son with horror film director John Carpenter. But Barbeau and Van Zandt agree the twins, conceived after four years of fertility treatments, are worth the fatigue. “When I start to feel it’s too much,” she says, “they smile and I forget everything.”


Oscar Robertson donates a kidney, and his daughter thrives

The game wasn’t going his way. For seven years, Basketball Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson watched helplessly as lupus, a disease that attacks the connective tissue and vital organs, sapped the strength of his daughter Tia, 33. But by late 1996, with Tia suffering kidney failure and on dialysis, he knew it was time to come off the bench. On April 10, Robertson, 59, gave the second of his three daughters one of his kidneys and, as it turned out, won back her health. “Tia is doing fine. She is getting stronger,” says Robertson. With her lupus in remission, Tia is back at work as director of corporate development for Orpack, her dad’s box company, living on her own and traveling and playing golf again. “You forget how sick you were,” she says. “You forget you were tired all the time.” Tia, says Dr. Roy First, director of the transplant program at the University Hospital in Cincinnati, “has been doing brilliantly,” and the chance of her transplant failing is “exceptionally low.” For his part, Oscar has felt some limitations. Though living with one kidney isn’t a problem, his kidney was so large that a rib also had to be removed. Forbidden to play golf for months, he has put on weight. But that annoyance pales when he sees Tia’s progress. He has only one view of her new vigor: “It’s a miracle.”


Sacramento’s Loaves & Fishes feeds the multitudes after surviving a civic siege

What Leroy Chatfield and his volunteers giveth, a lawsuit almost took away. In January, Loaves & Fishes, a Catholic charity that aids more than 1,000 of the city’s destitute each day, was sued by the California capital as a public nuisance. In a sense, the mission’s very success was the problem. Neighbors of the shelter, in a gritty industrial area, complained that in a decade under executive director Chatfield, a former labor activist, the once-modest soup kitchen had illegally expanded into a three-acre compound that included among its many services a shelter for women and children, a job-referral service and substance-abuse programs. After the city sought to make Loaves & Fishes curtail its programs and stop feeding people on Sundays, the charity countersued, charging violation of religious freedom.

On July 1, with a retired superior court judge and a local law school dean acting as mediators, a settlement was at last reached, and Loaves & Fishes was given 60 days to bring its permits in line with its activities. “We are thrilled,” says Chatfield, who cites the creation of a civic task force to address the needs of the area’s poor as a major victory. “It’s a very fair settlement.”

Not to Pam Galvin, 45, who owns a brake manufacturing company a block from the charity and says she was once menaced by one of its clients. “The city has reneged on its promise to the rest of the taxpayers,” she charges. Galvin, who calls the area near the shelter “a war zone,” believes the city caved in because of bad publicity. Indeed, The Sacramento Bee called the dispute between city officials and the nonprofit enterprise a “national embarrassment.”

Loaves & Fishes, for its part, was not unscathed. The controversy put a dent in contributions even as the organization was spending large sums to obtain permits and make required improvements. The resulting money crunch forced it to shut down all services except the soup kitchen and suspend salaries for its 45 paid employees during the month of August. “It was really very traumatic, sobering,” says Chatfield.

An impassioned appeal to former donors brought in $80,000—enough to let Loaves & Fishes resume all its activities on Sept. 2 and pay its bills through ’97. “People were hardly walking on the ground, they were so relieved,” recalls Chatfield. And not just those on the receiving end. “Loaves & Fishes needs to be here,” asserts Antoinette de Vere White, 52, a shelter volunteer for eight years. “The people who come here are at the bottom of their lives, and everyone is treated with respect and compassion. Long may it last!”


As her relatives reach out to Princes William and Harry, distance, scandal and the Windsors’ ire sometimes get in the way

It was a promise born of pain and rage. Standing before the crowd at Westminster Abbey at the Sept. 6 funeral of Princess Diana, Charles Spencer excoriated the Windsors for their treatment of his sister and vowed that he and the rest of Diana’s “blood family” would take an active part in raising her sons, Princes William and Harry. Addressing Diana, he proclaimed, “We…will do all we can” to see “that their souls are not simply immersed by duty and tradition, but can sing openly as you planned.”

It’s a commitment the Spencers seem to have taken to heart. Diana’s sisters, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, 42, and Lady Jane Fellowes, 40, regularly talk to the boys by phone. When Harry turned 13 on Sept. 15, just 16 days after Diana’s death, McCorquodale drove to Ludgrove, his Berkshire prep school, to present him with the gift—a computer play station—that Diana had intended to give him. Fellowes has frequently dropped in on Harry at Ludgrove. And when the South Africa-based Earl Spencer, 33, went to Britain on business in early November, he visited William, 15, at Eton and took him to lunch. The Spencers, says one royal insider, “are doing their best to make a contribution” to the princes’ upbringing. But they’re also letting the boys choose how close they want to be. “They’re only there if William and Harry want them,” he continues. “They have said, ‘We’re here for you,’ and are prepared to let the boys come to them if they want companionship. That’s the way the relationship is working.”

That it’s working at all is somewhat surprising. The earl’s jab in his eulogy that his sister “needed no royal title to continue to generate her particular brand of magic” infuriated the Windsors. “I don’t think Charles and the royal family will ever forgive Spencer,” says one Palace watcher. And matters weren’t helped by the sordid revelations that spilled out of a South African courtroom in November as the earl and his wife, Victoria, battled over their divorce. Spencer, said Victoria’s attorney, was a “serial adulterer” who had cheated on her within months of their 1989 marriage. Particularly ironic, given Diana’s struggle with bulimia, was Victoria’s charge that Spencer slept with as many as 12 women during her 1995 stay at an alcohol and eating-disorder clinic. She also complained, in court papers, that he “criticised, bullied and belittled me.” In his affidavit, Spencer questioned her “mental and physical health.”

The mudslinging, which ended Dec. 1, when Spencer agreed to pay a lump-sum settlement of at least $3.4 million, revived the earl’s reputation as a feckless partyer (before his shining moment at Di’s funeral, he was known in London tabloids as Champagne Charlie) and may have permanently hurt the chances of the Windsors allowing the Spencers to become more involved in the boys’ lives. “There is a definite frostiness, certainly towards Earl Spencer,” says a royal source. “They will have an input, but will be kept at arm’s length. The royals think they are perfectly capable of handling it all themselves.”

Whether they can remains to be seen. The princes appear to be coping well with their loss, a fact many attribute to the fatherly efforts of Prince Charles. Harry positively beamed throughout his trip to South Africa with his dad this fall—especially when he met the Spice Girls backstage before a Johannesburg concert. (Though Charles and Earl Spencer chatted amiably at a state dinner, Harry didn’t see his uncle, who was in England during the first days of the visit.) And even the more reserved William laughed and smiled at the 50th-anniversary celebration for Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in London Nov. 20, his first public appearance since Diana’s funeral. Still, it was a poignant moment when Charles, William and Harry walked down the aisle at Westminster, not quite three months after Diana’s funeral there. And the holidays are sure to be difficult. Had Diana not died, the boys would have spent part of their Christmas with her, probably at a home of one of the Spencer clan. Instead they’ll join their dad and the Windsors at the Queen’s Sandringham estate. “They will have a fairly miserable Christmas,” one observer predicts. “It will highlight the fact that Diana’s missing. A lot of people will be thinking of them.”

Many will also continue to think of Diana, as her relatives realize. Earl Spencer has been busy planning a memorial on the family estate of Althorp, where she was buried on a private island. Although there will be no access to the grave, visitors will be able to view the island from shore. Spencer is also converting a 12,000-square-foot stable hall into a museum dedicated to Diana’s life and charity work, which he plans to open to the public from July 1, her birthday, through Aug. 30, the day before she died. Spencer, who is worth an estimated $165 million, is footing the bill for the construction, although he may charge admission to cover staff and security. Chances are, he’ll need plenty of both. The estate, which has been opened to the public for at least a month each summer since 1992, attracted some 10,000 visitors annually even before Diana died, and that number is likely to multiply exponentially. Already, several people have been caught sneaking onto the estate to try to see her burial site.

Diana’s mother, Frances Shand Kydd, 61, was in London last month to participate in an emotional memorial service with Sarah, Jane and 200 other former pupils of West Heath, a boarding school attended by all three Spencer girls. Earlier, Shand Kydd, who has found comfort in her Roman Catholic faith, organized her own memorial at a cathedral near her home on the Isle of Seil, just off the west coast of Scotland. At the Sept. 27 service, she spoke of rowing out alone to visit Diana’s grave the day after the funeral. On the way back, “I could feel my beloved Diana was at peace,” Shand Kydd recalled. “Her earthly life was short but complete. I knew then…that all was well. Very well.”


Kelly Flinn is fighting to win back her reputation—and her wings

Kelly Flinn was stunned by the message on her answering machine last Christmas. That was how Flinn, the first woman to pilot the Air Force’s B-52 bomber, learned she would be court-martialed for carrying on an affair with Marc Zigo, a youth sports coach employed by the Air Force and husband of fellow airman Gayla Zigo, and then lying about it to her superiors. “I couldn’t believe there would be a court-martial over sex,” says Flinn, 27, who had taken Zigo home to Atlanta for a holiday visit to meet her parents, not realizing she was even then under surveillance by military police.

Six months after reluctantly accepting a general discharge, thereby avoiding a possible prison sentence, Flinn is still a bit shell-shocked. But her disbelief has given way to anger and a feeling that she was betrayed by everyone from Zigo, who confirmed their affair to authorities, to her therapist, Dr. Ann Duncan, who told Flinn’s mother details of her sex life and suggested Flinn had chosen the B-52 “because it was the largest penis she could find.” Says Flinn of her mom’s report: “That was quite shocking to me, and still is.” (Duncan says Flinn had waived her confidentiality rights.)

The once celebrated pilot dismisses the Air Force’s contention that she was punished more for lying and disobeying orders than for adultery. Flinn, who says the service’s rules against adultery are capriciously enforced, thinks that she should merely have forfeited pay and received a letter of reprimand, which generally rules out further promotions. “I’m not saying what I did was okay. I’m saying the punishment should have fit the crime, and it didn’t,” says Flinn, who plans to appeal for an upgrade to honorable discharge, which would allow her to fly with the Reserves or the National Guard.

Flinn, who ended months of silence to promote her fall memoir, Proud to Be, doesn’t know what’s next. “I may end up flying commercially, or I may go to law or medical school,” she says. “Some people have even suggested I run for Congress.”

Meanwhile, Gayla Zigo, who divorced Marc in January, is now stationed in Japan. “I don’t think about those people anymore,” she says of Flinn and her ex. “I’m making a career in the Air Force.” Flinn says she hasn’t heard from Marc Zigo since January, when he moved out of her Minot, N.Dak., home—nor does she want to. In fact, losing her lover clearly hurts less than losing her career. The most painful part of writing her book, Flinn says, was reliving the joys of flying. “I loved it all,” she says, “the spins and loops and cloverleafs and all the acrobatics with the T-37s.” And for a moment, as she remembers, Kelly Flinn’s face glows.


1997 saw teens from all backgrounds charged with an array of shockingly callous killings

The news out of West Paducah, Ky., on Dec. 1 was terrible—and terribly familiar. Michael Carneal, 14, a bespectacled skateboard enthusiast, had walked calmly into Heath High School and opened fire on a student prayer group. By that night, Nicole Hadley, 14, Kayce Steger, 15, and Jessica James, 17, were dead. Once again, a stunned community is left searching for reasons. Herewith, updates on six cases of something going radically wrong with our children.


The Manhattan private school students began a romance just weeks before May 23, when they allegedly murdered real estate broker Michael McMorrow. Abdela—the adopted daughter of a wealthy food-distribution exec and a former model—quickly turned on her new beau. According to a transcript of statements she made after the murder, She said it was Vasquez who had stabbed McMorrow repeatedly—”He took acid and flipped out”—though she acknowledged that she had suggested eviscerating the body before dumping it in a Central Park lake. (“I told Chris, ‘You’d better gut him so he’ll sink, ’cause he’s a fatty,’ ” she said.) The teens, who are awaiting trial at a Bronx detention center, have been charged with second-degree murder and denied bail. They face nine years to life in prison.


On Jan. 4 the Bellevue, Wash., high school dropouts allegedly strangled Kimberly Ann Wilson, 20, in a park, then went to her home and fatally bludgeoned and stabbed her father, William, 52, mother Rose, 46, and sister Julia, 17. Four days later, Baranyi—like Anderson a devotee of “goth,” a marginal teen subculture that revels in the dark side—confessed. Compounding the horror for the middle-class community, he said he had murdered “to experience something truly phenomenal” and that as he stabbed a weeping Julia, “I told her I was sorry I was killing her.” Unable to make $10 million bail, the two, now 18, await a joint first-degree murder trial set to begin in May. (Lawyers for Anderson, who has not confessed, unsuccessfully moved to have him tried separately.) Because both were under 18 at the time of the killings, under state law they cannot receive the death penalty; they face life imprisonment without parole.


After hiding her pregnancy from everyone around her, Drexler is hiding from the 2,000 denizens of Forked River, N.J. On June 6, the Lacey Township High School senior, now 19, gave birth in the women’s room during her prom, then allegedly strangled her son and left his body in the trash before returning to the dance floor. Charged with murder in October, Drexler is free on a $50,000 bond pending her Jan. 20 trial; she faces a minimum of 30 years without parole. Townsfolk say Drexler, an aspiring fashion designer who lives with her parents, sees only a few intimates. Among them: boyfriend John Lewis, who in October appeared on TV’s Extra. He revealed that in a private ceremony, he and Drexler had buried their son, whom they named Christopher.


On May 30, Arthur and accomplice Montoun Hart, 25, went to the Manhattan apartment of Jonathan Levin, 31, Arthur’s former English teacher at William Howard Taft High School in The Bronx, N.Y. According to police, Levin—the son of Gerald Levin, CEO of Time Warner, which publishes PEOPLE—was bound and tortured with a knife until he gave up his ATM card and PIN number. Arthur allegedly then shot Levin in the head, went to a nearby cash machine and withdrew $800 from Levin’s account. Grief-stricken Taft students, who turned out in force at Levin’s funeral bearing signs reading, “We are his kids,” later helped establish the Jonathan Levin Memorial Fund. Their onetime classmate, now 20, is in Rikers Island prison, awaiting trial for robbery and murder. In November, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who opposes the death penalty, said he would seek life imprisonment without parole.


He dreamed of being a pilot. That was before the Long Beach, Calif., high school senior, now 19, allegedly raped and strangled 7-year-old Sherrice Iverson in the women’s room of a Primm, Nev., casino last May. Now he’s in jail awaiting an April trial in which prosecutors will ask for the death penalty. Strohmeyer’s former volleyball coach, John Crutchfield, who corresponds with him, blames what he suspects was an addiction to methampheta-mine, saying, “I watched one of the brightest kids I’ve ever known deteriorate before my eyes.” Strohmeyer’s attorney, Leslie Abramson—of Menendez brothers fame—is said to be seeking her adopted client’s biological parents, prompting speculation that she is trying to find a hereditary defect to use as a defense.


The high school sweethearts from wealthy Wyckoff, N.J., now both 19, were held without bail for two months for allegedly killing their son after his Nov. 12, 1996, birth in a Delaware motel, disposing of his body, then returning to their nearby colleges. Free on bond of $300,000 each until their trial starts in May, the pair—whose attorneys say the baby was stillborn—have resumed seemingly normal lives, despite electronic anklets that ensure they keep an 8 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew. Grossberg works in the office of a gourmet grocery store, away from the public, and volunteers at her synagogue. Peterson works at his family’s video wholesaling business, lifts weights at a local gym and has buddies over for pizza—though he was removed as coach of a soccer team after calls of protest. Reportedly the couple have grown distant. Their baby was buried in Union, N.J., in a grave that, according to Jewish custom, was left without a headstone for a year. A temporary marker, reading “Grossberg,” was removed because of visits by the press.


Elizabeth Taylor comes through brain surgery with style

The news last February had a fateful ring: Elizabeth Taylor had a brain tumor. Though doctors had pronounced it benign, many wondered whether the violet-eyed actress had the moxie to endure another medical ordeal. But Taylor seemed undaunted. Two days before surgery, she showed up at L.A.’s Pantages Theatre, bedecked in diamonds and holding Michael Jackson’s hand, for an ABC special, Happy Birthday, Elizabeth, which raised nearly $1 million for her AIDS foundation.

While Taylor suffered a seizure nine days after the operation (a common side effect), her surgeon, Dr. Martin Cooper, says no more tumors have developed. At parties she threw on July 4 and Labor Day, he recalls, she was “walking around and entertaining everyone, quite jovial.” Though a tabloid reported in October that Taylor, who has twice spent time at the Betty Ford Center, had become addicted to painkillers (“absolutely not true,” says publicist Shirine Coburn), the actress turned activist has carried on. Suddenly silver-haired (at first, her incisions precluded dyeing), she flew to Istanbul in July for a benefit for the children of Chechnya and in September attended two West Coast AIDS fund-raisers. She plans to speak Jan. 14 at a New York City event honoring AIDS researcher Dr. David Ho. “She just gets it together like a warhorse and keeps going,” says Gary Pudney, who produced her birthday special. And the two-time Oscar winner has not ruled out acting. In a November online chat to promote one of her fragrances, she told fans she was “seriously considering” two scripts. Her hesitation? “Do I really want to get up that early?”


As plucky as the Broadway orphan she aimed to play, Joanna Pacitti finds fame after Annie

For a 12-year-old actress about to make her Broadway debut, it was the crudest imaginable blow. In February, just a month before opening night, Joanna Pacitti was booted from the title role of the 20th-anniversary revival of the musical Annie after playing the part 106 times in out-of-town performances. Chosen from 2,000 candidates in a nationwide search sponsored by Macy’s, she had been “up in heaven, then got dropped on her head,” says her mother, Stella, a homemaker.

But never fear: For Pacitti, now 13, the show is going on. Though she rarely misses a day of eighth grade at Ethan Allen School in Philadelphia, where she lives with Stella and her barber father, Joseph, Pacitti, the youngest of three daughters, has a steady stream of auditions, thanks in part to the outpouring of sympathy that followed her ouster. Soon after she belted “Somewhere over the Rainbow” for Rosie O’Donnell, who assured her audience that the youngster was “going places,” Pacitti did. In July she journeyed to the North Carolina Arts Theater to star in a 10-day run of Annie, directed by Broadway vet Terence Mann. “Joanna was brilliant and funny,” Mann raves. “She sang like a bird and acted like a pro.”

While her breach-of-contract suit against Macy’s winds through the courts, Pacitti is getting ready for a gig where the sun is all but guaranteed to come out—Hawaii’s Aloha Bowl, where she will sing the national anthem. “Sometimes it upsets me,” she admits of her failure to reach Broadway. “But I just keep it in my head that it all turned out for the better. I think I’ll get there someday because I have a long ways ahead of me.”


Still thriving in his new life, Beau Arceneaux helps other missing kids get home too

It’s a mother-and-child reunion for the ’90s. Two years ago, Beau Arceneaux, then 13, was living with his often-AWOL father in a heatless, rat-infested trailer in Austin, Texas. Then a chance Internet chat on a neighbor’s computer led him to the mother he hadn’t seen since 1983, when his father kidnapped him during a custody dispute. Today, Beau and his mother, Becky, 42, arc living in the neat Broussard, La., townhouse where they moved last August with Becky’s third husband, computer consultant Rickic Comeaux, and Beau’s half sister Cali, 12. Now 15, Beau, whose life will be the subject of a CBS movie next year, continues to adapt to his changed circumstances. As a high school sophomore, he has made plenty of friends—as well as the honor roll. “I’ve changed a lot in the past two years,” says Beau. “I’m a lot more used to living here with the rules and the chores and the structure.”

He has also become impressively adept at handling the spotlight, appearing throughout the country to promote the new Internet efforts of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “Beau has been an incredibly powerful voice,” says Center president Ernie Allen. “He is able to articulate not only what happened to him but also how important technology was to that.”

Yet as smoothly as things are going for Beau, relations among the grown-ups in his life remain rocky. Becky is pursuing a Texas civil suit against Beau’s father, Vaughn Arceneaux, and 11 of his relatives and friends who, she claims, helped conceal Beau’s whereabouts. Beau has no contact with Vaughn, who was sentenced to five years in prison for kidnapping but is free on bond while he appeals his conviction. Kandy Slack, the Austin neighbor whose computer Beau borrowed and who eventually made the call to the NCMEC that reunited him with his mother, wound up asking the court for leniency toward Vaughn. “If Beau’s such a good boy,” she explains, “it’s because somebody taught him right from wrong.” Slack fears that his parents’ bitterness will hurt Beau. “If it ever occurred to me that I’d have to watch them scratch each other’s eyes out in front of him, I never would have done it,” she says. Still, Becky and Beau seem to be enjoying their time together. “Beau’s a bright kid, and we’re sure he’s going to go to a great college,” says Becky. “We’re already preparing ourselves, because in two years he’ll be gone again.”


After a rocky reign, the scales tip in favor of a trimmer Miss Universe

Alicia Machado, Miss Universe 1996, spent her time under the tiara burdened by a weighty issue: Did she get too fat to fit into her title? “I was anorexic just before I was crowned—skeletal,” says the 5’7″ former Miss Venezuela, 20, who won in May 1996 weighing 118 lbs. “It was normal and necessary to gain some weight.”

Maybe so. But within months the press was saying she had gone overboard. While Machado later claimed pageant officials had exaggerated her weight gain, both sides deny reports she was threatened with losing her crown. Last January, to help Machado shed the just desserts of a life she describes as “constant travel, different foods and not exercising regularly,” mogul Donald Trump, part owner of the pageant, enlisted Manhattan fitness guru Edward Jackowski, who checked her in at 155. What she didn’t expect was the slew of photographers on hand to watch her sweat. “Focusing media attention on my weight was all done as a publicity stunt,” she says now. “A controversy like this was perfect.”

For both sides. The flab gab “made me cry at the time,” she concedes, “but it was good for my career.” Last May, thanks to a low-carbohydrate, higher-protein eating plan and twice-daily workouts, a slimmed-down Machado—in a gown that showed off her newly pierced navel—crowned successor Brook Mahealani Lee, Miss USA. She has since feasted on a steady diet of movie and TV offers (including a May turn on CBS’s The Nanny). Opting to polish her acting in Venezuela, she returned as “a household name” and landed the lead in a new soap, Samantha. Machado, whose beau of six months is restaurant owner Juan Rodriguez, 24, still works out with a personal trainer to hone her present 130 lbs. Yet, she says, “I don’t care what people say about my weight now. I am just healthy. I think I look really good.”


Heads high and profiles low, Petra Lovetinska and Nancy Mace fall in as the Citadel’s first successful female cadets

Others tried and failed. In 1995, Shannon Faulkner, the first woman to enroll in the Citadel, dropped out after six days. Then last January, two of just four female freshmen at the historic Charleston, S.C., military college quit, alleging they were harassed and assaulted by male cadets. Now Petra Lovetinska, 19, and Nancy Mace, 20, have gone where no Citadel woman has gone before: into their sophomore year.

The secret, says Lovetinska, is “believing in what you’re doing and doing it with full force. Even if I wasn’t the fastest runner in the company, I was there, trying hard. And I didn’t try to draw attention to myself.” Nonetheless the women have distinguished themselves as both scholars and athletes (Mace beat 145 of 150 cadets in a two-mile run last spring) and have won the grudging respect of fellow cadets. Says Lovetinska: “They told me, I don’t like women at the Citadel, but when I see the way you are working, I don’t have a problem with it.’ ”

But the siege of the Citadel wears on. In September, former cadet Jeanie Mentavlos, 19, a sophomore at Queens College in Charlotte, N.C., brought a federal suit against the school and several male cadets charging civil rights violations. Then, Kim Messer, 19, a freshman at Charlotte’s East Coast Bible College, filed a state harassment suit against six cadets. (Fourteen of the 15 cadets charged with harassing the two have either resigned or been punished.)

This fall, optimism about change pervaded the academy, where 20 women were among the 559 first-year “knobs.” But in November, a prohibited “sexual encounter” between a female knob and an upperclassman was reported and an inquiry launched. Still, the “unhappy circumstance,” Citadel president John Grinalds was quick to point out, “involved two cadets. We have 1,750 other cadets who are moving ahead and succeeding in all aspects of cadet life.”


Two former cult members take opposite paths after their group’s mass suicide

The discovery of the bodies of 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., last March 26 stunned, then puzzled the nation. Even some of the group’s surviving adherents have since struggled with their beliefs and emotions, and two followers have come to very different conclusions.

For Rio DiAngelo, 43, the trek to a “higher plane,” as Heaven’s Gate called its goal of ascent beyond earthly form, passionately continues. “Do,” he says, using leader Marshall Applewhite’s cult name, “was and is the sanest, kindest man I ever met.” Today, DiAngelo lives in LA. and supports himself designing Web sites, a craft he learned with the group. He left Rancho Santa Fe to take a similar job just weeks before the deaths, and it was he who discovered the bodies after receiving the group’s farewell videotapes via FedEx. DiAngelo, who joined Heaven’s Gate in 1994, believes he was left behind to continue its mission by writing a screenplay about the group that he has titled Beyond Human. So far there are no takers for the project, though he did market the video he had made of the death scene to the BBC and others for what he calls “modest sums.” DiAngelo remains estranged from his family but has rekindled a romance (he won’t name the woman) that ended before he entered Heaven’s Gate. Some male cult members were castrated to prevent “physical urges.” Not DiAngelo, who says he “had more self-discipline than some.” But his friends’ deaths, he maintains, weren’t suicides. “What they did,” he insists, “was exit their vehicles.”

Such a belief now frightens Richard Joslyn, 49, who spent 15 years in Heaven’s Gate. The former Air Force officer and actor left in 1990 because, he says, “there was always a part of me that stayed in love with the world, and that was a no-no.” After moving into his parents’ Florida home, however, he suffered panic attacks and failed relationships. Last June he began therapy with an “exit counselor” and spent two weeks at Wellspring, an Ohio retreat for former cult members. There, he says, he realized that he had been subject to “mind control.” Since then he has moved to L.A., where he reads tarot cards in clubs and lectures on cults. “There are at least 3,000 cults out there with an estimated 3 million members,” he says. “There’s no understanding on the part of the public.” Although Joslyn tested positive for HIV two years ago, he remains upbeat and in good health. Says he: “I am spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically at home.”


Norman Rockwell’s tribute to a fondly remembered child stays in the town where it belongs

When Norman Rockwell’s The Baby Sitter was unveiled at the University of Vermont’s Fleming Museum in October, it marked the end of a long, sometimes dusty journey. In 1948, Rockwell gave the painting—which depicts a determined teenager tending a wailing infant—to the sixth graders of Elihu B. Taft Elementary School in Burlington, Vt. He presented it in memory of Alison Pooley, who died of leukemia at age 12, not long after her class visited Rockwell’s southern Vermont studio. “It was incredible that such a famous artist would take pains to do that,” says Anne Laszlo, a history professor who recalls her classmate as “a wild colt.” But after hanging on Taft’s walls nearly 30 years, the picture was stored in the boiler room until the school closed in 1978 and it was sent to a local bank for safekeeping.

In 1995, the board of Burlington’s cash-strapped school system, informed by appraisers that the painting was worth as much as $300,000, considered putting it up for auction. But when Pooley’s classmates, now in their 60s, protested the sale of their heritage, a compromise was reached: If an equivalent sum could be raised by March 25,2000, The Baby Sitter would remain in Burlington, at the Fleming, and the funds would endow a children’s arts program.

So far, the community has raised $60,000. Its latest effort: an Oct. 9 parade, dubbed the Penny March for the coins contributed by local children. Amid cries of “Save The Baby Sitter!” a trolley bus carrying six of Alison’s classmates and their teacher led more than 100 sixth graders through Burlington’s streets. An antique pickup displaying a copy of the picture ferried Melinda Pelham Murphy and Lucille Holton, who had posed for the painting. (“They stuck pins in me to get me to cry,” Murphy, the model for the baby, reported with a laugh as she waited for the parade to start.) The procession ended with an unveiling of the picture in the Fleming’s marble-lined gallery. Though $240,000 must yet be raised, Burlington attorney Samuel Bloomberg, who is coordinating the effort, is confident the goal will be met. “The young life of Alison Pooley,” he says, “left a memory that enabled this community to become galvanized.” The painting, he believes, is there for keeps.


Farrah draws the curtain on a rocky year

In 1997 it seemed that Farrah Fawcett sprang a leak and a river of stories flooded out. In March, her 17-year union with Ryan O’Neal ended. In May came charges—soon dropped—that Fawcett had stolen $72,000 worth of clothes from actress Kristen Amber. The 50-year-old icon with the still-fabulous mane has released a Playboy video, All of Me, in which she creates art by using her naked body to smear paint on canvas. But while promoting it on the Late Show with David Letterman in June, she seemed dazed, at one point staring vacuously into the set’s fake skyline. Though she later told PEOPLE she had been “playing,” the media blamed everything from drug use to menopause. So Fawcett lowered her profile to wait out the uproar. “It’s been good for her in a way,” says friend and hairdresser Mela Murphy of the tumult. “Anything else that comes up, it’s ‘Who cares at this point?’ ”

Throughout, Fawcett remained so friendly with O’Neal, father of her 12-year-old son, Redmond, that friends thought they might reconcile. Then came a New York Post report that she would soon wed real estate scion Stephen Bing, 32. Fawcett pal Alana Stewart says it’s not so.

Whatever her romantic situation, after 12 fallow months, Fawcett is acting again and is especially happy with her turn as a boozing preacher’s wife in Robert Duvall’s The Apostle, due in January. “Now we goof on it,” says Murphy of all the upheaval. “She’ll say something, and I’ll just look at her and go, ‘Okay, so do you want to go on Letterman again?’ She laughs. She has a good perspective on it now.”


Against all odds, a grieving mother forces a diplomat to pay for killing her daughter

Joviane Waltrick’s last thoughts were for her mother, Viviani Wagner. “Tell my mom I love her,” the 16-year-old asked a paramedic as she lay pinned and dying in the front seat of her crushed 1982 Volkswagen after a five-car accident Jan. 3 on Washington’s Dupont Circle.

In the months since, Wagner has proved that devotion to be mutual. The 35-year-old homemaker has lobbied tirelessly to ensure that the man responsible for the accident, Republic of Georgia attaché Gueorgui Makharadze, who was speeding and legally drunk, be brought to justice. “Diplomats shouldn’t be breaking the laws of the countries they are in,” says Wagner, who emigrated from Brazil with her family just six months before the crash, hoping to find a more prosperous life.

Initially, neither the U.S. nor the Georgian government was much help. Under the principle of diplomatic immunity, authorities took no action against Makharadze for the crash, which injured four others. So Wagner and Jovi’s stepfather, Jose Meleiro Filho, 39, an auto mechanic, and half brothers José, 12, and Ricardo, 11, launched their own crusade. (Joviané’s father died in 1989.) For months they kept a vigil at the crash site, handing out information about the case to passing drivers. “At first people wouldn’t roll down their windows, but after a few weeks they were stopping and clapping,” says Wagner, who often uses an interpreter. “These anonymous people gave me support and strength.”

Six weeks after the crash, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze waived Makharadze’s diplomatic immunity. And in October, Makharadze, a former economics officer who twice had escaped prosecution for speeding and suspected drunk driving, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and four counts of aggravated assault. (Scheduled to be sentenced this month, he could spend as many as 70 years in prison.) Assistant U.S. attorney Kay Winfree, lead prosecutor in the case, credits Wagner for the outcome. “She was on the news all over the world, and that made it hard for Shevardnadze to ignore her,” says Winfree. “People kept telling her she couldn’t change things, but she refused to be a victim.”

After his court appearance, Makharadze released a statement saying, “I deeply regret the pain I have caused in this country and in my beloved Georgia.” But Wagner is unconvinced of his remorse and says she plans to file a civil suit against him. She has also written every foreign embassy in Washington asking them to reexamine their policies on diplomatic immunity. “What I do is all for the love of Jovi,” says Wagner. “If the same thing happens to someone else, they won’t have to go to the streets like we did.”


Plucked from a rooftop in a raging flood, a still skittish but grateful Rodeo keeps his owners counting their blessings

He mopes when left home alone. And despite the danger from passing cars, he insists on waiting by the road each evening for his owners, Jimmy and Janice Thompson, to turn onto the half-mile-long drive that leads to their Marysville, Calif., ranch house. “He thinks we’re going to leave him and not come back,” says Janice, 56, a school bookkeeper. “In the old days, as long as we left food in his pot, he didn’t care if we ever came home.”

But if Rodeo seems a bit clingy, well, who can blame him? When a raging flood broke the Feather River levee near the Thompsons’ former home last January, the 5-year-old Border collie spent 21 hours stranded on the roof before being lifted to safety by a TV news helicopter. The Thompsons, who lost not only their house but also four horses, four dogs and 80 head of cattle, are just glad to have him back. “Somehow, after I saw Rodeo survived, it made it all much better,” says Janice, who rode out the flood with Jimmy at the family’s general store. “It was such a miracle, it helped us get through it.”

Rodeo has also been a comfort to the Thompsons’ grandson Jake Schenzinger, 8, whose own two dogs perished. Jake, who lives with his accountant mom, Traci, in a mobile home on the Thompsons’ ranch, stops by regularly to take Rodeo fishing or just out to play. Says Janice: “They’re magnets for each other. There is really nothing quite as nice as a little boy and his dog.”

Unless it’s a boy and his dogs. Last spring the Thompsons used $500 that pet-food maker Waltham Formula Diets had awarded to Rodeo for what it termed his “heroic actions” to buy him a companion—a female Border collie, Reba, now 6 months old. They hope the two will eventually have puppies. “We think Rodi needs to have babies,” Janice explains. “He’s so sweet, he will be a great father.”

For now, though, Rodeo’s busy pawing through invitations to appear at charity fund-raisers with KCRA cameraman Ron Middlekauff, the man who, with no safety belt, clung to the copter’s landing skid and scooped Rodeo off the roof while colleague Michael Kidd piloted the craft. Rodeo and Middlekauff still see each other several times a month. “He jumps up and down and licks my face,” says Middlekauff, 36, of their reunions. “It sounds weird, but I think he knows what happened. I think there’s a connection between us.”


But astronaut Michael Foale still sees stars in his future

Spending 145 days in space gives a guy plenty of time to think. And what was most on the mind of NASA astrophysicist Michael Foale during his mishap-marked stay aboard the Russian space station Mir this year were his kids Jenna, 6, and Ian, 3, and his wife of 10 years, Rhonda. I want “to get to know my wife again, date her again and maybe marry her again,” Foale, 40, said from orbit on Oct. 2.

Since touching down at Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Oct. 6, he has done just that. In November he even presented Rhonda, 39, with a long-overdue emerald engagement ring. “The first time, he gave me a Windsurfer,” Rhonda, a geologist, says wryly. But since he got back, “he’s been the model boyfriend-husband.”

Foale, now serving as assistant to the director of the Johnson Space Center in Houston, has also been busy regaining his Earth legs. He spends two hours a day in the gym, running, swimming and lifting weights to get back to his pre-microgravity physique. Frequent windsurfing excursions in front of his home on Texas’s Galveston Bay have helped replace his space-station pallor with a healthy flush. And last month he and Rhonda packed up the kids for a weeklong scuba-diving vacation in the Bahamas. “I take these as signs I’ve gotten back to my life,” he says.

Foale nixed NASA’s plans to send him and his family immediately to Russia to work with the international team designing a space station to replace Mir. “I’m going to take a year-and-a-half to two-year break,” he says. But he doesn’t think he’s grounded for good. He hopes to make the crew of a shuttle mission in late 1999, then perhaps travel to the moon—or beyond. “I plan a long career with NASA,” says Foale. “I could still be working at the agency when we send people to Mars.”


Pilot Linda Finch finishes what Amelia Earhart started

It was an accomplishment well worth its hero’s welcome. Touching down in Oakland on May 28 in a 62-year-old Lockheed Electra 10E, Linda Finch completed the 26,000-mile, round-the-world trip that Amelia Earhart was attempting when she vanished in 1937. Awards poured in, including one that let Finch endow a school with $10,000. Her choice: a facility for Calcutta’s street children that spends $120 a year per student. “That $10,000,” she notes, “will go a very long way.”

Within days of her triumph, however, Finch hit turbulence. Former beau Russell Madden, who had loaned Finch money to buy both her plane and her farm, sued for part ownership of the 300-acre property. The press was tipped off about suits by Finch’s home state of Texas alleging violations in two of four nursing homes she owns there. Madden has “always had a lien” on the plane, Finch, 46, acknowledges. “His note is due at the end of December and will be paid off then.” She also says she’s “negotiating a settlement” of the state charges. But she’s convinced Madden’s suit and leaks about the state suits—one of which was filed in 1995—were brought on by her success. A spokeswoman for the Texas attorney general denies the claim, calling it “far-fetched” to think the state singled Finch out.

Despite her legal headaches, Finch is bent on getting her next project airborne. To expose kids to changing technology, she plans a race pitting modern planes against vintage aircraft.


Released from prison, au pair Louise Woodward savors her opportunities

Nine months after the death of her 8-month-old son, Matthew, Deborah Eappen wondered in TIME, “HOW did Louise become the hero and I become the villain?” Louise is Louise Woodward, the 19-year-old au pair whom Eappen, an ophthalmologist, and her husband, Sunil, an anesthesiologist, hired to care for their two children in their Newton, Mass., home. The infant later died of mysterious head injuries. But when Woodward was convicted Oct. 30 of second-degree murder, supporters here and in her hometown of Elton, England, cried injustice. A week later, when Judge Hiller Zobel reduced the charge to manslaughter and the sentence to time served, there were cheers for Woodward. “Doesn’t he get it?” Sunil asked in The Boston Globe. “Someone killed Matthew.”

Massachusetts’ supreme judicial court will take up the appeals in March. Prosecutors want to put Woodward back in jail, while her lawyers want her to be acquitted. In the meantime, Woodward, who must stay in Massachusetts, is pleasantly making do. With a fashionable new haircut and manicure, she has been working out at the Jewish Community Center in Marblehead and indulging her love of musicals by taking in Stomp. She visits her lawyers’ offices daily to read her mail, which a paralegal says comes “from all over the world.” Friends hope she’ll start college in January; one of them picked up an information packet for her from nearby Salem State College. Though clearly reveling in her freedom, Woodward did release a statement expressing sorrow at Matthew’s death.

The Eappens, for their part, are back at their jobs, but Deborah has cut her workweek from three days to two. They want to have more children, siblings for surviving son Brendan, 3. But child care, as she told TIME, will be hard: “I don’t have as many options as other people now.”


Wherever they go, whatever they do, the Featherstones conspire to make a singular fashion statement

Isaac Mizrahi, eat your heart out. The threads that caused a media sensation this year weren’t found on Seventh Avenue. They came from the imagination—and sewing machine—of 45-year-old Nancy Featherstone, who creates matching outfits for herself and husband Donald, 61. Since word got out that the Fitchburg, Mass., couple have worn twin togs every day since 1980, the pair have been featured on more than 30 television programs and written up in dozens of magazines here and abroad. “There isn’t anyplace we go that people don’t stop us and say, ‘Aren’t you that couple that dresses alike?’ ” says Nancy, who continues to expand their wardrobes. “It’s like Rumpelstiltskin,” marvels Donald. “You buy a whole bunch of material and throw it in the closet, and it comes out clothes.” Recent additions include pumpkin-print shirts with jack-o’-lantern buttons, black sweater vests trimmed with pink flamingos—-a nod to Donald’s first claim to fame, as creator of the pink flamingo lawn ornament—and red silk outfits crafted for a January wedding, which turn out to be just right for Christmas too. Pretty fancy stuff, but run-of-the-mill to the Featherstones. “I can’t figure out why there is so much interest,” says Donald. “It seems like a normal thing to us.”

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